[Page]

SOME CONSIDERATIONS Upon the several sorts of BANKS Propos'd as a Medium of Trade: AND Some Improvements that might be made in this Province, hinted at.

Printed by T. Fleet and T. Crump, at the Desire of some of the Inhabitants of BOSTON. 1716.

[Page 3]

IN a Country of much Trade and Business, and where the Silver (which is the best Medium) is drawn off, the Trade will thereby be greatly disad­vantaged. To supply the Deficiency thereof in thi [...] Country, the Publick Bills of Credit have been fo [...] some Years a useful Expedient; but they being be­come scarce, and daily decreasing, various have been the Projections of setting up a Bank to the value of 200000 l. more or less, as the only Medium of Trade.

Before the Consideration of the several Projecti­ons, it may be of use to consider, that before the War, 26 or 27 Years since, there was a competent Cash to answer the Trade of the Country; and to enquire what it was that drew it in, and how it comes to pass tis now drawn out; that so the first may be encouraged, and the other avoided.

And tho' the Wrecks and the Privateers did bring in considerable Quantities, yet many are of the Opinion those were but a small Proportion to the runing Cash of the Country; but that the Fishery was then the N. E. Silver Mine, and if Peace conti­nue, may prove the principal Means to draw in Silver again; and so much the more, if it has all needful Encouragement given by the General Court. For tho' tis true the needless Expence in many respects, as in Silks, fine Cloth, both Linen and Woollen, as also the Drinking so much Wine & Rum, &c. has been a great means of carrying off the [Page 4] Silver, yet this is a Toppick easier to speak to, than to redress; & is a Matter worthy of the Legislators care. And if the General Court should lend upon good Security, and without Interest, (only paying for the making) great Sums of Bills for inabling Particular Men to carry on any useful and beneficial Works, and should give to others sufficient to Encourage them to set up useful and profitable Inventions or Trades, it would be not only some addition to the Running Cash, but also would prevent much of our Importation. And Encouragement to our Fishery would much increase our [...]tion, whereby in time, the Difficulties we now labour under, would be abated. For till our Exportation exceeds our Importation, if Silver should happen to be brought into th [...] [...]untry, it could not abide here, but of necessity must be again Exported to pay the Debt contracted. But as a needful Expedient, and while other Methods can be taken, (the Country Bills failing, and shortning every Day more and more) several have been the Projections of Banks to sup­ply the Defect.

The first proposed, is a Private Bank; wherein a number of Men, of good Real Estates, entering their Names, and Subscribing for any Sum proporti­onable to the Security they can give in Lands, &c. take out perhaps half the Sum Subscribed for, pay­ing Interest for what they take out; the rest of the Bills to be let out to such as will hire the same upon good Security; a part of the whole Interest to be to Publick Uses, the rest to the Bankers; He [Page 5] that Subscribes most to have most Voices, so that one Man may have 5 Votes in all Matters, with many other Articles.

This Bank seems projected more for the Advan­tage of the Bankers, than for the Publick Good: For (not to mention many other Objections) till we can be assured that not only the present Bankers, but also their Posterity, will always seek the Publick above their own Private Advantage; What Assurance can there be, that those Gentlemen of 5 Votes a-piece, will not by joyning together, easily sway the Votes to their own Advantage; as by drawing out of great Sums to Monopolise not only Goods, but Pro­visions; with many other ways ruinous to the Pub­lick?

The second Projection is; That the Country Emit Bills and let them out upon Interest, and upon good Security, which will bring in a large Revenue towards the support of the Charges of the Govern­ment.

This has likewise met with Objections; and till the Throne can be secured from a Prince of Arbitrary Principles in all times to come, such a Bank will be dangerous: For how easy will it be for such a Prince to divert such a large Revenue to his Use and Plea­sure? If any think otherwise, they may consider the last 5 Reigns, and see if they can assure us, that any more than one of them would not have taken hold of such an Opportunity: For tho' (thanks be to Heaven) we have a King upon the Throne, that Studies nothing more than the welfare of his Peo­ple, [Page 6] yet all Men are Mortal, and as Changes have been in our Kindom of England, so no doubt may be again; and if a Prince of such Principles should ever Ascend the Throne, all the Laws of secure so large a Revenue, would prove but as Spiders Webs.

These two Banks which are level'd to raise a large Income yearly, which must also have many Officers, and a large Pension for their Service, are recipro­cally opposed by both; neither of the two Parties, but can see danger in the others obtaining their ends.

A third Proposal has been, That the Country should make a competent Sum of Publick Bills, and lend them to the several Towns in proportion to their Rates, at 5 per Cent for 20 Years, in which time the whole being paid in, the Principal to be to such Town, who may either let it out upon Interest, or purchase Lands with it for the use of the Town.

This third Proposal being without the Charge of great Officers and Salaries, and without the risque of bad Bills, or Cheats, yet answering the end pro­posed of supplying a Medium of Trade, and having none of the former Objections lying against it, may reasonably be accounted the most eligible, & every way preferable, rather than any of the two former, or than that of framing a new Specie of Bills founded upon the Mortgaged Lands; and all the Country's undivided Lands, which so long as any of those Bills were out, would bar the Country from settling one Town more; and (without the Country's Sanction) would involve the People in new Perplexities how to pay their Specialties for Province Bills.

[Page 7]And it being supposed, that many that are rather for no Bank, yet joyn in some with one side, some with the other, in order to obstruct emiting of any; as best suiting their particular Interest: In which case a Fourth has been proposed, (viz.) A Private Bank, of a competent Number of Men in Business agreeing together, make Bills, & give Security each to other to answer them; to let their Books lie open for any Man in the Province to Subscribe his Sum; and giving in Security sufficient, to take out what Bills he Subscribes for, without paying any Interest, only at taking out, to pay for the making, &c. and to be obliged in some Penalty to meet once a Year, and pay off the necessary Charge, &c. till a com­petent Cash be taken out, and then the Books to be shut up, and no more Bills Emitted, save only to change the defective, &c. Such a Bank might be very Useful as a Medium of Trade, and would soon obtain in this Province, to be as good as the Bills of the other Colonies.

'Tis certain, Banks of what kind soever, cannot be (in our declining Circumstances) a compleat Re­medy, but only may render us more Comfortable in our consuming Condition; as a Cordial to a Man in in a deadly Disease, may be some Support till other Means can be used; for which Reason 'tis preferable to all Banks, that the Government Emit large Sums for promoting what may be Beneficial and of a general Good; (ut sup.) which will not only be a Supply of present Cash, but will also lay certain and stable Foundations of increasing the Produce of [Page 8] the Country; which is the Interest and Wisdom of all Nations.

Such as lending large Sums upon good Security, without Interest for some Term of Years, (only pay­ing for the making) for building a Bridge over Charles River, cutting a Channel at Sandwich for safe and more speedy Passage of Vessels, if those Works upon Mature Consideration shall be found Practicable. And here being both Iron Oar, and a plenty of Wood to work it, and this Country hav­ing great occasion for all sorts of Iron Work; it may be advisable to advance considerably in Bills, either by the way of Loan or Gift, to such as will undertake to set up a Finery, and cause it to Work to Effect; which would work the Iron better, and in greater Quantities; and by the help of which, Pots & Kettles might be made here for the use of the Country. To encourage which, the Duty laid in England upon Hollow Ware, would have no small Influence. True it is, here was a Finery in the beginning of Times at Lynn, which did not prosper, here not being then a competent Number of People to manage them, nor yet to take off the Wares when made, tho' at half the Price now sold at. It ought not to be any Dis­couragement in the Undertaking, now both the quantity of Hands to work at it, as also to expend the Goods when made, are double; the Price they then were at, being also doubled.

And here being great occasion for Nails, & other small Works, which at present cannot be made at the price for want of a Slitting Mill, to slit the Iron [Page 9] into suitable Rods; (for it is found that 'tis as much Labour to fit the Rods, as to make the Nails when the Rod is prepared) If the Country should give or lend a competent Sum to any that shall procure Workmen to bring such a Mill to work to Effect here, it would inable the Smiths to make a sufficient Supply of Nails for this Country. And if the Sol­diers at the Castle had Nailers to instruct them, many of them might be imployed in it, which would be a benefit to such Soldiers in their Health. This one Article of Iron-works, which might be set upon for a few Hundreds, would soon save the Country some Thousands in a Year.

Glass-works might also be improved here, the Ma­terials being all at hand, which in its several parts, as Window-Glass, Beer-Glasses and Bottles, would amount to a very great Sum; and a small Encou­ragement from the Country, would be sufficient to set it up here. The like may be said of Paper mak­ing, working upon Horn for Combs, Ink-Horns, &c. which with Encouragement, would save the Coun­try very Considerable.

The improving the sowing of Hemp and Flax, is also a Matter worthy of great Regard; & is much obstructed by the inability of many to break up Land suitable. In which case, it would be a good Encou­ragement to lend them without Interest, such a Sum as may inable them yearly to break up and Fence in 10 or 20 Acres for that Use. This would be of very great Service to the Country.

And tho' the Crown will always have a jealous [Page 10] Eye upon any Increase of the Woollen Manufactury here; yet it will rather Encourage the working upon Linen or upon Cotton, (as in Ireland) which with suit­able Encouragement, is capable of a vast Improve­ment here, by making Sheeting, Shirting, & Callicoes.

This Country being often liable upon a failure of Crops, to be bro't to Extremity for want of Grain; and when a time of Plenty comes, there are but few Buyers, whereby 'tis often run down below a rea­sonable Price: To prevent both which Extreams, the erecting of Store-houses or Graineries, would be of singular Use: And if the Country advance some Thousands for building of Graineries, for safe lay­ing up of Grain, many in a time of Plenty, would lay up their Grain in them; and taking a Receit for it may with it pay their Debts. (As is practised in Germany) It is easy to conceive, that this would be a very great Benefit to Trade, and that which Holland, tho' they have comparatively but little Grain growing, yet hereby are inabled in times of Scarsity, to supply not only themselves, but also the Neigh­bouring Nations.

Tho' this Country be large, and much good Land in it, which for want of People, cannot be improved in many Generations; yet a shame it is to say, This Colony cannot provide themselves necessary Food.

The Town of [...] much increased of late Years, by [...] but the Country has not [...]: But in stead of that, many are gone [...] following them, so that 'tis supposed, [...] last 12 Years enough have [Page 11] gone out of this Colony, to Plant 12 good Towns in Connecticut only; besides what have gone to other Places. The reason of the not improving the Country more, and also many going out, when here is want of double the Number we have, is a Matter worthy to be well considered.

In the first Setling this Country, Land was easy to be attained, and at a low price, which was an Inducement to multitudes to come over Servants: But now the Land being so generally taken up, few come over that can live elsewhere; so that Servants now brought, generally prove Run-aways, Thieves, or some way Disorderly: To avoid having of such, multitudes have rather chosen to get Slaves, tho' at excessive Price; which Practice, tho so directly against the Peopling the Country, is encouraged in stead of being remedied, even by the Laws of the Country. For he that is able to purchase a Slave, comes off in the Rates cheaper than his poorer Neighbour that has an Apprentice: tho' indeed in that hard and un­equal Tax of Polemoney, the Masters are made equal. But he that has an Apprentice, must pay more for him, than his richer Neighbour is set at for his Slave; & the poor Man's Apprentice must Watch & Train, and not only so, but in a time of War, must be Prest from him: All which his richer Neighbour is clear­ed from, besides his paying less in the Rates; to the encouraging of Slavery, and discouraging of the Poor; and consequently to the putting a full stop to the Growth of the Country: Slaves being a weak­ning rather than Addition to the Strength of a [Page 12] Country. Boston alone is supposed to have 3 or 400 Slaves; which were there so many Servants in their stead, enough would come out of their time yearly, to people a good Town.

These are some of the Hindrances of the Increase of the Country; for Remedy whereof, it is humbly Proposed, That the Country make such Provision, that Servants when out of their time, shall be entitu­led to 50 or 60 Acres of Land, & a Township appoin­ted for them; and if others shall joyn with them in settling such Town, they to pay to the Country a moderate Price for Land, &c. such Township not to exceed 4 or 5 Miles Square; for the extravegant Bounds of Townships, is that which has occasioned great Quarrels among themselves, and also given a great deal of Trouble to the General Court about pla­cing new Meeting-Houses, and the Bounds of Pre­cincts. And such Township (if it may be) to have a Brook or River in it, proper for a Grist-Mill and a Saw-Mill, the Meeting-House to be set in the middle of the Township, and the Houses as near as may be to it. And as soon as such Township is filled up with Inhabitants, then to appoint another. And this would be the greatest Inducement to the coming over of Servants, and the greatest Means of Increa­sing and Strengthening the Country.

To effect which, if those Gentlemen that have In­grost vast Tracts of Land, without any design ever to settle them by themselves, Servants or Slaves, should Voluntarily thro [...] up into the Country's Hands, one half of what may have so Ingrost, in [Page 13] order to furnish Conveniences for such Settlements, they might be gainers by it in the other half.

Or if the Country should put a Rate upon such Tracts of Land as lie convenient to settle Town­ships upon, in order to make them willing to throw them up to the Country; such yearly Rate would be more Justifiable, and more Equal, than to Rate a poor Man 10 s. that has much ado to live; those Estates being valued worth hundreds of Pounds by the Owners thereof, who keep them only in hopes that as other Places hereafter shall be settled, they may Advance upon the Price, yet Pay no Rates for them: And in the mean time their poor Neighbours must pay perhaps a greater Rate than would be put upon him in the most Arbitrary Kingdom in Europe.

Either of these two ways, with what Lands remain yet in the Country's Dispose, would soon furnish Land sufficient to supply Servants as they shall be­come Free, and supply others that they need not withdraw, &c. But if neither of these two Me­thods should be approved of, If the Country should Enact, That as often as there should be occasion, a conve­nient Township be lookt out and Survey'd, and made sure to them, and such others as shall joyn with them, they after some Years to pay a quit Rent, in some Proportion to the former Value of the Land, to the Owners thereof when they shall have made out their Claims; This would be so far from being a Damage, that it would be a Be­nefit to such Owners of Lands, by having an In­come of that which if the former Methods continue, can hardly ever be settled.

[Page 14]Some that are good Farmers, who observing that the Lands are so generally Ingrost, fear they shall not procure sufficient to settle their Children upon, have straitned them­selves, and perhaps run in debt to buy Land, to the disabling them to improve the Lands they before had. For inabling such to improve their Lands, if the Country should lend 100 l. without Interest, upon Condition that in ten Years time they break up and keep subdued 50 Acres of Land; this would be a great Encouragement to them, and would much Increase the Produce of the Country.

And as to Slaves, as was before Demonstrated, they are a great hinderance to the Peopling and Improving the Country: And the Proverb tells us, That the Receiver is as bad as the Thief; and that if there were no Receivers, there would be no Thieves: If those are true Proverbs, then are not we of this Country guilty of that Violence, Treachery and Bloodshed, that is daily made use of to obtain them; we rendring our selves Partakers with them in that Wickedness? (For 'tis not to be supposed, that these do voluntarily abandon themselves to be carried into a Foreign Country, and there to be sold for Slaves) If therefore the Country in stead of many Laws they have made obout Negroes, should Enact, That twenty Years hence there should be no Slave in the Country, it would hurt no Man, but would greatly Encourage Servants to come, and necessitate their being brought over, to the great Increase and Strengthning the Country.

And now if any shall object to what is said, in order to better the Proposals, for advancing the general Good of the Country; or shall add mo [...] [...]ch better Reasons to Enforce what may be said, they would therein do good Service to their Country.

But if they Object with design to hinder the Improve­ments hinted at, from private and secret Views of their own, however they may esteem of themselves, are far from being true Friends to the Country. All wise civilized Nations make it a principal Part of their Care to Encourage the Pro­duce of their several Countries, that so they may stand in need of the less from abroad,

[Page 15]And it being agreed upon on all hands, that a Medium is wanting, and the General Court having pitch'd upon the Sum of 100000 l. to be Made and Emitted; The Question is, Whether it be best for the General Good, to invest all or Part of said Sum in the several Towns in Proportion; and with the remainder, or with other Money lent, (for 100000 l. will be found too small a Sum) free of Interest, to Particular Men, to be for the Advance of Husbandry, and bringing in of Arts and Trades that may be of vast Be­nefit to the Country (ut sup.)?

Or whether it be best to let it out to Interest to our Ne­cessitous Neighbours, and thereby raise a large Revenue?

For Answer, Can it be thought, that a little Use-Money should be a greater Benefit to the Country, than any or all the various Methods hinted at, or that might be thought of? One Branch of which, (viz.) that of breaking up of Land, and Improvements thereon, or that other Branch of Iron­work. would Yearly save the Country much more than all the Use-Money could amount to, (were it to come clear of all Charges.)

Or can it be conceived, that a Committee, tho' well chosen, can Inspect the Title and Value of Lands in all the remote Parts of the Province, better than the several Towns can act for themselves? Or will the Sallaries of such Com­mittees be so small, as to be less than if the several Towns have the Management for their own Advantage? Or can it consist with the Wisdom of a Religious People, even to force those to be Usurers, whose Judgment and Conscience is ut­terly against it; and for failure of paying Debt and Interest, to swallow up the Estates of their poor Neighbours? Is not this what is abhorred by Jews, Turks and Papists; (viz.) To eat up their poor Neighbours by Usury?

Have the Laws of any Christian Nation ever approved of it, or any more that barely tollerated it? And have not ma­ny [Page 16] of the Celebrated Divines in England declar'd it utterly Unlawful? And must this Country run Retrograde to all?

To Conclude; Take the Words of the Law-Book, Title (Usury) which was Enacted when there was in the General Court, many Wise Religious Men, and such as were of the First Comers; where after they have exprest, that none shall be adjudged more than Eight Pounds in the Hundred for Forbearance for a Year, adds, P. 153. these Words; Neither shall this be a Colour or Countenance to allow any Usury among us, contrary to the Law of God.

FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.