Desmarets, Nicolas (nēkôläˈ dāmärāˈ) [key], 1648–1721, French statesman; the nephew of Jean Baptiste Colbert. He became director of finances in 1703 and succeeded Michel Chamillart as controller general of finances in 1708. He tried to meet the huge expenses of the War of the Spanish Succession by issuing paper money and instituting an income tax, the dixième [Fr., = tenth]. Those measures only intensified France's financial crisis, first by encouraging speculation that led to inflation and second by placing the burden of taxation on the poor and the middle class while exempting the privileged aristocracy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.