The relief of debtors, and the steps which he took to restore Italian agriculture, were of the nature of palliatives) those which have a permanent significance as indicating his grasp of imperial problems. The Social War had brought to the inhabitants of Italy as far as the Po the privileges of Roman citizenship; it remained to extend this gift to the Transpadane Italians, to establish a uniform system of local administration and to devise representative institutions by which at least some voice in the government of Rome might be permitted to her new citizens.
When thousands after thousands are dragooned out of their country for the sake of their religion, or sent to row in the galleys for selling salt against law, - when the liberty of every individual is at the mercy of every prostitute, pimp or parasite that has access to power or any of its basest substitutes, - my mind, I own, is not at once prepared to be satisfied with gentle palliatives for such disorders" (Francis to Burke, November 3, 1790).
Exactions, debasement of the currency and extortionate taxation were ruinous palliatives, and insufficient to supply a treasury which the revenue from crown lands and various rights taken from the nobles could not fill even in times of peace.
In order to cover this recourse was had as usual, not to remedies, but to palliatives worse than the evil: heavy usurious loans, debasement of the coinage, creation of stocks that were perpetually being converted, and ridiculous charges which the bourgeois, sickened with officialdom, would endure no longer.