ジャック・ネッケル (Jacques Necker), 1732-1804

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Necker Portrait

The Geneva-born Jacques Necker started off as a clerk in a Swiss bank of Issac Vernet at the age of 15 and worked his way to the top quickly. In 1750, Necker moved to bank's Paris branch and, by 1762, was made a partner. As a result of his speculative activities, by 1765, Necker a very wealthy man and the sole director of the bank. Necker became gradually involved in public affairs. He made numerous loans to the French government, was appointed minister for Geneva in Paris and sat on the board of directors of the French Compagnie des Indes (which, in 1769, he vainly defended from the attacks of the Abbeé Morellet).

In 1772, Necker retired from the bank and began writing his ideas on contemporary economic and financial topics. A Neo-Colbertiste, Necker was opposed to the Physiocrats. He was particularly (and very personally) antagonistic to Morellet and his master, Jacques Turgot. In 1773, he laid out his defense of State corporatism in a "eulogy" to Colbert, an essay that was crowned by the French Academy. His 1775 tract attacked Turgot's plan for free trade in grains.

After Turgot was dismissed from government in 1776, Necker replaced him as director-general of finances (he could not hold the title of comptroller-general because he was a Protestant and a foreigner). Necker quickly reversed most of Turgot's famous edicts. Following a policy of borrowing rather than raising taxes to finance state expenditures (then exploding because of the American war), Necker earned a good degree of popularity among the people of France. However, Necker's short-term, high-interest loans pushed the government closer to bankruptcy. Necker's reputation as a financial "genius" came with his 1781 report where, by cooking the figures, he made it appear that the French state accounts were in a surplus. His sky-high popularity and his belated attempts to curtail spending earned him enmity in the French court. Like Turgot before him, Necker soon found himself isolated and unable to push his more serious financial reforms through. He was dismissed in 1781.

Although courted by Austria and Russia, Necker preferred to remain in the wilderness. Necker wrote his famous Traité /i> (1784), one of his better treatises. In the meantime, Necker's successor, Alexandre de Calonne, had realized the truly desperate condition of French state finances and tried to reinstate some of Turgot's old reforms, which were greeted by howls of opposition in the assembly of notables. Calonne and Necker entered into a very public confrontation in 1787, which resulted in Necker's exile from Paris.

In 1788, as bankruptcy loomed and the reforms of Calonne and his successor Brienne were unable to stem the bleeding, Necker was called back by the king as director-general and minister of state in order to work his magic again. He arranged a series of last-minute loans, but realizing that bankruptcy was imminent, Necker urged for the convocation of the Estates General. The court, however, remained antagonistic and engineered his dismissal the next year.

 パリ市民が 1789 年 7 月 14 日に バスチーユに向かったのは、ネッケルがクビになったというニュースを受け手のことだった。ネッケルは新政権で、財務相に任命されたけれど、すぐにスイスの領土に引退した。1792 年にはパリに戻って、ルイ十六世の命を助けてくれと言う熱っぽい懇願を国民会議の前で行った。かれはまた、伝説的な ドイツ好きのサロン夫人、マダム・ステュールの父でもあった。

Major Works of Jacques Necker

Resources on Jacques Necker


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