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At the beginning of Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded (1740), Pamela sends her parents the four gold guineas she has received from Mr. B., advising them to put half of it toward their "old Debt" and the other half toward their "comfort."(1) When she discovers her parents have "laid it up in a rag among the thatch," because of their concern for the origins of that money, Pamela chides them for storing it and urges them to "make use of the Money" (p. 29). While Pamela's concern and specific instructions to her parents on how to distribute their funds are consistent with a dutiful daughter desirous of her parent's welfare, they more strikingly reveal Pamela's approach toward economics. Money, property, and capital, in any form, are, to Pamela's mind, designed to be put to use, to be invested for a profit, to bear some form of interest. Critics have commented on Pamela's fierce accounting abilities and have located her in a system of exchange based primarily on tangible goods and mercantilism. James Cruise goes so far as to suggest Pamela's letters record a "bourgeois autobiography."(2) Certainly we see numerous examples of her accounting abilities, her shrewd financial assessment of other (typically male) characters, and her recognition that most aspects of the socio-cultural world are determined by the absence or presence of money. But Pamela is more than just thrifty. While I readily acknowledge Pamela's desire for the accumulation of material goods, I believe she views them as evidence of future profits rather than as an end in themselves. Indeed, I would argue that Pamela's more pressing concern is with a type of speculative investment that makes her, in essence, a domestic stock-jobber. As the novel progresses, Pamela departs from the material world of real, tangible goods (for which she never actually loses her concern) as she becomes increasingly fascinated with the imaginative world of paper credit and the possibilities it holds. The discourse in and of the novel locates it firmly within an emerging consumer culture preoccupied with credit, speculation, and increasingly intangible forms of property.

Like a stock-jobber in Exchange Alley, Pamela speculatively deals in symbolic instruments of exchange on her own account. She transforms the good opinion and fine reputation she has within the household (a measure of her worth based on past behavior) into a growing source of credit (faith in her future value and performance).(3) She further invests in herself for herself by creating her own negotiable paper or "paper credit," letters and a journal, which acts as an indicator of her worth. When placed in circulation-with her parents, Mr. B., or Mr. B.'s social circle-Pamela's written accounts of her relationship with B. provide her with a growing amount of "capital" with which to trade or invest within the closed economy of the novel. But this production of symbolic capital would have no value if she did not recognize a potential investor in Mr. B., and her letters and journal act as an ad hoc stock prospectus. B. already understands the speculative financial economy, having invested "large sums in government securities, as well as in private hands" (p. 392), and he proves willing to participate in Pamela's speculative domestic economy as well. Pamela simultaneously jobs her paper credit while acting as a projector for her own stock scheme: Pamela as joint-stock company. Finally, however, Pamela uses her accumulated interest to translate the credit she has accrued (a term with significance within an economic system or marketplace) into virtue, a concept whose meaning expands beyond the domestic stock exchange Pamela has created and gains currency within the (idealized) moral economy represented by Mr. B. Pamela transforms Mr. B.'s estimation of her from that of a "saucebox" to my "own true virtuous Pamela" by presenting her virtue as a textual construction within an imaginatively understood value system. In doing so, she implicitly invites Mr. B. and the reader to invest in her accounts.

The key terms-credit, interest, capital-derive from Richardson's novel that draws on the cultural significance of that language and suggests how the practices of divergent domestic and financial spheres are connected materially and metaphorically. An examination of this alternative economy illuminates our understanding of the cultural work Pamela performs at an historical moment when paper credit and speculative investment were increasingly important. It also indicates how fully the novel as a genre relied on the shifting narrative possibilities introduced by speculative investment. The financial revolution "changed in decisive ways how people thought and wrote about themselves and their world," asserts Colin Nicholson.(4) Concomitantly, Pamela changed the possibilities for a novel's influence, established new cultural narratives for women, and manifested the anxieties, possibilities, and instabilities encountered by an eighteenth-century culture grappling with multiple notions of economy.


The system of financial speculation that Pamela's ascent exploits has its origins in England's "financial revolution" of the 1690s, which introduced the possibility of new forms of property into the cultural discourse.(5) The innovations of credit and speculative investment represented a stark departure from the relationship between the citizen and the state fostered by the idealized tradition of civic humanism. Civic humanism located the foundations of citizenship in the ownership of land. From participation in a system of landed property, the citizen not only constructs a public personality, but also achieves virtue-civic virtue-that guides his actions and decisions. Unlike land, the new forms of property-stocks, lottery tickets, all forms of negotiable paper-were viewed as inherently intangible and seemingly not grounded in "real" things. In A Letter to a Conscientious Man Concerning the Use and Abuse of Riches and the Right and Wrong Ways of Aspiring to Them (1720), speculative investment is described as "a Business founded upon nothing that is solid, rational, or honest, but meerly upon Artifice, Trick and Catch."(6) Such property had an imaginary basis, and the relationship between sign and signified, between stock and value, depended on the whim of the marketplace. There was a resistance to "paper credit"(7) because of its intangible nature and fundamental insubstantiality. It represented only a promise, not a tangible good.(8) Additionally, repayment of any investment in a joint-stock company or, especially, government stock, was in a sense deferred to a future moment that had to be imaginatively conceived.(9) Investors part with tangible goods or currency for intangible, indeed imaginary, possibilities. Speculative investment, then, essentially requires participation in a fictional narrative about the continuing worth of the stock; it relies on fantasy rather than reason, and stimulates the passions, emotions, and imagination of the individual investors. The initial desire with which an investor participates must be sustained-and its consummation deferred-indefinitely. The prolonging and presumably heightening-the arousing and deferring-of desire enable the continued process of investment. A stock-jobber must make an emotional as well as economic investment to sustain the financial narrative in which he chooses to participate.

The "economic man" who privileges his imagination, emotions, and desires (and participates in this narrative), resides in a world of inherently unstable values such as opinion and credit.(10) "Investing men were now expected to be obsessed with what others thought, or might think of them," observes J. G. A. Pocock. "The creature of the credit mechanism must be a creature of passion, fantasy and other-directedness."(11) Speculative investment and the increasing prominence of credit as a form of property initially caused conservative cultural critics to regard the new financial activities as potentially disruptive to the existing socio-economic order. The ease with which individuals could acquire and manipulate credit-and by extension the cultural markers of class it afforded-bespoke what Michael McKeon terms the "status inconsistency" so disturbing to Augustan critics.(12) The hierarchical categories of class, property, and even gender potentially suffered a fundamental instability. Yet by mid-century, the figure of the economic man, like forms of negotiable paper, was culturally assimilated into a larger system of national interests. The increasing dependence on and association with trade, credit, and investment by both the aristocracy and the middling classes made it necessary to recuperate, as far as possible, the symbols and activities associated with speculative finance. The necessity was also located in the middle classes' desire to legitimize and thus stabilize their position, and to combat their connection with the more speculative and passionate aspects of trade. They helped redefine the concepts of virtue, independence, and citizenship and, in the process, changed the terms of the evaluative discourse that could be used by or against them. This transformative process not only extended to the status of the economic man, but also introduced the connection between credit and virtue. Just as one could translate one's passions into interests, the cultural mechanisms also existed to turn one's credit into virtue. Passions, seen as self-directed and previously residing in the imaginary realm, were translated into virtue and converted into interests for the whole of society, indeed the nation. This move was motivated, in part, by a Whig desire to accommodate innovative finance to traditional cultural ideals; the terms of the discourse shifted as "credit is now being translated into virtue in the entirely moral and societal sense of that word."(13) Instead of being a marker of aristocratic status, virtue assumes a more practical and practiced existence; an understanding of virtue emerged that now relied on industry, "talent, frugality and application."(14)

The recuperation of credit and interest, and the ideological shift I'm discussing, have specific implications for Samuel Richardson and his cultural currency as both a printer and an author. In many ways, Richardson and his own rise to prosperity suggest the cultural transformation Pamela herself effects. In both his fictional and financial pursuits, Richardson translated a profession and product based on inherently unstable signifying systems into a tangible (and certainly profitable) commodity. His printing and his writing were two mutually enabling activities inextricably linked to and dependent on a type of paper credit; he exploited the economic and symbolic value of his involvement in print culture. By publishing and writing texts as diverse as Parliamentary accounts and popular fiction, Richardson capitalized on the range of discourses available to and popular with the reading public while also constructing his own locus of control within the culture's larger discursive struggles. Richardson transformed himself from an industrious apprentice of relatively humble origins into one of the leading printers of his time. The determination through which he achieved success certainly bespeaks the potential for self-improvement implicit in his ideological position. Richardson recognized the value of investing in himself, and in the rewards of frugality and moral and financial self-management-he lived an experience defined by the expanding notions of virtue he presents in Pamela.(15)

His profession demanded an emotional investment in the possibility for advancement and self-improvement through the production and consumption of (often fictionally oriented) symbolic instruments-texts in various forms. Richardson similarly recognized the value of the conduct book-the self-help manual-in contributing to the rise of the individual; he benefited from the public's increasing awareness of the ability of a text to provide information that could improve or alter one's life. "The growth of the primer, the educational aide," writes J. H. Plumb, "enabled any earnest apprentice to struggle up the ladder of self education in his leisure hours."(16) Familiar Letters on all Occasions (1741) suggests Richardson's belief that textual self-representation-i.e., an individual's credit on paper-often determined an individual's success in personal or professional relationships. Familiar Letters, like An Apprentice's Vade Mecum (1734), displays Richardson's emphasis on the future, and the present's effect on that future, and his certainty that both could be influenced by the power of texts.(17) While Richardson possessed a fundamentally conservative attitude toward social relationships, he recognized and profited from the increasingly dynamic quality of social interactions. Additionally, his print shop served as a clearing house for a variety of financial and commercial transactions. Richardson observes in his edition of Aesop's Fables (1739) that he witnessed "the South-Sea Project, the Bank Contract, the Charitable-Corporation Bubble, and twenty others that might be named in this Age so fruitful of such Projects."(18) He would likely have gained an understanding of, if not appreciation for, the speculative nature of such projects.

Richardson also seemed to understand-and at some level combat-the fundamentally speculative nature of the novel. History was perceived by many as objective, "true," a reflection of some sort of "reality." Yet the novel retained its association with unreliability, fantasy, and the imagination-a discourse of intentional deception. Of course, speculative investment of any kind was regarded in much the same way. Just as the act of reading a novel depends on the text's ability to arouse and then defer the reader's desires (while also enabling them to produce their own desires), so too must a stock scheme attract, arouse, and sustain an investor-the desire must be deferred for as long as possible. The publication of novels and the projecting of a financial venture both require investors to create and sustain imaginary narratives. Richardson's preoccupation with these dual narratives, and Pamela's fundamental concern with negotiations, fictionality, and profit, require us to reassess our understanding of the novel within this context and consider the cultural work it performs.

In one way the text is an extended discussion of the value of narratives (fictional or financial) and their power to entrance, indeed seduce, a willing reader or investor. Stocks and fiction rely on similar needs, desires, and fantasies, a reliance that, in part, allows Pamela to succeed socially, sexually, and economically. An understanding of her writings-any understanding of "Pamela her own self"-requires investment in both the romantic fiction Pamela creates and the volatile paper credit that makes up her virtue, Additionally the text's preoccupation with investing, conserving, and profiting from different forms of property provides economic models for its readers. The `ideal' reader would learn to recognize and use wisely her sexual, financial, and textual capital. But Richardson also seems to be speaking more broadly about the powers of transformation that can be found in various types of self-construction and self-actualization. He is not arguing for the importance of a serving girl's virtue, but is to a certain degree making a case for himself, his sense of class, and his genre. He implicitly speaks to the power of constructed narratives and of participation in those narratives-whether literary or financial.


Pamela lives in a world defined by financial and fictional narratives, and she recognizes the importance of investing in the future and cultivating her value. When the novel begins, Pamela has already earned a certain amount of credit within the household and, like a trader in stocks, she scrupulously guards her reputation; she refuses to "forfeit [her] good name" (p. 28). Capturing the favor of Lady B., Pamela acquires clothes, social skills, and an education; her ability "to write and cast Accompts" (p. 25) distinguishes her from the other servants and marks the slightly higher station from which she originally came. In true Richardsonian fashion, Mr. B. encourages Pamela to "look into any of her [ladyship's] books to improve yourself." As a result of her accomplishments, Pamela is a valued member of the household who has the good opinion or "good word" of her employers and fellow servants.

Despite all the credit she accumulates within the household, Pamela lives with the specter of her debt and worries about returning her parents to (and maintaining her own) financial solvency. In the novel, the Andrews' attempt to start their own school has failed, leaving them financially ruined and lowering their social position. In a 1741 letter to Aaron Hill, Richardson claimed that this aspect of the novel was based on the true story of a daughter whose parents were "ruined by suretiship,"(19) a contractual obligation that makes one legally responsible for another individual's debt. Similarly, Mrs. Jervis, who becomes Pamela's surrogate mother cum silent partner, has been forced into service to pay "old Debts for her Children that were extravagant ... This, tho', was very good in her" (p. 76). Like Pamela, she is "a Gentlewoman born, tho' she has had Misfortunes" (p. 30).

Pamela clearly understands what it means to be legally indebted, and she repeatedly expresses her refusal to incur new debt and her desire to keep her accounts in order. When she owes John some favors she wants to erase the "debt" monetarily: "John is very good, and very honest; ... I'd give him a Guinea, now I'm so rich, if I thought he'd take it" (p. 87). She strives to appear to maintain her resources, and resists borrowing from the other servants: "tho' I warrant I might have what I would of Mrs. Jervis, or Mr. Jonathan, or Mr. Longman; but then how shall I pay it, you'll say? And, besides, I don't love to be beholden" (p. 70). Pamela maintains a keen awareness of the importance of maintaining at least the appearance of financial solvency: "money runs a little lowish, after what I have laid out; but I don't care to say so here" (p. 70). Pamela appraises individuals in terms of their potential economic usefulness. For example, she reflects on the possible advantages in her relationship with "kind and civil Mr. Longman our steward": "He said, once to Mrs. Jervis, he wish'd he was a young Man for my sake, I should be his Wife, and he would settle all he had upon me on Marriage, and, you must know, he is reckon'd worth a Power of Money" (p. 51). She reveals an awareness of her attractiveness to Longman, and the potential profit of that attraction. She makes this observation in the context of a longer letter that suggests her potential for advancement with Mr. B. as well.

Her preoccupation with debt suggests not only its prevalence given the economic realities of the time, but also Pamela's resistance to incurring any new debt or obligation-moral, sexual, or economic-that would force her to squander her capital. Yet for a woman in her position there is often a fine line between liabilities and assets. Pamela understands the possibility for advancement and failure within the social realm: "I have liv'd above myself for some Time past" (p. 28). Her refusal to be "quite destitute again" (p. 25, emphasis mine) indicates her awareness of the vagaries of the marketplace. She realizes her options are limited because she has, in a sense, over-capitalized-she has "Qualifications above [her] degree" (p. 25); her extraordinary skills have made it more difficult for her to move within the servant class: "Much I fear'd, that as I was taken by her Goodness to wait upon her person, I should be ... forc'd to return to you and my poor Mother, who have enough to do to maintain yourselves; ... it would have been no easy Matter to find a Place that your poor Pamela was fit for" (p. 45). The inability to secure employment would necessarily cause Pamela to become beholden to someone-her parents, a husband, or a prospective employer.

Immediately after Lady B.'s death, Pamela receives a crucial piece of advice from Lady Davers that provides her with a potential model for avoiding debt, and illustrates the economic law of supply and demand. Observing that Pamela is "a very pretty wench" with "a very good character." she advises Pamela to "take care to keep the Fellows at a Distance: and said, that I might do, and be more valu'd for it, even by themselves" (p. 29). She is advised "to keep myself to myself" (p. 29). While Lady Davers intends this information to be used with other servants or neighborhood boys, rather than her brother, Pamela lets this principle guide her interactions with Mr. B. Pamela demonstrates her credit and her worth, cultivates Mr. B.'s interest (both romantic and economic), and then raises the price of her stock by keeping him "at a distance" and introducing the concept of virtue.

To succeed, Pamela must maintain her own credit (and credibility), as well as that of her potential investors; thus when Mr. B. approaches Pamela sexually, she initially describes those encounters as threatening to her credit and reputation, not specifically to her virtue. When Mr. B. kisses Pamela's hand, she complains that "such a Thing would ruin his Credit as well as mine" (p. 30). She worries Mr. B. has "undervalued himself, as to take notice of such a poor girl as I."(20) Mr. B. must maintain his respectability and status to remain a good investor. Early in the novel, Pamela balances this concern for credit and appearances with her desire for immediate profits in the form of material goods. Pamela keeps delighted accounts of the clothing she acquires from Mr. B., and her letters resemble a ledger of sorts: "he has given me a Suit of my old Lady's Cloaths, and half a Dozen of her Shifts, and Six fine Handkerchiefs, and Three of her Cambrick Aprons, and Four Holland ones" (p. 30). She later counts gifts of shoes, buckles and stockings with equal interest and specificity: "Two Suits of fine Flanders lac'd Head-cloths, Three Pair of fine Silk Shoes ... Four Pair of fine white Cotton Stockens, and Three Pair of fine Silk ones; and Two Pair of rich Stays" (p. 31). Pamela reflects the stereotypically bourgeois concern with the accumulation of commodities.

When Pamela decides to leave B.-hall, she claims she will leave all these clothes behind, "as he expected other Returns for his Presents, than I intended ... to make him; so I thought it was but just to leave his Presents behind me when I went away: for, you know, if I could not earn his Wages, why should I have them?" (p. 53). Yet she clearly indicates the success of her "project" to have the clothes sent after her when she leaves:
   I hear nothing of my Lady's Cloaths, and those my Master gave me: For I
   told Mrs. Jervis, I would not take them; but I fansy, by a Word or two that
   was dropt, they will be sent after me. Dear sirs! what a rich Pamela you'll
   have, if they should! But as I can't wear them, if they do, I don't desire
   them; and will turn them into Money, as I can have Opportunity. (P. 87)

She relies on the "word" in the marketplace, on the rumor and opinion she hears; she tells one thing but intends another. She doesn't desire "them"-the actual clothes-she prefers to have the profit she can get for them.

The clothes allow Pamela to adorn and thus enrich herself, but they also represent potential capital-she can put them to use by converting them to money. While these gifts represent an initial payment to Pamela (or, perhaps, the interest she gains from the principal of her beauty), she recognizes that such non-negotiable goods are, in fact, less useful than actual currency. To her parents she expresses her wish that "it was no Affront to him to make Money of them [the gifts], and send it to you: it would do me more good" (p. 30). Her desire for circulating currency allows her to rationalize her acceptance of money indirectly given by Mr. B.: "he has this Moment sent me five guineas by Mrs. Jervis, as a Present for my Pocket; so I shall be very rich; for as she brought them, I thought I might take them" (p. 87). She balances fiscal responsibility and social decorum. She boasts about her plans or "projects" to convert clothes into money, and her ability to save that money for future investment: "You'll say, I was no bad Housewife to have sav'd so much Money" (p. 53). She is already beginning to cultivate and advertise the values of industry and frugality that will become part of her virtue.

Pamela's preoccupation with appearance also causes her to remake herself in rustic dress. She decides to abandon the luxurious clothes she received from Mr. B. in favor of dress "that would become my condition" (p. 52), both to maintain her reputation and to give heightened credibility to her textual accounts. In anticipation of returning to her parents, Pamela procures "rustic" clothes, appropriate for her life away from B.-Hall. She expresses her anticipation of them in a way that suggests their ability to disguise and transform: "I long to have them on. I know I shall surprise Mrs. Jervis with them; for she shan't see me till I am full-dress'd" (p. 59). The new rustic attire represents Pamela as she longs to be seen-as an innocent young girl-and, more important, allows her to control how she is seen. This is the first of many times she remakes herself through her "projecting" (p. 77); she uses her own "industry" (p. 76) and her buying power to acquire the humbler clothing. (Although Pamela's description of her rustic clothes suggest they are not truly humble, rather "ordinary I mean to what I have been lately used to" [p. 60].) The rustic dress serves as another symbolic instrument that Pamela creates and places into circulation, and it suggests the transformative power of money. In the most fundamental way it conflates the multiple meanings of investment-not only is Pamela investing in her future with her narrative construction of virtue, she is literally "in-vesting" herself with the material signifiers of the persona she wishes to present to B. She clothes herself in her virtue (as she will do later when she literally wears her letters on her body) to increase her credibility in a way that makes her simultaneously impenetrable and even more desirable. The episode also indicates how easily Pamela, in a world of fundamentally ambiguous signifiers, can recreate herself: "O the Pleasure of descending with Ease" (p. 60). Pamela's declaration "I never lik'd myself so well in my life" seems rooted in her perceived success at self-fashioning; she is "metamorphos'd" (p. 60).

When Pamela descends the stairs having "trick'd [her]self up" in her new clothes, Rachel "did not know her," nor did Mrs. Jervis, which prompts the latter to observe "I never knew the like of thee" (p. 61). Pamela is different from all the other servants and also fundamentally unknowable. In light of the profound (and literal) impenetrability of Pamela, Mrs. Jervis's admonition "pray don't reveal yourself till he finds you out" (p. 61) has meaning beyond Pamela's seeming disguise and speaks to her inscrutable nature throughout the novel. Her attempts at self-empowerment also inform the whole scene. Once she dons her rustic gown she, like the economic man, invokes the power of Fortuna: "Let Fortune's Wheel turn round as it will" (p. 60).(21) The invocation to Fortuna, traditionally viewed in opposition to virtue and often regarded as a marker of an individual's ambition beyond his or her degree, further allies Pamela with the uncertain world of trade, speculation, and commerce, and intensifies the understanding of her virtue as a primarily textual construction.(22)

Such language, indeed the entire episode with rustic clothing, underscores the larger element of masquerade and disguise that pervades the whole novel. When B. encounters Pamela he claims she has intentionally tricked him: "you must disguise yourself, to attract me" (p. 62). Yet she asserts she has been "in disguise indeed ever since my good Lady, your Mother, took me from my poor parents ... and ... heap'd upon me rich cloathes, and other bounties" (p. 62). Although Pamela considers the rustic dress her "own self," it really acts as another in a series of disguises in the novel.(23) Like Exchange Alley, B.-Hall becomes a site of social mixing with the removal of the signifying codes of previously established cultural classifications. This transformation is, of course, regarded as an intentional trick by Mr. B. who says he has been "robb'd" (p. 63); it has caused him to lay out an excess of capital in terms of revealing his own desire. He reacts in a slightly scattered, somewhat frenzied manner. B. tells Pamela: "I can neither bear, nor forbear her ... But stay, you shan't go!--Yet begone!--No, come back again" (p. 62). This instance is the first in a series of moments where B.'s own behavior metaphorically (and appropriately) mirrors that of the new economic man.

Pamela worries that this incident has "cost" her her place and that she will suffer an immediate loss. As Mr. B.'s pursuit of Pamela continues, however, Pamela changes her attitude; she sacrifices an immediate short-term profit in hopes of a greater return in the long run. Pamela's resistance to Mr. B.'s advances, and her dutiful recording of those, provide her with credit from B. and her parents, and contribute to her virtue. Early in the novel, B. offers Pamela a verbal contract with a quid pro quo arrangement: "I tell you, I will make a Gentlewoman of you, if you be obliging" (p. 35). Pamela rejects such an offer outright both because it relies on B.'s word rather than a documented exchange and because it is not the best deal for her. Pamela resists being seen as tangible property that can be easily bought; in fact she repeatedly refers to her "very worthless body" (p. 151). Pamela realizes that gifts and coins, while immediately gratifying, ultimately have limited value for her. They establish a system of exchange in which she will probably lose. The real potential for financial rewards exists in shifting the relationship and the terms of the exchange from the material world of goods (kisses for stockings), to an imaginatively based world of speculative investment, paper credit, and negotiable paper.

From the beginning of the novel, Pamela is always writing, manipulating paper, exercising her imaginative powers in the creation of an intangible set of values offered in her narrative. Once Pamela is taken out to Lincolnshire estate and imprisoned, writing becomes Pamela's full-time job; she rarely does anything else. "I Have so much Time upon my Hands, that I must write on to employ myself" (p. 134). Pamela increasingly understands that her writing is an investment in her future. Her imaginative and textual creation of self represents her unwavering investment in her virtue-a completely intangible construct that determines the course of the relationship with Mr. B. Pamela's virtue is a commodity the reader and Mr. B. receive only on paper. The real value of Pamela's virtue will never appear; the moment when B. gains `material' proof of her virtue-her virginity-it, of course, ceases to exist. Virtue is a purely verbal construct that gains currency within the self-enclosed economic system established by Pamela. By calling Pamela's virtue a product of her imagination, I do not mean to suggest (as Fielding or Haywood do) that Pamela is somehow not virtuous. Rather, her discourse provides the only value Pamela's virtue has. Her paper credit, like a stock, composes a narrative that seeks and ultimately gains an emotional and financial investment from Mr. B. as he becomes increasingly involved in the fictional narrative that constitutes her virtue.

Her text also plays on B.'s appetites, passions, and emotions, and creates his desire to invest in her. It has the power to increase his desire by offering a textual account of the arousing experiences he has already had. Pamela's mirroring of text and experience, or read and lived encounters, heightens B.'s desires while deferring their consummation. The only "satisfaction" B. gets is from his possession of the letters. As Mr. B. observes, Pamela is a "pretty story in Romance" (p. 42). The two narratives-fictional and financial-are inextricably linked and mutually informing. Investment in the one necessarily requires investment in the other. When Pamela first recognizes Mr. B.'s attraction to her, she admits she has "read of things almost as strange, from great men to poor damsels" (p. 74), indicating her familiarity with romance.(24) He realizes the power of Pamela's narrative despite its fundamentally intangible basis: "you may as well have real Cause to take these Freedoms with me, as to make my Name suffer for imaginary ones" (p. 41). At times she resorts to the lines she has read as the basis for her verbal defense: "O how I was terrify'd! I said, like as I had read in a Book a Night or two before, Angels, and Saints, and all the Host of Heaven, defend me!" (p. 41). Initially B. sees her protestations of virtue as located in that tradition: "You have a very pretty romantic Turn for Virtue, and all that" (p. 71). He uses the same attitude with Goodman Andrews, claiming "I think thou has read Romances as well as thy Daughter, and thy Head's turn'd with them" (p. 93).

While the abduction to Lincolnshire fits into the plot of a romance, it forces Pamela to reassess her situation and reestablish her credit. She has a new set of individuals with which to deal, and she has to make appropriate adjustments. When Pamela first arrives at Lincolnshire, she evaluates the potential usefulness of the people around her, determining they are all "strange Creatures, that promise nothing" (p. 105). Mrs. Jewkes tricks her out of the only coins she has to prevent her from making a "bad Use of it" and corrupting Nan "with Money or fine things" (p. 121). In the absence of real money, Pamela attempts various other "projects" that depend on the strength of her cunning and B.'s attitude toward her. For example, she attempts to win Mrs. Jewkes' confidence by showing her a letter from Mr. B.:
   I thought, when I had written this Letter, and that which he had
   prescrib'd, it would look like placing a Confidence in Mrs. Jewkes, to shew
   them to her; and I shew'd her at the same time, my Master's Letter to me;
   for I believ'd, the Value he expressed for me, would give me Credit with
   one who profess'd in every thing to serve him right or wrong. (P. 110,
   emphasis mine)

She hopes B.'s letter will act like a letter of credit from a bank allowing Pamela to borrow on the good opinion he has of her. She similarly tries to get Williams to participate in her project to escape, but he proves to be a bad risk; he lacks the cunning necessary to service her plans: "his Over-security and Openness, have ruined us both" (p. 148).

Lincolnshire also signals a slight shift in Mr. B.'s attitude as well. He is transformed from a member of the landed elite disdainful of Pamela's scribbling to a frenzied, slightly feminized economic man eager to invest in Pamela's scheme. Initially, like a conservative ideologue, Mr. B. repeatedly complains that Pamela never does any "real" work: "This Girl is always scribbling; I think she may be better employ'd" (p. 34). He later calls her an "idle girl" and claims she minds her "Pen more than [her] Needle" (p. 55). He continues by saying he doesn't want such "idle Sluts," linking the middle-class conceptions of industry and chastity with virtue. Certainly he is bothered by the apparent lack of tangible product for her efforts, but he is also nervous about her textual creation of self and the negotiable paper she produces. He resists her rejection of the world of tangible goods, where he has more power, for the imaginatively conceived world of virtue and paper credit. He laments that "Pride of Birth and Fortune" cannot "obtain Credit" with Pamela (p. 84). That type of authority can't buy him anything, even though he loves Pamela to "extravagance" (p. 83).

Mr. B. also questions the value of Pamela's reputation, and by extension her credit, and its relationship to his own world. He tells Mrs. Jervis: "I know Pamela has your good Word; but do you think her of any Use in the Family? ... Why that Word virtuous?" (p. 39). He is suspicious of her possible plans for other servants: "but 'tis my Opinion, she is an artful young Baggage; and had I a young handsome Butler or Steward, she'd soon make her Market of one of them, if she thought it worth while to snap at him for a Husband" (p. 39). Nevertheless, her text plays on B.'s appetites, passions, and emotions. He is increasingly beguiled by the notion of investing in Pamela (instead of bartering for her as he initially intended). Consequently, he abandons his aristocratic demeanor (peering through keyholes and rifling through her letters) in his pursuit of her. Perhaps the fullest example of this abandonment occurs when B. disguises himself as Nan. Wearing Nan's "Gown and Petticoat" with "her Apron over his Face and Shoulders" (p. 175), B. observes Pamela from a chair. When Nan/B. comes to bed, Pamela expresses concern that her breathing was "all quick and short" (p. 176) and she "quiver'd like an Aspin-leaf" (p. 176). B. literally changes gender signifiers in an attempt to gratify his overwhelming desire for Pamela. Led by his passions and emotions, he, like the economic man, becomes a feminized creature. He abandons all sense of class distinctions. Similarly, he now places increasing importance in Pamela's reputation and credit. As he learns Mrs. Jervis's estimation of Pamela and the general opinion of the other servants within the household, he gains a renewed interest in "investing" in Pamela:
   All the Servants, from the highest to the lowest, doat upon you, instead of
   envying you; and look upon you in so superior a Light, as speaks what you
   ought to be. I have seen more of your Letters than you imagine, (This
   surpriz'd me!), and am quite overcome with your charming manner of Writing
   ... all put together, makes me, as I tell you, love you to Extravagance.
   (P. 83)

B.'s inability to penetrate Pamela, and his recognition that he must look to her paper credit rather than her physical body for worth, cause this change in his approach. When Mr. B. wants to escalate the relationship to another level of physical intimacy by making Pamela his mistress, he sends her an elaborately written proposal detailing the economic benefits to her. Nancy Armstrong suggests that "[w]hile Mr. B. offers money in exchange for her body, she maintains that her real value does not derive from her body; she is not, in other words, currency in a system of exchange among men."(25) Armstrong attributes Pamela's value to her gender, her "female subjectivity," and her language, and reads her resistance throughout the novel as the triumph of the modern self over traditional forms of political power. While Pamela's maneuvers certainly are political in that they involve the play of power, her rejection of B.'s proposal is a profoundly economic act. Pamela will not allow herself to be used as currency in a system of exchange among men because she has already constructed an alternative financial model. Pamela wants Mr. B. to invest in her, not buy her outright, He must recognize and believe in the potential returns (moral, sexual, economic, domestic) she has to offer; he cannot be diverted by his desire for immediate gratification.

Although his written proposal indicates his belief that his relationship with Pamela has long-term potential, he wants to test it, to borrow against rather than invest in the future. Unfortunately for Mr. B., Pamela is a much shrewder litigant. B. introduces the possibility of marriage in Item VII: "if your Conduct be such, that I have Reason to be satisfied with it, I know not (but will not engage for this) that I may, after a Twelvemonth's Cohabitation, marry you" (p. 167). With this statement, he unwittingly causes his terms to necessarily be rejected. Pamela recognizes that marriage is in fact a possibility and that she has "undervalued" her stock, so to speak. If she accepts these terms, she will sell at too low a price, and also lose the credit she has already established. Her rejection under the guise of virtue and propriety only further increases her value; B. insists "I would divide with all my Soul, my Estate with you, to make you mine upon my own Terms. These you have absolutely rejected; and that, tho' in sawcy Terms enough, yet, in such a manner, as makes me admire you more ... And I see you so watchful over your Virtue, that tho' I hop'd to find it otherwise, I cannot but say, my Passion for you is increas'd by it" (pp. 183-84). Indeed, Pamela has done precisely what Lady Davers initially suggested; she has held B. at a distance and consequently made herself more attractive and thus valuable as a result. Through resistance and savvy negotiation, Pamela is able to achieve the end she wants and to transform her credit into virtue.

Before Mr. B. ostensibly sends Pamela away to marry Williams, he reads her journal and letters, which he describes as a "fond Folly [that] ... cost me so dear" (p. 213). His reading or "borrowing" of her paper credit only prolongs the negotiation and increases her value: "Your Papers shall be faithfully return'd you, and I have paid so dear for my Curiosity in the Affection they have rivetted upon me for you, that you would look upon yourself amply reveng'd, if you knew what they have cost me" (p. 214). Pamela extracts her fee and the "cost" to Mr. B. is his increasing affection; he is ready to invest in Pamela. He has nothing tangible, save Pamela herself, on which to base his good opinion; his infatuation and his ultimate commitment to her in the form of marriage are ultimately speculative. His final agreement to marry Pamela represents his emotional and economic investment in her imaginative narrative. The pretty romance B. complained Pamela was writing becomes a story he accepts as true.

The discussions of the marriage illustrate how Pamela's paper credit, transformed into virtue, constitutes a completely negotiable, albeit intangible, property within the economy of the novel. On the eve of her wedding, Pamela imagines how Mr. B. would be concerned with the legal preparations if he were marrying a "Lady of Birth and Fortune": "all the Eve to the Day, would be taken up in reading, signing and sealing of Settlements, and Portion, and such-like" (p. 282). Indeed Pamela observes "how poor is it to offer nothing but Words for such generous Deeds!" (p. 283). Mr. B. assures her that what she brings to the marriage is equal to any dowry: "To all that know your Story and your Merit, it will appear, that I cannot recompense you for what I have made you suffer ... who shall grudge you the Reward of the hard-bought Victory?" (p. 283).(26) Yet the victory is one fought over intangible values for very tangible goods. The terms have now completely shifted-B, hopes he has enough credit to ensure the maintenance of Pamela's virtue. Mr. B. claims to "have no Business ... of equal value to [Pamela's] company" (p. 311). As his primary business, Pamela has required an elaborate and intricate process of negotiation, investment, and capitalization.

Once married, Pamela uses her paper credit to convince Lady Davers and others of her worth. When Lady Davers arrives unexpectedly to find Pamela, now Mrs. B., alone she harasses the former servant and refuses to believe a legitimate marriage occurred. She will not take Pamela's "word" for it. The spoken word or Mr. B.'s letter to Pamela have no credit; even Mr. B.'s later pleas for Pamela's new status go unheeded. Only Pamela's written account convinces Lady Davers of her worthiness: "I can find, by your Writings, that your Virtue is but suitably rewarded" (p. 374). Pamela agrees to circulate her letters, "not doubting your generous Allowances, as I have had his [Mr. B.'s]" (p. 375). While Lady Davers can only provide social acceptance in contrast to Mr. B.'s financially oriented "allowances," "the Sight of [Pamela's] Papers" (p. 375) persuades Lady Davers that she has the virtue necessary for her new station. Lady Davers, like B., makes a social and emotional investment, and through the process of narrative involvement imaginatively transforms Pamela' s textual account into proof of her virtue.


As Mrs. B., Pamela translates her considerable financial abilities to an expanded domestic economy. Mr. B. puts her in charge of her own accounts, 200 guineas a year. He insists that she not be uneasy about the amount since, in addition to his prosperous estate, he lays "up Money every Year, and have besides, large Sums in Government and other Securities" (p. 306). While he expects "no Account" for the money, by placing the distribution of the sum in the context of his other financial dealings, he implicitly characterizes Pamela as one in a series of investments. In the final recuperation (or perhaps reinvestment) of her assets, Pamela translates the accounting skills that enabled her success into expert household management, a domesticated virtue. Pamela is still determined to put her money to use:
   I am resolv'd to keep Account of all these Matters, and Mr. Longman has
   already furnish'd me with a Vellum-book of all white Paper; some Sides of
   which I hope soon to fill, with the Names of proper Objects: And tho' my
   dear master has given me all this without Account, yet shall he see, (but
   nobody else) how I lay it out from Quarter to Quarter; and I will, if any
   be left, carry it on, like an Accomptant, to the next Quarter, and strike a
   Ballance four times a Year, and a general Ballance at every Year's End.
   (Pp. 387-88)

Pamela's new financial ledger is as intimate a journal as the one she kept during her captivity. Moreover, Pamela will use this new ledger to maintain her credibility with Mr. B. She will show these accounts (an ad hoc investor's report or an annual summary), like her personal writings, to her "beloved master ... (but nobody else)."

With her marriage and her absorption into B.'s economy, Pamela fully translates her credit into virtue, a virtue proved or maintained by a show of financial solvency. However, Pamela does not lose her concern with turning a profit, and she conflates the aristocratic ideal of the moral economy and good deeds with the new economic man's understanding of investment. She asks her parents for a "List of the honest and worthy Poor" (p. 408) so she might carefully dispense her money among them and put it to use: "[F]or the Money lies by me, and brings me no Interest. You see I am become a mere Usurer; and want to make Use upon Use" (p. 409). Appearing in the last letter of the novel, this passage most accurately characterizes Pamela's attitude toward capital, investments, and profit. Pamela is endlessly concerned with getting a return on her investment, on making her sexual, financial, and fictional capital work for her-whether it is self-generated paper credit or her annual allotment of pin money. When Pamela calls herself a "mere usurer" she, in fact, identifies her guiding principle through the book. Like a usurer, she has lent her capital-journal, letters-to Mr. B. and allowed it to be circulated, but at a very high rate of interest. With a verbal, imaginatively conceived account of her experiences-with her paper credit-she gains a profitable marriage and an annual allowance. By using an alternative form of currency and determining her own rate of exchange, Pamela (at least in Part One) temporarily transcends the patriarchal economy of exchange in women and creates her own domestic economy in which Mr. B. must invest.

Pamela's preoccupation with investment, credit, and the construction of virtue suggests a wider cultural anxiety about a woman's use of her sexual, financial, and textual capital-an anxiety informed by the changing notions of property. It also suggests an increasing desire for discursive evidence of inherently intangible things. In The Penny London Post: or the Morning Advertiser from the week of January 8, 1750, an advertisement for The Lady's Compleat Pocket-Book appeared. For one shilling, this conveniently sized `pocket-book' claimed to provide women-for at least the year-with the most important information needed to negotiate the town. The Pocket-Book offered everything from "rates, rules and orders relating to Coachmen, Chairmen, Carmen and Watermen, in order to prevent any Imposition offered to those who are unacquainted with the Town" to "Directions for dancing forty-eight new country-Dances compos'd for the present year." A woman could learn how to get around town and what to do once she got where she was going. Most significant is the Pocket-Book's promise to serve as a prefabricated vehicle for recording and reviewing one's life. It acts as a "Memorandum-Book for every Day in the Year, so dispos'd as to discover at one view, what Cash is received, what paid, What Appointments or Engagements are on Hand; and other occasional Business of Importance." The annual purchase (and subsequent preservation) of these "pocketbooks"-since they will "be continued every year"-will enable "any Lady to tell What Business she has transacted, and What Company been in every Day, during any Period of her Life." A woman will be able to reflect on past days or past years as time well spent.

Like Pamela's "vellum-book of all white paper," the Pocket-Book offered a way for women to keep their accounts in order. It provided a potential journal of appointments, primer of dances and social rituals, and ledger in which to note "cash received" and "what paid." With such a volume, women will, in effect, be able to record the daily business of their lives, to create their own "paper credit." Like Pamela, these women can turn the "business ... transacted" into a narrative that can demonstrate their fiscal responsibility, economy, and continued frugality-their attempts to act within the redefined parameters of middle-class values that increasingly define virtue. Ironically, though, this possible marker (or perhaps measure) of women's virtue and dutifulness now resides in the potentially unreal world of paper credit-as women `take stock' of their activities, gain `credit' for learning the latest dances and city customs, and learn how to act credibly with coachmen so as not to be financially gullible. Women increasingly invest in ways of investing in themselves. They are all potentially some sort of `domestic stock-jobber.' The offering of such a text less than a decade after the appearance of Pamela suggests the pervasiveness of the concerns Richardson explored. Pamela addresses not only issues of social volatility, cultural capital, and speculative finance; it also indicates how fully eighteenth-century culture, informed by fictional and financial narratives, had embraced the act of writing, accounting, and investing as a means of self-actualization, if not transformation.


(1) Pamela or, Virtue Rewarded, T. C. Duncan Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel, eds. (First published 1740; rpt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971). All subsequent references will be made parenthetically. The following individuals made valuable suggestions on earlier versions of this essay: Paula R. Backscheider, Glen Coburn, Miles McCrimmon, the members of the Folger Institute Colloquium, "Women in the Eighteenth Century," and the anonymous readers of this essay.

(2) James Cruise, "Pamela and the Commerce of Authority," Journal of English and Germanic Philology 87 (1988): 342-88. Readers of Richardson's novel (beginning with Henry Fielding and Eliza Haywood) have recognized Pamela's preoccupation with money. For example, lan Watt, in The Rise of the Novel (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1957) places Pamela and her connection with B. in a relationship defined by the powers of capitalism, though not necessarily speculative investment. Terry Eagleton's The Rape of Clarissa: Writing, Sexuality and Class Struggle in Samuel Richardson (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1982) discusses the class anxiety Pamela mediates, an anxiety certainly connected to the larger financial issues discussed here. Eagleton's more broadly based concerns pursue issues of class struggle rather than specific economic practices. Mona Sheuermann attempts to dismantle the "perception" that women were not interested or involved in wealth in her study of the eighteenth-century novel, Her Bread to Earn (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1993). In her conclusion, she mentions Pamela's accounting abilities and asserts "her awareness of money ... defines her character" (pp. 245-46). However, her study, which engages a critical perspective different from my own, does not offer a sustained discussion of Pamela or explore women's involvement with speculative investment. Other recent discussions of class, economy, and Pamela include James Cruise, "Fielding, Authority and the New Commercialism in Joseph Andrews," ELH 54 (1987): 253-75; Christopher Flint, "Anxiety of Affluence: Family and Class (Dis)order in Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded," Studies in English Literature 29 (1989): 489-524; and Ann Louise Kibbie, "Sentimental Properties: Pamela and Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure," ELH 58.3 (1991): 561-77, among others. What I hope this essay demonstrates is my concern with Pamela as an actor in an economy specifically marked by speculative investment and the new financial instruments, rather than as an subject more generally concerned with commerce, money, and accounting in a manner consistent with the middle classes during this period. While the latter is certainly an accurate characterization of Pamela, her motivations, as I suggest, are more complicated than that.

(3) Obviously the term "credit" is not introduced in the eighteenth century, nor is its meaning limited to commercial transactions. As early as the sixteenth century, as the Oxford English Dictionary details, credit denoted trust, the quality of being worthy of belief, or personal influence based on confidence of others. While this essay deals with credit primarily in the commercial sense as it is understood in eighteenth-century financial culture, these earlier meanings deepen and complement rather than preclude the discussion.

(4) Colin Nicholson, Writing and the Rise of Finance: Capital Satires of the Early Eighteenth Century. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), p. 7.

(5) By the "financial revolution," I refer to the development of a flexible credit network, improved techniques of exchange, a Bank of England, and a growing paper economy introduced primarily in the 1690s that fundamentally altered the economy of Britain. The standard discussion of the financial revolution is P. G. M. Dickson, The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit (New York: St. Martin Press, 1967). J. G. A. Pocock discusses the financial revolution and its effect on the relationship between virtue and commerce extensively in much of his work (some cited below). His most concentrated discussions of the financial revolution and the issues addressed here include The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1975), chaps. 8 and 9, and "The Mobility of Property and the Rise of Eighteenth-Century Sociology," Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985), pp. 103-23. In Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (originally published 1968; reprinted Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1992), Isaac Kramnick discusses what he terms the "Economic Revolution" in similar terms (pp. 39-48, 65-70). John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State 1688-1783 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989), looks at the relationship between commerce and war, and the transformation in the British government that enabled the development of the "fiscal-military state" (p. xvii). He also examines the importance of taxes in the financial revolution (chap. 4, and pp. 178-89).

(6) (London 1720), p. 22.

(7) For example, in "Epistle to Bathurst" Pope bemoans how much easier bribery and corruption are without cumbersome goods: "Blest paper-credit! Last and best supply! / That lends Corruption lighter wings to fly." Alexander Pope, "Epistle to Bathurst," The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, John Butt, ed., vol. 3.ii. F. W. Bateson, ed. (London: Methuen & Co., 1961) 3:93, 1.69-70. Catherine Gallagher observes that "Pope's anxiety about paper credit is part of a larger anxiety about the minimal materiality inherent in `signifying systems'." "Raymond Williams and Cultural Studies," Social Text 30 (1992): 87. For a discussion of the negative representations of paper credit, and the figure of Credit herself, see, tot example, Paula R. Backscheider, "Defoe's Lady Credit," Huntington Library Quarterly 44.2 (1981): 89-100.

(8) In his recent and compelling study, Models of Value: Eighteenth-Century Political Economy and the Novel (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1996), James Thompson discusses how the "interrelation between the development of the novel and economic change" must be understood as "mediated by the concurrent development of political economy as a discourse and the novel as a discourse" (p. 8). Chapters one and two, on political economy and monetary theory respectively, lay the groundwork for his provocative model. He does not discuss Pamela, though claims "similar arguments can be mounted about Samuel Richardson" (p. 8).

(9) Pocock, discussing this deferral in terms of the repayment of government stock, observes "Government stock is a promise to repay at a future date; from the inception and development of the National Debt, it is known that this date will in reality never be reached ... Government is therefore maintained by the investor's imagination concerning a moment which will never exist in reality." This is not to suggest that individuals never saw any return on their investment-if that were the case, few would invest. Rather, the point is that the process of repayment is deferred and that the absolute moment of repayment is never actually realized. "The Mobility of Property and the Rise of Eighteenth-Century Sociology," Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985), p. 112.

(10) Pocock further suggests that such reliance causes the stock-jobber to be perceived as feminized or even an effeminate being. "Trading on expectations," economic man must rely on the imaginative forces necessary for financial investment in a fluctuating market, an environment "where production and exchange are regularly equated with the ascendancy of the passions and the female principle." "Mobility of Property," p. 114.

(11) Pocock, Feudalism, Capitalism and Beyond, Eugene Kamenka and R. S. Neale, eds. (Canberra: Australian Univ. Press, 1975), p. 79.

(12) Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1987), p. 375.

(13) Pocock, Machiavellian Moment, p. 456. For a discussion of how passions are translated into interests see Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and The Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton Univ. Press, 1977).

(14) Caroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Domesticating `Virtue': Coquettes and Revolutionaries in Young America," Literature and The Body: Essays on Populations and Persons (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1988), p. 164. An important discussion of the transformation of the concept of virtue can be found in Shelley Burtt's Virtue Transformed (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992) which asserts that civic virtue is transformed rather than eclipsed, details the "varieties of virtue" (p. 12) circulating in eighteenth-century culture, and explores the "politics of the politics of virtue" (p. 37). For her specific response to Pocock's work, see pp. 32-37.

(15) Although the paucity of Richardson's personal papers limits our knowledge of his specific investment activities, what little we know clearly indicates Richardson's active involvement in a variety of speculative financial schemes. For discussions of Richardson's business activities see T. C. Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel, Samuel Richardson: A Biography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971) pp. 41-45, 498-510, and, especially, chap. 8, and Alan D. McKillop, Samuel Richardson: Printer and Novelist (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1936), Appendix, "Records of Richardson's Life and Business." William M. Sale, Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographical Record of his Literary Career with Historical Notes (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1936) and Samuel Richardson: Master Printer (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1950), focuses (usefully) on Richardson's career as a printer, but not his personal finances.

(16) J. H. Plumb, "The Commercialization of Leisure in Eighteenth-Century England," The Birth of Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England, Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, and J. H. Plumb, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1982), p. 272.

(17) The preface reiterates that text's goal to teach apprentices "how to behave in this their first stage of Manhood and Business, on which the whole of their future Good generally depends" (p. vi).

(18) Quoted in McKillop, p. 8.

(19) Selected Letters of Samuel Richardson, John Carroll, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), p. 39. Also, in The Apprentice's Vade Mecum (1734), in a section that "cautions against suretiship," Richardson warns of the "pernicious consequence, suretiship, and other engagements flowing often from" early and ill-advised friendships (p. 44).

(20) This quotation appears in the revised 1801 text, but not the first edition. It has been quoted from Pamela, Peter Sabor, ed. (New York: Penguin, 19801, p. 1 lg.

(21) Pamela later terms herself "a mere tennis-ball of fortune" (p. 280).

(22) Pocock traces the virtue-fortune polarity throughout the civic humanist tradition, from Boethius's configuration to its Neo-Harringtonian manifestation. Though discussed at multiple points in The Machiavellian Moment, see particularly pp. 36-41, 84-97, and 349-75.

(23) Terry Castle observes that Pamela introduces a carnivalesque element to B.-Hall as she penetrates the upper reaches of the society. "Pamela remains, one could argue, one of the greatest carnivalesque plots in literature. It has to do with the violation of taxonomic boundaries, with unprecedented (and gratifying) couplings of things that should remain apart: high and low, masters and servant, rake and virgins." Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1986), pp. 135-36.

(24) Of course Richardson further cultivates that impression among his readers when, in the subtitle to the text, he terms Pamela "a beautiful young damsel."

(25) Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987), p. 115. Armstrong's discussion of Pamela (pp. 108-34) focuses on the political implications of the novel; she is concerned with the way Richardson empowers Pamela, locating that power within her female subjectivity and self-possession. It is, she suggests, a text that "repackages political resistance as the subjectivity of a woman" (p. 132). Armstrong places it within a broader cultural and discursive transformation that results in the "feminization" of the novel and the reorganization of political power within the domestic household and in specifically gendered terms. While Armstrong's significant study has influenced subsequent scholarship, her discussion of Pamela, though persuasive on some issues, ignores the material and symbolic economy that, to my mind, pervades the novel. Like Armstrong, I think Richardson endows Pamela with a great deal of power and value. But, unlike Armstrong, I think Pamela constructs her value within an imaginative and speculative domestic economy dependent on her letters, journals, and other forms of paper credit. When Armstrong does discuss economics, in the broadest sense of the term, she suggests that Pamela's "will ... poses an alternative moral economy to that of the dominant class" (p. 114). Certainly Pamela's actions, like the credit economy generally, offer an alternative to the moral economy but they are profoundly informed by speculative investment.

(26) The 1801 edition continues "My fortune is the more valuable to me, in the world's eye, to do credit to your virtue" (p. 367).
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