Casimir Pierre Perier


Casimir Pierre Perier

Infobox Prime Minister
name=Casimir Pierre Perier


order=11th Prime Minister of France
term_start =13 March 1831
term_end =16 May 1832
predecessor =Jacques Laffitte
successor =Duc de Dalmatie
birth_date =birth date|1777|10|11|mf=y
death_date =death date and age|1832|5|16|1777|10|11|mf=y
party=Orleanist

Casimir Pierre Perier (11 October 1777ndash 16 May 1832) was a French statesman, President of the Council during the July Monarchy, when he headed the conservative "Parti de la résistance" (Party of Resistance).

Born in Grenoble, he was the fourth son of a rich banker and manufacturer, Claude Perier (1742-1801), in whose house the estates of Dauphiné met in 1788. Claude Perier was one of the first directors of the Bank of France. Of his eight sons, Augustin (1773-1833), Antoine Scipion (1776-1821), and Camille (1781-1844) all distinguished themselves in industry and in politics. The family moved to Paris after the revolution of Thermidor (1794), and Casimir joined the army of Italy in 1798.

Career

On his father's death, Perier left the army and with his brother Scipion founded a bank in Paris, the speculations of which Casimir directed while Scipion took on its administration. Perier opposed the ruinous methods by which the duc de Richelieu sought to raise the war indemnity demanded by the Allies, in a pamphlet "Réflexions sur le projet d'emprunt" (1817), followed in the same year by "Dernières réflexions" in answer to an inspired article in the "Moniteur".

In the same year, Perier entered the Chamber of Deputies for Paris, taking his seat in the Left Centre with the moderate opposition, and making his first speech in defence of the freedom of the press. Re-elected for Paris in 1822 and 1824, and in 1827 for Paris and for Troyes, he elected to represent Troyes, and sat for that constituency until his death. Perier's violence in debate was not associated with any disloyalty to the Bourbon Restoration, and he held resolutely aloof from the Republican conspiracies and intrigues which prepared the way for the revolution of 1830. Under the Martignac ministry, there was some prospect of a reconciliation with the court, and, in January 1829, he was nominated a candidate for the presidency of the chamber; but in August with the elevation to power of Jules, Prince de Polignac, the truce ceased, and on the 15 March 1830, Perier was one of the 221 deputies who repudiated the Ordinances put forward by Charles X.

Averse by instinct and by interest to popular revolution, Perier nevertheless sat on the provisory commission of five at the Hôtel-de-ville during the Three Glorious Days of July 1830, but he refused to sign the declaration of Charles X's dethronement. Perier reluctantly recognized in the government of Louis Philippe's constitutional monarchy the only alternative to the continuance of the Revolution, but he was no favorite with the new king, whom he scorned for his truckling to the mob. He became President of the Chamber of Deputies, and sat for a few months in the cabinet, though without a portfolio.

President of the Council

On the fall of the weak and discredited ministry of Jacques Laffitte, Perier, who had drifted more and more to the Right, was summoned to power (13 March 1831), and, in the short space of a year, he more or less restored civic order in France and re-established her credit in Europe. Paris was in a constant state of disturbance from March to September, and was only held in check by the premier's determination. The Canut Revolt at Lyon was suppressed after hard fighting; and at Grenoble, in face of the quarrels between the military and the inhabitants, Perier declined to make any concession to the townsfolk.

As a minister, Perier refused to be dragged into armed intervention in favor of the revolutionary government of Warsaw, but his policy of peace did not exclude energetic demonstrations in support of French interests. He constituted France the protector of Belgium by the prompt expedition of the army of the north against the Dutch in August 1831. French influence in Italy was asserted by the audacious occupation of Ancona (23 February 1832); and the refusal of compensation for injuries to French residents by the Portuguese government was followed by a naval demonstration at Lisbon.Perier had undertaken the premiership with many forebodings, and overwork and anxiety prepared the way for disease. In the spring of 1832, during the cholera outbreak in Paris, he visited the hospitals in company with the duke of Orleans. He fell ill the next day of a violent fever, and died six weeks later.

His son Auguste Casimir-Perier (1811-1876) was also a French politician, and his family continued to be prominent in French politics for generations.

References

*1911
*His "Opinions et discours" were edited by A. Lesieur (2 vols., 1838); C. Nicoullaud published in 1894 the first part ("Casimir-Perier, député de l'opposition", 1817-1830) of a study of his life and policy; and his ministry is exhaustively treated by Paul Thureau-Dangin in vols. 1. and ii. (1884) of his "Histoire de la monarchie de juillet".
*For the family in general see E. Choulet, "La Famille Casimir Perier" (Grenoble, 1894).


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