Aveva 69 anni (era nato il 21 novembre 1710) ed era stato ambasciatore a Vienna (1764-1768) e in seguito bailo a Costantinopoli (1769-1773).

Uomo di cultura, aveva tradotto Platone in veneziano.

Politicamente era un riformatore, ma una volta diventato doge si schierò contro i novatori.

Il 30 aprile 1780 fece un discorso a favore di una nuova parte moderata: no gavemo forze, non terrestri, non maritime, non alleanze, vivemo a sorte e per accidente e vivemo colla sola idea della prudenza del Governo della Repubblica. Data questa sua posizione, rifiutò sempre di far abbandonare alla Repubblica la condizione di neutralità in politica estera.

Morì dopo 37 giorni di malattia (13 febbraio 1789) e per non turbare il Carnevale la notizia venne data il 2 marzo, giorno delle ceneri.

Fu sepolto nella Chiesa dei Tolentini (S. Croce).

È celebrato nel Panteon Veneto con un busto dello scultore Marco Pasato. A ricordarlo, tra l’altro, anche un busto del Canova (Museo Bottacin di Padova) e l’intitolazione di una via al Lido di Venezia.

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