The Hartlib Papers

Title:Printed Pamphlet, 'An Essay Upon Master W. Potters Designe', [Sir Cheney Culpeper].
Ref:Full Text (pp. 25-33)
Notes:Published by Samuel Hartlib. Printed with 'A Discoverie For Division and Setting out of Lands', Cressy Dymock et. al. (1653). [HDC list of The Publications of Samuel Hartlib, Turnbull: No. 44]

[p. (25)]
Master W. POTTERS Designe:
Concerning a Bank of lands to be erected
throughout this COMMON-WEALTH.
Whereby Lands may be improved in a
New Way to become the ground for increase of trading,
and of Publique and Private Revenues, and
   Accommodations. Represented thus briefly, by a Person
    of singular Zeal and Integrity to all PUBLIKE
      INTEREST: To the end, that the Author's
       own Conceptions may be taken notice of by
        others, and he draw'n forth to make
          out this Great Businesse more
                fully in due time.
London, Printed for Richard Wodenoth in Leaden-hall-street.
[p. 27]
Essay upon Mr. W. Potters Designe con-
cerning a Bank of Lands to be erected
throughout this Common-wealth.
THere is no man, but must live by the fruits, either of his own labours or of what his friends have left him. And because no one person is fitted for all Vocations, nor any one Vocation fiited to produce all kinde of necessaries for mans use, from hence there arose (from the beginning) a necessity of some such Medium of Commerce, which we ordinarily call Money, to be currant, between such as have, either no reciprocal want, of each others commodities, or no liking of each others conditions or price.
   This Universal credit or Medium of Commerce, hath been (through all former ages) placed in the metals of Gold and Silver; other metals (by being made currant money, (by the Authority of some States) beyond their intrinsick value) having approved themselves, to be very subject, either to the inconvenience of being counterfeited, by dishonest persons, or Neighbour Nations, or to be (by the injustice of the Prince) sometimes altered to a higher or lower value, a cheat too ordinarily made use of by the Kings of Spain.
  The Inconveniencies that have bin found (by the latter ages) in, these two metals of Gold, Silver, are,
  First, that there hath not bin (at least not yet) a sufficient quantity of either of them, to supply all Nations towards that in- [catchword: crease]
[p. 28]
crease of Trade, which a greater quantity of money (if it could be had) would produce; It being an infallible Rule, that money being that, which every man (his petty occasions supply'd) seeks to employ in Land, Trade, at Interest, or some such other way, as may make him a yeerly return of gain) the more there is of money in any Nation, the quick also must all those wayes be, wherein money is ordinarily imployed.
  The second Inconvenience is, that all those Countries, that have inconsiderate Mines of Gold and Silver, or (perhaps) none at all, must (for the obteining of a thing, so necessary to the upholding of ordinary Commerce among themselves and with other Nations) part with so much of their best Staple-Commodities, as will purchase the Gold and Silver they want, from that great Merchant of Gold and Silver, the King of Spain; whereas, (could there be some such other Medium of Commerce found out, as this Common-wealth might (without paying or being liable, or beholding, to any other prince) raise, to, and within it self) there would be many Millions worth of our Staple-Commodities (now) saved, which must otherwise be parted with, to supply our present want of money.
  The third Inconvenience, which hath been found, especially in Silver (the most common metall of the two) is; that the keeping of it in a private Cash is dangerous; the continuall carrying of it from place to place, is both dangerous and troublesome; and the delivery and telling of it, from hand to hand, is none of the least businesses in a Common-wealth, especially if versed in Trade.
  Towards the obviating of these last Inconveniencies, arose that admirable Invention of a Bank; which (in short) is no other thing, then a transmitting of the Ownership of money, (deposited in a Publique Treasury, and secured (there) by [catchword: Pub-]
[p. 29]
Publique Authority) from hand to hand, by assignation onely; without the danger and trouble of keeping, carrying, or telling it.
  This way of assignation of the Ownership of money, or credit in Bank, hath, (among Merchants) approved it self, to be of excellent use, for the dispatch of all their businesse of payment.
  But the Inconveniencies, which this kinde of payment, (by way of assignation) hath not remedied are
  1 That it hath been (hitherto) applied, to the dispatch of businesse of payments, among Merchants onely, and not (ordinarily) to the concernments of the rest of the people, of the Nation, where the Bank is kept-
  2 That it is a better way onely, of the use of Gold and Silver, towards the dispatch of the businesse of Payment; and not at all any new Medium of Commerce; money being still, that necessary requisite to a Bank, without or beyond which, a Bank can neither be raised nor extended; since the having of more Credit, to be currant in a Bank, then there is money to answer it, is no better then there is money to answer it, is no better then a publique Cheat; and to be accounted, so much worse, then in any private person, in that Rulers have (in some places of Scripture) honoured with that name, and shall not the Judge of all the earth or of all Nations do right?
  3 That money (deposited (as above mentioned) in any one place) proves, not onely a temptation to the sword (as lately in Holland) but (if once surpriz'd) becomes a certain loss to all the Owners, and an invincible opportunity, (in the hand of the possessor) against the State or Common-wealth in which such Banks are kept.
  Having thus hinted; first, the absolute necessity (from the beginning) of some Medium of Commerce; Secondly, the [catchword: in-]
[p. 30]
Inconveniencies of those metals (Gold and Silver) in which this Medium of Commerce or Universall Credit, hath formerly been placed. And thirdly, the imperfection of Banks, (though an excellent invention) because they are but a lame and short remedy to those Inconveniencies. That which remains, is, (from a due consideration, of every part of the premisses) to hold forth (if it may be) some such new Medium of Commerce (in the place of Gold and Silver) as,
  1 Shall be (at least) of as true intrinsick value, as Gold and Silver.
  2 May be raised by this Common-wealth, within it self, without any parting with our Staple-Commodities for it, and without supplying the King of Spain, (who in the judgement of wise men) is likeliest to be our final and greatest enemy.
  3 May be extended, to ten times more, than ever this Nation was owner of in money; to the incredible increase of in-land Commerce, and (consequently) of exportation and forreign Trade.
  4 May be managed, without any least danger, either (of loss) to the Owners, or (of conquest) to the Common-wealth.
  5 May be transmitted, between person and person, and between place and place, with as much ease and security, as is to be found in forreign Banks.
  6 Will leave all money (which either is yet remaining, or shall be hereafter (by a wise ordering of our Trade) increase within this Nation) free for the Peoples use, without burying of it, (as if the Rulers be just and true) is done in Forreign banks.
  7 If to the premisses there can be added; first, how the private person may (readily without any trouble or charge) obtein money, at three pound per Cent. Secondly, how such [catchword: a]
[p. 31]
a Revenue, may be raised to the Publique, as may (in a great part, if not altogether) take away the necessity, of any future Taxes whatsoever from the people, the Propositions may (perhaps) deserve acceptance.
  Now since the Proposition to be made, towards so great a scope, is no other, then a complication of several things, already practised in the World, and arises chiefly from the ground of reason, upon which Forreign Banks consist; I shall (therefore) by way of inlargement of what hath been above hinted, concerning Forreign Banks, say;
  1 That the manner of the Banks beyond the Sea, is that one species of Money (such as Authority appoints) is brought into a Bank, or Publique Treasury.
  2 That the money thus deposited, is (instead of being taken out, carried and delivered) passed (from person to person) by assignation onely of the Ownership of so much money; which (in the language of the place) is called credit in Bank or Bank-credit.
  3 That (because all payments of Bils of Exchange must (by a Law established) be made at the Bank, it (from thence) comes to pass, that the Owners of the money in Bank (though they may) do yet seldome or never take out their money, but make their payments by assignation onely of their credit in Bank, which goes (in a continual suit) from hand to hand, with seldome or never taking the money out of the Bank.
  Towards the raising of those Banks at the first, two Laws were necessary from Authority, and established (accordingly) by them; first, that all payments of Bils (above twenty or thirty pounds) should be made at one place or Bank.
  Secondly, that all Payments to be made at that one place, should be made (also) in one species of Coine. After the example of publique Authorities, and of the Banks in For- [catchword reign]
[p. 32]
reign parts, it is (towards a far more valuable end) proposed.
  1 That there be (by Authority) a hundred several places (or more if occasion require) appointed in this Common-wealth, where all payments whatsoever (above ten or twenty pounds) shall be made and recorded, and this for avoiding of difference in all such payments.
  2 That all payments (above ten or twenty pounds) be enjoyned by authority, to be made in Bank-credit.
  3 That there be no way, to raise this credit in Bank, but by morgage of Land, for the security of those who (from time to time) shall be Owners of the Credit in Bank; And the condition of the morgage to be, either to pay so much money with interest at six pounds per Centum, within a twelve moneth from the day, that the Bank credit should (any way) fail to be currant, or (in default of such payment) the Land to be forfeited without redemption, and to be divided, among the Owners of the Credit in Bank.
  From the premisses these consequences will follow;
  1 The making of all payments, at the severall places above-mentioned, will raise so many Banks.
  2 The injoyning of all payments above ten or twenty pounds) to be made in Bank-Credit, will make money (in payments above ten or twenty pounds) to be a seeker, to be turned into Bank-Credit, being (it self) not currant, in ten or twenty pound payments, till so converted.
  3 The raising of Bank-Credit, onely by or upon Land, will avoid; all counterfeiting; (as in case of Copper-money) all danger of surprize (as lately in Holland) there being (by the Law of the Bank) no money to rest there; all hazard to them, that shall be (from time to time) Owners of all the credit in the Bank, because there is no credit in the Bank, but what is sufficiently secured in the same manner as money, that is now borrowed upon Land.
                         [catchword: 4 It]
[p. 33]
  4 It will multiply Money, (or that which will supply the place of Money) in the Land to two thirds, three fourths, four fifths, (or (perhaps) more) of the value of the Lands of the Nation, which can amount to little lesse then a hundred millions Sterling.
  5 It will furnish the Landed man with Bank-credit (currant in payment) at two per Cent.
  6 By two per Cent. payable (yearly) to the publique, for one thousand, six hundred, sixty six pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence of bank-credit, upon every hundred pound per Annum; the publique will receive (yearly) 33 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence out of every hundred pound, per Annum, that is, one third of the Rents of all the Lands, that are morgaged; which is almost or altogether double to what is now raised upon Lands, and which (the whole revenue of Lands being rated but at six Millions per Annum) comes to two Millions per Annum to the Publique, for the defraying of all publique charges, without any necessity of other Taxes.
Memorandum, that all lands, not morgaged to the Bank, are left to pay the present taxes; and so there will be no least disturbance to the present publique Revenue.