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engaged in it occasionally. Thus we are frequently reminded that Cincinnatus left his plough in the furrow, placed himself at the head of the army, led his country to glorious victory, and then returned to the peaceful and quiet enjoyments of rural life. And it is only sheer justice that, as Cicero has been quoted to show his opinion of labor, he should be allowed to express himself upon the respectability of the cultivation of the soil :-"Nunc venio ad voluptates agricolarum, quibus ego incredibiliter delector. .. Quid ego irrigationes, quid fossiones agri, repastionesque proferram, quibus fit multo terra fæcundior? . . Dixi in eo-libro quem de rebus rusticis scripsi; ... nec consetiones modo delectant, sed etiam insitiones; quibus nihil invenit agricultura solestius.”—De Senect, ♡ xv. All this reads very finely, and would seem to indicate that this branch of business was exempt from the odium to which others were subject. But two things are forgotten in the glowing picture : first, that Cicero is merely recommending the pleasures of rustic life as a refuge from the ennui of old age; and, secondly, that throughout the different changes of the government, the cultivation of the soil—the drudgery, to be plain-was for the most part conducted by slaves, thus rendering it ignominious for men of rank and fortune to turn their attention to production.
Though after the fall of Rome, and the establishment of feudalism, the servitude of the lower class of society was less rigorous, the condition of neither lord nor vassal was such as to lead to wealth. The lord had too much land to cultivate properly even with free labor; and history demonstrates that he who can earn nothing but his living will prove a dear bargain to his employer. In the ages of chivalry and feudalism, therefore, the means which usually operate in the general development of a country's resources were neglected; and, of course, the science of political economy was not likely, under such circumstances, to progress rapidly.
2. The prevalence of wars, and the supposition that military glory was essential to the prosperity of nations.
While on the subject of production, it was shown that the protection of property constitutes one of its most effective aids. No man will aim at affluence who possesses no assurance that he will be protected in his just rights.
“Experience has abundantly shown that these benefits (careful cultivation of the soil, &c.] result from this arrangement. Men will not labor unless they are permitted to reap the fruit of their labors ; neither will economy be practiced in the use of those supplies or resources which are not appropriated by individuals. Every one, in his eager
ness to supply his own wants, becomes reckless of the general good.” - Newman, chap. ii.
In accordance with these views, all civilized governments, which regard their own perpetuity, make it an object at an early period to invest individual proprietors with the power of disposing of their property in a manner agreeable to their own choice. Beyond question, a man's powers of mind and body are his own; and whenever the honest results of their activity are interfered with, his right of property is violated. When this is done, public and private distress must inevitably follow. No advantages of soil, climate, or intellect, can compensate for the deprivation. Other calamities may be outlived; famine and pestilence may be forgotten : but this wears out the spirit of a people, and renders recovery hopeless. Travelers tell us that in the Ottoman dominions, no property is hereditary but what belongs to the church. Ali other possessions revert, upon the death of their proprietors, to the sultan. The result is, a total recklessness as to the future, for no one will provide for an unknown successor. This, it is said, is the reason why the Turks are so careless about their houses : “ They never construct them of solid or durable materials ; and it would be a gratification to them to be assured that they would fall to pieces the moment after they had breathed their last." The violation of the right of property is, in short, a violation of a natural law; and the bitter experience of mankind shows that no law of our being can be infringed with impunity. Nor does the case of the Jews present any exception to the general rule. Recent facts have demonstrated that their boasted wealth has always been greatly exaggerated. When the governments of Europe denied them the privilege of holding any property, or of engaging in agriculture, their only resort was commerce; and having no systematic competition in trading, some of them became wealthy; but the great mass of the Jewish population are no richer than other people.
Now it is admitted on all hands that when a country is engaged in war for a long time, all the evils of insecurity of property are practically realized. Particular descriptions are always more striking than general assertions; and for this purpose we make the following extract from Dr. Arnold's Lectures on Modern History. It presents a thrilling sketch of the blockade of Genoa. After describing the investment on the landside by the Austrians, and the shutting out of all supplies by the British squadron under Lord Keith on the Gulf-both arrangements contemplating the reduction of the French garrison-he proceeds :
“It is not at once that the inhabitants of a great city accustomed to the daily sight of well-stored shops and an abundant market, begin seriously to realize the idea of scarcity; or that the wealthy classes of society who have never known any other state than one of abundance and luxury, begin seriously to conceive of famine. But the shops were emptied, and the storehouses began to be drawn upon; and no fresh hope of supply appeared. Winter passed away, and spring returned so early and so beautiful on that garden-like coast, sheltered as it is from the north winds by its belt of mountains, and open to the full rays of the southern sun; spring returned, and clothed the hill sides within the lines with its first verdure. But that verdure was no longer the delight of the careless eye of luxury, refreshing the citizens by its loveliness and softness when they rode or walked up thither from the city to enjoy the surpassing beauty of the prospect. The green hill sides were now visited for a very different object. Ladies of the highest rank might be seen cutting up every green plant which it was possible to turn to food, and bearing home the common weeds of our roadsides as a most precious treasure. The French general, Massena, pitied the distresses of the people ; but the lives and strength of his garrison seemed to him more important than the lives of the Genoese; and such provisions as remained were reserved in the first place to the French army. Scarcity became utter want, and want became famine. In the most gorgeous palaces of that gorgeous city, no less than in the humblest tenement of its humblest poor, death was busy; not the momentary death of battle or massacre, nor the speedy death of pestilence; but the lingering and most painful death of famine. Infants died before their parents' eyes; husbands and wives lay down to expire together. A man, whom I saw in 1825 at Genoa, told me that his father and two of his brothers had been starved to death in that fatal siege. So it went on, till in the month of June, when Napoleon had already descended into the Plains of Lombardy, the misery became unendurable, and Massena surrendered. But before he did so, twenty thousand innocent persons, old and young, women and children, had died by the most horrible of all deaths which humanity can endure. Other horrors which occurred during this blockade I pass over; the agonizing death of twenty thousand innocent and helpless persons requires nothing to be added to it.”—Lect. IV.
We have here a sight of war in one of its most terrific aspects; but awful and harrowing as it is, it falls far short of reality. When the peace of nations is disturbed, military law will necessarily prevail more or less; and though “the French general may pity the
distresses of the people,” still “the lives and strength of his garrison seem to him of more importance than the lives of the Genoese;" and if either party starves, it must be the latter. And the worst of it is, the citizens can have no choice but starvation; for they are shut in by the effort to shut the enemy out, so that the people are, after all, subject to the army. Recently, we are aware, the conduct of war is not so brutal and cold-blooded. Lord Napier says, there is as great a difference between the modern and ancient soldier as between the sportsman and the butcher. The English army while advancing into France, in 1814, respected persons and property, and paid for every article of food; and it is some satisfaction to know that our own troops have done the same during our difficulties with Mexico. And yet with all these improvements, there must, nevertheless, prevail during the existence of hostilities, especially near the theatre of conflict, a state of fearfulness and insecurity, which cannot help preventing the proper and natural development of a country's resources; so that, while Dr. Arnold congratulates himself and the English nation that “Nelson was spared from commanding at the horrible blockade of Genoa," there is yet room to fear that in his capacity as a naval officer, he was the instrument of producing misery and wretchedness beyond the immediate effects of actual conflict. One thing at least is certain : the spirit of military glory, however much it may serve to inflate national vanity, never fails to be injurious in the long run; and every political economist would gladly say with Bielfeld, one of the ministers of Frederick the Great: “If I were to write a dictionary I would not allow the word war to occur in it.”
3. The spirit of philosophy which prevailed in ancient time.
The Christian religion has been stigmatized as hostile to the cultivation of the arts and conveniences of life. Of the truth of such a charge, every person conversant with the subject is enabled to judge. For ourselves, we regard it as obviously false. Compare the social condition of any nation where Christianity has been adopted in its theory and practice, and what is the conclusion? Not, certainly, that revelation tends to the hinderance of civilization and refinement. A Christian is “the highest style of man;" and we are constrained to view the system as contemplating the restoration of the entire man-physical, intellectual, and moral. His capacities in these respects were perfect prior to the fall; they operated without interruption or collision; and were intended so to operate in harmonious action for ever. Moral evil found its way to earth; sin broke up the primordial union; and, in its stead, substituted misrule and antagonism. And while constitu
tions and systems purely human have uniformly failed to counteract the dreadful effects, and must for ever fail, Christianity proposes to accomplish the work; and, from its nature and source, it must ultimately triumph. “For, for this cause was Christ manifested in the world, that he might destroy sin ”-and when the cause ceases, the effects will necessarily be at an end.
But in addition to the falseness of the charge, it can be fairly and successfully retorted. The moralists of Greece looked upon the refined mode of living as an evil of no ordinary magnitude ; and legislators allowed their systems to be molded by the same sentiment. Lycurgus, for example, banished commerce from Sparta, and interdicted the use of any but iron currency. He established an equal distribution of the lands; and required every citizen to eat at a public table, where the conversation was marked as much by gloomy gravity as instructiveness. Personal liberty even was violated; for parents were not allowed to train their own children, but had to give them up to the disposal and education of the state. And although in other states less summary measures obtained, still the accumulation of property was dreaded as being subversive of those warlike and self-denying virtues which they so much admired.
4. Even after political economy began to be cultivated, its progress was slow, on account of the peculiar prejudices of the times. Though resting on a few general principles, the science, nevertheless, deals largely in facts; and these, io minds fond of generalization, were not likely to be palatable. With some persons, nothing is so agreeable as a high order of classification. It is a vast saving of trouble. It supersedes the necessity of patient analysis; and though it may lead to error and inconsistency, it is never abandoned without a struggle. It must be tolerated like a “splendid sinner," for its very "captivating powers.” Every one must observe, however, that if this whim be gratified, all science must suffer. If rules are to be first framed, and then applied to facts, experimental philosophy is a wretched misnomer. The sweeping generalizations which are unable to discover any difference in the several parts of a work which co-operate toward forming a whole, can never arrive at a clear exposition of the means by which the final result is reached.
We must add, that, besides this prejudice, the whole subject was discarded from the public schools.
“At the establishment of the universities, the clergy were almost the exclusive depositaries of the little knowledge then in existence. It was natural, therefore, that their peculiar feelings and pursuits