|Charles-Maurice de TALLEYRAND-PÉRIGORD
prince de Bénévent
b. February 2, 1754, Paris
d. May 17, 1838, Paris
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand was ordained a priest in December 1779, and became bishop of Autun in November 1788. Being a representative of the clergy in the States-General and National Constituent Assembly, Talleyrand sided with the revolutionists. In 1792-1796, he was staying abroad and avoided the perils of revolutionary terror. He returned to France in 1796. On July 18, 1797, he was appointed foreign minister under the Directory, but resigned on July 13, 1799. He again served as foreign minister under Napoleon (Nov. 21, 1799 - June 17, 1807), but his opposition to the wars against Austria, Prussia, and Russia forced him to leave the office.
When the allies entered Paris, on March 31, 1814, Talleyrand convinced the Russian Emperor that only the restoration of the Bourbons could guarantee peace in Europe. He persuaded the Senate to establish a provisional government of five members (April 1), including himself, and to declare Napoleon deposed (April 2). Playing a key role in setting up a new government, Talleyrand was acclaimed its president without formal vote. The new government immediately recalled Louis XVIII, who on May 13, 1814, appointed Talleyrand his foreign minister. Talleyrand departed for Vienna in September 1814 and remained there during the Hundred Days and on Louis XVIII's return to Paris, he was appointed president of the council of ministers and foreign minister (July 8, 1815). The ultraroyalists now in power were violently opposed to a ministry dominated by two former revolutionaries, Fouché and Talleyrand, and Talleyrand was forced to resign (Sept. 23, 1815).
Talleyrand represented France at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, where he obtained advantageous terms for France including the restoration of the pre-revolutionary boundaries. In August 1830, Talleyrand convinced Louis Philippe, duc d'Orleans, to accept the French throne offered to him by the Paris revolutionaries. The new king offered him the portfolio of foreign affairs, but Talleyrand preferred to serve as ambassador to Great Britain (1832 - 1834). He resigned in 1834, after having achieved the recognition of Belgium (1831) and signed the Quadruple Alliance between France, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal in 1834.
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