« ZurückWeiter »
The richest states are mostly the least free:
That, countless as the sands that skirt the sea,
Like hungry wolves, where herds and flocks may be :
And hovels made of mud, -to pomp unknown ;
Not all possess'd one talent of their own,
Nor eome iu search of plunder and a throne:
And sterile is the soil where it is found-
Scarce does an eatable adorn the ground*, Whose depths the precious-evil ore epfold;
While poorer lands see harvests smile around;
The rich are often in this hopeful case;
Long for the happy hour to fill his place:
And deem that he must soon bave run his race :
When some rich grey-beard dies, are set by th'ears;
And strife bursts forth coeval with their tears : Th'unequal legacies all fondness smother,
And heart-congealing gold affection sears; While he who dies and leaves his kindred nought, Is mourn'd, and they in love are closer brought.
* As a fact, true enough-at Icast for poetry.
As if life were but given to heap up gold ;
And want and toil endure, and heat and cold, Moving the veriest spectacles of woe ;
But, growing, somewhat wiser wlien they're old, They turn to spendthrifts when their hairs are grey, And haply live to waste the whole away.
Paying for borses, dogs, and mules, like asses ;
Their drinks are tax’d, even to their very glasses ; And carriages, that only breed laxation;
And thus their money like a vapour passes ! . Why- let them wince-my“ withers are unwrung!" I move, untax'd, a taxed host among.
A fever and an ague mix'd in one:
It follows up, till he must hide or run ;
Till he is what the world calls fairly done;
Where there is little wealth, the suit soon ends;
But writs, demurrers, pleadings, declarations, Lengthen when lawyers have substantial friends,
Who pay for the aforesaid cogitations-
With all their technical reiterations ;
For, in the first place, none will give them credit; And, in the second, if they should, they know
That, as for suing, they bave cause to dread it; For then their money would not come--but go
And few, in losing law-suits, care to spread it: Thus debtors, without cash, or house, or land, May safe 'midst lawyers, bailiffs, jailors stand.
Cover'd with many and luxurious dishes,
He sees there lurk, ʼmidst pies, meats, soups, and fishes,
For, while they charm their epicurean wishes,
Or, that the next feast may not want a zest;
Unpalatable things by doctors prest
To stomachs that still doat upon the best;
Are term’d so aptly patients, they endure
A stock of patience, never ending, pure;
Beyond a reasonable time the cure,
And rich folk, being nervous, take it too;
And then the case goes regularly through:
Nature is my physician, safe and true;
Of paying a physician is the best;
Their's is still better, as must be confest;
That they fall sick, their pension is suppress'd ;
And hence the poor have always their's at hand,
Seeing it serves in place of house or land:
As lifeless as a fish upon the strand;
Then what is pleasure, differs but in name ;
In luxury or temperance, 'tis the same
And I have mine, though some may deem it lame :
It will not tempt the rich to cast away
But it may show, in fancy's idle play,
That poverty. may have it's summer day;
DISCUSSION ON THE USURY LAWS.
This subject was several years ago powerfully investigated by Mr. Bentham, in a treatise, entitled “ the Defence of Usury.” An able and elaborate article has also been written upon it in “the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica :” and it has peculiarly engaged the public attention by the annual introduction into parliament of a bill to repeal the whole of the laws which limit the rate of interest.
Although the question may not be very interesting in a literary aspect, it is obviously of the first importance to the public interest; and, more or less, to every individual in the
The laws which impose severe penalties upon those who take a higher rate of interest than 5 per cento, formed no part of the discussion. The question stated, wasWould it be beneficial to abolish the Laws which regulate the Interest of Money?" We had, therefore, only to consider the principle upon which restraint was justified.
It was contended by the proposer of the question, that it was beneficial for the community at large to limit the rate of interest to 5 per cent. :~that the measure of good which resulted from the restriction, was the true criterion by which to determine the point;—that the legislature possessed a right to enact such provisions as would promote the interests of the community, and check whatever was injurious ;--that those interests greatly depended on national industry,--and whatever encouraged industry was, therefore, of the first importance ;--that nothing could be more prejudicial to a state than a system which enabled the idle and profligate to riot on the wealth accumulated by the laborious ;—that labour was the only source of durable prosperity, and every protection should be given to insure its success.
As a general principle, therefore, it appeared unjust and impolitic to permit those who possessed capital to exact from the skill and labour, by which it was applied, an undue and unlimited share of profit. That some interest should be allowed for the use of money, was consistent with reason and propriety: it could not otherwise be expected to be lent. The lender had also a right to remuneration, because either he, or those from whom he derived his wealth, had obtained it by laborious exertion, and labour was entitled to its reward. Besides, the loan was advantageous to the borrower, and he who was the cause of the advantage, was entitled to participate in it. But the interest of capital should bear a proportion to skill and labour. If the combined profit was 15 per cent., it should be divided into three shares. The talent that devised the mode of employing the money was entitled to as much as the wealth that supplied it; and the industry that effected the object, ought also to receive an equal proportion. If then the profit derivable from the use of money in trade, commerce, or agriculture, was 15 per cent. it seemed clear and reasonable that one-third was a sufficient compensation to him who merely advanced the capital, without exerting either ingenuity or labour in its application.
The fact, however, appeared to be, that the average profit of the national industry did not at present amount to 15 per cent. it generally did not exceed 8 or 10 per cent. and consequently 3 per cent. would be the fair proportion to be paid