In opposition to Colbert's views he held that the wealth of a country consists, not in the abundance of money which it possesses but in what it produces and exchanges.
At first Colbert's position was far from satisfactory; for the close wary Italian treated him merely as an ordinary agent.
Colbert's method was simple.
Order and economy being thus introduced into the working of the government, the country, according to Colbert's vast yet detailed plan, was to be enriched by commerce.
And other parts of Colbert's schemes deserve still less equivocal condemnation.
The greatest and most lasting of Colbert's achievements was the establishment of the French marine.
Even ecclesiastical affairs, though with these he had no official concern, did not altogether escape Colbert's attention.
Depressed by his failure, deeply wounded by the king's favour for Louvois, and worn out by overwork, Colbert's strength gave way at a comparatively early age.
Among Colbert's papers are Memoires sur les affaires de finance de France (written about 1663), a fragment entitled Particularites secretes de la vie du Roy, and other accounts of the earlier part of the reign of Louis XIV.