Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Talleyrand and the Restoration

When the allies entered Paris in 1814, Talleyrand persuaded them to restore the Bourbons in the person of Louis XVIII, who made him foreign minister. He negotiated the first Treaty of Paris of May, 1814, by which France, despite the defeat, was granted the French borders of 1792. He represented France at the Congress of Vienna (see Vienna, Congress of) of 1814–15, where he scored his greatest diplomatic triumphs. Winning the European powers to his principle of "legitimacy," namely, the restoration of Europe to its prerevolutionary status, and shrewdly exploiting the dissension among the allies, he succeeded in taking part in the negotiations on equal terms with the principal victorious powers.

Talleyrand remained in Vienna during the Hundred Days but resigned in Sept., 1815, shortly after the second Bourbon Restoration—according to his memoirs because of his opposition to the second Treaty of Paris of Nov., 1815, but in all probability because of pressure from the ultraroyalist chamber on Louis XVIII to dismiss him. In 1830, Louis Philippe, whom he had helped to power, offered him the portfolio of foreign affairs, but Talleyrand preferred to serve as ambassador to London. He resigned in 1834, after having achieved the recognition of Belgium (1831) and signed the Quadruple Alliance of 1834.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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