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André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri
Carte de visite
Comte Alexandre-Florian-Joseph Colonna Walewski, the illegitimate son of Napoléon I and Maria, Countess Walewska, was a statesman and diplomat during the Second Empire.
Born near Warsaw on 4 May 1810, at fourteen Walewski refused to enter the Russian army and escaped to London; from there he proceeded to Paris, where the French government rejected the application by the Russian authorities for his extradition. After the fall of Warsaw, he took out letters of naturalization in France and joined the French army, seeing some service in Algeria. In 1837 he resigned his commission and began to write for the stage and for the press. In 1840 he was sent by Thiers on a mission to Egypt, and under the Guizot ministry he was sent to Buenos Aires to co-operate with the British minister, Lord Howden.
The accession of Louis-Napoleon to supreme power in France guaranteed his career. He was sent as envoy extraordinary to Florence, to Naples and then to London, where he announced the coup d'état to Palmerston. In 1855 Walewski became minister of foreign affairs, and he acted as French plenipotentiary at the Congress of Paris the following year. When he left the Foreign Office in 1860 it was to become minister of state, an office he held until 1863. In 1866 he was created a duke. He died at Strasbourg on 27 October 1868.