Vergennes, Charles Gravier, count de

   One of the most capable of King louis XVI's diplomats, Charles Gravier, count de Vergennes was born in Dijon. He first served as ambassador to Turkey (1755-68) then to Sweden (1771-74), where he supported the coup d'état of Gustavus III. Recalled to become foreign minister, he followed Etienne de choiseul's policy of hostility toward Great Britain, which was opposed by turgot, who saw in the war the signs of bankruptcy. Having also contributed to the fall of Turgot, Vergennes involved France in the American War of Independence (1778). His initial policy in that conflict was to keep France officially neutral until the appropriate moment, while offering covert aid to the American rebels. In 1782, he sent dupont de nemours to negotiate with Great Britain, and this led to British recognition of American independence the following year. Through his diplomacy, Vergennes also sought to preserve peace in Europe while invoking the Teschen conventions (1779) when Emperor Joseph II of Austria wanted to annex Bavaria. After the Treaty of Versailles (1783), he realized that while France had achieved military success, the war had drained the nation's finances, and he preferred then to work for a rapprochment with Great Britain. in 1786, he signed an advantageous commercial treaty with that nation.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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