Fleury, André-Hercule de

(1653-1743)
   cardinal, political figure
   Born in Lodève, André Hercule de Fleury was bishop of Fréjus, almoner to the queen, and tutor to louis XV, whose confidence he subsequently enjoyed. In 1726, he was called to replace the duke of Bourbon as minister of state, was made a cardinal, and exercised power with both flexibility and firmness, as well as with prudence and a sense of detachment. His domestic policy was marked by the reestablishment of budgetary equilibrium, owing to economic measures and an improved financial administration. Currency was stabilized (and remained so until the revolution of 1789); the system established by jean-baptiste colbert was reinstated with its problems, but it also gave an impulse to trade and industry. Cardinal Fleury had to deal, too, with a renewal of the Jansenist controversy and could not stop all parliamentary opposition to his policies. Meanwhile, he adopted a critical position regarding the arbitrary use of royal power. In his foreign policy, based on an alliance with spain, that was also favorable to trade, he tried always to maintain peace. Caught, at this point, in the War of the Polish succession, he quickly ended that conflict by a compromise (Treaty of Vienna, 1738). In exchange for leaving Poland, Stanislaus I received Lorraine, which would, upon his death, revert to France. Contemporary opinion was critical of this policy, which it viewed as less than aggressive, but Cardinal Fleury's ministry corresponds to one of the most successful periods of the reign of Louis XV, achieved when France's diplomatic prestige was high. Cardinal Fleury was elected to the académie FRANÇAISE in 1717.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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