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The fraudulent practises in the handling of accounts continued, as financiers were kept as long as they received special favours and aid from the government. Fouquet soon became wealthier than Mazarin. However, Mazarin was not able to interfere since he himself was involved in similar activities. Later, Mazarin was replaced by Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Fouquet expected to become the head of government after the death of Mazarin. However, Louis XIV was suspicious of him. Louis XIV then stated that he would be the chief minister himself. Furthermore, Colbert often presented negative financial reports and deficits to the king. The king also despised Fouquet due to his extravagant lifestyle and purchase of the port of Belle-Île-en-Mer, where he intended to take refuge if things went wrong.

Fouquet also built an expensive château in Vaux-le-Vicomte, his estate. There, he gathered the famous artists in the country and opened his doors to the rich and famous. He also became a patron and collected the best pieces of art.

The king later went to Vaux and witnessed the grandeur of Fouquet’s lifestyle. In August 1661, Louis XIV was the guest of a fête, the splendour of which can be compared only to less than a handful in history. The king, however, had planned to end Fouquet’s activities but hesitated to do it in the open. Fouquet was soon persuaded to sell the position of procureur general and lost his protection.

 
 
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Name: Nicolas Fouquet

Date of Birth: 27 January 1615

Place of Birth: Paris, France

Nicolas Fouquet was marquis de Belle-Île and vicomte de Melun et Vaux. He lived from 27 January 1615 to 23 March 1680. Under Louis XIV, he was the Superintendent of Finances.

He was born in Paris to a noble family. He had preliminary instruction under the Jesuits. Later, at 13 years old, he became avocat of the Parlement in Paris. As an adolescent, he held many responsibilities. At 20, he obtained the post called maître des requêtes. He later bought the post of procureur général under the Parlement after working for the army of Mazarin and the court. While Mazarin was in exile, Fouquet protected his property.

When Mazarin returned, Fouquet became the superintendent of finances. He demanded for the job which required him to decide on matter related to the allocation of funds for the state creditors and the negotiations between financiers and the king. The position was desired by those with money, and Fouquet found himself richer after his marriage to Marie de Castille, who also belonged to the noble class.

With his confidence and position as procureur general, he was able to improve the government’s credit while preventing investigations of financial transactions. Furthermore, since Fouquet was the minister of finance, Mazarin soon turned into a suppliant. Fouquet had to use his own credit at times to satisfy the demands of Mazarin and other courtiers.