On 17 December 1891, he was the first member of a conservative party to be elected to the Federal Council of Switzerland. He was affiliated to the Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland. He left office on 17 June 1908, only a few months prior to his death.
During his time in office he held the following departments:
- Department of Posts and Railways (1892 - 1901)
- Political Department as President of the Confederation (1902)
- Department of Posts and Railways (1903 - 1908)
He was President of the Confederation twice in 1895 and 1902.