Villèle, Jean-Baptiste-Guillaume-Joseph, count de
- (1773-1854)political figureA naval officer, Jean-Baptiste-Guillaume-Joseph, count de Villèle was born in Toulouse and spent most of the period of the revolution of 1789 on the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, where he married the daughter of a wealthy Creole landowner. Returning to France in 1807, he joined during the First Empire an ultraroyalist group, Chevaliers de la foi. Rallying to the Bourbons, he questioned the liberal tendencies of the Charter of 1814 in his Observations sur le projet de Constitution (1814). A deputy during the Second restoration, he was one of the leaders and main speakers in the "Chambre introuvable" (1815-16). Reelected after its dissolution, he helped to found the newspaper Le Conservateur. Minister without portfolio in the Richelieu cabinet (1820), which he criticized for its moderation, he was dismissed in 1821. Minister of finance (october 1821), then prime minister (1822), he was forced to accept, after the Congress of Verona, the sending of French troops to spain (1822), an expedition that he had opposed. After the election of the chamber known as the "retrouvée" (1824), his term was extended to seven years. under pressure from the ultras, it passed a number of reactionary laws (extremely large indemnities for the émigrés; laws on the congregations) but met opposition when he tried to reestablish the right of seniority and the law limiting the freedom of the press. After the dissolution of the chamber and the subsequent electoral victory of the liberal opposition, Villèle resigned and was replaced by the martignac cabinet. Elevated to the peerage, he retired from politics after the revolution of 1830 and returned to Toulouse, where he remained an adviser to the Legitimists and a critic of the fiscal policies of the july monarchy. Villèle's Mémoires were published between 1887 and 1890.
France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.
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