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other unexpected causes. Additional centimes have also been levied upon the indirect taxes, under the name of a war tax. “In districts, the revenue of which exceeds twenty thousand francs, ten per cent. is levied upon the net produce of these duties, for what is termed the pain de soupe des troupes; a contribution for the subsistence of the troops in the neighbourhood of the cities, resembling the Annona JMilitaris of the Romans.”—p. 137–38.
We now proceed to the second head of our abstract, namely, “the system established for the administration and collection of the revenue.”
“The administration is divided into two distinct departments, under the management of different ministers. The one entitled the Minister of the Treasury; the other, the Minister of the Finances. The latter superintends the execution of the laws relative to the assessment and collection of the taxes;–regulates all the establishments, such as the postoffice, the customs, &c. which yield a revenue to the exchequer;—and issues orders for the publick payments which are made by the treasury. He is supposed to act only by virtue, either of a general law, of an arrété of the executive, or of a mandat or order from a minister. The treasury is the central point of all receipts and disbursements. The minister of this departmentis charged with the verification of the sums received and paid over to him by the collectors; with all publick payments, when warranted by an order from the minister of finance, and with the guardianship of the rand livre, or book of inscriptions for the publick debt. “Both ministers exhibit, annually, a separate budget, prefaced by an exposition of the state of their respective departments. The report of the minister of finance is accompanied by an elucidation of its various items, and a general survey of the financial resources of the empire. Their accounts are subject to a revision of a committee, consisting of seven members, appointed by the conservative senate, who bear the name of the committee of national accountability [comptabilité nationale.] An exposition of the amount of the revenue and expenditure is submitted every month to the emperour, who allots, to each department of state, the sum which the supposed wants of the department require. It was solemnly decreed, in 1805, by a senatus consultum, that the budget should receive the visa of the archchancellor, as an important formality . As the revenue caumot be realized within the year, the
accounts are left open, and stated in the budget of the following year, under the title of exercises. These open accounts, which are repeated for three or four years, considerably increase both the volume and the intricacy of the budgets.”—p. 139–141.
“I scarcely need suggest, that these reports are prepared under the immediate inspection of the emperour, and by those who are the mere slaves of his will. They are subject to no legislative scrutiny whatever; and are exhibited to the deliberative assemblies, as a proof of imperial condescension. Notwithstanding the beast with regard to the notoriety given them, they are presented only in part to the publick, in the columns of the Moniteur. The full reports are reserved for the functionaries of the two departments, with the exception of a few copies for the members of the legislative bodies.”—p. 141–42.
“The rejection or disregard of all specifick appropriations by general law, would, in every other country, be considered as fatal to publick liberty, and necessarily productive of the most mischievous disorders. But, in France, these viremens, as they are styled,—the appropriation, for instance, of the capital of the sinking fund, to the wants of the warministry, with a supposed intention of reimbursing the fund,-are qualified as reciprocal loans, calculated to facilitate the publick service, and to promote the circulation of specie.”—p. 145.
“Every village and commune of France has a collector or taxgatherer, who pays over the amount of his receipts to a treasurer, called a particular receiver; of whom there is one for every district. There is also a receiver-general for each department; into whose hands the particular receivers convey the sums drawn from the collectors; and who communicate immediately with the treasury. They are all under the active superintendance of an administration, entitled, the direction of the taxes [direction des contributions.]— This administration consists of a directorgeneral, of inspectors, verificators, controllers, &c. and of various other functionaries, whose province it is to watch over the receivers and taxgatherers, and to regulate and expedite the collection of the taxes. In 1805, the number of chief officers [employés en chef] belonging to the direction of the taxes, amounted, throughout the empire, without including Piedmont, to 1044; 254 controllers of the first class; 588 of the second, &c. The administrations for the collection of the indirect taxes, employ, likewise, an immense multitude of directors, subdirectors, inspectors, subinspectors, clerks, verificators, visiters, controllers, receivers, excisemen, préposés, and simples employés, luissiers, régisseurs, &c. These, together with the agents employed in the collection of the direct taxes, are all nominated by the emperour.” p. 146–47.
Peuchet, an eminent statistical writer in France, declares [Statistique de la France, fl. 524] that there are no positive data by which it would be possible to calculate the expenses of collection; but he acknowledges, that the expenses on the land tax alone could not have been lower, in 1803, than 16 1-2 per cent. The charges on the other taxes are not, perhaps, unreasonably calculated, by the author of the present pamphlet, at 20 per cent, taking into consideration the increase in the number of revenue officers, and the high poundage allowed them. The minister of finance, in his report of 1806, states, that the expenses of lawsuits, writs and seizures, incident to financial delinquency, which expenses are called frais de foursuite, bore a mean proportion of The to the whole amount of the direct taxes. In some departments, the ratio was upwards of +5. The injuries and expenses sustained by the people, in the enforcement of the other taxes, are not so easily calculated; but there seems no reason to doubt that the oppression must be every where pretty nearly proportionate.
And here, even under this second head, when the reader imagines he has quite done with the enumeration of taxes, another imposition starts up to surprise him. The receivers and collectors
—“deposit individually, in the exchequer, a sum in cash, under the title of cautionnement or pledge, equal to one twelfth of all the publick money which passes through their hands. The minister of finance very properly denominates these securities a loan; and of no small magnitude, as they amounted, according to the
budget of 1805, to eighty-five millions of francs. No plausible objection could be raised against this plan, if it were confined merely to the agents of the treasury, in order to prevent insolvency or peculation on their part; but it has been extended, in a most arbitrary manner, to other classes of persons, and converted into an expedient for the creation of a new fund, applicable to the general expenses of the State.
“All bankers, lawyers, notaries, brokers, judicial officers, butchers, &c. and, in general, all persons exercising responsible trades and professions, are compelled to deposit similar securities in cash, according to a graduated scale. I was informed by a notary of the second order in Paris, that he had been called upon to advance thirty thousand francs (about six thousand dollars) as a cautionnement, before he could obtain permission to act in his professional capacity. Since the enactment of the law, additions, under the name of supplementary securities, have been made every year to the original demand, and new offices created, in order to augment this fund; so that it has hitherto worn the aspect of a permanent branch of revenue.” p. 151—153.
“The interest assigned to the contributors, was originally five and six per cent.; but in 1808, it was reduced to four and five per cent.” p. 153.
The securities, as our author ob
serves, are only forced laws under
“The general receivers draws bills on themselves, at the commencement of the year, in favour of the government, payable the fifteenth of every month, for the whole amount of the direct taxes; and bills at sight, for the amount of such of the indirect taxes as are paid over to them. The particular receivers draw, in the same manner, in favour of the general receivers, bills payable fifteen days before those of the latter fall due. The collectors pursue the same course with regard to the particular receivers. The bills at sight, are distributed among the paymasters, for the publick service. The rest are negotiated by the treasury. The sinking fund is charged with the payment of such as are protested. The loss sustained by the government in negotiating the paper emitted on account of the direct taxes, although every motive conspires to induce a regular payment on the part of the receivers, may
be alleged as a criterion of the state of
publick credit in France. It was fifteen
millions of francs in 1802; eighteen millions in 1804; and sixteen millions in 1806 The minister of finance, in his report for 1807, complains, that he was compelled, in the commencement of the preceding year, to negotiate the bills of the receivers at a discount of one and one sixteenth per month.” p. 155—156. “The caisse d’amortissement, or sinking fund, was originally formed from the ca: pital of the securities of the receivers; and the ostensible purpose of its creation, was the discharge of the interest of those securities.” p. 157. “In 1866, it was decreed that it” (the fund) “should, for that as well as the preceding year, be indemnified for the sums which it was entitled to claim from the treasury, for the discharge of the national debt, and the payment of the interest of the securities, by a delegation or cession to its use of national domains, valued at twenty years purchase. “This valuation, as compared with the ordinary prices of land in France, appears too high, by at least five years purchase. “ Upon the cession of national domains to its use, and the extortion of supplementary securities, the government, thought proper to announce that the reduction of the national debt, would come within the sphere of its activity&In this respect only, it bears an affinity to the fund of the same name in England.” p. 157. “The substitution of national domains, for the regular proceeds of the fund, is, in fact, tantamount to an insolvency for it, and makes it subservient to new violations of publick faith. The holders of the tiers consolidés, were authorized to tender them in payment for the national domains ceded to the fund; and it was by the acquisition of this stock, that it was to reduce the national debt.” p. 158.
It cannot be matter of surprise, that a government so little scrupulous, should find it difficult to uphold the national credit abroad. Our author, himself an American, tells us, that in the United States “no intelligent merchant can be induced, by any consideration, to make advances in their favour, or to accept a bill on their treasury, from their highest accredited agent;” which, of course, must always continue to be the case, while there is so great a difficulty in obtaining payment, even of claims officially acknowledged or liquidated.
Upon a representation of the case, to the minister of the marine, for instance, whose expenditure almost uniformly exceeds the appropriated sum, “the reason assigned, both in his verbal and written replies, for a delay so fatal to the creditor, has uniformly been—that the emferour had made no allotment for the flayment of his arrears; that is to say, that he wanted funds for the fulfilment of his engagements.” p. 162, 163.
We have now arrived at the last head of our analyses; and we are to state the amount of the receipts and disbursements.
“In the budget of 1806, the sums paid over to the treasury by the receivers, are stated at 877,183,581 francs. Besides these, a considerable amount is deposited separately, by the administrations of the indirect taxes, and received from other quarters. The addition of this amount makes, according to the budget, one thousand one hundred and thirty three millions, two hundred, and thirty three thousand, six hundred and ninety-one francs, for the whole receipts of the treasury of Paris during 1806. In this sum, however, are included about one hundred millions, on account of arrears for the preceding ‘exercises.” This amount is, at the same time, nearly balanced by that of such part of the taxes for 1806, as could be collected within that year.”— p. 167, 168.
The sum of 1050 millions of francs may, perhaps, be fairly stated as the net revenue of the year 1806. But if we would estimate the whole of the burthen imposed on the people, we must add to the sum the expenses of collection; the taxes paid for what are called local and departmental expenses; the disbursements of a miscellaneous nature, such as those occasioned by judicial seizures; the pittances necessarily advanced by the middling classes, to their children in the armies, to give them the decencies of life; and the premiums paid to substitutes. After enumerating these grievances, our author adds:—
“Reasoning from the above data, I shall not hesitate to compute the whole amount of the publick burdens of France, at one thousand two hundred millions of francs, or nearly sixty millions sterling; and I am well satisfied that this estimate is much below the real amount.”—p. 178.
In the statement of the sums paid to the treasury during fifteen months of the years 1805 and 1806, the minister of that department enters the receipts at 986 millions of francs, and the expenses at 932 millions. This favourable balance is not very credible, when it is considered, that there was an acknowledged defalcation of 100 millions, in the beginning of the year 1806, and that no mention seems to be made of any such favourable balance, in the subsequent estimates of the ways and means. The minister of police, in 1800, required, in his own department, 1,200,000 francs for the secret services alone; and though it does not seem probable that a smaller sum has been found sufficient for those services since, yet, in the budget of 1807, the total of his expenses is put down only at 881,000 francs. . The minister of war, in 1800, demanded 436 millions; and yet, for 1806, his expenses are stated at only 293 millions. The disbursements of the foreign department, in Necker’s time, amounted to 14 millions. The history of the foreign policy pursued in these later days, does not make it probable that the expenses can be much diminished; yet, for the year 1806, they are stated at little more than 7 millions. The appropriation for the imperial household, last year, was 28 millions of francs; including three millions for the use of the princes. Yet the magnificence, the prodigality, and the rapacity of the new court, make it impossible to believe that its expenditure can be less than that of the Bourbons; and the expenditure of the Bourbons amounted to 31 millions of livres. When a government can tax at its pleasure, vary the destination of
the publick money, according to its convenience, and supply every deficiency by unresisted frauds and oppressions, it cannot suffer much from the sacrifice it thus makes to publick feeling, in understating expenses incurred for the more unpopular departments of its administration. And, that such fallacies are by no means unfairly imputed, is manifest, not only from the foregoing comparisons and calculations, but, if we can trust this author, from direct and unimpeachable testimony; as he declares himself to have obtained “from persons in Paris who enjoy access to the most correct information, fiositive evidence, that the nominal falls far short of the real expenditure.” Such are the leading features of the French financial constitution. And it is from this constitution, combined with the code of the conscription; with the despotick regulations on the press; and with the vast establishment of spies and intriguers, that the gigantick power, which is overturning Europe, derives its form, and recruits its strength. Vigour and rapidity are its characteristicks; and, despotick as its constitution undoubtedly is, it is, of all the despotisms that history has described, the most active, energetick, and compact. The frame of that constitution is not disordered by inveterate factions, nor clogged with bloated aristocracies. All is bone and muscle; there is no sluggish smoothness, no sleekimbecility: every nerve is braced to its firmest tension, and preserved in perpetual vigour, by the most severe training and unremitting exercise. Perhaps the regimen may be too painful to be perpetual; perhaps a proportionate exhaustion may be expected to succeed: but, as long as the system does retain its present energy, so long, at least, it must continue to triumph over the diseased and decrepit masses of corpulent impotence, that erect themselves upon the continent with the empty show of resistance, and totter under the weight of the very arms which they affect to wield in their defence. As long, then, as this portentous power preserves its activity, difficulty and disaster will probably be the portion of its neighbours; and it becomes, therefore, the most interesting of all questions, how long such a power is likely to preserve its activity ? Hope, and fear, and ignorance, and learning, all offer their speculations on this important question; but each so tinged with the colours of its original, as to afford but little information as to the features and complexion of truth. The author before us conceives, that the perpetuity of this power is insured by the despotick simplicity of its organization. In support of this opinion, he refers to the simple forms of polity which upheld the Roman and Lacedemonian commonwealths; and he tells us that these forms, “ which, by proscribing all the branches of peaceful industry, create the desire, as well as the necessity, of incessant war, are by far the most firm and lasting.” But, even if we were to agree in the position, that these ancient governments were formed on the most lasting of all principles, we should by no means admit, as a necessary consequence, that the polity of modern France must be equally permanent. On what does the permanence of a warlike state chiefly depend ? On its means of providing incessant occupation for its troops. Unremitting activity is the vital principle of military power. But France cannot continue to employ her troops, as Rome and Sparta did. To the Romans and Spartans, “the desire and necessity of war” unquestionably furnished a durable employment; for they con
quered on a small scale, and fought
for safety or ambition in a narrow field. But when a nation has acquired so vast a power as that of France —when she can cast down an ancient
kingdom with a blow, and erect a new one by an edict, it is idle to talk of permanent warfare; for, in a very few years, there will be nothing left for her to war against. There is a sort of geometrical progression in the career of conquest. After a certain number of objects have been carried, each fresh achievement becomes many times more easy than the last; for the points of resistance, diminish in the same proportion in which the instruments of victory are augmenting. Now, France stands already on the eminence which Rome took seven hundred years to reach: so that, if any analogy is to be drawn between the actual duration of the Roman power, and the probable duration of that of France, we must begin our parallel at the time of Augustus; and, instead of allowing to the French system as many years of greatness as constituted the whole existence of Rome from the date of its foundation, we must allow only so many as elapsed between the dissolution of the triumvirate and the decline of the empire. But these historical analogies, though they serve very well as illustrations, are very unsafe as arguments; and, therefore, it is generally more desirable to found our conclusions on the immediate circumstances of the case, than on any comparison drawn from remote history. But, while we do not believe in the fiersetuity of the French power, neither can we agree with those who think that it must necessarily terminate, with the life of Buonaparte. Their opinion arises from the belief that the power of France is the creature of his genius; for it is inferred, that the effects, of which he seems to be the cause, must cease when that cause shall be no more. But we are not prepared to allow so much. On the contrary, we conceive that the French power, or, in other words, the present organization of the French resources, greatly as it has been aided by the genius of the