Some of which, though they are not the capital towns of the counties, yet are more the centre of trade, which in England runs in veins, like mines of metal in the earth:
Canterbury. Salisbury. Exeter. Bristol. Worcester. Shrewsbury. Manchester. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Leeds, or Halifax, or York. Warwick or Birmingham. Oxford or Reading. Bedford. Norwich. Colchester.
Every one of these banks to have a cashier in London, unless they could all have a general correspondence and credit with the bank royal.
These banks in their respective counties should be a general staple and factory for the manufactures of the said county, where every man that had goods made, might have money at a small interest for advance, the goods in the meantime being sent forward to market, to a warehouse for that purpose erected in London, where they should be disposed of to all the advantages the owner could expect, paying only 1 per cent. commission. Or if the maker wanted credit in London either for Spanish wool, cotton, oil, or any goods, while his goods were in the warehouse of the said bank, his bill should be paid by the bank to the full value of his goods, or at least within a small matter. These banks, either by correspondence with each other, or an order to their cashier in London, might with ease so pass each other's bills that a man who has cash at Plymouth, and wants money at Berwick, may transfer his cash at Plymouth to Newcastle in half-an-hour's time, without either hazard, or charge, or time, allowing only 0.5 per cent. exchange; and so of all the most distant parts of the kingdom. Or if he wants money at Newcastle, and has goods at Worcester or at any other clothing town, sending his goods to be sold by the factory of the bank of Worcester, he may remit by the bank to Newcastle, or anywhere else, as readily as if his goods were sold and paid for and no exactions made upon him for the convenience he enjoys.
This discourse of banks, the reader is to understand, to have no relation to the present posture of affairs, with respect to the scarcity of current money, which seems to have put a stop to that part of a stock we call credit, which always is, and indeed must be, the most essential part of a bank, and without which no bank can pretend to subsist--at least, to advantage.
A bank is only a great stock of money put together, to be employed by some of the subscribers, in the name of the rest, for the benefit of the whole. This stock of money subsists not barely on the profits of its own stock (for that would be inconsiderable), but upon the contingencies and accidents which multiplicity of business occasions. As, for instance, a man that comes for money, and knows he may have it to-morrow; perhaps he is in haste, and won't take it to-day: only, that he may be sure of it to-morrow, he takes a memorandum under the hand of the officer, that he shall have it whenever he calls for it, and this memorandum we call a bill. To- morrow, when he intended to fetch his money, comes a man to him for money, and, to save himself the labour of telling, he gives him the memorandum or bill aforesaid for his money; this second man does as the first, and a third does as he did, and so the bill runs about a mouth, two or three. And this is that we call credit, for by the circulation of a quantity of these bills, the bank enjoys the full benefit of as much stock in real value as the suppositious value of the bills amounts to; and wherever this credit fails, this advantage fails; for immediately all men come for their money, and the bank must die of itself: for I am sure no bank, by the simple improvement of their single stock, can ever make any considerable advantage.
I confess, a bank who can lay a fund for the security of their bills, which shall produce first an annual profit to the owner, and yet make good the passant bill, may stand, and be advantageous, too, because there is a real and a suppositious value both, and the real always ready to make good the suppositious: and this I know no way to bring to pass but by land, which, at the same time that it lies transferred to secure the value of every bill given out, brings in a separate profit to the owner; and this way no question but the whole kingdom might be a bank to itself, though no ready money were to be found in it.