« PreviousContinue »
Emperor, was published on January 12, and the following are some of the most important passages :
“ THE LOAN. "At the commencement of 1868 we had before us three necessities of the first order, for which it was urgently necessary to provide.
“ The political events of 1867 had augmented the charge of the floating debt, which required a prompt relief. On the other hand,
. we could not remain, as far as our land and naval armaments were concerned, below the standard of modern science and in the rear of other countries. Finally, commerce and industry demanded, with a just persistence, an acceleration, rendered indispensable for works of general utility.
It is reasonable to impose on Budgets only those sacrifices which they can support, otherwise we should expose ourselves to indefinitely prolonged difficulties and constraint. A recourse to credit is, certainly, an extreme measure; but experience proves that there is no advantage generally in adjourning too long the remedies recognized as necessary, and which may be decisive. Hence the thought, shared by the Government and the Chamber, to issue a loan of 429 millions, and to divide its produce, for the reasons which had led to it, in the following manner :
F. « Découverts of 1867
183,606,000 Armament of the land force
131,922,000 Armament of the Navy
30,052,646 Public Works.
83,419,646 “ Increased by a supplement of 21,500,000f. to pay the expenses of negotiation and of a year's interest.
“The law which authorizes this loan was promulgated on the 1st of last August. The subscription opened on the 6th and terminated on the 13th. I have already made known to your Majesty the conditions and results of the operation. I shall now limit myself to repeating here that the price of the negotiation, fixed at 69f. 25c., according to the average of the six months preceding, was ratified by the eager co-operation of more than 830,000 subscriptions, and that it has been since confirmed on the market of the public funds. A fact worthy of remark is that the principal securities, with the difference of the effects produced by preceding loans, were raised and maintained, in spite of the inevitable fluctuations, beyond their former level. This circumstance is due, without any doubt, to the exceptional abundance of capital and the confidence more and more widely spread in the maintenance of peace.”
« THE FLOATING DEBT. “ When the receipts of the Budgets are not sufficiently great to cover the expenses, the Treasury, as administrator of the finances of the State, and with the view of always maintaining the greatest punctuality in its payments, is obliged to supply the deficit by advances, and, in addition, to keep constantly in the cash-boxes of its accountants a circulating fund sufficient for the service of the day.
“The successive découverts belonging to all the régimes, up to and comprising the commercial year of 1866, had been reduced by divers consolidations to the sum of 727 millions.
“The year 1867, on account of the extraordinary circumstances of which I have spoken, was obliged to add a sum in compensation of a new deficit of 175 millions, which raised to 902 millions the advances made by the Treasury for the service of the Budgets.
“ The Treasury provided for that necessity, as well as for the supply of its own funds, by means of the money coming in from its correspondents, and from the negotiation of its own bonds. It is evidently obliged to borrow the sums which it furnishes to the Budgets, and as those amounts are to be repaid, some at pleasure, and others at short dates, their total, if it became too elevated, might become the cause of embarrassments more or less serious.
“The law of the 1st of August, 1868, consequently prescribed a prudent measure when it decided that the Treasury should be reimbursed out of the produce of the loans for the amount of its advances to the Budget of 1867, and that thus it should be placed in a position to pay off to that extent what it itself owes. In that manner the two debts will not add one to the other by a double employment, which ald be unjustifiable, but will replace each other proportionally; and one, the floating debt, will be reduced to what concerns the deficit of 1867 to the full extent to which the consolidated debt will be augmented.”
“ BUDGET OF 1869.
Compared with the original Estimates of 1868, those of 1869 have to meet considerable fresh requirements, resulting from the reorganization of the army, the creation of the National Garde Mobile, an increase in the pay of officers, grants for vicinal roads and improvements in several other services.
“ The Government and the Chamber considered that it would be an act of wise policy to meet that situation, and to inscribe immediately all the credits admitted to be necessary. That was the only way of establishing the edifice of our Budget on a solid basis, by removing from the commencement all chance of additional demands excepting in cases of eventualities which could not possibly have been foreseen. With that view was comprised in the Primitive Budget of 1869,
“1. The sums which had been included in the same estimates of 1868;
"2. The supplementary credits contained in the Rectificative Budget of that year;
“3. The additions required in 1869.
traordinary expenditure have been fixed
Surplus of receipts
381,171 “From the care with which those estimates have been calculated, the year 1869 will not have any Rectificative Budget, properly speaking
“The supplements of credits demanded by the Ministers, depending almost entirely on purely accidental causes, do not amount to 28 millions of francs, of which 20 millions are occasioned by the dearness of provisions and forage.
“We have to place, opposed to these 28 millions, an increase of income of 32 millions, consisting of 5 millions, being the produce of the direct taxes and the Crown lands, and 28 millions for the increased value of the indirect revenue compared with the original estimates. That surplus, as may be seen, will more than suffice to meet the supplementary expenditure. We obtain that result without any necessity for anticipating the increase of receipts belonging to the year 1869, nor the presumed amount of the annulations, which previously served to balance the Rectificative Budgets. This reserve is considerable. Without any exaggeration it may be said to give the assurance of a very good liquidation at the end of
“ ORDINARY BUDGET OF 1870. “As a final result the ordinary Budget of 1870 is calculated to give as a surplus of receipts, 86,610,105f., or 5,224,024f. more than the excess of the preceding Budget, which amounted to 81,386,121f.
“ It is very certain that those estimates are liable to unforeseen modifications. But, on the other hand, we reserve the increased produce of taxation in the two years 1869 and 1870, and the amount of the annulations; thus the situation is most reassuring.
“EXTRAORDINARY BUDGET OF 1870. “Although voted by two distinct laws, the Ordinary and Extraordinary Budgets tend to combine, in this sense, that the surplus of receipts in the former become, very fortunately, the principal and almost only resource of the latter.
" That fact is worthy of being pointed out, as the funds of the Extraordinary Budget are often supposed to have an entirely special origin. On the contrary, the Ordinary Budget, with the produce of the taxes and the annual revenue, provides for almost all
the credits called extraordinary. Here is a proof for the year 1870:
“The sum of 86,607,145f. derived, as has been already shown, from the surplus of the ordinary receipts, is sufficient to pay the whole of the following grants : Public worship, churches, priests' residences, and cathedrals, 5,300,000f.; Interior-Vicinal roads, telegraphs, and prisons, 16,633,000f.; Finance - Manufacture of gunpowder and tobacco, 1,325,000f. ; War-Artillery and engineer corps, 2,975,000f.; MarineTransformation of the fleet, 10,500,000f. ; Public Instruction-Schoolhouses, &c., 1,546,195f.; Fine Arts—Divers establishments, 4,960,000f. ; Algeria-Interest and amortization of money advanced by the Société Algérienne, railways, and great public works, 8,249,000f.; Public Works Roads, bridges, and railways, 38,591,000f.
"All that outlay, I repeat, is covered by the surplus in the Ordinary Budget, and may thus appear in the estimates without compromising the equilibrium.
“ SINKING FUND.
“The Budget of the sinking fund is making progress. It will have, in 1870, a free surplus of 32,396,493f., or, inclusive of the 10 millions coming from the Caisse des Retraites for the aged, 42,396,493f., to be laid out in the purchase of Rente.
“Your Majesty earnestly awaits the moment when the relief of the taxpayers will be possible by reduction of the amounts where the imposts are heaviest.
“ The Commission of Agricultural Inquiry is devoting itself, in concert with the Finance Department, to the most active studies on this subject.
“The progress of the Budgets, and your Majesty's firmly decided will to impose on all branches of the public service the most rigid economies, cannot fail to shortly render these studies opportune.
“Sire,—If we regard the situation from the general point of view of business, we must admit that the year 1868 has been marked by alternations of confidence and apprehension, activity and dulness; little by little public opinion has habituated itself to judge the political circumstances more soundly. A sensible resumption has been the consequence, especially in the last few months. It has been manifested, as regards commerce and manufacture, by the balance sheets of the establishments of credit; for interior consumption, by the progress of the indirect contributions, so much the more remarkable as it corresponds to 1867, the year of the Universal Exhibition ; for personal property, by the relatively high price of all securities. There is an interest in comparing from these
. different points of view the close of the year 1867 and 1868.
“ This revival, due to confidence, proves how necessary peace is to the country, to what an extent it may become productive, and what reason public opinion has to applaud your Majesty's efforts to
prevent, as far as depends on you, by a friendly intervention, the quarrels which might disturb it.
“I am, &c.,
“ P. MAGNE."
The French Chambers were opened on the 18th of January, when the Emperor delivered the following speech :
“MESSIEURS LES SÉNATEURS, MESSIEURS LES DEPUTÉS. -- The speech which I address to you every year at the opening of the session is the sincere expression of the thoughts which guide my conduct. To explain frankly to the nation before the great bodies of the State the progress of the Government is the duty of the responsible chief of a free country. The task which we have undertaken together is arduous; it is not, indeed, without difficulty that on a soil shaken by so many revolutions a Government is founded sufficiently impressed with the wants of the age to adopt all the benefits of liberty, and sufficiently strong to bear even its excesses. The two laws which you passed during the last session, and the object of which was the development of the principle of free discussion, have produced two opposite effects, which it may be useful to point out. On the one hand the Press and public meetings have created in a certain quarter a factious agitation, and have caused the reappearance of ideas and passions which were believed to be extinguished; but on the other hand the nation, remaining insensible to the most violent incitement, and relying upon my firmness for the maintenance of order, has not felt its faith in the future shaken. Remarkable coincidence! the more adventurous and subversive minds sought to disturb public tranquillity, so much the more profound became the peace of the country; commercial transactions reassumed a fruitful activity, the public revenues increased considerably, the public interest reassured, and the greater part of the recent elections gave a new support to my Government. The Army Bill and the Subsidies Bill, granted by your patriotism, have contributed to strengthen the confidence of the country, and in the just consciousness of its pride it experienced a real satisfaction the moment it learnt that it was in a position to confront every eventuality. The land and sea forces, strongly constituted, are upon a peace footing. The effective strength maintained does not exceed that which existed under former systems ; but our armament rendered perfect, our arsenals and our magazines filled, our reserves exercised, the National Garde Mobile in course of organization, our fleet transformed, and our strongholds in good condition, give to our power a development which was indispensable. The constant object of my efforts is attained, and the military resources of France are henceforth on a level with its destiny in the world. In this position we can loudly proclaim our desire to maintain peace. There is no weakness in our saying so when we are ready to defend the honour and independence of our country. Our relations with foreign powers are most friendly. The revolution which has