Thursday, February 09, 2006

Colonial Land Bank Literature

The major colonial land bank experiments seem to be these:

1681: The Fund at Boston, In New England
1686: "Blackwell's Bank" [proposed]
1732: Connecticut land bank
1714: Boston land bank [proposed]
1740: Land Bank, or Manufactory Scheme, Boston

The debates surrounding them, beginning with Potter's Key of Wealth, includes roughly 25-30 major pamphlets, prospectuses, decrees, etc. All of these were published by Andrew McFarland Davis, roughly one hundred years ago. The subject was already obscure by the time William B. Greene was made aware of it, in 1857. Subsequently, radicals and intellectual historians alike seem to have paid relatively little attention to the topic. But something like one-third of the documents have, one way or another, found their way into electronic archives. I'm happy to add four more to that number:

Eventually, it should be possible to get all 30 or so original documents, together with some of Davis' commentary, all in one place. But the real task is to place the debate in the context of mutualist history. Davis considered the land banks ill-advised and freakish, dispite the labor he put into unearthing their history. Greene saw them in a very different light, as do some of my contemporary readers.

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