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on of them,
of exchange, or the chance of a job *? I do not mean a mi. C HA P. nisterial job; although some have shrewdly suspected that the gains of such men have been formerly swelled by this kind of business,-a circumstance which perhaps the illustrious Chatham had in his eye when, in the honest fervor of his patriotic soul, he uttered the following language. 118. “ There is,” said he, “ a set of men in London Lord Chat.
ham's opinie who are known to live in riot and luxury, upon the plunder of the ignorant, the innocent and the helpless; upon that part of the community which stands in most need of, and best deserves, the protection of the legislaturet. To me, my lords, whether they be miserable jobbers of Changealley, or the lofty Asiatic plunderers of Leadenhall-street, they are all equally detestable. I care but little whether a man walks on foot, or is drawn by four or fix horses; if his luxury be supported by the plunder of his country, I despise and abhor him. My lords, while I had the honour of serving his majesty, I never ventured to look at the treasury but from a distance. It is a business I am unfit for, and to which I never could have submitted. The little I know of it has not served to raise my opinion of what is vulgarly called the monied-interest; I mean that blood-fucker, that muck-worm, which pretends to serve this or that admini
* “ The capitals," says Dr. Smith, “ employed in the agriculture and in the retail trade of any society must always reside within that society. The capital of a wholesale merchant, on the contrary” (and a fortiori that of a money-jobber) “ seems to have no fixed residence any where, but may wander about from place to place” (just like it's owner) “ according as it can either buy cheap or sell dear." Wealth of Nations, Vol. II. p. 54.
+ Dr. Arbuthnot observes, that “money-scriveners are like your wire-drawing nills; if they get hold of a man's finger, they will pull in his whole body at last.”
CHA P. ftration, but which may be purchased, on the same terms,
by any administration.”
119. Johnson's: " These are the men,” says Dr. Johnson,
“ who, without virtue, labour or hazard, are growing rich as their country is impoverished. They rejoice when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh from their desks at bravery and science, while they are adding figure to figure, and cipher to cipher, hoping for a new contract for a new armament, and computing the profits of a siege or a tempest.”
120. It is to be hoped, however, that the nation, to which this noble orator and this sublime moralist were such shining ornaments, will never experience the evil consequences with which the influence of the monied interest, if it continue to predominate over every other, may one day threaten their liberties.
121. To speak the truth, it appears to me, that a species
of slavery, or dependence, very much like it, has gradually mankind,
crept, with speculation-commerce and manufactures, into all countries where they prevail. Of this slavery or dependence, or whatever else it may be called, there are various degrees, from what we are pleased to style a gentle ftate of service in our families, down to the most abusive and boldly avowed slavery in our sugar colonies. I cannot give a shorter instance, than the state of celibacy in which our numerous menial servants are obliged to live, on pain of losing their places; as few will employ a married ser
Thus the one fex is feduced into prostitution, and the other has no other resource than in the annihilation of a natural and necessary passion, or in whoredom and debauchery for life. "This is but one, out of a thousand inNances, which might be given of the inversion of social or
tions tend to enslave
der which now, more or less, prevails in all commercial nations, and which ought to be particularly guarded against, in establishing a new colony.
122. I have thought much on these evils; and, on the and why:--whole, find myself inclined to attribute them to a cause pendent of which seems never to have been much, if at all, attended to
commodities. by others. I have great reason, however, to suspect, that the degradation of a great portion of every mercantile community, arises from the prevailing luft of accumulating moiley * independent of commodities, of the value of which it is become the mere arbitrary fign, instead of being, as for. merly, circulated and transferred as a commodity itself. In this unnatural innovation, I think I see the source of many of the grievous evils which now affliet commercial nations. Hac fonte derivata clades! Money, in early times, was wisely adopted as the medium of commerce, which
it it's chief value as a commodity. But it has been evidently diverted from it's natural use, which was admirably calculated to promote the free interchange of other commodities, the increase of knowledge and virtue, and the wealth and prosperity of nations. This lamentable perversion appears to have been owing to the Italian invention of bills of exchange, the operations of grasping monopolists, the arbitrary interference of governments, in attempting to establish between gold, silver, and copper, and between these metals and other commodities, an unnatural relative value; and, above all, to the modern system of public credit and finance. To these we must add, the enormous augmentation and wide circulation of paper, mostly of ideal value, re
* By money I mean any thing coined, upon which an arbitrary value has been fixed, entirely unconnected with any commodity, in like manner as it's fabricators, the speculating merchants, are unconnected with any community.
CH A P. sulting from all the other causes. Thus money has com
pleatly supplanted commodities, and become itself the chief subject of commercial speculation, to the exclusion of useful productions. The acquisition of it is the sole pursuit of all men of business; particularly of individual merchants and monopolizing companies, separate from the general good, to which the production and interchange of useful commodities always directly conduces. In this unnatural chaos of money-speculation, where all the concerns of society, and all the abilities of individuals, as well as the produce of their industry, are estimated, not by ounces and penny-weights of gold and silver, but by imaginary denominations of pounds, livres, rix-dollars, &c. I say, in this forced and artificial state of things, could it be surprising that men should find their labours speculated upon, or monopolized, their time engrossed, their social and domestic comforts abridged, their persons degraded, their minds darkened, and their children brought up, as machines, to spin cotton and grind scissars ?-And all for what?—but to enable a few monopolists to accumulate money.
123. That colonies formed on the modern mercantile tend to slave. system, in which money has usurped the place of commory, agricul- dities, must necessarily be supported by the degradation of berty. a great part of the community, appears to me the unavoid
able result of their faulty, commercial constitution. On the other hand, liberty must be the happy lot of colonies established on the basis of agriculture ; for natural productions are not nearly so liable, as money is, to be perverted to purposes incompatible with the benefit of a community at large, Degradation, or a species of slavery, is undoubtedly one of the baneful effects of the abused power and influence of money. But liberty flows from the production of useful com
tural to li.
modities, which leads the labourer or productor to true loy. CHA P. alty, making it his interest to strengthen the power of the laws, and to secure the peace and good order of the community, without which his bulky and unwieldy property cannot be secure.
124. I hope my peculiar thoughts on commerce will have the good fortune to be well received by many disinterested persons, who will excuse my dwelling on it at as great length as the narrow limits of my work will permit. I flatter myself too, that the good-natured reader will interpret some warm expressions, which have escaped me, not as dictated by a rancorous spirit, or any disregard to the respectable part of the public, but by an honest zeal for guarding all new communities from the baneful effects of monopoly and speculation*
125. The preceding reflections will appear the more im- Neceflity of portant, if we consider that, unless we avoid the errors of
forming coformer colonists, not to mention later attempts, our under- lonies, taking certainly will miscarry, leaving us overwhelmed with shame, self reproach, and an irretrievable loss of lives, time, labour, and expense. Let us therefore beware of proceeding on selfish and avaritious principles; but having made choice of one of the best situations hitherto known, let us profit by the experience of others; and, guarding against their mistakes and misconduct, let us act on plans worthy of men of good hearts and clear understandings; let us listen, in fine, to the counsel of experienced and disinterest
* See the queries at the end of this chapter.