He returned to Switzerland in 1786, and in the next year visited Paris, where he met Madame de Charriere, a Dutchwoman who had married into a Swiss family with which his own was connected.
Talleyrand refused to clear himself of the charges made against him as his friends (especially Madame de Stael) urged him to do; and the incident probably told against his chances of admission into the Directory, which were discussed in the summer of 1798.
He was an intelligent and honest man, although he seems to have profited by the sale of the possessions of the clergy, but he had a stubborn, unyielding temperament, was incapable of making concessions, and was dominated by Madame Roland, who imparted to him her hatred of Danton and the Montagnards.
Landing at Hamburg in the January following, he spent some time there in the company of his friends Madame de Geniis and Reinhard; and when party rancour continued to abate at Paris, he returned thither in September.
The principal literary results of his early years here were the Discours en vers sur l'homme, the play of Alzire and L'Enfant prodigue (1736), and a long treatise on the Newtonian system which he and Madame du Chatelet wrote together.
See Madame Rattazzi, Rattazzi et son temps (Paris, 1881); Bolton King, History of Italian Unity (London, 1899).
Lamennais, then in the height of his Catholic exaltation, persuaded Comte's mother to insist on her son being married with the religious ceremony, and as the younger Madame Comte apparently did not resist, the rite was duly performed, in spite of the fact that Comte was at the time raving mad.
The pomp and luxury of the nouveaux riches were displayed in the salons of the good Josephine, the beautiful Madame Tallien, and the divine Juliette Rcamier.
Although not himself a courtier, he was backed at court by Sosthenes de la Rochefoucauld and Madame du Cayla, and in 1822 Louis XVIII.
The ingenuity of Madame Grotius at length devised a mode of escape.