The Key of Wealth

Or, A new Way, for
Improving of Trade :
Lawfull, Easie, Safe and Effectuall :
A few Tradesmen agreeing together, may both double their
stocks, and the increase thereof,
  1. Paying any interest.
  2. Great difficulty or hazard.
  3. Advance of money.
  4. Staying for materialls.
  5. Prejudice to any trade, or person.
  6. Incurring any other inconvenience.

In such sort, as both they and all others (though never so poore)
who are in a way of trading, may
  1. multiply their returnes.
  2. Deale onely for ready pay.
  3. Much undersell others.
  4. Put the whole nation upon this practice.
  5. Gain notwithstanding more then ordinary.
  6. Desist when they please without damage.

And so, as the same shall tend much to
  1. Enrich the people of this land.
  2. Disperse the money hoarded up.
  3. Import Bullion from beyond sea.
  4. Raise banks of money in diverse places.
  5. settle a known and secure credit
  6. make such credit current
  7. extend such credit to any degree needfull
  8. Quicken the revolution of money & credit.
  9. Diminish the interests for moneys
  10. Make commodity supply the place of money.
  11. Ingrosse the trade of Europe.
  12. Fill the land with commodity.
  13. abate the price of commodity
  14. Provide store against famine.
  15. Relieve and employ the poor.
  16. Augment custom and excize.
  17. Promote the sale of lands.
  18. Remove the causes of improsonment for debt.
  19. Lessen the hazard of trading on credit.
  20. Prevent high-way thieves.
  21. Multiply ships for defence at sea.
  22. Multiplu means for defence at land.
  23. Incorporate the whole strength of England.
  24. Take away advantages of opposition.

All which in this treatise in conceived by judicious men to be fully proved,
doubts resolved, and objections either answered or prevented.

Eccles. 9.10. Prov. 8.12. & 13.4. & 20.4. & 22.13. & 24.30, &c. & 26.15. & 28.19. Matth. 25.14. &c.
Printed by R. A. and are to be sold by Giles Calvert at the black spread Eagle
neer the West end of PAULS. 1650.

[Page 65]

How it followes that all the aforesaid Advantages may be effected, so as the same shall tend much to • Inrich the people of this Land. , and • Disperse the monie hoarded up, and so forwards to the end of those twenty-four particulars mentioned in the Title page. 

HEre wants (I confesse) in the said Italicke print the word

Yet [And] being no other then a Conjunction Copulative, signifie; only thus much; that this enterprise tendeth to make good not only what went before, but that also which followes according to what I am now about to demonstrate.

So as the same,
The same; That is, the very same thing which affoards all the aforesaid advantages to the Undertakers, and those that hang out the said Flag, tendeth also to produce to the Generality of the people (viz by Incouraging and necessitating them to the same practice) all the accommodations hereafter expressed, without any diminution to those Advantages, though the whole Nation should join in this Enterprise, as hath been already demonstrated.

Shall tend
That is, as necessarily as naturall causes, to produce their proper effects; which appears by the sequell.

That is, Many of the aforesaid 24 particulars; unto the utmost extent that in reason may be wished or permitted; and the rest in very great measure; as will be clear by what followes.

1.1. First, To Inrich the people of this Land.

That is, to put the Generality of the people into a capacity of bestowing comfortable maintenance upon themselves and Families, reliefe of Indigent poor, entertainment of Friends, Journeys for recreation, Physick and [Page 66] attendance when sick, and such like; as much as can in reason be wished, and yet be in capacity to lay up plentifull proportions for their posterity besides.

By bestowing as much (upon the comfortable maintenance of themselves &c.) as can in reason be wished; I mean, either as much as they would though they were one hundred times richer then they are; or at least as much as from year to year can be procured for money and the best Credit, either out of the fruits of our own soil, the trade of fishing or traffick with other Nations: for al this must needs be the consequence of Trade and riches, when in creased to the uttermost, the way whereunto this enterprise doth discover, as is proved Lib. 1. Sect. 4. & Lib. 4. Sect. 1.

If it be questioned, whether the utmost improvement of our own soil, the trade of fishing and traffick with other Nations would yield every year so great a quantity of Commodity as might in reason be wished?

I answer, If the Trades-men cannot with money and the best Credit, viz. ready pay in the aforesaid Bills procure commodity, so fast as by reason of the abundant riches of the people, they spend yearly upon themselves, it argues that his trading is such as Commodities go off his hands faster then he is able with such ready pay to procure them.

Now if it were once come to that passe, that men could sell their Commodities, and that for ready pay, as fast as by their utmost industry they were possibly able to procure them; it can scarce be estimated, either how much such ready pay would incourage Industry, or how much such Industry, with such quick returnes, would increase mens wealth and stock in abundant plenty of Commodity; by making the Land wherein they live (though the soil were never so barren,) a kind of Storehouse or Warehouse to the whole world; seeing that if men could find sale for one hundred times as much ware in the moneth as formerly, it is not to be believed that they would fail to store themselves proportionably, in case the whole world could but be made (by the Art and Industry of men) to affoard it.

And to this purpose it will be needfull to note what I have once observed already; viz. That if there be but sale for Commodity in any place accessible, all the Merchants throughout the world would be sure to send it thither in as great proportions as could be needfull; whereby such place though never so barren of it self, being (as it were) the seate of trade, might become as full of commodity in respect of the rest of the world, as London is to other parts of England.

The Hollan. have put this truth out of question, by their own experience whose Land, though so barren as it yields in a manner nothing; yet it being their constant practice to hearken unto all Proposals, incourage such as are good, and set on foot all that tends to the advance of trade, Industry and riches (as conducing amongst other advantages to the increase of Custome, excise &c.) and in all these things to use dispatch; they have almost ingrossed all trading into their own custody, and notwithstanding such Barrennesse of their own soil, are as it were the Storehouse of Europe for plenty of Commodity.

In which (by the way) that they should so much exceed, (nay that they should come neer unto) us, (in regard of the great fruit fulnesse of this Land in comparison of theirs) what reason (seeing they have bin exercised with War much longer then we) can be given, but our want of Industry and watchfulnesse to take all opportunities for advance of trade amongst us?

And this doth indeed demonstrate, that we in England are (as one saith) like those prodigall spendthrifts, who being Heirs to a reasonable estate; waste and consume their sustance for want of good husbandry, till they reduce themselves to extream want; whereas they in Holland like those young beginners that have [Page 67] little or no Stock, nor any friends to depend upon, do so seriously apply their mindes to all the methodes of thriving, as they quickly become exceeding rich.

Wherein seeing it cannot be denyed, but that the many sad effects of those amongst us, who perish for want; will leave without excuse, such as shall neglect (in their places and calling) to husband natures liberall giftes to the best advantage (when an easie meanes thereunto is discovered) I hope the fear of God, will prevent all those whom it concerns, from sinning so much against the light of nature, as to neglect in any measure possible, the furtherance of that meanes.

But to return from whence we have digressed; as to the fruitfulnes of our native soil; it is well known, that before our late troubles, this Land did affoard us plenty enough; that there is like to be much of it far better improved, both by the sale of that which hath not been plowed up for these many generations (if ever at all;) And by many excellent waies lately discovered for improvement of Land, against the practise whereof there is no greater discouragement then that of a high rate of interest, (as hath been long since demonstrated by those who have writ of that subject) which by meanes of this enterprise will be exceedingly lessened, if not annihilated, as I shall shew in its place: To which purpose if any desire further satisfaction concerning the improvement of Land; I refer them to a Book put forth by Captain Walt. Blith called the English improver; and especially to the second edition thereof which I am informed (being now coming forth) will present the world with many excellent discoveries never before observed: I would advise those who are concerned therein to speak with the Author himself; who if he be able, as I hope he is, to give a rational account of his undertakings to those that shal converse with him: it cannot but give much satisfaction.

His lodging I believe, may be found by inquiring of him that prints his Book. Thus much I thought good to intimate, not for any skill I have to judge of this Authors Works; but out of a desire that all things tending to publique good, might be inquired out and furthered here, as much as they are in other parts of the world.

Now as the Land, so no doubt the Sea, would be as helpfull to us, as it is to the Hollander; through the Trade of fishing which is of no small importance, by reason of the many severall trades that depend thereon: the much imployment for the Poor that it would occasion, & the great increase of victual which will by that meanes be produced; whereby not onely Fish but Flesh would fall in price: For else the generality of the people might, (and especially the Poor would) feed so much the more upon Fish, till the price of Flesh did thereby fall considerably.

Adde to all this that the number of persons amonst us, are (though a thing much to be lamented) exceedingly lessened, by the abundance of Bloud that hath bin so unhappily spilt in these late wars, besides the multitudes that by reason of the new Plantations, and especially by reason of our late troubles, have forsaken this their Native soil.

Now I say in all these respects it must needs be granted, that though the People of this Land were generally rich, whereby they might bestow upon themselves and families a comfortable maintenance; yet this fruit full Land, by the helpe of the Sea through the trade of Fishing and traffick with other Nations, would affoard from time to time a store as much as at each time would be needfull, or in reason desireable.

And consequently that by the use of the aforesaid Bils, in a way of Trade, trading may be increased, and by consequence riches, and that so as whereby, to put the generality of the people into a capacity of bestowing upon them comfortable maintenance of themselves and families, reliefe of Indigent poor, entertainment of Friends, [Page 68] Journeys for recreation, Physick and attendance when sick, and such like; as much as can in reason be wished, and yet be in capacity to lay up plentifull proportions for their posterities besides, which was the thing to be proved.

1.2. Secondly, To disperse the money hoarded up,

The aforesaid Bills not passing about but with halfe money, (in case there be money enough in the Land to double them, otherwise not but with a convenient proportion of money;) must needs by the revolution of them, draw forth all the money in the Land, to as quick a current through the hands of Trades-men as the Bills themselves, the rather for that when men find trading quick, (though they have never so much money by them) they will (for their profit) be ready to convert all their stock into ware or commodity; whereas otherwise rich men, are forced to keep the most part of their estates by them in money which tends to the destruction of Trade, and thereby to induce men to hoard up moneys so much the more, to the greater obstruction of Trade, and so on, till all be brought to ruine, as is demonstrated Lib. 1. Sect. 4.

Whereas whatsoever tendeth to the quickning of Trade, producing (for the same reason,) the contrary effect, it followes that this enterprize tendeth in both the aforesaid respects to disperse the money hoarded up.

Again, some men ingrossing moneys, as others do Commodities, to the end that moneys being scarce, the rate of Interest might be raised, if therefore (as I shall prove hereafter) Interest by this meanes will come to little or nothing, it must needs follow that such money-mongers will be prevented, and consequently, that in this respect also, this cause will tend much to disperse the money hoarded up.

1.3. Thirdy, To Import Bullion from Beyond-Sea.

That is, to cause Silver, Gold and Forreigne coine in either, to be brought from beyond-Sea, and coyned in the Tower of London, to the great encrease of money, and consequently trade and riches amongst us.

For as I shall shew hereafter; by meanes of this enterprise it shall come to passe, that Forreign Commodities will be cheaper here in England then in the places from whence they are brought.

I say cheaper, by which I meane, when the Forreign Coine that such Commodities do post our Merchants beyond-Sea, is of greater value (weight and finenesse considered) then the price in English coyn, which those Forreign Commodities will yield here, whereby such Forreign Coine or Bullion (being brought hither) would yield more in English money (being coined at the Tower) then such Forreign Commoditie it selfe; so as they who should returne such coine or Bullion, without laying it out in such commodity, would gain more then by the return of such commoditie.

Now from hence it must needs follow, that Merchants would use all meanes possible to Import Bullion rather then any such Commodity; Therefore if by means of this enterprise, it shall come to passe, that Forreign Commodities will be cheaper here in England, then in the places from whence they are brought (as I shall prove in its place) it cannot be denyed that this enterprise doth tend much, to cause bullion to be imported from beyond-Sea, which was the thing to be proved.

Obj. But if English Commoditys fall in price as well as Forreign, Merchants would [Page 69] sell our English Commodities at so much the lower rate beyond-Sea, which would by the same reason, occasion monies to be exported.

Ans. Though English commodities should here fall in price never so much, if Forreign commoditys fall here also, it doth not follow that Merchants could affoard to sell our English Commodities ever the cheaper beyond-sea.

For suppose, both Forreign and domestick Commodities, were but the twentieth part of the rate here as in other places; yet if in this case Merchants should sell our Commodities beyond-sea; at neer the twentieth part of the rate as formerly, then seeing (beyond-sea) they must pay as much as ever for their Forreign commoditys, and sel them here but at the twentieth part of the rate as formerly, they would lose about nineteen parts of twenty by the whole return.

Whereas on the other side, if they gain 20 s. for 12. d. by the Commodities exported, then though by the cheapenesse of Forreign Commodities here, they lose 18 s 6 d. per l. by Importing of them, yet they gain 50. per 100. by the whole return; and would in this case, gain no lesse then 20 s. for 12 d. if they should return the Forreign coin it self, without buying any such commodity.

It is clear then, that though domestick as well as Forreign commodities, do fall in price here in England; yet Merchants cannot affoard to sell our English commodities ever the cheaper beyond-sea, so long as Forreign commodities continues beyond-sea, at the same rate as formerly; because by paying dearer beyond-sea, for those Forreign commodities then they sell them for here, they sustain a losse, which they must make up with some profit upon the whole return, by selling our English Commodities there, as deer as ever. And for the further clearing of this mystery take one more instance: suppose they lose tenpounds in the hundred by the Commodities imported, then though they gain thirty in the hundred by the Commodities exported, yet by the whole return they gain clear but twenty pounds in the hundred; whereas I say again, if they could return the Forreign coin or Bullion, they would save the said losse of ten pounds in the hundred, and consequently gain a thirty in the hundred by the whole return.

If it be objected again, that in this case, men would Import no other commodity but Bullion, because it would be most profitable to them.

I answer, this Nation doth scarce stand in need of any Forreign Commoditie except Sugar; yet if our Merchants cannot procure their return in Bullion, they must return other Commodities whether they will or no; for other States, using their best endeavor to prevent the exporting of Bullion, Merchants cannot with safety make (frequently) their returns therein.

If it be questioned, whether these Bills serving in the place of money, would not occasion that money being in this respect of lesse necessity, would be exported?

I answer; that money (I confesse in this case) would not be so necessary, nay if we had not one dram of money or Bullion in the Land, yet having a sufficient quantity of these Bills amongst us, I do not see what considerable inconvenience could follow in any respect whatsoever; for whether a Nation have any Silven amongst them or no, yet if they can Trade as well without it, what need they care? for their estates in Vendible Commodities, (and consequently their Credit) is of as reall value as if it were in money.

If it be replyed, that money would be necessary for the retale of commodities, payment of Souldiers and such like.

I answer, this might (for a need, as I have already in effect intimated) be done by these Bills without money; yet rather then want money for such an occasion, [Page 70] I will not say we might coin Farthings and half-pence that should be worth in sine copper about the value they are taken for; But we might purchase Bullion with some of our commodities; a law being made that Merchants shall make, at least the twelsth part of their returnes in Bullion; which would inrich the Nation, more then such slight and Tall Commodities as are usually returned at deer rates, in stead of those many and excellent Merchandises that this Nation yields.

But I answer again; that though in this case money would not be so necessary as formerly, yet that would be no motive at all unto the exporting of our coin; for it is well known, that particular persons in their dealings in a way of Trade, do not looke so much at what is most necessary for the Common-wealth, as what is most Profitable for themselves, now certain I am, that as the multiplying of these Bills amongst us (according to what is already proved) would in one respect make the importing of Bullion, more profitable then any other commodity; so it is clear, that upon no consideration whatsoever, it can make the exporting of coine more profitable to them, then otherwise it would be.

If it be said that it may make money and Bills so plentiful here, as in other countries where money is scarce, men will give higher rates for it, and consequently, it will be exported to those parts.

I answer, the scarcity of money in those other parts, cannot proceed from our plenty of Bills in England.

Secondly, they must give such higher rates either in money, in commoditie, or in exchange by Bills of exchange; if in money, then they lose more Bullion then they gain by the bargain; if in Commodities, that is no otherwise, but to sell their commodities so much the cheaper, upon condition they may have their returnes made them in mony, and not otherwise; and why, if money be scarce here, may not we in England take the same course, much rather then any other Nation, having in our own hands, all Commodities that are meerly necessary for mans subsistance? And thirdly, if in exchange by Bills of exchange (if I say in this) they give a higer rate for our coine then formerly, it will be the occasion of importing their coine hither, and not of exporting ours to other parts.

As to instance, if any Nation do give for any sum in English coin, a sum of greater value in their own coin; it followes, that they who having such sum in Forreign coin due to them, should receive it by exchange in English coin they should thereby receive a sum of lesse value, then that which was due unto them in Forreign coin; and therefore, (aiming at their own profit) would indeavor to import such Forreign coin hither, and not to receive it by such exchange in English coin.

By all this then you see it is not with money, as it is with commodity, that the scarcer and (by consequence) the deerer it is in any place, the more like it is to be sent into that place; but the contrary.

If it should be yet further objected, that such increase of Bills amongst us, may occasion Forreign Nations to enhance their own coin, and by consequence, to undervalue ours; whereby it should follow, that a Merchant having an hundred pounds due to him here in English coine, cannot get so much in value, returned beyond-sea in Foorreign coin, so as if he could export his 100 l. English coin, it would yield him more beyond-sea, then by Bill of exchange he can get there paid him in Forreign coin.

I answer, the encreasing of these Bills amongst us here in England, can be no motive to other Nations to enhance their money; they being every whit as [Page 71] like to do this, whether we take any such course of trading with these Bills, or no; which yet if they should, it would do us so much the more prejudice, by how much the greater a damage it will be to this Nation to have their moneys exported, when they have no other meanes to maintain Trade amongst them.

Yet in a word, and so to passe from this, why may not we Inhance our monis (in order to exchanges abroad, though not to rents and debts amongst our selves) as well as other Nations doe theirs? and why should not we be as carefull of our own preservation, as the very Persians, Turkes &c? by applying our selves to the use of some effectuall meanes, whereby the price of our exchanges may be so high, as to occasion that no Merchants shall return their moneys, by exchange without great losse; so as then having no Trade amongst us by exchange for moneys with other Nations, but meerly by Importing of moneys or commodities, and that of moneys being (by meanes of this enterprise) made most profitable of the two, this undertaking shall, (in this respect) tend to much the more, to the importing of Bullion from beyond-sea according to what was here to be proved.

1.4. 4. To raise Banks of money in divers places.

That is, when this Enterprise shall be practised not onely in London, but in most of the chief Cities and Townes in England, if those of this Engagement shall thinke fit to cause any considerable summes of money (payable to them) to be paid in to the said Office there to lie in Banke for exchange of those Bills when need requires, it must needs occasion the raising of so many Bankes, as there are of such Offices.

Yet, because the greatest Bankes of money whatsoever, could affoard no one advantage, but what will follow in as full a measure, from the use of these Bills alone, though no such Bankes were raised (as appears by the particulars in the Titlepage and because Bankes (being in money) are lyable to hazard, through the unfaithfulnes of Officers intrusted therein, and divers other waies; whereby thousands are in danger of ruin at once, (to any one of which hazards, this enterprise is no waies incident,) I shall not put any stresse upon this, but refer it to the consideration of others.

1.5. 5. To settle a secure and known credit.

That is, both as safe and publique as that of the Chamber of London; Banke of Amsterdam or any which on earth can be established, as is demonstrated Lib. 3. Sect. 4. The great advantage whereof is the Argument of the whole Treatise.

1.6. 6. To make such Credit current.

That is to passe by Bills from hand to hand in the place of money, which (I say) may as easily be effected here as Bills of far lesse credit in other parts of the world are made Passable there; these being such as will yield the money they are taken for in hand, if the possessor of them hath a mind to sell them, as is evidently cleared in Lib. 2. Sect. 5. & Lib. 3. Sect. 3. 5, 6. & 7.

1.7. 7. To extend such credit to any degree needfull.

That is to multiply the number of the aforesaid Bills, so as to equalize in value mens estates in Commoditie, if that were needfull; Lib. 2. Sect. 3. And [Page 72] by consequence, to make mens trading one hundred times greater then formerly, as is demonstrated Lib. 1. Sect. 4. and Lib. 2. Sect. 3.

1.8. 8. To quicken the revolution of money and credit.

That an encrease of money (not hoarded up) or that which goes for such, doth occasion an encrease of Trade, that such encrease of Trade, doth quicken the current of such money (or whatsoever is taken in stead thereof) by incouraging men through such quick returnes of Commodity, to lay out in such commodity all they receive, with the utmost speed possible, whereby the same money, resting no where, must needs occasion a quick current thereof; is sufficiently demonstrated in Lib. 1. Sect. 3.4.

1.9. 9. To diminish the Interest for monies.

To diminish it (I say) so as to make it suddainly fall to very little, and at last to nothing.

For who will put in security to borrow money upon Interest, when he may upon like security, have such Bills as will passe in the place of money lent him gratis, & that in such a way, as whereby to be brought into a capacity of multiplying his trading to the utmost degree possible?

This advantage will be of great concernment in many respects, as passing from one particular to another, I have, (partly already noted) and shall further note, where occasion is offered.

1.10. 10. To make Commodity supply the place of money.

Commoditie supplies the place of money, two waies; either when by reason of an extraordinary quicknesse of trading, it is (as they say) every mans money; and becomes so Vendible, as men could not lose to take it for money it self, at the rate of the Market; and this is no more then the effect of trade, when quickned to the utmost period. Secondly, Commodity supplyeth the place of money, when money (or that which goes for such) is so plentiful as any man that hath commodity, and consequently Credit, may upon morgaging thereof, borrow such money without paying Interest, and so may obtain new ware, and yet keep the old commodity (which gives him this Credit) still in his custody.

Now, both these are the undeniable effects of this enterprise, and being put together, do like two fummes not added, but multiplyed each by other, produce a third, much greater then the totall of both: For the more saleable commodity is, the better security it is for borrowing money thereupon; and the better security it is the lesse are men constrained to undersell it, for procuring such money, and consequently the more saleable it is; hence it is yet so much the better security, therefore also yet so much the more saleable, and so ad infinitum; hereupon, (I say) these two advantages being put together, do tend to multiply each other, whereas either of them alone, makes good what was affirmed, namely, that this enterprise tendeth to make commodity supply the place of money.

Now, whereas I here speake of Commodities being security for the borrowing of money, (by which money I mean the aforesaid Bills) yet I would not have it to be understood, as if the Company before mentioned, should ordinarily accept of Commodity for their security; but my meaning is, that those who have an Estate [Page 73] in Commoditity, if they make over that estate to such their friends or acquaintance, as being of sufficient ability, are willing to become bound as sureties for them, to the said Company, for borrowing of the said Bills; those sureties causing themselves to be insured against hazards of Fire, theft, and all such like suddain and considerable losses, and also ingaging the principall to permit them to take a frequent accompt of their ordinary gaines and losses; hereby if the sureties find the stock of the Principall to be at any time diminished, they may cause him to return a proportionable quantity of the Bills thus borrowed; so as from time to time to equalize the Bills borrowed, to the rest of the Principalls estate.

All this being done, I do not see that such sureties can incur any losse, but what they might easily have been able to prevent: for all suddain damages and disasters being insured against, it is not possible for a man to lose above the one half of his stock so sudainly, as not to be foreseen; in which case, the other halfe, will serve to pay the debt, due upon these Bills.

All which things for that they tend to shew how commodity may be made equinalent to money, (by being sufficient security for borrowing of that, which goes for money) were meet in this place to be inserted.

1.11. 11. To ingrosse the Trade of Europe.

The Hollander, (having a greate stock) will sometimes ingrosse a commodity from the Merchants of all other nations, in what land soever it is to be found; and then agree not to part with it again, but at their own rate.

I commend not this course, in all cases; yet for a people to be in capacity to practice it when need requires, whereby they may be able to repay other Nations with their own coin, if for their necessary defence they be justly provoked thereunto, is very fit and requisit.

Now, as it is clear, that the greater stock a people have, the better they shall be inabled to Vye with others at this kind of Game; so it is already demonstrated that by the multiplication of these Bills mens stocks and estates may in short time be extended to the utmost degree needful.

But further, according to the words of Mr. Robinson before cited, the greater trade of one country, hath a capacity of undermining and eating out, the lesser Trades of other countryes, that is, by buying cheaper and selling for lesse profit; And so selling the same commodities as cheap perhaps, as other Nations can buy them, it must needs tend to Ingrosse all the Trade into their own hands; as the Hollander hath by this meanes done by the Trade of fishing: Therefore this enterprise tends much to ingrosse the Trade of Europe.

1.12. 12. To fill the Land with Commodities.

When matters are so ordered, as men do not generally keep their Estates by them in money, their Trading, consequently, their Stockes and estates in Commodity, must needs increase the faster, by how much the more such money doth increase amongst them.

Now, by meanes of this enterprise, the aforesaid Bills; Therefore also Trading, consequently mens stocks and Estates, in Commodity, therefore Commodity; may be encreased to the utmost degree that can in reason be wished; as is already sufficiently demonstrated.

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1.13. 13. To abate the price of Commodity.

This Enterprise tends effectually, to abate the price of Commoditie, four waies;

  1. By increasing the plenty thereof, Lib. 1. Sect. 6.
  2. By quickning of returnes, whereby men are inabled to live upon lesse profit per l. Lib. 1. Sect. 7.
  3. By reducing Interest to nothing; whereby mens bargaines in a way of Trade, purchase, planting, Building &c. are rated accordingly.
  4. By inabling some to undersell others; whereby others are necessitated to sell as cheape as they; and so on, till this practice doth become universal Lib. 4. Sect. 2.

Now, if the price of Commoditys fall never so much in England, yet such fall doth not hinder a further fall: for though, (as is already noted) both Forreign and domestick Commodities, should fall till those things which are now sold at 20 s. may be had for 12. d. yet seeing he that receives this 12. d. can procure as much new Commodity therewith, as formerly with his 20. s. it must needs come to passe, that by the same reason as Commodities fell to this low rate, they may fall still more and more perpetually.

Further, in case Merchants (who export our English Commodities) should purchase them here at the twentieth part of the rate as formerly, then (though by such a fall in the price of Commodities in England, Forreign as well as domestick Commodities be sold at the twentieth part of the rate as formerly, yet) they may affoard to sell their Forreign Commodities also at the twentieth part of the rate as formerly, and still gain as much per l. as ever, by the whole return.

And therefore, that which occasions in England, a considerable fall in the price of Commodities in Generall, must needs occasion a fall in the price as well of Forreign as of English Commodities, although they should come to that low rate, as to be sold cheaper in England then they were bought beyond-sea; and from hence follows one thing, that in the particulars touching the importing of Bullion was taken for granted; viz. That this enterprise tendeth to occasion Forreign Commodities to become cheaper here, then in the places from whence they are brought; Therefore This enterprise tendeth to abate the price of Commodity; and that stil more and more perpetually.

1.14. 14. To provide store against Famine.

That is, when corn (or any provision fit to be store up) is cheape in any Land or Nation whatsoever; it may by this meanes be bought up, and pawned for Bills (according to such quantity as shall be allowed by authority) with which Bills (as with a new stock) men may continue to Trade, keeping their corn or such like commodity, till a time of scarcity; And this will both affoard advantage to those that store it up, and help much to mitigate the dearth, which otherwise would sometimes ensue.

For though, such storing up of corn or other provision, as it is managed by men looking solely at their own private advantage, is a practice much abused to the oppression (and not reliefe) of the poor; yet that should not debar men from the right and lawful Use thereof, in regard that (if honestly managed) it tends as much, to the releife of the poor in a time of dearth, as any one thing whatsoever; [Page 75] Thus then it appears that this enterprise, tendeth to provide store against Famin.

1.15. 15. To relieve and imploy the poor.

To releive them, viz. First, by occasioning a fall in the price of Commodities. Secondly, by providing store against Famin. Thirdly, by inriching the generality of the people, through which meanes both the number of those that stand in need of reliefe, are decreased, by growing rich; and also those that should relieve them are so much the more increased, both in number and estate. Fourthly, by erecting Pawne-houses, through which, matters may be so ordered, as these Bills may be lent without Interest for some small charge per Cent. towards the maintenance of an Office; And that not onely for inconsiderable sums, in the manner of Bridges in Flanders, but for sums of great value to accommodate Merchants and others. And hereby also it must needs come to passe, that not onely extortion, but even Interest of moneys must needs come suddainly to nothing. But of this (God permitting) more hereafter, if need require.

Therefore, this enterprise tendeth much to relieve the poor, which was the first thing to be proved.

Secondly, to imploy them. First by increase of Trade; for without trading there cannot be sufficient imployment for such poor, as are willing to take pains, much lesse for others. Secondly, by inriching the people, whereby they are inabled to maintain more Servants and Attendants, both in reference to their Trades and Families, and that both in their health and sicknesse.

Thirdly, by mens putting their neerest Friends and relations that are destitute of any meanes of lively-hood into some credible way of imployment: For men that are rich themselves, will be loath to see their neerest relations perish, (or to maintain them at their own charge,) when through a general quicknesse of Trading, the meanes of putting them into a thriving Condition, is made Feasible.

Fourthly, through the abatement of Interest, whereby those monied men who are destitute of the skill of any Trade (of which there are very many) would be glad to lend their stock upon reasonable conditions, to such honest and wel-governed persons, as having skill in a Trade are out of present imployment, for want of stock of their own; And this no doubt would occasion such men to be sought after, and put in a way, not onely of lively-hood, but of thriving.

Fifthly; such Officers as shall at any time be imployed in setting the poor on worke, and intrusted with a stock to that end; may by onely hanging out such a Flag as is before mentioned, find sale for their Commodities, and that with ready pay in money or Bills, though they should prepare them never so fast; without which it is manifest, their attempt would be both a prejudice to themselves, and to those poor that are willing to take pains for a lively-hood: and likewise these Officers, if they put in security may also double such their stock with the yearly increase thereof; Therefore this enterprise tendeth much, and in many respects to imploy the poor; Which was the second thing here to be proved.

1.16. 16. To augment Custome and Excise.

According to the increase of Trading, such is the encrease of Custome and [Page 76] Excise; which if Trading were multiplyed proportionably, might serve in the place of all taxes, with a sufficient over plus besides, to the great advantage of the State, and ease of the People.

1.17. 17. To promote the sale of Lands.

  1. It is a rule that the decrease of Interest, doth increase the price of Lands.
  2. Who will not buy Land when by morgaging the same, he may have his stock restored in Bills, whereby to follow a Trade?
  3. It will be for the advantage of this Company, to purchase Land, in manner as is declared Lib. 2. Sect. 1. Whereby they may increase the number of the said Bills, until they have multiplyed their Trading, unto the utmost degree possible.

Therefore this enterprise tendeth in divers respects, to promote the sale of Lands.

1.18. 18. To remove the causes of imprisonment for Debt.

Seeing by this meanes, all men that will but hang out the said Flag, may have as much Trading as they are able to manage with ready pay, in the aforesaid Bills; (the truth of which I have already sufficiently demonstrated;) It must needs tend to occasion that trading upon private credit, (which doth occasion many mens runing in Debt, further then they are able to satisfie) wil soon be laid down: Therefore this enterprise tendeth much to remove the causes of imprisonment for debt.

1.19. 19. To lessen the hazard of Trading on Credit.

For seeing by this meanes all Trading on private Credit, will be laid down and that the hazard of Trading upon the Credit of this Company, will not be considerable, in regard that the Security for making good what they undertake is (matters being ordered as is declared) no lesse then equall to that of the Chamber of London, Banke of Amsterdam or any which on earth can be given, as is fully cleared Lib. 3. Sect. 4. Therefore this enterprise shall tend to lessen (and in a manner to annihilate) the hazard of Trading on credit; which (in a word) will be no small incouragement to trade.

1.20. 20. To prevent high-way-Thieves.

If matters be ordered so, as these Bills though surprised in the high-waies, shall neither be any benefit to the surpriser, nor any losse to him, from whom they are taken (which how it may be done, I shall shew hereafter if need require) it will occasion that men will seldome (if ever) send any considerable sums, from one Town to another in money; but exchanging their money for Bills (such Bills being as good (I say) as any Bonds whatsoever) will rather send those Bills in stead of money, whereby such robers as aime at the surprising of mony, will be disapointed.

Now, seeing such Robbers will not find it at all worth their time, much lesse so apparent hazard of their lives and fortunes, to make a common practice of stealing goods, which in regard they must speedily sell them, before [Page 77] they could meet with a chapman (that would give them any thing worth the labour of carriage,) could not choose but be in great danger to be apprehended especially (I say) if they continue this practice.

Hence, then it followes, that this enterprise tendeth to remove all opportunities of advantage from high-way-thieves, by that course of life; That is, to prevent high-way-thieves, which was the thing to be proved.

1.21. 21. To multiply Ships for defence at Sea.

It is a rule that the more Trading doth encrease in any place, the more Ships multiply in that place; especially if Interest fall to little or nothing; For by this meanes, men may procure money as well to build ships, as to improve Land or Build houses at a low rate; now the more ships any Nation hath, the more strong they are at Sea; Therefore this enterprise tends to multiply ships for defence at Sea; And whether to this purpose it might not be meet there were an Act against imploying any Ships, but our own, I submit to consideration.

1.22. 22. To multiply meanes for defence at Land.

A people being generally exceeding rich, and in a thriving way of Trade, the charge of maintaining a considerable Army (with full and due pay,) is in comparison of a Burden, but as a Fly upon the Back of a Camell.

Now, this full and due pay, is in such sort the sinewes of Warre, that (as it is very hard keeping souldiers together without it; so) there is no great fear of wanting souldiers, where such pay is to be had; Hence, it is clear, that riches is the principall meanes of a peoples defence; and consequently, that this course tendeth to multiply meanes for defence at Land; as doth more fully appear upon a due consideration of the particulars following, concerning taking away advantages of opposition.

1.23. 23. To incorporate the whole strength of England.

By both incouraging and necessitating the generality of men throughout the Land, to joine in this engagement, it will follow, that the most considerable part of the whole Nation, will be incorporated into this one secrety or company; which (as matters may be ordered, will tend so to resolve all their Interests into one, as men will not be in capacity though they would, to side with parties, so as there will lie a kind of necessity upon them for their meet subsistance, to stick together as one man for their mutuall defence; therefore this enterprise (at lest as it may be ordered,) shall tend to Incorporate the whole strength of England; Neither can this be accompted a thing of small concernment.

1.24. 24. To take away advantages of opposition.

When a people are very poor, the maintaining of a smal Army, is accompted a great burden. And that together with the want of imployment and other meanes of subsistance, doth exceedingly encrease mens discontent, and vexations of mind, which do much dispose men to turbulency and commotion, especially having most of them, little other businesse or hopes, any other waies then by fishing n troubled waters (as they say) to preserve themselves from perishing, for want of maintenance; [Page 78] Whereas if men had generally as much Trading as they were able to manage, it must needs multiply such a heape of businesses upon them, as wereby to take off their minds from assisting such, as would pursue advantates of publique disturbance.

2. Men having generally little or nothing except a miserable life to lose, they care not how often the Land wherein they live, be exposed to Plunderings and publique confusion: Whereas if the generality of them, had great estates in the same Land (like several Merchants that had great adventures in the same bottome) with a thriving Trade and much imployment, whereby to divert and delight their thoughts, though the profits, pleasure and necessary occasions thereof, they would be so far from promoting, as they would be deeply ingaged to endeavour the preventing of all occasions that might conduce, to the stirring up of new troubles, as tending to deprive them of that which most men accompt their chiefest happinesse, viz. the riches and pleasures of this life.

3. That all Vagabondes and idle Runnagadoes, should be not onely reduced to some order and discipline, but also put in some way of imployment is no doubt, one excellent quallification of a wel-governed Common-wealth, as being a principall meanes to prevent occasions of publique disturbance: But how this can be effected with neer that advantages to the Undertakers, or without prejudice to such poor, as are willing to take pains for a lively-hood, in any place where trade is so dead, as it will not affoard sufficient imployment, even for such poor, who are of civil behaviour and good quality; How (I say this can be done except by some meanes that must tend to quicken our decayed Trade, is beyond my present apprehension

For certain Iam, that if there be not sale for any considerable part of the ware, that might be wrought even by such poor, who are willing to take pains therein; Then to set others upon the worke, and find no other meanes to vend the same, is but to take the means of lively-hood out of the hands of those that best deserve it.

Yet, except some way be found whereby such idle persons as aforesaid, may be reduced to Order and imployment, it cannot (I say) be expected, but the Common-Wealth should be Subject to much disturbance thereby.

For, as it is the want of Lively-hoode, that multiplies Mens discontents and vexations, so it is the want of imployment that not onely deprives them of Lively-hood, but increases the number (as by Swarmes) of Roagnes and Cut-Throates in the High-Waies and other places; Who not being Engaged in imployment, (but being wholely at their own dispose,) are in their VVandering Progresse, ready pressed upon all occasions for any mischevious design, that may tend to disturbe the peace of a Common-wealth.

4. Money, is of that nature, as the multiplycation thereof amongst a people, doth not onely incourage an enemy, in hopes of surprizing considerable sums thereof, so much the more easily, but being seized on tendeth both to maintain the enemies VVarre, and to diminish the meanes of their own defence: And therefore to inrich a people, with such money as will do the enemy no more pleasure though it were taken, then so much waste-paper, nor yet the losse of it be any damage at all unto those from whom it is taken, is a very great advantage, and doth discourage an Enemy from attempting designes upon such a people.

[Page 83]

But that in reference to those Bills, matrers might easily be ordered so as to effect this, I could evidently shew, if it were not too large to be at present insisted on.

All these things considered, I conclude, that this enterprise tendeth much, and in many respects to take away advantages of opposion, which was the thing here to be proved.

And thus in briefe, (to avoid repetitions) are all the perticulars in the title-page fully demonstrated, and most of them in a far greater measure, then was therein exqressed.

This is a selection from the original text


entertainment, fruit, full, plenty, rich, sick, spendthrift, store, trade

Source text

Title: The Key of Wealth

Author: William Potter

Publisher: R.A.

Publication date: 1650

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed.) / P3034 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.1067[2] Physical description: [16], 84 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 248:E.1067[2]

Digital edition

Original author(s): William Potter

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, pp. lib4, section 4.


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

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Genre: Britain > pamphlets

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