He became prominent as a stalwart opponent of the Boulangist party, constituting the Senate as a high court of justice, and taking police measures against the Ligue des patriotes. He resigned on 1 March 1890 but his resignation involved the fall of the cabinet, and he resumed his portfolio in the Freycinet cabinet on 11 March.
On 29 December 1889 he was elected senator by the départment of the Haute-Garonne. He was violently attacked by the press and the Boulangist deputies but did not resign until the whole cabinet withdrew, on 26 February 1892. In December 1898 he was appointed ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and remained in office until 1909.