milliards and a half of francs ($1,500,000,000) was issued.
The farmers were all ruined by the maximum.
Every man was afraid of the paper money, and as fast as he accumulated it passed it to the Government, and took real estate in exchange.
In this way half the landed property of the kingdom changed hands.
By the time of the overthrow of Robespierre, the currency had fallen so low that General Pichegru commuted his pay, which was nominally 4,000 francs, or $800 a month, for $40; and General Hoche, at the head of an army of 100,000 men, wrote to the Directory to beg that they would send him a horse, for he had none, and could not buy one with the paper money.
At last, in 1797, when the public debt had reached fifty millions of francs, or about $10,000,000,000 a decree of national bankruptcy was passed — that is to say, the whole debt was repudiated.
We have taken the pains to write this short sketch for the sake of the example.
The great mistake of the French financiers con