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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 his 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. The conquering 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 industrious and commercial, as among conquering nations, and its strength and intensity can never be impaired or lost. whatever may be the stock of riches accumulated through labour, itimpoverishes noone; on the contrary it enriches every individual : it is the instrument of general wealth, it increases the mass of labour, ard the sum of its produce, and consequently augments the resources of the laborious and the treasures of the rich.
Modern wealth affords yet another inestimable advantage to civil society; the more it is generally dif: fused, the more it renders obedience light and easy, government strong and powerful, and public author
ity 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 foretel 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 vaindo 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 hope, that the English will also, at length, perceive the inutility of schemes of monopoly. England's aim at monopolizing the trade with colonial produce, though it cannot excuse the ambitious attempts of France, must yet be acknowledged as one of their causes. -T.
and calamities of the world ; the moment is not far distant, when monarchs will acknowledge that there are no safe, legitimate, and honourable means to grow rich bút through labour, manufactures, and commerce.
Let us, therefore, conclude, that wealth, in all ages and under all governments, exercised an absolute power over individuals, nations, and empires; and that, according as it was attempted by force, 'conquest, and devastation, or by labour and economy, its effects have been fatal or salutary to the human race. How greatly then have they erred, who thought they could apply to modern wealth the results and effects of the wealth of the nations of antiquity and the middle age! One is no more to be compared to the other, than the offensive and defensive weapons of the ancients can be compared with those of the moderns, or their tactics with ours. Their wealth had its source in the impoverishment of nine-tenths of the people : modern wealth is derived from the riches of the whole population. The former enervated, effeminated, and depraved the rich, perverted and degraded the poor, and rendered them strangers to the community : the latter furnishes the rich with the means of knowledge and instruction, and enables them to direct labour, industry and commerce. it insures to the less fortunate class, and even to those who are the most needy, a portion of the general wealth, which portion is always proportioned to the extent of that wealth. Thus the interest of the poor is never separated from the interest of the rich; they lend each other a mutual support.
The wealth of the ancients kept all nations in a permanent state of hostility, devastation, and servitude ; and, consequently, held out a permanent obstacle to the general civilization and improvement of mankind. Modern wealth connects all nations; it binds them by common interests, causes them to forward the same ends by the sentiment of their private interest, and associates them, in some degree, to the progress of the civilization and amelioration of the human race.
One is, therefore, as desirable as the other is odious; and one ought to be as much extolled, as the other has been justly reprobated by all enlightened writers.
Those nations which ambition is still propelling towards domination, as well as those who possess a sentiment of real grandeur, and know that it consists in a noble independence, are equally interested in studying the causes of modern wealth, and in discovering and improving the methods by which it may be increased and rendered useful in its application : they ought, therefore, to patronize the progress of political economy by all the means in their power.