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fome individuals, is not to adjourn the activity of the navy; much less can it be its adjournment for a year. The inhabitants of our sea-ports, or those who have correspondence with them, cannot be ignorant of the number of armed ships, frigates, and corvettes, which were equipped and sailed from our harbours in the course of these four months. Can they be ignorant that forty-three ships or frigates are now at sea, and employed on particular expeditions? Do they not know that about 150 corvettes, or light armed fhips of war, are destined for the pro. tection of our coasts and coasting trade; and that about eighty fhips are equipped to carry provisions to our land armies? Do they not know of the succours, fortunate, and almost incredible, considering the situation of our navy for six months, which have been sent to our colonies in the East and West Indies ? Lastly, can they be uninformed that the port of Breit displays an activity unknown for a long time before; that the ovens, rope-walks, and workshops are all in motion, and that in a short time a numerous fquadron will be well armed and equipped ; that the port of Toulon waits only for the supply of money destined for them, in order to complete a grand armament, and that it can, in a very fort space of time, send out a powerful squadron; that the port of Rochfort has given proofs of what zeal, activity, and skill can effect, by equipping the greatest part of those expeditions which have gone out to our different colonies. From this exposition you must be convinced, citizen legislators, that while the Executive Directory meditated on the proper choice of persons to complete the number of the defenders of the national dag, it kept the navy in activity, and did not adjourn its utility, or the services it could render to the state. If they afforded such great proofs of its zeal in the general penury it experienced, what may we not expect from its energy and courage, when that alone shall attract the attention of the whole nation? Yes, our marine proudly perceives, that it is destined to recount in its turn the number of those victories which give luftre to our armies by land. The council ordered this message to be printed, and referred to a commission, composed of Trouilhe, Bland, Lefevre (De Nantes), Bergovin, and Riou,
Report made by Perree on the Expences of the Marine.
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, YOU nominated on the 7th (June 23) a commission to report on the resolution of the council of Five Hundred. The object of that proposition is to put 120 millions at the disposal of the masine minister, and it is accompanied by a message from the
Executive Directory. To this message are joined fifteen ftatements, furnished the Directory by the minister. First, on the real situation of the finances of that department. Secondly, on the current service during the months Floreal and Prairial of the 4th year. Thirdly, on the arrears due at the period of the 13th of last Brumaire. I am come, in the name of your commission, to present you with the result of their reflections on the urgency and grounds of this resolution. The motives of urgency are thus conceived: “ considering the inportance of putting in a&tivity all parts of the service of the marine and colonies, by furnishing the expences of that department, declares that there is urgency. These motives appeared convincing, and it proposed to you to adopt and acknowledge the urgency.
This was decreed. I come now to the grounds of the resolution. The first article places at the disposal of the minister of marine and colonies a sum of 120 million fixed value, for the months of Floreal and Prairial, according to the statements figned by the minister, and annexed to the mesfage of the Directory.
Your commission has examined the state of these accounts, and the nature of the different expences that composed the total. It took for its guide the law of last Ventose respecting the responsibility of ministers. The law has been observed, except in a fingle' statement of No. 1, under the head of “ The current service of the ports." This statement announces an expence of 37,916,180 francs fixed value. It is divided into twelve columns, on account of the twelve principal ports of the Republic, one of which makes the head of each division. The expence of each port is clear, and under a line at the bottom is found the fum total of 37,916,180 francs free from fractions. Such is the general statement of the expence of the current service of the ports for the months Floreal and Prairial. Though this statement ihews the fum required for each port, it is not perfectly conformable to the intention of the law, which formally prescribes an indication of the persons to whom the money is due. The minister observes, that it was impossible for him to comply literally, in drawing up this account, with the provisions of the 4th article of the law of the third of last Ventofe. He should be obliged to write out for every month upwards of 150 names, opposed to so many sums; and, a thing still more impossible, to bring forward unknown fums for work yet unfinished. These observations will appear forcible to you. You will fix your attention for a moment on the twelve principal ports of the Republic, and you will see the perpetual charge in the equipment of vefsels, the charge of different kinds of workmen in the various shops and working departinents of each port, and the fight will, no doubt, convince you of the great difficulty of giving distinct statements, together with the utter impossibility
of bringing them forward in a fixed fum. You will regret that the law of the 3d Ventose is too general, and you will, no doubt, direct your attention to render this method of accounting, ať present too rigorous for practice, more convenient to the service of the marine. The Itatement of arrears in this department swelled, on the ioth of laft Brumaire, to 105,040,161 francs. The message of the Directory has said nothing on the important subject of the debts owing to those citizens who had transactions with the ancient governinent.
The council of Five Hundred has not thought proper to make any propofition upon that head; but I can announce to the council, ihat your commillion has learned from the principal of the marine department, that the Directory is employed in providing means of putting the minister in a capacity to fulfil engagements, which, though not made with a constitutional government, are not the less deserving of regard. I omitted to mention to you thrat the nature of the expences contained in the statements of tie current service is perfectly analogous to services of that kind. We are certainly approaching to that period when they will be increased on the score of provisions, and contracted in the interior management of the offices,
Francs. The total of the fatements produced by the minister, forins a inafs of
115,256,927 The national treasury having paid by anticipation on
the demand of the minister of the marine, and the authority of the miniiter of finance, for the purchase of grain, and the salaries of workinen 5,468,430
These sums united make a total of
120,725,273 Accordingly, the message of the Directory for the funds to be placed at the disposal of the minister of marine, makes a demand of 120 millions. The council mult certainly observe, in this anticipation of payment, however it may be authorised by the minister of finance, an irregularity, the repetition of which would break through the tutelar forms of the public property. Your commission had in mind the law of the 9th Floreal. It adjourned all deliberation on the exceeding of 9,543,640 francs, which appeared in the four statements annexed to the message of the Directory, till those statements should be reproduced, according to the form prescribed by the law of the 3d Ventose. From this dispofition it will appear that the want of form alone prevented the execution of the fund. The neceflities, however, were imperious; the proceeding was necessary for the purchase of subsistence, and the daily wages of the workmen for the service was interrupted.
These considerations induced the council of Five Hundred to pass lightly over a measure which may be executed by the indirect provision of the law of the 3d Ventose, and the existing necessity. Your commillion thought proper to enter into those details. The representative body will no doubt take measures to prevent that abuse from being again repeated. The second resolution, which assigns to the treasury the payment of 120 millions, is a sequel to the first, and offers no subject of observation. After the heavy verification of figures, which I have submitted to the council, your commission was solicitous to anticipate your desires, in drawing your attention to the important intcrefts of the Republic, on the report of the marine commerce, so rarely spoken of in this tribune. The marine has fuffered more than any other department by the revolutionary delirium. There dilapidations are more easy, the faults of ignorance more fatal, and professional men more scarce. Some citizens, possessing patience as well as zeal, have weathered the storm by yielding to its violence ; they never despaired of the public weal, and their useful labours have prepared for our successes. At the time when the legislative body entrusted to the Directory the reins of government, our colonies appeared to be forgotten by the metropolis. They wanted more supplies, more provisions; they were loaded with debt, and they had no money. The English minister insulted the miseries of which he himself was the artificer, and the British flag was floating in our roads. The government found powerful resources in the confidence of the legislative body, the courage of its chiefs, and the love of the French for a constitution, which allured thein the reign of liberty and the laws. Circulation was restored by our coasters. Numerous divisions of our fleets carried succours to our colories in the two Indies, while other divisions issued occasionally from our ports, and activity revived in our arsenals.
We have lost some frigates, but the English commerce has suffered greatly, and numerous and rich prizes have fallen into our hands. The liberty of cruizing, the wisdom of the law in that respe&t, the activity of the marine, have produced these advantages, and every thing announces our approaching amelioration. Every inftant in the life of empires, as well as of individuals, carries with it the character of their wisdom. To lay up and preserve, is to make acquisition for the time to come. But the legislative body will hasten to nationalize the principles of government. By the side of the emblem of liberty it will fix these unerring truths, that without colonies and fisheries a navy cannot be maintained, and without a navy there can be no commerce. The practice or the neglect of these principles, have been the æras of the prosperity or calamities of France. Behold a marine and commerce receive their birth from the creative voice of Colbert, the wreck of the system of law founding in Asia a .commercial and military power, Machault disputing the empire of the seas, and a navy and commerce affording mutual support to each other. All these advantages, which coft so much blood and treasure, have been facrificed in their turus by levity and inconsiderateness, by the pas. fions and the intrigues of courts. Those times of vertigo are passed. The Republic has every thing to hope from the firmness of its constitutional fame; its allies are in hopes, and England begins to tremble. Victory and glory are the faithful companions of your armies. Wisdom and jultice thall foon fhut the temple of Janus,
Then experience and constancy shall be the guides of government; it will give a free course to an expenditure directed by order and economy, and march with an even pace to the restora. tion of commerce, the navy, and the colonies. Such are the sources of the prosperity of the Republic. We all take pleasure in contemplating it beyond the term of our own existence. We love to draw aside the veil from futurity, and to behold our country strong in her free government, cherishing the sciences, which charm the passage through life, honouring agriculture, and the arts, which multiply its enjoyment; protecting commerce, which unites all people in the bands of friendship, and acknowledging no other titles of superiority than those of talents and of virtue. The council of five Hundred has seen the necessity of affording affistance to the marine; your commission is impressed with the same motives, and proposes to you to adopt the resolution.
The resolution was adopted by the council.
Report of Defermond on Contributions and Mandats. Citizen REPRESENTATIVES, "НЕ
law ance of, respecting the payment of the land contribution, demands at this moment your most serious attention.
When paper money was first created by the constituent assembly, it obtained and preserved for a while, in private transactions, the nominal value which the law had given it. Confidence alone could allure its currency, and the way in which they.could expect to consolidate the public fortune and credit, was an inceffant application to useful reforms, and consecrating the national domains to the liquidation of our debts.
After the time of the constituent assembly, a concourse of new circumstances brought on a new order of things. France, obliged to assert by arins the liberty which it gave itself, and involved in extraordinary expences exceeding its revenue, found itself conAtrained to direct the whole of its attention to the means of repelling the enemy. All projects of order and economy were lur