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61s t C o n g r e s s \
2d Session



/ D ocum ent
\ N o. 573


The History and Methods of

the Paris Bourse


W ashington : Government Printing Office : 1910


61s t C o n g r e s s \
2d Session


/ D ocum ent


No. 573


The History and Methods of

the Paris Bourse



Washington : Government Printing Office : 1910


XELSON \V. A l d r ic h , R h ode Island, Chairman.
E d w ar d B . V r e e l a n d , N ew Y o rk , Vice- Chairman .
J u l iu s C. B u r r o w s , Michigan.

J oh n W . W e e k s , Massachusetts.

E u g e n e H a l e , Maine.

R o b e r t W . B o n y n g e , Colorado.

P h il a n d e r C. K
T h e o d o re



Pen n sylvan ia.

B u r t o n , Ohio.

S y l v e s t e r C. S m ith , California.
L e m u e l P . P a d g e t t , Tennessee.

H e n r y M. T e l l e r , Colorado.

G e o r g e F . B u r g e s s , T exas.

H e r n a n d o D . Mo n e y , Mississippi.

A r s i n e P . P u jo , Louisiana.

J o se p h W . B a i l e y , T ex as.

A rt h u r B . S h e l t o n , Secretary.

A. P ia t t A n d r e w , Special Assistant to Commission.


G e n e r a l i t i e s ............................ .................... .........................................................
T h e B o u r s e .— T h e T r a d e r s .— T h e O p e r a t io n s _____________
F irst
D ivision:
Bourses.— Merchandise
brokers.— Stock­
brokers.— Curb brokers.— Securities-------------------------------------

Second D ivision: The operations for c a s h -------------------------------T hird D ivision: Operations for future delivery------------------------Fourth D ivision: On Exchange.— Concerning the negotiation
of bills of exchange and precious m etals------------------------------

F ifth D ivision: Bourses in the Departments---------------------------BOOK III.
J u d ic ia l C o n s id e r a t io n s

on t h e

Mo n o p o l y


Sto ckbro ker s.

H is t o r ic a l a n d E co n o m ic C o n s i d e r a t io n s ____________ ____
F irst D ivision: The exchange market.— Origin of public credit.
Second D iv isio n ______________________________________
T hird D ivision: T he Council’s decisions of 1724 to 1788.— The
financial market on the eve of the revolution_____________

Fourth D ivision: The financial market during the revolution__
F ifth D ivision: The nineteenth century------ ------------- ---------------


B y E . V id a l .



I .—


1. Transferable securities are products of industry, subject to the
general conditions of the production and exchange of wealth.


2. W hat is meant by a financial m ark et?-------------------------------------


3. Difference between fairs, markets, and the Bourse. Merchandise
brokers and stockbrokers (courtiers et agents de change) _____

5 -6

4. The Bourse is a public place, a public mart. Commerce in
France is free, but in the right belonging to the authorities to
keep order in a public place originated the right to regulate
the Bourse. Under the old regime, the selling of the right to
work was mainly the cause of the establishment of merchan­
dise brokers and stockbrokers----------------------------------------------5. The revolutionary period. The freedom of the market. Stockjobbing (agiotage) and its c a u ses______________________
6. Laws now governing the French financial m a r k e t___________
7. Brief considerations on



9 -16
16 -17

“ reorganization” of the French

market, effected in 18 98 ______________________________
8. The grounds for


present organization

1 7-18

have disappeared,

but the organization rem ains____________ ______ _______


The author of the present work deems it necessary,
first of all, to connect the study of a financial market with
that of the totality of elements belonging to the field of
political economy.
Are the emission of fiduciary values and the trading
therein special phenomena? Or are they, on the con­
trary, subject to the general conditions of the production
and exchange of wealth?
Beyond a doubt, fiduciary values, more generally known
in France as valeurs mobilises, i. e., transferable secu-





ities,® are wealth created by man’s industry, and circu­
lating by virtue of the general causes which create and
dominate commerce.
The producer extracts the raw material or transforms
it, in order to render it suitable to the requirements of the
consumers; the tradesman conveys the manufactured
product, or, as merchant, as commission agent, as broker,
or even as money lender, causes it to circulate. In the
same way there are producers, traders, and consumers of
transferable securities.
The producers of transferable securities are the financiers,
who negotiate with borrowing governments or with repre­
sentatives of provinces or cities desirous of borrowing.
They decide upon the rates of interest, the conditions of
sinking funds, and the maturity of the coupons.


prepare and arrange the emissions; they do the same for
borrowing stock companies. Often, they even create
these stock companies; they lay down their by-laws, and
they secure for them the executive and professional staffs.
They have as auxiliaries the guaranty syndicates and the
bankers— genuine dealers in transferable securities, who
buy and sell for their own account. Dealers are likewise
those auxiliaries of commerce who are represented by the
a Article 516 of the Code civil: “ All wealth (biens) is either transfer­
able or intransferable.”
A r t . 529. Transferable are, b y the determination of the law, bonds and
shares which represent monetary claims or movable effects; the shares or
interests in financial, commercial, or industrial companies, even when the
real estate used in these undertakings belongs to the companies. These
shares or interests are deemed transferable with regard only to each partner,
as long as the company exists.
Perpetual or life annuities paid b y the
state or by individuals are also deemed transferable wealth according to law.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
brokers and commission merchants in securities, and who
trade for account of third parties in the public marts.
The capitalists, and even the speculators, are the con­
sumers of transferable securities. Thus we see producers,
dealers, and consumers in the domain of transferable
securities, just as may be seen producers, dealers, and
consumers in any other field of commodities,
(2) B y a financial market, in the widest sense of the
word, is meant the totality of elements, either universal
or regional, which cooperate in the issuing and circulating
of transferable securities.
In a limited sense, we understand by a financial market
the public place in a city where dealings in securities are
carried on— the public place specially set apart for these
dealings. That public place is the Bourse.
Thus, the Bourse is a public place. This fact should be
constantly borne in mind. Only thus is it possible thor­
oughly to understand not only its history but also, in cer­
tain cases, aggregate of regulations and laws which control
its workings.
(3) Bourses differ from fairs and markets in that, ac­
cording to the accepted usage on the bourses, .articles need
not be exhibited to the buyer at the time the contract is
made, whereas the customary procedure at fairs and mar­
kets is different.0
The bourses themselves are divided into commercial
exchanges proper (bourses de commerce), where merchan­
dise is dealt in— such as wheat, flour, spirits, sugar, etc.—
a Thaller, Droit Commercial, 2d ed. No. 824.— Lyon-Caen et Renault,
T ra iti de Droit Commercial, T I, Nos. 20 and 328.

N ational

M on e t a r y


and stock exchanges (bourses des valeurs), where securities
are dealt in.
On the commercial exchanges the brokers formerly
traded in merchandise, coins, bills of exchange, and deeds,
which are in some way the predecessors of modern securi­
ties. The commission agents operating on the bourses
were called brokers in exchange, provisions, and merchan­
dise (les courretiers de change, denrees et marchandises) .
Thus, a decree of Charles IX , of June, 1572, is called, “ A
decree concerning brokers in exchange and provisions, as
well as cloths, silk, woolens, linens, leather, and other
kinds of merchandise, wines, wheat and other grains,
horses and all other kinds of cattle.” a It is only since the
year 1639 that the functions of stockbrokers and merchan­
dise brokers seem to have been separated.6 Indeed, a
decree of the K ing’s council of April 2, 1639, gives to the
brokers in exchange the name of agents de change (stock­
brokers) .c
As we stated, it is the fact that the Bourse is a public
place which has determined its regulation. It is now
important to enlarge upon this statement.
In France commerce is unfettered, and yet the
administration of stock exchanges is so overridden with
regulations as to constitute, in that regard, an exception,
a considerable derogation from common law.
Article 7 of the law of March 17, 1791, says: “ E very
one shall be free to carry on such business, or to practise
such profession, as he may see fit, subject, however, to
such police regulations as have been or may be made.”
o^Manuel des Agents de Change, p. 7.
b Lyons-Caen & Renault, Traits de Droit Commercial, T . IV, No. 872.
c M anuel des agents de change, p. 15.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
On September 17, 1807, Regnaud de St. Jean d ’Angely,
when he tendered the draft of commercial law establish­
ing a Code, expressed himself as follows:
“ At the beginning of Book I and tinder the title of
‘ General Provisions,’ the drafters had laid down rules,
some of which are purely theoretical and superfluous.
Some others have been found more fit to belong elsewhere.
Thus, for instance, we have not thought it necessary to state
that in France everyone had the right to trade * * *
Thus no one disputes that the principle of freedom of
trade remains to-day one of the rights of man (except in
the politico-economical school which causes personal rights
to be swallowed up by common rights). The principle
of freedom of trade is a positive right, and is, in some way,
confirmed by our constitutional laws. Indeed, one may
read in the preliminary draft of the constitutional laws of
1875 the following sentence, characteristic of M. Lepere’s
style: “ We have enacted a series of constitutional pro­
visions, without endeavoring to promulgate principles any
more than to formulate philosophical statements. Our
principles are known. They are the principles of 1789,
which all succeeding governments have recognized. ’ ’ b
However, notwithstanding the principle of freedom of
trade, the French financial market is not free. The pro­
fession of stockbroker {agent de change) is, as will be seen,
a monopoly. It is not a State monopoly, like that of
the sale of tobacco, gunpowder, matches, or of carrying
a Expose des M otifs du Code de Commerce. Corps LSgislatif. i° S e p tembre, 1807, Archives Parlementaires, 1807.
b Session of February 17, 1875. Annates de l ’A ssem b le Nationale, T .
X X X V I , p. 619.

The principle of freedom of trade, started in 1791,

belongs to the principle of freedom to work proclaimed in 1789.

Droit A dm inistratif , T . I l l , p. 574.




M on e t a r y


the mails; it is a monopoly held by certain persons for
their own benefit. It is a question of a private monopoly
intrusted to individuals.
What is the origin of this phenomenon?

W hy this ex­

ception? We have found this question quite brilliantly
elucidated in the pleadings of an eminent barrister, Dean
du Buit, during a famous financial lawsuit.3
“ The Bourse,” said he, “ is a public mart where bills
and securities are purchased, just as fairs are public marts
where grain and cattle and all kinds of merchandise are
purchased. These public marts, these bourses, are always
spontaneously and gradually formed, by one and the same
process— either in answer to requirements, or through
habits, or by the cooperation of populations.
“ There is, for instance, in a given place, a center for
gatherings, and, by and by, as it becomes known that
purchasers will be found there, everyone brings to this
center what he has to sell. Customs and regulations are
also spontaneously here established. The way to buy, or
to sell, is learned; and thus is formed what commercial
laws designate as local usage (Vusage de la place).
“ Finally, the market is established; it develops, and,
as is necessarily the case with all that is human, abuses
gradually make their appearance. These abuses become
glaring; stockjobbing sets in; quarrels, brawls, and dis­
orders take place; and the central power investigates.
“ The authorities interfere and take the market in hand.
There are abuses, they say; we are going to correct them;
a In the matter of the People and the Association of Stockbrokers v.
Buzelet & Perritre. Tribunal de la Seine 22 Fevrier 1907.
Compte rendu de la Cote de la Bourse et de la Banque du 24 Fevrier, 1907.
Messrs, de


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
there are fraudulent middlemen— we shall replace them
by middlemen whom we ourselves shall appoint. We shall
make regulations; they will be carried out in the market;
and thus we shall fix as a regulation that when a party
desires to enter the market to dispose of securities, instead
of trusting himself to one of these intermeddlesome mid­
dlemen, who bring business into disrepute, he will ad­
dress himself to the middlemen whom we shall appoint.
Through them alone he will be bound to trade.”
Thus spoke Maitre du Buit; and it can not be denied
that it is from the police authority that the power of regu­
lating the Bourse as a public place originates. But the
authorities have found some advantage in the exercise of
that power of regulation. Under the old regime the Gov­
ernment considered itself as the master of persons, as the
owner of their right to work. Accordingly, it sold it to
them. It often occurred that it bestowed monopoly and
privilege on certain people who bought their benefits. The
traffic in charges, employments, offices, which was the
plague of the old regime, was practised also on the pro­
fessions of merchandise broker and of stockbroker.
The monopoly of agents de change, in reality, was pur­
chased from the Government under the old regime.
(5) The revolution takes place.
The law of March 17, 1791, which suppressed offices,
charters, and wardenships of trade companies, also abol­
ished the monopoly of the agents de change, which had
been established by a series of successive royal decrees
from 1724 to 1788— decrees by which the privileges of
monopoly had been by turns bestowed, modified, with­
drawn, restored, or confirmed.


M on e t a r y


But the disturbances at home and abroad at the time of
the French Revolution, and the financial policy which, in
the domain of private property, manifested itself in the
suppression of stock companies,0 and, in the domain of
public credit, assumed the form of the emission of assig­
nats, forced loans, and bankruptcy— all this caused a
terrible repercussion on the financial markets.
When the Bourse was closed for the first time (from
June 27, 1793, to April 25, 1795) and stock companies
were suppressed, rentes disappeared from the m arket.6
It was not rentes and shares of stock companies that
attracted speculation, and for very good reasons. In­
stead, people dabbled in metals and in bills of exchange,
owing to two causes: The decline in the value of assignats,
and the scarcity of metallic currency.
It could not be otherwise.

The phenomenon was

inevitable, and so it actually took place.

Let us ex­

plain it.
If you piace in a safe 1,000 francs in napoleons, and
if you cause these 50 pieces of 20 francs each to be repre­
sented by 1,000 sheets of paper, these 1,000 sheets of paper
will theoretically, and yet quite accurately, be worth 1
franc each. If, instead of 1,000 sheets, 2,000 sheets are
issued, the value will normally have to fall to 50 centimes.
If 4,000 are issued, the value will fall to 25 centimes, and
so on. It may happen that the party who emits them
(especially if it be the Government) should become indig­
nant because of the decline, and, in its ignorance, assign
the reasons for the decline to stockjobbing. But, whatever
« Decree of August 24, 1793.

b Because interest was paid in paper which was gradually shrinking in


History and

Methods of the Paris Bourse

it may do, the paper will always tend to be worth
exactly that which it represents. If the Government
threatens those it holds responsible for the decline with
the worst punishments— the carcan, the pillory, death
even— it will be all in vain; the paper money will tend
to be worth only that which it represents. Perhaps
the paper may fall even below its intrinsic value, owing
ta the endeavors of the issuing party to boost it; but
it will not really be the merchants who have caused the
paper to fall, nor even those in whose hands the paper is
found. The author of the phenomenon is the very party
issuing the paper.
The scarcity of metal currency is a corollary to the
decline of the paper. When paper declines, those who
have gold do not care to exchange it for paper steadily
depreciating in their hands. In consequence, they de­
mand for a little gold a great deal of paper.


declines, gold rises.
Finally, when a country is in the throes of a revolution,
home production of produce and of the most ordinary
objects of utility diminishes for the very reason of the
existing troubles. What is wanting, must be drawn from
abroad; but how should payment be made for it? In
gold, in coin used abroad— that is to say, in foreign bills
of exchange. This is a new reason for the rise in gold and
for a rise in the rates of foreign exchange which represents
gold. These grounds for a rise will be still greater when
the country is at war with one or several foreign nations.
Such is, in some way, the physiology of the double
economic movement— the decline of paper, and the rise
of metal. The speculations of the revolutionary times did


M on et a r y


not cause the decline of paper, nor the rise of m etal; they
merely gave expression to the double phenomenon.
On this occasion the complete history of the French
Revolution can not be given; the domestic strife, the riots,
the famines, the wars of the Republic at its birth, need not
again be narrated. But what is very well known is that,
after a first issue of assignats for 400,000,000 French
livres, in pursuance of the decree of December 19, 1790,
other issues followed and successively brought up to
45,000,000,000 livres the amount of assignats issued. And
the first form of the double phenomenon made its appear­
ance— the decline of paper.
The rise in metallic currency followed, aggravated by
the state of war between France and nearly the whole of
Europe combined. Famines occurred, and the Convention
authorized the supreme executive councils in the Depart­
ments to fix the maximum prices. Thereupon the mer­
chants ceased to sell, and the manufacturers to produce, as
the maximum had taken no account of the cost price.
Stockjobbing assumed fabulous proportions. In order to
procure food, people disposed of their belongings. The
possessor of gold and silver or of bills of exchange dictated
the prices. 0
The convention took alarm at the rise of the metallic
currency that accompanied the decline of the assignats— a
rise still more aggravating the situation at home and the
a Rambaud.

Histoire de la C ivilisation Contemporaine en France, p. 291.

See also in the Magistral of M. Emile Levasseur, L ’ Histoire des classes
ouvrikres depuis 178Q a 1870 (T . I, Ch. Les Assignats), the verification of
the repercussions caused b y the decline of assignats. In 1795 a bushel of
potatoes was worth 200 livres in assignats; 1 pound of butter, 560 livres;
a new coat, 15,000 livres; and a “ clean” hat, 500 livres (p. 224).


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
wars abroad. The convention attributed the rise of the
metal to stockjobbing, which, it should be borne in mind,
had thrown off all restraint. Thus, two laws were pro­
mulgated— the law of 18 Fructidor, year III (April 30,
1795), forbidding the selling of gold and silver anywhere
save on the Bourse, and that of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV
(October 20, 1795), on the regulations of the Bourse.
The law of 18 Fructidor, year III, provided the follow­
ing in article 1:
“ A rticle i . It is forbidden to anyone in Paris or in all
commercial cities where there is a bourse, to sell gold or
silver, either coined, or in bars or ingots, or manufactured;
or to make trades having these metals for basis, in public
places or premises other than the Bourse. All offenders
shall be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, to be ex­
posed to public view, with a sign board on the chest bear­
ing the word ‘agioteur’ (stockjobber), and by the same
process all his property shall be confiscated for the bene­
fit of the Republic.”
As to the law of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV, on bourse
regulation, it contained the following provisions:
“ A rt . 6. The committees of public safety and of finance
shall appoint, within twenty-four hours, 25 stockbrokers;
20 of them shall be assigned to banking operations and
negotiations in foreign bills in Paris; the remaining 5 shall
be assigned to the purchase and sale of coined metal, and
gold and silver bullion; all of them shall be called ‘ agents
de change’ (stockbrokers).
“ A rt . 7. They shall be invested with a commission,
which shall be delivered to them at once by the committees


N at i o n a l

M on et a r y


of public safety and of finance, for the exclusive exercise
of the functions which are conferred upon them.”
Thus the law of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV, reestablished
the stockbrokers, suppressed in 1791, as merchants vested
with a monopoly. The law reestablishes their power only
with regard to dealing in bullion and foreign bills.
Concerning bullion, article 13 of Chapter I stated:
“ No statement concerning the sale or purchase of bul­
lion shall be admitted in court except when made by the
5 appointed stockbrokers (Aucune declaration . . .
ne sera regu en justice que celle des cinq agents choisis
. . .), and no bargain shall be considered valid unless
transacted through their agency.”
Concerning the negotiating of bills of exchange, article 8
of Chapter II stated:
“ No statement concerning the negotiation of bills of
exchange, notes, or other commercial instruments shall be
admitted in court except when made by the 20 appointed
brokers, and no bargain shall be considered valid, unless
transacted through their agency.”
It is, therefore, quite evident that the lawmaker of
Vendemiaire, year IV, was not guided by any respect for the
principle of freedom of trade; that there existed at that
time no principle but that of public safety. The life, the
liberty, and the property of citizens, were of little moment.
When the law of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV, was promulgated,
the amount of assignats outstanding was 17,879,337,898
French livres, and the total number issued during the last
three months was for the amount of 5,541,194,037 livres.®
a J. M. Fachan, Historique de la Rente Frangaise et des valeurs du Trisor,
p. 107.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The assignat of i livre had declined during these three
months from 0.304 to 0.136.® A forced loan without
interest had been levied on “ the rich, the selfish, and the
indifferent.” 6 Terrible famines had afflicted the country
and provoked bloody insurrections (12 Germinal, year III,
1 Prairial, year III, 13 Vendemiaire, year IV). England
had determined to fight France in every way; she did not
limit herself to merely organizing the Quiberon expedition.
The Marquis de Puysage had convinced Pitt of the advan­
tages to be derived from flooding French territory with coun­
terfeit assignats which the best engravers of Holland were
to manufacture with such consummate skill that “ Cambon
himself would have accepted them.” 0 A first issue of
these counterfeit assignats had taken place, and from
Berne 3,000,000,000 livres of these had been let loose.0
Meanwhile, on the 13 Fructidor, year III, a law which we
have already mentioned forbade the sale of gold and silver
elsewhere than on the Bourse, and almost immediately
after that, on the 28 Vendemiaire, year IV, another law on
bourse regulation declared valid, as far as bullion and
foreign bills of exchange were concerned, only such trades
as were made through a stockbroker.d
Let us now resume our account:
It is a settled fact that in France commerce is free.
This, however, does not apply to matters of brokerage
in securities, under the old law, the old monarchical
regime, because the Government considers itself entitled
a Ibid, p. 108.
b Ibid, pp. h i and 115.
c Michelet, Histoire du X I X e sikcle. Directoire in the chapter Quiberon.
d See further Ch. Gomel, Histoire financiere de la Legislative et de la C on ­
vention, Vol. II, Chap. II.

903120— 10----- 2


N ationa l

M on e t a r y


to dominate the public place where the Bourse is kept, and
to sell the right to work. That state of things ceased with
the revolution.
During the revolutionary period speculation was turned
to bullion and bills of exchange.
The convention then reestablished the monopoly of
stockbrokers, which had not long ago been suppressed,
because it ascribed the responsibility for the occurrences
to speculation. The monopoly was applied to bullion
and bills of exchange only.
The laws which have in some way reconstituted the
legal prerogatives of bourse operations are: The law of
28 Ventose, year IX ; the decree of 27 Prairial, year X,
and the Code de commerce, in 1807; the first two provisions
under the Consulate, the third under the Empire.
To-day they still govern the matters forming the subject
of the present work.
The law of 28 Ventose, year IX , and the Code de com­
merce of 1807 conferred on stockbrokers a monopoly of
trade in government and other securities susceptible of
being quoted.
B y the law of April 28, 1816, stockbrokers, as well as
notaries, barristers practising before the Cour de cassa­
tion (highest court of appeal in France), lawyers, court
clerks, bailiffs (huissiers— officials who protest bills, notes,
etc.), merchandise brokers, and appraisers, acquire the
right to introduce their successors, in consideration of
additional surety bonds aggregating about 40,000,000
francs for the totality of these ministerial offices. As
to the stockbrokers, their bond, which had then been
100,000 francs, was increased to 125,000 francs. The


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
interest on all these bonds was reduced from 5 per cent
to 4 per cent.
The stockbrokers become by that fact the owners of
their offices. The right to introduce a successor to the
Government is sold by the holder when he withdraws
from business. It is only thus that a stockbroker may
sell his office.
The law of 1816 has always been severely criticised.
The State can give back freedom to the trade in secu­
rities only by purchasing the commissions or indemnifying
the holders of these commissions. Well, as time goes on,
securities become more and more numerous, and conse­
quently the commissions of stockbrokers must become
more and more valuable. Moreover, the more the State’s
budgets tend to become complicated and to increase, the
less easy it becomes, in consequence, for the French Gov­
ernment to place the financial market on a footing con­
sistent with the principle of freedom of trade.
Thus the Bourse in France rests legally on the basis of
these old laws of the years IX and 1807.
Several attempts have been made to modify the
legal status of the Bourse, but they have failed for sundry
reasons. The last attempt took place in 1897. Two
Senators, MM. Trarieux and Boulanger, presented the draft
of a law which caused a discussion of the finance law of 1898.
During this discussion a question was raised relating to
thh mode of collecting the tax on bourse operations, in
answer to which the Government declared, that, taking
for a basis the laws then in force, it would modify the
status of the financial market simply through decrees.




Indeed, on June 29, 1898, the Minister issued three
decrees, which, respectively, increased the number
stockbrokers in Paris from 60 to 70, fixed a new table
brokerage, and modified some articles in the decree
October 7, 1870, concerning the number of members


the Chambre Syndicate and concerning the time allowance
for settlements. The most striking modification was the
new provision of article 55 of the decree of October 7, 1890,
which created what has been called the Solidarity of
The totality of these measures received the name
“ Reorganisation du Marche Financier” (reorganization of
the financial market), an incorrect designation, since
these decrees have brought no modifying element in the
bases of the bourse organization, as the present organiza­
tion is no other than that of the year IX. But the use of
these terms aimed to cut short all endeavor toward a new
organization, and to suggest to public opinion the consid­
eration that it would be unwise to demand new reforms
when a reorganization had but recently been effected.
It behooves us finally to call attention to one of the
most singular phenomena connected with the age of the
provisions governing the bourse.
None of the reasons which influenced the establishment
of the monopoly of stockbrokers exists to-day. No doubt,
other grounds have arisen to warrant their preservation,
but none the less singular is the phenomenon presented
by an institution outliving all the considerations which
determined its establishment.
Indeed, in the year IX , in the year X , and in 1807, a
fundamental consideration quickened the legislator— the


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
discredit fastened upon speculation. Operations for future
delivery were considered, if not as tabooed, at least as
having become impossible.
Thus it was that the broker was enjoined to have in his
hands at the moment of the trade both the securities of
the seller and the money of the buyer. (Art. 13 of the
decree of 27 Prairial, year X.) Finally, speculations were
directed toward bills of exchange and government securi­
ties; and, because it was considered necessary for the
economic welfare that official intermediaries be appointed
for the negotiation of bills of exchange, bullion, and gov­
ernment securities, article 76 of the Code de commerce
declared that the stockbrokers {agents de change) alone
could trade for account of others in bills of exchange,
or transact dealings in bullion brokerage and French
government securities. The official quoting of foreign
securities remained forbidden, in pursuance of the Council’s
decree of August 7, 1785.
A t present the prohibition restraining a stockbroker
from giving his services to short sellers has entirely disap­
peared. It was abolished by the law of March 28, 1885,
concerning contracts for future delivery. That same
law declared these kinds of contracts legal, even when
settled by paying the difference. On the other hand,
stockbrokers no longer negotiate a single bill of exchange.
The bullion brokerage, which could be concurrently carried
on by stockbrokers {agents de change) and merchandise
brokers {courtiers), either class by itself having the right
to trade, is free since 1866.
Further, as to government securities, and with especial
reference to French rentes, which represent government


N ational

M o n et a r y


securities par excellence, it remains to be said that free
trading in them is tolerated, although not legally recog­
nized, as will be seen later. Finally, it should be noticed
that a royal ordinance of November 23, 1823, abolished
the interdiction to quote foreign securities.
The monopoly of stockbrokers has, therefore, lost all its
grounds for subsisting.
Nevertheless, it still exists in law, and is, moreover,
sustained by it more strongly than ever.
This is a consideration which will acquire its full value
when the subject of the present work shall have been
treated in full.




I I .— The Bourse— The traders— The operations.

F ir s t D iv is io n .— Bourses— Merchandise brokers— Stockbrokers— Curb
brokers— Securities.
1. Commercial exchanges (Bourses de commerce)— Stock exchanges Page.

(Bourses des valeurs) ------------------------------------------------------------2. The brokers on the commercial bourses— Stockbrokers (agents de


change) are the traders on the Bourse des valeurs _________ 23-24
3. The functions of the stockbrokers-------------------------------------------- 24-25
4. The curb brokers (coulissiers) --------------------------------------------------- 25-28
5. The exchange brokers {courtiers de change) ------------------------------28
6. Which are the securities traded in on the Bourse— Government
loans— Certificates of private enterprises— Certificates for
stocks and bonds fully paid in and partially paid in-------------29-30
7. Certificates for stocks and bonds registered, registered as to
principal only, “ to bearer” — Transfer and its mechanism, con­
version of certificates ‘ ‘ to bearer” into registered certificates,
and vice versa---------------------------------------------------------------------

3 °- 32

S e c o n d D iv is io n .— The operations for cash.
8. Operations for cash (Operations au comptant) ____ __________


9. Orders at a fixed price (a cours fixe), at best (au mieux), at the
average rate (au cours moyen), on the floor (au Parquet) ____33-34
10. How orders for cash are given on the Coulisse (au marche en
B a n q u e) __________________________________________


11. W hat amounts can be traded in for cash?— How long are orders
in force?____ _____________


12. The quotation list, official quotation list, curb quotation list

(cote en B a n q u e) ___________________________________ 37-38
13. Settlement of operations for cash— Irregular, counterfeit, lost,
stolen certificates________
14. Concerning interest accrued on certificates traded in________
15. Certificates must be in order as regards stamps and taxes____
16. Expenses— Concerning brokerage with the stockbrokers (on the


parquet), with the bankers (en coulisse) -------------------------------17. The tax on bourse operations— Receipt stamp— Fee for record­


ing on the statements the numbers of the certificates pur­
chased____________________________________________ 40-41
18. Transfer and transmission fees__________________________



N ational

M on et a r y


19. Delays in delivering registered certificates___ ____ _________


20. On the right of “ execution” (buying-in, or selling-out)_______42-43
21. Delays in delivering certificates “ to bearer,” on the right of “ exe­
cution.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


22. On deliveries and “ execution” on the “ Coulisse” __________ 44~45

T h ir d D iv i s io n .— Operations for future delivery (d terme).
23. Operations for future delivery— Definition— Taking up secu­
rities— Delivering securities— Differences________________ 45-47
24. Reports (loans for “ carrying-over” operations)..'____________ 47-49
25. Operations in certificates “ when issued ” ___________
26. Options----------------------------------------------------------------------------------27. Single options ---------28. Option against non-option_____________________________



29. Non-option against option--------------55-56
30. Option against o p tio n ------------------------------------------------------------- 56-57
31. Usefulness of combinations above described________________ 57-58
32. Put and call (stellage) -------------------------------------------------------------- 59-62
33. Settlements— Option declarations— The clearing system _______ 62-63
34. Mechanism of the clearing system— The making-up price (clear­
ing price)------------63-66
35. Some practical remarks— Nature of bourse orders----------------------66—67
36. How long do orders remain in force?----------------------------------------


37. Covers______________________________________________
38. On the amounts that m ay b e dealt in--------------------------------------


39. Discounting privilege (faculty d'escompte) ---------------------------------


40. Small o p tio n s------------------------41. W hat the quotation list sh o w s-----------------------------------------------


42. Fortnightly and monthly settlements--------------------------------------- 7° - 72
43. State of securities delivered on settlement d a y s ------------------72
44. Defaulting of brokers or of customers------------------------------------- 72_74
45. Expenses— Transfers— Brokerages______________________


F o u r t h D iv is io n .— On Exchange— Concerning the negotiation of bills of
exchange and precious metals.
46. Generalities__________________________
47. Mission of the bill of exchange; its value as commercial currency. 76-77
48. Exchange fluctuations— “ Gold p oin t” ------------------------------------- 77_78
49. How the bill of exchange is made negotiable-----------------------------78-79
50. Exchange quotations________________________________
51. “ Short paper” and “ long paper” ________________________80-81
52. Special functions of the “ long paper;” its “ pensioning” ----------- 81-82
53. Different methods of quoting; units q u o ted ________________ 82-83


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse

54. How quotations are fix e d .______


55. How exchange is negotiated-------------------------------------------------------83-85
56. Dealings in precious metals----------------------------------------------------


F if t h D i v i s io n .— Bourses in the Departments.
57. Generalities----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 85-86
58. Bourses “ & parquet,” and bourses without “ parquet” _________ 86-88

F ir s t D i v i s io n . Bourses.— Brokers, stockbrokers (agents de change), curb
brokers (coulissiers).— K in d s of securities dealt in.

(1) The Bourse is a public market for merchandise and
securities. It is the meeting place for those having to
deal in merchandise or securities, either for their own
account or for the account of their constituents. In the
case of merchandise proper— wheat, flour, spirits, etc.—
the bourse is usually called Bourse de Commerce (a commer­
cial bourse). In the case of securities the bourse is called
Bourse des Valeurs (a stock exchange).
The operators on the Bourse de Commerce are merchan­
dise brokers (courtiers en marchandises). The profession
of merchandise broker is free, but this has not always
been the case. It was a monopoly under the old regime.
It was made free in 1791, monopolized again in the
year IX of the Republic— that is, at the time when the law­
makers established commercial exchanges (28 Ventdse),
as well as the institution of stockbrokers— then freed
again by the law of July 18, 1866.
(2) The operators on the Bourse des Valeurs are stock­
brokers (agents de change) , whose profession is monopolized.
It was monopolized under the old regime, like the profes­
sion of merchandise broker, with which it was long con­
founded. It was made free by the law of March 17, 1791,


M o n et a r y


and monopolized again by the law of 28 Ventose, year IX.
But while, in 1866, the law again freed merchandise
brokerage, the profession of stockbroker remained a
monopoly. It is so still.
The stockbrokers (agents de change) are not the
only ones to operate on the Bourse as brokers, as will be
seen later. The following, however, are the prerogatives
of the stockbrokers:
1. As brokers they have the exclusive right to trade in
government or other securities susceptible of being quoted.
(Art. 76 of the Code de commerce) .“
2. As brokers, they have also the exclusive right to
negotiate bills of exchange, notes, and all commercial in­
struments. (Art. 76 of the Code de commerce.)
3. To verify the quotations of these securities. (Art.
76 of the Code de commerce.)
4. Before the law of July 18, 1866, they divided with
the merchandise brokers (courtiers) the privilege of deal­
ing in metals. Brokerage as regards mechandise having
become free, the privilege of the stockbrokers disappeared
on that account. But they alone have the right to verify
the quotations of metals. (Art. 76 of the Code de com­
5. The stockbrokers give the necessary certificates for
transfers of rentes, on the terms provided for by the
a It should be borne in mind that stockbrokers are not permitted to reveal
the names of their customers.
(Art. 19, decree of 27 Prairial, year X.)
Therefore, in contradistinction to the merchandise broker proper, who
places the parties in personal contact and then withdraws, the stockbroker
brings them into relation, but hides their identity.

The stockbroker is,

therefore, to be more accurate, a commission agent.

According to article

94 of the Code de commerce, a commission agent is a party who binds himself
in his own name between the parties.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
decree of 27 Prairial, year X, royal ordinance of April 14,
1819, and the decrees of July 12, 1883, and June 10, 1884.
(Decree of October 7, 1890, art. 76.)
6. They are intrusted with the publication of the Official
Bulletin of Oppositions to the Negotiation of Securities
“ to Bearer.” (Law of June, 1872, art. n .) °
7. They may be commissioned by the courts to nego­
tiate securities— especially, pledged securities. Art. 93 of
the Code de commerce; art. 70 of the decree of October 7,
8. They may be commissioned by the courts to dis­
pose of the property of minors within the terms pre­
scribed by the law of February 27, 1880.
. The stockbrokers in Paris number 70. (Later we shall
speak of stockbrokers in the provinces.)
They form an association, and a part of them, chosen
by ballot, form the syndical chamber, composed of a syn­
dic and eight members, and intrusted with the carrying
out of disciplinary measures, along with all general matters
concerning the collective welfare of the corporation. The
stockbrokers are named by decree of the President of the
Republic; they are placed under the disciplinary rule of
the Minister of Finance. (The stockbrokers in the Depart­
ments (provinces) are in some cases under the Minister of
Finance, and in others under the Minister of Commerce.)
(4) Stockbrokers alone have the right, according to
a B y this law, the dispossessed owners of lost or stolen certificates are
given the means of obtaining duplicates of the same after a certain delay.
T h ey must declare their protest against (faire opposition ) the negotiation
of their certificates, and publish a note to that effect in the “ Bulletin

ofpciel des Oppositions .” All negotiations made in disregard of this publi­
cation are rejected, without affecting the protesting party.
(See note to
No. 13.)— Translator.



M on e t a r y


law, to trade in government and other securities suscep­
tible of being quoted. It is understood, however, that
securities which have not been explicitly admitted on the
official quotation list, either because the stockbrokers did
not care to adopt them, or because the securities did not
fulfill the required statutory conditions, may, nevertheless,
be dealt in outside the Bourse.®
There exist for this purpose free intermediaries, called
bankers (oftener “ coulissiers”— curb brokers), who deal
on the bankers’ market (viarche en banque), known as the
“ coulisse,” in securities called bank securities, or curb
securities (■valeurs en banque ou valeurs de coulisse).
Frequently, one may hear on the Bourse these two
words pronounced in opposition to one another: the
Parquet (the floor), the Coulisse (the curb).

By Parquet

is meant the stockbrokers’ market, on account of the
parquet floor on which they stand. The Coulisse (equiva­
lent to the New York curb) is thus called, owing to the
fact that formerly the bankers congregated in a narrow
passageway called La Coulisse.
The number of curb brokers (coulissiers) is not limited.
Anyone can become a curb broker who wishes to estab­
lish himself as such, to employ sufficient capital for meet­
ing the requirements of the business, to pay the license,
and to style himself banker. But a certain number of the
bankers club together, form a syndicate, agree upon com­
mon rules, and elect a syndical chamber authorized to
see to it that the professional discipline is lived up to.
Thus there are three categories outside of which, we must
a Decision of the Cour de cassation of July i, 1885.
1885, 1. 257.


Recueil de Sirey,

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
again repeat, the profession remains free. They are the
syndicate of bankers dealing in securities for cash (Syndicat des Banquiers en valeurs au comptant), the syndicate
of bankers dealing in securities for future delivery
(Syndicat des Banquiers en valeurs a terme), and the curb
for French rentes (la Coulisse des rentes frangaises).
It should be noted that, although, according to law,
dealings in French rentes are the prerogative of the
monopoly of stockbrokers, and any intrusion into the
business reserved for them is an offense punishable by
fine,0 nevertheless curb brokers are tolerated as dealers in
French rentes, alongside of the stockbrokers— thus becom­
ing their powerful competitors. No suit is brought against
them for interfering with the business of the stock­
brokers, but their operations are not valid in court. For
that reason the curb for rentes does not take the name of
a Article 8 of the law of 28 Ventose, year IX . The penalty is very
severe. I t is a fine which amounts to not less than one-twelfth of the
amount of the surety bond, and not more than one-sixth. Which is the
bond that shall be taken as a basis? Shall it be the one of the year IX
(60,000 francs)? Is it the present bond (250,000 francs)? The C o m de
cassation took as a basis the bond at the time the offense was committed.
(Aug. 28, 1857, S 1857-1879; Jan. 14, i860, S i860, 1, 481, Trib. correctionnel de Lyon; Mar. 12, 1906, Journal l ’ Information of May 9, 1906.)
T h a t decision is sustained b y M. Boistel (Droit Commercial, p. 431) and by
M. Ruben de Couder.
(Dictionnaire de Droit Commercial, V. Agent de
Change, 112.) B u t it is sharply criticized b y most authors (Buchfere
Traitt des Operations de Bourse No. 114, Lyon, Caen & Renault, TraiU de
Droit Commercial, vol. IV, No. 904; Mollot, Bourses de Commerce, No. 15,
Dalloz, Rep. V, Bourse 164; Rolland de Villargues, Rep. du Notariat, v.
Bourses de Commerce; Albert Broussois, D u Monopole des Agents de Change
et de sa Suppression, p. 88). No extenuating circumstances are allowed
when there is interference with the functions of a stockbroker.
correctionnel Seine, June 24, 1859; and on appeal, Paris, August 2, 1859,
S i860, 1, 481); Mollot, Bourses de Commerce, No. 16.— Ruben de Couder,
Dictionnaire de Droit Commercial, No. 115.— Buchere, T raitt des Opera­
tions de Bourse, No. 119.





Syndicate. Indeed, professional syndicates are recog­
nized by law, and may bring actions and sue in court. It
is not possible, therefore, to recognize under the name
of syndicates associations of persons carrying on an un­
lawful business. The toleration enjoyed by the curb
market in rentes originates from the consideration that
the credit of the State is benefited if dealings in rentes are
as free and extended as possible, in spite of the fact that
the law intrusts the stockbrokers alone with the transac­
tions in government securities.
Finally, another category of bankers busies itself
with dealings in bills of exchange and treasury bonds.
The law likewise reserves for the stockbrokers the nego­
tiation of these instruments, but, owing to the expansion
of securities, and owing to the fact that the negotiation
of commercial bills of exchange is little remunerative, the
stockbrokers relinquish that part of their prerogatives to
free commerce. They never negotiate a bill of exchange;
they merely receive the list of quotations prepared by the
bankers and insert it in their official list. The free
dealers of this last category are called bankers and ex­
change brokers (courtiers de change). The word “ coulissier ” is never used to designate them.
Let us mention that these bankers— traders in bills of
exchange— sometimes indorse the bill of exchange which
is the object of the operation; they then negotiate the
bill of exchange through themselves and for themselves,
becoming parties to the contract. When they only
transfer it to the buyer without indorsing it, they posi­
tively act as brokers, dealing for account of others.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse

We shall now briefly review the nature of the

securities negotiated by stockbrokers and curb brokers.
We shall look into the mechanism of operations for cash,
and the mechanism of operations for future delivery.
Comparing the two, we shall see the differences in the
manner they are traded in, either on the Parquet (stock­
brokers’ market) or on the Coulisse (bankers’ market), in
the manner of quoting, and in the modes of settlement;
and, finally, we shall look into the dealings in bills of
The operations on the Bourse are purchases and sales.
They bear upon:— i , the certificates of loans of states, cities,
counties (departements) , and territories of foreign coun­
tries having an organization distinct from the state, such
'as provinces and states united by federal bonds; 2, the
certificates of private or public enterprises constituted as
stock companies— that is, the shares of companies called
shares of common stock, shares of preferred stock, dividend
shares, profit shares, or founders’ shares (parts de fondateur), and the certificates of indebtedness— bonds,
debentures, etc. The rules for operations are, some of
them general ones, referring to the ordinary commercial
conditions; the others are of a special character, relating
to the traffic in securities on the Bourse. We shall take as
a guide the rules of the Paris financial market.
Certificates are either fully paid in or partially paid in.
They are fully paid in when the owner, whether he be the
original subscriber or the assignee, has no further assess­
ment to make on the certificate. For instance, one share
of 100 francs of a company is said to be fully paid in, when
the 100 francs of money it represents in the stated capital


N at i on a l

M o n et a r y


have been paid in full. The certificates are partially paid
in, when there remain one or more assessments to be made,
before the certificate is fully paid in. For instance, one
share of ioo francs is “ 25 francs paid in. ” That means
that there remains a sum of 75 francs due on that certifi­
cate, to be effected in one or more payments.
Securities are issued registered, mixed (registered as
to principal only), or “ to bearer.”
The registered certificate (titre nominatij) bears the
name of its owner, and the interest or dividends are pay­
able on presentation of the certificate itself. The mixed
certificate (titre mixte) is different from the preceding one
in that the coupons for interest and dividends may be
cut off from the certificate, and are payable to bearer.
The certificate “ to bearer” (au porteur) does not bear
the name of the owner; the holder is supposed to be the
owner, and the coupons are, as in the preceding case, pay­
able to the party presenting them.
The delivery to the purchaser of registered or mixed
certificates can be considered good delivery only when the
latter has been entered as titulary on the registers of the
debtor concern, and when a new certificate has been issued
in pursuance of that operation. That operation is called
There are three kinds of transfers— the transfer 11reel,"
the transfer “ d’ordre, ” and the transfer “ de garantie. ”
The actual (reel) transfer is effected by means of a request
of the titulary of the registered certificate, addressed to the
debtor concern, aiming at the cancellation of the existing
certificate and at the creation of a new one in the name of
a third party. The transfer is a deed in itself; it may be


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the consequence either of a gift or of a sale.

It is subject

to a tax of 0.75 per cent.
The transfer “ d’ordre” or “ de forme" has for its object
any alteration in the wording of the registration of a cer­
tificate, resulting from a deed different from the transfer
declaration— whether the title remains vested in the
name of the same titulary, with a modification of his
social state, or it is transferred to a new titulary (deed of
gift, income granted by deed before a notary).
These transfers are free of tax, because they are made
in pursuance of deeds, which are themselves free of tax,
or of deeds for which the tax has been paid.
Transfer “ d’ordre” also applies to an operation now
obsolete, the object of which was to safeguard profes­
sional secrecy by the stockbrokers (agents de change); the
stockbroker signed a first transfer in the name of his
fellow-broker, the buyer, who effected the transfer in the
name of his customer; the intermediate transfer is called
transfer “ d’ordre" and is free of tax.
This latter transfer, like the transfer "reel,” has become
very rare, stockbrokers making a practice of delivering to
one another only certificates “ to bearer.” (Droit de 1890,
art. 47.)
The purpose of the transfer 11de garantie ” (provided for
by art. 91 of the Code de commerce) is to establish the
pledge of certificates the transmission of which is effected
by a transfer on the books of the company; it is free of
tax, because it does not carry with it a change of owner­
Conversion is the act of causing a registered or mixed
certificate to be transformed into a certificate “ to bearer,”
9031 2°—





or a certificate “ to bearer” into a registered or mixed
The transfer following a transaction is effected as fol­
lows: The seller signs a transfer blank, by which he
requires the company whose certificate is being sold (be
it a government or private corporation) to transfer his
status of bondholder or shareholder to the purchaser.
On the other hand, the purchaser signs another sheet,
called transfer acceptance blank. The seller then hands in
at the public or private counter (i) his transfer blank,
(2) the certificate, and (3) the transfer acceptance blank.
When the operation is closed by the entries made within
the debtor establishment, the transfer has been exe­
cuted. A new certificate, bearing the name and profes­
sion of the purchaser, is handed to him. Usually it is
the intermediary of the seller (stockbroker or banker)
who demands the transfer in the name of his customer.
Many corporations will not effect transfers, unless a
stockbroker (agent de change) guarantees the signatures,
even when the sale has been effected without the help of
a stockbroker. Especially, so far as transfers of regis­
tered certificates of French rentes are concerned, the
signature of a stockbroker is always required.
A certificate “ to bearer ” is delivered to the purchaser by
merely being handed over to him. Article 2279 of the
Code civil says: “ With regard to chattels, possession
is as good as title.” These words mean that the holding
of a certificate of personal property leaves it for granted
that the holder is the owner thereof. The simple handing
over of a certificate “ to bearer” transfers the ownership


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
S e c o n d D i v i s io n .— Operations for cash (operations au comptant).

(8) Bourse operations are made for cash or for future
delivery (au comptant ou a terme). The operation for
cash is an operation to be settled immediately or after a
very short delay— certificate against cash, cash against
certificate. The operation for future delivery (operation
a terme) is to be settled within a period fixed in advance.
We shall first consider operations for cash.
It is very easy to understand the mechanism of opera­
tions, if we follow in their logical order the successive stages
of execution. How is a bourse order given ? Let us follow
that order to the market and let us see how it will be exe­
cuted. When executed, how will it be checked by the
party who gave it; how will the operation be settled;
what expenses are to be borne by the party who gave the
order; the delays it shall be subjected to; what are the
means of recourse in case of delay or default of the party
who received the order; for what is the party who gives
an order liable, when he infringes the essential conditions of
the contract? To all these questions the following expla­
nations will give an answer, showing at the same time the
workings of the financial market.
(9) Orders are given to stockbrokers either at a fixed
price (h corns fixe), or at best (aw mieux), or at the average
price {au cours moyen).

Instance of an order at fixed price:

"Please buy 1 bond of the Credit Fonder 1895 at 465
francs;” or "Please sell 3 shares of the Edison Company
at 1,100 francs;” or “ Please buy 3 francs French Rente
3>2% at 98 francs.”
An order at best shall be worded in the same way; but
no price shall be fixed, because the stockbroker will buy

N at i on a l

M on e t a r y


or sell at the price at which he will be able to buy or to

For an order at the average price, the indication of

price shall be replaced by the words “ cours moyen ” (aver­
age price), or simply by the letters “ c. m.”
11 Cours moyen” (average price) is a price halfway be­
tween the highest and the lowest prices quoted. “ Avant
bourse” (before the opening), that is to say, before the
opening of the session, the stockbrokers and their clerks
meet in a special room. Some offer, and others ask for,
securities at the average price. Neither know what the
price will be; that will be decided during the session.
When an offer and a demand coincide, the transaction is
closed. Only the price is missing. A ring of the bell an­
nounces the opening of the bourse session; the stock­
brokers and their clerks leave the special room and pro­
ceed to the public hall around the railed inclosures.
The session begins. As the dealers execute orders, they
give the prices to a marker, whose entries will serve to
make up the quotation list. The quotation list having
been made up, the parties who have traded on the basis of
the average rate, will be able to ascertain that average, by
merely taking the highest and the lowest rates.
If only one price is quoted, that single price shall take
the place of the average price.
If there are no quotations, the operations are considered
as “ non faites” (not executed).
It may happen that an order given at the average rate
is not executed. The stockbroker (agent de change) may
have been unable to find a counterpart. The party giving
the order can make no claim on that account.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
In the bankers’ market, that is to say, “ en cou­
lisse” (on the curb), orders are received either at fixed
prices or at best. The bankers do not trade on the basis
of average price. The party giving an order an d . the
banker may, however, contract that a certain operation
shall be executed at the average rate; but in such cases
the banker will have contracted a personal obligation, and
the operation contracted with his client will be distinct
from the one closed in the public market.®
(i i) Later, when we turn to transactions for future de­
livery (operations a terme), we shall see that such transac­
tions can not be made for less than 25 shares or for less
than a certain number of francs of government rentes.
, But it should be borne in mind that for cash the minimum
to be traded in is one unit; that is to say, one share, one
bond, one debenture, etc. Some bonds, especially the
bonds of the city of Paris or of the Credit Fonder (Mort­
gage-loan Society), are divided into quarters and into
fifths. Then such portions bear the name "“ quarter of a
bond,” “ fifth of a bond.”
Orders remain in force according to agreement between
the parties. An order may be given, good for the day’s
session, or until canceled— that is to say, up to the time
when the party giving the order shall have expressed the
a The stockbroker (agent de change) can not personally make a contract
with his customer.
Article 85 of the Code de co?nmerce forbids him dealing
for his own account. The result is, with a bourse order in hand, he can not
enter into a private agreement with the party giving the order concerning
the execution of same. However, article 85 of the Code de commerce was
especially intended for the stockbroker; the banker (curb broker) may enter
into a personal agreement and act for himself. In practice, when he per­
sonally becomes a party to the contract, he must notify his client of the
fact. In certain cases the personal intervention of the broker is the result
of circumstances.

N at i on al

Mone tary


desire to withdraw it, if it has not been filled.


to avoid errors, stockbrokers and bankers often stipulate
that, unless notified to the contrary, every order is con­
sidered as remaining in force until canceled. But even
orders, good until canceled, can not remain in force for an
unlimited period. Therefore, it is often understood that
if an order, good until canceled, has not been executed
during the first week, it shall be considered as canceled, so
that, within each banking house or each stockbroker’s
office, new orders are issued every Monday. This con­
dition is often mentioned on the printed forms of stock­
brokers and bankers, who thus protect themselves against
any eventuality.
When, after the closing of the Bourse, the stockbrokers
and bankers return to their respective offices, they start
checking. They sort out the trades they have made
with their colleagues, and send to one another confirma­
tions of the closed transactions, in order to avoid all
possible errors. It is very apparent that during the
scramble and noise errors may occur. One has bought
instead of selling, another has bought or sold too much.
It happens, also, that a figure has not been correctly under­
stood, or erroneously entered on the blotter. In short,
operations having been verbally contracted on the Bourse,
it is necessary that this fiduciary process be replaced by
a safer one. The checking includes, also, the entering on
the books, of the transactions effected, as well as of the
names of the parties who had given the orders, and for
whose account they were executed. Notice thereof is at
once sent to them.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The party who gave the order, can control the
notice he receives by means of the quotation list. He
must be advised of the execution of his orders at quota­
tions within the limits of published prices. No doubt,
in some cases he may rightfully claim more favorable
prices than those reported to him, although the prices at
which his orders were executed have actually prevailed.
In such a case, his representative has been disloyal. It
may be realized that in that line of reasoning it is impos­
sible to foresee the nature of the discussions that may
ensue. The party who gave the order, will then apply
for redress to the Syndical Chambers of stockbrokers or
bankers (aux chambres syndicates des agents de change
ou banquiers), and, if need be, to the courts. 1 he fact
remains that in most cases the controlling means is fur­
nished by the quotation list.
The prices of securities listed by the stockbrokers,
{agents de change) are published on a sheet called “ Cote
Ofjicielle ” (official price list).
The prices of curb securities (Les cours des valeurs de
coulisse), listed by the “ Syndicat des Banquiers au comptant" (syndicate of bankers trading for cash), are pub­
lished in a special list called “ Cote du Syndicat des Ban­
quiers en valeurs au comptant ” (price list of the syndicate
of bankers trading in securities for cash).
The prices of curb securities which are not listed by
any syndicate, and which are traded in owing to the
natural phenomenon of offers and bids for securities
tending to concur to the same place, are recorded on free
quotation lists. These last, besides, publish the quota­
tions of all other securities; those of the official market,



N at i o n a l

M on e t a r y


and those of the curb syndicates. The best known are
“ Le cours de la Banque et de la Bourse {cote Desfosses) ”
and “ La cote de la Bourse et de la Banque {cote Vidal)."
On the official list of the stockbrokers {Cote Officielle
des agents de change) the prices are given in the order of
transactions. The “ Cote du Syndicat des Banquiers en
valeurs au comptant" gives only the lowest and highest
quotations. The free quotation lists, however, give also
the closing prices of the curb securities.
When a stockbroker or banker, buying for account
of a party who gave an order, has received the securities,
the settlement is effected when he has delivered them and
received the cash. The same applies to the stockbroker
or banker selling, in his intercourse with the party who
gave the order.
The securities must be “ good delivery,” free of all oppo­
sition to their negotiation, and with the interest agreed
The stockbroker or the banker who should happen to
deliver counterfeit securities, or lost or stolen securities,
with an opposition existing to their being negotiated,
would find himself exposed to have his deliveries refused,
or sentenced to deliver securities of good delivery and free
from defects.® By application of the same principle, the
«T h e owner deprived of his securities “ to bearer” has the right to make
opposition to their being negotiated, and to the interest and dividends and
principal demandable being paid, by means of a special process provided
for b y the laws of June 15, 1872, and February 8, 1902. He thus puts
himself in a position to obtain duplicates of his securities after a certain
Unfortunately, this sort of proceeding does not apply to securities
dealt in abroad.

It would be desirable that an International Congress

should prepare a similar clearing in every country, and thus insure the safe­
guarding of owners against the loss and theft of securities “ to bearer.”


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
stockbroker or banker is not allowed to deliver bonds
drawn for redemption or subject to certain conditions."
(14) The “ jouissance” (interest accrued) is the right
to the interest or the dividends. It starts from the date of
the last payment. Instance: On October 19, 1908, French
rentes 3 per cent were quoted for cash 95.40 francs, jouis­
sance October, 1908. These last words mean that the
purchaser is entitled to the interest coupon following the
one of October, 1908. This latter one has been cut by
the owner, who had the benefit of his property.
For shares of corporations, the coupons are numbered.
They are traded in, for instance, “ ex-coupon” 6 or 7, which
means that the purchaser shall only be entitled to the
dividend coupons subsequent to coupon 6 or coupon 7. b
Securities which are irregular as to the interest accrued,
may be rejected. However, within the month preceding
maturity, if the owner has detached the coupon, he may
sell and make a good delivery, but the purchaser will
deduct the amount of the missing coupon when settling.
This option applies only to French securities.
(15) Finally, securities dealt in are supposed to be in
order with the internal revenue concerning the payment
of stamp taxes to which securities are subjected.
a To avoid all trouble in this regard, the transactions in securities subject
to drawings are made on the stock exchange “ cx droit” (minus the right) to
the advantage obtained by the drawing, a few days before it takes place
(art. 45 of the regulations of stockbrokers of Jan. 30, 1899); five days
before, for bonds “ to bearer,” and seven days before, for registered bonds.

t> On the Paris Bourse the coupons of French rentes are considered as
detached fifteen days before their maturity. French rentes 3 per cent
certificates are provided with coupons maturing January 1, April 1, July 1,
and October 1. T hey are dealt in “ interest accrued from January, begin­
ning from the preceding December 16; interest accrued from April, begin­
ning from the preceding March 16; interest accrued from July, beginning
from the preceding June 16, and interest accrued from October, beginning
from the preceding September 16 ”


N at i o n a l

M on et a r y


(16) The expenses to be borne by the party who gives
the orders, are the brokerage, the duty on bourse oper­
ations, the receipt stamp, and, in some cases, the fee for
entering the numbers of certificates on the statement; also
the transfer fee on registered certificates.
The brokerage (courtage) of stockbrokers (agents de
change) is o. io per cent of the net amount of the trans­
action, with a minimum of 0.50 francs on each statement.
The fee is raised to 0.25 per cent of the amount on transac­
tions resulting from matters in litigation. These rates are
binding on all stockbrokers.0
The rates of brokerage on the Coulisse are unrestricted.
However, in most cases, there is a charge of 25 centimes
for certificates worth less than 250 francs and of o. 10 per
cent for certificates worth more than that. The minimum
charge is 50 centimes.
Two orders executed at the same session, one for a
purchase and one for a sale, occasion but one brokerage
(what is called the “ franco”) . The brokerage is figured
on the transactions either on the side of sales or on the side
of purchases— whichever gives rise to the larger fee.
But in order to obtain “ franco,” the transactions must
have taken place in the same market. In other words,
there is no “ franco” between securities dealt in by the
stockbrokers and securities dealt in by the bankers.
(17) The tax on bourse operations is, for each party to
the contract, 5 centimes per 1,000 francs, or fractions
thereof; that tax is reduced to one-quarter (0.0125 francs
per fraction of 1,000 francs) on all transactions in French
rentes. (Law of Apr. 28, 1893, and Dec. 31, 1907.)

a 'fh e y have been fixed by a ministerial decree of July 22, 1901.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Statements containing receipts for securities or receipts
for money, are subject to the special receipt stamp of io
centimes, established by the law of August 23, 1871.
Any purchaser of securities may require his stock­
broker to enter the numbers on the delivery statement.
This record is subject to a fee of 5 centimes for each cer­
tificate. (Art. 13 of the law of June 15, 1872, and art. 11
of the law of Apr. 10, 1873.)
The transfer of a registered or mixed certificate,
and the conversion of either into a certificate “ to bearer,”
are subject to a special tax called “ droit de transmission ”
(transfer tax).
That tax is 0.75 per cent net— that is to say, exempting
income of later maturity, (haws of June 13, 1857, June
16, 1871, June 23, 1872, and Dec. 26, 1908.)
The transfer tax is borne by the purchaser.

It is col­

lected by the corporation for account of the treasury
(pour le compte du T resor) at the time the transfer is
made. Disbursed by the banker or stockbroker, for
account of the purchaser, it must be reimbursed at once
by the latter.
Transfers of French rentes, resulting from sales, are
free of the 75-centime (0.75 per cent) tax.®
a There is a transfer ta x on securities “ to bearer.”

T h at transfer tax is

paid b y the corporations and various establishments; but these have re­
course against the holders of their securities at the time the interest and divi­
dends are paid.

T h a t fee is 25 centimes per 100 francs (0.25 per cent) with­

out extra tithes (secondary fees).
(Art. 3 of the law of June 29, 1872, and of
Dec. 26, 1908.) I t is a yearly and obligatory tax, figured on the capital of
all securities, appraised on their average price during the preceding year, or,
for want of a rate, b y appraising according to the rules provided b y article
16 of the law of 22 Frimaire, year V II. There is no transfer charge on
certificates “ to bearer” of French and foreign rentes. The conversion of
certificates “ to bearer” into registered certificates is free of taxes, according
to the law of December 26, 1908.





(19) The time for delivery differs in the cases of reg­
istered certificates or certificates “ to bearer.”
Registered certificates that have been purchased must
be at the disposal of the party who gave the order, the
very next day after they have been received at the office
of the stockbroker. If, after the twentieth session follow­
ing the one when the transaction was effected, the securi­
ties have not been handed to the party who gave the
order, the latter may call upon the stockbroker to fulfill
the contract, and give notice of said notification to the
Syndical Chamber of Stockbrokers (Chambre syndicate des
agents de change), which shall take the necessary measures
to insure the carrying out of the contract, at the risk of
the stockbroker. In Paris the Syndical Chamber can not
decline to effect that execution (then it is said that the
stockbroker is “ executed”) even if the syndical chamber
has to bear the consequences.
(20) The stockbroker, buying, who has not received the
securities from his fellow-member, selling, may, at the
fifteenth session following the session at which the trans­
action took place, disclose said fellow-member, seller, and
call upon the Syndical Chamber of Stockbrokers to pur­
chase (“ buy in ”) the securities for account of said seller,
and at the risk of the latter.
The proceeds from sales of registered securities must be
placed at the disposal of the party who gives the order,
on the day following the completion of the transfer.
Having waited until after the twentieth session follow­
ing the transaction, the party who gives the order to sell,
may have recourse to the same measures which, we saw,
the purchaser may resort to— that is to say, cause the


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
“ execution” of the stockbroker. On his side, the stock­
broker, selling, may, at the fifteenth session following the
one of the transaction, demand the “ execution” of his
fellow-member through the Syndical Chamber.
The above-mentioned delays are increased by eight days
for securities, the transfers of which are subject to the
approval of the boards of directors.
Securities “ to bearer” must be placed at the dis­
posal of the buyers, on the very day following the delivery
effected by the sellers. In their intercourse between them­
selves, the stockbrokers must deliver securities before the
tenth session following the transaction. After that time
they must exact the “ buying in ” for account of the stock­
broker, seller, through their Syndical Chamber. On his
side, the party who gave the order, may, after the fifteenth
session following the one of the transaction, and after
having called upon the stockbroker to effect delivery,
give notice of this call to the Syndical Chamber of Stock­
brokers, within twenty-four hours of the same, but must
not use legal formalities. The Syndical Chamber will
take the necessary steps, and, if need be, it will itself
insure the proper execution of the contract. (Art. 55 of
decree of June 29, 1898.)
The proceeds from sales must be at the disposal of the
party who gave the order, two days after the securities
have been handed to the stockbroker. It should also
be noted that the stockbroker, selling, when dealing with
a fellow-member who does not accept delivery, may en­
force purchase through the Syndical Chamber for account
of his fellow-member, buying, after the tenth session fol­
lowing the transaction. The party giving an order of



M o n et a r y


sale, who has not received a settlement after the fifteenth
session, may apply to the Syndical Chamber of Stock­
brokers, as has been said concerning the party givingpurchasing orders.
Dealings on the curb are not subject to the same
delay in respect to deliveries. In theory, we may con­
ceive that a buyer or seller for cash may exact the delivery
of his securities or payment immediately after the trans­
action, provided he can on the spot fulfill the obligations
of the purchaser or seller, which consist in paying the
purchase money or delivering the securities sold, as the
case may be; however, a certain delay is unavoidable on
account of the banker, who acts as an intermediary, and
who is, in fact, himself subjected to delays. The Asso­
ciated Bankers of the City of Paris (Les Banquiers Syndiques du marche de Paris), united in a professional
syndicate within the provisions of the law of May 21,
1884, established the rule that securities “ to bearer”
must be delivered by the seller before the seventh session
following the transaction. After that delay the buyer
may make a demand on the seller bv registered letter, at
the same time notifying the Syndical Chamber of that
syndicate. The latter effects the “ buying in ” for account
of the defaulter at the tenth session following the day
when it will have received the advice.
The party giving an order may also be “ executed.”
A stockbroker is not bound to accept an order if, previ­
ous to all trading, he has not received the securities to be
disposed of, or the funds intended to settle for the
amount. But he may have been led to grant credit to
the party giving the order. In such a case, if, after


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
notice by registered mail, the party who gave the order,
has not, within three days from the time the letter was
sent, come up with the securities or the cash, the “ buying
in ” of the securities sold, or the “ selling o u t” of the
securities purchased, may be proceeded with immediately.
T h ir d D iv is io n .— Operations for future delivery {a terme).

An operation for future delivery is one engaging
the parties from the day of the contract, but the execution
of which is put off to a maturity fixed in advance.0 For
instance: Peter buys on the 1st of the month 100 shares
for the 15th of the current month at 100 francs.6 . On the
15th of the month, date of maturity— that is, the day of
settlement— the winding up of the operation will take
place. Peter must accept delivery of the stock and pay
the price— 10,000 francs.c
On the other hand, if he has sold 100 shares at 100
francs, he will have to deliver on settling day— that is, on
the 15th of the month— 100 shares, and receive 10,000
Hence, the first settlement following operations for
future delivery is the taking up of securities bought by
the purchaser, and the delivery of securities sold by the
It may happen that the purchaser for future delivery
does not wish to take up the securities purchased. In
such a case, he will resell them for the same maturity,
and these two operations will show a difference, which,
a Art 1185 of the Code civil.
b In the instances mentioned no account is taken of taxes or brokerages,
this is done for the sake of simplicity.
c Art 1650 of the Code civil.
d Article 1603 of the Code civil.

N ational

M on et a ry


according to circumstances, will cause him to be debtor
or creditor.
Instance: Peter, buyer of ioo shares at ioo francs,
resells them at n o : Debtor of 10,000 francs, creditor of
11,000, he retires with a balance in his favor of 1,000
On the other hand, if he has resold with a loss, for
instance at 90 francs, then, being a debtor of 10,000
francs and a creditor of 9,000 francs, he retires with a
balance against him of 1,000 francs.
To purchase with a view of reselling at a higher price,
is called to speculate for a rise (etre a la hausse).
To speculate for a fall (etre a la baisse) is to make the
reverse operation, that is, to sell first with the hope of
buying in later at a lower price.“ Let us take up the
various instances, by illustrating them with the account­
ing which results from these transactions, in order to
comprehend better their working.
When Peter has bought with the intention to resell, and
then has resold, or when he has sold with the intention
to repurchase, and then has repurchased, the result on
“ Some people experience difficulty in understanding the “ short” sale

(venie & dicouvert ) which is the original transaction of speculation for a fall.
I t is often considered as illegitimate.

The following anecdote will explain

and justify it.
“ M Boscary de Villeplaine, deputy syndic of the association of stock­
brokers, was conversing with Napoleon regarding the discussion in the
council of state of article 422 of the Penal Code (now repealed)
' Your
M ajesty,' said M. Boscary de Villeplaine, ‘ when my water carrier is a t the
door, would he be guilty of stellionate (selling property one does not own or
selling the same property to two different parties) if he sold me two casks
of water instead of only one, which he has? ’ ‘ Certainly not, because he is
always sure of finding in the river what he lacks.’ ‘ Well, Your Majesty,
there is on the Bourse a river of rentes.’ ”

(Memorial of the stockbrokers

addressed to the Minister of Finance, 1843, p. 44, footnote.)


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
striking a balance will show him creditor or debtor,
owing to the balancing of his debit with his credit.®
Instance: Settling account of Peter, who had purchased
ioo shares at ioo francs, which he resold at i io francs:

Fran cs.

100 shares at 100 francs-----Credit balance—


F ran cs.

100 shares at 110 francs___ 11,000

10 , 000

1 1 , OO O


Profit, i,ooo francs.

Operations for future delivery give rise to 11 re­
ports ” (“ carrying-over ’ ’ operations, ‘ *continuations ”).
It is in place here succinctly to explain their object and
Object.— Let us suppose, in the instance above men­
tioned, that Peter, buyer for the 15th instant of 100
shares at 100 francs, wishes, when the 15th arrives, to
extend his maturity until the 30th of the month.
Mechanism.— On that same day, the 15th instant, he
will resell the securities at a special price, called “ corns de
compensation'’ (making-up price or clearing price6), and
will rebuy, at the same time, for the end-of-the-month
maturity at the same making-up price, increased by an
amount called “ prix du report ” (cost of carrying over,
“ contango”).

Let us suppose that n o francs is the

making-up price, and that the cost of carrying over is 1
franc. You find below the transaction on two accounts.
Let us first give the first account.
---------------------—------------------------------- — --------— ---------—



a Articles 1289 and 1290 of the Code civil.
6 The clearing price is an accounting process with a view to unifying
“ carrying-over” operations.

It is fixed by an agreement in the public

The syndical chambers fixes that rate.

903120— 10----- 4




N ationa l

M on e t a r y


Peter, his settlement account for the 15th instant:




100 shares at 100 francs------10,000
Credit balance-------------------





(clearing price)_______ n , 000


11 t 000

Profit, 1,000 francs.

Now, this is the second account for the end of the month.
Peter, his settlement account for the end of the month:


100 shares at 111 francs (110
francs plus 1 ) _________




11,10 0

The two accounts are thus established: One, which in­
cludes a settled transaction, showing the operator as
creditor or debtor, as the case may be, for an amount to
collect or to pay; the other, showing a new operation,
which, at the following settlement, will be the object of a
liquidation— that is to say, another winding up, either by
taking up or reselling the securities, or by a new “ report”
(continuation). The continuation has, therefore, the
same result as a renewal of maturity.
Capitalists wishing to make temporary investments put
their money out in “ reports” (loans for carrying over,
investments in continuations). On settling day they pur­
chase, on the stock exchange, securities from buyers
who desire to prolong their operations; they resell them
to the same parties for the next maturity at the clearing
price increased by the price of carrying over (contango).
On settling day these operations are easy, owing to the
abundance of funds available for continuations (capitaux
reporteurs). If there is no superabundance of funds, and
if the engagements for a rise (engagements h la hausse)
are not very numerous, continuations are cheap.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
If money is plentiful and purchases are few, continua­
tions are at par.
In case securities are wanting in comparison with the
money available, the sellers will pay a premium in order
not to make deliveries; this is called “ deport'1 (back­
wardation) .
For instance: Peter, seller of ioo shares at ioo, finds
himself unable to effect a delivery. He will pay, for
instance, i franc per share for “ deport" (backwardation),
and his settling account will carry a repurchase at the
clearing price (cours de compensation). His account at
the following maturity will carry a sale at the clearing
price, less i franc.
(25) Some operations for future delivery (a terme) are
contracted for uncertain dates, though the maturity is
foreseen. Such are transactions in securities “ a remission”
(“ when issued”). Speculators undertake to deliver an
issue of securities in perspective— when they are issued.
Hence, operations “ d remission ” are transactions sub­
ject to settlement at a time when certain formalities will
have been accomplished, and in a place where the delivery
of the securities will be actually possible.
Some emissions of securities are subject to reductions in
the allotments when the subscription lists are closed.
That phenomenon gives rise to special operations called
“ ventes de resultats" (sales of percentage of securities
obtained, or sale of allotments). One can sell, or pur­
chase, the results of subscriptions for 3,000 francs rentes,
for instance, or 100 shares, etc.
(26) Among operations for future delivery there are
special ones called “ operations d prime” (options). These


N a t io n a l

M on et ary


are purchases concerning which the purchaser reserves
for himself the right to abandon the trade, in considera­
tion of a certain sum fixed in advance. For instance,
Peter buys for the 15th instant 100 shares at 120 francs
“ dont” 5 francs.® The transaction is entered as 120/5.
A t a time fixed during the settling operations, called
“ reponse des primes ” (option declaration)— this is the
session preceding the day devoted to “ contango” opera­
tions (reports)— Peter must announce whether he will take
up the stock at 120, or whether he abandons the trade,
by giving up 5 francs for each share to the seller.
As a rule, the prices for transactions in options are as
much higher as the premium to be forfeited is smaller.
Instance: A stock is worth 100 on the average. Let us
suppose the rate is 120 francs “ dont” 5; then we can take
the rate as 125 francs “ dont” 2.50; also we can take it as
127 francs “ dont” 1.
There is no absolute rule for these differences, the
same as there is no absolute rule for prices in a general
way. Offers and bids cause the variations.
The maturity also plays a part in the option prices.
Thus a transaction in options maturing in a month or six
weeks or two months costs more than an option at a
nearer date.
It is thought that transactions in options have been
carried on in France from the time of a special operation
made by George Law in 1718, in order to make an impres­
sion on people, and foster purchases of shares in his bank.
a The expression " d o n t” serves to indicate the sum to be forfeited.


implies the undertaking thus expressed. Peter buys securities at 120
francs, " d o n t" (of which) he shall forfeit 5 francs if he does not take up the


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
He bought 200 shares deliverable in six months for an
amount greater by 40,000 livres than the price they were
worth then (300 livres)— it being understood that if, after
six months, the shares were not worth 500 livres, he would
forfeit the 40,000 livres to his seller. This was a real
option transaction, and by entering upon such a contract,
Taw confirmed his faith in the rise of his shares. Numer­
ous purchases by the public then took place. (See
Edmond Guillard, Operations de Bourse, p. 24.)
Option transactions give rise to manifold combi­
nations at the pleasure of the operator. We shall name
the principal ones: [a] “ operations a primes isolees”
(plain options); [b] “ operations a prime contre ferme”
(operations of “ option against non-option” ) ; [c] “ opera­
tions ferme contre prime” (“ non-option against option’’) ;
[d] operations h prime contre prime” (“ option against
option ” ).
[a] Plain options.— The plain option (operation a prime
isolee) is the option transaction in its simplest form.
Thus a capitalist or a speculator wants to buy stocks, but
fears a decline, and prefers, in case the fall should be too
severe, to reserve for himself the right to forego the trade,
in return for a small sum. He will purchase, as we saw
in the above instance, by supposition, at 120/5.
By keeping to that supposition, the following will
happen: Just as it may be to the advantage of that pur­
chaser to forego his trade at the cost of 5 francs for each
share, so, on the other hand, his advantage may demand
that he carry out his contract. In the latter case, as
already stated, his transaction will be a fixed transaction
(1operation ferme).




Commi s s i on

Below you will find two instances illustrated by an
Instance of a transaction when the option is abandoned.
The rate at the option declaration having been, let us
suppose, 1 14 francs:
Peter, his settling account on the 15th instant.

100 shares at 120/5------------O ption abandoned_______



Sales__________ ____ _


Balance due____________


Loss, 500 francs.

On the other hand, if we take for granted that the quo­
tation at the option declaration was such that Peter found
it advantageous to carry out the transaction, he becomes
a non-optional buyer. Naturally, he may take up his
securities, resell them, or have them carried over— this
goes without saying.

Having, indeed, become fixed, the

transaction will be governed by the general principles
enumerated above for fixed transactions. Such is the
second case. Let us dwell upon it one moment more, in
order to see the effect that a subsequent fixed sale will
have on an account.
If we suppose the transaction on option carried out and
wound up by a sale at a price which we will suppose to be
130 francs,® Peter’s account will be made out as follows:
Peter, his settling account on the 15th instant.



100 shares at 120/5____ . - 12,000
Credit balance ______

100 shares at 130.


1 3 , OOO


13, OOO

1 3 , OOO

Profit, 1,000 francs.
« T h e price of 130 is hypothetical. Let us remark that, provided the
price is above 115, our option purchaser finds his advantage in selling, even
if the price is below 120, and he, consequently, sells at a loss.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Thus, during the half month, the option operator has
had the opportunity to sell non-optionally (ferme), if
events led to an advantageous transaction.
The above transaction illustrates a fixed sale taking
place after a purchase on option. But, instead of a fixed
sale, a sale on option may be made. In that case, the
transaction becomes a combination of option against
option, which we shall investigate later in the combi­
nation [d].
We shall now proceed with the investigation of sale on
simple option.
It has been said that “ option” is a purchase which the
purchaser could abandon. The case can not be reversed.
.The seller on option can not waive the contract; he is
bound to the buyer.
The sale on “ simple option” is suitable to the holder
of securities who, in order to sell better, desires to take
advantage of the difference existing between the rates of
fixed transactions and the rates for options. For instance:
A security is quoted “ ferme'' (without option) ioo, the
price of options is 120/5. Peter sells 100 shares at 120/5.
If the purchase is taken up by the buyer, Peter has indeed
sold profitably, since he sold his securities at 120, while
they were worth 100 “ ferme."

If the purchase is aban­

doned, Peter keeps his securities, but the 500 francs pre­
mium which he collects, reduce, relieve, allay the loss
which he experiences on the securities he owns.
Options therefore are not, as superficial minds formerly
stated, a gambling operation.
The gambler is bold. On the other hand, the one who
guards himself when he buys, the one who limits his loss

N ational

M on et a r y


beforehand, like the one who, when selling, insures himself
against danger, manages his property and acts cautiously.
(28) [b] Transactions at “ option against non-option ”
(prime contre ferme)— We saw in the preceding instance
a purchaser of options who made a fixed sale some time
after his purchase. The combination, linked in some way,
may be planned and carried out within a very short time,
the same day, almost at the same moment. The operator
devises the transactions simultaneously.
Let us imagine, therefore, that Peter buys 100 shares
for the 15th instant at 120/5, and that simultaneously he
makes a fixed sale at 100 francs.
Peter has at once registered a paper loss— the differ­
ence between 120 and 100, that is to say, 20 francs per

But if a heavy decline occurs, and if the purchase

on option is abandoned on the day of option declarations,
Peter will find himself in the position of a speculator for a
fall (bear), who sees the expected phenomenon happening,
and who has limited his possible loss in case of a rise.
Below you will find the supposed outcome of the exer­
cising and of the abandoning of the purchased option.
Let us take for granted that, on the day of option
declaration, the option is exercised. The statement ap­
pears as follows:
Peter, his settling account on the 15th instant.


100 shares at 120/5




100 shares at 1 0 0 ___
Debit balance . _

12, OOO
Loss, 2,000 francs.



. _ 10, OOO

2, OOO

12, OOO

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
On the other hand, the decline may have occurred to
such an extent that Peter found it advantageous to
abandon his trade at 120/5, and to repurchase “ jerme ”
(non-optionally); let us then imagine a rate of re­
purchase of 80 francs, for instance. The account of
Peter will be as follows:
Peter, his settling account on the 15th instant.


100 shares at 120/5-------------


Option abandoned------------100 shares at 80-----------------

8, 000

Credit balance-------------------

x, 500


100 shares at 100_

_ __



Profit, 1,500 francs.

The combination of “ option against non-option ” with
regard to the speculator for a fall (bear) is based on a desire
to limit his loss by insuring him against a rise, without limit­
ing his profit. For the holder of securities, the combi­
nation permits the party who sold, and may be led to regret
his sale on account of a very high ulterior rise, to accept a
loss, but to keep his securities in order to sell them more
advantageously, if the opportunity presents itself.
[c] The operation 11non-option against option ” {jerme
contre prime)— This operation tends to cover and to limit
the risk of a fixed purchase.
A non-optional purchaser is indeed exposed to a decline
without limit. Peter bought 100 shares at 100 francs
for 10,000 francs. If his shares decline to 90, 80, 70, etc.,
he loses on them 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 francs.
In order to diminish his possible loss, or because he
estimates that the rise, if it occurs, is not likely to amount


N a t io n a l

M on et ary


to much, our non-optional purchaser, who may have
bought ioo shares at ioo francs, will, let us say, sell on
option ioo shares at 120/5. His account, in case the
option is exercised, will then be as follows:
Peter, his settling account for 15th instant:


100 shares at 100 _
Credit balance

2 , OOO



100 shares at 120/5 __


12, OOO

. 12, OOO

12, OOO

Profit, 2,000 francs.

On the other hand, if the option were abandoned, Peter
would face a fixed purchase; and if he should wind it up
later by means of a sale at 90 francs, for instance, the
account would appear as follows:
Peter, his settling account on the 15th instant:
C r.


100 shares a t io o ___





100 shares at 120/5.
Option abandoned
100 shares at 90.




D ebit balance_________
10, 000

9, OOO


Loss, 500 francs.

Peter has, therefore, diminished his loss by 500 francs.
Indeed, if he had purchased non-optionally at 100 francs,
without protecting himself by an option, he would have
lost 1,000 francs when he resold at 90. On the contrary,
having protected himself by the sale of a call, he saved
500 francs on the loss he experienced.
[d] Operations in “ option against option ” (prime
contre prime)— If the fact is borne in mind that quotations
for transactions in options are as much higher as the costs
of the options are smaller, that difference of prices may be
utilized through a combination.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Let us, therefore, imagine that a purchaser of ioo
shares at 120/5 for the 15th instant resells them at
125/2.50 for the same date, and let us see how the
account will show, in case the options are exercised, and
in case they are abandoned.
If the options are exercised, the account is as follows:
Peter, his settling account for the 15th instant:




Credit balance-------------------


100 shares at 125________

100 shares at 120/5------------12, 000

12, 500

5° °


Profit, 500 francs.

If the options are abandoned, the account is as follows:
Peter, his settling account for the 15th instant:





100 shares at 120/5------


100 shares at 125/2.50__


Option abandoned-------


Option abandoned


__ _

Debit b a l a n c e . ___


Loss , 25 0 francs.

This combination tends to limit either the profit or
the loss.
It may happen that one option will be abandoned
and the other taken up. For instance, the rate at the
option declaration is 121 francs. The “ c a ll” he pur­
chased will be exercised, while the “ c a ll” he sold will be
abandoned. In this case, Peter becomes the non-optional
purchaser of 100 shares at 120 francs, and his purchase
price is lowered by the amount of the premium he has
(31) Therefore: [1] The

“ plain


(h prime

isolee) suits the purchaser wishing to limit his loss, as


N a t io n a l

M on e t a r y


well as the capitalist, the holder of securities, who, by
becoming a seller of options, wishes to lessen the lower
value he may have to stand.
[2] The operation of “ option against non-option”
(prime contre jerme) suits the capitalist, the holder of
securities, who, having sold them, resolves to pay a
difference in order to sell more advantageously at a later
date. It suits also the “ short seller” who wishes to
secure himself against an excessive rise. It limits his
loss without limiting his possible profit.
[3] The operation “ non-option against option” {jerme
contre prime) suits the purchaser who wishes to reduce
his possible loss. It fixes the profit without limiting
the loss, but lessens the latter by the amount of the
Finally, [4] the operation of “ option against option”
{prime contre prime) suits the speculator wishing to limit
both the eventual profit and the eventual loss.
No doubt, there are other combinations, such as the
fixed sale of a certain amount against a purchase on option
for double the quantity (operation called a cheval, “ strad­
d le ”) ; such are purchases and sales of options at different
dates, notably “ the scale ” {Vechelle), an operation through
which a purchaser sells an option for the present account,
and at the same time buys another option for the follow­
ing account. All these combinations are the result of
reflection and are suggested by events.
There is, however, one special operation in options which
is of interest— namely, the “ stellage” (spread); we intend
to describe and explain its working, although it is but
little used.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse

The “ stellage" is an operation through which a

party, called buyer of the “ stellage ” (spread), must at a
certain date declare whether he is buyer or seller of a
certain amount of stocks, as against another party to the
contract, called seller of the “ stellage." This operation is
but the synthesis of two supposititious operations, which
present themselves, in the case of the purchaser of the
“ stellage," as a purchase on option of a certain amount of
securities against a non-optional sale of half that amount,
and, in the case of the seller of the “ stellage," on the con­
trary, as a sale on option of a certain amount of securities
against a non-optional purchase of half that amount.
For instance, a stock is quoted for the account of the
15th, 100 francs, while the option at 5 francs (“ dont" 5
francs) for the same maturity is quoted 120. If Peter pur­
chases the “ call ” of 100 shares at 120/5 against the nonoptional sale of 50 shares at 100 francs, he would, in
case he decided to exercise his right at the time of option
declaration, appear as a purchaser at a cost price which
would be 140 francs. But in case he should abandon the
option, the selling price, lessened by the premium of 5
francs per share abandoned on the side of the purchaser,
would amount to 90 francs.
Indeed, let us imagine an account in which Peter is
buyer of 100 shares at 120/5, and seller of 50 shares at

He exercises the option, and in the result he becomes

a buyer of 50 shares. In figures, he comes out a debtor
for 7,000 francs. The 50 shares cost him, therefore, 140
francs each (7,000 : 50 = 140).
If he abandons the option, he comes out as a seller of

The price of his sale (5,000 francs) is lessened

N at i o n a l

M on et a ry


by the amount of the premium of 500 francs he owes. He
will therefore be a seller at 90 francs (4,500 : 50 = 90).
If, now, instead of buying the “ call ” of 100 shares 120/5
against the non-optional (ferine) sale of 50 shares at 100,
Peter buys a “ stellaqe" (spread) at a price expressed as
follows: 140/90, he will have the privilege of becoming
a purchaser of a number of shares at 140 francs; but at
the latest, on the day of option declaration, he will have
to declare himself either purchaser or seller.
In case of a great advance or heavy decline, Peter, as
buyer of “ put ” and “ call,” is sure of a profit. A t the price
of 140 francs and above, he becomes buyer— he “ calls.” A t
the price of 90 francs and below, he becomes seller— he
“ puts.”
But let quotations stand still, the variations remaining
at a figure between 140 francs and 90 francs, and Peter
will be loser. That loss, however, in the present case
would be, at most, 25 francs per share. The loss, indeed,
can not exceed for each share one-half of the difference
between the figures of the ‘‘ put ’ ’ and ‘ ‘ call ” (140 — 90 = 50;
50:2 = 25).
Indeed, if on the day of option declaration 90 is quoted,
Peter, who is bound to declare himself, will certainly not
“ c a ll” at 140 for stock which he can resell only at about
90. He will declare himself seller, and the rates at the
declaration will leave him neither gainer nor loser.
Seller at 90, buyer at 90, his account balances, without
gain or loss.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
But if the price is 91 francs, he will declare himself seller
will lose 1 franc on each share;
if 92 francs, he willlose 2 francs on each share;
if 93 francs, he willlose 3 francs on each share;
if 94 francs, he willlose 4 francs on each share;
if 95 francs, he willlose 5 francs on each share;
and so on. As the price at the declaration of options rises
above 90 francs, Peter will find it to his interest to “ p u t”
at that price rather than “ call,” and yet he will be loser.
Thus, at a price at the option declaration of 115, Peter,
declaring himself seller at 90, will lose a difference of 25
francs on each share.
However, it should be noted that when the price at
option declaration is 115 francs, Peter might just as well
declare himself purchaser at 140 francs as seller at 90
francs. Indeed, if he becomes purchaser at 140 and he
resells at the price of the option declaration, 115, he will
lose 25 francs on each share, as in the other case.
Above 115 francs it will be to Peter’s advantage not to
exercise the “ put,” but to “ ca ll;” that is, to purchase
rather than sell.
Indeed, if the quotation is 116 francs, then, by becoming
purchaser at 140,—

he will lose 24 francs on each share;
if 117,

hewill lose 23 francs on each share;

if 118,
if 119,
if 120,

hewill lose 22 francs on each share;
hewill lose 21 francs on each share;
hewill lose 20 francs on each share.


N a t io n a l

M on e t d'r y


The nearer the rate of the option declaration rises
toward 140, the less will the loss become. A t 140, Peter
will experience no loss; above that rate, profit will begin.
Thus the two ends of a “ stellage" (put and call) pre­
sent an ascending and descending scale of losses, the
apex of which will be the average rate between the two
extreme limits. That average rate will determine the
maximum loss to which the buyer of a 11stellage" may be
It remains for us to look into the position of Paul, seller
of the “ stellage. ”
At every intermediate rate, between 140 and 90, he
will have a profit in the same proportion as Peter will
experience a loss. But, in case of a considerable rise or
fall, his loss is limited only by the limit of the fluctua­

Above 140, he runs the risk of being called upon

to take up delivery at that price; he is also exposed, if the
shares fall below 90, to have to deliver them at that price.
Peter, buyer of the “ spread,” has in his favor the big
bourse fluctuations, and against him their slight varia­
tions, while Paul, seller of the “ spread,” has in his favor
the comparative stagnation of prices, and against him the
great fluctuations.®
How are the accounts liquidated? To liquidate
is to audit, to settle. The purchaser who exercises his
“ c a ll” liquidates through the “ call.”
In the same way for the seller who “ puts.”
The purchaser who has resold, has liquidated his trans­
action. But that operation, like the one of the seller
a Y ves G uyot & Raffalovitch, “ Dictionnaire du Commerce, de /’ Industrie
et de la Banque,” under the word “ stellage,’ ' b y Emmanuel Vidal.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
who rebuys, only shows liquidation when the accounts
have been established. The same applies to the party
who loans money for the account, and the party who
borrows for the account.
Parties dealing between themselves on the Bourse—
stockbrokers between themselves, bankers between them­
selves— fix a time, called “ declaration of options,” when
they declare what they decide to do. One day later the
liquidation proper begins.
Purchasers who do not care to exercise their “ call,”
resell or have their purchases carried over until the
next settlement; sellers who do not wish to deliver, rebuy
or carry over.
After that, in a common office, the work of central
liquidation begins.
To understand the machinery, it is proper to recall
that the “ making-up ” price is a price fixed by agreement,
intended to facilitate deliveries and settlement on the
bourses and markets.
With this in mind, we shall suppose five people— Peter,
Paul, Jack, Will, and Ernst, operating on a hypothetical
Peter sold on the Bourse 100 shares to Paul, at 100
francs— that is to say, for 10,000 francs— Paul resold
them to Jack at 101, for 10,100 francs; Jack resold them
to Will at 102, for 10,200 francs; Will resold them
to Ernst at 103, for 10,300 francs. What happens at
maturity in case there is no clearing?
Peter delivers the 100 shares to Paul, the latter paying
him 10,000 francs. Paul, holding these 100 shares,
brings them to Jack, who pays for them 10,100 francs;
9031 2°— IO---- '5




Commi s s i on

Jack calls on Will, hands him the ioo shares, and collects
10,200 francs; finally, Will betakes himself to Ernst,
who disburses 10,300 francs and keeps the securities.
This causes considerable disturbance to many people,
numerous bookings, carrying around of funds and carry­
ing around of securities.
The clearing system, otherwise called the central liqui­
dation service, has for its object the obviating of all
these disadvantages.
It works as follows: Peter, Paul, Jack, Will, and Ernst
are requested by the chief of the common service called
central liquidation, to settle all their engagements at a
rate called clearing price (cours de compensation) , fixed, let
us say, at 101.50.
Thanks to this service there will be no successive deliv­
eries of securities to Paul, Jack, and Will. The delivery
of securities will be made from Peter to Ernst exclusively,
passing by Paul, Jack, and Will.
The liquidation then centralizes the deliveries of secu­
rities between sellers and purchasers. Moreover, it can
also collect differences due from the debtors, and pay the
creditors, while attending to the handling of the securities.
The account of each party results as follows: Peter
sold 100 shares to Paul, and delivers them to Ernst on
the indications of the central liquidation, at the clear­
ing price, 101.50. He is credited with 10,000 francs,
selling price to Paul, and debited with 10,150 francs,
“ making-up” price— giving a balance of 150 francs to his



History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The accounts of Paul, Jack, and Will, will be as follows:
P a u l’ s account.




Cleared at 101.50----------------


10, 150

Cleared at 101.50_______ 10, 150
Sold to Jack at 101_______ 10,100


20, 250

Purchased of Peter at ioo__ io, ooo

Result: A balance in favor of Paul of 100 francs.a

Ja ck ’s account.



Purchased of Paul at io i_ - 10, 100
Cleared at 101.50--------------- 10, 150

Cleared at 101.50________ 10, 150
Sold to Will at 102_______ 10, 200

20, 250

20, 350

Result: A balance in favor of Jack of 100 francs.

W ill’ s account.


Purchased of Jack at 10 2-.

10, 200

Cleared at 101.50------------- 10, 150


Cleared at 101.50_______ 10, 150
Sold to Ernst at 103______ 10, 300


20, 450

Result: A balance in favor of Will of 100 francs.

Finally, Ernst disburses 10,150 when taking up the
securities of Peter.
He bought from Will at 103, owing 10,300 francs, and
the clearing takes place at 101.50, totaling 10,150 francs.
He, therefore, still owes 150 francs on the purchase price.
a The two clearings at 101.50 appear in the account.

As they are even

in the debit and the credit, they could, they even ought, for the sake of good
accounting, be taken off the account; but we let them remain, in order to
show all that happens within the central liquidation office.

Paul has

purchased securities for a sum of 10,000 francs, which he owes; he de­
livers the securities to the central liquidation and receives 10,150 francs.
H e is credited for it. He sold the shares a t 101, for 10,100 francs. He
purchases them at the central liquidation at the clearing price, and pays
over 10,150. He is debited for it. The same applies to the other accounts.

N ationa l

M onet ar y


in the central liquidation office will
appear as follows:



Peter________ ______




Paul _



With the 300 francs which Peter and Ernst pay, the
central liquidation office pays Paul, Jack, and Will.
The clearing price has, therefore, served the following
purposes: (1) To facilitate, through the central liquida­
tion, deliveries between dealers in a public market;
(2) to permit this central service to fulfill the functions
of collector and distributer of money.
The clearing prices are also used for the “ carryingo ver” operations through loans to the next settlement
(reports); they also facilitate operations of parties giving
orders through different houses.
On the Paris Bourse the clearing price is fixed on the
settling day by the syndic of the stockbrokers (syndic des
agents de change) for securities officially quoted; and by
a member on duty in the Syndical Chamber of Bankers
dealing in securities for future delivery, for securities in
the open market.
In order to give the above remarks a practical
import, it is necessary to follow the transactions from the
standpoint of the party who gave the orders.
How are orders given? How long do they remain in
force? How can they be controlled by the quotation
list? On what conditions are orders given in most
cases? How can certain special orders in small options


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
be followed up?

Which are the settling days?

What ex­

penses is the party who gives orders subjected to? What
happens in case of default, either on the part of the party
receiving orders or the party giving orders?
For securities negotiated in the official market, pur­
chases and sales may be effected either at the opening
price or the closing price, at a fixed price or at best.
Trading at the average rate, like trading for cash, is not
done without previous special arrangements.
But just as in the trading for cash stockbrokers oper­
ate before the opening of the session at the average rate—
that is to say, at a rate unknown at the moment they are
dealing, but which will be determined by the quotations
entered on the quotation list— in exactly the same way
these ministerial officeholders deal for the account, on the
basis of the opening price, before it becomes known.
Later, when business opens, the first price entered on
the official list will determine the price they traded at.
This mode of procedure is not practised in the bankers’
market {Coulisse).
In the Coulisse orders are given at a fixed price or at
best {au mieux) . One may also indicate the moment when
his order is to be executed— that is to say, at the opening
of the session or at the closing of the session.
According to agreement, orders remain in force for
the day, for a week, or until the next settlement, inclusive.
It is customary for stockbrokers and bankers to state in
their letters of advice that orders
revocation ” (good
until canceled, “ g. t. c.” ) remain in force for the week,
and must be renewed on the following Monday, for want
of which they will be considered as lapsed.

N a t i on a l

M on e t a ry


(37) In many cases the accepting of orders is subor­
dinate to the deposit of cover (couverture).
The cover is a sum deposited by the buyer as an
anticipated payment for the taking up of securities
to be bought, or for the difference which may occur by a
resale, or deposited by the seller to safeguard his delivery
or pay the difference in case of repurchase. When it is
deposited in the shape of securities “ to bearer” (au porteur), the party giving the order must, when he deposits
the securities, sign an order for the sale of same, should
it be necessary.
The stockbroker or banker may reserve for himself the
right to demand additional cover (margin), in case events
should render the original amount insufficient, and, for
want of this being furnished, the right to close out the
undertaken transaction for the account.

But for this

purpose a distinct stipulation is necessary.
Especially in purchases on option (a prime), the interme­
diary has the right to exact that an additional cover be
handed to him on the day of option declaration (au jour
de la reponse), for the event in which the option should
be exercised and the purchase declared a fixed bargain,
and that, for want of that request being met by the
party giving the order, the transaction be closed out at
the expiration of the time allowed him for that purpose.
(38) The minimum quantity allowable for transactions
for future delivery is determined by the kind of rente.
Thus, for rentes 3 per cent it is 3,000 francs rentes, or
one-half, say 1,500 francs; for rentes 4 per cent, 4,000
francs rentes, or one-half, etc. For other securities the
minimum quantity is 25 units, shares or bonds.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
(39) The purchaser for the account has the privilege
of demanding delivery before maturity by tendering the
money. This is what is called “ jaculte d’escompte”
(privilege of discounting). But it should be noted that
the same does not occur when the seller has paid “ deport ”
(a premium on borrowed stock) at the last liquidation;
that is, has paid a certain sum (backwardation) freeing
him from immediate delivery by putting off its maturity
for a future date. (See No. 24.)
(40) On the curb for rentes {coulisse des rentes) options
are frequently dealt in at 10 centimes for each 3 francs
rentes and at 5 centimes for each 3 francs rentes for the
next day; that is to say, by risking 50 francs for each
purchase of 1,500 francs 3 per cent rentes when oper­
ating “ dont” 10 centimes, and 25 francs for 1,500 francs
rentes 3 per cent when operating “ dont" 5 centimes.
These operations are commonly spoken of as “ dont deux
sous pour de?nain” (option 2 centimes till to-morrow),
“ dont un sou pour demain” (option 1 centime till to­
morrow). The option declaration takes place at 2 o’clock.
(41) The Official Quotation List of the Stockbrokers
{la Cote officielle des agents de change) establishes only
four quotations for transactions for future delivery
{le terme): The opening {le premier), the highest {le plus
haut), the lowest (le plus has), the last {le dernier); but,
nevertheless, business is done at intermediate rates {a des
cours intermediates).
The prices of options {les cours des primes) appear in
the columns reserved for the prices of fixed bargains {cours
du ferme), and below these prices; but their appearing in
this or that column does not indicate at what moment


they are dealt in. The bank (curb) quotations (les cotes
en banque) give the quotations for the fixed bargains in
the following order: Opening, lowest, highest, last (debut,
plus bas, plus haul, dernier). Dealings are also made at
intermediary rates. For options two prices are published,
the lowest and the highest, without indicating the time in
either case.
In the Paris market operations for future delivery
are made either for the semimonthly (a quinzaine) or the
monthly settlement (d fin de mots).
On the stockbrokers’ market (au marche des agents de
change) they deal for the semimonthly settlement, except
in French rentes and in shares of the Credit Fonder (a
French national mortgage loan society, see § 72 of Book
IV.— Translator), of the Banque de France, and of the
railroads, which are dealt in for the end-of-the-month
settlement. Options are dealt in for semimonthly or
monthly settlement, and in extreme cases for the third
liquidation. For securities subject to a single monthly
liquidation the maturity of options can not extend be­
yond the second liquidation. Often dealings are made
in options at 10 centimes per 3-franc rentes for the next
day (say, 50 francs for 1,500-franc rentes, the minimum
of transaction), but no options at 5 centimes, as on the
Coulisse. The option declaration for the morrow is
effected on the day indicated at 2 p. m.
In the bankers’ market (au marche en banque), i. e., on
the Coulisse, all transactions for future delivery (opera­
tions a terme) are made for maturity at the end of the
month (h Vecheance de fin de mois) . Options are dealt in
for one, two, or three months. The latter case rarely


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
occurs. The small operations in options on the coulisse
des rentes have been mentioned above. (See No. 40.)
Following is the order of the fortnightly settlement
(la liquidation de quinzaine):
On the 14th (or the 13th, if the 14th is a holiday) option
declaration takes place at 1.30 p. m. The 15th (or the
day following, if the 15th is a holiday) is for liquidation of
operations. The next day, for making up and forwarding
accounts. On the day following the debtors must settle.
Two days later the creditors’ accounts are paid.
The end-of-the-month (ultimo) liquidation is carried on
as follows:
The day before the last day of the month (or two days
before in case of a holiday) option declaration takes place
at 1.30 p. m. The last day of the month (or, if that is a
holiday, the first session of the following month) is set
for liquidation, sales, purchases, and carrying-over opera­
tions, or continuations (reports). The following day, for
making up and forwarding accounts. The day after, for
payment of debtor accounts. Two days later, for pay­
ment of creditor accounts.
It should be noted that, while the option declaration
preceding liquidation is effected at 1.30, the declaration
of options for the next day takes place at 2 p. m.


ever, on the day of option declaration preceding liquida­
tion the declaration takes place at 1.30 for all options
given for that maturity, including those made the day
On the day of liquidation some trades are made for the
running account (en liquidation courante) and some for the
next account (pour la liquidation prochaine); the rates for

transactions made for the next account include the cost
of carrying over. The party giving an order must there­
fore specify whether his order, given on settling day, shall
be executed for the running account or for the next ac­
count. In the absence of precise instructions the order is
executed for the running account.
(43) As far as possible, parties giving orders must see
that their instructions for the liquidation be received
before the “ jour des reports” (contango day). “ Reports”
(continuations) being transacted on the last bourse day
of the month, the instructions referred to must be
received on that day before noon at the latest. It is
better by far that they be given the day preceding. In
case of deliveries of securities, they must reach the inter­
mediary agent, at the latest, at the fourth session of the
following month. All cases for the account, buying or
selling, for which instructions (to take up or carry over
purchases, to deliver or carry over sales, or to clear) are
not received before the bourse opening on the morning of
the “ jour des reports” (contango day), may be officially
extended until the next liquidation.
The remarks we made as to the condition of securities
to be delivered, when we spoke of operations for cash, are,
of course, also applicable to operations for future deliv­
ery. We shall now show what happens in case of default
on the part of an intermediary or of a party giving orders.
Then we shall speak of expenses occasioned by operations
for future delivery.
(44) In case of default of an intermediary, the syndical chamber of the corporation or syndicate to which
he belongs immediately takes the measures rendered

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
necessary by the circumstances.

It purchases back the

securities he sold, it resells the securities he purchased,
and the creditors can then enter their claims against cash
assets. This is called “ execution” (buying-in or sellingout). The parties having given orders, on finding them­
selves thus liquidated, must file their claims.
The party who gives orders, when he defaults in his
engagements, may also, be “ executed” {execute). The
effect of failure on a business man is loss of the advan­
tages of dealing for the account. The same thing hap­
pens if, owing to any act of his, he reduces the guarantees
given to his intermediary, or, likewise, if he declares
himself insolvent, and so demands his own “ execution.”
However, the delay which a speculator makes in settling
his “ liquidation” account (compte de liquidation— the
account to be settled on liquidation days) does not, in
principle, cause him the loss of the advantage of future
delivery; but if on the last day of “ liquidation” a specu­
lator whose transactions had been carried over has not
settled his account, the stockbroker has the right to
liquidate his affairs. After that date the stockbroker no
longer has the right to proceed to “ execution,” unless he
has notified the giver of the order that he would carry him
over only in case he was ready to settle within a given
While the right of “ execution” during the liquidation
is granted to the stockbroker (agent de change) by
article 69 of the decree of October 7, 1870, that right is
denied to the curb broker (coulissier). But nothing
prevents the banker from making an express agreement
with his client to carry his stocks over only on condition


N at i on a l

M on et a r y


of immediate settlement of the “ liquidation” account of
previous transactions.
Expenses for transferring registered certificates
taken up during the settling days are borne by the pur­
chasers. As explained, when speaking of operations for
cash, they amount to 0.75 per cent of the amount of the
Transactions are subject to brokerage or commission
charge, a table of which follows. The present rate of
brokerage of Paris stockbrokers dates from July 22, 1901;
it was decreed by the Minister of Finance, under whose
direction are the stockbrokers trading on bourses pro­
vided with “ parquets.” The rates are as follows:
French rentes

12.50 francs for 1,500 francs.
3 per cent


perpetual or amor­

Funds of foreign countries dealt in,

25 francs for the smallest denomi­

amounts of principal or in rentes.

nation negotiable for future de­
livery, and so on in the same pro­

Shares and bonds:
For shares and bonds when
their price
is below 250
For shares

and bonds

their price

is between


25 centimes for each share or bond.

50 centimes for each share or bond.


and 500 francs.



and bonds





Operations in “ Reports” (continua­
tions) in French rentes.

One-tenth per cent of the amount
of the bill.
12.50 francs for 1,500 francs of 3
per cent rente, perpetual or amor­
tisable, and for 1,750 francs of
rente 3 ^ per cent.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
u n au otner securities.
For securities subject



monthly settlement.






amount of the bill.

For securities subject to month­
ly settlement.
An exception made for foreign

One-twelfth per cent of the amount
of the bill.
15 centimes for the smallest denomi­

securities, the price of which

nation negotiable for future de­

is above 60 francs.

livery, and so on

For the smallest amount dealt




25 centimes.

in for future delivery on for­
eign securities.
For securities, the



25 centimes per certificate.

which is less than 200 francs.
For securities worth from 200

50 centimes per certificate.

to 400 francs.
For securities worth above 400

One-eighth per cent (12.5 centimes
per 100 francs) on the amount of
the bill.


The above prices apply to all certifications of signatures
given by stockbrokers, even when not attached to a
purchase or a sale.
For securities not fully paid in, the fees given above
are figured only on the net amount of the bill, after
deduction of the part not yet paid in.
Two transactions during the same session, one purchase
and one sale, are subject to a commission, calculated
only upon the item giving the larger figure. The ‘ ‘ franco,’ ’
however, does not apply in the case where one transaction
is for cash and the other for future delivery.
On the Coulisse (marche en banque), the usual commis­
sions are as follows: For French rentes: 12.50 for each
1,500 francs of 3 per cent rentes.
For the smallest amount negotiable for future delivery
in foreign state securities, 25 francs.
For securities the price of which is below 50 francs, 25
centimes per certificate


N ationa l

M on et a r y


For securities the price of which is between 50 and 400
francs, 50 centimes per certificate.
For securities the price of which is above 400 francs,
one-eighth per cent (12.5 centimes per 100 francs) of the
amount of the bill.
The commission is reduced by one-half for abandoned
options “ dont" 10 centimes (of which 10 centimes shall
be forfeited) on French rentes.
Continuations are subject to full commissions, and not
to the special rates of commissions for continuations on
the Parquet.
F o u r t h D iv i s io n .— Exchange— Concerning the negotiation of bills of ex­
change and precious metals.

(46) Article 76 gives to stockbrokers the privilege of
alone negotiating bills of exchange for account of others.
For a long time the stockbrokers have given up that pre­
rogative, and, in fact, they do not negotiate a single bill
of exchange; that branch of business is carried on, unre­
stricted, by a group of special brokers, whose transactions
fix the rates, the stockbrokers intervening only to give
them the official trade-mark.
It is proper to investigate that business: we should
indicate in a few words what is the bill of exchange; and,
because it is treated like a commodity, subject to the
fluctuations of bids and offers, we should ascertain what
useful purposes have been served by its transformation
into a thing fungible to the highest degree.
(47) We need not study here the exchange contract
from a theoretical standpoint. It will suffice for us to say
that, created for the settlement of private claims, the
bill of exchange in its circulation becomes endowed with


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the functions of insuring international settlements without
regard to persons. Hence, there results the more or less
active quest for that money, giving rise to the advance
or decline in its purchase price, within limits which we
shall have to determine.
How does the letter of exchange, originating in private
relations, turn out to be an object of trade?
Let us suppose that Peter, of Paris, is indebted to Louis,
of London. Is he going to settle in metallic currency or
bank notes, by taking upon himself the heavy cost of
freight and insurance? It is simpler to purchase a bill of
exchange, drawn, for instance, by Paul, in Paris, on
Lucien, in London. He will indorse it to Louis, who will
collect it from Lucien, so that, simultaneously, and with­
out the transmission of metallic currency, Peter will have
settled with Louis, and Lucien with Paul.
Let us note that in Paris both Peter and Paul will have
found profit in the transaction— the one by paying his
debt, the other by collecting his claim— without the trans­
fer of metallic currency.
Therefore, the seller and purchaser of bills of exchange
find it advantageous to meet. It is then the business of
the broker to make their offers and bids coincide.
The debates on offers and bids fix the quota­
tions. If Paris has made large purchases in London,
and London, on the contrary, is but slightly indebted to
Paris, bills of exchange on London will be high; in the
opposite case, they will be freely offered, and their price
will fall. B ut whether rising or falling, exchange rates
have a limit; when rising, it is the point where the debtor
would find it more profitable to insure payment in cash


N ational

M on et a ry


than to buy paper at too high a price; when falling, it is
the point where the creditor, rather than sell his paper at
a low price, would find it advantageous to effect the col­
lection in his debtor’s home country; in both cases, that
limit is what is called the “ gold point”— “ export” point
of metallic currency in the first case, and “ im port” point
in the second.
Such are the principles which govern the rates of
exchange. We leave aside considerations having refer­
ence to the relations between exchange quotations and
the general economic condition or the monetary condition
of any given country.
Having established the principles, we shall ask our­
selves only one question: How can securities, which
differ from one another either by the signatures bringing
them into existence, or by the interval between the
moment of the negotiation and the time of payment, be
brought to a common trading basis; or in other words,
how can the bills be measured in terms of each other,
how are the exchange quotations made?
What is purchased by the party who becomes possessed
of a bill of exchange? He purchases the right to collect
the face value of the bill, but only after a certain time.
Besides, it should be noticed that the certainty of payment
is subject to the solvency of the vouching signatures.
Hence, these two consequences, the second of which has
but a theoretical value: (1) The purchaser, in considera­
tion of the discount up to the time of collection, will be
entitled to an allowance on the face value; (2) two bills
drawn for the same face value, and payable within the
same length of time, should be quoted at two different

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
rates, in accordance with the rating of the signatures.
We shall see that, in fact, this second consequence does
not occur on the Paris market.
These remarks permit us to explain the exchange
quotations as published by the Union des Banquiers.
Below you will find the quotation list of October 17,
Check payments,
short paper.

Three months’


P e r ce n t.

25/10 % to 25/13 K — -




S 'A

104^ to 104}$............
D iscoun t street rates:
Bank of France discount-------Interest on ad v an ces____

Treasury bonds:
One to three m o n th s____
Three months to one year.


i ° t9
b to


I04fg--- . . .


2 'A

2 yi



The rates are fixed for sighta exchange— that is to say,
as if the payment was demandable immediately; but on
0 The quotation at sight has been in use since M ay 1, 1907; previously,
a difference was made as to whether bills were negotiated at sight or at three
months. In the first instance, an allowance was made, as nowadays, to
the benefit of the purchaser, for the time that he might have to wait; in
the second case, on the contrary, the rates having been established by
figuring on the delay of three months, if the time to run until m aturity was
less, it was the seller who got the benefit of the discount for the difference;
in the first case the rate was given less discount, and in the second case the
rate was given with discount.
903120— 10------6


N ational

M on e t a r y


these rates the purchaser is allowed for each bill, on
account of the time he has to wait, a deduction of interest
for the time the bill has to run, in accordance with the
rate of discount ruling in the country where the payment
is to be effected; that rate is given for each place in the
column on the right.
One can see that the rates given swing between two
extreme limits; for instance, three months’ paper on
London is quoted between 25.10^2 and 25.13^ per pound
sterling. These indications do not correspond, as the
rates given for bourse securities do, to rates actually
traded on during the session, but to extreme limits,
between which the average rate is fixed. Some authors
state also that quotations vary between these limits,
according to the status of the signatures; but, in fact, on
the Paris market, dealings are made as if all signatures
were equally good.
The exchange quotation list comprises two divi­
sions, under two series of different rates; one devoted to
“ short paper,” the other to “ long paper.”
“ Short paper” is paper payable within one month;
‘ ‘ long paper ’ ’ is paper which has more than one month to run.
Given that a deduction of interest is made on the ex­
change rate of every bill according to the time elapsing
until its payment, it would appear that a single quotation
would be sufficient, since the delay is compensated for, day
by day, by a reduction in price. However, the necessity
for double quotation is caused by a real duality of markets
for “ long paper” and for “ short paper.”
From an economic standpoint, indeed, these two cate­
gories of bills do not play the same part. The function


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
of the “ short paper ” is restricted to that of an instrument
of payment; its value is, therefore, solely regulated by
local conditions.
When, on balance, Paris is London’s debtor, paper on
London is sought; if, on the contrary, London is shown
to be a debtor, the rates on London will fall. In the first
case the exchange is said to be unfavorable; in the second
case it is called favorable.
Offers and bids for “ long paper ” are influenced, not
only by local conditions, but also by other causes.
First of all, there are purchasers who buy paper as an
investment. “ The rate of interest is, therefore, their
chief concern. The rise of the discount rate on one place,
above the rates prevailing on the other places of the
same order, will instigate a more active demand for long
bills, and will tend to cause the price to rise.” 0 Espe­
cially, railroad companies often invest their idle funds in
purchases of bills of exchange.
Secondly, “ long paper ” comprises a speculative element
which is missing in the “ short paper ” ; that element is the
profit which the purchaser may realize by getting his
paper discounted privately at a rate lower than the offi­
cial rate prevailing in the country where the payment is
to be effected.

That is, there will be a profit which will

amount to the difference between the discount deduced
by inference from the exchange rate (official discount),
and the actual discount at which he will have the bill
discounted privately; the profit will naturally be greater
as the maturity is further removed.
a See article on Exchange, by M. Aug. Arnaun6, in the Dictionnaire
d’Econom ie Politique of L6on Say.


N ational

M on et a r y


Guided by the same considerations, bankers often
undertake what is called the “ pensioning” (“ mise en
pension ”) of “ long paper.” For instance, they buy ex­
change on London at 2 ^ and then “ pension” it until
maturity in one of the large banks, which retains 2 per
cent. They get the benefit of one-eighth, which is the
difference between the rate of discount applied in the
market and the “ pension” rate. As to the large banks
where paper is “ pensioned,” if they do not take it for their
own account, it is because they may have reasons for por­
tioning out their risks and for scattering the responsi­
bility, in consideration of a trifling difference. More­
over, they have the advantage of not running any risk
as to exchange. The bills are not indorsed to them;
they hold them on deposit and surrender them at matu­
rity to the depositor, who undertakes the collection or
Thus, “ short bills” and “ long bills” are two distinct
kinds of merchandise, answering different requirements,
the prices of which vary under distinct influences; hence
the two series of quotations.
We shall have done with these short notices on
the exchange quotations, after saying that in Paris they
quote “ l ’incertain”— that is to say, they quote in na­
tional money the rate of a fixed quantity of foreign money.
This is the general rule, and among foreign cities there are
but London and St. Petersburg where the “ certain” is
quoted— that is to say, where the price of a fixed sum in
national money is quoted in foreign money.
Except London, for which the price quoted is that of
the pound sterling, and Spain, where the quotation price


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
of 500 pesetas is given, the Paris market quotes the price
of 100 units of foreign money— 100 florins for Holland,
100 marks for Germany, 100 crowns for Vienna, 100
rubles for St. Petersburg, 100 dollars for New York, and
100 francs for Belgium, Switzerland, or Italy.
(54) Each day the quotation list, decided upon by a
committee of bankers and brokers, is transmitted to the
Association of Stockbrokers (Compagnie des Agents de
Change), who publish it below the Official Quotation List.
Indeed, as we stated in the beginning, the stock brokers
(agents de change) have not only long ago given up their
monopoly in this sphere, but do not negotiate bills of
exchange even in competition with the free merchandise
brokers (courtiers). The negotiations are made on the
bourse for securities (bourse des valeurs), either directly
between bankers or through the mediation of exchange
brokers (courtiers de change).
(55) How are the transactions carried out?
Every day at bourse time the brokers and representa­
tives of bankers gather in a hall specially reserved for
them. Transactions which could not be settled in private,
are brought out before the gathering (rather restricted,
however), where quotations are established by auction,
just as before the large crowds of the market in securities.
Merchandise brokers selling paper may mention the
name of their principal, or, if the latter considers it to his
advantage not to disclose himself, they do not divulge his
name to their purchaser until after the meeting. Here,
again, a difficulty would present itself concerning the
specification of the thing sold, if custom did not solve it
in a general way; indeed, it may happen that such and


N attonal

M on e t a ry


such a house has always declined the acceptance, or now
declines the further acceptance, of this or that signature,
which it does not trust, or of which kind it has already a
sufficient number on hand; but then, either the broker
knows beforehand that his paper will not be taken by this
or that fellow-broker who is a buyer, or, if the trade is
concluded and the paper not taken, the matter is settled
through a fellow-broker by means of the “ passage de
noms” (passing of names).
Generally, the broker deals for his own account, and
then settles with his client at the average rate, taking his
profit in the rate; certain houses, however, content them­
selves with closing the transaction at the actual rate,
reserving for themselves a brokerage, which, while not
officially fixed, is nevertheless established by custom (for
instance, one-half to one-fourth centime for exchange on
London; one-sixteenth to one thirty-second centime for
exchange on Berlin).
In his intercourse with his fellow-dealers the broker
binds himself only to deliver the paper; if his principal
does not deliver it, he must procure it, losing perhaps the
difference in price. But he is not responsible for pay­
ment at maturity, as he has not indorsed the paper.
The loss falls on the principal who agreed to take the
Exchange business is acquainted with “ short” sales.
One can sell i ,000 pounds sterling at such and such a rate,
deliverable in eight days; he has then eight days within
which to procure the paper. Transactions for future
delivery are made for rather short periods— eight, fifteen


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
days. Transactions are sometimes made for a longer
period, but rarely for three months.
Contracts are always followed by deliveries. Con­
tracts to be settled by payment of differences are not
(56) Gold and silver are dealt in in bars 1,000 fine— that
is to say, absolutely free of any alloy.
Gold.— Prices are quoted on so much per 1,000 premium
or loss, and are based on the value in money of a kilogram
of gold, after deducting coinage charges, say net 3.437
francs for 1 kilogram.
Silver.— Since January 2, 1901, prices are given in
francs; this means that the official quotation list ex­
presses in francs and centimes the cost of the kilogram
silver fine.
F if t h D iv i s io n .— Bourses in the departments.

(57) In examining the bourse system, one has chiefly—
almost exclusively— in mind what relates to the Paris
Bourse. However, the French financial market also com­
prises provincial bourses, the importance of which has
greatly diminished as business centered on the Paris
market, but whose activity is still maintained by trans­
actions in local securities.
The monopolizing of business by the Paris market has
given rise to recriminations, which have been taken up
by the newspapers. Sundry remedies have been recom­
mended for the purpose of giving a new lease of life to
provincial bourses, which complain of painfully vegetat­
ing. It is not this phase of the question which we have
to pass upon here; we desire only to indicate in a general

N at i on a l

M ou ct a ry

C o t Ti t ni ssi ot i

way some of the interior regulations by which these
bourses differ from the Paris institution.
Provincial bourses are divided into two categories:
The bourses with “ parquets” (bourses a parquet), and the
bourses having no ‘1parquet ’ ’ (bourses sans parquet). ‘ ‘ Par­
quet ” means a slightly raised floor surrounded by railings
and reserved for the stockbrokers, which permits the
public to find them and keeps them isolated while they
The provincial bourses provided with a “ parquet” are
those of Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, Toulouse,
and Lille. The Nice “ parquet” was done away with in
1887. According to the terms of article 14 of the decree
of 1890, bourses comprising at least six offices may by
decree, and after fulfilling certain formalities, be provided
with a “ parquet.” At present Dunkirk is, in fact, the
only place which has more than 6 stockbrokers and is
not provided with a “ parquet;” it is true that the 11
agents who trade there, are, at the same time, insurance
brokers and ship-brokers-interpreters (courtiers interpretes
et conducteurs de navires).
The differences between

bourses “ & parquet” and

the bourses without a “ parquet” are not important.
First of all, in the first category, stockbrokers depend
upon the Minister of Finance (decree of July 2, 1862),
while in the second category they depend upon the Minis­
ter of Commerce (or upon the Minister of Colonies when
they carry on business in a French possession). (See
ordinance of July 3, 1816, and April 6, 1834.)
In the “ parquet” bourses a syndieal chamber must
be elected each year, the number of members varies,


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
according to the number of members in the corporation.
(Art. 17 of decree of 1890, modified by decree of June 29,
In the bourses without a “ parquet,” the general meet­
ing of stockbrokers and the tribunal of commerce exercise
the same corporate privileges which, in the “ parquet
bourses,” are exercised by the syndical chamber (intro­
duction of successors, honorary memberships, etc.).
It is questionable whether the consent given by a syn­
dical chamber to the nomination of an unworthy stock­
broker may entail its responsibility toward wronged third
parties. It is clear that the same question does not exist
with regard to the general assemblies which in the
bourses without “ parquet ” fulfill both functions. But
as far as syndical chambers are concerned, the question
does not seem to us to be definitely settled in the matter of



in addition,


powers. All syndical chambers, since the decree of 1890,
have the power to impose penalties. Before that decree
only the syndical chamber of Paris had that power
conferred upon it by an ordinance of May 29, 1816.
According to the terms of article 23 of the decree of
1890, the penalties which may be pronounced by the syn­
dical chamber are disapprobation, censure, and interdic­
tion to enter the Bourse for one month. It expressed
its opinion on graver penalties (suspension and revocation).
From the standpoint of discipline, the stockbrokers of
bourses without a “ parquet ” are placed under the authority
of the mixed syndical chambers, established in accordance
a Lyon, Caen & Renault.

Traits de droit commercial, vol. 4, No. 883.

N at i o n a l

M on et a r y


with the decree of January 5, 1867, and which are the
same as those for insurance brokers, and for ship-brokers-

Let us add that in all corporations having a syndical
chamber there is established a common fund, the man­
agement of which is intrusted to the syndical chamber.
(Decree of October 7, 1890, art. 26.)
We may mention also that in the “ parquet bourses”
the decree of October 1, 1862, adds to the qualifications
demanded from candidates for the office of stockbroker,
that they produce a certificate of fitness and respecta­
bility signed by the heads of several banking or commer­
cial houses.
Finally, several decrees have conferred on stockbrokers
acting on “ parquet bourses” the right to certify the
transfers of registered certificates of rentes of the
sundry types made payable in the treasury office of the
department where they do business, provided these trans­
fers are for other registered certificates. (See especially
for the rente 3 per cent the decree of May 28, 1896.) A
decree of December 24, 1896, has extended their sphere
to all registered rentes, without distinction, and whatever
may be the department in which the arrears are ordered
to be paid.




III.— Judicial considerations on the monopoly of

x. W bat is meant by bourse transactions?— The advantage of
making a distinction between private transactions in secu­
rities among individuals, and bourse transactions proper __
2. Bourse transactions are m ostly orders executed in a m arket.
3. Commercial bourses— Unattached brokers— Bourses for secu­
rities— Privileged stockbrokers— W hy that difference?___


4. Stockbrokers are intermediaries, bound to secrecy, not allowed
to operate for their own account— T h ey are commission
agents (co m m ission a ires ) -------------------------------------------------


5. Is it necessary, even on the Bourse, to resort to an inter­
mediary?— The Report of Alexandre to the Tribunate, in
year I X --------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Article 76 of the Code de commerce-------------------------------------7. W hat transactions are referred to in article 76?------------------8. W hy the words “ for account of others” in reference to nego' tiations of bills of exchange?--------------------------------------------9. W hat is meant by “ effets p ub lics" (Government securities)?.


10. W hat is meant by “ other securities susceptible of being
quoted?” _______________________________________
11. Do the securities mentioned in the second part of the official
quotation list come within the prerogatives of stockbrokers?


12. Securities not susceptible of being quoted m ay be freely
dealt in by unattached intermediaries, as well as by stock­
brokers --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 101-102
13. First penalty for violation of the monopoly, operations void . 102-105
14. Second penalty for violation of the monopoly, fine in police
court, without prejudice to damages__________________ 105-109
15. Third penalty for violation of the monopoly, internal revenue
fine---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 109-110
16. Concerning brokerage for transactions in metals__________

B y the words “ bourse transactions" are meant
transactions in a public market.
When a party enters a money changer’s office and pur­
chases from him or sells to him for cash or future deliv­
ery one or more shares or bonds, he does not exactly
conclude a bourse transaction, but a transaction in
bourse securities.


N at ion a l

M on et a r y


On the other hand, if he gives a bourse order, which the
receiver of the order will carry or cause to be carried to
the market, the execution of that order is a bourse
If a banker, to replenish his stock, goes to the Bourse
and purchases this or that quantity of securities for cash or
for future delivery, non-optionally or by means of options;
if a speculator, noticing a difference in price of a certain
security in a foreign market and on the French market,
undertakes an arbitrage by buying and selling alter­
nately in one and in the other, or vice versa— these are
bourse transactions.
Often, however, in the ordinary business conversation,
we call bourse operations not only those effected on the
Bourse itself, but those that bear upon bourse securities.
It is not a rare thing to hear people who have purchased
securities in an office and resold them there, declare
that they have made bourse transactions. It is because
the object of the contract is confused with the premises
where the transactions are effected. It is therefore the
duty of those who are called upon to arbitrate difficul­
ties arising from transactions in securities, to ascertain
whether the transactions were trades made privately, out­
side the Bourse, or were transactions in a public market.
In private trades the contracting parties are bound by
their agreements. In bourse transactions the laws and
bourse customs govern the transactions and their cus­
The first way to transact business in securities is
the one which presents itself naturally to the mind: it is
the direct trade, privately concluded; it is the one that


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse*3
has for a main condition the relation between buyer and
seller, who know each other.
Peter enters Paul’s banking house; he purchases io,
20, ioo shares or bonds. This is the direct trade, pri­
vately concluded.
But if Peter has given an order to Paul, if Paul, who
receives the order, transfers it to the Bourse, where it is
carried out apparently for him, but in reality for his client,
Peter— that has been a commission trade. Most of the
bourse transactions are commission trades.
Bourse transactions are, therefore, such transac­
tions as are carried out on all public markets in all kinds
of merchandise. Indeed, in every market they trade for
cash and for future delivery, non-optionally and on options,
and, we see there buyers who declare themselves ready
to take up merchandise, sellers who declare themselves
ready to deliver, purchasers who resell, sellers who buy
back, buyers who borrow for the account, and sellers who
carry over the execution of their contract until the next
Whether it be a question of securities or merchandise,
the mechanism of transactions is the same. Only the
organization of the markets differs in the two cases.
While, in the case of merchandise, brokers enjoy no
privileges whatever, the stockbrokers, who are commis­
sion agents operating on the Bourse for securities, enjoy
a monopoly. T hey alone may negotiate government
securities and other securities susceptible of being quoted.
Merchandise bourses differ from bourses for securities,
not only by the nature of the articles dealt in, but also by
the fact that the carrying on of the commission business
is untrammeled in the former and is not in the latter.


N .a t i o n a l

M o n et a r y


There existed, indeed, a monopoly

of commercial

brokers, which had been established for merchandise,
prior to the Revolution, at the same time as the privilege
of the stockbrokers, and which, together with the latter,
had been suppressed in 1791 and reestablished in year
IX of the Revolution. But the commercial brokers’
privilege was suppressed by the law of July 12, 1866.“
Whatever may be the strength of the reasons broached
for or against the discrimination, the monopoly of stock­
brokers still exists, in law and in fact. We should now
investigate its nature, its scope, and the laws protecting it.
(4) Stockbrokers are intermediary agents.
Article 74 of the Code de commerce expressly ascribes
to them that character: “ The law,” says the article
a MM. Lyon, Caen & Renault, in their treatise “ Droit Commercial,”
Tome IV, note under No. 1035, call attention to the fact that in 1866
nobody demanded the suppression of the stockbrokers’ monopoly.
reasons were advanced in favor of its preservation.


Their part is not

limited to negotiating stock-exchange securities; they certify to the identity
of persons and the correctness of signatures for the transfer of government
and other securities; they are necessarily depositaries of large sums and
numerous securities for a certain length of time; e v eryd a y they verify the
prices of securities and especially government securities. Thanks to the
monopoly of stockbrokers, the Treasury can enjoy a perfect safety for trans­
fers where its responsibility is drawn upon; transactions are effected with
great rapidity;

and the

interests of inexperienced persons who have

to deliver securities and money are protected.

Such is the summary

of the reasons given b y the Government in the explanatory statement of
the law of July 18, 1866 (V. J. Bozerian, De 1'Institution des agents de
MM. Lyon, Caen & Renault answer: “ The arguments advanced


in favor of the stockbrokers’ monopoly are not conclusive. The mediation
for the negotiation of securities has in itself no official character. Besides,
it could be imagined that freedom prevailed in this matter, and that,
without any monopoly, measures could be taken for the verifying of
quotations and avoiding the most serious abuses. Moreover, there are
numerous States where there is no monopoly, either for brokerage in mer­
chandise, insurance, or freight, or for the mediation in the matter of
negotiating securities, and yet the freedom does not appear to give rise to


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
referred to, “ takes cognizance of intermediary agents,
* * * the stockbrokers.”
They must keep secret the name of parties for whom
they operate. The obligation of secrecy is imposed upon
them by article 19 of the decree of 27 Prairial, year X.
They are not permitted to operate for their own account.
Article 85 of the Code de commerce forbids it to them.
The result is that apparently they deal under their own
name, and in reality for account of their customers.
If one stops to think for a moment of the nature of
a transaction of a qualified intermediary, who is not
permitted to reveal the name of his principal and
not allowed to deal for his own account, he will easily
recognize that the transaction presents all the signs
of commission. Article 94 of the Code de commerce, more­
over, says expressly: “ The commission agent (commission­
a ir e ) is one who acts in his own name, or under a firm
name, for account of a principal.”
The law says (art. 74 of the Code de commerce)
that it takes cognizance of intermediary agents.
But is one really bound to engage an intermediary
when he wishes to transact bourse operations, even on the
No; the law has never said that.

Everyone is free to buy, even on the Bourse, for his
own account.
thus it was that Tribun Alexandre, who in the year IX
was reporter of the law of 28 Ventose, said in his report:®
“ No doubt, nothing prevents two citizens, who trust
each other, from making contracts between themselves,

a Archives Parlementaires, pp. 608 to 610.


M o n et a r y


and without intermediary, concerning a matter mutually

But it would show a poor knowledge of the

spirit of what we call business, to infer from that fact
that stockbrokers are useless. It happens frequently that
he who, for private reasons, or owing to necessity, deter­
mines upon selling the security or the merchandise he
owns, does not want to be known, and that the one who
has funds for investment, does not wish to be known
either. From that results the necessity of an interme­
diary to facilitate the sale to one and the purchase to the
The law forces no one to apply to a stockbroker. But
any banker, any receiver of orders, who has obtained a
bourse order or instructions to carry out a commission,
must apply to a stockbroker, since only a stockbroker
can seek a purchaser for his seller and a seller for his
The stockbroker has a privilege of monopoly as “ commissionnaire" (commission agent). No one can exercise
the functions of “ commissionnaire ” on the Bourse or out­
side the Bourse except the stockbrokers.
The extent of the monopoly is fixed by article 76
of the Code de commerce. It is of moment to recall to
mind the full text thereof:
‘‘ The stockbrokers, organized in the manner prescribed
by law, have alone the right to negotiate government secu­
rities and other securities susceptible of being quoted; to
negotiate for account of others bills of exchange, notes,
and all other commercial instruments; and to verify the
quotations thereof.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
“ Concurrently with merchandise brokers, the stock­
brokers may attend to negotiations and brokerage for
sales or purchases of metals. They alone have the right
to verify the quotations thereof.”
The Code de commerce dates from 1807.
In reality, it is not that text which gives the stock­
brokers their privilege.
The text which gives that privilege is a prior one,
articles 6 and 7 of the law of 28 Ventose, year IX (19
March, 1801), thus expressed:
“ A rt . 6. In all cities where there is a Bourse, there
shall be stockbrokers and commercial brokers appointed
by the Government.
“ A r t . 7 . These stockbrokers and commercial brokers,
who. shall have been appointed by virtue of the preceding
article, shall alone have the right to exercise the profession,
to verify the quotations of exchange, the quotations of
government securities, merchandise, gold and silver bul­
lion, and to testify before courts and arbiters to the truth
and to the quotations of negotiations, sales, or purchases.”
When the Code de commerce was compiled, the atten­
tion of the lawmaker was not occupied with the idea of
expanding the functions of the stockbrokers, but only
with the idea of specifying them.
“ Stockbrokers alone have the right to make nego­
tiations,” says the Code de commerce.
What negotiations are meant? Evidently, negotiations
of intermediaries and commission agents, since the law
has qualified stockbrokers as intermediaries, and has
made it their duty to transact business apparently for
themselves and in reality for their customers.

N a t io n a l

M o n et a r y


In other words, the lawmaker gives to the stockbrokers
the monopoly of the negotiations he intrusts them with.
He did not wish to say that every commercial transaction
in securities should be made through a stockbroker. He
wanted to say that, having created intermediaries who
alone have the power to act as such, negotiations of
mediation should be exclusively reserved for them.
While carefully reading article 76 of the Code de com­
merce, one becomes aware of a difference in the wording
relative to the negotiation of government and other
securities, on the one hand, and negotiations of bills of
exchange, notes, and commercial instruments, on the other.
Article 76 of the Code de commerce says, indeed, that
stockbrokers alone have the right to make negotiations in
government and other securities susceptible of being
quoted, and to make, for account of others, negotiations
in bills of exchange, notes, and commercial instruments.
Why these words for account of others?
A suspicion crosses one’s mind. Why has the lawmaker
taken the trouble to say that the stockbroker, so far as
bills of exchange, notes, and commercial instruments are
concerned, acts for account of others, and did not say that
for other securities? Is it with a view to lay down the
rule implicitly that for the other securities he alone may
make all negotiations, and that, consequently, private
individuals can not act for their own account?

This would be making a big mistake. The lawmaker
never enjoined, and never would enjoin, upon anyone to
have recourse to an intermediary— could not have wanted
to do so by means of a mere difference in wording, by some
sort of subterfuge.



History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Moreover, this difference in wording may be rationally ex­
plained. In the matter of bills of exchange there can be
no secrecy. The indorser of a bill of exchange will neces­
sarily be known to the purchaser. In consequence, the
stockbroker, not being able to indorse the bill of exchange
himself, since he could not be responsible if unpaid, is
bound to make the name p i the seller known to the pur­
chaser.0 The negotiation, therefore, in itself already
carries with it the pointing out of the party for whose
account it is made.
Consequently, there is no cause to dwell upon the argu­
ment drawn from the words “ for account of others” with
a view to maintain that the cooperation of a stockbroker
is always necessary for the purchase or the sale of
But the stockbroker has a monopoly of operations
belonging to an intermediary, and it remains true that
most transactions in bourse securities (excluding those
made over the counters of money changers and bankers
in their offices) are made under the commission system
and imply the resorting to an intermediary, and, conse­
quently, must be made through stockbrokers.
However, is it necessary to employ a stockbroker for
the negotiation of all transferable securities, whatever they
may be?
a According to the terms of article 10 of the decree of 27 Prairial, year X,
the stockbroker can not indorse a bill of exchange.

According to the terms

of article 25 of the decree of 27 Prairial, year X , the negotiation of a bill
of exchange makes its examination a necessity.

Therefore the stockbroker

states for whose account he is trading.
It should be recalled that in practice stockbrokers never negotiate bills
of exchange.

N ati onal

M on et a r y


No; article 76 of the Code de commerce includes within the
privilege only government and other securities susceptible of
being quoted.
What is meant by “ effets publics” (government securi­
ties) ? There is no legal definition as to what securities
may be thus termed. We can only refer to authors. We
refer to Volume IV of the Traite de Droit Commercial of
MM. Fyon-Caen & Renault.®
“ In the category of ‘ effets publics,'" they say, “ are
reckoned the securities issued by the duly constituted
authorities (especially the rentes of the French Govern­
ment or of foreign Governments, securities issued by the
departments or townships, French Treasury bonds, which
form the floating debt, etc.), or issued by permission of
the authorities (shares and bonds of railroad companies,
shares and bonds of corporations created with the author­
ity of the Government by virtue of article 37 of the Code
de commerce).

On the other hand, similar securities issued

by private corporations, not subject to preliminary author­
ization, are not “ effets publics."
What is meant by the words “ and others sus­
ceptible of being quoted?’’
The words “ and others susceptible of being quoted,’’
which appear in article 76 of the Code de commerce, have
given rise to several interpretations.
a No. 890. MM. Lyon-Caen & Renault themselves call attention in a
footnote to the fact that their solution is in accordance with the one given
b y Mollot {Bourses de Commerce, Nos. 123 et seq.); Buch&re {T ra iti de

Valeurs M o b ilise s, No. 68); Bozerian (La Bourse et ses Operations, Nos. 45
and 412); Ruben de Couder {Diciionnaire de D roit Commercial, under the
words “ agents de change,’ ’ Nos. 91 and 92); and P our V A n cicn Droit,
N ou-veau D enis art, under “ effets publics.”


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
According to some authors ° these words apply to all
securities which, owing to their intrinsic nature, are, at any
moment, without distinction whatsoever, qualified to be
quoted on the bourse list. According to other authors*6
we should estimate the prominence attached to any given
securities, and consider as susceptible of being quoted only
those which, by their importance and their great number,
would be likely to attain a wide circulation, leaving out
negotiable values that are little known in the market and
have no pretension to being quoted.
Finally, a third system highly praised by MM. Lyon-Caen
& Renault in their “ Precis de Droit Commercial,” and
given up by them in their “ Manuel ” and in their “ Traite
decided that those securities were not susceptible of
being quoted which, either on account of their intrinsic
nature or on account of any legal or reglementary inter­
diction, can not be admitted on the official list.
The court of cassation (Cour de cassation), by means of
three decisions, of July i, 1885 (S. 1885, 1. 257, D. P.
1885, 1. 386), February 10, 1886 (Dr. fin. 1888, p. 222),
and March 9, 1886 (S. 1886, 1. 222, D. P. 1886, 1. 266),
has sanctioned a fourth system, including in the expres­
sion “ securities susceptible of being quoted” only those
which were declared qualified to be placed on the bourse
quotation list by the Syndical Chamber of Stockbrokers—
that is to say, which fulfill the conditions exacted for that
purpose, without, however, the necessity of discriminating
whether they have actually been quoted or not.


a Mollot, Bourse de Commerce, No. 123; Badorride, Bourses de Commerce,
Nos. 204 et seq.
6 Boistel. Precis de Droit Commercial No. 683. Buch&re, Traits des
Operations de Bourse, No. 140; Labbe. Note, Sirey, 1881, 1. 289.


N a t io n a l

M o n et a r y


words “ securities susceptible of being quoted” are there­
fore synonymous with the words “ securities admitted on
the quotation list. ’ ’ This interpretation has reconciled the
Hence, by “ securities susceptible of being quoted,”
are meant securities which have been acknowledged by
the stockbrokers as qualified to be placed on the official
quotation list of the bourse.
Furthermore, we must also take into account that there
are two categories of securities which can not be quoted —
those against which there is a permanent prohibition,
resulting from a statutory text, and those which lie under
a temporary restriction by the Minister of Finance.

A decree of December 3, 1893, prohibits the official
quotation of shares of foreign corporations, the par value
of which is not on a plane with the par value of shares
sanctioned by French law.
Now, the law of August 1, 1893, on stock companies,
directs that the par value of shares shall be 100 francs
minimum. For companies having a capital of less than
20,000 francs, the par value of shares must be 25 francs
Article 5 of the decree of February 6, 1880, empowers
the Minister of Finance to prohibit the official quoting of
a foreign security.
We shall now sum up the results obtained relative to
this special point. Excepting securities against which
there is an interdiction— either general, through the decree
of December 3, 1893, or special, through the Minister of
Finance— securities susceptible of being quoted are those
a T . 1, No. 1481.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
which stockbrokers have decided to carry on their list,
called the “ Cote Officielle” (Official Quotation List).
Consequently, every time a syndical chamber of stock­
brokers (une chambre syndicate d'agents de change) admits
a security on its official quotation list, the chamber itself
proclaims for the benefit of its members the exclusive
right to negotiate the same.
(n ) Stockbrokers have the privilege of carrying cer­
tain securities in a special place on their list, called the
“ non-official p a rt” (partie nonojficielle). (Decree of Oct.
7, 1890, art. 20.) They can not carry, in that part,
securities which they have been prohibited from quoting
for the reasons mentioned above. They enter thereon
securities comparatively rarely dealt in. It would be
more correct to say that that portion of the quotation
list is not permanent. The securities admitted on that
part of the quotation list are subject to the privilege of
the stockbrokers.®
As the privilege of stockbrokers applies only to
government and other securities susceptible of being
quoted, all other securities may be freely negotiated by
unattached intermediaries. b These are the coulissiers
(curb brokers).
0 Trib. correctionnel de Lyon, 12 mars, 1906.
March 9, 1906.

Journal VInformation of

b Regarding the right to use agents other than stockbrokers for un­
listed securities or securities not susceptible of being listed, the following
authorities may be referred to: Trib. civ.: Seine, 23 April, 1898 (Journal le
Droit, of 6 Oct., 1898); Pa ris, 21 Oct., 1900 (P a n d , fr., 1901, 2.209); Paris,
24 Oct., 1900 {Le Droit, of 1 Dec., 1900); P a ris, 19 Jan., 1901 {Gazette du
Pa la is, 7 June, 1901); P a ris, 28 March, 1901 {Gaz. des Trib. of 14 Sept.,
1901); Trib. corr. M arseille, of 29 June, 1903 {Rec. M arseille, 1903,
1.328); Cour de P a ris, 7 Feb., 1906 {Cote de la Bourse et de la Banque,
21 Sept., 1906).

N ationa l

M on e t a r y


But the stockbrokers can also negotiate securities
which they have not the right to quote.® However,
they have no privilege, as stated above.
The penalty for transactions made in violation of
the monopoly of the stockbrokers may be threefold: It
is, first of all, the nullity of the transactions. It has been
invariably imposed by the courts (notably, the deci­
sions of the Cour de cassation, Ch. crim., Jan. 19, i860,
and Feb. 21, 1868; Chambre des requetes, Feb. 28, 1881;
Chambre civile, Apr. 22 and June 29, 1885; cassation,
Feb. 8, 1888 and 1892, Feb. 22, 1897).6
In spite of the weight which decisions of the court of
cassation (Cour de cassation) carry, the nullity is not ad­
mitted by all theorists.
The nullity of transactions is very debatable. No
passage of law pronounces the nullity.

However, the de­

cree of 27 Prairial, year X, is framed as follows: “ In con­
formity with art. 7 of the law of 28 Veritose, year IX , all
negotiations made through unqualified intermediaries are
declared void.” In conformity with article 7 of the law
of 28 Ventdse, year IX. * * *. B y referring to the law
a Lyon, 2 May, 1888 {Droit Financier, 1888, p. 264); Trib. civ.: Seine,
18 June, 1899 (Journal la Loi, of 31 July, 1899); Lyon, 27 March, 1902
{Gazette P a la is, 1902, 1.715); Lyon, June 22, 1902 {Dr. F n ., 1902, p.
422); Trib. corr.: Sein e, 8 June, 1904, p. 342.
Bourse et de la Banque, of 21 Sept., 1906.)
b Recueil de S irey :

(See also Cote de la


1. 168

1881________ _______________________________

1. 289

1885------------------------- -------- --------------------------------------


1885------ ------------------------------- ---------------------------------1888________________ ____ __________________

1.2 73
1. 312

1892_______________________________________ 1.294
1897------------------ ---------- ------ --------------- ----------- --------- 1. 185

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
of Ventose, not a word is found therein permitting one to
say that operations are void.
M. A. Wahl a thinks that there may be doubt as to
nullity. “ We admit,” he says, “ that the natural sanc­
tion of a prohibitory law is the nullity of deeds infringing
upon it, but only when no other penalty for its transgres­
sion exists; here, however, criminal actions are sufficient
protection for the stockbrokers.”
MM. Baudry-Lacantinerie and W a h lb are of the opinion,
that it is untrue that every interdiction of public interest
is sanctioned by nullity. “ On the contrary, it is certain
that, in general, nullity is not inflicted on an infraction to
a monopoly.” The case is different when a solemn con­
tract is exacted in order to safeguard the free consent of
the contracting parties— as, for instance, a donation or a
marriage contract.

But the monopoly of stockbrokers

has been established only for effecting transactions; the
consent of parties remains uncontrolled even when they
apply to other agents than stockbrokers. The only right
that is ignored is the privilege of the stockbrokers.
for this the penal restraint suffices.


“ No one has even

thought of asserting that an auction sale of chattels,
made without employing an auctioneer, would be void.”
Are the former Council decrees of September 24, 1724
(art. 18), and November 26, 1781 (art. 13), to be antago­
nized? MM. Baudry-Tacantinerie and Wahl call atten­
tion to the fact that these decrees were repealed by the
law of March 17, 1791, which abolished the monopoly of
a T raitt th&orique et pratique des Titres au Porteur frangais et Grangers,
1891, T. 2, 969.

b Traits theorique et pratique de D roit C ivil.


D u M andat.

No. 423.

N ational

M onetary


the stockbrokers. Article 2 of the law of September 15,
1807, has, moreover, repealed “ all ancient laws regard­
ing commercial matters, on which the Code de commerce
had been legislating.” Besides, the law of 1886 on timebargains has particularly repealed the council decrees of
1724, notwithstanding the previous repeal, because the
administration of justice persisted in applying it. And
that repeal applies not only to the provisions coming
under the law of 1885, but to the entire decision. The
authors, therefore, decide against nullity.
M. Daniel de Follevillert and M. Salzedo 6 claim that
negotiation is not subject to nullity.
MM. Tyon-Caen and R enaultc admit nullity. These
authors maintain that the ancient laws, so far as an
infringement upon the monopoly is concerned, may have
survived, because article 2 of the law of September 15,
1807, repeals only the laws regarding matters on which
the Code de commerce legislates. Well, the Code de com­
merce is not treating of infringements on the monopoly.
Besides, MM. Tyon-Caen and Renault call attention to
the fact that the reasoning they dispute, would lead to an
inadmissible conclusion; that is to say, that there is no
penalty for unwarrantable interference.
But it may be objected, it seems to us, that, the interfer­
ence with the functions of stockbrokers being an offense—
and, as such, punishable— it is not correct to state that
interference is bereft of penalty. The law of 28 Ventose,
year IX , of which Chapter V of the Code de commerce

° De la Possession des Tilres au Porieur.
b La Coulisse et la Jurisprudence, p. 89.
c Traite de D roit Commercial.


No 295.

T. IV , note under No. 906.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
is the successor, erects infraction into a misdemeanor.
Hence the former provisions of 1724 and 1781 appear
as having possibly been repealed by the law of September
15, 1807.
Therefore, it appears to us inadmissible that transactions
effected through unqualified intermediaries should be void.
Consequently, a customer could ratify transactions made
without the cooperation of a stockbroker, and the en­
gagements undertaken in regard of these transactions
would be valid. But this solution is purely theoretical,
since the administration of justice, as we stated, declares
void all transactions made by intermediaries other than
stockbrokers, when the negotiations refer to securities
with regard to which the stockbrokers have reserved the
privilege for themselves, by listing them on the official
quotation list.
We come to the second sanction of the monopoly
of stockbrokers. Those who practise the profession of
stockbrokers or meddle with the privilege reserved for
these ministerial appointees, are liable to a fine in a
police court, without prejudice, of course, to damages
due to the stockbrokers.
This fine may be not more than one-sixth of the stock­
broker’s bond and not less than one-twelfth.
Article 8 of the law of 28 Ventose, year IX , says:
“ It is forbidden to all individuals other than those
appointed by the Government, to fulfill the functions of
stockbrokers and merchandise brokers, under penalty of
a fine, which shall not exceed one-sixth of the stock­
broker’s bond, nor be less than one-twelfth.


N a t io n a l

M on et a r y


“ The fine shall be imposed by an inferior court by way
of correction, enforceable by arrest, and the money shall
be applied to the foundlings’ fund.”
What does the unwarrantable interference with the
functions of stockbrokers consist of?
It consists of acts belonging to these functions; that is
to say, of acts of mediation.
Hence, the acting as intermediary between purchasers
and sellers, as a commission agent would do, is that which
constitutes the offense.
This, moreover, was expressly stated in a decision of the
Cour de cassation, rendered in a lawsuit brought against
26 coulissiers (curb brokers) in 1859. The decision says:
“ Whereas acting as intermediary, in consideration of a
commission or brokerage, between sellers and purchasers
of government securities and other securities susceptible of
being quoted, or, which is the same thing, bringing together
sellers and purchasers, preparing and carrying out the
formalities tending to the effecting of the purchases and
sales, constitutes making negotiations in these government
and other securities. * * * ” a
We should mention, however, that a suit for unwar­
rantable interference was recently brought against some
bankers for effecting private dealings— direct operations
without intermediary.
These transactions are positively lawful. But it is selfunderstood that the stockbrokers ardently wish this were
not the case.
a C ourde cassation. Jan. 19, i860. Sirey, i860.
bre criminelle. Feb. a i, 1868. Dalloz, 1881. 1.




Also, Cham-

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The decision of the First Correctional Chamber of the
Seine Court (Tribunal de la Seine) on April n , 1907, pro­
claimed that article 76 of the Code de commerce estab­
lishes the privilege of commission agents for the benefit
of the stockbrokers; that freedom of trade is one of the
essential principles of our modern law; that the general
provisions governing sales, which form the matter of
chapter 6, book 3, of the Code civil, contain no restrict­
ing disposition concerning the purchase and sale of
securities; that direct transactions in securities quoted
or not quoted are therefore lawful, without distinction as
to whether the purchases and sales are for cash or for the
account, fixed or on option, refer to securities in specie or
in genere, or whether the seller is or is not the owner at the
time.of the contract.
However, the court established the fact that the bankers
had made sales and purchases for clients-purchasers and
clients-sellers at the same price.

Therefore there was un­

warrantable interference, since it was a case of agency.
The prosecuted bankers were fined 25,000 francs.
When the case came before the Cour d'appel (court of
appeals), the prosecuted bankers offered to prove that the
inferior court had made no audit or verification, and that
they had never matched sales with purchases and pur­
chases with sales.
Were the proofs missing?

The court of appeals, by its

decision of April 9, 1908, sentenced the appellants with­
out citing any case of agency. The decisions mainly rested
on the fact that article 76 of the Code de commerce provides
differently for transactions in government and other securi­
ties, on the one hand, and transactions in bills of exchange,


N ational

M on e t a r y


on the other, in making in the first case the mediation
of a stockbroker always necessary, while not so in the
second; that this difference of treatment results from the
words “ for account of others’’ inserted in article 76 con­
cerning bills of exchange. Finally, according to the Cour
d’appel, the direct transaction is one where the owner of
the securities delivers them to the purchaser. But a sale
in which the seller does not hold the securities, can not
be direct; the mediation of a stockbroker is necessary for
the sale.
These views have stirred up very violent criticisms.0
An offense— that is, a punishable act— can not be con­
strued, a monopoly can not be granted an excessive
range, by forbidding direct transactions, and even pun­
ishing them— and this by reason of a difference in word­
ing, which, moreover, is readily explained by the different
way of negotiating securities of different character. (See
above, No. 8.)
As to the prohibition forbidding the seller who is short
in securities to sell b)' himself or to undertake to make
deliveries without the agency of a stockbroker— it rests
on no law and is purely arbitrary. After all, it is rather
the mediation which constitutes the unwarranted interfer­
The decisions of the Cour d'appel are, at the present
time, before the Cour de cassation.
Is the fine imposed by the law of the year IX to be
calculated on the security bond of the year IX or of the
“ Vide Dalloz, 1908, 1-153 , for the text of the decision, and a very im­
portant critical note b y M. Percero, professor at the F a cu lti de Droit in
the University of Dijon.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
time when the offense was committed ? The Cour de cassa­
tion in i860 took as a basis the security bond at the time
when the offense was perpetrated. This solution, sup­
ported by M. Boistel® and by M. Ruben de Couder, is
violently criticised by others, like MM. Buchere, Mollot,
Tyon-Caen and Renault.6
There are no extenuating circumstances when it comes
to unwarrantable interference with the offices of stock­
Finally, we reach the third penalty imposed by the
law upon infringements on the monopoly of stockbrokers,
namely, the internal-revenue fine. The law of April 13,
1898 (art. 14), does not allow the payment of the tax on
bourse transactions in securities mentioned on the official
list of stockbrokers, to be made to the internal-revenue
office by anyone except the stockbrokers. The result is
that when a banker, who is bound to keep a register for
the payment of the tax, enters thereon a transaction
reserved for the stockbroker, and pays the amount of
the tax to the administration, his acts constitute a viola­
tion of the internal-revenue law, punishable by a fine of
100 to 5,000 francs according to article 32 of the law of
April 28, 1893.
Ihe monopoly of stockbrokers is thus protected by a
triple wall— (1) the nullity of transactions; (2) a fine in a
police court;

(3) an internal-revenue fine, the latter

a Boistel, Droit Commercial, p. 431.
b Buchfere, Traits des Operations de Bourse, No. 1x4. Mollot, Bourse de
Commerce, No. 15. Lyon-Caen et Renault, Traite de D roit Commercial,
T. IV , No. 904.

c Cour de P a ris, Aug. 2, 1859. Sirey, i860, 1. 481. Mollot, Bourse de
Commerce, No. 16. Ruben de Couder, D ictionnaire de Droit Commercial,
under “ Agent de Change,” No. 15.


N a t io n a l

M on et a r y


imposed by administrative proceedings; that is, without
According to the terms of the instructions No. 2956,
issued by the general direction of the registry office, that
provision does not refer to direct transactions.
But the administration of the registry office regards as
direct transactions only those which are made for money,
securities against cash. That solution is quite vulnerable.
We shall close the inquiry into the extent of the
stockbrokers’ monopoly by a special consideration of
metal transactions.
Article 76 of the Code de commerce divides the monop­
oly of such transactions between the merchandise brokers
and the stockbrokers.
Now, in 1866 (see above, No. 3) the functions of mer­
chandise brokers had left the range of monopoly.
trade is free.


The result is that transactions in metals

are free.
However, the stockbrokers alone have the right to
certify the quotations.

11 0


IV. — Historical and economic considerations.

o o k

F ir s t D iv is io n .— T he exchange market— Origin of public credit.
1. The financial market in a n tiq u ity ----------------------------------------

1 14 -1 15


" In the Middle Ages. In 1304. The exchange market at the
Grand Pont. Money changers, jewelers, bird dealers___ 1 1 5 -1 1 7
3. The first bourses----------------------------------------- ------------------------ 1 1 7 -1 1 8
4. The sundry sites of the Paris Bourse from 1304 to the pres­
ent tim e --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 18 -11 9
5. How corporations were established_____________________ 119-120
6. E dict of 1572.

Brokerage raised to the dignity of office___ 120-121

7. E dict of 1595. No one obliged to engage the services of a
broker__________________________________________ 121-12 2
8. E dict of 1598.

The office of broker subjected to taxation _________ 122

9. Decision of the K in g’s council of 1638.

The brokers are called

"agents de change” ________________________________ 122-123

In 1705.

The loan notes.

Securities on the Bourse must be

negotiated b y the "agents de change” _________________


S e co n d D iv is io n .
11. General observations on public credit under the old regime. _ 124-125
12. Philip


Fair and

his successors.



Enguerrand de Marigny, Jacques Coeur, and Sem blan gay.. 125-128
13. Francis I.

The rentes of the Ildtel de V ille ______________

14. The successors of Francis I, Henry IV , and Sully.


L o u is X I I I . 128-129

15. Louis X I V and F o u q u e t..------- ----------------------------------------- .. 129-131
16. Colbert.

The chamber of justice.

17. The successors of Colbert.
18. Creation of offices.

Colbert’s “ Terror” _____

The lotteries.



The tontine___ _ 131-13 2

Samuel Bernard______132-133

19. The stock companies . ---------------------------------------------------------- 133-135
20. Companies under Louis X I I I _________________________ 135-136
21. Companies under Louis X I V . .
22. Under the regency.


_________________ ____ 136-138

The Bourse in the rue Quincam-

poix .........— -------- ------------------------------------------------------------ 138-140
23. After the system’s downfall.

In 1724.

The Bourse is trans­

ferred to rue V ivienne................... ............................................ 140-142

T h ir d D iv is io n .— The C ou ncil’ s decisions of 1724 to 1788— The financial
market on the eve of the revolution.
24. The Council’ s decision of 1724.

Its aim.

Decision of 1 7 2 6 .. 142-143

25. Council’ s decision of
26. Council’s decision of

1 7 3 3 ___________________________
August, 1785---------------------------------- 143-144

27. Council’ s decision of

March, 1786---------------------------------------

28. Council’s decision of July 14, 1787.............................—
903120— 10----- 8




7F 3

Na tional

M on et a r y


Council’s decision of June 10, 17 8 8 _____________________ 144-145
Securities on the eve of the revolution____________________


A glance a t the condition of public finances under Louis X V I.

Agiotage (stockjobbing)____________________________


F o u r t h D iv is io n .— The financial market during the revolution.

32- Suppression of offices. Suppression of “ agents de change” __ 148-149
33 - Mistake frequently made concerning the results of the financial
market’s independence. T o it is ascribed the stockjobbing
that took place at the time of the revolution____________
34 - The real cause of stockjobbing during revolutionary times.
Physiology of stockjobbing_________________________


35 - Condition of the public debt in 1789____________________ 15 1-15 2


Creation of assignats. Economic disturbances caused b y their
decline. T he reason for the decline__________________ 152-153

37 - Closing of the Bourse----------- ------ -------- -------------------------------- 153 - 154


Stockjobbing outburst.

39- Draconian measures.
40. The Bourse reopens.

There is no more Bourse__________


The rise in p rices------------------------------ 154-155
L aw of the 13 Fructidor, year III. The

assignat keeps on declining------------------------------------------------155
41. The law of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV , on the bourse regulation. 156—157
42. Considerations on what occasioned these two law s------------------43 - Forty-five billions of assignats. The territorial drafts. The


rise of gold________________________________
44. The great ledger of the public d e b t.,._____________________

45 - Bankruptcy threatens_________________________________
46. B a n k ru p tc y_______________________________________

47 - The law of the 28 Ventose, year I X _____________________
48. The decree of 27 Prairial,

year X ____________________


49. Dealing for future delivery not forbidden to private individuals.
50. The bourse quotation list in 1800_______________________


F if t h D i v i s io n .— The nineteenth century.


Three kinds of events constitute the history of the financial
market: Expansion of public and private credit. Develop­
ment of dealings for future delivery and their being recog­


nized as legal. T he struggle of the “ P a rq u e t” against the
“ Coulisse” . - __________ ______________ ____ ______ 162-163
Public credit develops transferable securities.
securities develop public credit............................ .................... 163-164

53 - Condition of securities a t the end of the nineteenth century. . 164-169
54 - The evolution of credit and the public debt______________ 169-170
55 - T he financial trouble a t the time of the bankruptcy until 1801
Foundation of the Bank of F ran ce............................................



The perpetual debt, from 18 Brumaire, year V III, to the begin­

57 -

ning of 190 9...................................................................................
The rente certificate made popular____________________
1 7 1-17 2


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse


The emission proceedings.

Loans placed b y contracts_____

172 -174

59 - Loans of departments and of m unicipalities_______________


60. Loans of colonies and protectorates__________ _____ ___ 174 -175
61. Stocks of foreign governments________________________ 175—176
62. Insurance stocks___________________________________
63- Railroads, and first speculation in railroad shares________

1 76 -177

64. The Revolution of 1848, and a great tumble in railroad shares. _
65- From 1852 until the agreements of 1883________________ 178 -179

66. The agreements of 1883.

The Government guarantees divi­
dends to shareholders______________________________


67. Railroads of local interest______________________________
68 Foreign railroads and the French financial m arket________ 180-181


69. Lump statistics of railway securities_____________________
70. Creation of sundry companies from 1822 until 1852_______ 181-182

71- The
72- The

Comptoir d'Escompte de P a r is _____________________ 182-184
Credit F on d er. The Credit A gricole ________________ 184-186
73- T he Credit M o b ilie r ___________________________________

74- Other credit companies______________________________ 187-188
75- T he part played b y the Bank of France in the movement of


76. The downfall of the U nion G6n6rale------------------------------------- 189-191
77- Present preponderance of a few large banks------------------------- 191-192
78. The financial institutions and the securities circulating
France in 1908_________________________



The part of the financial market in the circulation of securi­

80, The French financial market has fulfilled its mission, but it
has only been able to do so b y ridding itself of the shackles
fastened on it b y the laws of the year IX . The “ Coulisse’s ”
rivalry gives to the market the necessary freedom__ _____194-196
81. In 1816 the “ agents de change” become ownersof their offices. 196-198
82. Ordinance of November 23, 1823________________________



1862 the “ agents de change” are
special partn ers______________


84. The law on transactions for future delivery.
im portance___________________






86 . The

The first consul and Count Mollien_____________________ 201-204
bourses and dealings for future delivery under the First

Empire. The Code de commerce of 1807________________ 204-206
87. The Forbin-Janson lawsuit. The Parere (merchants’ petition)
of 1824_________________________________________ 206-209

88 ., In 1833. The Harle proposition.
89 . The Parkre of 1842_______

Speech of Gamier Pag^s. 209-210

9 1 After the downfall of the “ U nion G tn ira le.” Public opinion
is stirred up. The Paris Chamber of Commerce passes a

90 . In 1867__________ ___________________ __________ ____

resolution ......................................... —

....................................2 1 1-2 13

M on e t a r y


92. In the Chamber. M. Alfred Naquet. M. Lagrange. A special
commission is appointed. M. L yo n -C a e n ______________
93. The law of March 28, 1885__________________________



94. The quarrel between the “ Parquet’’ and the “ Coulisse.” The
o r ig in ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 15 -2 17
95. Under the First Em pire------------------------------------------------------ 217-2x8
96. Under the Restoration. Under the July Monarchy________
97. The lawsuit of 1859--------------------------------------218-220
98. The “ Coulisse” reappears---------------------------------99. After the war of 1870.


Quieter times on the Bourse_______ 220-224

100. Contentions start afresh in the market in 1892___________ 224-225
101. In 1893. The ta x on bourse transactions. M. Tirard’s plan. 225-228
102. Adopted in the Chamber, the Tirard plan is thrown out in the

The system is adopted-----------------------------------------228-230

103. The Transvaal gold mines on the Paris Bourse----------------------230-233
104. The “ agents de change” act. T hey endeavor to profit b y the
movement. The Graux proposition and the 25 francshares. 233-235
105. The

Lacombe and Fleury-Ravarin amendments.

Return to

the Tirard system ________________________________ 235-237
106. Reorganization of 18 98 ______________________________ 237-240
107. Unusual circumstances under which the discussion was started
in Parliament.

The bill taken aw ay from the Senate.

arguments brought to the rostrum.


Reorganization and

the Dreyfus affair________________________________ 240-245
108. The attitude of the “ Coulisse” _______________________


109. The professional syndicates of the “ Coulisse” _____________ 247-249
n o . Strange position of the curb brokers(coulissiers ) ___________


111. T he strengthening of monopoly not equitable from the stand­
point of public rights_____________________________ 249-254
112. Neither from the economic point of view. T he advantages
of monopoly.
private credit.

Public credit.
The quotation list and
Joint liability of intermediaries_______ 254-268

113. T he reorganization of 1898 made light of the State’s interests. 268-270
114. T he arrangement of 1901____________________________ 270-274
115. Final considerations________________________________ 274-276

F ir s t D iv is io n .— The exchange market— Origin of public credit.

The history of the French financial market is closely
connected with the history of commerce. From a more
particular point of view, it is closely connected with the
history of corporations, as well as with that of public
Very little information can be found in the works of


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the ancients, concerning the organization of commercial
bourses (bourses de commerce) and the transactions there
carried on. A kind of public market existed in Rome
during the Consulship of Appius Claudius and Publius
Servilius— that is to say, five hundred years before Christ.
It was called the Collegium mercatorum (assembly of
merchants) .a
Up till the Middle Ages, trading on the fairs affected
only wares. The payments, however, which the sales
necessitated involved transactions in exchange. To the
fairs of Brie and Champagne, to the fairs of Lyon, Beaucaire, and Montpellier, there thronged a multitude of
foreign traders, who sold wares, or bought wares in order
to resell them in their own countries. There one would
see Italian, German, Brabantine, Spanish, Portuguese,
Barbarian, and even Egyptian traders— and in an un­
broken line there stood “ the money changers, whose tables
glittered with gold and silver coins and with money from
every country.” *16
a M. Edmond Guillard (Les Banquiers ath&niens et romains, trapezites et
argentarii, Paris 1875, Guillaumin) explains that some freed Greek slaves
were the first ones at Rome to carry on the banking business and to prac­
tise money changing.

He points out that the argentarii (bankers) were

doing business at the beginning of the eleventh century before Christ.


dependently of the offices which they had inside their establishments, they
occupied branch offices (tabernce) on the forum, where they could be found
every day at a specified hour.

I t was the hour which the merchants, the

manufacturers, and the capitalists of Rome also chose for assembling.
1 wo centuries later, when the riches of the world became concentrated in
Rome, the bustle which this kind of bourse presents is so great that the
author compares the scene in the forum with that in La rue Quincampoix
in Paris at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Plautus (Truculentus , Act 1, scene 1) alludes to the crowd of merchants
and bankers in the public square, among whom there mingled also the
6 See Amans Alexis Monteil, Histoire des Franqais des Divers Etais, vol. 1.
The Epistles of Brother Jehan, Franciscan friar, to Brother Andr6, friar of
Toulouse, Epistle C X X I V : The fair of Montrichard.

N ational

M onet ary


In the commercial towns, operations of exchange as an
established function— that is to say, outside of those which
took place at the fairs— could, in fact, be executed only
in a specified place. An Ordinance of King Louis VII,
dated 1141, the original of which seems to be lost, had
assigned the Grand Pont of Paris to the business of ex­
change, and made it an offense to practise it elsewhere.
But the text of the ordinance of 1304, issued under Philip
the Fair, and having almost the same purpose, has been
preserved.0 The specified place has since then borne
the name Pont-au-Change.b As early as 1423 those who
« Philippus Deo gratia Francorum rex: notum faeimus universis tam
proesentibus quam futuris, quod nos ad ea, que pro bono communi utilius
expedire videntur aciem considerationis dirigere, et propter hoc eorum qui
facto cambii Parisiensis ingruunt statum et usum in melius ordinare studentes, duximus ordinandum. Quod cambium Parisiense erit et tenebitur
super nostrum magnum pontem solummodo, a parte gravie, inter ecclesiam
beati Leofredi et majorem archam, sive deffectum ipsius Pontis, pro ut Hactenus ante corruptionem pontis, ejusdem quondam lapidei extitit consuetum.
Item quod nulli omnico liceat alibi, quam in loco illo cambiare, seu cambium
tenere Parisus, aut infra banleucam, et quod si contra hujusmodi ordinationem nostram secus fieri contingat in posterum, et reperiri, pecunia seu
resilla quoe alibi quam in loco ad hoc per nos ordinato, cambiare fuerit,
vel ad cambiandum fuerit ordinata nobis cedet penitus in commissum.
Item, quod si per aliquem habentem sedem seu locum in cambio praedicto
commissum hujusmodo, delatum fuerit volumus, et ne frusta se in hoc
laboresse doleat, ei concedilus, quod cum pecunia, seu res ilia per gentes
nostras fuerit tanquain comissa judicata nobisque applicata, quatuor partibus illius pro jure nostro retentis, ipse habeat quartam partem residuam
sibi pro salario et labore suo, per gentes easdem de speciali gratia liberandum.

Quod ut firmum permaneat in futurum, salvo in omnibus jure

nostro et etiain alieno, presentibus litterio fecimus nostrum apponi sigillum.
Actum Parisiensus anno domini millesmo trecentesimo quarto mense Feb(De Lauriere. Ordonnances des R ois de France. Imprimerie
Royale 1723, Tome 1 Page 426).
b There were two Grands Fonts , one which had become the Pont au
Change, the other, the Pont Notre Dame. The latter was in fact the Pont des
Planches du M ibray (Bridge of Boards of Mibray). (See: de M6norval.
P a ris depuis ses origines jusqu'h nos jours, t. 1, p. 241. A. Robida. Paris
A Travers L ’ Histoire, p. 678.) The Grand Pont, built of wood ages ago,

and several times burned or carried aw ay b y the streams, became loaded
with houses around the eleventh century. The wheels of mills revolved
beneath its arches.

To the millers’ houses were added goldsmith shops.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
were engaged in money-changing carried on their business
with permission of the King.
It is at Bruges that the Bourse was for the first time
called by that name.® In Holland bourses were estab­
lished at a very early date. So far as this country is
concerned, a long debt of gratitude is due to the Jews for
these useful institutions; the persecutions, furthermore,
which these courageous and untiring merchants experi­
enced in Spain after the expulsion of the Moors, were the
cause for their establishment in the Netherlands.
The Bourse of London, the establishment of which came
after the foundation of the Bank of England, was likewise
instituted by these bold merchants who came to Great
Britain in the retinue of William of Nassau.
In France the first bourses to be legally instituted were
established, first at Lyon, then at Toulouse, in July, 1549,
under Henry II, then at Rouen, around 1565, and, later,
at Bordeaux, in February, 1771, under Charles IX . The
names by which these meeting places were known varied
considerably. A t Rouen the market place was called
Only one arch was used by passing boats.

It was considered the property

of the Hanse des Marchands (Merchants’ League). This bridge, assigned
to the use of the exchange merchants was also the bridge of the bird
sellers (Pont des Oiseliers). The bird merchants had obtained the privi­
lege of setting up there and of hanging their cages beneath the awnings
of the exchange shops, provided they furnished birds which were to be
released, as a manifestation of rejoicing, whenever a king or a queen passed
by. This privilege was the cause of frequent quarrels between the ex­
change merchants and the bird merchants, and sometimes of truly mock• heroic brawls. Thus we see the origin not only of the name Pont au Change
but also of quai des Orfevres (Goldsmiths’ wharf) and of rue des Lombards
(Pawnbrokers’ street)— names of localities near by.
As for the bird sellers,
one m ay still see them, especially in these sections, plying their trade on
the wharves of the Seine, even as late as the twentieth century.
° It seems that at Bruges the merchants would come together in the
house of one of their number, known as van der Burse.
According to
others, the house where the meeting took place had three purses ( bourses)
carved on its gable (Lyon-Caen et Renault. T raitt de D.roit Commercial,
t. IV , No. 859).

N a t io n a l
Convention. a

M on e t a r y


A t Lyon, at Antwerp, and in other towns

the market place was called change (exchange), estrade,
loge, college, or bourse. A number of cities actually have
each a rue de la Loge (market street), the name coming
from the fact that the street led to the market place.
The Bourse of Paris existed fully complete, as we
have seen it, as early as in the reign of Philip the Fair
(February, 1304); it was situated, as we have said, on
Pont au Change (Exchange Bridge), called at that time
the Grand Pont (Great Bridge), near the Greve, between
the great arch and the church of Saint-Leufroy. A t a
later date, it was transferred to the large court of the
Palais de Justice, beneath the Galerie Dauphine (Dauphin
balcony), near the prison; thence it was moved to the
famous street, rue Quincampoix, afterwards to the Place
Venddme, then to the rue Louis-le-Grand, and then to
the Hotel de Soissons (to-day the Bourse de Commerce) ,
where it was situated when it was closed by the decree
of the K ing’s Council, October 25, 1720.
September 24, 1724, another decree of the K ing’s Council
legally instituted the Bourse and assigned to it, as an
habitation, the Hotel de Nevers (at present the Bibliotheque
Nationale). It was situated there till June 27, 1793,
the day of its closing. It was reestablished on May
10, 1795, in the Louvre (on the ground floor beneath the
Galerie d'Apollon— old apartments of Anne of Austria,
and at present the Musee des Antiques). But during the
interval (from 1793 to 1795) some rather heavy specula­
tions in coin and assignats were carried through in the
a From the Latin cum venire, since it is used of persons assembling and
coming together from various places.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Palais Royal, in the place called le Perron; that is to say,
where rue Vivienne begins.
Closed on the 9th of September, 1795, the Bourse was
opened again January 12, 1796, and established in VEglise
des Petits-Peres. On October 7, 1807, it was transferred
to the Palais Royal in the balcony called de Virginie;
thence, on March 23, 1818, it was moved to the grounds
of the convent of the Filles Saint-Thomas, on the site
at present occupied by the Chambre de Commerce and by
the buildings adjacent to the place occupied by the Bourse.
The entrance was through rue Feydeau, facing rue de
A shed, floored with boards badly joined together,
served as a meeting place for closing speculations which
resulted from the financial contrivances of the Government
of Louis X V III. Finally, on November 6, 1826, the
building at present known as the Palais de la Bourse was
inaugurated. The edifice was enlarged in 1901, and the
new premises were opened to the public in 1903.
The economic history of our country shows to a
marked degree the influence of the perpetual struggle of
the guilds, whether it was against individuals who were
trespassing on their privileges, or against other guilds
who were in competition with them. This constant
struggle was the inevitable effect of the organization of
labor under the old regime.

The organization of labor,

in its turn, corresponded to the general conditions of the
period. “ Each province or even each canton produced
almost all the things necessary for its own consumption.
The fields furnished agricultural products, the producers
of which themselves consumed the largest share; the

N a t io n a l

M on et ary


industries which supplied materials for clothing, housing,
and the manufacture of arms and utensils, concentrated
in towns and cities which in most cases were fortified.
The natural hindrances of distance to which was added
the lack of security, in thus restricting the markets, lim­
ited them to local producers only. For that reason there
resulted a kind of organization of industry which is found
in the oldest societies, in Egypt, in Chaldea, and in India,
and which has existed up to modern times— the organiza­
tion by guilds or by closed castes.
“ The serfs or subjects of a seigniory, who had acquired
the knowledge of a trade, obtained from their lords the
right of plying that trade for their own benefit. Thrown
together in the same neighborhood, in the same section,
in the same street, where they were soon forced into
competition, it did not take them long to learn that they
would find it to their advantage to combine, in order to
make themselves the masters of prices; for thus they
might raise them to a point far above the one to which
they were compelled by competition to reduce them.” ®
Such is, in short, the genesis of guilds.
An edict of June, 1572 (under Charles IX), raises to
office “ all brokers (courtiers) who at the present time are
carrying on the business of brokerage, whether it be in
exchange and money; or in silks, woolens, linens, hides,
and other kinds of merchandise; or in wines, corn, and
all other kinds of grain; or in horses and all other cattle;
provided that the brokers take out, in two months from
the date of the edict, letters of commission (lettres de
<*G. de Molinari.
233 et 234.

Questions Sconomiques, 1906, Guillaumin editeur, p.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
This edict of 1572 shows us how the brokerage of
exchange, practised simultaneously with the brokerage
of merchandise, came to be recognized as a commission,
that is to say, a public service. There were in France
during this period commissions of justice, of finance, and
of war; the practice of purchasing commissions began
under Charles V III, and was continued by his successors.
Although the brokers had certain privileges, religious
dissensions and wars were not over favorable to the prac­
tice of this profession, nor to the respect for the preroga­
tives granted to those who pursued it. Accordingly, in
1595, Henry IV renewed the edict of Charles IX.
The edict of April 15, 1595, prohibits any person, at
the risk of corporal punishment, of being charged with
forgery, and of being compelled to pay 1,500 livres, from
performing the services of exchange broker {agent de
change) or merchandise broker {courtier), before having
taken letters of commission from the King.

The edict

ends thus:
“ It is not to be understood, however, that anyone is
compelled to employ the said brokers for the aforemen­
tioned transactions, if it does not seem best to him to
do so.”
Thus a principle was formulated which people expressed
in the following saying: “ Ne prend courtier, qui ne veut"
(He who does not desire, needs no broker to hire).
The broker (courtier) was a man who ran {courait), who
sought a seller for a purchaser, or a purchaser for a seller.
When the first laws of their profession were being formu­
lated the idea did not occur to anyone to compel sellers

N at i on a l

M o n et a r y


or buyers, who were in a position to transact their own
affairs, to have recourse to an unnecessary intermediary.
But it happens, that the question of commissions was
of minor importance, as compared with the question of
money. In other words, when the King created commis­
sions, he made them yield revenue. This system was in
vogue under Francis I, and was extended more and more
under the reigns of his successors. We see what is, per­
haps, its extreme development under Louis X IV .
Now, every corporation which pays, demands favors.
Often when the King needs money, he alters the statutes
of a corporation, takes away some rights formerly granted,
in order to sell them again, or gives to it some new ones
for ready cash. From that time on, it will be seen, the
brokers benefit from extensions and redemptions of privi­
lege, corresponding to profitable financial transactions on
the part of the royal exchequer.
(8) A decree of the K ing’s Council of May 17, 1598,
explicitly subordinates to the exchequer the brokers of
exchange, of money, of cloths, of silk, of woolens, of
leather, and of other kinds of merchandise.
(9) It is in 1638 that, by a decree of the Council of the
King, the name “ agents de change et de banque ” (commis­
sioners of exchange and of banking) was given to the
exchange brokers).
“ This denomination, for which the Government man­
aged to be well paid,® did not deprive them, however, of
the right to sell merchandise. The separation of duties
was effected a good deal later.b

a M anuel des agents de change, page 17, note 2.
& B y the decree of the K in g ’s Council, October 25, 1720.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
At that time the agents de change numbered thirty.
An edict of February, 1645, created six new official
brokers, in consideration of ready cash.
Up to that time the exchange broker had dealt only
in precious metals, foreign gold pieces, commercial bills,
and merchandise. But in 1705 a decree of the King’s
Council made much of their prerogative as negotiators of
certificates of loans made jointly by companies.
The edict of 1705, under Touis X IV , was issued in one
of the most unfortunate periods in the history of French
institutions. It is known that, after Colbert, the K ing’s
extravagances and the wars placed the exchequer in such
a bad plight that 40,000 offices were sold from 1691 to
1709. This is a period notorious for the creation of the
most ludicrous offices that can be imagined.
By 'this edict, the King, after having concluded that the
present offices were rather cheap, suppressed all the
offices of exchange brokers, bank brokers, and merchan­
dise brokers that had been created all over the Kingdom.
A financial reimbursement, to be sure, was promised them;
but it was 'only a promise, and was never fulfilled. At
the same time that the King decided upon the abolition,
he announced the creation of 116 new offices of agents
de change, 20 of which were for Paris and the others for the
rest of France.
“ We wish,” says the decree, “ that all certificates of
loans contracted jointly by companies should be nego­
tiated through the agency of the said stockbrokers and
signed by one of them, who shall certify that the signatures
are valid, in default of which we prohibit all judges from
granting judgment against those who have signed them, in
case, at maturity of said bills, payment is defaulted.”


N ationa l

M on et a r y


It is seen that the agency of the stockbrokers (agents de
change) is obligatory in 1705.
It appears evident that the maxim, Ne prend courtier
qui ne veut, has been broken. Negotiators are obliged to
have recourse to a stockbroker.
This great favor granted to stockbrokers is explained
by the financial scheme which the King is now hatching.
The old stockbrokers will be reimbursed later, but in the
meantime one must allure other brokers, or persuade the
old ones to pay new sums of money.
The decree of 1705 said: “ We wish that all certificates
of loans made by companies * * * .” Those were the
first obligations.
What in fact were these borrowing companies? It is
important to know this, for the history of brokers and of
the bourses is inseparable from the history of public and
private credit.

e c o n d


iv is io n


General observations on public credit under the old

Public credit must be considered under two denomi­
nations: Public credit properly so called, made up of loan
securities of the Government or of artificial persons ema­
nating from the Government, and the credit of private
institutions, in the form of securities issued to the public
by special companies.
The early kings obtained their ordinary subsidies
through taxes, the enumeration of which, and the ex­
planation of how they were levied and administered,
would take us beyond the scope of our subject.
But the extraordinary resources of the early kings were
obtained by processes which in no way show— nay, far


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
from it— the voluntary consent of those who supplied

Public credit was brought into being by the ex­

tortion of the Prince. The King occasionally would ask for
assistance from his faithful subjects, and whether one was
willing or not, one certainly had to help the King. Now
and then (under various pretexts), the King would resort
to profitable confiscations, as for instance, to the recoinage
of money, or even its debasement, to the sale of offices
and of titles of nobility, and, as a last resort, to borrowing.
To the “ system ” of the sale of offices there was added,
in a similar way, the loan-raising, which the authorities
awarded in lump to the farmers of the revenue (traitants).
This process was in vogue especially in the seventeenth
century. The contractors became rich, but their profits
were merely the consequence of the financial regime which
resorted to their cooperation. Their risks were very great,
for, from time to time, there were some awful and noisy
law suits which would succeed in making them disgorge.
Richelieu, in his political Testament, speaks of the restitu­
tions which each court of justice effected to the advantage
of the exchequer, as of a normal and regular resource.
The insecurity of the public credit, the serious troubles
due to the distress of the royal exchequer, the empirical
and often spoliating methods by which it was sought to
remedy these troubles, contributed to the list of causes of
the French Revolution.
the least potent.

Moreover, they were not among

We shall pass over Dagobert and his finance min­
ister, St. Eloi; we shall likewise pass over their successors,
in order to make special mention of Philip the Fair, the
maker of bad money.


Philip the Fair established an unusual tax of one denier
on the sale of all goods.

People called this tax the Maltote,

the bad tax (from the Latin male, bad, and tollere, to tax).
Jews, Lombards, and Templars suffered from his exac­
tions. His methods have remained famous.0 His suc­
cessors imitated him, and from time to time they con­
demned their superintendents. Thus died Enguerrand de
Marigny,6 Gerard de la Guette, Pierre Remy, Jean de
Montaigu, Pierre des Essarts, in order that the King
might lay hold of their fortunes which they acquired more
or less regularly during the exercise of their public func­
tions. King Charles V II, who was as much a maker of
bad monev as was Philip the Fair, imprisoned his Minister
of Finance, Jacques Coeurc and Francois I had Superin­
tendent Semblangay hanged.
a Vide, Ch. Gomel.

Les causes fnanci&res de la Revolution frangaise,

Paris, 1842.

b Marigny, chamberlain and treasurer to Philip the Fair, had doubtless
drawn up or inspired the splendid ordinance enfranchising the serfs, in
which are found those beautiful words— a daring declaration of war to the
lords: “ Inasmuch as every human being is free b y natural right, and inasmuch
as this liberty is blotted out by abhorrent servitude, to such an extent that
living men and women are treated as if dead, and at the end of their dreary
and wretched lives can neither dispose of nor bequeath the goods which God
has granted them during their life in this world,

He paid for it with his life.



This was a chal­

Accused of the most diverse crimes—

of having embezzled the exchequer, of having stolen 30,000 livres from
the pope’s deniers, of having had his statue placed in the palace near
those of the kings, and, to cap the climax, of being devoted to witchcraft—
he was dragged from the dungeons of the Louvre to those of the Temple,
then to those of Vincennes, and condemned, without having been given a
hearing, and hanged at Montfaucon, on the gallows for thieves, on the Wed­
nesday, E v e of Ascension*of 1315.
c JacquesCoeur, born at Bourges about 1400, was a prominent merchant.
Minister of Finance to Charles V II, he was the K in g ’s creditor, which
resulted in his downfall. Confined in Beaucaire, he succeeded in running
away, and enlisted in the service of Pope Calixtus III.

In the history of the

city of Montpellier b y Charles d ’Aigrefeuille, Doctor of Theology, Canon in


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
We know the lines of Clement Marot:
“ Lorsque® Maillard juge d ’enfer, menait
A Montfaucon Semblangay Fame rendre,
A votre avis, lequel des deux tenait
Meilleur maintien?

Pour vous le faire entendre,

Maillard semblait homme que mort va prendre,
E t Semblangay fut si ferme vieillard
Que l’on cuidait partout qu’il menait pendre
A Montfaucon le Lieutenant Maillard.”
the Cathedral of St. Pierre (Montpellier M D C C X X X V II, at the printing
house of Jean Martel, royal printer), the following statements are found:
“ Opportunity was taken of every public office which he had held to accuse
him of various frauds; it was said that as chancellor of the exchequer he
had committed many embezzlements in Languedoc.

It was claimed that,

as director of the mint, he was guilty of having coined silver pieces known
as Gros de Jacques Coeur, on which he made exorbitant profits, and, because
he conducted a large business in the East, he was accused of having made
transportations of gold and silver to places outside of the kingdom and of
having furnished arms to the Turks in Alexandria.

Here, also (so the state­

ment goes), one of his galleys, called the St. Denis, took on board a Saracen
child who wished to become a Christian; and the Patron, Michalet, a dyer,
brought it to Montpellier, whence Jacques Coeur, from fear that his galleys
would suffer as a consequence, had the child brought back to Turkey and
returned to its master, where it again renounced its faith.
“ Upon these accusations he was arrested at Taillebourg, transferred from
there to Montils les Tours, where he was condemned to pay, as a fine,
100,000 crowns to the people whom he had oppressed, and 300,000 to the
King; the penalty of death was changed to that of a public apology, and of
imprisonment until the entire paym ent of the aforesaid sums would be
made; after this he was to be banished from the kingdom, declared unfit
to hold any public office, and all his property was to be confiscated.
“ The years 1454 and 1455 contain nothing of note to our city of Mont­
pellier; but in the following year, 1456, King Charles V II made an extraordi­
nary gift to the merchants of this city, b y granting them the lodge which
Jacques Coeur had caused to be built there, at the cost of 1,869 livres 13
sous and 4 deniers.

This piece of work is still perfect, as if it has just come

out from the hand of the maker, without a single stone having been changed.
Ornaments were not spared there; and the chemists who wrote so much
about the wonders of the philosopher’s stone took advantage of the puz­
zling figures which are to be seen there to persuade us that Jacques Coeur
knew the secret of making gold.”
There is still at Montpellier a street by the name of “ rue de la Loge.”
“ When Maillard, Judge of Hell, conducted Semblangay to Montfaucon
to take his soul, which of the two, in your opinion, carried himself the bet903120— 10----- 9


N at i o n al

M onetary


Jacques Coeur and Semblangay promoted the sciences
and deserve the gratitude of the poets, as later Fouquet
deserved the gratitude of the good La Fontaine.®
(13) Francois I is considered to be the originator of our
system of the public debt. It is to him that the creation
of the perpetual rente dates back.6
These are the rentes de 1’Hotel de Ville (rentes of the
town hall).
(14) Under Francois II, under Charles IX , and under
Henry III, the religious wars, the dissipations of the
court, and the squanderings of the courtesans almost
each year necessitated the establishment of rentes,c the
rate of which varied from the “ denier tw elve” to the
“ denier seventeen” (du denier douze au denier dix-sept).d
A t the begining of the reign of Henry IV the debt was

Agriculture and commerce had been ruined

by the religious wars.

Out of 150,000,000 livres in taxes,

there hardly came in 30,000,000 livres, and after the
wretched administration of Superintendent d’O, who died
in 1594, the King asked for Sully’s assistance; the debt
which at the beginning of his reign had reached 337,620,252
livres, was reduced by more than 100,000,000 livres.

So as to inform you, Maillard looked as one whom death is going to

take, and Semblangay was so strong an old man that it was everywhere
thought that he was going to hang at Montfaucon Lieutenant Maillard.
“ See in the works of L a Fontaine, L ’ltlig ie aux Nymphes de Vaux.
b E dict of October 10, 1522.
c L6on Say. D ictionnaire des Finances, at the word " Dette P u b liq u e”
b y MM. E. de Bray and Alfred Neymarck.
d The expression “ denier douze” signifies that for every twelve deniers
borrowed, the borrower will give as interest one denier. A loan “ au
denier douze” is then a loan at 8.33 per cent. A loan “ au denier dix-sept”
is a loan at 5.883 per cent.

A loan “ au denier vingt” is a loan at 5 per cent.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Under Uouis X III, not only were the efforts of Richelieu
inadequate to reduce the debt, but his struggles with
foreign countries and the Protestants considerably in­
creased it.a
Under Louis X IV , up to the time of Colbert, public
credit continued to be in a bad condition. After the
disgrace of Fouquet, Colbert tried by several means to
restore it, only a few of which will be mentioned.
Nicolas Fouquet, born 1605, after having bought the
office of attorney-general at the Parlement de Paris (a
higher court of justice), obtained the superintendence of
the finances, thanks to Mazarin to whom he had remained
faithful during the Fronde. The treasury was empty, and
the duties of the superintendent became encumbered with
those of the trouveur d'argent (money finder). 6 The loans
were so onerous that an issue in 1658 of 400,000 livres of
rentes, representing a loan of 7,200,000 livres, brought
back an actual return of 1,200,000 livres, on which the cost
of administration was 400,000 livres. If it is true that
Fouquet was rich prior to his term of office, then it is cer­
tainly true that he became fabulously rich while in office.
Louis X IV paid Fouquet the remarkable honor of ac­
cepting an invitation to the Chateau de Vaux, a splendid
palace, costing, according to Voltaire 18,000,000 livres.
Innumerable invitations, says Voltaire, were sent out to
all parts of France and Europe, and, on August 17, 1661,
thousands of splendid carriages swarmed the road from
Paris to Melun. The King, the Queen mother, Monsieur
and Madame, and the entire court were not so much
a L£on Say. Dictionnaire des Finances, under the word “ Dette P u blique.”
b Lavisse, Histoire de France, t. 7, p. 80.


N ational

M on et a ry


dazzled as shocked by this fabulous fete, which surpassed
a hundredfold what the Sovereign himself could at that
time have given.

All the details contributed to this

feeling: the comedy Les Facheux, improvised by Moliere
on a signal from the castle keeper, and presented in the
park at the lower end of the alley of firs; the gardens,
the waters, the ballet, the fireworks, the statues, the bronze
figures, the furniture, the scenic effects, and the supper
service of massive gold. The Queen mother could hardly
restrain her son from having the Superintendent arrested
on that very night, in the very place which, by itself,
was evidence of his embezzlements.
Eighteen days had hardly elapsed, when, as soon as
the King was on his way to Nantes in order there to inspect
the States of Brittany, Fouquet was arrested, September
5, in coming out from the Council sitting, by d’Artagnan,
captain of the musketeers.

He was brought to the castle

at Angers, then in turn to Amboise, Vincennes, Moret,
and lastly to the Bastille, where he was immured June
18, 1663. Fouquet, in spite of his protests, was tried,
not by the Parlement de Paris, but by a special court of
justice (Chambre de justice), instituted by an edict of 1661;
it assembled at the arsenal, and was composed of Sequier,
the chancellor, de Eamoignon, the first president, and of
twenty-two members chosen from every Parlement (higher
court) in the kingdom. Nine voted in favor of death,
and thirteen for exile and confiscation of property; the
King, who felt much provoked, increased the penalty to
life imprisonment. Sentence was pronounced December
20, 1664, and three days later the unfortunate Fouquet,
atoning for his malversations “ which had been nothing


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
more than pomp and generosity, ” departed for the fortress
de Pignerol, where he arrived January io, 1665, and where
he was destined to die March 23, 1680, after fifteen years
of strict captivity.®
(16) The Chambre de justice which had heard and con­
demned Fouquet, tried more than five hundred cases for
embezzlement. They examined, going back to 1635,
every loan transacted, and reduced the interest on each.
Public credit suffered considerably as a consequence; but
this consideration did not in the least restrain Colbert,
who was thoroughly convinced that there was absolutely
no occasion for borrowing. Frauds in connection with
the taxes were mercilessly followed up. “ Forty thousand
treacherous nobles deposit at the treasury taxes which
they have unlawfully evaded. The prisons are overflowing
with farmers of the revenue, and the most guilty ones are
being hanged; others have been freed only upon payment
of a large ransom. This period is known under the name
Terreur de Colbert."b
In four years Colbert raised the net revenue from about
22,000,000 to almost 37,000,000 livres. But the lavishness
of his master, the King, very soon put to naught the
results of the wise financial policy of Colbert.
(17) It is, of course, known that after the death of Colbert
(1688), the superintendency went over to Claude Be
Peletier, who, in turn, was succeeded by Pontchartrain.
The latter with great difficulty began some operations
for credit, the most important of which were issues of
rentes. But credit was dead. There was, so to speak,
o De Menorval, Paris depuis ses origines jusqu ’a nos jours, j e partie, p. 339.
b J. M. Fachan, Historique de la Rente jrangaise, p. 32.

N a t i o n al

M on et a ry


no public market for royal securities. They were reputed
to be intransferable, and it was not considered legitimate
that the security be negotiated for less than its face value.
It was only some time later, at the beginning of the eight­
eenth century, that transactions in royal bonds began to
take place on the bourse.
The decline of public credit gave rise to the utilization
of special methods for stimulating it. In 1689, Pontchartrain resorted to an issue of tontine® life annuities, aggre­
gating 1,400,000 livres. The operation succeeded and
was successfully resorted to again in 1696.
Simultaneously with the issue of the tontines (from the
name of their inventor, the Italian financier Tonti), issues
of lotteries were brought into fashion in France by Italian
financiers who had come over in the retinue of Catherine
de Medicis.

It is under Louis X IV that they appear in

all kinds of forms— benefit lotteries, special and commer­


cial lotteries, charity lotteries, government lotteries, etc.
It was quite necessary, besides, to resort to sales
of offices, and it is during the reign of Louis X IV that the
most peculiar offices are created. “ Sir,” said Pontchartrain, “ every time that Your Majesty creates an office
God creates a fool to buy it.” Every imaginable con­
trivance was utilized not only by Pontchartrain, but by
his successors, de Chamillard and Desmarets. But during the latter part of the K ing’s reign, royal loans bene­
fited very much from the assistance of Samuel Bernard,
financier, who was money lender, speculator, and inti­
mate adviser of the King.
— -

- - - - - - - : -------- 7

7------------r ~ -------------------------------------------------------

“ The tontine principle consists in dividing the part of the benefits of
the dying to the survivors, until the last one, at whose death the rente goes

over to the State.

w w aW i i


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
In the system of the organization of offices the increas­
ing of salaries played a large part. The salaries were
the stipend given by the King to the officer. This sti­
pend was generally the interest on the money which had
been paid for the office. The King allowed an increase in
salary, provided an increase in money be given to him.
It was not a disguised loan, but a forced one, for if the
officer could not pay, some other person desirous of get­
ting such an office could be found; then the old holder
of the office would be reimbursed, unless both were
allowed to continue in office together, in which event
numerous difficulties had to be faced. From 1689 the
practice of increasing salaries was much in vogue. The
most important offices in the kingdom, those which re­
quire^ learning and skill, were made hereditary. The
judiciary bodies, the parlements, the chamber of accounts,
and all assistants were one way or another for sale at
auction. The same was true also of municipal offices.
The industrial and commercial professions were monop­
olized under the most peculiar conditions. Stackers of
wood, testers of salted butter, inspectors of wigs, overseers
of the roast meats, examiners of pigs’ tongues, searchers
of fresh butter, testers of cheese— all these were govern­
ment officers. The King, “ who is anxious that abun­
dance should reign in his good town of Paris, has noticed
that three or four individuals have so monopolized the
oyster business that his subjects can get only as much as
it seems proper to the oyster merchants to sell.” And
the King makes officers of caterers or sellers of oysters.
It is now in place to pass to the public credit which
was established by private companies with or without gov-


N a t io n a l

M on et a r y


ernment aid. We shall see how the share and the bond
assume their form.
The ancients seem to have been unacquainted with
associations having their capital divided into shares.
Greek authors very rarely referred to associations of more
than three or four persons, and we can with reasonable
certainty advance the opinion that shares never existed
in Greece. As regards the Romans, the question is more
difficult, for they had vast companies, notably the societates vectigalium publicorum, whose object was the exploi­
tation of the farming of the tax. According to certain
commentators, notably Orelli and Becker, these com­
panies had been formed on the basis of shares. However,
if some transferable parts were ever provided for in any
of these companies, it is very probable that it was done
only exceptionally and without modifying their general
A t Toulouse there was a mill, named du Basacle, which
was given in the twelfth century by the prior of la Daurade
to a company, the members of which were known as
pairiers, whose parts, real transferable shares, did not
entail the personal responsibility of the holders.
Some stock companies were in existence in Italy and
Germany at quite a remote period; among them we find
the Bank of St. George, at Genoa, which best displayed
the general traits of the stock company. In 1407 it was
reestablished with a capital divided into 20,400 shares,
according to information given by Scaccia. All were
of equal value, carrying no personal responsibility and
withholding from the members the privilege of negotia-

® See Ed. Guillard.

Les operations de bourse, p. 12.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse

There was a general assembly and a board of

A t the beginning of the seventeenth century all civilized
nations of Europe are acquainted with the principle of
share holding. In 1602 there is instituted in Holland the
Netherland East-Indian Company. In England a similar
company is established in 1613.
Under the old regime, maritime commerce was not con­
ducted under the same conditions as it is conducted to­
day. The reasons for it are obvious. It presented at
that time too many perils and entailed too many expenses
for individuals to be able to engage in it. Therefore
licensed companies were organized upon which, in ex­
change for great advantages and an exclusive monopoly,
quite, onerous conditions were imposed.
“ Henry IV, intending to follow the example of the Dutch
in the Far East, authorized in 1603 a certain Gerard de Roy
to form a company which, being granted a monopoly for
fifteen years, should take in hand the trade with the East
Indies. Rut the Provinces unies (United Territories) pointed
out to him the harm this company would do their company
of the East Indies (established March 20,1602), and induced
him to turn his endeavors to the West Indies. Henry IV
later returned, but without success, to the project of the
East-Indian Company.
monopoly on spices.” 0

Amsterdam watched

over its

Under Uouis X III Richelieu took this idea up again,
which, to be sure, had never been abandoned. In 1625
there was founded the company du Morbihan for coma Ernest Lavisse. Histoire de France depuis ses origines jusqu’a la
Revolution, T . V I - I I , p. 82.


merce with New France, Moscow, Norway, Sweden, and
Hamburg; the company de la Nacelle de Saint-Pierre
Fleurdelysee, for negotiating and transacting business in
all countries not hostile to the crown; the company des
Cent associes (of one hundred partners), for colonizing New
France (Canada); and some others— notably, two com­
panies, for trading with the East Indies. Because of lack
of funds all of these companies went to ruin.
The failure of these companies is the characteristic
event in the colonial and commercial history of the reigns
of Henry IV and Louis X III. The companies in turn
disappear, reappear, and vegetate. Outside of the reli­
gious world the colonies were not popular. The French at
that time were a saving people, modest in their tastes,
and leading a stay-at-home life, and preferring, as Montchretien has already remarked in his Traite d’Economie
Politique (1615), to live sparingly at home in any employ­
ment, than to seek fortunes in the colonies or in a foreign
Under Louis X IV , thanks to the influence of Col­
bert, there were established (1) the West-Indian Company
{des Indes Occidentales), started in 1664, which alone had
the right to do business in our settlements in North
America, the Antilles, Guiana, and Senegal; it had its
center in Le Havre; (2) the East-Indian Company {des
Indes Orientates), started in 1664 a which had the monopa In the H istory of France b y M. Ernest Lavisse, T . V I - I , pp. 238-239,
are found interesting details about the formation of the East Indian Com­
pany. The beautiful and costly armorial emblems presented to the com­
pany on the day of the granting of its privilege, the grand advertising of the
affair, and the great enthusiasm displayed, under the influence of Colbert,
b y the King, the Queen, the official world, judges and prominent civilians,
both in subscribing themgelves and in exhorting others to subscribe to the
funds of the company, are described in a lively and fascinating style.




History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
oly of commerce over the broad ocean from the Cape of
Good Hope to the Strait of Magellan, thus including our
settlements in Madagascar, in the Isles of France and of
Bourbon, and in Hindostan; it had its center at Lorient;
(3) the company du Levant (of the Levant), started in
1670, which contended with Venice, England, and Holland
for the trade with Turkey, Asia-Minor, Syria, Egypt, and
the Barbary States— it had its center at Marseille; and
(4) the company du Nord (of the North), started in 1669,
which traded, but without exclusive rights, with Holland,
Northern Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and
Poland; it had its center in Dunkirk.
The first two of these companies exercised complete
royal authority over the colonies already founded or to be
founded. They installed governors and judges, had the
right of peace and war in their relationships with the
natives, and flew the white colors on their ships. They
enjoyed the sovereign authority similar to that which the
English company in the Indies exercised over all Hindo­
stan up until the mutiny of 1857.
The company des Indes Occidentales disappeared in
1674; from its remains were formed the companies du
Senegal, de la Guinee, d’Acadie, du Canada, de la baie
d'Hudson, de Saint-Domingue, and especially the company
du Mississippi, so famous during the period of the financial
policies of Law.

The company du Nord succumbed about

1672; the company du Levant in 1690; the company des
Indes Orientates lingered on till 1718. From a part of its
possessions was formed, twice (in 1700 and 1712), the com­
pany of China {de la Chine). When one of these companies
dissolved, the colonies again became directly responsible


n et a r y


to the king, and once more commerce was free for indi­
viduals. In 1719 the company des Indes was reconsti­
John Law, by letters patent of May 2, 1716, pro­
cured the privilege of establishing a bank. It was called
Banque Generate, and had a capital of 6,000,000 livres,
divided into 1,200 shares of 5,000 livres each.
The 5,000 livres were to be paid in as follows: A fourth,
1,250 livres, in specie, and the remaining three-fourths
in government notes. The government notes were the
result of a loan of 250,000,000 livres at 4 per cent, pre­
viously issued by the Regent’s Government; the loan had
met with only middling success, and it was not long before
the notes lost four-fifths of their value. This ability
of the subscribers to pay for their shares in government
notes explains the favor which Law gains in the eyes of
the Regent. It did not take long before the Banque Gen­
erate was transformed into the Banque Royale.
Toward the end of August, 1717, a trader, Crozat, had
procured a license to do business in Louisiana. Crozat
granted the license to Law, who formed a company under
the name Compagnie d’Occident, having a capital of
100,000,000 livres payable in government notes; various
monopolies were conceded to this company, notably the
monopoly of tobacco.
Soon after Minister d’Argenson had granted the lease of
the imposts and duties to the Paris Brothers, who had
formed a stock company with this lease as a basis, Law
succeeded in having the Banque Generate declared Banque
Royale, and in amalgamating all the trading companies


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
which existed at that time with the company d'Occident.
The new company was called Compagnie des Indes.
This company, having becorpe very wealthy, was instru­
mental in causing the withdrawal of the lease of the
imposts and duties from the Paris Brothers and the trans­
fer of the grant to itself. The series of policies which had
been put into practice at this occasion was given the name
of Law's System.
A t the end of October, 1719, Law issued in securities
“ to bearer,” 300,000 shares of the company des Indes,
at the prevailing price of 5,000 livres each. (To Law,
as originator, is due this form of security.) The pro­
ceeds of this issue were to be a billion and a half livres,
which the company des Indes was supposed to loan to
the (government at the rate of 3 per cent. The State
owed him, then, for this principal an annual interest
of 45,000,000 livres. On the other hand, however, Law
owed the State the price of the lease of the duties and
imposts, which amounted to 52,000,000.
The overtaxed emissions and the difficulties experienced
by the company des Indes in maintaining the shares at
a high price led to their fall.

The bank met with ruin

in repurchasing its own shares. The intrigues of the
Court completed Law s doom. In May, 1720, the license
was withdrawn from the bank, and Law ran away,
completely ruined.

He died in misery in Venice, 1729.

From 1716 to 1720 the rue Quincampoix had been the
scene of one of the most whimsical frenzies of stockjobbing which has ever taken hold of the people. The
Court, the clergy, and the town gave themselves over
to the most stupid speculations in securities of the com­

N at i on a l

M on e t a r y


pany des Indes. Such and such a servant became mas­
ter, and by habit rode behind his coach instead of getting
inside. A widow by the -name of La Caumont realized
70,000,000 in profits. The Duke of Bourbon realized
enormous profits, which enabled him to rebuild the castle
of Chantilly with a royal magnificence. This beautiful
estate, which is at present occupied by the Institut de
France, owes much of its splendor to the speculations let
loose by John Law.
After the breakdown of Law ’s policy, it was
thought necessary in some way to reorganize the financial
market, which had fallen into extreme disorder. The
financial market had been, to a certain extent, shaping
itself out into some sort of anarchy. An ordinance of
March 22, 1720, which henceforth prohibits any assembling
in the rue Quincampoix, states that “ several dishonest
dealers, taking advantage of the tumult and confusion
which resulted from the meeting of unknown people, a
few of whom were even without residence and social recog­
nizance, have often embezzled and misappropriated the
property of those who have had opportunity to deal with
them; that a large number of servants and artisans have
left their masters and their occupations, either themselves
to carry on transactions or to help and act as broker for
other people who did not dare to make their appear­
ance.” The Government goes on to consider that the
stockbrokers (<agents de change) will assure the common­
wealth against the return of the excesses which took
place, forgetting that the cause of those excesses was
other than a certain organization of the market, and
that what is intended henceforth to mitigate speculation,


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
is the lack of nourishment, the complete breakdown of
the system, its crisis. Another ordinance followed a few
days later (March 28, 1720). All persons, with the excep­
tion of stockbrokers, are prohibited from assembling in
any place or section whatsoever, and from keeping an
office for the negotiation of paper; the penalty for violat­
ing this law is imprisonment or 3,000 livres fine. Specu­
lators moved away and established themselves, instead, on
Place Louis-le-Grand, known to-day as Place Vendome.
“ On July 20, 1720, a royal ordinance orders that the trans­
actions of shares of the company des Indes and the nego­
tiation of bills of exchange or other negotiable certificates
shall be carried on in the garden of the Hotel de Soissons.,y
The Hotel de Soissons, we learn from the Manuel des
agents de change, was situated almost exactly in the
very place where the commercial bourse has recently
been erected, in the quartier des Halles. The entrance
is through the rue des Deux-Ecus. On August 30, 1720, a
decree of the Council of State suppresses the sixty exist­
ing offices of stockbrokers created by the edicts of the
month of August, 1708, and of November, 1714, and
orders that there be established sixty new stockbrokers
by special appointment.

By article 9, all persons are

prohibited from meddling with the duties of stockbrokers
on penalty of paying 3,000 livres fine, and even of im­
prisonment and greater punishments, if servants, appren­
tices, workmen, laborers, or vagabonds are the offending

A few days later, however, October 25, 1720,

a decree of the Council of State orders also the shutting
up of the bourse established in the Hotel de Soissons,
and no assemblage is allowed anywhere at all.

N ational

M on et a r y


Finally, on September 24, 1724, another decree of the
Council of State, in its first article, ordered that there be
immediately established in the city of Paris a place called
la Bourse, the principal entrance to which shall be through
rue Vivienne.
T h ir d D iv is io n — The decrees of the Council from 1724 to 1788— The
financial market on the eve of the Revolution.

From 1724 to 1788 a series of decrees of the Council
led to the modification of the regime of the Bourse.
In 1724, according to the phraseology of the decree of
the Council of September 24, recourse to the agency of
stockbrokers was strictly obligatory for the negotiation
of royal bills and negotiable paper.
In January, 1723, there were created 60 offices of stock­
brokers, and the report was spread that those who wished
to take up the offices, that is to say, to declare them­
selves purchasers, would have to pay in a sum of money.
To insure the buying out of the offices created, mention
was made in the decree of 1724 of the privileges and
advantages attached to the incumbents of these offices.
But no purchasers appeared.
The decree of September 24, 1724, was then revoked.
The decree of the Council of State of February 26, 1726,
ordered that the business of negotiable paper and other
bills be made more free on the Bourse. Notwithstanding
the provisions of the decree of September 24, 1724, “ all
merchants, traders, bankers and others who have been
or shall be admitted to the Bourse,” are, by the terms
of the new decree, allowed to deal among themselves in
shares of the company des Indes, and in other securities
and negotiable paper, in the same manner as bills of


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
exchange, bills “ to bearer,” promissory notes, and mer­
chandise are dealt in.
(25) In 1733 there is a sudden change.
offices begin to appear.

Purchasers of

The decree of 1726 is revoked, and in accordance with
the decree of September 24, 1724, the King orders that
transactions in shares of the company des Indes and in
other securities and negotiable papers shall be made only
through the agency of two stockbrokers.
(26) August 7, 1785, a new decree of the council of the
King is issued:
A r t . 3. “ His Majesty wishes that, in accordance with
the provisions of articles 17 and 18 of the decree of Sep­
tember 24, 1724, the negotiation of royal and other
public, securities should be considered to be valid only
when stockbrokers have acted as intermediaries, and that
such negotiations shall take place nowhere but on the
Bourse, where the price of the securities will be quoted,
according to the terms of the regulations, by two stock­
brokers.” Certain specified merchandise brokers are also
allowed to go to the Bourse and to negotiate bills of
exchange and bills “ to bearer.”
A r t . 4 . Stockbrokers must not list on the Bourse other
than royal securities and the price of exchange.
A rt . 5. They must not negotiate royal securities or other
negotiable paper for their personal account, the penalty
being removal and the payment of a fine of 3,000 livres.

r t

. 7 . T im e b a r g a in s in r o y a l o r o t h e r s e c u r it ie s w it h ­

o u t a c tu a l d e liv e r y , o r e v e n w ith o u t th e
s e c u r itie s


th e


m om ent


c o n t r a c t , a r e d e c la r e d n u ll a n d v o id .
9031 2°— IO----- 10


th e

d e p o s it o f s a id

s ig n a tu r e


th e

N ationa l
A rt.

M o n et a r y


8. This shall not be interpreted as prejudicing the

right of merchants, dealers, bankers, and others admitted
to the Bourse, to deal among themselves in bills-of-exchange
notes “ to bearer” or “ to order,” shares of the new com­
pany des Indes, and other commercial effects, without the
mediation of stockbrokers.
(27) On March 19, 1786, a royal ordinance raises the
number of stockbrokers to sixty, thus annulling the
decree of December 22, 1733, which had diminished their
number to forty.
(28) On July 14, 1787, a decree of the Council of State
withdraws from the stockbrokers the monopoly of the
negotiation of securities other than royal securities and
of shares of la Caisse d’Escompte (a national discount bank
established by Turgot in Paris in 1776).
(29) But on June 10, 1788, a decree of the Council of
State renews the provisions of the decree of 1785 and rati­
fies a resolution of the stockbrokers, in which they declare
that they will waive 270,000 livres in annual salaries
attached to their offices.
It can be seen from the preceding that the Govern­
ment would grant privileges to the stockbrokers which
it would later withdraw in order to grant them again, and
somewhat later once more to withdraw. Thus, in 1595,
nobody is required to take a broker. In 1705 it is dif­
ferent. Individuals must resort to a stockbroker for the
negotiation of loan certificates. But the prescription is not
observed. A decree of 1724 reenforces it. It is repealed
in 1726, but in 1733 a return to the principles of 1724 is

made. In 1785 and 1786 the monopoly of stockbrokers
once again gains more power. In 1787 it is diminished,

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
but in 1788 the stockbrokers giving up the interest on
their security, the King agrees to revert to the principles
laid down by the edicts of 1785 and 1786.
(30) Let us rapidly examine the condition of the trans­
ferable security on the eve of the Revolution.
There existed royal securities (effets royaux). They
were loan certificates issued by the King, rente contracts,
lottery tickets, and exchange notes.
In 1785 there existed a few stock companies. The
company des Indes and the Caisse d’Escompte (Discount
Bank) were the best known among them. Then came
the company des Eaux, founded by the P drier brothers
(ancestors of Casimir Perier) for the purpose of fur­
nishing Parisians with water from the Seine. Mirabeau
in his pamphlet (Denonciation de Vagiotage au roi 1788)
cites a number of companies, among which may be men­
tioned the Glass Company of Saint Gobain, the Rubber
Company of Senegal, and several fire-insurance stock
companies. In 1789 the transferable securities on the
Bourse numbered seventeen.
(31) Let us cast a glance on the condition of govern­
ment finances on the eve of the Revolution.
When Louis X V I gave over to Calonne the manage­
ment of the finances (November 3, 1783), there was a
deficit of 80,000,000 in the ordinary budget, and there
remained 580,000,000 of debts to be funded.®

The new

Controller-general first of all made the King sign an
edict authorizing a loan of 100,000,000, which turned
out to be a success.

Soon after he undertook a loan of

a Charles Gomel, Les causes financieres de la Revolution franqaise, Paris,
1893; The last controllers-general, p. 80.

N ationa l

M on et a ry


125,000,000. The administration of Louis X V I at that
time had already borrowed almost 1,200,000,000 livres.°
The expenses increased so much that the deficit in
1785 was about 102,000,000, and the expenses of that
financial year which remained unpaid were 72,000,000.
The decline in royal securities frightened the Minister.
Besides, the public took up the stocks of a Spanish bank,
la Banque de Saint Charles, founded in 1782 by a French
financier, Cabarrus. The extreme fondness which cap­
italists showed for it, displeased Calonne. He consid­
ered it bad that a foreign security should come to compete
with our public capital, and since some loan securities
issued by him in December of 1784 were about to take
their rank among other securities, Calonne decided to
prohibit by an edict the negotiation in France of foreign
securities. Mirabeau, having received Calonne’s permis­
sion and financial backing, published a virulent diatribe
against the Banque de Saint Charles and its director,
whom Mirabeau compared to Law, and whose private life
he had the indelicacy to attack. The stocks fell from
750 livres to 400 livres, and speculation, which the
Government switched over to royal securities, increased.
When the Government wishes people to speculate in
rentes, the phenomenon has always been, and is now,
the same. It intends to have rentes rise on the market.
If they fall the Government does not hold itself respon­
sible for the fall, but blames those who have suffered.
Dealing in rentes for future delivery, which at that time
was a common practice, was blamed for the actions of
M. de Calonne.
° Charles Gomel, Les causes financikres de la Revolution jranqaise, Paris,
1893, p. 165.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
“ The King is informed,” says the preamble to the de­
cree of the Council of August 7, 1785, “ that for some
time there has existed in the capital a kind of transaction
or mutual agreement, as dangerous to sellers as to buyers,
by which one party engages to furnish, on long terms,
securities which he does not possess, and the other party
consents to pay for them without having the necessary
In the meantime the zeal of Calonne had taken him too
far. He was forced by many complaints and the exigen­
cies of the Exchequer to change his tactics. The decree
of October 2, 1785, mitigated the severities of the pre­
ceding decree. By a decree of September 22, 1786, Ca­
lonne fixed the maximum time for bargains at two months.
Calonne noticed that when certain securities rise the
prices of rentes resist all causes for a decline which are
likely to affect them.0
The example of England, he wrote later to the King,
is sufficient proof that a wise government should be pre­
pared, when the time requires it, to maintain by secret and
indirect methods the price of the public stocks, and, in
time of need, to make certain sacrifices to raise their price.**6
This operation cost the Exchequer 14,600,000 livres.c
a Leon S a y . Les I nterventions du T t fsot & la bourse depuis cent ans, Annales
de VEcole des sciences politiques. Ann£e 1886, pp. 6 k 9.
&Ch. Gomel, loc. c., p. 254.
c It is at this period— 1787— that the celebrated speculations of the
Abbe d Espagnac took place, and a little later Mirabeau published his


spared by the author.
ordering his arrest.

of stockjobbing.

Calonne and Necker were not

The pamphlet cost Mirabeau . . .

a lettre de cachet

But he was not arrested, Calonne having apprised him

through the Abb6 Perigord.

D ’Espagnac was brought before the revo­

lutionary tribunal, April 3, 1794, condemned, and executed the same day on
the Place de la Revolution.



M on et a r y


F o u r t h D iv is io n .— T h e financial market during the Revolution.

The Revolution found the stockbroker’s profes­
sion, as well as a number of other professions, raised to
the dignity of an office. The venality of offices and the
bad speculations originated by the Government were
among the most objectionable features of the old regime;
the legislature endeavored to remedy these matters.®
“ Nature makes no jumps,” says an adage. What the
naturalists and the anthropologists say of the phenomena
of animal and vegetable life, is equally true of social
phenomena. The French Revolution marks by a violent
furrow the change in the political, economic, and social
regime in France; but the work of the philosophers, the
acts of the royal authority, its necessary concessions to the
new ideas, had accomplished revolutionary phenomena
even before certain facts, which history puts to the
account of the Revolution, had been accomplished.
Turgot, the Minister of Louis X V I, of whom his colleague
in the ministry, Lamoignon de Malesherbes, said “ He has
the head of Solon and the heart of 1’Hospital,” dared ask
of the King to make the nobility subject to taxes. On
January 5, 1776, Turgot presented to the Council the
drafts of various edicts which were to suppress the corvee
(statute labor) and the police regulations of Paris on
grains, offices, wardenships, and masterships. b
All of these edicts met with an active opposition in the
inner circles of the Council. Nevertheless, they were
accepted. The edict involving the suppression of war­
denships and masterships was passed March 2, 1776.

a Salzedo. L a Coulisse et la jurisprudence, p. 29.
b Turgot, by L. Robineau.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
But after the fall of Turgot, in May, 1776, the edicts, which
it had cost him so much trouble to have passed, were
again annulled.
The legislative assembly, however, again suppressed
all offices, masterships, and wardenships. “ Beginning
with the coming April 1st,” says article 2 of the law of
March 10, 1791, “ the offices of wig makers, barbers, bath
keepers, bagnio keepers, as well as those of stock­
brokers,— are all equally abolished.” The legislative
assembly placed all offices on a basis of freedom.
(33) We are compelled, although we have hardly arrived
at the threshold of our study of the revolutionary period,
to warn the reader against a widespread error regarding
the effects of the freedom granted to the profession of
An unprecedented outburst of stockjobbing took place
at that time, and it is concluded that the fault lies in the
freedom of commerce in transferable securities.0
Stockjobbing was caused, however, by the troubles
arising from the foreign political situation, by the wars,
and by domestic troubles— that is to say, riots, insurrec­
tions, the cessation of all production, the irregular pay­
ment of rentes in assignats, the excessive issue of assignats,
the law of the maximum, etc.
(34) Stockjobbing is the result of political and financial
disorder. When the sources of production have been
stopped, and when the necessary commodities for con­
sumption are paid for with a depreciating currency, there
must necessarily be inaugurated a passion for speculation
which will keep on increasing so long as the originating
a See Crepon, counsellor of the Cour de cassation: D e la Nigociation d’
efjets publics et aulres, p. 8.



M on et a ry


evil continues to grow. It is somewhat important to
explain the physiology of this phenomenon.
A paper currency is circulated by a government. It is
circulated in such quantities that it depreciates in the
minds of those who receive it. With this money, too, it
will be necessary to buy the most essential necessities, and
the purchasers of these necessities will find themselves
facing sellers.
If, by hypothesis, the seller of commodities is obliged
to specify the price in a paper money whose depreciation
he is fearing, how will he protect himself? By raising his
price so that he will have much paper, with the result that
this paper will guarantee him by its quantity against the
consequent effects of depreciation.
Whence the first phenomenon with its double aspect:
The rise in the price of commodities along with the fall of
Now, if the seller whom we have seen receiving much
paper, sees that it depreciates again while in his hands,
it will not be long before he will notice that gold is the
metal with which one pays abroad for purchased commodiites, and that he who holds gold, is safer than the
holder of bills, which depreciate while in his hands. He
will then make haste to change his paper for gold, and
through this operation he will make two good bargains;
he will protect himself against the future decline of his
paper, and he will have in his possession some gold, which
will continue to be in demand as long as the Govern­
ment continues to issue paper. This gold he will be able
to sell again against paper, or he will buy merchandise
abroad for which he will settle in gold. As a holder of



History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
merchandise, he will be in a position to begin again the
same operation— to sell against paper; to buy gold with
this paper; to buy foreign merchandise with this gold.
Whence the second phenomenon: The emigration of
Thus there is manifested the law known as Gresham's
Law: Bad money drives out good money.
Both phenomena took place during the Revolution.
Assignats depreciated in proportion to the quantity
issued; the price of all things rose. Gold rose. The
bill of exchange on the foreign market, which represented
gold, was in demand. Speculation was not the cause of
these phenomena, but an inherent condition. It could not
be otherwise. The abolition of the monopoly of stock­
brokers was not the cause, and monopoly, if it had ex­
isted, would not have been able to prevent it. Besides,
when it was reestablished, the phenomenon of economic
gravitation could not be prevented from asserting itself.
What follows will prove our assertion with perfect
From the very first days of the Revolution the
financial situation was a critical one. On June 17, 1787,
the national assembly declared the creditors of the Gov­
ernment to be under the protection of the honor and
loyalty of the French nation. Immediately after, Necker
resorted to two loans, one on August 7, and the other on
August 27— both of which were without success. He later
resorted to a patriotic contribution of a fourth of the
income of each citizen exceeding 400 livres, and of 2%
per cent of their silver plate, jewelry, and coined silver.
It was not in this way that one could raise credit and


N a t io n a l

M o n et a r y


A t this time the total debt was 208,027,242

francs. Besides, the debt represented only a small part
of the needs of the Government.
It was at this time that a decree of December 21,
1789, placed on sale some of the royal domains and a part
of the ecclesiastical property in order to raise the sum of
400,000,000 francs. A t the same time 400,000,000 assig­
nats were created, which were to be redeemed by the
proceeds from the sales. They paid an interest of 5 per
Four months after the creation of these assignats, by
order of the law of April 17, 1790, their interest was
reduced to 3 per cent. According to the terms of this
law, the assignats were to be received as specie in public
and private cash offices.
The assignat, which had depreciated about 2 per cent
almost immediately after its creation, was quoted in April
at 94. In other words, 100 livres in paper were given
for 94 livres in metallic money.
In August, 1790, an issue of 800,000,000 assignats was
voted for by the assembly. These new assignats which were
created as a result of the decree of September 29, 1790,
bore no interest, and by a decree of October 10 the 3 per
cent interest on the assignats of the first issue was cut off.
From this time on, it may be said, the assignat de­
preciated in the public estimation.
On October 1, 1791, the quantity of assignats in circu­
lation was about 1,151,500,000 livres, and they lost 16 per
cent of their value. Fourteen months later, January 1,
1793, the quantity of assignats in circulation rose to

They lost 50 per cent of their value.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Then came a series of decrees all tending to the depre­
ciation of the assignat. A decree of April 11, 1793, imposed
some severe penalties on any person who should buy or
sell assignats for less than their nominal value in money,
or should make any distinction in the prices of his merchan­
dise according to whether payment would be made in
paper or specie.
But the prices were to be stipulated in assignats, so that
no law could prevent anyone from asking for a higher price
for his merchandise.
When a government employs empirical processes with
a view to sustain the public credit, it produces discredit.
Public trust resides in the citizen’s state of mind. A
state of mind can not be decreed, especially when it has
to exercise itself upon the valuation of commodities.
But governments, inspired by a misapprehension of the
conditions of public credit, do not easily yield to evidence.
The more discredit is created, the more do they entangle
themselves in their own errors. When a government
issues depreciating paper money, if it investigates the
cause of the fall, it is necessary that it should without bias
decide whether it is the fault of the stockjobbers or its
own fault. But the Government never hesitates. For
it the decline is caused by the stockjobbers. The Bourse
is the only place where it originates.
In the month of June, 1793, the assignat lost 64 per
cent of its value. It was worth 36 per cent. A decree
of June 27, 1793, ordered the closing of the Bourse.
During the time that the Bourse was closed, negotia­
tions in coin and bills of exchange were transacted in the
Palais Royal, or as it was now called Palais Egalite, in


N ational

M o n et a r y


the place known as Le Perron. The stockbrokers, removed
in 1791, immediately organized into a free company, con­
sisting of 80 members forming a syndicate, with the pur­
pose of avoiding all conflict with the free, newly come
stockbrokers; it seems that at that time there was not
much occasion for complaint at the new condition of
But, nevertheless, the scarcity of coin and the decline
of assignats were attributed to the Bourse. The stock­
brokers were arrested and their goods confiscated, and a
decree of the 2ist-24th of August, 1793, ordered that
associations known under the name of caisse d'escompte
(discount bank), life-insurance companies, and in general
all those companies whose capital is made up of shares
" to bearer,” of negotiable bills, or of book registrations
transferable at will, were abolished.
(38) These measures did not in any way cause the assig­
nat to rise in value. In July, 1793, it again lost 13 per cent
of the June price. In other words, it was worth only 23
per cent of its book value.
Frantic stockjobbing raged at that time; it was not
the free market which generated it, but the causes which
we have just examined, and the very absence of a market.
Stockjobbing was in a feverish state which the slightest
event could only increase.
(39) What could the Convention do? On August 1,
1793, and on May 10, 1794, decrees were passed imposing,
as the case might be, heavy fines, imprisonment, or even
death, on anyone who should in any way discriminate
against the assignat.
a Eugene L6on.

Ptude sur la Coulisse et ses operations .

Page 31.


Paris, 1896.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
This measure did not prevent the sale of the most essen­
tial commodities at a raised price in assignats. A decree
of September 4, 1793, extended to various necessities the
decree of May 3, permitting the directories of the districts
to fix a maximum price for grain and flour. But, besides
that it was practically impossible to have this provision
executed, a large number of commodities escaped the
category of those specified.
The Convention, having observed that the absence
of the public market was detrimental to public credit,
ordered its reopening on the 6 Floreal, year III, upon the
request of Jean Bon-Saint-Andre; going from one excess
to another, the Government which had before wished to
suppress the Bourse, promulgated on August 30, 1795
(13 Fructidor, year III), a law making it an offense to sell
gold and silver anywhere else than on the Bourse. It
was declared an offense, also, by this same law, to sell,
in any public place other than the Bourse, any kind of
merchandise not shown at the place of the sale, and
to sell goods and securities which one does not actually
own when making the sale. The penalties for either of
these offenses were imprisonment for two years, public
exposure of the offender with an inscription on his breast
of the word “ agioteur" (stockjobber), and confiscation of
his property for the benefit of the Republic.
It was at this time that the assignat lost 97.25 per cent
of its value. It continued to decline and was worth no
more than 2 per cent, having lost 98 per cent.
The convention closed the Bourse again, September 1,
x795 (25 Fructidor, year III),-eight days after having
reopened it; and the assignat still kept on declining.
October, 1795, it was worth 1.36.



M on et a r y


A new law on the Bourse was promulgated October
20, 1795. It is the law of 28 Vendemiaire, year IV.
Since the time of the Legislative Assembly, the assignat
had become the only credit and loan instrument of the
In 1792, the maker of a bill to bearer was made liable
to the death penalty.6
In the year IV (October, 1795) the number of assignats
in circulation represented 17,879,337,898 livres, and during
the last three months of that period 5,541,194,037 livres
had been issued.
During the year IV the manufacture of assignats rose
to 70,000,000 daily. The less they were worth, the more
of them was required; or, rather, the more of them that
were made, the less they were worth.
Terrible famines afflicted the country and provoked
bloody insurrections. England undertook to fight France
by every way possible. She did not limit her hostilities
to the expedition of Quiberon. Marquis de Puissage per­
suaded Pitt of the advantage of inundating the enemy’s
country with counterfeit assignats, to be fabricated by
the best engravers of Holland “ with such skill that
Cambon himself would accept them.’’ c
It is under these circumstances that the law on the
police regulations of the Bourse, 28 Vendemiaire, year IV,
was passed.
« Leon Sa y (Dictionnaire des Finances, under the words Pu blic Debt,
p. 1, 425. Charles Gomel, Histoire financibre de la Legislation et de la C on­
vention. Paris, 1905, Guillaumin, editor. 2 vol. Passim ).

b Albert Wahl (Traite theorique et pratique des titres au porteur, Paris,
1891; Rousseau, edit., t. 1, No. 145).
c Michelet, Histoire du X I X siecle.



Chapter Quiberon.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Twenty-five stockbrokers were to be appointed, twenty
of whom were to carry on banking and negotiate paper
on the foreign market, and the remaining five were to
deal in coin and bullion. No transaction was legally
recognized or valid which had not been made through
the agency of these twenty or of these five stockbrokers,
wherever their respective agency was required.
Further, the law prohibits the stockbrokers from
negotiating exchange bills on the foreign market for their
own account, and from any trading whatsoever in exchange
upon the foreign market for future delivery cr on option,
under penalty of being reputed stockjobbers and being
punished as such, according to the law of 13 Fructidor,
year III. (See No. 40.)
These laws of year III and year IV show us ten­
dencies opposite to those of 1791. After a period of
absolute liberty, there followed a period of regulation,
strict, rigid, and extremely menacing. The Bourse was
made responsible for disturbances in the prices which
were caused by the political and economic troubles of the
In the years III and IV the fundamental principles of
public right counted for nothing. If the life and liberty
of the citizens were not respected, would the principle
of liberty in commerce be respected?
In this way are explained the Draconian measures of
years III and IV.

These laws were enforced with diffi­

culty, and when circumstances permitted it, and peace
was restored, a new legislation was ushered in more hu­
mane and more moderate.


N a t io n a l

M on et a r y


In August, 1796 (Thermidor, year IV ), the quantity

of assignats in circulation represented 45,578,810,040
livres. They fell to 0.36 per cent and even to nothing at
all. A law of 28 Ventose, year IV (March 18, 1796),
ordered their exchange for territorial drafts in the pro­
portion of 30 for 1. Twenty-four billion assignats were
exchanged for 800,000,000 drafts (or to be more exact,
promises for drafts), to the payment of which were as­
signed the proceeds from the sale of 3,785,000,000 livres
in territorial property. In spite of this change, the
assignats continued to remain in circulation up to the
time when the law of 22 Pluviose, year IV (February 10,
1797), ordered the complete canceling of those which
should not be presented for exchange on the following first
The territorial drafts also were paper money and had a
forced price from the day of their creation. On the very
day of the issue, in spite of penal prescriptions which were
intended to keep the price at par, the promises for drafts
fell from 100 livres to 18 livres. The law of 29 Messidor
(July 17, 1796) granted freedom to transactions and sup­
pressed the forced price of the drafts which anyhow was
of little account, as even the Government accepted their
value only according to the current market prices. The
surrender of the national property into the hands of the
bearers raised the prices for awhile; but in the following
December they again suffered a decisive relapse, before
there had even been a chance to change the promises of
drafts for real certificates. The law of 16 Pluviose, year
V (February 4, 1797) . withdrew them from circulation.0

0 J. M. Fachan.

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History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
In order to get an idea of the rise of gold in compari­
son to assignats, let us give the following examples. In
August, 1795, the gold louis was worth 1,020 livres in
paper; in September, 1,200; in October, 3,000; in Decem­
ber, 5,100; in January and February, 1796, 8,600 livres.
The accompanying illustrations show the forms of
assignats of different denominations.
(44) While the convention was proceeding with meas­
ures which belong to the field of political history and also
with financial measures which we have just examined,
the Grand Lime de la Dette Publique (Great Book of the
public debt) was established. This document contains
the totality of the government liabilities constituting the
registered debt. The desire of Cambon was that all the
government debts should be capable of being placed on
the Grand Lime.

This plan was incompatible with the

wide range of liabilities which the State was led to con­
tract. Therefore when one speaks to-day of the Grand
Livre one merely means the book open to the registration
of rentes.
Up to 28 Pluviose, year IV (February 17, 1796), rentes
were paid for in assignats at their nominal value. The
holders of government rentes were reduced to beggary.
In the year IV, like government employees, they received
for a certain time a daily ration of bread and meat.
(45) The more the assignat depreciated, the heavier the
debt became, since the Government received assignats at
their nominal value and delivered them at their real value.
Ih e ireasury was placed in an impossible position, the
only means of escape being nothing less than bankruptcy.
(46) lh e distress of the Treasury was such that the
9 0 3 1 2 0— 10-----11


government of the Directory went into bankruptcy, 9
Vendemiaire, year VI (September 30, 1797).
The law passed on that day ordered the inscription of
rentes in the Grand Lime reduced by two-thirds. The
third inscribed took the name of the “ funded th ird ’’
(tiers consolide). The interest was fixed at “ denier vingt ”
(the twentieth denier), that is to say, at 5 per cent. The
other two-thirds were reimbursed in bonds “ to bearer”
(bons au porteur) called “ Dette publique mobiliere” (Floated
public debt). These securities had no value, and tumbled
almost immediately to zero.
Subsequently, on Ventose 30, year IX (March 21, 1801),
the Consular government passed a law entitling the bonds
“ to bearer ” of the two-thirds to be converted into perpet­
ual rentes, in the proportion of one-quarter per cent of
the quantity brought for exchange.

In this way a mil­

lion of 5 per cent perpetual rentes were created. On the
22d of February, 1806, the collection and burning of the
bonds of the two-thirds were ordered. Their liquidation
was achieved by means of their being funded at 5 per cent
(Loan of September 15, 1807).°
The financial operations of the year V I consisted of an
issue of 40,216,000 francs of 5 per cent rentes. A t the end
of the eighteenth century the total of the French funded
debt amounted, in round numbers, to 46,000,000 of rentes,
representing a capital of 920,000,000 francs. b
Let us recall that these issues were registered. Rente
securities “ to bearer” exist only since the ordinance of
April 29, 1831. France reestablished her credit when she
a Vide Fachan: Historique de la Rente frangaise et des Valeurs du Trisor,
p. 132.

b Leon Say.

D ictionnaire des Finances.

Under “ Dette Publique

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
went into bankruptcy. This statement seems paradoxical,
but, nevertheless, nothing can be more true.
(47) The great legislative work of the Consulate affected
the Bourse as well as a number of other institutions, and we
owe to the legislation of this period the fundamental law
of 28 Ventose, year IX , in regard to commercial bourses.
Three principal considerations seem to have actuated the
legislator of the year IX : (1) To establish order on the
bourses; (2) to reconcile the provisions necessary to as­
sure public order, with a proper regard for the principle of
freedom of trade; (3) to preserve the institution of stock­
brokers from the risks of speculation and stockjobbing.
In order to insure the attainment of these ends the law
requires that the stockbrokers be appointed for their
public trust by the Government, which shall be guided in
their choice by their moral character and their professional
knowledge, and shall, besides, demand the pledging of a
part of their fortune with the State as a guarantee of
their good conduct and of proper expiation for their errors
or failures. The law also emphasizes the principle of the
freedom of commerce, expressly stating that nobody is
obliged to have recourse to an intermediary, if he does
not desire it.
(48) Further, the stockbrokers were subjected to several
regulations with a view to prevent speculation and stockjobbing. Thus, they were obliged tp keep a journal;
their books were to be marked and signed by the President
of the Tribunal de commerce; they could not trade nor
carry on banking for their own account; no one who had
been in bankruptcy was allowed to assume the duties
of a


The law also makes the stockbroker


N a t io n a l

M on e t a r y


responsible for the delivery of the securities sold and for
the payment of the sums stipulated, even before either
have been received by him from his clients— his security
being appropriated for this pledge if need be. This respon­
sibility was intended as a check upon transactions for
future delivery. All these regulations were embodied in
the decree of the 27 Prairial, year X.
(49) Transactions for future delivery, however, were not
prohibited to private individuals. But still this kind of
operations could not benefit from the security guaranteed
by the law for transactions through an intermediary.
(50) A t this time the scope of action for stockbrokers
was very narrow. The official quotation list was wholly
contained upon the recto of an octavo leaf, the largest
part of which was given to gold and silver. It contained
only ten kinds of securities, and no quotations for the
account. It is only in 1844 that the official quotation list
assumes its present form, with columns for cash {du
comptant), for future delivery {du terme), for continu­
ations (reports) , and for options (des prime) .
F if t h D i v i s io n .— The Nineteenth century.

(51) The history of the French financial market during
the whole of the nineteenth century, is filled with three
groups of events of unequal importance.
1. The operating of themBourse itself. The financial
market has benefited by the progress of public credit, and,
in its turn, has given further impulse to that progress.
2. A special event. The acknowledgment, in 1885, of the
legality of “ marches h terme ” (dealings for future delivery)
displayed a tendency on the part of the French lawmaker

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
to include transactions in securities within the scope of
commercial transactions under common law.
Another special event. The struggle of the “ agents
de change ” (stockbrokers) against the “ coulissiers" (curb
brokers)— that is to say, privilege against freedom,
monopoly against competition— ended, after sundry vicis­
situdes, in the course of which the principle of uphold­
ing the curb (Coulisse) had prevailed, in a retrogressive
movement in 1898— that is to say, in the strengthening
of the stockbrokers’ monopoly.
The needs of the States impelled their governments
to resort to credit. In order to do so, they had recourse
to issues of securities— certificates of rentes or loans in
sundry forms. To insure success for their operations,
a wide' market was required. And the market gave
them the benefit which results from the existence of some
sort of constant source of credit.
Any progress in the industrial line must necessarily
have its origin either in an invention, in a mere improve­
ment, or in a stroke of genius. But the inventor’s
genius itself is not sufficient. That social power “ inven­
tion ” needs another power which should, in some way,
give it the necessary impulse to cause it to leave the
purely scientific realm. That other power is organiza­
tion. It includes the consolidating of capital, the deter­
mining of the rights of the owners, the directing, the
financing, and the installing of machinery.

It is easily

understood, however, that organization, so far as it
concerns an appeal to the forces of capital, requires
liberal corporation laws and well equipped financial


N ationa l

M on e t a r y


markets, where transactions in securities are easy, quick,
and safe.
When a country is conscious of the existence of such a
market, the budding out of an enterprise, the shares of
which have circulated on the Bourse, is apt to give rise
to another enterprise, and thus is proven the law found
in the natural order of things as well as in the sociological
order, that the function creates the organ and the
organ hastens the function.
Thus, the development of securities in France has
been the expression of the development of public credit,
especially of the credit of the French State, of the
Departments, and of commerce; the expression of the
parallel movement above referred to, which took place
abroad and which manifested itself— especially during the
second half of the nineteenth century— in a considerable
influx of foreign securities into France; and, finally, the ex­
pression of the incorporation of numerous limited-liability
companies in shares {societes anonymes) in important
industries and in powerful commercial enterprises, ren­
dered easier and easier by the more and more liberal
corporation laws, the establishment of large credit institu­
tions, and the development of dealings for future delivery.
In 1900, during the World’s Fair, an “ Interna­
tional Congress of Securities ’’ was held. We take pleasure
in selecting the following remarks from the report on the
organization of the Congress, presented by M. Alfred
“ Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and
more particularly in the second half, there have been cre­
ated and issued in Europe alone more than 400,000,000,000


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
of pieces of paper called certificates of rentes, shares and
bonds, dividend shares, lottery bonds, etc., designated
under the generic name of “ valeurs mobilieres” (trans­
ferable securities).
“ These securities yield yearly 15,000,000,000 to
20.000. 000.000francs and are distributed among 15,000,000
to 20,000,000 holders of certificates, capitalists, and
‘rentiers' (private holders of government bonds). Now,
the aggregate circulation of metallic currency and bank
notes, all over the world, hardly reaches 5 per cent of the
amount of 400,000,000,000— that is, 20,000,000,000. On
December 31, 1899, the total amount of paper money,
in all the European banks of issue, amounted in round
numbers to 15,000,000,000 francs (to be exact,
14.992.000. 000); the gold reserve kept on hand by these
banks, amounted to 7,859,000,000, while the holdings of
silver were 2,585,000,000— making a total of 10,444,000,000
francs. The aggregate of paper money and cash on hand
amounted to 25,000,000,000 francs.
“ From the discovery of America up to the present time,
the total value at par of all the silver and gold which,
during four hundred years, has been extracted from
the bowels of the earth, may be estimated to be



110,000,000,000— nearly

000.000 gold and almost 60,000,000,000 silver;

while the aggregate of transferable securities created and
circulated in Europe exceeds 400,000,000,000.
“ This creating of negotiable instruments, and their
distribution throughout all countries of the world, is surely
one of the characteristics of modern times. * * *


N ci 1 i o n a l

Af on e t a r y


“ The creating and successive issuing of this mass of se­
curities, always easy to purchase and to sell on the Bourse,
have been the real cause of credit expansion. They were
instrumental in accomplishing real marvels in France and
abroad. As personal property increased, endeavors have
been made to render exchanges easy, and to make trans­
fers as little expensive as possible; transferable securities,
owing to their denomination, their form, their mode of
maturity for the payment of interest, their conditions for
redemption, and the ease with which they are negotiated,
have been brought within the reach of all purses, and
have thus developed the spirit of saving.
“ The consolidation of capital, under the form of stock
companies, issuing shares and bonds that everybody can
obtain, encompasses on all sides the civilized nations of
the world.
“ We may say, with Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, that now,
owing to capital being accumulated in the shape of
negotiable instruments, it is the stock company which
takes us on a journey; often it provides us with food
and lodging, sells us coal and light, makes up our cloth­
ing and even sells it to us; it procures news for us and
inspires our newspapers. Further, it insures our lives
and our dwellings; it feeds the unassuming Parisian in
the ‘Bouillons' (cheap cook-shops) and feasts the stylish
Parisian in the fashionable wine taverns.
“ The distribution of all these securities has materially
contributed to the formation of small inheritances. It
has influenced the development of savings institutions,
mutual benefit societies, pension funds, and insurance;
it has thus rendered invaluable service in the public role


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
it has fulfilled.

Thanks to it, these companies multiply

and increase as the capitalization of their funds is made
“ It has also had another result. It has shown that there
is no longer a plutocracy, but a veritable financial democ­
racy; when these thousands of millions of certificates are
minutely segregated, there are only found atoms of cer­
tificates of stocks and bonds, and atoms of income— so
great is the number of capitalists and independent indi­
viduals who divide these securities and these incomes
among themselves.
“ A t the beginning of the year 1800, the securities negoti­
able on the Paris Bourse included certificates of ‘ Rentes
des tiers consolides' (French government stock reduced to
one-third, September 30, 1797, see No. 46), certificates of
the ‘ caisse des rentiers ’ (office for the paying of rentes to
independent individuals), shares of the Banque de France,
and 3 per cent English consols— in all, about seven or
eight kinds of securities, representing about 40,000,000
francs in rentes, and less than 200,000,000 francs in capital
or other property. The first bourse quotation list dates
from the second Venddmiaire, year IV (September, 1795).
It gave the foreign exchange quotations: Amsterdam,
Hamburg, Madrid, Cadiz, Genoa, Leghorn, Basle; then,
under the pompous headings of ‘ Public Securities and
Gold and Silver Bullion and Coins,’ it gave the prices of
Louis, Ecus, fine gold, silver bars, registered rentes, and
bonds to bearer.
“ Louis were quoted 1,165 hvres; other coins, registered
rentes, and bonds to bearer, were entered ‘ No quotation.’
“ Now, on February 28, 1900, the official quotation list


M on et a ry


contained: (i) not less than 442 stock companies, the
shares and bonds of which, numbering 90,909,250,
represented, at the market prices of that day, a capital of
42,000,000,000 francs; and (2) 203 loans of governments,
departments, and cities, amounting to 56,000,000,000
“ Adding 26,000,000,000 francs in French rentes to that
amount, we find the capital of securities entered on the
official quotation list on February 25, 1900, reaches
almost 125,000,000,000 francs.
“ On a corresponding date, viz, March 15, 1900, the quo­
tations on the coulisse (marche en banque) were as follows
according to the official bulletins of the Syndicat des
banquiers en valeurs d terme (Syndicate of Bankers in
Securities for the Account) and the Syndicat des banquiers
en valeurs au comptant (Syndicate of Bankers in Securi­
ties for Cash), acting near the Paris Bourse: For future
delivery, 4 kinds of government issues, 3 kinds of rail­
road securities, and 47 mining and sundry securities;
for cash, 386 different kinds of securities, of which 38 were
issues of different States, 57, of gold mines, 38, of other
mines, 26, of railroad and transportation lines, and 35, of
metal industries; the balance was in sundry securities,
including 77 kinds of bonds, of which 22 were railroad
bonds, and 22, gas and electricity bonds.
“ It may be said that the total number of transferable
securities quoted on the Paris Bourse and the sundry
French markets, comes up to about 2,000 denominations,
representing a capital not far from 135,000,000,000 francs.
Of these 135,000,000,000, 80,000,000,000 to 85,000,000,000
francs belong to our French capitalists and ‘ rentiers,’


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
and to insurance and sundry companies, yielding, on an
average, an income of 4,000,000,000 to 5,000,000,000
“ Such is, in a general way, the situation of trans­
ferable securities during the nineteenth century.”
We shall trace the history of the development of
public credit, following the genesis of each important
phenomenon, its growth and development, up to its attain­
ment of its present state. This will in some way reflect
also the plan of a history of the Bourse, of the transferable
securities, and of the financial institutions of the nineteenth
century. For this purpose we shall start with the public
credit, properly so called— the public loans.
Public debts are ordinarily divided into four important
1. The perpetual debt.— The borrower is not compelled
to pay back the principal. He is liable only for the
interest. But he has the privilege to pay the principal if
he wishes to, although this is not required.
2. The amortisable debt.— The borrower agrees to pay,
besides the interest, a part of the capital, until the entire
principal is paid.
3. The floating debt, comprising time loans of relatively
short duration necessitated by needs of the exchequer.
4. The life debt, consisting of rentes which expire on the
death of the beneficiary, and originating in the majority
of cases in pensions of retired veteran soldiers and servants
in the civil service. These last two categories in the
French public debt do not concern us, for we are investi­
gating only that part of the debt which is represented by
securities circulating on the Bourse. In this respect, the



M on e t a r y


last two categories play only a nominal part on the Bourse.
It is different, however, in the case of the perpetual debt and
the amortisable rente. These are the life substance of the
market for French rentes. We shall scan their history briefly.
The bankruptcy of two-thirds of the debt in the
year V I of the Republic did not entirely solve the financial
From the time of the creation of assignats, budgets
ceased to be made. Every month the balance between
the receipts and the expenses was filled by a previous
deduction from the reserve of assignats. No bookkeep­
ing records were kept since the convention. The dis­
order which needed to be straightened out was so great
that not until 1801 was it found possible to make a budget.
The Cour des Comptes (audit office) was instituted Sep­
tember 16, 1807.

The Bank of France was reorganized

in 1806; it was founded in 1800T

There was no public

credit worth speaking of.
oThe Banque de France was founded on the 24th Pluviose, year VII I
(February 13, 1800). A t the beginning it was a free credit com pany with
the right of issuing notes, formed b y an association of persons high in the
political and financial world of Paris. The capital consisted of 30,000,000
francs, divided into 30,000 shares of 1,000 francs each. The Amortization
Office was authorized b y a decree of the 28th Nivose, year V III, to sub­
scribe for 5,000 shares. The total placing was slow, and ended in 1802
According to the terms of its original statutes, the bank had for its object:
i°, bank operations, such as discount, collections, advances, and deposits;
20, the emission of “ bearer ” and “ s ig h t” notes. The issues were to be
made in such a proportion that, with the cash reserve in its vaults and the
m aturity of the paper in its portfolios, the bank could in no case be
exposed to the necessity of deferring the paym ent of its engagements.
The law of the 24th Germinal, year X I (April 14, 1803), conferred upon
its statutes a legal character, and made the bank the only association h av­
ing the right of issuing notes. Its organization, functions, and powers
were modified and completed several times b y special laws.
The capital
of the Banque de France at present amounts to 182,000,000 francs. The
number of its shareholders is 31,249.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
(56) At the beginning of the nineteenth century the
funded debt amounted to 50,000,000 francs of 5 per
cent rentes, representing a nominal capital of a billion
On April 1, 1814, the perpetual debt was 63,307,637
francs of rentes.
On July 31, 1830, the amount of the perpetual debt
was about 202,381,180 francs of rentes.
A t the time of the revolution of 1848, the perpetual debt
was about 244,287,266 francs of rentes.
On December 31, 1851, the perpetual debt amounted
to 242,774,478 francs of rentes; this means that during the
second Republic there was a decrease of 2,000,000 francs
of rentes, due to an excess of abrogations over issues.
During the second Empire, the sum total of the per­
petual debt rose to 402,977,516 francs (December 31,
Although the financial operations of the Third Republic
have been enormous— having had to liquidate the debts
of the Second Empire and the charges of the war of 1871,
amounting to 9,000,000,000 francs— yet the total increase
of the funded debt up to the present, owing to success­
fully conducted extinctions, amounts only to 254,695,999
On January 1, 1909, the amount of the perpetual debt
was 657,673,515 francs of rentes, represented uniquely by
3 per cent perpetual rente securities. The amortisable
debt amounted to 107,629,800 francs.
(57) One of the phenomena which are conducive to the
establishment of public credit is the democratization of
the transferable security. The more easily accessible the

N ational

M o n et a r y


transferable security is to all, the more extensive will pub­
lic credit be, and the larger the clientage of the Bourse.
The Restoration— by establishing in the treasuries a
supplementary Grand Lime (great book for the inscription
of rentes, see No. 44); the Government of Louis Philippe—
by authorizing the creation of securities “ to bearer”
through an ordinance of April 29, 1831; and the Second
Empire and the Third Republic— by reducing the figures of
the minimum amount of coupons (there exist coupons for 3
francs rente) and, especially, by having resorted to issues
by public subscription— have to a marked degree extended
the clientage of the French rente.
In 1848 there were 291,808 entries of rentes; in i860,
1,073,801; in 1870, 3,580,805; in 1903, 4,631,857. In
1900 the number of rentiers was about 1,500,000.
The question of the methods of the emission of
rentes is intimately connected with the study of the con­
ditions of the working of a financial market. Aside from
the fact that a direct appeal is sometimes made to the
Bourse, by immediately offering the created rentes for sale
on its market, it is often also the place where special ne­
gotiations are created before the issue, properly speaking,
takes place— negotiations “ for the issue” {h Vemission) ,
or negotiations for the results. Once the emission has
been realized, wholesale subscribers and even guarantee
syndicates undertake diverse operations on the market.
Finally, the securities having more or less taken rank, they
become the regular merchandise of the market in trans­
ferable securities.
The Revolution did not have recourse to public loans
in the modern sense of the term. Its attempts to make

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
patriotic and forced loans completely failed. It ob­
tained extraordinary resources through paper money
guaranteed by national property, assignats, territorial
drafts, etc. The First Empire could make no use of
the financial market for its needs, both on account
of the insecurity of the resources of the State, and on
account of the dwarfed condition of the banking busi­
ness and the impoverishment of France in general, owing
to the constant state of war and revolutions lasting
for twenty-five years. And although the Restoration
did raise loans by public subscription, yet even these
were not loans in the real sense of the word, owing to
the undemocratic conditions requiring only wholesale
subscriptions with a minimum of 5,000 francs and the
presentation of guarantees. A loan of 9,585,220 francs
of 5 per cent rentes was placed in 1821, by contract, in
the hands of a consortium, in which the firms of Hope, Hottinger & Co. and Baguenault, Delessert & Co. took part.
On July 10, 1823, a loan of 23,114,516 francs of 5 per cent
rentes was contracted with the Rothschild Brothers for

From that time on until the Second Empire the

Rothschilds had the monopoly of these issues of rentes.
The process of public subscription began really to
be used in France only since 1854. Napoleon III, obey­
ing political considerations, endeavored to democratize
credit. He relied on the mass of the populace, whom
he considered stronger than the bankers. From that
time on, during the whole of the nineteenth century
emissions of rentes by public subscription rapidly in­
creased in volume, in number of subscribers, and in popu­

This is true both of perpetual and amortisable

J 1 for FRASER

mm i s s i o n
loans, which were introduced in 1878, and have been
negotiated on the Bourse through the mediation of
the syndicate of stockbrokers (syndicat des agents de
change) by the general paying treasurers of the Depart­
(59) There are other debts, besides those of the State,
which have the character of public debts; these are debts
of departments and municipalities, which give rise to a
large circulation of securities upon the market. The
departmental debts, directly concluded and, consequently,
not including engagements for guaranteeing profits to pri­
vate companies, the annual charges on which amount
to 50,000,000 francs, are valued at 700,000,000 francs.
The communal debts are more important than those
of the departments. They rise approximately to a fig­
ure slightly above 4,095,000,000, of which 2,545,000,000
fall to the account of the city of Paris alone. On
December 31, 1869, there were on the official quota­
tion list in Paris 14 different stocks of departmental
and municipal loans, representing a capital of 808,600,000 francs.
Their number at present (1909) is
58, and they represent 2,300,000,000. The obligations
of the city of Paris form the majority of munici­
pal bonds figuring on the list, and belong to different
loans of the period between i860 and 1906. All other
loans of this and earlier periods have been amortised. The
number of certificates in circulation is 4,618,205, repre­
senting a capital of 2,090,107,200 francs. The majority of
these are lottery bonds.
(60) The scope of this publication allows us only to make
brief mention of the loans of colonies and protectorates.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
They began with that of Tunis in 1892.

Since then, there

were loans issued by Algeria, Guadeloupe, Indo-China,
Madagascar, Martinique, Occidental Africa, the Reunion,
the protectorate of Annam and Tonkin, and Tunis. The
number of bonds at present in circulation rises to 2,286,573,
representing a capital of 816,166,500 francs.
Brief mention should be made also of foreign
credit, which France has favored to a considerable degree,
although its development is only recent. Till 1823 there
existed a prohibition against the dealing of stockholders in
any other but royal bonds. All dealings in foreign secur­
ities in Paris was done only by curb brokers. In Decem­
ber, 1830, there were only 11 different stocks entered upon
the official list.®
Under- the Second Empire there were already many
important foreign issues figuring on the quotation list.
Turkey, Austria, Spain, Hungary, Egypt, Russia, and
Italy were among the borrowing governments of that
period whose securities prevailed on the Paris market.
The emissions of public funds of foreign countries be­
came still more numerous during the period between 1870
and the present time.

Egypt, Hungary, Russia, and even

Japan and England, are among those that issued heavy
loans, and whose bonds are among the securities prevailing
on the Paris Bourse.
In a communication to the International Congress of
Transferable Securities, named Les Valeurs Mobilieres en
France, M. Thery claims that it is impossible to give a
precise estimate of the number and capital of foreign
securities held by French capitalists. He ascribes the
0 Claudio Jannet, Capital, speculation et finances au X I X « sikcle, page 522.
9 0 3 1 2 0— 10




M on e t a r y


reason to the fact that these same foreign securities are
traded in on many international great markets of Europe,
besides Paris and their original countries; that these
securities are in constant movement on account of their
offering of great inducements of arbitrage, and because of
real demands and offers of French capital— and thus con­
stantly escape every control.
But yet an estimate has been tried. Leon Say puts the
capital of the foreign securities at between 10,000,000,000
and 12,000,000,000 francs. Paul Leroy Beaulieu puts it at
between 12,000,000,000 and 15,000,000,000. Neymarck
estimates it at 20,000,000,000. However, it is of little
importance to know the exact proportion of the French and
foreign funds prevailing on the French market, provided
the institutions of the country are such as to give free
scope to indigenous demands, and provided that these
demands are satisfied.
The first appearance of shares of insurance compa­
nies on the official quotation list of the stockbrokers in
Paris dates from the time of the Restoration. The first
insurance company was authorized by an ordinance of
April 22, 1818, under the name of Compagnie royale
d' assurances maritimes, which has since become the
Compagnie d' assurances generates maritimes. Soon after,
in 1819, there were formed by special ordinances one
general fire insurance and one general life insurance com­
pany. In 1830 we find already 7 insurance companies
on the official quotation list.
The insurance companies have followed during the nine­
teenth century the general progress in insurance and in
the laws upon joint stock companies. Article 66 of the


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
law of the 24th of July, 1867, exempts insurance com­
panies (excepting mutual and fixed-premium companies)
from government supervision or authorization, and leaves
them free to form themselves, subject only to the general
regulations of public administration.
According to a memoir by M. le Chartier, submitted to
the International Congress of Transferable Securities of
1900, out of 327 fire insurance, life insurance, accident
insurance, and maritime insurance companies that have
been founded in France during the nineteenth century, 209
ceased operations, and the capital lost is estimated at
692,825,000 francs, while the 118 companies existing in
1900 had a lump capital of 485,840,000 francs. This does
not include the reserve funds.
According to a report of M. Neymarch to the Interna­
tional Institute of Statistics, at the meeting of 1907, the
insurance values figuring on the official list on December
31, 1906, were represented by 402,930 certificates and by
a nominal capital of 4,643,618,100 francs. The Coulisse
had at the beginning of 1909 seven different insurance
stocks, representing a nominal capital of 54,000,000 francs.
The establishment of railroads in France, as in
other countries, was the signal for a prodigious economic
movement. The money market was the crucible in which
was molded the capital permitting of the formation of
railroad companies.
In 1832, when the advantage of railroad concessions was
first understood, many railroad companies were formed.
After a law had been passed in 1842, permitting temporary
concessions and establishing the eight great trunk lines
whose construction was very important for the whole


N at i on a l

M on e t a r y


country, there ensued a veritable fever of railroad building
and speculation. In six years 6,000 kilometers of rail­
road tracks were granted in concessions, of which more
than 1,250 had been constructed. Speculation increased
so much that a law was passed on July 15, 1845, prohibit­
ing the sale of promises for railroad shares.
(64) The following revolutionary period of 1848 was a
difficult one for all kinds of enterprises. Receipts fell off.
The Government had to intervene and buy back the ParisTyon road; many companies went into receivers’ hands.
A panic ensued when the population had demolished a
great number of railroad stations and bridges, and doubts
arose as to the intentions of the Provisional Government
with regard to the rentes of railroad companies. A great
tumble in the values of railroad stocks was the result.
(65) Under the Second Empire, prompted by uniform
concessions for a period of ninety-nine years, the then
existing 27 lines, with concessions of different duration,
were united into six principal great regional trunk lines.
In 1859 the existing concessions contained 14,756 kilo­
meters, and the roads in exploitation covered 9,074
kilometers. But, following a commercial panic which
raged in 1857, the public was frightened by the large funds
engaged. The Government decided to fund the indebted­
ness of the companies, and the agreements of 1859 were
B y those agreements the Government guaranteed 4 per
cent interest upon each of the less productive new systems,
and a minimum of revenue upon each of the old systems
of railroads. Besides, in virtue of new traffic procured for
the old systems by the creation of the new ones, a part of


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the receipts of the old lines was reserved for the new
The credit of the companies rose rapidly, and they
could easily place their bonds at advantageous rates.
From 1859
1:870, the length of exploited lines was in­
creased by 8,365 kilometers, and the ceded lines passed
from 16,441’ to 23,440 kilometers.
After the crisis of 1870 the national assembly, in spite
of the difficulties in which the country found itself, con­
tinued the work of construction, and from 1870 to 1875
granted not less than 4,680 kilometers of railroad lines.
Then comes the construction of the government railroad
system, as a consequence to the taking over of the second­
ary companies that failed. Then also comes the Freycinet
plan of ’ the creation of 3 per cent amortisable rentes.
The plan was too vast for accomplishment, since it was
evident that the Government was unable to build 10,000
kilometers in the presence of the lines that had been given
rank by the law of July 17, 1875.
Then came the famous agreements of 1883, so much
decried, which, however, permitted the railroad industry
to begin its ascent to the heights on which it stands
B y these agreements, the six great companies were de­
clared the grantees of 12,687 kilometers of railroad tracks—
under exploitation, in construction, and to be constructed.
The distinctions between old and new roads were sup­
pressed. The receipts and expenses were kept in one
account. From the receipts the companies had previously
to deduct the sum necessary to assure the interest on
their loans and the payment of dividends guaranteed by
the Government to their shareholders.


M on et a r y


(67) By the side of the great systems, there were formed
a large number of systems of local interest, whose aim
was to connect localities of secondary importance with
one another or with the great lines. The development
of these secondary lines was promoted first by the law of
1665 which granted state, departmental, and municipal
subsidies; but to a much greater extent by* the law of
1880 and the supplementary decree of 1881, which
replaced the subsidies, that promoted speculation 0 with­
out development, by mere guaranties of profits in case
of actual exploitation of the roads in question.
A t the same time in the interior of the cities there de­
veloped the use of mechanical traction, replacing animal
traction. Paris set the example, and the formation of
its system of tramways called “ de penetration ” gave birth
to a great number of large companies. Ihese traction
companies extend their activity also to the province, and
the creation of affiliations and trusts, toward the end of
the nineteenth century, was the occasion of a considerable
issue of paper.
A t present the official quotation list mentions not less
than 60 secondary railroad or tramway companies for
France and its colonies.
(68) The French financial market was to a very great
degree concerned with foreign railroads. In 1837 there
appeared for the first time on the Coulisse, and later on
the Parquet, shares of a foreign railroad company. The
political and financial order of events, as well as the con­
dition of affairs on the Bourse at that time, did not permit
a very great development in transactions in securities of
a See an article by M. Gomel in the Dictionnaire d'Economie Politique of
L6on Say.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
foreign railroads.

But the Rothschild firm was interested

in the first railroad companies for the development of the
north Italian and south Austrian regions, which later
formed the Compagnie des Chemins de fer Lombards, whose
shares appeared on the quotation list in 1856. From now
on, under the impulsion of the newly formed Credit Mobilier, the financial market becomes more and more in­
terested in a large number of foreign railroads. In 1858
a decree of May 22 announced the conditions which foreign
railroad companies have to fulfill, in order to become ad­
missible to the official quotation list of the stockbrokers.
(69) According to a report by M. Alfred Neymarck to
the International Institute of Statistics (session 1907), the
securities of railroads and street railways, figuring upon the
official quotation list on December 31, 1906, represented a
capital of 20,167,834,000 francs, in 5,843,608 shares.
There were in all 71 companies, 32 of which were for for­
eign railroads, and represented a capital of 7,541,329,600
(70) We have dwelt on the creation and development
of railroads, because they have marked in a very strong
way the industrial progress of France and the develop­
ment of credit in its relations to the Bourse. Besides, also,
numerous companies were formed, from 1820 to 1852, for
the exploitation of iron mills and various manufactories,
of mines, and of transportation. The Credit Foncier and
the Credit Mobilier were among these associations. Both
of these companies, in cooperation with many other con­
temporary ones, considerably developed the transferable
securities. From 1830 to 1838 many limited-liability
companies in shares (societes anonymes) were formed by





a sort of degeneration of the “ commandite” form of
company (societe en commandite), in which the managers,
or active partners, were under unlimited liability.0 The
securities of the companies formed on this new basis ap­
peared on the Bourse in great numbers since 1832. b
The most diverse industrial enterprises were thrown into
this form of company. The promoters of doubtful enter­
prises put at their head men of straw, in order to avoid
personal responsibility. The shares of certain enterprises
reached fantastic prices (over tenfold their par value),
owing to exaggerated expectations of shareholders.


jobbing was rife on the Bourse. But most of these inse­
cure undertakings were swept away by the crisis of 1838.
The formation of lottery combinations also belongs to
that period.
We come now to the era of the great credit associa­
The Comptoir d'Escompte

(national discount bank)

dates from the period of turmoil of 1848.

Its powers

“ The French law at present recognizes four forms of commercial compa­
nies: 1. The partnership (la sociitk en nom collectif), in which the partners
are responsible for debts contracted b y the company to the whole extent
of their personal estate. 2. The “ commandite ” form of company (la soci&tt

en commandite), in which one or several members are responsible with the
whole of their estates, while several others are responsible only up to a sum
which they announce in the contract. The second category of partners
take the name bailleurs de fonds, or commanditaires (sleeping or silent part­

3. The “ commandite” in shares (commandite par actions), in which

the commandite members are shareholders in the ordinary commercial
sense, involving liability only to the amount of their shares. The member
or members responsible with all their estates are called gkrants (managers,
directors). 4. The limited-liability company in shares, in which all the
members are only shareholders, liable to the amount of their shares, and
which are managed b y one or several administrators b y proxy (mandataires

des actionnaires).
b M. Jannet. Le Capital, la Speculation et la Finance, page 510.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
spread to such an extent that at the present time it is one
of those establishments which are known as the great finan­
cial magazines, and the most conspicuous of which are the
Credit Lyonnais, the Societe Generale, and the Credit In­
dustrial et Commercial, all of which were founded during
the Second Empire. The principle which governed the
founding of the Comptoir d’Escompte goes back to a period
previous to 1848.
After a commercial panic in 1827-28 an attempt was
made to found a discount bank in Paris, intended to serve
as an intermediary between the public and the Bank of
France. Large sums of money were advanced to it by the
treasury and the Bank of France; it was thus able to dis­
count bills of two signatures. But this institution failed
in April, 1832, practically before it had time to work.
The deplorable condition of the financial market in 1848,
and the many financial catastrophes caused by the revo­
lutionary turmoil, induced the Provisional Government to
establish a number of discount banks all over P'rance, un­
der the general name of Dotation du petit commerce. The
basis and the main statutory provisions governing them
all were as follows: Private persons, the State, and mu­
nicipalities were called upon to furnish each one-third of
the capital of the banks. The third coming from private
persons was to be fully paid in and represented by shares;
the other two-thirds were to be represented by treasury
bonds and municipal obligations deposited in the treasury
of the bank. Besides this capital, the banks received from
the State at the time of their formation a subventitious
loan in specie, at the interest of 4 per cent for the State’s
benefit. Almost all these loans had been reimbursed dur­


N d t i ou a l

M o fi e t a r y


ing the first three years. The chief purpose of all these
banks was discount; they could, however, add to this all
operations tending to facilitate the circulation of notes, such
as the collection of bills of correspondents, the collection
of debts for departments or foreign states, the opening of
accounts, etc. The city of Paris, naturally, was the first
to be endowed with this institution; a decree of March 7
created the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris.
Many towns soon followed suit and gave birth to similar

Their number was 67, and they represented

a capital of 130,449,500 francs in shares. The Paris in­
stitution was reconstituted under the old name, after liqui­
dation in 1889, owing to mismanagement of its directorgeneral, M. Denfert-Rochereau.
The original capital of 40,000,000 francs, divided into
80,000 shares of 50 francs, was now increased to 80,000,000
francs. Tater it was successively reduced to 75,000,000,
increased to 100,000,000 (1895), and to 150,000,000 (1900).
Only recently (1909) it was increased to 200,000,000.
We come now to the founding of the Credit Fonder
and the Credit Mobilier. Both of these associations were
founded in 1852.
Simultaneously with the construction of railroads in
France, which was the occasion of an extensive demand for
credit, people decided to resort to credit also for the exploita­
tion of landed property and the development of agriculture.
Real estate at that time experienced the greatest
difficulties in procuring capital at moderate rates of
interest. The main reasons were the uncertainty of the
real estate regime, and the inability of the borrower to
pay off at short maturity.



History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The solution of the problem consisted in putting an
intermediary between the lender and the borrower, who,
on the one hand, had powerful means of investigating
the validity of the proposed mortgage, and, on the other
hand, could substitute himself for the borrower in the
emission of securities at long maturity.
With this aim in view, as formulated by the decree
of February 28, 1852, there was founded in Paris (with a
charter for twenty-five years, under the jurisdiction of
the Cour d’appel) the Banque Fonciere de Paris, Societe
de Credit Fonder (Real Estate Bank, Mortgage-Eoan
Company) with a capital of 25,000,000 francs.
In December, of the same year, the Paris institution
amalgamated with similar institutions which had been
established earlier in the same year in the various depart­
ments, and formed one company, known as the Credit
Fonder de France. This new company received a subsidy
of 10,000,000 francs from the Government; its capital
increased to 60,000,000 francs, and it bound itself to
advance loans under certain conditions. A first loan of
250,000,000 francs was issued, which met with but mid­
dling success.
B y two decrees, of 1853 and 1856, respectively, the
great institution was granted certain privileges, and placed
under the strict supervision of the state. From that
time on the Credit Fonder rapidly developed. In i860
it founded the Credit Agricole, having for its object the
furthering of the progress of agriculture. But the new
company undertook imprudent transactions which led
to its absorption by the Credit Fonder (1877). Eater,
in 1882, the institution bought up another company,


N a t io n a l

M o fie t a r y


the Banque Hypothecate, which had been established
three years previously with the purpose of doing the
same kind of business as the Credit Fonder, but without
possessing the same privileges. At the end of the nine­
teenth century the Credit Fonder considerably developed
its activity, and its capital was successively increased to
30.000. 000 (1862), 60,000,000 (1862), 90,000,000 (1869),
130.000. 000 (1877), and finally, in 1882, as a result of
the amalgamation with the Banque Hypothecate, to
200.000. 000 francs, at which figure it now stands.
The operations of the Credit Fonder are of two kinds:
1, loans for short term, reimbursable in ten years at most,
and 2, loans for long term, payable by annuities. In
case of communal loans (where the borrower is a city
or a department)

the social capital must equal one-

twentieth of the bonds in circulation.
From 1853 to 1908 the Credit Foncierhas granted 152,622
hypothecary loans for a total of 5,698,000,000 francs, of
which some are for a term of fifty to fifty-nine years, and
others, of sixty to seventy-five years. The communal
loans since i860 have been 38,128 in number, for a sum of
1.094.000. 000 francs. In the total we obtain, since 1853,
190,740 loans for the sum of 9,501,000,000 francs.
Of this total sum there remained unpaid on December
31, 1908, the sum of 2,118,348,000 francs of the
hypothecary loans and 1,852,783,000 francs of the com­
munal loans.
The amount of real estate bonds for the same period
was 2,480,000,000 francs, and of communal bonds,
1.712.000. 000.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
(73) While the Credit Fonder de France was being
established, there was formed in Paris a Societe Generate
de Credit Mobilier. A decree of November 18, 1852,
authorized the creation of this incorporated joint-stock
company; it was entirely free from all government
The object of this general credit institution was to
establish industrial and financial companies. It sub­
scribed shares and bonds of different industrial and finan­
cial enterprises, and in disposing of them in the way it
could, it brought to bear the publicity and mechanism of
bourse operations. In issuing bonds, in order to work
out its own programme, it had to contribute powerfully
to the development of transferable securities. It was
constituted with a capital of 60,000,000 and with the
power of issuing bonds for 600,000,000 francs.
Between 1852 and 1867 the Societe Generate de Credit
Mobilier succeeded in establishing and aiding numerous
influential and powerful companies. Among these were
railroad, gas, maritime, loan, and insurance companies,
banking institutions, etc. It was reconstituted in 1871
under the name of Societe de Credit Mobilier. In 1902
it combined with the Office des Rentiers, and another
company was then formed, by the name of Credit Mobilier
Frangais, with a capital now amounting to 45,000,000
(74) Upon the model of the Credit Mobilier numerous
other companies and discount banks have been estab­
lished since that time. The Credit Industriel et Commercial,
the Credit Lyonnais, and the Societe Generate, with the
original capitals of 60,000,000, 20,000,000, and 120,000,000

IV CLt l 0 ft CLl

JV[ 0 fl 6 t CLTy


francs, respectively (at present 100,000,000, 250,000,000,
and 400,000,000), are types of these institutions. All of
them little by little went over to the practice of issuing
securities and participating in financial operations on a
grand scale.
The impetus given to transferable securities by the
commercial credit institutions, as they were then known,
ought not to make us lose sight of the valuable work
done in this respect by the Banque de France. (See note
to No. 55.)
Its services to national commerce have become more
and more valuable in the same measure in which its
powers and privileges have been gradually broadened
and extended since 1808. It advanced money on pub­
lic notes remitted for discount; it loaned money on
deposits of French rentes, of shares and bonds of rail­
road companies, of the bonds of the city of Paris.


it undertook to issue and to dispose of bonds for account
of French railroad companies, which has brought them
in an amount of 1,200,307,500 francs. Finally, it is
known that the bank undertakes the safe-keeping of
securities. This service, which in i860 was utilized by
18,226 depositors for securities representing 916,000,000
francs, has not stopped growing. In 1890 there were
46,558 depositors for a quantity of securities represent­
ing 3,988,000,000 francs. At the end of 1908 there were
94,998 depositors, and 7,646,000,000 francs in securities
were deposited. In 1895 the Banque de France decided
to accept bourse orders, which it would transmit to the
financial markets for account of its clients. In 1908 it
transmitted 98,721 orders for 500,000,000 francs in capital.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse

The great impetus which was given to the finan­

cial activity of the period between 1876 and 1881 by
the successful loans launched by the French Govern­
ment for the paying of its war indemnity of 5,000,000,000
francs, and which expressed itself in the establishment
of many powerful financial institutions of a private
character, was stopped by the crash of the Union Generate.
The Union Generate was founded in 1878 with a finan­
cial, political, and religious programme. The political
programme, it may be said, was carried out. But the
commercial enterprises set on foot by the Union Generate
were not all of the most fortunate kind; only a few
succeeded and became prosperous. The political and
religious programme consisted in supplanting the Jewish
and Protestant financiers upon the field of financial emis­
sions, and in serving at one and the same time the
royalist cause in France, and the papal cause in Italy.
The pursuit of this plan involved the need of large
funds rapidly acquired, and the Union Generate under­
took a campaign for a rise upon its own shares, in order
to realize an increase of its capital and dividends by
forcing the prices of its stocks as high as possible. It
tried to do this by buying up its own securities, for which
the funds of the depositors were freely used. In this
way the capital of the Union Generate was increased
from 25,000,000 to 100,000,000 francs, and, as the new
funds served to further pursue this campaign for a rise,
the shares rose to unwarrantably high prices. People
of all conditions eagerly bought and sold again the stocks
of the Union Generate and of the enterprises it created,


JV ci 1 1 o 7i d l

M. o fi e t a r y


until their aggregate value surpassed the billion mark.
The mania for investment spread to all financial circles.
Finally, however, a reaction set in. Shares of the
Union Generate began to fall. On January io, 1882,
the shares were listed 3,020 francs; on January 16,
2,750 francs; on January 18, 2,400 francs; on January
19, 1,300, and on January 27, 900 francs. On the 28th
of January payment was suspended, and the shares
fell to 600; on the next day they were 450. On January
30 the administrative board asked the court to appoint
a trustee. On February 1, MM. Bontoux and Feder—
the former president of the administrative board and
the latter a director— were arrested.
Failure of the Union Generate had grave consequences.
The Parquet of the stockbrokers of Lyon was unable
to pay.

Out of 30 stockbrokers, 14 owed 65,000,000 francs

to their associates.

Debtors and creditors alike were in

great straits. A judicial liquidation took place, and the
creditors received bonds which the Syndical Chamber of
Lyon sells every year at auction. The stockbrokers of Nice
were also caught in the panic, and their Parquet was sup­
pressed by a decree of the 29th of January, 1889. At Paris
the situation was extremely serious. The stockbrokers
owed 175,000,000 francs to their clientage. The gravity
of the situation was enhanced by the resulting threatening
condition of the treasury. The conversion of the 5 per
cent rentes had long since been under consideration; but
in this disorganized condition of the market the bankers
and the commercial credit associations could not proceed
with a single emission. They had invested large sums in


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
“ continuations” {reports).

What was going to happen

if the carried-over securities should remain on their hands?
The Banque de France then advanced 80,000,000 francs
to the Syndical Chamber of the stockbrokers.

The State

also intervened, and effected “ continuations” for the
sum of 165,000,000 francs for the February settlement.
Stocks were carried over from month to month during a
period of seven months.a As a result of this event the
market was so completely disorganized that for some
months, and even for some years, hardly any transactions
of a certain speculative range could be carried through.
The total loss in values of listed securities of that period
is estimated at 4,000,000,000 francs.
With the downfall of the Union Generate there
began'a series of failures, liquidations, and reorganiza­
tions of financial companies and banking institutions,
which ended in the elimination of a great number of such
as were weak either on account of unwarranted specu­
lation and mismanagement, or on account of irregular
constitution and distribution of fictitious dividends.
Toward the beginning of the twentieth century there
remained only the very strongest, which withstood the
storm of the crisis by virtue of powerful resources and
prudent management. These succeeded in immensely
increasing their funds and their means of activity. They
solicited deposits, established branch offices in the prov­
inces and even abroad, and practised extensively discounts
of commercial paper, opening of accounts, investing of
their funds in “ continuations,” and especially issuing of
a Vide L6on Say, Les interventions du Trtsor d la Bourse depuis 100 ans;
Annales de I’Ecole des Sciences Politiques, 1888.
9 0 3 1 2 ° — 10------ 13

19 1

transferable securities. They have supplanted the small
banker and discounter, who would charge exorbitantly for
their services to commerce. But yet they have not entirely
displaced the smaller banking institutions, nor the large
private banker, doing business on his own personal account.
These are still doing a vast amount of business inde­
pendently. It is true that there is a preponderance
of large companies, but this preponderance does not exist
through a legal monopoly. It has been claimed that the
four large credit companies, the Comptoir d’Escompte, the
Credit Lyonnais, the Societe Generate, the Comptoir Industriel et Commercial, to which are joined for this purpose
the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, the Banque de V Union
Parisienne, and the Banque Frangaise pour le Commerce et
VIndustrie, are enjoying a monopoly as a matter of fact.
This is not so, however, for numerous issues are made out­
side of these large companies. A number of smaller
banks and credit companies, not included in the above
list, handle some very important issues, even if they are
At the end of December, 1908, the number of
French credit companies listed on the financial market was
about 37, representing a nominal capital of 1,492,000,000
M. Alfred Neymarck, in his report to the Institut Inter­
national de Statistique, session of 1907, estimated at 155,000,000,000 francs the value of the transferable securities
in negotiation in France on December 31, 1906. One
hundred and fifty billions belonged to the Paris market
alone, of which about 65,000,000,000 were in French
securities, 67,000,000,000 in foreign securities on the


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
official market, and 18,000,000,000 on the Coulisse (marche
en banque). Of home securities— the value of French
rentes is estimated at 24,000,000,000 francs; of bonds
of the city of Paris, of treasury bonds, including those of
Departments and colonies, at 3,069,000,000; insurance
securities are valued at 702,000,000; those of the Credit
Fonder, at 4,447,000,000; of banks and credit companies,
at 3,101,000,000; of the great railroad and navigation
companies, at 24,268,000,000; of railways and tram­
ways, at 2,200,000,000; of electricity, iron mills, foun­
dries, and coal mines, at 2,463,000,000, etc. Of the
foreign securities, Russian securities are valued at about; divers other government funds, at
47.000. 000.000; railroad securities, at about 6,000,000,000.
In 1880 the total of the transferable securities circulating
in France could be estimated at 70,000,000,000, made up
as follows: Forty-five billion five hundred million of
French securities, 15,000,000,000 of foreign securities, and
10.000. 000.000 of securities from the departmental mar­
kets and from the Coulisse. The rapid expansion of
transferable securities after the crisis of 1882 did not
take place without serious setbacks from the deprecia­
tion in value of a great number of securities, following
each new failure or liquidation. The movement was
interrupted and checked in 1889, 1890, 1895, and in 1901.
As we have seen, public credit was the outcome of
the call for capital. And the agreement entered into by
the borrower— State, or private enterprise— and the
lender, was made manifest through a deed— the trans­
ferable security. The transferable security, in its turn,
owing to the ease with which it can be distributed, de­


veloped the public credit.

But, in order that the double

phenomenon be easily produced, it was necessary that
there should exist a public market where the one who
wishes to sell his securities and the one who desires to
buy them might meet each other. No doubt the seller
and the purchaser do not necessarily require a public
market, and, in practice, it happens that some trades are
carried on without the merchandise being offered or asked
for on an exchange. But public markets are none the less
useful, and their accessory functions plainly stimulate the
production and circulation of wealth.
The bourse des valeurs (stock exchange) is for securities
what the bourse des marchandises (commercial exchange),
the fair, or the market, is for traffic in merchandise.
The financial market is an accessory organ, because it
has no part in the phenomenon of the creation of securi­
ties, or in the contract which puts them in circulation.
When a State borrows, it issues a certificate to anyone
who brings it money. The same is done by any financial
institution which brings out an issue. The accessory
organ is nevertheless useful in a high degree, because if it
did not exist, the public would decline to subscribe for
securities, which it could not easily dispose of in case of
need of money.
This consideration leads us to the examination
of the French financial market, taken as it is. Is it a
tool destined to facilitate the distribution of securities?
Does it fulfill its mission well?
It can not be denied that it has fulfilled it, but it is
quite clear that it could fulfill it only on account of enjoy­
ing the widest freedom.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The financial market was instituted in the year IX of
the Republic, under such conditions that, if it had pre­
served its shackles, there would either have been no finan­
cial market, or the financial market would have insti­
tuted itself in spite of the law.
Is it possible to imagine a financial market resting
upon 60 men, appointed by the Government, who are
forbidden to do business for their own account, to have
partners or representatives, to guarantee their clients’
transactions, to negotiate securities without having first
received the securities from the sellers and the money
from the buyers, and to quote foreign government securi­
ties? One of two things: Either the public market will
establish itself outside of these 60 men, or these 60 men
will prevent the establishment of the public market.
It is the first of these two phenomena which occurred.
On the one hand, the Coulisse injected into the public
market the activity it required, and on the other hand,
the corporation of the stockbrokers (agents de change),
profiting by the activity, gradually obtained the “ liber­
ties,” without the granting of which it would have disap­
peared. The curb brokers (coulissiers) dealt for future
delivery for their own account and for the account of
their customers; they could negotiate foreign securities.
They transferred their gatherings from the boulevard to
the Bourse and from the Bourse to the boulevard at any
hour of the day, or even of the evening. They charged
less for their services to their customers than the stock­
brokers. The latter protested.
The Governments let them protest; then, as by degrees
the stockbrokers, taking pattern from the coulissiers, also




began to transact time bargains and to deal in foreign se­
curities, the authorities granted them all that had earlier
been forbidden to them, without, however, granting them
the abolition of the Coulisse. In 1898, however, a retro­
gressive phenomenon took place. We shall explain it and
ascertain its meaning later.
Thus is explained, how the Coulisse was tolerated during
the nineteenth century, and what led to the successive
laws which somewhat altered in the details of certain
operations the work of the lawmaker of the year X.
But first we must make mention of a special meas­
ure passed in 1816 for the benefit of the stockbrokers.
At that time they became the owners of their offices, as
they were prior to the revolution. Since the year IX they
had been appointed by the Government and had held a
commission subject to repeal.

The law now intended to

permit them to introduce their successors with the consent
of the Government.
The right of introduction is practically an article for
sale. The stockbroker, on retiring, does not sell his office,
but he sells to his successor the right of introduction.
This measure was brought in under the following con­
ditions: The budget for the year 1815 having shown an
excess of expenses of 133>433,000 francs, the Government
of the restoration had to look around for resources to
meet them.
Therefore, by the law of April 28, 1816, the stock­
brokers, as well as notaries, barristers practicing before
the court of cassation (avocats h la Cour de cassation),
lawyers, court clerks, bailiffs (“ huissiers," those who pro­
test commercial paper, serve writs, etc.), commercial


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
brokers, and appraisers, acquired the right of introducing
their successors in consideration of an additional surety
bond, aggregating 40,000,000 francs for the totality of
these ministerial offices.
It is that right, conferred on ministerial officers, to
present their successors— a right which the beneficiaries
may sell— which has been considered as a return to the
system of vendibility of government offices. That system
has been the object of much criticism. Notably, it has
the grave defect of placing the State in a position where
eventually it may have to indemnify the holders in a pro­
portion ever increasing, unless it permit the evil to be
perpetuated on account of its inability either to indem­
nify the holders or to redeem the offices.®
The law of 1816 can not be placed among those which
were intended to render the financial market flexible.
a To this Rossi has called attention in a masterly way.

(Cours d ’ Eco­

nomic Politique, t. x, p. 309.)
“ The more we advance,” he said as far back as 1840, “ the more the
evil increases. On the day the Government wishes to recover its full
freedom of action, it would have but two serious disadvantages to choose
from— some sort of revolutionary spoliation, or else an enormous sacrifice
of the public treasury; and this, on account of having permitted the trans­
formation of a personal function into a transferable property, and of h av­
ing permitted, in part at least, and under another form, the revival of an
old custom, which had been born from the miseries of the royal treasury
under Francis I, and should have remained buried forever with the fee estates,
the wardenships, the entails, and the serfdoms of the old regime.

The in­

crease of surety bonds, which took place in 1816, did not warrant that
return toward the past.”
Therefore, that strange compensation was, it seems to me, more a pre­
text than a motive for that partial restoration of an old abuse, against
which, even under the old regime, powerful voices arose.
‘ “ It is a gangrene,’ exclaimed the Duke of St. Simon, in speaking of the
venality of military appointments, ‘ which for a long time has been prey­
ing upon all classes and all parts of the State, and to which it is bound
to succumb, but which fortunately is not known, or but little known, in
all other European countries.’ ”


N at i on a l

M on et a r y


To raise a profession to a ministerial office is not to
modernize it. But the provisions of 1823, 1862, and 1885
were different.
(82) A royal ordinance of November 12, 1823, author­
ized the stockbrokers to quote foreign government
(83) A law of July 2, 1862, authorized stockbrokers
doing business on “ bourses with parquets” to take capi­
talists into partnership (bailleurs des fonds), that is to say,
silent partners (commanditaires).
A law of March 28, 1885, recognized as legal all trans­
actions for future delivery (marches a terme)— even those
which are settled by paying the difference— and removed
those special obligations imposed upon stockbrokers which
were of a nature rendering such operations impossible.
Finally, a law of April 14, 1898, was the crowning
point of what was improperly called the reorganization
of the financial market.
Concerning the law of 1885 and the law-of 1898, it is
necessary to make a special study of the conditions which
led to their formation.

The first law has an economical importance reaching
beyond the realm of the Bourse. A ll transactions for
future delivery are recognized as legal.
The second is specifically intended for the financial
(84) The law on time-bargains (marches h terme) is very
important from an economic standpoint. Not only does
it indicate a social progress, in that it removed the mon­
strous immorality which was formerly widespread, and
which consisted in permitting speculators to decline to pay


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
their differences by presenting the plea of gambling, but it
indicates, besides, a philosophical progress— a progress in
the general trend of thought. The time-bargain is not
simply a contract the settlement of which is postponed to
a certain date, one which works itself out in time and
space; it is a contract upon generalized merchandise.
We know that Bourse operations, whether they apply
to merchandise or securities, bear upon things in genere
which can be replaced by each other— one being as good
as the others, and reciprocally. To be sure, it is easy,
even very easy, to conceive of a trade bearing upon a
specific object, since it is always so in retail trading:
Goods against money, money against goods, be it for
cash or on credit. Peter sells to Paul this or that object,
payable immediately, or Peter sells to Paul this or that
object, for 100 francs payable in three months; it is
a time-bargain (marche a terme) bearing upon a specific
But the vast majority of time-bargains of commerce
bear upon things fungible (interchangeable)— things in a
generalized and not in a specialized sense.
A speculator calls upon a commission merchant; he
buys from him ioo casks of alcohol and ioo bags of sugar.
Those ioo casks of alcohol and those ioo bags of sugar
are not in the hands of the commission merchant. This
merchandise, these quantities which the commission
merchant sells, are not necessarily in his stores. The
contract calls for merchandise of a certain type, which
the seller shall deliver on the date fixed.
Well, if it is a question of alcohol, sugar, wheat, flour,
wool, or copper, on the commercial bourse, it is under­


stood that the goods will always be of a current type,
applicable to all contracts.

The same applies to securities.®
In this way, all securities are made fungible (equivalent,
interchangeable). On that principle, Peter goes to Paul,
the banker, and purchases from him 25 shares Credit Fon­
der for the end of the month. It may happen that the
transaction is specific, but in most cases he does not buy
25 shares, numbered 1 to 25 or 25 to 50 or 50 to 75. He
purchases 25 shares, no matter which, provided they be
shares of the Credit Fonder. This condition is the regular
one on the Bourse.
It is this fundamental condition, necessary, we may
say, for transactions for future delivery, which leads cer­
tain people to conclude that they are non-existent and
fictitious. Where was the merchandise at the time of sale ?
Where were the securities at the time of contract ? They
are not found, and thereupon is based the non-existence
and fictitiousness of contracts. But this merchandise is
not found, because it can not be found; because, we repeat,
the contracts have aimed at things in genere, and because
the nature of the operations is such that specification
has been done away with for the very convenience of the
transactions. There can be seen, indeed, where lies the
error of those who deprecate dealings for future delivery.
An operation bears upon things assumed as equivalent
and fungible (<choses fongibilisees), and people exercise
ingenuity to treat it like a transaction bearing upon
« I t is b y application of that principle that article 46 of the decree of
October 7, 1890, states that “ the transactions have bearing only upon cer­
tain quantities, without an y specification of the securities negotiated by way
of indicating their numbers or otherwise.”

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
specific objects.

It is not surprising, then, that when one

looks into a contract for something which can not be
found in it, one is led to conclude that that object does
not exist, and that the contract is therefore fictitious.
No doubt, before 1885, the validity of transactions bear­
ing on fungibles (choses jongibles), or even on securities
in a general form, was recognized; but whenever a judge
could see no merchandise moving, whenever there were
presented to him only accounts of differences, a psycho­
logical process took place in his mind which caused him to
conclude that the transaction was fictitious. All of this
rests on no basis of reality, he thought. And if one of the
speculators stood up for that argument, which was freely
current elsewhere in popular centers, the gambling plea
advanced by the debtor was freely accepted. Article
1965 of the Code civil states that the law grants no action
for a gambling debt. Thus, a time bargain closing with a
difference was considered a gambling debt. But, since
1885, it has been established that a transaction for future
delivery (marched terme) is legal, and if the operator means
to gamble he must bear the consequences of his acts.
For a long time financiers, economists, and business
men, clamored for legal recognition of dealings for future
delivery, and even of speculative bargains, “ short ” or
“ long” of stocks (operations a decouvert), or of such that
close by paying the difference.
As early as in 1801 Count Mollien, while talking with
the first consul, told him:® “ It is true, General, that these
transactions (marches h terme) were proscribed before the
Revolution by a council’s decision; but when it is seen
a Memoires d’ un M inistre du Tr&sor Pu blic, T . I, pp. 251 to 273.



at i o n a l

M on e t a ty

Co f u- f ni s s i o f i

that they have never been more numerous than since that
time, we might ask ourselves whether it is the law or the
dealings for future delivery (marches a terme) which are
to be found fault with. When we then consider the
course of all civil transactions, we see everything resolved
into transactions for future delivery; through them towns
are supplied, armies are maintained; on them are based all
great commercial combinations; we praise the cleverness of
the merchant who purchases provisions for a sum tenfold
his capital, because he has so well gauged the requirements
of consumption that the sale of his goods is assured him
before reaching the maturity fixed for the pavment.
“ W hy should not that principle, which is held in esteem
in all European centers, be recognized in that place called
the Bourse? Will anyone object that on the Bourse trans­
actions for future delivery are not always bona fide?
Should we then give up bills of exchange because dishonest
merchants make ill use of them?
“ If abuses have been introduced into Bourse trans­
actions, the blame should be laid on the administration
of justice, which places these transactions beyond the
reach of the law; if they break public faith, the less should
the courts refuse to take cognizance of this fact. Their
duty is to search for and punish that breach.
“ When a free man has involved himself in reckless
engagements, it is in their fulfillment that he must find
the penalty for his folly and his bad faith; the efficacy
of the penalty is to be found in the warning it leaves;
and, surely, to declare the object of the offense void for
the benefit of the more guilty person, was not a salutary
warning given by the jurisprudence of 1786?


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
“ Bourse transactions have a peculiar character, in that
the two contracting parties, unknown to one another,
bind themselves, through the mediation of a stock­
broker, who is the representative of the law (Vhomme de la
loi) ; he is responsible before the law for all his actions;
therefore, the law should not decline to pass upon any of
these actions.
“ The common objections to bourse contracts are:
One can not sell that which one does not own, and the
law can not recognize a bargain which should never
have been made. In the main, these objections are
merely begging the question; it seems to me that the law
should not protect that which it can not punish; it should
not prohibit in Paris a mode of dealing sanctioned through
long practice in London and Amsterdam.
“ I do not claim that time-bargains (•marches d terme)
are free from abuses, but I demand that, in order to
repress these abuses, the contracting parties be judged
according to common law on contracts.”
The transactions for the account on the Bourse were,
nevertheless, if not prohibited, at least made imprac­
ticable, through the texts of the old ordinances on the
Bourse— the Council decisions of 1774, 1785, and 1788.
The decree of 27 Prairial, year X, exacted that the stock­
broker should have on hand the securities to be disposed
of and the funds necessary for purchases. No doubt, to
meet the requirements of the times, transactions for the
account were considered as allowable, provided they were
made in good earnest. A t any rate, if they were not
made good by depositing the securities or the cash, they
were illegal.



M on et a ry


It was thus that the stockbrokers understood the decree
of the 27 Prairial, year X, on day following the publi­
cation. Indeed, on the 10th Fructidor, year X, they met
and decided that they should deliver securities to one
another on the day following the contract.
The Code de commerce added nothing to the provi­
sions of the organic law of the Bourse, but it brought in
preciseness. From the draft of the code, it followed that
the “ short” sales and “ long” purchases (marches a terme
a decouvert— literally, “ uncovered” time-bargains)— that
is to say, the real time-bargains, implying credit as
regards both merchandise and money— were prohibited to
stockbrokers. Private individuals were permitted to deal
in them. No doubt, so far as they were concerned, it
might be gambling or not, according to circumstances;
but no text prohibited any person from binding himself
toward another to deliver securities at a given time.


was only by a special provision, that the stockbroker could
not undertake to be responsible for the operations in which
he acted as intermediary. Such was the provision of arti­
cle 86 of the Code de commerce, so that if he acted as inter­
mediary in a transaction for future delivery, he violated
article 86 and ran the risk of a fine and removal.
(Art. 87.)
The report on Title V of the Code de commerce of 1807
is explicit on that point. The reporter, Jard Panvillier,
expressed himself as follows, when speaking of the “ agents
de change
“ Moreover, the law honors their profession, in declaring
that it can not be exercised by a man who has failed, unless
he has been rehabilitated; and, with a special foresight


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
in their behalf, it safeguards them against the possibility
of exposing themselves to a case of exclusion on that
account, by forbidding them, under penalty of irrevoca­
ble removal, to transact commercial or banking opera­
tions for their own account and to render themselves
liable for the carrying out of transactions in which they
act as brokers.
“ The kind of perfect confidence which must be granted
them by those who avail themselves of their services,
renders this measure necessary. They must not be
allowed to expose themselves to the danger of compro­
mising the interests of their clients, by compromising
their own fortune in a risky or unfortunate enterprise.
“ This is what the law wanted to guard against through
a provision which some of them may find too severe, but
which will meet with the approval of all those who are
wise and act in good faith; this provision is more than
ever necessary nowadays, when gambling in public secur­
ities has become a mania, causing the ruin of a large
number of individuals, without any advantage to the
Government or to the owners of state rentes who consider
them in the light of real property and property to be held.
“ The guaranty which some stockbrokers, enticed by a
more or less heavy rate of commission, do not hesitate
to give for a trade in effects that neither buyer nor seller
possesses, and that often the tenfold of their actual pos­
sessions could hardly realize— this guaranty compromises
not only their own fortunes and personal honor, but also
the reputation of their association, which the honest men
composing it are interested in preserving unblemished.
Let us hope that the fear of being prosecuted as bank­



M on e t a r y


rupts, in case of failure, will deter those whom their own
self-interest properly understood has not been able so far
to restrain from entering into such risky engagements;
and let us hope, also, that for want of finding solvent
guarantors, the foolhardy or inconsistent men who have
drawn from the English the baneful mania of what is
commonly known as ‘ agiotage’ (stockjobbing), will forego
that dangerous game, in order to apply themselves to more
respectable and more useful occupations.”
Thus the stockbroker, practically, can not act as inter­
mediary in transactions for future delivery. Individuals
wishing to deal for their own account, as the English do (as
stated by Jard Panvillier), are free to do so. In any case,
they will not find any stockbrokers to guarantee their
We have seen that under the First Empire and up to the
time of the Restoration the French financial market was
weak; public loans were granted to London and Amster­
dam houses. A t that time it was necessity which drove
the stockbrokers to transact bargains for the account.
Speculators dispensed with them. It was therefore a
question of either violating the regulations, or observing
them and, thus, condemning oneself to being wiped out
in short order.
(87) A famous lawsuit, the case of “ agent de change”
Perdonnet against M. Forbin Janson, reminded the stock­
brokers of the severity of the regulations they violated.
The Cour de Paris and the Cour de cassation (August
11, 1824) declared in force the old decisions of the Coun­
cil under the old royalty, and the decree of the 27 Prairial, year X , and decided that the plea of gambling was


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
opposable to intermediaries who undertake bargains for
the account in public securities, without previously exact­
ing the deposit of the securities or of the funds required
for the payment.
The higher Parisian commerce was stirred up. It drew
up a 11 Parere" (memorial of merchants on matters of
commerce) which we reprint from M. Alfred Naquet’s
report, in 1885, on the draft of the bill, now law, on deal­
ings for future delivery: a
“ Par h e ”



“ We, the undersigned bankers, merchants, tradesmen,
and capitalists, certify:
“ 1. The form of contract stated below 6 is the only
one .in use for transactions made on the Bourse under
the designation of fixed transactions (marches fermes) or
operations for future delivery (marches a terme).
“ 2. That in all these operations, without excepting any,
it is only the seller that grants time to the purchaser, and
that the latter may exact delivery of the securities pur­
chased at his first requisition.
“ 3. That the operations in question are settled through
the delivery of the securities sold, whether they are in
a Chambre des D 6put is.

Documents parlementaires, session

1882, No.

&This is the form referred to:
“ Bought (or sold) of Mr. _.........................(number of certificates) with
accrued interest, deliverable on liquidation of (maturity), or sooner, at the
discretion of the purchaser, against paym ent of the sum o f ___________
“ Issued in Paris, in duplicate, t h e ------------------------------ (date).
“ (Signature)________________ ”
The words “ sooner, a t the discretion of the purchaser” (plutot h la

volonti d’ acheteur) show the discount privilege (Jaculti d ’escompte) granted
to the purchaser.

903120— 10----- 14


N d t i on a l

JVL o n e t a r y


the hands of the seller at the moment the purchaser de­
mands delivery, or the seller causes them to be purchased
in order to effect the delivery.
“ 4. That in all cases, there is always, on one side, the
purchase of an object which must be paid for, and on the
other side, the sale of an object which must be delivered;
therefore, it is not permissible to regard these kinds of
operations as betting on the quotations of public securities.
“ 5. That dealings for future delivery, called ‘ marches
fermes’ (fixed transactions), as they are practised nowadays
on the Paris Bourse— that is to say, restricted to a period
of sixty days, and subject to the condition that delivery is
expected when exacted by the purchaser— are advan­
tageous both to the Government and to commerce; to
the Government, because the State could not carry out
the transactions in rentes made necessary by the finan­
cial system now sanctioned, without the assistance fur­
nished by these forms of trade, and yet the financial sys­
tem based on credit, is one of the principal conditions of
the strength and power of modern government; to com­
merce, because these transactions present to holders of
rentes a sure, expeditious, and cheap method of obtain­
ing, whenever they wish, the funds they need, by giving
as guaranty these selfsame rentes; that, on the other
hand, capitalists find in these transactions the means to
place their funds for as short a time as they choose, and
with the certainty of being able to call them in at will.
Thus, on the one hand, rentes become a real representative
sign, increasing the bulk of capital, and, on the other
hand, all the idle funds find employment for as long


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
or as short a period as is suitable to the owners. This
increase in the number of representative signs and in the
bulk of circulating funds necessarily tends to reduce their
price— that is to say, the interest— and thereby renders
to commerce the most useful of all sendees.
“ For this reason the undersigned hold that the trans­
actions in question are indispensable in the present situa­
tion of France, and that the jurisprudence adopted by
the King’s court (which rests on ancient Council deci­
sions, given at a time and under circumstances that
can in no way be compared to those prevailing in our
times) is in opposition to the true political and commer­
cial interests of our country.
“ (Signed)

“ J. L A F F I T T E .
“ M


“ R

ougem ont



£r es.



“ P ille t-V

“ D







A. V



A. O d ie r .


J. A . B

l a n c -C o l l in


G. Ca c c ia .

“ G



“ J. F . C h e v a l s .

a b r ie l

J. T


Co ttie r .





r o n cin





“ L. D
“ J. L






“ G

r d o in -H u b b a r d



O d ie r .

The administration of justice persisted in the
same direction for nine years; but when it exhibited some
tendency toward more liberality, M. I!arl6, in the
Chamber of Deputies, asked the “ July Government”



M. o n e t a r y


for measures to repress speculation. Garnier Pages
answered him (session of January 23, 1833):
“ If you admit, together with M. Harle, that the seller for
future delivery must deposit in advance his certificate of
rentes, you would often render actual operations impos­
sible; this is true of rentes, as of all other merchandise.
“ One instance will permit you to grasp more easily
what I have in mind. I will suppose that Antwerp,
Amsterdam, or London quotes the rente at a higher price
than Paris— a thing which happens everyday; well then,
if a banker has given an order to purchase in London,
in Amsterdam, or Antwerp, and is in the meantime un­
able either to deposit the rente which he has not yet
received, or even to indicate its number, by what right
would you prevent him from selling that rente, for
delivery as soon as it will arrive?’’
To prevent him from effecting that operation, would be
forcing him to gamble, since you would make him run
the chances of a rise or fall which may occur between the
time of purchase at the foreign exchange, and the moment
the security will reach his hands.
The Harle proposition was rejected.
On July 12, 1842, MM. Bagnenault, Hottinguer,
De Rothschild, Fould, Ch. Laffitte, Larien, and Lavareille
addressed the following memorial (parere) to the Gov­
ernment :
“ We, the undersigned bankers and capitalists, after
having taken cognizance of the declaration made in 1824
by the principal houses in Paris, are eager to confirm
it in the most explicit manner, believing it our duty to
call the attention of the Minister to the difficulty, nay,


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the insurmountable obstacles, which the great financial
operations connected with public credit would experience t
if this method of dealing, sanctioned by custom and the
requirements of the market, should be interfered with.”
(90) In 1867 the Imperial Government appointed a
commission to inquire into the question of time-bar­
gains. M.# L. Chevallier, a member of the commission
of 1867, made a remarkable report on the subject, con­
cluding in favor of the necessity that the law recognize
dealings for future delivery.
(91) After the disaster of the “ Union Generate,” in
1882, the scandal was enormous; the Bourse had pre­
sented a frightful spectacle. The stockbrokers had com­
pletely violated the regulations of their profession. But
it must be said in their defense, that, since the begin­
ning of the century, they had been obliged to violate them,
and that the different administrations, by overlooking
their actions, while the merchandise brokers had been
placed under the direction of the Minister of Finance,
were partly responsible for the fact that certain regula­
tions had not been followed. However, if the saying “ est
modus in rebus ” (there is a mean in all things) is kept
in mind, it becomes certain that in granting credits to
clients, the stockbrokers lacked judgment. The spec­
tacle presented by this very clientage was not less scan­
dalous. Many persons occupying a certain social standing
did not hesitate to refuse to meet their obligations.
The administration of justice which admitted the plea of
gambling as regards time-bargains settled by a difference,
permitted them to take that stand.
Public opinion was aroused.



M on et a r y

C o m m i______________


On February 8, 1882, the Paris Chamber of Commerce

passed a resolution calling on the Government for a modi­
fication of the existing laws, M. Gustave Roy preparing
the report.
In concluding, that report expressed itself as follows:
“ An administration of justice which would permit a
speculator to carry on two deals of equal importance with
two different brokers, one for a rise and the other for a
fall, and, while collecting from one the profit he had
made, to advance the plea of gambling toward the other,
in order to avoid paying the loss which the operation
showed— such an administration, I say, could not hold
any longer; that fact alone would condemn it.
“ Experience shows that the plea of gambling has never
protected anybody but those of bad faith, and has only
encouraged the excess of speculation, as was stated by
M. Andrieux in his report presented to the Chamber in
1877, in the name of the seventh Commission of Initiative.
“ Prompted by these reasons, and considering that the
present legislation, far from preventing gambling, encour­
ages it; considering that bad faith finds protection in
the jurisprudence sanctioned; and further considering
that in commercial affairs, as in any other, it behooves
to allow every one his full freedom, as well as to hold him
responsible for his actions— I beg to suggest that an
address be sent to the Minister of Commerce, confirming
the letter of the Chamber of Commerce of November 25,
1877, and requesting the Government to introduce a bill
in the Chambers, declaring that article 1965 of the Code
civil does not apply to debts resulting from dealings for


. A

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
future delivery, and that articles 421 and 422 of the Code
penal are repealed.
(92) In the Chamber of Deputies two members, MM.
Alfred Naquet and Lagrange, introduced a joint proposi­
tion tending to recognize dealings on the “ long” and
“ sh ort” accounts (operations h decouvert) as legal. The
Government, on its part, appointed a special commission
to study the question. It was composed of MM. J.
Bozerian, senator, chairman; Charles Ferry, deputy;
Clamegeran, councillor of state; Monod, councillor at the
Cour de cassation; Laew, public prosecutor at the Tri­
bunal de la Seine; Gay, director-general of government
funds; Pallain, director of audits in the finance depart­
ment; Girard, director of interior commerce; Gonse,
chief of the division of civil matters in the ministry
of justice; Lyon-Caen, professor at the Toulouse fac­
ulty; Vavasseur, barrister at the Cour d'appel at Paris;
Baudelot, former president of the Tribunal de commerce
of Paris; Moreau, syndic of the stockbrokers of Paris;
Lecomte, stockbroker; Alphonse Mallet, regent of the
Banque de France; Girod, manager of the Comptoir
d’Escompte; and Durrieu, manager of the Credit Industriel
et Commercial.
This special commission appointed as its reporter Pro­
fessor Lyon-Caen (to-day Dean of the faculty of law of
Paris), and it was the elaborate work of this eminent
reporter which was used as an explanatory statement for
the bill presented by the Government.
(93) The reporter in the Chamber was M. Alfred
Naquet. When the bill was voted upon, M. Naquet,
who in the meantime had become a senator, was intrusted




M on e t a r y


with the preparation of the report before the higher
legislative assembly. After being argued in the Senate,
the bill, slightly amended, was returned to the Chamber,
and the report was then made by M. Peulevey.
The law on dealings for future delivery (marches a terme)
was promulgated on April 8, 1885. Having been finally
voted upon on March 28, it is generally known as the law
of March 28, 1885. Dealings for future delivery are recog­
nized as legal. They were legal before; on that point the
law aimed only to do away with the surrounding uncer­
tainties, which resulted from the special regulations made
for stockbrokers. Thus, in the terms of that law, no one
can, in regard to operations for future delivery, plead
article 1965 of the Code civil, according to which the law
grants no recourse to a party for the payment of a gam­
bling debt or a bet. Article 1965 of the Code civil is not
repealed, but it can not be applied to transactions clos­

J I! {

ing by a difference.
It should be noted, however— as a result obtained from a
discussion within the senate commission c— that if the con­
tracting parties have in advance made a written contract,
agreeing that they would not exact delivery, they will
not enjoy the provisions of the law.
Finally, the law repeals the former provisions which
make it obligatory for the stockbroker to have on hand
the securities for sale, as well as the cash for purchase, and
forbid him to hold himself guarantor for transactions in
which he acts as intermediary.
Let us note, in conclusion, that the law of 1885 has a
wide range. It applies to operations in merchandise and

a S e n a t.

D o c u m e n ts p a r le u ie n ta ir e s ,

2 14

1884, No. 161, p. 12.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
in securities negotiated through intermediaries other than
As to securities negotiated through stockbrokers, they
could always be sold direct for cash by private individuals.
They could likewise be sold direct for future delivery, but
operations settled by differences were subject to being
barred as gambling. Since the law of 1885, this last plea
can no longer be brought in, but the privilege of the stock­
brokers is still invoked for these operations. According
to a legal argument, which is very disputable (Cour de
cassation, March 23, 1893, Sirey, 1893, 1.240), trans­
actions for future delivery, closed by differences, can not
be made the objects of direct operations. This solution is
against the express wish of the lawmaker. The direct
transaction, even when made for future delivery, and
closed by a difference, was permissible before 1885. It
should derive benefit from the law of 1885. To forbid it
through indirect ways is to antagonize not only the wish
of the lawmaker of 1885, but also the wish of the law­
maker of Ventose, year IX .0
Having inquired into the law on transactions for
future delivery, we shall proceed to look into the state of
things since 1898.
In 1893 a tax on Bourse operations was established.
At that moment occurred a particularly acute phase of the
many centuries old struggle between the stockbrokers
{agents de change) and the curb brokers (coulissiers).
This occurrence led to what has been very improperly
called the “ Reorganization of the financial market of
1898.” It is important, therefore, to recite summarily

a See note of M. Lyon-Caen.


Sirey, 1893, p. 240.

the history of the struggle of the stockbrokers of the “ Par­
quet” against the curb brokers of the “ Coulisse.”
The “ coulissiers" were men who illegally served as
intermediaries in the public market.
According to M. Fremery,a the words “ coulisse” and
“ coulissiers” originated from the fact that, in the old
premises devoted to the Paris Bourse, the parties operating
without the services of the “ agents de change ” met in a
separate passageway or hallway (couloir) separated by a
breast-high partition from the place where the dealers

That passageway was called “ La Coulisse"

(the Coulisse).
But if that name has not been very long in use, the
institution— though we can hardly give such a name to a
gathering so unorganized, and, wTe may say, formless—
is very old.
The brokers, or money changers, who did business at
the fairs'in the middle ages, are the predecessors alike
of the merchandise brokers, of the stockbrokers, and of
the curb brokers.
But an ordinance of Philip the Fair, in February, 1304,
directed, as we saw, that the “ Change de Paris” (the
exchange traffic of Paris) shall be held on the Grand Pont
(the great bridge on the Seine); it was forbidden to do it
elsewhere. Sundry royal edicts, in 1305, direct that no
one “ shall dare traffic in exchange” (“ oser tenir change")
if he has not obtained “ royal assent and permission”
(“ assentiment et conge royal"). It appears, therefore,
that those who in Paris engaged in money-changing else­
where than on the Grand Pont, and outside of Paris

a D e s o p e r a tio n s d e B o u r s e ,


p. 494.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
elsewhere than at the “ tables ” (royal exchange premises),
“ without assent or permission” (and some such there
surely were), were the first “ coulissiers."
A t all times, whenever there have been privileges, some
men have been found to oppose them. Of course, these
men are not theorists, or pedants; they are simply men
whom this or that privilege prevents from working freely,
and who represent the manifestation of that mysterious
force of things which tends toward freedom of trade.
Commercial law owes its birth only to these protestations
of practical men in apparent revolt against the laws, which
become the unconscious shapers of future legislation.
From the day when there was an “ agent de change ” there
was a “ coulissier.” The first called the second a thief,
because he encroached upon his privilege. The second
hurled back the compliment, because the privilege robbed
him of his natural right. We have seen numerous
council decisions under the old regime forbidding private
individuals the unwarrantable interference with the func­
tion of stockbrokers. That it was repeatedly forbidden
is proof certain that the offense was constantly committed.
Under the First Empire, the curb brokers were
already organized; there were conditions for their admis­
sion and introduction. The authorities closed their eyes.
The stockbrokers complained, and requested that the
unwarranted interference be forthwith referred to the
courts. This request was denied by advice of the Council
of State of May 17, 1809. “ It must be acknowledged,”
said the learned M. A. Buch&re, in his treatise Opera­
tions de Bourse,a “ that some of them (curb brokers)

° N o . 33.


effected their transactions in the most honorable way,
and, in some cases, even for account of stockbrokers, who
considered it safe to intrust them with certain risky or
somewhat irregular operations.”
(96) Under the Restoration, speculation, which was
considered by many as necessary for the upholding of
public credit, greatly expanded. The Coulisse was toler­
ated— almost encouraged. In 1824, M. de Villele publicly
refused to take measures against the Coulisse.® In 1835,
a new attempt of the stockbrokers was followed by a
complete defeat.® In 1842, M. Delessert, prefect of police,
sent a report to the Minister of Finance,6 who, in pursu­
ance of a complaint of the stockbrokers, had instructed
him to make a thorough inquiry into the methods used
by the Coulisse. The conclusion of the report was that
there was no ground for prosecution, as the stockbrokers
themselves were guilty of the same practices with which
they reproached the curb brokers.
On February 17, 1843, the stockbrokers, in order to have
the Coulisse broken up, presented a voluminous memorial
to the Minister of Justice, who, however, did not recognize
their request as justifiable.
(97) In 1859, a complaint made by the Syndical Cham­
ber succeeded in changing the state of affairs; the curb
brokers were prosecuted, found guilty, and expelled from
the Bourse building.c
Much of contemporary evidence establishes the fact
that this measure had the most disastrous effect upon the
a Eugene L6on. Etude sur la coulisse et ses operations, p. 44.
b Alfred Neymarck, Le Rentier, March 17, 1898.
c Tribunal correclionnel, June 25, 1859; Cour de Paris, August 2, 1859;
Cour de cassation, January 19, i860; Dalloz, i860, 1.40.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
credit, both public and private; the “ Temps” a borrows
from a financial publication of that time the following
statem ent:

“ The stockbrokers, who hoped that the suppression of
the Coulisse would bring back business to the Parquet,
were mistaken. The business of the Coulisse has dis­
appeared with the Coulisse itself. The market has
been hit and destroyed, but has not been transferred.
The Government, which expected that, by suppressing the
Coulisse, it would raise the level of the public credit, has
not realized its expectations.”
This decline was testified to by the “ Revue des deux
Mondes,"b in an article from the pen of M. Poujard’hieu,
published after the failure of the Fould conversion scheme:
“ The discussions which have taken place in the legisla­
ture,” said the author, “ have called public attention to
the measures which the Government thought proper to
resort to, in order to foster its undertaking, in the
face of the impotence resulting from the practice of
monopoly. It is safe to say, that all the means employed
have only succeeded in laboriously hoisting up the 3 per
cent rentes to 71 francs, in order to see them soon again
lagging in the neighborhood of 69 and 70. And yet that
painful effort caused too glaring disasters in the markets
not to hurt the government’s undertaking.”
Further the author calls attention to the fact that this
fall of 2 francs in a restricted market has had worse con­
sequences than a fall of 14 francs in 1848, o r a fall of 8
francs in 1859, because, the risks being then divided
a Bulletin Financier du "T e m p s ," February x, 1897.
b June, 1862, p. 740.



M on et a ry


amongst a greater number of intermediaries, the market
felt more secure than in 1862, following the lawsuit of
The result was that the Coulisse reappeared.
(98) On November 4, 1861, the Minister of Finance, M.
Fould, granted to the Bourse the permission to suppress
the turnstiles, and, if the reestablishment of the Coulisse
can not be attributed directly to this measure, we may
yet be permitted to make use of an image and say that
the curb brokers came back through the open door.
They soon formed serried ranks. Nor was it long before
affairs became enlivened. Some banks had been founded
about this time, having launched some securities. In
1855 the six great railroad companies had been formed;
in 1852 there had been established the Credit Fonder
(national mortgage loan society) and numerous banking
These corporations required a broad market, and the
market widened in spite of the narrow sphere prescribed
to it by law.
In 1863, the Credit Lyonnais is founded; in 1864, the
Societe Generate. The law of July 24, 1867, concerning
joint-stock companies, replaces the law of 1856— govern­
ment authorization for limited-liability companies in
shares (societes anonymes) being done away with. A new
era was near at hand, when the war of 1870 broke out.
(99) After 1870, the payment of the war indemnity,
and the enormous expenses necessary to rehabilitate the
country occasioned great credit operations. The State,
as well as private enterprises, appealed to public sav­
ings. Considerable activity reigned on the Bourse, as


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
everywhere else.

M. Thiers never ceased to congratulate

himself on the help received from the open market at
the time of the emissions upon whose success depended
the liberation of French territory.®
a M. Alfred Neymarck, in the course of a discussion at a meeting of the

Societyd’Econom iePolitique, recalled the services of the Coulisse; he showed
that M. Thiers and M. Teisserenc de Bort, interim functionary of finance, had
applied to the curb brokers, and had obtained information from them con­
cerning the condition of the market. “ The Coulisse,” said M. Neymarck,
“ brought subscriptions to our loans for liberation; it kept up the rente,
which, issued at 82.50 and 84.50, rose to 119 and 120. A t that time, stock­
brokers, merchandise brokers, and curb brokers all rendered services not
to be easily forgotten.”
(S ociU i d’Economie Politique, Stan ce du 5 avril,
1893, Journal des Economistes, 1893, n. p. 95.)
In that regard, let us also mention those eloquent lines of M. Anatole
Leroy-Beaulieu: “ The confession m ay be painful, but patriotism makes
it a du ty for us to acknowledge the fact that the Bourse represents one of
the live forces of France. It has been for France an instrument of regen­
eration after defeat, and it remains for us a powerful tool in war and in

Let us recall the already remote years of our convalescence, after

the invasion, years at once sorrowful and comforting, when with the gloom
of defeat and the suffering of dismemberment, mingled the jo y of feeling
the revival of France. Whence came our first consolation, our first vindi­
cation before the world? Whether glorious or not, it originated on the
‘ ‘ The Paris market came out unscathed from the ruins of the war and
of the ‘ commune’— and straight from the hardly ratified peace and quelled
insurrection, it threw itself into the work for France’s regeneration; because
it was, indeed, for France’s regeneration that the stockbrokers and mer­
chandise brokers worked under Thiers and MacMahon. In the worst days
the Bourse had the uncommon merit of showing an example of faith in
France. When more than one political skeptic and discouraged thinker
allowed themselves to write down upon the crumbling walls of our burneddown palaces ‘ F in is Gallice,’ the Bourse kept its faith in France and her
fortune, and that faith in France was spread by it all around, at home and
abroad. Speculation was patriotic in its w ay; it has exhibited a confidence
in our resources which the discretion of many a wise man rated as fool­
hardy. H ave we already forgotten our great loans for liberation? W ith­
out the Bourse, these colossal loans, the amount of which exceeded the
dreams of financiers, would never have been subscribed for, or, if ever, it
would have been only at rates much more onerous for the country. W ith­
out the Bourse, our French rentes would not have taken such a rapid flight;
our credit, restored even more quickly than our armies, would not have
equaled that of our victors, on the very morrow of our defeat. In that



Mo notary


It should be noted that during that period of activity,
the struggle between the stockbrokers and the curb
brokers almost ceased. The hostile brothers seem recon­
ciled. But when business shall begin to slacken again,
when events shall have shaken the public’s confidence in
the monopoly, then both sides will resume the fight.6
The curb-brokers will exclaim against the oppressive
monopoly and demand the broadening of the market,
while the stockbrokers, in their appeals to the author­
ities, will say of their competitors that they represent
anarchy, robbery, and stockjobbery in its worst form,
regard, all that justice demanded us to say previously of the higher banking
institutions m ay with right be repeated concerning the Bourse.
“ To those who lived through that pale dawn of France’s recovery, that
rush of the Bourse and of capitalists to offer us the thousands of millions
which we required exceeded the eagerness and boldness of speculation.
B ut even if we were to consider it but gambling and betting for specula­
tion, such speculation was betting for France’s regeneration; it bravely placed
its bet on the vanquished.

Those national and foreign financiers, who

have been accused of pouncing upon her like birds of prey, brought to the
noble wounded their dollars and their credit, and if they reaped a profit
thereby, are we to reproach them for it, when they helped us to recon­
struct our armies, our fleet, and our arsenals? If France regained her rank
among the nations of the world so quickly, the credit for it should be
mainly given to the Bourse. And to its services in war, we should, if we
wanted to be just, also add its services in times of peace. W ithout the
extensiveness of the Paris market, and the stimulus given to our capital­
ists through speculation, how many things would have remained unac­
complished in the recklessly overdriven condition of our finances?
should have been unable to complete.our railroad system, or renew our
national stock of tools, or create beyond the seas a colonial empire which
shall cause France to be again one of the great world powers. When the
Bourse is on trial, such credentials should not be overlooked. Before con­
demning it in the name of morality and private interests, a patriot should
give due consideration to its services rendered for the national weal; if
all its defects and misdeeds be heaped up on one scale tray, then services
of like importance will easily counterbalance them.”
(Anatole LeroyBeaulieu, La R&gence de l'argent, “ Revue des deux M ondes.”
February 25,
1897, pp. 894 and 895.)
b A proverb says: “ Lorsqu’ il n ’ y a plus de join au ralelicr, les clievaux se

battent” (when there is no more hay in the manger, horses fight).


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
and that the members of the open market are a mob
of cosmopolitan speculators as dangerous for the State
as for public savings.
Following a fit of speculation in shares of the Union
Generate, which had taken place in 1882, the Lyons stock­
brokers were unable to meet their engagements. The
Paris stockbrokers were compelled to borrow 80,000,000
francs. Monopoly was seriously injured in public opinion,
so that at the time the Government brought in a bill
on operations for future delivery, M. Menard-Dorian, also,
brought in a bill, February 23, 1882, making the profession
of stockbroker free to everyone.
The question was divided within the parliamentary
commission, for the problem of reorganizing the market
was more complicated than that of recognizing dealings
for future delivery, and was, therefore, in a position to
prevent the solution of the latter. Yet, though clearly
set, the problem at issue was not solved, as has happened
many a time in the case of other problems.
The downfall of the Union Generate, the need felt by the
Bourse to avoid being spoken of, and the grave threat which
M. Menard-Dorian’s proposition constituted for the stock­
brokers’ association, produced the result that the official
intermediaries and their competitors, the unattached inter­
mediaries, refrained from asking that the question of the
financial market be solved in Parliament. The republican
dogma was not at all favorable toward monopolies, and the
Third Republic was at that time quite apt, in the eyes of the
stockbrokers, to solve the question of monopoly— by sup­
pressing it. The heavy depreciation which the panic pro­
duced in the value of seats, would have made the operation
903120— 10-----15



m m i ss t on
an easy one so far as it concerned the Treasury. Thus it
happened that for about two years no complaints of
stockbrokers against the curb brokers (cou lissiers ) were
On September 21, 1892, the syndics of the stock­
brokers of Paris, Lyons, Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse,
and Lille collectively asked the Minister of Finance to
demand the suppression, by every legal means, of the
“ petite bourse ” (curb meeting) which took place every
night at 9 o’clock in the hall of the C redit L yo n n a is.
They claimed that any depreciation in the prices of
government securities that might show itself on the
market would instigate a general panic.
The surprised curb brokers called attention to the fact
that the rente 5 per cent had fluctuated between 18 and
40 francs in 1800, and that in 1892 it had reached 106
francs. They added that the 3 per cent rente, which had
been quoted at 60 in 1825, and which had fluctuated
between 50.30 and 58.45 in 1871, was quoted at 100 in
September, 1892, on the very day when the stockbrokers
sent in their petition, after having been quoted at 95 in
the beginning of the year.
The ground invoked against the Coulisse was cer­
tainly piteous, but it was nevertheless true that the
stockbrokers were within their right when they demanded
that the “ little bourse” be suppressed.0
They undertook to forbid the Coulisse to gather during
the evening in the place where it used to meet— that is
to say, in a covered inclosure in the hall of the C redit
a To hold meetings of merchants or bankers elsewhere than on the
Bourse, and at the appointed hours, is forbidden by article 3 of the law of
27 Prairial, year X.

i i


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
Lyonnais; but they could meet on the highway in the
Galerie d'Orleans.

That victory of the stockbrokers was,

therefore, only a “ paper ” success. The question of taxing
bourse operations was again going to fan the flames.
(io i)
On several occasions— notably, on December 15,
1891, November 14 and 15,1892— bills due to parliamentary
initiative were introduced on the subject of taxing bourse
operations. On December 22, 1892, a bill of that sort,
introduced by M. Jourde, was thrown out by 281 votes
against 232, upon the remarks made by M. Tirard, the
Minister of Finance, and M. Rouvier, a former Minister
of Finance. The speakers had demonstrated how diffi­
cult it was to collect such a tax. Were they to tax the
operations of the stockbrokers exclusively? That would
be giving the curb brokers an advantage. Were they
to tax the operations of the curb brokers? That would
mean to recognize them, they thought. Then, should
the Coulisse be suppressed? This could not be
thought of. Should it be recognized? That was a grave
question. In any case, the question was to be studied
by itself, independently of the tax question.
However, the Minister of Finance had declared that, in
principle, he was not opposed to the taxation. The
difficulty which it presented was the only thing that
restrained him. It did not restrain him long, however.
On January 14, 1893, M. Tirard introduced a bill
having in view the establishment of the tax. The new
provisions were to be introduced in the finance law of
1893, which had not yet been voted on. The difficulty
was removed in the manner of the cutting of the Gordian
knot by Alexander; the Coulisse was to be suppressed.




M. o n e t a r y


Indeed, according to the terms of the bill, every bourse
operation was to be subject to a tax reckoned off on a
journal, every article of which, for the securities admitted
on the official quotation list, was to specify the name and
address of the stockbroker through whom the trans­
action had been effected. The tax could be paid only
by the stockbroker, and, consequently, every infringer
would not only be guilty of unwarranted interference
with the functions of a stockbroker, according to the old
legal conditions, but would also be guilty of infringing
the revenue laws. Each infringement would be subject to
a fine equal to one-twentieth of the value of the securities.
The Coulisse itself would have been permitted to pay
the tax only on unlisted securities. Their number was
very limited. Rio Tinto, which before long was to be
dealt in on the Parquet, the Alpine, Tharsis, and De
Beers, were really the only securities which had a consider­
able circulation, without, however, being of sufficient vol­
ume to supply the needs of such a market, as was the
bankers’ market. The struggle was on. Viewed from the
standpoint of the parties interested, the belligerents
seemed both to be wrong in accepting the principle of
taxation; and M. Tirard, Minister of Finance, took ad­
vantage of that fact before Parliament.
“ Gentlemen,” said the Minister, “ you have just been
told, with good reason, that at first all were opposed to
the tax, claiming that it would greatly disturb the Paris
market, and that it would give an advantage to the
foreign markets. And then, after due reflection, the
stockbrokers said to themselves: ‘ Perhaps the Govern­
ment, in order to collect the stamp tax payable upon

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
the memorandum account, will be forced to apply to us,
because it could not through its finance law approve an
illegal and unlawful act. We should thus obtain a more
formal acknowledgment of the rights wdiich we have up
to this day rather precariously exercised through our own
fault.’ On their side, the curb brokers, no doubt, said to
themselves: ‘ It is quite possible that the Government will
shrink before the severity of the proposed collection of
the tax it intends to create and that, on that account,
it may permit all those doing bourse operations to pay
the stamp tax, without inquiring whether they be lawful
or illegal operations.’
“ Then, wdiat was at the beginning a source of trouble
and worry— the fear of placing a large portion of the Paris
business in jeopardy— all that disappeared, in the hope
that the respective condition of both parties would be
benefited through the tax levy.
“ I have, therefore, concluded that when people have no
anxiety about the general welfare, because they feel at
ease concerning their personal welfare, it is to be supposed
that the general welfare was not compromised (very good)
and that the trifling tax we propose levying on bourse
operations is not calculated to be detrimental to the
French market.”
Thus spoke the Minister of Finance.0
“ Let the tax strengthen our monopoly,” said the stock­
brokers, “ and our operations alone will be legal.” “ Let
the tax free the financial market,” replied the curb brokers.
“ If the redemption of the offices is the main obstacle
aChambre, Dibats Parlementaires, 23 et 24 fivrier, 1893.
24 et 25 fivrier.


Journal Officiel,



M on e t a r y


to an open market, would it not be just that the yield
of the tax be appropriated for that redemption ? If we
are to be taxed, well and good, but let the money we
pay in be used in freeing us. Let the tax pay the cost
of reform. This is its object after all, and the only
vindication for it.”
Had they only been satisfied with the use of such
arguments! * * * But such was not the case.

The controversy was exceedingly bitter. Pamphlets,
newspaper articles crossed each other. Libels followed
one another with astonishing rapidity. Adversaries chal­
lenged one another, like Homer’s heroes, while in Parlia­
ment there began a debate which was marked by a good
deal of passion.®
M. Tirard’s bill was adopted by the Chamber
of Deputies on February 24, 1893. But in the Senate,
through the intervention of the reporter-general of the
finance commission, M. E. Boulanger, it was thought
that the question of organizing a financial market was
too important to be settled one way or another, through
a vote on the budget. The severance of that project
from the finance law was voted on March 28, 1893.
Two days later, on March 30, the Minister, who had
been unable to carry the Chamber on a question of severing
from the budget a plan of reform on the taxing of bevera The

following took

part in the


MM. Tirard,

Minister of

Finance; Poincar£, Reporter-General; Gauthier (de Clagny), Jourde— all
speaking in favor of it; Y v e s G uyot, who advocated the nominating of a
special commission for the purpose of inquiring into sundry plans in regard
to bourses; Naquet, against the very principle of tax; Felix Faure, who
advocated a counter plan, first accepted and then discarded by the budget
commission, which plan allowed the payment of taxes b y affixing stamps;
Jullien, in opposition to the Government’s bill.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
ages, withdrew, and M. Peytral succeeded M. Tirard as
Minister of Finance. The new Minister proposed a waiting
policy to Parliament. The bourse tax was to be col­
lected without making it necessary for the Government
to trouble itself about the legality of the transaction.
All those subjected to the keeping of a bourse record
would have to deposit in the registration office copies of
said record on fixed dates, and heavy fines would be
imposed upon all infringements or frauds.
The bill was passed. It was placed in the finance law
of April 28, 1893.
In January, 1894, the conversion of the \]/2 per cent rentes
into 3 1/ 2 per cent rentes was decided upon. The operation
was entirely successful. In 1895 the Minister of Finance,
M. D'oumer, having stated that the tax was as much of a
burden on the open market transactions as on those of the
official market, demanded that the tax on transactions in
French rentes be reduced by three-quarters.0 The demand
was soon granted, in pursuance of a favorable report by
M. Georges Cochery, reporter-general for the budget of 1896.
But the solution reached on April 28, 1893, was, as we
stated, only provisional. M. Tirard, while praising his
system, which had not prevailed, had promised to inquire
into a reorganization of the market within a short time,
and M. Felix Faure answered him: “ I trust that when we
shall occupy ourselves with the organization of the finan­
cial market, we shall succeed in suppressing monopoly.” 6
a-Chambre des Deputes.

Journal Officiel, 14 Decembre, 1895. See also
Annexes p. 116

Maurice Jobit: Les Titres Grangers et la loi fiscale, 1896.
(sur l ’art. 8, de la lo i de finances du 27 dec. 1895).

bChambre des D ip u tis, Stance du 24 F&vrier, 1893.
25 F&vrier.


Journal Officiel du


cl t

i o n cl l

M on e t a r y


The system presented by M. Peytral having prevailed, M.
Peytral, as Minister of Finance, undertook the same task
as his predecessor.
We acknowledge, there is need to
proceed with the reorganization of the French market.
We intend doing it by means of a complete plan, estab­
lishing a legal organization which shall be based on
freedom, but without excluding regulation. Such a plan
is under advisement.” °
Well, that plan has never been submitted to considera­
tion, for what reasons is not known. And meanwhile
there broke out what has since been called the “ gold
mines boom.”
About the middle of 1894 most publications treat­
ing of economic questions described the great industrial
development brought about in the Transvaal by the gold
seekers. Gold mining in the Transvaal during the ten
previous years had given rise to speculation on the Trans­
vaal and English bourses. This speculation, like every­
thing else in this world of ours, had its good as well as
its bad sides. In the south of Africa, not far from the
mines, bourses were opened, and there took place some
skyrocketing of quotations, followed by violent breaks.
These fluctuations above and below the real value which
is, moreover, quite difficult to ascertain, bring to your
mind the air bubble near the water level, which oscillates
in the neighborhood of the spot where it is going to settle.
Some have since endeavored to compare the speculation
to which the South African mines have given rise, to the
“ tulipomania ” which raged in Holland about 1634, and
to those “ manias” of which M. Leon Say speaks in his

a Ibid., 28 A m il, 1893, Journal Officiel du 29.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
work “ Sur les Interventions du Tresor a la Bourse,” or also
Bagehot, in his book on the “ Money Market.” To be sure,
there was a good deal of extravagance in the speculations
which took place, but the criticisms drawn up against the
mining companies and those who brought out their securi­
ties, have likewise been singularly extravagant. Thanks to
the Transvaal mines, roads and railroads have been built,
cities have sprung up, profiting at one stroke from all the
modern improvements in the art of construction. Indus­
try has opened South Africa and preserved it for Euro­
pean civilization, and, all in all, there has been an increase
of wealth, of which the English and German capitalists
alone seemed at the first moment to have the immediate
But in the course of 1894 English houses commenced
some advertising in Parisian newspapers, and soon there
was noticed a pretty strong stream of bourse orders toward
the London market. Some bankers thought that the
French market should share in the profit derived from
this stream, which the London Stock Exchange seemed
to have monopolized; they opened negotiations with
English bankers, and discussed the terms on which the
Transvaal mining securities could be introduced on the
Paris market. It was mostly in the bankers’ market
that thev were introduced.
On June 30, 1894, only 3 kinds of gold-mining shares
were dealt in on the market for future delivery of the
bourse for securities (marche d terme de la bourse des
valeurs)— including the Robinson, already dealt in before,
and the Randfontein. Six months later— on December

there were y, of which, however, 1 was American.




cl 1 1 o ti cl l

o n e t cl v y

There were 12 on June 30, 1895.

C o t Hf n i s s i o f i
On December 31, 1895,

32 kinds of securities of gold mines, real estate com­
panies, and colonial exploration companies were negotiated
for future delivery in the Coulisse. At that same date
there were dealt in for cash (au comptant) 66 kinds of
gold-mining, coal, colonial exploration companies, among
which, of course, should be numbered the 32 entered on
the market for the account {marche a terme). In the
London market these securities were counted bv the
hundreds and represented thousands of millions.
The Coulisse was not quite alone in fostering the
movement. If it operated in Transvaal mining shares,
it was because the shares of these enterprises were of a
nominal value of 25 francs, and the decrees of February
6, 1880, and December 1, 1893, did not permit securities
to be admitted on the official quotation list, if the par
value of their shares was less than that authorized for the
French companies by the laws of July 24, 1867, and
August 1, 1893. The stockbrokers’ association {compagnie
des agents de change) later admitted on the official list the
shares of “ Treasury” and “ Robinson Banking.” It had
such a good opinion of the Transvaal gold mines that
it led its customers into large speculations in Modderfontein.® Through the attorneys for the offices many
stockbrokers had become interested in the Nevmann syndi­
cate, whose object was to place mining stocks in Paris
and London. (We know that the head of the Nevmann
syndicate subsidized the Jameson expedition.) Finally,
“ See the report of M. G. Graux on his bill having in view the creation
of shares of 25 francs. Chambre des Deputes, Stance de 1896, No. 1950, in
the appendices, p. 31. Hearing of the well-known M. de Verneuil, syndic
of the association of stockbrokers.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
on November 15, 1895, a B a n q u e F rangaise de VA jriq u e
d u S u d (French Bank of South Africa) was established,

and the president was none other than the well-known
M. Herbault, syndic of the Stockbrokers’ Association of
Paris (,S y n d ic de la C om pagnie des A g en ts de Change de
P a r is ), who had resigned his office in order to become
president of the new bank.®
At any rate, on January 1, 1896, the Transvaal was
invaded by a troop of volunteers under the command of
Doctor Jameson. When it was ascertained that this
expedition— this raid, as it was called— had failed and that
the relations between the Governments of President
Kruger and of England were much strained, a sudden
depreciation took place in Transvaal securities, and the
previous boom was succeeded by the gold-mines panic. If
the disaster of the U n io n Generate had not swept away the
C om pagnie des A g en ts de Change (saved by the slowness
of parliamentary procedure), the disaster of the gold
mines was going to carry off the Coulisse, which through
clever manipulations was to be alone held responsible
before Parliament for the decline and the damages result­
ing therefrom.
The gold-mining boom had incensed the C om ­
pagnie des A g en ts de Change. No doubt they had shared
in the negotiations of mining securities, but not in the
measure they would have liked.

The “ B u lle tin de Sta tis-

tique et de legislation comparee d u M in is te r e des F in a n c e s '' b

showed that from 1893 to 1895, inclusive, of the 35,596,000
a Economiste Franqais of January 27, 1900.

The Nevmann syndicate

was liquidated and reorganized under the name of 11Association M inikre,”
the shares of which are quoted on the Official List March 6, 1905.
&January, 1898, p. 52.


N a t i on a l

M on e t a r y


francs yielded by the tax on bourse operations there had
been collected outside of Paris 1,707,291 francs, and in
Paris, through the stockbrokers 11,758,542 francs, while
all other parties subject to the tax— curb brokers, money
changers, credit institutions, bankers— had paid in
22,130,167 francs, i. e., double the amount.
First the stockbrokers thought of taking the gold mines
away from the Coulisse, or at least of taking advantage of
an exceedingly timely offer made to them through a truly
providential chance by M. Georges Graux, a deputy, with
whom M. Meline associated himself. On October 26, 1895,
M. Georges Graux introduced a bill tending to authorize
the creation of 25-franc shares in French stock compa­
nies (the law permits that denomination only for companies
having a capital of 200,000 francs or less). On the day when
French companies could be organized with 25-franc shares,
no principle would stand in the way of admitting foreign
25-franc shares on the official list. M. Georges Graux was
appointed reporter of his bill. He handed in his report
on June 22, 1896, and, though the gold-mine panic was in
full swing at the time, the worthy reporter urged that
his bill be adopted, the result of which would have caused
the gold mines to be transferred to the Parquet.

The stockbrokers would then be in a position to benefit
by the recovery in mining stocks.
The report was never brought to debate. To tell the
truth, that document was of such little substance that
it could not have survived the first words in an open
debate.0 The author, in view of the comments, which were
not spared in the special organs, failed to uphold his work,

Chambre des D ip u tts, session 1896;

Documents Parlementaires, No. 1950.

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
in spite of the evident parliamentary influence, and in
spite of the fact that the Honorable M. Meline had indorsed
his proposition.
As we have seen, the rise in gold-mining shares had
awakened the envy of the stockbrokers— a feeling no
doubt quite justified, since commercial competition has
no other incentive. The decline which followed was to
be taken advantage of by their supporters in Parliament
at a propitious opportunity. And that propitious oppor­
tunity presented itself.
The reorganization promised by the Minister, M.
Peytral, had been neither studied nor prepared in the
Ministry of Finance. Two worthy senators, MM.
Tarieux and Boulanger, on June 29, 1897, introduced a
bill relative to the exercising of the profession of stock­
broker. A summary report of M. Pauliat advocated
that the bill be taken up for consideration. A commission
was appointed; stockbrokers and curb brokers appeared
before it.

The Senate was called upon to inquire into the

matter. At that time a desire to drop the matter became
During the discussion of the budget of 1898 in
the Chamber, two deputies, MM. Lacombe and FleuryRavarin, each introduced an amendment, worded almost
identically, with the exception of the final paragraph.
Later, M. Lacombe withdrew his amendment in order to
associate himself unconditionally with his colleague.
The provisions of the Fleury-Ravarin amendment were
worded as follows:
“ Whoever makes it a business to take up bids and
offers on bourse securities must, whenever called upon to


N a t ion a l

M o n et a r y


do so by the Registry Office agents, when it is a question
of securities admitted on the official quotation list, ex­
hibit stockbrokers’ statements or give particulars of the
numbers and dates of statements, as well as of the names
of the stockbrokers from whom they emanate, and, when
it is a question of securities not admitted on the official
quotation list, personally pay the amount of the ta x.”
This was merely returning to the scheme of M. Tirard.
The Minister of Finance, the Honorable M. Georges
Cochery, stated before the budget commission that he
would assent to that amendment, and that the Govern­
ment, represented by the Honorable M. Meline, concurred
in this, in order to preserve for the Bourse the existing
legislation, save for the modifying of certain petty details
through decrees. This procedure would, of course, result
in putting a check upon the proposition submitted to the
Senate; but, said the Minister, the Stockbrokers’ Associ­
ation (Compagnie des Agents de Change) had brought in
a complaint before the courts against the curb brokers,
and it was necessary that the financial market be not
disturbed by the incidents of a lawsuit such as was
certain to be started.®
a Should the Government have ever given in under such pressure?
How can the State prevent the stockbrokers from applying to the courts,
if they consider themselves wronged? This is their inalienable rightThe Government had only to let them act; the interested parties would
certainly have looked after their own interests, and finally the stockbrokers,
when better advised, would not have persisted in their original intention.
The judges would have weighed and decided according to the law and
the facts; if the law had favored, and, let us say, does favor, the
agents of the monopoly, facts would have been stronger than the law,
and would have found them to be wrong. In their own interest the
stockbrokers and the curb brokers would at last have come to an under­
standing. The State had no reason to interfere.
(Alfred Neymarck,

Journal Le Rentier, March 17, 1898.)


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
The Fleury-Ravarin amendment was voted on in the
Chamber and even in the Senate.®
The Fleury-Ravarin amendment became article
14 of the law of April 13, 1898, and three decrees, dated
June 29, 1898, were published in the “ Journal Officiel"
of June 30, in view of the reorganization of the financial
market promised by the Minister of Finance during the
debate on the budget.
Through the first decree, articles 17, 55, and 56 of the
decree of October 7, 1890, were modified. Article 17
treats of the composition of the syndical chambers of
stockbrokers. Articles 55 and 56 express the conditions
under which the syndical chambers are bound to execute
a trade in place of a defaulting stockbroker. Thus was
the solidarity of stockbrokers established.6
« In the Chamber of Deputies the following took part in the debate:
Session of March 7, 1898: MM. Dhopiteau, Fleury-Ravarin, Georges
Cochery, Minister of
Dufaure, and Ribot.



Gauthier de



Session of March 8: MM. Krantz, Viviani, Georges Cochery, Minister
of Finance; Gauthier de Clagny, and Fernand Cremieux.
Vote: In favor of, 333; against, 136.
In the Senate, on April 2, 1898, the following took part in the debate:
MM. Raynal, E ugtne Guerin, Gouin, Georges Cochery, Minister of
Finance, and Prevet de Lamarzelle.
The severance of the amendment was put aside b y 142 votes against
131, and this was passed b y a vote of hands.
&The solidarity was established under the following circumstances: On
March 8 M. Viviani caused the Chamber of Deputies to adopt two amend­
ments— one establishing the solidarity of the stockbrokers, the other
that the books of the stockbrokers should be audited by treasury inspect­
ors. The Ministry of Finance caused these two provisions to be set aside
by the Senate, after which the solidarity of stockbrokers was established
b y the decree of June 30, 1898, as stated above. The legality of the pro­
ceeding is very debatable. According to article 1202 of the Code civil,
solidarity (outside of solidarity b y mutual agreement) can be declared
only by law.



Nl o n e t a r y


The second decree increased the number of stockbrokers
of the Paris Bourse to seventy, and the third decree
treated of the brokerage rates, modifying those pre­
viously established by the stockbrokers themselves.
In general, the new rate prescribed was percent,
where the old one was 0.12% per cent, and the bro­
kerage for the transactions in French rentes was fixed
at 12.50 francs for the one-half unit of speculation,® while
the old rate was 20 francs. On the other hand, the private
regulations of the stockbrokers of December 3, 1891, were
modified. The maximum number of chief clerks was in­
creased to six (it was previously four). Provisions were
made that the settlement of cash transactions in certifi­
cates to bearer be effected before the fifth bourse session
following the session when the operation was made.


ever, from January 30, 1899, this delay was extended until
the tenth Bourse, and the obligation for the stockbroker
with unadjusted claims to “ execute” (buy-in or sell-out,
compel settlement by) his fellow-member in arrears was
replaced by the right of recourse to the procedure of “ exe­
cution.” Finally, on July 12, 1901, a new tariff, raising
brokerage rates, was established by M. Cailloux, Minister
of Finance. The minimum of 50 centimes was fixed. The
brokerage fee was increased to 0.25 franc for each share
or bond worth less than 250 francs and 0.50 franc for
securities the prices of which range between 250 and 500
The reorganization of the financial market had there­
fore been “ botched u p ” under the queerest circum­
stances. They had come back to the Tirard system

“ See Nos. 16 and 38, Book II.— Translator.


History and Methods, of the Paris Bourse
through the Fleury-Ravarin amendment, we said; but
M. Tirard himself, although in favor of the stockbrokers’
monopoly, had agreed that the question of organizing a
public market was one of those whose solution could
not be improvised and which could not be withheld
from public discussion. Answering M. Nivert, M. Tirard
said, on February 24, 1893: “After a vote has been taken
on the bill submitted to your deliberation, I have in
mind to place the consideration of this question before
the Council of State, and to prepare a bill which shall
have the advantage of having been thoroughly studied.”
Well, the question proposed in 1898 was the same as in
1893. Monopoly or freedom of brokerage, or, also, a
mixed system, admitting of regulated freedom. Two
senators spoke for freedom. In the meanwhile an
amendment to the budget changed the mode of collecting
the tax; and there you are. By means of decrees a
Minister revises brokerage rates, arranges for the appoint­
ment of ten stockbrokers, institutes a solidarity of doubt­
ful legal standing, and calls that operation a “ reorgani­
zation.” Tegally, even the very word “ reorganization ”
can not be used. Laws can not be modified by decrees;
and, as decrees are based on laws already existing, it
would be more correct to say that there was a sup­
pression of the question of reorganizing the financial
market, which had been proposed by two senators after
the Government had failed to do so. It is hardly possi­
ble to understand at present how a question which in 1893
required such an extremely exhaustive study in the eyes of
M. Tirard and of all others, could be touched upon and
decided in the circumstances detailed above— that is to
903120— 1




M on e t a ry


say, under the most unwonted circumstances and the
most contrary to precedent.
For what reasons was the bill announced by M.
Peytral never submitted to consideration? For what
reasons was the bill proposed by the two senators in some
way withdrawn from the Senate? For what reasons did
the Meline ministry in 1898 entangle itself in that strange
procedure, contrary to all precedents in legislative mat­
ters? These are points which have never been cleared
up, and concerning which the parties most interested seem
to desire to avoid all discussion.0 Some explanations of
that little financial and parliamentary coup d'etat have
been furnished, but the moderation necessary for the
present study does not allow our reproducing them here.*6
The following reasons may be substituted for or added
to the above: We know that in matters of political econ­
omy the regime of commercial treaties was superseded by
the regime of tariff maximum and minimum in 1892. A
strong protectionist current had become apparent in the
political spheres since 1878. M. Meline was the leader
thereof. In the newspaper world some writers had made
themselves the champions of international bimetallism
and protectionism, especially MM. Edm. Thery and Jules
Domergue. The Stockbrokers’ Association (Compagnie
des agents de change) expressed its fellow-feeling at an
early date, and gave its support to the bimetallist and
protectionist movement, either from economic convic­
tion or through design, thinking that economic parties
a C on grh International des valeurs m obilihes de 1900 h Paris.
6 ju in , 1900. Compte-Rendu (P a u l Dupont, imprimeur .)
b J o u r n a l V Action of November 7 and December 12, 1903.


S ta n ce du

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
become political parties and that political parties have
their expression, when they are successful, in executive
power. The Meline ministry was, therefore, in power
in 1898; it rewarded those who had supported it, while
the protectionist and nationalist papers directed a
virulent campaign against the Coulisse. The time had
been admirably chosen. We know what painful strife
had taken place in the country concerning the Dreyfus
affair. In 1898 the question of knowing whether there was
ground or not to review the military trial of 1894 was
obscured by passions. If anyone wanted to see the trial
reviewed, he was a traitor to his country, an opponent of
the army, an enemy of order, a conspirator against the fair
name of France abroad, and even against the credit of the
State. 1 On the other hand, if anyone else opposed the
review of the trial, he was a pretorian (meaning a mer­
cenary soldier), he was a reactionist, retrograde; the shouts
of “ Long live the arm y!” “ Death to the Jews!” and
“ Down with the priests!” were heard in the streets and
at meetings. Men of the most incongruous spheres of
society combined or contended with one another.
It so happened that some of the curb brokers (couUssiers) who brought to our market orders from Frank­
fort, Berlin, Madrid, London, Vienna, and Constantinople,
were foreigners. Some of them were Jews. It is easy
to guess what powerful assistance the Dreyfus affair
brought to the stockbrokers. The Coulisse was the
victim. The nationalist and protectionist papers man­
aged the campaign, reproached some of the opponents
with their.origin, and the Parliament resounded with the




M on et a ry


saddest discourses ever uttered in the glorious French
To-day one can not read the debates without expe­
riencing deep astonishment at the wretchedness of the
arguments that animated all this debate, which, more­
over, was altogether foreign to the budget discussion. The
author of the amendment, the keystone of the reorganiza­
tion, M. Fleury-Ravarin, pleaded that there had been tax
frauds in the open m arket;0 to-day it seems to be an
established fact that there were none.6 M. Gauthier de
Clagny called to account the foreigners in the Coulisse.c
But nevertheless, they permitted the “ Rente Coulisse” to
stay; so that, as far as public credit alone is concerned,
there are Frenchmen of ancient stock who negotiate
Ottoman bank shares, Turkish rentes, and exterior Span­
ish. The same speaker, concluding from the particular to
the general, charged the Coulisse with the emission of a
security, “ La Watana, ” which he called a swindle, an
emission in which two curb brokers were interested.d In
the Senate, M. de Lamarzelle reproached the Coulisse
with having introduced the gold-mines securities,® but
there was no question of taking away from the Coulisse
the gold-mines securities in which it was dealing, and these
securities will remain there. The Minister of Finance, M.
Cochery, carried off the vote in the Senate by maintaining
a Session of March 7, 1898; Journal Officiel of the 8th.
b Cole de la Bourse et de la Banque; annSe 1898, Nos. 141. 144, 255, 278.
c Session of March 8, 1898; Journal Officiel of March 9.
d Proceedings were instituted against the issuers, which resulted in their
being fully acquitted.

(Police court of the Seine, eighth chamber, June

21, 1901. Le Droit, June 23, 1901.)
« Session of April 2, 1898; Journal Officiel of the 5th.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
that on two occasions the curb brokers had attempted to
depress the prices of French rentes and Russian rentes,
both of which were dealt in only on the “ Parquet” by
the stockbrokers.0 The fact is substantially incorrect.
a Here are the very words uttered b y M. Cochery, Minister of Finance.
T h ey were taken from the Journal Officiel of April 3, 1898, in the report
of the session of April 2:
“ Just now a singularly painful event was recalled to our memory.


two occasions, while in France everyone rejoiced when the journey of
the Russian Emperor in France and the journey of the President of the




[Shouts and interruptions.]

M. D e L amarzEELE.— “ But this is quite correct.”
The Minister .— “ Gentlemen, I wonder at these protests. [Speak, speak.]
I am bringing with me particulars for the information of the Senate, and
with no thought in mind but the public welfare.
“ I say that on two occasions, at a time when events gave France
more confidence in herself and in the future, at a time, consequently, when
it seemed that an upward movement in the securities of the two allied
nations was due, there occurred in the market— not in the official mar­
ket, but in the open market— tactics calculated to cause a considerable
Well, the Russian rentes were dealt in on the open market neither in
1896, when the Russian Emperor visited Paris, nor in 1897, when M. Felix
Faure went to St. Petersburg.

T hey were dealt in exclusively on the offi­

cial market, so that it was materially impossible for tactics to be set at
work in the open market against the Russian rentes.
As to the French rentes, we give below the comparative rates in the offi­
cial and the open markets, according to the Official Quotation List for the
former and according to the “ Cote de la Bourse et de la Banque” for the

(a) Prices of French rentes, 3 per cent, from October 3 to October 8, at
the time of the Russian Emperor’s trip to Paris:







IOI. 62

4 _______

Open market__________
Bourse closed.

1 0 1 .57



1 0 1 . 70

io t




1 0 1 . 70

6 ________

Open market. _ ________
Bourse closed.



1 0 1 . 50


Open market __________









1 0 1 .5 5

x o x . 68




Open m arket.. _________




M on e t ar y


However, he permits the “ Coulisse des rentes” to
remain in existence. The same Minister advanced as a rea­
son for supporting the Fleury-Ravarin amendment, that
the Stockbroker’s Association had entered a complaint
against the curb brokers.® Thus he desired to avoid the
disturbance which might have befallen the financial
market, and he fulfilled the expectations of the stock­
brokers before they obtained such fulfillment by legal
means. This time the matter was taken out of the
court’s hands, as it had been taken out of the Senate’s.
All is chaos and anarchy in that discussion and in those
irregular proceedings. MM. Thopiteau, Viviani, and
Ribot called the Chamber’s attention to that fact,6 and
notably M. Ribot, who, however, declared himself in
favor of the stockbrokers’ monopoly. M. Gouin, in the
Senate, president of the commission appointed to look
into the Trarieux-Boulanger proposition, vainly


tested. c Inconsistency in arguments; illogicalness in solu(b) Prices of French rentes, 3 per cent, from August 23 to 27, at the time
of President Faure’s trip to Russia:

A u gu st 23 —


A u gu st 25----------

Official m a rk e t___ _______
Open m a rk e t____
Official m a rk e t. .
O pen m a r k e t _____
O fficial m a rk e t___

A u gu st 2 6 .- -

O pen m arket ________
O fficial m arket _ .

A u g u st 24----------

A u gu st 27 _ _ __

Open m a rk e t................ .............
Official m a rk e t------------------Open m a rk e t----------------------




104. 87

104. 93
104. 85
104. 87


104. 83
104. 82


104 93

104. 83


104. 62

10 4 63
104 . 7 0


1 0 4 .90

104. 93
104. 87
1 0 4 .9 1

104 - 7 5

104 . 7 7


a Senate, session of April 2, 1898 ; Journal Officiel of the 3d.
b Chamber of Deputies, session of March 7, 1898; Journal Officiel of
the 8th.
c Senate, session of April 2, 1898; Journal Officiel of the 3d.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
tions. What of it? The vote on the budget of 1898,
which was to take place before the end of the year 1897,
is away behind time; elections are approaching. There
is need to hurry. Minds are disturbed. Once more the
Dreyfus affair is in full swing. The ministry obtains
what it asked for.®
(108) The curb brokers resorted to libels in answering
the attacks they were subjected to in the newspapers.
But the discussion gained neither in broadness nor in
theoretical interest. The two parties fired their griev­
ances at each other, and it must be admitted that if the
Stockbrokers’ Association did not deserve victory, the cou­
lisse party deserved defeat. Hardly had the law of 1893
permitted them to deal publicly in listed securities when
the curb brokers entirely lost sight of the fact that that
state of things would only— nay, could only— be tempo­
rary. To trade, to buy, or to sell— that was all that
concerned them. The gold mines engrossed their atten­

They lacked entirely the sense of professional

a The Honorable M. Cochery, who presided at the Congrks International
des valeurs m o b ilises (International Congress of Transferable Securities)
in 1900, condescended to acknowledge to the author that the arguments
brought forward in favor of the freedom of the market (in the session
of June 6 of said Congress) were mostly new to him; that it was a m at­
ter of regret for him that, for some inexplicable cause, these arguments
had never come to his notice; and that, if he had been aware of them, he
would have hesitated in extolling the prevailing system in its totality.
These words do great honor to the Minister. Moreover, the Honorable M.
Cochery in his closing speech of the Congress— a speech bearing the stamp
of great elevation of mind— made plainly known the emotiori he had expe­
rienced during the session devoted to the inquiry into the organization of
bourses: “ Relating to the market organization, the debate at one time
assumed a truly passionate aspect

. . . .

but passionate in the right

w ay— the passion resulting from the wish to protect common interests.”
[Loud applause.]

Stenographic report of the Congress, C. I. P., 308,

P. Dupont, printer.




N a 1 1o n a l

M on et a r y


Many looked upon their profession as some

sort of tolerated condition, to cease the day it would
suit the stockbrokers to have it cease. They had no
idea of a natural right to be transformed into a positive
right, and it was the lack of this notion that caused
their reply to be so little interesting. “ We represent
such an amount of taxes, licenses, such a number of
telegraphic messages, we employ so many clerks,”—
this was the level to which the discussion rose, unless
once in a while there happened an argument “ ad
homines’' in answer to those aimed at them. The one
who evoked an economic principle was called a theorist,
a transcendental metaphysicist. Moreover, there was no
discipline on the Coulisse. Its president, M. Alphonse
Lange, who died shortly afterwards, undoubtedly should
be given credit for wanting to offer energetic resistance.
Personally very wealthy, he might have, like many
others, said to himself that, if conquered, the defeat
meant but little to his own personal interests. Y et he
put up a really good fight, but he was little adapted for
such discussions; moreover, no one among the curb
brokers— a thing unheard of— seemed prepared for them.
Besides, had not the announcement been given out that
twenty new offices of stockbrokers were to be created ?a
Many of the curb brokers intended to be candidates for
these new offices. It was, therefore, necessary that the
opposition of the crowd should not be too fiery, lest all
of the candidates be rejected; and these, being more or
less clear-sighted, stood in the way of a too energetic
“ The Minister of Finance confirmed that item of news in the Chamber of
Deputies, March 8, 1898, Journal Officiel of the 9th.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
action for the defensive or the offensive.

But a group

of professional men, whoever they may be, containing,
in spite of its immense resources, such elements of
weakness, is incontestably destined in advance to defeat.
Financiers make the great mistake of not sufficiently
taking into account that moral force and professional
dignity are worth more than gold. However strong may
have been the cause of the Coulisse, its advocates failed
in their efforts on its behalf, and it was no easy matter
to champion it in Parliament, because its defenders were
badly treated in certain publications.
Now, if the curb brokers had to be defeated— if, as a
special group, they deserved the defeat they had expe­
rienced— was not their cause superior to, did it not go
beyond, the individual members; were there not sufficient
grounds to watch against the strengthening of the mo­
nopoly ; was it not necessary to beware of having recourse
to surreptitious means in proceeding to a reorganization
of the m arket; was it not necessary that the Bourse
should be either free or regulated?
It seems that the act of reorganization should have
been prompted by considerations superior to the interests
of the stockbrokers or of the curb brokers. At any rate,
let us see what took place within the Coulisse on the
day following the reorganization.
(109) After the “ reorganization,” the Coulisse remained
composed of the following elements:
The “ coulisse des rentes” (Coulisse for rentes) remained
the same as before. It keeps on in a state of being




M on et a ry


The coulisse des valeurs" (Coulisse, for securities) does
not any longer exist in a state of being tolerated. Curb
brokers deal freely, as intermediaries or otherwise, in
securities not susceptible of being quoted, whether these
securities be such that the stockbrokers do not care to
quote, or such that they are not allowed to quote. In
the latter category are found the foreign securities, in
denominations of 25 francs, which the French law does
not permit for French corporations. (Law of August 1,
1893; decree of December 1, 1893.)
Under these conditions, a number of bankers who
make it a practice to deal among themselves in the Paris
market, established two professional syndicates, under
the terms of the law of March 21, 1884, concerning syn­
dicates : one for the bankers dealing for future delivery
(h terme), and the other for the bankers dealing for cash
(au comptant). Of course, one may belong to the pro­
fession without being connected with either of the syndi­
cates. There is nothing to prevent a banker from pur­
chasing certain securities from another banker, whether
he belongs to a syndicate or not, but members of syndicates
constitute groups only among themselves.
The Coulisse is not officially known under that name.
The professionals on the bourse who are not stock­
brokers (agents de ohange) are called bankers (banquiers).
The curb brokers (Coulisse members) in rentes form the
“ groupe des Banquiers en Rentes Frangaises.” The
groups for other securities are formed by the members
of the tlSyndicat des Banquiers en valeurs au comptant"
(syndicate of bankers dealing in securities for cash), and


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
of the “ Syndicat des Banquiers en valeurs a terme” (syn­
dicate of bankers dealing in securities for future delivery).
A special group is formed by the 1'Union des Banquiers”
(Bankers’ Union), which deals in commercial bills. The
“ Union des Banquiers” has always kept out of the

(no) Truly it would be judging superficially, to con­
clude from the above that conditions are satisfactory.
The condition of the Coulisse for rentes is necessarily
precarious. To be tolerated is neither a prosperous nor
a progressive condition.
As to the Coulisse for securities, according to the
decision of the Cour de cassation of June i, 1885,° as
soon as a security is admitted to the Official Quotation
List, the dealings in the same become an attribute of the
monopoly. In that regard, therefore, there is yet a rela­
tive condition of toleration. The same applies, in a strictly
legal aspect, to securities concerning which an agreement
was reached in 1901 between the Stockbrokers’ Associa­
tion and the bankers dealing in securities for future
delivery. Finally, as to foreign securities which can not
be officially quoted, because their denomination is inferior
to the par value of French shares, a mere reduction of
the limit fixed by French lawmakers would result in
rendering available for quotation on the “ Parquet” the
25-franc shares of foreign corporations. This change is
eagerly sought by the Stockbrokers’ Association.
( h i ) As to the stockbrokers’ monopoly (monopole des
agents de change), it reigns supreme, as sovereign master,
outside the restricted sphere in which the Coulisse oper-

aS irey, 1885, p. 257.



M on e t a r y


This is equitable neither from the standpoint of

public justice, nor from the economic point of view, nor
from that of the State’s interests.
The principles of public justice, belonging to the natu­
ral or civil order, refer to the rights of individuals. They
include personal liberty, civil equality— that is to say,
equality before the law, the right of assemblage, the free­
dom of labor, of commerce, and of industry. Proclaimed
by the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen
(Declaration des droits de Vhomme et du citoyen), on August
26, 1789, they are to-day the foundation of French public
rights, and have been mentioned either explicitly or im­
plicitly in all constitutions:
“ Of all monopolies intrusted to ministerial officers,”
said M. Ducrocq0 “ there are few which are more dis­
puted or more disputable, from the standpoint of prin­
ciples, than the stockbrokers’ monopoly. Their office,
indeed, is one of those in which the character of public
office has the least share, and in which, on the contrary,
the professional and even the commercial character
occupies the most important place. The negotiating of
bourse securities, in return for a compensation, is no
more a public function than the selling of any other
kind of m erchandise.............
“ We can conceive of no serious reason, drawn from the
interests of public credit, to maintain the market for
bourse securities within the hands of a close corporation.
This dealing in bourse securities is indeed the essential part
of the vocation of the stockbroker; his other duties are
a Cours de droit adm inistrate et de legislation jranqaise des finances T. I l l ,
Np. 4, 215.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
mere accessories.

Well, there is no doubt that, in order to

give to the trading in securities the moral and material
safety which is indispensable for public credit, there is no
necessity to turn it, contrary to its nature, into a public
function. It is sufficient to regulate and to control the
profession, which thus becomes reconciled, within the
measure demanded by public interest, with the principle
of freedom of labor and commerce.
“ The other duties of stockbrokers— the verifying of quo­
tations and the certifying of transfers— are accessories of
which the stockbrokers might be relieved, so as to remain
invested only with their principal and essential role— the
role of dealers in securities. There would be no more pre­
text for monopoly. A few real officials could be intrusted
with the duty of certifying transfers and drawing up the
quotation lists. A t any rate, if, instead of proclaiming the
markets absolutely free, the law were to suppress the
monopoly, and to regulate the profession by the indemnity
system applied to merchandise brokers by the law of July
18, 1866 (No. 1208), could not then the new syndical cham­
ber continue to provide for those two features, in a wideopen corporation, under requirements of legal qualifica­
tions, morality, and solidarity? The fixed time and place
for holding the Bourse, its publicity, the trading in
a loud voice, are such sure bases of genuineness for estab­
lishing the quotation list that the regulation of the pro­
fession should certainly suffice to allow it to continue
attending Jo the matter by itself. Does not the syndical
chamber of the stockbrokers (chambre syndicate des
agents de change) content itself with merely registering
the quotations of the prices set up by the exchange and



N ational

M on et a ty


metal brokers, though legally it should be prepared by
the syndical chamber itself?

It is therefore not neces­

sary, for the verification of quotations, that there exist
‘ agents de change,’ holders of ministerial offices.
“ France is about the only country whose financial mar­
ket is in the hands of intermediaries who are, in fact, the
owners of their offices, invested with absolute monopoly.
There are even countries where the freedom of the market
is complete, as in England, where the Bourse, called the
Stock Exchange, is a private institution, elective and
subject to its own by-laws; in the United States, where
the organization is the same; in Belgium, since the law of
December 20, 1867, which proclaimed the free exercising
of the functions of merchandise brokers and stockbrokers;
in most of the Swiss Cantons; excepting, however, Basle,
Geneva, and Zurich, which have monopolies; and in the
South American Republics (Argentine Republic, Brazil,
and Paraguay).

In all other countries, the financial mar­

ket system is built up on the principle we recommend,
of the freedom of the profession combined with its regu­
lation. Such are the legal provisions of the German
Empire, Austro-Hungarv, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal,
Holland, and the Scandinavian States.”
MM. Lyon-Caen and Renault point out with the same
clearness, that mediation in negotiating securities possesses
in itself no attribute of a public function. We quote:®
‘‘ It should be noticed that in 1866 nobod}^ asked that
the stockbrokers’ monopoly be suppressed. Sundry rea­
sons have often been brought forward in favor of its
being maintained. Their part is not limited to trading
a T ra iti de Droit Commercial, T . IV , No. 1035.


History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
in bourse securities; they guarantee the identity of parties
and the genuineness of signatures for the transfer of gov­
ernment and other securities; they are necessarily, for
a certain time, depositaries of important sums and
numerous securities; every day they verify the quotations
of securities, especially government securities. Thanks to
the stockbrokers ’ monopoly, the Treasury enjoys perfect
security as to the transfers involving its responsibility;
transactions are carried out with great rapidity, and the
interest of inexperienced people, who have to hand in
their securities or their money, is protected. Such is the
summary of the reasons given by the Government in
the explanatory statement of the law of July 18, 1866.
(J. Bozerian. De VInstitution des Agents de Change.)
These arguments advanced in favor of the monopoly held
by the stockbrokers are not decisive.

Mediation in nego­

tiating securities has nothing in itself constituting a public
function. Moreover, one could conceive that freedom was
allowed in this matter, and that, without monopoly, meas­
ures had been taken for the verification of quotations and
for the avoidance of the worst abuses. Besides, there are
many countries where there is no monopoly either for the
brokerage in merchandise, insurance, and freight, or for
the mediation in negotiating securities, and yet the free­
dom does not appear to stir up any complaints. See,
especially, the Belgian law of December 30, 1867; the
regulation attached to decree of December 14, 1882, given
out for the execution of the Italian commercial code of
1882; and the Hungarian code (art. 524 et seq.) The
German commercial code (art. 66 et seq^) authorizes official
brokers, leaving to private individuals the right to do




M on e t a r y


brokerage as private brokers. This code reserves the
right for each State to establish a monopoly for the ben­
efit of official brokers (art. 84).“ None of the States, however, has availed itself of this
privilege, while Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Hamburg have
each abolished the monopoly there existing. In Bremen
(1867) and in Hamburg (1871) the official brokers have
been suppressed. In Austria the law of April 1, 1875,
has sanctioned the monopoly; but the law has shown
no results. The private brokers remain in fact, and
operate as commission men with the brokers themselves.
(V. Endeman, Handbuch des Deutschen Handelsrechts, III,
pp. 135 and 137-)”
(112) Leaving now the critical analysis of jurists, and
passing to the examination of the question of the stock­
brokers’ monopoly from the economic standpoint, we can
not but condemn it in the most unequivocal terms.
Let us observe, however, that public justice and politi­
cal economy have such affinities in many respects that,
when the economic principles have passed into the do­
main of law, it is impossible to distinguish between the
considerations depending upon the one or the other
science. Moral and political sciences, moreover, are not
separated by impenetrable walls, and the divisions set up
by men for the accommodation of their reasoning in
no way interfere with the community of principles on
which they depend. Thus we may say that the consid­
erations of public justice we have just expounded serve as
an introduction to those which are to follow.
The modern doctrine of monopoly does not derive it
any longer from a royal or state prerogative. The right

History and Methods of the Paris Bourse
to labor belongs to all.

Certain lines of work are subject

to special conditions in France— the practice of medicine,
or the practice of pharmacy, for instance; but inquir­
ing into the conditions for recruiting professional men
for these practices, we see that there is no monop­
oly on them. All those who meet certain conditions
may be physicians or pharmacists. Monopoly exists
when the State exercises certain public services, or car­
ries on a certain industry, or again, when it deprives cer­
tain people of the right to labor, granting it to others in
consideration of a fee or gratuitously. In the first case
it is a public monopoly, in the second it is a private
monopoly. Well, the stockbrokers’ monopoly is exer­
cised by ministerial officers, not for account of the State,
but for their own account. This is a private monopoly,
to which all economists are strongly opposed.
“ Like all monopolies, but more justly than many
others, the stockbrokers’ monopoly is furiously attacked.
It may be impossible to give decisive reasons in its favor,
though in the last resort it may be acknowledged that
the Bourse intermediaries should be bound to furnish
personal guarantees.”
Thus expressed himself M. Paul Cauwes,® professor in
the Law Faculty of the Paris University.
M. Courcel-Seneuil expressed himself as follows:*6
“ The monopoly, giving rise to exceptional profits,
creates an entirely artificial property, built up at the
public expense and for the benefit of the first holders, a
property acquired without labor, growing without labor

° P r icis d'Econom ie Politique, T . i, p. 648.
& Trait6 d'Econom ie Politique, 1801, T . 2, p. 125.

9 0 3 12 0— 10------17


N a t i on a l

M on e t a ry


with the increase in population and general wealth, and
having no justification.”
A t the congress of 1887 of the Association Frangaise
pour I'avancement des sciences M. Arthur Raffalovich ex­
pressed himself as follows, in a lecture on the Paris
Bourse:® “ In spite of the increasing value of transferable
wealth of the transactions effected daily at the Bourse,
France presents the strange phenomenon of a legislation
relatively stationary, of an old-fashioned regulation,
which is not in keeping with the requirements of the
times * * *. The monopoly of the stockbrokers
seems to me doomed to disappear; it does not exist in
any of the great European markets.”
The Traite d'Economie Politique of M. Joseph Gam ier,6
after having expressed the view that (No. 191) “ all arti­
ficial monopolies in favor of individuals ’ ’ are contrary
to justice, detrimental to production, and have a tend­
ency to assume the character of “ abusive and iniqui­
tous” privilege, declares that those are the vestiges of
the guild system that have to be eradicated. The au­
thor expressly aims at the ministerial offices of stock­
brokers— after having shown that in March, 1858, the
“ Butchers’ Guild” {corporation) had been suppressed, in
1863 the “ Bakers’ Guild,” and in 1866 the “ Commercial
Brokers’ Guild.” (Footnote under No. 196.)
It would not be difficult, however, to find also a good
many complaints in the literature of the time coming
from those whose privileges were to be suppressed.— “ If
the butchers and bakers were no longer constituted as a

0 Comptes Rendus de 1887, Masson, editor, p. 984.
b Edition of 1889, brought up to date b y M. Andr6 Liesse.


History and Methods of the Paris


privileged corporation, everybody was to die of hunger!” —
“ As for free brokerage, it would be even a much greater
calamity. A lot of vagabonds would undertake to work
as brokers, and would prostitute commerce.” — The legisla­
ture of 1866 took no notice of these arguments, and nobody
wants monopoly any longer. It was, moreover, what had
already happened a century before. When, in 1776, all
corporations were threatened, the six principal trades
unions addressed petitions and requests, and explained
that wardenships, masterships, and guilds secured for con­
sumers integrity in contracts and quality in merchandise.
The arguments in favor of the 11 agents de change” are
exactly the same as those of the guilds of the seventeenth
century and of the holders of privilege of 1866.
The Soci6te d’Economie Politique in 1859° discussed
the monopoly of stockbrokers.

MM. Reybaud, Wolowski,

Michel Chevalier, Courcelle-Seneuil, P. Coq, Courtois, Dupuit, de Parieu, and J. Gamier took part in the dis­
cussion, which terminated in condemning the monopoly.
In 1893 the same discussion presented itself and con­
cluded in the same way. The following took part in the
discussion: MM. Courtois, Brandts, and Alfred Neymarck.
The latter expressed himself energetically against the
monopoly of stockbrokers, and M. Gide declared “ the
institution as entirely undeserving of interest.” 6 In 1898,®
right before the “ Reorganization,” the Societe d'Economie
Politique expressed itself again energetically against the
monopoly of stockbrokers. Only M. Manchez upheld it;

a] ournal des Economistes, April 15, 1859.
f>Journal des Economistes, April 15, 1893.
c Journal des Economistes, June 15, 1898


N ational

M on e t a r y


but those who spoke against it were MM. de Montplanet, J. Siegfried, Neymarck, Emmanuel Vidal, and
Frederic Passy. The latter, who closed the debate,
expressed the opinion that the monopoly, when held up
as the means of guaranteeing the genuineness of quota­
tions, carried in itself the denial of such genuineness.
The Paris Chamber of Commerce expressed an opinion
unfavorable to the stockbrokers’ monopoly,® and the
Tribunal de commerce de la Seine, when asked for advice
concerning the expedienc3r of creating new offices in
completing the “ reorganization” scheme, declared itself
against the measure.6 So we see, it is not alone the
economists who are opposed to the monopoly, but also
the business men, who every day struggle with realities.
It has often been claimed that the stockbrokers’ mo­
nopoly was necessary for the welfare of the national
credit. But facts singularly deny that assertion. Why
was it necessary in 1898, that, simultaneously with the
upholding of the usefulness of bolstering up the stock­
brokers’ privilege by the Honorable M. Cochery, he should
undertake to tolerate the existence of the Coulisse, plac­
ing it, in fact, under the exclusive supervision of the
Stockbrokers’ Association (Compagnie des Agents de
Change) ? No argument could be more flatly contradicted.
Moreover, how could the “ agents de change” support
the country’s rentes? It should be borne in mind that
in the countries whose rentes enjoy the best reputation
among the investing public in London, Berlin, and New
York, there are no ministerial officers for the negotiation
o M ay 14, 1898, Cote de la Bourse et de la Banque of May 17.
b M ay 25, 1898, Cote de la Bourse et de la Banque of M ay 26.


History and Methods of the Paris


of securities. Moreover, the stockbrokers in France can
not undertake bourse operations for their own account,
according to article 85 of the Code de Commerce. But
one can uphold the price of a merchandise or a security
only by buying it and by meeting repeated and persistent
offers by bids of equal force, able to counterbalance them
and force the short sellers to cover. We have seen before
that, on the contrary, the French national credit was built
up on the freedom of transactions.
Some imagine that to be admitted to the official quota­
tion list is a guarantee to the public of the intrinsic value
of the enterprise the securities of which are quoted.
This is erroneous. Public savings derive no benefit of
increased safety from the stockbrokers’ monopoly. This
is no reproach to monopoly.

It essentially could not be

Below we cite the opinion on that subject given in
1875 by the Syndic of the stockbrokers, Moreau, at the
General Assembly of his colleagues.a
“ It is to be much regretted that our duties are so
little understood by the public, that some of our pro­
ceedings are charged with a function they do not possess,
and which they never did possess. Often some people
wrongfully imagine that the admission of a security on
the official quotation list, is a kind of indorsement given
that security, a testimonial in its favor, an introduction
by the syndical chamber.
“ Nothing is further from the truth.
“ The quotation list is simply the verification of the
prices at which a security has been dealt in. Whenever a

a Sem aine Financikre of February 7, 1875, p. 137.


N ational

M on e t a r y


certain number of capitalists choose to effect a sufficiently
large number of transactions in any given enterprise,
whether good or bad, it is for them, and not for us, that
the delicate task of price-fixing is reserved; and, if it is
done within the conditions exacted by the revenue laws,
and allowing sufficient competition and publicity, we can
not refuse to serve them, since we are in possession of a
monopoly, and we are bound to execute orders.”
Existing theory is in unanimous agreement with this
‘‘ It should be noticed,” said Mollot,0 “ that, although
the Syndical Chamber is intrusted by law with the duty
of verifying quotations of securities, it can not guarantee
their value. It is not called upon to inquire into their
merit, whether as to their form or as to the solvency of
the debtors. The value of the securities may vary ad
infinitum, without ever making the Chamber responsible
for it. It is for those who operate to investigate the
nature and soundness of enterprises. They buy at their
own risk.”
In his Dictionnaire de Droit Commercial6 M. Ruben de
Couder expresses himself as follows:
‘ ‘ The Syndical Chamber does not guarantee the value
of the securities the quotations of which it verifies. It
is for those who operate to satisfy themselves as to their
In the “ Dictionnaire universel de la Bourse et de la
Banque” c we read: “ It is not correct to imagine that
a Bourses de Commerce, No. 479.
b Under “ Agents de change.”
c Uncompleted work published under the management of M. J. Boz£rian
under “ Adm ission & la cote” (Comit6 des Publications scientifiques et indus-

trielles, 5, c iti Palgalle).

History and Methods of the Paris


admission of a security to the quotation list is some sort
of sanction given to that security, like a testimonial in
its favor, a reference of the Syndical Chamber.”
M. Bucherea limits the responsibility concerning the
admission to the quotation list, to the case when securities
have not been regularly issued. This is common law;
this is not the principle of a special responsibility per­
taining to the stockbrokers. No matter whether one is
the issuer of the stock, or only aider and abettor, he incurs
the same responsibility.
M. Abel Valdmann is explicit on that point:
“ The statement of all the qualifications as to form,
making a security fit to be quoted officially, does not
involve— in fact, has no connection with— the statement
of its merchantable qualifications; that is to say, of those
relating to the intrinsic value of the security.” 6
And later the same author adds:
“ There has never been found, and there never will be
found, a court that will countenance the absurdity, that
the admission to the quotation list guarantees to the
buyer that he is making a good investment. Well might
we ask what guaranty the syndical chambers would then
give to the seller, who is likewise one of the contracting
parties in every trade, and quite as interested as the
purchaser.” 0
To be sure, no foreign security can be admitted on the
quotation list without the positive permission of the Min­
ister of Finance, but this in no wise renders the Minister

a Traits des valeurs mobilieres, No. 1108.
b La profession d’Agent de Change, No. 313.
c No. 329.





Since 1837 the Chambre Syndicate des agents de change
has asked the Minister of Finance to undertake to give an
opinion in last resort on the admissions of new securities
to the quotation list. The Minister, M. Lacave-Laplagne,
declined all responsibility, acknowledging, nevertheless,
that the responsibility should not fall upon the Syndical
Chamber.3 Never since has any minister accepted such
responsibility. B y the way, the right the Minister of
Finance has to forbid a foreign security from being ad­
mitted to the quotation list is independent of the
question of monopoly, and that right may be maintained
whatever be the regime of the financial market.
The actual financial power of the Paris stockbrokers
is put forward as an argument, and it is affirmed that our
financial market is the first in the world. In our opin­
ion, even granting that this is true, which is far from
having been proven, the cause is confounded with the
effect. When a country, owing to its geographical loca­
tion, its climate, and the character of its inhabitants, pos­
sesses numerous natural riches, and even moral riches,
they cooperate in increasing its wealth; when it has the
advantage of certain political and economic conditions,
when it enjoys a monetary and commercial organization
which promotes, instead of paralyzing, human activity
in most of its manifestations, then that country is rich
and deserves to be rich. And it may then happen that
some organization, defective in itself, and the source of
manifold vexations, is nevertheless prosperous, as much
on account of certain facts of adaptation as because it
a Dictionnaire universel de Bourse et de Banque, under “ Adm ission h la
C ote."


History and Methods of the Paris


unavoidably lies within the reach of the rays of national
wealth. It reflects that wealth. But the Paris Bourse
does not owe its prosperity to its organization. Seventy
ministerial appointees intrusted with the negotiation of 130
billions of transferable securities are powerful personali­
ties. They would be more powerful if they were but 35.
They would be more powerful if there were but 20 of
them, or 10 or 5, or even 1— if there were in the market
but 1 autocrat, a single arbiter of securities, centralizing
bids and offers, and the king of the Bourse, just as we see
in America an oil king and a steel king. In such a case
the soundness of a market is more seeming than real. If
that system had been applied to provisions and merchan­
dise, infinitely more necessary for consumption than
rentes or shares in companies, the market for wine,
bread, and meat, appropriated by a few barons, might,
perhaps, be stupendously high, but in this respect experi­
ence speaks in favor of freedom of trade only. It seems
therefore necessary that public and private credit should
enjoy the benefit of an organization more pliable and more
in harmony with the general condition of a country’s
Tet us therefore beware of mistaking the
appearance of force for force itself— a deception that
should impress us no more than the sight of the effigies
of iron-clad warriors, standing on rich trappings in a mili­
tary museum. If our financial market were opened to
all who have funds and understand the profession, it
would be stronger still. If the market’s favorable situa­
tion were distributed among several hundred individ­
uals, the division of risks would render the market more
stable, competition would secure for our market the



N at i o n a l

M on e t a r y


desired elasticity, and, if wanted, regulation under the
supervision of the Minister of Finance would create a
condition half way between unlimited freedom, which,
with more or less reason, scares so many people, and
monopoly, which is an old outfit, in no way suiting our
customs, and disturbing the harmony of our laws without
rendering the services expected from it.
As another argument in favor of a monopolized market
the joint liability of the brokers is pleaded. It is indis­
putable that when the public is told: “ The agents de
change are conjointly liable,” it receives a pledge on
which it rests its faith, and yet it is certain that the joint
liability of the stockbrokers is perhaps the most detestable
of all measures passed in 1898.
It must be admitted that M. Cochery, the Minister of
Finance, energetically contested the measure of the stock­
brokers’ joint liability. He called attention to the fact
that the result would be to weaken in the stockbroker
the care for his personal responsibility.
Then, yielding to the objections of some deputies, who
disliked to strengthen the monopoly without some redeem­
ing features, M. Cochery inserted in his decree of June 29
a provision establishing the joint liability of stockbrokers,
in a way not incontestably legal, for again it may seem
strange that a decree is made to do the service of a law.
M. Cochery was apparently correct as far as the stock­
broker in normal times is concerned; but events have
demonstrated the defects of joint liability in times of finan­
cial panics; in such times it causes a real suspension of
the market. (February, 1904.)


History and Methods of the Paris


We find, then, two defects of the joint liability when we
examine its effects upon the stockbroker.
But is the joint liability useful so far as the public is
concerned? This is another side of the question of joint
The customers of stockbrokers are divided into three
categories: Givers of cash orders, speculators, and invest­
ors in continuations (reporteurs).
Those giving orders for cash have no use for the stock­
brokers’ joint liability. The transaction for cash in­
cludes, so to speak, no serious risk for the customer. In­
deed, in giving an order, he deposits a small cover. A few
days later he is informed that the securities are at his
disposal, or that he may bring the securities sold. He
calls, settles, and leaves either with the cash or with the
securities. However, not all operations have that imme­
diately interchangeable character. But, as a matter of
fact, the risk, independently of the joint liability, is re­
duced to a minimum. Should that minimum be yet too
high, it would not be difficult in a proper system of
bourse organization to endeavor to prefer certain creditors,
without having to resort to such an empirical means as
brokers’ joint liability.
Let us pass to the speculators. The most interesting
are those who purchase for future delivery to take up
securities, or who sell for future delivery to deliver. But
the settlement of these transactions is made at liquida­
tion; that is, the moment when the settlement for cash is
effected, money against securities, securities against cash,
within a very short time.
We can refer these operations to transactions for cash.



N ation a l

M on e t a r y


Now, all these transactions for cash or for future deliv­
ery which we have considered thus far are ordinary com­
mercial transactions, such as are customary for wheat,
oil, iron, wool, and other merchandise. These, conse­
quently, the lawmaker protects neither through monop­
oly nor through joint liability. We are thus able to
say that it is not in pursuance of reasons applying to
commerce in general that the stockbrokers’ joint liability
was established. It is in view of conditions peculiar to
the profession.
Each stockbroker has a considerable
following of customers trading for future delivery, who
settle their transactions by paying the differences. It
is even that class of customers which is most prized; it is
the most profitable class. It is for their benefit and for
the benefit of “ contangoers” (reporteurs) that the joint
liability was established.
Speculators speculate either for a rise (sont places a la
hausse), in which case they are buyers, or for a fall (sont
d la baisse), in which case they sell short (sont vendeurs a
The joint liability is therefore a measure which aims
to make the stockbrokers liable for the defaults of one
or more of them in times of panics; that is to say, when
there is a general decline in the value of securities.
Who are the creditors of the stockbrokers at such
times? Not the bulls (speculateurs d la hausse; they are
the debtors of the stockbrokers. It is the bears (specula­
teurs d la baisse) who are the creditors. They are the
ones who have the benefit of the joint liability. Can
anything more illogical be imagined? The main effect of
the joint liability is to protect the speculator for a fall,

History and Methods of the Paris


whom the lawmaker of the year III punished with im­
prisonment, forfeiture of property, and exposure to pub­
lic view with a sign on his breast bearing the inscription
“ agioteur” (stockjobber); against whom, until recently,
article 422 of the Code penal was directed, and against
whom there still exists to-day the “ jaculte d’escompte"
(right of purchaser to demand his stock at any time by ten­
dering the money). This is a striking instance of aberra­
tion in the authors of the law of 1898, which again demon­
strates that when the lawmaker starts from false premises,
he is bound to be unceasingly tossed about and to fall into
all sorts of follies, intended in his mind to justify him, but
which succeed only in causing his errors and nonsense to
blaze out with greater force.
If we examine the usefulness of the joint liability for
continuations {reports), we reach conclusions just as much
disappointing from an economic standpoint.
Peter is buyer for the 15th instant of securities worth
100,000 francs.

Paul is seller of these same securities.

Then comes the fifteenth.

Paul brings his securities, but

Peter has not the funds; this does not concern Paul; he
has sold; he delivers. A t that moment enters the “ contangoer” (reporteur)— Jack, we will say— with 100,000
francs. He takes up the securities and resells them to
Peter for the next settlement. All this takes place at the
stockbrokers’, and Peter, Paul, and Jack do not meet.
Now, Jack’s transaction is very simple. He takes up
securities which he resells at once at a slight profit. He
makes a temporary investment and, as a result, keeps the
securities as long as he is not repaid. He is well insured
against risk.



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M on e t a r y


Capitalists, “ contangoers,” “ takers-in,” are, therefore,
useful, but— may we be pardoned for our license of
speech— they are, of all workers, the workers that work
the least. They make temporary investments and remain
“ covered” . Well, when we see common commercial
contracts resting on trust; when we see thousands upon
thousands of tons of merchandise delivered, and the seller
merely holding three months’ acceptances; when every
kind of labor means risks; when every bold capitalist runs
all sorts of dangers, the law favors the most timid and the
best secured of capitalists. This is not only a violation
of justice, it is also a bad economic measure.
Therefore, from an economic standpoint, the stock­
brokers’ joint liability is not in itself a beneficial measure.
It is useful only to the stockbrokers intrenched behind
this apparent advantage. It intends to fortify a mo­
nopoly in public opinion, but, in so doing, it helps to
preserve an institution resting on an obvious error of the
lawmaker, by a process which is unnatural, useless— nay,
even dangerous.
Moreover, if it is necessary that the stockbrokers be
jointly liable, is the joint liability conditioned on mo­
nopoly? Is it not possible to conceive of a system of
broader association, regulated, as said before, in a proper
measure, and propped by the establishing of special guar­
anty funds through obligatory contributions from those
exercising the profession?
Public safety, then, does not make the monopoly an
absolute requirement.
Is the monopoly of the stockbrokers an advan­
tage for the State? The State faces a financial cor268

History and Methods of the Paris


poration, whose power it has itself created, and of which
it can rid itself only by indemnifying it.
But the longer we wait, the more will increase the
value of negotiable securities, and the more must the
seats of the agents de change rise in value.
In 1800 there were only six kinds of securities mentioned
on the official quotation list. There were eight in 1807.
In 1823 a royal ordinance (of November 21) authorized
the quoting of foreign securities. The monopoly was by
that much increased in value. The great industrial move­
ment resulting from railroad building found its financial
expression in the creation of numerous certificates “ to
bearer.” The value of the monopoly was by that much
increased again. In 1867, on July 24, the French law
proclaimed the freedom of the limited-liability company
in shares. Shares, bonds, and parts start at once mul­
tiplying ad infinitum. The monopoly is thereby once
more increased by that much. In 1885 a law on
transactions for future delivery is promulgated, which
recognizes as legal the very transactions the inter­
diction of which seems to have necessitated the insti­
tution of the agents de change. In 1893 the corporation
law becomes still more liberal. Thus, gradually, as the
economic movement manifests itself, and the lawmaker
enacts measures of more liberal scope, the monopoly
— ipso facto— is found to expand the field of its privilege,
taking advantage of the economic movement of an
entire country and of the lawmakers’ liberalism— stand­
ing by, a passive onlooker of that movement, and watch­
ing the value of its offices climbing up, as a result of a
progress in which it takes no part.





M on e t a r y


And it was under these conditions that, in 1898, they
proceeded to a reorganization which strengthened the
stockbrokers’ monopoly.

No doubt, in 1898, ten new

offices were created. But the ten titularies had to indem­
nify their new colleagues, and the total market value of
all the offices remained the same, keeping its tendency to
rise,0 as much from the fact of the expansion of the
securities, as from the weakening of the Coulisse.
No doubt, in 1898, brokerage rates were lowered, but
they were slightly raised again in 1901, and a lively press
campaign was started in latter times to demand their
Let us proceed to the last events.
On July 22, 1901, the Compagnie des agents de
change of Paris entered into a treaty with the curb
brokers, according to the terms of which the latter may
obtain the stockbrokers’ statements of their own transac­
tions (bordereaux d’agents de change) in consideration of 20
per cent of the brokerage, when these transactions bear
on Turkish or Servian securities and relate to operations
balancing each other.
a The first office sold was valued at 30,000 francs; about 1830 they rose
to 850,000 francs. After the July revolution they fell to 250,000 francs
and rose again to 950,000 francs before 1848. T hey declined at that time
to 400,000 francs and reached again in 1857 2,400,000 francs. T h ey de­
clined to 1,400,000 francs after the war, and were unable to rise for some
time after the failure of the Union G inirale.
(V. Courtois, Operations de

Bourse, 13 £d., p. 239.)
T he value of each of the offices on the day following the Reorganiza­
tion of the financial market was placed a t 1,600,000 francs, representing
for the 60 offices 96,000,000 francs. T he ten new titularies each paid
1,372,000 francs to their combined colleagues, that is to say, 13,720,000
francs, so that the 70 offices were worth 96,000,000 francs as a grand
& Semaine financikre du " T e m p s ,” September and October, 1908.


History and Methods of the Paris


In order to fully understand that clause, let us imagine
a banker, Peter, receiving the order from a client, Jack,
to buy Turkish rente, and another banker, Paul, receiving
an order from another client, Louis, to sell.
Peter and Paul, bankers, meet on the Bourse and deal
together. They visit together a stockbroker, and ask
him for a sale and purchase statement in the name of
one of the two. Together they will take all the necessary
measures, in order that each may show his client by means
of the said statement that the operation was legally
carried out.
In that respect it will be rather interesting to cite an
important notice published on the subject by the “ Annales
de Droit Commercial,” managed by M. Thaller, professor
at the law school of the Paris University:0
“ People living at a somewhat remote distance from
the Bourse have still in mind the conditions under which
the Paris market was reorganized in 1898.

They fancy

that now the parquet des agents de change (the stockbrok­
ers’ parquet) strictly enforces the privilege established for
listed securities by article 76 of the Code de commerce; it
has even been said that the coulisse de la rente (the rente
coulisse) has been spared. But it now happens that a
compromise of wider scope, entered into with the syn­
dicate of bankers dealing in securities for future delivery,
causes the public no longer to understand anything of the
system of transactions and of the tutelage the law exer­
cises over it.
“ The safeguard which the personal mediation of the
stockbroker was to give to the execution of bourse orders,
August, 1901, p. 225.
90312°--- IO





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M on e t a r y


is transformed into some kind of tithe, which he collects on
transactions concluded without him. The name ‘remisiers’
is given to those who make contracts by themselves, with
the only proviso that they shall daily have their trades
recorded on the pad of an ‘ agent,’ who, in return for a
percentage of the brokerage, will hand them an official
contract. And the members of the Parquet have lent
themselves to this playing of the part of a machine. In
order that the stockbroker shall run no risk, it was stip­
ulated that the transactions countersigned by him should
be booked at once to balance one another— that is to say,
the transactions reported on the pad as purchases should
immediately be counterbalanced by recording a sale to
the same customer, the same curb broker, at the same
price. b
“ So far it has been naively believed: (i) That the
transactions by application were subjected to regulation
limits, such as the verification of whether there had been
more advantageous bids or offers (decree, October 7, 1890,
art. 43); (2) that a transaction by application that had
been immediately carried out had no validity; (3) that
the stockbroker held an indirect means of restricting
prices, because it was in his power to determine the amount
of cover to be exacted, and that wherever his agency does
not" require him to exact cover, he ceases to be in a posi­
tion to repress the market’s outbursts. It was taken
for granted that all the bourse regulations were dependent
upon public order. But it rather seems that they were
at the mercy of a contract entered into by two corpora­
tions anxious to treat each other gently.”
a See Le Marche Financier du “ Journal des D tbats,” February 17.

History and Methods of the Paris


However, it is necessary to remark that this agreement
was forced upon the stockbrokers. The Waldeck-Rousseau
Ministry was then in power and was deeply shocked at the
way the financial market had been reorganized. The
economic principles of M. Caillaux, the Minister of Finance,
did not seem to him of a nature to admit that a broad
market should be based on a monopolized organization,
which is necessarily narrow. In 1898 M. WaldeckRousseau had become counsel for the Coulisse after
the death of M. Clauzel de Coussergues; but the eminent
statesman, the Advocate-Prime Minister, was too highminded and conscientious to let his client’s affairs
interfere with his government position. Moreover, any
legislative modification with a view to reorganize the
financial market, in the manner of the reorganization
of 1893, would have been a very serious proceeding,
a meaningless formula characteristic of his predecessor,
who had been his friend * * * before the “ Dreyfus
Affair,” and in opposition to whose policy the new



“ the




Defense.” The members of the Coulisse were aware of
their lawyer’s high-mindedness; they had the good sense
to understand it, and they abstained from asking the least
favor of him; but Waldeck-Rousseau, better than anyone
else, knew the extent of the injustice done in 1898. The
stockbrokers knew it also, and when M. Caillaux, Min­
ister of Finance, exacted that they enter into an arrange­
ment with the curb brokers, they obeyed, being thor­
oughly convinced that to resist would be of serious con­
sequence, and that the monopoly would not be worth a rap
the day a Minister made up his mind to make an end of it.




mmissi on
Moreover, the stockbrokers are no theorists; not to any
greater extent than the curb brokers are. One does not
feel embarrassed by considerations of public justice when
one is benefited by a privilege in becoming party to a
business. On the other hand, if one enjoys a monopoly,
he defends it to the best of his ability. If the Govern­
ment requires that the monopolist give in, he must give
in in order to hold on to whatever he can save. And
this is why the stockbrokers, when urged to enter into
an arrangement with the curb brokers, came to terms,
yielding, however, as little as possible.
In short, the French financial market was able
to fulfill its mission only by taking the liberties which
the law refused to grant to it.
The official market of the stockbrokers, spurred on by
the competition of the curb brokers since the beginning of
the nineteenth century, has been transacting dealings for
future delivery. The laws gave in. They allowed the
stockbrokers to do that which was forbidden to them.
They allowed them to have sleeping partners (bailleurs
de fonds).
They allowed them to deal in foreign securities. At
the present time the stockbrokers are legally unable to
close a deal with their clients, to have representatives in
a market other than the one with which they are con­
nected. These interdictions are the very corollary of
their condition. They are ministerial officers, appointed
to transact business in one market. To expand their
means of action can not be thought of.
But are the curb brokers permitted to undertake what
is forbidden to the stockbrokers?

History and Methods of the Paris


On securities not listed by the stockbrokers— yes.
On securities listed by the stockbrokers— no.
If the curb brokers were to operate in officially listed
securities, they would encroach on the stockbrokers’ mo­
nopoly, and would be liable to administrative fines for
want of being able to enter the name of a stockbroker
on the register prescribed for the payment of taxes on
bourse transactions; also to prosecutions in police courts,
and to see, besides, their clients plead the transactions
null and void.
The coulisse for rentes (coulisse de la rente) is tolerated.
The Registry Department enters no complaint against
its members, because the stockbrokers provide the curb
brokers in rentes (coulissiers a la rente) with special docu­
ments, valid only as regards the internal revenue— not
valid so far as the clients are concerned. And the clients
may plead against the curb brokers nullity of the trans­
actions made for their account.
Credit companies and bankers may purchase or sell
listed securities over the counter.

But they can not

a,pply purchases to sales. In such a case this would be
acting as intermediaries, and would fall under the ban of
the law of 28 Ventose, year IX , which punishes unwarrant­
able interference with the functions of the stockbrokers
('immixtion dans les fonctions des agents de change).
Besides, there exists a judicial tendency, whereby a sale
over the counter, even if carried out as a commercial
transaction free from any act of mediation, might be
considered as a case of unwarrantable interference with
the functions of the stockbrokers.


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N a t i on a l

M on e t a r y


In this way dealings in securities are subject to gro­
tesque and incongruous legal regulations.
A reorganization of the financial market appears neces­
sary. That of 1898 was not a reorganization. Its prin­
cipal aim was to prevent the passage of the measure
which was then paramount in everybody’s mind, and
which was to be founded on freedom, without excluding
The freedom of the market— that is to say, free access
for everyone to the exercise of the profession of broker in
securities, freedom modified by a system of regulation
in the exercise of the profession— certainly would offer a
desirable compromise between the system of monopoly
and the system of absolute freedom.
But the French Government does not seem inclined to
study the question seriously: first, because the stock­
brokers would have to be indemnified; and secondly,
because the stockbrokers themselves are desirous of hold­
ing on to their present monopoly. As time passes, the
securities, continually on the increase, tend to increase
their profits. A financial power has been created whose
existence, whose ever spreading influence, form the sub­
ject of a serious economic problem, which some day may
turn out to be an even more serious political problem.


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