pernicious expedient

The expedient of anticipating the revenue by a national debt was suggested, not only by national necessities, but also by the large increase in the number of capitalists demanding an investment, and eager to lend upon such credit as the Government could pledge. But it is, of course, an entire mistake to suppose that the Whig Government in England had first discovered the device. Strangely enough, it was laid to the credit of Swift's bitter enemy, Bishop Burnet. But, as a fact, the device had been resorted to as early as the sixteenth century in the Papal Stales, where the custom of raising money by the sale of offices had developed into the institution of monti non vacabili—or the assignment of permanent revenues by way of interest for capital advanced. In France, the custom of national borrowing had long prevailed; and, curiously enough, Swift must have heard of it in Temple's description of the Dutch States, which Swift had himself prepared for publication. (Temple's Works, Vol. 1. P. 142, and Macaulays History, ch. xix.)

Note by Heny Craik to Issue 13 of The Examiner
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