23 JANUARY 1841, Page 2

The fortifications of Paris continue to afford striking proof of

the inconsistent position into which the random belligerence of France has forced its public men. The expense of public works, civil and military, for the whole period from 1842 to 1848, is esti- mated at 534 millions of francs. From 1830 to '32, the special estimate for public works averaged 20 millions ; from '33 to '36 it averaged 30 millions ; from '37 to '40 it averaged 50 millions ; in 41 it will be 60 millions ; and from '42 to '48 the average will be 75 millions. But this increase does not represent all the mischief: the estimate for public works used only to refer to civil works : now M. Hussaes proposes, in order to provide for the war depart- ment, to diminish by one-half the amount of grants to roads and bridges, and declares it necessary that they should resign them- selves not to undertake any new enterprise before the year 1848. This is bad, but straightforward. Now for the inconsistency. M. Hu/tames proposes to meet the estimate by a loan of 450 millions ; leaving a deficiency of 84 millions, to be provided for in a very singular mode—" When we have exhausted the loan," says M. BUMANN, "we must provide for the deficiency ; but resources, gentlemen, will not be wanting for that purpose. If the mainte- nance of the peace of Europe should continue to favour the pro- gress of national wealth, we shall find in the reserve of the sinking- fund revenues to cover our deficits, and all the means necessary for persevering in the career of public improvement." This is admir- able! The country is to be impoverished by finding the means for doing that which keeps Europe in a ferment, and then she is to be reimbursed by the wealth which flows from general peace! And after this, M. HUMANN coolly deplored "the still imperfect state of international relations, which compels them to consume in sterile expenditure the capital demanded for reproductive employment." It is to be remembered, however, that it is not the Ministry which desires to delude the people, but the people which forces the Minis- try to delude it.

The whole subject of the war-expenditure is likely to be sifted in the debate on the fortifications, which was to be opened on Thursday ; and France will once more have an opportunity of choosing whether she will consent to pay at this rate for soldiers.