Son of a wealthy cloth merchant, while working in the civil administration from 1643 he was called into the service of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), first as administrator of his private estate, and then as revenue officer. On entering the favor of Louis XIV (1638-1715), to whom Mazarin had recommended him on his deathbed, he denounced the finance supervisor Nicolas Fouquet, contributing to his arrest, and thus joined the Finance Board, later becoming Inspector General of Finance, Secretary of State of the Royal House and Naval Minister, and concentrating in his person all the major governmental powers, excepting the Ministries of War and Foreign Affairs. His reforms renewed the justice, administation and finance systems, and he kept the State budget balanced while ensuring greater equity in taxation. As exponent of a policy of aggrandizement, he strove to bolster the wealth of the State by increasing exports and decreasing imports, and by favoring domestic commerce and manufacturing development, though at the expense of agriculture. He strengthened the domestic merchant marine and promoted colonial expansion. He was the intermediary between Vincenzo Viviani (1622-1703), assignee of a pension, and the King of France who had granted it to him. The correspondence between the two did not last very long but has survived to give a clear idea of how the Galileo issue dragged on in the years after his death.
Last update 15/feb/2008