Cambaceres (1753-1824) To contact me


“By finishing my legislative functions, I solved to remain foreign with the public affairs and to deliver to me entirely to work of my profession. The number of my customers increased quickly. From all the points of the Republic, it came me from the businesses. The solicitors of Paris, little willing in general to employ the ministry of those which had not belonged to the old bar, established relations with me. Finally the trial attorneys sought my opinions, and reflect price to be rested of a name which started to make authority in jurisprudence.
These advantages were due to several causes. The reputation of jurisconsult who had preceded me with Convention was singularly increased, because of the share which I had had with the three projects of code, and of the various reports/ratios that I had made with the Convention and to the Council of the Five hundreds. Regarded as the intermediate point between the decrepitude of our old laws, and the imperfection of the modern legislation, one thought with some reason that I knew the first, and that knew better than another to reconcile them with often incomplete or badly written decrees. I supported rather well a fame acquired without effort, that judgements given in conformity with my opinions completed to consolidate.
Lastly, at my beginning in the occupation of jurisconsult, I have care to announce that I intended neither to plead, neither to make memories, nor to set me up as a solicitant of businesses, and that all would be reduced of my share to give answers to the questions would be subjected to me. This manner did not frighten anybody, and did not inspire any jealousy. The young legists transfer in me only one consultant moreover. The former lawyers worried little an addition which could not be prejudicial for them. He were besides in small number, and the very multiplied businesses. Several among water, in particular Tronchet and Ferey contracted connections with me, and it did without little days that it did not have between us conferences there, or were often called Poirier, of Bonnières, Bigot of Préameneu de Bloisin and other jurisconsults of reputation. Tronchet that I knew of old date that I had re-examined during the judgement of the King, had given up the businesses since the Constituent Assembly. He took them again with my investigation, and was then satisfied to have submitted with my councils. The pleadings directed by our consultations, were usually entrusted to Delamalle, Berryer, Bellart and Bonnet.“
Cambaceres, Memories


It is possible to reconstitute partially the customers starting from her books of reason. We have personal data for only one third of the sales turnover of the cabinet, which represents a relatively representative sample.
The preponderance of the maritime shipowning is due to the resumption of the naval war during the Directory. The French corsairs are authorized to hail all the ships crossing in English water and the neutral countries must claim the restitution of the ships and the cargoes unduly seized near the Court of the catches in Paris. Cambaceres becomes the legal council of Keydel, representative of the Hanseatic League in France, and the American shipowner Hayward. One also finds among his customers of the shipowners from Bordeaux and Saint Malo.
Even if they are obviously underestimated (see below), the contracts obtained thanks to his cousin Sabatier represent a significant part of the activity. Many Languedocien traders also call upon its legal services : Basterrèche, Cambon, Durand, Lajard… Some work is invoicees with the Ouvrard group, in particular with the bank Girardot & Co and the army suppliers Michel. One can also quote bankers Hupais, Gelot & Co which were very active during the Directory and Hervas, the Spanish ambassador  in Paris and manager of the Royal bank of Saint-Charles, the Spanish central bank.
If the customers of Cambaceres belong primarily to the business world, one finds some customers coming from other horizons. Cambaceres deals with the interests of several families of Ancient Regim like Orleans, Choiseul-Praslin and Arenberg. He also defends the children of Malesherbes (the unhappy defender of Louis XVI who was executed in 1794) and the interests of several Jewish communities of province. Towards the end of the Directory, some policies as Roederer appear among the customers.


“My existence was pleasant, and the products of my work put to me in a position to support my family.” (Cambaceres, Memories)
Month Year IV
(09/1795 - 09/1796)
Year V
(09/1796 - 09/1797)
Year VI
(09/1797 - 09/1798)
Year VII
(09/1798 - 09/1799)
Vendemiaire 256 livres ? ? 2.104 livres
Brumaire 60 livres ? 708 livres 2.482 livres
Frimaire 210 livres ? 714 livres 2.211 livres
Nivôse 354 livres ? 918 livres 2.094 livres
Pluviôse 368 livres ? 1.520 livres 2.856 livres
Ventôse 690 livres ? 1.636 livres 2.436 livres
Germinal 1.506 livres ? 2.344 livres 3.966 livres
Floreal 1.224 livres ? 2.850 livres 1.938 livres
Prairial 2.510 livres ? 1.744 livres 1.602 livres
Messidor 1.693 livres ? 2.112 livres 2.020 livres
Thermidor 2.322 livres ? 2.920 livres 198 livres
Fructidor 3.025 livres ? 3.505 livres 0 livres
Total 14.218 livres ? 20.971 livres 23.907 livres
This table comes from the books of reason preserved at the Public records. The incomes indicated are important in comparison with the annual wages of a servant (500 livres) or of a workman (1.000 livres approximately). But of many indices let think that Cambaceres dissimulated a share of the incomes of its cabinet.
Thus, the fall of the fees invoicees to the East India Cy (Year IV: 1.176 livres, Year VI: 30 livres, Year VII: 204 livres) is contradicted by the many legal work carried out by Cambaceres which one finds in the files of the company. In three years, Cambaceres notes 1.200 livres of incomes coming from the Mines of Anzin Cy whereas the company pays to him annual fees of 2.400 livres. One also notices the quasi-absence of Ouvrard : no trace of the long work carried out for the drafting of the various supply agreements to the armies (in particular work on the Blanchard contract which are preserved at Japan).
Lastly, the analysis of the financial statements makes it possible to evaluate the fortune of Cambaceres to more than 500.000 livres in September 1799. This fast enrichment cannot be explained with the only incomes consigned in the reason books. Undoubtedly did Cambaceres speculate on the revenue 5% consolidated at the time from the 18 Brumaire?

03/09/06 - Emmanuel Prunaux