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pended, and the only fentiment that filled the minds of all was, to fight and conquer.

The internal difcontents were a new caufe of diforder, which occafioned enormous expences and dilapidations of every kind, which drained to their very fource the means of reproduction and the public revenue.

In what light, citizen reprefentatives, can we view the public fortunes iffuing from the revolutionary crifis, and the long tyranny that followed the 31ft, of May? Was not the public treasure wafted? And were not agriculture, arts, manufactures, and commerce, almoft totally destroyed? Our hearts were expanded with hope; but the remembrance of the evils of tyranny was yet too ftrong to bring forth from the earth the depots that were entrufted to it, or to restore to commerce all that fear had concealed.

It was, however, neceffary to fupport the war against nearly all the powers of Europe. Peace was to be gained by victories, and to obtain thofe victories we had armies to keep up. We could not calculate on the produce of contributions from a country' drained and exhaufted, and extraordinary refources alone could be employed with any profpect of fuccefs. The committees of government drew from the only fource that was left them, namely, that of affignats. They multiplied them to excefs, but in the end the bufinefs was effected. The maximum was fuppreffed, agriculture revived, and riches appeared to be transferred entirely to the country. Some cries were raised against the avarice of the farmers; but more enlightened men were aware, that wealth could not, for any length of time, confine itfelf to its fource, without flowing through thofe channels which produce the public tranquillity; and the event already begins to realize their predictions. Peace has been concluded with Pruffia, Holland, and Spain; circulation finds a re-establishment in the interior, commerce revives with our new allies, and our fituation at home and abroad affumes a new confiftence,

To this ftate of conftitutional organization have we now arrived. All Frenchmen, really attached to their country, thought they faw the end of their troubles, and the happy period when they were to enjoy the revolution. But we were still obliged to continue the war against enemies obftinately determined to perfevere in it. Extraordinary expences were the confequence, and to fupply them we were forced to recur again to extraordinary means.

The forced loan and creation of mandats fucceeded. The public fervice was not interrupted. Fresh victories produced fresh treaties of peace, raifed contributions, and diminished our expences. Our firmnefs in the midst of reverfes has staggered the obftinacy of thofe enemies that remain to us. They have now tried us. and we have reafon to believe that they will foon partake

in our defire to extinguish the flames of war, and live in peace with a people no lefs anxious to difplay their moderation than to make their rights respected.

But the more reafon we have to expect the speedy return of peace, the more interefting does it become to regulate with economy our ordinary expences, and provide a fund of contributions for the necellary revenues to fupport them.

The commiffion of finances prefented you with one of the principal branches of revenue, the landed contribution; and after long and serious difcuffions, you adopted the refolution agreed to by the council of Elders.

You will readily call to mind, citizen reprefentatives, that the law fixed the landed contribution at the fame fum as in 1790, and that, to secure an equal return to the treasury, it ordained that each franc, of the value of the year 1790, fhall be paid at the rate of fix pounds of corn in mandats.

Hitherto the nature of mandats, fixed by the laws of the 28th Ventose, and the 14th and 15th of last Germinal, did not allow them to be otherwise considered than as metallic money, and they were therefore received at their nominal value in all payments, and at all the offices.

It is not requifite now to examine the motives which induced you to make these difpofitions, and the penalties pronounced against those who fhould infringe them; neither is it neceffary to difcufs anew whether you could, or whether you ought to fupport the mandats at their nominal value. The natural tendency of things would have brought you back to the point from which you fet out, if you were not governed by circumstances.

I told you, on the 15th Ventofe, in fpeaking of the affignats, that we fhould confider if it was poffible to give to affignats a relative value. I reminded you, that when the difcredit of affignats began to be manifeft, it was endeavoured to be remedied by the maximum, requifitions, profcriptions of money, penal laws, revolutionary armies, and various other accompaniments; and that the refult of all thefe measures was lefs confidence in the affignats, the ruin of many good citizens, and the fcandalous fortune of fome fcoundrels. I laid before you the advantages of leaving paper money to its relative value, and the inconveniences of every other ̈system.

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Notwithstanding this, we adopted other principles in the law of the 28th Ventose, and the other laws which followed it. fuaded ourselves that the regulations made in favour of mandats would have affured them their nominal value. We endowed them in such a manner as to expect that all the world would be in queft of them, and flattered ourselves with the hope that we had replaced the affignats by a species of money, which united all their advantages without any of their inconveniences, and which would

establish,

establish, in all tranfactions, that fairness and equality necessary for the maintenance of fociety.

Our hopes were difappointed by that wickednefs, ready to avail itfelf of every occurrence, and which having excited inquietude and diftruft, fucceeded in depreciating their real value.

You then faw the neceflity of railing contributions, according to the relative, and not the nominal value of the mandat; and you difcovered that the fureft method of enlightening the public opi nion, was to intereft every citizen in bringing the mandats back to their primitive value.

You took the wife precaution of not leaving mandats to the mercy of ftock-jobbing; and in taking the common price as the regulator of their value, you have rendered their condition interest ing to all Frenchmen.

But having already eftablished this rule for the payment of conitributions, now that your refolution is become the law of the Republic, by the acceptation of the council of Elders, will you not extend it to all other tranfactions, as well between citizen and citizen, as between citizens and the government?

This queftion is one of the moft interefting and difficult to be refolved.

If you adopt the affirmative, you must modify your law refpecting the mandats; and if you maintain the negative, it will ferve to perpetuate injuftice, already prolonged too much, and over which each of us had more than once reafon to figh.

I cannot think that you will perfevere in a fyftem productive of too frequent acts of injuftice, and the caufe of great evils, without any, benefit to the Republic. Nothing can be more true than the maxim, that the public good is compofed of that of indivi duals, and that the public charges fhould be equally affeffed. Do not then fuffer any longer that a proprietor fhould be exposed to lofe a part of his fortune, and to fee enriched, by his ruin, a man who perhaps made no facrifice to his country.

You never at any moment found yourselves in a fituation more favourable to thofe modifications, which circumftances render indifpenfable. Already, in the interior, almost all tranfactions are independent of the nominal value of mandats; men led aftray, who were armed against their country, have now entered into her bofom; and abroad your victorious armies promife you a speedy peace. The news we have received from the army of the Rhine, has fhewn to our enemies, that in the vain hope of putting Jourdan to flight, they only fell into a fnare; and by withdrawing their principal force from a rich country, they afforded us the opportunity of becoming masters of it. Subfiftence is abundant, and we reap the harveft, while commerce diffufes itfelf around. Its activity will increafe when it has no longer the dread of feeing the law protect dishonesty. Money has re-appeared, and its prefence

VOL. V.

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announces the return of confidence. The government has proved to all France, that it wishes only for the maintenance of the conftitution, and the reign of the laws. All things confpire to affure you, that you will be ardently feconded by the nation, and that new efforts and new facrifices, if neceffary, will be made to enable you to hold amongst the citizens the ftrict balance of justice. The public fervice must be fupplied with contributions. Oblige all thofe already eftablished to be paid in real value, and employ yourfelves in the adoption of others for augmenting the revenue.

The extraordinary fervice fhould be defrayed by extraordinary funds. The national domains are an abundant fource, and far from being exhaufted. You must husband them with care, but never recede from your engagements to give them, to the holders of mandats. On this fubject exprefs yourselves with courage and with candour.

You put the domains into trade by means of the mandats: the nation fulfils its engagement, in order that the citizens should also fulfil theirs; and do not liften to the clamours of those who decry the fmallness of the payments you receive for them. All thofe who wish to fee the moft furious enemies of liberty re-occupy their poffeffions; all thofe who defire that the public fervice may be neglected, are anxious to prevent the fale.

The one promifes you loans upon eafy terms, and the other af fures you that fales by auction will produce you the most abundant and certain refources. Profit by the leffons of experience, and do not reckon on the poflibility of loans, until peace fhall restore confidence, and confolidate the public credit. Confider that the depreciation of no property is more rapid than of that which is in the hands of the nation; and that there is no furer method of attaching men to their country than by making them proprietors.

Reflect that the day when you put the domains up to auction, the mandats will have no term of comparifon, which can give them a known value; and that they will be multiplied like affignats fo as to embarrass circulation by a mischievous abundance of figns without value.

It would be no doubt defirable, that the credit of the mandats bore a fairer proportion to the value of their pledge. But as long as venders are obliged to fell, and he that purchases is fubject to fufpicion and uneafinefs, the difcredit of the object for fale is an unavoidable confequence. You must not think that a fale by auction would encreafe the value of your effects; turn your whole attention to the removal of uneafinefs and mistruft, and you need not doubt of seeing the mandats speedily rife in their credit.

In fine, citizen reprefentatives, do not forget that the mandats ferved, and ftill ferve, for the exchange of affignats; and that large quantities of the latter were kept in the departments by citizens who intended to employ them in purchafes, and who now

reckon

reckon on employing the produce of their exchange. Would it be just to deprive them of the advantage of purchafing on the terms of the law of the 28th Ventofe?

You will maintain that law in all the difpofitions made for the alienation of the national domains, but you will reform that, and those which followed it, refpecting the difpofitions that refer to the nominal value of mandats.

Do not be afraid that this meafure will be prejudicial to the public treasury. It takes away nothing from the value of the national domains, which are your principal refource. It will aid, inftead of injuring, every branch of political economy, and every fource of wealth. In a word, it will fix public opinion, and conciliate for you that confidence fo neceffary for confolidating the public credit.

I confefs that I waited with impatience the adoption of the law refpecting landed contribution, by the council of Elders. All the wretched proprietors, to whom reimbursements were promised, addreffed their complaints to me, becaufe it was I who made the report on the law of the 15th Germinal.

I attempted in vain to confole them, by fhewing that they may place their reimbursements in national domains. The fmall reimbursements, fuch as belong to the moft miferable, are fcarcely fufceptible of being employed in funds of landed property, and the difcredit of the mandats brought on the ruin of those who received them.

Put an end to their uneafinefs, but, while you do them justice, do not be unmindful of the duty you owe to the debtors. The fcarcity of money in France has confiderably enhanced its value, as will appear by the flightest reflection on those circumstances to which we are daily witness.

It therefore requires a deep and serious examination to discover the best means of doing juftice to every one, in order to prefent you with a refolution to regulate the interefts of all the citizens.

But you need not wait the termination of that labour to announce to the whole Republic, that the law of the 15th Germinal is no longer permitted to be abused; and that, as in all tranfactions between individuals, mandats are not allowed to be refused, fo neither can they be forced for more than their relative value, according to the law upon the landed contribution,

Official Letter from Cadiz to the Minifter of the Marine.

10th Thermidor, (August 5.) YESTERDAY the two Spanish fquadrons, under the command of Admirals Langara and Solano, with that of the Republic, commanded by Admiral Richery, failed together from this port.

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