Imágenes de página

the least useful. In 1801, after the of a most generous heart. His ambideath of his father, he abandoned the tion was modest-his soul was filled military career to become a merchant, with the most tender affections. He and to carry with him into the com- remembered that his father always mercial and middling classes those intended him to sustain in Dauphiny principles of order, obedience, and the name he had left behind him energy, which had distinguished him and there he therefore fixed-and during the first forty-four years of his there divided his time between the life.

commerce of Grenoble and the manuThe dispersion of the Council of factory of Vizille, where he created Five Hundred by the bayonets of one of those positions of influence and Napoleon had given Casimir Perier ą of patronage which are so rare in that distaste for political life. This was country. The French are not essento him a violation of law, a final tially a commercial people. With blow against liberty, and the precur- the exception of Lyons, Grenoble, sor of the dominion of brute force. Alsace, Normandy, St Quentin, Lille, The 18th Brumaire killed the first and Paris, there are no manufactories Revolution. The Ministry of Casimir in France. The manufactories of Perier destroyed the second. Napo- Lyons are undoubtedly very considerleon caused the death of the first by able—and the muslins and printed illegal means. Casimir Perier en- goods of Messrs Kæchlin at Malhausured the overthrow of the second by sen, have acquired universal fame. relying solely on the laws and the But when the manufactories of France Charta. But the victory of Marengo are compared with those of England, was followed by a general peace, by or even with those of - Belgium, their the treaty of Luneville, and Casimir comparatively insignificant character Perier returned to his hearth and his is rendered visible. The first French home. He hailed the treaty of Amiens Revolution, in destroying large forwith rapture ; and when Bonaparte tunes, in overthrowing public credit, directed all his attention to the inter- and in equalizing the properties of nal prosperity of the republic, Casi- the upper and middling classes, renmir Perier hoped for better days for dered it wholly impossible for France his country; and the act of amnesty to compete with Great Britain for a in favour of the emigrants won for long series of years, unless similar Napoleon the hearts of the Perier fa. disasters should befall the latter counmily. His father had left to his chil. try. Large fortunes are indispendren not only a handsome fortune, but sable to the establishment of such mathe yet greater advantage of his name nufactories as those of Birmingham, and his credit. He was a man of no Manchester, Leeds, and Shetlield. ordinary capacity, who formed fine They are national manufactories, and vast establishments, and took part though conducted by individual enin nearly all the commercial institu- terprise, individual labour, and inditions and measures which were cre- vidual capital. The French have ated and adopted in France, after the felt this so much ever since the first Revolution, to raise the commerce and Revolution, that various national and industry of the country. He was one public encouragements have been of the founders of the Bank of France. given to different French manufacHis ten children, in dividing equally tures with the view of rendering them among them his fortune—for the laws permanent; and the tapestry manuof the Revolution had abolished the factories of Beauvais and of the Gobelast vestiges of the rights of eldest lins, as well as the porcelain manufacchildren--drew yet closer the family tory of Sevres are even conducted by together, and formed between them that the Government itself. The French union which has always subsisted, and have endeavoured to combat with the which has kept the family in a state of default of capital by uniting together independence and elevation in times of five or six moderate fortunes to make difficulty, and under circumstances of one large trading capital_but in alcommercial embarrassment. Three most all cases the partners have quarbrothers, who are now no more, were relled amongst themselves, and the then the chiefs of the family. M. Au- large establishments have been cut up gustin Perier joined to an enlightened into half-a-dozen small ones. Conand cultivated mind the solid virtues tinuing to feel the evil of this state

of things, the French, at the very lieries are not worked—and why? For moment we are writing, are uniting the same reason—there is not capital together in the commercial world to enough to work them on a large scale ; establish joint-stock companies, or and even when they are worked, as is partnerships by shares, for the accom- now more the case than formerly, there plishment of objects which no indivi. are no railroads down to river navigadual fortunes they possess would en- tion, and river navigation is stopped up. able them otherwise to effect. But if There are no canals--or the canals are we examine the prospectuses of a unfinished or blocked up. The price of vast number of these associations, French pig-iron is dearer than that of what do we see? Why, actually British pig-iron in the French marcompanies formed with capitals of ket, notwithstanding all the protection FOUR, sỊx, or EIGHT THOUSAND afforded to the products of France by POUNDS!!! The shares are L.4 each a heavy duty on imported iron, and in many, many cases—and whereas a notwithstanding the expenses of freight banking or commercial house at Bris- and tonnage, port duties, and other tol, Manchester, Liverpool, or Lon- French shipping charges. And what don would sign a cheque for ten is the consequence of this state of times the amount as an ordinary af- things ? Why, that to make French fair, if it were a good one, and pro- railroads, British rails must be used, mised well, taking upon itself the as to make French hardwares, British whole of the operation, without even coals and Belgian coals are consumed. dreaming of a partner or a share, the The French have recently been makFrench will publish prospectuses, ing the experiments of feeding their advertisements, and make appeals and furnaces and manufactories with calls from Bayonne to Boulogne, and French and Belgian coals—but the from Perpignan to St Valley, to ob- supply was not sufficient—and the tain the paltry sums of four, six, or duty on British coals was obliged to eight thousand pounds! And yet the be lowered, to meet the demand for shareholders in these chandler shop that article-or the French manufac. societies expect to make fortunes tories making use of coals must have are quite astonished that they do not been altogether stopped. yield large revenues—and point to The reason for all this is clear. England and her vast commercial en- The French bave no fortunes. They terprises—just as if any real compari- cannot afford to wait, they cannot afson could be instituted between the ford to sink capital upon capital in colossal character of the one and the mines and in forges, and to sink mole-hill littleness of the other. The shafts, and to drain mines, and to pump incomes, as well as the insignificant out by steam-engines whole rivers of capitals," as they are called, of these water. They must have the ready associations are absorbed by the rent, return of the penny. They bave not taxes, salaries, and even "stationery” a sufficiency of gold, silver, or credit, consumed in the manufactory, and to wait for years before an enterprise the French have found, and will find, shall be successful. They will find that all these Lilliputian attempts to their L.4 or their L.20 for shares in vie with the fortunes and manufac. an « omnibus" or a « cabriolet estatories of Great Britain will ever fail. blishment," because it is a ready money The credit, fortunes, enterprises, and concern—the returns are immediate confidence of a country are not created --dividends of some sort or other are in years, but in ages—and when once at once paid—and the “pot au feu'' destroyed, ages must again elapse be- of the poor renter is kept boiling. fore they again exist. Look, for in- Nothing bas so much astonished the stance, at the present state of the French-no, not even the successes question of iron railways in France. of their own Napoleon-as the perseIn France there is iron-but the iron verance of the shareholders of the mines are not worked. And why? Thames Tunnel in their gigantic Because there is no spare capital to work, notwithstanding the repeated work them on such a scale as to make invasion of the hoary-headed father them profitable. In France there is into the works below. In France coal—and in abundance-recent ex- such an undertaking might have been periments and soundings have proved conceived, and might have been comthis to demonstration-but the col- menced_but if the Seine had twice

on it.


poured its streams into the works of the lower orders in France, with the old stones and bricks would have their perch of land and their pig upbeen sold « aux enchères," and the

But we also have visited shareholders would have divided France, in the length and in the amongst them the remnant of the breadth thereof—and we have no hefunds and the produce. And let not sitation in saying, that the situation this be ascribed to the wrong cause. both of the manufacturing and the The French do not want either pa- agricultural poor is far, very far sutience or perseverance—but they want perior in England, Scotland, and capital. It is for this reason that Wales, to the peasantry or manufactheir banks and bankers are often em- turing workmen of France. They barrassed to discount £4000; that their are more healthy, cleanly, comfort. manufacturers and manufactories are able, better fed, clothed, housed, and at a stand instead of being in acti- are more moral, and more religious. vity ; that the Government is obliged We have purposely made this disserto propose to take in hand all great tation, because, though the family of works itself; and that at the very Perier did all they could do, with moment we are writing these lines, comparatively large capital, for the appeals are being made in the public commerce and industry of their counjournals of London, Brussels, and try-yet, after all, their resources Amsterdam, to the English, the Bel- were very small indeed, when comgians, and the Dutch, to come for- pared with those of a Manchester ward to take shares in the companies manufacturer. proposed to be formed for the esta- The next son, M. Scipion Perier, blishment of various railroads in was a man of profound scientitic France. When similar projects are knowledge, deep and unaffected piety started in England, are appeals made - was so virtuous as to be even scruto the French, the Dutch, and the pulous to a failing and was uniformly Belgians there? No-English capi- calm and dignitied in the midst of an tal is sufficient for English enterprises impassioned and animated family. - but this is not the case in France- But Scipion was really a man of lively for her merchants have neither the imagination, and even passionate soul precious metals, nor the paper, nor -- but he was, during his whole life, the credit sufficient to enable them making one constant effort to repress alone to carry the objects they pro- his ardour, and maintain an external pose into effect. Look at the sub- dignity and serenity. scription-list for the shares in the Casimir Perier, with a character railroad company from Paris to Brus- less equable, much more susceptible, sels, and we see that though months and with a mind much less adorned, have elapsed since it was begun, the but possessing that coup d'ail which sum required cannot be raised, though seizes and perceives truth, which coronly one-fifth is required as a deposit. rectly estimates the possible, and asAnd when we thus write, it is not sures success, associated with Scipion, reproachfully, or spitefully, or vaunt- and founded together at Paris i ingly, and with haughtiness ; but Banking House, known and respected when we thus write, it is to assert a throughout all Europe. Their spegreat fact, that the Revolution of culations, however, were of a very 1789, or rather of 1793 in France, different nature from those of a London destroyed national credit, private ca- banker. They engaged in all sorts pital, and the means of rendering of mercantile transactions, and the France a powerful commercial coun- bank alone was only the means of try. We know well that we shall be enabling them to carry on their intold that the division of property into dustry with greater advantage. M. small fortunes is the developement of Casimir Perier displayed much penethe “greatest happiness principle"- tration, prudence, and judgment--but and Doctor Bowring, who has la he was never assiduous in the minute boured so long and so unsuccessfully details of business. Whilst Scipion in France in endeavouring to obtain had a prudent and enlightened mind, equal justice for British commerce, the talents of an administrator, the and British merchants, will prate to love of the details of business, and us about his Jeremy Benthamism, the spirit of daily application, he yet and about the comfort and happiness often hesitated as to the course to be

adopted, and had no confidence in his the sciences—and only felt happy in own judgment. Casimir Perier, on the society of a chosen few, who were the contrary, had decision and tact, members of the old nobility, and who and thus completed the character had remained faithful amidst all the and just reputation of the house. infidelity and distrust of so many forThere, as hereafter in public life, he mer partisans. The consequence of showed that he was made to govern this conviction was, that Casimir Peand not to administer.

rier and the men of his party, instead The Restoration gave peace to of rallying round the throne, stood France; and great as are always the aloof; and, instead of devoting their advantages of peace to every country, talents, influence, and property, all of they were for France of greater value which they possessed, to the strengthand importance than to most nations, ening of the hands of the Government, under even extraordinary circum- and to enlightening the throne as to stances. Peace and liberty —even the wants, prejudices, and wishes of moderate, rational liberty-were es- men essentially loyal at heart, but sential to the happiness and prosperity who were mistaken as to the characters of the country; and, from 1815 to of their princes, they by degrees got 1825, individual fortunes received an up a parliamentary opposition, and augmentation for which no parallel is joined themselves to men whose prin. to be found in the history of any ciples and doctrines they have since people. They were ten years of ma- been compelled not merely to reputerial and physical amelioration, which diate, but also to repress.

So far, Casimir Perier admitted to be unri. then, M. Casimir Perier and his friends valled, and always spoke of them as were to blame. such. The country was wearied of But there was a second reason why " the drum's discordant sound"-was Casimir Perier and the mercantile and disgusted with glory and with blood— manufacturing party belonged to the and sought not for laurels, but for re- Opposition, and that was the fault of pose. M. Casimir Perier devoted the the court and of the Popish clergy. greatest portion of these ten years to The Royal family was made to believe useful labours and to the acquisition that all who were not violent Roof personal wealth. The Bourbons manists were Jacobins or Revolumight have secured his affection by tionists. Thus they viewed with disconsulting him, his confidence by con- trust such men even as Casimir Perier. fiding in him, and his devotion by es- This exclusiveness was the fault of the teeming him. How was it that this Ultra. Papist party. Whenever Louis did not take place ? There were two XVIII. and Charles X. shook off the reasons, and they must be recorded yoke of these counsellors, and acted as with equal frankness and fidelity. The their warm hearts dictated, and their first was, that M. Casimir Perier was own superior minds suggested, they suspicious of the Restoration. And always acted wisely and well. Then why? He had never known the the mercantile and manufacturing Bourbons ; he was but a young man classes drew near to them. Then when they were exiled; he had for- unions were formed between the gotten, in the horrors of the republic wealth and rank of the country. Then and in the wars of the empire, even the throne became solid as well as the names of his princes. He had brilliant, and then France was floubeen taught to believe that they were rishing and happy. Thus Casimir an isolated race—that they had no Perier and his friends were to blame sympathy in common with France for not separating in their minds and that they had never forgiven the mur- hearts their princes from the Popish der of the members of their family- priests ; and the house of Bourbon was that they were surrounded only by in its turn to be censured for adoptpauper peers or by Papist priests, and ing too implicitly the opinions of those that they returned to France, not as who represented all as opposed to the fathers and brothers, but as conquerors throne who were not Ultra-Romanists. and tyrants. He was also taught to It is not true that the princes of the believe that the Bourbons had no af- House of Bourbon ever sighed, or fection for the middling classes-took hoped, or desired, or even dreamt of no interest in the progress of trade, re-establishing the old and absolute commerce, manufactures, the arts and monarchy of France. Louis XVIII,

[ocr errors]

was attached, nay, devoted to the forty years of age when returned by
charter; and if his counsellors on the the electors.
one hand, and the members of the The conduct of Casimir Perier from
Opposition on the other, had been 1817 to 1830, as member of the Chain-
equally sincere, his reign would have ber of Deputies, is not entitled either
been more happy, and France more to unqualified praise or to indiscrimi-
united. But in this, as in almost every nate censure. When he entered the
other page of modern history, we read Chamber it was as a Constitutionalist,
this fact, that the Roman Catholic as a Charterist; and not as a member
Church is at once an enemy to the of the Opposition. When, in 1817,
rightful stability and true legitimate the Government was popular, he sup-
popularity of the throne, and to the ported it, and at the beginning of his
lawful, moderate, and rational liber- parliamentary career lie showed a de-
ties of the people.

votedness to the monarchy, and rather
M. Casimir Perier never proclaimed a querulous independence than a
himself, however, the enemy of the Re- downright hostility to the Ministry.
storation—never spoke with disrespect Though the spirit of the times, his
or disloyalty of his kings or princes- vivacity of character, and a certain
never encouraged the low ribaldry of portion of distrust in his composition,
the ultra-school of politics, and kept naturally conducted him towards the
his position as a man distinct from the Opposition, still his most profound
multitude who then lastened to attack convictions, the traditions of his fa-
unceasingly the throne and the mo. mily, and the habits of his entire life

made him detest disorder, and dis-
The celebrated loans of 1817 first courage all attempts at overthrow.
brought M. Casimir Perier before the Even when most severe in his attacks
public as a politician and a financier. on the Government, he uniformly ac-
Three hundred millions of francs of knowledged the respect due to the
extraordinary resources appeared ne- Government itself; and at this first
cessary to balance the budget of that epoch of his parliamentary life his
year ; a treaty was concluded with opposition was moderate, and even
foreign capitalists, who engaged to sometimes benevolent. This was the
advance about two-thirds of that sum time to have gained M, Casimir
in exchange for nearly double the Perier. He was then forty years of
amount in capital, besides other im- age ;-his popularity was consider-
mediate advantages of a most burden. able ;-his fortune was great ;-his
some and too lucrative a nature. Yet family was respectable ;—he repre-
the arrangement, though onerous, was sented the middling classes. Then
necessary ; but it weighed heavy on was the time for the throne to have
the heart of Casimir Perier. He pube availed itself of his talents and secured
lished a pamphlet, in which he attacked his devotedness.
it,—" Reflexions sur le projet «l'Em- When, in 1818, the Opposition be-
prunt,"—and so great was the effect it came more systematic, violent, and
produced on the public mind, that the personal, M. Casimir Perier did not
Government modified the financial belong to it. He occupied his atten.
treaty it concluded, and made much tion with subjects of a financial and
better terms. He published, in 1817 economical character. He demanded
and 1818, two other pamphlets on this that all financial operations should be
important question.

conducted as they were then conducted
On the 25th September, 1817, M. by the Tory Government of England ;
Casimir Perier was, for the first time, he demanded that all contracts should
elected member of the Chamber of be public, and made by tender, and
Deputies by the department de la that all reasonable retrenchments
Seine. When he was elected, he was should be made in the public expendi-
not of the age, (forty,) required by the ture,—some which were thought rea-
law, but before the Chambers met he sonable, others excessive; but he
had attained it. If the Government of asked for what he did ask with mode-
that day had been disposed to be rigid, ration and loyalty.
it might have opposed his admission ; From 1820 to 1823, the contest be.
but it contented itself with introducing came of another character; the Op-
a law, that in future a Deputy must be position had demanded too much, and


« AnteriorContinuar »