Earlier in the summer I read
Fiat Money Inflation In France (review & download page) (cached pdf) (1896) by Andrew Dickson White (wikipedia), a largely-unknown story of a major factor behind French Revolution.
"There are limitations to the powers of governments and of peoples that inhere in the constitution of things, and that neither despotisms not democracies can overcome."
John McKay (1914) on the failure of France's paper fiat money experiment, which 100 years later could just as easily apply to our modern central banks' monetary experiments.
...if only enough paper money were issued and were more cunningly handled the poor would be made rich
Principly thanks to the influence of John Law (wikipedia) at first unlimited paper money was considered an advancement, achievement and blessing, in today's speak it was "the new paradigm", all things were possible. Long after he left his damaging mark the French continued with paper money experiments. This description sounds eerily similar to the arguments put forward MMT proponents in 2017.
The 1795 Revolutionary France situation was in dire financial straits but just as today, the "smart people" with enough funding, bought up assets to survive this turbulent time.
It was simply a feverish activity caused by the intense desire of a large number of the shrewder class to convert their paper money into anything and everything which they could hold and hoard until the collapse which they foresaw should take place.
Sounds a bit like the central-bank version of "quantitative easing" (as opposed to TRUE QE as it was originally proposed by Professor Richard Werner) and this "Everything Bubble (@TheBubbleBubble)", no?
"While I live I will never resort to irredeemable paper."
It was a reversion from paper to "sound money" at Napoleon's insistence that rescued France's financial position, even after he was gone. Even in his wars, he would not resort to huge inflationary unbacked money printing for funding.
Note: specie means payment redeemed in gold or silver.