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Excerpt from The Works, Vol. 5 of 10
The first thing to be considered is, Whether the price of the hire of money can be regulated by law?
And to that I think, generally speaking, one may say, it is manifest it cannot. For since it is impossible to make a law, that shall hinder a man from giving away his money or estate to whom he pleases, it will be im possible, by any contrivance of law, to hinder men, skilled in the power they have over their own goods, and the ways of conveying them to others, to purchase money to be lent them, at what rate soever their oc casions shall make it necessary for them to have it; for it is to be remembered, that no man borrows money, or pays use, out of mere pleasure: it is the want of money drives men to that trouble and charge of bor rowing; and proportionably to this want, so will every one have it, whatever price it cost him. Wherein the skilful, I say, will always so manage it, as to avoid the prohibition of your law, and keep out of its penalty, do what you can. What then will be the unavoidable consequences of such a law?
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