Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes

French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719-1787

By Orville T. Murphy

Subjects: French Studies
Paperback : 9780873954839, 620 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873954822, 620 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents


Part I. The Initiation

1. War of the Austrian Succession

2. A King of the Romans

3. The Congress at Hanover

Part II. The Turkish Equation

4. Constantinople

5. Ceremony and Debts at the Court of the Sultan

6. 1755— Turkish Declaration to Russia

7. The Diplomatic Revolution

8. 1761— Trade Treaties with the Porte

9. Matters of Prestige

10. 1764— The Election of the King of Poland

11. War

PART III. In and Out of Retirement

12. Recall

13. To Stockholm

14. Coup d'état

15. From Stockholm to Versailles

Part IV. The War That Changed Everything

16. The Past, Present, and Future in 1774

17. The Spanish Temptation

18. The Revolution in America

19. Gates and Washington: Saratoga and Germantown

20. The Decision to Intervene

21. Spain Enters the War

22. Dutch Neutrality: 1776–1782

Part V. The Master Juggler Performs

23. The Bavarian Crisis: I

24. The Bavarian Crisis: II

25. Mogilev

26. Peace Appears Trailing Clouds of Ambitions

27. The Crisis of 1783

28. The Vergennes Family

29. Gibraltar

30. The Right to Catch Fish

31. The Mississippi Boundary

Part VI. Eve of Disaster

32. The Legacy of the American War

33. The Scheldt River Dispute: 1780–1785

34. Relations with Italy: 1774–1787

35. Commerce and Diplomacy I: The Anglo-French Commercial Treaty of 1786

36. Commerce and Diplomacy II: The Franco-Russian Treaty of 1787 and Other Treaties

37. The Dutch Entanglement: 1783–1787






This is the first complete study of Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, one of the most distinguished diplomats and statesmen of eighteenth-century France. Vergennes represented France as a diplomat in Germany, Constantinople, and Stockholm, and was Louis XVI's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Orville Murphy traces Vergennes' career as he steadily rose from the provincial nobility of the robe to the ranks of the court aristocracy; from the post of an obscure diplomat to the lofty position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Murphy, however, has written much more than an interesting biography. The book develops a link between diplomatic personalities, the foreign policies of the French kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, and the contemporary social, economic, and political problems during much of the eighteenth century. Indeed, Vergennes and his policies are central to any study of the American Revolution, the underlying causes of the French Revolution, and of the subsequent "Age of Revolutions" in Europe.