His career began brilliantly under the Restoration, during which time he served in Spain in 1824 and in Egypt in 1828, and in 1831 he was appointed secretary of legation in Mexico. Chargé d'affaires in Bogota in 1838, he was to intervene in a number of delicate situations regarding Latin America, most notably in La Plata in 1844 and 1848. A skilful negotiator and particularly suited to difficult missions, he was sent to Athens in 1850 to mediate in the Pacifico affair. From 1853 to 1856, he was the French plenipotentiary for the Franco-Spanish commission charged with establishing the Pyrenees borderline and successfully concluded the Convention de Bayonne (2 December, 1856). In May 1857, he was named as the French head diplomat for the Franco-British expedition to China. After a journey fraught with danger, he concluded the Treaties of Tien-tsin (with China, 25 June, 1858) and Yeddo (with Japan, 9 September, 1858). In 1860, he was ambassador extraordinary during the second expedition to China, which was brought to a close by the allied victory at Baliqiao and the pillaging of the Summer Palace. The Convention of Peking was signed on 25 October. When in November 1862 Drouyn de Lhuys needed an ambassador for London, it was Gros who came to mind. Having crowned his distinguished career with this post in London, he returned to France in 1863 to take up his seat on the Senate, a post to which he had first been called in 1859.
Yves Bruley (tr. & ed. H.D.W.)
The original article is taken from the Dictionnaire du Second Empire, 1995, and is translated with permission of the publishers Fayard.