Disapproval of the extreme wealth of the few during an economic downturn was made clear in a 1765 letter to the editor of theNew–York Gazette. The letter is primarily about the worsening relations with the “Mother Country,” England. However, the writer also expresses dissatisfaction with affairs in New York in a fashion that presages the “We are the 99 percent” theme of Occupy Wall Street:
Some Individuals of our Countrymen, by the Smiles of Providence or some other Means, are enabled to roll in their four–wheel’d Carriages, and can support the Expence of good Houses, rich Furniture, and Luxurious Living. But, is it equitable that 99, or rather 999 should suffer for the Extravagance or Grandeur of one? Especially when it is consider’d, that Men frequently owe their Wealth to the Impoverishment of their Neighbours.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose… n’est-ce pas?