Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2

[Volume 2, Page 471]

Document 1

William Blackstone, Commentaries 1:317


The only advantage, that can result to a nation from public debts, is the encrease of circulation by multiplying the cash of the kingdom, and creating a new species of money, always ready to be employed in any beneficial undertaking, by means of it's transferrable quality; and yet productive of some profit, even when it lies idle and unemployed. A certain proportion of debt seems therefore to be highly useful to a trading people; but what that proportion is, it is not for me to determine. Thus much is indisputably certain, that the present magnitude of our national incumbrances very far exceeds all calculations of commercial benefit, and is productive of the greatest inconveniences. For, first, the enormous taxes, that are raised upon the necessaries of life for the payment of the interest of this debt, are a hurt both to trade and manufactures, by raising the price as well of the artificer's subsistence, as of the raw material, and of course, in a much greater proportion, the price of the commodity itself. Secondly, if part of this debt be owing to foreigners, either they draw out of the kingdom annually a considerable quantity of specie for the interest; or else it is made an argument to grant them unreasonable privileges in order to induce them to reside here. Thirdly, if the whole be owing to subjects only, it is then charging the active and industrious subject, who pays his share of the taxes to maintain the indolent and idle creditor who receives them.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2, Document 1
The University of Chicago Press

Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765--1769. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

© 1987 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2000