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paign. Besides, the governor, and the two deputy governors of this bank are appointed by the emperor.-Under these circumstances, the notes of the institution can have no extensive circulation. Any day may give birth to a decree, declaring the exchange of notes for specie inadmissible.
How does it happen, asks Sir Francis d'Ivernois, that the notes of the bank of England, notwithstanding their lying import (to use the imperial term) are in constant demand, whilst there are hardly any applicants for the veracious notes of that of Paris?-The latter has reduced its discounts from six to five, from five to four per cent. yet cannot find employment for its funds!
If such be the state of business, confidence, and circulation -what would be the fate of notes signed Napoleon? Loans and sinking funds, would be resorted to in vain.—It is true that Bonaparte has succeeded in creating a new debt, to the amount of 300 millions of francs. But this was created by forced loans. The senate, the legion of honour-were compelled to sell their real estate and invest the proceeds in inscriptions on the great book. The universities, the colleges, the hospitals-were obliged to do the same.
By such, and similar means, he succeeded in forced loans; -a resource which may be considered as exhausted. When voluntary loans are under consideration, the "man of wonders," must consult public opinion. Aware of this, he has thought proper to new model the law, respecting the sinking fund, which fund, he says, shall be, henceforth, sacred, till the interest of the public debt be reduced to 80 millions of francs.
This fund was in existence in 1800. The revenue of the post office establishment, the proceeds arising from money deposits by way of securities (cautionnemens,) and some hundred millions besides, were nominally appropriated to it; but, it actually received only enough to create an income of 1,612,844 francs.-The following items, taken from the voluminous accounts of the managers, may give an idea how this income has been applied.
Advance to the imperial riding school, (decree of Fr. his majesty of the 6th September, 1809.) Advance to the city of Nantz, for rebuilding the theatre, (imperial decree of the 29th of October, 1809)
Advance to establish poor-houses, &c. (decree of the 10th August 1809)
Advance to raise national guards in several departments, (decree of the 5th September 1810)
The tribune, Bose, might well say, "that there was not a fund similar to this in all Europe."
And if such was the respect manifested for the sinking fund, during the plenitude of foreign receipts-what may be expected in future!
Napoleon has not yet resorted to voluntary loans-because they were impracticable. He will not resort to them hereafter for the same good reason.
A new bankruptcy will certainly take place, whenever it becomes expedient. But those who attach much importance to it as a fiscal resource, forget that the emperor has just spunged the directorial debt of five millions, and that he must needs create arrears, before bankruptcy can avail any thing.
Besides twelve millions of the annuities belong to the senate, and the legion of honour, the firmest support of his throne. The universities, and colleges, he could scarcely leave unprovided for. The remainder of the perpetual annuities, life annuities, and pensions, are divided among so great a number of persons, about 90 millions of francs, amongst apwards of 300,000 receivers,-that they would average on the supposition of an equal distribution, about 16 sols a day per head. Were a new bankruptcy to deprive the individuals of this pittance, a great proportion, stript of their income, would fall to the charge of government, in the poor houses. -Napoleon has also learnt, that bankruptcies lessen revenue.
The accumulation of arrears however, has already begun. -Of the 15 millions granted the clergy, only 10,755,967 francs had been paid in 1810, and from seven to eight millions remained due on the allowances of retirement, (half pay). By thus procrastinating the remuneration due to the clergy; the allowances to invalids; the salaries of people in office; the compensation of the judges; the discharge of engagements with contractors, and, in case of need the payment of annuities, from 100 to 200 million's might perhaps be gained. -But, as this expedient would infallibly derange, and probably endanger, the whole fabric of government, it remains to be seen, whether the progress of the deficit, could be arrested, by a great augmentation of the public charges.
With regard to new taxes, or an increase of the rates of those in operation, we should recollect, that the French people now pay, at least one seventh more that what they paid under Louis XVI, when they were industrious and rich, in possession of flourishing colonies, supporting innumerable manufacturing establishments at home, and a vast commerce abroad.
Napoleon has preserved all the new taxes laid by the constituent assembly, and revived all those it had suppressed.Tax on salt, excise on liquors, tolls, monopoly of tobacco,whatever fiscal device existed under the old regime, he has
re-established, and he must be much at a loss to contrive additional modes, if we are to judge from the only one that has been imagined, for these two years-viz. a centime per sheet; on the republication of the works of all authors deceased. This tax appears trifling. It produces scarcely 60,000 francs; yet an edition of 1000 copies, of a work of 800 pages, must in future pay 1000 francs to the fisc, whether the book will sell or not. The gentlemen of the national institute could scarcely have expected this, when he wrote to them, "the most honourable, as well as most useful occupation, is to contribute to the diffusion of knowledge."
An increase in the rates, of the taxes in operation, would be equally illusory. Whenever the Emperor has attempted it, they have become less productive than they were before.
The only means, perhaps, of rendering the taxes more productive, would be to reduce their rates.-Many imagine that if he were to abandon the continental system, and seriously endeavour to revive his own commerce, instead of warring against that of G. Britain, his finances could not otherwise than improve by the change. Nothing, replies our author, is more certain. But Napoleon has neither means, nor time, nor the disposition, to sow, in order to reap. A deficit like his requires a ready harvest.
If Spain does not afford it;-if the mines of Mexico and the Brazils are no longer to be thought of-how shall 120,000 new conscripts be employed, and fed, except by seeking spoil elsewhere!
His ministers may tell us "that he no longer projects new conquests, because he has exhausted renown." Germany, Italy, Holland—are not exhausted yet. There must be foreign receipts. His finances require the supplies of victory!
Such is the substance of the book of sir Francis d'Ivernois, which cannot be too strenuously recommended to the attention of the public, and which forms a most valuable counterpart to that, lately published by Mr. de Montgaillard,*-a production as remarkable for flimsiness, exaggeration, and bombast, as that which we have been considering, is admirable for diligent research, profound knowledge, and a sober, and honest regard for truth. To this praise we think sir Francis justly, and eminently intitled, though we may not entirely agree with him in all his arguments and conclusions.
The appendix of our author comprises a very precious collection of documents, which tend to corroborate his assertion, and to sustain his opinions as detailed in the work itself. At present we have not space left for an abstract of these documents, but we consider them of so much importance and interest, that we shall probably return to the subject in our next number.
* Situation of England in 1811.
Voyage sur la Scene des six derniers Livres de l'Enéide, suivi de quelques Observations sur le Latium Moderne. Par Charles Victor de Bonstetten, Ancien Baillif de Nyon; de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Copenhague, et de la Société de Physique et d'Histoire-Naturelle de Genève. A Genève. Chez f. J. Paschoud, Libraire.
A Ramble over the Theatre of the six last Books of the Eneid; followed by some Observations on Modern Latium. By Charles Victor de Bonstetten, &c. &c.
MR. Necker used to say, that he preferred hearing from his visitors, the most unimportant fact, were it only the colour of the carriages they might have met on the road, to a repetition of common-place truisms, in their endeavours to appear witty or profound. This curiosity respecting material objects, this eagerness to acquire the knowledge of facts, is very generally implanted in the human breast; and the traveller, therefore, who publishes the narrative of his tour, may, perhaps, indulge more sanguine hopes of success than any other description of authors. If we may judge by the number of tourists, it appears they have already made this calculation; but they do not seem equally aware, that their volume is generally perused in order to gain a knowledge of some particular country, and not of the person who describes it; and that a plain, or even homely narrative of occurrences, and an unaffected description of objects, from the pen of an observant man, is always of more value to those who seek for information, than the soaring flights of a sentimentalist, or the abstruse speculations of a system-monger.
The reader loves, indeed, to identify himself with his author, and share with him his pleasures and his dangers:-but in order to create an interest of this kind, the traveller must be divested of his prejudices; he must leave the Englishman, the American, or the Frenchman at home; must see things as a cosmopolite, and relate them as he sees them.-He must have discernment to enable him to select his groupes, and imagination to give life to his pictures, and must take great care that this "busy power" does not snatch the pencil from the hand of truth. By this we do not mean to imply an indulgence in a propensity to falsehood; but men, unfortunately, see things more as they are predisposed to see them, than as they really are. Daily experience convinces us more and more, of the fallacy of our senses. We do not
know which is most irksome to the judicious reader, the silly and mawkish admiration displayed by some tourists, or the surly, testy fretfulness of those, who gratify private pique, by general abuse, Of this class there are also numerous examples, from Smollett down to Dr. Clarke. We believe good and evil to be so very equally distributed in this world, that a traveller who devotes himself to the task of vilifying an entire nation, must be under the influence of prejudice or passion, and will gain the hatred of the nation he abuses, without obtaining the confidence of that which he addresses. Americans are, perhaps, more interested than any other people, in reprobating this ungenerous conduct, and we have only to turn over the pages which Europeans have published relative to our country,
in order to see how far our cause is common with that of the Russians in this respect.
We cannot say that these observations were suggested to us, in all their force, by the work now before us, but they are applicable to it in a certain extent. The general tenour and execution of it are such, however, that we introduce it with pleasure to the American reader.
The author is a man who, although far advanced in age, has retained, in an uncommon degree, all the vigour of thought and liveliness of imagination, which are characteristic of youth. At the same time that we recommend his work generally, we deem it proper to specify those points in which it is calculated to mislead the reader; and how far an author may do this, without being guilty of wilful misrepresentation, we have just intimated.
The proposed end of this publication, is the defence of the historical part of the Eneid, and the demonstration of the accuracy, with which the bard has described the scenery of his poem. For this purpose the author visits the mouth of the Tiber, and the contiguous shores of the Mediterranean, with his Virgil in his pocket; compares the copy with the original; and finds, or fancies he finds, the one agree perfectly with the other. There is nothing new in the plan; a similar illustration of the scene of the Iliad has been undertaken; and, indeed, this mode very naturally suggests itself in a country, which cannot be fully enjoyed, without a thorough possession of the ancient classics. We will not venture to say that the reverse of this position is also true; but, at all events, a knowledge of the localities, adds to the zest, with which the classics are perused.
Mr. de Bonstetten has executed his task with considerable ingenuity; but we think there is a radical defect in the composition of his pages, occasioned by the intermixture of subjects