ABSTRACT

This chapter highlights the shift in commercial advice literature away from a focus on Christian ethics and duty in economic relationships in England during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It discusses a growing emphasis on practical skills and profit-making in guidebooks for retailers. The chapter illustrates how England’s financial revolution produced concrete changes in everyday commercial relationships. Despite the transformations in commercial advice literature, echoes remained of earlier discussions concerning Christian duty and ethics, and a number of handbooks and sermons continued to touch upon the issues. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, commercial advice literature began to focus on a more practical and worldly approach to business relationships. The financial transformations of the early eighteenth century inspired new understandings of commercial relationships. Evidence drawn from contemporary correspondence and diaries suggests that some traders did use religion in their daily commercial relationships.