In 1871 parliament resolved to build railways at the public expense, and in 1873 (the year following the conferment of responsible government on the colony) a beginning was made with the work, £5,000,000 having been voted for the purpose.
He was minister of public instruction in the short-lived cabinet of the 19th of May 1873, and in 1876, having been elected senator for the Aisne, he was again entrusted by Dufaure with the ministry of public instruction, with which, as a Protestant, he was not permitted to combine the ministry of public worship. His most important project, a bill transferring the conferment of degrees to the state, passed the Chamber, but was thrown out by the Senate.
But the conferment of the rank upon an individual as distinct from a whole family (gens) is enough to show how widely the modern conception of patrician rank differed from the ancient.
A further change in the meaning of the name is marked by its conferment on Pippin the Frank e by Pope Stephen.
His services to education in Scotland were now recognized by the conferment of the honorary degree of doctor of laws by the university of Edinburgh in 1871.