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stock-holders of all descriptions, would be benefited by the plant, and particularly the timid would derive encouragement to hold ontheir stock. For if they withdraw half the amount of the present price of stock, they may realize that part on land, by procuring purchases or mortgages. This would also accommodate those who want to sell land, or borrow money on it, or to borrow on other security.

The transferrer would retain to himself the advantage of future increase of price, just as if he had not taken the stock-notes.

SECT. V.-No Danger to them.

But is there no final danger of loss to the stock-proprietors upon this plan? None, I think. For suppose the holders of the stock notes should become alarmed for their security by the falling of stock to 25; and suppose the plan should provide, that then the stock should, at that price, become the property of the holders of the stock-notes, and be transferred to them in proportion to the amount of the notes held by them respectively, unless redeemed immediately by the proprietors of the stock; it may be made clear, that he that was the original stock-holder cannot be hurt by having received the notes, even though he should not redeem the stock. For if he has retained the right of redemption, and consequently the risk, it is by his own voluntary act that he has done so. He might have sold out; but, having retained the stock, he cannot suffer more by parting with his stock now, than if he had held it on, and was now to sell it, without having received any stock-notes. He may even have an advantage by buying an equal quantity of the stock at the reduced price, supposing it below 25, or prevent a loss if the price is 25, or upwards; and, upon both suppositions, five thousand pounds, or thereabouts, would replace his twenty thousand pounds stock.

Four things must concur in order to occasion any actual loss to the transferrer of stock upon this plan. First; the stock must fall below 25. Secondly; the transferrer must be unable to redeem it at that reduced rate. Thirdly; the stock must afterwards rise to a higher price. Fourthly; if there be (as of course there must be) an interval of time between the fall and the rise, the transferrer must continue, during the whole interval, unable to purchase a quantity of stock equal to what he had when he obtained the notes.

The occurrence and operation of these numerous causes is a most improbable supposition; especially considering that the transferrer must be understood to have received an equivalent in property of some kind on parting with his notes, and, therefore, may be expected to be able to redeem his stock, or to buy an equal quantity at the supposed price of 25.

But perhaps the stock-notes may have been applied to purchase land or land-tax.-Well, at least the transferrer has then realized half the amount of his stock at the present price, besides the annual increase of 250l. upon his 20,000l.: and he must consider that, if he had continued to hold his stock till the supposed period of ultimate depreciation, his loss would be greater than it can be upon any supposition affecting this plan; which includes the annual gain of 2501. upon the 20,000l. stock.

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SECT. VI.-They might gain too much by it.

If, according to the supposition above made, fifty millions could thus be brought into circulation, the gain to the stock-holders would be 2,500,000l. sterling annually, and so in proportion, if the circulating medium should be used in less or greater extent.

But two millions five hundred thousand pounds would be too great a gain for the stock-holder, who could not reasonably expect to have so much, especially if the scheme be attended with only part of the other advantages (including that of safety) which I have stated.

SECT. VII.-Government must partake with them in the Profits.

Therefore I come now to consider the interests of Government and the Bank of England.

It may be thought proper that so much of the dividends as is equal to 5 per cent. on the stock-notes should be kept back by Governme t: that is, that the payment of so much of the dividends should be suspended during the war, and that the amount of these dividends should at the end of the war be divided between the stock-holders, the Government, and the Bank of England, in such proportions as may be agreed upon. In speaking of the stock-holder in this place,

I mean the person who should actually possess the stock at that period; and his share of the accumulated dividends should then be added to his capital, and the future interest of it provided for by taxes, unless Government should then be able to pay the arrears of dividends; I mean the stock-holder's share of those dividends. In case a suspension of dividends should be thought improper, some other arrangement might be adopted, as the mutual interests of Government and the stock-proprietors might dictate.

If Government could, by this means, suspend during the war the payment of dividends to the amount of two millions five hundred thousand pounds, or even half of that sum, such a postponement, or any equivalent advantage to government, would be attended with important consequences.

Future loans might be negociated on better terms, the price of stocks being supposed to rise as well in consequence of the advantages given to the stock-transferrers, as of the taking of a great quantity of stock out of the market. The Redemption of the Land-tax would be facilitated, and the necessity to sell stock would be very much diminished, at the same time that there would be a great increase of inducements to buy and hold stock.

SECT. VIII. So must the Bank of England.

In regard to the Bank of England, the advantages to be allotted to that company would be such as might be agreed upon between them and the stock transferrers, by way of an annual increase of the Bank profits; and also as a compensation for the charges of management. But there is no occasion at present to enter into details upon this part of the subject.

SECT. IX.-Question suggested.

After all, however, there remains the question before suggested: "Could these stock-notes be used as a circulating medium; or, in other words, would they pass as money?"

This I cannot determine; but I see many considerations which may be supposed to operate towards causing the free and general currency of these notes.

The security upon which the notes are to circulate, would be a

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first mortgage on the property and industry of the nation. The scheme would raise the value of the funds, and would advance our agriculture, as well as extend our trade, both foreign and domestic, by bringing into action a new and great capital: and all this would tend to improve the strength of the nation. Hence greater safety to every part of our property.

These appear to me to be sufficiently powerful inducements to the public to receive and circulate as cash the proposed stock


But if, in fact, the security for the National Debt is not to be esteemed good for a fourth part of its nominal amount, then, I fear, our case is hopeless indeed. This, however, appears to me to be a groundless apprehension.

At all events, the caution of the most fearful must have some limits; and if, through the prevalence of distrust, the notes described could not be circulated at 25, they might undoubtedly at some lower rate. Therefore, the objection founded on supposed insecurity, does not reach the principle of the measure, and can only at the utmost confine its operation.

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SECT. X.-The Plan may be improved.


This scheme, if it has any thing of value in it, may undoubtedly be improved; and, perhaps, the indirect and collateral results from it may be as considerable as its direct and immediate effects,

I am not, however, so fond of my plan as to make an unqualified supposition that it is capable of producing such great advantages as I have described. Yet I do not mean to conceal that I have a strong confidence in it; and I own, if I were to indulge my present thoughts, I should say much more of the advantages I expect from it.

SECT. XI.-General Observations.

But I shall now only make a few general observations, which shall conclude this letter, and the trouble which, Sir, you have allowed me to give you.

First, In a commercial country there should be as little dead

or unproductive capital as possible; but the wealth of individuals collected in the funds is dead to trade and general use, except only so far as the dividends are spent and circulated, and not invested in the same funds by way of farther accumulation.

And, secondly, There ought to be no such thing known as want of money;—and, in my opinion, no such want could be known in a perfectly well-regulated commercial state: I mean no want of that kind should be known or felt by those who possess property of any kind, whether it consists of lands, merchandize, or credits well secured. All such property should enable the owner to procure a representative sign capable of general circuation. I say this, subject to many obvious restrictions.

SECT. XII.-Originality of the Plan.

It was, by thinking for a long time upon these two principles, and by turning over in my mind several plans for procuring money for some persons of property, who found it difficult to obtain loans, that I was led to the present discovery, if it is one, as I believe it to be. To me, at least, it is new, and so it has appeared to those friends to whom I have communicated it: but if any one shall dispute the absolute originality of the thought, I shall not be much concerned about that, because it is quite certain that in its operation it will be new, and, what is infinitely more material, the advantages of it will be confined, almost exclusively, to our own country, where alone such a great capital as I have proposed to put in circulation is to be found.

I have the honor to be,

London, Sept. 27, 1798.

&c. &c. &c.

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