It was in cities and towns, among
those engaged in commerce, in which the ancient patricians had no share, that the spirit of liberty became active, and was quickened by the cupidity which sought new benefits for trade through political influence.
The day for shouting liberty and equality had not come; the cry was, ‘Liberty and property.’
The revolution was made by the property of the country, and wealth became a power in the state; and when, at elections, the country people were first invited to seek other representatives than the large landholders, it was not the leveller or the republican, but the merchant, or a candidate in the interest of the merchant, who taught the timid electors their first lessons in independence.
But the moneyed class gained influence in two other modes—the manner of granting supplies, and the credit system.
The civil list was fixed for the whole reign; all other supplies were granted annually, and were subjects of special appropriation; so that the king, who had been elected by parliament, was subject to its enactments, and, dependent on its annual supplies, was also held responsible for the expenditure of the public treasure.
Moreover, as the expenses of wars soon exceeded the revenue of England
, the government prepared to avail itself of the largest credit which, not the accumulations of wealth only, but the floating credits of commerce and the funding system, could supply.
The price of such aid was political influence.
That the government should, as its paramount policy, promote commerce, domestic manufactures, and a favorable balance of trade; that the classes benefited by this policy should sustain the government with their credit