Noble French family of the seventeenth century especially devoted to trade and to the publication of works on commercial matters
Savary, —A noble French family of the seventeenth century especially devoted to trade and to the publication of works on commercial matters of lasting and widespread authority. The most illustrious member was Jacques Savary, b. at Doue in Anjou, September 22, 1622; d. October 7, 1690. He belonged to the younger branch of the Savary. His parents being in the commercial class had destined their son Jacques for that career. After having studied law in Paris with a procureur he entered the ranks of the haberdashers as a wholesale merchant, and in 1658 his fortune was made. His relations with the superintendent, Fouquet, enabled him to devote his abilities to the service of the State; the contract for collecting the revenues of crown lands was given to him. After Fouquet’s fall Savary gained the favor of the Chancellor Seguier, and as the numerous arbitrations with which Savary was charged in all commercial questions daily increased his prestige, he was summoned in 1670 to take an active part in the commission for the revision of the laws pertaining to trade. So well did he acquit himself there that Pussort, president of this commission, named the ordinance of 1673 the “Code Savary”. On the appearance of this ordinance Pous-sort and several other commissioners requested Savary to publish in book form the numerous memoirs read by him before the Commission during the preparation of the ordinance. This book appeared in 1675 under the title, “Le parfait negociant ou Instruction generale pour ce qui regarde le commerce des marchandises de France et des pays strangers.” (The Perfect Merchant or General Instruction regarding the mercantile trade of France and foreign countries). Numerous editions followed, and it was translated into various languages. “Les Pareres, ou Avis et Conseils sur les plus importantes Matieres de Commerce” was published by Savary in 1688 as a sequel to “Le parfait negociant”.
Such was the authority of Savary that during his lifetime lawyers quoted his opinion as equal in value almost to a law. After the death of Colbert (1683), the controller general of finances, Pelletier, continued his patronage of Savary, and ordered him to make an investigation of the financial affairs of the Western crown lands. His family was very numerous. He had seventeen children, eleven of whom survived him. His son Jacques Savary des Bruslons (b. 1657; d. 1716) was appointed by Louvois, in 1686, inspector general of the Custom House in Paris. He undertook the composition for his personal use of an alphabetical list of all objects subject to duty, then of all the words relating to commerce and industry. He added a repertoire of the ordinances and rules regarding commerce in France and abroad. This double work was the starting point of his “Dictionnaire du Commerce”, which he undertook in collaboration with his brother Louis-Philemon and which he left unfinished. But Louis-Philemon Savary (b. 1654; d. 1727), at first a preacher, later canon of the Chapter of Saint-Maur, and French agent for the reigning house of Mantua, finished the dictionary and published it in 1723. This Dictionary of Commerce was translated into English in 1774. At the time of his death Louis Philemon had nearly completed a supplementary volume, which appeared in 1730.