In Frankenstein, how did Victor's father spend his "younger days"?

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In the opening chapter of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor (through Walton) tells the story of his family.

Prior to marrying Victor's mother, Caroline, Victor's father, Alphonse, spent his life "respected by all." Alphonse was a man whose attention was devoted to public business. He spent his youth "occupied by the affairs of his country" which prevented him from marrying at a young age.

While the specifics of Alphonse's career was not declared outright, one could assume that he traveled extensively doing work for the government. What is specifically unknown is if his work was completed on a private or governmental level.