may create a great dependence

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Senior Member
Hi there,

"A hundred persons of £1,000 a year apiece, can consume all their income, and nobody shall ever be the better for them, except their servants and tradesmen, who justly regard their profits as the product of their own labour. But a man possessed of £100,000 a year, if he has either any generosity or any cunning, may create a great dependence by obligations, and still a greater by expectations. Hence we may observe, that, in all free governments, any subject exorbitantly rich has always created jealousy, even though his riches bore no proportion to those of the state. Crassus’s fortune, if I remember well, amounted only to about two millions and a half of our money; yet we find, that though his genius was nothing extraordinary, he was able, by means of his riches alone, to counterbalance, during his lifetime, the power of Pompey, as well as that of Cæsar, who afterwards became master of the world."

Whether the British Government inclines more to Absolute Monarchy or to a Republic (2nd para.)

It seems that I know all the words, but I don't get the meaning. The fact makes me timid, or diffident at least because I don't even know how to put my question into words.

What exactly does "dependence" mean? I assume it means "the state of needing aid" (like some obligation, when you are sufficiently rich, you are responsible for many things, which, in turn, will reduce the influence brought about by your riches.) If that the case, how can a rich person such as Crassus counterbalance the powerful monarch?

Please help me out!


  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    A very rich man, whether innocent (by generosity) or not (by cunning) may make other people very dependent on him through the way he uses his money. This gives him disproportionate power.
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