This is a portion of the subject of the utmost importance. Credit, broadly regarded, comprehends all cases where property is made over temporarily to the use of another person. In the case of the Esquimaux, if a family has two boats and another has none he is expected to lend one of his and if lost there is no more heard of it. In a more doubtful system it is the common thing for any one having superfluous capital to put it to the use of those who want capital and the general word credit may be said to cover the whole of such transfers tho’ it is generally restricted in commercial language to briefer transfers. You don’t generally consider if a man lends money to a railway on perpetual bond that he gives credit to the railway, but it is only one extreme form of the same sort of credit. But the word is ambiguous. Credit often means that esteem, that good opinion of a man which leads other people to give him credit, i.e. to trust him to keep his promise. In this way credit may be a most valuable thing to a man. It does not create capital, but it may evidently enable a man to obtain capital. So that it is as good as creating it, and some men who manage to inspire confidence in their skill and trustworthiness can thereby make extraordinary fortunes. Rothschilds must have made their fortunes in that way. Nathan had £80 and went to London with something less than a million.1


Bank Note Silver Coin Bank Cheque Valuable Thing Common Thing 
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© R. D. Collison Black and Rosamond Könekamp 1977

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  • R. D. Collison Black

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