45+ Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord Quotes

Ritwik Bhuyan
Mar 15, 2023 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Feb 28, 2023
Edited by Shipra Raturi
Fact-checked by Prakriti Sinha
illustration of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was born in 1754 and was the first Prince of Benevento and then the Prince of Talleyrand.

He was a clergyman and leading diplomat from France. In 1780, he became the Agent-General of the Clergy after finishing his theology studies.

Just before the French Revolution in 1789, he also became the Bishop of Autun. He worked mostly as the foreign minister of many French governments or in some other diplomatic capacity in the government.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord's career saw him during the regimes of Louis XVI, Napoleon, the years of the French Revolution, Louis XVIII, and Louis-Philippe. Napoleon found him extremely helpful and useful, unlike most other Talleyrand that served. The word Talleyrand has become another term for crafty, cynical diplomacy.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was the chief diplomat for Napoleon when victories by the French military brought European states one after another under France's hegemony. He, however, mostly worked for peace.

He even succeeded in making peace with Austria and Britain. In 1807, he resigned as the foreign minister but was trusted by Napoleon. He often polarized scholarly opinion.

It is believed that Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was one of the most skilled, versatile, and influential diplomats in history. However, some believed he was a traitor who betrayed the French Revolution, the Ancien Regime, Napoleon, and the Restoration.

He was a French statesman and diplomat who held great positions during the Napoleon era, French Revolution, and under King Louis-Philippe - the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. He was a foreign minister whose name later became a synonym for cynical diplomacy.

Read some of the inspiring quotes by this foreign minister and close aide of Napoleon during the French revolution.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord Quotes On Revolution

Explore some interesting Charles Maurice de Talleyrand quotes on revolution.

"War is much too serious a thing to be left to military men."

"I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep."

"He who has not lived in the eighteenth century before the Revolution does not know the sweetness of life and can not imagine that there can be happiness in life."

"This is the century that has shaped all the conquering arms against this elusive adversary called boredom. Love, Poetry, Music, Theatre, Painting, Architecture, Court, Salons, Parks and Gardens, Gastronomy, Letters, Arts, Science, all contributed to the satisfaction of physical appetites, intellectual and even moral refinement of all pleasures, all the elegance and all the pleasures.

The existence was so well filled that if the seventeenth century was the Great Age of glories, the eighteenth was that of indigestion."

"Society is divided into two classes: the shearers and the shorn. We should always be with the former against the latter."

"There is no sentiment less aristocratic than that of nonbelief."

“Whoever did not live in the years neighboring 1789 does not know what the pleasure of living means.”

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord Quotes On Leadership

Leadership was a main virtue of the Frenchman. Read some of the Charles Maurice de Talleyrand quotes on leadership.

"Love of glory can only create a great hero; contempt of glory creates a great man."

"Merit, however inconsiderable, should be sought for and rewarded."

“What I have been taught, I have forgotten; what I know, I have guessed.”

"To succeed in the world, it is much more necessary to possess the penetration to discern who is a fool, than to discover who is a clever man."

"Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts."

"Ones reputation is like a shadow, it is gigantic when it precedes you, and a pigmy in proportion when it follows."

"Above all, gentlemen, not too much zeal."

"If you wish to be popular in society consent to be taught many things you already know."

"God gave humans language so they could conceal their thoughts from one another."

"The art of putting the right men in the right places is first in the science of government; but that of finding places for the discontented is the most difficult."

"There is one person that is wiser than anybody, and that is everybody."

“Nothing succeeds so well as success.”

"Beauty, devoid of grace, is a mere hook without the bait."

“In a novel, the author gives the leading character intelligence and distinction. Fate goes to less trouble: mediocrities play a part in great events simply from happening to be there.”

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord Quotes On Politics

Politics was a major step for this savant of theology studies. Here are some of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand quotes on politics.

"Show me another pleasure like dinner which comes every day and lasts an hour."

"A court is an assembly of noble and distinguished beggars."

"What clever man has ever needed to commit a crime? Crime is the last resort of political half-wits."

"The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence."

"Without freedom of the press, there can be no representative government."

"She is such a good friend that she would throw all her acquaintances into the water for the pleasure of fishing them out again."

"Non-intervention is a metaphysical idea, indistinguishable in practice from intervention."

"Never speak ill of yourself, your friends will always say enough on that subject."

"Politics is the systematic cultivation of hatred."

"An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public."

"The reputation of a man is like his shadow, gigantic when it precedes him, and pygmy in its proportions when it follows."

"It is not an event; it is a piece of news."

"A married man with a family will do anything for money."

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord Quotes On Diplomacy

Here are some of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand's quotes on diplomacy.

"The reputation of a man is like his shadow, gigantic when it precedes him, and pigmy in its proportions when it follows."

"Mistrust first impulses; they are nearly always good."

"If we go on explaining we shall cease to understand one another."

"Too much sensibility creates unhappiness and too much insensibility creates crime."

"Since the masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy to arrange as facts."

"I found there a country with thirty-two religions and only one sauce."

“Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not.”

"I know where there is more wisdom than is found in Napoleon, Voltaire, or all the ministers present and to come - in public opinion."

"The rich man despises those who flatter him too much, and hates those who do not flatter him at all."

“It is the beginning of the end.” - French 'C'est le commencement de al fin'

"Wherever there's trouble, look for a priest."

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."

"Espresso is to Italy, what champagne is to France."

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Prakriti Sinha

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Business Mangement

Prakriti Sinha picture

Prakriti SinhaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Business Mangement

Prakriti is a content fact checker at Kidadl while completing her Bachelor's in Business Administration from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. She has achieved impressive feats, such as ranking 155 in her state with a 95% in the 11th International Commerce Olympiad by Commerce Teachers Foundation (2020) and securing second place in the Inter-school Bizgeist competition held by Cambridge. Prakriti has previously worked as a content writer, researching and writing articles on various topics.

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