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(vicars) of the clergy, is a comparatively late development. The distinction between “choir services” (Mattins, Vespers, Compline, &c.)—consisting of prayers, lections, the singing of the psalms, &c.—and the service of the altar was sharply drawn in the middle ages, as in the modern Roman Church. “Choir vestments” (surplice, &c.) are those worn by the clergy at the former, as distinguished from those used at the Mass (see Vestments). In England at the Reformation the choir services (Mattins, Evensong) replaced the Mass as the principal popular services, and, in general, only the choir vestments were retained in use. In the English cathedrals the members of the choir often retain privileges reminiscent of an earlier definite ecclesiastical status. At Wells, for instance, the vicars-choral form a corporation practically independent of the dean and chapter; they have their own lodgings inside the cathedral precincts (Vicars’ Close) and they can only be dismissed by a vote of their own body.  (W. A. P.) 

In an architectural sense a “choir” is strictly that part of a church which is fitted up for the choir services, and is thus limited to the space between the choir screen and the presbytery. Some confusion has arisen owing to the term being employed by medieval writers to express the entire space enclosed for the performance of the principal services of the church, and therefore to include not only the choir proper, but the presbytery. In the case of a cruciform church the choir is sometimes situated under the central tower, or in the nave, and this is the case in Westminster Abbey, where it occupies four bays to the west of the transept. The choir is usually raised one step above the nave, and its sides are fitted up with seats or stalls, of which in large buildings there are usually two or three rows rising one behind the other.

In Romanesque churches there are eastern and western choirs, and in former times the term was given to chantries and subsidiary chapels, which were also called chancels. In the early Christian church the ambones where the gospels and epistles were read were placed one on either side of the choir and formed part of its enclosure, and this is the case in S. Clemente, S. Lorenzo and S. Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. In England the choir seems almost universally to have assembled at the eastern part of the church to recite the breviary services, whereas on the continent it was moved from one place to another according to convenience. In Spanish churches it occupies the nave of the church, and in the church of the Escorial in Spain was at the west end above the entrance vestibule.  (R. P. S.) 

CHOISEUL, CEÉSAR, Duc de (1602–1675), French marshal and diplomatist, generally known for the best part of his life as the marshal du Plessis-Praslin, came of the old French family of Choiseul, which arose in the valley of the Upper Marne in the 10th century and divided into many branches, three of the names of which, Hostel, Praslin and du Plessis, were borne, at one time or another, by the subject of this article. Entering the army at the age of fourteen as proprietary colonel of an infantry regiment, he shared in almost all the exploits of the French arms during the reign of Louis XIII. He took part in the siege of La Rochelle, assisted to defend the island of Ré against the attacks of the English under the duke of Buckingham, and accompanied the French forces to Italy in 1629. In 1630 he was appointed ambassador at the court of the duke of Savoy, and was engaged in diplomatic and administrative work in Italy until 1635, when war was declared between France and Spain. In the war that followed Plessis-Praslin distinguished himself in various battles and sieges in Italy, including the action called the “Route de Quiers” and the celebrated four-cornered operations round Turin. In 1640 he was made governor of Turin, and in 1642 lieutenant-general, and after further service in Italy he was made a marshal of France (1645) and appointed second in command in Catalonia. During the first War of the Fronde, which broke out in 1649, he assisted Condé in the brief siege of Paris; and in the second war, remaining loyal to the queen regent and the court party, he won his greatest triumph in defeating Turenne and the allied Spaniards and rebels at Rethel (or Blanc-Champ) in 1650. He then held high office at the court of Louis XIV., became minister of state in 1652, and in November 1665 was created duc de Choiseul. He was concerned in some of the negotiations between Louis and Charles II. of England which led to the treaty of Dover, and died in Paris on the 23rd of December 1675.

CHOISEUL, ÉTIENNE FRANÇOIS, Duc de (1719–1785), French statesman, was the eldest son of François Joseph de Choiseul, marquis de Stainville (1700–1770), and bore in early life the title of comte de Stainville. Born on the 28th of June 1719, he entered the army, and during the War of the Austrian Succession served in Bohemia in 1741 and in Italy, where he distinguished himself at the battle of Coni, in 1744. From 1745 until 1748 he was with the army in the Low Countries, being present at the sieges of Mons, Charleroi and Maestricht. He attained the rank of lieutenant-general, and in 1750 married Louise Honorine, daughter of Louis François Crozat, marquis du Châtel (d. 1750), who brought her husband a large fortune and proved a most devoted wife.

Choiseul gained the favour of Madame de Pompadour by procuring for her some letters which Louis XV. had written to his cousin Madame de Choiseul, with whom the king had formerly had an intrigue; and after a short time as bailli of the Vosges he was given the appointment of ambassador to Rome in 1753, where he was entrusted with the negotiations concerning the disturbances called forth by the bull Unigenitus. He acquitted himself skilfully in this task, and in 1757 his patroness obtained his transfer to Vienna, where he was instructed to cement the new alliance between France and Austria. His success at Vienna opened the way to a larger career, when in 1758 he supplanted Antoine Louis Rouillé (1689–1761) as minister for foreign affairs and so had the direction of French foreign policy during the Seven Years’ War. At this time he was made a peer of France and created duc de Choiseul. Although from 1761 until 1766 his cousin César, duc de Choiseul-Praslin (1712–1785), was minister for foreign affairs, yet Choiseul continued to control the policy of France until 1770, and during this period held most of the other important offices of state. As the author of the “Family Compact” he sought to retrieve by an alliance with the Bourbon house of Spain the disastrous results of the alliance with Austria; but his action came too late. His vigorous policy in other departments of state was not, however, fruitless. Coming to power in the midst of the demoralization consequent upon the defeats of Rossbach and Crefeld, by boldness and energy he reformed and strengthened both army and navy, and although too late to prevent the loss of Canada and India, he developed French colonies in the Antilles and San Domingo, and added Corsica and Lorraine to the crown of France. His management of home affairs in general satisfied the philosophes. He allowed the Encyclopédie to be published, and brought about the banishment of the Jesuits and the temporary abolition of the order by Pope Clement IV.

Choiseul’s fall was caused by his action towards the Jesuits, and by his support of their opponent La Chalotais, and of the provincial parlements. After the death of Madame de Pompadour in 1764, his enemies, led by Madame Du Barry and the chancellor Maupeou, were too strong for him, and in 1770 he was ordered to retire to his estate at Chanteloupe. The intrigues against him had, however, increased his popularity, which was already great, and during his retirement, which lasted until 1774, he lived in the greatest affluence and was visited by many eminent personages. Greatly to his disappointment Louis XVI. did not restore him to his former position, although the king recalled him to Paris in 1774, when he died on the 8th of May 1785, leaving behind him a huge accumulation of debt which was scrupulously discharged by his widow.

Choiseul possessed both ability and diligence, and though lacking in tenacity he showed foresight and liberality in his direction of affairs. In appearance he was a short, ill-featured man, with a ruddy countenance and a sturdy frame. His Mémoires were written during his exile from Paris, and are merely detached notes upon different questions. Horace Walpole, in his Memoirs, gives a very vivid description of the