Jacques Necker

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Jacques Necker
Necker, Jacques - Duplessis.jpg
Chief Minister of the French Monarch
In office
29 July 1789 3 September 1790
Monarch Louis XVI
Preceded by Baron of Breteuil
Succeeded by Count of Montmorin
In office
25 August 1788 11 July 1789
Monarch Louis XVI
Preceded by Archbishop de Brienne
Succeeded by Baron of Breteuil
Controller-General of Finances
In office
25 August 1788 11 July 1789
Monarch Louis XVI
Preceded by Charles Alexandre de Calonne
Succeeded by Joseph Foullon de Doué
Director-General of the Royal Treasury
In office
29 June 1777 19 May 1781
Monarch Louis XVI
Preceded byLouis Gabriel Taboureau des Réaux
Succeeded byJean-François Joly de Fleury
Personal details
Born(1732-09-30)30 September 1732
Geneva, [1] Republic of Geneva
Died9 April 1804(1804-04-09) (aged 71)
Geneva, Léman (department), France
Spouse(s)
Suzanne Curchod
(m. 1764;died 1794)
Children Germaine

Jacques Necker (IPA:  [ʒak nɛkɛʁ] ; 30 September 1732 – 9 April 1804) was a banker of Genevan origin who became a finance minister for Louis XVI and a French statesman. Necker played a key role in French history before and during the first period of the French Revolution. [2]

Louis XVI of France King of France

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last king of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Contents

Necker held the finance post between 1777 and 1781 and "is remembered today for taking the unprecedented step in 1781 of making public the country’s budget, a novelty in an absolute monarchy where the state of finances had always been kept a secret." [3] Necker was dismissed within a few months. By 1788 the inexorable compounding of interest on the national debt brought France to a fiscal crisis. [4] Necker was recalled to royal service. When he was dismissed on 11 July 1789, it was a factor in causing the Storming of the Bastille. Within two days Necker was recalled by the king and the assembly. Necker entered France in triumph and tried to accelerate the tax reform process. Faced with the opposition of the Constituent Assembly he resigned in September 1790 to a reaction of general indifference.

Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is legally bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature.

Storming of the Bastille Major event of the French Revolution

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on the afternoon of 14 July 1789.

Tax reform is the process of changing the way taxes are collected or managed by the government and is usually undertaken to improve tax administration or to provide economic or social benefits. Tax reform can include reducing the level of taxation of all people by the government, making the tax system more progressive or less progressive, or simplifying the tax system and making the system more understandable or more accountable.

Necker, apparently a constitutional monarchist and also a political economist and a moralist, wrote a severe critique of the new principle of equality before the law. Necker fully embraced the label of moderate and the concept of the golden mean. [5]

Morality differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness".

Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that each independent being must be treated equally by the law and that all are subject to the same laws of justice. Therefore, the law must guarantee that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged or discriminated against by the government. Equality before the law is one of the basic principles of liberalism. This principle arises from various important and complex questions concerning equality, fairness and justice. Thus, the principle of equality before the law is incompatible and ceases to exist with legal systems such as slavery, servitude.

Appearing in Greek thought at least as early as the Delphic Maxim nothing to excess and emphasized in later Aristotelian philosophy, the goldenmean or golden middle way is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.

Early life

Necker was born in Geneva in a Calvinist household. In 1747 Jacques became a clerk in the bank of Thellusson and Vernet. In 1750 he was sent to Paris and worked for the bank Girardot. Soon after he managed to learn Dutch and English. On one day, he replaced the first clerk in charge of trading on the stock exchange and through a sequence of trades, he made a quick profit of half a million. [6] In 1762, Vernet retired and Necker became a partner in the bank with Peter Thellusson who managed the bank in London, while Necker served as his managing partner in Paris. In 1763, before the end of the Seven Years' War, he successfully speculated in British debentures or bonds, wheat and possibly Canadian shares, which he sold at a good profit in the next few years. [7]

Peter [de] Thellusson was a Swiss businessman and banker who settled in London.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global war fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved all five European great powers of the time plus many of the middle powers and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions: one was led by the Kingdom of Great Britain and included the Kingdom of Prussia, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and a few other small German states; while the other was led by the Kingdom of France and included the Austrian-led Holy Roman Empire, including the Electorate of Saxony and most of the smaller German states, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and Sweden. The Dutch Republic, Denmark-Norway, the Italian States, and the Ottoman Empire did not participate. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal.

Suzanne Curchod Duplessis - Suzanne Curchod, Madame Necker.jpg
Suzanne Curchod

Necker had fallen in love with Madame de Verménou, the widow of a French officer. When she went to see Théodore Tronchin she made acquaintance to Suzanne Curchod. In 1764, Madame de Verménou brought Suzanne to Paris as a companion for Thelusson's children? Suzanne was suffering as her lover Edward Gibbon was forced to break the engagement. Necker transferred his love from the wealthy widow to the ambitious Swiss governess. They married before the end of the year. In 1766, they moved to Rue de Cléry and had a daughter, Anne Louise Germaine, who became a renowned author under the name of Madame de Staël.

Théodore Tronchin Genevan physician

Théodore Tronchin was a Genevan physician.

Suzanne Curchod French-Swiss salonist and writer

Suzanne Curchod was a French-Swiss salonist and writer. She hosted one of the most celebrated salons of the Ancien Régime. She also led the development of the Hospice de Charité, a model small hospital in Paris that still exists today as the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital. She was the wife of French finance minister Jacques Necker, and is often referenced in historical documents as Madame Necker.

Edward Gibbon English historian and Member of Parliament

Edward Gibbon FRS was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion.

Madame Necker encouraged her husband to try to find himself a public position. He accordingly became a syndic (or director) of the French East India Company, around which a fierce political debate revolved in the 1760s between the company's directors and shareholders and the royal ministry over its administration and the company's autonomy. [8] "The ministry, concerned about the financial stability of the company, employed the Abbé Morellet to shift the debate from the rights of the shareholders to the advantages of commercial liberty over the company's privileged trading monopoly." [9] After showing his financial ability in its management, Necker defended the company's autonomy in an able memoir against the attacks of Morellet in 1769. [10] As the company never made any profit during its existence, the monopoly ended. [11] The era of free trade had begun. [12] Necker bought up the company's stockpiles of unsold goods and its ships when it went bankrupt in 1769.

French East India Company Defunct French trading company

The French East India Company was a commercial Imperial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the English and Dutch East India companies in the East Indies.

André Morellet French academic

André Morellet was a French economist, author of various writings, contributor to the Encyclopédie and one of the last Enlightenment Age philosophes.

Vue du chateau de Madrid, dessine sur le chemin venant de Neuilly-sur-Seine Corbel010 Vue du chateau de Madrid, dessine sur le chemin venant de Neuilly-sur-Seine.jpg
Vue du château de Madrid, dessiné sur le chemin venant de Neuilly-sur-Seine

From 1768 till 1776 he was resident of the Republic of Geneva in Paris. Meanwhile, he made loans to the French government in the form of life annuities and by lottery operations. [13] [14] His wife made him give up his share in the bank, which he transferred to his brother Louis Necker and Jean Girardot in 1772. In 1773, Necker won the prize of the Académie Française for a defense of state corporatism framed as a eulogy in honor of Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Necker was envied by his contemporaries for his fabulous wealth. [15] He owned a capital of six or eight million livres and used Château de Madrid as a summer house. In 1775, he published his Essai sur la législation et le commerce des grains, in which he attacked the physiocrats, like Ferdinando Galiani, and questioned the laissez-faire policies of Turgot. In May, after the 'Flour War' Turgot had made too many enemies and was succeeded by Clugny de Nuis, who already died in October. [16] [17] On 22 October 1776 Necker was appointed as the "Directeur du trésor royal" on Maurepas’ recommendation. [18]

Finance Minister of France

Necker, Jacques, par Boillet, BNF Gallica.jpg

On 29 June 1777, according to his daughter in her "Vie privée de Mr. Necker" he was made director-general of the royal treasury and not Controller-General of Finance which was impossible because of his Protestant faith. [19] [20] Necker refused a salary, but he was not admitted to the Royal Council. He gained popularity through regulating the government's finances by attempting to divide the taille and the capitation tax more equally, abolishing a tax known as the vingtième d'industrie, (a value-added tax) and establishing monts de piété (pawnshop-like establishments for loaning money on security). Necker tried through careful reforms (abolition of pensions, mortmain, droit de suite and more fair taxation) to rehabilitate the disorganized state budget. He abolished over five hundred sinecures and superfluous posts. [21] Together with his wife, he visited and improved life in hospitals and prisons. In April 1778 he remitted 2.4 million livres from his own fortune to the royal treasury. [22] [23] Unlike Turgot - in his Mémoire sur les municipalités - Necker tried to install provincial assemblies and hoped they could serve as an effective means of reforming the Ancien régime. Necker succeeded only in Berry and Haute-Guyenne installing assemblies with an equal number of members from the Third estate.

Necker won a substantial victory by inducing the King to free all remaining serfs on the royal domain, and to invite all feudal lords to do likewise. When they refused, Necker advised Louis to abolish all serfdom in France, with indemnities to the masters, but the King, imprisoned in his traditions, replied that property rights were too basic an institution to be annulled by a decree. [24]

His greatest financial measures were his use of loans to help fund the French debt and his use of high interest rates rather than raising taxes. [25] The collection of indirect taxes was restored to the farmers-general (1780), but Necker reduced their number by a third and subjected them to sharper scrutiny and control. [26] The American War of independence was popular with almost every Frenchman, except Necker. [27] For the first time the king waged a war without raising the taxes. [28] As France in the American Revolutionary War had financed its participation almost exclusively by municipal bonds, Necker warned of the consequences for the French national budget as the war continued. (The war had cost the state already ca. 1.5 billion livres.) The ministers of War and Navy were especially hostile towards him. [29] In September 1780 Necker asked for his dismission, but the King refused to let him go. [30]

Compte rendu au roi

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In 1781, France was suffering financially, and as director-general of the royal treasury he was blamed for the rather high debt accrued from the American Revolution. [31] A series of pamphlets appeared. [32] Jacques-Mathieu Augeard attacked him on his foreign origin, his faith, and economic choices. [33] The main reason behind this was the action of Necker "cooking the books" or falsifying the records. [34] [35] He brightened the picture by excluding military outlays and other 'extraordinary' charges and ignoring the national debt. [36] [37] Both Necker and Calonne were deceived with the amount of pensions and gratifications. [38] The king was as extravagant in expenditure on horses and palaces (he had more of both than Louis XIV) as his wife was on clothes and parties; the king spent much more on his brothers than on public health. After Necker had shown Louis XVI his annual report, the king tried to keep its contents secret. Necker met the challenge aggressively by asking the King to bring him into the royal council. In revenge, Necker made the Compte rendu au roi public; in no time between 200,000 copies were sold. [39] It was rapidly translated into Dutch, German, Danish, Italian and English.

The Account was meant to be an educational piece for the people, and in it, he expressed his desire to create a well-informed, interested populace. [40] Before, the people had never considered governmental income and expenditure to be their concern, but the Compte rendu made them more proactive. (This birth of public opinion and interest played an important role in the French Revolution.)

Maurepas became jealous and Vergennes called him a revolutionist. Necker contrived his own fall by declaring that he would resign unless given the full title and authority of a minister, with a seat on the Conseil du Roi. Both Maurepas and Vergennes replied that they would resign if this was done. [41] When Necker was dismissed on 19 May 1781 people pilgrimaged to his estate; noblemen, clergy, magistrates, merchants, men of letters, all flocked to St. Ouen. Joseph II sent his condolences and Catharine the Great invited him to Russia. [42] In August 1781 Madame Necker went as far as Utrecht to buy the libels that appeared in the name of Turgot against her husband. She even tried to have the booksellers arrested. [43] [44] [45] Did Necker and his brother receive annually 8 million livres as a pension? [46] In any case Jacques bought an estate in Coppet and Louis in Cologny, both near Lake Geneva. In retirement, Necker, believing in "credible policy", occupied himself with law and economics, producing his famous Traité de l'administration des finances de la France (1784). Calonne tried to prevent the spread in Paris. [47] Never had a work on such a serious a subject obtained such general success; 80.000 copies were sold. [48]

Charles-Alexandre de Calonne Vigee-Lebrun, Elisabeth-Louise - Charles-Alexandre de Calonne (1734-1802) (cropped).jpg
Charles-Alexandre de Calonne

Louis XVI’s greatest problem was the French national debt. It had reached four billion livres — accumulated over many wars — and there was an annual deficit of 100 million livres. As a result, Hardman points out, in the 1780s, whereas the British government could borrow at 3. 5 per cent, the French government had to pay 6 per cent, and often more. Unless its finances were reformed, France would be unable to fight more wars. [49]

The family returned to the Paris region, supposing they were present at the wedding of their only daughter Germaine in January 1786. The impending national bankruptcy of France caused Calonne to convene an Assembly of notables under the elimination of parlements in order to enforce tax reforms. It had not met since 1626. One could not issue new loans without the Parlements' approval. [50] In his speech Calonne expressed doubts about Necker's statistics in the Compte rendu. According to him they were false and misleading, [51] [52] as the state revenues had been revised upwards. For Calonne the French deficit was caused by Necker, who had not raised the taxes. However, Calonne got involved in several financial scandals regarding the "Calonne Company" and was dismissed by the king on 8 April 1787. [53] On 11 April Necker replied on the charges made by Calonne. Two days later Louis XVI banished Necker by a lettre de cachet for his very public exchange of pamphlets. [54]

[55] After two months Necker was allowed to return to Paris. Necker published his: Nouveaux éclaircissement sur le compte rendu. The next minister of finance Loménie de Brienne resigned within fifteen months, on 24 August 1788; the king allowed him an enormous pension.

On 25 or 26 August Necker was called back to office accompanied by fireworks. According to John Hardman Marie-Antoinette helped to organise Necker's return to power. This time he insisted on the title of Controller-General of Finances and access to the royal council. [56] [57] [58] Necker was appointed as Chief minister of France. He revoked the order of 16 August requiring bondholders to accept paper instead of money; government bonds rose 30% on the market. On 7 September Necker forbade the export of grain. [59] The bankers advanced the treasury sufficient funds to forestall a crisis over the next year. The winter of 1788-89 was one of the bitterest in history. In the summer of 1789 when the population suffered from famine Necker intervened personally and successfully at the Amsterdam bank Hope & Co. to supply the 'King of France' with grain. [60] [61] The 2.4 million in the royal treasury he used as a collateral. [62] Necker's method sough a more limited monarchy along the English constitutional and financial model. [63]

The one non-noble minister

In this 1789 engraving, James Gillray caricatures the triumph of Necker (seated, on left) in 1789, comparing its effects on freedom unfavorably to those of William Pitt the Younger in Britain. France has the caption "Freedom," while Britain has the caption "Slavery." France-Britain-Freedom-Slavery-Gillray.jpeg
In this 1789 engraving, James Gillray caricatures the triumph of Necker (seated, on left) in 1789, comparing its effects on freedom unfavorably to those of William Pitt the Younger in Britain. France has the caption "Freedom," while Britain has the caption "Slavery."

Necker succeeded in doubling the representation of the Third Estate to satisfy the nation, c.q. the people. The Third Estate had as many deputies as the other two orders together. His address at the Estates-General on 5 May 1789 about the fundamental problems as financial health, constitutional monarchy, and institutional and political reforms lasted three hours. Necker suffered from a cold and after fifteen minutes he asked the secretary of the Agricultural Societey to read the remainder. [64] He invited the representatives to leave aside their factional interests and take into consideration the general, long-term interests of the nation. Personal rivalries and radical claims had to give way to a pragmatic spirit of moderation and conciliation. [65] Necker's last sentence of the speech:

"Finally, gentlemen, you will not be envious of what only time can achieve, and you will leave something for it to do. For if you attempt to reform everything that seems imperfect, your work will lead to poor results." [66]

According to Simon Schama he "appeared to consider the Estates-General to be a facility designed to help the administration rather than to reform government". [67] Two weeks later Necker seems to have sought to persuade the king to adopt a constitution similar to that of England and advised him in the strongest possible terms to make the necessary concessions before it was too late. [68] According to François Mignet "He hoped to reduce the number of orders, and bring about the adoption of the English form of government, by uniting the clergy and nobility in one chamber, and the third estate in another." [69] By this refusal he became the ally of the assembly, which determined to support him. Necker warned the king that unless the privileged orders yielded, the States-General would collapse, taxes would not be paid, and the government would be bankrupt and helpless. [70]

On 17 June 1789, the first act of the new National Assembly in revolutionary France declared all existing taxes illegal. Necker had legitimate reasons to be concerned about the implications of this unprecedented decision. [71] On 23 June the king proposed to the royal council the dissolution of the Assembly. On the 11th of July, Necker received a note from the king enjoining him to leave the country within a day. He finished dining very calmly, without communicating the purport of the order he had received. According to Jean Luzac they went for a walk in a parc and from there got into their carriage to drive to their estate in Saint-Ouen at seven in the evening. [72] When the news became known the next day it enraged Camille Desmoulins. A wax-head of Necker by Philippe Curtius was taken through the streets to the Tuileries. The Royal Guard allegedly refused to salute the wax portraits and, instead, opened fire, initiating the first bloodshed of the Revolution. [73] The threat of a counter-revolution caused citizens to take up arms and storm the Bastille on 14 July. [74] The king and the Assembly recalled the immensely popular Necker to a third ministry in a letter dated 16 July. [75] Necker replied from Basle on the 23rd. [76] He wrote his brother that he was going back to the abyss. His successor,the 74-years-old Joseph Foullon de Doué was hanged from a lamppost on the 22nd. His entry into Versailles on the 29th was a day of festivity; [77] he demanded a pardon for Baron de Besenval, who was imprisoned after given command of the troops concentrated in and around Paris early July. [78]

Assignats

Early French banknote issue by Domaines Nationaux - Assignat for 100 livres, 1790 Issue FRA-A39-Domaines Nationaux-100 livres (1790).jpg
Early French banknote issue by Domaines Nationaux - Assignat for 100 livres, 1790 Issue

Necker proved to be powerless as tax-revenue dropped quickly. A first loan of thirty millions (1,200,000 livres), voted the 9th of August, had not succeeded; a subsequent loan of eighty millions (3,200,000 livres), voted the 27th of the same month, had been insufficient. [79] Credit was wrecked, according to Talleyrand; for Mirabeau "the deficit was the treasure of the nation" as it had made many changes possible. In September the treasury was empty. [80] According to Marat the whole famine was the work of one man, accusing Necker of buying up all the corn on every side, in order that Paris had none. [81] Talleyrand, the bishop of Autun proposed “national goods” should be given back to the nation. [82] In November 1789 ecclesiastical possessions were confiscated. Necker proposed to borrow from "Caisse d'Escompte", but his intention to change the private bank into a national bank as the Bank of England failed. [83] [84] A general bankrupt seemed certain. [85] [86] Mirabeau proposed to LaFayette to overthrow Necker. [87] On 21 December 1789 a first decree was voted through, ordering the issue (in April 1790) of 400 million assignats, certificates of indebtedness of 1,000 livres each, with an interest rate of 5%, secured and repayable based on the auctioning of the "Biens nationaux". [88] Once the assignats were paid, they had to be destroyed or burnt. On 10 March 1790, on the proposition Pétion, the administration of the church property was transferred to the municipalities. [89] In the past few months Étienne Clavière lobbied for large issues of assignats representing national wealth and operating as legal tender. [90] For daily life smaller denominations were needed and extended to the whole of France. [91] On 17 April 1790, the new notes of 200 and 300 livres were declared legal tender but their interest was reduced to 3%. [92] The assignats would compensate for the scarcity of coin and would revive industry and trade. [93]

In May 1790 the feudal and ecclesiastical properties were sold against assignats. Constitutional monarchists such as Maury, Cazalès, Bergasse and d'Eprémesnil opposed it. The deputies in the Convention prepared a surety for future issues of paper money (on 19 June, 29 July). [94] In July, Necker proposed, as the only means, a patriotic contribution of a fourth of the revenue, to be paid at once. [95] Half of the taxes over the preceding year were still not received. People who earned more than 400 livres were invited to go to their municipality and fulfill their duty. As it was not the final cure he asked his friends, the Genevan "banquiers", to pay the arrears; the Assembly c.q. Clavière turned it down. [96] The political scene came to be dominated by "clamorous spectators, passionate judges, and ungovernable agitators". [97] Necker was continuously attacked by Jean-Paul Marat in his pamphlets and by Jacques-René Hébert in his newspaper. Count Mirabeau, who played a decisive role in the Assembly, accused him of complete financial dictatorship. [98] For Mirabeau, to express doubts in the assignats, was to express doubts in the revolution. [99]

At the end of August the government was again in distress; four months after the first issue the money was spent. Montesquiou-Fézensac, the teacher of Mirabeau, presented a report in the Assembly. Assignats should be used not only for payment of church property. [100]

Necker himself argued at the National Assembly on 27 August that the assignats were a paper money which would bankrupt France. [101] Talleyrand had also attacked them on the grounds that they risked the same fate as Law's schemes. Camus stressed what he believed was the lesson of American experience of paper, which had undermined metal money and sent prices spiralling. [102] Condorcet and Dupont de Nemours argued that the assignats would drive out silver and other forms of coin, raise prices relative to paper, and thereby dangerously restrict commerce. All of these writers preferred the issue of treasury bills at interest through the Caisse d'Escompte, a revised tax-system, and increased loans. [103]

Montesquiou had massively exaggerated the amount of the redeemable debt, probably to convince the Assembly. [104] On 27 August 1790 the Assembly decided another issue of 1,9 billion assignats which would become legal tender before the end of the year. Necker endeavored to dissuade the Assembly from the proposed issue; suggesting that other means could be found for accomplishing the result, and he predicted terrible evils. Necker was not backed by Comte de Mirabeau, his strongest opponent who called for "national money" and won that day. [105] A few crowds were sent to shout and threaten him. [106] When all resources were exhausted, the Assembly created paper money, according to Necker. [107] He handed in his resignation on 3 September. [108] The massive and dangerous issue of 1,9 billion he succeeded to get down to 800 million, but the attacks influenced his resignation. [109] [110] Necker did not step down on the decision to make the assignat legal tender, but on the choice to issue the paper money for the full value of the land instead of ¼ of it, and a foul campaign against his person, and the loss of confidence in parliament. [111]

By September 1790, all authorized assignats had been paid out by the government. Supporters of the paper money argued that since the assignats were secured by land, more notes could be safely issued as long as they were retired and burned at the same rate that the lands securing them were sold. On September 29, 1790, the National Assembly authorized a further issue of 800 million livres and abolished interest on the assignats altogether. [112] )

The Assembly decreed that it would itself direct the public Treasury. [113] Necker foretold that the paper money, with which the dividends were about to be paid, would soon be of no value. Du Pont de Nemours feared the emission of assignats would double the price of bread. [114] [115] Since no one had truly the right to make assignats, everyone would soon begin to do so. [116] Montesquiou-Fézensac, charged with the issue of assignats, feared stockjobbing and greed. [117] A declaration (Oct 14) suspending all interest payments turned the assignats into fiat paper money proper. [118]

By September 1790, the assignat had become a true circulating paper currency, and 800 million livres worth of non-interest bearing notes were added to the initial issue, in denominations of 50, 60 70, 80, 90, 100, 500, and 2000 livres with legal-tender status. The lower denominations [25, 10, 5] were produced in large numbers in order to ensure wide circulation. [119] This change stimulated the economy but also increased inflationary pressures. [120] [121]

Necker's efforts to keep the financial situation afloat were ineffective. His popularity vanished and he resigned with a damaged reputation. [122] [123] Necker left leaving two million livres in the public treasury; he took 1/5 of the amount with him. [124]

Retirement

Chateau de Coppet, vue partielle CH-NB - Coppet, Chateau de Coppet, vue partielle - Collection Max van Berchem - EAD-8736.tif
Château de Coppet, vue partielle

Necker, suspected of reactionary tendencies, traveled east to Arcis-sur-Aube and Vesoul, where he was arrested and scared to death, but on 11 September he was allowed to leave the country. [125] At Coppet Castle he occupied himself with political economy, and law. At the end of 1792, he published a brochure on the trial against Louis XVI. The Neckers were far from welcome in Geneva. Many of the French émigrés considered them Jacobins, and many of the Swiss Jacobins thought them conservative. [126] Initially living in Rolle, the Necker's moved to an apartment in Beaulieu Castle. [127] (In 1793 Necker moved because of the installation of a revolutionary government in Geneva?) After being put on the list of Émigrés Necker was not paid any interest on the money he had left in the treasury. [128] His house in Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, his estate in Saint-Ouen sûr Seine and the two million livres were confiscated by the French government? [129] Mme Necker, who had always seen herself as ill, sank into mental illness. Since the birth of Germaine she was correcting the most morbid clauses of her will and insisted to be embalmed by Samuel-Auguste Tissot, preserved and exhibited in a bedroom for four months. [130] He continued to live under the care of his daughter. By 1794 France would be flooded by false assignats. But his time was past, and his books had except abroad no political influence.[ citation needed ] In 1795 Germaine moved to Paris with Benjamin Constant, but she came back, sometimes involuntary and founded the Cercle de Coppet.

In March 1798 a momentary excitement was caused by the French invasion of Switzerland when the city of Berne was attacked. Necker was treated with respect, when the army passed his mansion. In July 1798 he was removed from the list of Émigrés. [131] [132] His house in the 9th arrondissement of Paris was sold to (or occupied by?) the husband of Juliette Récamier. Early June 1802 Necker met with Napoleon on his way to Marengo. In confidence, Napoleon told him about his plans to reestablish a monarchy in France. The publication of Necker's "Last Views on Politics and Finance" in 1802 upset the first consul. He threatened to exile Madame de Staël from Paris because of this book. [133] [134] Although Necker had never been a republican before, toward the end of his life, he engaged seriously with the project of creating and consolidating a republic "one and indivisible" in France. [135] Necker then foretold the suppression of the Tribunat as it took place under the French Consulate. His claim of two million on the state treasury was not recognized by the French Senate. [136] Necker was buried next to his wife in the garden of Coppet Castle; the mausoleum was sealed in 1817 after Germaine had been buried there too. The Charter of 1814 signed by Louis XVIII at Saint-Ouen sûr Seine contained almost all the articles in support of liberty proposed by Necker before the Revolution of 14 July 1789. [137] Therefore, George Armstrong Kelly called him the "grandfather of Restoration Liberalism." [138]

Posterity has not been fair to Necker according to Aurelian Craiutu. [139] On 11 August 1792, the day after the Storming of the Tuileries, all the busts were removed from the town hall, including the one of Necker by Jean-Antoine Houdon and smashed. [140] Like Mirabeau, the Marquis De Lafayette, Barnave and Pétion Necker was only temporarily supported by the people. [141] [142]

Personal life

Family

His father, Karl Friedrich Necker, was a native of Küstrin in Neumark, Prussia (now Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Poland). After publishing some works, Karl Friedrich was appointed in Geneva in 1724 as a professor in public law. He started a boarding school for young Englishmen, later assisted by his son Louis Necker, a mathematician and a banker too.

In 1786 Necker's daughter Germaine married Erik Magnus Staël von Holstein; she was to become a prominent figure in her own right and a leading opponent of Napoleon Bonaparte. On 22 March 1814, she was promised 21 years of interest on her father's investment in the public treasury. [143] After his death his daughter published "Vie privée de Mr. Necker". His grandson Auguste de Staël (1790 – 1827) edited the Complete Oeuvres by Jacques Necker.

His nephew Jacques Necker (1757-1825), a botanist, married Albertine Necker de Saussure. They took care of their uncle after his wife had died in 1794.

Places named after Jacques Necker

Works

Notes

  1. Othénin d’Haussonville, p. 4
  2. A Voice of Moderation in the Age of Revolutions: Jacques Necker’s Reflections on Executive Power in Modern Society by Aurelian Craiutu
  3. Stael and the French Revolution Introduction by Aurelian Craiutu
  4. Macroeconomic Features of the French Revolution, by T.J. Sargent & F.R. Velde, p. 481
  5. A Voice of Moderation in the Age of Revolutions: Jacques Necker’s Reflections on Executive Power in Modern Society, p. 6 by Aurelian Craiutu
  6. The Edinburgh Encyclopædia; Conducted by David Brewster, p. 316
  7. Zeitgenossen. Biographieen und Charakteristiken, p. 72
  8. Necker et la Compagnie des Indes by Herbert Lüthy
  9. Kenneth Margerison, "The Shareholders' Revolt at the Compagnie des Indes: Commerce and Political Culture in Old Regime France" in French History20. 1, pp. 25–51. Abstract.
  10. Réponse au Mémoire de M. l'Abbé Morellet, sur la Compagnie des Indes,
  11. Citizens without Sovereignty: Equality and Sociability in French Thought ... by Daniel Gordon
  12. Seas of Gold, Seas of Cotton: Christophe Poulain DuBignon of Jekyll Island by Martha L. Keber
  13. Necker économiste by Claude Vacher de Lapouge
  14. F. Aftalion, p. 23
  15. A Voice of Moderation in the Age of Revolutions: Jacques Necker’s Reflections on Executive Power in Modern Society by Aurelian Craiutu
  16. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 865
  17. F. Aftalion, p. 22
  18. NECKER’S FIRST MINISTRY: 1776-81
  19. Neckers Charakter und Privatleben: nebst seinen nachgelassenen ..., Band 1, p. 32
  20. Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 94.
  21. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 866-867
  22. Othénin d’Haussonville (2004) “La liquidation du ‘dépôt’ de Necker: entre concept et idée-force,”, p. 154-155 Cahiers staëliens, 55
  23. Sur l’administration de M. Necker, p. 365
  24. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 866-867
  25. Donald F. Swanson and Andrew P. Trout, "Alexander Hamilton, 'the Celebrated Mr. Neckar,' and Public Credit," The William and Mary Quarterly 47, no. 3 (1990): 424.
  26. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 866-867
  27. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 870
  28. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. 23
  29. F. Aftalion, p. 24
  30. Jean-Denis Bredin (2004) “Necker, La France et la Gloire,”, p. 15 Cahiers staëliens, 55
  31. George Taylor, review of Jacques Necker: Reform Statesman of the Ancien Regime, by Robert D. Harris, Journal of Economic History 40, no. 4 (1980): 878.
  32. Annie Duprat, " Leonard Burnand, The pamphlet against Necker. Media and political imaginary to the xviiie century ", historical Record of the French Revolution [online], 361 | July–September 2010, published online march 22, 2011, accessed November 14, 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/ahrf/11742
  33. Annie Duprat, " Leonard Burnand, The pamphlet against Necker. Media and political imaginary to the xviiie century ", historical Record of the French Revolution [online], 361 | July–September 2010, published online march 22, 2011, accessed November 14, 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/ahrf/11742
  34. F. Aftalion, p. 24-25
  35. Taylor, Jacques Necker: Reform, p. 877f.
  36. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 870
  37. S. Schama, p. 92-93
  38. Francis Page (1797) Secret History of the French Revolution from the Convocation of the Notables ... p. 271-273
  39. The Edinburgh Encyclopædia; Conducted by David Brewster, p. 316
  40. Schama, Citizens, 95.
  41. S. Schama, p. 93
  42. Considerations on the principal events of the French Revolution Germaine de Staël
  43. Tweede briev van Jan van Utrecht, p. 54
  44. Annie Duprat, " Leonard Burnand, The pamphlet against Necker. Media and political imaginary to the xviiie century ", historical Record of the French Revolution [online], 361 | July–September 2010, published online march 22, 2011, accessed November 14, 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/ahrf/11742
  45. The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1776-1789, Part I: The Great States of ... by Franco Venturi, p. 348
  46. Othénin d’Haussonville (2004) “La liquidation du ‘dépôt’ de Necker: entre concept et idée-force,”, p. 204 Cahiers staëliens, 55
  47. Zeitgenossen: Biograhien und Charakteristiken, Ausgaben 1-4, p. 6
  48. Considerations on the principal events of the French Revolution Germaine de Staël
  49. How a Swiss banker’s bungling led to the French Revolution
  50. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. 25
  51. The Problem with Necker’s Compte Rendu au roi (1781) by Joël Félix
  52. From Virtue to Surplus: Jacques Necker's Compte Rendu (1781) and the Origins of Modern Political Discourse by Jacob Soll
  53. The French East India Company
  54. John Hardman (2016) The life of Louis XVI
  55. Madame de Stael by Maria Fairweather
  56. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 948
  57. Madame de Stael by Maria Fairweather
  58. Jacques Necker
  59. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 949
  60. At Spes non Fracta: Hope & Co. 1770–1815, p. 46 by M.G. Buist
  61. Othénin d’Haussonville (2004) “La liquidation du ‘dépôt’ de Necker: entre concept et idée-force,”, p. 156 Cahiers staëliens, 55
  62. Neckers Charakter und Privatleben: nebst seinen nachgelassenen ..., Band 1, p. 83
  63. Overture to Revolution: The 1787 Assembly of Notables and the Crisis of France's Old Regime. By John Hardman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  64. Wikisource
  65. Aurelian Craiutu (2012) A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830, p. 119-121
  66. R.D. Harris (1986) Necker and the Revolution of 1789, p. 433-434
  67. Schama, Citizens, 345–46.
  68. Aurelian Craiutu (2012) A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830, p. 123
  69. History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 by M. Mignet
  70. Will and Ariel Durant (1967) Rousseau and Revolution, p. 958
  71. Aurelian Craiutu (2012) A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830, p. 124
  72. Gazette de Leyde - Livraison n° 58 du 21 juillet 1789
  73. Paris Amanda Spies-Gans, “‘The Fullest Imitation of Life’: Reconsidering Marie Tussaud, Artist-Historian of the French Revolution,” Journal 18, Issue 3 Lifelike (Spring 2017), http://www.journal18.org/1438. DOI: 10.30610/3.2017.8
  74. Godechot, Jacques. The Taking of the Bastille July 14, 1789.
  75. De la Révolution française, Band 2 by Jacques Necker, p. 13
  76. Briefe und Urkunden von Ludwig XVI., Marie Antoinette und Madame Elisabeth, p. 410
  77. Gazette de Leyde - Livraison n° 63 du 7 août 1789
  78. History of the French revolution of 1789, Band 1 , p. 568
  79. History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 by M. Mignet
  80. François Crouzet (1993) La grande inflation : La monnaie en France de Louis XVI à Napoléon, p. 97-98
  81. Historical View of the French Revolution: From Its Earliest Indications to ... by Jules Michelet, p. 248
  82. Crouzet, F. (1993) La grande inflation, p. 101
  83. Crouzet, F. (1993) La grande inflation, p. 104-105
  84. F. Aftalion, p. 64
  85. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. 59
  86. Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution by Rebecca L. Spang
  87. Historical View of the French Revolution: From Its Earliest Indications to ... by Jules Michelet, p. 288
  88. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, THE ASSIGNATS, AND THE COUNTERFEITERS
  89. Crouzet, F. (1993) La grande inflation, p. 110
  90. Whatmore, Richard (1996) “Commerce, Constitutions, and the Manners of a Nation: Etienne Clavière's Revolutionary Political Economy, 1788–1793.” History of European Ideas 22.5-6 (1996): 351–368. Web.
  91. F. Aftalion, p. 95
  92. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. xii
  93. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. 80, 95
  94. The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation by Florin Aftalion, p. 76
  95. History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 by M. Mignet
  96. Crouzet, F. (1993) La grande inflation, p. 99
  97. Aurelian Craiutu (2012) A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830, p. 130
  98. Simon Schama (1989) Citizens, p. 499, 536
  99. E. Levasseur (1894) The Assignats: A Study in the Finances of the French Revolution, p. 183. In: Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 2, No. 2
  100. F. Aftalion, p. 77
  101. 'Contre l'émission de dix-neuf cents millions d'assignats', Œuvres complètes de Jacques Necker (Paris, 1821), vii, 430-447.
  102. De l'opinion de M. Camus, (Paris, 1789)
  103. Whatmore, Richard (1996) “Commerce, Constitutions, and the Manners of a Nation: Etienne Clavière's Revolutionary Political Economy, 1788–1793.” History of European Ideas 22.5-6 (1996): 351–368. Web.
  104. F. Aftalion, p. 78
  105. A.D. White (1878) The Assignat|Ann Arbor Library
  106. Historical View of the French Revolution: From Its Earliest Indications to ... by Jules Michelet, p. 487
  107. F. Aftalion, p. 84-85
  108. Considerations on the principal events of the French Revolution Germaine de Staël, p. 256-258
  109. Crouzet, F. (1993) La grande inflation, p. 115
  110. Histoire de la révolution française: depuis l'Assemblée des notables ... by Jacques Necker, p. 35
  111. Histoire de la Révolution française par Henri Martin, p. 214
  112. Guide to the French Currency Collection 1791-1796. University of Chicago Library (2012)
  113. Historical View of the French Revolution: From Its Earliest Indications to ... by Jules Michelet, p. 487
  114. The Money and the Finances of the French Revolution of 1789: Assignats and Mandats: A True History: Including an Examination of Dr. Andrew D. White's Paper Money Inflation in France by Stephen Devalson Dillaye, p. 18
  115. F. Aftalion, p. 81
  116. Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution by Rebecca L. Spang
  117. Opinion de M. de Montesquiou sur les assignats-monnoie..., p. 3
  118. THE HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT WEBSITE
  119. Collection Complète des Lois, Décrets, Ordonnances, Réglements, p. 35
  120. Tales from the Vault: Money of the French Revolution – the Assignat by Douglas Mudd, ANA Money Museum curator / museum director
  121. Assignats
  122. Furet and Ozuof, A Critical Dictionary,288.
  123. Doyle, William. The French Revolution. A Very Short Introduction.
  124. Histoire de la révolution française: depuis l'Assemblée des notables ... by Jacques Necker, p. 31
  125. Historical Review of the Administration of Mr. Necker by Jacques Necker, p. 373
  126. The Encyclopedists as individuals: a biographical dictionary of the authors of the Encyclopédie
  127. The Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon: With Memoirs of His Life ..., Band 2 by Edward Gibbon, p. 460, 483
  128. Othénin d’Haussonville (2004) “La liquidation du ‘dépôt’ de Necker: entre concept et idée-force,”, p. 156-158 Cahiers staëliens, 55
  129. Othénin d’Haussonville, p. 162-163
  130. Glory and Terror: Seven Deaths Under the French Revolution by Antoine de Baecque
  131. Othénin d’Haussonville, p. 169
  132. Considerations on the principal events of the French Revolution Germaine de Staël, p. 418-420
  133. Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution ..., Volume 2 by Madame de Staël, p. 35-36, 42
  134. Considerations on the principal events of the French Revolution Germaine de Staël, p. 459
  135. Aurelian Craiutu (2012) A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830, p. 145
  136. Othénin d’Haussonville, p. 177
  137. Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution ..., Volume 2 by Madame de Staël, p. 148
  138. Kelly, George A. (1965). "Liberalism and Aristocracy in the French Restoration". Journal of the History of Ideas. 26 (4): 510.
  139. A Voice of Moderation in the Age of Revolutions: Jacques Necker’s Reflections on Executive Power in Modern Society by Aurelian Craiutu
  140. Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment by Anne L. Poulet, p. 351
  141. Jonathan Israel (2015) Revolutionary Ideas, p. ?
  142. Positive principles of Mr. Neker, extracted from all his works
  143. Othénin d’Haussonville, p. 195, 205

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