Quotations – taxation and fiscal crisis


This selection of French Revolution quotations contains remarks about taxation and the fiscal crisis from significant leaders, political figures, philosophes and observers. It has been selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. New quotations are regularly added. If you would like to submit a relevant and interesting quotation, please contact Alpha History.

“All men now allow that if any human power could have stemmed the avalanche of the French Revolution, it would have been the reforms of Turgot.”
Evelyn Beatrice Hall, 1906

“No bankruptcy, no increase of taxation, no borrowing.”
Anne-Robert Turgot, 1774

“In France, the state of [national] finances has always been a mystery.”
Jacques Necker, 1781


The sovereign of a kingdom like France can always, when he wants, maintain the balance between ordinary expenses and incomes. The reduction of expenses — always the wish of the public — belongs to the King. When circumstances require, only he has the power to increase taxes. But the most dangerous, as well as the fairest of resources, is to blindly look for some temporary aid, and to borrow either through increases of income or through savings.”
Jacques Necker, 1781

“All the funds were empty, all public stocks were low, all circulation was interrupted. Alarm was general and confidence destroyed.”
Charles Calonne on the national finances in late 1783

“I shall easily show that it is impossible to tax further, ruinous to be always borrowing and not enough to confine ourselves to measures of economy.”
Charles Calonne, 1787


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