Calonne, Charles Alexandre de

views updated

Charles Alexandre de Calonne (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 Brienne, 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).