Imatges de pàgina

all demands, and resolved on accomplishing the purpose without contributing in any measure to the means,

Although a crowd of secondary causes has concurred to produce the miraculous conclusion of the last contest, it is impossiFinances of England, as the most active of ble not to see throughout the whole the those agents which have at any time excited the population of countries, and commanded the fate of the world. The French government, arrived at the highest degree of power, by a succession of military prodigies, had oppressed every coun try, either by the weight of its force, or that of its pride. Where motives of hatred did not exist, there existed a sensation of envy not less violent than hatred itself. What was wanting to these discontented and embittered princes, and people? They had courage and arms: money, in which alone they were deficient, existed elsewhere: hatred and riches united; and the banking office of Plutus became the arsenal of Mars.

writer has made advances only towards the truth on this subject-yet he brings into one point of view a statement, which in several of its parts may be new to some of our readers; and is certainly interesting to the public.

Although he complains so grievously of the losses sustained by France in being reduced to her former limits-a perversion of terms not to be passed by without censure yet he has the grace to acknowledge that the exactions of the French, while their tyranny lasted, were severe beyond endurance, and extensive beyond calculation. He confesses, that,

There is not a single country on the continent, over which, in consequence of our military advantages there has not been established a regular system of exaction, as a right resulting from possession obtained by conquest. This exaction because always accompanied by legal forms, was so much the more active in transferring to the French treasury the wealth of the country ⚫ccupied.

The French government did not reflect, that by wringing a few millions of livres more, from such or such a country, it was sowing the seeds of that hatred which might, when grown up produce fatal effects. In teaching the nations that misery is not the greatest of evils, they learned also, that poverty is always rich enough to avenge itself; and that, though deprived of gold, and silver, it can never want for iron with which to strike its oppressor.

France has employed as well her military preponderance; as the Continental System to enrich her treasury, and to exact from her allies not less than from her enemies, those capitals which she coveted for her own purposes. It is, perhaps, by this system of exaction as much as by its

conquests, that the French


has sowed so many seeds of discontent and animosity. Incessantly it demanded; but, it never bestowed. Even at a moment when a people, subordinate to its intentions, stood in need of assistance, in order to support still greater exertions in its cause, it granted its succours, at best, with close fisted reluctance, and under the name of a loan: it sold them, as it were, the power of serving it. A few millions of livres, a few hundred thousands, thrown away, among them, occasionally, might, in many cases, have obtained immense returns. An inflexible parsimony denied

of the Panorama. It is impossible to This confirms the uniform language believe that this conviction of the natural tendency of oppression did not exist long ago; but under a change of circumstances, only, was it prudent to confess so much. When the Emperor was to be flattered, these convictions were concealed, When Louis is to be schooled and directed, they are avowed.

Our author well observes, that

Four kinds of power are necessary to ensure the welfare of a state: the power of power of a good political system; the powmoney; the power of the sword; the er of general opinion.


M. B. places first under examination In conformity to this arrangement, the power of money-but not without indulging his spleen in a vehement tirade against the finances of England. He admits, that notwithstanding the receipts from other countries, obtained by war, or by despotism, yet imposts rior of France. Nevertheless, he describes were necessarily augmented in the intethe Minister's statement as "a horrid skeleton of finance, displayed in all its deformity. It was an hideous phantom that at first terrified every imagination:" whence he infers that the cause of the alarm it spread was ideal; and

that, on close examination, the spectre | livres; in France, they were 81,400,000. Yet this debt overthrew France; while would vanish. England has quadrupled her burthen, and is more flourishing than ever.


the Interest of the Debts of France and England.


He presents the following statement, as the result of correct investigation.

After some variations, the maximum of the debt demandable, is taken at francs 'The interest of the funded debt being 100 millions francs: the capital may be calculated at

The interest of the bonded debt, is 8,000,000 fr.: this represents a capital of




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2,919,000,000 This enormous debt ought to be further augmented by some consideration of the entire and total bankruptcy to which France submitted in the affair of the Assignats, &c. &c.-so that, it is after a general violation of honour and credit, that the debt is at least, the sum stated. This writer, however, recollects periods in the History of his Country, when her debt was equal in magnitude to its present amount. E.


At the death of Louis XIV. in 1715, the debt (demandable) of France was more than 700 millions. The interest of the funded debt was nearly 100 millions: the united Capital was 3,110,994,000 livres. The receipts at that period were only 155,000,000 net. In spite of various tyrannical suppressions, the Regent could not reduce the debt below 2,400 millions. And again, in 1735, the debt was nearly

2,000 millions.

livres. France according to Necker 207,000,000 207,000,000 England, £8,933,414.




(francs) 108,000,000 768,000,000 livres France, according to Necker 585,000,000 England, ditto 487,000,000 SUMS VOTED By the LegislatuRES. 1814. (francs) 827,415,000 1,814,989,728 1814. 2,919,000,000 18,000,000,000 England, (say) Undoubtedly, the comparison appears on paper to be six to one against England;-but, then, the Bankruptcy of France, ought in justice to enter into the calculation: for what else has ruined her credit? If a loan were wanting in foreign parts, which of the two countries would find the lesser difficulty in filling it ?-which enjoys the greatest reputation abroad for punctuality and good faith?

M. B. would answer these questions in favour of France; notwithstanding the contrary evidence of facts: but being unable to satisfy himself on this, ut present, he wisely looks forward to an era that defies contradiction.


pro-haps," says he, "when credit shall be planted in the soil of France, it will strike deeper roots there than it has struck in England. The shifting quicksands of the mercantile wealth of Britain do not offer it so deep a staple of earth as the It is territorial riches of France offers. strongly to be presumed, that the Tree will continue growing for us, when the Old Oak that shades England will have begun to cover that country with its shivered branches." This is at least, civil ;-we trust it is not certain : yet we would derive a caution from this unambiguous proof of reconciliation! on the part of the French; and strongly recommend the utmost attention to every


It is a curious circumstance noticed

by our author, that previous to the
longed war, now closed, the debts of
France and England were equal, as to
the interest paid; but the advantage
as to the nature of the debt was in fa-
vour of France; as the proportion of
life annuities, which must fall in, some
day, was greatest in France.
gives occasion to a comparative state-
ment of the progress of these debts.


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The debt of France was exactly even with that of England, in 1784. According to M. Necker, France paid annually, partly in life annuities, partly in perpetual interests, 207 millions, livres; which taking the livre at the then course of Exchange, was equal to £8,983,414. The life annuities in England were about 30 million

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England and Ireland

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branch of this old oak, which, we trust, | by adverting to another branch of pubwill for ages hold the completion of M.lic contribution; though, after all, it B.'s prophecy in complete and notorious should seem that the Austrian populaabeyance. tion, is comparatively, very lightly taxed.

M. B. calculates that the National Debt of England, as it stood when Mr. Pitt took the helm of the State, will be redeemed about forty years hence in this he is at issue with the House of Commons, which a year or two past, voted that it had been redeemed, and a trifle over. Perhaps, the difficulty attending intercourse between the two countries may plead excuse for this egregious oversight.

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It is to be observed, that, in Austria, as in other German States, a part of the general expences, are liquidated by means of Provincial treasuries, which remit to the national fund, only the surplusses; after deducting their own cash payments. It is not easy to know the total amount of these demands; but, they may be taken, at nearly half as much as is remitted to the Imperial treasury.

Admitting these data: the deficit for 1814, would be 60 millions of florins. It was 34,309,585 florins for 1807. [about 4,000,000 sterling.] This deficit could be Bank paper. Alarmed at the progress of covered, only by additional emissions of deterioration, Government created in 1806 a special impost, payable in cash, for the redemption of these bills; but, the pressure of public events, obliged the Emperor to apply this impost to current expences.


Bank bills were created in the reign of Maria Theresa, as a resource to meet the difficulties produced by war against Prussia. The first were dated June 15, 1762. This emission was only 12 millions of florins.

In 1771 almost all these bills were paid off what remained : were exchanged against others, to the amount of 12 millions. In 1785 Joseph 11. raised the quansity; but because the public gave a singu tity issued to 20 millions; not from neceslar preference to bills of this description. In 1788 the finances of the Austrian Mo narchy begun to experience a sensible derangement. In 1794 to the ordinary imposts was added a war tax (KriegsSteuer.) In 1795 copper money was fabricated, as an object of profit. The circulating mass of Bank Bills also continued increasing. In 1797 an invasion being feared, individuals carried their bills to the bank to demand payment; the cash the Government was obliged to restrict to in bank being insufficient to meet this run, twenty five florins in specie, the sum receivable by each family: which greatly shook the credit of these paper securities. In 1800 paper being sunk to a still heavier discount, cash became scarce: to remedy this evil, the bank bills of five florins being found not convenient, bills were ere issued for two florins, aud for one florin each. In the mean while, the country was drained of cash, by the purchase, in foreign parts, of

equipments for the army, and by the course of commerce. It is estimated that from 1803 to 1807 the exportation was,

In gold coin (florins)
In silver coin

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17,326,807 22,107,459


Independantly, of this general debt, each province of Austria has contracted incumbrances on its own security; according to its own necessities. It is not in our power to conjecture the amount of these. But, it has demonstrated the extreme injury to the

[About four millions and a quarter sterling.

The increase of Bank Bills can only be state, of any privilege existing, by which estimated by conjecture, it was

the burden of public contributions falls unequally, on the population at large. For example:-the lands of the nobility are not absolutely free from all charges, but they do not pay half those which are laid ou lands held by non-nobles, or 'sticals. The possessors of noble and of ecclesiastical lands are further favoured, in that, they deliver in their own valuation?

sub fide nobili et sacerdotali. Whereas those of the rustics are valued by appointed officers.

In 1805 nearly florins 400,000,000. In 1807 upwards of. 500,000,000. In 1808 to the value of 706,654,143 were authenticated; and about 500 millions were issued; the rest remained in the hands of government, to meet the preparatives for the campaign of 1809. The reverses of that campaign, the loss of a great part of the army stores, which had been very costly, the occupation by the enemy during six months, of much of the country, including the capital, the war contributions paid during that occupation, those paid afterwards, as the price of peace, and evacuation of the country, the diminution of the revenue during this time, and that resulting from the loss of a considerable population in the provinces céded, the whole of these causes warrant the estimate of a thousand millions of florins, in Bills, in circulation in 1810. COPPER MONEY.

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terest was, 27,796,000 florins. From this time, the interest was paid to Austrian subjects in paper only; and at length it was paid to foreigners in the same manner.

The annual gain of Government may be about 8 millions of florins;-but the intrinsic value of this currency being So very different from its nominal value, it can only be considered as paper money, though in a metallic species.

At the close of the seven years war, the debt of Austria amounted to 367 millions of florins; in 1765 about 251 millions were redeemed: but the preparations for war in 1778 and 1783, certainly raised the outstanding debt to 200 millions of florins. Ever since 1791, being constantly engaged in war, the Austrian Government has had recourse to loans, at home and abroad. In 1794 a forced war tax was imposed. In 1807 the amount of the debt incurred was 643,000,500 florins, the in

Such was the state of the Austrian finances, when the Emperor, considering Buonaparte as sufficiently involved in his attempt on Spain, ventured to commit his honour and fate to arms.

The consequences we know. The honour of the family, and the welfare of the state, commanded war; it issued in the dishonour of the family by the marriage of an Austrian Princess with Napoleon; and in the detriment of the state, by the prodigious expences incurred, and the ransom paid in the precious metals. But, not in this, only, did the Austrian family manifest the deepest sense of honour :—yet, in vain, being controuled by circumstances. Says M. B.

The Sovereign, with his family, long resisted a diminution of the value of bank bills: but, at length, their immense mass forced the minister to that arbitrary measure. The bill of five florins was reduced by an Imperial Mandate to one florin; and a new paper was issued, on this calculation. By this means the thousand millions in circulation, was contracted to (in 1813) about 250 millions; it was afterwards raised to 500 millions: to this was added a new denomination, "Anticipation-bills," in 1813, on the prospect of the part to be taken by Austria in 1814. In short, Government paper, which was reduced, three years ago, four fifths of its value, now loses in its new form three fifths, more so that, a bank bill of one hundred florins was, by authority, reduced to twenty florins, and now it would realize only eight florins in cash.

double what he had received, a considerable treasury, and an army of 200,000 men, Under Frederic William II. this accumulation disappeared; the fame of the army was tarnished; but the population of memberment of Poland. Frederic WilPrussia was increased by the final disliam III. came to the throne in 1797, in the midst of those convulsions which dis

Such were such are still, though with fluctuations, as influenced by hope or fear, or by the course of exchange the finances of Austria. Whether the reduction, by the strong arm of authority, of paper founded on public faith, four fifths of its value, be any thing else than a bankruptcy, paying four shillings in the pound, must be left to the deci-tracted Europe. He did his utmost to repair the errors of his predecessor. He was apparently fortunate till 1806, after which period to 1818, he became a perfect model of distressing misfortune. Eight years of sufferings must have had an unequalled effect in impoverishing a people whose riches were the fruit of labour, patience, and length of years.

Frederic II. regulated his expences according to an estimate of his receipts, amounting to about 64 millions of livres; in which certain articles were regularly omitted, they being set apart to beneficial purposes; such as colonizations, buildings, &c. His expences were

The Army
Court, and Interior
Reserve put by in his Trea-

52,000,000 4,000,000

sion of casuists. The political (interior) consequence of the measure was, an absolute concealment of bullion in every form: no man suffered gold or silver to be seen; but every body endeavoured to pass away the paper in his possession, which he had taken at a certain discount, while it was continued at, or near, that discount; in order that his loss might be either nothing, or next to nothing. In fact, this paper had been issued gradually, as its value became depreciated, at rates bearing no relation to its nominal value; whether, therefore, the reducing and exchanging it were any other than a public avowal of this gradual emission below its proper par, may deserve consideration. It affected (at home) those only who had sold their goods at the current rate. It was a strong proof of want of national In 1784, it was supposed, that after havconfidence: what more it was we do not ing followed this custom, since 1768, he had say. We must, however, to the quan- in his coffers nearly 160,000,000 fr.— tity of Bank Bills in circulation, add 20 millions more were found in his cabinet, the funded debt (taken for 1808, at at his death: the whole, therefore, might 600,000,000 florins) add also, the float- be about 200,000,000 fr. It must be uning debt; add the debts due by the pro-ble the amount of these sums; many derstood, that the people paid nearly douvinces, respectively, which cannot be so much as guessed at by foreigners-and the whole, it must be confessed, makes an astonishing mass of national incumbrance!



being local, were first discharged, and the of the expences, as lodging of troops, &c. net revenue, only, was remitted to Berlin.

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The extreme secrecy maintained in conducting the Prussian Finances admits of an approximate estimate only. The duties are distributed by provinces; and the officers of each province know only what belongs to itself; so that the comptroller general ist he only person acquainted with the whole, except the Sovereign, and his confidential Ministers.

Immediately after the death of Frederic II. the treasury was broken up by his successor: the revenue was found insufficient, and the accumulations of a wise foresight, were scattered: the riches and the glory of the state were dissipated. — Yet the whole of the Royal income, increased by the acquisition of Poland, was not less than 140,000,000 fr. To calculate the losses sustained by this monarchy, since 1806, is impossible. A furious war, destruction of military stores, forced contributions, the pressure or the passage of troops of all nations, privation of the means of re-production, by cessation of commerce, all the miseries, in short, which contribute to consummate the ruin of a country, united to oppress this most unfortunate nation. The whole of the monarchy, in all


Frederic William, father of Frederic II. with scanty revenues (perhaps 40,000,000 | francs) lefti n 1740, a full treasury, with an army of 60,000 good troops, to his successor In 1786, Frederic II. left to his nephew a population and a revenue, at least

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