His extraordinary aptitude for work secured for him the position of chef de cabinet under Paul Bert, the minister of education, in 1880s. In 1885 he was elected deputy for the département of the Rhône, and distinguished himself in financial questions. He was several times minister, and became minister of finance in the cabinet of Casimir-Perier (from 3 November 1893 to 22 May 1894). On the 5 July 1894 he was elected president of the chamber of deputies. He died on the 12 December 1894, said to be worn out with overwork.