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ment of Marine (17S0), Marshal of France (1783). He emigrated during the Revolu-
tion, commanded a division of ihe army of Conde, and died in 1801.

* Etienne Francois, Due de Choiseul-Stainville (1719-1785), ambassador, then
Minister- Secretary of State (1758-1770).

' Louise de Rohan, Canoness of Remiremont, daughter of Prince Charles de
Rohan-Montauban, lieutenant-general. She became the wife of Charles de Lorraine,
Comie de Brionne, Grand- Equerry of France,

* Charlotte Beraud de la Haie de Riou, Marquise de Montesson, born in 1737.
She married, in 1754, the Marquis de Montesson, lieutenant-general. Widowed in
1769, she married secretly the Due d'Orleans (1773). After the death of the Due
(1785), she lived in retirement. Arrested under the Terror, she was saved by the
9th Thermidor. She was very intimate with Madame de Beauharnais, afterwards
Empress Josephine. She died in February, 1S06. Madame de Montesson had
written much, and has left numerous comedies and novels.

* The Comtesse Marie de Boufflers- Rouvrel, nee de Campar-Saujon, was lady in
waiting to the Duchesse d'Orleans. She became a widow in 1764. Imprisoned under
the Terror, but more fortunate than her daughter-in-law, the Duche3se de Lauzun, she
escaped the scaffold, and died in 1800.

•* Suzanne de Jarente, daugliler of Alexandre de Jarente, Marquis d'Orgeval,
married on February I, 1763, Alexandre Grimod de la Reyniere, who from being a
simple pork-butcher had risen to the post of Fermicr-gcneral.* He made a con-
siderable fortune, and built the superb hotel which now stands at the corner of the
Rue Boissy-d'Anglas and of the Avenue Gabriel. This hotel, which served as the
residence of the Russian, and afterwards of the Turkish, embassies, belongs to-day to
the Cercle de r Union Artistique. It is known that La Reyniere had acquired the
reputation of an epicure of the first order. The dinners given by him and his wife
have remained famous.

^ Beatrix de Choiseul-Stainville, daughter of the Due de Choiseul, canoness of
Remiremont. In 1759, she mariied Antoine, Due de Gramont, Governor of Navarre.
She mounted the scaflbld in 1 794 with her friend, the Duchesse du Chatelet.

» FermicrGin4ral. The custom existed under the old Monarchy of conferring the farming of the
taxes on financiers who paid a fixed sum for it. — {Translator.)

VOL. I. D



34 THE MEMOIRS OF PRINCE TALLEYRAND.

asked me, calling me by my name, what had so much struck me
on entering the drawing-room, whither I followed her, to say :
" Ah ! ah ! " " Your grace," I replied, " did not exactly hear what
I said ; my words were not ' Ah ! ah ! ' but ' Oh ! oh ! '" That
wretched reply caused general hilarity ; I continued to sup, and
did not say another word. On leaving the table, a few persons
came up to me, and I received for the following days several
invitations which enabled me to make the acquaintance of the
persons whom I was most anxious to meet.

I had no occasion to do so at the house of my parents ; for
they saw but few people, and especially few of those who shone
on the scene where ministerial appointments were disputed. I
preferred to go to my mother at the hours when she was alone :
I could then better enjoy the graces of her mind. No one ever
seemed to me to possess such fascinating conversation. She
had no pretension. She spoke only by shades ; she never made
a pun : that would have been too pointed ; puns arc remembered ;
she merely wished what she said to please — to please her
hearers for the time being and be forgotten. A richness of easy
expressions, nev/ and always delicate, supplied the various needs
of her mind. From her I have inherited a great aversion for
persons who, in order to speak with more accuracy, use only
technical terms. I have faith neither in the wit nor in the
knowledge of those who do not know equivalent terms and are
alwaj's describing : they are indebted only to their memory
for what they know, their knowledge can therefore be only
superficial. I am sorry that such a thought should have
occurred to m.c whilst M. von Humboldt,-^ is in Paris, but it is
written.

I spent my time in a very pleasant manner and did not waste
it too much ; the circle of my acquaintances was widening.
The relations which it was then considered good style to have with
the wits of the day, came to me through a good lady named

^ The two brothers, \ViIliam and Alexander von Humboldt, both made their names
famous — the former in literature and politics, the latier in science. The author here
refers to Alexan<ler. born in 17C9, he travelled a long time in America and in Asia,
and pub:i>he(l an account of his travels ; he is also the author of numerous scientific
works ai.d treatises, notably the Cosmos. Thanks to him, physical geography and
botany made remarkable progress. He died in 1S59.



THE YEARS PRECEDING THE REVOLUTION. 35

Madame d'H^ricourt,^ whose husband had held the post of
naval commissary at Marseilles. She loved wit, young people,
and good cheer. Every week we had dinner at her house, and
a most enjoyable one it was. The guests were M. de Choiseul,
M. de Narbonne, Abbe Delille, de Chamfort, de Rulhiere, de
Marmontel,^ who took turns with Abb^ Arnaud,^ Abbe Ber-
trand,* and myself. The gaiety that reigned there kept the
pretentious in check, and I must state that in that company,
where so much gaiety and presumption was brought together,
jeering or slandering were never indulged in, in the space of five
years.

Count von Creutz,-^ Minister of Sweden, who thought to
please his master by pretending to be considered a wit in France,
took great pains to have once a week at his table, the same
persons who composed the dinner-party of Madame d'Hericourt.
We went there three or four times, but Marmontel read so
many tragedies that he drove away all the guests. As for me
I held firm until he came to Numitor.

Readings after dinner were then the reigning fashion ;
they imparted special importance, and were reputed to
give a select tone, to some houses. One seldom dined
at the houses of M. de Vaudreuil,^ M. de Lian-

^ Louise Duche, daughter of a chief advocate-general in the Cour des Aides of
Montpellier. She married, in 1741, Benigne du Trousset d'Hericourt, a former
naval commissary.

^ JeaD-Fran9ois Marmontel, bom at Bort (Limousin) in 1723. On the advice of
Veil aire, his master and friend, he wrote for the stage, but failed completely. He
found his vein only in moral tales, which had a prodigious success, and procured him
the congratulations of nearly all the sovereigns of Europe. He was appointed Historio-
grapher of France, and entered the Academy. He died in 1799.

* Abbe Fran9ois Arnaud, born in 1 721, at Aubignon (Vaucluse). He was one
of the warmest supporters of the philosophical impulse of the eighteenth century,
and acquired a certain celebrity by his works. He was a member of the French
Academy. He died in 1784-

* Abbe Bertrand, born in 1755, at Autun. He studied astronomy, and was
appointed Professor of Physics at Dijon. He was admitted to the academy of this
city. He undertook with d'Entrecasteaux a voyage round the world, but he died on
the way at the Cape of Good Hope (1792). He left various scientific treatises.

^ Count Gustavus von Creutz was born in Sweden in 1736. Minister from Sweden
to Madrid in 1753, and then to Paris, where he remained twenty years. His salon
became one of the circles of society most sought by philosophers and literary men.
In 178:, King Gustavus IH. recalled him to Stockholm, and appointed him Senator
and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He died two years after.

* Joseph de Rigaud, Comte de Vaudreuil, belonged to a very old family of
Languedoc ; he was born in 1740. He lived for a long while at Versailles, frequent-
ing tTie salon of Madame de Polignac and the society of the queen. _ He was intimate
with the Comte d'Artois, whom he accompanied in 1782 to the siege of Gibraltar.

D 2



36 THE MEMOIRS OF PRINCE TALLEYRAND.

court,^ Madame de Vaines," M. d'Anzely, without being obliged
to hear either Le Mariagc de Figaro, the poem known as Les
Jardins^ or Le Connetable de Bourho7i,^ or some tales by Cham-
fort, or what was then called La Revolution de Riissiefi It
was an obligation rather strictly enforced on all the persons
invited ; but then, the fact of being a guest at any of these
houses, ranked one among the distinguished men of the day.
I might say that many people whom I did not know spoke of
me in good terms, simply because they had met me at some
of these dinner-parties to which the right of making people's
reputation had been granted. In this respect, I was like the man
spoken of by the Chevalier de Chastellux : * "-He is doubtless a
very witty man," remarked the Chevalier to some one ; '' I do not
know hi)n, but fie goes to Madame GeoffritisJ'

I had also noticed that when one was anxious not to be classed
among the habitue's of open houses and thus to rank with the
crowd, some advantage could be derived by affecting estrange-
ment from, and even aversion for, some prominent member of
society. My choice fell on M. Neckcr. I persistently refused to
go to his house. I said, rather boldly, that he was neither a good

He kept open house at his residence of Gennevilliers, and often received M. de Talley-
rand there. He emigrated with the Comte d'Artois, took up his residence in London
in 1799, returned to I'aris at the Restoration, was created peer of France in 1S14, and
died in 1S17. His correspondence with the Comte d'Artois was published in Paris,
1889 (2 vols. Svo. L. Pini^aud).

^ Francois de la Rochefoucauld, Due de Liancourt, born in 1747, was brigadier
of dragoons ; Grand Master of the Wardrobe (17S3), deputy of the nobility of Cler-
mont to the States- General, lieiitenant-general (1 792). He emigrated after August 10 ;
he lived in retirement under the Empire. At the Restoration he was created a peer,
but his liberal opinions precluded him from obtaining public functions. He died in
1827. His funeral gave rise to tumultuous incidents.

' This was firobably the wife of M. J. de Vaines, Receiver-General, Commissary
of the Treasury (1733- 1S03). He was often seen at the house of Marshal de Beauvau,
and at that of Madame GeofTrin.

^ " The Marriage of Figaro,'' a poem of Abbe Delille on the gardens of the Due
d'Orleans at Monceau.

"• Tragedy of the Comte Jacques de Guibert (1743-1790), lieutenant-general. His
name will remain known, not by his tragedies, but by an Essay on Tactics, of which
Napoleon said "that it was fitted to make great men."

^ "The Kevolutions of Russia" — a v/ork by Ruhliere.

** Talleyrand doubtless means here Francois-Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, born in
Paris in 1734 ; he took service in Germany from 1756 to 1763, and, in 17S0, went to
America as major-general, and there formed an intimacy with Washington. He was
a friend of Voltaire and of the encyclopedists. He wmte various woiks and was
elected a member of the Acodi-mie Franfa se. His essay entitled Dc la Fclicite
Piiblique{\-iz\, was praised by Voltaire. He is the author of another eassy entitled
Eloge d'lJclvciuis (1774), and of an account of travels in North America (1780-1782).
He died in 17SS. — {Translator.)



THE YEARS PRECEDING THE REVOLUTION. 37

minister of finances nor a statesman ; that he had few ideas, no
administrative system of his own, that his loans were badly con-
ducted, onerous and injurious to public morals ; badly conducted,
because they provided no sinking-fund ; onerous, because the
rates of public bills of exchange neither required so high an
interest as that paid for his loan, nor such delays as those, which,
in order to make the fortune of Girardot's and of Germani's firms,
were granted to thirty Geneva bankers ; injurious to public
morals, because his loans based on life-interest fostered and
developed a kind of selfishness unknown to French manners
before the days of M. Necker. I said that he talked badly, that
he did not know how to argue, that he was always affected ; I
said that the weakness of his constitution, which kept him in a
continual state of fear, reflected upon all the faculties of his
mind. I said that his pride did not come from his nature, but
rather from his crooked mind, and want of taste ; I said that
with his fantastic hat, his long head, his big body, burly and ill-
shaped, his inattentive airs, his scornful demeanour, his constant
use of maxims, painfully drawn from the laboratory of his mind,
he had all the appearance of a charlatan. I said, I believe, a
thousand other things that it would be useless to repeat, because
to-day they are on everybody's lips.

Madame de Montesson's house, which was kept just on the
verge of decency, was particularly agreeable. To amuse the Due
d'Orldans, Madame de Montesson had pieces played by her
visitors, which she knew would please him ; and, in order not
merely to amuse, but to interest him as well, she wrote several
of these pieces herself In the theatre, a special box was
placed at the disposal of the mundane members of the clergy ;
to which the Archbishop of Toulouse,^ the Bishop of Rodez,'^
the Archbishop of Narbonne,^ and the Bishop of Comminges,*
had secured my admission.

1 M. de Brienne.

- Jerome Champion de Cice, born at Rennes in 1735. General-agent of the
clergy (1765), Bishop of Rodez (1770), Archbishop of Bordeaux (1781), member of
the Assembly of Notables (1787), deputy of the clergy to the States-General (1789),
Keeper of the Seals (1789). He refused to take the oath to the civil constituiioa of
the clergy, and emigrated (1791). Archbishop of Aix in 1802, he died in iSio.

3 M. de Dillon.

* Charles d'Osmond de Medavy, born in 1723; Bishop of Comminges (1764-

1785)-



38 THE MEMOIRS OF PRINCE TALLEYRAND.

Curiosity, much more than a decided taste for music, took me
also to all the learned and wearisome concerts that were given
then, sometimes at the house of the Comte de Rochechouart,
sometimes at M. de Albaret's, sometimes at Madame Lebrun's.^
I was careful not to have an opinion on French music, or Italian
music, or on that of Gluck. I was too young to reason as to
the proportionate value of what fashion forced me to regard
as a pleasure. If, however, I had been obliged to pass an
opinion, I would have felt inclined to say that music being, in
general, only a language which expresses, in an ideal manner, the
sensations and even the sentiments that we experience, each
country must have a style of music peculiar to itself, and which
the taste of its inhabitants induces them to prefer to all others.
But my ignorance saved me, and I never had, on this important
subject, any quarrel with any one.

The position I had taken in society gave a sort of pre-emin-
ence to my agency ; I performed its duties almost alone, because,
a few months after our taking office, a rather too public adven-
ture had deprived Abbe de Boisgelin," my colleague, of the
confidence of the clergy. The natural indolence of M. de Bois-
gelin and his passion for Madame de Cavanac (famous under the
name of Mademoiselle de Romans, and also because she was
the mother of Abbe de Bourbon ^) had easily induced him to
countenance my doing his work as well as my own.

I had surrounded myself with persons of learned and sound
views : M. de Maunay,^ afterwards Bishop of Treves ; M. Bourlier,^

• Marie-Louise Vigee-Lebrun, bom in I75S, was one of the most celebrated
painters of the eighteenth century. She left trance in 17S9, and was received with
dibtinction at most foreign courts. She died in 1S42. She has left very interesting
Memoirs.

- Abbe de Boisgelin was a cousin of the cardinal-archbishop. He perished in
1792, in the course of the massacres of September.

^ Mademoiselle de Romans had, by L'-uis XV., a son who was christened under
the name of Dourbon, a favour not accorded to any other natural son of the king.
She however failed to obtain his legitimization. He was known afterwards under
the name of .A.bbe de Eourbon, and died in the reign of Louis XVL Mademoiselle
de Romans married later M. de Cavanac (see the Alcmoirs of Madame Camfa?i,
vol. iii. ).

■* Charles Maunay, bom at Champoix (Fuy-de-Dome) in 1745 ; Bishop of Treves
in 1S02.

'' Jean-Baptistc, Comte Bourlier, born at Dijon in 1731. He took orders, and
the oath of allegiance to the civil constiiution of the clergy. 1 bishop of Evreux
in 1802, deputy to the ( oyps Icgidalif, senator in 1S12, peer of France under the
Restoration, he died in 1821.



THE YEARS PRECEDING THE REVOLUTION.



39



afterwards Bishop of Evreux ; M. Duvoisln/ who became
Bishop of Nantes, and M. Des Renaudes,^ who was not socially
the equal of the former. I am happy to acknowledge here
all the marks of friendship displayed towards me by MM.
Maunay, Bourlier, and Duvoisin, whom I have always been
pleased to meet at all periods of my life. M. Des Renaudes
left me to enter the house of Secretary of State, Maret ^ ; his
style of talent finding permanent employment in his new
duties might have led him promptly to fortune : he was a man
who excelled in making use of other people's ideas.

I was anxious not to keep for ever my post of agent-general
of the clergy, but took all necessary precautions not to let any
one suspect my ambition ; thus, in order to attract notice, I was
busily engaged on works, which, without belonging exactly to my
province, were not altogether foreign to the duties I discharged.

The abolition of the lotteries was one of my favourite ideas ;
I had investigated all the chances and all the consequences of
that baneful institution. At the same time, I noticed that the
clergy, being attacked and scoffed at by philosophers, were daily

^ Jean-Baptiste, Baron Duvoisin, bom at Langres in 1744, was a professor in the
Sorbonne, a promoter of the Officialite* of Paris, chief-vicar of Laon. In 1792, he
was exiled for refusing to submit to the civil constitulion of the clcrjry. In 1S02, he
was appointed Bishop of Nantes, and took a part in the differences that arose between
the emperor and the Holy See. He died in 1813.

^ Martial Borge des Kenaudes, born at Tulle in 1755, was chief-vicar to M. de
Talleyrand at Autun, whom he assisted in the capacity of under-deacon at the Mass
of the Federation. He was the confidential man of Talleyrand, who, it is said,
entrusted him with the task of writing his speeches. Talleyrand's report on public
instruction is entirely Des Renaudes' work. Under the Consulate, Des Renaudes
was named Tribune. His name was struck out of the list of the Tribunate in 1802.
Later on he was appointed Censeur'\ — a post which he preserved under the
Restoration. He died in 1825.

* Hugues Maret, bom at Dijon in 1763, advocate to the parkment of Burgundy.
Sent to Naples in 1792, he was seized by the Austrians, and only set at liberty in
1795, being exchanged for the Duchesse d'Angouleme. Minister- Secretary of State
in 1804, he was Mmister of Foreign Affairs in ibii, and created Due de Bassano ;
Minister of War (1813). He was exiled in 1815 ; peer of France in 1831, he was for
a while President of the Council (November, 1834). He died in 1839.

* The Officiality of Paris was the tribunal of bishops and archbishops. All students came
under the jurisdiction of ihis court, which judged certain lay ca'cs as well (tithes, marriage cases,
lieresy, and simony. The (7^c;a/ only pronounced canonical penalties ; for cases requiring corporal
punishment he sent the culprit to the secular courts. The /rowii/c^ir fulfilled the functions of public
.nccuser. M.P. Foumier has published a very interesting volume on the (J^c;a///^. Paris. Plon.
On&Z°va\.— (Translator.)

t The censorship had been abolished in 1791 for the press as well a.s for books. Re-established, as a
matter of fact, under the Directory, it was legally organized under the Consulate. A censorship was
imposed by the Empire over each daily paper. The Restoration in proclaiming the liberty of the
pres.-s re-established the censorship. Among the papers of which Des Renaudes was censor, Z.'y}>«!£/e
la Religion et dit j^ij/must be mentioned. In i3c8, Des Renaudes was appointed councillor of the
University for life. — (Translator.)



40 THE MEMOIRS OF PRINCE TALLEYRAND.

losing public regard. My object was that they should regain the
esteem of the people, and for this purpose, I was anxious to hold
them up to the eyes of the nation, as the protectors of strict
morality. By inducing the clergy to submit to some pecuniary
sacrifices in support of that principle, I should have served, not
only public morals, but also the very order I had consented to
join.

I was anxious that the clergy should propose to buy from the
government the royal lottery, in order to suppress it ; that is to
say, that they should engage to furnish regularly every year,
a gratuitous present representing as much revenue as the lottery
produced for the royal treasury. The memorial to be addressed
to the king to ask him to proscribe this baneful institution, might
have been superb ; I should have been most happy to have
drafted it.^

The members of the clergy, upon whom I most depended to
second my motion, declined to do so. It may be observed that
my first political campaign was not very fortunate, a result
which I dare to attribute to the fact that my proposals Vv'cre
far too radical for the men with whom I purposed to make use
of them.

The amelioration of the condition of the clergy, as determined
by the edict of 176S, appeared to me far from sufficient.- It was
necessary to induce the clergy to propose an increase of salary ;
but in order to respect the interests of the chief tithe-owners as far

' For a lonfj time, lotteries in France constituted a revenue for the State. The
government collected the fees paid by th.e persons licenced to organize lotteries, and
organized some official ones besides. The Order in Council of June 30, 1776, created
the royal lottery of France. This was suppressed in the year II., re-cstabl^hed in
ihe year VI., and not definitely abolished until 1S36, in execution of the Law of
Finances of I S3 2.

^ The lower clergy had always bieen complaining of having hardly anything to live
upon, while, on the contrary, the bishops and the commendatory abbots were tnioying
considerable incomes. At different times the government had intervened to better
their condition. An edict of 176S insured a minimum salary of 500 livres " to a curate,
and of 200 to a \icar. In 177S, the former received 700 livres, and the latter 250,
increased afterwards to 350 livres (17S5). This was the settled allowance, in contrast
with which it is as well 10 cite the amount of income derived hy certain chief tithe-
owners, who often retained for themsehes half, sometimes even three-quarter-;, of the
total amount of the tithes. The Abbe of Clairvaux received thus 400,000 livres a
year; the Cardinal de Rohan, 1,000,000 ; the Benedictines of Cluny, 1,800,000 ; the
J^enediciines of Saint-Maur, 1,672 in number, 8,000,000, and these were not
exceptions,

* A French coin In use before the Revolution, and amounling 10 about tenpence. — (^Tratisiaior.)



THE YEARS PRECEDING THE REVOLUTION. 41

as was consistent with my objects, I followed the plan employed
by M. de Malesherbes and M. de Ruhliere, when they pleaded
the cause of the Protestants. In order to reach their end, they
both maintained that the intentions of Louis XIV. had not been
carried out. I maintained, even, that the principle which had
served to establish the new rate of State allowance for the lower
clergy, had been violated in deciding that the said allowance
should, in no case, exceed five hundred francs. I had confined my-
self to requesting the redress of an error, of which, as I said, the
higher clergy would surely have been glad to be informed.
According to the value of the silver mark, of which I pointed out
the growing depreciation and its low proportion to the price
of commodities, the increase, to be fair, ought to reach seven
hundred and fifty francs. To-day a thousand francs would be
required to obtain what these seven hundred and fifty francs
would then have easily procured. However, I did not succeed.
The State allowance remained fixed at five hundred francs,
and to-day, I believe, it still stands at about the same rate.

Another attempt on my part was no more successful.
During a journey I made to Brittany I noticed that, in this
country, many women were neither maids, wives, nor widows.
They had, at some time or other, been married to sailors who
had not returned home, but whose death had never been
properly ascertained. The law forbade their marrying again.



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