Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord by Francois Gerard, 1808.jpg
Charles-Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand by François Gérard (1808)
Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom
In office
6 September 1830 13 November 1834
Appointed by Louis Philippe I
Preceded by Pierre de Montmercy-Laval
Succeeded by Horace Sébastiani de La Porta
1st Prime Minister of France
In office
9 July 1815 26 September 1815
MonarchLouis XVIII
Succeeded by Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis de Richelieu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 May 1814 19 March 1815
Monarch Louis XVIII
Preceded by Antoine de Laforêt
Succeeded by Louis de Caulaincourt
In office
22 November 1799 9 May 1807
Monarch Napoleon I (1804–1807)
First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte (1799–1804)
Preceded by Charles-Frédéric Reinhard
Succeeded by Jean-Baptiste de Nompère de Champagny
In office
15 July 1797 20 July 1799
Head of State Directory
Preceded by Charles-François Delacroix
Succeeded byCharles-Frédéric Reinhard
Member of the National Constituent Assembly
In office
9 July 1789 30 September 1791
Constituency Autun
Deputy to the Estates-General
for the First Estate
In office
12 April 1789 9 July 1789
Constituency Autun
Personal details
Born(1754-02-02)2 February 1754
Paris, Kingdom of France
Died17 May 1838(1838-05-17) (aged 84)
Paris, Kingdom of France
Political party
Education Seminary of Saint-Sulpice
Alma mater University of Paris
Profession Clergyman, diplomat
Signature Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord signature.svg
Ecclesiastical career
Church Roman Catholic Church
Ordained19 December 1779 (priest)
4 January 1789 (bishop)
Laicized29 June 1802
Offices held
Agent-General of the Clergy (1780–1788)
Bishop of Autun (1788–1791)

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord ( /ˌtælɪrændˈpɛrɪɡɔːr/ TAL-ih-rand PERR-ig-or, [1] French:  [ʃaʁl mɔʁis də tal(ɛ)ʁɑ̃ peʁiɡɔʁ, - moʁ-]; 2 February 1754 – 17 May 1838), 1st Prince of Benevento, then 1st Duke of Talleyrand, was a French politician and diplomat. After theology studies, he became in 1780 Agent-General of the Clergy and represented the Catholic Church to the French Crown. He worked at the highest levels of successive French governments, most commonly as foreign minister or in some other diplomatic capacity. His career spanned the regimes of Louis XVI, the years of the French Revolution, Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and Louis-Philippe. Those he served often distrusted Talleyrand but, like Napoleon, found him extremely useful. The name "Talleyrand" has become a byword for crafty, cynical diplomacy.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.

Louis XVI of France King of France

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last king of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Contents

He was Napoleon's chief diplomat during the years when French military victories brought one European state after another under French hegemony, as, he believed, they rightfully should be. [ citation needed ] However, most of the time, Talleyrand worked for peace so as to consolidate France's gains. He succeeded in obtaining peace with Austria through the 1801 Treaty of Luneville and with Britain in the 1802 Treaty of Amiens. He could not prevent the renewal of war in 1803 but by 1805, he opposed his emperor's renewed wars against Austria, Prussia, and Russia. He resigned as foreign minister in August 1807, but retained the trust of Napoleon and conspired to undermine the emperor's plans through secret dealings with Tsar Alexander of Russia and Austrian minister Metternich. Talleyrand sought a negotiated secure peace so as to perpetuate the gains of the French revolution. Napoleon rejected peace and, when he fell in 1814, Talleyrand eased the Bourbon restoration decided by the Allies. He played a major role at the Congress of Vienna in 1814–1815, where he negotiated a favourable settlement for France and played a role in decisions regarding the undoing of Napoleon's conquests.

Treaty of Amiens peace treaty

The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between France and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 by Joseph Bonaparte and Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace." The consequent peace lasted only one year and was the only period of general peace in Europe between 1793 and 1814.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia (Tsar) between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

Talleyrand polarizes scholarly opinion. Some regard him as one of the most versatile, skilled and influential diplomats in European history, and some believe that he was a traitor, betraying in turn the Ancien Régime, the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the Restoration. [2]

Ancien Régime Monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the later 18th century

The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, and civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, however, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority regularly overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Bourbon Restoration Period of French history, 1814-1830

The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the first fall of Napoleon in 1814, and his final defeat in the Hundred Days in 1815, until the July Revolution of 1830. The brothers of the executed Louis XVI came to power and reigned in highly conservative fashion. Exiled supporters of the monarchy returned to France. They were nonetheless unable to reverse most of the changes made by the French Revolution and Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna they were treated respectfully, but had to give up nearly all the territorial gains made since 1789.

Biography

Early life

Talleyrand was born into a leading aristocratic family in Paris. His father, Count Daniel de Talleyrand-Périgord, was 20 years of age when Charles was born. His mother was Alexandrine de Damas d'Antigny. Both his parents held positions at court, but as cadets of their respective families, had no important income. From childhood, Talleyrand walked with a limp. In his Memoirs, he linked this infirmity to an accident at age four which made him unable to enter the expected military career and caused him to be called later le diable boiteux [3] (French for "the lame devil") among other nicknames. However, recent research has shown that his limp was in fact congenital. [4] Talleyrand's father had a long career in the Army, reaching the rank of lieutenant general, as did his uncle, Gabriel Marie de Périgord, despite having the same infirmity.

House of Talleyrand-Périgord family

The House of Talleyrand-Périgord was a French noble house. A well-known member of this family was Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754–1838), who achieved distinction as a French statesman and diplomat. The family name became extinct in 2003 upon the death of Violette de Talleyrand-Périgord.

In history and heraldry, a cadet branch consists of the male-line descendants of a monarch or patriarch's younger sons (cadets). In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets—realm, titles, fiefs, property and income—have historically been passed from a father to his firstborn son in what is known as primogeniture; younger sons—cadets—inherited less wealth and authority to pass to future generations of descendants.

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar is a three-star military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

The choice of a career in the clergy for Charles-Maurice was aimed at having him succeed his uncle Alexandre Angélique de Talleyrand-Périgord, then Archbishop of Reims, one of the richest and most prestigious dioceses in France. [5] It would appear that the family, though ancient and illustrious, was not particularly prosperous, and saw Church positions as a path to wealth. Talleyrand attended the Collège d'Harcourt, the seminary of Saint-Sulpice, [6] while studying theology at the Sorbonne until the age of 21. He was ordained a priest on 19 December 1779, at the age of 25. [7] In 1780, he became Agent-General of the Clergy, a representative of the Catholic Church to the French Crown. In this important position, he was instrumental in drafting a general inventory of Church properties in France as of 1785, along with a defence of "inalienable rights of the Church", a stance he was later to deny. In 1788, the influence of Talleyrand's father and family overcame the King's dislike and obtained his appointment as Bishop of Autun. He was consecrated a bishop on 4 January 1789 by Louis-André de Grimaldi. [7] The undoubtedly able Talleyrand, though free-thinking in the Enlightenment mould, appears at the time to have been outwardly respectful of religious observance. In the course of the Revolution, however, he was to manifest his cynicism and abandon all orthodox Catholic practice. He resigned his bishopric on 13 April 1791. [7] On 29 June 1802, Pope Pius VII laicized Talleyrand, an event most uncommon at the time in the history of the Church. [7] [8]

Alexandre Angélique de Talleyrand-Périgord Catholic cardinal

Alexandre Angélique de Talleyrand-Périgord was a French churchman and politician, and the paternal uncle of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754–1838).

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. Erected as a diocese around 250 by St. Sixtus, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese around 750. The archbishop received the title "primate of Gallia Belgica" in 1089.

Lycée Saint-Louis

The lycée Saint-Louis is a post-secondary school located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, in the Latin Quarter. It is the only public French lycée exclusively dedicated to classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles. It is known for the quality of its teaching and the results it achieves in their intensely competitive entrance examinations (concours).

French Revolution

Shortly after he was ordained as Bishop of Autun, Talleyrand attended the Estates-General of 1789, representing the clergy, the First Estate. During the French Revolution, Talleyrand strongly supported the anti-clericalism of the revolutionaries. He (and Mirabeau) promoted the appropriation of Church properties. [9] He participated in the writing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and proposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that nationalised the Church, and swore in the first four constitutional bishops, even though he had himself resigned as Bishop following his excommunication by Pope Pius VI in 1791. During the Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790, Talleyrand celebrated Mass. Notably, he promoted public education in full spirit of the Enlightenment by preparing a 216-page Report on Public Instruction. It proposed pyramidical structure rising through local, district, and departmental schools, and parts were later adopted. [10]

Estates General (France) Consultative assembly in France, 1302 to 1789

In France under the Old Regime, the Estates General or States-General was a legislative and consultative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king. It had no true power in its own right—unlike the English parliament it was not required to approve royal taxation or legislation—instead it functioned as an advisory body to the king, primarily by presenting petitions from the various estates and consulting on fiscal policy. The Estates General met intermittently until 1614 and only once afterwards, in 1789, but was not definitively dissolved until after the French Revolution.

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau French writer, orator and statesman

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau was a leader of the early stages of the French Revolution. A noble, he had been involved in numerous scandals before the start of the Revolution in 1789 that had left his reputation in ruins. Nonetheless, he rose to the top of the French political hierarchy in the years 1789–1791 and acquired the reputation of a voice of the people. A successful orator, he was the leader of the moderate position among revolutionaries by favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of Great Britain. When he died he was a great national hero, even though support for his moderate position was slipping away. The later discovery that he was in the pay of King Louis XVI and the Austrian enemies of France beginning in 1790 brought him into posthumous disgrace. Historians are deeply split on whether he was a great leader who almost saved the nation from the Terror, a venal demagogue lacking political or moral values, or a traitor in the pay of the enemy.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a law passed on 12 July 1790 during the French Revolution, that caused the immediate subordination of the Catholic Church in France to the French government.

The oath of La Fayette at the Fete de la Federation, 14 July 1790. Talleyrand, then Bishop of Autun, can be seen at the extreme right. French School, 18th century. Musee Carnavalet. Le serment de La Fayette a la fete de la Federation 14 July 1790 French School 18th century.jpg
The oath of La Fayette at the Fête de la Fédération, 14 July 1790. Talleyrand, then Bishop of Autun, can be seen at the extreme right. French School, 18th century. Musée Carnavalet.

In 1792, he was sent twice, though unofficially, to Britain to avert war. Besides an initial declaration of neutrality during the first campaigns of 1792, his mission ultimately failed. In September 1792, he left Paris for England just at the beginning of the September massacres, yet declined to defect. The National Convention issued a warrant for his arrest in December 1792. In March 1794, he was forced to leave the country by Pitt's expulsion order. He then went to the neutral country of the United States where he stayed until his return to France in 1796. During his stay, he supported himself by working as a bank agent, involved in commodity trading and real estate speculation. He was the house guest of Aaron Burr of New York and collaborated with Theophile Cazenove, who lived at Market Street, Philadelphia. [11] Years later, Talleyrand refused Burr the same hospitality (Burr had killed Talleyrand's friend, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel).

After 9 Thermidor, he mobilised his friends (most notably the abbé Martial Borye Desrenaudes and Germaine de Staël) to lobby in the National Convention and the newly established Directoire for his return. His name was suppressed from the émigré list and he returned to France on 25 September 1796. In 1797, he became Foreign Minister. He was behind the demand for bribes in the XYZ Affair which escalated into the Quasi-War, an undeclared naval war with the United States, 1798–1800. Talleyrand saw a possible political career for Napoleon during the Italian campaigns of 1796 to 1797. He wrote many letters to Napoleon, and the two became close allies. Talleyrand was against the destruction of the Republic of Venice, but he complimented Napoleon when the Treaty of Campo Formio with Austria was concluded (Venice was given to Austria), probably because he wanted to reinforce his alliance with Napoleon.

Under Napoleon

Talleyrand, along with Napoleon's younger brother, Lucien Bonaparte, was instrumental in the 1799 coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, establishing the French Consulate government. Talleyrand was soon made Foreign Minister by Napoleon, although he rarely agreed with Napoleon's foreign policy. The Pope released him from the ban of excommunication in the Concordat of 1801, which also revoked the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Talleyrand was instrumental in the completion of the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. He wanted Napoleon to keep peace afterwards, as he thought France had reached its maximum expansion.

Talleyrand was an integral player in the German mediatization. While the Treaty of Campo Formio of 1797 had, on paper, stripped German princes of their lands beyond the left bank of the Rhine, it was not enforced until the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. As the French annexed these lands, leaders believed that rulers of states such as Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg, Prussia, Hesse and Nassau, who lost territories on the Left Bank, should receive new territories on the Right Bank through the secularization of ecclesiastical principalities. Many of these rulers gave out bribes in order to secure new lands, and Talleyrand and some of his associates amassed about 10 million francs in the process. This was the first blow in the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire. [12]

Napoleon forced Talleyrand into marriage in September 1802 to longtime mistress Catherine Grand (née Worlée). Talleyrand purchased the Château de Valençay in May 1803, upon the urging of Napoleon. This later was used as the site of imprisonment of the Spanish Royalty in 1808–1813, after Napoleon's invasion of Spain.

In May 1804, Napoleon bestowed upon Talleyrand the title of Grand Chamberlain of the Empire. In 1806, he was made Sovereign Prince of Benevento (or Bénévent), a former papal fief in southern Italy. Talleyrand held the title until 1815 and administered the principality concurrently with his other tasks. [13]

Talleyrand was opposed to the harsh treatment of Austria in the 1805 Treaty of Pressburg and of Prussia in the Peace of Tilsit in 1807. In 1806, after Pressburg, he profited greatly from the reorganization of the German lands, this time into the Confederation of the Rhine. But Talleyrand was shut out completely from the negotiations at Tilsit. After Queen Louise of Prussia failed in her appeal to Napoleon to spare her nation, she wept and was consoled by Talleyrand. This gave him a good name among the elites of European nations outside France.

Changing sides

Portrait of Talleyrand as Grand Chamberlain of France by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, 1807 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, prince de Benevent by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, musee Carnavalet 02.jpg
Portrait of Talleyrand as Grand Chamberlain of France by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, 1807

Having wearied of serving a master in whom he no longer had much confidence, Talleyrand resigned as minister of foreign affairs in 1807, although the Emperor retained him in the Council of State as Vice-Grand Elector of the Empire. [14] He disapproved of Napoleon's Spanish initiative, which resulted in the Peninsular War beginning in 1808. At the Congress of Erfurt in September–October 1808, Talleyrand secretly counseled Tsar Alexander. The Tsar's attitude towards Napoleon was one of apprehensive opposition. Talleyrand repaired the confidence of the Russian monarch, who rebuked Napoleon's attempts to form a direct anti-Austrian military alliance. Napoleon had expected Talleyrand to help convince the Tsar to accept his proposals and never discovered that Talleyrand was working at cross-purposes. Talleyrand believed Napoleon would eventually destroy the empire he had worked to build across multiple rulers. [15]

After his resignation in 1807 from the ministry, Talleyrand began to accept bribes from hostile powers (mainly Austria, but also Russia), to betray Napoleon's secrets. [16] Talleyrand and Joseph Fouché, who were typically enemies in both politics and the salons, had a rapprochement in late 1808 and entered into discussions over the imperial line of succession. Napoleon had yet to address this matter and the two men knew that without a legitimate heir a struggle for power would erupt in the wake of Napoleon's death. Even Talleyrand, who believed that Napoleon's policies were leading France to ruin, understood the necessity of peaceful transitions of power. Napoleon received word of their actions and deemed them treasonous. This perception caused the famous dressing down of Talleyrand in front of Napoleon's marshals, during which Napoleon famously claimed that he could "break him like a glass, but it's not worth the trouble" and added with a scatological tone that Talleyrand was "shit in a silk stocking", [17] to which the minister coldly retorted, once Napoleon had left, "Pity that so great a man should have been so badly brought up!"

Talleyrand opposed the further harsh treatment of Austria in 1809 after the War of the Fifth Coalition. He was also a critic of the French invasion of Russia in 1812. He was invited to resume his former office in late 1813, but Talleyrand could see that power was slipping from Napoleon's hands. On 1 April 1814 he led the French Senate in establishing a provisional government in Paris, of which he was elected president. On 2 April the Senate officially deposed Napoleon with the Acte de déchéance de l'Empereur; by 11 April it had approved the Treaty of Fontainebleau and adopted a new constitution to re-establish the Bourbon monarchy.

Bourbon Restoration

An 1815 caricature of Talleyrand - L'Homme aux six tetes (The man with six heads), referring to his prominent role in six different regimes Talleyrand floatingwiththetide0001.jpg
An 1815 caricature of Talleyrand - L'Homme aux six têtes (The man with six heads), referring to his prominent role in six different regimes
Elderly Talleyrand, 1828 Talleyrand, Charles-Maurice - Vieux.jpg
Elderly Talleyrand, 1828

When Napoleon was succeeded by Louis XVIII in April 1814, Talleyrand was one of the key agents of the restoration of the House of Bourbon, although he opposed the new legislation of Louis' rule. Talleyrand was the chief French negotiator at the Congress of Vienna, and, in that same year, he signed the Treaty of Paris. It was due in part to his skills that the terms of the treaty were remarkably lenient towards France. As the Congress opened, the right to make decisions was restricted to four countries: Austria, the United Kingdom, Prussia, and Russia. France and other European countries were invited to attend, but were not allowed to influence the process. Talleyrand promptly became the champion of the small countries and demanded admission into the ranks of the decision-making process. The four powers admitted France and Spain to the decision-making backrooms of the conference after a good deal of diplomatic maneuvering by Talleyrand, who had the support of the Spanish representative, Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador. Spain was excluded after a while (a result of both the Marquis of Labrador's incompetence as well as the quixotic nature of Spain's agenda), but France (Talleyrand) was allowed to participate until the end. Russia and Prussia sought to enlarge their territory at the Congress. Russia demanded annexation of Poland (already occupied by Russian troops), and this demand was finally satisfied, despite protests by France, Austria and the United Kingdom. Austria was afraid of future conflicts with Russia or Prussia and the United Kingdom was opposed to their expansion as well – and Talleyrand managed to take advantage of these contradictions within the former anti-French coalition. On 3 January 1815, a secret treaty was signed by France's Talleyrand, Austria's Metternich and Britain's Castlereagh. By this tract, officially a secret treaty of defensive alliance, [18] the three powers agreed to use force if necessary to "repulse aggression" (of Russia and Prussia) and to protect the "state of security and independence."

Talleyrand, having managed to establish a middle position, received some favours from the other countries in exchange for his support: France returned to its 1792 boundaries without reparations, with French control over papal Avignon, Montbéliard (Mompelgard) and Salm, which had been independent at the start of the French Revolution in 1789. It would later be debated which outcome would have been better for France: allowing Prussia to annex all of Saxony (Talleyrand ensured that only part of the kingdom would be annexed) or the Rhine provinces. The first option would have kept Prussia farther away from France, but would have needed much more opposition as well. Some historians have argued that Talleyrand's diplomacy wound up establishing the faultlines of World War I, especially as it allowed Prussia to engulf small German states west of the Rhine. This simultaneously placed Prussian armed forces at the French-German frontier, for the first time; made Prussia the largest German power in terms of territory, population and the industry of the Ruhr and Rhineland; and eventually helped pave the way to German unification under the Prussian throne. However, at the time Talleyrand's diplomacy was regarded as successful, as it removed the threat of France being partitioned by the victors. Talleyrand also managed to strengthen his own position in France (ultraroyalists had disapproved of the presence of a former "revolutionary" and "murderer of the Duke d'Enghien" in the royal cabinet).

Napoleon's return to France in 1815 and his subsequent defeat, the Hundred Days, was a reverse for the diplomatic victories of Talleyrand (who remained in Vienna the whole time). The second peace settlement was markedly less lenient and it was fortunate for France that the business of the Congress had been concluded. Talleyrand resigned in September of that year, either over the second treaty or under pressure from opponents in France. For the next fifteen years he restricted himself to the role of "elder statesman", criticising—and intriguing—from the sidelines. However, when King Louis-Philippe came to power in the July Revolution of 1830, Talleyrand agreed to become ambassador to the United Kingdom, a post he held from 1830 to 1834. In this role, he strove to reinforce the legitimacy of Louis-Philippe's regime, and proposed a partition plan for the newly independent Belgium.

Private life

Catherine (Worlee) Grand, princesse de Talleyrand-Perigord, painted by Francois Gerard 1805-6 Francois Gerard - Portrait of Catherine Worlee, Princesse de Talleyrand-Perigord - WGA08599.jpg
Catherine (Worlée) Grand, princesse de Talleyrand-Périgord, painted by François Gerard 1805–6

Talleyrand had a reputation as a voluptuary and a womaniser. He left no legitimate children, though probably fathered illegitimate ones. Four possible children of his have been identified: Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut, generally accepted to be an illegitimate son of Talleyrand; the painter Eugène Delacroix, once rumoured to be Talleyrand's son, though this is doubted by historians who have examined the issue (for example, Léon Noël, French ambassador); the "Mysterious Charlotte", possibly his daughter by his future wife, Catherine Worlée Grand; and Pauline, ostensibly the daughter of the Duke and Duchess Dino. Of these four, only the first is given credence by historians. However, the French historian Emmanuel de Waresquiel has lately given much credibility to father-daughter link between Talleyrand and Pauline whom he referred to as "my dear Minette".

Aristocratic women were a key component of Talleyrand's political tactics, both for their influence and their ability to cross borders unhindered. His presumed lover Germaine de Staël was a major influence on him, and he on her. Though their personal philosophies were most different (she a romantic, he very much unsentimental), she assisted him greatly, most notably by lobbying Barras to permit Talleyrand to return to France from his American exile, and then to have him made foreign minister. He lived with Catherine Worlée, born in India and married there to Charles Grand. She had traveled about before settling in Paris in the 1780s, where she lived as a notorious courtesan for several years before divorcing Grand to marry Talleyrand. Talleyrand was in no hurry to marry, and it was after repeated postponements that Napoleon obliged him in 1802 to formalize the relationship or risk his political career. After her death in 1834, Talleyrand lived with Dorothea von Biron, the divorced wife of his nephew, the Duke of Dino.

Talleyrand's venality was notorious; in the tradition of the ancien régime, he expected to be paid for the state duties he performed—whether these can properly be called "bribes" is open to debate. For example, during the German Mediatisation, the consolidation of the small German states, a number of German rulers and elites paid him to save their possessions or enlarge their territories. Less successfully, he solicited payments from the United States government to open negotiations, precipitating a diplomatic disaster (the "XYZ Affair"). The difference between his diplomatic success in Europe and failure with the United States illustrates that his diplomacy rested firmly on the power of the French army that was a terrible threat to the German states within reach, but lacked the logistics to threaten the USA not the least because of the Royal Navy domination of the seas. After Napoleon's defeat, he withdrew claims to the title "Prince of Benevento", but was created Duke of Talleyrand with the style "Prince de Talleyrand" for life, in the same manner as his estranged wife. [19]

Described by biographer Philip Ziegler as a "pattern of subtlety and finesse" and a "creature of grandeur and guile", [20] Talleyrand was a great conversationalist, gourmet, and wine connoisseur. From 1801 to 1804, he owned Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. He employed the renowned French chef Carême, one of the first celebrity chefs known as the "chef of kings and king of chefs", and was said to have spent an hour every day with him. [21] His Paris residence on the Place de la Concorde, acquired in 1812 and sold to James Mayer de Rothschild in 1838, is now owned by the Embassy of the United States.

Talleyrand has been regarded as a traitor because of his support for successive regimes, some of which were mutually hostile. According to French philosopher Simone Weil, criticism of his loyalty is unfounded, as Talleyrand served not every regime as had been said, but in reality "France behind every regime". [22]

Near the end of his life, Talleyrand became interested in Catholicism again while teaching his young granddaughter simple prayers. The Abbé Félix Dupanloup came to Talleyrand in his last hours, and according to his account Talleyrand made confession and received extreme unction. When the abbé tried to anoint Talleyrand's palms, as prescribed by the rite, he turned his hands over to make the priest anoint him on the back of the hands, since he was a bishop. He also signed, in the abbé's presence, a solemn declaration in which he openly disavowed "the great errors which . . . had troubled and afflicted the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, and in which he himself had had the misfortune to fall." [23] He died on 17 May 1838 and was buried in Notre-Dame Chapel, [24] near his Castle of Valençay.

Today, when speaking of the art of diplomacy, the phrase "he is a Talleyrand" is used to describe a statesman of great resourcefulness and craft. [25]

Honours

Anecdotes

In fiction

See also

Notes

  1. "Talleyrand-Périgord". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. "Remembering Talleyrand". Restorus. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  3. Royot, Daniel (2007). Divided Loyalties in a Doomed Empire. University of Delaware Press, ISBN   978-0-87413-968-6, p. 138: "Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord was the essence of the metamorphic talent inherent in French aristocracy. The so-called Diable boiteux (lame devil), born in 1754 was not fit for armed service."
  4. Emmanuel de Waresquiel, Talleyrand. Le prince immobile, Paris, Fayard, 2004, p. 31.
  5. Emmanuel de Waresquiel, op. cit., p. 31.
  6. "il est admis, ... en 1770, au grand séminaire de Saint-Sulpice": http://www.talleyrand.org Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. 1 2 3 4 "(Layman) Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord †". Catholic-Hierarchy.org . David M. Cheney.
  8. Controversial concordats. Catholic University of America Press. 1999. ISBN   9780813209203.
  9. Bernard, J.F. (1973). Talleyrand: A Biography, p. 87-89
  10. . Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus, eds., Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution 1789–1799 (vol. 2 1985), pp 928–32, online
  11. "Full text of "Cazenove journal, 1794 : a record of the journey of Theophile Cazenove through New Jersey and Pennsylvania"" . Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  12. Palmer, Robert Roswell; Joel Colton (1995). A History of the Modern World (8 ed.). New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 419. ISBN   978-0-67943-253-1.
  13. Duff Cooper: Talleyrand, Frankfurt 1982. ISBN   3-458-32097-0
  14. H. A. L. Fisher, "The French Dependencies and Switzerland", in A. Ward et al. (eds.), Cambridge Modern History, IX: Napoleon (Cambridge, 1934), p. 399.
  15. Haine, Scott (2000). The History of France (1st ed.). Greenwood Press. p. 93. ISBN   0-313-30328-2 . Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  16. Lawday, David (2007). Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN   978-0-312-37297-2.
  17. "Talleyrand: Napoleon's Master by David Lawday". 12 November 2006.
  18. Traité sécret d'alliance défensive, conclu à Vienne entre Autriche, la Grande bretagne et la France, contre la Russie et la Prussie, le 3 janvier 1815
  19. Bernard, pp. 266, 368 fn.
  20. The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History by Philip Bobbitt (2002), chp 21
  21. J.A.Gere and John Sparrow (ed.), Geoffrey Madan's Notebooks, Oxford University Press, 1981, at page 12
  22. Simone Weil (2002). The Need for Roots. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN   0-415-27102-9.
  23. newadvent.org
  24. Talleyrand's short biography in Napoleon and Empire website, displaying photographs of his castle of Valençay and of his tomb
    • Gérard Robichaud, Papa Martel, University of Maine Press, 2003, p.125.
    • Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), H.M. Stationery Off., 1964, p. 1391
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Verslag der handelingen der Staten-Generaal, Deel 2. p 26
  26. Almanach Du Département de L'Escaut Pour L'an 1809-1815, Volume 1;Volume 1809. lA.B. Stéven. p. 6.
  27. On me dit que nous sommes tous les deux dans votre roman, déguisés en femme.
  28. André Castelot (1980), Talleyrand ou le cynisme, from the Mémoires (1880) of Claire de Rémusat, lady-in-waiting to Empress Marie-Louise.
  29. Brooks, Xan (1 January 2009). "Happy birthday Salinger". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  30. Atlas, James (14 December 1994). "An Erudite Author in a Genre All His Own". The New York Times.

Further reading

Biographies

Scholarly studies

Historiography

Non-English language

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Pierre-Louis de La Rochefoucauld
Agent-General of the French Clergy
1780–1785
Served alongside: Thomas de Boisgelin
Succeeded by
François-Xavier-Marc-Antoine de Montesquiou-Fézensac
Preceded by
Louis de Jarente de Sénas d'Orgeval
Succeeded by
Louis-Mathias
Preceded by
Yves-Alexandre de Marbeuf
Bishop of Autun
1788–1791
Succeeded by
Jean-Louis Gouttes
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Xavier Bureau de Pusy
President of the National Assembly of France
1790
Succeeded by
François-Xavier-Marc-Antoine de Montesquiou-Fézensac
Preceded by
Étienne Eustache Bruix
Ministers of Marine and the Colonies
1799
Succeeded by
Marc Antoine Bourdon de Vatry
Preceded by
Charles-François Delacroix
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1797–1799
Succeeded by
Charles-Frédéric Reinhard
Preceded by
Charles-Frédéric Reinhard
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1799–1807
Succeeded by
Jean-Baptiste de Nompère de Champagny
New office Grand Chamberlain of France
1804–1814
Position abolished
Preceded by
Antoine René Charles Mathurin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1814–1815
Succeeded by
Armand Augustin Louis de Caulaincourt
Preceded by
Louis Pierre Edouard
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1815
Succeeded by
Armand-Emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis
New office Prime Minister of France
1815
French nobility
Preceded by
Title created
Duke of Talleyrand
1815 – 1838
Succeeded by
Edmond de Talleyrand-Périgord
Preceded by
Robert Guiscard
Prince of Benevento
1806–1815
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Diplomatic posts
New office Representative to the Congress of Erfurt
1812
Position abolished
Representative to the Congress of Vienna
1814–1815

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