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A Letter from a Country Gentleman at Boston, To his Friends in the Country.

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A Letter, &c.

My very good Friends and Neighbours,

WHEN, by you made Choice of to go down to Boston, and examine into the publick Justice and Advantage of a Scheme called the Land or Manufactury Bank, as well for your Con­duct, as that of my own in that Affair, you are sensible I declin'd that Trust as unequal to it; however when you observ'd to me the Difficulty of procuring a Correspondent at Boston free from Prejudice and Affection, and no way influ­enc'd by private Interest, to make a fair and just Represen­tation of this Projection, I engaged in your Service with a full Resolution diligently and impartially to scan the same; and which I solemnly declare I have done to the utmost of my Capacity, assisted with all the Knowledge I could get by the closest Application

When I got to Boston, I judged it most prudent to intro­duce myself into variety of Company, and strictly to take No [...]ice how they handled this new Discovery of a Medium. I could not be at a Loss in bringing it on the [...]rpe [...], for it was the general Topick of Conversation. Then I perceiv­ed [Page 3] your Observation to be just; for in all my Conversation I plainly discovered it was treated by Persons according to their respective Affections, Prejudices, and Interests; the most noisy on both Sides, most ignorant of the intrinsick Worth of it, and Strangers to the right Notion of a Medi­um or Currency in a Community. Others there were who appeared to me to be more intelligent and cool; undertak­ing to point out Objections to several material Parts of its Constitution, and to the Mode of its Regulation: I must take Notice I could never hear this Class of Gentlemen o­pen in the Hearing of any of its Advocates, and therefore once took the Liberty of asking if they had at any Time attended the Committee according to their Advertisements, and had there raised such their Objections? They replied, they had not, with such an Air as convinced me they judged they were unanswerable, or at least, so by the Gen­tlemen of the Committee, whose Abilities and Substance, they had not much in Esteem. I therefore thought this Method alone could not possibly settle in me an equal and impartial State of the Affair, so as to form a satisfactory Judgment. However I carefully minuted down all the Objections worthy of Notice, and by whom made, that I might know whether private Interest was not in some Mea­sure at the Bottom; and these Objectors turn'd out to be principal Merchants, Factors, and rich Usurers; but not­withstanding I was resolved to weigh the Objections them­selves, and give them their just Consideration, and that the Riches of those Gentlemen might not give them any additi­onal Weight, I opposed thereto their private Interests, which may engage them on that Side.

My next Pursuit of Light in a Case of so great Conse­quence and so differently represented, was to hear how the Gentlemen of the Committee maintain'd the publick Justice and Advantage of this their Scheme; and accord­ingly I waited on them, and tho' a Stranger, their Adver­tisement I observed, was my Introduction, and opened to them the End of my Attendance. They expressed them­selves ready to afford me all the Light and Satisfaction they could, and wished for the Peace and Harmony of the Com­munity [Page 4] If such as decryed the Scheme had acted the like ingenious Part, it probably might have prevented many of the Invectives against it. As I was then the only Inquirer present to be satisfied, they judged it most fair that one of them only should maintain the publick Justice and Advantage of the Projection; the Gentleman [...]o as­sign'd premised something by Way of Introduction.

First, That some Medium or Currency of Acceptance must be susisting in all Communities, which being a Prin­cipal not to be brought into Question, he proceeded.

Secondly, To demonstrate the Want of it in this Pro­vince, from these Particulars; First, That all the Bills of Credit of this Province, that by Law ought now to be out­standing, equally divided would not amount to Five Shil­lings a Head, and as the greatest Part of them were hoard­ed up by rich Men, there are not in Circulation what would amount to Six Pence a Head. So that in Fact this Province is at present dependant on the neighbouring Go­vernments for much the greatest Part of such Bills of pub­lick Credit as are in Currency among us And Secondly that all fall greatly short of the present Exigency plainly ap­pears, from a pernicious Practice and cheating Method of substituting Drafts on Shops in the Place of a Medium, to pay Artificers and poor Labourers. Herein the Gentle­man mentioned a few shocking Instances, which for brevity I shall not mention. Thirdly, The want of this Medium is further evidenced from the Necessity we were drove to, in being obliged to catch at Rhode Island last Emssion, and that in open Defiance of a standing Law of this Province, and now glibly received by all our Merchants, notwith­standing their most solemn Declarations to the contrary; and Lastly, to shew what Necessity will drive Men to, he declared that he had it credibly reported, that the Coun­terfeited Five Pound Bills pass at the Eastward as currant as the true Bills, tho' known to be Counterfeits.

The Gentleman, Thirdly, after thus proving the want of a Medium, proceeded to observe the same can't be obtain­ed from the Legislature, during the continuation of His Majesty's Instructions to his Governour▪ and for that re­ferred [Page 5] himself to the Proceeding of the last General Court. And finally these were the Motives that animated the Com­mittee (to use his own Words) to enterprize a Design of so grand Importance, the Usefulness and Justice of which, was now the Subject Matter of my Inquiry. The Projection said he, is term'd the Land Bank, from the Foundation of it on real Estates, the most permanent Security that can be given, and also called the Manufactury Bank, from its Production, and that it's real Security at Bottom is superior to that of any other Paper Emission, is obvious; for the Subscriber's Estate to be Mortgaged is to be apprized by skilful Persons under Oath to be equal and one half more in Value than the Subscription Money amounts to. The Subscribers are to pay annually, Interest at the Rate of three per Cent. and one twentieth Part of the Principal, which annually renders the Security better; whereas in all other Emissions of Paper Bills upon Land Security, its true, they were apprized by Persons under Oath, and too often by Neighbours playing into one another's Hands, were over valued, the Mortgagors keeping in Possession for many Years, without paying Principal or Interest, cutting the Wood, and wearing out the Land, at last left the Province a slender Security indeed. Besides here every Subscriber in Case of any Jealousy that the Security given is scanty, is enjoined by the Constitution, to give fresh or additional Se­curity, which is such a strengthning, as is wanting in all other Paper Emissions; so that he asserted, no Bank in Europe, no Emission of Paper Currency in America, is or can be established upon a better or more unexceptionable a Foundation▪ He further added, that besides the View the Committee had in corroborating the Security annually, by obliging a twentieth Part of the Principal to be so paid, it also forced the Subscriber yearly to be industrious, and he had it not in his Power to postpone the evil Day; which has been too frequently the Case between the Publick and Borrower i [...] former Paper Emissions, to the Injury of the one, and the [...] Ruin of the other.

As to its Production, from whence it is sometimes called the Manufact [...]ry Bank; its true, it is not calculated to [Page 6] render Silver or Gold an immediate Medium among us, the Bills themselves being emitted on unquestionable Secu­rity, must therefore carry with them indisputable Credit, and consequently be a constant Medium, ever circulating, and as paid in, placed out again on lawful Interest; for if all is to be called in at a certain Period of Time, then the Medium is lost. All Payments are to be made to the Company in their Bills, or in the enumerated Manufactures ad Valorem, according to the Denomination of the Bill. And as One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds in these Bills will in the Run of twenty Years, still be but One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds in Bills, then it follows, the Interest of them multiplied all the Time, must be paid in the enu­merated Manufactures, which of Necessity must greatly promote Industry, sink Import, and raise Export; and cer­tainly, when Import and Export with us are upon a Par, Silver and Gold will then stay with us, mix with the Ma­nufactury Bills, and become a joint Medium among us; But at this Time a Day, when the Glut of English Goods, like Weeds choke our growing Manufactures, and our Im­port from thence so vastly exceeds our Export, to pretend to make Silver or Gold a Medium in Circulation among us, or by the best concerted Schemes to render it so, must sur­pass the Reach of all Mankind, saving a very few, who give themselves the addition of Merchants, whose Riches he said when he beheld, he was surprized at their Under­sta [...]ding, and when he surveyed their Understanding, was equally surprized at their Riches; and therefore to supplant a wild Scheme, called a Silver Bank guilded with an assu­rance of introducing Silver and Gold among us, under our present Circumstances, but virtually calculated to take away the addition of Yeoman in the Country, and impose on them the additions of H [...]sbandmen, Labourers and Tenants, greatly contributed to the forming this Land and Manu­factury Bank.

He urged further that this Sett of Gentlemen were not content themselves to express severe Things of the Committee, but had inlisted a Writer, to treat them in Print with more Indecency. But that unguarded Gentleman happened to [Page 7] over-act his Part, by publishing a Pamphlet, whereby he prescribed PURGING the Province of all Paper Currency, and dances the Reader over the several States in Europe, and in all shewing by Experience the pernicious Tendency of Paper Currency; but as that Gentleman has been sufficiently handled by a Gentleman of much more Knowledge in that Subject and Manners, he should not say any Thing further, than observe in reading his Treatise, I should find upon the least Reflection, that those States were free and absolute Powers, made such Emissions on Exigencies, and some of them with unjust Views; and as often as they came justly to themselves, they had absolute Power to redress those Grievances; whereas this Province, is a dependant Planta­tion, on their Mother Country, can't make sumptuary Laws, or such as may extricate them out of their present Diffi­culties, nor use Spunges to wipe away old Debts. And further remarked that the Author in drawing out of the Province, all this corrupted Blood, meaning Paper Currency, does not inject better in the room. It's easy to say Silver and Gold will be the Medium, but he does not inform the Publick how to effect it.

He finally observed to me, that however the Author pro­fessed himself in his Writing to have the real Interest of this Province at Heart, he had also at the same Time a little of his own, for he had several Mortgages & Bonds to be paid in Silver, or Province Bills, and if no Province Bills remain, then he receives Silver for a Loan perhaps of Rhode Island, New-Hampshire, and Connecticut Bills of Credit.

The Gentleman having finished what he had to say on that Head, proceeded to shew a further Instance of publick Use and Justice that must result from the aforesaid Pro­jection, which was to screen the industrious who wanted a Medium to go to Work, from being eat up by the griping Usurer: and what exorbitant Interest is daily taken; the Gentleman was pleased to mention several Instances; and also one of a new Cut, where a very considerable Merchant in Boston, upon the Emissions of Merchants Notes (so called) [...]ent a Gentleman a Sum in Paper Currency of the several Governments, and had the Borrower's Estate mortgaged to [Page 8] him, redeemable upon paying the like Sum in Merchants Notes, or Silver at nineteen Shillings per Ounce: and withal said, there might be enumerated several such devouring In­stances; whereas the ninth Article of the Manufactury Scheme, will be annually rooting out this pernicious Weed, till the Publick will be effectually cleared of it.

Upon the whole, the Gentleman took Notice, the Design of the Committee was laudable, and not base, as by some branded. And as he had accounted for the publick Justice and Usefulness of the Design he would not entertain me with a Vindication of the Regulations prescribed for the establishing and governing of the Company most of them being such as are in the Frame of other Companys, there­fore would patiently wait to hear and answer such Objecti­ons as I should raise, either against the essential or material Parts of the Projection, or the Rules prescribed for the Go­vernment thereof. I thanked the Cammittee for their can­did and ingenious Treatment, and observed in Justice to my Principals, and to the Weight of the Design, I must take a reasonable Time to consider and digest what I had heard, which may give rise to Objections that now do not occur, and accordingly took my Leave of them, with an Assu­rance of attending them once more before I wrote to my Employers.

I must acknowlege I was pleased with this Interview, and the Gentleman's Address and Reasoning seemed to gain prodigiously on me, but still jealous of Imposition, I tho't it adviseable to resort back to my Minutes o [...] Objections, I had before taken, consider them, and such others as may appear to me proper, with what I had heard from the Com­mittee; and after a few Days devoted for this special Pur­pose, and having methodized all the material Objections, I waited again on the Committee, who were pleased to assign another of them to hear and answer me

And first, I observ'd, in my Opinion the Scheme oug [...] to comprehend in their enumerated Commodities, Por [...] and Grain, Oil and Whalebone.

To this the Gentleman candidly acknowledged Oil and Whalebone escaped them; Pork and Grain the Committee [Page 9] thought of, but being perishable and wasting Commodities, they thought proper not to enumerate them; however, if agreeable to the Publick the Enumeration shall take them in; for to be sure they will considerably contribute to the Credit and Circulation of the Company's Bills.

A further Objection I made, that these Bills will not gain a Currency, especially when opposed by almost all the tra­ding Part of the Province, and the Gentlemen of the Com­mittee without any Reflection, can't by their Scituation in Life afford any additional Weight to them, and the gene­rality of the Subscribers are Persons that carry on little other Business than that of Husbandry, and consequently incapa­citated to force a Currency of them.

To which the Gentleman answered, that there were some Traders and Persons that carry on a considerable Stroke of Business, that had already subscribed, and in Case the Great and General Court should decline any Interposition, a great Number of such will subscribe; neither are the Subscribers so insignificant and impotent as a Set of Gentlemen would represent them. It's supposed there will be about One Thousand Subscribers, who in their Station of Life must have an Intercourse of Business or Dealing interwoven with Ten Thousand more; and such a Society of Men in the intercourse of their Business, will of necessity give Bills e­mitted, on Security superiour to that of all others, a Circu­lation; and such have already subscribed & will subscribe, who are by their Scituation and Mode of Living, better qualified to give these Manufactury Bills Credit, than even those Merchants, who pretend not to receive them; for the Province would perhaps subsist as well, if not better, if all those Merchants deserted it, and the Towns sent the Production of their Industry to foreign Markets themselves. Marblehead has herein shewn an Example worthy an Imi­tation, and a few more such free spirited Towns, will humble those Gentlemen who vainly think there can't be a Medium without their particular Fiat. Besides, the enumerated Commodities as brought into the Treasury, being to be Sold for the Company Bills, and no other Payments to be received, and such Bills as are daily paid into the Treasury, [Page 10] being again let out at 6 per Cent to such as are not of the Company, must of necessity still promote the Circulation.

He further added, that if I would inquire how and by whom Rhode Island last Emission, in defiance of this Government, and maugre all these Merchants could do, gain'd a Currency; and what Trumpery now passes at the Eastward; and then judge, whether these Bills so well founded and productive of such Manufactures, at this Time can possibly fail of Credit; and why these Merchants should refuse receiving these Bills, is surprizing. Is not the Bottom of the one much better than the other? Is not the certainty of the Payment of one, to the Possessor surer than the other? Who knows what that Government may do, when pressed, either by protracting Payment ad infinitum, or making an Act like a Spunge to wipe them all away? Surely these protesting Merchants must have in View that the People of this Province, of necessity must resort to neigh­bouring Colonies for a Medium, which is to the great Scandal and Ruin of the Province, or embrace Schemes by them projected, not for the good of the People, but of themselves and their Employers at Home; and is no more than what might be fairly collected from their own Words. And he affirmed in Case of an Emission, these Merchants who are always governed by their Interest, will gladly take them. For it's notoriously known there are for the gene­rality, as few Bills of any Emission, in their Compting-Houses, as in the Houses of several of the Subscribers.

From this I proceeded to give the Gentleman a further Objection, by asking him, as a twentieth Part of the Prin­cipal was annually paid in, why the Company did not pay to the Possessor a twentieth Part of the Bills?

The Answer to it was shortly this; There was no Necessity for that, when the Possessor (as the Bills are in Credit) may daily purchase the Commodities he wants with them, and finally the Promise on the Face of the Bills, after the Expiration of twenty Years, obliges the Company to pay the Possessor for the same in the enumerated Commodities as cheap as if purchased with Silver at 6s. & 8d per Ounce, Penny for Penny. And besides, what anual Payments are [Page 11] made to the Possessor by the Publick on any of the publick Bills of Credit?

Another Objection I thought worthy of the Committee's Observation was. That the printed Scheme had not assign'd certain particular Times, annually for the fixing or regu­lating the Prizes of such of the enumerated Manufactures, as shall be brought to the Company's Treasury, but seemed absolutely to leave it in the Power of the Directors and Treasurer, to have the Countryman's Goods at their own Price, or not at all.

In Answer to which it was said, that it would be ex­ceeding dangerous at certain particular Times annually to ascertain the Prizes of such Manufactures, for all Commo­dities rise and fall, according to the Scarcity or Glut of them, and as they are in Demand. And if the Prices should be regulated for a certain time, till the Time for regula­ting them comes again, it may frequently so happen in the interspace of Time, that the Scarcity or Plenty of the Commodity, and the Demand of it, may vastly alter the Price from such Regulation; however, what fully silences this Objection, the Committee have agreed also to alter their Sheme in this Particular, namely for encouraging the Industrious Man, to bring his Manufactures to the Compa­ny's Treasury, the Treasurer shall give one per Cent. more than the Market Price for them; and that the Buyer may be induced to deal with the Company, the Treasurer is to sell the same at one per Cent. less than the Market Price, and the said Loss of two per Cent. to be born by the Company. This Emendation I acknowledge greatly pleased me, being perswaded it will be no small additional Credit and Repu­tation to the Company.

And now thus satisfied with the publick Usefulness and Justice of the Projection, and the indispensible Ne­cessity in our present Circumstances, of some immediate Expedient: I inform'd the Committee I should not take up any more of their Time, about the Consideration of the Rules prescribed for the governing the Company, taking for granted they are in general such as are estab­lished [Page 12] in the Government of other Banks, as far as the Nature of the Case will admit; but I should at large write to my Employers, and give them an impartial Ac­count of all my Proceedings in Respect to the Trust they reposed in me; and to convince the Committee of the Sense I have of their publick Service, they might depend my Friends and my Self will be Subscribers as soon as the present injunction of the General Court is removed.

And thus my good Friends I hope from this Narration, my Conduct will be satisfactory; and that as an Evidence of your Approbation, you will on your Part make good my Engagement to the Committee, and promote so laudable an Undertaking.

I am, &c.

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