The Contours of American History

The Contours of American History

The Contours of American History

The Contours of American History


God alters no law of Nature.

John Preston, Puritan theologian, c. 1620.

The rebellions of the belly are the worst. The first remedy or prevention, is to remove by all means possible that material cause of sedition, which is want and poverty in the estate. To which purpose serveth the opening and well balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufactures; the banishing of idleness. . . . The increase of any estate must be upon the foreigner, for whatsoever is somewhere gotten is somewhere lost.

Sir Francis Bacon, Of Seditions and Troubles, 1628.

Commerce, as an affair of state, was widely different from the mercantile part . . . [and hence] trade, as a point of policy and government, consisted of many articles. . . . Many of these things did not lie within the prospect of the merchant, much less within his power, care or consideration; and, therefore (the distinction being made between the magistrate's and the merchant's duty), he proposed that, instead of a Committee of the Privy Council, a select Council might be established to take care of the welfare of our colonies, and the trade and navigation of the kingdom. [This] Council should consist of such gentlemen as would be more concerned in the generality of the trade of the nation, and the right management of it, than in the profit of any particular trade, which might possibly have too much sway with private merchants.

The First Earl of Shaftesbury to King Charles II, 1670.

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