Hancock, W. Neilson. 'On the effect of the usury laws on the trade of lending money to the poor in Ireland'. - Dublin: Transactions of the Dublin Statistical Society, Vol II, 1849-1851, pp.1-11
Journal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland Vol. II 1849-1851
In the course of some investigations into the condition of the
poorer classes in Ireland, my attention has been directed to the state
of the trade of lending money amongst them. I find that whilst
the large farmers resort to regular banks to make deposits and
obtain loans, there are no banks established by private enterprise
for the smaller farmers and the labourers. They are forced to
carry their deposits to charitable savings banks, and obtain their
loans from charitable loan funds at 9.5 per cent, or else resort to
local usurers at from 25 to 100 per cent. An inquiry then
naturally suggests itself as to the cause of this difference. Why
has private enterprise not done for the poor what it has done for
the rich? The common theory which ascribes the rate of interest
charged to the poor to a want of capital is manifestly fallacious,
for such a cause would raise the rate of interest to the rich as well
as to the poor. The cause of the phenomena to be explained
must be something peculiar to loans of small sums, and especially
to loans to small farmers. Such a cause is discovered by an
examination of the state of the usury laws.
Read February 18th 1850. This paper was also read at the Statistical Section of the British Association,
Birmingham, September, 1849.
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