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KINGDOM OF ITALY’S PUBLIC DEBT – LAW JULY 10, 1861

The document we talk about today is one of the first of the Kingdom of Italy’s public debt. The origin of the national public debt dates back to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. With the law n.94 of July 10, 1861, the then Minister of Finance, the Count Pietro Bastogi, established the Great Book of the public debt of the Kingdom of Italy, in which all debts, contracted from the pre-unified states, were noted.

Scheda regno d'Italia

The acknowledgement of the debts of the ‘all clear states’ by the ‘new state’, brought the ‘unified public debt’ to a sum of around three million Lire. This law, wanted by the Count Pietro Bastogi, constituted the first attempt to unify the finances of the newborn Italian State. The Great book of the public debt, in detail, was constituted by a set of registers in which the administration of the public debt expected the registration of the redeemable and not-redeemable loans of the state. The inscription in this register  established in a formal and definitive way that the budget of the state contains, in addition to the ordinary expenses, the amounts corresponding to the interests and the bonus inherent to the loan. Regarding the registered entries, the Great book of public debt contained the exact heading and the subsequent amendments or transfers to other holders. The inscription or deletion of constraints had to be recorded. The matrices from which the securities were removed at the time of issuance were valid for the inscriptions to the bearer. The debt, at the time of unification of Italy, amounted to about 2374 million broken down as follows: Sardinian States: 1292 million, Lombardy: 152 million, Parma: 12 million, Modena: 18 million, Romagna: 19 million, Marche: 5 million, Umbria: 7 million, Tuscany: 139 million, Naples: 552 million, Sicily: 209 million. These debts are mostly converted into a consolidated revenue to 5%. The Law 94 of July 10, 1861 , as mentioned earlier, was strongly supported by Count Pietro Bastogi, first Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Italy. Born on March 15, 1808 in Livorno from a family of traders from Civitavecchia, in his youth he shared the patriotic ideas, and is affiliated with the Giovine Italia of Giuseppe Mazzini, in which he also worked as treasurer. His political career formally began in 1848 after the concession, on February 17, 1848, of the Constitution by means of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Bastogi was elected deputy of the new Tuscan Parliament and during his commission he worked to the creation of detachments of Tuscan volunteers to send in support to the Piedmont army of Carlo Alberto during the First Independence War, trying to mediate between the moderate liberals and the warmongering democratics. Subsequently he oriented on conservative positions when the constitutional government  adopted economic measures , disastrous in his opinion, such as the issuance of treasury bills to cope with the expenses of war or the sale of state assets. With the restoration of the Lorraine’s dynasty in 1849, Bastogi became financer of the government and President of the Chamber of Commerce of Livorno. With this task he promoted the birth of the Tuscany national Bank, born from the fusion of the bank of Livorno with the Bank of Florence.

Fondatori Banca dìItalia
The founders of the Bank of Italy , in 1893 , Alinari – Florence . From left Senator Sebastiano Balduino , Count Pietro Bastogi , the lawyer Giacomo Grillo , the engineer Giuseppe Marchiori , Senator Charles Bombrini .

In 1860, with the annexation of Tuscany to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the elections to permit the representative of Lombardy and Central Italy to enter the subalpine Parliament were called, and Batogi was elected on March 29, 1860 in favor of the constituencies of Cascina and Montepulciano. He entered the Parliament among the Right lines belonging to  the Tuscan  group led by Ricasoli. After being re-elected deputy and after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy on March 17, 1861, Bastogi was called to take part in Cavour’s ministry, during the first Ricasoli Government. As a Minister his most important task was the unification of public debts of the unitary states. Amongst his many relevant measures another ministerial project of a loan of half a million lire is remembered, plus the introduction of a tenth of the war to all the annexed territories and new taxes on stamp, companies, mortgages, passengers of railways, on goods and luggage, in order to fill a frightening financial deficit of the newborn Italian State. The long political career of Batogi lasted until 1890, when he was appointed senator. At that point he lost interest in policy, by devote himself to the financial world, also promoting the organization of economic studies. Bastogi was honored with the title of Count and died in Florence on February 21, 1899 at the age of 90

Alberto PUPPO
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