Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States, John Taylor of Caroline: From Chapter II (on debt)

This catastrophe has already arrived in Britain. Swindled out of endless wealth, by the vauntings of paper credit, of its will and ability to defend liberty and property that hapless nation sees itself taxed and impressed, to increase the penalty’ of its own credulity, and to protect that which promised to yield protection; its annual taxes beget annual additions to permanent debt, and its endless war with France was commenced by the fears of its paper system, however this war may have gradually changed its ground.

The effect of opposite interests, one enriched by and governing the other, correctly follows its cause. One interest is a tyrant, the other its slave. In Britain, one of these interests owes to the other above ten hundred millions of pounds sterling, which would require twelve millions of slaves to discharge, at eighty pounds sterling each. If the debtor interest amounts to ten millions of souls, and would be worth forty pounds sterling round, sold for slaves, it pays twelve and an half per centum on its capitation value, to the creditor interest, for the exclusive items of debt and bank stock. This profit for their masters, made by those who are called freemen, greatly exceeds what is generally made by those who are called slaves. But as nothing is calculated except two items, by including the payments for useless offices, excessive salaries, and fat sinecures, it is evident that one interest makes out of the other, a far greater profit than if it had sold this other, and placed the money in the most productive state of usance.

Such is the freeman of paper and patronage. Had Diogenes lived until this day, he would have unfledged a cock once more, and exhibited him as an emblem, not of Plato’^s man, but of a freeborn Englishman. Had Sancho known of a paper stock system, he would not have wished for the government of an island inhabited by negroes. Has Providence used this system to avenge the Africans, upon the Europeans and Americans ?

Commentary on From Chapter II (on debt)

  1. Ambrose Mnemopolous Post author

    In this passage, John Taylor uses slaves as a unit of conversion to determine that it is more profitable to put somebody into debt than it is to own that person outright.

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John Taylor's Inquiry... of 1814 is a comprehensive analysis and critique of the early American political landscape, ranging in topic from fiat currency, debt, slavery, authority, and aristocracy.