"Dutch capital was employed to purchase goods in one country and sell them in another: so that the Dutch became carriers for others, instead of manufacturing and carrying for themselves.
Thus circumstanced, Holland was gradually sinking, when political troubles, the end of which it is not easy to foresee, put her at the feet of France. When Holland was not rich it resisted Spain in all her glory; when Holland was wealthy, it did not even attempt to resist France."
"In America, where the inhabitants have been sufficiently hardy, and rash to overturn every ancient institution, precautions have been taken against the accumulation of too much wealth in the hands of one person, but in old nations, where we do not chuse [sic] to run such risks, the case is different...In some cases, extravagance dissipates wealth; the laws favour accumulation of landed property; the advantages are in favour of all the wealthy in general, and the consequence is that from the first origin of any particular order of things, till some convulsion takes place, the division of property becomes more and more unequal... The consequence of great fortunes, and the unequal division of property, are, that the lower ranks, though expensively maintained, become degraded, disorderly, and uncomfortable, while the middling classes disappear by degrees. discontent pervades the great mass of the people, and the supports of the government, though powerful, are too few in number, and too inefficient in character to preserve it from ruin."
"When the Romans grew rich, the division of property became very unequal, and the attachment of the people for their government declined, the middle classes lost their importance, and the lower orders of free citizens became a mere rabble. When Rome was poor, the people did not cry for bread, but when the brick buildings were turned into marble palaces, when a lamprey was sold for fifty-six pounds, the people became a degraded populace. A donation of corn was a bribe to a Roman citizen."
"The unequal division of property in France was one of the chief causes of the revolution; the intention of which was to overturn the ten existing order of things. The ignorance of the great proprietors concerning of their true interests, and the smallness of their numbers, disabled them from protecting themselves. the middle orders were discontented and wished for a change."
"When property is very unequally divided, the monied capital of a nation, upon the employment of which, next to its industry, its wealth, or revenue, depend, begins to be applied less advantageously. A preference is given to employments, by which money is got with most ease and certainty, though in less quantity.
Manufacturers aspire to become merchants, and merchants to become mere lenders of money, or agents. The detail is done by brokers, by men who take the trouble, and understand the nature of the particular branches they undertake but who furnish no capital."
"If it were possible to employ large capitals with as much advantage, and to make them set in motion and maintain as much industry as small ones, there would be scarcely any limit to the accumulation of money in a country; but a vast variety of causes operate on preventing this. Whatever, therefore, tends to accumulate the capital of a nation in a few hands (thereby depriving the many) not only increases luxury, and corrupts manners and morals, but diminishes the activity of the capital and the industry of the country.
In all the great places that are now in a state of decay, we find families living on the interest of money, that formerly were engaged in manufactures of commerce. Antwerp, Genoa, and Venice"
"In a wealthy country, numbers are so pressed upon by penury, in their younger years, that neither the powers of their body, nor of their mind, arrive at maturity. Accustomed, from an early age, to depend rather upon chance, or charity, for existence, than upon industry, or energy of their own, they neither know the value of labour, nor are they accustomed to look to it for a supply to their wants.
Whilst the foundation of idleness and poverty is laid in, for one part of a nation, from the affluence of their parents, another portion seems as if it were chained down to misery, from the indigence in which they were born and brought up."
"Supposing the pressure of necessity were to be suddenly taken away, those whose income is regulated by their efforts would relax in exertion; that is to say, the productive labourers of the country would relax, while those whose incomes are fixed, that is principally the unproductive labourers, would become comparatively more opulent, and their luxury would increase. This is an effect very different from what the public expects. The most useful class would gain nothing while the drones of society would find their wealth greatly augmented, which would be one of the most unfortunate effects that could well be conceived, and might very soon bring about a very serious and disagreeable event."
"It arises from this, that the aggregate wealth of a people increases with rent and taxes; for, where there are neither, the desire of accumulation is the only thing that increases wealth. It is for this reason, that, by obliging a man to create more than he himself consumes, taxation increases the wealth of a nation; so that the flouring state of England is a very natural effect of heavy taxation. The misery and poverty of those people who have little or nothing to pay, is equally natural, though it does not astonish one quite so much. As there is nothing in the world without a bound, and a limit, it is clear, that, in laying it down as a principle, that rent and taxes occasion wealth instead of poverty, it is only to be understood to a certain extent; that is to say, that the solution would, in every case, depend on a great variety of particular circumstances."