TALLEYRAND Charles Maurice - Letter Signed 1803 interceding for an Englishman
Charles Maurice TALLEYRAND, Prince de Benevent (1754-1838)
Letter Signed (“ch. mau. Talleyrand”) to the Minister of Finance [Francois Barbe-Marbois], interceding in favour of an Englishman, Col. Scott, who wished to bring various belongings into France where he intends to remain for a year with his family.
1 page 4to in French with integral address leaf, on letterhead with the vignette of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, 5 pluviose an 11 [25 January 1803].
Talleyrand was in large part responsible for the success of the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Amiens, and it is unsurprising that he would welcome an Englishman who wished to remain in France for a reasonable time after the treaty was signed. It is not known whether Colonel Scott remained in Versailles for a year, as planned, but it seems unlikely that would have been the case after the peace collapsed and England and France were again at war in May of that year.
Trans: “Mr. W. Scott, Colonel in the British army, who is currently in Versailles, has written to me to say that he intends to rent a house and remain there for a year with his family. He has asked my permission to have sent, via Dieppe, various items listed here, which are essential to him. The government is very happy to see this stranger here, and wishes that he be treated with the regard which he deserves in many regards. I beg you, Citizen Minister, to grant him this permission if possible and to send it to me. . .”
The items required by Colonel Scott, listed on the verso of the address leaf, seem, for the most part, quite modest for a year-long stay. They include two carriages, harnesses for one, two or three saddles, tablecloths and napkins, a little silverware, blankets for one or two beds, curtains and “perhaps a few other small articles”.
Talleyrand, the most skilful diplomat of his age, as well as a great intriguer, has been much criticized for his deviousness. His admirers have reason to consider the criticism unfair, as it was precisely this skill which was essential in his negotiations, which were, so often, beneficial to France. He was a key figure in the coup d’état which brought Napoleon to power in 1799, and participated in the key diplomatic events of the first half of Napoleon’s reign.
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