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feffion I may follow. They consume the produce of my industry, and afford me the produce of theirs in return.
Nor needs any state entertain apprehenfions, that their neighbours will improve to such a degree in every art and manufacture, as to have no demand from them. Nature, by giving a diversity of geniuses, climates, and soils, to different nations, has fecured their mutual intercourse and commerce, as long as they all remain industrious and civilized. Nay, the more the arts encrease in any state, the more will be its demands from its industrious neighbours. The inhabitants, having become opulent and skilful, desire to have every commodity in the utmost perfection; and as they have plenty of commodities to give in exchange, they make large importations from every foreign country. The industry of the nations, from whom they import, receives encouragement: Their own is also encreased, by the sale of the commodities which they give in exchange.
But what if a nation has any staple commodity, such as the woollen manufactory is in ENGLAND? Must not the interfering of their neighbours in that manufacture be a loss to them? I answer, that, when any commodity is denominated the staple of a kingdom, it is supposed that this kingdom has some peculiar and natural advantages for raising the commodity; and if, notwithstanding these advantages, they lose such a manufactory, they ought to blame their own idleness, or bad government, not the induftry of their neighbours. It ought also to be considered, that, by the encrease of industry among the neighbouring nations, the consumption of every particular species of commodity is also encreased ; and though foreign manufactures interfere with us in the market, the demand for our product may still continue, or even encrease. And should it diminish, ought the consequence to be esteemed
so fatal? If the spirit of industry be preserved, it may easily be diverted from one branch to another; and the manufacturers of wool, for instance, be employed in linen, folk, iron, or any other commodities, for which there appears to be a demand. We need not apprehend, that all the objects of industry will be exhausted, or that our manufa&turers, while they remain on an equal footing with those of our neighbours, will be in danger of wanting employment. The emulation among rival nations serves rather to keep industry alive in all of them : And any people is happier who possess a variety of manufac, tures, than if they enjoyed one single great manufacture, in which they are all employed. Their situation is less precarious; and they will feel less sensibly those revolutions and uncertainties, to which every particular branch of commerce will always be exposed.
The only commercial state, that ought to dread the improvements and industry of their neighbours, is such a one as the DUTCH, who, enjoying no extent of land, nor poffeffing any number of native commodities, flourish only by their being the brokers, and factors, and carriers of others. Such a people may naturally apprehend, that, as soon as the neighbouring states come to know and purfue their interest, they will take into their own hands the management of their affairs, and deprive their brokers of that profit, which they formerly reaped from it. But though this consequence may naturally be dreaded, it is very long before it takes place; and by art and industry it may be warded off for many generations, if not wholly eluded. The advantage of superior ftocks and correspondence is so great, that it is not easily overcome ; and as all the transactions encrease by the encrease of industry in the neighbouring states, even a people whose commerce stands on this precarious basis, may at first reapa
considerable profit from the flourishing condition of their neighbours. The Dutch, having mortgaged all their revenues, make not such a figure in political transactions as formerly ; but their commerce is surely equal to what it was in the middle of the last century, when they were reckoned among the great powers of Europe.
Were our narrow and malignant politics to meet with success, we should reduce all our neighbouring nations to the same state of Noth and ignorance that prevails in Morocco and the coast of BARBARY. But what would, be the consequence? They could send us no commodities : They could take none from us : Our domestic commerce itself would languish for want of emulation, example, and instruction: And we ourselves should soon fall into the same abje&t condition, to which we had reduced them. I shall therefore venture to acknowledge, that, not only as a man, but as a British subject, I pray for the flourishing commerce of GERMANY, SPAIN, ITALY, and even FRANCE itself. I am at least certain, that GREAT BRITAIN, and all those nations, would flourish more, did their sovereigns and ministers adopt such enlarged and benevolent sentiments towards each other.
ESS A Y VII.
Of the BALANCE of Power.
T is a question, whether the idea of the balance of
power be owing entirely to modern policy, or whether the phrase only has been invented in these later ages ? It is certain, that Xenophon*, in his Institution of CYRUS, represents the combination of the AsiaTIC powers to have arisen from a jealousy of the encreasing force of the Medes and PERSIANS; and though that elegant composition should be supposed altogether a romance, this sentiment, ascribed by the author to the eastern princes, is at least a proof of the prevailing notion of ancient times.
In all the politics of Greece, the anxiety, with re. gard to the balance of power, is apparent, and is expressly pointed out to us, even by the ancient historians. THUCYDIDES + represents the league, which was formed against ATHENS, and which produced the PELOPONNESIAN war, as entirely owing to this principle. And after the decline of Athens, when the THEBANs and LACEDEMONIANS disputed for sovereignty, we find, that the ATHENIANS (as well as many other republics) always threw themselves into the lighter scale, and endeavoured to preserve the balance. They fupported Thebes against
4 Lib, i.