Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Preface. - A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others
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The Preface. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others 
A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others, with a Preface and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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MY Original Design was to examine by what means our English Land-Rents, lately fallen, might be universally advanced; which I have principally pursued; but have found such a Concatenation and Sympathy between the interest of Land and Trade, and between these, and that of the Government; That I have been carried into all the Considerations you will meet with; a Task I little expected when I first began, and which I could never have supported with any Alacrity, but upon hope, that when it shall undeniably appear to every one, that these Interests are the same, there may follow that general Amity and mutual Assistance to each other, which render a Nation happy and secure.
Though my Intention be thus, Just and Innocent, yet I cannot but doubt what Approbation this Discourse may meet with from many of those who have a main suffrage in crying up a new Book; since it is upon a Subject much out of mode; so much, that the very naming it is a matter of Ridicule amongst many of our sprightly men: It is really of such a nature, that it hath not lead me to seek for Smiles, Dinners, or other more solid Gratifications, by flattering any predominant humours, Vices or Passions, or to make an Interest by espousing or canvasing any doubtful Points in Religion: As little can I hope from the Criticks, (I mean our great Masters in Expression:) Trade being a matter of business, and the business of the ordinary people, at least, equally with therest; I have not endeavoured to dress it up with Curiosity of Phrase, by conforming myself to the Laconick or Ciceronian way, studying for Metaphors, spruce words, or the renowned Antithesis; nor do I find these flowers will very aptly mingle with the Notions of Trade; which are so unfortunate, as to have little or no Cognation with Love and Honour, or those other common Themes of Wit which denominate a man a neat Author by the Elegancies they inspire him with: But this is not all, I am afraid you will think Trade is the very Antipodes to all good breeding, when I shall further tell you, that (had I been sufficiently qualified) it hath not permitted me to gratifie the Learned with any of the niceties or finismes of our most fashionable Studies; nay it hath obliged me to hazard the very enmity of others, by impeaching many private and oppressive Interests, whose Silver-Smiths may be highly provoked; and when I thought to qualifie any Resentments of that nature, by waving all Reflections on particular persons, I am now told, that perhaps my Caution this way may disgust others; whence I cannot but be sensible that these Papers want much of those endearments which render many of our Prints so acceptable; And being under these Apprehensions, I could not but have some Compassionate thoughts of my Book-Seller; who must look very melancholly, when some of his customers shall ask for the Ancient Forreign Histories and Poets, the new Philosophical Complements, and Books of Astrology, the Treatise of the Art of Memory, or Swimming; or such like Rarities; Others for the Monstrous Leviathan, Behemoth, and Garagantua: Others for the new French Romance, the Spick and Span new Play, and the new Satyrs; Others for the new Books of Cookery, (for we are arrived to a mighty judgment in eating:) Others for the Books of the World in the Moon, Terra Incog-nita, Lues Venerea, and Westminster Drollery, &c. But upon the sight of the Title Page of this, (because it is of Trade) shall condemn it as fit only to be read by Milleners and Exchangemen.
But recollecting, that we have yet a far greater number of others, under all Characters and Professions, who bear adue affection both to our Government and People, I have adventured upon making this Discourse publick; as not dispairing of their Vindication, being assured they will never think he hath deserved ill, who hath done no more than endeavour to advance and secure the common Interests of both; in which I should be always happy to be instrumental, but especially then, when the Nation is under present difficulties and eminent dangers; For then certainly it more imports every man to seek the Common Safety, than any the most tempting Additions to his own private Fortune. Should the Mariners in a Ship stand trifling and sporting, or contending for Offices, or other gain, on the Decks, whilst a gaping Leak in the Keel lets in the Ocean, we should think them little better than phrenetical; surely in such an Exigence every man on board ought to give his utmost assistance; he that hath no share in the Cargoe hath yet a life to lose, no man would then slink back to escape the dirt, or for fear he should be lookt on as a busie-body. How far the present Condition of our Trade will bear such a Simile, I shall submit to your Consideration upon what follows; wherein I have, not knowingly, mis-represented any thing, but with my utmost application endeavoured to discover and speak the truth of as much as I have thought fit for me to meddle with.
Yet I am not so very a Jockey, nor so arrant a Tradesman in writing, as to desire your implicite belief that all I am about to utter is without Imperfection. I am assured you will least expect it upon a Subject which hath the reputation of being so Comprehensive as this, and seems to require the ascertaining of so great a variety of Facts, that no man upon his single experience can pretend to know them; The consideration whereof might have deterred me from engaging in it, and may you from the perusal, were it not that some of these Facts, which make the Constitutions of Trade, and therefore the Causes of the rest, are notorious and capable of little Controversie, whence the rest being the effects may be easily calculated; a course used and allowed in all Arts and Sciences, and I conceive with more certainty on this Subject than on any other; from whence greater and more notableDiscoveries have been made, than by the most vigilant Disquisitions into all the Revolutions of Facts: Columbus found out the Indies in his Study; so did Archimedes the most stupendous Conclusions in the Mathematicks. It must be confessed many of those other Facts relating to Commerce, which are the effects, are of greater obscurity, most of them being Forreign, and are so numerous, that they branch into almost as many parts as there are humane Actions; yet of these, some are more obvious, and more important than others, whereof, as occasions offer, I have endeavoured to give you some accompt where I can speak with any good assurance; wherein, if you meet with any defect, you may please to attribute it to this, That I am neither Omniscient nor infallible; I have also the old excuse at hand, viz. Importunity of Friends, that common Midwife of Books, besides the frequent Interruptions I have really received by my own ordinary Affairs, which (’tis probable) has caused many abrupt breaks and misexpressions, which I have not had time to review and rectifie; hoping that I have however spoken Intelligibly; and professing, that I have as well considered and digested the deliberative and reasoning part as my Intellectuals will give leave: and if I do not fail in that shall be contented, since it must be admitted that I have written as becomes a man, who hath no better or more discerning faculty than that of his reason: I have no ambition to be accompted an Irrefragable, or Printed Author; being sensible the most Angelical Writers have had their failings, and that whosoever Publishes his thoughts in Print, breaks that (oftentimes profitable) reserve which cunning men affect, and exposes his quiet to the Malice and Impertinences of vulgar Reflections; which nothing but a sincere love to my Country, and the Consideration of its present Circumstances could oblige me to dispense with.
I shall be well satisfied if I have served the Public a little, or made a step towards it, which, at least, I hope I have done, if in a matter of high Consequence I have but stirred questions necessary to be cleared by abler heads; Experience hath been shown what admirable performances have ensued, when a weak Essay hath kindled a Common Emulation, for thencertainly must the brightness of Truth appear (discharged from that rust and foulness which time or corruption hath brought upon it) when the Intellectuals of men are carried into a rational ferment; this I take to be the true use, and most virtuous design of writing, and is all I desire, let those men wear Bays and Lawrel, and be hum’d, and clapt, who are fonder of such Trophies than
Your humble Servant,