Fair Payment No Spunge: OR, SOME CONSIDERATIONS ON THE Unreasonableness of Refusing to Receive back MONEY Lent on PUBLICK SECURITIES.

AND THE Necessity of Setting the Nation Free from the Insupportable Bur­then of Debt and Taxes.

WITH A View of the Great Advantage and Benefit which will arise to Trade and to the Landed Interest, as well as to the Poor, by having these Heavy Grievances taken off.

LONDON, Printed: And sold by J. Brotherton and W. Meddows at the Black Bull in Cornhill, and J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane. 1717. (Price One Shilling.)

THE CONTENTS.

CHAP. I.
THAT Now is the Time, and that it is ab­solutely Necessary to begin it Now, to rid the Nation of an insupportable Bur­then, whatever other Difficulties are upon us. Pag. 1
Chap. II.
Of the Nation's Circumstances, as far as they may serve for an Objection a­gainst redeeming or reducing the Publick Debts. p. 15
Chap. III.
Of Parliamentary CREDIT, and the true Extent of that Word, as it respects Justice and Honour due to the People of Great Britain, as well as Loans of Money and Funds. p. 20
Chap. IV.
Of Parliamentary Credit as it re­spects the Publick Debts, and of the Ju­stice of a Resolution to redeem the Publick from the Burthen. p. 27
Chap. V.
Of our Neighbour Nations, and with what Diligence they are applying them­selves at this Time to disengage themselves from their Publick Debts. p. 33
[Page] Chap. VI.
Of the Nature of raising or fall­ing the National Interest of Money, and the Natural Justice that all Publick Loans should rise and fall with it, with some Ob­servations on the Reverse of the present Case. p. 37
Chap. VII.
Of the Justice of Lowering the Interest of Money in general, and what may be the Advantage of it at this time. p. 45
Chap. VIII.
Of applying the Interest which shall be abated from the Loans to a speedy Discharge of the Funds. p. 51
Chap. IX.
Of Equality of Taxes, and the Justice due to the People in directing Tax­es, so as that no Part be oppress'd, but eve­ry part of the People charg'd by such just Proportions, as may make the Burthen be borne without Injury to one another. p. 60
Chap. X.
Of Inequalities in Taxings as they relate to the present Case. p. 70
Chap. XI.
Of the taking off of Publick Taxes, and the Effect it would have upon House­keeping, Trade, &c. p. 75

INTRODUCTION.

WHEN we come to speak of paying the Nation's Debt, a thing that (one would think) every Body should re­joyce at, and the very Notion of which ought to be receiv'd with Thankfulness and Acknow­ledgment; It's wonderful to find every At­tempt, every Essay surrounded with Cavil and Clamour, all possible Objection and Obstruc­tion thrown in the way, and even the very People who are to be delivered by it, oppo­sing it with all their Power.

Even the Friends of the Design, discouraged by the SEEMING Difficulties, and the Dan­gers of the Attempt, appear willing to despond and to sit down where they are.

I call them SEEMING Difficulties, for they are no more: The Schemes that have al­ready been laid down, and offer'd to our View by several Hands, besides what are still behind, are evident Proofs that the Difficulties are no more than Shadows, that the Opposers consist only, or chiefly, of a few Bullying STOCK-JOBBERS, Gens d'affaires, as the French call them; Men who ought to look into France, to the Chamber of Justice, and see there what they deserve; and to look up to Heaven, and be thankful that they live in a Country, where [Page] as they cannot be punished, but by Law, so they go free, not for their Innocence, but be­cause their Crimes are of a kind that our An­cestors never heard of, and therefore could make no Laws against.

I can liken the present Temper of our Peo­ple, in their Backwardness to this Great and Necessary Work, to nothing so well as to that scandalous Cowardice and Indolence of So­lomon's Sluggard, Prov. xxii. 13. He was cer­tainly call'd out to some Publick Work, that requir'd him to go boldly and briskly abroad, and attempt something for the good of the City, in some publick Place, (perhaps like Ex­change-Alley) where the Heads of the Ene­mies of their Country were sure to be assem­bled; no says he, shrugging up his Shoulders, I care not to meddle with it; there is a Ly­on without, I shall be slain in the Streets: Tho' perhaps had he gone boldly and resolutely out in Defence of his Country, he would have found nothing but a Mobb of empty ratling Insolent Pharisees, dress'd up in broad Phala­cteries of Bear-Skins, who would have slunk away from the Face of Truth. But the Man was lazy and unperforming, terrify'd and despon­ding, and so his Country's Deliverance had none of his Assistance; and just so it is here.

At length the happy Time is come, that the Fall of this Great Diana is inevita­ble. They have, like Vultures, prey'd upon the Vitals of the Nation, and devour'd the [Page] People with Usury and Extortion for above Twenty Years, and they ought to think the Nation very kind to them that they are per­mitted to go off without being oblig'd to re­fund.

And let them go, let them Account in the next World for their Frauds and Extor­tions; those especially who subjected their Country to such a Condition of being rava­ged by Usury; I say let them go; our Business is to deliver our Native Country from the inevitable Ruin which would be the Conse­quence of these things; and to joyn our Endea­vours with all those that desire to see Great Britain once again a Free Nation; for, by the way, It is in vain to talk of the Liberties and Privileges of a Nation that is in Slavery to Creditors, and chain'd down to the miserable Consequences of an insupportable Debt: No Liberties can be long supported, when the Means of resisting the Power of Enemies is out of our Hands; For while the Nation is overwhelm'd in Debt, she lies bound Hand and Foot, a Prey to every beggarly desperate Invader.

The following Discourse is adapted to clear the way to this great Undertaking, to remove the Rubbish which lies in the way, to prove the Design practicable and feazible as it really is, and the Objections frivolous and trifling, as they really are; that we may not stumble at the Threshold, and that all those discourag'd [Page] People who sit down in their Fetters despond­ing and out of Hopes of their Deliverance from the black Prospect that is before them, and the Difficulties in the Performance, which they say they cannot see thro', may be rouz'd and animated to set their Hands to the Work, and assist in the freeing themselves and their Posterity from a Burthen which they are not able to bear.

When this is done, the People encouraged to the Work, and the Enemies silenc'd in their popular Objections against it: The Schemes for the Performance will be short and easie, and the Parliament, who are so hap­pily mov'd from the Throne to engage in it, will find it very easy to make a beginning, and to put the whole Affair in such a Me­thod, as that, as was said of a thing much more Improbable, The Scheme shall Execute it self.

[Page 1] Fair Payment No Spunge.

CHAP. I. That Now is the Time, and that it is abso­lutely Necessary to begin it Now, to rid the Nation of an insupportable Burthen, whatever other Difficulties are upon us.

THAT what I am to press with such Vehemence, and persuade People to with so much Earnest­ness, may not come headlong upon their Hands, and be as it were cram'd down their Throats by the Power and Multitude of Words without Reasoning; I demand of the World to clear up the Way to it before I begin.

We are all intent upon reducing the Nation's Debts, and delivering our Coun­try from the Embarrasments of Twenty Years Wars, and the unsufferable Burthen of innumerable Taxes; the Thing is be­come Popular, every one talks of it, the King has Recommended it, the Parliament have engag'd to consider of it, Writers [Page 2] and Projectors have prepar'd Schemes for it, and made Proposals, and the Nation longs to hear whether they may flatter themselves with the Hopes of it: But some Men come and offer an Objection against it in the Gross, and in the Name of all that are on the other Side; and this Objection I meet with very few who have either attempted to remove, or perhaps enquir'd whether they are able to remove it or no.

The Objection is this.

‘'The Project of reducing or redeem­ing the Nation's Debts is attended with great Difficulties, will pinch hard in ma­ny Cases, seems to be touch'd with Op­pression in some, and even with National Injustice in others, at least many pretend so; and cry out of Ingratitude, Disre­gard to the Exigencies the Publick was in when they borrow'd their Money, and the hazard the Lenders run at that time whether ever it should be re-pay'd or no: likewise the time is not so long till many of the Funds will expire, the Exchequer Bills will be all sunk in Ten Years Those Funds given for 32 Years have some of them but 25, others 27, and the longest 29 Years to expire, when the Continuance of the same Taxes for a little longer will redeem all the rest, so that in about 35 Years at most, the Nation may be out of Debt by the course of Things; whereas by the Methods [Page 3] which are proposed it will not be done under 22 Years; the Question then is, What absolute Necessity are we in to push the Government upon a thing of so much Difficulty, and attended with such Circumstances, and at such a time of prevailing Danger as this is also, and when such great Demands are upon us on other Publick and pressing Accounts?’

It's hop'd if this weighty Objection, or rather Body of Objections can be removed, what is farther to be said of the Easiness and Profitableness of the Design will be much better receiv'd and be listned to with the more Attention; and therefore in state­ing the Objection, I have endeavour'd to do the Objectors all the Justice they can desire, stateing the whole Sum of their Ca­vils in their own Words, and as fully as they could desire to have them express'd.

The Sum of the Question is this, What Necessity there is of this Attempt at this time? The Answer is clear.

It has already been too long that the Nation has groan'd under the heavy Bur­then of insupportable Taxes; the People call Now aloud to their Representatives to be relieved by them. The Oppress'd labouring and Trading People, for they are the particu­lar People who, I say, groan under the Weight, and to whom it is really insuppor­table, at the same time that they are rejoyce­ing at the Return of King George, and re­ceive [Page 4] His Majesty with Acclamations and Testimonies of their Satisfaction at his be­ing placed upon the Throne; at the same time, I say, they stretch forth their Hands to him for the Ease of their Burthens; for the lightning the Oppressions of his Ance­stors, and setting them Free from the Task-Masters who in Swarms devour their La­bour by rapid Exactions upon their common Necessaries, such as their Fuell, their Soap, their Hops, their Shoe-Leather, their Salt; they can neither enjoy Day-light or Candle-light, but they pay for the Holes one shines in at, and the Wicks the other shines out from. 'Tis for this they look upon King George to be their Deliverer, and 'tis this will Rivet his Memory in the Hearts of the Ages to come; this shall Record the Illustrious Race of Hannover in the Minds of the Common People in a Cha­racter more indelible than that of History, and in a Tradition never to be worn out till it turn by length of Time into Fable and Romance. When the Name of George may not Occur to the Ignorant Tongues of some, he will be remember'd by the General Character, and be referr'd to under the Description of that Good King that took away the Taxes. This is the Reason why it should be done now, and no doubt as Queen Anne said of the Union with Scotland, so would His Ma­jesty [Page 5] say of the Delivering his People from this Bondage, That he should account it the greatest Glory of his Reign if it might be said this Great Work should b [...] finished in his time.

I might go on to say, the Reason why this is the Time, is because really the Na­tion is not able to bear this Weight any longer; and therefore it was that I call'd it an insupportable Weight; and such no doubt it is, because, as may easily be De­monstrated by sad Examples, many Fami­lies, who were able to subsist before, have sunk under the Pressure, and have been forc'd to give up; Dissolving into Beggary; which in a Word, speaking of Families, is Destruction and Dissolution; and this proves the Word insupportable to be most Just, and to be particularly applicable to this very Case, for such Burthens and Pressures which Families do really sink under, and by which they are reduc'd to Misery and Beggary, may very well be said to be insupportable to them

It has been observ'd by some who have written judiciously on these Heads, that the Weight of the Taxes has principally fallen upon those of the People who live not on the Income of their real Estates, but on the precarious Fruit of their daily Labour, e­specially in Handycrafts, Manufactures, &c. and Mannaging and Conducting the [Page 6] Day-Labour of others under them; including those who live by the buying, selling, fetching, carrying, and removing from Place to Place the Produce of the said la­bouring Part. It is most just to say, that these are by far the most Numerous among the Inhabitants of Britain, and are the People who are in many Respects the Strength, the Life, and the Soul of the whole Body; like the Hands and the Feet to the Belly, by which it is filled, and the Body made fat and flourishing: As these are the Support of the whole, so they should be the Care of the whole; and the Nursing Fathers of the Common wealth ought in more than ordinary Manner to show their Regard to them, and to be care­ful that they are not disabled, discouraged, and unhing'd from that Labour and that Industry which is so Useful, so Profitable, and so Essential to the Common-wealth as well as to their own Families.

The Labouring and Industrious Trades-Men and Manufacturers are not so incon­siderable a part of this Nation, as some Peo­ple for want of Consideration have been apt to suggest: On the contrary, they are indeed the Life of our Commerce; by their Numbers they make our home Con­sumption which supports the Landed-Men, make a Demand for the Produce of the Land, keep up the Rents of Farms, and [Page 7] thereby make the Land-Tax produce so many Millions. They form our Manu­factures which consumes the Wool, Clothes the whole People, and gives England a just Title to the most valuable Export of any Nation in the World.

Without these, that Plenty which is God's Blessing to the Nation would perish as Dung upon the Ground, and the Corn and Cattle would be our Burthen not our Advantage; till England which is now as the Garden of God would become a For­rest, and like the Land of Canaan cease to flow with Milk and Honey, not for want of Fertility to produce it, but for want of People to consume it.

These I say are the People on whom the Weight of our innumerable Taxes lye now so heavy; who pay for their Malt, Salt, Coal, Candle, Soap, Leather, Glass-Win­dows, and in a Word, for those necessary Things which God knows thousands of them used sparingly before, and are now scarce able to use at all, till they are brought to bleeding Extremities, and to a Misery scarce to be express'd.

When the first of these Calamitous Times came upon this Nation, the Poor usually comforted themselves with saying, That blessed be God the Necessaries of Li [...] were not Tax'd, and that as the Rich m [...] the War, so the Rich pay'd for it; bu [...] [Page 8] was but a little while that this lasted; For Example, it was but a little while that the Calamities of War and the Scarcity of Fo­reign Countries rather than our own, rai­sed the Price of Corn, and that to such a Degree, as that besides the Hardship our Poor suffered in these Parts of England, it's yet fresh in the Memories of us all, that in the Northern Parts of England many perished of meer Want, and in Scotland, then a separate Nation, no less than 18000 People, as the Writers of that Nation have declared, dyed of meer Famine, the mi­serable Particulars of which are too many to repeat.

It's a most preposterous thing to say the Poor have paid no Tax upon Corn, let it be enquir'd how many Millions it has cost the middling working Families of this Nation, since the beginning of the first War, in the several risings of the Prices of Corn, sometimes upon just, sometimes up­on unreasonable, and sometimes meer ima­ginary Occasions, which Rise of the Rate has oftner happened in these 25 Years than in an Hundred Years before; nay, so has it been managed that Corn has scarce ever been at the moderate middling Rate of 4s per Bushel two Years together since the second Year after the Revolution; and as this has been occasion'd wholly by the War, so the War may justly have been [Page 9] said to have been one continued Tax upon Corn, and the poor People I speak of, have felt it very severely, even to the Distress of most of their Families and the utter Ru­in of many, to whom it has been no Difference whether the Price was exacted as a Duty and Gabel on the Corn, or by accidental raising the Price at the Mar­ket, which was the Consequence of the War, and equally Fatal to the Poor as a Tax.

I am not talking now of the Begging Cla­mouring Poor, no nor of the meer La­bouring-Man who lives by his Hedging and Ditching; but of the Trading, Manufactu­ring, Industrious middle sort of People, who keep Servants and Families, and em­ploy multitudes of Hands within Doors or without; these are the Pillars of the Na­tion, and the Support both of Rich and Poor, and in a Word the Payers of our Taxes.

These are the Men whose Families are oppress'd by the National Usury, and who are crush'd and kept low to feed the Vo­racious Luxury of a few Stock-Jobbers, and enrich'd Mony-Lenders: When Publick Faith and Parliamentary Credit are plead­ed, or rather pretended, against redeeming the Nation from Ruin, let these People be heard; is there no Publick Faith plight­ed to them? is it not the best part of Par­liamentary [Page 10] Credit to be just to them? Are not these Men represented in Parliament? Are not thousands of them Freeholders and Freemen of Corporations, or have other­wise a Right to Vote in Elections, and did they not send their Representatives to Parliament with an entire Dependence upon Parliamentary Credit, [Mark the Word] for themelves, their Wives and Chil­dren, (viz.) that their Representatives would never give them up for a Prey to the Avarice and Cruelty of the Nation's Creditors?

There has been much said among us of Equality of Taxes, I shall speak of it in a Chapter by it self; but it is easie to make it appear there has been no Equality, nor indeed can be, in the Taxing the com­mon Necessaries of Life, because the Poor use as much of them as the Rich, or suf­fer dismal Extremities for want of them, and there is no Equality in paying it.

Take a Family of Honest Industrious Manufacturers, suppose of a Master-Wea­ver or any other, who labour hard them­selves, keep Servants, and employ many Hands to get a moderate Living for a numerous Family; examine how much these are oblig'd to spend in Coal, Candle, Salt, Soap, Leather, Window-Lights, &c. Examine again the same Consumption in a rich Stock-jobbing Usurer, who has a thousand Pounds a Year coming in by [Page 11] Bank, East-India and South-Sea Dividends, out of all which he pays nothing, and in all the Particulars of the above-named necessary Things, does not consume so much as the poor Weaver in his Family, the Sweat of whose Brows is extorted to make the other Rich: Pray where is the Parliamentary Credit of all this? Where the National Justice of it? Is there no Debt due to the publick Safety, and to the Preservation of four Millions of the People, for at least so many will come within the Denomination I speak of, or the general Calculations of our Numbers in Britain cannot be depended upon.

Let any Man that knows what it is to get his Bread, and the Bread of his Fami­ly by his Industry, tell me what is the Odds to a labouring Family, between the Days of King Charles II. and the Times we live in; when Bread-Corn was not known for many Years to be above 3s. 6d. to 4s. per Bushel, and the Name of Taxes, other than Excise and Chimny-Money, was hard­ly known; and that Excise also not above one Third of what it is n [...]w; let these be compar'd to the present Case, when Bread Corn is seldom under six Shillings per Bushel, often more, the Excise treble, eve­ry thing both for Eating, and many for Wearing doubled by Taxes, Customs, &c. and yet the Manufactures he makes are not at [Page 12] all advanc'd in Price, but rather cheape [...] than ever; nay even many of the Materials of his Manufactures themselves doubled and heightned in Price, as Oyl in particular to the Clothier, Silk to the Silk Manufacturer, by which, if nothing else were the Consequence, their Stock is nar­row'd and streightned, and their Industry crippled and shackled, and all still by Tax­es and Customs.

Add to these the Burthens already menti­on'd, 5s. per Chaldron upon their Coals at least, a Penny on a Full Pot of strong Beer if they buy it, 4s. a Quarter upon Malt if they Brew their own Beer; a Penny aa Pound on their Candles and on their Soap, 6s. and 8d. per Bushel for their Salt, and 3d. Half-penny per Pound for their Leather, be­sides Customs doubled and trebled upon the Linnen, Callicoes, &c. and all Foreign things which they use for Necessaries for them and their Children. As for Wine, Spice, Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, I will sup­pose them to be all plac'd out of the reach of thousands of the poor Families I speak of, by the Extravagance of additional Du­ties.

These are the People, and these the Circumstances they are reduced to by the Necessities of the Times, and shall any Man ask whether it is Necessary to deli­ver them, and whether this is a time for it or no!

[Page 13] Let such in the next Place reflect how long these poor People have born these Weights: How long has Trade languish­ed and the trading part of the Nation e­ven fainted under this Load? Have not some part of these things been laid on 4, others 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, nay, 20 Years? and are not some of them entail'd and made perpetual as it were to us and our Heirs for ever? and shall we say it is not time! Do not we see even Nature failing before it, and Trade in many Parts of it and in many Places of this Nation expir'd and lost! the Manufacturers dispers'd and gone! seeking their Bread in other Parts, perhaps in Foreign Nations! and scarce the Ruins of the Trade left, or any Remains to shew it by that it had been there; and shall we be ask'd why this is to be remedied now? if Cordials are not to be administred when the Patient is fainting and swooning before you, when shall it be thought a Sea­son for it! Certainly the Cry is too great not to be heard, the Complaint too loud not to move the Compassions of the whole Nation, and they that would not put their Hands willingly to so necessary a Work as saving so many Millions of Peo­ple from these Hardships, would scarce throw Water upon their Neighbour's House if they saw it on Fire.

[Page 14] As for the Argument against the Method, or this and that manner of doing i [...] 'tis not the Subject of this Chapter, the Necessity and Seasonableness of doing it NOW is what I am upon, let the Parliament judge of Methods; and if this is not Practicable, that not Reasonable, another inconsisten [...] with publick Faith and Parliamentary Cre­dit, let such Methods be laid aside and others thought on; only let the thing b [...] done, let the Bonds of a Free Nation be knock'd off, let Industry and painfu [...] Diligence Things that all wise Nations bles [...] and encourage, be unshackled; and let no [...] those that would with honest Labour maintain Families, support Trade, and chearfully encourage our Manufactures, b [...] oppress'd, ruin'd, and sent a begging b [...] the Weight of oppressive Taxes to suppor [...] and carry on a Chimera of Credit; I sa [...] a Chimera, for certainly breaking Faith wit [...] one to keep it with another, or as we cal [...] it robbing Peter to pay Paul, can never b [...] call'd maintaining Credit, as I shall mak [...] plain by and by.

CHAP. II. Of the Nation's Circumstances, as far as they may serve for an Objection against redeeming or reducing the Publick Debts.

THEY are not always the best Friends to the Nation's Circumstances who make the loudest Complaints about them, and make the nicest Enquiries into them. But to apply our selves to just Methods to mend our Circumstances, is the best Testimony of our having a right Sense of them, and of our thoroughly Understanding them; Our Circumstances are bad enough, but not fully so bad as those who com­plain most, seem to desire they should be, and as at last they must be, if the Measures for redeeming them which those Men op­pose are not thought of in time.

To what purpose is it to complain of the Nation's Circumstances, and not mend them? he that offers the Remedy, complains, like a Friend, to administer a Cure; he that op­poses this Cure shows he's an Enemy, and complains to Expose.

The Nation is in Debt, but blessed be God the Nation is not Bankrupt; her Cre­ditors have all Security for their Debts; but the Continuance of these Securities will [Page 16] ruin the Debtor, and therefore the Friends of the Debtor are for paying off the Prin­cipal, and delivering the Debtor Nation) from the miserable Circumstance of being eaten up by Usury; The Creditors, justly in that call'd the Nation's Enemies, joyn in crying out of the Circumstances we are in, but pretend to represent them as incu­rable, and that there is no Remedy but to sit still and be devoured.

In this I must differ from them, even to Indignation and Resentment; and do affirm, that as the Work is of such Neces­sity as to admit no Delay, so even those very Circumstances which are proposed as Hindrances are the strongest and most in­vincible Arguments for setting about it and dispatching it out of Hand; let's enquire with them into the Circumstances of the Nation, I doubt not to make it appear that the worst of all our Circumstances is this of our being in Debt; others may be fenc'd against and prevented, but this like a Wild Beast has grasp'd us in its Voracious Claws, and if we are not rescued from it we shall be inevitably devour'd; Nay, this alone renders all Attempts against us Dangerous, for what Rebellion of disaffected Subjects, what Invasion of desperate Enemies from abroad, need we apprehend if the Nation was not in Debt at Home? how are we now startled upon all Occasions of any [Page 17] little Run upon the Publick Credit as a mortal Wound to the Common-wealth, and Stab to the Heart of the Administra­tion! Whereas, were these Scores wip'd off, were these Debts and Engagements paid off, and the Nation Unembarrased from them; with what Vigour and Life would every thing go on? without being put to their Wits Ends for Funds, and Courting the Stock-Jobbers by private Premiums and extravagant Interest for Loans! Our Debts are the main Article that darken our Circumstances, and makes every Rumour alarm us; every Conspiracy, tho' supported but by Beggars and Mad Men, seem formidable to us. Were our Debts paid, our Funds clear'd, the Cries of the oppress'd People stop'd, and the destructive Taxes that are so ruinous to our Trade, Ma­nufactures, and even to the general Indu­stry of our People, were these taken off, and some less oppressive less grievous Me­thods found out, to pay off what is justly Due, and a moderate Interest till 'tis done, were these things done, our Circumstan­ces would mend at once, the Nation would revive and be restor'd, like one recover'd from a languishing Disease.

Then we should not be in such an A­larm upon every Motion of the most re­mote and most contemptible Power, and [Page 18] think every Armament, however distant and improbable, pointed at us; we should justly and without Arrogance, laugh at those People who would joyn the King of Sici­ly to the King of Sweden, and talk of an Invasion from the Levant, as well as from the Baltick.

But 'tis our Debt that makes us a Prey to every Suggestion, and afraid of every Wind that stirs; Great Britain, once free'd from these Encumbrances, would be the Ter­ror of mightier Kings than these; and they would be far from promising themselves any thing from Attempts to be made upon a Nation, who would be able to blow the strongest of them out of the Sea, instead of being a Prey to 20 or 30 Men of War.

As to our Circumstances occasion'd by Disaffection, and Rebellion among our own People; and Foreign Invasion from E­nemies, who think to make their Market of these Disaffections; let any reasonable Person but take this one part of that Case into Consideration. (viz.) How much has it been the Dependance of the Parties en­gaged in these Conspiracies, that on the least visible Appearance of an Arm'd and sufficient Strength to support or encourage such a Rebellion, a Run upon the Bank, and a sinking of Stocks, would break our Publick Credit, and put all Affairs to a full [Page 19] stop, and consequently into Confusion? Has not this been the real Case on all Oc­casions? nor has their Aim been ill taken; Witness the time when the Pretender was so near landing in Scotland, when the Jaco­bites made such an Allarm, and brought such a Run upon the Bank of England, that had it held but a few Days longer, the Bank must have stopt Payment; and had the Pretender really Landed, tho' with but that Handful of Men who were with him, the Publick Credit had fallen into such Convulsions that had been (for ought I know) more fatal to England at that time, than the Defeat of an Army.

Is it not absolutely Necessary then to Great Britain, to put it out of the Power of her Enemies to throw her into such FITS as these? that we may no more be subject to a Blow upon our Vitals, when the Enemy who strikes it is yet at Arms end; this is my meaning, when I say, the very Circumstances which our Enemies alledge as Reasons against their putting an end to our State of Debt, and Bondage to Credit, are invincible Reasons why we should immediately and without any Delay set about it.

The King of France during the late War used often to express himself on this Subject, that he had rather hear of a Stop [Page 20] put to the Publick Credit in England, that of a Defeat of the Confederate Army; Indeed it was this alone made Britain able to support the War, and to make Efforts so much beyond what was to have been rea­sonably expected, from the most just Esti­mation of the Power of these Nations. How much then does it behove us to put our selves out of the Danger of a Stop being put to our Credit, by putting an end to our general Dependence upon Credit at all? The way to do this, is to think of some Way to discharge the Debts we are already engag'd in, and to put the Nation in a Condition to contract no more; this puts an end to all the Plea of Circumstances, and our present Circumstances correspond to make this absolutely necessary to be done, and that, if I see right, either now or never.

CHAP. III. Of Parliamentary CREDIT, and the true Extent of that Word, as it respects Justice and Honour due to the People of Great Britain, as well as Loans of Money and Funds.

WE have of late so appropriated the Word Parliamentary Credit to the [Page 21] Stability of our Funds, and the Obligation there is upon the Parliament to make good the Conditions upon which People advanc'd their Loans, that we use it now as if it had no other Signification. But the Honour of Parliaments is engag'd in se­veral Material and Essential Points, be­sides this; in any of which should the Par­liament be deficient, they would soon lose their Credit in every thing else.

For Example: How entirely does his Majesty express himself to depend upon the Assurances they give him annually, and oftner, in their Addresses, that they will stand by and assist His Majesty against all his Enemies at home and abroad. These Addresses are but Words, and would be but empty insignificant Words, nay fatal­ly deceiving Words, and would, like the High-Church Addresses to King James II, draw him in to depend upon them to his De­struction, were they not Pledges of the Faith and Honour of Parliaments, and was not that Effectual thing called Parliamen­tary Credit engag'd to make them good: But as the Credit of Parliament is enga­ged, no King or Queen in our Age has had the least Reason to repent their Depen­dance on that Credit, for the Supplies and Assistance they have demanded, let the Exigencies have been what they will; and [Page 22] they would have very ill been said to have maintain'd Parliamentary Credit, tho' they made good all their Funds and Deficiencies and discharg'd with the utmost Exactness all the Debts and Interests contracted, i [...] at the same Time they dishonour'd their own Assurances to the King, and should not perform the Promises made to his Ma­jesty of Supplies, &c.

Again, What is the Security of the Pri­vileges of the People, and upon which we and our Ancestors so effectually have rely'd, and do with such Satisfaction and Assu­rance still depend, but the Credit of Par­liaments, that they will not be call'd Con­servators of our Liberties in vain? That they will not give up the Liberties of the People they represent, nor betray the Trust repos'd in them by those who chose them to be their Watchmen and Protectors?

I might instance many other Things which in general make up that compre­hensive Thing call'd Parliamentary Credit; but I forbear to multiply Words where the Case is sufficiently proved: I have stated it thus, to clear up what follows, (viz.▪ As Parliamentary Credit contains many Things, and signifies several Things, beside [...] meerly what respects Borrowing Mony upon Funds, with making good the Deficiencie [...] of, and discharging the Debts contracted [Page 23] on those Funds, so we must not make the General clash with its own Particulars; we must not make Parliamentary Credit in one Article, destroy Parliamentary Credit in another; make Publick Faith in one Branch inconsistent with the Publick Faith in another: For Example, We must not push the Letter of Parliamentary Acts, where they admit Constructions and Expla­nations, to a height inconsistent with the Common Rights and Liberties of the Peo­ple, which Parliamentary Credit is equal­ly engag'd to support. And this is the Reason why it is said, The Legislative Power cannot be limited from Expound­ing, Explaining, Altering, and Repealing all its own Acts. I bring it home to the present Case with all possible Plainness.

One Parliament Entails a Debt for a certain Number of Years upon the Nation, on Conditions and with Interest, as are or may be express'd in the Borrowing Clause.

No Act can with Justice dissolve the Debt it self, because the Morality of the Obliga­tion is founded upon the Superior Laws of Justice, (viz.) Right and Wrong; which no Parliamentary Power can dissolve; no nor indeed, No Power on Earth.

But a subsequent Parliament may judge thus, that obliging the People of England to a Bondage for Years, for Debt and [Page 24] Ʋsury is the worst sort of Bondage, is a Breach of the Natural Liberty of the Subject, and they may consider of Just and Equitable Ways of Delivering them; because Preserving the Liberty of the Sub­ject is a Part of the Natural Duty of Par­liaments, and a Branch of Parliamentary Credit, as above As to what those Equi­table Ways shall be, that is not my present Enquiry.

Again, If formerly a Parliament has laid a Tax, which in process of time, whether it was then so or not, becomes grievous to one part of the People more than it is to another; or lighter to one part of the People than it is to the other; a subsequent Parliament, to whom it is an indispensable Duty so to dispose the common Burthens as that they may be born with Equalities and just Proportions, and that no part of the People, as near as possible, may be press'd heavyer than ano­ther, much less be press'd heavyer than they can bear; I say, Subsequent Parlia­ments may rectify those Inequalities with­out doubt, and bring all Persons to such Proportions as Justice and the Nature of the Thing requires; whether it be for lay­ing Taxes upon Things formerly agreed not to be tax'd, abating Interests where Interests were agreed not to be abated, or any other Thing of that Nature. What [Page 25] Obligation the Parliament will think them­selves under to give the Equivalent, or what Amends they will think themselves obliged to make to those who may suffer in their private Gain by such Things, is not the present Question: I am not debate­ing the particular Cases now, but the Right of Power.

Certain it is the Legislature cannot limit its self from what it has a Native Right to do; but Subsequent Parliaments may undoe all that Antecedent Parlia­ments have done, who had no more Power than themselves: And therefore, as a late Author says, Laws in Britain are only Precedents recommended to Posterity for their Government; if they like them they let them stand as they find them; if not, they Enact others, or Clauses of others, with this Authoritative Sanction at the End of them, Any Thing in any former Law to the contrary in any wise notwith­standing.

If in such new Laws, or Amendments to Laws, any private Person, or Place, or Body, or part of the People are aggriev'd, they are always, on their Petition, heard by their Council at the Bar of the House, before the Bill passes; and if the House see Cause they concern themselves to make up the real Loss to the Petitioners, if any [Page 26] such Loss appears, or otherwise to deter­mine as Justice and Equity requires.

This Parliamentary Method is so unex­ceptionably just, that I see no Reason why it should not reach the Case of the Funds now in question, as it has, and may, all the Cases that have, or ever will come before them of that or any other kind; and that therefore it is not for us without Doors to say that this or that they cannot do without destroying Parliamentary Credit. 'Tis a Part of Parliamentary Credit to maintain Parliamentary Authority; for without Par­liamentary Authority they would soon have no Parliamentary Credit; let first their Power be settled, and then 'tis Time to enquire into the Justice of their Proceed­ings, and to speak as we find.

For Example, to bring it nearer to the Case, It is true that the Parliament have settled Funds for the Payment of Interest on the several Sums of Money borrow'd, and the said Funds are appropriated to the paying of such and such Annuities, as the Interest of the said Loans amount to. No Man will doubt but that the Parliament have a Right, if they see Cause, to cease or alter the Tax which is the Fund for that Payment, and order some other manner of Payment of the same Money; for the Justice due to the Lender is, that his Mo­ney [Page 27] be paid, and 'tis equal to him whether the Fund be the same or another, his Secu­rity being not simply in the Fund, but in the Parliament which gave that Fund, which is always the same; and this is what we call Parliamentary Credit in particu­lar as to Loans.

CHAP. IV. Of Parliamentary Credit as it respects the Publick Debts, and of the Justice of a Resolution to redeem the Publick from the Burthen.

SPeaking of Parliamentary Credit as it respects Money borrow'd, it leads to many Prospects that are now before us; but I wave them all to that of paying off the Nation's Debts. There can be no Ob­jection against the receiv'd Maxim, That it is the Part of an Honest Man to pay his Debts; but our Case, as a Nation, unhap­pily differs; for the Nation has some Cre­ditors whose Language is, We will not be paid; you bargain'd with us to pay us our Interest for 99 Years, and we cannot be oblig'd to take our Principal whether we will or no.

This is a hard Case, I confess, to the Na­tion, and makes us reproach the Memory of those Ministers of State, ay and Parli­aments too, with Breach of Trust, and want of a faithful Discharge of their Duty to the People; who instead of preserving sacred the Liberties of a Free People with which they were Entrusted, and which, as before, it was a part of Parliamentary-Credit [Page 29] to have preserv'd, sold them to Ʋsury, the worst of Bondage, for almost an Hundred Years, and never took care to put in, as was afterwards done, the Words redeemable by Parliament.

BUT some, who have much greater Ex­perience in these things than I, have answer'd in Defence of the Parliament and Mini­stry of those Times, that it is a Mistake, that we have given a Sanction of Unalter­able to those Acts, which neither the Na­ture of the Acts, or the Usage of Par­liaments would allow; that all Acts of Parliament are to be understood in the true Construction which the Nature of Acts of Parliament allow, viz. to be so durable and unalterable as Acts of Parlia­ment can be, and no otherwise. Nil Dat quod non habet. That for any Parliament of Great Britain to make a Law, with Con­dition that no subsequent Parliament shall alter or repeal it, is to make such a Law as the Parliament it self had no Power to make, and therefore that we cannot be­lieve either of that Parliament, or that Government, that when the Term of 99 Years was fixt, as some certain Term must of Necessity be, that therefore it was to be understood, that whenever the Parliament of Britain should think fit to pay back the Principal Money, and full Interest, it [Page 30] should not be lawful for them to redeem their Fund, and set the People free from a Tax, which it was no longer Necessary to pay.

The same Gentlemen say, that it was rather a Mistake in those People since that, who put in those needless Words into sub­sequent Acts for Funds, viz. redeemable by Parliament; Words, say they, perfectly useless, seeing no Parliament can lay an unre­deemable Fund, any more than they can pass an unrepealable Law.

If this be so, and I confess I see no Reason against it, then all the Pretences which are raised against the Justice of re­deeming the Annuities for 99 Years are taken away, and the Distinction we make of redeemable Funds and not redeemable, is really Unparliamentary, Ignorant, and indeed in the Language of such things Nonsensical.

But to leave this Point, till we see some Answer to what is thus alledged, I come back to that Part which the Lenders them­selves own to be otherwise.

All the Funds for Annuities for 32 Years, all the Exchequer Bills, all the South-Sea Stock, East-India Stock, Bank Additi­onal Stock, &c. upon which are founded the Classes and Courses, and other Lotte­rie, and which amount to many Millions. [Page 31] These it seems they will consent may be paid off when the Parliament plea­ses; that is to say, if the Parliament thinks fit to pay them off Principal and Interest, they will vouchsafe to take their Money; leaving them therefore concedeing this Grace to the Public, I shall make a short Transition from the Loan to the Fund, and see how the Case stands with respect to a kind of Justice due to the People.

The Justice due to the Lenders is seen in a narrow Compass, they must be paid their Debt Principal and Interest to a Far­thing, no Parliament can dispence with that Part, neither is there any Pretence to, or Design of any thing less, as is said already.

The Justice due to the Borrower is of two Kinds.

  • 1. To the Publick, That the publick Debts being clear'd off, the Nation may be restor'd to a State of Defence, and to a Capacity in some degree pro­portion'd to the Figure it ought to make in the World; of which more at large by and by.
  • 2. To the People who pay the Taxes. Of those it may be said there is not only a just Reason, but in a Word an ab­solute Necessity, to relieve them; their [Page 32] Cries are too loud, not to move the Pity of the Government; it was of these no doubt that his Majesty was pleased to say the Burthen was In­supportable. I may be free, for I will not call it bold, to say, that these Taxes are a Yoke which neither we or our Fathers have born; for I believe no History can give a Parallel Time, whether in just Reigns or Usurpations, under just Kings or Arbitrary Tyrants, that ever the like Load of Taxes lay upon the Backs of the People of Eng­land, much less were entail'd to them and their Posterity; as Men would perswade us those Taxes are.

Well will King GEORGE deserve the Name of the Deliverer, and the Father of his Country, if he shall so espouse the Cause of his poor oppressed Subjects, as to de­liver them from the greatest Burthen of Taxes that ever the Nation groan'd under.

It is the highest Justice in the World, that the People should be relieved in these Taxes, because they pinch us in such sen­sible Parts as cannot bear them, lying hea­viest and hardest upon that Part of the People, who in all Cases, till now, our Par­liaments have spar'd, I mean the middle Sort as they are describ'd before, upon [Page 33] whose Industry and Application to Busi­ness our Trade, our Manufactures, our Navigation, in a Word our Prosperity depends. These are the People that as I said are sold to Usury, and Justice calls upon us all to endeavour to redeem them.

CHAP. V. Of our Neighbour Nations, and with what Diligence they are applying them­selves at this Time to disengage themselves from their Publick Debts.

FRance is the first, tho' not the only Instance of this National Sagacity. I shall not be accused of Rashness if I say, that I take France to be at this Time the best circumstanc'd Nation in Europe, and more likely now to grow too great for all her Neigbours, than e­ver she was by the Power of encroach­ing Ambition, in the most flourishing and successful Years of Louis le Grand.

She has been reduc'd Low, and to the Gates of Destruction; but having slipt cunningly enough, (to say no worse of it) out of the Embarrasement of a dan­gerous [Page 34] War, she has lost no Opportunity to strengthen her self by New, and, to her, Beneficial Alliances; to guar­rantee and secure the Peace she had gain'd.

And now she sits down in Peace, en­joys a perfect Tranquility, looks upon all the Broils of Europe with an Eye of per­fect Indifference; she is not so much as an Auxiliar in any of the Wars now kind­led in the World; she has no Quarrel with any body, and nobody quarrels with her; and the truly wise and politick Regent applies himself with an unwearied Ap­plication to heal the Wounds of a Twenty Two Years War, to restore Commerce, revive his Navy, amass Treasure, and pay Debts.

It's true, he has Ways and Means that consist not with us, such as suppressing Offices, reducing their Funds by cut­ting off the Principal with the Interest, squeezing the Thieves of the State, and the like; but 'tis not the Manner we are upon, that's nothing to us; But this is remarkable, That the Regent has already sunk the Publick Debts above Twelve Hundred Millions, by one Me­thod or another.

[Page 35] In the next place, he has abated the annual Disburse, by reducing the Royal Household, lessening the Numbers of the Gardeners, Musicians, Pages, Horses, Grooms, and such People, in a prodi­gious manner; so that the King's Fa­mily is small, the great and pompous Palaces of Versailles, Meudon, Fountain-Bleau, and others, lye like Houses un­inhabited, and about Three Thousand Servants of all sorts, within Doors and without, have been dismiss'd.

Add to this, the Reform of the Troops, of whom above a Hundred and Twenty Thousand Men have been Disbanded, which saves an Immense Sum.

And that which appears in the room of all, and which is the Glory of the Re­gent's Administration, is this, (viz.) that the Taxes begin to be abated, especially such as the Poor are most sensible of, as the Taxes upon Eatables, Cattle, Corn, Salt, Fish, &c. and upon Fuel and Wine, and they expect farther Ease­ments from the happy Administration of a Prince who gives himself wholly up to Acts of wise Government, and to study the Ease and Felicity of his Country.

I might enlarge upon the like Pru­dence of the Dutch in setting up Lot­teries, [Page 36] reducing their Forces and Pen­sions, that they may ease their People, and recover their Losses; and the like in Spain, where the Oeconomy is such as has not been known in that negligent Court in any Reign before Philip the Vth, since that of Charles the Vth.

And shall all the Nations of Europe give their Poor a Taste of the Blessings of Peace by an Ease from their most sinking Burthens, and give themselves a Breathing time from the continual Encrease of Publick Debts, and shall we alone sit still and do nothing but run further in! Where will this end, and what Ruin will necessarily be the Con­sequence?

It is true, an unnatural Rebellion, and new Threatnings of Foreign Invasions to foment another, continue to make great Demands upon the Publick, and some would give those in for Reasons why we should adjourn our Thoughts of the Debts pass'd to another time; but as the Methods for reducing or satisfy­ing the old Debt have no relation to what is to come, I think it is easie to prove that our new Pressures are no Reason at all why the Work should not now be begun, which is the Subject of the next Chapter.

CHAP. VI. Of the Nature of raising or falling the National Interest of Money, and the Natural Justice that all Publick Loans should rise and fall with it, with some Observations on the Reverse of the pre­sent Case.

IF there were no other Reasons for the present Argument, of removing our Taxes, than the Distresses and Ex­igencies of the People who groan under the Burthen of them, and which Bur­then they are able to bear no longer; I say, if there were no other Reasons, these were sufficient; and I cannot think but what has already been said, amounts to a full Proof, that those Burthens can really be born no longer.

But there are other things to say to it, which call loudly in Justice to the whole Nation to go about it, particular­ly the Proportions of common Justice due to the rest of the Nation. By this common Justice, I mean the Equality of the Interest of Money.

When the Loans in Parliament were first made, the Interest of Money was then current at 6 per Cent, this was called [Page 38] Lawful Interest, and for this Reason the Interests for Annuities granted, were all, or the greatest part of them, allow'd to be at 6 per Cent. at least, with something over upon some of them for Encou­ragement. Had the Current, or Law­ful Interest of Money at that time, been at 4 per Cent. and Men had been able to make no more of their Money on o­ther Securities, there is no Man so weak, who knows any thing of these matters, as to think that the Publick Loans would have been for more, except so much as they were then allow'd more than the common Interest.

When Money encreas'd, and the Na­ture of things brought the Parliament, as it were by a common consent of the whole Nation, to reduce the Interest of Money to 5 per Cent. nothing was more wonderful than to think why the Parliamentary Funds were excepted, and the People who had so long had the Benefit of their high Interest should be still separated from the rest of the World, and all Mankind's Estates should sink in Value, but theirs.

It might have seemed Distinction e­nough, that they enjoy'd those Interests Tax-free, which by the several Acts for [Page 39] charging Moneys upon Interest, others did not; but to keep up the Interest of the Publick Moneys when the Interest of all private Cash was sunk by Act of Parliament, was an Inequality which no Body knew how to account for, except that some People said it was Politically done to keep the lending People in Hu­mour, least they might have Occasion for them again.

As to the Justice of it, I know loud Clamours have been made by the Peo­ple concern'd, upon the Notion of ha­ving parted with their Money, on such and such express Conditions; I shall say nothing more to the Ʋnalterableness of the Conditions than as before, that if the Parliament made Conditions with them, with this particular Capitulation, that they should be unalterable, they did what they had no Power to do. But I go back to the Reason, the Cause, and the Nature of those Conditions▪ They had 6 per Cent. because 6 per Cent. was the law­ful current Interest of Money in the Na­tion, and they might be supposed to be able to make so much of their Money any where else, at least upon personal Security; for such Government Securities must all be class'd with those which we [Page 40] call Personal; the meaning of this was, that they were to have National lawful Interest; but no Man can think, I say, that they were not to rise or fall in their Interest, as the lawful Interest of Money should rise or fall: For Example.

Had the Circumstances of this Nati­on, upon what Account soever, oblig'd the Parliament to have rais'd the Inte­rest of Money to 10 per Cent, as it was in former Times; I desire to know what these Gentlemen, who had lent their Money on Parliament Securities and Funds, would have said, if they had been the only Persons who should have been left to make 4 per. Cent of their Money less than other People: How loudly would they have complain'd of the Ingratitude of the Government, who took their Money at the common In­terest of the Day when they wanted the Loan, and when 't was a Service to the Nation to lend it, and should now take no care that they should be upon an e­qual Foot of Interest with other People, but should take the Advantage of the Letter of their Contract, and tye them down to receive but 6 per Cent. for their Estates, when all other People, even those that had done them no Service, [Page 41] were at Liberty to make so much greater an Advantage.

Then how full of Reasonings would they have been upon the Equity of the Case, that tho' 'twas true they did lend their Money at 6 per Cent. with some little Advantage for Encouragement, it was because the current Interest of Money was then no higher, and every Man that lent Money expected no more in Cases of other Loans: That the Va­lue of Money was so rated at that time by Law; and they stood upon a level in the Rate of their Estates with other Men, but that they could not be sup­posed to lend their Money to the Go­vernment, which was an act of Service to their Country; and be forgotten, when a general Alteration of the Face of Things should happen, which might be to their Advantage; that it would be very unjust, that others should be allow'd to make 10 per Cent. of their Money, and that they only should be the Men who should suffer, and sit still, and see their Estates made worse than other Mens, only because they had lent them to the Government, and had run the hazard of them for the Publick Service; that all such Loans were made by the Rule of [Page 42] the Laws, and that the Interest of their Money was stated by the Rate of Money at that time; but not to be tyed down, so as that the Rate of their Money should not rise, when the Value of o­ther Mens Money should rise; or that they should not be kept on a level with the rest of the Nation, as they were when they lent their Money.

If these Reasonings had not been ad­mitted, they would have gone on with them THUS: That if their Demand of a higher Interest, in Proportion to what new Loans were made at, was not ad­mitted, they desir'd they might have their Principal Money paid them back again, that at least they might be at Li­berty to make the best of their Estates in common with other People; that this was but common Justice, and that to deny them this would look like taking Advantage of them, as if the Govern­ment had catch'd them, and would hold them; a thing below the Honour of the Publick, and which would make Men cautious for the future how they dealt with them at all; that in Effect it would destroy the Publick Credit, make the Ministry be look'd upon like Sharpers, that would draw the Subjects in to make [Page 43] a Prey of them, and not give them the due Construction of their Circumstan­ces, according to the Nature of things; that to borrow their Money at a low Interest, and then raise the lawful Inte­rest of Money in general, was a BITE upon the Lenders; and the Govern­ment might now take the same Money, and lend it back again, even to some of the same Persons; or if not the same, to others, and so get 4 per Cent. by them, which would be the most scandalous way of tricking Mankind that ever was heard of; that certainly they had a Right to insist upon being allow'd the com­mon lawful Interest of Money, and be put upon an Equality with their Neigh­bours, or to have their Money paid them back again, that they might make the best of it as other Men did of theirs; that if the Interest had fallen, as well as it was risen, there was no doubt but the Government would have thought it ve­ry just to have oblig'd them to fall with it, or if they had refused, would have order'd them to be paid off, that Money at a lower Interest might have been borrow'd in the room of it; and that therefore they could not but insist upon it, that they should be either put upon a [Page 44] level with the rest of the People, in having their Interest rais'd, or be paid back their Money and sent about their Bu­siness.

It cannot be call'd begging the Que­stion, to state the Reverse of the Case in this manner, seeing the thing is so natural that the Force of the Argu­ment is scarce to be resisted; in the mean time let it stand as it is, (viz.) an Appeal to all the World, for the Justice and Reasonableness of the Suggestion; and there is scarce a Man in Exchange-Alley, who, if he would impartially turn the Tables, would not allow that these would be the Arguments to be used in that Case: Why then the same way of Reasoning shall not be good in the pre­sent Matter, I can see no Reason to determine. Let every Man judge as his own Thoughts shall guide him; but let them be impartial, and speak of it as if they were not concern'd in the Parti­culars; for there is always a great Dif­ference between our Freedom of argu­ing when the Case is our own, and when it is perfectly indifferent, and we are not concern'd one way or other.

CHAP. VII. Of the Justice of Lowering the Interest of Money in general, and what may be the Advantage of it at this Time.

LOwering the Interest of Money is a Justice due to Trade, and is judg'd a Credit to the Nation when it can be done, as the just Consequence of Wealth and Plenty. It is a Help to that great and useful Article of Home-Trade call'd Personal Credit; and, in general, is a great Reason to draw money'd Men in­to Adventures, Undertakings, and useful Embarking themselves and their Stocks in Manufactures, Discoveries, Planting Colonies, and all the Methods of ex­tending Commerce.

For these and many other Reasons it has always been esteem'd the Honour and Advantage of a Nation to reduce the Interest of their Money, as often and as low as Circumstances would ad­mit: We need go no fa [...]ther than our own dear-bought Experience to prove this, how offering large Premiums and high Interest, (viz.) of 7 and 8 per Cent. with Lotteries; the Allurement of high Prizes, &c. brought Men by Degrees [Page 46] to draw their Money out of Trade at the Beginning of the late first War, to the irrecoverable Decay of Paper and personal Credit, and the irreparable In­jury of Trade; which, however it may on some Occasions have reviv'd, is yet contracted in fewer Hands by many than it was before, which in it self is an In­jury scarce to be recover'd in some Ages of Time.

Money is now flowing in private Hands, insomuch that we find the Re­duction of Interest to 5 per Cent. is not sufficient, and the Bank, East-India Company, and other Bodies of Men, make their Advantage of it, taking in great Sums of Money daily at 3 and 4 per Cent. and may have even what Sums they please at that rate of Interest. This loudly calls upon the Government to cause the national lawful Interest of Mo­ney to sink another Step.

While it is otherwise, 'tis evident, Foreigners pour in their Money upon us, and lend us Money at 5 per Cent. and buy our Funds at 6 per Cent. Interest, with Money which, tho' they borrow at home, they pay but 2 and a half or 3 per Cent. for; so that we are made to [Page 47] pay Interest to all the Usurers of Europe, and let our Money lye in the Bank, and o­ther Places, at little or no Interest at all. Again, if the Public shall see fit to do Trade this piece of Justice, as to reduce Usury to 4 per Cent. can any Man think it should be just, that old Loans should remain distinguish'd from the rest, and receive 6 per Cent. or 6 [...] as many do, by which their Principal Sums would advance in Sale, to 23, or 24 Years Purchase, which were bought of the Government, at 14, 15, and 16 Years Purchase; at worst, they could but desire to be plac'd as they now stand, (viz.) at one per Cent. above the Common Rate of the National Interest, and receive five per Cent. while other People receiv'd but four; but of that in its order.

In the next Place, we should do well to enquire what is the Reason, why the low'ring of National Current Interest for Money is not complain'd of, as an in­jurious and unjust thing; seeing it is an Arbitrary Invasion of every Man's Property, taking away so much of his dai­ly, or yearly Subsistence, without giving any Reason for it, or Equivalent to it; and is neither better or worse, than [Page 48] dipping into the Personal Estates of private People, and taking away a part of the Capital.

There is also no question, but it is Grievous, and even Ruinous to many poor Families, and especially ancient People, who have nothing left them to subsist upon, but the Interest of a little Money, plac'd out by the Parents, or Husbands, who left it them, and by which they now live well enough, but will be brought to Misery for the want of it.

Yet the Reduction of Interest is so known, so uncontested a Good to the Nation in general, and so eminent a Proof of the Prosperity of the Publick, that, generally speaking, no body op­poses or repines at it; every one seems pleas'd at it on the Publick Account, whether they are so on their own Pri­vate Accounts or no; or at least it is so general a Good that none cares to be found opposing it. Usury is the Sub­ject of universal Hatred and Aversion, and no Man cares to be the Advocate of a Cause which has so few Friends.

If lowering the Interest of Money is then a receiv'd Good to the Publick, I cannot doubt but it will as easily be [Page 49] accepted by those who have lent their Money on publick Security, as by those who have lent it on Private; I am sure the Justice is the same, and the In­vasion of Property is the same, and no more; it being a real Sinking the Value of every Man's Estate, in one as well as in another; and no Reason can be given for the One, but will hold good for the Other.

The Advantages of lowering the Inte­rest of Money at this Time, are too ma­ny to be contain'd in the narrow Com­pass of these Sheets, and requires a large Volume to set them out in their just De­scription; but I shall name a few:

  • 1. The encouraging personal Credit; prompting Men to launch into Trade; to support and encourage those who are already in Trade as before.
  • 2. The putting Men of Capital Stocks upon noble Adventures, useful Discove­ries, extending Trade to the remotest Parts of the World, and searching all the Corners of the Universe for the ma­king Settlements and Improvements: All which Men have no Thoughts of, while they can sit still at Home, and make ex­orbitant [Page 50] Incomes by the bare Use of their Money.
  • 3. The supplying national Demands up­on any sudden Emergencies of the State, up­on easier Terms than formerly, and with­out such ruinous Entails of Debts, too weighty to be discharg'd, or continually charging the landed Men who have al­ready paid so much.
  • 4. Assisting to pay off the heavy Debt which the Nation now groans under, without farther charging the poor Peo­ple with more Taxes, and without grie­vous and oppressive Projects: That the Taxes which now lye on the Nation to the Ruine of the Trade, and impoverish­ing the People, may be taken off, and the Nation may Once more be said to be truly free; which can never be, while they are in Bondage to Usury, and must pay sixty Millions Interest to discharge a Debt of ten Millions Principal, as is the case of the Annuities of 99 Years.

CHAP. VIII. Of applying the Interest, which shall be abated from the Loans, to a speedy Dis­charge of the Funds.

I Propos'd at the entering upon this Dis­course, to have said nothing of what shall or shall not, may or may not be done with the Money, which on a Re­bating the Interest of publick Money due on Loans, shall be done with the Over­plus which the Funds produce; but the Publick Discourse on these Heads makes it necessary: Various Opinions spread the Town on these Subjects, and wonderful Speculations of Wisdom occu­py the Politicians of these Times: Most of these speaking as they hear, or as they fear, or as they desire to have it be, but few weighing the Causes, Consequen­ces, and Nature of the Thing it self.

1. Some are of the Opinion, this Over­plus should be immediately apply'd to the Service of the Year, to avoid putting the Nation upon farther Exigencies, and [Page 52] contracting farther Debts; this, they say, is equally serviceable, to the paying off the old Taxes, and that while fresh Occasions press the Nation, and call for new Sums every Year, it would be preposterous to pay off old Debts just on Purpose to contract new. But it is to be hop'd, the pressing Necessities of the Govern­ment will not always continue; the Re­bellion is suppress'd, and the Rebels re­duc'd to Rage and Desperation: The Storm they have endeavour'd to raise Abroad for this Year, is yet only so in Perspective, and may perhaps be pre­vented by the Vigilance and Care of the Government; and the World has scarce another Quarter from whence any just Apprehensions can be rais'd; and then it may be reasonable to apply the Money to the Abatement of the old Capital Debt: But to do it now, is nothing but putting Money into the Pocket with one Hand, to take it out with the other; and by raising new Funds, and making new Appropriations, to multiply Expences of Management, Charges of Collection, and other hateful Burthens upon the People.

[Page 53] Before I go any farther, I should rea­dily give in to this Proposal, were it not that, as is observ'd, the Taxes already appropriated, are such, and so grievous to the poor People, and particularly to Trade, that they are insupportable; and will, if not spee­dily taken ost, be fatal not only to our trading People, such as are men­tion'd before, but even to Trade it self: And this Necessity of a spee­dy removing those Taxes, because of their grievous and oppressive Na­ture, is such as really admits of no Delay, and is much greater than that of finding other Funds for new Oc­casions, as might be demonstrated by many Things too long to enu­merate. But to proceed,

2. Some agreeing to the Necessity of taking off these oppressive Taxes, and re­lieving the poor industrious trading Peo­ple by an immediate Act of Parliamen­tary Grace, are for passing an Act of Parliament to dissolve at once the seve­ral Duties upon Coals, Salt, Candles, Soap, Leather, and all those Things which oppress the Trade and the Poor to [Page 54] such a Degree as has been said; and to pass one general Parliamentary Credit for the whole Sum: Causing Exchequer Bills, or such Bills of Credit as shall be thought fit, to be given for the Money: All Deficien­cies to be made good by Parliament, and the Credit of Parliament to be the general Fund. To answer all possible Objecti­ons against the Want of an appropriated Revenue, they ask this Question, that seeing all Funds are redeemable, all Acts repealable, and every Settlement in Par­liament is by the Constitution liable to such Alterations, Amendments, and even Dissolutions, as the Parliament shall at any Time think fit; the making one general Parliamentary Act of Credit serve to support the whole Payment, is as es­sentially secure as any appropriated Fund can be; and this, with one Advantage which hitherto has been little consider'd, (viz) The abating the Expence of Collecti­on, Management, Circulation, &c. which a­mounts to an immense Sum every Year, all paid out of the Pocket of the Poor, and all adding to the Burthen already insupportable.

This is a Proposal in it self lyable to some Exception, and requires many [Page 55] Things to be said to clear it from Ob­jections, and yet is in the main, what might effectually answer the End propo­sed, (viz.) to pay off the Debts by just Degrees, yet without continuing the op­pressive Taxes we speak of, provided such Ways and Means may be found out to levy the Money yearly, without such particular Taxes as have already caus'd such just and heavy Complaints among the People.

Yet this must be acknowledg'd, that the Parliament engaging themselves and the Publick Faith for the Payment, is in it self essentially as safe as any Fund, which the Parliament is able to repeal and dissolve; and this is all I shall say to it here.

3. Others, and those supported by the more immediate Reason and Nature of the Thing it self, enter upon just Cal­culations of the proportion'd lessening the Debt in general, by applying the one per Cent. which then would remain as a Sur­plus upon the Funds, to paying off the principal Debts, by yearly, half-yearly, or quarterly Payments; and which, by their Calculations, would discharge the whole [Page 56] Debt within Twenty two Years to come.

I must confess this Application of the Interest to the Discharge of the Principal is a Method liable to the least Exception, of any Proposal that I have yet met with, or that I have heard others have yet thought; for if the Reduction of Interest is just, and the Parliament think it reasonable to order it to be done, no­thing can be more just, than that the Money should be appropriated to dis­ing the principal Debt.

The two only Questions that occur here, are as follow: And both are, I think, fully spoken to already, (viz.)

  • 1. Whether the Parliament can reaso­nably lessen the Interest?
  • 2. Whether they can justly oblige them to take their Principal?

I say, these two are fully spoken to al­ready, and I could wish to see some calm Reasons brought, and in a friendly Manner debated, to convince reasonable People that it is otherwise.

But to give the Adversary fair Play, and to take them every Way, even by [Page 57] their own Pretensions, that all Objection may be so far remov'd, and every Mouth stopp'd that would open it self against relieving the poor oppress'd Subjects of Great Britain; I say, to stop their Mouths, and, for Argument Sake, leaving the rest to future Debates, let us take those only which they call, (however improper­ly and nonsensically) redeemable Funds.

The Redemption of these they cannot have the least Objection against; and they have no more to do than to come into such Concessions to the Govern­ment for the said Redemption, as the Na­ture of the Thing calls for, (viz.) to re­ceive such Interest for their Money as the Parliament shall think fit to make the equal Current national Interest, whether 3 per Cent. or 4 per Cent. and to sub­scribe their Assent to doing so. In which Case, their Money to remain 'till the Surplus, out of the present Interest, shall come to pay them off in Course. Or that such as shall refuse, to have their Principal so paid off, may have their Sums transferr'd to such Subscribers as are willing to pay their Money on the Terms which the other refuse; enough of whom will be easily found, when no other Way of [Page 58] lending Money upon a higher Interest shall be allow'd.

It is true, this to be done immedi­ately, and these Funds discharg'd, would immediately give some Ease to the op­press'd Nation, by taking off the said Taxes from the Poor, and by giving the People some Breathing-time; and let the Parliament alone to assert their Right, against those who pretend to what they call Funds Unredeemable. If they can carry their Point, if they can maintain that Piece of unparliamentary English against the House of Commons, and perswade the Nation that they ought to receive 6 and ¾ per Cent. Interest, when all the personal Estates in the Kingdom are oblig'd to take but 4 per Cent. and that the People of Britain shall go on to pay Extortion to them for 85 Years to come, 'till they have paid, as is said above, 60 Millions Interest for 10 Mil­lions Principal; I say, if they think they can perswade the Parliament to this, they must try what they can do.

But the Nation will never be brought to think, but that it is very hard to have the Current Interest of Money reduc'd, [Page 59] and these Men enjoy an Exception that shall immediately raise their Annuities to 24 Years Purchase; while those equally secur'd, (as to the Goodness of the Fund) are reduc'd to a Parr. And this brings me to the Great, and yet unexamined Article, (viz.) The Equality of Tax­ing.

CHAP. IX. Of Equality of Taxes, and the Justice due to the People in directing Taxes, so as that no Part be opprest, but every Part of the People charg'd by such just Proportions as may make the Bur­then be born without Injury to one ano­ther.

IT is not the least Part of the Trust re­posed by the People of England in the Breasts of their Representatives, that they should be duly and equally tax'd: That every Burthen be laid with just Regard to the Strength of the Shoulders that support it. But I wish it might be said that it has been, as it ought to be, the constant Care of the Representative, that Burthens are always thus laid. Had this been duly consider'd, I cannot think that many of those cruel and unequal Taxes, which pinch and afflict those Peo­ple chiefly who are least able to support Taxes, had been entail'd upon us.

We hope, from the Justice of the pre­sent Parliament, and the natural Tender­ness [Page 61] and Clemency of King George, (the common Father of his People) that they will concur with this Maxim; that every Member of the Body Politick should be burthen'd with the common Weights of the Government, in Proportion to their Strength of bearing them; that they may draw equally in the same Yoke, and that the united Strength may thereby be in­creas'd and made stronger.

I have said something to this already, but it needs explaining, with Respect to the several Ways of the common People being tax'd with the Gentry and Nobili­ty in this Nation. In laying Taxes, this is true, tho' perhaps not a regularly de­termin'd Observation; When Land is Tax'd, the Rich pay more than the Poor; but when the Product of Land is tax'd, the Poor pay more than the Rich.

In explaining this duly, perhaps some Things may offer to our Consideration which have not often occurr'd before. Let us therefore look more narrowly into it: The Rich pay for their Land because they have it; the Poor pay for their daily Necessaries, because they have them not. This is a terrible Inequality. For Example: A Rich Man brews his [Page 62] own Beer, because he has Money, he has Vessels, he has Conveniencies, &c. and on this Account he pays no Excise. The poor Man is oblig'd to buy of the Brewer, or perhaps worse, of the Victu­aller, because he has no Money to buy it faster than his Thirst presses him, or in but small Casks and Quantities; and for this Want of Money he pays Excise: And thus of many other Things.

Again, the rich Man eats no more Food, burns no more Coals, &c. than a poor Man; nay, if he is a trading Man, as describ'd before, perhaps not so much: A Tax upon Provisions then, is equal, literally speaking, to the Poor, as to the Rich; but very unequal, in Proportion to their Capacity of paying it.

A Tax in England upon the Necessities of Life, is something like the Taille in France, which no Gentleman is to pay; 'tis true, ours pay in some Cases, but, ge­nerally speaking, those who live on their own Estates, and eat the Produce of their own Lands, pay little or nothing to them. Now the difference lyes here, that the Taille is in France, where the Poor are to be Poor, and the Common [Page 63] People are Slaves, and are used as such. But this is in England, where we pre­tend to value our selves upon making the Common People Easy, Free, and their Lives comfortable; where we have always been used to say the Poor paid nothing, where the Commons have their Liberties, and claim to be well used; where Equalities in Taxing is boasted of, as the Care of the Publick, and e­very one is made able to pay what is Demanded of them. Equalities cease to merit their Name, when, whatever their appearance may be, they press har­der upon one part than upon another. But what shall we say to those things, which under the Title of Equalities press hard upon those who are least able to bear them, and pass those by who are really incapable of being Oppress'd by them.

The Rich feel none of those Taxes, by which the Poor are made miserable; and upon the Consideration of this it is that the Representatives of this Nati­on always avoided either Taxing the meaner People, or else Taxed them so lightly, as that they might be able to [Page 64] pay their Charge without Injury to their Subsistance.

It was seen for some Years from the first beginning of the War after the Revolution, that great Sums were want­ing for the publick Occasions, and the Ministry but ill vers'd in the methods of raising those Sums; yet the Parliament always rejected those Proposals, which seemed to pinch the Poorer part of the Nation. Nay, they fail'd not to repeal and dissolve several Taxes after they were laid, upon the Petition of the People, when they found them offensive to the Poor, and Injurious to Trade or to the Manufactures, such as the first Tax upon Coals, the first Tax upon Paper, the Duties on Glass, Earthen Ware, Tobacco Pipes, the Duties on Marriages, Births and Burials, &c.

When they Taxt the Lands they laid it all upon the Landlord, none upon the Tenant; when they Taxt Stock, they Taxt Stock of Tradesmen and Shop­keepers, but no Stock upon Land, and afterwards left off even the Stock of Tradesmen.

Such was the just Concern which the Re­presentatives of this Nation shew'd to pre­serve [Page 65] the Equality and just Proportions of Taxes, measuring the Burthen by the Condition of those that were to bear it; and this was without question the Foun­dation of that generous Confidence the People of England always had in their Representatives, and made them always give themselves up, so entirely and with­out reserve, to whatever was determin'd in Parliament, bearing every Burthen with the utmost Resignation if laid on by Parliament, however afflicting grievous or ruinous in its Consequence it might be, till they even sink beneath the Weight.

For I know not by what Fate it has been upon the Nation, we have not all the fine things to say of late upon these Heads that we had before; whether it is that the Exigence has been greater, or the Care for the measure of Burthens less. But as if the Poor, the Commerce, the Manufacturer, the general Outcrys of the People, had been of no Weight in the Case, some of our latest Taxes have seem­ed to have been laid on with less Con­cern for the People, less Justice in the Proportions, and less Consideration of the Consequences, than those I have spoken of above.

[Page 66] As the Effect of this want of Care, we find those things Tax'd of late, which at first they would have scorn'd to touch; and heavy Duties laid, which it was cer­tain would pinch and oppress the Poor and the Trade more than others: Things which formerly were sufficient Reasons why such Taxes were always rejected.

If it be said, they were driven to those things by the Exigence of the Times, and by the Poverty of Funds; it is answer'd, That would be a better Reason, if there was more Truth to support it. But on the contrary, we see many Funds have been proposed, which have been de­clin'd, and many more might yet be found to save the Oppression of the Poor, and avoid laying Burthens.

But to avoid the grand Debate with Stock-jobbers and Projectors, the Answer is always at hand, The Parliament is a Fund of FUNDS; and therefore, as I said before, were all the present Taxes given up to the People, the Security for the Money lent is the same, and the House would be oblig'd every Year to raise a Sum of three Millions of Money to be paid by Quarterly Payments, till the [Page 67] Interest and Principal of the present En­cumbrances was fully paid off.

Nor can the Parliament be at a loss to do this, unless some far more pres­sing Demands come upon them than yet are, or we hope will be likely to come; and tho' this Work is not design'd as a Scheme of Projections, yet I may say a Word or two to likely Foundations for raising any Sum of Money that the Go­vernment may want for so great and glorious Ends, as those of clearing the Nation of the present insupportable Bur­then of Debt, and of Oppressive Taxes which it labours under.

I cannot quit this Article of Equali­ties in Taxing, without mentioning with great Regret the scandalous Inequality, which is the Foundation of so much Oppression and Injustice on one hand, and of so much Deficiency to the Nation on the other, in the Collecting our Great and Capital Tax call'd the LAND-TAX; a Tax raised with so much dis­proportion, that, to say no more, 2s. in the Pound regularly and equally Col­lected, would certainly raise the full Sum that 4s. in the Pound now raises; or 4s. in the Pound compleatly and equally [Page 68] Collected, would raise near double the Sum which has been annually raised by it.

Had this Tax been Collected as it ought to have been, and Two Milli­ons per Ann. been raised by it more than has been, the Debt of the Nation had been less by above 20 Millions than now it is, and yet the Landed Men had paid no more than they now pretend to have paid.

When we talk of the Landed Men, and what they have done, what large Efforts they have made, and how heavy the Burthen of the War has lain upon them, do we not say in their behalf that the Landed Men have paid a fifth part of their Annual Income to the War? But how do the Gentlemen of Two Thirds of England smile at us, or laugh in their Sleeves (as the common way of expressing is,) when they accept that Compliment, and know very well that it has not cost some of them 16d. per Pound and others not a Shilling in the Pound, and where it has come highest is not one with another above 2s. 4d. per Pound.

[Page 69] While in the Midland, and some Sou­thern Counties, the Severities have been Great, and the People have paid the ut­most Penny, nay, in some places 4s. 6d. per Pound. A review of this scandalous Inequality would be a Work worthy a Parliament that desir'd to be recorded for the Deliverers of their Country from insuperable Debts; but of this again in its place.

CHAP. X. Of Inequalities in Taxings, as they re­late to the present Case.

IF Equality in Taxing be thus the Care and Concern of Parliaments, a Trust committed to the Representatives by the People of England, whom they repre­sent, &c. what then have some Parlia­ments in times by-past been doing? and how have they discharged this great Trust placed in them by the People? seeing we find the Nation groaning un­der a Weight of the most scandalous INEQUALITIES in Taxing that can be imagined, such as are indeed the Cause of the vast Debt we are now load­ed with, and the Cause of those Oppres­sive Funds, which are now entail'd up­on us, and our Posterity: These are

  • 1. The Land Tax, mention'd already; which, had it been duly and equally Rated and Collected, would all a­long have rais'd four Millions in­stead of two, and saved the House [Page 71] of Commons the Trouble of raising Two Millions more every Year, by a scandalous Anticipation, or by Loan upon some of those heavy Taxes we complain of.
  • 2. The freeing all the publick Funds from being Taxt, so that whatever Exigence their Country was reduced to, whatever Taxes the poorer sort of People paid, these Men alone enjoy'd an Exemption for the great­est part of the ready Money in the Nation, tho' at the same time they receiv'd one per Cent. Interest more for it, than other People are allow'd to make of their Money.
  • 3. The Difference of Interest of Mo­ney, as is said; an Inequality unjust in its own Nature, or else the Act of Parliament for Reducing the Inte­rest of Money to 5 per Cent. must be unjust, which I will not suggest upon any account whatever.
  • 4. Not content with these Advantages distinct from other Men, we find them now claiming an Inequality which would be indeed Exorbitant in its own Nature; and which we do not see, I say, we do not see the [Page 72] Act of Parliament entitles them to, viz. that the rest of their Inequa­lities are unalterable, and that the Parliament it self cannot redeem the Funds they have lent their Mo­ney upon.

This is the most severe of all Inequa­lities, and serves very well to set forth the Evil Consequences of the rest; for if this be so, the Nation is bound to pay them an immense and prodigious Sum for Interest of a Debt which they are ready to discharge, when all the rest of the World are obliged, not only not to give, but indeed not to receive such a rate of Interest for their Money.

It is hard to imagine, what any sin­gle Man or body of Men can say in De­fence of such an Unjust and Unequal Treatment of the People of England. The most that I have met with, from the most Arrogant on the other side, is, that it was their Bargain; it was the Condition on which they lent their Money, and that they expect it should be perform'd; they have the Publick Faith for it, and they expect the Publick Faith shall not be broken with them. I will not say, as some however [Page 73] do, and think it is with Justice too, that the Publick Faith is what the Publick please to make it: But this I will say, the Publick Faith is like the Publick Seal. If the Publick Seal, by the Treachery or Ignorance of the Person to whom it is Entrusted, should be affixt to a thing which in its Nature is Unjust and Illegal, and which the Publick is not empower'd to Execute, the Action is ipso facto in­valid and will not take place. For Ex­ample, suppose the Publick Seal be fixt to a Grant of Land in the King's Name, which the King really has no Power to Alienate or Grant, the affixing the Seal shall be of no force, and the Person so af­fixing it will run the hazard of Cen­sure by proper Judges for the Offence. In like manner, if any Parliament made such a Bargain as these Men call it, to give them unjust Advantages and Ine­qualities, and so to entail them; as that future Parliaments should not be em­power'd to redeem and buy them back again, restoring thereby the just Equa­lity in Taxes, which all the People of England claim as their undoubted Right; I say, such Parliament did what no Parlia­ment had Power to do, the Action was [Page 74] void ipso facto, and the present, or any subsequent Parliament may, and some I question not will, do Justice to the Con­stitution, by declaring their Right, and censuring the Action it self as Injurious to the Nation.

There are Inequalities in the Taxes themselves, but as these are spoken to under other Heads, I say no more to them here.

CHAP. XI. Of the Taking off of Publick Taxes, and the Effect it would have upon House-keeping, Trade, &c.

A Man can hardly refrain, after all that has been said, from flattering the Nation with Hopes, that they shall once more live to see themselves delive­red from Task-masters, and Tax-ga­therers. It is impossible to think far into such a thing without some Rapture, some little Extasies upon the Felicities of our Native Country. This would be indeed to taste the Fruits of Peace, and the Hannover Succession. This would be the reviving the Halcion Days, and bringing the Golden Age once more upon the Earth. Then it would be no more a Proverb or by-Word among us, that there is nothing sure, but Death and Taxes.

Then if Trade did not flourish, Ma­nufactures go abroad, Navigation en­crease, the Poor live easie, and eve­ry thing go well with us, it must be our [Page 76] own Fault. Let me but represent now to a Manufacturing Weaver or Clothier, who has a House full of Children, and a Shop or Work-room full of Servants, how it will fare with him; he will have his Coals cheaper by 5s. a Chaldron, his Malt cheaper by 4s. a Quarter, his Bread in all probability cheaper by 2s. a Bushel, his Candles cheaper by 12d. a Dozen, his Soap by 2s. 6d. a Firkin, his Shoes cheaper, his Linnen, his Cal­licoe, and all such things in proportion; in a Word, a Family that now spends a Hundred Pounds a Year in House-keeping, shall live for Fourscore, and so above and below them in proportion.

Even the People whose Interest of Mo­ney is to be abated, may not be such great Losers as they seem to suggest; for if they lose something in their Usury, th y will have it again in the Subsi­stance of their Families, if they have any. Suppose a Man has 2000l. in these Funds for which he received 6 per Cent. before, and is now reduced to 5 per Cent. he must have but a small Family, and make but a mean Figure in the World, if by the Abatement of Prices on Food and Cloaths, he does not save double to his loss, by [Page 77] the taking off those Taxes, which he contributes something to, even by every thing he uses in his House, or wears on his Back, the home bred Cattle, and home Manufacture only excepted.

And where then is the Oppression of all this? and what Regard can he be sup­posed to have for his Native Country, that can sit still and not rejoyce to see his poorer Neighbours partake of the same Deliverance?

Let us Examine, what perhaps few think of in this Case, viz. what Effect it will have upon Trade: Our Trading Politicians tells us, 'tis all one to Trade, for the last Buyer pays it; the Trades­man neither gets or loses, it's all one to him cheap or dear, he has his Gain upon what he Sells. But these are Discourses which come from the Mouths of none, but those who know little of Commerce: There are two Maxims in Trade, which relate to the Dearness or Cheapness of Goods.

  • 1. Dearness of Goods lessens the Consumption.
  • 2. Dearness of Goods devours the Tradesman's Stock.

[Page 78] When Wares fall in Price, not only the People consume more, but the Trades-man can launch farther into Trade, sell more in Value, and make a larger Return in a Year. This not only in­creases his Profit, but as it is in a pri­vate Man's Shop, so it is inthe general return of the Nation, the Trade is con­tracted, the Consumption is lessen'd, and the Demand for Goods shorten'd, be­cause the Price by reason of high Du­ties is enlarged.

Lessening the Quantity of Goods sold, affects abundance of the depending Branches of Trade; for Example, Navi­gation is lessen'd, fewer Goods Imported, fewer Ships employ'd to fetch them, fewer Seamen to sail those Ships, fewer Trades­men to build, and fit them out; all De­creases. After Goods are on Shore, Boats, Carriages, Men, Horses, all feel the Ef­fects of a want of Quantity; so that making Goods dear at Market, which is the certain effect of all high Impositions, Cramps Trade obliges the Tradesman to employ more Stock, or return much less.

Besides this, it takes away the Employ of multitudes of Families, that are em­ploy'd, as is said, in removing, fetching and carrying Merchandices from Place to Place.

[Page 79] Let us look less on the Melancholy part, and take the happy Reverse: Upon removing the heavy Impositions, the Cheapness which will follow of course will accordingly encrease the Consump­tion of all sorts of Goods, as well Foreign Imported Goods, such as Linnen, Fruit, Spice, Sugar, Tobacco, Wine, Oyl, Silk, Callicoes, Muslins, Dye Stuffs, Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, and the like, as also of our home necessaries mention'd already to be so hea­vily Tax'd. By this encreas'd Consump­tion, Trade will revive of course, Na­vigation encrease, Employment of Men, of Families, of Cattle, of Land, all en­creases; in a Word, if Taxes were remo­ved, Trade in general would encrease, Plenty and Cheapness make Families easy, and the whole Nation flourish.

FINIS.

ADVERTISEMENT.

THE Author had form'd a 12th Chapter, containing Schemes of Ways and Means for raising Money, to pay these Interests, and sink all the Oppressive Taxes mention'd be­fore; but was unwilling to take upon him to lead our Superiors: If they may be wanted, he is ready to produce them at Demand.

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