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with the master of the mint; which in our humble opinion ought to be rectified.

33. We think it not improper here to observe, that it matters not whether silver or gold be called the standard money; but it seems most rational that the most scarce and precious metal should be the unit or standard.

That, as to copper, it is as fit for money or a counter, as gold or silver, provided it be coined of a proper weight and fineness; and just so much will be useful as will serve to make up small parts in exchange between man and man, and no more ought to be coined.

As to paper circulating as money, it is highly profitable, as its quick passing from one to another is a gain of time, and thereby may be understood to add hands to the community; inasmuch as those, who would be employed in telling and weighing, will follow other business. The issuers or coiners of paper are understood to have an equivalent to answer what it is issued for or valued at; nor can any metal or coin do more than find its value.

It is impossible for government to circumscribe or fix the extent of paper credit, which must, of course, fluctuate. Government may as well pretend to lay down rules for the operations or the confidence of every individual in the course of his trade. Any seeming temporary evil arising must naturally work its own



34. As some principles relative to exchange have, in our opinion, been treated of in a very confused manner, and some maxims have been held out upon that subject, which tend only to mislead, we shall here briefly lay down what, according to our opinion, are self-evident principles.

35. Exchange, by bills, between one country or city and another, we conceive to be this. One person wants to get a sum from any country or city; consequently has his bill or draft to sell; another wants to send a sum thither, and therefore agrees to buy such bill or draft. He has it at an agreed-for price, which is the course of the exchange. It is with this price for bills, as with merchandise; when there is a scarcity of bills in the market, they are dear; when plenty, they are cheap.

36. We judge it needless to enter into the several courses and denominations of exchanges, which custom hath established; they are taught at school. But we think we must offer a few words to destroy an erroneous principle, that has misled some and confused others; which is, that by authority a certain par or fixed price of exchange should be settled between each respective country; thereby rendering the currency of exchange as fixed as the standard of coin.

37. We have above hinted, that plenty and scarcity must govern the course of exchange. Which principle, duly considered, would suffice on the subject; but we will add, that no human foresight can absolutely judge of the almost numberless fluctuations in trade, which vary, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, between countries; consequently no state or potentate can by authority any more pretend to settle the currency of the prices of the several sorts of merchandise sent to and from their respective dominions, than they can a par of exchange. In point of merchandise, indeed, where there is a monopoly of particular commodities, an exception must be allowed as to such articles; but this is not at all applicable to trade in general, for the encouragement of which we cannot too often repeat, that freedom and security are most essentially necessary.

Par of Exchange.

38. Another specious doctrine, much laborea by theorists, in consequence of that relating to the par, is, that the exchange between any particular country being above or below par, always shows whether their reciprocal trade be advantageous or disadvantageous. It is, and must be allowed, that in trade nothing is given without adequate returns or compensations; but these are so various and fluctuating between countries, as often indirectly as directly, that there is no possibility of fixing a point from whence to argue; so that, should there happen a greater variation than of two or three or more in the hundred, at any certain period in the exchange, above or below what is called the par or equality of the money of one country to that of another, influenced by the fluctuations and circulations in trade, it does not follow, that a trade is advantageous or disadvantageous, excepting momentarily, if one may so say; which can be of no consequence to the public in general, as the trade from advantageous may become disadvantageous, and vice versa; and, consequently, the deducing of reasons from what in its nature must be fluctuating, can only help to embarrass, if not mislead.

39. To return to trade in general. Our principles, we apprehend, may hold good for all nations, and ought to be attended to by the legislative power of every nation. We will not discuss every particular point; nor is it to our purpose to examine the pretended principles or utility, whereon monopolies are generally established. That the wisdom of government should weigh and nicely consider any proposed regulation on those principles, we humbly judge to be self-evident; whereby may be seen whether it coincides with the general good. Solomon adviseth "not to counsel with

a merchant for gain." This, we presume, relates to the merchant's own particular profit, which, we repeat, must ever be the spring of his actions. Government ought, notwithstanding, to endeavour to procure particular informations from every one; not only from those actually employed, or those who have been concerned, in particular branches of trade, but even from persons who may have considered of it theoretically and speculatively.

Perhaps, in general, it would be better if government meddled no farther with trade, than to protect it, and let it take its course. Most of the statutes, or acts, edicts, arrêts, and placarts of parliaments, princes, and states, for regulating, directing, or restraining of trade, have, we think, been either political blunders, or jobs obtained by artful men for private advantage, under pretence of public good. When Colbert assembled some wise old merchants of France, and desired their advice and opinion, how he could best serve and promote commerce, their answer, after consultation, was, in three words only, Laissez-nous faire; "Let us alone." It is said by a very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in the science of politics, who knows the full force of that maxim, Pas trop gouverner; "Not to govern too much." Which, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public concern. It were therefore to be wished, that commerce was as free between all the nations of the world, as it is between the several counties of England; so would all, by mutual communication, obtain more enjoyments. Those counties do not ruin one another by trade; neither would the nations. No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.


The doctrine of this section is that, which is now universally VOL. II.


Wherever desirable superfluities are imported, industry is excited, and therefore plenty is produced. Were only necessaries permitted to be purchased, men would work no more than was necessary for that purpose.


40. Though we wave a discussion on particular branches of trade, as the field is too large for our present purpose; and that particular laws and regulations may require variation, as the different intercourses and even interests of states, by different fluctuations, may alter; yet, as what relates to bounties or premiums, which the legislature of Great Britain has thought fit to grant, hath been by some deemed, if not ill-judged, unnecessary, we hope our time not ill-bestowed to consider of the fitness and rectitude of the principle, on which we apprehend these bounties or premiums have been granted.

41. It must, we think, on all hands be allowed, that the principle whereon they are founded must be an encouragement tending to a general benefit, though granted on commodities, manufactures, or fisheries, carried on in particular places and countries, which are presumed or found to require aid from the public purse for farther improvement.

Of the bounties, some having had the proposer! effect are discontinued; others are continued for the very reason they were first given.

In our opinion, no doubt can arise as to the utility of these grants from the public purse to individuals. The grand principle of trade, which is gain, is the foundation of bounties; for, as every individual makes

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