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THE COUNTRY

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purchase of bonds meant a higher purchase than selling price, involving the loss of thousands of pounds.

It seemed as if the country were incapable of producing a man of any adequate financial gifts. Improper practices and a policy of "hushing-up" were the fashion. The budget was so drawn up that it was impossible to distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary State requirements. Ordinary and extraordinary items were jumbled up together, and those responsible for the budgets deceived themselves, and everybody else, as to the real state of affairs, by appropriating loans, which were supposed to be raised for extraordinary purposes, to cover a deficit in the ordinary exchequer … The holder of the finance portfolio at one time was actually an ex-court marshal.

Dr. Krippenreuther, who took the helm towards the end of Johann Albrecht III's reign, was the Minister who, convinced like Herr von Schroder of the necessity for a strenuous reduction in the debt, induced the Diet to consent to a final and extreme addition to the burden of taxation. But the country, naturally poor as it was, was on the verge of insolvency, and all Krippenreuther got was unpopularity. His policy really meant merely a transfer from one hand to the other, a transfer which itself involved a loss; for the increase in taxation laid a burden on the national economy which pressed more heavily and more directly than that which was removed by the sinking of the National Debt.

Where, then, were help and a remedy to be found? A miracle, so it seemed, was needed—and meanwhile the sternest economy. The people were pious and loyal, they loved their princes as themselves, they were permeated with the sublimity of the monarchical idea, they saw in it a reflexion of the Deity. But the economical pressure was too painful, too generally felt. The most ignorant could