We all associate ‘All for one and one for all’ with Alexandre Dumas’s musketeers, swords raised, chests out and voices loud. They personify allegiance, solidarity and duty to the cause. In 2002, in an elaborate official French procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Dumas from its original interment site in the Cimetière de Villers-Cotterêts in Aisne to be buried at the Panthéon in Paris. This only happens to the most significant and most upstanding French citizens and Dumas’s coffin was draped in a blue-velvet cloth, similar to a musketeer’s cape, inscribed with the words ‘un pour tous, tous pour un’.
But the call was not his invention. Its history is surprising, varied and difficult to pin down. Experts have found evidence of it in Czech political intolerance going back to the 15th century when the authorities would execute people of a different religious persuasion by throwing them out of windows. It was known as The Defenestration of Prague. Those opposed to these acts came together and there is evidence that they coined the phrase. These barbaric actions helped to trigger prolonged conflict, within Bohemia and Eastern Europe for many years.
But maybe it wasn’t the Czechs but the Swiss because we know it came into use in 19th century Switzerland after autumn storms had caused widespread floods in the Alps. Officials launched an aid campaign under the slogan, ‘Einer für alle, alle für einen’. It was a call for unity as Switzerland had only become a united federal state two decades earlier. The newspaper appeals were published in areas of the country that had previously been at war. It was intended that the slogan would evoke a sense of duty, solidarity and national unity in the population of the young nation. The Latin version – ‘Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno’ is now considered the motto of the country.
Dumas’s celebrated story is based on another book called Mémoires de Monsieur d’Artagnan (1700), a historical novel by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, In Dumas’s famous 1844 version, D’Artagnan arrives in Paris seeking to join the King’s musketeers. In his haste, he offends three of the best musketeers – Porthos, Athos, and Aramis – and challenges each to a duel that afternoon. All three musketeers arrive at the same time to duel. However, Cardinal Richelieu’s guards interrupt them. The musketeers plus D’Artagnan happily engage them and beat them soundly, and D’Artagnan is accepted as a friend and a good fighting companion.
One of the most famous film adaptions of the story is from 1948 when Gene Kelly, Vincent Price and Lana Turner starred in the MGM production. It is rightly celebrated for its outstanding fight choreography which has been used as inspiration for movie fight scenes ever since. Kelly, as D’Artagnan, is at his swashbuckling best, like a ballet dancer leaping from one preposterous but captivating duel to another while Price is wonderfully calculating and evil as Cardinal Richelieu.
At PEA our sword-fighting and swashbuckling skills are fairly limited but we are very good at working as a joined-up unit. Spread across three jurisdictions, Denmark, Sweden and Guernsey, we have many highly skilled professionals. Some of us are specialists with particular knowledge, some are all-rounders, but all of us are team players. It is part of our working philosophy to combine unique perspectives from our team members and try to create more effective strategies and procedures for the benefit of our clients.
All our team are skilled in effective business communication, collaboration and time management and have learned to work together effectively in a team environment enabling everyone involved to achieve their personal and professional goals.
The outcome is that our client’s benefit and prosper and our staff do too. What better way to describe this success than by raising our swords, tossing back our heads and shouting “All for one and one for all!’
Peter Toyberg is Group Managing Director of PEA and holds an MSc in Economics from Copenhagen Business School and has extensive experience in the management of private equity funds. Peter specialises in technical fund structuring, tax reviews, AIFMD, turn-key back office services solutions, and depositary solutions.