Colbert, Jean Baptiste (16191683)

Colbert, Jean Baptiste, a French statesman, of Scotch descent, born in Rheims, the son of a clothier; introduced to Louis XIV. by Mazarin, then first minister; he was appointed Controller-General of the Finances after the fall of Fouquet, and by degrees made his influence felt in all the departments of State affairs; he favoured, by protectionist measures—free trade not yet being heard of—French industry and commerce; was to the French marine what Louvois was to the army, and encouraged both arts and letters; from 1671 his influence began to decline; he was held responsible for increased taxation due to Louis XIV.'s wars, while the jealousy of Louvois weakened his credit at Court; he became so unpopular that on his death his body was buried at night, but a grateful posterity has recognised his services, and done homage to his memory as one of the greatest ministers France ever had (16191683).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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