« ZurückWeiter »
When they first come abroad, they pass easily, and answer the purpose well enough for a few months; but, as soon as the interest becomes worth computing, the calculation of it on every little bill, in a sum between the dealer and his customers in shops, warehouses, and markets, takes
up much time, to the great hinderance of business. This evil, however, soon gave place to a worse ; for the bills were in a short time gathered up and hoarded; it being a very tempting advantage to have money bearing interest, and the principal all the while in a man's power, ready for bargains that may offer; which money out on mortgage is not. By this means numbers of people became usurers with small sums, who could not have found persons to take such sums of them upon interest, giving good security; and would therefore not have thought of it; but would rather have employed the money in some business, if it had been money of the common kind. Thus trade, instead of being increased by such bills, is diminished; and, by their being shut up in chests, the very end of making them (viz. to furnish a medium of commerce)
a is in a great measure, if not totally, defeated. *
* I understand that Dr. Franklin is the friend who assisted Governor Pownall in drawing up a plan for a general paper currency for America, to be established by the British government. See PownALL's Administration of the Colonies, 5th edition, pp. 199, 208. — B. V.
The paper money first issued by the colonial Assemblies was made a legal tender. The excessive issues in some of the colonies caused a great depreciation in the value of the bills, and thus produced mischievous consequences. To remedy the evil, an act of Parliament was passed, prohibiting the colonies from issuing any more paper money, which should be a legal tender. At the same time that this act removed one difficulty, it raised up another. In the fluctuating state of things in the colonies, the credit of the bills could not be sustained in any degree, unless the people were required to take them at their actual value. It then became a matter of importance, that Parliament should provide some means for giving stability to a paper currency in the colonies. Governor Pownall, VOL. II.
On the whole, no method has hitherto been formed to establish a medium of trade, in lieu of money, equal, in all its advantages, to bills of credit, funded on sufficient taxes for discharging it, or on land security of double the value for repaying it at the end of the term, and in the mean time made a GENERAL LEGAL TENDER. The experience of now near half a century in the middle colonies, has convinced them of it among themselves, , by the great increase of their settlements, numbers, buildings, improvements, agriculture, shipping, and com
And the same experience has satisfied the British merchants, who trade thither, that it has been greatly useful to them, and not in a single instance prejudicial.
It is therefore hoped, that, securing the full discharge of British debts, which are payable here, and in all justice and reason ought to be fully discharged here, in sterling money, the restraint on the legal tender within the colonies will be taken off; at least for those colonies that desire it, and where the merchants trading to them make no objection to it.
in conjunction with Dr. Franklin, proposed a plan for this object. Speaking of this proposal, Governor Pownall says. “ So far am I from assuming any merit in the invention or framing of it, that I desire it may be considered as founded on what hath been actually practised in Pennsylvania, by the good sense and good policy of the Assembly of that province, with success and with benefit to the public ; that the particular proposal, as it is now formed, and applied to the present exigencies of America and Great Britain, was drawn up some years ago, in conjunction with a friend of mine, and of the colonies. It was, by us, jointly proposed to government, under successive administrations, in the years 1764, 1765, 1766, during which time the publication was suspended.”
The principal outlines of this plan were, that bills of credit to a certain amount should be printed in England, for the use of the colonies; that a loan-office should be erected in each colony to issue bills, take securities, and receive the payments; that the bills should be issued for ten years, bearing interest at five per cent, one tenth part of the sum borrowed to be paid annually, with the interest; and that they should be a legal tender. EDITOR.
PRICE OF CORN, AND MANAGEMENT OF THE POOR.
The following extracts from a letter, signed COL MELLA, and addressed to the editors of The Repository for select Papers on Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures (Vol. I. p. 352), will serve the purpose of preparing those who read it, for entering upon this paper. .
“ There is now publishing in France a periodical work, called Ephémérides du Citoyen, in which several points, interesting to those concerned in agriculture, are from time to time discussed by some able hands. In looking over one of the volumes of this work a few days ago, I found a little piece written by one of our countrymen, and which our vigilant neighbours had taken from The London Chronicle in 1766. The author is a gentleman well known to every man of letters in Europe; and perhaps there is none, in this age, to whom mankind in general are more indebted. That this piece may not be lost to our own country, I beg you will give it a place in your Repository. It was written in favor of the farmers, when they suffered so much abuse in our public papers, and were also plundered by the mob in many places.” — B. V.
It is to be kept in mind that this paper, and the one which follows it, were written in England. EDITOR.
TO MESSIEURS THE PUBLIC. I am one of that class of people, that feeds you all, and at present is abused by you all; in short I am a farmer.
By your newspapers we are told, that God had sent a very short harvest to some other countries of Europe. I thought this might be in favor of Old England; and that now we should get a good price for our grain, which would bring millions among us, and make us flow in money; that to be sure is scarce enough.
But the wisdom of government forbade the exportation.*
Well,” says I, “ then we must be content with the market price at home.”
“No;” say my lords the mob, “you sha’nt have that. Bring your corn to market if you dare ; we'll sell it for you for less money, or take it for nothing.”
Being thus attacked by both ends of the constitution, the head and tail of government, what am I to do?
Must I keep my corn in the barn, to feed and increase the breed of rats? Be it so; they cannot be less thankful than those I have been used to feed.
Are we farmers the only people to be grudged the profits of our honest labor? And why? One of the late scribblers against us gives a bill of fare of the provisions at my daughter's wedding, and proclaims to all the world, that we had the insolence to eat beef and pudding! Has he not read the precept in the good Book, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn; or does he think us less worthy of good living than our oxen ?
“0, but the manufacturers ! the manufacturers ! they are to be favored, and they must have bread at a cheap rate!” Hark ye, Mr. Oaf; the farmers live splendidly, you
have them hoard the money they get ? Their fine clothes and furniture, do they make them themselves, or for one another, and so keep the money among them ? Or do they employ these your darling manufacturers, and so scatter it again all over the nation ?
* It is not necessary to repeat in what degree Dr. Franklin respected the ministers to whom he alludes. The embargo upon corn was but a single measure, which, it is enough to say, a host of politicians thought well advised, but ill defended. Of the great and honorable services of the Earl of Chatham to his country, Dr. Franklin has borne the amplest testimony. – B. V.
The wool would produce me a better price, if it were suffered to go to foreign markets; but that, Messieurs the Public, your laws will not permit. It must be kept all at home, that our dear manufacturers may have it the cheaper. And then, having yourselves thus lessened our encouragement for raising sheep, you curse us for the scarcity of mutton !
I have heard my grandfather say, that the farmers submitted to the prohibition on the exportation of wool, being made to expect and believe, that, when the manufacturer bought his wool cheaper, they should also have their cloth cheaper. But the deuce a bit. It has been growing dearer and dearer from that day to this. How so? Why, truly, the cloth is exported; and that keeps up the price.
Now, if it be a good principle, that the exportation of a commodity is to be restrained, that so our people at home may have it the cheaper, stick to that principle, and go thorough-stitch with it. Prohibit the exportation of your cloth, your leather, and shoes, your iron ware, and your manufactures of all sorts, to make them all cheaper at home. And cheap enough they will be, I will warrant you; till people leave off making them.
Some folks seem to think they ought never to be easy till England becomes another Lubberland, where it is fancied that streets are paved with penny-rolls, the houses tiled with pancakes, and chickens, ready roasted, cry, “Come eat me.”
I say, when you are sure you have got a good principle, stick to it, and carry it through. I hear it is said, that though it was necessary and right for the ministry to advise a prohibition of the exportation of corn, yet it was contrary to law; and also, that though it was contrary to law for the mob to obstruct wagons, yet it was necessary and right. Just the same thing to a tittle. Now