Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/86

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ANNONAY—ANNUITY

subsistence, especially grain stored in the public granaries for provisioning the city; (3) the market-price of commodities, especially corn; (4) a direct tax in kind, levied in republican times in several provinces, chiefly employed in imperial times for distribution amongst officials and the support of the soldiery.

In order to ensure a supply of corn sufficient to enable it to be sold at a very low price, it was procured in large quantities from Umbria, Etruria and Sicily. Almost down to the times of the empire, the care of the corn-supply formed part of the aedile’s duties, although in 440 B.C. (if the statement in Livy iv. 12, 13 is correct, which is doubtful) the senate appointed a special officer, called praefectus annonae, with greatly extended powers. As a consequence of the second Punic War, Roman agriculture was at a standstill; accordingly, recourse was had to Sicily and Sardinia (the first two Roman provinces) in order to keep up the supply of corn; a tax of one-tenth was imposed on it, and its export to any country except Italy forbidden. The price at which the corn was sold was always moderate; the corn law of Gracchus (123 B.C.) made it absurdly low, and Clodius (58 B.C.) bestowed it gratuitously. The number of the recipients of this free gift grew so enormously, that both Caesar and Augustus were obliged to reduce it. From the time of Augustus to the end of the empire the number of those who were entitled to receive a monthly allowance of corn on presenting a ticket was 200,000. In the 3rd century, bread formed the dole. A praefectus annonae was appointed by Augustus to superintend the corn-supply; he was assisted by a large staff in Rome and the provinces, and had jurisdiction in all matters connected with the corn-market. The office lasted till the latest times of the empire.

ANNONAY, a town of south-eastern France, in the north of the department of Ardèche, 50 m. S. of Lyons by the Paris-Lyons railway. Pop. (1906) 15,403. Annonay is built on the hill overlooking the meeting of the deep gorges of the Déôme and the Cance, the waters of which supply power to the factories of the town. By means of a dam across the Ternay, an affluent of the Déôme, to the north-west of the town, a reservoir is provided, in which an additional supply of water, for both industrial and domestic purposes, is stored. At Annonay there is an obelisk in honour of the brothers Montgolfier, inventors of the balloon, who were natives of the place. A tribunal of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a branch of the Bank of France, and chambers of commerce and of arts and manufactures are among the public institutions. Annonay is the principal industrial centre of its department, the chief manufactures being those of leather, especially for gloves, paper, silk and silk goods, and flour. Chemical manures, glue, gelatine, brushes, chocolate and candles are also produced.

ANNOY (like the French ennui, a word traced by etymologists to a Lat. phrase, in odio esse, to be “in hatred” or hateful of someone), to vex or affect with irritation. In the sense of “nuisance,” the noun “annoyance,” apart from its obvious meaning, is found in the English “Jury of Annoyance” appointed by an act of 1754 to report upon obstructions in the highways.

ANNUITY (from Lat. annus, a year), a periodical payment, made annually, or at more frequent intervals, either for a fixed term of years, or during the continuance of a given life, or a combination of lives. In technical language an annuity is said to be payable for an assigned status, this being a general word chosen in preference to such words as “time,” “term” or “period,” because it may include more readily either a term of years certain, or a life or combination of lives. The magnitude of the annuity is the sum to be paid (and received) in the course of each year. Thus, if £100 is to be received each year by a person, he is said to have “an annuity of £100.” If the payments are made half-yearly, it is sometimes said that he has “a half-yearly annuity of £100”; but to avoid ambiguity, it is more commonly said he has an annuity of £100, payable by half-yearly instalments. The former expression, if clearly understood, is preferable on account of its brevity. So we may have quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily annuities, when the annuity is payable by quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily instalments. An annuity is considered as accruing during each instant of the status for which it is enjoyed, although it is only payable at fixed intervals. If the enjoyment of an annuity is postponed until after the lapse of a certain number of years, the annuity is said to be deferred. If an annuity, instead of being payable at the end of each year, half-year, &c., is payable in advance, it is called an annuity-due.

If an annuity is payable for a term of years independent of any contingency, it is called an annuity certain; if it is to continue for ever, it is called a perpetuity; and if in the latter case it is not to commence until after a term of years, it is called a deferred perpetuity. An annuity depending on the continuance of an assigned life or lives, is sometimes called a life annuity; but more commonly the simple term “annuity” is understood to mean a life annuity, unless the contrary is stated. A life annuity, to cease in any event after a certain term of years, is called a temporary annuity. The holder of an annuity is called an annuitant, and the person on whose life the annuity depends is called the nominee.

If not otherwise stated, it is always understood that an annuity is payable yearly, and that the annual payment (or rent, as it is sometimes called) is £1. It is, however, customary to consider the annual payment to be, not £1, but simply 1, the reader supplying whatever monetary unit he pleases, whether pound, dollar, franc, Thaler, &c.

The annuity is the totality of the payments to be made (and received), and is so understood by all writers on the subject; but some have also used the word to denote an individual payment (or rent), speaking, for instance, of the first or second year’s annuity,—a practice which is calculated to introduce confusion and should therefore be carefully avoided.

Instances of perpetuities are the dividends upon the public stocks in England, France and some other countries. Thus, although it is usual to speak of £100 consols, the reality is the yearly dividend which the government pays by quarterly instalments. The practice of the French in this, as in many other matters, is more logical. In speaking of their public funds (rentes) they do not mention the ideal capital sum, but speak of the annuity or annual payment that is received by the public creditor. Other instances of perpetuities are the incomes derived from the debenture stocks of railway companies, also the feu-duties commonly payable on house property in Scotland. The number of years’ purchase which the perpetual annuities granted by a government or a railway company realize in the open market, forms a very simple test of the credit of the various governments or railways.

Terminable Annuities are employed in the system of British public finance as a means of reducing the National Debt (q.v.). This result is attained by substituting for a perpetual annual charge (or one lasting until the capital which it represents can be paid off en bloc), an annual charge of a larger amount, but lasting for a short term. The latter is so calculated as to pay off, during its existence, the capital which it replaces, with interest at an assumed or agreed rate, and under specified conditions. The practical effect of the substitution of a terminable annuity for an obligation of longer currency is to bind the present generation of citizens to increase its own obligations in the present and near future in order to diminish those of its successors. This end might be attained in other ways; for instance, by setting aside out of revenue a fixed annual sum for the purchase and cancellation of debt (Pitt’s method, in intention), or by fixing the annual debt charge at a figure sufficient to provide a margin for reduction of the principal of the debt beyond the amount required for interest (Sir Stafford Northcote’s method), or by providing an annual surplus of revenue over expenditure (the “Old Sinking Fund”), available for the same purpose. All these methods have been tried in the course of British financial history, and the second and third of them are still employed; but on the whole the method of terminable annuities has been the one preferred by chancellors of the exchequer and by parliament.

Terminable annuities, as employed by the British government, fall under two heads:—(a) Those issued to, or held by private