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the least useful. In 1801, after the death of his father, he abandoned the military career to become a merchant, and to carry with him into the commercial and middling classes those principles of order, obedience, and energy, which had distinguished him during the first forty-four years of his life.
The dispersion of tho Council of Five Hundred by the bayonets of Napoleon had given Casimir Perier a distaste for political life. This was to him a violation of law, a final blow against liberty, and the precursor of the dominion of brute force. The 18th Brumaire killed the first Revolution. The Ministry of Casimir Perier destroyed the second. Napoleon caused the death of the first by illegal means. Casimir Perier ensured the overthrow of the second by relying solely on the laws and the Charta. But the victory of Marengo was followed by a general peace, by the treaty of Luneville, and Casimir Perier returned to his hearth and his home. He hailed the treaty of Amiens with rapture; and when Bonaparte directed all his attention to the internal prosperity of the republic, Casimir Perier hoped for better days for his country; and the act of amnesty in favour of the emigrants won for Napoleon the hearts of the Perier family. His father had left to his children not only a handsome fortune, but the yet greater advantage of his name and his credit. He was a man of no ordinary capacity, who formed lino and vast establishments, and took part in nearly all the commercial institutions and measures which were created and adopted in France, after the Revolution, to raise the commerce and industry of the country. He was one of the founders of the Bank of France. His ten children, in dividing equally among them his fortune—for tho laws of the Revolution had abolished the last vestiges of the rights of eldest children—drew yet closer the family together,and formed between them that union which has always subsisted, and which has kept the family in a state of independence and elevation in times of difficulty, and under circumstances of commercial embarrassment. Three brothers, who are now no more, were then the chiefs of the family. M. Aniina'hi Perier joined to an enlightened and cultivated mind the solid virtues
of a most generous heart. His ambition was modest—his soul was filled with the most tender affections. He remembered that lns father always intended him to sustain in Dauphiny the name he had left behind him— and there ho therefore fixed—and there divided his time between the commerce of Grenoble and the manufactory of Vizille, where he created one of those positions of influence and of patronage which are so rare in that country. The French are not essentially a commercial people. With the exception of Lyons, Grenoble, Alsace, Normandy, St Quentin, Lille, and Paris, there are no manufactories in France. The manufactories of Lyons are undoubtedly very considerable—and the muslins, and printed goods of Messrs Keechlin at Malhausen, have acquired universal fame. But when the manufactories of France are compared with those of England, or even with those of "Belginm, their comparatively insignificant character is rendered visible. The first French Revolution, in destroying large fortunes, in overthrowing public credit, and in equalizing the properties of the upper and middling classes, rendered it wholly impossible for France to compete with Great Britain for a long series of years, unless similar disasters should befall the latter country. Large fortunes are indispensable to the establishment of such manufactories as those of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield. They are national manufactories, though conducted by individual enterprise, individual labour, and individual capital. The French have felt this so much ever since the first Revolution, that various national and public encouragements have been given to different French manufactures with the view of rendering them permanent; and the tapestry manufactories of Beauvais and of the Gobelins, as well us the porcelain manufactory of Sevres are even conducted by the Government itself. The French have endeavoured to combat with the default of capital by uniting together five or six moderate fortunes to make one large trading capital—but in almost all cases the partners have quarrelled amongst themselves, and the lanre establishments have been cut up into half-a-dozen small ones. Continuing to feel the evil of this state of things, the French, at the very moment we are writing, are uniting together in the commercial world to establish joint-stock companies, or partnerships by shares, for the accomplishment of objects which no individual fortunes they possess would onable them otherwise to effect. But if we examine the prospectuses of a vast number of these associations, what do we see? Why, actually companies formed with capitals of
FOUR, SIX, Or EIGHT THOUSAND
Pounds 1! 1 The shares are L.4 each in many, many cases—and whereas a banking or commercial house at Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, or London would sign a cheque for ten times the amount as an ordinary affair, if it were a good one, and promised well, taking upon itself the whole of the operation, without even dreaming of a partner or a share, the French will publish prospectuses, advertisements, and make appeals and calls from Bayonne to Boulogne, and from Perpignan to St Valley, to obtain the paltry sums of four, six, or eight thousand pounds 1 And yet the shareholders in these chandler shop societies expect to make fortunes— are quite astonished that they do not yield large revenues—and point to England and her vast commercial enterprises—just as if any real comparison could be instituted between the colossal character of the one and the mole-hill littleness of the other. The incomes, as well as the insignificant "capitals," as they are called, of these associations are absorbed by the rent, taxes, salaries, and even " stationery" consumed in the manufactory, and the French have found, and will find, that all these Lilliputian attempts to vie with the fortunes and manufactories of Great Britain will ever fail. The credit, fortunes, enterprises, and confidence of a country are not created in years, but in ages—and when once destroyed, ages must again elapse before they again exist. Look, for instance, at the present state of the question of iron railways in France. In France there is iron—but the iron mines are not worked. And why? Because there is no spare capital to work them on such a scale as to make them profitable. In France there is coal—and in abundance—recent experiments and soundings have proved this to demonstration—but the col
lieries are not worked—and why? For the same reason—there is not capital enough to work them on a large scale; and even when they are worked, as is now more the case than formerly, there are no railroads down to river navigation, and river navigation isstopped up. There are no canals—or the canals are unfinished or blocked up. The price of French pig-iron is dearer than that of British pig-iron in the French market, notwithstanding all the protection afforded to the products of France by a heavy duty on imported iron, and notwithstanding theexpensesof freight and tonnage, port duties, and other French shipping charges. And what is the consequence of this state of things? Why, that to make French railroads, British rails must be used, as to make French hardwares, British coals and Belgian coals are consumed. The French have recently been making the experiments of feeding their furnaces and manufactories with French and Belgian coals—but the supply was not sufficient—and the duty on British coals was obliged to be lowered, to meet the demand for that article—or the French manufactories making use of coals must have been altogether stopped.
The reason for all this is clear. The French have no fortunes. They cannot afford to wait, they cannot afford to sink capital upon capital in mines and in forges, and to sink shafts, and to drain mines, and to pump out by steam-engines whole rivers of water. They must have the ready return of the penny. They have not a sufficiency of gold, silver, or credit, to wait for years before an enterprise shall be successful. They will find their L.4 or their L.20 for shares in an "omnibus" or a "cabriolet establishment," because it is a ready money concern—the returns are immediate —dividends of some sort or other are at once paid—and the "pot an feu" of the poor renter is kept boiling. Nothing has so much astonished the French—no, not even the successes of their own Napoleon—as the perseverance of the shareholders of the Thames Tunnel in their gigantic work, notwithstanding the repeated invasion of the hoary-headed father into the works below. In Franco such an undertaking might have been conceived, and might have been commenced—but if the Seine had twice poured its streams into the works, the old stones and bricks would have been sold "aux endures," and the shareholders would have divided amongst them the remnant of the funds and the produce. And let not this be ascribed to the wrong cause. The French do not want either patience or perseverance—but they want capital. It is for this reason that their banks and bankers are often embarrassed to discount £4000; that their manufacturers and manufactories are at a stand instead of being in activity; that the Government is obliged to propose to take in hand all great works itself; and that at the very moment we are writing these lines, appeals are being made in the public journals of London, Brussels, and Amsterdam, to the English, the Belgians, and the Dutch, to come forward to take shares in the companies proposed to be formed for the establishment of various railroads in France. When similar projects are started in England, are appeals made to the French, the Dutch, and the Belgians there? No—English capital is sufficient for English enterprises —but this is not the case in France— for her merchants have neither the precious metals, nor the paper, nor the credit sufficient to enable them alone to carry the objects they propose into effect. Look at the subscription-list for the shares in the railroad company from Paris to Brussels, and we see that though months have elapsed since it was begun, the sum required caunot be raised, though only one-fifth is required as a deposit. And when we thus write, it is not reproachfully, or spitefully, or vauntingly, and with haughtiness; but when we thus write, it is to assert a great fact, that the Revolution of 1789, or rather of 1793 in France, destroyed national credit, private capital, and the means of rendering France a powerful commercial country. Wo know well that we shall be told that the division of property into small fortunes is the developement of the "greatest happiness principle"— and Doctor Bowring, who has laboured so long and so unsuccessfully in France in endeavouring to obtain equal justice for British commerce, and British merchants, will prate to us about his Jeremy Benthamism, and about the comfort and happiness
of the lower orders in France, with their perch of- land and their pig upon it. But we also have visited France, in the length and in the breadth thereof—and we have no hesitation in saying, that the situation both of the manufacturing and the agricultural poor is far, very far superior in England, Scotland, and Wales, to the peasantry or manufacturing workmen of France. They are more healthy, cleanly, comfortable, better fed, clothed, housed, and are more moral, and more religious. We have purposely made this dissertation, because, though the family of Perier did all they could do, with comparatively large capital, for the commerce and industry of their country—yet, after all, their resources were very small indeed, when compared with those of a Manchester manufacturer.
The next son, M. Scipion Perier, was a man of profound scientific knowledge, deep and unaffected piety —was so virtuous as to be even scrupulous to a failing—and was uniformly calm and dignified in the midst of an impassioned and animated family. But Scipion was really a man of lively imagination, and even passionate soul —but he was, during his whole life, making one constant effort to repress his ardour, and maintain an external dignity and serenity.
Casimir Perier, with a character less equable, much more susceptible, and with a mind much less adorned, but possessing that coup d'ecil which seizes and perceives truth, which correctly estimates the possible, and assures success, associated with Scipion, and founded together at Paris a Banking House, known and respected throughout all Europe. Their speculations, however, were of a very different nature from those of a London banker. They engaged in all sorts of mercantile transactions, and the bank alone was only the means of enabling them to carry ou their industry with greater advantage. M. Casimir Perier displayed much penetration, prudence, and judgment—but he was never assiduous in the minute details of business. Whilst Scipion had a prudent and enlightened mind, the talents of an administrator, the love of the details of business, and the spirit of daily application, he yet often hesitated as to the course to be adopted, and had Do confidence in his own judgment Casimir Perier, on the contrary, had decision and tact, and thus completed the character and just reputation of the house. There, as hereafter in public life, he showed that he was made to govern and not to administer.
The Restoration gave peace to France; and great as are always the advantages of peace to every, country, they were for France of greater value and importance than to most nations, under even extraordinary circumstances. Peace and liberty—even moderate, rational liberty—were essential to the happiness and prosperity of the country; and, from 1815 to 1825, individual fortunes received an augmentation for which no parallel is to be found in the history of any people. They were ten years of material and physical amelioration, which Casimir Perier admitted to be unrivalled, and always spoke of them as such. The country was wearied of "the drum's discordant sound"—was disgusted with glory and with blood— and sought not for laurels, but for repose. M. Casimir Perier devoted the greatest portion of these ten years to useful labours and to the acquisition of personal wealth. The Bourbons might have secured his affection by consulting him, his confidence by confiding in him, and his devotion by esteeming him. How was it that this did not take place? There were two reasons, and they must be recorded with equal frankness and fidelity. The first was, that M. Casimir Perier was suspicious of the Restoration. And why? He had never known the Bourbons; he was but a young man when they were exiled; he had forgotten, in the horrors of the republic and in the wars of the empire, even the names of his princes. He had been taught to believe that they were an isolated race—that they had no sympathy in common with France— that they had never forgiven the murder of the members of their family— that they were surrounded only by pauper peers or by Papist priests, and that they returned to France, not as fathers and brothers, but as conquerors and tyrants. He was also taught to believe that the Bourbons had no affection for the middling classes—took no interest in the progress of trade, commerce, manufactures, the arts and
the sciences—and only felt happy in the society of a chosen few, who were members of the old nobility, and who had remained faithful amidst all the infidelity and distrust of so many former partisans. The consequence of this conviction was, that Casimir Perier and the men of his party, instead of rallying round the throne, stood aloof; and, instead of devoting their talents, influence, and property, all of which they possessed, to the strengthening of the hands of the Government, and to enlightening the throne as to the wants, prejudices, and wishes of men essentially loyal at heart, but who were mistaken as to the characters of their princes, they by degrees got up a parliamentary opposition, and joined themselves to men whose principles and doctrines they have since been compelled not merely to repudiate, but also to repress. So far, then, M. Casimir Perier and his friends were to blame.
But there was a second reason why Casimir Perier and the mercantile and manufacturing party belonged to the Opposition, and that was the fault of the court and of the Popish clergy. The Royal family was made to believe that all who were not violent Romanists were Jacobins or Revolutionists. Thus they viewed with distrust such men oven as Casimir Perier. This exclusiveness was the fault of the Ultra-Papist party. Whenever Louis XVIII. and Charles X. shook off the yoke of these counsellors, and acted as their warm hearts dictated, and their own superior minds suggested, they always acted wisely and well. Then the mercantile and manufacturing classes drew near to them. Then unions were formed between the wealth and rank of the country. Then the throne became solid as well as brilliant, and then France was flourishing and happy. Thus Casimir Perier and his friends were to blame for not separating in their minds and hearts their princes from the Popish priests; and the house of Bourbon was in its turn to be censured for adopting too implicitly the opinions of those who represented all as opposed to the throne who were not Ultra-Romanists.
It is not true that the princes of the House of Bourbon ever sighed, or hoped, or desired, or even dreamt of re-establishing' the old and absolute monarchy of France. Louis XVIII. was attached, nay, devoted to the charter; and if his counsellors on the one hartd, and the members of the Opposition on the other, had been equally sincere, his reign Would have been more happy, and France more united. But in this, as in almost every other page of modern history, we read this fact, that the Roman Catholic Church is at once an enemy to the rightfid stability and true legitimate popularity of the throne, and to the lawful, moderate, and rational liberties of the people.
M. Casimir Perier never proclaimed himself, however, the enemy of the Restoration—never spoke with disrespect or disloyalty of his kings or princes— never encouraged the low ribaldry of the ultra-school of polities, and kept his position as a man distinct from the multitude who then hastened to attack unceasingly the throne and the monarchy.
The celebrated loans of 1817 first brought M. Casimir Perier before the public as a politician and a financier. Three hundred millions of franes of extraordinary resources appeared necessary to balance the budget of that year; a treaty was concluded with foreign capitalists, Who engaged to advance about two-thirds of that sum in exchange for nearly double the amount in capital, besides other immediate advantages of a most burdensome and too lucrative a nature. Yet the arrangement, though onerous, was necessary; but it Weighed heavy on the heart of Casimir Perier. He published a pamphlet, in which he attacked it,—" Reflexions sur le prnjet iCEmprunt,"—and so great was the effect It produced on the public mind, that the Government modified the financial treaty it concluded, and made much better terms. He published, in 1817 and 1818, two other pamphlets oil this important question.
On the 23th September, 1817, M. Casimir Perier was, for the first time, elected member of the Chamber of Deputies by the department do la Seine. When he was elected, he was not of the age, (forty,) required by the law, but before the Chambers met he had attained it. If the Government of that day had been disposed to be rigid, it might have opposed his admission; but it contented itself with introducing a law, that in future a Deputy must be
forty years of age when returned by the electors.
The conduct of Casimir Perier from 1817 to 1830, as member of the Chamber of Deputies, is hot entitled either to unqualified praise or to indiscriminate censure. When he entered the Chamber it was as a Constitutionalist* as a Charterist* and not as a member of the Opposition. When, in 1817, the Government was popular, ho supported it, and at the beginning of his parliamentary career lie showed a deVotedness to the monarchy, and rather a querulous independence than a downright hostility to the Ministry. Though the spirit of the times, his vivacity of character, and a certain portion of distrust in his composition, naturally conducted him towards the Opposition, still his most profound convictions, the traditions of his family, and the habits of his entire life made him detest disorder, and discourage all attempts at overthrow. Even when most severe in his attacks on the Government, he uniformly acknowledged the respect due to the Government itself; and at this first epoch of his parliamentary life his opposition was moderate, and even sometimes benevolent. This was the time to have gained M. Casimir Perier. He was then forty years of age ;—his popularity was considerable ;—his fortune was great j—his family was respectable ;—ho represented the middling classes. Then was the time for the throne to have availed itself of his talents and secured his deVotedness.
When, in 1818, the Opposition became more systematic, violent, and personal, M. Casimir Perier did not belong to it. He occupied his attention with subjects of a financial and economical character. He demanded that all financial operations should be conducted as they were then conducted by the Tory Government of England; he demanded that all contracts should be public, and mado by tender, and that all reasonable retrenchments should bo made in the public expenditure,—some which were thought reasonable, others excessive; but he asked for what he did ask with moderation and loyalty.
From 18-20 to 1823, the contest became of another character; the Opposition had demanded too much, and