“The second consul, Cambaceres, inspired
confidence with people of skilful and hard businesses which had made their
way in the Revolution.” (Etienne-Denis Pasquier, Memories of my time)
East India Company
and his associate Pierre Desprez undertake a voyage to London. At the
request of Calonne, controller general of Finances, they negotiate with the
English government the creation of a new French India Company. On June
3,1785 is created a East India and China Company. Equipped with a
capital of twenty million books, this company holds the privilege of the
trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope (monopoly confirmed by a stop of the
Council 21/09/1786). The company installs its Parisian offices with the
Massiac hotel, place of the Victories and takes possession of the buildings,
stores and workshops of the old company in Lorient and Marseilles. It opens
counters in the French establishments (in Canton, in Pondichéry, on the
coasts of Bengal, of Coromandel and Hefty fellow, in Moka, Mahé and on
Mauritius) and also sends correspondents in the ports along the sea route of
the Indies (of Lisbon with Canton).
Louis XVI names twelve directors: Bernier,
Dodun, Moracin, Demars, Gourlade, of Montessuy, Bérard, Bézard, Périer and
J.J. Bérard. Obligation their is made hold each one 500 actions of thousand
livres is 20% of the capital carried to 30 million by the decree of
September 1786. The company arms about fifteen boats and thrives very
quickly. The benefit make it possible to distribute a dividend of 18% in
1788 and 16% in 1789.
On April 3,1791, the French National Assembly
issues that “the trade of India, beyond the Cape of Good Hope, is free for
all the French” and thus deprives the company of its monopoly. Joined
together in general assembly on April 10, the shareholders name 8 police
chiefs charged to study a possible continuation of the activity, among those
Dangirard (uncle de Mallet), Monneron (founder of the Case of the Accounts -
currents), and Sabatier.
On May 23, the shareholders decide the renewal of activity and name 4 police
chiefs Delessert, Fulchiron, Gauthier and Mallet charged to write the
statutes of the new Eat India Company. The capital is tiny room to
thirty million and the number of counters brought back to seven: Pondichéry,
Yanaon, Mahé, Canton, Surate, Mauritius and the island of the Meeting.
Liberalization and the Revolution do not obstruct the walk of the businesses
which know a regular growth and the course of the action reaches 1.500
During Terror the Eat India Company is
suspected of activities counter-revolutionaries and Convention issues the
26/07/1793 the affixing of the seals on its buildings. A second decree of
the 11/10/1793 removes the Eat India Company and requisitions the goods
and the ships (the whole estimated at 28.544.00 livres); the directors of
the company are imprisoned, many are guillotines, the others escape the
capital punishment while being made intern like mental patients at the
private hospital of Doctor Belhomme on recommendation of Cambaceres,
and president of committee of legislation.
After Thermidor 9, Cambaceres become president
of the committee of public hello, releases the directors survivors. The
direction of the company east recreates in a reduced form: 10 people of
Mallet and Moreau. On May 30,1795, a delegation of fifteen people (among
whom Lecouteulx, Audibert, Devaisnes, Mallet and Moreau) is sent to
Convention to request the restitution of the seized goods. In July 1795, the
sequestration is raised and three ships are returned. But the East India
Company cannot take again its commercial activities and the shareholders
decide liquidation. Decided to obtain repair of the requisitions of 1793,
the liquidators Mallet, Martin son of Andre and Rodier set in motion a legal
procedure against the State who finishes in 1875.
Nota Bene : the funds coming
from the liquidation of the Eat India Company are deposited on an
account at Bank of France.
Mines of Anzin Company
Founded in 1756 by the Viscount Desandrouin and
Jacques Mathieu, the Mines of Anzin Company is the largest French
coal company. The use of pumps with fire (steam engines) to pump water and
to go up coal allows the exploitation of galleries more than 200 m of depth.
In 1789, the company with 27 wells, 12 steam engines and 4000 workmen
ensures one the third of the French production. The installations required
25 million books of investments (15 million for the wells, 2 million for the
steam engines and 8 million for the material).
1791, the French National Assembly discusses the concession minings, the
Mines of Anzin Company employs Mirabeau to safeguard her interests.
The bonds between the Mines of Anzin Company and the policy perdurent
under the Revolution with the use of Cambaceres like legal adviser. In 1793,
the share of the capital held by the noble emigrants (that is to say 14
sols) is seized. These actions are sold to Desandrouin in June 1795. One
month later, this one resells of it a great part (11 sols 1 deniers) for the
sum of 2.261.700 livres to a group of financial resulting from the East
N.B. : the authorized
capital is one livre
divided in 24 sols of 12 deniers each one.
Concurrently to Désandrouin, one finds the fine
flower of the administration of the East India Company : Desprez, Lecouteulx,
widows of two directors (Bernier and Pourrat), Thieffries (the associate of
Périer) and for more modest shares, the two legal advisers of the company
(Berryer and Cambaceres). Thanks to the financial support of Sabatier,
Périer gradually take the control of the Mines of Anzin.
The Bankers of 18 Brumaire
In November 1799, the new consuls find only
167.000 frank in the cases of the Treasury. On November 24, Bonaparte
convenes the most important Parisian bankers (Perregaux, Davillier, Germain,
Sévène, Fulchiron, Mallet, Delessert & Récamier), makes a statement on the
situation of the finance public to them and requires a loan of 12 million
francs. Those make mine accept but advance only 3 million out of the 12
requested. Finances of the Consulate are saved by the intervention of
Cambaceres which obtains to 8 million his friend Michel the young person and
the creation of a lottery.
Globally, the financial ones adopt a wait and
see position with respect to the consular mode. A letter of the Hottinguer
banker summarizes the little of support until the Consulate can wait of the
financial ones: “All is as cold as time here. The Constitution is
received with tepidity and I fear that it is not a final version.”
“Tepidity” results concretely in a weak
engagement of the banks to support the mode which must borrow 5 million from
the Pawnshop. The clan of financial related to Cambaceres (Michel, Davillier,
and Barrillon) always gives an important support for the finance public. One
can note the engagement of Récamier which becomes the third creditor of the
State. As opposed to what he is often written, the so-called bankers of the
18 Brumaire little supported the new mode at his beginnings. Only the
prospect for the peace of Amiens and the revival of the trade with England
lead the bankers to support Bonaparte since 1802.
Gabriel Julien Ouvrard
(Clisson 11/10/1770 - London
financier Gabriel Julien Ouvrard animates under the Directory a vast network
of businesses related on the colonial trade and the military supplies: from
its Parisian offices, it controls three commercial firms in Brest, Nantes
and Orleans, the bank, Gamba Gay & Co in Antwerp and holds important
participations in three Parisian companies (Girardot & Co,
Rougemont & Co, Charlemagne & Co). It also the associate of
important suppliers: Vanlerberghe for corn, the Michel brothers for the
military supplies, Caroillon and Roy for steel and wood. Since the end of
Ancien Régime, Ouvrard is associated to the ship-owners of Bordeaux Baour &
On September 1798, he obtains the general supply of the food of
the Navy for six years: this contract of 64 million gold francs had signed
in the name of his brother-in-law Blanchard. A few months later, he takes
again the contract of the Spanish fleet stationed in Brest then the supplies
of the army of Italy in 1799. He is arrested in January 1800 on order of the
first Bonaparte consul, but the examination of its accounts and its
contracts (written by its legal director Cambaceres) does not let appear any
irregularity. Released Ouvrard, takes part in the provisioning of the army
the Marengo one and army from England stationed in Boulogne; it is also one
of the founders of the United Traders Company.
After the crisis of 1805, the Treasury claims
to him the sum of 141 million gold franc. In 1809, Ouvrard is imprisoned in
Sainte-Pelagie jail for unpaid debt and is released three months later.
Understanding that only maritime peace can bring back the economic growth,
it tries to negotiate a secret peace with England: this project carried out
with Louis Bonaparte and Fouche is worth three years of prison to him. The
Restoration returns its goods to him and cancels its debt towards the
Treasury: the decision of the duke of Richelieu, Prime Minister of Louis
XVIII, is undoubtedly justified by the old ones and profitable relations.