Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?c.A.D. 113). Letters. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
LXII. To the Emperor Trajan
THE DEBTS which were owing to the public are, by the prudence, Sir, of your counsels, and the care of my administration, either actually paid in or now being collected: but I am afraid the money must lie unemployed. For as, on one side, there are few or no opportunities of purchasing land, so on the other, one cannot meet with any person who is willing to borrow of the public1 (especially at 12 per cent. interest) when they can raise money upon the same terms from private sources. You will consider then, Sir, whether it may not be advisable, in order to invite responsible persons to take this money, to lower the interest; or if that scheme should not succeed, to place it in the hands of the decurii, upon their giving sufficient security to the public. And though they should not be willing to receive it, yet as the rate of interest will be diminished, the hardship will be so much the less.
Note 1. The reason why they did not choose to borrow of the public at the same rate of interest which they paid to private persons was (as one of the commentators observes) because in the former instance they were obliged to give security, whereas in the latter they could raise money upon their personal credit. M. [back]