"Trade Is The Golden Girdle Of The Globe"
Context: Because of Cowper's morbidity and frequent periods of mental disorganization, his poetic output is of unequal quality. During his periods of belief in religious persecution, he wrote a number of hymns in collaboration with the Reverend John Newton. Following one sojourn in an insane asylum, Cowper spent a period of recuperation at the Newton home, subsidized by a wealthy merchant, John Thornton (1720–1790). The poet dedicated this poem, "Charity," to him and to John Howard, a prison reformer who died the year of its publication. Charity, in the sense of love of one's fellow men, is its theme. Cowper contrasts Capt. James Cook (1728–1779) and his humane treatment of savages in the South Seas, with the cruel treatment by Hernán Cortez (1485–1547) of the Indians of Mexico. Cowper's philosophy is better than his knowledge of history, because Montezuma met his death, not from the Spaniards, but by a stone thrown by one of his own Aztec courtiers. In his discussion of charity in business dealings, he believes that trade links people and lands around the world.
Again–the band of commerce was designedT' associate all the branches of mankind;And, if a boundless plenty be the robe,Trade is the golden girdle of the globe.Wise to promote whatever end he means,God opens fruitful Nature's various scenes:Each climate needs what other climes produce;And offers something to the general use:No land but listens to the common call,And in return receives supply from all.