Charles Alexandre De Calome, a French courtier and minister of state, born at Douai in 1734, died in Paris, Oct. 30, 1802. He studied law, and in 1763 became master of requests. In 1768 he was made intendant of Metz; and in 1783, through the influence of the count de Vergennes, secretary for foreign affairs, and of the second brother of the king, the count of Artois, he procured the appointment of comptroller general of finance. In this office he brought about at once a seeming prosperity by the dexterous management of extraordinary resources, the frequent and at first successful negotiation of loans, and the exhaustion of all branches of the revenue. Such a system, the only consequence of which was to increase the deficit at a fearful rate, could not last long, and Calonne in 1786 advised the summoning an assembly of notables. The session opened Feb. 2, 1787 5 the comptroller candidly acknowledged that within the last few years the loans had amounted to 1,250,000,000 livres, while the annual deficit had increased to 115,000,000, and declared that the only remedy was to reform altogether the financial system by extending the taxes over the property of the nobles and clergy.
Upon these disclosures the king at once dismissed him from office and exiled him to Lorraine. He afterward removed to England, where he wrote several memoirs justificative of his administration. He subsequently became a most active agent of the French emigres at Coblentz, and an adviser of his protector, the count of Artois. He ultimately separated from this party, and returned to France, where he died a few weeks afterward. With unquestionable ability he combined a most extraordinary levity of character and manner. His most notable publication was Tableau de VEurope en novembre, 1795 (12mo, London, 1796).