Calonne, Charles Alexandre de


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Calonne, Charles Alexandre de

(shärl älĕksäN`drə də kälōn`), 1734–1802, French statesman, controller general of finances (1783–87). Faced with a huge public debt and a steadily deteriorating financial situation, Calonne adopted a spending policy to inspire confidence in the nation's financial position. He then proposed a direct land tax and the calling of provincial assemblies to apportion it, a stamp tax, and the reduction of some privileges of the nobles and clergy. To gain support, Calonne had King Louis XVI call an Assembly of Notables, but the Assembly (1787) refused to consider Calonne's proposals and criticized him bitterly. Dismissed and replaced by Étienne Charles Loménie de BrienneLoménie de Brienne, Étienne Charles
, 1727–94, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was archbishop of Toulouse (1763–88) and of Sens (1788) and a member of the French Academy.
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, Calonne fled (1787) to England, where he stayed until 1802. Many of Calonne's official papers have been published and two general works on politics have been translated into English, Considerations on the Present and Future State of France (1791) and The Political State of Europe (1796).

Calonne, Charles Alexandre de

 

Born Jan. 20, 1734, in Douai; died Oct. 29, 1802, in Paris. French statesman.

From 1783 to 1787, Calonne was controller-general of finances. He attempted to replenish the exhausted state treasury by borrowing at high interest, reminting gold coins, and increasing taxes. Threatened with the financial failure of the government, Calonne in 1786 followed the example of A. R. J. Turgot and J. Necker in proposing reforms: an increase in the tax obligations of the privileged classes by instituting a uniform land tax, abolition of the royal highway service duties (corvée) and of the salt tax (excise), sale of part of the royal estates, and curtailment of expenses at the royal court. However, the Assembly of Notables, which had been summoned upon his initiative in 1787, rejected these proposals. Calonne was forced to retire (April 1787), and in that same year he moved to Great Britain. During the Great French Revolution he was one of the leaders of the émigré counterrevolutionaries. Calonne returned to France in 1802.

REFERENCES

Jolly, P. Calonne: 1734-1802. Paris [1949]
Lacour-Gayet, R. Calonne: Financier, reformateur, contrerévolution-naire, 1734-1802. Paris, 1963.