The Rise and Fall of Jacques Coeur, Part Two

Just when the great merchant-banker had reached the zenith of his career, writes A.R. Myers, Jacques Couer was suddenly disgraced and imprisoned. Three years later, he was able to escape and took refuge, first in Provence, then in Rome with a sympathetic Pope.

In 1451 Jacques Coeur was at the pinnacle of his fame and fortune. Immensely wealthy, with enormous and flourishing business interests, possessed of wide estates and many splendid mansions, with an international reputation as a merchant, a great financier, and a diplomat, Jacques was now a noble with an apparently assured future for his family in the French aristocracy. It seemed that he would have an enduring place in his sovereign’s confidence and affections, as a wise councillor and as a loyal subject, who, in his own words, was ready to place all that he had at the King’s disposal during his country’s hour of need. On July 22nd, 1451, Charles VII wrote to express his gratitude for all that Coeur had done; and the latter wrote to his wife that he was as fully in the King’s favour as he had ever been, “whatever may be said”. On July 31st Charles gave the order for his arrest and for the seizure of all his possessions.

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