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ef the troops, regularly liquidated, have been discharged every where, with the punctuality which belongs to times of prosperity. We have now to re-organize the army in men and apparatus; to provide for all the expenses of the first organization. By the wise plan of the minister of war, this organization will unfold itself by degrees, and in a progression corresponding with the resources of the treasury. It is in this sense that we must understand the possible postponement of a portion of the expenses of 1816 to 1817. But a recurrence of the extraordinary circumstances which have created the deficit of 1814 and 1815, is not to be apprehended. I trust that the receipts of 1816 will not fall short of the valuation. The improvements which time may induce in the situation of our finances, will readily cover the debt which the coming year might leave to be paid by the following year. This debt will be the less, chiefly by reason of the retrenchment of all the expenses which are not of absolute necessity. The ministers of your majesty know that one of their first duties is to carry economy into all the branches of administration entrusted to their care, that no recourse ought to be had to new taxes but after having exhausted the resources of reformation. They will fulfil this duty. It is in the exercise of a constant and wise economy that we must now look for the alleviation of the enormous burthens which are imposed upon us. It is in a strict equilibrium of possible receipts, and of necessary expenses, that we shall find the means of supporting the present and of providing for the future. These views have nothing brilliant, but their results are certain; and your majesty will
not commit to the chances of theory the relief of your people. A time will come nevertheless, and perhaps it is not far distant, when the blessings of peace, the strength of union, and the advantages arising from exactness and good faith, may give us the resources of a credit which will be extensive, because it will be legitimate. Credit so often invoked, and sometimes badly understood, is the simple result of confidence. We will deserve it, and may then give it a direction in conformity with the interests of the state. Your majesty may observe in the budget of expenses an item which, till now, had never been inserted in the budget. It is the fund for the invalids of the sea service. The inscribed debt is put at 115 millions, including in it the new inscriptions which are to be made in execution of the last treaties. This evaluation of 115 millions is justified by the detailed statement annexed to this report (No. 15) and the principal results, which are as follows: The 5 p. 0 |0. consolidès inscribed on the 1st of April, 1814, amounted to a sum of 63,300.000. But owing to the new inscriptions which have ta
ken place since that time, they amounted on the 1st of October,
1815, to - - - - - - , , - - 65,393,312 The debt to be inscribed in 1816, is valued at - - - - - 12,385,690 The credit necessary for the payment of the perpetual debt in 1816, amounts then to - - - - 77,779,002 To this we must add:The life annuities, - - - 13,584,000 The pensions, - - - - 24,423,384 Total, 115,786,368
The increase of the debt calls imperiously for the creation of a sinking fund which may limit its duration, moderate its effects, and by a gradual extinction bring it back to the point where it ought to stop. This is the object of the last propositions which I am going to offer to your majesty.
Sinking Fund. The sinking fund according to its former organization, had three principal and several characters. It was, A fund of deposit, A fund of warranty, And a sinking fund. As a fund of deposit it received, or it ought to have received, the judiciary securities and other deposits of the same kind. As a fund of warranty it reimbursed the protested bonds of the receivers general, to the full amount of the security of the persons who had subscribed the same. As a sinking fund it was to extinguish gradually the floating debt. Accordingly, several laws had assigned to the sinking fund a considerable capital, of which it was by degrees deprived. Of this capital, an annual revenue of 3,600,000 francs had escaped spoliation. This annual revenue was sold in the interval between the 20th of March and the 7th of July last. It is now more necessary than ever to create anew the sinking fund upon a new basis, to restore it to its first and true function, that of diminishing the debt, and to give it at the same time all the moral force which it wants to fulfil freely and with proper independence this important duty. In order to obtain this result, it was necessary to ascertain and to certify its true situation, to clear it of all imaginary resources, all credits worse than doubtful, which swell its apparent capital, of all obsolete or lapsed debts. By the liquidation adopted, the sinking fund conveys its capital to the treasury; the treasury assumes the payment of its debts. A new
i." now opens for the sinking und.
The revenue of the post office, a certain revenue and the legitimacy of the origin of which is the best security for its duration, since it is less a tax than a compensation for services rendered the public; this revenue, I say, is exclusively appropriated to the sinking fund to the amount of 14 millions. This sum shall be deposited monthly by twelfths. If the proceeds of the post office exceed 14 millions, the surplus will belong to the treasury; if it be less, the treasury shall make up the deficiency.
This endowment shall form the capital specially devoted to the reduction of the public debt. Independent of this capital, the sinking fund is authorised to receive the produce of judiciary securities, and of voluntary deposits, and the centimes which the departments and communes (districts) are empowered to levy. It will pay the interest on those deposits, in the proportion fixed by law, and the profits of this fund on the interest it may derive from the employment of its means compared with that which it may have to pay, will augment its resources for the gradual extinction of the debt.
But in order that the sinking fund may fulfil the end of its institution, in order that it may reap the contemplated advantages in all their extent, it is necessary that its operations be independent; that the deposit which it is intrusted with be inviolable; that its administration be guarded by all the securities that can ensure its fidelity, and that the administrator who is to have the honour of directing it do himself offer by an indefeasible responsibility, the first of those Securities.
Such is the basis upon which I propose to your majesty to create anew the sinking fund. Then, this institution, a truly national institution, will realize the sanguine hopes which are attached to its destinies. The tables annexed of the effects of the sinking fund calculated during an interval of twenty years, and with means inferior to those which are now to be placed at its disposal, may give an idea of the degree of prosperity which it may reach, when it shall have full scope and ample resources.
Thus, sire, have I fulfilled the duty which devolved upon me, by placing under the eyes of your majesty the situation of your finances. I have concealed none of the afflicting features which it wears.
The resources of 1814, and of 1815, are exhausted, and there re
mains to be paid arrears amounting to 625 millions. The budget of 1816 cannot cover its expenses but by a considerable addition to taxes already so heavy. Corroded by regrets for the past, bent under the weight of the present, we must look to futurity for consolation. Let us hope that peace, which has cost us so dear, that the restoration of order and of domestic tranquillity, that the union of all Frenchmen in one sentiment, will accelerate the term of our sacrifices. This hope is in the heart of your majesty. Heaven owes it to your virtues to realize it. The Minister Secretary of State for the Defiartment of Finance. Coung Cory Erro.
For 1815 and 1816.
The Chancellor of the ErcheQuer, in rising to submit to the committee the terms on which he had contracted a loan that morning, could not but regret that circumstances had made it necessary for him to propose that a provision should be made for the prosecution of a war on the most extensive scale, while the country was yet labouring under the burthens thrown upon it by a former contest. It would be in the recollection of the committee, that but a few months had elapsed since that house was employed in debating what provision would be necessary for the peace establishment of the country, and by what means the nation should be gradually released from the charge of the expenditure imposed upon it by the events of the late struggle in the cause of Europe. Scarcely, however, had the ratification of the treaty of of peace with America arrived, before circumstances occurred which had led to a renewal of the war with France. The circumstances which had attended the landing of Bonaparte in France were of a nature so extraordinary and unprecedented, that they could neither be by possibility foreseen, nor preyented by any act of the British government; and they were felt throughout Europe as an electric shock, which in a moment rouzed all its nations into arms. The declaration of the allies of the 13th of March, issued at a time when it was not possible for them to have had any communication with this country, proved that the impulse had not
been given by England, but that it was the opinion of all the great sovereigns on the Continent, that with a government like the present government of France, whose authority rested in no right— which was founded on oppression at home, and insatiable ambition abroad—there was no safety for them but in war; satisfied as they were, that such a power would labour to effect the subjugation of Europe, if it were not overpowered itself. This country had at that time made some progress in the reduction of its expenditure. The American war was at an end; but at the same time large demands were existing against the nation. Though this war was closed, it was still necessary to provide for the return of our army from America, and also for the paying off of the large arrears which remained in consequence of that contest in Europe which had preceded it. These circumstances being taken into the consideration of the committee, they would not wonder that a loan, in its amount beyond all example, should be called for; and he trusted that it would not be thought too great, when it was remembered that it was in
tended to meet not only the charges of a new war in which we were engaged, but also to extinguish the arrears of an old one.
Though he regretted the necessity for it, still he could not but
derive some consolation from the
reflection, that the manner in
which it had been raised would
prove to the world how large were
our resources, and how prosperous
the state of the country. Undoubtly it was satisfactory to him, that great as the sums called for were, and extensive as were the charges which the country had to bear, he had no reason to comment in detail upon the different articles which caused this expenditure, as they had already undergone the consideration, and for the most part received the sanction of Parliament. He had only to recapitulate the supplies
which had been granted; and what'
were the means by which it was proposed that they should be met. There might be some further expenses to be provided for, which in the course of his statement he would take an opportunity to point out. The total amount of the charge for the service of the navy for the present year was 14,897,000l., and for transports S,747,000l. making together the sum of 18,644,000l. Here, however, it was to be observed, two millions were to be included for the repayment of the navy debt, and which, therefore formed no part of the service of the current year. The different expenses on account of the army amounted to 13,876,000l. The arrears of the extraordinaries unprovided for, were 11,983,000l. For the extraordinaries of the current year, including Ireland, a sum of no less than 12,000,000l. had been voted. The charge for the barrack service was 99,000l., which had not yet been voted, but which would be proposed in the committee of supply the same evening. This sum would appear uncommonly small; but he would shortly assign the reasons which might be expected to render it sufficient, and any further circumstances requiring notice would be fully explained by his right honourable friend
in proposing the vote. The total amount of the sums called for on account of the barrack service was 250,000l. The difference between the sum last mentioned and the 99,000l. proposed to be voted, was occasioned by a saving arising from the sale of the old stores, and of barracks no longer necessary for the public service. The commissariat caused a charge of 1,100,000l, the store-keeper general one of 91,000l.; giving a total on account of the military service, of 39,150,000l. For the ordnance service, the supply was 4,431,000l. For the expense of subsidies this year to the allies, the house had voted 5,000,000l. They had also voted 1,653,000l. for the repayment of the bills of credit created under act of 1813; but there remained other expenses to be provided for, arising out of the deficiency of the force which we were bound to maintain on the Continent by the additional treaty of Chaumont, and out of some other subsidiary engagements. On account of the supplementary convention of Chaumont, (he was not sure the sum he was about to name was quite correct, as the accounts were not finally made up, but he was satisfied it would prove nearly accurate), there was a charge of 370,000l. To complete the subsidies granted to Austria under former treaties, a sum of 400,000l. was necessary. This arose partly from the circumstance of some stores which were intended to be delivered for the Austrian service, having been otherwise employed; and of some other stores having been charged in the subsidiary account which it had been agreed to omit, and the value of which in both cases was consequently to be made up in money. The greater part of this