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[112] existed between the merchant and the producer. The
Chap. XX.}
Greeks and Romans were hard-money men; their language has no word for bank notes or currency; with them there was no stock market, no brokers' board, no negotiable scrip of kingdom or commonwealth. Public expenses were borne by direct taxes, or by loans from rich citizens, soon to be cancelled, and never funded. The expansion of commerce gave birth to immense masses of floating credits; larger sums than the whole revenue of an ancient state were transferred from continent to continent by bills of exchange; and, when the mercantile system grew strong enough to originate wars, it also gained power to subject national credit to the floating credits of commerce.

Every commercial state of the earlier world had been but a town with its territory; the Phoenician, Greek, and Italian republics, each was a city government, retaining its municipal character with the enlargement of its jurisdiction and the diffusion of its colonies. The great European maritime powers were vast monarchies, grasping at continents for their plantations. In the tropical isles of America and the East, they made their gardens for the fruits of the torrid zone; the Cordilleras and the Andes supplied their mints with bullion; the most inviting points on the coasts of Africa and Asia were selected as commercial stations; and the temperate regions of America were to be filled with agriculturists, whose swarming increase—such was the universal metropolitan aspiration —should lead to the infinite consumption of European goods.

That the mercantile system should be applied by each nation to its own colonies, was universally tolerated by the political morality of that day. Thus each

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