Returning to Germany, he became privy councillor to the elector palatine Philip, whom he assisted in bringing the university of Heidelberg to the height of its fame.
His patron's successor, Frederick III., made him (1559) a privy councillor and member of the church consistory.
From 1867 to 1871 he was a councillor in the chancery of the North German Confederation.
He was successively councillor of the parlement of Grenoble, secretary to the king, almoner to Marie de' Medici, abbot of Aulnay and finally, in 1606, bishop of Sees.
But his most offensive act was to promote to the position of chief councillor of the crown, and disperser of the royal favors, a clever but vain and ostentatious Gascon knight, one Piers Gaveston, who had been the companion of his boyhood, and had been banished by Edward I.
The qualifications for electors and members of the council are the same as for the members elected by the province to the House of Assembly (save that a provincial councillor must live in the province in which his constituency is situated).
Fermat was for some time councillor for the parliament of Toulouse, and in the discharge of the duties of that office he was distinguished both for legal knowledge and for strict integrity of conduct.
He became master of requests in 1806, and next year prefect of the Cote d'Or, councillor of state and director-general of bridges and roads in 1809, and count of the empire in the autumn of the same year.
His son, James Bowdoin (1752-1811), was born in Boston on the 22nd of September 1752, graduated at Harvard in 1771, and served, at various times, as a representative, senator and councillor of the state.
No person is eligible for either office who shall not at the time of his election be at least thirty years of age and have been an inhabitant of the state for the seven years next preceding; a councillor must be an inhabitant of the district from which he is chosen.