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The Financial Decline of a Great PowerWar, Influence, and Money in Louis XIV's France$
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Guy Rowlands

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585076.001.0001

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Borrowing to the Limit

Borrowing to the Limit

Chapter:
(p.72) 4 Borrowing to the Limit
Source:
The Financial Decline of a Great Power
Author(s):

Guy Rowlands

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585076.003.0005

Declining tax revenues forced the French monarchy deeper and deeper into debt in the War of the Spanish Succession. As the 1690s and 1700s wore on the direct tax agents and the farmers general floated more and more short-term loans, using their own credit and the revenues they collected as pledges, but the interest rates charged were relatively high. It was not until 1710 that the receivers general for direct taxes were organised into a more solid consortium for better managing credit flows. Through the Paris city hall and other corporate bodies the government also floated vast numbers of long-term rentes, fairly illiquid annuity bonds, to cover the bulk of the debt. Most costly of all, though, were the contracts the king entered into with rapacious financiers to raise money through venal offices: these were largely in the form of new positions and forced loans on existing officials.

Keywords:   short-term debt, long-term debt, bearer bills, annuity bonds, venality

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