Sir James Steuart (1767)

An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy

Book II
Of Trade and Industry

Chap. XIII: How far the Form of Government of a particular Country may be favourable or unfavourable to a Competition with other Nations, in matters of Commerce

The question before us, though relative to another science, is not altogether foreign to this. I introduce it in this place, not so much for the sake of connexion, as by way of an illustration, which at the same time that it may serve as an exercise upon general principles, may also prove a relaxation to the mind, after so long a chain of close reasoning.

In setting out, I informed my readers that I intended to treat of the political oeconomy of free nations only; and upon every occasion where I have mentioned slavery, I have pointed out how far the nature of it is contrary to the advancement of private industry, the inseparable concomitant of foreign and domestic trade.

No term is less understood than that of liberty, and it is not my intention, at present, to enter into a particular inquiry into all the different acceptations of it.

By a people's being free, I understand no more than their being governed by general laws, well known, not depending upon the ambulatory will of any man, or any set of men, and established so as not to be changed, but in a regular and uniform way; for reasons which regard the body of the society, and not through favour or prejudice to particular persons, or particular classes. So far as a power of dispensing with, restraining or extending general laws, is left in the hands of any governor, so far I consider public liberty as precarious. I do not say it is hereby hurt; this will depend upon the use made of such prerogatives. According to this definition of liberty, a people may be found to enjoy freedom under the most despotic forms of government; and perpetual service itself, where the master's power is limited according to natural equity, is not altogether incompatible with liberty in the servant.

Here new ideas present themselves concerning the general principles of subordination and dependence among mankind; which I shall lay before my reader before I proceed, submitting the justness of them to his decision.

As these terms are both relative, it is proper to observe, that by subordination is implied an authority which superiors have over inferiors; and by dependence, is implied certain advantages which the inferiors draw from their subordination: a servant is under subordination to his master, and depends upon him for his subsistence.

Dependence is the only bond of society and I have observed, in the fourth chapter of the first book, that the dependence of one man upon another for food, is a very natural introduction to slavery. This was the first contrivance mankind fell upon, in order to become useful to one another.

Upon the abolishing of slavery, from a principle of christianity, the next step taken was the establishment of an extraordinary subordination between the different classes of the people; this was the principle of the feudal government.

The last refinement, and that which has brought liberty to be generally extended to the lowest denominations of a people, without destroying that dependence necessary to serve as a band of society, was the introduction of industry.. by this is implied, the circulation of an adequate equivalent for every service, which procures to the rich every advantage they could expect to reap, either from the servitude or dependence of the poor'; and to these again, every comfort they could wish to enjoy under the mildest slavery, or most gentle subordination.

From this exposition, I divide dependence into three kinds. The first natural, between parents and children; the second political between masters and servants, lords and vassals, Princes and subjects; the third commercial, between the rich and the industrious.

May I be allowed to transgress the limits of my subject for a few lines, and to dip so far into the principles of the law of nature, as to enquire, how far subordination among men is thereby authorized? I think I may decide, that so far as the subordination is in proportion to the dependence, sofar it is reasonable and just. This represents an even balance. If the scale of subordination is found too weighty, tyranny ensues; and licentiousness is implied, in proportion as it rises above the level. From this let me draw some conclusions.

First, He who depended upon another, for the preservation of a life justly forfeited, and at all times in the power of him who spared it, was, by the civil law, called a slave. This surely is the highest degree of dependence.

Secondly, He who depends upon another for every thing necessary for his subsistence, seems to be in the second degree; this is the dependence of children upon their parents.

Thirdly, He who depends upon another for the means of procuring subsistence to himself by his own labour, stands in the third degree: this I take to have been the case between the feudal lords, and the lowest classes of their vassals, the labourers of the ground.

Fourthly, He who depends totally upon the sale of his own industry, stands in the fourth degree: this is the case of tradesmen and manufacturers, with respect to those who employ them.

These I take to be the different degrees of subordination between man and man, considered as members of the same society.

In proportion, therefore, as certain classes, or certain individuals become more dependent than formerly, in the same proportion ought their just subordination to increase: and in proportion as they become less dependent than formerly, in the same proportion ought this just subordination to diminish. This seems to be a rational principle: next for the application.

I deduce the origin of the great subordination under the feudal government, from the necessary dependence of the lower classes for their subsistence. They consumed the produce of the land, as the price of their subordination, not as the reward of their industry in making it produce.

I deduce modern liberty from the independence of the same classes, by the introduction of industry, and circulation of an adequate equivalent for every service.

If this doctrine be applied in order to resolve the famous question so much debated, concerning the origin of supreme authority, so far as it is a question of the law of nature, I do not find the decision so very difficult: All authority is in proportion to dependence, and must vary according to circumstances.

I think it is as rational to say, that the fatherly power proceeded originally from the act of the children, as to say, that the great body of the people who were fed, and protected by a few great lords, was the fountain of power, and creator of subordination. Those who have no other equivalent to give for their food and protection, must pay in personal service, respect, and submission; and so soon as they come to be a situation to pay a proper equivalent for these dependences, so far they acquire a title to liberty and independence. The feudal lords, therefore, who, with reason, had an entire authority over many of their vassals, being subdued by their King; the usurpation was upon their rights, not upon the rights of the lower classes: but when a King came to extend the power he had over the vassals of the lords, to the inhabitants of cities, who had been independent of this subordination, his usurpation became evident.

The rights of Kings, therefore, are to be sought for in history; and not founded upon the supposition of tacit contracts between them and their people, inferred from the principles of an imaginary law of nature, which makes all mankind equal: nature can never be in opposition to common reason.

The general principle I have laid down, appears, in my humble opinion, more rational than this imaginary contract; and as consonant to the full with the spirit of free government. If the original tacit contract of government between Prince and people is admitted universally, then all governments ought to be similar; and every subordination, which appears contrary to the entire liberty and independence of the lowest classes, ought to be construed as tyrannical: whereas, according to my principle, the subordination of classes may, in different countries, be vastly different; the prerogative of one sovereign may, from different circumstances, be far more extended than that of another.

May not one have attained the sovereignty (by the free election of the people, I suppose) because of the great extent of his possessions, number of his vassals and dependents, quantity of wealth, alliances and connexions with neighbouring sovereigns? Had not, for example, such a person as Hugh Capet, the greatest feudal lord of his time, a right to a much more extensive jurisdiction over his subjects, than could reasonably be aspired to by a King of Poland, sent from France, or from Germany, and set at the head of a republic, where he has not one person depending upon him for any thing?

The power of Princes, as Princes, must then be distinguished from the power they derive from other circumstances, which do not necessarily follow in consequence of their elevation to the throne. It would, I think, be the greatest absurdity to advance, that the title of King abolishes, of itself, the subordination due to the person who exercises the office of that high magistracy.

Matter of fact, which is stronger than all reasoning, demonstrates the force of the principle here laid down. Do we not see how subordination rises and falls under different reigns, under a rich Elizabeth, and a necessitous Charles, under a powerful Austrian, and a distressed Bavarian Emperor? I proceed no farther in the examination of this matter: perhaps my reader has decided that I have gone too far already.

From these principles may be deduced the boundaries of subordination. A people who depend upon nothing but their own industry for their subsistence, ought to be under no farther subordination than what is necessary for their protection. And as the protection of the whole body of such a people implies the protection of every individual, so every political subordination should there be general and equal: no person, no class should be under a greater subordination than another. This is the subordination of the laws; and whenever laws establish a subordination more than what is proportionate to the dependence of those who are subordinate, so far such laws may be considered as contrary to natural equity, and arbitrary.

These things premised, I come to the question proposed, namely, How far particular forms of government are favourable or unfavourable to a competition with other nations, in point of commerce?

If we reason from facts, and from experience, we shall find, that trade and industry have been found to flourish best under the republican form, and under those which have come the nearest to it. May I be allowed to say, that, perhaps, one principal reason for this has been, that under these forms the administration of the laws has been the most uniform, and consequently, that most liberty has actually been there enjoyed.. I say actually, because I have said above, that in my acceptation of the term, liberty is equally compatible with monarchy as with democracy; I do not say the enjoyment of it is equally secure under both; because under the first it is much more liable to be destroyed. The life of the democratical system is equality. Monarchy conveys the idea of the greatest inequality possible. Now, if, on one side, the equality of the democracy secures liberty; on the other, the moderation in expence discourages industry; and if, on one side, the inequality of the monarchy endangers liberty, the progress of luxury encourages industry on the other. From whence we may conclude, that the democratical system is naturally the best for giving birth to foreign trade; the monarchical, for the refinement of the luxurious arts, and for promoting a rapid circulation of inland commerce.

The danger which liberty is exposed to under monarchy, and the discouragement to industry, from the frugality of the democracy, are only the natural and immediate effects of the two forms of government; and these inconveniences will take place only, while statesmen neglect the interest of commerce, so far as not to make it an object of administration.

The disadvantage, therefore, of the monarchical form, in point of trade and industry, does not proceed from the inequality it establishes among the citizens, but from the consequence of this inequality, which is very often accompanied with an arbitrary and undeterminate subordination between the individuals of the higher classes, and those of the lower; or between those vested with the execution of the laws, and the body of the people. The moment it is found that any subordination within the monarchy, between subject and subject, is left without proper bounds prescribed, liberty is so far at an end. Nay monarchy itself is hereby hurt, as this undeterminate subordination implies an arbitrary power in the state, not vested in the monarch. Arbitrary power never can be delegated; for if it be arbitrary, it may be turned against the monarch, as well as against the subject.

I might therefore say, that when such a power in individuals is constitutional in the monarchy, such monarchy is not a government, but a tyranny, and therefore falls without the limits of our subject; and when such a power is anti-constitutional, and yet is exercised, that it is an abuse, and should be overlooked. But as the plan of this inquiry engages me to investigate the operations of general principles, and the consequences they produce, I cannot omit, in this place, to point out those which flow from an indeterminate subordination, from whatever cause it may proceed.

Whether this indeterminate subordination between individuals, be a vice in the constitution of the government, or an abuse, it is the same thing as to the consequences which result from it. It is this which checks and destroys industry, and which in a great measure prevents its progress from being equal in all countries. This difference in the form or administration of governments, is the only one which it is essentially necessary to examine in this inquiry. and, so essential it is, in my opinion, that I imagine it would be less hurtful, in a plan for the establishment of commerce, fairly, and at once to enslave the lower classes of the inhabitants, and to make them vendible like other commodities, than to leave them nominally free, burthened with their own maintenance, charged with the education of their children, and at the same time under an irregular subordination; that is, liable at every moment to be loaded with new prestations or impositions, either in work or otherwise, and to be fined or imprisoned at will by their superiors.

It produces no difference, whether these irregularities be exercised by those of the superior classes, or by the statesman and his substitutes. It is the irregularity of the exactions more than the extent of them which ruins industry. It renders living precarious, and the very idea of industry should carry along with it, not only an assured livelihood, but a certain profit over and above.

Let impositions be ever so high, provided they be proportional, general, gradually augmented, and permanent, they may have indeed the effect of stopping foreign trade, and of starving the idle, but they never will ruin the industrious; as we shall have occasion to shew in treating of taxation. Whereas, when they are arbitrary, falling unequally upon individuals of the same condition, sudden, and frequently changing their object, it is impossible for industry to stand its ground. Such a system of oeconomy introduces an unequal competition among those of the same class, it stops industrious people in the middle of their career, discourages others from exposing to the eyes of the public the ease of their circumstances, consequently encourages hoarding; this again excites rapaciousness upon the side of the statesman, who sees himself frustrated in his schemes of laying hold of private wealth.

From this a new set of inconveniences follow. He turns his views upon solid property. This inspires the landlords with indignation against him who can load them at will; and with envy against the monied interest, who can baffle his attempts. This class again is constantly upon the catch to profit of the public distress for want of money. What is the consequence of all this? It is that the lowest classes of the people, who ought by industry to enrich the state, find on one hand the monied interest constantly amassing, in order to lend to the state, instead of distributing among them, by seasonable loans, their superfluous income, with a view to share the reasonable profits of their ingenuity; and on the other hand, they find the emissaries of taxation robbing them of the seed before it is sown, instead of waiting for a share in the harvest.

Under the feudal form of government, liberty and independence were confined to the nobility. Birth opened the door of preferment to some, and birth as effectually shut it against others. I have often observed how, by reason and from experience, such a form of government must be unfavourable both to trade and industry.

From reason it is plain, that industry must give wealth, and wealth will give power, if he who possesses it be left the master to employ it as he pleases. A government could not therefore encourage a system which tended to throw power into the hands of those who were made to obey only. It was consequently very natural for the nobility to be jealous of wealthy merchants, and of every one who became easy and independent by means of his own industry; experience proved how exactly this principle regulated their administration.

A statesman ought, therefore, to consider attentively every circumstance of the constitution of his country, before he sets on foot the modern system of trade and industry. I am far from being of opinion that this is the only road to happiness, security, and ease; though, from the general taste of the times I live in, it be the system I am principally employed to examine. A country may be abundantly happy, and sufficiently formidable to those who come to attack it, without being extremely rich. Riches indeed are forbid to all who have neither mines, or foreign trade.

If a country be found labouring under many natural disadvantages from inland situation, barren soil, distant carriage, it would be in vain to attempt a competition with other nations in foreign markets. All that can be then undertaken is a passive trade, and that so far only as it can bring in additional wealth. When little money can be acquired, the statesman's application must be, to make that already acquired to circulate as much as possible, in order to give bread to every one in the society.

In countries where the government is vested in the hands of the great lords, as is the case in all aristocracies, as was the case under the feudal government, and as it still is the case in many countries in Europe, where trade, however, and industry are daily gaining ground; the statesman who sets the new system of political oeconomy on foot, may depend upon it, that either his attempt will fail, or the constitution of the government will change. If he destroys all arbitrary dependence between individuals, the wealth of the industrious will share, if not totally root out the power of the grandees. If he allows such a dependence to subsist, his project will fail.

While Venice and Genoa flourished, they were obliged to open the doors of their senate to the wealthy citizens, in order to prevent their being broken down. What is venal nobility? The child of commerce, the indispensible consequence of industry, and a middle term, which our Gothic ancestors found themselves obliged to adopt, in order not entirely to lose their own rank in the state. Money, they found, must carry off the fasces, (sic), so they chose rather to adopt the wealthy plebeians, and to clothe ignoble shoulders with their purple mantle, than to allow these to wrest all authority out of the hands of the higher class. By this expedient, a sudden revolution has often been prevented. Some kingdoms have been quit for a bloody rebellion or a long civil war. Other countries have likewise demonstrated the force of the principles here laid down: a wealthy populace has broken their chains to pieces, and overturned the very foundations of the feudal system.

All these violent convulsions have been owing to the short-sightedness of statesmen; who, inattentive to the consequences of growing wealth and industry, foolishly imagined that hereditary subordination was to subsist among classes, whose situation, with respect to each other, was entirely changed.

The pretorian cohorts were at first subordinate to the orders of the Emperors, and were the guards of the city of Rome. The Janissaries are understood to be under the command of the principal officers of the Port. So soon as the leading men of Rome and Constantinople, who naturally were entitled to govern the state, applied to these tumultuous bodies for their protection and assistance, they in their turn, made sensible of their own importance, changed the constitution, and shared in the government.

A milder revolution, entirely similar, is taking place in modern times; and an attentive spectator may find amusement in viewing the progress of it in many states of Europe. Trade and industry are in vogue; and their establishment is occasioning a wonderful fermentation with the remaining fierceness of the feudal constitution.

Trade and industry owed their establishment to war and to ambition; and perhaps mankind may hope to see the day when this establishment will put an end to the first, by exposing the expensive folly of the latter.

Trade and industry, I say, owed their establishment to the ambition of princes who supported and favoured the plan in the beginning, principally with a view to enrich themselves, and thereby to become formidable to their neighbours. But they did not discover, until experience taught them, that the wealth they drew from such fountains was but the overflowing of the spring; and that an opulent, bold, and spirited people, having the fund of the prince's wealth in their own hands, have it also in their own power, when it becomes strongly their inclination, to shake off his authority. The consequence of this change has been the introduction of a more mild, and a more regular plan of administration. The money gatherers are become more useful to princes, than the great lords; and those who are fertile in expedients for establishing public credit, and for drawing money from the coffers of the rich, by the imposition of taxes, have been preferred to the most wise and most learned counsellors.

As this system is new, no wonder if it has produced phenomena both new and surprising. Formerly, the power of Princes was employed to destroy liberty, and to establish arbitrary subordination; but in our days, we have seen those who have best comprehended the true principles of the new plan of politics, arbitrarily limiting the power of the higher classes, and thereby applying their authority towards the extension of public liberty, by extinguishing every subordination, but that due to the established laws.

The fundamental maxim of some of the greatest ministers, has been to restrain the power of the great lords. The natural inference that people drew from such a step, was, that the minister thereby intended to make every thing depend on the prince's will only. This I do not deny. But what use have we seen made of this new acquisition of power? Those who look into events with a political eye, may perceive several acts of the most arbitrary authority exercised by some late European sovereigns, with no other view than to establish public liberty upon a more extensive bottom.

And although the prerogative of some princes be increased considerably beyond the bounds of the ancient constitution, even to such a degree as perhaps justly to deserve the name of usurpation; yet the consequences resulting from the revolution, cannot every where be said, upon the whole, to have impaired what I call public liberty. I should be at no loss to prove this assertion from matters of fact, and by examples, did I think it proper: it seems better to prove it from reason.

When once a state begins to subsist by the consequences of industry, there is less danger to be apprehended from the power of the sovereign. The mechanism of his administration becomes more complex, and, as was observed in the introduction to the first book, he finds himself so bound up by the laws of his political oeconomy, that every transgression of them runs him into new difficulties.

I speak of governments only which are conducted systematically, constitutionally, and by general laws; and when I mention princes, I mean their councils. The principles I am enquiring into, regard the cool administration of their government; it belongs to another branch of politics, to contrive bulwarks against their passions, vices and weaknesses, as men.

I say, therefore, that from the time states have begun to be supported by the consequences of industry, the plan of administration has become more moderate; has been changing and refining by degrees; and every change, as has been often observed, must be accompanied with inconveniences.

It is of governments as of machines, the more they are simple, the more they are solid and lasting; the more they are artfully composed, the more they become useful; but the more apt they are to be out of order.

The Lacedemonian form may be compared to the wedge, the most solid and compact of all the mechanical powers. Those of modern states to watches, which are continually going wrong; sometimes the spring is found too weak, at other times too strong for the machine: and when the wheels are not made according to a determinate proportion, by the able hands of a Graham, or a Julien le Roy, they do not tally well with one another; then the machine stops, and if it be forced, some part gives way; and the workman's hand becomes necessary to set it right.

Chap. XIV: Security, Ease and Happiness, no inseparable Concomitants of Trade and Industry

The republic of Lycurgus represents the most perfect plan of political oeconomy, in my humble opinion, anywhere to be met with, either in ancient or modern times. That it existed cannot be called in question, any more than that it proved the most durable of all those established among the Greeks; and if at last it came to fail, it was more from the abuses which gradually were introduced into it, than from any vice in the form.

The simplicity of the institution made the solidity of it; and had the Lacedemonians at all times adhered to the principles of their government, and spirit of their constitution, they might have perhaps subsisted to this very day.

My intention, in this chapter, is not to enter into a critical disquisition concerning the mechanism of every part of the Spartan republic; but to compare the general plan of Lycurgus's political oeconomy with the principles we have been laying down.

Of this plan we have a description in the life of this legislator written by Plutarch, one of the most judicious authors to be met with in any age.

This historian flourished at least 800 years after the institution of the plan he describes. A plan never reduced into a system of written laws, but stamped at first upon the minds of the Spartans by the immediate authority of the gods, which made them submit to the most violent revolution that perhaps ever took place in any nation, and which they supported for so many ages by the force of education alone.

As the whole of Lycurgus's laws was transmitted by tradition only, it is not to be supposed, that the description Plutarch, or indeed any of the ancients, have given us of this republic, can be depended on with certainty as a just representation of every part of the system laid down by that great statesman. But on the other hand, we may be very sure, that as to the outlines of the institution, we have them transmitted to us in all their purity'. and, in what relates to my subject, I have no occasion to touch on any particulars which may admit of the smAllest controversy, as to the matter of fact.

Property among the Lacedemonians, at the time when Lycurgus planned his institution, was very unequally divided: the consequence of which, says our historian, was to draw many poor people into the city, where the wealth was gathered into few hands; that is according to our language, the luxury of the rich, who lived in the city, had purged the lands of useless mouths, and the instability of the government had rendered industry precarious, which must have opened the door to general distress among all the lower classes.

The first step our legislator took, was to prepare the spirit of the people, so as to engage them to submit to a total reform, which could not fail of being attended with innumerable inconveniences.

For this purpose he went to Delphi, without having communicated his design to any body. The Pythia declared him to be the darling of the gods, and rather a god than a man; and publicly gave out, that Apollo had delivered to him alone the plan of a republic which far exceeded every other in perfection.

What a powerful engine was this in the hands of a profound politician, who had travelled over the world with a previous intention to explore the mysteries of the science of government! and what advantages did such an authentic recommendation, coming directly (as was believed) from the voice of the Divinity, give him over a superstitious people, in establishing whatever form of government he thought most proper!

The sagacious Lacedemonian did not, however, entirely depend upon the blind submission of his countrymen to the dictates of the oracle; but wisely judged that some preparatory steps might still be necessary. He communicated, therefore, his plan, first to his friends, and then by degrees to the principal people of the state, who certainly never could have been brought to relish an innovation so prejudicial to their interest, had it not been from the deepest reverence and submission to the will of the gods. Assured of their assistance, he appeared in the market place, accompanied by his party, all in arms; and having imposed respect, he laid the foundation of his government by the nomination of a senate.

Whatever regards any other object than his plan of political oeconomy, shall be here passed over in silence. It is of no consequence to my inquiry, where the supreme power was vested: it is sufficient to know that there was an authority enough in the state to support the execution of his plan.

He destroyed all inequality at one stroke. The property of all the lands of the state was thrown together, and became at the disposal of the legislator. Every branch of industry was proscribed to the citizens. And a monied interest was made to disappear, by the introduction of iron coin. The lands he divided into equal lots, according to the number of citizens.

Thus all were rendered entirely equal in point of fortune, as neither wealth, industry, or lands, could give a superiority to any body. From this part of the plan I conclude, that Lycurgus discovered the utter insufficiency of an agrarian law for establishing equality among the individuals of a state, without proscribing, at the same time, both wealth and industry. A circumstance which seems to have escaped every other statesman in ancient times, as well as the modern patrons of equality and simplicity of manners. The lands were cultivated by the Helotes, who were nourished from them, and who were obliged to deliver the surplus, that is, a determinate quantity of fruits, to the proprietor of the lot. Every necessary mechanic art was likewise exercised by this body of slaves.

By this distribution, the produce of the earth (that is every article of nourishment) came free and without cost to every individual of the state. The Spartan landlords were rather overseers of the slaves, and collectors of the public subsistence, than direct proprietors of the soil which produced it. For although every man was fed from his own lands, and provided his own portion, yet this portion was regulated, and was to be consumed in public; and any one who pretended to eat alone, or before he came to the public hall, was held in the utmost contempt.

Their clothing was the most simple possible, perfectly alike, and could be purchased for a small value. This frugality produced no bad effect; because no man lived by his industry. Arts, as has been said, were exercised by the Helotes, the property of private citizens; and if such masters as entertained manufacturing slaves gained by the traffic (as some must do) every method of profiting of their superior riches was cut off.

The Spartans were continually together; they had nothing to do but to divert themselves; and their amusements were mostly martial exercises. The regulations of these numerous assemblies (which were compared, with great elegance and justness, to swarms of bees) cut off all outward marks of distinction. There was not a possibility for luxury to introduce itself, either in eating, drinking, cloathing, furniture, or any other expence.

Here then was a whole nation fed and provided for gratuitously; there was not the least occasion for industry. the usefulness of which, we have shewn principally to consist in its proving an expedient for procuring for the necessitous, what the Spartans found provided for them without labour.

Under such circumstances we may conclude, from the principles we have laid down, that a people thus abundantly nourished, must have multiplied exceedingly. And so no doubt they did. But the regulation of the lots permitted no more than a fixed number of citizens. Whenever, therefore, numbers were found to exceed this standard, the supernumeraries were dismissed, and sent to form colonies. And when the Helotes increased too much, and thereby began to rise above the proportion of the labour required of them, in order to prevent the consuming the food of their masters, which they had in their hands, and thereby becoming idle, licentious, and consequently dangerous to the state, it was permitted to destroy them by way of a military exercise, conducted by stratagem and address; arts which this people constantly preferred in war, to labour, strength and intrepidity.

This appears a very barbarous custom, and I shall not offer any thing as an apology for it, but the ferocity of the manners of those times. Abstracting from the cruelty, the restraining the numbers of this class within certain limits, was absolutely necessary. The Lacedemonian slaves were in many respects far happier than those of other nations. They were in reality a body of farmers, which paid a certain quantity of fruits out of every lot; to wit, 70 medimni of barley: their numbers were not recruited from abroad, as elsewhere, but supported by their own propagation; consequently there was an absolute necessity either to prevent the over multiplication of them, or to diminish an income proportioned exactly to the necessities of the state: and what expedient could be fallen upon? They were slaves, and therefore, could not be inrolled in the number of citizens; they could not be sold to strangers, for money which was forbid; and they were of no use to industry. No wonder then if the fierceness of the manners of those days permitted the inhuman treatment they received; which, however, Plutarch is far from attributing to the primitive institution of Lycurgus. Besides, when we see that the freemen themselves were obliged to quit the country the moment their numbers exceeded a certain standard, it was not to be expected, that useless slaves should be permitted to multiply at discretion.

From this sketch of Lycurgus's political oeconomy, we find the state abundantly provided with every necessary article; an effectual stop put to abusive procreation among the citizens; and a corrective for the over multiplication of the slaves. The next care of a statesman is to regulate the employment of a people.

Every freeman in the state was bred up from his infancy to arms. No family care could prevent him from serving the state as a soldier: his children were no load upon him; it was the business of the Helotes to supply them with provisions: of the servants in town to prepare these, and the public tables were always ready furnished. The whole youth of Sparta was educated not as the children of their parents, but of the state. They imbibed the same sentiments of frugality, temperance, and love of simplicity. They exercised the same employment, and were occupied in the same way in every respect. The simplicity of Lycurgus's plan, rendered this a practicable scheme. The multiplicity and variety of employments among us, makes it absolutely necessary to trust the parents with the education of their children; whereas in Sparta, there were not two employments for a free man; there was neither orator, lawyer, physician, or politician, by profession to be found. The institutions of their lawgiver were constantly inculcated by the old upon the minds of the young; every thing they heard or saw, was relative to war. The very gods were represented in armour, and every precept they were taught, tended to banish superfluity, and to establish moderation and hard living.

The youth were continually striving together in all military exercises; such as boxing and wrestling. To keep up, therefore, a spirit of emulation, and to banish animosity at the same time, sharp, satirical expressions were much encouraged; but these were always to be seasoned with something gracious or polite. The grave demeanour likewise, and downcast look which they were ordered to observe in the streets, and the injunction of keeping their hands within their robes, might very naturally be calculated to prevent quarrels, and especially blows, at times when the authority of a public assembly could not moderate the vivacity of their passions. By these arts, the Spartans lived in great harmony in the midst of a continual war.

Under such regulations a people must enjoy security from foreign attacks; and certainly the intention of the legislator never was to extend the limits of Laconia by conquest. What people could ever think of attacking the Lacedemonians, where nothing but blows could be expected?

They enjoyed ease in the most supreme degree; they were abundantly provided with every necessary of life; although, I confess, the enjoyment of these, in so austere a manner, would not be relished by any modern society. But habit is all in things of this kind. A coarse meal, to a good stomach, has more relish than all the delicacies of the most exquisite preparation to a depraved appetite; and if the pleasures of love be reckoned among the pleasures of life, enough of it might have been met with in the manners of this people. It does not belong to my subject to enter into particular details on this head. But the most rational pleasure among men, the delightful communication of society, was here enjoyed to the utmost extent. The whole republic was continually gathered together in bodies, and their studies, their occupations and their amusements, were the same. One taste was universal; and the young and the old being constantly together, the first under the immediate inspection and authority of the latter, the same sentiments were transmitted from generation to generation. The Spartans were so pleased, and so satisfied with their situation, that they despised the manners of every other nation. If this does not transmit an idea of happiness, I am at a loss to form one. Security, ease, and happiness, therefore, are not inseparable concomitants of trade and industry.

Lycurgus had penetration enough to perceive the weak side of his institution. He was no stranger to the seducing influence of luxury; and plainly foresaw, that the consequences of industry, which procures to mankind a great variety of new objects of desire, and a wonderful facility in satisfying them, would easily root out the principles he had endeavoured to instil into his countrymen, if the state of simplicity should ever come to be corrupted by foreign communications. He affected, therefore, to introduce several customs which could not fail of disgusting and shocking the delicacy of neighbouring states. He permitted the dead to be buried within the walls; the handling of dead bodies was not reckoned pollution among the Lacedemonians. He forbade bathing, so necessary for cleanliness in a hot country; and the coarseness and dirtiness of their cloaths, and sweat from their hard exercises, could not fail to disgust strangers from coming among them. On the other hand, nothing was found at Sparta which could engage a stranger to wish to become one of their number. And to prevent the contagion of foreign customs from getting in, by means of the citizens themselves, he forbade the Spartans to travel; and excluded from any employment in the state, those who had got a foreign education. Nothing indeed but a Spartan breeding could have fitted a person to live among them.

The theft encouraged among the Lacedemonians was calculated to make them artful and dextrous; and contained not the smallest tincture of vice. It was generally of something eatable, and the frugality of their table prompted them to it; while on the other hand, their being exposed to the like reprisals, made them watchful and careful of what belonged to themselves; and the pleasure of punishing an unsuccessful attempt, in part indemnified them for the trouble of being constantly upon their guard. A Lacedemonian had nothing of any value that could be stolen; and it is the desire and intention of making unlawful gain which renders theft either criminal or scandalous.

The hidden intercourse between the Spartans and their young wives was no doubt, calculated to impress upon the minds of the fair sex, the wide difference there is between an act of immodesty, and that of simply appearing naked in the public exercises; two things which we are apt to confound, from the impression of our own customs only. I am persuaded that many a young person has felt her modesty as much hurt by taking off her handkerchief, the first time she appeared at court, as any Lacedemonian girl could have done by stripping before a thousand people; yet both her reason and common sense, must make her sensible of the difference between a compliance with a custom in a matter of dress, and a palpable transgression against the laws of her honour, and the modesty of her sex.

I have called this Lacedemonian republic a perfect plan of political oeconomy; because it was a system, uniform and consistent in all its parts. There, no superfluity was necessary, because there was no occasion for industry, to give bread to any body. There, no superfluity was permitted, because the moment the limits of the absolutely necessary are transgressed, the degrees of excess are quite indeterminate, and become purely relative. The same thing which appears superfluity to a peasant, appears necessary to a citizen; and the utmost luxury of this class frequently does not come up to what is thought the mere necessary for one in a higher rank. Lycurgus stopt at the only determined frontier, the pure physical necessary. All beyond this was considered as abusive.

The only things in commerce among the Spartans were,

First, What might remain to them of the fruits of their lot, over their own consumption; and secondly, The work of the slaves employed in trades. The numbers of these could not be many, as the timber of their houses was worked with the saw and axe only; and every utensil was made with the greatest simplicity. A small quantity, therefore, of iron coin, as I imagine, must have been sufficient for carrying on the circulation at Sparta. The very nature of their wants must, as I have said, terminate all their commerce, in the exchange of the surplus-food of their portions of land, with the work of the manufacturing slaves, who must have been fed from it.

As the Lacedemonians had no mercantile communications with other nations, the iron coin was no more than a bank note of no intrinsic value, as I suppose, but a middle term introduced for keeping accounts, and for facilitating barter. An additional argument for this opinion of the coin being of no intrinsic value, is, that it is said to have been rendered unserviceable for other uses, by being slaked in vinegar; in order consequently to destroy, as they imagined, any intrinsic value which might otherwise remain. If this coin, therefore, was made of an extra-ordinary weight, it must have been entirely with a political view of discouraging commerce and circulation, an institution quite consistent with the general plan, and nowise a consequence of the baseness of the metal of which it was made: a small quantity of this, with the stamp of public authority for its currency and value, would have answered every purpose equally well.

Let me now conclude this chapter by an illustration of the subject, which will still more clearly point out the force of the principles upon which this Lacedemonian republic was established.

Were any Prince in Europe, whose subjects, I shall suppose, may amount to six millions of inhabitants, one half employed in agriculture, the other half employed in trade and industry, or living upon a revenue already acquired; were such a Prince, I say, supposed to have authority sufficient to engage his people to adopt a new plan of oeconomy, calculated to secure them against the designs of a powerful neighbour, who, I shall suppose, has formed schemes of invading and subduing them.

Let him engage the whole proprietors of land to renounce their several possessions: or if that supposition should appear too absurd, let him contract debts to the value of the whole property of the nation; let the land-tax be imposed at twenty shillings in the pound, and then let him become bankrupt to the creditors. Let the income of all the lands be collected throughout the country for the use of the state; let all the luxurious arts be proscribed; and let those employed in them be formed, under the command of the former land proprietors, into a body of regular troops, officers and soldiers, provided with every thing necessary for their maintenance, and that of their wives and families at the public expence. Let me carry the supposition farther. Let every superfluity be cut off; let the peasants be enslaved, and obliged to labour the ground with no view of profit to themselves, but for simple subsistence; let the use of gold and silver be proscribed; and let all these metals be shut up in a public treasure. Let no foreign trade, and very little domestic be encouraged; but let every man, willing to serve as a soldier, be received and taken care of; and those who either incline to be idle, or who are found superfluous, be sent out of the country. I ask, what confederacy among the modern European Princes, would carry on a successful war against such a people? What article would be wanting to their ease, that is, to their ample subsistence? Their happiness would depend upon the temper of their mind. And what country could defend itself against the attack of such an enemy? Such a system of political oeconomy, I readily grant, is not likely to take place: but if ever it did, would it not effectually dash to pieces the whole fabric of trade and industry which has been forming for so many years? And would it not quickly oblige every other nation to adopt, as far as possible, a similar conduct, from a principle of self-preservation.

Chap. XV: A general View of the Principles to be attended to by a Statesman, who resolves to establish Trade and Industry upon a lasting Footing

The two preceding chapters I have introduced purposely to swerve as an illustration of general principles, and as a relaxation to the mind, like a farce between the acts of a serious opera. I now return to the place where I broke off my subject, at the end of the twelfth chapter.

It is a great assistance to memory, now and then to assemble our ideas, after certain intervals, in going through an extensive subject. Every branch of it must, in setting out, be treated with simplicity, and all combinations not absolutely necessary, must be banished from the theory. When this theory again comes to be applied to examples, combinations will crowd in, and every one of these must be attended to.

For this reason nothing can appear more inconsistent than the spirit which runs through some parts of this book, if compared with that which prevailed in the first. There luxury was looked on with a favourable eye, and every augmentation of superfluity was considered as a method of advancing population. We were then employed in drawing mankind, as, it were, out of a state of idleness, in order to increase their numbers, and engage them to cultivate the earth. We had no occasion to divide them into societies having separate interests, because the principles we treated of were common to all. We therefore considered the industrious, who are the providers, and the luxurious, who are the consumers, as children of the same family, and as being under the care of the same father.

We are now engaged in a more complex operation; we represent different societies, animated with a different spirit; some given to industry and frugality, others to dissipation and luxury. This creates separate interests among nations, and every one must be supposed to be under the government of a statesman, who is wholly taken up in advancing the good of those he governs, though at the expence of other societies which lie round him.

This presents a new idea, and gives birth to new principles. The general society of mankind treated of in the first book, is here in a manner divided into two: the industrious providers are supposed to live in one country, the luxurious consumers in another. The principles of the first book remain here in full vigour. Luxury still tends as much as ever to the advancement of industry, the statesman's business only is, to remove the seat of it from his own country. When this can be accomplished without detriment to industry at home, he has an opportunity of joining all the advantages of ancient simplicity to the wealth and power which attend upon the luxury of modern states. He may preserve his people in sobriety, and moderation as to every expence, as to every consumption, and make them enjoy, at the same time, riches and superiority over all their neighbours.

Such would be the state of trading nations, were they employed in supplying the wants or extravagant consumption of strangers only, and did they not insensibly adopt the very manners with which they strive to inspire others.

As often, therefore, as we suppose a people applying themselves to the advancement of foreign trade, we must simplify our ideas, by dismissing all political combinations of other circumstances; that is to say, we must suppose this spirit universal, and then point out the principles which influence the success of it.

We must encourage oeconomy, frugality, and a simplicity of manners, discourage the consumption of every thing that can be exported, and excite a taste for superfluity in neighbouring nations. When such a system can no more be supported to its full extent, by the scale of foreign demand becoming positively lighter; then in order to set the balance even again, without taking any thing out of the heavier scale, and to preserve and to give bread to those who have enriched the state; an additional home consumption, proportioned to the deficiency of foreign demand, must be encouraged. For were the same simplicity of manners still kept up, the infallible consequence would be a forced restitution of the balance, by the distress, misery, and at last extinction of the supernumerary workmen.

I must therefore, upon such occasions, consider the introduction of luxury, or superfluous consumption, as a rational and moral consequence of the deficiency of foreign trade.

I am, however, far from thinking that the luxury of every modern state, is in proportion only to such failure; and I readily admit, that many examples may be produced where the progress of luxury at home and the domestic competitions with strangers who come to market, have been the cause both of the decline and extinction of their foreign, trade but as my business is chiefly to point out principles, and to shew their effects, it is here sufficient to observe, that in proportion as foreign trade declines, either a proportional augmentation upon home consumption must take place, or a number of the industrious, proportioned to the diminution of former consumption, must decrease. By the first, what I call a natural restitution of the balance is brought about, from the principles above deduced; by the second, what I call a forced one.

Here then is an example, where the introduction of luxury may be a rational and prudent step of administration; and as long as the progress of it is not accelerated from any other motive, but that of preserving the industrious, by giving them employment; the same spirit, under the direction of an able statesman, will soon throw industry into a new channel, better calculated for reviving foreign trade, and for promoting the public good, by substituting the call of foreigners instead of that of domestic luxury.

I hope, from what I have said, that the political effects of luxury, or the consumption of superfluity, are sufficiently understood. These I have hitherto considered as advantageous to those classes only who are made to subsist by them; I reserve for another occasion the pointing out how they influence the imposition of taxes, and how the abuse of consumption in the rich may affect the prosperity of a state.

So soon as all foreign trade has come to a stop, without a scheme for recalling it, and domestic consumption has filled up its place in consuming the work, and giving bread to the industrious, we fund ourselves obliged to reason again upon the principles of the first book. The statesman has once more both the producers and the consumers under his care. The consumers can live without employment, the producers cannot. The first seldom have occasion for the statesman's protection; the last constantly stand in need of it. There is a perpetual fluctuation in the balance between these two classes, from which a multitude of new principles arise; and these render the administration of government infinitely more difficult, and require superior talents in the person who is at the helm. I shall here point out the most striking effects only of the fluctuation and overturn of this new balance, which in the subsequent chapters shall be more fully illustrated.

First, In proportion as the consumers become extravagant, the producers become wealthy; and when the former become bankrupts, the latter fill their place.

Secondly, As the former become frugal and oeconomical, the latter languish; when those begin to hoard, and to adopt a simple life, these are extinguished: all extremes are vicious.

Thirdly, If the produce of industry consumed in a country surpass the income of those who do not work, the balance due by the consumers must be paid to the suppliers by a proportional alienation of their funds. This vibration of the balance gives a very correct idea of what is meant by relative profit and loss. The nation here loses nothing by the change produced.

Fourthly, When, on the other hand, the annual produce of industry consumed in a country, does not amount to the value of the income of those who do not work, the balance of income saved; must either be locked up in chests, made into plate, lent to foreigners, or fairly exported as the price of foreign consumption.

Fifthly, The scales stand even when there is no balance on either side; that is, when the domestic consumption is just equivalent to the annual income of the funds. I do not pretend to decide at present whether this exact equilibrium marks the state of perfection in a country where there is no foreign trade, (of which we are now treating,) or whether it would be better to have small vibrations between the two scales; but I think I may say, that all subversions of the balance on either side must be hurtful, and therefore should be prevented.

Let this suffice at present, upon a subject which shall be more fully treated of afterwards.

Let us next fix our attention upon the interests of a people entirely taken up in the prosecution of foreign trade. So long as this spirit prevails, I say, that it is the duty of a statesman to encourage frugality, sobriety, and an application to labour in his own people, and to excite in foreign nations a taste for superfluities as much as possible.

While a people are occupied in the prosecution of foreign trade, the mutual relations between the individuals of the state, will not be so intimate as when the producers and consumers live in the same society; such trade implies, and even necessarily creates a chain of foreign dependences; which proportionally diminish the mutual dependence which formerly subsisted among the citizens. Now the use of dependences, I have said, is to form a band of society, capable of making the necessitous subsist out of the superfluities of the rich, and to keep mankind in peace and harmony with one another.

Trade, therefore, and foreign communications, form a new kind of a society among nations; and consequently render the occupation of statesman more complex. He must, as before, be attentive to provide food, other necessaries and employment for all his people; but as the foreign connections make these very circumstances depend upon the entertaining a good correspondence with neighbouring nations, he must acquire a proper knowledge of their domestic situation, so as to reconcile, as much as may be, the interests of both parties, by engaging the strangers to furnish articles of the first necessity, when the precious metals cannot be procured; and to accept, in return, the most consumable superfluities which industry can invent. And, last of all, he must inspire his own people with a spirit of emulation in the exercise of frugality, temperance, oeconomy, and an application to labour and ingenuity. If this spirit of emulation be not kept up, another will take place; for emulation is inseparable from the nature of man; and if the citizens cannot be made to vie with one another, in the practice of moderation, the wealth they must acquire, will soon make them vie with strangers, in luxury and dissipation.

While a spirit of moderation prevails in a trading nation, it may rest assured, that as far as in this particular it excels the nations with whom it corresponds, so far will it increase the proportion of its wealth, power, and superiority, over them. These are lawful pursuits among men, when purchased by success in so laudable an emulation.

If it be true, that superfluity, intemperance, prodigality, and idleness, qualities diametrically opposite to the former, corrupt the human mind, and lead to violence and injustice; is it not very wisely calculated by the Author of all things, that a sober people, living under a good government should, by industry and moderation, necessarily acquire wealth, which is the best means of warding off the violence of those, with whom they are bound in the great society of mankind? And is it not also most wisely ordained, that in proportion as a people contract vicious habits, which may lead to excess and injustice, the very consequence of their dissipation (poverty) should deprive them of the power of doing harm? But such reflections seem rather to be too great a refinement on my subject, and exceed the bounds of political oeconomy.

When we treat of a virtuous people applying to trade and industry, let us consider their interest only, in preserving these sentiments; and examine the political evil of their falling off from them. When we treat of a luxurious nation, where the not-working part is given to excesses in all kinds of consumption, and the working-part to labour and ingenuity, in order to supply them, let us examine the consequences of such a spirit, with respect to foreign trade: and if we find, that a luxurious turn in the rich is prejudicial to it, let us try if we can discover the methods for engaging the inhabitants to correct their manners from a motive of self-interest. These things premised.

I shall now give a short sketch of the general principles upon which a system of foreign trade may be established, and preserved as long as possible; and of the methods by which it may be again recovered, when, from the natural advantages and superior ability of administration in rival nations, (not from vices at home,) a people may have lost for a time every advantage they used to draw from their foreign commerce.

The first general principle is to employ, as usefully as possible, a certain number of the society, in producing objects of the first necessity, always more than sufficient to supply the inhabitants; and to contrive means of enabling every one of the free hands to procure subsistence for himself, by the exercise of some species of industry.

These first objects compassed, I consider the people as abundantly provided with what is purely necessary; and also with a surplus prepared for an additional number of free hands, so soon as a demand can be procured for their labour. In the mean time, the surplus will be an article of exportation; but no sooner will demand come from abroad, for a greater quantity of manufactures than formerly, than such demand will have the effect of gradually multiplying the inhabitants up to the proportion of the surplus above mentioned, provided the statesman be all along careful to employ these additional numbers, which an useful multiplication must have produced, in supplying the additional demand: then with the equivalent they receive from strangers, they will at the same time enrich the country, and purchase for themselves that part of the national productions, which had been permitted to be exported, for want only of a demand for it at home.

He must, at the same time, continue to give a proper encouragement to the advancement of agriculture, in order that there may be constantly found a surplus of subsistence (for without a surplus there can never be enough); this must be allowed to be exported, and ought to be considered as the provision of those industrious hands which are yet unborn.

He must cut off all foreign competition, above a certain standard price, for that quantity of subsistence which is necessary for home consumption; and, by premiums upon exportation, he must discharge the farmers of any superfluous load, which may remain upon their hands when prices fall too low. This important matter shall be explained at large in another place, when we come to treat of the policy of grain.

If natural causes should produce a rise in the price of subsistence, which cannot be brought down by any encouragement he can give to agriculture, he must then lay the whole community under contribution, in order to indemnify those who work for strangers, for the advance upon the price of their food; or he must indemnify the strangers in another way, for the advance in the price of manufactures.

He must consider the manufactures of superfluity, as wrought up for the use of strangers, and discourage all domestic competition for them, by every possible means.

He must do what he can, constantly to proportion the supply to the demand made for them; and when the supply necessarily comes to exceed the demand, in spite of all his care, he must then consider what remains over the demand, as a superfluity of the strangers; and for the support of the equal balance between work and demand, he must promote the sale of this superfluity even within the country (under certain restrictions however), until the hands employed in such branches where a redundancy is found, can be more usefully set to work in another way.

He must consider the advancement of the common good as a direct object of private interest to every individual, and by a disinterested administration of the public money, he must plainly make it appear that it is so.

From this principle flows the authority, vested in all governments, to load the community with taxes, in order to advance the prosperity of the state. And this object can be nowise better obtained than by applying the amount of them to the keeping an even balance between work and demand. Upon this the health of a trading state principally depends.

If the failure of foreign demand be found to proceed from the superior natural advantages of other countries, he must double his diligence to promote luxury among his neighbours; he must support simplicity at home; he must increase his bounties upon exportation; and his expence in relieving manufactures, as oft as the price of their industry falls below the expence of their subsistence.

While these operations are conducted with coolness and perseverance, while the allurements of the wealth acquired do not frustrate the execution, the statesman may depend upon seeing foreigners return to his ports, so soon as their own dissipation, and want of frugality, come to compensate the advantages which nature had formerly given them over their frugal and industrious neighbours.

If this plan be pursued, foreign trade will increase in proportion to the number of inhabitants; and domestic luxury will serve as an instrument only in the hands of the statesman to increase demand at home, when the supply becomes too great for foreign consumption. In other words, the rich citizens will be engaged to consume what is superfluous, in order to keep the balance even in favour of the industrious, and in favour of the nation.

The whole purport of this plan is to point out the operation of three very easy principles.

The first, That in a country entirely taken up with the object of foreign trade, no competition should be allowed to come from abroad for articles of the first necessity, and principally for food, so as to raise prices beyond a certain standard.

The second, That no domestic competition should be encouraged upon articles of superfluity, so as to raise prices beyond a certain standard.

The third, That when these standards cannot be preserved, and that, from natural causes, prices get above them, public money must be thrown into the scale to bring prices to the level of those of exportation.

The greater the extent of foreign trade in any nation is, the lower these standards must be kept; the less the extent of it is, the higher they may be allowed to rise. Consequently,

Were nobody in a nation employed in producing the necessaries of life, and all the industrious employed in supplying other articles of consumption, the prices of necessaries might be allowed to fall as low as possible. There would be no occasion for a standard in favour of those who live by producing them.

Were no man in the state employed in supplying strangers, the prices of superfluities might be allowed to rise as high as possible, and a standard would also become useless, as the sole design of it is to favour exportation.

But as neither of these suppositions can ever take place, and as in every nation there is a part employed in producing, and a part in consuming; and as it is the surplus only of industry which can be exported; a standard is necessary for supporting the reciprocal interests of both parties at home; and the public money must be made to operate upon the price of the surplus of industry only so as to make it exportable, even in cases where the national prices upon home consumption have got up beyond the proper standard. Let me set this matter in another light, the better to communicate an idea which I think is still a little obscure.

Were food and other necessaries the pure gift of nature in any country, I should have laid it down as a principle to discourage all foreign competition for them, either below or above any certain standard; because in this case the lower the price of them be, it is so much the better, since no inconvenience can result from thence to any industrious person. But as the production of these is in itself a manufacture, or an object of industry, a certain standard must be kept up in favour of those who live by producing them.

On the other hand, as to the manufactures of superfluity, domestic competition should be discouraged, beyond a certain standard, in order that prices may not rise above those offered by foreigners; but it might be encouraged below the standard, in order to promote consumption and give bread to manufacturers. But were there no foreign demand at all, there would be no occasion for any standard, and the nation's wealth would thereby circulate only with greater or less rapidity in proportion as prices might rise or fall. The study of the balance between work and demand, would still continue a principal object of attention in the statesman, not with a view to enrich the state, but in order to preserve every member of it in health and vigour. On the other hand, the object of a standard regards foreign trade, and the acquisition of new wealth, at the expence of other nations. The rich, therefore, of a trading state must not be allowed to increase their consumption of superfluities to the full proportion of the constant supply; because an ample surplus must remain for exportation; and the only way to prevent foreigners from supplying themselves, is to prevent prices from getting up beyond the standard, at which these foreigners can produce them.

Farther, were every one of the society in the same pursuit after industry, there would be no occasion for the public to be laid under contribution for advancing the general welfare; but as there is constantly a part employed in enriching the state, by the sale of their work to strangers, and a part employed in making these riches circulate at home, by the consumption of superfluities, I think it is a good expedient to throw a part of domestic circulation into the public coffers by the name of taxes; that when the consequences of private wealth come necessarily to raise prices, a statesman may be enabled to defray the expense of bounties upon that part which can be exported, and thereby enable the nation to continue to supply foreigners at the same price as formerly.

The farther these principles can be carried into execution, the longer a state will flourish; and the longer she will support her superiority. When foreign demand begins to fail, so as not to be recalled, either industry must decline, or domestic luxury must begin. The consequences of both may be easily guessed at, and the principles which influence them shall be particularly examined in the following chapter.

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