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THE first person, who, having inclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying, This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, battles, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes would not that man have saved mankind, who should have pulled up the stakes, or filled up the ditch, crying out to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor ; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and that the earth belongs to nobody."
Inegalite des Hommes, part i. The poets, whom Plato would have excluded from his republic, appear to have understood better than the majority of philosophers and legislators, the origin, operation, and progress of the sentiments of the human heart. They have styled the golden age that happy period when individual property was unknown; sensible that the distinction
of mine and thine had been the parent of every vice.
ABBE DE MABLY.
It is evident that the first offence must have Deen his who began a monopoly.
The fruitful source of crinies consists in one man's possessing in abundance that of which another man is destitute.
The spirit of oppression, the spirit of servility, and the spirit of fraud, are the immediate growth of the established
property. The other vices of envy, malice, and revenge, are their inseparable companions. In a state of society where men lived in the midst of plenty, and where all shared alike the bounties of nature, these senti. ments would inevitably expire.
Property brings home a servile and truckling spirit, by no circuitous method, to every house in the nation. Observe the pauper fawning with abject vileness upon his rich benefactor, and speechless with sensations of gratitude for having received that which he ought to have claimed with an erect mien, and with a consciousness that his claim was irresistible. Observe the servants that follow in a rich man's train, watchful of his looks, anticipating his commands, not daring to reply to his insolence, all their time and their efforts under the direction of his caprice. Observe the tradesınan, how he studies the passions of his customers, not to correct but to pamper-them; the vileness of his 'flattery, and the systematic constancy with which he exaggerates the merit of his commodities.
Ambition is of all the passions of the human mince the most extensive in its ravages. It adds district to district, and kingdom to kingdoin. It spreads bloodshed and calamity and conquest over the face of the earth. But the passion itself, as well as the means of gratifying it, is the produce of the prevailing system of pioperty. It is only by means of accumulation that one man obtains an unresisted sway over mu ditudes of others. It is by means of a certain distributioa of income that the present governments of the world are retained in existence. Nothing more easy than to plunge nations so organized into war.
It is clear that war in every horrd form is the growth of property.--It is property that forins men into one common mass, and makes them fit to be played upon like a brute machine.
Political Fustice, b. viii. ch. ii. How comes it that so many are infected with the pestilence of wickedness? It is that they who bear rule over thein, having caught the distemper, communicate it to others. By the first ambitious man was the world corrupted.
Pbilosopb. Dir. My master was yet wholly at a loss to understand what motives could excite this race of lawyers to perplex, disquiet, and weary themselves T 3
and engage in a confederacy of injustice, merely for the sake of injuring their fellow animals; neither could he comprehend what I meant in saying, they did it for hire. Whereupon I was at much pains to describe to him the use of money, the materials it was made of, and value of the metals, that when a (man) had got a great store of this precious substance, he was able to purchase whatever he had a mind to, the fineșt clothing, the noblest housęs, great tracts of land, the most costly meats and drinks; and have his choice of the most beautiful females. Therefore since money alone was able to perform all these feats, our (people] thought they could never have enough of it to spend, or to save, as they found themselves inclined from their natural bent either to profusion or avarice. That the rich men enjoyed the fruit of the poor man's labour, and the latter were a thousand to one in proportion to the former. That the bulk of our people were forced to live miserably, by labouring every day for small wages, to inake a few live plentifully. I enlarged much on these and many other particulars to the same purpose : but his honour was still to seek; for he went upon a supposition, that all animals had a title to their share in the productions of the earth, and especially those who presided over the rest. Therefore he
desired I would let him know what these costly ineats were, and how any of us happened to want them. Whereupon I enumerated as many sorts as came into my head, with the various methods
of dressing them, which could not be done without sending vessels by sea to every part of the world, as well for liquors to drink as for sauces, and innumerable other conveniencies. I assured him that this whole globe of earth must be at least three times gone round. before one of our better feinales could get her breakfast or a cup to put it in. He said, that must needs be a miserable country which cannot furnish food for its own inhabitants. But what ne chiefly wondered at was, how such vast tracts of ground, as I described, should bę wholly without fresh water, and people put to the necessity of sending over the sea for drink. . I replied, that England the dear place of
nativity) was computed to produce three times the quantity of food more than its inhabitants are able to consume, as well as liquors extracted from grain, or pressed out of the fruit of certain trees, which made excellent drink, and the same proportion in every
other convenience of life. But in order to feed the luxury and intemperance of the males, and the vanity of the females, we sent away the greatest part of
our necessary things to other countries, from whence in return we brought the materials of diseases, folly, and vice, to spend among ourselves. Hence it follows of necessity, that vast numbers
of our people are compelled to seek tlieir livelihood by beyging, robbing, stealing, cheating, pimping, flattering, suborning, forswearing, forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, voting, scribbling, star-gazing, poisoning, whoring, canting, libelling,