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secure the salutary operation of those causes ; let him reflect upon the following addition to the virtue and happiness of mankind conferred by the increase of commerce and civilization, taken absolutely and without reference to the moral and religious cultivation of the people by other means. The freedom introduced by the mutual dependence of all ranks of the people upon each other, and the more regular distribution of produce in commercial and civilized countries in consequence of every man's having a valuable consideration, either of labour or manufacture; to give in exchange for it,—the superior comforts which in some degree pervade even the lowest ranks in consequence of the further application of science to the common purposes of life, and the intellectual enjoyments imparted to a large portion of the people, are among the least observed, but not the least important, of these benefits. The virtues peculiar to these states of society in Christian countries, though seldom traced to their scource, are equally true and indisputable. The intercourse promoted between different individuals and societies, and between one country and another, must tend to humanize the mind and to promote the spirit of philanthropy; and as the continuance of this intercourse must depend upon a general adherence to justice, integrity, and industry, it can hardly avoid introducing among the parties concerned a conformity with those virtues in principle and practice. The brutality and cruelty to inferiors, the arrogant contempt and surly pride, so conspicuous in the distant and scattered residents of agricultural districts, (which Mr. Barrow has so well illustrated in his account of the Boors of the Cape of Good-Hope, and for a smaller
degree of which other nations might be quoted,) where the violent and tyrannical passions are not allayed by any respect for, or intercourse with, equals, disappear immediately amidst the personal collision and frequent reciprocity of kindness in a commercial community. Commerce, too, when its liberal principles once come to be rightly understood, and it is conducted upon those of an enlightened system of Christianity, not only promotes peace over the several nations of the world, but may, and in fact often has, become the means of propagating that holy religion, for the reception of which it seems absolutely necessary that men should be, in some degree, civilized and acquainted with the artificial comforts of life. The extension of commerce, too, affords an opportunity of uniting many heads, many hands, and many purses for these glorious and benevolent objects, and give an increased chance of success in their pursuit. The superior impulse given to charity by this change of society has before been treated at some length: the magnificent instances exhibited, in our own metropolis are the admiration of Europe. The improvement likewise of the intellectual faculties of man, under the influence of morals and religion, should certainly enable him the better to resist the temptations which may assail his virtue.
These are, perhaps, the chief benefits to the virtue and happiness of man bestowed by com
That every commercial nation, or even any one of them, practises all these virtues to the full extent of their power is not asserted. Bu that they are all within its power, and therefore that an all-wise and all-good Providence intended that
they should practise them, is as certain as that many members of society do actually so regulate their conduct as far as their limited means allow. The general effects of commerce and civilization, however, are in a great measure such as are here stated; and these effects will become more universal with every spread of morality, and of that religion which has made commerce and wealth the instruments of improving and converting, instead of degrading and corrupting, mankind.
The whole amount then of the arguments of both sides, with respect to the relative virtue and happiness of the commercial and less advanced states of society, may perhaps be reduced to this that each has its respective tempations, differing from those of the others in quality though not in quantity or degree, considering the means bestowed for resisting them. The practice of virtue, therefore, all things considered, is equally easy or difficult in all, according to the attention which is paid to the morals of the people; and happiness being dependant upon the degree in which virtue is practised, their several chances of attaining it are equal likewise. But (as Dr. Paley, Mor. Phil. b. vi. c. č. p. 345,, finely observes) “ The final view of all rational politics is to produce the greatest quantity of happiness in a given tract of country ;” and we may fairly conclude that the intention of Providence is the same with respect to the world in general. It follows therefore that, with an equal proportion of happiness in the possession of individuals, the more of them there are, the nearer will that intention be to complete its fulfilmenti I trust therefore that,
if it has been proved that the means ordained for replenishing the world with people are not generally attended with an increase of vice and misery, but that a moderate attention to the laws of religion and morality will prevent such an effect, it will go far towards rescuing the Divine Justice from imputations to which a contrary conclusion could scarcely fail to give rise.
Before we quit the third fundamental proposition, which has hitherto been the subject of discussion in this book, it may perhaps be necessary to make a short reference to the topics of liberty and security of property, which are included as conditions of that proposition. It is not my intention in any part of this treatise to enter into a minute investigation of those political blessings: they have frequently been discussed in separate treatises, and are sufficiently understood and appreciated wherever a capacity for enjoying them is found to exist ; and as that capacity is of a moral nature, the enjoyment of the blessings depends more upon moral than political causes. It is evident however that, as the force of my whole argument depends upon the spontaneous operations of the people, arranging themselves, selecting their occupations, and forming their habits with a view to their real interests, a reasonable degree of freedom from those restraints which are not commanded by the moral law, is absolutely necessary to the successful pursuit of their objects. Their exertions would be cramped, and their spirit broken, by any interference with individual liberty and property which is not compensated by some superior advantage to the whole community. If I were asked
what is the lowest degree of these political blessings which would prevent a community from actually receding in the career of public prosperity, I should perhaps cite the condition of the protestant monarchies on the Continent; and I should certainly place the point far below that at which we are arrived in our own country