One of the first acts of the governor, by which he sought to establish in Canada the three estates - nobles, clergy and people - met with the disapproval of the French court, and measures were adopted to curb his ambition by increasing the power of the sovereign council and by reviving the office of intendant.
Had meanwhile in 1355 called together the Cortes (parliament) of the three estates (the nobles, the clergy and the representatives of the towns) for the first time after the model of Aragon.
When Gaston-Phoebus wished to establish a regular annual hearth-tax (fouage) in the viscounty, he convoked the deputies of the three estates in assemblies called accts.
His influence in the estate of the clergy, however, was cast against the union of the three estates in a single assembly, and he voted in the minority of his order which in the middle of June opposed the merging of the clergy in the National Assembly.
That a sovereign like St Louis should be able to associate himself officially with the feudalism of his realm to repress abuses of church jurisdiction; that a contemporary of Philip the Fair, the lawyer Pierre Dubois, should dare to suggest the secularization of ecclesiastical property and the conversion of the clergy into a class of functionaries paid out of the royal treasury; and that Philip the Fair, the adversary of Boniface VIII., should be able to rely in his conflict with the leader of the Church on the popular consent obtained at a meeting of the Three Estates of France - all point to a singular demoralization of the sentiments and principles on which were based the whole power of the pontiff of Rome and the entire organization of medieval Catholicism.
After the arrest, by Philip's orders, of Bernard Saisset (q.v.), bishop of Pamiers, in that year, the quarrel flamed up again; other causes of difference existed, and in 1302 the pope issued the bull Unam sanctam, one of the most extravagant of all statements of papal claims. To ensure the support of his people the king had called an assembly of the three estates of his kingdom at Paris in April 1302; then in the following year Guillaume de Nogaret seized the person of the pope at Anagni, an event immortalized by Dante.