Biography of Gabriel Julien Ouvrard (1770-1846)

Man of business French, born in Poitou, on October 11, 1770, and died in London, on October 21, 1846. He/She was the son of a paper manufacturer. He/She studied at the gymnasium of Clisson and, at the age of 17, moved to Nantes willing to earn a living. There he/she gained experience in commercial, but still with little capital. Fleeing in 1793 the revolution, and despite the risk, he/she moved to Paris in 1794.

On February 2, 1795 he/she married Elisabeth Thebaud, the daughter of a merchant from Nantes, Jean Baptiste Dominique Thebaud, and Elisabeth Feydeau, marriage that it brought him a dowry of 30,000 pounds tornesas. The origin of his fortune seems to be, however, in friendship with Louis Tourton, one of the leaders of the Tourton Bank et Ravel, who despite being on the verge of bankruptcy in 1792 managed to sustain and continue. Tourton and Ouvrard were together from 1795 until Spain's 1823 expedition. Then they began to buy national goods and were delivered to all kinds of real estate speculation. Being a large family served the designs of Ouvrard, since his brothers became agents of his empire. The constellation Ouvrard opened houses in Philadelphia, Veracruz, Bordeaux, Bayonne and Compiègne. In 1798 seem to abandon their Spanish designs, in part because Ouvrard was named supplier general de la marine française; evil tongues attributed his appointment to the influence of Teresa Cabarrús, who had become his lover after being bar.

The Alliance between Spain and France, and the need to reprovision the Spanish Squad (of Brest), again added to Spanish interests. He/She was imprisoned, accused of serious irregularities, the coup of Brumaire (January 27, 1800). Once released, he/she met difficult days and had to resort to the services of usurers to get money. But in 1803 it recovered its relationship with the Ministry of the Navy, and immediately, with Michel Jeune, Armand Seguin, Médard Desprez and Joseph Vanlerberghe, formed the company of the five dealers gathered, which made advances to the Treasury and was commissioned in March 1804, the subsidy because by Spain.

In October 1804, Ouvrard visited Madrid. The revolution and the war of independence of the United States had immobilized in America a huge capital, which now was to bring the old world. Ouvrard was one of those chosen to carry out this task. After several modifications, the contract was signed on November 26, 1804 by Sixto Manuel Espinosa and François Ouvrard, on behalf of his brother, and Carlos IV ratified it on December 5. Under this Covenant, Ouvrard acquired the monopoly of trade with America, and a series of additional articles further expanded their powers. He/She negotiated and designed large projects which went not only Spain, but also other countries such as the Netherlands and United Kingdom, as well as the United States, which resulted in quite a few contradictions. Thus, Ouvrard was considered and called "a brilliant speculator".

In 1806, Napoleon forced him to abandon any involvement, since I was looking for the benefits recayesen in the French State. Despite this, Ouvrard continued their business with Spain and, still on the eve of 1808, conceived big plans of domain in America. It was then the banker of the hundred days, and later, together with others, of the restoration. It financed the expedition of Spain in 1823, after having been present at the Congress of Verona. He/She entered Spain with the army, and even, in June 1823 gave money to buy the freedom of Fernando VII. He/She was author of a joint with David Parish plan so that Spain regained the colonies sublevadas through the creation of a "Compagnie Armée espagnole au Nouveau Monde" (1823), all quite chimerical. With the revolution of 1830 he/she continued dedicating to speculation. Natural son of his and Mme. Tallien was the speculator also Dr. Cabarrús.


WOLFF, Otto: Die Geschäfte des Herrn Ouvrard. Aus dem Leben eines underneath Spekulanten, Frankfurt a. M., 1933.

A Gil Novales