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Tracts relating to the currency of the Massachusetts Bay, 1682-1720; online

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Sever ah relating to the


Trinted for divers %eafon$^ as may aj^pear*

THat the w/it of mm is not in htmfelf: it is nH in
man that vfdketh, to dire5l his Hefty Is a Truth
that all ( who arc not ftrangcrs to themfclves)
muft ackncwic(^ge-, & in fpccial the. Author^ of
\\{\% Suhje^', If icbcconfidered,
z That he had as iitflc skill in, as inclination to, or nfccd of
concerning himfclf in merchantile Affairs: Nor came he into
New-England with a thought to meddle therewith.' as is well '
known to many, i That he {hould concern himfelf to pro-
mote Trade for others, and that in this Land, a place not de-
figned by the firft Planters, for Commerce-^ being better acquain
-led with cteleftiai'Dealings^ than the polities oi mundane affairs
3 That he (hould amongft fuch a People clTay to promote
aDcfigrienot known in the day thereof (if yet) to)
in any part of the worldCalthough Unce in agitation .
and then furely ftrange here, where the name of
benefit thereby, was hardly heard of, 4 Thath





Member of the Massachusetts Historical Society; American Antiquarian
Society; Colonial Society of Massachusetts ; and American Acad-
emy of Arts and Sciences. Corresponding Member Cali-
fornia Historical Society, and Honorary Mem-
ber Old Colony Historical Society,



(Stl^e flitoetisibe ^xt^^^ Cambridfle


Published October, igos.



While prosecuting the examination of authorities
which preceded the publication of the two vol-
umes entitled " Currency and Banking in the Pro-
vince of the Massachusetts Bay," I turned the leaves
of between forty and fifty contemporaneous pam-
" phlets which were issued by our local press and de-
?- voted to the discussion of the topics suggested by the
£ titles of these volumes. The greater part of these
tracts were rare, even the most common of them
being found only in libraries which have for years
[]| had a department specially devoted to Americana.
> The collections in the immediate vicinity of Boston
contain nearly all of them, but if one would see
" Severals relating to the Fund," he must go to the
\ Watkinson Library at Hartford. If he would see
^ "Some Proposals to benefit the Province," he must
^ visit the Library of the American Antiquarian Soci-
V ety at Worcester. One of them, Douglass's " Dis-
course concerning the Currencies," has been reprinted
by the American Economic Association. Another,
" Money the Sinews of Trade," was reproduced by
Robert Lewis Kennedy of New York. These facts
indicate a desire on the part of students to place
upon the shelves of our libraries reprints of the



more valuable of these tracts. I have indeed been
asked, as one who has examined them, which of
them ought next to be published ? It would not be
diHitult to assign to these publications an order of
merit, based upon their literary style and the pre-
sent value of their economic opinions, but after all,
is that what the student wants ? Is it not just as
important that he should study economic heresies
as economic truths ? Can he estimate the force of
public opinion unless he adopts the current standards
upon which that opinion is based ? Can he fairly
judge the financial history of Massachusetts in the
eighteenth century without giving due weight to
the opportunities for knowledge then extant? It
seems to me that there can be but one answer to the
various questions of this sort which naturally sug-
gest themselves in this connection. The historical
student needs to know all sides of every question.

Influenced by the belief that there was a certain
amount of interest in the subject on the part of
students in History and Economics, I determined to
publish some, at least, of these pamphlets, and as I
did not care to attempt any selection based upon
an arbitrary measure of their value, I have taken
enough of them, in the chronological order of their
issue, to make an 8vo volume of convenient size for
handling, leaving to the future the determination
whether this series shall be continued.

Beginning with " Severals relating to the Fund,"


which contains a proposition for a bank, published
in the spring of 1682, the authorship of which is
attributed by Trumbull to Rev. John Woodbridge,
the series comprehends " A Model for erecting a
Bank of Credit with a Discourse," etc., etc., printed
in London in 1688, and reprinted in Boston, 1714.
This plan formed the basis of Captain John Black-
well's proposed bank in 1686. The next pamphlet
to this in the series is " A Projection for erecting
a Bank of Credit in Boston " in 1714. Following;
this comes the attack and defence of this Bank, and
after its death a general discussion of the situation
with occasional suggestions for rehef. This brings
us down to the last pamphlet of the series, " Some
Proposals to benefit the Province," 1720.

The attempt has been made to follow the pecul-
iarities of the typography of the originals, which
may have been introduced for purposes of emphasis,
such as capitalization and italics. The spelling and
the punctuation of the originals have also been
preserved. The original pagination is indicated by
Arabic numerals in brackets in the text.

I have heretofore rehearsed the considerations
which induced me to place this publication on the
market. I should neglect a plain duty if I failed to
add that but for the kind assistance and encourage-
ment of my friend Worthington C. Ford I should
not at present, at any rate, have come to any defi-
nite conclusion on the subject. He, and he alone.


will appreciate how much he has done to help me in
this work, aud how much he deserves this public

The copies of the pamphlets were obtained at the
libraries of the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachu-
setts Historical Society, and the Public Library, in
Boston ; the American Antiquarian Society in Wor-
cester; and the Watkinson Library in Hartford,
Connecticut. For permission to reprint the pam-
phlets and to photograph the title-pages which are
introduced in this volume as illustrations, thanks are
due to these societies.

Cambridge, May 1, 1902.



Sever ALs relating to the Fund (1682) 1

Some Considerations on the Bills of Credit now pass-
ing IN New-England (1691) 13

Some Additional Considerations addressed unto the
Worshipful Elisha Hutchinson, Esq. (1691) .... 23

A Model for erecting a Bank of Credit (1688) ... 35

A Projection for erecting a Bank of Credit in Boston,
New-England, founded on Land Security (1714) . . 69

Objections to the Bank of Credit lately projected
AT Boston (1714) 85

A Letter, from One in Boston, to his Friend in the
Country (1714) Ill

A Vindication of the Bank of Credit projected in
Boston (1714) 147

Some Considerations upon the Several Sorts of Banks
propos'd as a Medium of Trade (1716) 167

The Present Melancholy Circumstances of the Pro-
vince consider'd, and Methods for Redress humbly
proposed (1719) 183

An Addition to the Present Melancholy Circumstances
OF the Province considered, &c. (1719) 199

The Distressed State of the Town of Boston, &c. con-
sidered (1720) 233

A Letter from One in the Country to his Friend in
Boston, containing Some Remarks upon a Late Pam-
phlet, entituled, The Distressed State of the Town
OF Boston, &c. (1720) 247

A Letter from a Gentleman, containing Some Remarks
UPON THE Several Answers given unto Mr. Colman's,


Boston (1720) 279



uroN The Distressed State of Boston (1720) . . . 297
Reflections on the Present State of the Province of

MAssAciirsETTS-liAY (1720) 323

The Distressed State ok the Town of Boston once

more considered (1720) 347

Some Proposals to benefit the Province (1720) . . . 383


Facsimiles in full size from the originals


First Page of " Severals relating to the Fund," etc.

Showing a memorandum in the handwriting of Rev. Thomas
Prince. Photographed by permission of the Watkinson Library,
Hartford, Conn.

First Page of "Some Considerations on the Bills of

Credit," etc 14

Photographed by permission of the Boston Athenaeum.
First Page of " Some Additional Considerations," etc. 24

This pamphlet is printed in connection with "Some Consider-
ations," etc., the pagination being continuous, this being the
eleventh of the joint pamphlet. Photographed by permission of
the Boston Athenaeum.

Title-Page of " A Model for erecting a Bank of
Credit," etc 36

. Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

Title-Page of " A Projection for erecting a Bank of
Credit," etc 70

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical


Title-Page of " Objections to the Bank of Credit," etc. 86

Photographed by permission of the Boston Public Library.

Title-Page of "A Letter, from one in Boston," etc. . 112

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

Title-Page of " A Vindication of the Bank of Credit,"
ETC 148

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

Title-Page of " Some Considerations upon the Several

Sorts of Banks," etc 168

Photographed by permission of the Boston Public Library.

First Page of "The Present Melancholy Circum-
stances," etc 184

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical


First Page of "An Addition to the Present Melan-
choly Circumstances," etc 200

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

Title- Pace ok "The Distressed State of the Town of
Boston" 234

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

Tttle-Page of " a Letter from One in the Country,"

ETC 248

PhotoBxaphed by permission of the Boston Public Library.
Title-Page of "A Letter from a Gentleman," etc . 280

Photogr&phed by pennission of the Massachusetts Historical

Title-Page of " A Vindication of the Remarks of One
IN the Country," etc 298

Photographed by permission of the Boston Public Library,
Title-Page of " Reflections on the Present State of

the Province," etc 324

Photographed by permission of the Boston Public Library.
Title-Page of "The Distressed State of the Tow'n of
Boston once more Considered," etc 348

Photographed by permission of the Massachusetts Historical

First Page of "Some Proposals to Benefit the Pro-

vlnce" 384

Photographed by permission of the American Antiquarian


Severals relating to the


Printed for divers Reasons^ as may appear.

THat the way of man is not in himself: it is not
in man that walketh, to direct his steps, Is a
Truth that all (who are not strangers to themselves)
must acknowledge ; & in special the Author of this
Subject : If it be considered,

1 That he had as little skill in, as inclination
to, or need of concerning himself in merchantile
Affcdvs : Nor came he into New-England with a
thought to meddle therewith : as is well known to
many. 2 That he should concern himself to pro-
mote Trade for others, and that in this Land, a
place not designed by the first Planters, for Com-
merce ; being better acquainted with ccelestial Deal-
ings, than the polities of mundane affairs

3 That he should amongst such a People essay
to promote a Designe not known in the day thereof
(if yet) to 1[ ] in any part of the world (al-
though since in agitation [ ] and then surely
strange here, where the name of [ ] benefit


thereby, was hardly heard of. 4 That h[ ]

[2] notwithstanding the reproaches east upon him,
cS: untrnths raised & reported of this Thing, stil
appear to justifie & promote the same, and encour-
age those who are satisfied thereof, and join with
him in this his undertaking. The rise of which was
as foUoweth.

About the latter end of the year 1649. an inti-
mate Friend of the Author^s in London^ Mr. Wil-
liam Potter, who was likewise no Trader, Im-
parted to him a Designe for the accomodation of
Commerce, in the natui-e of a Bank of money ; but
to be founded upon personal Credit, by a consider-
able number of able Men Ingaging, as the Found
thereof, to pass forth Credit ; as a medium to enlarge
the Measure of money, that was known to be too
little for the Dealings of that Land : Or by deposit-
ing of Goods, in the nature of a Lumber of Mer-
chandise, to pass out Credit thereon, untill sold. As
for a Fund to have Land (the onely secure Deposit)
the dubious & intricat Titles thereof, put a stop to
any discourse thereabout. And as for a Bank of
money, there was in that no certain Security ; wof uU
experience proving them subject to a rupture.

The Author so resented the Notion of his Friend,
(the thing being rational, & tending much to the
benefit of all men where set on foot) that it became
oft times when they met, the common subject of
their discourse, in a rotation of Proposals, Objections,
and Solutions : Leaving no stone unturned, that
might fit the designe to comport with that Place.


Mr. Potter likewise had about that time printed a
Book in folio, relating to his designe; one whereof
he bestowed on the Author, who (upon the report
that was given him of the Labyrinth New-England
was in, for want of a Conveniency to mete their
Trade with) gave it with good acceptance, to a
Kinsman of his that was a Merchant of this Place ;
the prosperity wheref he was [ ]er to, when

not likely ever to see It. Whether by [ ] Book,
or other accident, any motion thereabout [ ]s
unknown. But before any thing was brought to
[ ]t seems there was ; an accompt of which shall
in [3] its place be given) the Author was called
to Ireland, where he had more endeavoured the
promotion of this thing, than barely to hint it ; had
not his transient Employ prevented.

In anno 1664. His lot being here cast, he soon saw
that with his eye, that did affect his heart i. e. The
Straits many were in ; the Time they consumed,
and the Disadvantages they were under, by higling
to suit ends : And thereupon imparted to a pubHck-
spirited Merchant, with what ease, & safety their
Measure might be inlarged : Who likewise being
sensible of the need thereof, desired to have in Writ-
ing somewhat about the same. Which being done.
It was, it seems, imparted to divers, with approba-
tion ; and Return made. That somewhat might be
done about it in due season : which the author rested
satisfied with ; in that there lay not now at his dore,
a Thing concealed, that might tend to the welfare of
the Country.


About three years after this (that foregoing being
wholly buried) the author accidentally started this
Expedient, among divers Country Gentlemen, Yeo-
men & others; persons not likely to lend an ear to
a thing of this nature. Yet so it happened, that to
some one, or more of them, the Notion was of esti-
mation : and spread abroad, to the occasioning of
several Debates among those who were Considerable,
both in Parts & Purse : And stopped not, untill
the honoiu-ed Council heard thereof. But before
they took notice of it, One of the Magistrates Im-
parted the Designe to an experienced Merchant, well
Read in the nature of Banks, To have his judge-
ment concerning this. Who Returned, that this
Bank was so Stated, as left not room for a rational
Objection to be made against it In that those
Founded on Money, had only their defect, of a pos-
sibility to break ; which this Fixed on Land, was
not capable of. Soon after this, the Author had
notice given, that the Council would send speedily
for him, about this Concern : & was advised to write
somew^hat about it, for them. Whereupon, he set
upon drawing a second Draught, in the dress of a
Projyosal. The which, before quite write out, a
Messenger was [4] sent to call him to them. To
whom he presented his (then crude) conceptions,
as follows. To which some clauses, and explana-
tions are added : but is the same for substance,
with that on File in the Records of the General


A Proposal for erecting a Fund of Land ; hy
Authority, or private Persons, in the nature
of a Money-Bank ; or Merchandise-Lumber, to pass
Credit up)on, hy Book-Entries ; or Bils of Exchange,
for great Payments : and Change-bills for rim-
ing Cash. Wherein is demonstrated, First, the
necessity of having a Bank, to inlarge the Measure
of Dealings in this Land, hy shelving the henefit of
Money, if enough to mete Trade loith ; & the dis-
advantages, when it is otherwise.

Money is that One thing, which, as the medium
of Trade, (for so Solomon^ s Assertion must neces-
sarily, be understood) answer eth All things. For
where it is in plenty, no Buyer will be bound to one
Person, or Market ; nor purchase Credit at the Grant-
or's price ; nor be necessitated to become Servant to
the Lender, if he have Money to answer his occa-
sions ; nor will run the hazard of Trusting. Hereby
also, the frequent complaints that are made, for
want of present pay, are silenced & persons freed
from a multitude of carking cares. It likewise, mul-
tiplies Trading ; increaseth Manufacture, and Pro-
visions ; for domestic use, and foreign Returns ;
abateth Interest; incitethto the purchasing of Land,
and heighteneth its value; forwards the Improve-
ment both of real, and personal Estates ; promot-
eth the Settleing of new Plantations, and maritim
Affairs ; incourageth heartless Idlers, to Work ;
redeemeth Time Labour, and Expence, greatly
consumed in higling up and down, to suit Pay to


content, abrogatetli the mystery of Trucking, by
sinking JJarttn-, and reducing all bought, and sold,
to the Entrlish Standard ; hindretli wrangling: and
vexatious Suits upon Debts contracted for want
thereof, to the Scandal of a religious people, as well
as the impoverishing of [5] them, and the consum-
ing the time of their Magistrates, that might be
better spent about studying the necessary advantages
of Trade, and forwarding of Manufacture, to the
inriching of them. To which end most civilized
Nations set some apart to manage, and is the Load-
stone that draweth commodities to the Market, that
great conveniecy of a people.

On the contrary where Coin is scarce,* all things
are, dear, & little answereth to content, or free from
trouble, and loss. Debts are contracted ; dilatory,
and shuffeling payments made ; dexterous Traders
retire or (which is worse) deal in Money, the me-
dknn of Trade ; young beginners are checked ;
good men laid open to temptations, and opportuni-
ties given to bad ones, that exact from those who
must crave Credit, or cannot make suitable pay.

Trade is stinted at home, and forestalled abroad ;
Stocks lye dead ; Intrigue accompts, and perplexing
Suits made ; Merchants, and Shop-keepers, undersell
one another ; and pitifully help themselves, by beat-
ing down Craftsmen : who again, through necessity,
underwork others of their occupation ; or slight over
their work ; adulterate Manufacture, and hasten

* This Clause, with some other Objections 6-= Queries, very lately
made; shall receiv a full Reply in the next Sheet : if possible.


poverty on all. Nor can ever Trade be ballanced,
or the advantage of Fairs be enjoyed, where Money
is wanting. Which the Cohler of Agawa7n, before
he Canonized Pumpion, was not so Simple but
understood full well.

Secondly, That Credit 2:)ass^d in Fund, hy Book,
& Bills, {as afore) will fully supply the defect
of Money. Wherein is related, of how little
value Coin, as the Measure of Trade, need he, in it
self; what Inconveniences subject to. The worth
a Y\m^-Bill, or Payment therein, isof:& not of
that Hazard.

Although Cash be so usef ull ; yet it is but a ready
conveniency. Which hath, through mistake, its
esteem, not from the use, (which it ought) but In-
trinsic value : which is not essential to a thing,
meerly good for Exchange ; and serving barely [6]
to procure what One wants, that another abounds
with : and again, to fetch for the last, what he
standeth in need of, where to be spared. And this
(except here were Mines, to transport hullion, for
foreign Trade) Bank-bills, or payments therein, will
effect, to all Intents, as well as plenty of Coin ;
which, as money, doth neither Feed, nor Cloath.
Moreover, Treasure, not onely allures an Enemy,
and is covetously hoarded up ; & so, like dung in a
heap, unprofitable : but is also subject to wear adid-
teratincj, {fires, robberies, 7nistakes, & the like con-
tingencies; which, payments in this Bank, or bills
issued thence, are free from : having a Fund, or


Deposit in Land ; real, dureable, & of secure value.
And for the Change-hUls, they may be so contrived,
as to be passed with facility ; and without counter-
feitinof. However, so as to prevent ; or find out,
any Cheat : if the Rules of them be observed.

The other two Sections of the Proijosal, must
be pass'd to the 2d. Sheet, iJarj. 9. It being need-
ful to make a Digression, to give an account of the
publishing this undertaking sooner, than intended.
In the year 74. divers well-wishers to the Fund, did
think it fit, to have a Narrative of it Printed. In
order whereunto, something was done, in the Method
before ; %. e. the occasion of the Subject ; and then,
the 2^roceedi7igs thereon, to that time : but particu-
lar business did interpose. In the year 78. the au-
thor was importuned to the same thing : which had
been done, but that after-thoughts brought him to
consider, that so much having been agitated in Pub-
lique, about it ; and the probation it had by the
Referrees, and honoured Council, as to the TJieory
thereof; the Press would hardly print it into the
pr actio part : and that the onely way was to set it
on foot. For, as Good Wine needs no hush ; so it
was presumed, that if this were but in use, the
Flavour thereof would invite enou' to, and continue
them at it. Which to accomplish, (having by acci-
dent, some respit time this year 1681. and accomo-
dated Avith Spirit, Purse, & Hand ; the ingredients
that must center, as in one, for any considerable
undertaking) He did in Sep'l^Jltember, begin to
pass forth Bills, to make an Experiment of that


which had passed the Scrutiny of above 30. years,
with approbation ; and had rational Grounds to
conclude, that it would work it self up into Credit,
with discreet men : because Lifrest will not Lie.
In 6 moneths, a considerable number espoused the
Designe ; besides those that were concerned, in the
years. Seventy on^, & Seventy two. Whereupon, it
became as a Galley Jioating iq^on the stream of ojnn-
ion, into which He, & He would thrust an oar.
And some that favoured not the Designe, did talk
to the discountenance of it: and wanting weighty
obiections, let fiy broadsides of Pot-gun-pellets,
chained with Fallacies & huffoonry, to impede this
undertaking. Upon this, several, now engaged,
think it not fit to be longer silent : but urge the
hastening an account of the Designe; that the
Reality, Safety, and Benefit thereof, may appear to
all prudent, and unprejudic'd men. And this shall
be endeavoured, as time wdll permit ; though not in
the mode first intended : Which was, to place all
the Rules relating to the Fund, at the end of the
Narrative ; and then the Debates that are carried
on, concerning Commerce. Which will now fall in
mixt and this Sheet be closed with some Rules, most
needful to be first known, for the directing those in
Company, in their motion. The manner of erecting
the Fund, which was MarcJi 30. 71. and the carry-
ing it on in private, for many moneths; and the
reason of putting a stop to it, when hills were just
to be issued forth, together with the Preamble of
the Rules, &c. They may come in, in due place


Payments on Change-bills.

Tliat the Acceptor, loho gives Credit to any
Change-hlU, First, he assured that the Producer
thereof, he the Person named in said hill, or sent
hy his Order. Secondly, That he Enter on said
hill, 1. the Time. 2. his own Name. 3. the
Value he payes. Wliich, if it he the first Charge,
then also to write the Sum, in words, ahove the
columne : If not, then to cast up the Toted : lohich
is to he done at every additional Article, & the

Online LibraryAndrew McFarland DavisTracts relating to the currency of the Massachusetts Bay, 1682-1720; → online text (page 1 of 24)