Bernard, Samuel

, an opulent financier of France, was the son of Samuel Bernard, an engraver (mentioned by^trutt), whodied in 1687. He was born in 1651, but how educated, or by what means he raised his fortune, we are nor told Under the ministry of Chamillard he became a farmer general, and accumulated a capital of thirty-three mi i lions, of which he made a very liberal use, but seems to have been proudly aware of the superiority of lender 0ver borrower. When Louis XIV. wanted supplies, Bernard grained them, but always in consequence of his majesty’s applying to him in person. Louis XV. when in need of similar help, sent certain persons to Bernard, whose answer was, that “those who wanted his assistance might at least take the trouble to apply themselves.” He was accordingly presented to the king, who said many flattering things to him, and ordered the courtiers to pay him every mark of respect. Bernard was now called the saviour of the state all the courtiers entertained him in succession he dined with the marshal Noailles, and supped with the duchess of Tallard, and played and lost what they pleased. They sneered at his manners, which were citizen-like, and he lent the millions which they demanded. Bernard, however, was of a benevolent turn the poor of | the military order were particularly the subjects of his bounty, and, frequently as they might apply, they never were refused, On his death it was found that he had lent ten millions, of which he never received a farthing in return. In his speculations he was both bold and successful. One day he had asked a person of distinction to dine with him, and had promised to treat him with some excellent mountain, not knowing at that time that his stock was exhausted. After dinner his servant announced this lamentable deficiency, and Bernard, not a little hurt at the unseasonable discovery, immediately dispatched one of his clerks to Holland, with instructions to purchase every drop of mountain in the port of Amsterdam, by which he afterwards gained an immense sum. Of his family, so little was known, that he was supposed to be of Jewish descent, but without any reason. He used to say, that if they would make him a chevalier, his name would no longer hurt their delicate feelings, and accordingly, he received letters of nobility. He then purchased several estates with titles, and among others, those of the counts of Coubert; and during the last years of his life, he was generally called the chevalier Bernard. One of his sons, president of one of the chambers of inquiry in parliament, bore the name of Rieux another was called the count de Coubert, and his grandson, Anne-Gabriel-Henry Bernard, assumed the title of marquis de Boulainvilliers. He married his daughter to Mole, first president, and thus became grandfather to the duchess de Cosse-Brissac and his family, by these revolutions, became allied to the great names of Biron, Duroure, and Boulainvilliers. Bernard was the friend of the keeper of the seals, Chauvelin, and remained faithful to him when disgraced. It is said that he was, or in his old age became superstitious, and fancied his life connected with that of a black fowl, of which he took great care, convinced that its death would be the prelude to his own. He lived, however, to the advanced age of eightyeight, dying in 1739. Another account informs us, that the greater part of his thirty-three millions was dissipated within ten years after his death, and that one of his sons, who was president of the parliament of Paris, died a bankrupt. Such vicissitudes are too common in all ages to excite much surprize. 1

1 Biog. Universelle. —Dict. Hist.