Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. X.: An Institution adapted to œconomical Commerce. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. X.: An Institution adapted to œconomical Commerce. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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An Institution adapted to œconomical Commerce.
IN states that carry on an œconomical commerce, they have luckily established banks, which by their credit have formed a new species of wealth; but it would be quite wrong to introduce them into governments, whose commerce is founded only in luxury. The erecting of banks in countries governed by an absolute monarch, supposes money on the one side, and on the other power; that is, on the one hand, the means of procuring every thing without any power, and on the other the power, without any means of procuring at all. In a government of this kind, none but the prince ever had, or can have a treasure; and wherever there is one, it no sooner becomes great, than it becoms the treasure of the prince.
For the same reason, all associations of merchants, in order to carry on a particular commerce, are seldom proper in absolute governments. The design of these companies is to give to the wealth of private persons the weight of public riches. But, in those governments, this weight can be found only in the prince. Nay, they are not even always proper in states engaged in œconomical commerce; for, if the trade be not so great as to surpass the management of particular persons, it is much better to leave it open, than by exclusive privileges, to restrain the liberty of commerce.