February 18, 2013

Napoleon On Public Debts

Steampunk Bonaparte. Source: Jennifer Mei.


From, "The Mind of Napoleon: A Selection from His Written and Spoken Words," edited and translated by J. Christopher Herold. Columbia University Press: New York. 1955. Pg. 93-94.
[Dictation, Saint Helena, on the financial conditions of France in 1797] The most important thing, in Napoleon's opinion, was to honor the public trust and to extinguish the debt by appropriating to that purpose any kind of national domains . . . and to push that measure so vigorously that within three years the national debt would be wiped out. He thought that at the same time the following principle should be submitted to popular referendum and be transformed into a constitutional law: that a generation cannot be committed by a previous generation and that interest on loans could be exacted only for the first fifteen years. This would have prevented the abuse to which that resource [public loans] can be put, and it would have protected the future generations from the greed of the present one.