Montesquieu

There must be a pro­por­tion bet­ween the cre­di­tor state and the deb­tor state. The state can be a cre­di­tor fore­ver, but it can be a deb­tor only to a cer­tain point ; and when one has mana­ged to pass that point, the title of cre­di­tor vani­shes.

If that state still has cre­dit that has not been ble­mi­shed, it will be able to do what has been prac­ti­ced so suc­cess­fully in one state of Europe,1 which is to obtain a large quan­tity of spe­cie, and offer their reim­bur­se­ment to all indi­vi­duals, unless they agree to reduce the inte­rest. Indeed, since when the state bor­rows, it is the indi­vi­duals who set the rate of inte­rest ; when the state wants to pay, it is for the state to set it.

It is not enough to reduce the inte­rest ; the bene­fit of the reduc­tion must create an amor­ti­za­tion fund to pay a part of the capi­tal every year, all the more favo­ra­ble an ope­ra­tion that its suc­cess increa­ses by the day.

When the state’s cre­dit is not entire, that is ano­ther rea­son to seek to create an amor­ti­za­tion fund, because this fund once esta­bli­shed soon res­to­res confi­dence.

If the state is a repu­blic, the govern­ment of which inclu­des by its nature the making of long-term plans, the capi­tal of the amor­ti­za­tion fund can be consi­de­ra­ble ; in a monar­chy, this capi­tal must be grea­ter.

2nd. The condi­tions must be such that all the citi­zens of the state bear the weight of esta­bli­shing this fund, because they all have the weight of the debt’s esta­blish­ment ; the cre­di­tor of the state, by the sums he contri­bu­tes, pays him­self.

3rd. There are four clas­ses of peo­ple who pay the debts of the state : lan­dow­ners, those who apply their ini­tia­tive to com­merce, farm wor­kers and arti­sans, and finally annua­tants of the state or of indi­vi­duals. Of these four clas­ses, the last, in case of neces­sity, would seem to be the least to be spa­red, because it is an enti­rely pas­sive class in the state, whe­reas this same state is sus­tai­ned by the active strength of the three others. But since it can­not be more hea­vily taxed without des­troying public confi­dence, of which the state in gene­ral, and these three clas­ses in par­ti­cu­lar, have the utmost need ; since the public faith can­not fail a cer­tain num­ber of citi­zens without see­ming to fail them all ; since the class of cre­di­tors is always the most expo­sed to pro­jects of minis­ters, and is always in plain sight and at hand, the state must afford it sin­gu­lar pro­tec­tion, and the deb­tor part must never have the sligh­test advan­tage over the part which is the cre­di­tor.

England.