Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 368, June 1846 Volume 59

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 368, June 1846 Volume 59

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Excerpt: long as credit lasts, its place, was unknown in the ancient world. Gold, silver, and copper were their sole circulating mediums; and consequently, when they were progressively withdrawn, by the causes which have been mentioned, from the currency, there was nothing left to supply their place. Instantly, as if by the stroke of a fell necromancer, disasters of every kind accumulated on the wretched inhabitants. Credit was violently shaken; Pg 716 money disappeared; prices fell to a ruinous degree; industry could obtain no remuneration; the influence and ascendancy of realized capital became irresistible; and the only efficient power left in the state was that of the emperor, who wrenched his taxes out of the impoverished hands of his subjects, or of the creditors and landlords, who, by legal process, exacted their debts from their debtors, and drove them to desperation. This was exactly the social state of the empire in its declining days. We can appreciate its horrors, from having had a foretaste of them during the commercial crises with which, during the last twenty-five years, this country has been visited. From what has now been said, it is evident that the two circumstances which occasioned the fall of the Roman empire, were the destruction of its domestic agriculture, by the importation of grain from its distant provinces, and the accumulation of debts and taxes, arising from the contraction of the currency. If these causes be attentively considered, it will be found that they not only afford a perfect solution of its fall, but explain how it happened at the period it did, and had not occurred at an earlier period. They show what it was which, slowly but steadily, wasting away the vitals of the empire, successively destroyed its rural population and agricultural industry, and at length crushed its property under the increasing load of debts and taxes. They explain how it happened that the indirect taxes, which at first were sufficient, with more

Product details

  • Paperback | 92 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 5mm | 181g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236731654
  • 9781236731654