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body1- for the quantity, quality, and prices, of the articles supplied were mere matters of contract, and, even if the prices were exorbitant, that could only prove the rapacity of the contractor, and the ignorance or carelessness of the minister of war, in concluding the bargain. On receiving the report of their committee, they thought enough had been discovered to justify inquiry, and, by a large majority, a committee, consisting of the marquis de Pastoret, count Portalis, count Julien, and general count Beliard, was appointed to institute a supplementary investigation. The committee continued their inquiries till the middle of July, examining a multitude of witnesses and documents, when they presented a report, concluding, that there were no grounds for proceeding against counts Guilleminot and Bourdesolle, the two peers who, at first, had seemed to be implicated. The Chamber adopted the'report; and, as there was thus no ground of accusation against any of its own members, declared itself to be incompetent. All the weight of the ministry was employed to bring about this termination of an aflair which threatened ultimately to involve thfemselves; for, although moi^ey Tiad undoubtedly been lost to the nation by an improvident bargain, Ouvrard would have little difficulty in allowing that he had taken for his goods the highest price he could obtain: and the negligence or incapacity of those who had contracted with him on the part of the public, would not have added to theirpopularity. Alluding to the religious jubilee; wliich had just been celebrated over the Catholic world, and the universal absolution of sins which was its benefit, the duke de Choi-
seul, in one of his speeches characterized the proceedings in this matter as a judicial jubilee.*
In the budget for the year 1827, the expenditure was estimated at 915,773,042 francs, and the ways and means were expected to produce, taking as the basis of the calculation the income for 1825, 916,608,734 francs, leaving a disposable excess of 835,692 francs. The expenditure of 1824 had been originally estimated at 990,119,582 francs, and had actually amounted to nearly two millions and a half more; but the revenue for the same year, estimated at 992,333,953 francs, had exceeded that sum by more than two millions and a half. The revenue required to meet the expenses of the present year was greater than that required for 1821, by 35,371,340 francs. This had arisen partly from an addition which had been made, since the latter year, to the permanent debt, partly from naval expenses to complete the operations of that department in the colonies, which would not be incurred again, and partly from remittances allowed from the revenue of the post office, and other branches of revenue. On the other hand, the ordinary sources of revenuehad, during the same period, been increasing. In 1821, they yielded 891,614,678 francs; while the gross produce for the present year would be
• We find towards the end of the year the following paragraph in one of the French journals. ,<.rvifi -irv.i 'f;,
"OnTuesday, theninthof this month, (November) M. Ouvrard is to appear before the tribunal of the Correctional Police, on a charge of corruption; M. Borryer, jun., has undertaken his defence. The second part of the Memoirs of Ouvrard, in respect of his life and financial operations, 'is "announced for speedy publication,'1
916,608,784 francs. The report of the committee of the Chamber of Peers on the budget, was "By the attentive examination which we have made of the expenditure, we have seen, that, if there are several heads under which a reduction may be justly hoped in future, and some which might receive a more useful application, they are collectively useful and judicious."
In the Chamber of Deputies great diversity of opinion prevailed regarding the purpose to which the excess of revenue over thteex-penditure should be applied. Some members proposed that the duty on strong beer, others that the duty on cider, should be reduced, and others that, in the rural communes, houses of only one story, and the rent of which did not exceed fifty francs, should be exempted from the door and window tax. All these propositions were rejected in favour of the motion of the minister of finance to employ the surplus in reducing the land-tax. Twenty-five millions were voted for the civil list, and seven millionsfor the Royal family. On the vote for the expenses of the minister of justice being proposed, M. de Labourdonnaye accused that department of protecting and rewarding criminals, and declared that he would never consent to vote the public money to a minister "in whose hand the sword of justice was wielded for the protection of assassination." This charge excited much confusion in the Chamber, till the member explained himself by saying, that he had documents in his possession which proved, that, in Corsica, several assassins, under sentence of death, and others against whom proceedings were commenced, had
been set at liberty by the order of the minister of justice, with an injunction to pass intoa foreign country. The minister admitted the fact, and justified it on the ground that from the effervescent nature of Corsican passions, it was impossible to maintain absolute order in the island, and it was necessary to countenance the expatriation of some persons condemned for homicide committed from revenge. But surely it is a new doctrine both in politics and morals, that in proportion to the aptitude of dangerous passions to break forth, the means intended to weaken them should be diminished, and that punishments ought to be more mild and rare, precisely where crimes are most frequent and atrocious. The Papal government has sometimes bribed bandits from their calling by pensioning them off; and they have thus, at least, one motive to good conduct, and the means of living without rapine; but it is very doubtful whether even such a system has ever prevented a robbery or a murder. Relegation from Corsica can scarcely be an evil, and supplies no motive for controlling the angry passions whose indulgence have produced it.
To improve and maintain the internal communications of the country, 422,000 francs were voted, in addition to 28,000 francs for new works, and certainly, considering that thus only about 17,000/. were to be expended upon all the roads in France, it is easy to believe in the justice of the complaints, made by some of the members, of the state in which the roads were kept. The annual expenditure, however, upon canals, and other public works, had been gradually increasing.
The minister of the interior stated in a report (made to the king), that this expenditure amounted in 1823 to something under four millions; in 1824 it was nearly ten millions; in 1825, nearly fifteen millions; and the estimate for 1826, exceeded twenty millions. But these canals and roads, instead of being the fruits of a spirit of private enterprise, were the undertakings of a public board; and private individuals, instead of sharing in them, impeded them. The minister complained that, although the compensation proffered to the proprietors of lands through which a road or canal was to pass, uniformly exceeded the market value of the ground or buildings which it was necessary to purchase, the board, with all its precautions, was met by perpetual delays, disputes, law-suits, and losses; and, instead of the assistance which it might reasonably expect from individuals, it was often hampered by vexatious opposition, however clear might be the advantage to be reaped from the proposed measure.
In the British parliament, the opposition had endeavoured to force a reduction of the army: in the French Chamber of Deputies, the opposition to the army and navy estimates was, that they were too low. Ministers were accused of acting so as to reduce France to the rank of only a third-rate naval power, and of adopting a false and pernicious economy. General Sebastiani reproached them more especially with having paid no attention tothe construction of steamboats, which were rapidly bringing about a maritime revolution; and he assured the chamber that all the money now expended in building ships of war was wasted, for the vessels would be useless when
ever the steam-boat system was adopted, as adopted it must be. The military establishments were still more roundly taxed with inefficiency. The two royal manufactories of muskets, made about two hundred thousand annually, but made them so badly, that it was necessary to subject them to an additional, and expensive process, to render them fit for use. The army, instead of being 240,000 men, which was the peace establishment, consisted of only 231,000; and, for the last ten years, instead of sixteen millions being annually devoted to the repair of the fortresses, the sum so bestowed, it was admitted by ministers, was only four millions. The situation of the frontier, since the restoration, had rather rendered increase imperious, than justified reduction: Swiss neutrality had vanished; Landau belonged to Bavaria; Prussia, a first-rate military power, was on the banks of the Mozelle, and could manoeuvre her troops within twenty leagues of Paris; Belgium was no longer simply an Austrian province, with a distant government, but had become a kingdom united to Holland, armed with a triple line of fortresses, and these fortresses commanded and inspected by Wellington. "Recollect, gentlemen," exclaimed M. Casimir Perrier, in that theatrical style of rhetoric which characterizes French eloquence, and amid shouts of " Order," and violent and tumultuous interruptions from the mortified national pride of the Chamber, "Recollect the tears of despair which we shed on seeing the Prussians, the laurels of victors in their caps, guarding your barriers, and parading your squares! Do you wish to see the matches again lighted, ready to blow up
yoir iiMclges/'yoiir public jedinces,'and that immortal column raised to theglory of your armies." The minister of war admitted that the present military means were insufficient; but they might be: ex^ pected :to improve annually, and could not be insufficient merely from being 9*000 men below the fixed peace establishment. As to the fortresses, Lisle had been neglected during the whole period from 1794 to the restoration, but, sitae: the restoration, 1,500,000 francs had been expended on it.
Although the finances were flourishing, and only required a pacific ministry to keep them so, W& v^fiarions in the prices of some of toe, publijC* funds had produced a great deal of individual misfortune and disappointment. They had been most observable in the Ithree percent stock, which, within a short time, had been up at 78, and down at 59, and had fallen in the confidence of that portion of the public who invested their money as prudent men for security, not as gamblers for stock-jobbing gains. Ministers were accused of lending themselves to produce these fluctuaytionsiiby' shewing an undue prefer/ehceito the three per cents in ap:)ply3agf-the sinking fund, and M. iiCasimir Perrier moved for the ap1pointment of a committee to inquire, whether the laws respecting the sinking fund had not been violated with regard to the holders of the five per cents. He contended that the purchases made with that fund ought to be made exclusively ^iaifclie five per cents; and he oompiained that, in violation of the law, the commissioners gave a preference to the three per cents which e redesignated, with as much warmth iifofl virulence as if he had speculated r^thertJiia^dJiBd eome offa loser,
a wretched abortion, sprung from the immoral union of stock-jobbing and delusion. On the other side it was contended, that the preference given to the three per cents wasno injustice to the holders of the; five' per cents, as the law did not specify any particular stock to be the subject of the operations of the sinking fund, but left the commissioners at liberty to make their purchases wherever they could make them to the best advantage. The motion for the committee was lost by a large majority. A similar display of virtuous indignation against stock-jobbing was manifested by M. Hyde de Neuville and M. Perrier, on a petition for the prohibition of time bargains. M. Villele checked the career of the latter gentleman by quoting a paper to which M. Perrier had affixed his signature in favour of those very concerns which were now denounced as polluting and corrupting what was termed France morale. When lotteries were abolished in England, not a voice was raised in defence of their principle, and the practical evil of their results was monstrously exaggerated. The stake in this country was always too high to create a. spirit of gambling in those who would have been injured by indulging^: the lottery was beyond the reach of the lower ranks; and, even in the middling classes, it was never a general or a ruinous passion* iln France, as in the other continental countries^ atnd particularly in Italy, it was much more easily accessible, and therefore much more general; but the morality of the Chambers could uot be brought to suppress it. M. Villele admitted that such gaming' wafrimproper, and that government, in thegame* had. a great axU yantage ©v^. the buy era of rickets. the combinations being such as to make it inevitable that the majority of the players must be. losers;; bat he asserted that it had been less injurious during the last year than at any former period, and added that "it was-in the. year \ 825) that ■the; riches .and/prosperity of the country had reached their greatest height." The fact is, that the lottery was too productive a source of revenue to be dispensed with; and the passions of the Exchange, and the Palais Royal, were too powerful for la France morale. ■•■ >< Among, the politicians of France there existed the same difference of opinion regarding the value of protecting and prohibitory duties on the importation of foreign products, twhich.reigned in Britain; and the /agriculturists of Essex or Sussex were scarcely more eager to be shielded by legislative enactments than were those of France. The I distressed state of agriculture iwas frequently alluded to during ithe session; and, after the budget had been voted, the chamber of .Deputies took the state of the Cornlaws into consideration, in secret committee. A committee whichhad -jbeen, appointed to inquire into the i leflpctrof 'the importation of foreign boom presented a report, in which they expressed a formal wish that ifthe; government would make use > i ofi the power vested in it by the (existing law of 1819, immediately ito secure a more extended protec: ftion to native-grown corn against /importation from abroad. The .• committee then proposed the following resolutions, embodying a plan for the future regulation 'of the corn trade, adopting the system ©fimonthly averages> fixing, si pVice -naft• Tehich. importation' should-be » altogether prohibitedyaindimposing, J when lej)i^i9hobld'hjtr^-nSE^ahqye
thafc 1 pricei. lia/qpeijmaneB^ijflrid lio* variable duty upon the foreign, grain which might enter, excepting that the duty should be. higher upongrain importedin foreign ships than/in French vessehU ;uwiibun I if Hisjajfljesty. shaji 1 be, jhfiwbjjr requested to cause to be presented to the Chambers a prqj&iisBanteiit containing the following; ;pr«Tfi
sions: .' .- wnno'l -Jilf
; "h In future, there. ishall 1 be for the whole realm but one'single limit for every kind of grain, under which foreign corn cannot be im* ported for internal consumption.
"2. The limit of imparfatiott shall be— .1 oj rii'iuini -ji!(38q For Wheat,
"8. The average ■. price ,to£.« all the regulating markets designated by the law of the 4th July, AS&l, shall be officially published, ensefy month, without distinction of the above four classes. '"binq za
"4. There shall be i-eceived, upon the importation of foreign corn, a permanent duty, by metrical quintal, of twenty-five centrmesaby French ships, and of twO! francsrby foreign ships. This duty shsdhi'lje raised to fifty cents for flouwi'in •the first casey and to four francs, in
the seeond ease ".otiup
■■*' S. The exportation shallfibe
prohibited when the averagepsice
of corn shall have attained!' the
limit fixed for the< importation J" I)
X'■■■■ -In ■ discussing the:la;w'JmpdBJiiig
the dtities of the customs, .iliaay
opinions were expressed, aftekffltityy
pijopositions made/ ■■ approaching* )to
i a raore liberal system of commercial
; intercourse* aad ethers agatouofi a
bmfo ©ppdsitb character;- s '> j-Thetjogh
'dwtieB m m*Ai ifofif an,A-^re1gn