« السابقةمتابعة »
need to prevent borrowing at a high rate of your neigh bours. For no country borrows of its neighbours, but where there is need of money for trade: nobody will borrow money of a foreigner to let it lie still. And, if you do want money, necessity will still make you borrow where you can, and at the rates your necessity, not your laws, shall set: or else, if there be a scarcity of money, it must hinder the merchant's buying and exportation, and the artisan's manufacture. Now the kingdom gets or loses by this (for no question the merchant, by low interest, gets all the while) only proportionably (allowing the consumption of foreign commodities to be still the same) as the paying of use to foreigners carries away more, or less, of our money, than want of money, and stopping our trade keeps us from bringing in, by hindering our gains, which can be only estimated by those who know how much money we borrow of foreigners, and at what rate; and too, what profit in trade we make of that money.
Borrowing of foreigners upon interest, it is true, carries away some of our gain: but yet, upon examination it will be found, that our growing rich or poor depends not at all upon our borrowing upon interest, or not; but only, which is greater or less, our importation or exportation of consumable commodities. For, supposing two millions of money will drive the trade of England, and that we have money enough of our own to do it; if we consume of our own product and manufacture, and what we purchase by it of foreign commodities, one million, but of the other million consume nothing, but make a return of ten per cent. per annum, we must then every year be one hundred thousand pounds richer, and our stock be so much increased: but, if we import more consumable commodities than we export, our money must go out to pay for them, and we grow poorer. Suppose, therefore, ill husbandry hath brought us to one million stock, and we borrow the other million (as we must, or lose half our trade) at six per cent. If we consume one moiety, and make still ten per cent. per ann. return of the other million, the kingdom gets
forty thousand pounds per ann. though it pay sixty thousand pounds per ann. use. So that, if the merchant's return be more than his use, (which it is certain it is, or else he will not trade), and all that is so traded for, on borrowed money, be but the over-balance of our exportation to our importation; the kingdom gets, by this borrowing, so much as the merchant's gain is above his use. But, if we borrow only for our own expenses, we grow doubly poor, by paying money for the commodity we consume, and use for that money; though the merchant gets all this while, by making returns greater than his use. And therefore, borrowing of foreigners, in itself, makes not the kingdom rich or poor; for it may do either: but spending more than our fruits, or manufactures, will pay for, brings in poverty, and poverty borrowing.
For money, as necessary to trade, may be doubly considered. First, as in his hands that pays the labourer and landholder, (for here its motion terminates, and through whose hands soever it passes between these, he is but a broker) and if this man want money, (as for example, the clothier) the manufacture is not made; and so the trade stops, and is lost. Or, secondly, money may be considered as in the hands of the consumer, under which name I here reckon the merchant who buys the commodity, when made, to export: and, if he want money, the value of the commodity, when made, is lessened, and so the kingdom loses in the price. If, therefore, use be lessened, and you cannot tie foreigners to your terms, then the ill effects fall only upon your landholders and artisans: if foreigners can be forced, by your law, to lend you money, only at your own rate, or not lend at all, is it not more likely they will rather take it home, and think it safer in their own country at four per cent. than abroad, in a decaying country? Nor can their overplus of money bring them to lend to you, on your terms: for, when your merchants, want of money shall have sunk the price of your market, a Dutchman will find it more gain to buy your commodity himself, than lend his money at four per cent. to an
English merchant to trade with. Nor will the act of navigation hinder their coming, by making them come empty, since even already there are those who think that many who go for English merchants are but Dutch factors, and trade for others in their own names. The kingdom, therefore, will lose by this lowering of interest, if it makes foreigners withdraw any of their money, as well as if it hinders any of your people from lending theirs, where trade has need of it.
In a treatise, writ on purpose for the bringing down of interest, I find this argument of foreigners calling away their money to the prejudice of our trade, thus answered: "That the money of foreigners is not brought into the land by ready coin, or bullion, but by goods, or bills of exchange, and, when it is paid, must be returned by goods, or bills of exchange; and there will not be the less money in the land." "I could not but wonder to see a man, who undertook to write of money and interest, talk so directly besides the matter, in the business of trade. "Foreigners' money," he says, "is not brought into the land by ready coin, or bullion, but by goods, or bills, of exchange." How then do we come by bullion or money? For gold grows not, that I know, in our country, and silver so little, that one hundred thousandth part of the silver we have now in England was not drawn out of any mines in this island. If he means that the monied man in Holland, who puts out his money at interest here, did not send it over in bullion, or specie hither: that may be true or false; but either way helps not that author's purpose. For, if he paid his money to a merchant, his neighbour, and took his bills for it here in England, he did the same thing as if he had sent over that money; since he does but make that merchant leave in England the money, which he has due to him there, and otherwise would carry away. No," says our author," he cannot carry it away; for," says he, "when it is paid, it must be returned by goods, or bills of exchange." It must not be paid and exported in ready money; so says our law indeed, but that is a law to hedge in the cuckoo, and serves to no purpose; for, if we export
not goods for which our merchants have money due to them in Holland, how can it be paid by bills of exchange? And for goods, one hundred pounds worth of goods can nowhere pay two hundred pounds in money. This being that which I find many men deceive themselves with in trade, it may be worth while to make it a little plainer.
Let us suppose England peopled, as it is now; and its woollen manufacture in the same state and perfection that it is at present; and that we, having no money at all, trade with this our woollen manufacture, for the value of two hundred thousand pounds yearly to Spain, where there actually is a million in money: farther, let us suppose that we bring back from Spain yearly in oil, wine, and fruit, to the value of one hundred thousand pounds, and continue to do this ten years together: it is plain that we have had for our two millions value in woollen manufacture, carried thither, one million returned in wine, oil, and fruit: but what is become of the other million? Will the merchants be content to lose it? That you may be sure they would not, nor have traded on, if they had not, every year, returns made, answering their exportation. How then were the returns made? In money, it is evident; for the Spaniards having, in such a trade, no debts, nor the possibility of any debts in England, cannot pay one farthing of that other million by bills of exchange: and having no commodities, that we will take off, above the value of one hundred thousand pounds per ann. they cannot pay us in commodities. From whence it necessarily follows, that the hundred thousand pounds per. ann wherein we overbalance them in trade, must be paid us in money; and so, at the ten years' end, their million of money, (though their law make it death to export it) will be all brought into England; as, in truth, by this overbalance of trade, the greatest part of our money hath been brought into England out of Spain.
Let us suppose ourselves now possessed of this million of money, and exporting yearly out of England, to the several parts of the world, consumable commodities, to the value of a million, but importing yearly
in commodities, which we consume amongst us, to the value of eleven hundred thousand pounds. If such a trade as this be managed amongst us, and continue ten years, it is evident that our million of money will, at the end of the ten years, be inevitably all gone from us to them, by the same way that it came to us; that is, by their overbalance of trade: for we, importing every year one hundred thousand pounds worth of commodities more than we export, and there being no foreigners that will give us one hundred thousand pounds every year for nothing, it is unavoidable that one hundred thousand pounds of our money must go out every year, to pay for that overplus, which our commodities do not pay for. It is ridiculous to say, that bills of exchange shall pay our debts abroad: that cannot be, till scrips of paper can be made current coin. The English merchant who has no money owing him abroad, cannot expect to have his bills paid there; or, if he has credit enough with a correspondent to have his bills answered, this pays none of the debt of England, but only changes the creditor; and if, upon the general balance of trade, English merchants owe to foreigners one hundred thousand pounds, or a million; if commodities do not, our money must go out to pay it, or else our credit be lost, and our trade stop, and be lost too.
A kingdom grows rich or poor just as a farmer doth, and no otherwise. Let us suppose the whole isle of Portland one farm: and that the owner, besides what serves his family, carries to market to Weymouth and Dorchester, &c. cattle, corn, butter, cheese, wool or cloth, lead and tin, all commodities, produced and wrought within his farm of Portland, to the value of a thousand pounds yearly; and for this brings home in salt, wine, oil, spice, linen, and silks, to the value of nine hundred pounds, and the remaining hundred pounds in money. It is evident he grows every year a hundred pounds richer, and so at the end of ten years will have clearly got a thousand pounds. If the owner be a better husband, and, contenting himself with his native commodities, buy less wine, spice, and silk, at