In the Goblet ministry of1886-1887he was minister of public instruction, and in the Bourgeois cabinet of1895-1896he held the portfolio for foreign affairs.
A crisis was now approaching in foreign affairs which demanded all the experience and all the genius of Hastings for its solution.
An agreement was come to by which Francis received patronage for his circle of friends, while Hastings was to be unimpeded in the control of foreign affairs.
Rouvier himself took the portfolio of foreign affairs at this anxious juncture.
Up to 1848 he was a government official in Nassau; in that year he became a member of the German national parliament and undersecretary of state for foreign affairs.