« ForrigeFortsett »
to the private power of the great land-owners, conferred upon civil society a greater stability and extent, and
gare it a stronger and more secure direction, . By being rendered more general, the interests of the community were aggrandized, the cominonwealth ceased to be a private concern, and actually became
The interest of the hitherto oppressive and domineering rich was no longer an obstacle to good laws, a protecting government, and a public power capable of watching over and maintaining the rights and interests of all. The ideas of morality, justice, and humanity, which are effaced when poverty is oppressed by wealth, resumed their force, as soon as riches circulated in every rank of the community; the
poor had no longer to dread the oppression of the rich, the laws guarded every private interest, and governments directed their attention to the interests of all.
As wealth diffused itself in every rank of the cominunity, it consolidated for ever this beneficial revolution by affording to every class the meansof knowledge, instruction, and wisdom, formerly confined to the rich alone. Nations, as they gres more enlightened, became better acquainted with their own interests, and better disposed to perform every individual, domestic, and social duty. Knowledye exercised a re-action upon wealth, and imparted to it a power which rules alike individuals, associations, and empires.
The social compact, the constitution, the laws and the institutions of every people, were gradually directed towards the maintenance, preservation, extension, and possession of those riches, which every one may acquire by labour, industry, and commerce.
Even in the foreign concerns of nations, and in their treaties with others, diplomacy had no other object in view than the preservation and extension of their respective riches.
Thus, that passion for wealth, which had armed the nations of antiquity and the middle age, which had continually excited them to battles, rapine, destruction, and conquest, and filled up the measure of social calamities, enticed the moderns to labour, manufactures and commerce, and inspired them with the love of
peace and feelings of general benevolence and friendship. On this new road to wealth, individuals, communities and empires have found all the prosperity which may reasonably be expected in civilized society.
Wealth, produced by labour, maintains, in eighteentwentieths of the people, the strength, energy, and dexterity, with which man is endowed by nature, and developes, in the two reinaining twentieths, those faculties of the mind which seem beyond the sphere of humanity, and bring man as it were nearer to the divine nature. Produced by labour, wealth banishes idleness and the vices unavoidably connected with idleness it renders man laborious, patient, sober, economical, and adorns him with those precious qualities, the sources of individual, domestic and social virtues.
It binds the natives of the same land by the most powerful of all ties, mutual wants, reciprocal services, and the general consideration, which they entail upon their country.
It restores man to his primitive dignity, through the sentiment of his independence, through his obedience to laws common to all, and his sharing in the benefits of society in proportion to lis services.
It has rendered nations more powerful, because every individual member is interested in the success of national affairs, all bear their weight, and all share in the advantages which they procure. This community of good and evil, to which the circulation of wealth calls every individual of the nation, affords the greatest strength which the social compact possibly can or ever did produce. Theconquering nations of antiquity and the middle age, were acquainted with this stimulus, and employed it during their conquests; it constantly insured their success, but they neglected it after victory; they attached the rich alone to the interests of the community, and from that instant their power declined, and was shortly annihilated.
This stimulus is as active among iudustrious and commercial, as among conquering nations, and its strengths and intensity can never be impaired or lost. Whatever may be the stock of riches accumulated through labour, it impoverishes no one ; on the contrary, it enriches every individual : it is the instrument of general wealth, it increases the mass of labour, and the sum of its produce, and consequently augments the resources of the laborious and the treasures of the rich,
Modern wealth affords yet another inestiinable advantage to civil society; the more it is generally diffused, the more it renders obedience light and easy, government strong and powerful, and public authority just and absolute. The rich man is every where the most submissive, the most disposed to obey the laws of his country, because he is sensible that to them he owes the preservation of his wealth. The poor man, on the contrary, obeys only by constraint and necessity, and consequently lives in a continual hostility against society. Had the science of statistics arrived to that degree of improvement which it is desirable that it should reach, the ratio of the security and power of governments might, by an algebraic calculation, be determined by the ratio of wealth and poverty; and political revolutions might be foretold with as much certainty as astronomers foretell the revolutions of the heavenly bodies.
Lastly, the effects of wealth, produced by labour, are felt alike by the nations that compose the great family of mankind, and by the individuals who compose each national family.
In this system, man is no longer an obstacle to man, nations are no longer obstacles to nations. It is the interest of all to labour the one for the other, to interchange the respective produce of their labour, and to increase the domain of general wealth. The labour, industry, and commerce of every individual is useful to all, whatever portion of the globe they may inhabit; the more extensive agriculture of one country is beneficial to all laborious, manufacturing, and trading nations; it increases the produce destined for general consumption, which, in its turn, augments population ; and this augmented population affords new consumers to the productions of the industry of every nation. Thus all nations share in the prosperity of each, and the portion of each is proportioned to its labour, manufactures, and commerce.
In vain do nations exert, fatigue, and exhaust themselves in military, diplomatic, and commercial combinations, to obtain, by cunning or force, a larger or smaller share of the general wealth. Their efforts are abortive; the distribution of wealth follows the ratio of labour, manufactures, and commerce; and as these obey neither force nor cunning, and only yield to equivalents, blind ambition will, necessarily, at last be obliged to submit to their peaceable rule.
If the combinations of force are delusive and deceitful, and cannot be substituted for the toilsome and painful efforts of labour, manufactures, and commerce, those of monopoly are neither wiser nor more beneficial. The charges of a monopoly absorb its profits ; and monopolizing nations are actually impoverishing themselves, whenever they want to turn the prosperity of other nations to their own particular advantage. *
In short, to prevent wealth from flowing into the channels which labour, manufactures, and commerce, have dug for it, is impossible ; and if we deplore the blindness of the times when military force fancied it could extract treasures from the misery, indigence,
* As the French begin to perceive the inutility of the devices of force to obtain wealth, it is not unreasonable to hogir, iki che English will also, at length, perceive the inutilir of schemes of monopols. Fugland's aim at monopolizing the trade with colonial produce, though it camol excuse the ambitious aitempts of Fagoca. must yet be ach roulelgeda: one of obeir i&c1es.--I.