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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from David Hume’s 1742 essay “Of Public Credit [2],” (here from page 352 of the 1985 Liberty Fund collection of Hume’s essays, edited by the late Eugene Miller, Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary [3]) [3]:

According to ancient maxims, the opening of the public treasure, as it produced an uncommon affluence of gold and silver, served as a temporary encouragement to industry, and atoned, in some degree, for the inevitable calamities of war.

It is very tempting to a minister to employ such an expedient, as enables him to make a great figure during his administration, without overburthening the people with taxes, or exciting any immediate clamours against himself.  The practice, therefore, of contracting debt will almost infallibly be abused, in every government.  It would scarcely be more imprudent to give a prodigal son a credit in every banker’s shop in London, than to impower a statesman to draw bills, in this manner, upon posterity.

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