Political visionary, ignoring the judgments of his contemporaries, this illustrious person passionate about peace and freedom served, from the Revolution to the Restoration, political systems with contradictory destinies which disappeared in the fury of these times. Taking an active and sometimes decisive share in the political business of these tormented periods it could be called an opportunist, a racketeer, a cynical, a weathercock and even a traitor to Napoleon but one must recognize that he remained faithful all his life to his convictions and France. Marx noted that Talleyrand, Metternich and Bismark were three Gods who ruled Europe in the middle of the 19th century. Talleyrand was born with a club foot which was caused by a congenital disorder called Marfan's syndromeand not by an accidental fall as it is often written and asserted by Talleyrand himself.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Bith Date: February 3, Death Date: May 17, Place of Birth: For half a century he served every French regime except that of the Revolutionary "Terror. Admired and often distrusted, sometimes even feared by those he served, he was not easily replaced as a negotiator of infinite wiles.
Talleyrand has been an extraordinarily difficult figure for historians to understand and appraise. His moral corruption is beyond question: He repeatedly shifted political allegiance without visible compunction and possessed no political principle on which he would stand firm to the last; and he was also at least technically guilty of treason, engaging in secret negotiations with the public enemies of his country while in its service.
Yet closer scrutiny of what Talleyrand did shows an apparent steady purpose beneath the crust of arrogant contempt for the ordinary standards of mankind's judgment, expressed in the comment attributed to him on the kidnaping and execution of Taleyrand essay Duc d'Enghien at Napoleon's command: His fidelity to whichever persons happened to be at the head of the French state lasted at best only as long as their power, but this matchless cynic seems to have possessed genuine devotion for France as a country, and his apparent treasons can be seen as the products of a higher loyalty.
Yet this picture of him may be false, for Talleyrand destroyed many of the records by which the truth regarding his career could have been more closely reached.
Taleyrand essay is easier to decide his guilt than to specify what he was guilty of, easier to affirm his deeper innocence than to prove it.
The problem lies both in the man himself and in the eye of the beholder. Education and Priesthood Talleyrand was born in Paris on Feb. As the eldest son of Charles Daniel, Comte de Talleyrand, a lieutenant general in the French army, he was destined to follow his father's career until a childhood accident caused a permanent injury.
His father compelled him to accept a career in the Church over Talleyrand's protests, for he had no vocation as a priest. His rapid promotions came to him as an ecclesiastical administrator with powerful backing, not as a shepherd of souls.
His first important post was as general agent for the assembly of the French clergy innegotiating with the government for the "voluntary" payments made by churchmen in lieu of the taxes from which they were exempt.
Then, inhe was appointed bishop of Autun and was consecrated the next year, as the French Revolution was about to begin.
Elected to the Estates General as a deputy of the clergy, Talleyrand quickly showed that he wished the First Estate to cooperate in the transformation of the Old Regime into a new order, even at the expense of its own privileges.
Passing over into open opposition to the court, he was influential in persuading his fellow ecclesiastics to join the Third Estate in the newly proclaimed National Assembly on June 19, He proposed on October 10 that the vast properties of the Church be put at the disposal of the state in exchange for salaries to be paid by the state, and in line with this policy he accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and was one of the consecrators of the new bishops established under its provisions.
His report on public education in September won wide praise for its principles but was never applied. Diplomatic Missions and Exile In Talleyrand repeatedly went to England as an unofficial envoy with the mission of keeping that country neutral in the war beginning with Austria and Prussia, but the French invasion of the Austrian Netherlands Belgium as well as the rise of revolutionary extremism, culminating in the execution of Louis XVI, brought England into the war in There he visited many parts of the country and probably engaged in land speculation.
Inafter the formation of the Directory, Talleyrand returned to France. He was named to the Institute and became foreign minister in July He took part in the coup d'etat of 18 Fructidor Sept. He was forced to resign the Foreign Ministry in Julywhen his republicanism fell under suspicion.
His destiny then became intertwined with that of Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte, whose expedition to Egypt Talleyrand had sponsored and whom he helped to come to power in the coup d'etat of 18 Brumaire Nov. However, his relations with the Emperor became clouded as Napoleon's obsessive aggressiveness became clear to him.
Talleyrand wanted to end the exhausting wars against the recurring European coalitions by making peace with England and Russia, the principal foes, on terms that preserved for France its major territorial gains. Remaining in the Emperor's service, he began a perilous game of intrigues designed to thwart his master's ambitions.
In at Erfurt he encouraged Czar Alexander I to resist Napoleon's demands and was dismissed in by the suspicious Napoleon but allowed to reside at his country estate.Nov 27, · Talleyrand means it to be understood that, in all his versatile career, he was not the mere servant of opportunity, but that he was a man steering by fixed stars, applying principles to policy, occupied and possessed by certain general ideas superior to time and place.
Examining the career of Charles- Maurice de Talleyrand can be rather a daunting task because he is a character in our history books that is surrounded by the ideas of his times and in the government renovations that occurred in pre-revolutionary and then during the French Revolution.5/5(4).
In Paris, Talleyrand had made the acquaintance of a young chef at Bailly’s patisserie, who would—largely through Talleyrand’s ministrations—one day become a culinary genius who would be regarded as the father of haute cuisine: Antonin Carême. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand was a masterful diplomat of the old school as ambassador and foreign minister.
Admired and often distrusted, sometimes even feared by those he served, he was not easily replaced as a negotiator of infinite wiles.
Essays by Victor Hugo.
A facsimile reprint from the "Edition de Luxe" (limited to 1, copies). Talleyrand foremost entered political relations at the really beginning of the Gallic Revolution.
Due to his place as the bishop of Autun, he was able to go to the Estates General as portion of the Clergy, stand foring as the First Estate.