Several objections against the reducement of interest propounded in a letter with the Answer thereunto.

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Several objections against the reducement of interest propounded in a letter with the Answer thereunto.
Culpeper, Thomas, Sir, 1626-1697.
London :: [s.n.],
Printed in the year, 1671.

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Interest -- Great Britain.
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"Several objections against the reducement of interest propounded in a letter with the Answer thereunto." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 17, 2024.



I Am glad to find, That the maintainers of our present Rate of Interest, being driven from their main defences, betake themselves to such Shifts and Colours; It shews. They would only seem to say somewhat, which in Popular Causes, they think may pss for Reason: In the first place, they tell us the Legal Restraint of Interest at this time will

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prove abortive, Law being subordinate to necessity; But if not now, say I, when may it take effect? surely never, since when borrowers are few it needs not, when many, be∣like it boots not. Might not this Exception be equally taken against most of our Coer∣cive Laws? And were it not reasonably answered by demanding the Experiment? Espe∣cially since the benefits promised by its success are so many and great, And the Evils threat∣ned from its miscarriage so few and flender. Yet in regard of the stress it bears, I shall further examine its strength and substance: First, methinks these Objectours do a little prevaricate, For if they believed themselves, they might spare their Opposition, and as persons unconcerned, eely give it their Passport. Secondly, Let them reflect, whether the same Argument, having been as confidently urged against Eight per Cent. be not suffi∣ciently soyled; And whether though some Necessitous Borrowers have been shrewdly bitten by Extortion, (as some ever were and will be) yet thousands, who otherwise had certainly paid higher rates, have not borrowed at Six per Cent. and reaped such benefit by those reducements, as without other unequal payments, would alone have enriched, or at least fairly relieved them. Thirdly, My Errour, if such, is however charitable, in judging better of Creditours, then it seems they do of themselves; For whereas they are hreby represented as contemners of Authority, I rather admit them to be persons of strict Obedience and great Caution, Presuming they will now, (as formerly most of them have done) observe that Law, from which they challenge their only Protec∣tion and Warrant Fourthly, Paenal Laws are like large Nets; chiefly designed to catch the great Fish; some Frie will escape, And it matters not greatly here though they do, For Single Extortions weigh little in this Ballance, It is the Steady Rate of Interest, which coming clear into the lenders own Purse, and in ease and certainty far surpassing other courses, quite turns the scale on that side, so as the Abatement thereof must even natu∣rally buoy up our Lands. Lastly, It seems more then morally certain, That the same Land which is now accepted for the Loan of a Thousand Pounds at Six pawnes ipso facto for fifteen hundred at four per Cent. (there being no other imaginable standard for Mortgages and consequently for sales) then the computing of Rent with Interest) whereby Security will be restored; and vastly enlarged, And the Land (acquiring as it were a new fund) will lightly carry that burthen, which it now hardly bears, soon shake of its fetters, and in time turn Extortion quite out of Doors.

The second Objection, Namely, That if Interest be abated, Men will hoard up their Monies, Seems only considerable from the Quality of those that urge it; who are some of them wise men, and too wise I doubt, too mean as they speak: I might again refer them to former Experience, since this likewise within our Memorie hath been once dis∣proved; Not one that ever I heard of having kept any considerable stock dead for the Smallness of that Revenue, but too many being even charmed with the Sweetness of it Insomuch as I have lately known divers, who upon the Overture of a convenient pur∣chase, consulting their Pillows, and perceiving, (as needs they must if they do no wink) the present disparity betwixt Interest and Rent, have parted abruptly; Neither indeed have I observed any such treaty which this estimate did not govern, sometime to the utter disappointment, alwayes to the notable pre••••dice of the Seller. Surel the greater danger is. That too many will still continue t lend at four per Cent. with improved security, rather then otherwise get less with trouble and hazard: But tha any should ruinously keep in their Stock to no Account, seems too Panick a fear, if ei∣ther

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we consider the reason of the thing, or temper of the Persons: The Owner of Land in this fall and casualty of Rents, being generally a looser Accomptant of his Ad∣vantage, were likelier to incur this Prejudice; And better he might in prudence justifie his preferring some present want of Revenue before the disparagement of his Land: He might with good Colour pretend, it hath been overtilled and wants resting; That a Low Rent will scarce countervail the spoil commonly committed by Tenants at will, and short termours: However he knows the worst, and that he cannot be robbed of his Land: Yet how few Farms do we see Vacant, where the Owner is not either by misfor∣tunes distant of abode, or other more pressing occasions disabled or diverted from the best managery? Might we not judge him worthier of a Guardian then a Freehold, who having Land, and not wanting other requisites, should for any considerable time, both perversely refuse to Let, and carelesly neglect to Stock it? Much more absurd were it for monied men (no way obstructed) neither to lend nor employ their Stocks; And therefore to be presumed, that persons so wise in their generation, will not starve for lack of a Feast, and ruine themselves to incommode some body. Nothing is so like to interrupt the Free course of Lending (or at least dealing) as the unsoundness of Credit, and Scarceness of Security, which are evidently improved by Law, but undermined by high Interest: For that which we call Money lent being upon the matter nothing else, but Credit from the Lender to the Borrower, and security from the Borrower to the Lender, (as I have occasion often to repeat, and as appears not only by that ecellent Law and Practice of transferring debts in Holland, but even by daily proof among our selves, where a small note, nay a Promise, frequently serves to represent the payment of a considerable sum) Plenty or Scarcity of Current Security and Credit, (the manifest effect of high or low Interest,) must needs cause Plenty or Scarcity of Current Money. Besides the Loan of Money corresponds in good Measure with Letting of Land: Now the Landlord that Lets good Penny worths seldome wants substantial Tenants, who, commonly thriveing, pay their Rents punctually, And challenging a kind of Tenant right, securely repair and improve as upon their own Free-hold: Whereas hard Landlord's are generally and justly met with by hinderly and troublesome Farmers, and have their Estates often and ruinously turned into, and lying on their hands. Upon the same grounds of Reason, may we not observe, That even in this low Ebb of Credit, such as are known to have sound Estates, and noted to be current paymasters, shall oftimes be trusted, upon much easier then the common terms of lending; As on the other side, those that accept low interest, pick and chuse their security. And is it not most preg∣nant but withal most evident, That wheresoever Trade is clogged with high Interest, there is no end of Pledges and extreme Cautions▪ where the rate is tolerable there appears little use or need of them, Fame it self in effect serving as the common surety for Borrow∣ers, and few that have a name of honesty wanting convenient Credit? Admit then for Arguments sake, the Land of this Kingdom most of it to be vastly over-letten, so as no usual husbandry could raise near the Rent of it▪ (And whether this be not now too like ••••e case of borrowing at six per Cent. I appeal to the sad experience of all those, either Lndlords or Tenants, whose misfortune it hath been of late considerably to borrow,) what could thence ense, but such a decay of Farmers, failer of payments▪ and dearth of fair dealing on all sides, as must needs speedily tend to publick ruine? Wherefore I onclude, that sober Creditours, who propound not to themselves the Lucre of meer

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Extortion, though for their ease and benefit they chuse Interest money as their liveli∣hood, yet (if they will give themselves leave and leisure to think,) cannot but prefer four and even three freely payd and fully secured, before six nay eight per Cent. ventured upon the stretch of Security and Credit, torne piecemeal from their debtours, with such breach of Friendship and Charity, such ill natured Arrests, Seisures, Entries, Shifts, Hazard, Charges, and delayes, as now do, and must every day more and more at∣tend those contracts; And consequently that the moderating of Interest to a Rate, which the Land may comfortably bear, is the only means now left for men to lend safely, bor∣row easily, and pay duely, Costly Experience, will some say, may in time rectifie all, when most that borrow do not pay,, and few that pay borrow: When our great and numerous incumbrances expiring and discharging themselves in the ruine of most bor∣rowers and too many lenders, Credit and Security shall sink together, as they fairly be∣gin to do, and our disease abate for want of humour to feed it: But truly I cannot fan∣cy this Remedy, which too much resembles the decay of Nature, and in stead of real comfort faintly bids us hope, That when things are at the worst they may mend.

Their last Argument importing the danger of calling in Sums unseasonably by such as being abridged of their former income will endeavour otherwise to repair their loss, to the great inconvenience of borrowers, presents more shrewdly to those at least, who spie not its fallacy and self-contradiction: For quitting all publick considerations; and yielding, as it were the main dispute, it craftily insinuates it self, and whispers singly to every borrower this seemingly pertinent Question, What then will become of you, when all your debts shall be called in together? Now this meeting with the natural w of Borrowers, frights many of them into a Palsie; And the more unreasonable it is, per∣haps the more unanswerable, since for a groundless and extravagant fear, no humane wisdom can provide: Thus are the maintainers of this Policy furnished with Arguments of all kinds and colours, accommodated to every purpose; To the sender they suggest, that they visibly loose one third of their Revenue, without any hope of recompence, for that all the improvements from thence expected are silly projects; To the borrower, that however, in the end it may fare with the Publick, yet they, to be sure will in the mean time be undone, by a general calling in of Sums to purchase Land; To persons more indifferent, as not greatly or immediately concerned in either Condition, That abate∣ment of Interest by Law wil never in any degree answer what is expected from it; For such as have Power will use it as they list, and no man be induced to purchase or trade one whit the sooner; To vulgar capacities, that our rich men will hoard, our best stocks lie dead, and there will scarce be any lending. To reconcile these were indeed a Masterpiece of wit: But in the mean time, such shifting of Scenes and shuffling of No∣tions (so inconsistent,) notably serves to amuse the unwary and embroyle discourse which in popular causes, as I said before, proves oftimes a dextrous way of Arguing▪ The only way therefore to deal with such a Proteus is to confront his several Argu∣ments, and hold him strictly to the point, which an unsound Thesis will scarce abide For Instance, How comes the note to be so changed say I? It was once alledged that Len∣ders would still use their own discretion, and take no notice of any Law for Restraint; The in another vein, most men would be so sullen, as neither to Purchase nor Lend; Now in full career, and, as it were in some grand conspiracy (for plots must be all along pre∣sumed) All will call in their sums together and be dealing: What a sure Bow is this

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that hath so many and so able strings! But is there no medium betwixt these extreams? Are there not in the world persons of different Condition, genius, nay humour? Are there not many by their Education or present Capacity qualified only to live upon Inte∣rest? Are there not others, who being either affected with thrifty retirement, or enu∣red to the ease and immunity of good Towns, nay, addicted to special fraternities and cabales, are so wedded to it, that a sentence of the Spiritual Court would scarce divorce them? Are there not yet others, who being engaged in Callings and Employments scarce consistent with Countrey Affairs or Forrain Traffick, may prudently enough continue to lend at a lower rate, rather then entangle them with such variety of Con∣cernments? And may there still be good store of those, who meerly guided by their natural Arithmetick, do now betake themselves to Interest for its many present advan∣tages, but were the tide and stream of Profit turned, would certainly row and Sayle with it? He that was sent to discover the strength of the French-Army at Agencourt, eturned with this auspicious verdict, that there were enough to Kill, to take, and to scape by flight. So were the gain of lending now reduced to a nearer correspondence with that of other dealings, by the same good omen, it might soon appear, that among our Legions of Creditours, there would be enough greatly to raise the value of our Lands y purchasing; Enough, vastly to agument the bulk of our commerce by Trading, and et enough, if not too many to Lend at Interest: However our comfort is, they would en, Live, and let Live, this being the principal end herein aimed at, and indeed most ••••portant to the Commonwealth, that such as will not use their own stock, may, (if not or private conscience, yet for publick good,) afford a Pennyworth to those that manage for them, of whom it is certain, that now (in husbandry at least,) not one of twenty oth, or can, with his best condu••••, thrive, But in truth this objection of prejudicing ebtours, by the sudden and general calling in of sums for better employment, answers it elf by granting all that is required: For who sees not, that such a summons necessarily im∣orts great store of Purchasing whereby the Market of our Lands would be exceeding ickned, all that have Estates to more in value then their debts, abundantly gratified for eir trouble, if any they should receive, and enabled to relieve themselves by onvenient sale; And the Gentry being this in good measure disenthralled; Bor∣••••wing would soon become more easie and tolerable to Tradesmen, who now ••••stly complain, that Credit is almost engrossed by Land: Certainly the Notion of rui∣••••ng Borrowers by abatement of Interest, (if the parties concerned would vouchsafe to ••••nsider it,) is not much unlike that of undoing Tenants by letting them good penny∣orths, and punishing Landlords with ease of their Taxes.

It were not unreasonable to suppose, that well-advised Creditours, finding they can∣••••t mend their rate, liking their security, and naturally both fearing hazard and loath∣••••g trouble, (perhaps the most of any,) would be as backward to demand their Princi∣••••, as Borrowers to provide it, since the difficulty of well placing a sum proves commonly ow a dayes equal in effect with that of procuring it (So generally do Credit and Secu∣y go hand in hand, being, as was said before, perfect Relatives:) Yet to leave nothing considered, but even, if possible, prevent the doubts of all such as do not either affectedly take Scruple for Wisdom, or are naturally afraid of their own shadows, whom miracles ly can convince, I refer the unsatisfied to the wise provision and president of former tutes for abatement of Interest, whereby the Reducement takes place only in new

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and succeeding contracts, the former Rate being still permitted, where the Security is no altered; Upon which Account much Credit in this Kingdome is yet legally continued eight per cent. if not to the Profit, yet to the presumed Ease of Borrowers, in whose op∣tion it rests; Thus would the wise Lender be further bribed so compliance as it were with the yearly Brokage of two per Cent. Debtours that have, or can procure Credit would be forthwith considerably relieved in their constant payments, others equally 〈◊〉〈◊〉 their trouble, and necessary Charges, And the suffering, in comparison of the gaining Borowers, must needs be, (if any) not one to a hundred. Having thus, as briefly 〈◊〉〈◊〉 I could, delivered you my sense, I Remain.


Your Faithfull Servant. R. W.


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