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Talleyrand-Perigord

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TALLEYRAND-PERIGORD, (Eng. all-rind) pa-re-gor', Charles Maurice de, French diplomatist: b. Paris, 13 Feb. 1754; d. there, 17 May 1838. Although the eldest of three brothers he was, in consequence of lame ness, prevented from entering the army and destined, against his will, for the priesthood. He commenced his studies at the College d'Har court, continued them at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice and at the Sorbonne, and completed them at Rheims, where an uncle of his was archbishop. His life of restless activity is naturally divided into three parts: namely, from his consecration as bishop (1789) to his banish-• ment by the Convention; from that period to the Peace of Paris 1815; and from the return of constitutional government to his death. In 1780, when only 26, he was appointed general agent to the clergy, and in 1789 he was con secrated bishop of Autun. As he found his spiritual functions inadequate to satisfy his ambition, he attached himself to Mirabeau, then connected with the Minister of Finance, Ca tonne. Here his political career began Mirabeau recommended the abbe to the Minister. Hith erto Talleyrand, at the court of Versailles, had displayed all the qualities of a polished, witty and gallant courtier. But he now left the court party and joined the Republicans, and on the meeting of the States-General was elected deputy for Autun, and voted soon after they opened for merging the three estates into one national assembly. In vain the court tried to stop him in his career. After the storming of the Bastille he was chosen by the national as sembly one of the oommittee which was to is sue an account of their proceedings. His popu larity was greatly increased by the leading part which he took in urging the confiscation of cler ical property. At this time he founded, in con cert with Lameth, Barnave, Lafayette, Mira beau, Sieyes, and Sailly, the Society of the Friends of the Constitution, out of which the Jacobin Club afterward arose. He soon retired from it, however, as too extreme, and in 1789 founded the society known as the Club des Feuillants. Here he exerted himself for a mon archy, surrounded by democratic institutions. On 16 Feb. 1790, he was elected president of the national assembly, and on 14 July of that year, the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, presided in that capacity at the memorable solemnity of national federation in the Champ de Mars. About this time he was the au thor of various important administrative pro posals, a registration scheme which was adopted, and forms the basis of that still in force in France, and a plan of a system of public edu cation which was of great service to the sub sequent assemblies which took up the problem. When the civil constitution of the clergy was framed he gave his adhesion to it and he or dained the first constitutional clergy. For this he was immediately excommunicated by a Papal brief, and embraced the opportunity to renounce his episcopal functions (April 1791). On two occasions in 1792 he was sent to Ldndon charged with diplomatic functions, although bearing .no official position. After his return

on the second occasion (August 1792), he was accused of cherishing royalist sympathies, but Danton rescued him and sent him back to Lon don (September). But the charges against him gained strength; and by a decree of the Con vention he was placed on the list of emigrants, which precluded his return to France. His power under the Directory was now forever lost, although by the intervention of Madame de Stael the decree against him was recalled in 1795. After his arrival in Paris the opposition which he met with from Carnot prevented him from being employed, and kept him in bad odor. At last, by exerting himself in the Constitutional Club, he succeeded in 1797 in gaining the Min istry of Foreign Affairs; hut being suspected of keeping up an understanding with the agents of Louis XVIII he was obliged to resign in July 1799, and his downfall as a republican was com plete. But he had early recognized Bonaparte as the coming man in France and after the lat ter's return from Egypt did much toward bring ing on the critical event of the 18th Brumaire (10 Nov. 1799), when the Directory fell and the Consulate began. Appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, he took the lead in the negotiations for the Treaties of Luneville and Amiens. In 1803 he married a Mrs Grand, with whom he had been living for some years. They separated in 1815. He became an uncompromising promoter of the Napoleonic idea, was a chief instigator of the murder of the Duc d'Enghien in March. and after the establishment of the empire in 1804 was appointed to the office of grand chamberlain. In December 1805, after the con clusion of the campaign against Austria, he negotiated the Peace of Presburg, and in the following year exerted himself for the elevation of Louis Bonaparte to the Dutch throne. On 6 July 1806, he was created Prince of Benevento. After the battle of Jena he was very active, and concluded the Peace of Tilsit with Russia and Prussia (July 1807). From this time, from what cause is not well known, a coolness arose between him and Napoleon, and became more and more marked. In 1808 he secretly joined a Royalist committee, and in conjunction with Fouche began to intrigue for Napoleon's down fall. On the first news of the unsuccessful issue of the Russian expedition, he placed him self in communication with Louis XVIII, joined the Congress of Chatillion, received the Emperor of Russia into his hotel, and on 1 April 1814, established a provisional government, placed himself at the head of it, and procured Napo leon's abdication. He afterward exerted himself very effectually in re-establishing Louis XVIII on the throne of his ancestors. He was at the Congress of Vienna when news arrived that Napoleon had landed from Elba. He took part in the declaration then issued characterizing Napoleon as a disturber of the peace. When in 1815 the Allies again entered Paris he again became president of the council with the port folio of Foreign Affairs; but as he refused to sign the second Peace of Paris he gave in his resignation.

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