between fourteen per cent. for life, and fourteen 
per cent. for ninety-six years, was sold for 
sixty-three pounds, or for four and a-half years 
purchase. Such was the supposed instability 
of government, that even these terms procured 
few purchasers. In the reign of queen Anne
money was, upon different occasions, borrowed 
both upon annuities for lives, and upon annuities 
for terms of thirty-two, of eighty-nine, 
of ninety-eight, and of ninety-nine years. In 
1719, the proprietors of the annuities for 
thirty-two years were induced to accept, in 
lieu of them, South-sea stock to the amount 
of eleven and a-half years purchase of the annuities
together with an additional quantity 
of stock, equal to the arrears which happened 
then to be due upon them. In 1720, the 
greater part of the other annuities for terms 
of years, both long and short, were subscribed 
into the same fund. The long annuities
at that time, amounted to L.666,821 : 
8 : 3½ a-year. On the 5th of January 1775, 
the remainder of them, or what was not subscribed 
at that time, amounted only to 
L.136,453 : 12 : 8. 
During the two wars which began in 1739 
and in 1755, little money was borrowed, either 
upon annuities for terms of years, or upon 
those for lives. An annuity for ninety-eight 
or ninety-nine years, however, is worth nearly 
as much as a perpetuity, and should therefore, 
one might think, be a fund for borrowing 
nearly as much. But those who, in order to 
make family settlements, and to provide for 
remote futurity, buy into the public stocks
would not care to purchase into one of which 
the value was continually diminishing; and such 
people make a very considerable proportion
both of the proprietors and purchasers of stock
An annuity for a long term of years, therefore, 
though its intrinsic value may be very 
nearly the same with that of a perpetual annuity
will not find nearly the same number 
of purchasers. The subscribers to a new loan
who mean generally to sell their subscription 
as soon as possible, prefer greatly a perpetual 
annuity, redeemable by parliament, to an irredeemable 
annuity, for a long term of years
of only equal amount. The value of the former 
may be supposed always the same, or 
very nearly the same; and it makes, therefore, 
a more convenient transferable stock than 
the latter. 
During the two last-mentioned wars, annuities
either for terms of years or for lives
were seldom granted, but as premiums to the 
subscribers of a new loan, over and above the 
redeemable annuity or interest, upon the credit 
of which the loan was supposed to be made
They were granted, not as the proper fund 
upon which the money was borrowed, but as 
an additional encouragement to the lender
Annuities for lives have occasionally been 
granted in two different ways; either upon separate 
lives, or upon lots of lives, which, in 
French, are called tontines, from the name of 
their inventor. When annuities are granted 
upon separate lives, the death of every individual 
annuitant disburdens the public revenue
so far as it was affected by his annuity
When annuities are granted upon tontines, the 
liberation of the public revenue does not 
commence till the death of all the annuitants 
comprehended in one lot, which may, sometimes 
consist of twenty or thirty persons
of whom the survivors succeed to the annuities 
of all those who die before them; 
the last survivor succeeding to the annuities of 
the whole lot. Upon the same revenue, more 
money can always be raised by tontines than 
by annuities for separate lives. An annuity
with a right of survivorship, is really worth 
more than an equal annuity for a separate life
and, from the confidence which every man 
naturally has in his own good fortune, the 
principle upon which is founded the success 
of all lotteries, such an annuity generally sells 
for something more than it is worth. In 
countries where it is usual for government to 
raise money by granting annuities, tontines 
are, upon this account, generally preferred to 
annuities for separate lives. The expedient 
which will raise most money, is almost always 
preferred to that which is likely to bring about, 
in the speediest manner, the liberation of the 
public revenue
In France, a much greater proportion of the 
public debts consists in annuities for lives 
than in England. According to a memoir 
presented by the parliament of Bourdeaux to 
the king, in 1764, the whole public debt of 
France is estimated at twenty-four hundred 
millions of livres; of which the capital, for 
which annuities for lives had been granted, is 
supposed to amount to three hundred millions
the eighth part of the whole public 
debt. The annuities themselves are computed 
to amount to thirty millions a-year, the fourth 
part of one hundred and twenty millions, the 
supposed interest of that whole debt. These 
estimations, I know very well, are not exact
but having been presented by so very respectable 
a body as approximations to the truth
they may, I apprehend, be considered as such. 
It is not the different degrees of anxiety in 
the two governments of France and England 
for the liberation of the public revenue, 
which occasions this difference in their respective 
modes of borrowing; it arises altogether 
from the different views and interests of the 
In England, the seat of government being 
in the greatest mercantile city in the world, 
the merchants are generally the people who 
advance money to government. By advancing 
it, they do not mean to diminish, but, 
on the contrary, to increase their mercantile 
capitals; and unless they expected to sell
with some profit, their share in the subscription 
for a new loan, they never would subscribe