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Saint Priest, Francois Emmanuel Guignard

SAINT PRIEST, FRANCOIS EMMANUEL GUIGNARD, CHEVALIER, then COMTE DE (1735-1821), French statesman, was born at Grenoble on the 12th of March 1735. He was admitted a knight (chevalier) of the Order of Malta at five years of age, and at fifteen entered the army. He left active service in 1763 with the grade of colonel, and for the next four years represented the court of France at Lisbon. He was sent in 1768 to Constantinople, where he remained with one short interval till 1785, and married Wilhelmina von Ludolf, daughter of the Neapolitan ambassador. His Memoires sur I'ambassade de France en Turguie el le commerce des Franfais dans le Levant, prepared during a visit to France, were only published in 1877, when they were edited by C. Schefer. After a few months spent at the court of the Hague, he joined the ministry of Necker as minister without a portfolio, and in Necker's second cabinet in 1789 was secretary of the royal household and minister of the interior. He became a special object of the popular hatred because he was alleged to have replied to women begging for bread, " You had enough while you had only one king; demand bread of your twelve hundred sovereigns." Nevertheless he held office until December 1790. Shortly after his resignation he went to Stockholm, where his brother-in-law was Austrian ambassador. In 1795 he joined the comte de Provence at Verona as minister of the household. He accompanied the exiled court to Blankenburg and Mittau, retiring in 1808 to Switzerland. After vainly seeking permission to return to France he was expelled from Switzerland, and wandered about Europe until the Restoration. Besides the memoirs already mentioned he wrote an Examen des assemblies provinciales (1787).

His eldest son, GUILLAUME EMMANUEL(i77&-l8i4), became majorgeneral in the Russian service, and served in the campaigns of Alexander I. against Napoleon. He died at Laon in 1814. The second, ARMAND EMMANUEL CHARLES (1782-1863), became civil governor of Odessa, and married Princess Sophie Galitzin. The third, EMMANUEL Louis MARIE GUIGNARD, yicomte de Saint Priest (1789-1881), was a godson of Marie Antoinette. Like his elder brother he took part in the invasion of France in 1814. At the Restoration he was attached to the service of the duke of AngoulSme, and during the Hundred Days tried to raise Dauphine in the royal cause. He served with distinction in Spain in 1823, when he was promoted lieutenant-general. After two years at Berlin he became French ambassador at Madrid, where he negotiated in 1828 the settlement of the Spanish debt. When the revolution of July compelled his retirement, Frederick VII. made him a grandee of Spain, with the title of duke of Almazan, in recognition of his services. He then joined the circle of the duchess of Berry at Naples, and arranged her escapade in Provence in 1832. Saint Priest was arrested, and was only released after ten months' imprisonment. Having arranged for an asylum in Austria for the duchess, he returned to Paris, where he was one of the leaders of legitimist society until his death, which occurred at Saint Priest, near Lyons, on the 26th of February 1881.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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