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ing the public necessities. But when the riches are dispersed among multitudes, the burthen feels light on every shoulder, and the taxes make not a very sensible difference on any one's way of living.
ADD to this, that where the riches are in few hands, these must enjoy all the power, and will readily conspire to lay the whole burthen on the poor, and oppress them still farther, to the discouragement of all industry,
In this circumstance consists the great advantage of ENGLAND above any nation at present in the world, or that appears in the records of any story. 'Tis true, the English feel some disadvantages in foreign trade by the high price of labor, which is in part the effect of the riches of their artisans, as well as of the plenty of money : But as foreign trade is not the most material circumstance, 'cis not to be put in competition with the happiness of so many millions. And if there were no more to endeår to them that free government under which they live, this alone were fufficient. The poverty of the common people is a natural, if not an infal. lible effect of absolute monarchy; tho' I doubt, whether it be always true, on the other hand, that their riches are an infallible result of liberty. Liberty must be attended with particular accidents, and a certain turn of thinking, in order to pro. duce that effect. Lord Bacon, accounting for the great advantages obtained by the English in their wars with FRANCE, ascribes them chiefly to the superior ease and plenty of the common people amongst the former ; yet the governments of the two kingdoms were, at that time, pretty much alike. Where the laborers and artisans are accustomed to work for low wages, and to retain but a small part of the fruits of their labor, 'tis difficult for them, even in a free government, to better their condition, or conspire among themselves to heighten their wages. But even where they are accustomed to a more plentiful way of life, 'tis easy for the rich, in a despotic government, to conspire against them, and throw the whole burthen of the taxes on their shoulders.
It may seem an odd position, that the poverty of the common people in FRANCE, ITALY, and SPAIN, is, in some measure, owing to the superior riches of the soil and happiness of the climate ; and yet there want not many reasons to justify this paradox, In such a fine mold or soil as that of those more southern regions, agriculture is an easy art ; and one man, with a couple of sorry horses, will be able, in a season, to cultivate as much land as will pay a pretty considerable rent to the proprietor. All the art, which the farmer knows, is to leave his ground fallow for a year, so soon as it is exhausted ; and the warmth of the fun alone and temperature of the climate enrich it, and restore its fertility. Such poor peasants, therefore, require only a simple maintenance for their labor. They have no stock nor riches, which claim more ; and at the same time, they are for ever dependant on their landlord, who gives no leases, nor fears that his land will be spoiled by the ill methods of cultivation. In ENGLAND, the land is rich, but coarfe ; must be cultivated at a great expence; and produces slender crops, when not carefully managed, and by a method which gives not the full profit but in a course of several years. A fariner, therefore, in ENGLAND must have a confderable stock and a long lease; which beget proportional profits. The fine vineyards of CHAMPAGNE and BURGUNDY, that oft yield to the landlord above five pounds per acre, are cultivated by peasants, who have scarce bread: And the reafon is, that such peasants need no stock but their own limbs, with instruments
the climate ; and yet there wing to the superior ric
juftify this paradox.
of husbandry, which they can buy for iwenty shillings. The farmers are commonly in some better circumstances in those countries. But the grasiers are most at their ease of all those who cultivate the land. The reason is still the same. Men must have profits proportionable to their expence and hazard. Where so considerable a number of the laboring poor as the peasants and farmers, are in very low circumstances, all the rest must partake of their poverty, whether the government of that nation be monarchical or republican.
We may form a similar remark with regard to the general history of mankind. What is the reason, why no people living betwixt the tropics could ever yet attain to any art or civility, or reach even any police in their government, and any military discipline; while few nations in the temperate climates have been altogether deprived of these advantages ? 'Tis probable, that one cause of this phænomenon is the warmth and equality of weather in the torrid zone, which render cloaths and houses less requisite for the inhabitants, and thereby remove, in part, that necessity, which is the great spur to industry and invention. Curis acuens mortalia corda. Not to mention, that the fewer goods or possessions of this kind any people enjoy, the fewer quarrels are likely to arise amongst them, and the less necessity will there be for a settled police or regular authority to protect and defend them from foreign enemies, or from each other...
T UXURY is a word of a very uncertain signification, and may be taken in a
La good as well as a bad sense. In general, it means great refinement in the gratification of the senses; and any degree of it may be innocent or blameable, according to the age, or country, or condition of the person. The bounds between the virtue and the vice cannot here be fixed exactly, more than in other moral subjects. To imagine, that the gratifying any of the senses, or the indulging any delicacy in meats, drinks, or apparel, is of itself a vice, can never enter into a head, that is not disordered by the frenzies of enthusiasm. I have, indeed, heard of a monk abroad, who, because the windows of his cell opened upon a very noble prospect, made a covenant with his eyes never to turn that way, or receive so sensual a gratification. And such is the crime of drinking ChamPAGNÉ or BURGUNDY, preferably to small beer or porter. These indulgences are only vices, when they are pursued at the expence of some virtue, as liberality or charity ; in like manner as they are follies, when for them a man ruins his fortuneg, and reduces himself to want and beggary. Where they entrench upon no virtue, but leave ampie subject whence to provide for friends, family, and every proper: object of generosity or compassion, they are entirely innocent, and have in every age been acknowleged such by almost all moralists. To be entirely occupied with the luxury of the table, for instance, without any relish for the pleasures of ambition, ítudy, or conversation, is a mark of gross stupidity, and is incompati
ble with any vigor of temper or genius. To confine one's expence entirely to such a gratification, without regard to friends or family, is an indication of a heart entirely devoid of humanity or benevolence. But if a man reserve time fufficient for all laudable pursuits, and money sufficient for all generous purposes, he is free from every shadow of blame or reproach.
Since luxury may be considered either as innocent or blameable, one may le surprized at those preposterous opinions which have been entertained concerning it ; while men of libertine principles bestow praises even on vitious luxury, and represent it as highly advantageous to society, and on the other hand, men of severe morals blame even the most innocent luxury, and represent it as the source of all the corruptions, disorders, and factions, incident to civil government. We shall here endeavor to correct both these extremes, by proving, first, that the ages of refinement and luxury are both the happiest and most virtuous; secondly, that where-ever luxury ceases to be innocent, it also ceases to be beneficial; and when carried a degree too far, is a quality pernicious, tho' perhaps not the most perni. cious, to political society.
To prove the first point, we need but consider the effects of luxury both on private and on public life. Human happiness, according to the most received notions, seems to conGft in three ingredients ; action, pleasure, and indolence : and tho' these ingredients ought to be mixed in diferent proportions, according to the particular dispositions of the person; yet no one ingredient can be entirely wanting, without destroying, in some measure, the relish of the whole composition. Indolence or repose, indeed, seems not of itself to contribute much to our enjoyment; but, like sleep, is requisite as an indulgence to the weakness of human nature, which cannot support an uninterrupted course of business or pleasure. That quick march of the spirits, which takes a man from himself, and chiefly gives fatisfaction, does in the end exhaust the mind, and requires some intervals of repose, which, tho' agreeable for a moment, yet, if prolonged, beget a languor and lethargy, that destroy all enjoyment. Education, custom, and example, have a mighty influence in turning the mind to any of these pursuits ; and it must be owned, that where they promote a relish for action and pleasure, they are so far favorable to human happiness. In times when industry and arts flourish, men are kept in perpetual occupation, and enjoy, as their reward, the occupation itself, as well as those pleasures which are the fruits of their labor. The mind acquires new vigor ; enlarges its powers and faculties; and by an assiduity in honest industry, both satisfies its natural appetites, and prevents the growth of unnatural ones, which commonly spring up, when nourished with ease and idleness. Banish those arts from society, you deprive men both of action and of pleasure; and leaving nothing but indolence in their place, you even destroy the relish of indolence, which never is agreeable, but when it succeeds to labor, and recruits the spirits, exhausted by too much application and fatigue. :: ANOTHER advantage of industry and of refinements in the mechanical arts, is, that they commonly produce some refinements in the liberal arts ; nor can the one be carried to perfection, without being accompanied, in some degree, with the other. The same age which produces great philosophers and politicians, renowned generals and poets, usually abounds with skilful weavers and ship-carpenters. We cannot reasonably expect, that a piece of woollen cloth will be wrought
hausted by eceeable, but wheplace, you even
to perfection in a nation which is ignorant of astronomy, or where ethics are neglected. The spirit of the age affects all the arts; and the minds of men, being once roused from their lethargy, and put into a fermentation, turn themfelves on all sides, and carry improvements into every art and science. Profound ignorance is totally banished, and men enjoy the privilege of rational creatures, to think as well as to act, to cultivate the pleasures of the mind as well as those of the body.
The more these refined arts advance, the more sociable do men become ; nor is it possible, that, when enriched with science, and possessed of a fund of conversation, they should be contented to remain in solitude, or live with their fillow-citizens in that distant manner which is peculiar to ignorant and barbarous nations. They flock into cities ; love to receive and communicate knowlege ; to Thow their wit or their breeding ; their taste in conversation or living, in cloaths or furniture. Curiosity allures the wise ; vanity the foolish ; and pleasure both. Particular clubs and societies are every where formed : Both sexes meet in an easy and sociable manner; and the tempers of men, as well as their behavior, refine apace. So that, beside the improvements which they receive from knowlege and the liberal arts, 'tis impossible but they must feel an increase of humanity, from the very habit of conversing together, and contributing to each other's pleasure and entertainment. Thus industry, knowlege, and humanity, are linked together by an indissoluble chain, and are found, from experience as well as reason, to be peculiar to the more polished and luxurious ages.
Nor are these advantages attended with disadvantages which bear any proportion to them. The more men refine upon pleasure, the less will they indulge in excesses of any kind; because nothing is more destructive to true pleasure than fuch exceffes. One may safely affirm, that the TARTARS are oftener guilty of beastly gluttony, when they feast on their dead horses, than European courtiers with all their refinements of cookery. And if libertine love, or even infidelity to the marriage-bed, be more frequent in polite ages, when it is often regarded only as a piece of gallantry; drunkenness, on the other hand, is much less common: A vice more odious and more pernicious both to mind and body. And in this matter I would appeal, not only to an Ovid or a PETRONIUS, but to a SENECA or a Cato. We know, that CÆSAR, during CATALINE's conspiracy, being necessitated to put into Cato's hands a billet-doux, which discovered an intrigue with SERVILIA, Cato's own sister, that stern philosopher drew it back to him with indignation ; and, in the bitterness of his wrath, gave him the appellation of drunkard, as a term more opprobrious than that with which he could more justly have reproached him.
But industry, knowlege, and humanity, are not advantageous in private life alone: They diffuse their beneficial influence on the public, and render the government as great and Aourishing as they make individuals happy and prosperous. The increase and consumption of all the commodities which serve to the ornament and pleasure of life, are advantageous to society ; because at the same time that they multiply those innocent gratifications to individuals, they are a kind of forebouse of labor, which, in the exigencies of state, may be turned to the public service. In a nation, where there is no demand for such superfluities, men sink into indolence, lose all the enjoyment of life, and are useless to the public, which cannot maintain nor support its fleets and armies, from the industry of such nothful members.
The bounds of all the EUROPEAN kingdoms are, at present, pretty near the fame they were two hundred years ago : But what a difference is there in the power and grandeur of those kingdoms? Which can be ascribed to nothing but the increase of art and industry. When CHARLES VIII. of Fance invaded ITALY, he carried with him about 20,02o men: And yet this armament so exhausted the nation, as we learn from GUICCIARDIN, that for some years it was not able to make so great an effort. The late king of France, in time of war, kept in pay above 400,000 men *; tho', from MAZARINE's death to his own, he was engaged in a course of wars that lasted near thirty years.
This industry is much promoted by the knowlege inseparable from the ages of arts and luxury; as, on the other hand, this knowlege enables the public to make the best advantage of the industry of its subjects. Laws, order, police, , discipline; these can never be carried to any degree of perfection, before human reason has refined itself by exercise, and by an application to the more vulgar arts, at least, of commerce and manufactures. Can we expect, that a government will be well modelled by a people, who know not how to make a spinningwheel, or to employ a loom to advantage? Not to mention, that all ignorant ages are infested with superstition, which throws the government off its bias, and difturbs men in the pursuit of their interest and happiness.
KNOWLege in the arts of government naturally begets mildness and moderation, by instructing men in the advantages of humane maxims above rigor and severity, which drive subjects into rebellion, and render the return to submission impracticable, by cutting off all hopes of pardon. When the tempers of men are softened as well as their knowlege improved, this humanity appears still more conspicuous, and is the chief characteristic which distinguishes a civilized age from times of barbarity and ignorance. Factions are then less inveterate, revolutions less tragical, authority less severe, and seditions less frequent. Even foreign wars abate of their cruelty; and after the field of battle, where honor and interest steel men against compassion as well as fear, the combatants divest themselves of the brute, and resume the man.
Nor need we fear, that men, by losing their ferocity, will lose their martial spirit, or become less undaunted and vigorous in defence of their country or their liberty. The arts have no such effect in enervating either the mind or body. On the contrary, industry, their inseparable attendant, adds new force to both. And if anger, which is said to be the whetstone of courage, loses somewhat of its afperity, by politeness and refinement ; a sense of honor, which is a stronger, more constant, and more governable principle, acquires fresh vigor by that elevation of genius, which arises from knowlege and a good educacion. Add to this, that courage can neither have any duration, nor be of any use, when not accompanied with discipline and martial skill, which are seldom found among a barbarous people. The antients remarked, that DATAMEs was the only barbarian that ever knew the art of war. And Pyrrhus seeing the ROMANS marshal their army with some art and skill, said with surprise, These barbarians have nothing barbarous in their