Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Talleyrand

Talleyrand-Perigord, Charles Maurice de, Prince of Benevento (1754-1838), French diplomatist, descended from an ancient and illustrious family, was born in Paris. An accident in infancy, which lamed him for life, shutting out all hopes of a military career, he was educated for the priesthood at the College d'Harcourt, at St. Sulpice, and at the Sarbonne. His ready address, wit, and dexterity in managing men ensured his rapid advance, and, notwithstanding his open immorality, he became agent-general for the clergy in 1780 and Bishop of Autun in 1789. He was elected a deputy of the clergy to the States-General, and played a conspicuous part in the National Assembly, advocating the abolition of tithes, proposing the transference of Church lands to the State, and drawing up a report upon public instruction that served as a model for future changes in French education. In 1791 he was excommunicated by the Pope, and abandoned the clerical profession. Sent on a mission to England in 1792 he remained here as an émigré till the beginning of 1794, when he was expelled in accordance with the terms of the Alien Act. After 18 months exile in the United States, he was allowed to return to Paris, and in 1797 became Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was disgraced in 1799, but regained the office under Napoleon, who owed much to his diplomatic skills. In 1806 he was made Prince of Benevento, but, forseeing the ruin which would follow from Napoleon's policy of conquest, he began to intrigue with the Bourbons, and eventually dictated the terms of the emperor's deposition. He was again Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short time under Louis XVIII., both before and after the Hundred Days, and represented France at the Congress of Vienna, but resigned owing to the Royalist reaction. From 1830-1835 he was French minister in London. His memoirs were published in 1891.