For these Reasons there are no more useful Members in a Commonwealth than Merchants. They knit Mankind together in a mutual Intercourse of good Offices, distribute the Gifts of Nature, find Work for the Poor, add Wealth to the Rich, and Magnificence to the Great. Our English Merchant converts the Tin of his own Country into Gold, and exchanges his Wool for Rubies. The Mahometans are clothed in our British Manufacture, and the Inhabitants of the frozen Zone warmed with the Fleeces of our Sheep.
When I have been upon the ’Change, I have often fancied one of our old Kings standing in Person, where he is represented in Effigy, and looking down upon the wealthy Concourse of People with which that Place is every Day filled. In this Case, how would he be surprized to hear all the Languages of Europe spoken in this little Spot of his former Dominions, and to see so many private Men, who in his Time would have been the Vassals of some powerful Baron, negotiating like Princes for greater Sums of Mony than were formerly to be met with in the Royal Treasury! Trade, without enlarging the British Territories, has given us a kind of additional Empire: It has multiplied the Number of the Rich, made our Landed Estates infinitely more Valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an Accession of other Estates as Valuable as the Lands themselves.
[Footnote 1: A reference to the Spectator’s voyage to Grand Cairo mentioned in No. 1.]
[Footnote 2: “these Fruits, in their present State, as well as our”]
[Footnote 3: that]
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No. 70. Monday, May 21, 1711. Addison.
‘Interdum vulgus rectum videt.’