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early days. The kings of the Bourse, with
their capitals of from ten to a hundred
millions, can, now-a-days, produce a fall or
a rise at their pleasure; but they shrink
into dwarf and vulgar proportions in the
presence of an institution which is able
to dispose of six hundred millions, and is
capable of purchasing, in a single day, all the
railway or canal shares that are for sale on
the market. Crédit Mobilier can make
scarcity or plenty, vacuum or over-supply;
it is a gigantic monopoly out of whose pale
there is no salvation for the speculator.
Everybody not comprised within it, will
henceforth have nothing to do but to pay.
Under such conditions, its obligations will
doubtless be constantly guaranteed.
Nevertheless, if, one day or other, the payers should
become disgusted and discouragedif the
knowing ones should enlist under the Société's
bannerif, in short, there should be no more
antagonists, with whom, then, will the game be
played? Who will pay the difference? Or, if
the isolated speculators should form a coalition
against the monopoly and organise army to
meet army,—if the grand mass of producers,
capitalists, and merchants should rise in
insurrection,—coercive measures being impossible,
what chance of safety will the Company have
left them?

After this peep at the general society,
let us see what are guarantees for the
shareholders. The Société is administered
by a council of fifteen members, renewed
from year to year by a fifth of their
number, and constantly re-eligible. Article
twenty-eight of the statutes gives to the
council the most extended powers for the
administration of the Company's affairs;
notably, the council authorises, by its
deliberations, all purchase or sales of shares or
obligations, all credits, all subscriptions,
cessions and realisations of loans, all advances
on deposits of property, and, generally, all
treaties, transactions, compromises, callings-
in of funds, transfers, sums borrowed on
deposits of the obligations, or other
property of the Company, purchases of objets
mobiliers, and finally, all judiciary acts, both
in suing and defending. It decides on the
employment of unemployed funds. It makes
the regulations of the Company. It authorises
the expenses of the administration. It names
and revokes the principal agents of the
Société. It determines their functions, and
fixes their salaries, perquisites, and privileges.
By article ten, the members of the council
do not contract, in consequence of their
proceedings as managers, the slightest
personal obligation. This immunity is the
common rule in all Sociétés anonymes.
Consequently, we have here fifteen members, who
have the disposal of the Société's substance
as if it were their own, without being
responsible for any stroke of bad luck. It
is true, they are obliged to deposit two
hundred shares as a guarantee for the
rectitude of their administration; that is,
they give a joint security to the amount of
what cost them a hundred thousand francs
a very pretty pledge to be given by
a knot of gentlemen who may play rouge-
et-noir with some five-and-twenty millions
of English pounds sterling, if they like.

The members of the council are all
shareholders, or even directors, of some scheme or
other. The greater part of their fortune
consists of negotiable paper. They authorise,
as administrators of the general society, all
purchases or sales of shares or obligations, all
credit, et cetera. There is nothing, therefore,
to prevent Monsieur Ernest André, the Duc
de Galliera, Baron Seillière (the names are
real), and the rest, administrators, from buying
of Monsieur Ernest André, the Duc de
Galliera, Baron Seillière, and the rest,
private individuals, on account of Crédit Mobilier,
the shares and obligations of which they
are the owners. It is a lawful operation, by
which all parties may be benefited. It is
true, the purchases are made at the
current price; but we must not forget
that the general society can cause a rise or
fall at pleasure.

Certainly, the share which the sleeping
partners have in controlling matters and in
taking the initiative, is but trifling. The
general assembly is only composed of the
two hundred largest shareholders, who will
not all answer to their summons. The
assembly is regularly constituted when the
members present are forty in number, and
when they jointly hold the tenth part of the
shares issued. If these conditions be not
fulfilled, a second summons is issued; and
then the members present hold a valid and
formal meeting, whatever may be their
number, or the value of their shares. The
possession of forty shares is necessary to
confer a vote. It will scarcely be believed
that this select body of shareholders has not
the right of proposing any measure.
According to article fifty-one, the order of the
day is decreed by the council of administration.
On it shall appear, only propositions
emanating from this council and those which
have been laid before it at least fifteen days
previous to the convocation of the general
assembly, with the signature of the members
of that assembly. But the list of members is
drawn up only a month before the
convocation; and the propositions, signed by ten
members, must be sent in to the council at
least fifteen days before this very
convocation. The precautions are excellent to
prevent conspiracy and rebellion amongst
discontented shareholders. It is some slight
consolation to know that the general
company, like all Sociétés anonymes, is placed
under government control, and that its
statutes are modifiable.

M. Isaac Pereire, tells us: The creation
of the bank-note has been one of
the greatest strides, one of the most beautiful