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Chapter 11

THE FINANCES


Let it be observed that, under the shadow of these "wise institutions," and thanks to the coup d'état, which, as is well known, has re-established order, the finances, the public safety, and public prosperity, the budget, by the admission of M. Gouin, shows a deficit of 123,000,000 francs.

As for commercial activity since the coup d'état, as for the prosperity of trade, as for the revival of business, in order to appreciate them it is enough to reject words and have recourse to figures. On this point, the following statement is official and decisive: the discounts of the Bank of France produced during the first half of 1852, only 589,502fr. 62c. at the central bank; while the profits of the branch establishments have risen only to 651,108fr. 7c. This appears from the half-yearly report of the Bank itself.

M. Bonaparte, however, does not trouble himself with taxation. Some fine morning he wakes and yawns, rubs his eyes, takes his pen and decrees--what? The budget. Achmet III. was once desirous of levying taxes according to his own fancy.--"Invincible lord," said his Vizier to him, "your subjects cannot be taxed beyond what is prescribed by the law and the prophet."

This identical M. Bonaparte, when at Ham, wrote as follows:--

"If the sums levied each year on the inhabitants generally are employed for unproductive purposes, such as creating useless places, raising sterile monuments, and maintaining in the midst of profound peace a more expensive army than that which conquered at Austerlitz, taxation becomes in such case an overwhelming burden; it exhausts the country, it takes without any return."[1]

[1] Extinction of Pauperism, page 10.

With reference to this word budget an observation occurs to us. In this present year 1852, the bishops and the judges of the Cour de Cassation,[2] have 50 francs per diem; the archbishops, the councillors of state, the first presidents, and the procureurs-general, have each 69 francs per diem; the senators, the prefects, and the generals of division receive 83 francs each per diem; the presidents of sections of the Council of State 222 francs per diem; the ministers 252 francs per diem; Monseigneur the Prince-President, comprising of course, in his salary, the sum for maintenance of the royal residences, receives per diem 44,444 francs, 44 centimes. The revolution of the 2nd of December was made against the Twenty-five Francs!

[2] Court of Appeal.


Victor Hugo