of his share from the company; but 
each member can, without their consent
transfer his share to another person, and 
thereby introduce a new member. The value 
of a share in a joint stock is always the 
price which it will bring in the market; and 
this may be either greater or less in any proportion, 
than the sum which its owner stands 
credited for in the stock of the company
Secondly, In a private copartnery, each 
partner is bound for the debts contracted by 
the company, to the whole extent of his fortune. 
In a joint-stock company, on the contrary
each partner is bound only to the extent 
of his share
The trade of a joint-stock company is always 
managed by a court of directors. This 
court, indeed, is frequently subject, in many 
respects, to the control of a general court of 
proprietors. But the greater part of these 
proprietors seldom pretend to understand any 
thing of the business of the company; and 
when the spirit of faction happens not to prevail 
among them, give themselves no trouble 
about it, but receive contentedly such half-yearly 
or yearly dividend as the directors 
think proper to make to them. This total 
exemption from trouble and from risk, beyond 
a limited sum, encourages many people 
to become adventurers in joint-stock companies
who would, upon no account, hazard 
their fortunes in any private copartnery
Such companies, therefore, commonly draw 
to themselves much greater stocks, than any 
private copartnery can boast of. The trading 
stock of the South Sea company at one time 
amounted to upwards of thirty-three millions 
eight hundred thousand pounds. The divided 
capital of the Bank of England amounts, 
at present, to ten millions seven hundred 
and eighty thousand pounds. The directors 
of such companies, however, being the managers 
rather of other people's money than of 
their own, it cannot well be expected that 
they should watch over it with the same anxious 
vigilance with which the partners in a 
private copartnery frequently watch over their 
own. Like the stewards of a rich man, they 
are apt to consider attention to small matters 
as not for their master's honour, and very 
easily give themselves a dispensation from 
having it. Negligence and profusion, therefore, 
must always prevail, more or less, in 
the management of the affairs of such a company
It is upon this account, that joint-stock 
companies for foreign trade have seldom 
been able to maintain the competition against 
private adventurers. They have, accordingly, 
very seldom succeeded without an exclusive 
privilege; and frequently have not succeeded 
with one. Without an exclusive privilege
they have commonly mismanaged the 
trade. With an exclusive privilege, they 
have both mismanaged and confined it. 
The Royal African company, the predecessors 
of the present African company, had 
an exclusive privilege by charter; but as that 
charter had not been confirmed by act of parliament
the trade, in consequence of the declaration 
of rights, was, soon after the Revolution
laid open to all his majesty's subjects
The Hudson's Bay company are, as to their 
legal rights, in the same situation as the 
Royal African company. Their exclusive 
charter has not been confirmed by act of parliament
The South Sea company, as long 
as they continued to be a trading company
had an exclusive privilege confirmed by act 
of parliament; as have likewise the present 
united company of merchants trading to the 
East Indies
The Royal African company soon found 
that they could not maintain the competition 
against private adventurers, whom, notwithstanding 
the declaration of rights, they continued 
for some time to call interlopers, and 
to persecute as such. In 1698, however, the 
private adventurers were subjected to a duty 
of ten per cent. upon almost all the different 
branches of their trade, to be employed by 
the company in the maintenance of their forts 
and garrisons. But, notwithstanding this 
heavy tax, the company were still unable to 
maintain the competition. Their stock and 
credit gradually declined. In 1712, their 
debts had become so great, that a particular 
act of parliament was thought necessary, both 
for their security and for that of their creditors
It was enacted, that the resolution of 
two-thirds of these creditors in number and 
value should bind the rest, both with regard 
to the time which should be allowed to the 
company for the payment of their debts, and 
with regard to any other agreement which it 
might be thought proper to make with them 
concerning those debts. In 1730, their affairs 
were in so great disorder, that they were altogether 
incapable of maintaining their forts 
and garrisons, the sole purpose and pretext 
of their institution. From that year till their 
final dissolution, the parliament judged it necessary 
to allow the annual sum of ten thousand 
pounds for that purpose. In 1732, after 
having been for many years losers by the trade 
of carrying negroes to the West Indies, they at 
last resolved to give it up altogether; to sell 
to the private traders to America the negroes 
which they purchased upon the coast; and to 
employ their servants in a trade to the inland 
parts of Africa for gold dust, elephants teeth
dyeing drugs, &c. But their success in this 
more confined trade was not greater than in 
their former extensive one. Their affairs 
continued to go gradually to decline, till at 
last, being in every respect a bankrupt company
they were dissolved by act of parliament, 
and their forts and garrisons vested in 
the present regulated company of merchants 
trading to Africa. Before the erection of 
the Royal African company, there had been