The duke of Sully carried out a revision in 1604, and other attempts were made by Mazarin and Colbert, but the extravagarces of Louis XV.
This system, devised and introduced by Colbert in I68I~ has continued, with various modifications, ever since.
In 1665 Colbert made to him on behalf of Louis XIV.
He was intended for the bar, but was employed by Colbert, who had determined on the foundation of a French East India Company, to draw up an explanatory account of the project for Louis XIV.
Colbert, seeing the public utility of such a periodical, ordered the abbe Gallois, a contributor of De Sallo's, to re-establish it, an event which took place on the 4th of January 1666.
Those who had most of the king's confidence afterwards were Colbert for home affairs; Lionne for diplomacy; Louvois for war; but as his reign proceeded he became more self-confident and more intolerant of independence of judgment in his ministers.
The first years of the king's rule were marked by the great schemes of Colbert for the financial, commercial, industrial and naval reorganization of France, and in these schemes Louis took a deep interest.
She was burdened with debt; the reforms of Colbert were ruined; and opposition to the king's regime began to make itself felt.
Mention may also be made of Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XIV.; P. Clement, Histoire de la vie et de l'administration de Colbert; Sainte-Beuve, Causeries de lundi.
In France, Colbert, in 1670, ordered the extension to the rural communes of the system which had for many years been in force in Paris of registering and periodically publishing the domestic occurrences of the locality.
Bridges, Richelieu, Mazarin and Colbert (1866).
The history of this struggle is most important, because it was identical, as long as it lasted, with that between the old gilds of France and the new body which Colbert, for political reasons, was determined to support.
About the beginning of the 17th century Olivier de Serres and Laffemas, somewhat against the will of Sully, obtained royal edicts favouring the growth of mulberry plantations and the cultivation of silk; but it cannot be said that these industries were firmly established till Colbert encouraged the planting of the mulberry by premiums, and otherwise stimulated local efforts.
After a brief visit to France, where his collection of ancient coins attracted some attention, Galland returned to the Levant in 1676; and in 1679 he undertook a third voyage, being commissioned by the French East India Company to collect for the cabinet of Colbert; on the expiration of this commission he was instructed by the government to continue his researches, and had the title of "antiquary to the king" conferred upon him.
Yet when there appeared a prospect that the king would show her favour, the intrigue was vigorously pushed by the French ambassador, Colbert de Croissy, aided by the secretary of state, Lord Arlington, and his wife.
He was entrusted by Colbert with the care and investigation of the records concerning the Low Countries preserved at Lille, where great part of his life was spent.
Herbelot, however, was recalled to France by Colbert, and received from the king a pension equal to the one he had lost.
JEAN BAPTISTE COLBERT (1619-1683), French statesman, was born at Reims, where his father and grandfather were merchants.
These qualities, combined, it must be confessed, with a readiness to seize every opportunity of advancement, soon brought Colbert both wealth and influence.
Colbert, now aged' thirty-two, was engaged to keep him acquainted with what should happen in the capital during his absence.
The gift was refused somewhat indignantly; and by giving proof of the immense value of his services, Colbert gained all that he desired.
Colbert obtained, besides, the higher object of his ambition; the confidence of Mazarin, so far as it was granted to any one, became his, and he was entrusted with matters of the gravest importance.
In 1661 the death of Mazarin allowed Colbert to take the first place in the administration, and he made sure of the king's favour by revealing to him some of Mazarin's hidden wealth.
Colbert sternly and fearlessly set about his task.
The sovereign was its president; but Colbert, though for four years he only possessed the title of intendant, was its ruling spirit, great personal authority being conferred upon him by the king.
The career on which Colbert now entered must not be judged without constant remembrance of the utter rottenness of the previous financial administration.
With regard to international commerce Colbert was equally unfortunate in not being in advance of his age; the tariffs he published were protective to an extreme.
For its use, Colbert reconstructed the works and arsenal of Toulon, founded the port and arsenal of Rochefort, and the naval schools of Rochefort, Dieppe and Saint-Malo, and fortified, with some assistance from Vauban (who, however, belonged to the party of his rival Louvois), among other ports those of Calais, Dunkirk, Brest and Havre.
Letters exist written by Colbert to the judges requiring them to sentence to the oar as many criminals as possible, including all those who had been condemned to death; and the convict once chained to the bench, the expiration of his sentence was seldom allowed to bring him release.
By these means the benches of the galleys were filled, and Colbert took no thought of the long unrelieved agony borne by those who filled them.
In art and literature Colbert took much interest.
Indeed to everything that concerned the interests of France Colbert devoted unsparing thought and toil.
To carry out his reforms, Colbert needed peace; but the war department was in the hands of his great rival Louvois, whose influence gradually supplanted that of Colbert with the king.
He was deaf also to all the appeals against the other forms of his boundless extravagance which Colbert, with all his deference towards his sovereign, bravely ventured to make.'
Thus it came about that, only a few years after he had commenced to free the country from the weight of the loans and taxes which crushed her to the dust, Colbert was forced to heap upon her a new load of loans and taxes more heavy than the last.
It was said that he died of a broken heart, and a conversation with the king is reported in which Louis disparagingly compared the buildings of Versailles, which Colbert was superintending, with the works constructed by Louvois in Flanders.
Colbert was a great statesman, who did much for France.
Numerous vies and eloges of Colbert have been published; but the most thorough student of his life and administration was Pierre Clement, member of the Institute, who in 1846 published his Vie de Colbert, and in 1861 the first of the 9 vols.
Clement under the title of the Histoire de Colbert et de son administration (3rd ed., 1892).
The best short account of Colbert as a statesman is that in Lavisse, Histoire de France (1905), which gives a thorough study of the administration.
Charles, marquis Colbert de Croissy >>
The duke of York is said to have betrayed him to Colbert, the French ambassador in London.
He points out that Colbert, on the 3rd, 10th and 24th of June, writes from London to Louis XIV.
But he too now disappears, though a letter from Lionne (the French foreign secretary) to Colbert of July 17 (two days before Louvois's letter to Saint-Mars about Dauger) says that he is expected in Paris.
But even then the dates will not suit; for Lionne wrote to Colbert on July 27, saying, "Pregnani has been so slow on his voyage that he has only given me (m'a rendu) your despatch of July 4 several days after I had already received those of the 8th and the 11th."
Fenelon is on firmer ground when he leads a reaction against the "mercantile system" of Colbert, with its crushing restrictions on trade; or when he sings the praises of agriculture, in the hope of bringing back labour to the land, and thereby ensuring the physical efficiency of the race.