|Controversy surrounding applicants for shares|
"Sir, I am one of your shareholders; three of us grouped together to buy two shares!"
Like Prime Minister Palmerston, who announced that "Insignificant folk are being talked into buying insignificant shares," English newspapers took every opportunity to ridicule this small-scale shareholding:
"Most of the applicants for shares are café waiters, who have been
duped by their press, and grocer's clerks... Many of the clergy
have fallen victim and three thousand street-porters have collected
together their pennies to buy shares. The whole business is nothing
but robbery inflicted on simple folk who have allowed themselves
to be taken in, for not a single penny will ever be collected
in tolls from a canal which it is impossible to build."
These few lines quoted from The Times were taken up by other English newspapers. It was in response to the contemptuous suggestions of one of them, The Globe, that a French newspaper, La Patrie, wrote:
"The English rag estimates at no less than three thousand the number
of street-porters in particular, and it gently scolds these humble
folk, these simpletons who have collected together their pennies
to buy shares. If street-porters, café waiters and grocer's clerks
have taken out shares, where is the harm in that, o Globe? Is
the money of these plebeians worth less than that of an English
nobleman? Your aristocratic scorn is too much and, for business
men, your logic is quite flawed. You are blinded by rage and you
seek, albeit in vain, to deny the evidence. The facts take it
upon themselves to argue the case for those whom you attack with
your habitual arrogance.