Biography of André Hercule de Fleury (1653-1743)

Cardinal and French politician, born in 1653 in Lodève and died in 1743 in Paris, who directed French policy by delegation of the King Luis XV during almost twenty years.


Humble family - his father was collector of tithes, was assigned as a child to an ecclesiastical career. He/She studied in a Jesuit College, and later ordered priest. In 1679 he/she was appointed almoner of the Queen María Teresa of Austria, to succeed his protector, Cardinal de Bonzi. Dead the Queen in 1683, became it of Luis XIV until in 1698 he/she was appointed Bishop of Fréjus, small town on the coast of Provence. In 1715, with more than sixty years, be enjoined of the great-grandson of Luis XIV, the Luis XVfuture, thanks to the favour of Madame de Maintenon - second wife of Luis XIV - education. Fleury sought the best teachers for their protected, that geography and sciences; especially interested the relationship created between the two would not never break. Subsequently, this trust was worth to the ecclesiastical maximum positions; Thus, considered of age in 1723, the King replaced in 1726 to the Duke of Bourbon by the own Fleury as the main head of Government of the Kingdom. From that same year, the new Minister was also a cardinal.

He was a man of extraordinarily long-lived; When he/she took office he/she already seventy-three years old and played for seventeen more. This period was, in General, of tranquility for France, consistent with prudent and pacifist - personality and authority under a modest appearance - Fleury; However, it not enjoyed great popularity. Aided by Chauvelin (Exterior), Le Pelletier des Forts and Orry (finance), and others (Saint-Florentin, Maurepas), his biggest success was "keep": knew how to ensure Royal authority and inner peace, and also to balance the State budget through the stabilization of the currency (fixing the value of the pound tornesa), the effectiveness of direct taxes - leased to entrepreneurs by an amount fixed and safe -, greater Church contributions, good accounting of Philibert Orry, the increase in trade with the colonies (Canada, Louisiana and West Indies) American and Asian (India) and the Organization of the Royal roads. Thus, in 1739, the deficit had disappeared; However, much of this economic boom was due to the situation of peace in Europe and, on the other hand, Fleury not undertaken necessary economic structural reform (census of population and better deal Attorney - no exempted from payment-, inventory of the riches that they had). It was, therefore, a cyclical recovery. The cardinal also led to major legal or administrative changes, but it kept the legacy ministries of Luis XIV. It beat the remains of Jansenism (condemned by the bull Unigenitus of 1713), at the time that deposed and then locked to the Bishop of Senez and other clergymen, closing the cemetery of Saint-Médard (1732), where the deacon Pâris met with his followers.

He had some enmity with regional parliaments, because he/she was opposed to their legislator desire and his religious gallicanism, and also refused to judge the jansenist clergy; around 1732, however, there were some rapprochement between the Cardinal and the parliamentarians. At the height of the European balance, Fleury tried to calm tensions between the different powers, but had to intervene in the war of Polish succession (1733-1735) and Austrian (from 1740). In 1733, Austria and Russia tried to impose to Augustus III of Saxony and King of Poland, which opposed militarily France in defence of their candidate, the former monarch Stanislas Leczinski I (deposed in 1714 and father-in-law of Luis XV). Fleury reached the Spanish support for the signing of the first Covenant of family with Felipe V (November 1733). Although the French candidate did not obtain the throne, the Treaty of Vienna in 1738 awarded as compensation the Duchy of Lorraine; the same Treaty also stipulated that upon his death the territory would pass to France. The Cardinal had not had to make a great effort in men or in media. The new balance, Fleury was one of the key decision makers and new referee, was not long-lasting: later, in 1740, France - against the advice of Cardinal - supported the claims of Prussia on the territory of Silesia, Saxony and Bavaria on the Austrian throne against Maria Teresa of Austria. Authentic European war - because then we were adding other powers (Spain, Great Britain, Savoy...)-Fleury not saw her finish, since he/she died at his home in Issy-les-Moulineaux - on the outskirts of Paris - in 1743, five years before the peace of Aachen which put an end to the conflict.


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