Nicolas FOUQUET

Family tree of Nicolas FOUQUET

Politician in the French Ancien Régime

FrenchBorn Nicolas FOUQUET

Superintendent of Finances in France under Louis XIV

Born on January 27, 1615 in Paris , France

Died on March 23, 1680 in Pignerol , France

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Born in Paris, Fouquet belonged to an influential family of the noblesse de robe and, after some preliminary schooling with the Jesuits at the age of thirteen, was admitted as avocat at the Parlement of Paris. While still in his teens, he held several responsible posts, and, in 1636, when just twenty, he was able to buy the post of maître des requêtes. From 1642 to 1650, he held various intendancies, at first in the provinces and then with the army of Mazarin and, coming thus in touch with the court, was permitted in 1650 to buy the important position of procureur général to the parlement of Paris. During Mazarin's exile, Fouquet remained loyal to him, protecting his property and keeping him informed of the situation at court.



Upon Cardinal Mazarin's return, Fouquet demanded and received as reward the office of superintendent of the finances (1653), a position which, in the unsettled condition of the government, threw into his hands not merely the decision as to which funds should be applied to meet the demands of the state's creditors, but also the negotiations with the great financiers who lent money to the king. The appointment was a popular one with the moneyed class, for Fouquet's great wealth had been largely augmented by his marriage in 1651 with Marie de Castille, who also belonged to a wealthy family of the legal nobility in Spain.

...   Born in Paris, Fouquet belonged to an influential family of the noblesse de robe and, after some preliminary schooling with the Jesuits at the age of thirteen, was admitted as avocat at the Parlement of Paris. While still in his teens, he held several responsible posts, and, in 1636, when just twenty, he was able to buy the post of maître des requêtes. From 1642 to 1650, he held various intendancies, at first in the provinces and then with the army of Mazarin and, coming thus in touch with the court, was permitted in 1650 to buy the important position of procureur général to the parlement of Paris. During Mazarin's exile, Fouquet remained loyal to him, protecting his property and keeping him informed of the situation at court.



Upon Cardinal Mazarin's return, Fouquet demanded and received as reward the office of superintendent of the finances (1653), a position which, in the unsettled condition of the government, threw into his hands not merely the decision as to which funds should be applied to meet the demands of the state's creditors, but also the negotiations with the great financiers who lent money to the king. The appointment was a popular one with the moneyed class, for Fouquet's great wealth had been largely augmented by his marriage in 1651 with Marie de Castille, who also belonged to a wealthy family of the legal nobility in Spain.



His own credit, and above all his unfailing confidence in himself, strengthened the credit of the government, while his high position at the parlement (he still remained procureur général) secured financial transactions from investigation. As minister of finance, he soon had Mazarin almost in the position of a suppliant. The long wars, and the greed of the courtiers, who followed the example of Mazarin, made it necessary at times for Fouquet to meet the demands upon him by borrowing upon his own credit, but he soon turned this confusion of the public purse with his own to good account.



The disorder in the accounts became hopeless; fraudulent operations were entered into with impunity, and the financiers were kept in the position of clients by official favours and by generous aid whenever they needed it. Fouquet's fortune now surpassed even Mazarin's, but the latter was too deeply implicated in similar operations to interfere, and was obliged to leave the day of reckoning to his agent and successor Jean-Baptiste Colbert.



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Geographical origins

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