« ForrigeFortsett »
ing wealth, or to convince them of its being morally and politically beneficial, it is to be feared that the same fatal prejudice will be extended to the theory of Wealth, and that mankind will not feel greatly disposed to patronize a science, the object of which is little valued. There is, at least, no hope that it will be diligently studied, successfully cultivated, and eagerly diffused among the enlightened classes of the community, on whose patronage alone the progress of science depends, and without whose CO-O ent the solitary efforts of a few courageous parti peration o: to struggle against the tonent . who o: Imust always prove unavailing. indif. is, therefore, of the utmost ; success of Political Econo mportance for the my, that the myster; ySteriou5
veil, which has hi 3. as hitherto conc Yoalth, should be removed *aled the true nature of
It must, in fine Xtraneous Callwhether Wealth
te than vices. * more than it io 'es the
} }^2 . ge ON THE WARIOUS SYSTEMS.
much importance not to mistake its essence, its origin, its effects, and the universal application of which it is susceptible. The indifference which has proved so fatal to the theory of wealth, cannot be persevered in without endangering the social bonds of modern nations. At a time when Europe, shaken in her very foundations, is about to be re-established on a new basis, and when it is at length acknowledged that true politics ought no longer to separate the power of governments from the welfare of the people, it particularly behoves us to form correct notions of wealth, and to be acquainted both with the benefits which we are to expect from it, and the calamities which follow in its train. If wealth be useful, its advantages will be the greater for being more justly appreciated; if prejudicial, its disastrous effects will be better avoided or prevented by being known. Though truth be not always certain to please, it is yet sure of a favourable reception whenever it is beneficial to mankind. Wealth, in the simplest and most general acceptation of the term, consists in the surplus of produce above consumption, or of income above expenditure. The extent both of public and private wealth depends on the accumulation of this surplus, and on the man-, ner in which it is managed and applied.* The passion for wealth is general, universal, and,
* When individuals, hordes, tribes, and nations, have not enough to supply their wants, they are poor; when their means are adequate to their wants, they are equally removed from poverty and wealth : when they have a surplus left after having supplied all their wants, this surplus constitutes their wealth.
** = c-1-co-o-o-stake its esseno its origin, o, i-os ice :-e-versal application of whichità soro e Tre = frence which has proved 30 -ie-Reco-f ve:h, cannot be persevered in our mous ris & social bonds of modern na' =ous. At 1:-e won Europe, shaken in her very Eunocco, is about to be re-established on a new :ass and when it is at length acknowledged that :-e politics ought holonger to separate the power of governments from the welfare of the people, it parti. guary schoves us toform correct notions of wealth, and to be acquainted both with the benefits which wo m it, and the calamities which fol.
are to expect fro low in its train.
will be the greater for being more justly appreciated, if prejudicial, its disastrous effects will be bot" avoided or prevented by being known. Though truth be not always certain.” please, it is yet so of a fa.
vourable reception whenever it is beneficial to man"
tion of the term, so in
ye consum tion, or of ino
i. extent . of public and private wealth o
on the accumulation of this surplus, * e man",
ner in which it is managed and o iVersa The passion for wealth is general, u
plest and most general accept* the surplus of produce omeabove expendit"
aS * - - . j inherent in mankind. The his ory of man 1 - w
prisin Vl o shows it always active and enter
o . the spring of every private action, the
COuntr end of all public resolutions. In o
tar ho i." every nation, among the Scythian or T T
of Americ among the tribes of Arabia orth allo°rica, among the ancients and esavages
and moderns, at all
times and V under all gove ercises g rnments, the desi of rich . late the same influence; whether no o : ll d or - - ... " ! OVerne by o 1I] Societies, wo * g In St1nct OT obedient to reaso . e d n, this de
- - - - - -
the prin rvation ciple and while, in n le of liberal and Inec Promoter of i. o been - d acultie S
Secured them nci agains o Comforts and * e o extended, as it al" (lestined for IIlan *ates mankind from y m the
animal creation, might be measured by the distance of the most refined enjoyments from the most ordinary wants, or, in other words, by the distance of wealth from poverty. Unfortunately, this passion for riches, which nature designed for such useful and beneficial purposes, has long been a constant source of disorder, violence, and calamities, among individuals and nations. Ancient history, and the records of the middle age, continually exhibit the passion for wealth to the philosophical observer as an obstacle to the safety, liberty, and happiness of individuals, to the independence and prosperity of nations, and to the increase and welfare of mankind : it is always arming men against men, cities against cities, and people against people. During those two periods, it seemed as if one man could not possess more than he stood in need of, without depriving another of the necessaries of life; as if cities could not be rich but at the expense of the country, and as if a nation could not be wealthy but by impoverishing other nations. Every where wealth is wrested from poverty, and opulence amassed out of the wrecks of indigence. Ages had rolled along before men perceived, or even before they sus
pected a more productive, a more abundant source of
wealth, than the misery of their fellow-creatures. Communities, or individuals, all fancied they could not be rich but by seizing the property of others; and all attempted to secure a surplus by depriving others of their absolute necessary. With this intent were framed the constitutions of the ancients, and of the people of the middle age;
24 animal creation, of the most refine nary wants, 0", in Ol wealth from poverty. es, which natur
. . . ich Unfortunately, this!” for o ial purposes, ho designed for such useful and benetical P esigne
- wealth to the P o, the passion for . Wherty, and hap" exhibit t sobstacle to the safely, '. pros
serves as - t observes • dividuals, to the io welfare of iness of no and to the increase” :... of nations, sarming men against men, ch le against people. Dur. d as if one man could
0x THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS
might be mea: d enjoyments her words,
need of, without ties of life; as
n before they su”.
in this spirit were their laws conceived, digested, and executed : such was the peculiar character of their institutions, governments, and public and private manners; such the end of their social compact. .. The servitude of the most numerous part of the People was the first consequence of this system. We *"slavery established in the most remote times; and this circumstance has betrayed some writers (in other *P*estimable) into the supposition that servitude is a law of nature. Independently of the greatest Part of the people :o . o o considerable portion slavery, and o .. o o little preferable to beings, whose .. to: for a few privileged earS no pro titude bending under th p portion to the mul- he load of social calamities.
To what cause °ught we to ascribe a disti degrading to humanity? N makes neither mast
* to human nature : it * not slaves, neither rich nor
the ich rendered the misery of the *the increase of their po
* * * riches. This distinction of masters and slaves >