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These articles first appeared in the Dictionnaire d’Économie Politique, ed. Guillaumin and Charles Coquelin (Paris: Guillaumin, 1852) and were translated into English and included in Lalor’s Cyclopedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (Chicago: M.B. Carey, 1899) in 3 vols.
The French political economists of the the 19th century, or “the economists” as they liked to call themselves, are less well known than the classical school which appeared in England at the same time. The French political economists differed from their English counterparts on a number of grounds: the radicalism of their support for free markets, the founding of their beliefs on doctrines of natural rights and natural law, and the intellectual debt they owed to Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832). Some of their leading figures were Say, Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), Charles Coquelin, Joseph Garnier, Hippolyte Passy, Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), and Léon Faucher.
Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912) was born in Belgium but spent most of his working life in Paris, becoming the leading representative of the laissez-faire school of classical liberalism in France in the second half of the nineteenth century. His liberalism was based upon the theory of natural rights (especially the right to property and individual liberty), and he advocated complete laissez-faire in economic policy and the ultraminimal state in politics. During the 1840s he joined the Société d’économie politique and was active in the Association pour la liberté des échanges. During the 1848 revolution he vigorously opposed the rise of socialism and published shortly thereafter two rigorous defenses of individual liberty in which he pushed to its ultimate limits his opposition to all state intervention in the economy, including the state’s monopoly of security. During the 1850s he contributed a number of significant articles on free trade, peace, colonization, and slavery to the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique (1852-53) before going into exile in his native Belgium to escape the authoritarian regime of Napoleon III. He became a professor of political economy at the Musée royale de l’industrie belge and published a significant treatise on political economy (Cours d’économie politique, 1855) and a number of articles opposing state education. In the 1860s Molinari returned to Paris to work on the Journal des debats, becoming editor from 1871 to 1876. Toward the end of his long life Molinari was appointed editor of the leading journal of political economy in France, the Journal des économistes (1881-1909). Some of Molinari’s more important works include Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare (1849), L’Évolution économique du dix-neuvième siècle: Théorie du progrès (1880), and L’Évolution politique et la révolution (1884).
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John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 1 Abdication-Duty. Chapter: CITIES AND TOWNS.
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CITIES AND TOWNS. I. How towns originate—Circumstances which determine choice of location or lead to its abandonment. Towns are aggregations of people and of industries, and they are formed under the natural impulsion of certain wants. Their development is in no way arbitrary. Sometimes rulers have entertained the illusion that they had only to pronounce a magniloquent fiat, to make a new city rise and flourish; but experience has rarely failed to convince them that they had presumed too much on their power. Without doubt, a monarch may, by changing the seat of his empire, as did Peter the Great, for example, create a center of population and wealth. The public functionaries of all grades and those who aspire to these positions, being obliged to live in the capital and to expend there their salaries or incomes, necessarily attract around them a population of tradesmen, mechanics and menials; but, unless the new city presents a location favorable for certain branches of production (and in this case the intervention of the government is not necessary in order to found it) there will be no considerable development. Here, however, one exception should be made. If the government continually enlarges its functions, if it centralizes power at the expense of the liberties of the country, and, in consequence, increases the number of persons in its employ, the town where it has established the seat of its power will not fail to grow and to acquire wealth: but it is questionable whether the country will have a reason for self-gratulation, in this case, at the prosperity of its capital. If, on the contrary, the government has only limited powers, if it has but few persons in its employ, its capital, in case no other industry can be advantageously established there, will be forced to occupy a very modest position in comparison with the centers of manufacturing or commercial production. Such is the case with Washington, the capital of the American Union. J. B. Say has clearly shown in his Traité this powerlessness of governments to establish cities and towns and make them prosperous. "It is not sufficient," he says, "to lay out a town and to give it a name, for it to exist in fact, it must be furnished by degrees with industrial talents, with implements, raw materials, and everything necessary to maintain the workmen until their products may be completed and sold; otherwise, instead of founding a town, one has only put up theatrical scenery, which will soon fall, because nothing sustains it. This was the case with Yekaterinoslav, in Taurida, as the emperor Joseph II. foreshadowed, when, after having been invited to lay in due form the second stone of that town, he said to those around: 'I have finished a vast enterprise in one day, with the empress of Russia; she has laid the first stone of a town, and I the last.'
—Nor does moneyed capital suffice to establish a large manufacturing business and the active production necessary to form a town and make it grow: a locality and national institutions which favor that growth are also necessary. There are perhaps some deficiencies connected with the location of the city of Washington, which prevent its becoming a great capital; for its progress has been very slow in comparison with what is common in the United States. While the situation of Palmyra, in former times, rendered it populous and rich, notwithstanding the sandy desert by which it was surrounded, simply because it had become the entrepôt of the commerce of the Orient with Europe. The prosperity of Alexandria and Thebes in Egypt was due to the same cause. The decree of its rulers would not alone have sufficed to make of it a city with a hundred gates and as populous as Herodotus represents it. The key to its importance must be sought in its position between the Red sea and the Nile, between India and Europe. (Treatise on Polit. Econ., by J. B. Say, book ii., chap. 11.)
—Let us now attempt to give a brief outline of the necessities which have determined the establishment of towns and the choice of their location. The necessity of providing a place of security must, more than any other cause, have originally prompted men to create towns. They comprehended that by combining together in fortified places, they would be more secure than while scattered over a vast extent of territory. To this necessity, which was felt by mankind in the earlier ages, were joined the special advantages of manufacturers and commerce. While agricultural production extends, from its nature, over a considerable surface, most of the branches of industrial and commercial production require, on the contrary, a certain concentration. Let any one examine them in the various civilized countries, and he will find they have collected about a few centres. Thus, in France, the silk industry has its principal seats at Lyons and Saint Etienne; the cotton industry at Lille, Rouen and Mulhouse; the wool industry at Rheims, Elbeuf, Sédan, etc.; and the fashions are at Paris. What particular causes have determined the establishment of any industry in any particular locality rather than another, is of itself an interesting subject of investigation. Sometimes it has been the vicinity of the raw material, or of a market, sometimes the special aptitudes of the people, and again a combination of these various circumstances.
—The localization of the industries does not stop here: in the towns where they become established, we see them select certain quarters and certain streets as their centres. This sub-localization by quarters and streets is notably observable in Paris; and one may find some interesting remarks on the subject in the "Investigations (Enquête) in regard to Parisian Industries," undertaken under the auspices of the chamber of commerce.
—"When the industries are destined to provide for daily consumption," we read in the Enquête, "they are located within reach of the consumers; when they contribute their products to commerce, they are situated with especial consideration of the means of production. The industries which supply food are almost all of the former class; those which are devoted to the manufacturer of articles known in trade as Parisian articles—articles de Paris—are in the second. Among the furniture industries there are also certain ones whose work is offered directly to the consumers, and others which are more particularly devoted to manufacture. Consequently we find upholsterers in all parts of the city, while the manufacture of furniture is situated, on the contrary, almost exclusively in the eighth arrondissement, as the making of bronzes is located in the sixth and seventh. Of 1,915 cabinet makers, doing a business of 27,982,950 francs, 1,093, with 19,679,835 francs, are in the eighth arrondissement. And of 257 markers of chairs, doing a business of 5,061,540 francs, 197, with 3,373,950 francs, are also in the eighth arrondissement. To the same arrondissement belongs also the preparation of pelts and leather. The tanneries and the places for dressing leather are nearly all situated in the quarter of the Gobelins, on the banks of the little river which takes this name, on entering Paris. Chemical products are not manufactured much in the heart of Paris, but those which are made there and which require space, water and air, come from the eighth and twelfth arrondissements. Of this number are starch and facula, and candles of wax, spermaceti and tallow. The manufacture of pottery is also found there. Work in the metals and in the construction of machinery is found especially in the eighth, sixth and fifth arrondissments. As to the manufacture of what are generally known as articles de Paris, it extends through the whole of an important part of the city, on the right bank of the Seine, to the north of the streets of Francs-Bourgeois and Saint Merry, and in the belt comprised between the streets Montorgueil and Poissonnière on the west, and the Place des Voges and Roquette street on the east. It is there that are made articles of gold and silver, fine jewelry as well as imitation; there are manufactured the work boxes, reticules, brushes, toys, artificial flowers, umbrellas and parasols, fans, fancy stationery, combs, portfolios, pocket books and all the multitude of various small articles." (Statisque de l'Industrie à Paris. Introduction, pp. 43, 44.)
—The same fact is observable in civilizations which have little analogy with ours. To cite only one example: a Spanish traveler, Don Rodrigo de Vivéro, who gave, in 1608, an interesting description of Yeddo, the capital of Japan, mentions this distribution of the industries through certain quarters and streets as the most salient feature which had attracted his attention. "All the streets," he says, "have covered galleries, and each one is occupied by persons of the same business. Thus the carpenters have one street, the tailors another, the jewelers another, etc. The tradesmen are distributed in the same manner. Provisions are also sold in places appropriated to each kind. Lastly, the nobles and important personages have a quarter by themselves. This quarter is distinguished 57 by the armorial bearings, sculptured or painted over the doors of the houses." (Memorials of the Empire of Japan in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, edited by Thomas Randall.) With the exception of a few slight differences, is not this description applicable to most of the capitals of Europe? Thus the same economic necessities are felt in the most varied civilizations, and give them a common impress.
—Numerous causes, however, are constantly at work, to change the location of industries, and in consequences, of the centres of population supported by these industries. The ordinary result of every industrial or commercial improvement is to change the place of production. When the route around the cape of Good Hope was discovered, Venice lost much of her importance. Later, the invention of machines for spinning and weaving cotton built up the prosperity of Manchester at the expense of that of Benares and other cities of India, which had previously been the centres of cotton manufactures. In like manner we to-day see steam locomotion give rise to new cities or communicate an impulse to old ones which were remaining stationary. The city of Southampton, for example, acquired in a few years considerable importance, because its port was thought well adapted to be a center to some lines of ocean steamers. Let a new system of navigation appear, and perhaps Southampton will be abandoned for another port whose situation is more in harmony with the particular requirements of the new system. Thus cities and towns experience, to their advantage or detriment, the influence of causes which modify from day to day the conditions of existence and production.
—We said above that governments have only in a feeble measure the power to create new towns, and, above all, to render them prosperous. We might add that neither do they possess to any higher degree the power of destroying existing towns or changing their location. In vain did the victorious barbarians employ fire and sword in the cities they had conquered; in vain did they plow up the ground of these proscribed cities and sow salt thereon: as it was not in their power to destroy the natural advantages which had led the people to center there, in a few years the mischief was repaired and life circulated more freely than ever in the very places that a foolish pride had devoted to eternal solitude. Trammels on the free circulation of men and things have unfortunately been more efficacious than projectiles or incendiary torches, in destroying the centres of population and wealth. Many a flourishing city has been transformed into a veritable necropolis by restrictions depriving it of its commerce or of a market for its products. In the seventeenth century we find a notable instance of this. The Dutch, jealous of the prosperity of Antwerp, succeeded in obtaining the closing of the Scheldt and this barbarous measure, which was continued in force for two centuries, gave a mortal blow to the commerce of Antwerp and to the industries of the Flemings, of which the Antwerp merchants had been the active intermediary agents. More recently, we have seen the port of Bordeaux, formerly one of the most frequented in France, deserted in consequence of the prohibitory system.
—Population and wealth are not alone changed by transference from one town to another; they change from place to place in the same town. New quarters arise within the towns or in their suburbs, while the old are abandoned and fall to decay. These local changes are brought about by causes, manifest or latent, whose action modifies in course of time the necessities or conveniences which had determined the choice of the first location. General advance in security may be considered the most important of these causes.
—Let us dwell a moment on this point.
—The old towns of Europe were, for the most part, built on elevated plateaus or on hills more or less steep; so that their inhabitants had constantly to ascend and descend, which occasioned a considerable waste of force in the daily transportation. Besides, these towns were usually restricted to a narrow enclosure, the dwellings pressed upon one another like the cells in a hive. Why was it that our ancestors dwelt in a manner so devoid of economy, so uncomfortable, and sometimes so unhealthy? To explain this curious fact we must take into account the condition of Europe after the invasion of the barbarians. Insecurity was then universal. The conquerors had built retreats for themselves in the most inaccessible places, and they darted forth from these vulture nests, over the neighboring regions, to pillage or levy contributions. Too weak to resist, the former inhabitants of the country, who were the victims of their depredations, compounded with them, as one compounds with bandits in countries where the government is without power. They secured the protection of the most powerful bands by paying them a regular tribute, and they had their dwellings as near as possible to their protectors. They generally settled around strong castles, so as to be able to take refuge in them in case of danger. The first houses were situated just below the castle, and the others were disposed lower and lower in succession on the slope, like an amphitheatre. As soon as the inhabitants became sufficiently numerous, they surrounded their city with walls and towers to complete their system of defense. Thus were built most of the towns which originated in the middle ages.
—When we consider the necessities of the times, the narrowness of the streets is also explicable. It was due to the fact that the fortifications had been made within as restricted a circle as possible, in order to make the defense more easy and at less cost. When the population increased, they were consequently obliged to build their houses higher and to diminish the width of the streets, in order to keep within their original limits. Sometimes, indeed, they moved the walls back; but it was only as a last resort that they submitted to a measure so costly.
—But by degrees general security increased. The feudal system disappeared, and with it intestine wars ended. Then began a movement which resulted in changing the location of the city population. From the heights to which care for their safety had obliged them to confine themselves, they descended to the plains, where they could dwell more comfortably and at less expense. The faubourgs owe their origin to that increase of security which allowed peaceable men engaged in the industries to live henceforth outside of fortifications. This progress has not yet been realized everywhere. The Calabrian peasants,58 for example, instead of dwelling in the open country, are obliged to remain in the towns, to be safe from the bandits who infest the country. We select the following fact from the correspondence of Paul-Louis Courier: "In Calabria at present," he says, "there are woods of orange trees, forests of olive, hedges of lemon. All these are on the coast and only near towns. Not one village, not one house in the country: it is uninhabitable, for lack of government and laws. But how do they cultivate it? You will say. The peasant lodges in the city and tills the suburbs; setting out late in the morning, and returning before evening. How could anyone venture to sleep in a house in the country? He would be slain the first night." (Paul-Louis Courier, Correspondence. Letter to M. de Sainte-Croix, dated at Miletus, Sept. 12, 1806.)
—Accelerated, moreover, by another cause, which we shall consider later, this displacement of the town population has become generally more and more general: everywhere we see the inhabitants of the old towns leave the abodes they have dwelt in for ages, to occupy new homes, less expensive, more commodious and more healthful.
—II. Of the proportion between city or town and country population—Causes which determine and modify it. The foundation and choice of location of cities and towns are determined, as we have just seen, by the state of civilization and of the arts of production. The same is true of the proportion between the population and wealth of towns and of rural districts. This proportion is essentially diverse and variable. It differs according to the countries and the time. When production has made little progress, when men are obliged, in consequence, to employ the greater part of the productive forces at their disposal in procuring for themselves the necessities of life, the industries which provide for less urgent wants can not be developed, for lack of consumers. The towns where these industries center because of their nature and their special fitness for them, progress in that case only with extreme slowness. It is then in countries and at times when production, and especially agricultural production, has realized the most progress, that the town population must be, and in fact is, the greatest.
—Let us take for examples two countries whose positions in the scale of production are very unlike, viz., England and Russia. In England, where the town population exceeds by far the rural population, the number of families engaged in agriculture was estimated in 1840 at only 961, 134, while that of families engaged in manufactures, commerce, etc., was 2,453,041. The 961,134, families engaged in agriculture furnished 1,055,982 effective laborers, who produced enough food to sustain the greater part of the English people. In countries where agriculture is less advanced, two or three times as many hands, relatively, are required to give an equivalent product: and the natural result is that the town population can not be so numerous. The backward state of Russian agriculture is certainly the primary cause of the small growth of urban population in Russia. The peculiar organization of the industries there has also had somewhat to do with the result.
—"The manufacture of small articles," says M. Tegoborski, "such as are made in the various trades, is located, in Russia, in the rural districts rather than in the towns: it is carried on by village communities, which take the product of their labor to the fairs: this is why the fairs in Russia are of more importance than in other countries. In other countries the workmen in the towns, for the most part, supply the demands of the rural districts: with us, it is often the reverse, and the shoemakers, joiners, and locksmiths of the villages provide for the wants of the townsmen. * * * Any one may obtain convincing proof of this lack of artisans in Russia, in most of our towns, by examining the statistics of the trades of other countries and taking some of the most common as a basis of comparison. Thus, for example, in Prussia, the trades of shoemakers, glovemakers, joiners, wheelwrights, glaziers, blacksmiths, locksmiths and braziers numbered, in 1843, 322,760 masters and journeymen for a population of 15,471,765, being 21 workmen to 1,000 inhabitants: and when we take the statistics of the towns, this proportion rises in the large towns, to 40 workmen, masters and journeymen, belonging to these various trades, to 1,000 inhabitants of the total town population, which is three, four, or even more times the proportion we find in the towns of Russia." (Etudes sur les forces productives de la Russie.)
—In our day improvements which effect an economic change in production result in a rapid increase of the town population. From what has heretofore been said we may conceive that it would be so. "In France, for example," says M. Alf. Legoyt, "the population increased, from 1836 to 1851, 6.68 per cent. For the entire period, or 0.44 per cent. per annum. In 166 towns having 10,000 souls and over, the increase in the same interval was 24.24 per cent. or 1.616 per cent. a year. In 10 years the increase of the town population was then 16 per cent., while that of the total population was only 6 per cent. (Mouvement de la population de la France pendant l'année 1850, par Alf. Legoyt. Annuaire de l'Economie politique et de la statistique pour 1852.
—The case is similar in England. According to the tables of the last census, the town population of Great Britain (England and Scotland), which was in 1801 only 3,046,371, attained in 1851 the number of 8,410,021. This is an increase of 176 per cent., while the total increase of the population in the same period, was only 98 per cent. And if we observe in what towns the increase has been the most considerable, we find in the first place the great manufacturing towns and the commercial ports. While the population of the county towns increased only 122 per cent., that of the manufacturing ones increased 224 per cent., and that of the seaports, London excepted, 195 per cent. In the towns devoted especially to iron industries, the increase was 289 per cent., and in the centres of cotton manufacture, 282 per cent. Every improvement in the arts of production can only accelerate this increase of the town population. Should we lament it, or rejoice at it? This is a much contested question, but the economists agree in deciding it in favor of the cities. Adam Smith and J. B. Say, notably, prove that the multiplication and the enlargement of towns are desirable, even looking at the matter with reference to the interests of the rural districts. Adam Smith, who examined this subject with his usual penetration, concludes that the rural districts have derived three principal benefits from the development of manufacturing and commercial towns. "1. By affording a great and ready market for the rude produce of the country, they gave encouragement to its cultivation and further improvement. This benefit was not even confined to the countries in which they were situated, but extended to all those with which they had any dealings. 2. The wealth acquired by the inhabitants of cities was frequently employed in purchasing such lands as were to be sold, of which a great part would frequently be uncultivated. Merchants' are commonly ambitious of becoming country gentlemen; and when they do, they are generally the best of all improvers. A merchant is accustomed to employ his money chiefly in profitable projects; whereas a mere country gentleman is accustomed to employ it chiefly in expense, etc. 3, and lastly. Commerce and manufacturers gradually introduced order and good government, and, with them, the liberty and security of individuals, among the inhabitants of the country, who had before lived almost in a continual state of war with their neighbors, and of servile dependency upon their superiors." (Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, book iii., chap. 4. How the commerce of the towns contributed to the improvement of the country.)
—The development of the town population is not then a fact at which we need be troubled. Doubtless temptations are greater and bad examples more numerous in town than in the country; but how much more abundant and within the reach of all are the means of enlightenment and moral improvement! The statistics of criminal justice show, that the town population does not furnish a proportionally greater contingent of criminals than the rural population; and yet it is worthy of note that the police is much more effective in towns than it can be in the rest of the country.
—The following are the statistics in regard to this matter, of the administration of justice in France, from 1826 to 1850: "More than three-fifth of those charged with offenses had a domicile; 612 in 1,000 resided in the rural communes; 388 dwelt in the town communes. In the entire population, the proportionate number of the inhabitants of towns is not perfectly ascertained; but approximate estimates put it at only one-fifth of the total population. The preceding proportions differ according to the nature of the crimes. Of 1,000 charged with offenses against individuals, only 566 were inhabitants of the rural communes; 434 dwelt in towns. If we investigate the various kinds of crimes, we find variations still greater. Among those charged with incendiaries, the highest number, relatively, is found to be from the inhabitants of the rural districts; next come those charged with poisoning, infanticide, false testimony, parricide, and obtaining titles and signatures by compulsion. These are probably the only crimes in which the country people have a larger share than they should have, considering their total number in the whole population. The proportion of country people charged with political crimes, abortion, robbery, forgery, counterfeiting money, violation of the person and criminal outrages upon children, is, on the contrary, very small. (Report of the minister of justice, Annuaire de l'Economie politique et de la statistique pour 1853, p. 108.)
—The same improvements which increase the town population, tend also to improve their dwellings. Under the influence of improved security, we have seen towns descend from the summit of plateaus and the sides of hills, to the plains: we shall see them, according to all appearances, extend over a wider and wider surface, as means of communication become less expensive and more rapid. Great improvements have already been realized in this direction. As well as in the cleanliness and repair of streets, and the internal comfort of dwellings and economy in their management. Who can predict what the future may yet have in store for us?
—III. The administration of cities and towns—What it is, and what it ought to be Towns have commonly an administration of their own. Sometimes each quarter even has its own. This administration emanates sometimes from a superior authority, in other cases from the inhabitants of the city. This latter mode of choice, which obliges the administrative body to answer for its acts to those under its jurisdiction, is ordinarily the better. As to the course to pursue in order to govern a city well, it does not differ from that which should be pursued in the government of a nation. A city government, like a national one, should exercise only such functions as can not be left to the competition of private citizens. Now these functions are not numerous, and they become less and less so, as progress causes the obstacles to disappear which either prevent or obstruct the action of competition. In fact, whatever the zeal or the devotion of a municipal administration, it is not in the nature of things that the services which are performed by the common organization of a city should be of as much importance as those which are left to private individuals. Doubtless the desire to merit public consideration should incite those who administer the government to do well: but does this motive ever prove as powerful as the interest which stimulates private enterprise? We may prefer the intervention of municipalities to that of the government for the organization of certain branches of service, and the establishment and maintenance of certain regulations of public utility; but it is well, as far as possible, to dispense with both.
—Unfortunately, municipal administrations have the defect of all governments; they like to assume importance, and, with that view, they are constantly enlarging their powers and, in consequence, the amount of their expenses. In our times they are especially possessed with a mania for undertaking public works and buildings. They appear convinced that by demolishing old quarters at the expense of new; by raising edifices upon edifices; by giving, on the least pretext, balls, concerts, and grand displays of fire works, they contribute effectively to the prosperity and greatness of their cities. Need we say that they are going directly away from the end they wish to attain? These public works, these edifices, these sumptuous entertainments, cost dear, and recourse must always be had at last to taxes, to cover the expenses. Then they tax a multitude of things which serve to feed, clothe, shelter and warm the population, among whom exists a class, unfortunately the most numerous, who barely possess the means of providing for the absolute necessities of existence. In a word, the expense of city living is artificially increased. And with what result? Population and manufactures remove as far as possible from a locality where lavish public officers have permanently established high prices: they settle in preference outside the limits where that economic pest rages. And (and it is a point worthy of note) this change of location, so fatal to landowners in the old towns, has become more and more easy. At a time when lack of security forced people to concentrate in localities which nature had fortified and where art came to the aid of nature, when, on the other hand, the difficulty of constructing artificial ways of communication and maintaining them in good condition rendered the natural ways, such as navigable rivers more valuable, the number of locations suited to become centres of population, was very limited. At the same time the slowness with which private dwellings and public edifices were constructed, (years were sometimes devoted to the building of a house, and centuries to the construction of a cathedral), condemned the people who changed their location, to endless privations and discomforts. Circumstances combined to give existing towns, considered as places of residence, a veritable natural monopoly. But, influenced by the progress already mentioned, this monopoly is disappearing more and more, and as a result, it daily becomes more easy for the people to rid themselves of the burden which a bad administration imposes upon them. Nor do they neglect to do so; for we see them abandoning towns where the expenses of living is too great, (commencing in the quarters less favorably situated), and enlarging the faubourgs or creating, farther away, new centres of activity and wealth. Thus, by drawing largely on the purses of tax payers and unscrupulously issuing any number of bills of credit on future generations, prodigal executives, far from adding to the prosperity of their cities, end by precipitating them into inevitable ruin. Economy in expense should be the supreme rule in the government of cities, as well as in the government of nations. By observing this rule, much more than by increased demolitions, constructions, and festivities, municipal administrations may acquire serious and lasting claims to public gratitude.
E. J. LEONARD, Tr.
G. DE MOLENARI. [original reads "Molenari" but probably typo for "Molinari".—Econlib Ed.]
[57.]All this has been rapidly changing since the abolition of the feudal system in Japan.—E. J. L.
[58.]This is now changed, and Calabria is comparatively secure.—E. J. L.
Footnotes for CIVIL LIST
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 1 Abdication-Duty. Chapter: CIVILIZATION
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The text is in the public domain.
CIVILIZATION. Civilization is the aggregate of the material and moral progress made and still making by man. The source of this progress is to be found in the faculty which has been given to man of knowing himself and the world in which he lives, and of accumulating and transmitting information, as well as of combining the different branches of his knowledge. Thus material progress is the result of the more and more extended knowledge which observation gives us of the natural resources of our globe, and of the means of developing them; moral progress likewise is developed by means of the more and more exact and complete ideas which observation suggests, of our nature, our destiny, and the society in which we live.
—Man's wants are the powerful stimulants which urge him to increase his observation and to accumulate knowledge. Nature furnishes him the material necessary to satisfy these wants, but this material he must collect and fashion for his use. None of his appetites can be satisfied without exertion and labor. Now, this exertion, this labor, by the very nature of his organization, implies suffering. It is his interest, consequently, to reduce his labor as much as possible, while increasing his gratifications; it is his interest to obtain a maximum of satisfaction with a minimum of labor. How can he reach this end? By one means, and by one only—by applying more and more perfect processes to the production of the things he needs. And how can he discover these processes? Only by observation and experience.
—Urged by hunger, primitive man attacked the animals that were least able to defend themselves, and devoured them. He discovered that the flesh of some of these animals was fit to appease his hunger, and agreeable to the taste; but it was hard for him to procure a sufficient quantity of it regularly, for most of these animals were swifter of foot than he was. Spurred on by want, he endeavored to overcome this difficulty, and succeeded. A savage more intelligent than the rest, noticing the property in certain kinds of wood which allowed them to be bent without breaking, and to straiten out again with a violent recoil after being bent, thought of utilizing this force to hurl projectiles. The bow was invented. It at once became easier for man to subsist. He could now turn his thoughts to observation in another field and combine his observations so as to increase his enjoyments and diminish his pains. At the same time his moral wants, awakened by a multitude of mysterious phenomena, urged him onward in this direction, as well as his physical wants. Must not the terrible phenomenon of death, for instance, by filling his soul with curiosity, dread, and sometimes with grief, have incited him to penetrate the secret of his destiny? Thus, incessantly urged onward by the increasing and irresistible wants of his nature, man has never ceased, since the beginning of the world, to pile observation on observation, one kind of knowledge on another, and thus to improve his material and moral condition.
—Civilization, therefore, seems to us a natural fact; it is the result of man's very organization, of his intelligence and wants. Its source is in observation stimulated by interest, and it has no limit but that of the knowledge which is given to man to accumulate and combine under the pressure of his wants. Now, this limit we can not see; whence it follows that it has been possible to say with truth that progress is indefinite.
—Civilization, however, although inherent in human nature, has not equally developed among all nations. Certain peoples have remained, even to our day, plunged in the darkness of primitive barbarism, while at their very side we find civilization arrayed in all its power. To what is this inequality of development to be attributed? We must attribute it to the inequality of the physical and moral faculties of the different races of men; we must attribute it also to the surroundings in the midst of which each race is developed. We must attribute it, to use the language of economists, to the amount of natural goods, both external and internal, which the Creator has bestowed upon each people. Now, these raw materials of civilization are very unequally distributed: between the stupid Botocudo and the Anglo-Saxon, who has become his neighbor, the distance, from both a physical and a moral point of view, is immense, and between these two varieties of the human species, who seem to form the extreme links in the chain of the varieties, of man, we find a whole multitude of races all unequal, all different; just as, between the sands of the Sahara and the alluvial soil of Senegal there are many degrees of fertility.
—We must carefully examine how these natural inequalities have acted upon civilization. If two nations, unequally favored with natural gifts, be placed in similar environments, it is evident that the one best provided with this natural capital, will develop more rapidly and more completely than the other. It is also clear that if two nations, equally favored with internal gifts, be placed amid unequal environments, their development also will be unequal. The influence of internal gifts, and of their unequal distribution upon civilization, has not as yet, we believe, been sufficiently studied and appreciated. On the other hand, the influence of external surroundings has been much better recognized and more attention has been called to it. Jean Bodin, Montesquieu and Herder, clearly demonstrated its importance. They might even be accused of having exaggerated it.
—However this may be, by taking well into account these natural elements of civilization, we can readily understand how certain races have reached a very high degree of civilization, while others have remained plunged in barbarism. If, for instance, we but study the natural history of the various races of men who inhabit the archipelagoes of the Pacific ocean, and their physical surroundings, we will comprehend why they have remained the most backward of the human species. In the first place, these tribes are generally of very weak intellect; they have but a small share of that faculty of observing, and of accumulating and combining their observations, which constitutes the essential motor of civilization. In the second place, the mildness of the climate and the natural fecundity of the soil enabling them to satisfy, without labor, their grossest wants, leaves their intellect without any stimulant to action. Finally, their topographical situation, by isolating them from the rest of mankind, has restricted them to the development of their own resources, to their own limited elements of civilization. To obtain other resources or elements of civilization, they would have had to cross the abyss of the ocean. But to traverse the ocean, they would have had to know the art of navigation, to be acquainted with the compass, etc., a knowledge beyond the reach of their intellect. These tribes of men, lost in the immensity of the ocean, were thus condemned to languish for a longer time than the rest of mankind in the darkness of barbarism. In all probability they would still be plunged in this darkness had not light come to them from without, had not nations already advanced in civilization begun to visit them.
—But suppose that these tribes, instead of being separated from civilization by the depths of the ocean, had lived on or near the main land, their condition certainly would have been very different. In the course of time they would have communicated with one another, they could have intermingled, they would have exchanged their discoveries and their products. This contact and this intermingling of tribes differently endowed, would have resulted in a civilization, coarse and incomplete, no doubt, but which would have produced a social state far superior to that of all the isolated tribes of the Polynesian archipelagoes. This is one example of the influence of natural gifts, internal and external, upon civilization. Let us give another illustration. At the opposite extremity of the scale of civilization is Great Britain. The inhabitants of Great Britain are a composite people, the product of six or seven races, which successively invaded British soil, whose different aptitudes united and combined to develop it. The natural conditions of the soil, climate and topographical situation of Great Britain, admirably seconded the work of civilization. The soil is fertile, but its fecundity is not exuberant enough to allow those who cultivate it to become the victims of indolence. The climate, although not exceedingly rigorous, renders clothing and shelter necessary to man. Lastly, Great Britain is separated from the continent by an arm of the sea, which, while it protects the inhabitants from foreign invasion, allows them easy communication with other nations abundantly provided with the elements necessary to progress. Favored by such a concurrence of natural advantages, civilization could not but develop rapidly. Let us suppose, however, that the inhabitants of Great Britain had been cast upon the shores of New Zealand; that, consequently, they could not intermingle with such people as those who successively came to settle beside them, nor communicate with a continent on which civilization had already shed its light, is it not likely that they would to-day differ very little from the natives of New Zealand?
—Now that the influence which the distribution of natural gifts, both internal and external, exercises on civilization is clearly recognized, let us see what influence the state of the relations which men bear to one another may exercise on their progressive activity; under what social circumstances they are most stimulated to utilize the elements of progress at their disposal.
—If civilization be a product of the human intellect, stimulated by human events, it is evident that it will develop more rapidly in proportion as man may more freely employ his faculties in channels suitable to them, and in proportion as he is himself certain of enjoying the fruit of his endeavors. If I have an aptitude for mathematics, and am forced, without any regard for my talent, to devote myself to painting, the most active and powerful part of my intellect will remain almost inactive. I might have been able to solve a number of mathematical problems; but as I was forbidden to devote myself to this work, for which I was naturally fitted, the problems which I might have solved will not be solved at all, or at least they will be solved later, and civilization will be thereby retarded by so much. On the other hand, I may paint, but, as I have little talent for the art of painting, I shall contribute nothing to its progress. A good mathematician has been spoiled in me to make a bad painter. To interfere with the liberty of labor, therefore, is to nullify and to suppress the forces which would have stimulated human progress; it is in some sense to do away with that part of human intelligence which would have contributed most effectually to the advancement of civilization. The progress of civilization is permanently hindered by the restrictions which close the ranks of certain professions to men who might excel in them, or when admission to them is rendered expensive and difficult, when immutable rules prescribe for each the career he must follow. All attacks on the right of property are another cause which retards civilization. Why does a man condemn his intellect to the labor of accumulating, combining and applying observations to the satisfaction of his wants? Is it not because this labor procures him enjoyment or spares him trouble? He has no other aim. But if he be deprived of this enjoyment, in whole or in part; if the fruit of his self-imposed labor be consumed by others, what reason would he have left to labor intellectually or otherwise? If, for instance, another compels this man to work for him, to cultivate his field, to grind his corn, and leaves him barely enough of the fruit of his own labor to subsist upon; if, in a word, he be a slave, what interest can he have to improve the cultivation of his land or the grinding of corn? What will it avail him? Does he not know that the fruit of his laborious research will belong entirely to his master, that is, to his natural enemy, to the person who each day robs him of his legitimate wages to appropriate them to himself? Why, then, should he add to the gratification of a man who unjustly deprives him of his own? Slavery, therefore, which is, however, but one of the innumerable forms of spoliation, appears as one of the most serious obstacles that impede human progress; in like manner, every arbitrary or legal act which injures or menaces property, natural or acquired, delays the progress of civilization, by weakening the incentive which urges men to extend the circle of their knowledge and their acquisition.
—Liberty, which allows every man to draw the utmost possible benefit from the gifts with which nature has endowed him, and the right of property, which entitles him to the absolute enjoyment of these gifts, and of the fruit which he can derive from them, are the necessary conditions of human progress. Spoliation, under the multitude of forms which it assumes, is the great obstacle that retards, and has, from the beginning of the world, retarded the development of civilization—This being the case, it would seem that men should have, from the very beginning, contrived some means of maintaining inviolable their rights of liberty and property. Unfortunately they have learned only after a long and rude experience, how essential respect for liberty and property is to their well being. If we try to leave this experience out of consideration, and examine the natural conditions in which men were placed in the beginning, taking into account their instincts, their wants, and the means which they had of satisfying them, we will be convinced that they could not begin except by spoliation.
—Ignorant men, fresh from the hand of nature, with no other guide than their instincts, no acquired experience either of the world or of themselves, were obliged to supply wants felt anew every day, and which had to be satisfied under pain of death. Unprovided with the instruments and knowledge necessary to assure them a regular subsistence, they were incessantly exposed to the hardship of extreme hunger. When one of these ignorant and famished beings met one of his fellowmen, who, more fortunate than he, had succeeded in getting some prey, a struggle for it was inevitable. Why should not a starving and destitute man attempt to possess himself of the booty which came in his way? Not scrupling to rob the bee of its honey and to devour the sheep, why should he respect man? There is undoubtedly a natural instinct which prompts beings of the same species not to injure one another, but must not this instinct, whose intensity varies in different individuals, have yielded before the all-powerful pressure of want? Let us picture to ourselves what would happen even in our day, notwithstanding the great progress we have made, notwithstanding our acquisitions in the physical and moral order, if there were no superior power established to suppress individual cruelty, and society were abandoned to anarchy. The most frightful disorder would inevitably result from this condition of things. Robberies and assassinations would increase in a frightful manner, until such time as men had reorganized a repressive force. For still stronger reasons must not the result have been the same in the first ages of the world?
—History proves, moreover, that abuse of power was general in these first ages, whose innocence has been so loudly vaunted by the poets. The liberty and property of the weak were always at the mercy of the strong. Every one was thus incessantly exposed to be robbed of the fruit of his labors. Consequently, no one took any interest in increasing his possessions or accumulating property. Progress was impossible under this system. What was the result? The experience of the evils of anarchy led men to combine together in order to better protect their liberty and property. Societies were formed everywhere, and in them assassination and robbery were forbidden and punished. Still the pacificatory action of these societies of mutual protection was at first very limited: if men appreciated clearly enough the necessity of living at peace with their immediate neighbors, the inconveniences of a war with men a little farther away did not impress them so forcibly. They often even believed it to their interest to conquer and plunder them. Experience had gradually to extend the domain of peace, that is, the systematized and organized respect for liberty and property. Little by little, nations dwelling in close proximity to one another, and nearly equal in strength, became convinced, by the results of their various encounters, that they lost more than they gained by making war. They, therefore, agreed to suspend their hostilities, to make truces, particularly, if they were employed in agriculture, especially during seed-time and harvest. They finally entered into mutual alliances offensive and defensive. Between these nations who had declared truces or concluded treaties there was regular communication. They imparted to each other the knowledge they had acquired and accumulated. Exchange of products and exchange of ideas took place at the same time. Thus we find that civilization developed in proportion as the experience of the evils of war enlarged the sphere of peace. The same result was obtained when a nation extended its dominion over other nations, for the conquerors soon perceived that it was to their interest to maintain peace in the countries submitted to their rule. Under Roman rule, for example, the most civilized nations of the world ceased to make war on one another, and magnificent roads united these nations which had so long been strangers and enemies. The progress made by each of them in its isolation extended to all. The Christianity of Judea, the philosophy and arts of Greece, the legislation of Rome spread to Africa, Spain, Gaul and Germany, and reached even to Great Britain. At the same time commerce was developing, and the useful plants, together with the art of cultivating them, passed from one country to another: the cherry was imported from Asia Minor into Europe, the vine was transported into Gaul; in a word, civilization under all its forms progressed from the east to the west—Nevertheless, in these first ages of humanity, peace could be neither general nor lasting: in the midst of peaceful nations, slavery in all its degrees appeared as a permanent cause of conflict. From without, hordes of barbarians coveted the wealth accumulated by these civilized peoples. All the early centres of civilization, Persia, Egypt, the Roman empire, after a thousand intestine struggles, became, as is well known, the prey of barbarians.
—The great invasions which occupy so large a place in the history of the world had not everywhere and always the same results. They were, according to circumstances, favorable or disastrous to the progress of humanity. In order to appreciate the influence they exercised from this point of view, we must ascertain first, what amount of material and immaterial capital was destroyed in the course of the invasion; we must examine also whether, the conquest once completed, the victors and the vanquished gained by their contact with each other more liberty and security; whether they increased their means of progress. Anarchy, slavery and war are the great obstacles in the way of civilization; but frequently these obstacles either destroyed or weakened one another. Sometimes slavery put an end to anarchy, and sometimes war to slavery. There was retrogression wherever the result of the conflict was a diminution of the liberty or security acquired, and, on the other hand, there was progress whenever the sum total of liberty and security in the world was increased by the conflict: at least whenever the destruction of capital caused by the conflict was not great enough to counterbalance the gain made—We can not say, for instance, whether the invasion of the Roman empire by the barbarians of the north hastened or retarded the progress of civilization; whether or not the immense destruction of material and immaterial capital occasioned by this cataclysm was compensated for by acquisitions of another nature; whether or not, if the Roman empire had lasted, the different varieties of men who to-day inhabit Europe would have been so advantageously intermingled; whether or not slavery would have continued for a longer time. We have not the data necessary to solve this historical problem. We can, however, conjecture that, if the establishment of Roman domination over nations, most of which had adopted slavery, could still serve the cause of civilization by causing peace to reign among these nations, by increasing, consequently, the amount of security which the world enjoyed, without sensibly diminishing the sum total of its liberty; in like manner, the establishment of the barbarians upon the ruins of the Roman domination contributed to the progress of civilization by hastening the abolition of slavery, and thus increasing the amount of liberty possessed by the human race.
—Be this as it may, liberty and security have been making constant progress ever since the downfall of the Roman empire, and especially since the end of the feudal barbarism which was substituted for it. This progress, whether quickened or not by the invasion of the barbarians who overran the old civilized countries, wonderfully aided the development of modern civilization. Thenceforth, as man had greater liberty to employ for the increase of his well-being the elements of progress at his disposal, and felt more assured of being able to preserve the fruit of his labors, he gave greater scope to his activity. He explored the material and the moral world with a power and a success of which he before had no idea. He discovered all at once the means of better preserving his old acquisitions, and of multiplying and propagating new ones more rapidly. Some of these discoveries have exercised such an influence upon the march of civilization that we must dwell upon them for a moment.
—We will mention first the invention of gunpowder. The immediate effect of this discovery was to change the proportion between the labor and capital necessary to the exercise of what we may call the military industry. It required less labor and more capital, fewer men and more machines. One piece of cannon served by eight men took the place of a hundred archers. What was the result? Civilized nations acquired an enormous advantage over barbarous peoples from the point of view both of attack and defense. The superiority of their implements of war, together with their superiority in the capital necessary to put this costly machinery in operation, assured them predominance. Thenceforth new invasions of barbarians coming to destroy the previous acquisitions of civilization were no longer to be feared. Moreover, now that they were freed from the corruption of slavery, which might in time render invasions useful, the civilized nations acquired in this respect a security which they did not enjoy in ancient times. Instead of being subjugated anew by the barbarians, they everywhere began to subject the barbarians to their rule.61
—Thus were the accomplished results of civilization permanently assured, while a process was soon after discovered whereby to propagate, at small expense and with marvelous rapidity, the knowledge accumulated by the human mind: we refer to the invention of printing. But a short time ago, the diffusion of the immaterial capital of humanity was difficult and costly; sometimes even a part of previously acquired knowledge was lost. Thanks to the printing press, it became possible to reproduce indefinitely the same observation, the same thought and the same invention, and to send it thus multiplied through the immensity of the ages.
—Nor is this all. Civilization in ancient times was local. Each nation, separated from neighboring nations, either by physical obstacles, or by the hatred or prejudices of centuries, had its own narrow and isolated civilization. Thus, in the first place, a more and more extended experience of the evils of war, together with the progress of moral and political sciences, began to draw nations together by showing them that it was to their interest to dwell together in peace, and exchange with one another the products of their industry. Thus, again, the application of steam and electricity to locomotion, by annihilating space, so to speak, renders more and more practicable this exchange, which is now recognized as useful. Thus, thanks to this material and moral progress, local civilizations, formerly isolated, hostile, and without regular communication, began to unite, preserving in a general civilization their own peculiar characteristics.
—But if we seek out the origin of this great progress which has assured and accelerated the march of civilization, we shall find that it comes, like all other progress, from the employment of the human intellect in the observation of the phenomena of the moral and physical world; an employment which has become more general and more fruitful in proportion as men have been more interested in engaging in it. The men who have systematized the method of observation, and first among them chancellor Bacon, have been objects of great laudation, and surely this is but just. We must not, however, forget that this method was known and practiced from the very beginning of the world, since it is to observation, and to experience which is but another form of observation, that all human progress is due. If it was less fruitful in ancient times, it was, primarily, because the aggregate of anterior knowledge which could be used to acquire new knowledge was less; it resulted also from the fact that, as liberty and property were less generally guaranteed than now, fewer men were interested in observing and in utilizing their observations. The material arts, for instance, which were abandoned for the most part to slaves, remained of necessity at a standstill. What interest would the slaves have had in improving them? But must not this lack of progress in certain essential branches of human knowledge in turn weaken the spring of all the others? Do we not know that all progress is connected, and that discoveries made in any part of the domain of industry lead to others, frequently in an opposite extremity of this domain? There is certainly little connection between the manufacture of glass and the observation of celestial bodies; and still, how much has the progress in the art of glass-making advanced the progress of astronomy! In ancient times the lack of progress in the material arts, which slavery had degraded, deprived men of the ideas and instruments necessary to enlarge the circle of their knowledge. In consequence, the method of observation was less effective in their hands, and sometimes even remained sterile. What was the result? Men, pressed for the solution of certain problems, and not perceiving how to solve them, declared the method of observation powerless, and built, upon the fragile basis of hypothesis, systems to which science was destined to do justice at a later day. The method of observation was discredited, especially when certain classes believed themselves interested in maintaining the solutions given by hypotheses; but this discrediting of the method of observation which had its first source in slavery was inevitably bound to disappear with it. In proportion as slavery disappeared, and the gap in the progress of the material arts began to be filled up, the method of observation, provided with new instruments, acquired a range which no one would before have imagined it capable of. Its efficacy in solving problems which had before been regarded as above human intelligence, then became manifest to all. The honor of being the first to recognize this fact belongs to Bacon; but does not the credit of popularizing and universalizing the method of observation belong still more to liberty than to Bacon? Did not observation increase its endeavors and obtain its most marvelous results, after and from the very day that it acquired liberty as an all-powerful auxiliary; increase these efforts and obtain these results in proportion as liberty was greater? Since the advent of industrial liberty, for example, has not the domain of civilization extended more, in one century, than it had in twenty centuries before?
—By becoming more general, under the influence of the progress we have just described, the power of civilization has increased in an incalculable degree. Formerly, each isolated nation was confined almost exclusively to its own resources to develop its knowledge and increase its prosperity. Now, as the aptitudes of men are essentially different, according to race, climate and circumstances of place; as the qualities of the soil are no less so, and the same piece of land is not equally well adapted for all kinds of crops; each isolated civilization necessarily remained incomplete. Only certain privileged individuals could use for the satisfaction of their wants, products brought from other parts of the globe. The mass of the people were obliged to content themselves with the products of the country, and the small extent of the market proved an insurmountable obstacle to the progressive developments of these products. The lack of communication was to a certain extent compensated for by artificially increasing the number of national industries, by learning the industries of foreign nations. Unfortunately, this assimilation, useful when restricted within certain limits, was carried too far. Countries wished to produce everything, even those things which cost less when bought from foreign countries; and in this they partially succeeded by interdicting the use of imported goods. But they still failed to attain the desired result, which was to increase the amount of things calculated to satisfy the needs of their inhabitants. Instead of increasing the number of their satisfied wants, they diminished them. Instead of advancing in civilization, they relapsed into barbarism. We must add, however, that observation and experience are constantly endeavoring to do away with this error, as they have already done away with so many others. The more enlightened nations begin to perceive that it is their interest to obtain the greatest possible amount of satisfaction (the word satisfaction is here used in its politico-economical sense), for the smallest amount of labor, and that they can never attain this end by barricading themselves against the cheapness of goods. The time will come when they themselves will tear down the artificial barriers with which they have surrounded themselves in place of the natural barriers which the steam engine had broken down. On that day the elements of civilization which God has placed at the disposal of the human race, and the material and immaterial capital which man has accumulated in the course of the centuries, will be best and most fruitfully employed; on that day also will the natural division of labor among the different nations, now impeded by artificial restrictions, be fully developed. We do not know, and it would be superfluous to conjecture, to what height civilization thus universalized will rise, and to what degree it will increase man's moral and material satisfactions, while diminishing his labor and his suffering. All that we can say is, that considering the progress which civilization has already made, human intelligence, provided with a capital which increases so much the more rapidly the more it accumulates; provided with all the instruments necessary to preserve and propagate what it has required; urged on by wants which have never yet been satisfied, and which seem insatiable, will continue incessantly to advance with a more rapid and a surer step until it reaches the undefined limit beyond which it is not given to it to go.
—Nevertheless, some minds are still in doubt as to the future of civilization, and present various objections on this point which it will be well to answer. Their principal objection may be thus stated: if civilized nations have no longer to fear the invasions of barbarians from without, are they not, on the other hand, daily more and more exposed to be overrun by the barbarians in their own household? Do they not run the risk of falling back into barbarism, or at least of remaining a long time stationary, by becoming the prey of those men who have not ceased to wallow in primitive ignorance? Doubtless civilization may be retarded in a country by ignorance, or, what amounts to the same thing, by the mistaken interest of a dominant class. Nevertheless, this cause, antagonistic to civilization, has not so much influence as is attributed to it. If it is a multitude, imbued with chimerical ideas, that seizes upon the government of society, experience, or even the simple discussion of these theories, readily proves to them their emptiness, and, as the multitude is most interested in the good government of society, a reaction takes place in its midst; it divests itself of its dangerous illusions, and civilization at once resumes its onward march. If society is, on the contrary, under the domination of a class attached to the maintenance of old abuses, the evil caused by these abuses—after a greater or less delay, according to the more or less advanced state of intellectual communications—finally becomes manifest to every one. Then the pressure of public opinion puts an end to it.
—A grave question here presents itself incidentally. Is it well to crush, if necessary, the resistance of the class attached to established abuses, to resort to revolutions to destroy these abuses, or is it better to wait till they disappear of themselves under pressure of the progress made outside the range of their baneful influence? This question plainly admits of two solutions, according to the circumstances of time and place. It may be affirmed, however, that in our day the peaceful solution is generally the better. Think, indeed, with an unprejudiced mind, of the results of certain events of but recent occurrence, the enormous amount of capital they consumed, the active forces they absorbed, the dire calamities they produced; take into account, at the same time, the progress made since the invention of printing, and the application of steam to locomotion, and be convinced that revolution is too high a price to pay for progress in our day, and that it is best, therefore, to abstain from it, even in the interest of civilization.
—A second objection, no less frequently urged, is the following: material prosperity is not developed except at the expense of public morality; men become morally more corrupt, in proportion as their condition improves materially, and their civilization, so brilliant on the surface, is only a whited sepulchre. Nothing could be more false. In the first place, the history of civilization proves that the branches of human knowledge which concur in improving the moral nature of man, do not develop less rapidly than those which tend to develop his material prosperity. Religion, for instance, has never ceased, in the course of ages, to grow in perfection and purity, and to exercise, for this very reason, a most effectual influence over human morality. How far superior is not Christianity to Paganism in this respect! And can we not easily perceive a progress in Christianity itself? Is not the Christian religion of to-day a more perfect instrument of moralization than it was in the days of the St. Dominics and the Torquemadas? Do not the philosophical sciences also, and political economy in particular, labor more effectually every day to improve men's morals by showing them every day more clearly that the observance of the laws of morality is an essential condition of their existence and well-being? In the second place, ought not material progress of itself, far from being an obstacle to the moral development of the human race, contribute, on the contrary, to sustain it? By rendering man's labor more fruitful, and his existence easier, must it not tend to diminish the force and frequency of the temptations which impel him to violate the laws of morality in order to satisfy his material appetites? Experience, moreover, confirms these deductions drawn from the observation of our nature. The criminal records prove that the poorer classes commit, other things being equal, a greater number of crimes than the richer classes; they prove also that crime decreases and morals improve in proportion as the comforts of life are extended to the lower ranks of society. This objection, based upon a pretended demoralization of nations occasioned by the development of material prosperity, is therefore at variance with observation and experience.
—The third objection pretends that the progress of industry has increased inequality among men. It holds that the tendency of industrial progress is to agglomerate, on the one hand, masses of capital, and, on the other, multitudes of men whose condition becomes every day more miserable. Historical facts give the lie to this assertion. Compare the social inequality which exists in our day with that which existed in the time of the Roman empire; contrast with the slaves of the latifundia and the powerful head of a patrician family, the poorest workman with the richest of our bankers; and say whether the extremes of the social scale, far from having become more widely separated, have not come nearer together! Progress favors equality, or at least its continual tendency is to reduce social inequalities to the level of natural inequalities. We notice, in fact, that liberty and property are better guaranteed in proportion as civilization gains ground, and that the progress made in guaranteeing liberty and property, is the essential condition of all other progress. Now, if each man is obliged to depend upon his own industry for a livelihood; if there is no longer any spoliation, open or secret, to give to one man the fruits of another's labor; if, in a word, the most powerful and active causes of inequality disappear, must not social differences inevitably end by coming down to the level of the differences which nature has made between men? The only cause that could maintain and even aggravate these inequalities, by attributing to those who control the means of subsistence and the instruments of labor an unwarranted predominance, is the permanent excess of population. Fortunately, the multiplication of the human species does not depend solely upon man's prolific power; it depends also upon his foresight. Man has the power to control the production of beings like himself; he can quicken or slacken this production, according as he foresees that his own condition and that of the beings whom he brings into the world will be improved or impaired thereby. But this foresight, which puts a beneficial limit to generation, naturally acquires greater strength and greater control in proportion as man becomes more enlightened.
—In his Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain, Condorcet demonstrated that there would be less and less reason to fear an excess of population, owing to the natural development of foresight under the influence of civilization. "Suppose," he says, "the limit (at which population pressed on the means of subsistence) reached, no dreadful consequences would result, either to the well-being of the human species, or to its indefinite perfectibility; provided we suppose that before that limit was reached the progress of reason kept pace with the progress of the arts and sciences; * * * * men would then know that, if they had duties to beings not yet in existence, these duties consist, not in giving them existence, but happiness; these duties have for their object the general well-being of the human species, or of the society in which those who are bound by them live or of the family to which they belong; and not the puerile idea of loading down the earth with useless and unhappy beings. There might, therefore, be a limit to the sum total of the means of subsistence, and consequently to the possible maximum of population, without its resulting in the premature destruction of a portion of living beings, which is so contrary to nature and social prosperity."
—We see that the different elements of our nature, and of the world in which we live, are so disposed that civilization appeared as an inevitable and irresistible fact. There is nothing, however, of fatality about it, inasmuch as it continually feels the influence of our free will. If it is not in the power of any one to stop it, or cause it to retrograde, each one can nevertheless exert an influence over its progress, and perhaps also over its definitive extent. Raise your hand against the liberty and property of others; do not utilize as much as you might the productive forces at your disposal; be indolent, ignorant and prodigal; and you will retard civilization. On the contrary, set an example of moral virtue, of respect for liberty and property, of the spirit of research, of ardor and assiduity in labor, and you will contribute your share toward advancing it. Each individual acts upon civilization for good or for evil, within the more or less extended sphere of his activity. Only, each one being more and more interested to act in such a manner as to contribute to its progress, the number of the acts which advance it surpass every day more and more the number of those which retard it. The general impulse given to civilization depends upon the aggregate of the faculties and wants of man, and upon the natural resources which have been placed at his disposal; but it remains, on this account, none the less subject, in the accidents of its course, to the influence of man's free will. Civilization is the creature of Providence, not of fate.
—Now that we have described the elements of civilization, and have shown with the aid of what material and moral instruments the great work is carried on, how it can be accelerated and how retarded, let us sum up in a few words the economic marks by which civilization is recognized, and the end toward which it tends.
—Civilization is seen to be the development of the power of man over nature. Now, there is an external sign by which this development may be recognized: the division of labor. The country in which labor is most divided in all its branches, where, for this very reason, social relations are most developed, is therefore evidently that in which civilization is most advanced.
—Civilization has for its end the better satisfaction of our material and moral wants. It leads us, by progressively ameliorating the conditions of our existence, toward the ideal of the power and of the beauty adapted to our nature and the resources which the Creator has placed at our disposal.
—The idea of an indefinitely progressive civilization is modern. In ancient times, when material progress was impeded by slavery, men could not conceive of any other progress than that of the sciences and the fine arts. Still the sight of the dangers to which civilized people were exposed, the destruction of so many local civilizations by the invasion of barbarians, must have eradicated all ideas of general and uninterrupted progress. This idea could hardly appear until after the invention of gunpowder and of printing. Its germination was slow. Vico prepared the way for it by collecting, in a systematic manner, the observations which he had made upon the development of civilized nations; but Turgot was the first who enunciated it, supporting it by positive data (in his Discours en Sorbonne, and in his Essais de géographie politique). Condorcet, with some differences, amplified the ideas of Turgot. In Germany, Kant discovered civilization in the spread of human liberty; Herder studied, somewhat vaguely perhaps, its natural elements; the economist Storch undertook to propound the theory of it. Although incomplete, and faulty in certain respects, this theory is still worthy of study. At a later period Guizot drew a picture of the progress of civilization in Europe, and especially in France: but the insufficiency of his economic knowledge is seen in his work, which is otherwise one of the most remarkable of the French historical school. Lastly, civilization has also had its romances. Taking no account either of the nature of man, nor of the conditions of his development, as observation and experience reveal them to us; the socialists have built up imaginary civilizations, as false or incomplete as the data upon which they rest. Observation, which is the first instrument of civilization, is also the only instrument we can use to recognize and describe it.
G. DE MOLINARI.
[61.]"Force will probably be found in the future on the side of civilization and enlightenment; for civilized nations are the only ones which can have enough wealth to maintain an imposing military force. This fact removes, so far as the future is concerned, the probability of the recurrence of those great upheavals of which history is full, and in which civilized nations became the victims of barbarians." (J. B. Say, Traite d'Economie Politique, liv. 3, ch. 7.)
Footnotes for CLIMATE
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: FASHIONS, Large and Small . (See AGRICULTURE.)
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FASHIONS, Political Economy of. Fashion exercises considerable influence on a number of industries, particularly on those pertaining to clothing and lodging. Every change in fashion is a source of profit to some persons and of loss to others. A man who invents a new design or a new combination of colors in dry goods, or a new style of furniture or of coat, and who succeeds in bringing his invention into fashion, may derive great advantage from it, especially if his right to it is guaranteed him. On the other hand, the individuals who possess a supply of articles out of fashion, experience a loss. It is the same with the manufacturers and workmen who devote themselves to the production of these articles, when the new fashion varies sensibly from the old. "It is well known," said Malthus, "how subject particular manufactures are to fail, from the caprices of taste. The weavers of Spitalfields were plunged into the most severe distress by the fashion of muslins instead of silks; and great numbers of workmen in Sheftield and Birmingham were for a time thrown out of employment, owing to the adoption of shoe strings and covered buttons, instead of buckles and metal buttons" (Principles of Population, chap xiii). Thousands of analogous facts might be cited.
—M'Culloch finds in these disturbances occasioned by fashion an argument for the poor-tax. "It may be observed," he says, "that owing to changes of fashion, * * * those engaged in manufacturing employments are necessarily exposed to many vicissitudes. And when their number is so very great as in this country [England], it is quite indispensable that a resource should be provided for their support in periods of adversity." (Prin. of Polit. Econ., part iii, chap. iv.) We do not wholly share the opinion of Mr. M'Culloch on this subject. How, in fact, does fashion operate on certain industries and on certain classes of laborers? It acts as a risk. Now this risk, which may result in losses to the manufacturers and in stoppage of work to the workmen, must necessarily be covered, so that the profits of the one class and the wages of the other may be in just proportion to the average profits and wages in other branches of production. If it were otherwise, if the risk arising from the fluctuations of fashion were not completely covered, capital and labor would soon cease to resort to branches subject to this particular risk. Then, competition diminishing in these branches, profits and wages would not fail to increase until there was compensation for the risk. This being granted, suppose a law intervene to guarantee to the workman a minimum of subsistence during the time he is thrown out of employment in consequence of the variations of fashion; what will result? The risk arising from that cause being partially covered or compensated, the result will be that the wages of the workman will be lowered by an amount precisely equal to the risk covered, that is to say, by the amount of the tax. How then can the tax be of advantage to the workman, since it will not in reality have increased the amount of his resources? Doubtless the workman might have squandered his wages and have found himself destitute when the fashion came to change, and the consequences of the risk to fall upon him. The poor-tax is nothing but an obligatory savings bank, whose funds are levied from his wages, and on which he has the right to draw when out of employment. But must not a bank of this kind, by freeing the workman from the necessity of foreseeing the critical periods and providing for them, perpetuate his intellectual and moral inferiority? Is it not an insurance for which he pays too high a premium?
—J. B. Say looked at the influence of fashion from a different point of view. According to that eminent economist, frequency of changes in fashion occasions a ruinous waste. "A nation and private individuals will give evidence of wisdom," he says, "if they will seek chiefly articles of slow consumption but in general use. The fashions of such articles will not be very changeable. Fashion has the privilege of spoiling things before they have lost their utility, often even before they have lost their freshness: it increases consumption, and condemns what is still excellent, comfortable and pretty, to being no longer good for anything. Consequently, a rapid succession of fashions impoverishes a state by the consumption it occasions and that which it arrests."
—These words of M. Say are evidently most judicious but we need not because of them, or because of the above-quoted observation of Malthus, condemn fashion from an economic point of view; for if fashion causes a certain harm and certain disturbances, especially when its fluctuations are too frequent, in return, it is one of the prime movers of artistic and industrial progress. This will be apparent from a single hypothetical case. Let us suppose that fashion should cease to exercise her influence; that the same taste and the same style should continue to prevail indefinitely, in respect to clothing, furniture and dwellings will not this permanence of fashion give a mortal blow to artistic and industrial progress? Who, pray, will exercise his ingenuity to invent anything new in the line of clothing, furniture or dwellings, if the consumers have a dread of change, if every modification of the fashion is considered an offense, or even interdicted by law? People, in that case, will always to the same things, and, in all likelihood, will always do them, besides, in the same manner. Let the taste of the consumers, on the other hand, be variable, and the spirit of invention, of improvement, will be powerfully stimulated. Every new combination adapted to please the taste of consumers becoming then a source of profit to the inventor, every one will exercise his ingenuity in devising something new, and the activity thus given to the spirit of invention will be most favorable to the development of industry and the fine arts. It will sometimes happen, doubtless, that ridiculous fashions will be substituted for elegant ones; but under the influence of a desire for change, that butterfly passion, as a Fourierite would call it, which gives birth to fashion, this invasion of bad taste would be transient, and people would continually advance by improvement upon improvement.
—On examining the influence which fashion exercises over the development of industry and the fine arts, one becomes convinced that the vivifying impulse which it gives to the spirit of invention and improvement more than compensates for any injury it causes. Besides, fashions have their limits of longevity, whose average may be easily calculated, and which the experience of producers, in lack of a table of mortality prepared ad hoc, is apt in estimating. Rarely does an intelligent manufacturer produce more of any design or shade than the consumption can absorb before this design or this shade is out of fashion; and if, perchance, his prevision has proved incorrect, if the fashion passes by sooner than he had foreseen, he easily finds some way of getting rid of the excess of his merchandise among the large class of consumers who are behind the times. A certain kind of dress goods or a certain that which has become antiquated at Paris, may yet, after two or three years, delight the belles of lower Brittany or of South America.
—We have just pointed out the influence fashion has on production. Let us now consider briefly its characteristics and the causes which determine its variations. Fashion is not alone affected by the physical influence of the temperature of a country and the moral influence of the taste and character of the population, it is also largely subject to the influence of the social and economic organization. The institutions of a people are reflected in it as in a mirror. Consequently, in countries where the abuses of privilege and despotism permit a class considered as superior to maintain their idleness at the expense of the rest of the nation, the fashions are commonly ostentatious and complicated. They are ostentatious, because the privileged orders feel the necessity of dazzling the multitude by the splendor of their external appearance, and of thus convincing them that they are made of superior clay—"from porcelain clay of earth," as Dryden said. The fashions are also complicated, because the privileged class have all the leisure necessary to devote a long time to their toilet, the sumptuousness of which serves, as has been said, to inspire in the vulgar an exalted idea of those who wear it. But let the condition of society be changed; let the privileged ones disappear; let the superior classes, henceforth subject to the law of competition, be obliged to employ their faculties in earning their subsistence; we at once see fashions become more simple; and the embroidered coats, short clothes, dresses with trains or with paniers—in a word, all the magnificent and complicated apparel of aristocratic fashion—are seen to disappear, to give place to attire easily adjustable and comfortable to wear. In a pamphlet entitled. "England, Ireland and America, by a Manchester Manufacturer," Richard Cobden pointed out, in 1835, with much acuteness and humor, the necessities which had operated within a half century to bring about this economic change of fashion. Mr. Cobden depicted the old London merchant with his magnificent costume and his formal manners, and showed how a merciless competition caused the disappearance of this model of the good old times, to substitute for it a modern type, with dress and habits infinitely more economical. "Such of our readers," he says, "as remember the London tradesman of thirty years ago, will be able to call to mind the powdered wig and the queue, the precise shoes and buckles, and the unwrinkled silk hose and tight inexpressibles that characterized the shop-keeper of the old school. Whenever this stately personage walked abroad on matters of trade, however pressing or important, he never forgot for a moment the dignified step of his forefathers, while nothing gratified his self-complacency more than to take his gold-headed cane in hand, and, leaving his own shop all the while, to visit his poorer neighbors, and to show his authority by inquiring into their affairs, settling their disputes, and compelling them to be honest and to manage their establishments according to his plan. His business was conducted throughout upon the formal mode of his ancestors. His clerks, his shopmen and porters, all had their appointed costumes; and their intercourse with each other was disciplined according to established laws of etiquette. Every one had his especial department of duty, and the line of demarcation at the counter was marked out and observed with all the punctilio of neighboring but rival states. The shop of this trader of the old school retained all the peculiarities and inconveniences of former generations; its windows displayed no gaudy wares to lure the vulgar passer-by, and the panes of glass, inserted in ponderous wooden frames, were constructed exactly after the ancestral pattern. * * * The present age produced a new school of traders, whose first innovation was to cast off the wig, and cashier the barber with his pomatum-box, by which step an hour was gained in the daily toilet. Their next change was, to discard the shoes and the tight unmentionables, whose complicated details of buckles and straps and whose close adjustment occupied another half hour, in favor of Wellingtons and pantaloons, which were whipped on in a trice, and gave freedom, though, perhaps, at the expense of dignity, to the personal movements during the day. Thus accoutered, these supple dealers whisked or flew, just as the momentary calls of business became more or less urgent; while so absorbed were they in their own interests that they scarcely knew the names of their nearest neighbors, nor cared whether they lived peaceably or not, so long as they did not come to break their windows. Nor did the spirit of innovation end here; for the shops of this new race of dealers underwent as great a metamorphosis as their owners. While the internal economy of these was reformed with a view to give the utmost facility to the labor of the establishment, by dispensing with forms and tacitly agreeing even to suspend the ordinary deferences due to station, lest their observance might, however slightly, impede the business in hand; externally, the windows, which were constructed of plate glass, with elegant frames extending from the ground to the ceiling, were made to blaze with all the tempting finery of the day. We all know the result that followed from this very unequal rivalry. One by one, the ancient and quiet followers of the habits of their ancestors yielded before the active competition of their more alert neighbors. Some few of the less bigoted disciples of he old school adopted the new-light system; but all who tried to stem the stream were overwhelmed; for with grief we add, that the very last of these very interesting specimens of olden time that survived, (joining the two generations of London tradesmen whose shops used to gladden the soul of every tory pedestrian in Fleet street), with its unreformed windows, has at length disappeared, having lately passed into the Gazette, that schedule of anti reforming traders."
—From this ingenious and clever sketch we can clearly see the necessity which determined the simplification of the fashions of the old régime. This necessity arose from the suppression of the ancient privileges which permitted a member of the corporate body of tradesmen, or a manufacturing mechanic who had attained the rank of master, to pass his time a his toilet or to meddle in the quarrels of his neighbors, instead of giving his attention to his own business: it arose from the extensive growth of competition, which obliged every merchant, every manufacturer, every head of a business enterprise, to take into account the value of time, under penalty of seeing his name finally inscribed under the fatal heading of bankruptcies. A régime of competition does not permit the same fashions as a régime of privilege; and fashion is as sensitive to modifications arising from the interior economy of society as it is to changes of temperature. This being so, it is obvious that it is wrong for a government to attempt to influence fashion by obliging, for example, its servants to wear sumptuous and elaborate apparel. In fact, one of two results follow. Either the state of society is such that the dominant classes find it to their advantage to display a certain ostentation in their dress; and in this case it is useless to impose it on them, or even to recommend it to them. Or the state of society is such that people in all ranks of society have something better to do than to spend a long time over their toilet: in this case, what good can result from the intervention of government in matters of fashion? If sumptuousness of attire becomes general, if men accustom themselves to accord to dress a portion of the time demanded by their affairs, will not society suffer harm? If, on the contrary, the example given above is not followed, if the magnificence of the costumes of the court and the ante-chamber is not imitated, will not this display form a shocking dissonance in a busy community? Will it not produce an impression analogous to that one receives from a masquerade? A government should then carefully avoid interference in this matter. It should follow fashions, not direct them.
—To recapitulate: Fashion, looked at from an economic point of view, exercises on the improvement of production an influence whose utility more than compensates for the damage which may result from its fluctuations. On the other hand, it is naturally established and modified by various causes, among which economic causes hold an important place. When people do not understand the necessities which determine its changes, they establish artificial fashions, which have the double disadvantage of being anti-economic and ridiculous.
G DE MOLINARI.
E. J. L., Tr.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: FINE ARTS
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FINE ARTS, The. The taste for the beautiful, that is to say, the want felt for a certain order and a certain harmony in things form which affect the senses and the intellect, either in sound, color, form or movement, gave birth to the fine arts. To arrange sounds, forms, colors or movements in a manner which shall produce an agreeable impression upon the senses or the intellect, is the object of the musician, the painter, the architect, the sculptor, the poet, or, to use a general term, of the artist. The domain of the fine arts is commonly restricted to painting, sculpture, architecture and music. Some even give the name of art only to the imitation by mechanical means of all forms in their highest degree of natural or ideal beauty. This is what is called plastic art. This word embraces only such arts as drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture, together with engraving and mosaic work. But this definition is evidently too narrow. When a musician or a dancer awakens in the mind a sense of the beautiful, the one by harmonious cadences, the other by graceful and expressive movements, they are artists in the same sense that the painter, the sculptor or the architect is. It is or little importance what may be the material or the instrument which the artist employs to operate upon the senses and the intelligence, provided he succeeds in pleasing them. The fine arts might, therefore, be defined in a general manner as the application of human labor to the production of the beautiful.
—The fine arts are found among all nations, even the most barbarous, but they are more or less perfect, more or less developed, according to the state of civilization and the peculiar aptitudes of the people. The Greeks seem to have possessed in the highest degree the taste for the beautiful, and the faculties necessary to satisfy this elevated want of the senses and the intellect. Hence Greece was for a long time a wonderful studio, in which painters, sculptors, architects, musicians and poets vied with each other in ministering to the ruling passion of an artistic people. Other nations, like the ancient Mexicans, seem to have been entirely destitute of the feeling of the beautiful. The forms of the Grecian statues and monuments are as beautiful as those of the Mexican statues and monuments are hideous.
—Man could make no great advance in the fine arts until after his more pressing wants were satisfied. Music and dancing probably were the first. Although the art of the architect and the sculptor could not be developed before the trade of the mason or the stone-worker, man needed only the graceful play of the limbs to invent dancing, and the free use of his voice or a reed to invent music. It was possible to develop painting, sculpture, and, above all, architecture, only by the aid of the industrial arts. The trade of building must necessarily have preceded architecture. It was the latter's mission to give to each individual edifice the kind of beauty appropriate to its purpose and to local exigencies. In architecture, as in literature, the same style would not apply equally well to all kinds of work. The architect is bound to give, for example, a religious character to a church, a secular character to be theatre or ball room. The Gothic style up to the present time seems to be that which is most appropriate to the manifestation of religious sentiment. In the Gothic cathedral, the ethereal height of the arches, the vast depth of the nave, and the mysterious subdued light from the windows, join with the profound and solemn accents of the Gregorian chant and the grave and majestic tones of the organ, in awakening the sentiment of veneration. The motley style of the renaissance is better calculated to excite mundane and worldly thoughts. Hence it is the one chosen for theatres and ball rooms. The peculiar propensities of nations have naturally exercised a great influence upon the development of the fine arts. A religious and melancholy people alone could have invented Gothic architecture. In Grecian architecture is found that exquisite elegance which marked all the customs as well as all the works of the privileged Hellenic race. The affected and bizarre customs of the Chinese are also found reflected in their architecture as well as in their dress.
—The necessities of climate and the configuration of the ground have exercised a great influence upon the development of architecture, and they have often determined the character of it. Necessities of another order have also operated upon the development of architecture and other arts. Throughout all antiquity is seen the influence which the fine arts exercised over the mind.
—For a long time they were considered as an instrumentum regni, as a means of appealing to and mastering the imagination by terror or respect. The gigantic constructions of the Assyrians and Egyptians—construction, the utility of which we vainly endeavor to discover to-day—had perhaps no other object. These exterior signs of power were then necessary to make a simple-minded people accept the absolute dominion of a race or caste. Those who claimed to be the representatives of divinity upon earth were obliged to show themselves superior to other men, in all that was considered as a manifestation of strength or majesty. The co-operation of the fine arts was indispensable to the display of their power. They needed them to construct their temples and palaces, to ornament them with magnificent decorations, and to fashion their garments and their arms. Architects, painters, sculptors, musicians and poets were not less necessary to them than soldiers and priests in sustaining the imperfect and vicious structure of their dominion. Hence the particular care which governments in all ages have given to the development of the fine arts, and the ostentatious protection which they have accorded them, very frequently to the great detriment of other branches of production. Although, in the past, the fine arts were powerful auxiliaries of politics and religion, as nations have developed intellectually and morally, as their intelligence and sentiments have broadened and become purified, this display has exercised less influence over the minds of the people, and the fine arts have lost their political and religious importance. The taste for the beautiful has ceased little by little to be used as an instrument of domination.
—Economists have put two leading questions on the subject of the fine arts. They have inquired, first, whether the fine arts form a species of national wealth and second, whether the intervention of the government to protect them is necessary.
—Do the products of the fine arts constitute a species of wealth? As regards all that concerns architecture, painting and sculpture, there can be no doubt as to the answer. A building, a statue and a picture are material riches, the accumulation of which evidently augments the capital of a nation. But can as much be said of the products of music and dancing? Can the talent of the musician and the dancer be regarded as productive? Adam Smith says, no; J. B. Say and Dunoyer say, yes. According to Smith's doctrine, the name of products can not be given to things which are ended at the very moment of their formation. To which J. B. Say answers, and rightly, as we think: "If we descend to things of pure enjoyment, we can not deny that the representation of a good comedy gives as much pleasure as a box of bonbons or an exhibition of fire-works. I do not consider it reasonable to claim that the painter's talent is productive, and that the musician's is not so."
—But although J. B. Say recognizes the musician's talent as productive, he does not admit that its products can contribute to the increase of a nation's capital. He states his reasons for this opinion as follows: "It results from the very nature of immaterial products that there is no way to accumulate them, and that they can not serve to augment the national capital. A nation which contains a great number of musicians, of priests and of clerks, might be a nation well endowed as to amusements and doctrines, and admirably well administered, but its capital would not receive from all the work of these men any increase, because their products would be consumed as fast as they were created." (J. B. Say, Traité de téconomie politique, book i., chap. xiii.)
—But does it follow, because a product, material or immaterial, is consumed immediately after having been created, that it does not augment the capital of a nation? May it not augment, if not its external capital, at least its internal capital, or, to make use of Storch's expression, the capital of its physical, intellectual and moral faculties? Would a population deprived of the services of clergymen, administrators, musicians and poets, a population, consequently, to which religious, political and artistic education was wanting, be worth as much as one sufficiently provided with those different services? Would not man, considered at once as capital and as an agent of production, be worth less under the former circumstances than under the latter?
—In his work, De la liberté du travail, M. Charles Dunoyer has completely demonstrated that the consumption of the material or immaterial products of the fine arts develops in man valuable faculties; whence it results that artistic products of the fine arts develops in man valuable faculties; whence it results that artistic production, material or immaterial, can not be considered barren.
—Let us complete this demonstration of the productiveness of the fine arts by means of a simple hypothesis. Suppose her musicians and singers were taken away from Italy, would she not be deprived of a species of wealth, even if these artists were replaced by an equal number of laborers, carpenters and blacksmiths? Italy profits by the work of her musicians and her singers as absolutely as she does from the products of agriculture or of manufacturing industry. In the first place she consumes a part of it herself, and this consumption serves to educate the Italian people by developing their intelligence, by refining and polishing their manners. Then, another part of the products of the fine arts, of which Italy is the nursery, is exported each year. Italy supplies a great number of foreign theatres with its composers, its musicians and its singers. In exchange for their immaterial products, these art-workers receive other products purely material, a part of which they commonly bring back to their own country. What laborer, for instance, would have added so much as Rossini to the wealth of Italy? What seamstress or dressmaker, however capable or industrious, would have been worth as much as Catalani or Pasta from the same point of view? The production of the fine arts can not then be considered barren for Italy.
—The fine arts, then, can contribute directly to augment the capital of a nation, whether material capital or immaterial capital, which resides in the physical, moral and intellectual faculties of the population. They are in consequence productive in the same degree and in the same sense that all the other branches of human work are.
—Artistic production also, like all others, is effected by previous accumulation, the co-operation of capital and labor. In this respect artistic production offers no particular point of interest, except that it gives birth more frequently than any other kind of production, agricultural industry excepted, to natural monopolies. Great artists possess a natural monopoly, in this sense, that the competition among them is not sufficient to limit the price of their work to the level of what is strictly necessary for them to execute it. Jenny Lind possessed a natural monopoly, for the remuneration which she obtained on account of the rarity of her voice, was very disproportionate to what was strictly necessary for her to exercise her profession of a singer. The difference forms a species of rent, in the politico-economical sense of the word, of the same nature exactly as rent derived from land. If nature and art had produced a thousand Jenny Linds, instead of producing but one, it is evident that the monopoly which she enjoyed would not have existed, or that it would have been infinitely less productive. Painters, sculptors and architects possess in their reputation a still more extended monopoly, for it exists and is principally developed after their death. The value of this monopoly depends upon the merit of the artist and upon the quantity of his works. According as the number of works produced by a painter or sculptor is more or less considerable, the price of each one is more or less high. Where the merit is equal, the pictures or statues of the masters who produced the least have a greater pecuniary value than those of the masters whose productions are numerous. Thus, for example, an ordinary picture by the Dutch painter, Hobbema, commonly sells for more than an ordinary picture by Rubens, although Hobbema does not rank so high in art as Rubens. But the former produced only a small number of pictures, while the latter left an enormous number of works. Supposing, also, that the pictures of Ingres and Horace Vernet were equally prized by amateurs, the former would always have a superior pecuniary value to the latter, simply because they are rarer. The differences in the price of objects of art, and the variations which their value in exchange undergoes, notably when fashion takes up again a style which it had abandoned, are curious to study; some valuable ideas are found here in regard to the influence which the fluctuations of demand and supply exercise upon prices, also some interesting information as to the origin, progress and end of natural monopolies.
—After having examined the question of the productiveness of the fine arts, we must now see if this kind of production should be specially directed and encouraged by the government, or should be abandoned to the free action of individuals, like all other kinds of production.
—The Egyptians and all the nations of antiquity condemned to slavery their prisoners of war, and sometimes entire nations whom they had subjugated. They employed these slaves to construct their monuments. We know that the Israelites helped to build the pyramids. But the Egyptian monuments are rather remarkable for their gigantic proportions than for their beauty. It is plain that the object of the people, or rather of the caste which instructed them, was to inspire the mind with awe rather than to charm it. In Greece the products of the fine arts have quite a different character. They bear above all the imprint of liberty. Grecian art was not enfeoffed to a government or a caste. The greatest number of Grecian monuments were built by means of voluntary contributions. The famous temple of Diana at Ephesus, for instance, was erected by the aid of contributions from the republics and kings of Asia, as later was St. Peter's at Rome in part by the money of Christendom. When Erostratus reduced it to ashes, a new subscription was made to rebuild it. All the citizens of Ephesus considered it an honor to contribute. The women even sacrificed their jewels. At Delphos, also, the temple was rebuilt, after a fire, at the public expense. The architect, Spantharus of Corinth, was engaged to complete it, for them sum of 300 talents. Three-fourths of this sum were furnished by the different cities of Greece, and the other fourth by the inhabitants of Delphos, who collected money even in the most distant countries to aid in completing their quota. A certain Athenian added a sum of money for embellishments, which were not included in the original plan. The greater part of the ornaments of the temple were offerings from the cities of Greece or from private citizens. Thirteen statues by Phidias were a gift from the Athenians. These statues were the result of a tenth part of the spoils taken by the Athenians upon the plains of Marathon. A great number of other objects of art commemorated the victories of the different peoples of Greece in their intestine wars.
—A part of the revenue of the Grecian temples was applied to the support of the priests, and another part to the support and embellishment of the edifices. The priests made the greatest sacrifices to ornament the dwelling place of the gods, and these sacrifices were rarely unproductive, for in Greece, as elsewhere, the best lodged gods were always those which brought in the most. The fine arts were also nurtured by the rivalries of the small states, into which Grecian territory was divided, as to which should have the finest temples, statues and pictures. This emulation, pushed to excess gave rise to more than one abuse. Thus it was agreed, after the invasion of the Persians, that henceforth a contribution should be levied upon Greece to defray the common expenses, and that the Athenians should be made the depositaries of it. Pericles did not hesitate to divert these funds from their proper destination, and employ them for the embellishment of Athens. Such an odious abuse of confidence aroused the indignation of all Greece against the Athenians, and was one of the principal causes of the Peloponnesian war.
—The Romans, less happily endowed than the Greeks, from an artistic point of view, did not make such considerable sacrifices for the encouragement of the fine arts. At Rome, as in Egypt, the arts were chiefly employed to display to the eyes of conquered nations the power and majesty of the sovereign people. The construction of monuments of the arts was still among the Romans a means of keeping their troops in habits of work and of occupying their slaves. The taste for the beautiful did not enter much into these enterprises, and art naturally felt the effects of this, Still, under Augustus, there was at Rome a great artistic movement, a movement which was due in great part to the development of communication between Rome and Greece. Augustus caused to be built the protico of Octavia, the temple of Mars Ultor, the temple of Apollo, the new Forum, and many other monuments of less importance. His friends, L. Cornificius, Asinius Pollion, Marcius Philippus, Cornclius Balbus, and his son-in-law Agrippa, erected at their own expense a great number of monuments. Attributing to himself, as is common among sovereigns, all the merit of the advance which the arts had made under his reign, Augustus said, some time before his death: "I found Rome of clay, and left it of marble." At Rome, as in Greece, the statues were innumerable. The greater part of the chief citizens erected statues to themselves at their own expense. The censors endeavored to deprive them of this trifling satisfaction, by forbidding the erection of statues at Rome without their permission. But as this prohibition did not extend to the statues which ornamented country houses, the rich citizens evaded the ordinance of the censors, by multiplying their effigies in their splendid villas.
—At the time of the downfall of the Roman empire, the barbarians destroyed with stupid rage the finest masterpieces of ancient art. The fine arts then disappeared with the temporary eclipse of civilization. But they soon sprang up again, thanks to the expansion of the religious sentiment supported by municipal liberties. Gothic art owes its birth and progress to the Christian sentiment developed in the emancipated communes of the middle age. A fact which is generally ignored is, that the expense of constructing the greater number of the magnificent cathedrals which adorn European cities, was in great part defrayed by voluntary contributions of residents of the city, nobles, bourgeois, or simple journeymen. Nothing is more interesting, even from the simple economic point of view, than the history of these wonders of Gothic art. At a time when poverty was universal, nothing but religious enthusiasm could have decided people to impose upon themselves the necessary sacrifices for their erection. And nothing was neglected to rouse and excite this enthusiasm. The bishop and the priests furnished an example by sacrificing a part of their revenues to aid in constructing the cathedral; indulgences without end were promised those who contributed to the holy work, either by their time or their money. When there was need of it, miracles happened to animate the languishing zeal of the faithful. By casting a glance over the history of the principal cathedrals, one will be convinced that diplomatic skill was no less needed than artistic genius satisfactorily to accomplish those great religious enterprises. At Orleans, for instance, Saint Euverte having undertaken the construction of the first cathedral in the fourth century, an angel revealed to this pious bishop the very place where it should be built. In digging the foundations of the edifice the workmen found a considerable amount of treasure; and the very day of the consecration of the church, at the moment when Sain Euverte was celebrating mass, a resplendent cloud appeared above his head, and from this cloud issued forth a hand, which blessed three times the temple, the clergy and the assembled people! This miracle converted more than seven thousand pagans, and gave a great reputation to the church of Orleans.
—At Chartres, Bishop Fulbert devoted in the first place three years' income and the income from the abbey, to the construction of the cathedral (1220); afterward he collected a considerable sum to continue the work. The pious Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was associated with him in his work, and gave the greater part of the lead roofing of the cathedral. A physician of Henry I. built at his own expense one of the lateral portals. Those who had no money gave their work. Workmen of every description voluntarily took part in this enterprise. A great number of the inhabitants of Rouen and of other dioceses of Normandy, provided with the blessing of their archbishop or their bishop, joined the workmen. The troop of pilgrims chose a chief, who apportioned to each his work.
—At Strasburg, great indulgences were promised to the faithful who should contribute to the building of the cathedral. Gifts flowed in from all parts. Still the construction of that magnificent cathedral lasted for nearly four centuries. Commenced in the twelfth century, it was not finished till the fifteenth. The construction of the cathedral gave a great reputation to the stone-workers of Strasburg. These workmen, who furnished the greatest architects of the time, formed in the German empire, as well as in France, a body distinct from that of ordinary masons. Up to the time of the French revolution, they continued to have charge of the repair and preservation of the Strasburg cathedral.
—The cathedrals of Europe, therefore, the most magnificent and most original monuments which it possesses, are due, in a great part, to the zeal and the faith of individuals. Sometimes, doubtless, this faith and zeal were excited by pious frauds; sometimes also the pride of the bourgeois and the workmen were appealed to, to induce them to construct a more spacious and more beautiful cathedral than that of a neighboring and rival city; but in general no recourse was had to coercive measures; there was no levying of taxes to be specially devoted to the construction of churches, the sacrifices which the clergy generously imposed upon themselves and the voluntary gifts of the faithful were sufficient, and assured the multiplication of masterpieces of the Gothic art in an age of universal misery and barbarism.
—In Italy the constitution of a multitude of small municipal republics was singularly favorable to the development of the fine arts. Rivals in commerce, the Italian republics were also rivals in the arts. The rich merchants of Genoa, of Pisa, of Florence and of Venice made it a point of honor to protect the arts and to endow their cities with magnificent monuments. This spirit of emulation seized the popes, and Rome disputed with Florence for the great artists of Italy. The basilica of St. Peter's was commenced; but as the ordinary resources of the papacy were insufficient to complete this immense enterprise, recourse was had to a special issue of indulgences; unfortunately this particular kind of paper, having been made too common, depreciated in value, and ended by being refused in a great number of Christian countries. So the gigantic basilica was never completely finished. With the political and commercial decline of the republics, which spread like a network over Italian soil, commenced that of the fine arts in Italy. The encouragement of despotism has never availed to restore them to the splendor which they had in the time of the municipal republics of the middle age and of the renaissance.
—In France, Louis XIV, thought that in his own interests it was his duty to protect the arts. Prompted thereto by the great king, Colbert founded the academy of fine arts. Unfortunately, the great king and his minister did not adhere to this creation. Louis XIV. spent enormous sums upon his royal dwellings. Under his reign the fine arts became the auxiliaries of war in crushing nations.
—In his learned Histoire de la vie et de l'administration de Colbert, M. Pierre Clément estimated at 165,000,000 livres, money of the period, the sums which Louis XIV. expended in buildings, and in the encouragement of the fine arts and manufactures. The details are as follows:
|Total expense of Versailles: Churches, Trianon, Clagny, St. Cyr: the Marly machine; the river Eure; Noisv and Molineaux...||81,151,414|
|Pictures, stuffs, silverware, antiques...||6,386,674|
|Furniture and other expenses...||13,000,000|
|Chapel (constructed 1699-1710)...||3,260,241|
|Other expenses of all kinds...||13,000,000|
|Total for Versailles and surroundings...||116,796,429|
|Marly (not including the machine which figures in the Versailles item)...||4,501,279|
|Louvre and Tuileries...||10,608,969|
|Arch of Triumph of St. Antoine (demolished in 1716)...||513,755|
|Observatory of Paris (constructed 1667-72)...||725,174|
|Royal Hotel and Church of the Invalides...||1,710,332|
|Place Royal of the Hotel Vendôme...||2,062,699|
|Annunclades of Meulan...||88,412|
|Canal of the two seas (not including what was furnished by the estates of Languedoc)...||7,736,555|
|Manufactories of Gobelins and Savonnerie...||3,645,943|
|Manufactories established in many cities...||1,707,990|
|Pensions and gratuities to men of letters...||1,979,970|
By taking as a base, adds M. Clément, the mean value of the mark of silver in Louis XIV's time and in 1846, we shall find that the approximate value of the above is about 350,000,000 marks. But when we remember the wonders of Versailles alone, it is probable that all the buildings of Louis XIV., if executed in our day, would cost not far from a billion.
—Still these ostentations expenditures contributed in no way to the progress of the fine arts. Under Louis XIV. art was only a reminiscence of antiquity or of the renaissance. In the eighteenth century, taste in art, fettered by the immutable rules of the subventioned academies, became more and more corrupt. The revolution destroyed official protection, but it was wrong in not stopping there; the vandals of that time placed their sacrilegious hands upon the masterpieces of the past, as if they were suspected of royalism. On the other hand, the ridiculous imitations were reproduced no less ridiculously in the arts. To the corrupt taste of Watteau, Boucher and Vanloo, succeeded the false taste of the school of David. Napoleon did not fail to re-establish official protection. "I wish," he wrote to his minister of the interior, Count Cretet, "I wish the fine arts to flourish in my empire." But the fine arts did not hasten to obey the injunction of the despot, and the imperial epoch was anything but artistic.
—It is a common opinion that modern civilization is not favorable to the progress of the fine arts. As proof in support of this opinion, are cited the English and Americans, who, at the head of industrial civilization, are in a state of inferiority from an artistic point of view. But it is forgotten that all nations are not endowed with all aptitudes, any more than all soils are provided with fertility of all kinds. While certain northern nations obtained as their heritage industrial genius, artistic aptitudes fell to the lot of the southern nations. Certain nations have been for centuries the studios of the fine arts, as others have been the workshops of manufacturing industry. As international exchange becomes more developed, this division of labor will be more marked, and it will facilitate more and more the progress of the fine arts as well as that of the industrial arts. The progress of the arts will be accelerated also by the spread of comfort, which will augment their market, and by the progress of industry, which will place new material and new instruments at their disposal. Fewer palaces, perhaps, will be built, fewer battle pieces painted than in the past, but railway stations and palaces for industrial expositions will be constructed; the splendid and grand landscapes of the new world, which steamships render more and more accessible to European artists, will be painted; and statues will be erected to useful men instead of to conquerors. On the other hand, the use of light materials, of iron and glass for example, renders possible to-day artistic combinations unknown to the ancients. The employment of new instruments, invented or perfected by industry, will give birth to progress in other ways. Has not the multiplication of musical instruments already given an immense impetus to instrumental music? In an artistic sense, as in all others, modern civilization is probably destined to surpass ancient civilization. But if liberty was the essential condition of the progress of the arts in the past, it will be no less so in the future. Like all other branches of production, and more still because of the character of spontaneity which is peculiar to them, and which has given to them the name of liberal arts, the fine arts will progress the more rapidly the sooner they are freed from all protection and all shackles.
G. DE MOLINARI.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: INTERNATIONAL
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INTERNATIONAL, The, or the International Association of Workingmen. This too notorious association owed its origin to the relations which were established at the time of the universal exposition at London, in 1862, between the socialistic French workmen who were sent there at the expense of the government and the English workmen belonging to the trades unions. Up to this time continental socialism had scarcely descended to the ground of realities. It had contented itself with making plans for the organization of labor, of which the essential feature was the substitution of association for wages and the subordination of capital to labor. But in 1862 the contact of the French socialists with the English unionists gave the former an opportunity to become acquainted with the organization and powers of the trades unions, and they determined to import these powerful machines to the continent, and press them into the service of their theories, that is to say, employ them systematically in the war against capital. It was at a meeting in favor of Poland held at St. Martin's Hall, Sept. 28, 1864, that the foundations of the international were laid. A provisional rule was adopted, appointing a committee to draw up the laws of the association, and to summon the affiliated societies to a congress, by which these laws should be definitively adopted. A preamble, purposely expressed in terms rather vague, so that they might be accepted by the different socialistic sects, was placed at the head of the provisional rule and afterward at the head of the laws. In this it was particularly stated "that the subjection of labor to capital is the source of all moral, political and material slavery; that on this account the economic emancipation of the working class is the great end to which all political movement should be subordinated; that thus far all efforts in this direction have failed for want of thorough co-operation among the workmen of different trades in each country, and of fraternal union among the workingmen in different countries," etc., etc. The conclusion was, that the workmen of all nations ought to unite, taking "for the basis of their conduct toward all men, truth, justice and morality, without distinction of color, faith or nationality." The terms of this programme were sufficiently general and elastic to exclude no one; however the association was slow in forming, though the annual assessment had been fixed at one shilling; still, a bureau was established in Paris, rue des Gravilliers, where the first group of internationalists assembled; but, according to the testimony of Mr. Fribourg, "from the outset of the enterprise money was lacking." This was the case also in London. "But for the proceeds of a family tea, with a concert, lecture and ball, which the English members gave to the London public, the want of money would, perhaps, have prevented the work from taking root in England for a long time." (L'Association international des travailleurs, by E. E. Fribourg, p. 23.) It was not until Sept. 3, 1866, that the nascent association held its first congress at Geneva, under the presidency of Yung, a member and delegate of the central committee of London. The number of delegates from the sections already formed or in process of formation in France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Spain and Italy was about sixty. The congress first adopted the manifesto and by-laws of the association which a committee had been ordered to prepare, and then discussed a certain number of social and political questions which were made the order of the day. In the following years the association held three other congresses, one at Lausanne in 1867, at Brussels in 1868, and at Bâsle in 1869. The events which followed compelled it to suspend these international reunions, and they were not resumed until September, 1872, at the Hague, where a division took place, following which an opposition congress was held at London.
—The by-laws adopted by the congress at Geneva consisted of eleven articles, with regulations in the form of an annex containing fifteen articles. The first article of the by-laws was as follows: "This association is established to provide a central point of communication and co-operation for the workingmen of different countries seeking the same end, namely, the mutual co-operation, progress and complete enfranchisement of the working class." The succeeding articles treat of the "general council" which was to be composed of workingmen of different nations. Each year the congress or general assembly of the delegates of the association was to elect the members of the council and determine where the council should sit. As a matter of fact it always met in London. The general council was not invested with any authority over the association, its duty was simply to establish relations among the workingmen's associations of different countries, and endeavor to increase the sections of the association; these associations or sections, however, preserving their autonomy. Each section, whether large or small, had the right to send a delegate to the congress, and when it reached 500 members, one delegate more for such number. Each section or federation of sections managed its own affairs, fixed the amount of its assessments, and disposed of them as it saw fit. Nevertheless, a general assessment was levied upon all the members of the sections or affiliated societies for the benefit of the general council; but this assessment was very small: ten centimes per capita each year. The total of these receipts for the year 1866, presented at the congress at Lausanne, did not exceed sixty-three pounds sterling, and it is doubtful whether it was much higher in the following years. In this respect the writers who have occupied themselves with the international have fallen into very serious exaggerations. For lack of resources the "general council" was compelled to give up the publication of a bulletin of international statistics which was to have furnished the societies affiliated to the international with regular information as to the state of the labor market, the rate of wages, etc., and it was not able even to maintain a special organ. The Belgian, Swiss and other sections had their journals, such as the Egalité of Geneva, the Mirabeau, of Verviers; but the general council had none. In short, the international association formed a vast federation of "sovereign sections," of which the general council was the bond of union, but without exercising any effective authority over them. The regulations annexed to the by-laws were intended to render it entirely subordinate to the congress or general assembly of the delegates of the sections which it was commissioned to organize, and whose resolutions it was obliged to execute, (art. 1), with this express stipulation, that the congress should assemble freely, without special convocation, at the times and places which had been fixed upon the preceding year. It is easy to recognize here the spirit of jealousy and defiance of all authority which has always characterized democracy.
—Thus constituted, the association had before it, from the beginning, a double end: one purely theoretic, which consisted in discussing, in its congresses, its journals and its special publications, all questions of interest to the working class, and fusing together, if possible, the different socialistic doctrines; the other object, of a practical character, consisted in multiplying its sections so as to include within its pale, in time, all the working masses, thus forming an innumerable army, acting principally by means of coalitions and strikes, for the overthrow of capital. At each congress a great number of "questions" were submitted to the sections, among which, as in most other congresses, the work to be done was divided. Those which were discussed were made the subject of a report which was further debated in the general assembly. Finally, they voted on "resolutions" summing up the opinion of the majority on these questions. Among the subjects which gave rise to the most important discussions may be mentioned property in general, landed property, property in railroads and mines, the laws of inheritance, interest on capital and mutual credit, machines, the reduction of the hours of labor, strikes and societies for resistance, co-operation, education and war. It is needless to say that opinions hostile to property predominated. Thus at Bâsle, in 1869, the congress declared by a vote within four of being unanimous, "that society has the right to abolish individual property in the land, and restore the land to the community." But, by a singular inconsistency, in the same congress, the abolition of the right of inheritance did not receive the necessary majority, (32 of the delegates voting for the abolition, 23 against it, and 17 not voting at all). On the other hand, there was almost perfect unanimity for restoring railroads, mines and forests to the domain of the community, and organizing mutual credit for the purpose of suppressing interest and "releasing labor from the domination of capital by restoring the latter to its natural and legitimate rôle, which is that of the agent of labor." (Resolutions of the congress of Brussels, 1868.) The co operative societies which retained interest were condemned as "transferring that egoism which is the bane of modern society from the individual to the community." As to strikes, while declaring "that strikes are not a means to the complete freeing of workingmen, the association was of opinion that they might be considered as a necessity in the actual situation," and that it was desirable to multiply societies for resistance in order to sustain them. In regard to the introduction of machinery, the association was of opinion that it ought not to take place without guarantees and compensation to the workmen. It finally pronounced for the legal limitation of the hours of labor, and the establishment of "complete education." Very energetic and radical resolutions against war were voted in each congress. As to the future political constitution of society we note the following resolution adopted at the congress of Bâsle: "The groups (trades unions) will constitute the commune of the future, and government will be replaced by councils of bodies of tradesmen." However, there was a difference of opinion as to whether the international ought to occupy itself with purely political questions; in 1869 the question was decided in the affirmative. The congress of the friends of peace, composed of a group of republicans, met at Lausanne, while the congress of the international was sitting at Bâsle. The two congresses, between which could be perceived the old antagonism of politicians or Jacobins and socialists, made peace, under the auspices of M. Victor Hugo, who proclaimed "the union of the republic and socialism."
—To sum up, although the economic and political doctrines represented by the international present singular inconsistencies, they were generally agreed on these different points, to wit, that there must be a breaking up of existing society; a transforming of property or its suppression; the abolition of wages by transferring existing enterprises to the hands of associations or companies of workingmen, in which work alone would be remunerated, capital, for the future, furnishing its services gratis; and finally, that the government should be only a sort of delegation of the federated communities of workingmen. Such were the doctrines that the international strove to popularize and finally to realize. As to the way in which they were to be realized, opinions differed: some favored political means, otherwise called revolutionary; others favored the economic procedure of strikes. While the British trades unions regarded coalitions and strikes simply as a means of raising wages or shortening the hours of labor, the international saw in them a power destined to make the war against capital general and finally to bring under subjection that tyrant of labor. With this object, the international strove to extend its thread of local sections and federations over the entire civilized world; the general council, which served as a medium of communication, was to enable them to render each other mutual aid, so that each strike, if regarded as opportune, should be sustained by subsidies from all the sections or federations. Thus was created an instrument which in time might acquire irresistible power, and the international would end, at least so it flattered itself, by controlling the labor market and dictating the conditions of wages to capitalist employers. If it found them too hard, its intention was to purchase their enterprises and hand them over to associations or communities of workingmen, and thus put an end to the odious régime of wages and the tyranny of capital. This is why from 1867 the international took a part more or less direct in numerous strikes in France, Belgium and Switzerland. We read, for example, in the report on strikes presented to the council of Brussels, in 1868, by César de Paepe, that "the house builders in Geneva saw their strike succeed because the workingmen of France, Italy, England and Germany came to their aid. The sections of the international organized a vast subscription, and the bureau of Paris alone procured the sum of 10,000 francs." Besides the assistance collected usually by way of subscriptions in the sections, the international undertook to transmit all the advice and information which might aid the cause of the strikers. Thus, during another strike of the same house builders at Geneva, the journals of the international induced masons, stonecutters, etc., to refrain from going to Geneva until further orders. At Lyons, the strike of the female silk spinners (June, 1869) was encouraged by the international, which sent them a small sum of money (1,323 fr. 30 c.) collected from the sections. (Oscar Testut, L' Internationale, p. 72.) At Paris, the strike of the leather-dressers and bronzers was sustained by similar support. The bronzers, an exception which Mr. Fribourg points out, afterward paid it back. The international interfered in an equally active manner, in the strikes at Creuzot and Fourchambault (April, 1870), in the strike at Seraing (Belgium), etc., etc. But, following the example of the trades unions, it interfered only when the circumstances seemed favorable. In the strike at Renaix, it even attempted to exert a pacifying influence. A proclamation from the bureau of Paris, signed by Messrs. Tolsin, Fribourg and Varlin, condemned the destruction of machinery. But the international did not often hold such moderate language; the workmen themselves have accused it, at different times, of having encouraged strikes without giving them any assistance beyond proclamations and the exhortations of its agents. However, it acquired such an influence that the imperial government, after trying to negotiate with it, became alarmed. The bureau of Paris had to stand three law suits, (March and May, 1868, and July, 1870), several members of the bureau were condemned, first to pay a small fine, afterward to a year in prison. These sentences do not seem to have arrested the progress of the international. The events of 1870 exercised a decisive influence over the destinies of the international. It is only justice to it to say that at first it protested vigorously against the war. In this spirit, the Parisian members published a "manifesto to the workingmen of all countries." On the 23d of July the general council published a similar manifesto. "We declare if the working classes of Germany permit the present war to lose its strictly defensive character and degenerate into an offensive war against the French people, victory or defeat will be equally disastrous" According to Mr. Fribourg, the international, as a corporate body, took little part in the revolution of September 4th; nor do we find it much more active in the defense of Paris. (L' Internationale, p. 143.) At this time the place of its meetings had been transferred to rue de la Corderie-du-Temple, and in the room of the Cour-des-Miracles, near the passage of the Caire, its members had a club, very meagrely attended (club of the Cour-des-Miracles). The international gave few signs of life until the eve of the commune. What part did it take in the insurrection of the 18th of March? It is difficult to say. Only two of its members, Varlin and Avoine fils, figured among the thirty-six members who composed the "central committee of the national guard." On the other hand, among the seventy-nine members of the commune, twenty belonged to the international; a few, Ch. Beslay, Theisz and Longuet, were among the moderates; others, on the contrary, such as Vésinier, Pindy and Varlin, figured among the promoters of violent resolutions and measures. On the 23d of March, a circular emanating from the "federal council of the provisional sections," and from the "federal chamber of the workingmen's societies," urged the people of Paris to vote for the commune, which was to be elected three days later (March 26th). This is the only thing emanating from the association which we find in the collection of documents of this epoch. (Le Gouvernement du 4 Septembre et la Commune de Paris, by Émile Andréoli, p. 215.) But immediately after the repression of the insurrection (May 30, 1871), the general council at London published a long manifesto addressed "to all the members of the association in Europe and the United States," in which the insurrection of the 18th of March was justified and the commune glorified. (This document will be found in the Histoire de l' Internationale, by Edmond Vélletard, appendix, p. 327.)
—A general outcry was then raised against the international, and there was even a question of a convention between governments to prohibit it. This project did not amount to anything, but in France a law was passed, under date of March 14, 1872, forbidding, under heavy penalties, all affiliation with the international, and even the giving publicity to its documents. Whether the international thought it prudent to let the storm pass over, or whether it was weakened by the internal dissensions which broke out a little later, little was heard of it for more than a year. The congress did not assemble in 1871; there was only at London a simple "conference" whose deliberations were not made public. The following year the general council of London, of which the celebrated socialist, Karl Maix, had been made president, took courage and convened a congress at the Hague. But in the meantime the centralizing tendencies of the general council had roused intense opposition, and Karl Marx was accused of aspiring to the dictatorship. On the eve of the congress at the Hague, Aug. 4, 1872, at the congress at Rimini, the Italian federation formally broke with the general council. On the other side, the Jura federation sent a delegate, Guillaume, to the Hague, expressly commissioned to demand "the abolition of the general council and the suppression of all authority in the international." This burning question was made the order of the day at the opening of the congress, and called forth the most stormy debates.
—Thanks to the gathering of a certain number of the old members of the commune, Ranvier. Dereure, Vaillant, etc., the majority pronounced in favor of maintaining the general council. The federalist minority then withdrew from the congress. But it was not long before the majority was itself divided; it embraced two very distinct elements: those who wished to confine themselves to the economic struggle, at the head of whom was Karl Marx; and those who demanded that the international should take upon itself, in the first place, to organize the proletariat as a political party. The old members of the commune, who formed the party called the "Blanquists," especially sustained this opinion; but Karl Marx and his friends refusing to agree to it, the politicians, in turn, quitted the congress, thus leaving the field open to the partisans of the economic struggle. The latter resolved to transfer the seat of the general council from London to New York, and after taking this resolution, the congress adjourned. Some days later, on the 15th of September, the dissenters, to the number of twenty-five, assembled in the Science Hall, Old street, London, to protest against the decisions of the congress of the Hague, accusing that congress of having "compromised and betrayed" the cause of the international. This opposition congress, led by the two communists, Vésinier and Landeck, pronounced the dissolution of the international, and decided that it should be replaced by a "universal federal association."
—The history of the international ends here. Created under the influence of the false idea which has been at the bottom of all socialistic ideas for the last half century, that labor is necessarily defrauded (exploité) by capital under the wages system, the object of the international was to suppress wages and substitute associations in which capital would be subordinate to labor for the existing enterprises of production and exchange. To attain this end, it employed sometimes the novel mode of procedure of the trades unions whose forms of organization it had borrowed, and sometimes the old revolutionary methods. Neither of them has succeeded, and it may be hoped that the association will never recover from the blow dealt it by the dark events of 1870-71; but it is less certain that it will not have successors.
G. DE MOLINARI.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: NATIONS, in Political Economy
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Nations, in Political Economy. From the earliest historical ages humanity has been divided into a multitude of nations, dissimilar in manners, aptitudes and language, and possessing different institutions. Each of these nations has its own particular physiognomy and its own existence, its autonomy—This phenomenon, which interests in a high degree all branches of moral and political science, must be considered here only from an economic point of view. The economist must first inquire whether the division of humanity into a multitude of nations is beneficial, or whether it would not be better, as some declare, for the human race to form only one community, a universal monarchy or republic. There can be no doubt as to the answer to this question. The division of humanity into nations has its utility, because it develops a principle of emulation of considerable power. There is in each nation a feeling of honor, or a kind of collective self-esteem, which, directed toward useful ends, can accomplish wonders. An example of this was furnished at the universal exposition at London, to which the greater part of civilized nations brought the tribute of their industry and each made it a point of honor not to be too far behind its rivals. If humanity constituted only a single political assemblage, would not the spirit of emulation, deprived of the stimulant of national honor, be manifested in a less degree? Another drawback, more serious still, would result from the unification of humanity: the faults committed in the government of society would reach much farther than they do in the existing state of affairs. If a bad measure is taken to-day by a government, if a false theory is applied to the management of the affairs of a nation, the evil which results from it is confined to a certain locality. Other nations can refrain from renewing an experience, the results of which have been disastrous. If all humanity, on the contrary, were subjected to a uniform law, would not the evil resulting from the application of a bad measure be universal? And the division of society into nations is no obstacle to progress, which betters the condition of man. When an experiment has resulted successfully with a nation, are not other nations eager to take advantage of it? Are they not most frequently obliged to do so by the pressure of competition?
—The division of humanity into autonomous nations may therefore be considered as essentially economic. Besides, this division results from the primitive arrangement of things; it is a natural phenomenon that no artificial combination can destroy nor even sensibly modify. Conquerors, for instance, have dreamt of the utopia of universal monarchy. Have they succeeded in realizing it? Have not those who have approached nearest to it, beheld their gigantic political establishments dissolve by the very force of things? Has not experience taught them that there are limits which no domination can exceed in any lasting manner? Other utopists have dreamt of unity of religion, and some have wished to enforce it by violence; but it was useless for them to employ fire and the sword to compass their design, and they failed. Religious beliefs have continued to reflect the diversity of temperaments, of manners, and of the intelligence of different nations. Others, finally, have dreamt of unity of language, and governments have been known to endeavor to force a uniform language upon peoples of different origin, whom they had united under their rule. The Dutch government, for example, attempted to substitute the Dutch language for the French language in some of the southern provinces of the old kingdom of the Netherlands. What was the result? An aversion was taken to the language required by law, by the populations upon which the government wished to force it, and this experiment, which was contrary to the nature of things, contributed much to the downfall of the government which tried it. Languages like religious beliefs and political institutions, are the expression of the special genius of different nations. The form of institutions and of language can without doubt be modified in an artificial manner, but their substance will nevertheless remain. Although it would be absurd to wish to efface, for the sake of a chimerical unity, the characteristic marks of nationalities, it does not follow that nations must be isolated from and kept in a permanent state of hostility toward each other. The autonomy of nations implies neither isolation nor hostility. Nations are interested in freedom of communication with one another, in order that they may increase in wealth and power; they are still more interested in living in peace with one another.
—These truths, too long unrecognized, have been admirably demonstrated by economists, especially by J. B. Say. To those who pretend, for instance, that a nation can only be enriched by the impoverishment of its rivals, the illustrious author of the theory of outlets replies with truth: "A nation bears the same relation to a neighboring nation that a province does to another province, that a city does to the country; it is interested in seeing it prosper, and certain to profit by its wealth. The United States are right, then, for example, it always having tried to encourage industry in the savage tribes; it has been their purpose to obtain something from them in exchange; for nothing can be gained from people who have nothing to give. It is of advantage to humanity for a nation to conduct itself toward others, under all circumstances, according to liberal principles. It will be shown, by the brilliant results it will obtain from so doing, that vain systems, baleful theories, are the exclusive and jealous maxims of the old states of Europe, which they with effrontery endow with the name of practical truths, because, unfortunately, they put them in practice."
—Nothing is more deceitful adds this judicious economist, than the advantage which a nation thinks it gains by an encroachment upon the domain of another, by the conquest of a province or a colony from a rival power. "If France had possessed," he says, "at any time whatever, an economic government, and had employed for fertilizing the provinces in the centre of the kingdom, the money which she expended for conquering distant provinces and colonies which could not be kept, she would be much more happy and more powerful. Highways, parish roads, canals for irrigation and navigation, are means which a government has always at its disposal to improve provinces which are unproductive. Production is always expensive in a province, when the expense of the transportation of its products is great. An interior conquest indubitably augments the strength of a state, as a distant conquest almost always enfeebles it. All that constitutes the strength of Great Britain is in Great Britain itself; it has been rendered much stronger by the loss of America; it will be more so when it shall have lost India."
—Hence J. B. Say is thoroughly convinced that, when economic intelligence shall be more widely diffused, when the true sources of the prosperity and the greatness of nations shall be better known, the old policy, which consists in conquering new territory to tax its people to excess, in taking possession of new markets to submit them to a selfish and pitiless exploitation, this evil policy of antagonism and hatred, will end by losing all credit. "All this old policy will perish," he says; "ability will consist in meriting preference, and not in demanding it by force. The effects which are made to secure domination procure only an artificial greatness, which necessarily makes an enemy of every foreigner. This system produces debts, abuses, tyrants and revolutions; while the attraction of a reciprocal agreement procures friends, extends the circle of useful relations; and the prosperity which results from it is lasting, because it is natural."
—If, then, economists do not share the illusions of the humanitarian socialists, who would like to unite all nations into a single flock, ruled by an all-governing shepherd; if they do not think that it is a measure of utility to efface, in an artificial manner, the characteristic differences of nations; if they only accept with reservations the beautiful verses of the author of the Marseillaise of Peace:
"Nations! mot pompeux pour dire barbarie!
* * * * * *
Déchirez ces drapeaux! une autre voix vous crie;
L'égoisme et is haine ont seuls une patrie;
La fraternité n'en a pas";
if they think that nations have their raison d'être itself in the bosom of civilization, they do not work less actively to demolish the walls of separation, which old errors, prejudices of centuries and barbarous hatreds have raised between nations; they show to nations that it is for their interest to exchange their ideas and their products in order to augment their wealth, their power and their civilization; they condemn war as a bad speculation, as an operation in which the risks of loss exceed the chances of gain; and without being humanitarians or advocates of unity, they show to nations the true methods of realizing practical fraternity.
—Errors no less fatal, on the subject of the interior government of nations, have attracted the attention of economists. As once it was the common conviction that a nation could only be powerful and rich by the enfeeblement and impoverishment of its rivals, as singularly exaggerated share of influence and action in the life of nations was attributed to the government. Because the government and society were confounded in primitive communities, when the division of labor had not yet separated social functions, it was thought that it must always be so; it was thought that it was the province of the government to communicate movement and action to the social organism, and make life circulate there; it was thought that nothing could be effected except by the impetus of this sovereign motor. Political economy has done justice to so disastrous an error.
—Economists have demonstrated that the functions of government should be simplified and specialized more and more, by virtue of the principle of the division of labor, rather than extended and multiplied; they have demonstrated that communism belonged to the infancy of nations, and that it ceased to be expedient in their maturity. With the coolness of a surgeon who removes a cancer, J.B. Say has shown to what point a government which is not strictly limited to fulfilling its natural functions can cause trouble, corruption and discomfort in the economy of the social body, and he has declared that in his eyes such a government was a veritable ulcer. This figurative expression, ulcerous government, employed by the illustrious economist to designate a government which interferes improperly in the domain of private activity, reglementary and socialist writers have frequently cast as a reproach upon political economy. Some even have taken it as a foundation for the assumption that political economy has misunderstood the importance of the mission with which governments are charged in society, and they have accused it of having given birth to the celebrated doctrine of anarchy. (See ANARCHY.) But, nothing is less merited than such a reproach. Political economy, rightly understood, leads no more to the suppression of governments than it does to the destruction of nationalities. J. B. Say says: "When authority is not a despoiler itself, it procures for nations the greatest of benefits, that of guaranteeing them against despoilers. Without this protection which lends the aid of all to the needs of one alone, it is impossible to conceive any important development of the productive faculties of man, of land or of capital; it is impossible to conceive the existence of capital itself, since capital is only values accumulated and working under the safeguard of public authority. It is for this reason that no nation has ever arrived at any degree of wealth, without having been subject to a regular government; it is to the security which political organization procures, that civilized nations owe not only the innumerable and varied productions which satisfy their wants, but also their fine arts, their leisure hours, the fruit of accumulation, without which they could not cultivate their intellectual gifts, nor consequently rise to all the dignity that the nature of man admits of."
—Poliical economy is not therefore anarchic. Economists are perfectly convinced that governments play a necessary part in society, and it is precisely because they appreciate all the importance of this part, that they consider that governments should be occupied with nothing else.
—Finally, economists think that the same practices of scrupulous economy, which are the rule in private industry, should be the rule also in the government of nations. Let us again quote J. B. Say, on this subject: "A nation which only respects its prince when he is surrounded with pomp, with glitter, with guards, with horses, with all that is most expensive, has to pay for it. It economizes, on the contrary, when it accords its respect to simplicity rather than to display, and when it obeys the laws without display."
—Causes purely political, and the form of government which they produce, influence the expense of the salaries of civil and judicial functionaries, that of representation, and that which public institutions and establishments require. Thus, in a despotic country, where the prince disposes of the property of his subjects, he alone fixing his salary—that is to say, what he uses of the public funds for his own personal benefit, his pleasures, and the maintenance of his household—that salary may be fixed higher than in the country where it is discussed by the representatives of the prince and those of the tax payers. The salaries of subordinates depend also either upon their individual influence, or upon the general system of government. The services which they render are costly or cheap, not only in proportion to the price paid for them, but also according as their duties are more or less well performed. A service poorly performed is dear, although very little may be paid for it; it is dear if there is but little need of it. It is like a piece of furniture which does not answer the purpose for which it was intended, of which there is no need, and which is a trouble rather than a benefit. Such were, under the old French monarchy, the positions of grand-admiral, grand-master, grand-cupbearer, master of the hounds, and a multitude of others, which served only to add lustre to the crown, and many of which were only methods employed to distribute perquisites and favors. For the same reason, when the machinery of the administration is complicated, the people are made to pay for services which are not indispensable to the maintenance of public order; this is like giving a useless shape to a product, which is not worth more on that account, and is generally worth less. Under a bad government, which can not keep up its encroachments, its injustices, its exactions, except by means of numerous satellites, of an active system of espionage, and by the multiplication of prisons; these prisons, spies and soldiers are an item of expense to the people, who are certainly not happier on that account."
—To sum up, political economy recognizes that the division of humanity into nations has its utility, its raison d'étre; it recognizes that no nation, unless it be composed of angels, can dispense with a government; but, at the same time, it demonstrates that it is for the interest of nations to base their foreign policy upon peace, and their domestic policy upon economy; it demonstrates that it is for the interest of nations to maintain free and friendly relations with one another, and to be governed as little as possible.
G. DE MOLINARI.
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 2 East India Co. - Nullification Chapter: NOBILITY.
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The text is in the public domain.
NOBILITY. By this, or by some equivalent term, has been designated in all times the body of men who have attributed to themselves in an exclusive manner the higher functions of society. Most frequently this body established its rule by conquest. Thus the nobility of most of the states of Europe owes its origin to the barbarous hordes which invaded the Roman empire, and divided its ruins among them. At first these troops of emigrants, whom the insufficiency of the means of subsistence and the allurement of plunder urged from the regions of the north to those of the south, overran and laid waste the civilized world; but soon, either because the personal property which served them as booty began to be used up, or because the more intelligent understood that a regular exploitation would be more profitable to them than simple pillage, they established a fixed residence for themselves upon the ruins of the world they had laid waste and conquered.
—This establishment of the barbarians in the old domain of civilization, and the institution of a feudal nobility which was the result of it, had a utility which it would be unjust to ignore. It must not be forgotten that the Roman empire, internally undermined and corrupted by the cancer of slavery, had ended by falling in ruins, and that the wealth accumulated by Græco-Roman civilization was at the mercy of the barbarians. In so critical a situation, the establishment of the Goths, the Vandals, the Lombards and other emigrants from the north upon the territory which they had ravaged, was a blessing. Having become proprietors of the greatest part of the capital which the conquered nations had accumulated upon the land, these barbarians were henceforth interested in defending it against the hordes which came after them. It was thus that the old enemies of civilization became its defenders, and that the wealth accumulated by antiquity, in passing from the weak hands of its old owners to those of the conquerors of the north, more numerous, more courageous and stronger, was preserved from total annihilation. The destructive wave of invasion stopped before this new rampart, raised up in the place of the dismantled rampart of Roman domination. The Huns. for example, who had come from the depths of Tartary to share the spoils of the old world, were destroyed or repulsed by the coalition of the Goths and Franks, established in Italy and in Gaul; and later the Saracens, no less redoubtable than the Huns, met the same fate.
—If the Goths and the Franks had not appropriated to themselves the fixed capital of the nations they had subjugated, would they have risked their lives and their booty to repulse the savage soldiers of Attila? And what would have remained of the old civilization, if this barbarian chief of a nomad race had continued to overrun and ravage Europe? Would not Greece, Italy, Gaul and Spain, despoiled of their personal wealth, and deprived of the greatest part of their population, have ended by presenting the same spectacle of desolation and ruin as the empire of the Assyrians and the kingdom of Palmyra? When, therefore, we take into account the circumstances which accompanied the establishment of the barbarians in the bosom of European civilization, we perceive that this violent substitution of a new race of proprietors for the old race presents rather the characteristics of the exercise of the right of eminent domain than those of spoliation properly so called. Hence, this extremely important consequence, that the property of the nobility which had its origin in conquest does not deserve the anathema which certain socialists have launched against it; for the original titles of the nobility to their estates was founded on general utility, that is to say, upon justice.
—The conditions of the establishment of the barbarians in the bosom of the civilized world were extremely varied. Historians have nevertheless demonstrated that they generally took to themselves two-thirds of the land; such was, for example, the proportion in Gaul, when it was conquered by the Franks. This proportion, however, was not arbitrary; it was determined by the necessities of the situation. In each subjugated nation was found an aristocracy of proprietors, dating most frequently from an anterior conquest, whom the conquerors were interested in treating with a certain consideration, in order not to push them to the dangerous extremity of despair. According as this aristocracy had preserved more or less strength and influence, the conquerors left it a more or less considerable portion of its domains, limiting themselves to subjecting it to simple feudal fines. Hence there were two kinds of domains, and the title of francs alleux (freeholds) was given to lands occupied by the conquerors, as the count de Boulainvilliers explains with much clearness. "The Gallic proprietor," says this learned historian of the French nobility, "was required to pay certain tributes of the fruits and revenues of his lands, according to the demands of the victors. The Frank, who possessed his lands entirely free and unburdened, had a more absolute and more perfect ownership of them; hence this distinction was marked by the term salic lands, meaning lands or alleux of the Franks, called also Salians; in a word, francs-alleux, that is to say, absolutely and thoroughly their own, hereditary, and free even from all tribute of the fruits Terra salica, quœ salio militi; aut regi assignata erat, dicta ad differentiam allodialis, quœ est subditorum. (Basnage, word Alleux.) This method of dividing the conquered lands was imitated by the Goths, who called the lands which they had retained sortes gothicas, and those which they had left to the Romans, sortes romanas. The Normans did the same thing in regard to the old possessors of Neustria when they conquered it, and this was the origin of the greater part of freeholds; for the complete freedom of these lands from taxation caused them to be called freeholds." (De la noblesse française, by the count de Boulainvilliers). There were, therefore, two nobilities after the conquest, the one composed of members of the conquering army, and the other composed of the old proprietors not completely dispossessed. The former, whose lands were free, were at first in the ascendency; but after long struggles, of which the beautiful romance, Ivanhoe, for example, gives a picturesque sketch, these two nobilities, drawn together by common interests, were generally confounded in one.
—It sometimes occurred to the conquerors to make an inventory of the wealth which they had appropriated to themselves; this was especially the case in England after the Norman conquest. The results of this curious inquiry were embodied in the Domesday Book.78
—The division of the booty and of the lands was effected in an unequal manner between the chiefs and the soldiers of the conquering army. This inequality was based upon the unequal share which each had taken, according to his rank in the army, in the work of conquest. The distinction of rank was determined by the necessities of the enterprise. When the barbarians invaded a country, they chose the chiefs from among the most courageous and capable of their number, and they obeyed them in the common interest. The chiefs chose aids (comites) to cause their orders to be executed; and a military hierarchy, based upon the necessities of the enterprise which was to be carried out, was thus organized of itself. The conquest accomplished, it was natural that the share in the booty should be proportionate to the rank which each man, having any claim to it, held in the army of invasion. The supreme chief had, therefore, the greatest share, both in personal effects and in lands; the lesser chiefs and the common soldiers of the conquest obtained shares proportionate to their rank, or to the services which they had rendered. These divisions were frequently the occasion of bloody quarrels, to which the necessities of common defense alone could put an end.
—When the plunder to be divided comprised, besides personal effects, immovable property, lands or houses, the army of invasion dispersed, and each one of its members occupied the lot which had fallen to him in the division. But in dispersing in a conquered country, and therefore hostile and exposed to new invasions, the conquerors took care to preserve their military organization; they lived organized in such a way that, at the first appearance of danger, they might immediately flock to the banner of the chief, and take their place in the ranks. It is thus that the feudal system was established. The characteristic trait of this system was the rigorous maintenance of the hierarchical organization of the conquering army, and the obligations which flowed from it. At the first call of the supreme chief, emperor, king, or duke, the lesser chiefs assembled the crowd of those who had worked the conquest. Each was bound, under pain of forfeiture, to report at the call of his hierarchical superior; the army was soon on foot again, in good order, to defend its domains, either against a revolt from within or an aggression from without.
—The chiefs thus preserved their rank after the dispersal of the conquering army. Each rank had its particular name, sometimes of barbarian origin, sometimes borrowed from the Roman hierarchy. This name passed from the man to the domain; hence kingdoms, duchies, marquisates, counties, baronies, etc. Those of the conquering army who possessed no rank, but who had obtained a lot of land, simply took the name of freeholders, and their lands that of freeholds, and they formed the lesser grade of the nobility.79 Being obliged to set out on the march at the command of the chiefs, they enjoyed as compensation, like the latter, the privilege of exemption from taxes, and that of sending representatives to the assemblies or parliaments of the nobility, in which the interests of their orders were discussed.
—Nevertheless, it was important to assure the duration of this organization which care for the common defense required. The right of primogeniture and of entail were introduced to assure this duration. Each having obtained a portion of the land, on condition of fulfilling certain obligations, it was essential, in the first place, that this lot should not be divided up; in the second place, that it should not pass into the hands of a foreign or hostile family. The division of the land would have destroyed the pledge which assured the exact fulfillment of the military services, upon which depended the common security; it would have introduced anarchy into the conquering army, by necessitating a continual transformation of the hierarchy. The introduction, into the ranks of the army, of men belonging to the conquered race, which could have taken place after the alienation or sale of the lands occupied by the conquerors, would have been no less dangerous. The law of primogeniture and entail served to preserve the conquerors from this two-fold peril. The law of primogeniture maintained intact the domain, which was the pledge of the fulfillment of the duty of each toward all, by transmitting it from generation to generation to the eldest son of the family. Entail prevented foreigners or enemies from slipping into the ranks of the army, by not allowing the noble proprietors to alienate their domains. The primitive organization of the conquering army could therefore be perpetuated after the conquest had been accomplished, and the nobility formed itself into a veritable guild at the head of society.
—This organization had its manifest utility, in that it prevented the country, in which the conquering army had established itself, from becoming incessantly the prey of new hordes of barbarians. It had its inevitable drawbacks, in that it delivered the industrious population over to the mercy of a greedy and brutal horde, who most frequently used without any moderation its right of conquest. At first the condition of the subject populations was most hard. The conquerors were subject to laws and obligations based upon their common interest; these laws and these obligations, which extended to all, to the chiefs as well as to the soldiers, protected in a certain measure the weak against the strong. But nothing similar existed in favor of the vanquished; the latter were a booty which the conquerors disposed of at their pleasure. Perhaps it was well that it was so, at least in the very beginning; for if the conquerors had not had a maximum of interest in defending property, at that time the object of continual aggression, they would, according to all appearances, have remained simple nomad plunderers, and the capital accumulated by civilization would have been entirely destroyed. But this absolute power of the conquerors over the conquered, whether it was necessary or not, could not fail to engender the most monstrous oppression. The serf or subject of a lord was taxable, and liable to forced labor at pleasure, which signified that the lord could dispose, according to his will, of the property of the unhappy serf, and sell him, and his family, after having confiscated his goods. Every individual, merchant or other, who crossed the domain of a lord, was exposed also to be pillaged, reduced to slavery, or massacred. Fortunately, this violent state of affairs could not last; order and justice have such a character of utility, that they re-establish themselves in some way, after the most terrible social upheavals. The lords were not slow to see that it was for their interest to accord their serfs, agriculturists or artisans, certain guarantees of security, and not to despoil them in a violent and arbitrary manner, in order to procure the more from them. Hence, customs. These customs, whose utility for the master as well as for the subject was proved by experience, ended by becoming a solid barrier against the arbitrariness of the lords. The condition of the serf, protected by the custom, became more bearable, and the revenue of the lord was increased in consequence; the agriculturists, being less exposed to spoliation, agriculture commenced to flourish again, and famines, after having been the rule, became each year less frequent. Agglomerated in the cities, and by this very fact in a better state than the agriculturists mutually to sustain themselves, artisans obtained more promptly still guarantees against arbitrary power; they were allowed, on condition of certain fixed feudal fines, and sometimes even on condition of an indemnity once paid, to exercise their occupation in peace, and the by-laws of corporations were at first nothing but records of the customs, agreements or transactions, which protected them from the rapacity of the lords. The same customs were established and the same transactions effected for the benefit of commerce. At first the merchants, who had ventured to traffic from city to city, as they had done in the time of Roman domination, had been despoiled, reduced to slavery or massacred by the barbarian lords, whose domains they traversed. But soon, all commerce having ceased, the lords themselves realized the inconveniences of this state of things. What did they do? For their capricious and arbitrary depreciations, they substituted fixed and regular feudal fines; they guaranteed to the merchants free and safe passage through their domains, on condition of their paying toll. This was still onerous, without doubt; for each country being divided into a multitude of little seigniorial estates, a merchant, who had to travel through a somewhat small extent of country, was obliged to pay a multitude of tolls. But it was less onerous than pillage and assassination; and commerce, thus protected by the better understood interest of the lords, again assumed some activity.
—The improvement did not stop here. Events and progress of different kinds weakened successively the feudal nobility, either by diminishing the importance of the part it played, or by increasing the power of the classes, which were subordinate to it. As soon as feudalism was firmly established and constituted, the danger of invasions became less; not, however, as the historian Robertson has declared, because the source whence they flowed had dried up. There were still, in the north of Europe and in the centre of Asia, multitudes greedy for booty, and disposed to precipitate themselves upon the countries in which the arts of civilization had accumulated wealth; but, between these hungry multitudes and the prey which they coveted, the rampart of feudalism had been raised. After having vainly attempted to make a breach in this rampart, which replaced that of the Roman legions, the barbarian hordes drew back one after the other into the heart of Asia, and descended upon India and China. Then the conquerors, established upon the ruins of the Roman empire, could enjoy a little repose. But repose was foreign to their nature. They wore themselves out with intestine struggles. The weaker lords were subjugated or despoiled by the stronger. The supreme chief, who at first had had no authority over his old companions, except when there was question of providing for the common defense, profited by their dissensions to increase his power at their expense. He accorded his alliance and his protection to the weak, on condition that they made themselves dependent on him and paid tribute to him. It was in this way that most of the freeholds were changed into fiefs.80 This modification of the feudal system had very important consequences. The number of intestine strifes diminished, because the more powerful lords no longer dared to attack the weak, when the latter had become vassals of the king. On the other hand, the king, who collected tribute from the lands of his protegés, saw that they brought more to him in proportion as the taxes collected to the profit of the lords were less numerous and less burdensome. He endeavored, therefore, to diminish the number of particular tolls, and to moderate the exactions the lords made from their serfs. His salutary intervention was felt also in the money system. In the beginning, each lord had taken to himself the right to coin money, imposing upon the inhabitants of his domains the obligation of using only the coinage stamped with his effigy. Money soon became as bad as it could possibly be, while the subjects of the lords had no means of protecting themselves from the damage caused them by false coinage. It was quite otherwise, when, the freeholds having been transformed into fiefs, the king levied taxes upon the domains of his vassals. To prevent the loss which the adulterations of the moneys caused in the payment of the taxes, he appointed certain officials charged with the surveillance of the coinage of the lords, and with preventing them from melting down and adulterating his own money. In proportion as the power of this protector of the weak became more extensive, he confiscated or bought the right of coinage of the lesser lords and appropriated it to himself. The industrious classes did not fail to profit by these changes. Their condition was improved again when the most bellicose and turbulent portion of the nobility went to the crusades. The lords, convinced that the conquest of the east would procure for them fortune in this world and would assure their salvation in the next, granted their liberty at a low price to multitudes of serfs. And as very few of them returned from that religious California of the middle ages, the serfs, who had bought their liberty, were able to preserve it. Finally, the middle class of the cities, having become rich and powerful by industry, undertook to make themselves completely independent of their lords. The communal movement commenced, and this movement, seconded by the kings, who sold their protection to the middle class of the communes, as they had before sold it to the lesser lords, contributed also to enfeeble the power of the nobility.
—The feudal system thus fell little by little into ruins. The subject classes advanced each day with a more rapid step toward their enfranchisement, inscribing upon their banners the word liberty. The substitution of fire arms for the old instruments of war gave the finishing stroke to feudalism, by permitting thence-forth the industrious classes to protect themselves against the invasions of the hardy races of the north. Artillery replaced with advantage the iron armed colossi of chivalry, and the order of nobility ceased to be the necessary rampart of civilization. The services which it rendered losing their value, the supremacy and the privileges which it continued to claim for itself were borne with less patience. Above all was this the case in France, where, the royal power having ended by reducing the nobility to the condition of servants of the court, it presented the spectacle of the saddest moral and material decay. Its eldest sons, provided with magnificent sinecures, expended their incomes in idleness, and ran into debt to avoid being eclipsed by an industrious bourgeoisie, whose wealth kept increasing. Its younger sons, too numerous for the employments which the monarch had at his disposal, and too proud to devote themselves to commerce and industry,81 filled the gaming houses and places of evil resort. The nobility, thus degraded, lost its old ascendency over the masses, and in 1789 the industrious classes rose up against the domination of a caste, which no longer could make arrogance and privileges forgotten through the magnitude of its services. The French nobility disappeared, swallowed up in the whirlpool of the revolution.
—The following, according to the learned author of La France avant la révolution, is an account of the rights and feudal privileges which the nobility still enjoyed when the great catastrophe occurred: "In almost all the rural districts there existed numerous vestiges of the feudal system. Each village had its lord, who, in general, possessed the best lands, and had certain rights over those which did not belong to him. Thus, there was the exclusive right of the chase upon all the territory of the fief; there was the tithe, the extent of which was more or less great; there was, at each transfer of property, the tax on the lot of land and on its sale. The lord could retain, for the price of sale, the land sold in his territory, could force the inhabitants to grind in his mill, to bake in his oven, to make their wine in his press, etc. On the vassal were incumbent also certain personal services, such as the obligation to work a certain number of days without compensation, which were called corvées, to render certain services under certain determined circumstances, etc. In some provinces, like Franche-Comté and Burgundy, mortmain existed still in many of the villages; the peasant could not quit the land or marry without permission of his lord, under pain of losing his property, and if he left no children, the lord was his heir.
—But Louis XVI. had abolished mortmain in all the domains of the crown, and many lords followed his example. Justice was administered in the first resort, and sometimes in the last, by judges appointed by the lord. Finally, the clergy took the tithes, the government the villain tax and the tax on salt, and the peasant was subject, besides, to the corvée and the militia duty, while all the nobles and almost all the bourgeois functionaries were exempt from it." (La France avant la révolution, by Raudot, p. 103.) Finally, the nobility monopolized most of the great offices of the state, and had at its disposal numerous sinecures.
—There are no precise data as to the number of the members of the French nobility, at the time when the revolution deprived them of their privileges. According to Sieyès, their number did not exceed 110,000. This is the way in which Sieyès made his calculation: "I know," said he, "but one way to estimate the number of individuals of this order: it is to take the province where this number is the best known and compare it with the rest of France. That province is Brittany, and I remark in advance that it has more nobles than the others, either because they do not "derogate" there, or because of the privileges which the families retain, etc., etc. There are in Brittany 1,900 noble families; I will say 2,000. Estimating each family as having five persons, there are in Brittany 10,000 nobles of all ages and of both sexes. The total population is 2,800,000 individuals. This number is to the entire population of France as one to eleven. We must then multiply 10,000 by eleven, and we have 110,000 nobles at the most for the whole of the kingdom." The author of La Francs avant la révolution thinks that the opinion of Sieyès is very near the truth.
—Like the French nobility, but with more success, the British nobility has endeavored to maintain its old supremacy. No aristocracy has been able to derive more advantage from its position. By the establishment of the corn laws, it has endeavored to raise the value of the lands belonging to its eldest sons. By the extension of the colonial empire of England, it has gradually increased the arena open to its younger sons.82 Nevertheless the industrious classes have come to understand that the costs of this policy of monopoly fall chiefly upon them, while the aristocracy receives the most evident benefit from it. These classes have fought against the political and economical monopolies of the aristocracy, and economical monopolies of the aristocracy, and thanks to the great agitation of the league, and to the reforms of Sir Robert Peel, continued by Lord John Russell, this work of enfranchisement is very far advanced. It is proper to add, however, that if the British aristocracy has shown itself grasping in the matter of monopolies, it has displayed great and solid qualities in the exercise of the functions it has monopolized. It has done better still. Whenever it has discovered a man of eminent ability in the lower strata of society, it has had the intelligent cleverness to make a place for him in its own ranks. It is thus that it has known how to render its monopoly bearable, and to preserve a great and legitimate ascendency over the country.
—When the noble classes shall have finally ceased to be privileged in a direct or indirect manner, it is probable that the titles which serve to distinguish them will lose their value. For this value depends much less upon a prejudice of opinion than upon the positive advantages which they can confer. These advantages amount to nothing in the liberal professions: let a merchant, for example, be noble or plebeian, the credit which he enjoys in the market remains the same. But it is quite otherwise in the functions which are connected with the government. It is rare that the nobility is not favored in an exceptional manner in the distribution of offices and of honors.83
—These old qualifications of the nobility constitute besides a singular anachronism in the organization of modern society. As has been seen above, the titles of duke, marquis, count and baron served to designate the grades of the military hierarchy of feudalism; they about corresponded to the modern denominations of general, colonel, major and captain. Would not bankers, manufacturers, savants or artists, invested with these titles borrowed from feudal hierarchy, present a somewhat ridiculous spectacle? Would they not have quite as much reason for adorning themselves with the titles of mandarin, grand-serpent or sagamore? How would this last nomenclature be more absurd than the other? Have our bankers, our manufacturers, our savants and our artists any more resemblance to the fierce warriors of the middle ages than they have to Indian chiefs or Chinese mandarins?
—The privileges, and probably also the titles, of nobility will end by disappearing with so many other remnants of the old system of servitude. But does this mean that our society is destined some day to undergo the process of leveling? By no means. There will always be, in the work of production, superior and inferior functions, functions requiring in a high degree the concurrence of the moral and intellectual faculties of man, and functions for which lesser aptitudes will be sufficient. The former will always be better remunerated and more honored than the latter. The aristocracy of society will be formed by the former, and this natural nobility—so much the more respectable because it will be better founded upon the superiority of merit and upon the greatness of its services—will have no need to make a show of haughty pretensions and superannuated titles in order to obtain public consideration.
G. DE MOLINARI.
[78.]The Domesday Book is nothing but a great inventory of the Norman conquest. We quote from the history of M. Augustin Thierry some interesting details concerning the origin of this curious inquiry, and upon the way in which it was drawn up. "King William," says M. Augustin Thierry, "caused a great territorial inquiry to be made, and a universal register of all the changes of property made in England by the conquest to be drawn up. He wished to know into what hands, throughout all the extent of the country, the domains of the Saxons had passed, and how many of them still kept their inheritances by reason of treaties concluded with himself or with his barons; how many acres of land there were in each rural domain; what number of acres would be sufficient for the support of a soldier, and what was the number of the latter in each province or county of England; what was the gross sum of the products of the cities, villages, towns and hamlets; what was the exact property of each count, baron, knight, sergeant-at-arms; how much land each one had, how many people with fiefs of his lands, how many Saxons, cattle and plows—This work, in which modern historians have thought they discerned the mark of administrative genius, was the simple result of the special position of the Norman king as chief of a conquering army, and of the necessity of establishing some order in the chaos of the conquest. This is so true, that, in o her conquests whose details have been transmitted to us, for example, in the conquest of Greece by the Latin crusaders in the thirteenth century, we find the same kind of inquiry, conducted on an exactly similar plan by the chiefs of the invasion—By virtue of the orders of King William, Henri de Ferrières, Gaultier Giffard, Adam, brother of Eudes the seneschal, and Remi, bishop of Lincoln, as well as other persons selected from the jurists and the guardians of the royal treasury, set out to journey through all the counties of England, establishing in each place their council of inquiry. They caused to appear before them the viscount of each province or of each Saxon shire, a personage to whom the Saxons gave in their old language the title of shire-reve or sheriff. They called together, or had the viscount call together all the Norman barons of the province, who indicated the precise boundaries of their possessions and of their territorial jurisdictions: then some of the men connected with the inquiry, or commissioners delegated by them, went to each great domain and into each district or century, as the Saxons called them. There they made the French soldiers of each lord and the English inhabitants of the century declare, under oath, how many free owners and how many farmers there were upon the domain; what portion each occupied as full proprietor or on precarious tenure; the names of the actual holders, the names of those who had been owners before the conquest, and the different changes of property which had taken place since that time; so that, say the chronicles of the times, three declarations were exacted concerning each estate: what it had been in the time of King Edward, what it had been when King William had granted it, and what it was at the present moment. Beneath each particular statement was inscribed this formula: 'This is what all the French and all the English of the shire have sworn to.'
—In each town an inquiry was made as to the amount of taxes the inhabitants had paid to former kings, and how much the town produced for the officers of the conqueror; an investigation was made as to how many houses the war of the conquest or the construction of fortresses had caused to disappear; how many houses the conquerors had taken, and how many Saxon families, reduced to extreme poverty, were unable to pay anything. In the cities the oath was taken of the great Norman authorities, who assembled the Saxon burgers in their old council chamber, now become the property of the king or of some foreign baron. Finally, in the places of lesser importance the oath was taken of the collector or provost royal, of the priest and of six Saxons or of six villains of each city, as the Normans called them. This investigation lasted six years, during which time the commissioners of King William traveled over all England, with the exception of the hilly countries in the north, and to the west of York, that is to say, the modern counties of Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancaster. The investigation was concluded in 1086.
—The editing of the inventory of taxable property or the terrier of the Norman conquest for each province that it mentioned, was modeled on a uniform plan. The name of the king was placed at the top, with the list of his lands and of his revenues in each province: then followed the names of the chiefs and of the smaller proprietors, in the order of their military rank and of their wealth in land. The Saxons, spared by special grace in the great spoliation, figured only in the lowest ranks; for the small number of this race who remained free and unburdened proprietors, or tenante-in-chief of the king, as the conquerors expressed themselves, were so only as regards inconsiderable domains. The other Anglo-Saxon names scattered here and there through the list, belonged to farmers of certain fractions, more or less great, of the domain of Norman counts, barons, knights, sergeants-at-arms or cross-bowmen.
—This valuable book, in which the entire conquest was registered, so that the memory of it could not be effaced, was called by the Normans the grande rôle, the rôle royale or the rôle de Winchester, because it was preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of Winchester. The Saxons called it by a more solemn name, the book of judgment-day, Domesday Book, because it contained their sentence of irrevocable expropriation." (Augustin Thierry, Histoire de la conquite d'Angleterre par les Normands, book ii., pp. 237-244.)
[79.]This natural and general nobility of all the conquerors, says M. Augustin Thierry, increased in proportion to the authority or personal importance of each of them. After the nobility of the king, came that of the governor of the province, who took the title of count; after the nobility of the count, came that of his lieutenant, called vice-count or viscount; and then that of the warriors, according to their rank, barons, knights, esquires or sergeants, nobles in an unequal degree, but all nobles by right of their common victory and of their foreign birth. (Histoire de la conquéte d'Angleterre par les Normands, book ii., p. 84.)
[80.]Montesquieu has given with much clearness the nature of this transformation of the feudal system, as well as the causes which determined it. "The manner of changing a freehold into a fief," he says, "is found in a formula of Marculfe. A man gave his land to the king; and the king gave it back to the donor as a usufruct or benence, and the latter designated his heirs to the king. Those who held flefs had very great advantages. The indemnity for injuries done them was much greater than that of free men. It appears, from the formulas of Marculfe, that it was a privilege of the vassal of the king that whoever killen him should pay 600 sons of indemnity. This privilege was established by the salic law and by the Ripuarian law, and while these two laws imposed a penalty of 600 sons for the death of a vassal of the king, they imposed only 200 for the death of a free man, Frank, barbarian, or a man living under the salic law, and only 100 for that of a Roman. After having enumerated various other privileges which the vassals of the king enjoyed, the author of the Espril des lois adds: "It is easy, therefore, to think that the Franks who were not vassals of the king, and still more the Romans, endeavored to become so; and that in order that they should not be deprived of the domains, the custom was devised of giving one's freehold to the king, and of receiving it from him as a flef, and of designating to him who should inherit it. This custom continued always, and was practiced especially in the disturbances of the second race, when every one needed a protector." (De l'esprit des lois, book xxxi., chap. 8.)
[81.]Nobility prejudice interdicted to poor nobles the employments of industry and commerce, formerly degraded by slavery. It was not till the eighteenth century that there commenced to be a reaction against this prejudice. A writer, who then enjoyed some notoriety, the abbé Coyer, wrote a work entitled the Noblesse commerçante, in which he urged the nobles to have recourse to the useful and remunerative occupations of industry and commerce to restore their patrimonies, which the abuse of luxury had considerably reduced. The work of the abbé Coyer was well received by the young nobility, who were commencing to be impregnated with philosophic ideas; but it excited in the highest degree the indignation of the partisans of the old ideas. An aristocratic writer, the chevalier d'Areq, undertook to refute the unseemly and incongruous propositions which were advanced therein. The arguments of this defender of nobility prejudice were not lacking in a certain originality. The chevalier d'Areq stated, in the first place, with a sorrowful horror, that the nobility was only too disposed to follow the degrading counsels of the abbé Coyer, and he conjured them, in the name of their honor and of the safety of all, to pause on the brink of so fatal an abyss. "It would be necessary, on the contrary" he exclaimed with indignation, "to place new barriers between the nobility and the path it is proposed to open. Without such barriers, instead of seeing only one gentleman in a family follow this path, it is to be feared that all, or at least almost all, the members of the family will rush into it, and that we shall see a crowd of nobles upon our merchant vessels, with no other arms than the pen, instead of seeing them upon our war vessels, the sword in their hands to defend the timid trader. It is asked, what do you wish a gentleman to do, who only possesses ancient titles, one reason the more to make him blush for his misery? Is it in France that they dare to put this question" Is it in France that a gentleman remains idle upon his estate, while victory is waiting to crown the nobility on the battle-fields? Is it in France that a gentleman is advised to give himself over to baseness, to infamy, in fine, to dishonor the name of his ancestors, virtuous, without doubt, since they were judged worthy of nobility, with no other pretext than to save him from indigence, while there is a gracious monarch to serve, a country to defend, and arms always ready for whoever wishes to walk in the road of honor?" (La noblesse militaire opposée à la noblesse commerçante, ou le Patriote français, pp. 73, 87.) The chevaher d'Areq then reprimanded the nobility for its excessive luxury; he begged them to practice economy, and ended by putting this curious dilemma: "Commerce on a large scale, the only commerce which can be suitable for the nobility, if indeed commerce can be suitable for it, is not carried on without the funds necessary to purchase the first commodities, and without which, desire, zeal, activity and intelligence become useless instruments. Either the nobility, which it is wished to make commercial, possesses these funds, or it does not possess them. If it possesses them, it has no need of commerce; these funds should be sufficient for its subsistence, while awaiting the reward which its merit and its services should naturally procure for it. * * If the nobility has not the funds necessary for the purchase of the commodities, in what way can it take the first steps in commerce? A gentleman acknowledges no other masters but God, honor, his country and his king. Is it then to the service of a plebeian that it is wished to subject him under the title of an apprentice? Is it by laying aside the trappings of war to don the harness of servitude that it is pretended to lead him to fortune? What a resources' What shame! Is not indigence a thousand times preferable to him?" (La noblesse militaire, etc., p. 98.) The abbé Coyer retorted with two volumes, entitled, Développement et défense du système de la noblesse commerçante; and Grimm, giving an account of the quarrel in his correspondence (1757), wrote a plea in favor of the military nobility. The question remained undecided, and in our days there are still many nobles imbued with the prejudice which the abbé Coyer combated. Yet the most obstinate are willingly resigned to "derogate," by investing their funds in industry, provided that the investment is remunerative.
[82.]See, on the subject of this policy of monopoly and of war of the British aristocracy, the introduction to Cobden et la Ligue, ou l'Agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce, by Fred. Bastiat.
[83.]According to Bentham, no system of rewards is more costly than that which consists in according titles of nobility as a payment for services rendered the state. The following are the reasons given by the illustrious utilitarian philosopher for his opinion: "It is commonly said that rewards in honors cost the state nothing. This is an error; for not only do honors render services dearer, but moreover there are burdens which can not be estimated in money. All honor supposes some pre-eminence. Among individuals placed on a level of equality, some can not be favored by a degree of elevation, except by making others suffer by a relative abasement. This is true, above all, of permanent honors, of those which confer rank and privileges. There are two classes of persons at whose expense these honors are conferred: the class from which the new dignitary is taken, and the class into which he is introduced. The more, for example, the number of the nobles is increased, the more their importance is diminished and the more the value of their order is detracted from—Profusion of honors has the two-fold disadvantage of debasing them and of causing also pecuniary expenses. If a peerage is given, a pension must frequently be added to it. If only to maintain the dignity of it.
—It is thus that the hereditary nobility has raised the rate of all rewards. If a simple citizen has rendered brilliant services, it is necessary to begin by taking from the common class and raising him to the rank of nobility. But nobility without an independent settlement is only a burden. Therefore it is necessary to add to it gratuities and pensions. The reward becomes so great, so onerous, that it can not be paid all at once. It is necessary to make of it a burden, with which posterity is loaded. It is true that posterity must pay in part for the services, the fruits of which it shares; but if there were no noble by birth, personal nobility would be sufficient. Among the Greeks a pine branch or a handful of parsley, among the Romans a few laurel leaves, rewarded a hero.
—Fortunate Americans, fortunate for so many reasons, if, to have happiness, it is sufficient to possess all that constitutes happiness! This advantage is still yours. Respect the simplicity of your manners and customs; take care never to admit an hereditary nobility. The patrimony of merit would soon become that of birth. Give pensions, raise statutes, confer titles; but let these distinctions be personal. Preserve all the force, all the purity of honor; do not alienate that precious fund of the state in favor of a haughty class, which will not be slow in using it against you." (Théorie des récompenses et des peines, book ii., chap. 5.
Footnotes for NORWAY
John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein Chapter: PROTECTION. RESTRICTIONS UPON FREEDOM OF EXCHANGE
Accessed from oll.libertyfund.org/title/971/63521 on 2009-05-06
The text is in the public domain.
PROTECTION. RESTRICTIONS UPON FREEDOM OF EXCHANGE. I. Fiscal Duties or Duties for Revenue only. Notwithstanding the evident advantages of freedom of exchange, it has been restricted by two kinds of measures, fiscal and prohibitory ones. We shall first consider the former.
—It is easy to conceive how exchanges came to be restricted with a view to the wants of the treasury. As soon as avenues of communication began to be opened and exchanges to multiply governments began to perceive that it was both possible and profitable to tax articles which found a market through the new ways. At first the tax was a simple toll for meeting the expense of maintaining the roads worn by the transportation of merchandise: soon it served also to reimburse the treasury for other public services, among which may be counted the security afforded those making the exchanges. But, in imposing a tax of this kind, the end in view was not the restriction of trade, it was simply to procure as much money as possible for the treasury, and this fiscal end could not be attained without trade being hampered thereby.
—Unfortunately, a good financial course was rarely adopted. In the middle ages, for example, every country was divided up into a multitude of little seignories or chatellanies, whose proprietors arrogated to themselves the right of taxing the exchanges within their territorial limits. These artificial obstacles, being interposed in addition to the natural obstacle of distance, resulted in such an interception of the exchanges as prevented the extension of trade. Consequently, the industries, being confined to the chatellany or the commune for a market, long remained in an undeveloped state. As the means of production could not be developed, wealth and civilization made no progress, save on the seacoasts and along the great rivers, where fewer obstacles impeded free circulation.
—Later, the feudal system having disappeared, the number of tolls was diminished, and there was at the same time augmented security of communication. The sphere of the exchanges at once became enlarged, a better division of labor became possible, and public wealth developed as if by enchantment. The establishment of the uniform tariff of Colbert in France, and the abolition of internal customs duties by the constituent assembly, contributed greatly to these results.
—In our day the octroi and excise duties, river tolls, tonnage duties, etc., in Europe, which directly affect the circulation of supplies, have a purely fiscal character. Until better means have been found for providing for the public expenses, or until the offices for which the tax furnishes the salaries are by degrees relegated to the domain of private industry, it will be difficult to find a substitute for these taxes. It is only to be regretted that they have become so numerous and are so exorbitant; for, by their excess, they hinder the growth of trade, retard progress in the division of labor, and consequently prevent, in no small degree, an increase of revenue to the treasury.
—Notwithstanding the hindrance to the development of trade, resulting from the establishment of fiscal taxes, the principle of these taxes can not be assailed. If they restrict the sphere of the exchanges, it is inevitable; but their object is not to restrict.
—II. Protective or Prohibitory Duties. Their character and effects. Protective or prohibitory duties have an entirely different character. These are established with direct view to limiting the sphere of exchange. They restrict in order to restrict. The governments which have persistently imposed them, apparently with the idea that the organization and development of the exchanges could not be safely left to the rule of Providence, have interposed "to regulate the matter." We shall see whether these organizers of the exchanges were well inspired. But let us first ascertain what are the defenses of the protective system.
—Considered as a whole, the protective or prohibitory system includes two kinds of impediments, viz., prohibitions or protective duties on the importation of merchandise, and prohibitions on its export. It includes also premiums awarded to the exporters or importers of certain classes of supplies. Finally, it has served as a basis for the colonial system, as well as for tariff agreements or commercial treaties.
—Prohibitions or protective duties imposed on imported merchandise, have for their object to favor the development of certain branches of national production at the expense of the same industries in foreign countries.
—Prohibitions against exporting are sometimes imposed in order to keep certain supplies, essential to the industries or to national consumption, at a low price, or to restrict foreign industries or foreign consumption.
—Premiums on export are pecuniary encouragement awarded to certain branches of national industry at the expense of other branches. Sometimes their object is to hasten the development of an industry deemed necessary, or to counteract the protective duties imposed by foreign countries. Sometimes, again, they are imposed simply as a remedy for a sudden panic. The drawbacks are premiums to reimburse the exporter of a manufactured product, for the tax paid on the raw materials imported. Premiums on importation are ordinarily of a transient character, in past times they were sometimes employed in cases of dearth, for example, to encourage the importation of food supplies.
—Customs agreements and commercial treaties are partial and temporary breaches of prohibitory tariffs, in favor of certain nations with which it is desired to maintain especially friendly relations.
—Prohibitions or protective taxes on importation constitute the principle weapon of the system. To obtain a clear idea of the manner in which they operate, let us take an example. Suppose the nation A annually furnishes the nation B a thousand tons of spun cotton. Why does B buy this cotton of A instead of spinning it itself? Because the manufactories of A are so situated and organized as to produce spun cotton in better quality and at lower price than manufactories in B could possibly do: because the nation A is more advantageously situated in respect to the conditions for the manufacture of cotton. If it were not so, cotton would be manufactured in B as well as in A. But here a statesman of B persuades himself that it would be useful to "ravish" this industry from the foreigner, and that the importation of cotton thread should be interdicted. Suppose this statesman can prevent the people of B from receiving the thousand tons of cotton which had been annually furnished them by A, as is possible if the frontier is easy to guard, and is provided with a sufficient number of proved and well-paid officers. Suppose he also promotes the erection of a certain number of mills in B for spinning cotton. Can he place these spinning mills under conditions of production as favorable as those of the mills of A? Can he cause cotton to be spun as well and as economically as in A? No; for he is not master of the natural conditions of cotton production: these he can not change. All he can do, is to prevent cotton which has been spun at low cost from entering B. There his power stops. The nation B now ceases to be "invaded" (this is the consecrated term of the prohibitionist's vocabulary) by the thousand tons of spun cotton from A. It makes its own cotton; but this cotton costs more than that of A, and is of a poorer quality; and less of it is consequently consumed. Before prohibition, the consumption of B took a thousand tons of spun cotton; after prohibition, it no longer takes more than six or seven tenths of this quantity; whence results a diminution, by this difference, in the total production of cotton. Suppose, now, that the nation A imitates the course of B, and prohibits, for example, the importation of spun flax, which it formerly received in exchange for its supplies of cotton. Flax will begin to be spun in A; but as it will be spun at greater cost than in B, and not so well, the total production of linen will in turn be diminished. Less will be produced by both nations, though with as great or greater expenditure of effort than before; and one country will not be as well provided with linen, and the other with cotton.
—At the time when this mischievous policy became the law in international relations, and every nation was trying to "ravish" manufactures from foreigners, a very spirited pamphlet was published in England, under the title "Monkey Economists." A vignette representing a barrack of monkeys served as a frontispiece. Half a dozen monkeys, placed in separate compartments, were coming to receive their regular allowance; but, instead of each one peaceably consuming the portion allotted him by his keeper, these animals were each maliciously attempting to "ravish" the portions of their neighbors, without perceiving that the latter were engaged in the same operation. Thus every one exerted himself to the utmost to obtain by stealth that which could have been easily found directly before him; and the common fund of subsistence was diminished by all that was wasted or lost in the scramble.
—Exactly such has been the conduct of governments which have adopted the errors of the prohibitory system. They have neglected the wealth which Providence bestowed upon them, to purloin that which had been allotted to their neighbors. They have, by their mischievous jealousy, rendered production more difficult and less abundant: they have retarded the growth of prosperity among the people. A statesman who imposes a prohibitory or protective duty, acts precisely the reverse of an inventor who discovers a new process for rendering production more economical and more perfect: he invents a way to render production more expensive and not so good: he invents a process which compels people to forsake fertile lands and productive mines, to cultivate bad lands and work poor mines. He is the reverse of an inventor: he is the agent of barbarism, as an inventor is the agent of civilization.
—This becomes still more evident when we examine the influence of the prohibitory régime on progress in the industries. Division of labor is the chief element of a low-priced market; the more labor is divided, the more the expense of production is reduced, and the more, consequently, prices are reduced. The demonstrations of Adam Smith on this point have become classical. But on what conditions can labor become more and more subdivided? On condition that it can find a continually widening market. "As it is the power of exchanging," said Adam Smith ("Wealth of Nations," book i., chap. iii.), "that gives occasion to the division of labor, so the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in other words, by the extent of market. * * It is impossible that there should be such a trade as that of a nailer in the remote and inland parts of the highlands of Scotland. Such a workman at the rate of a thousand nails a day, and three hundred working days in a year, will make three hundred thousand nails in a year. But in such a situation, it would be impossible to dispose of one thousand, that is, of one day's work, in a year." Division of labor, then, can be extended only as the market is increased. Hence everything that narrows the market must inevitably retard division of labor and industrial progress. Now, by systematically taking away from the most favored industries a part of their market, the prohibitory system compels manufacturers to reduce their scale of production, and to divide labor less. In cotton manufacture, for example, it would oblige the spinners to spin coarse and fine numbers at the same time, instead of confining themselves to a few numbers or to one alone. Thus production would become more costly and less perfect. It is true, however, that if prohibition contracts the business of the established firms, it gives rise to new ones. But what is the situation of these? Placed, relatively to their rivals, in unfavorable condition of production, they can not create a sale for their products outside of their own country. Now, this market is limited. An effort is made, it is true, to remedy its insufficiency by establishing premiums on exports, which will permit the protected industries to compete in the markets of their rivals. But, this proceeding being extremely costly and manifestly unjust, it can be employed only to a limited degree. On the one side, then, the industry situated under favorable natural conditions is injured; and on the other, establishments which prohibition has made to spring up artificially, find themselves so situated that they can not extend their market without imposing the most onerous sacrifices on the nation. Thus the artificial breaking up of the markets, occasioned by the prohibitory régime, has everywhere retarded division of labor, diminished progress in the industries, and at the same time perpetuated high prices.
—This is not all. High prices are not the only evil which the prohibitory régime has perpetuated, if not engendered. To this evil may be added another not less disastrous, viz., instability. The industries which prohibition makes spring up under unfavorable economic conditions, are continually exposed to fatal lesions. Let the prohibitory duty which permits their existence become lowered, or surveillance be less guarded on the frontiers, and they will infallibly be deprived of a part of their trade. They then suffer all the disasters which are consequent on industrial panics, and their very existence is compromised. They resemble those hot-house plants which perish as soon as one ceases to supply them with the fuel necessary to maintain their artificial existence. The condition of the national industries is no longer secure. They have nothing to fear, it is true, for their home market, for they are so situated as to defy foreign competition; but the markets they have been able to create abroad are essentially precarious. At any moment prohibition may take from them these markets, on which their existence in part depends. The prohibitory régime, then, causes production to be accompanied by risk, and this inevitably has a disastrous effect on the growth of industries as well as on the condition of the workman.
—Prohibitory taxes on exports are generally less important than others, but their effects are no more salutary. When recourse has been has to them, it has usually been in order to prevent or to restrict the exportation of articles of subsistence and certain raw materials essential to the industries of a country. Let us see how they operate. Two cases may occur: 1st, where the production of the article whose export is interfered with, is limited by nature; 2d, where it may be indefinitely increased. In the former case, which is the more rare, prohibition acts at first simply as a tax levied upon certain producers for the benefit of certain consumers. Suppose, for example, the French government should prohibit the export of the choicest French wines. What would result? It is not probable that a smaller quantity of these would be produced; but the producers, obliged henceforth to offer their whole vintage of these choice wines in the home market, would no longer derive as much profit from them. They would suffer for the benefit of a certain class of French consumers. Such would be the near effect of the imposition of the prohibitory duty. But the consumers would have to suffer in their turn. The best wines being taxed for the benefit of home consumers, the production of fine wines would be discouraged. No attempt would be made to improve the inferior wines, lest they should also be taxed. The home consumers would obtain, it is true, the best wines at a lower price; but they would have to renounce the advantages they might have received from an improvement in the inferior wines. The final result of it all would be that they would be more poorly provided with fine wines, and would have to pay more for them.
—In the second case, i.e., where production may be indefinitely increased, prohibition on export would be at once followed by diminished production of the prohibited article. If the latter were, for example, wheat or any other article of food, or silk, flax, or raw hemp, the production of these articles would be gradually reduced until it was proportioned to the market. Prices would doubtless fall greatly in the meantime; but they would again rise. In fact, the diminished market would compel producers to restrict their operations; and those who produced on a small scale, no longer being able to divide their labor so efficiently, would eventually be driven from the market, because production would have become more costly to them. The remaining producers then having the monopoly, might raise prices so that the consumer would in the end suffer from a measure originally intended for his benefit. But if the object of the prohibition is to deprive a rival industry of its necessary material, this selfish measure will result in encouraging the production of a similar article abroad. Thus England, by putting a high export duty on coal, contributed to the development of mineral production in Belgium.
—To sum up, then, high prices on the one hand, and instability on the other, result from the prohibitory régime; the high prices arising from the bad conditions of production in which this régime places the industries, and the obstacle in interposes to division of labor, when it does not cause a monopoly; and the instability resulting from modifications in the tariffs, which continually produce panics in the markets.
—III. Causes which have led to the establishment of the Protective or Prohibitory Régime. It must seem astonishing that a system so clearly disastrous to the people, so opposed to progress in wealth and civilization, could have become established. Its origin must be principally attributed to certain circumstances inherent in the condition of barbarism and war in the midst of which it arose. Nations, which had been from their commencement hostile to each other, and almost continually at war, could not exchange their products in any permanent or regular manner. Each was obliged to provide for itself most of the articles of its consumption. War then acted as an artificial obstacle added to the natural obstacle of distances. When peace succeeded war, this artificial obstacle disappeared. Unfortunately, its removal was only accidental and temporary: a new war soon arose, when the obstacle reappeared at once. Let us endeavor to obtain an idea of the precise effect which sudden changes of this sort might have on the state of production. Suppose two nations, C and D, the first supplying the second with woolen goods while receiving in exchange silk goods. A war arises, and exchanges are immediately interrupted. The consumers of D can no longer receive the woolen goods which the producers of C had been accustomed to furnish them. The consumers of C are deprived, in their turn, of the silk goods they were having from D. Meanwhile, the demand continues, on the one side for wool goods, on the other for silk. This, then, is what will probably happen. The manufacturers of woolen goods in C, whom the war has deprived of their market, will begin to produce silks, and the manufacturers of silks in D will set about producing woolen goods. Each nation will thus succeed in obtaining as before the war, the goods it needs. To be sure, the conditions will be less favorable. The silks which C will manufacture will probably be dearer and not so good as those with which it provided itself in D. The wool goods which D will make will probably be inferior to those it procured in C; but, on both sides, it will be found more advantageous to employ the capital and the labor whose market the war has cut off, than to leave them idle; on both sides, also, people will prefer to pay a higher price for the goods they need, then to do without them. The war, as we see, compels a change of place of certain industries, to their injury. It ruins the most vigorous branches of production, those which had been able to create an outside market, to substitute for them artificial industries which only the interruption of international communication can make subsist. But peace comes in time: and the protection which the war gave C in the manufacture of silks, and D in the manufacture of woolen goods, at once vanishes. It is evident that these war industries must succumb, unless an equivalent obstacle is substituted for the war, in order to protect them. If the condition of the world is such that the peace can be lasting, it will most assuredly be better to let them succumb, and thus permit production, to resume its natural place; but if war is the natural condition of communities, if peace intervenes only as a short truce, perhaps it will be preferable to renounce relations whose precarious existence is a continual occasion of disastrous perturbations. Prohibition will then appear as a veritable insurance premium granted the industries to which war has given rise, and whose maintenance it was rendered necessary.
—Thus, for example, the prohibitory system became considerably extended in Europe and America at the close of the continental war. During the war the general interruption of communication had led to the establishment of a certain number of industries under bad economic conditions. When the war ceased, the manufacturers loudly demanded that the impediment of prohibition be substituted for that of war, to protect them. Governments hastened to defer to their demand. This was unquestionably a great mistake; for, at a time when peace has become the normal condition of communities, prohibition is no longer anything but a costly anachronism. In this new situation it costs less to suffer the perturbations which a temporary war may cause in international relations, than to pay a heavy war premium for twenty or thirty years to avoid them. However, one can conceive how the prohibitory régime should have come to prevail to a certain degree at the close of a war which convulsed the world for a quarter of a century, and made communities retrograde toward barbarism. On the other hand, it is more difficult to comprehend how this was régime could have been extended and made worse, as it was, long after peace had become established. This is connected with certain effects of prohibition, of which it is important to take account.
—We have spoken above of a statesman who should establish prohibitions or protective duties as the reverse of an inventor. Let us pursue the comparison, and we shall discover the motives which have contributed to extend and make more burdensome the prohibitory régime in time of peace. Suppose that an inventor discovers a process which permits a saving of 10 per cent, in the cost of production of a certain article: by lowering the price of that article 5 per cent, he will obtain an advantage over his competitors, and realize besides a good profit. This profit is the difference between the saving effected and the amount by which the price has been lowered, and constitutes the remuneration for the invention. Now, what takes places when a prohibitory duty is imposed? An artificial deficit is immediately produced in the market, and this deficit brings about an increase in the price. A certain article which was procured at an average price of twenty cents, for example, can no longer be obtained under thirty cents. This is an artificial enhancement by one-half, and is caused by the rupture of communication between the foreign producers and the home consumers. Suppose the prohibited article could be produced in the country at an average price of twenty-two cents: capital would be invested in that new industry; for it would receive, besides the ordinary profits of other branches of production, an extraordinary premium equal to eight cents. This premium would result from the difference between the price at which the article can be produced in the country, and the artificial price which prohibition has created. It is then manifest that if the profits of invention are based on the lowering of prices, those of prohibition are based in just the same way on their enhancement.
—But is the extraordinary premium arising from prohibition lasting? Must not the profits in the protected industries finally fall to the level of those in other branches of production, as a result of home competition? That will depend on the nature of the protected industry. If the industry is one whose essential elements are not limited in the country, the premium will have only a temporary character; for new manufactories will be established with a view of obtaining the premium as long as it shall continue. Home competition will then lower prices so much as to destroy the premium. Sometimes even the increase of the protected industry will not stop at its necessary limit, and prices will suddenly fall below the expenses of production. The result will be a panic, which will swallow up a good part of the profits from the premium which enhanced prices. Prices will afterward rise again; but the protected industry will have ceased to realize profits greater than those of other branches of production. Its patent will have expired, to use an apt phrase of Mr. Huskisson. It will be otherwise if the protected industry is not capable of unlimited extension; if it is, for example, grain culture in a country where land adapted to raising wheat is scarce, or the production of coal, iron, or lead, in countries where mineral deposits are rare. In such cases, the enhanced price may be obtained for any length of time. If prohibition has increased the price from twenty to thirty, the supply will be sufficiently small not only to maintain this price, but even to increase it gradually with the increase of population and public wealth. Then the holders of natural protected monopolies, such as land or mines, will see their profits increase every year; they will continually grow rich without having to take the least trouble.
—But, whether the premium which enhances prices be lasting or temporary, the allurement of that premium is sufficient, and more than sufficient, to multiply prohibitions. What more tempting, in fact? While money is so difficult to win under the abominable law of competition, here is a process discovered, by the aid of which one can grow rich by turning over his hand. Who would not hasten to use and to abuse so marvelous a process? Who would not manage to work the machine to manufacture premiums, until the exhaustion of the material? To be sure, these premiums can be obtained only at the cost of the ruin or impoverishment of others; they constitute a manifest spoliation, a veritable brigandage. But does one stop for such slight considerations when a fortune is in question? Besides, is not this spoliation legal? Is not this brigandage consecrated by the practice of all civilized nations? Is it not universally admitted that one may confiscate, by means of a simple statute, the trade of a foreign industry, and impose on the "protected nation" an extra tax to enhance the price, payable into the hands of the beneficiaries of the confiscated trade?
—Meanwhile, theorists are taking it into their head to denounce so unjust and disastrous a violation of property rights. They demand liberty of the exchanges, invoking justice and urging the interests of the masses. But there is no embarrassment in replying to these theorists. In the first place, they are accused of propounding a theory; and, in the eyes of many people, the accusation is enough to condemn them. Then, search is made in the old arsenal of popular errors and favorite prejudices, for all sorts of redoubtable weapons which people use to crush so pernicious a theory. By the same reasoning that caused inventors in former times to be persecuted and derided, the promoters of freedom of the exchanges are treated as dangerous dreamers, while the supporters of the prohibitory régime are considered as benefactors of humanity.
—The list is long of the sophisms which have been employed to disguise the true motives for the raising of custom house barriers since the establishment of a general peace. Often, it is true, these sophisms were employed in good faith by persons who thought, that, by enriching themselves by means of the international depredations of prohibition, they were contributing to the greatness and prosperity of their native land. Almost always, too, ignorance of sound economic nations has been so general, that the act of profiting by premiums which raised prices while establishing an industry contrary to nature, was considered, even by the victims of prohibition, as a work of patriotic devotion. We do not intend to take up all the sophisms which have been forged to justify prohibition and glorify the prohibitionists. This would be an endless task. We shall confine ourselves to a review of those most frequently employed.
—IV. Review of the Sophisms of Protectionists. 1. That a nation should not allow itself to become dependent on foreign countries, especially for articles of prime necessity. This argument was the most important of those which were brought forward by English prohibitionists against the free traders who advocated the repeal of the corn laws. "Is is not," they said, "renouncing our political independence, to put ourselves under the necessity of having recourse to foreigners for the means of subsistence? Would not a nation from which its enemies cut off supplies be obliged to surrender at discretion?" But what more chimerical than such an apprehension? When two nations effect exchanges, is not the dependence which results from them mutual? If England depends for the means of subsistence on Russia, France and the United States, do not these three countries in their turn depend upon England for their supplies of iron, coal, cotton goods, wool fabrics, etc.? Besides, even if England should become embroiled with most of the nations which supply her with grain, could she not, for a small advance in price, supply the deficit from other nations? Did not the gigantic folly of the continental blockade demonstrate the impossibility of commercially isolating a powerful nation? And as to a small nation, do not the commercial relations which such a nation establishes abroad furnish it with new guarantees of independence, by attaching to its cause all the interests which it has been able to conjoin to its own?
—One of the most brilliant orators of the anti-corn law league in England, Mr. W. J. Fox, shows up with marvelous skill the superannuated character of the argument for independence of foreigners, in the following celebrated passage: "Independence of foreigners," he says, "is the favorite theme of the aristocracy. But surely the squire is not consistent when he exclaims against foreign supplies. Let us examine his life. A French cook dresses his dinner, and a Swiss valet dresses him for his dinner. The lady whom he hands from the drawing room, is adorned with pearls which never grew within the shell of a British oyster, and the feathers which nod in her plume belonged to no barnyard fowl. The viands of his table come from Belgium, his wines from the Rhine or the Rhone. His eyes are delighted with flowers from South America, and his nose with a leaf from North America. His horse is Arabian, and his favorite dog of the St. Bernard breed. His gallery is enriched with Flemish paintings and Greek statues. Does he seek diversion? He goes to hear Italian singers, singing German music, all followed by a French ballet. Does he rise to judicial honors? The ermine which decorates his shoulders was never before on the back of a British beast. His mind even is a picnic of exotic contributions. His philosophy and poetry come from Greece and Rome, his geometry from Alexandria, his arithmetic from Arabia, and his religion from Palestine. His infant teeth were pressed on coral from the Indian ocean; and when he dies, sculptured marble from the quarries of Carrara will adorn his tomb! And this is the man who says, 'Let us be independent of foreigners!'"
—2. That a nation should avoid large purchases from foreign countries, in order to prevent an exhaustion of its stock of money. Here we see the old sophism of balance of trade. This sophism, formerly on every one's lips, is now much less employed, English protectionists, in particular, seeming ashamed of using it. That an argument, formerly so general, should have become thus discredited, is due to several causes: in the first place, to the deadly war the economists have waged against the doctrine of balance of trade; then, to the decrease in the relative importance of importations and exportations of money in transactions between people of different nations; finally, to experience, which successively demonstrated that the suppression of custom house barriers between the different provinces of France, between England and Ireland, and between the states of the Zollverein, was followed by none of the monetary disasters predicted by the advocates of the mercantile theory. However, the prejudice has not disappeared; and so long as the laws of monetary circulation are not commonly understood, it will be possible to stir up the masses against freedom of exchange, by alarming them with the phantom of an exhaustion of the supply of money. (See BALANCE OF TRADE.)
—3. That it is necessary to have protective duties, as a compensation for the taxes imposed on home industries. If the English protectionists made little use of the sophism about the exhaustion of money, they made, on the other hand, abundant use of that on compensatory duties. "The English farmers," they said, "bear taxes more numerous and more severe than those of Russian farmers. Is it not just to make compensation for the difference, by a protective duty? Is it not just to equalize the conditions of home production with those of the foreign?" Now, in the first place, do these differences in the figures of the taxes always signify what they seem to signify? It was certainly true that the English farmers did pay more taxes that their Russian competitors. But did they not also enjoy more complete security and freedom? Were they not better protected against spoliation and despotism? and was not this greater liberty and security fully an equivalent for the greater taxes they had to pay? In the second place, can protection really compensate for the burdens which excessive taxation imposes on production? Protect home agriculture in a country like England, under the pretext that it is more encumbered by taxes than its rivals, and you will doubtless provide a compensation to farmers, by permitting them to increase the price of their products. But upon whom will fall the burden from which you have relieved them? Upon all the other branches of production, which will pay more dearly for their raw materials and the means of subsistence for their workmen. What is gained on one side is lost on another. Unless a way can be found by which a tax which enters the treasury can be paid by nobody, compensatory duties can not relieve production. Now, if they can neither destroy nor diminish the evil necessarily connected with the existence of every tax, of what use is it to change the place of the evil?
—4. That home labor must be protected, to prevent the number of employments diminishing in consequence of foreign competition, and thus to guarantee the means of subsistence to the workmen. This sophism is worthy of notice, because it gives prohibition the attractive appearance of philanthropy. If landholders and manufacturers loudly demand prohibitory legislation, it is not a realize extraordinary profits at the expense of their rivals; O no! it is only to secure work and good wages for the workmen of their country; it is to keep the laboring classes from the sad results of unlimited competition, etc., etc. But if such were the only aim of the prohibitionists, would they confine themselves to interdicting products from abroad? Would they not prohibit, above all, the importation of foreign workmen who come into competition with their own? Do we, however, observe that they abstain from employing foreign workmen, even at the times when they most energetically plead the necessity of protecting "home labor"? No: they have no scruples of this sort. There is a striking contradiction between their argument and their conduct. (See EMIGRATION.) Now, is it true that the prohibitory system increases the number of places in which men can be employed, in the country? Let us see. We have observed that prohibitions have just the opposite effect on prices from that produced by new machines; that by inducing certain industries to put themselves in bad economic conditions, and by impeding progress in division of labor, they bring about increase of prices, while new machines cause reduced prices. Now, do machines diminish the number of men employed in production? Does not experience, on the contrary, attest that their final result has been to increase it, by the general increase of consumption? Are there not to-day, for instance, more men employed in the cotton industry, than there were before the steam engine and the mule jenny had transformed that industry? A man who should propose to break the spinning machines and the looms of to-day, to replace them by the spinning wheel and the hand loom, in order to give more chances for employing workmen, would justly be deemed insane. But if new machines result at last in an increase in the number of persons employed, must not prohibition diminish the number? If we took at the interests of the working classes, in what respect are the errors of the prohibitionists better than those of the destroyers of machines?
—By making the cost greater, the prohibitory system diminishes consumption, and consequently production, and the number of opportunities for employment. This is how it protects home labor. But does it not, at least, tend to give it more stability? Does it not afford security to the work man against industrial panics, as the prohibitionists affirm? or is the contrary the case? We have already seen that the prohibitory system, by putting industries at the mercy of the changing opinions of legislators, has introduced a constant condition of instability in all branches of production: we have seen that tariff changes are likely to engender industrial panics. Must not the dreadful crises which have so painfully affected the subsistence of workmen, be attributed to the incessant perturbations which the prohibitory system has occasioned in the markets? The history of modern industry gives us strange lessons on this subject. One may read on its every page of the cruel evils which this system for "protecting national labor" has brought upon the laboring classes. (See PAUPERISM.)
—5. That nationality should be made the basis of the system of exchanges. This argument was the basis of Dr. List's national system of political economy. But in studying the history of the formation of states, and examining into the elements which constitute them, one readily perceives that nationality can not serve as a basis to a system of exchanges. States have been formed, for the most part, by conquest, and enlarged either by royal alliances, by wars, or by diplomacy. No economic consideration has controlled their formation. When the map of Europe was made over at the congress of Vienna, for example, did any one consult the interests of the industries and the commerce of the peoples whose nationality they were changing? Did any one ask whether the situation of the Rhine provinces and of the other countries which were then separated from the French empire, rendered that separation advantageous or injurious to the countries concerned? No: the question was not even mooted. Political considerations and diplomatic intrigues alone decided the new configuration of the states. Why should an attempt he made to establish a national system of exchanges based on pretended economic necessities, in states whose formation was controlled by no economic views, states of which the chances of war and of alliances alone decided the boundaries? Is it not the height of absurdity to transform these boundaries, which the hazard of events has alone determined, and which it may enlarge or contract to-morrow, into rational limits of the exchanges? Is not an economic system founded on a political basis and politically modifiable, a monstrosity which good sense objects?
—6. If the protective system did not exist, it would perhaps be well not to invent it; but to attempt to destroy it to-day would be to pronounce a death sentence on a multitude of industries, to occasion ruinous displacements of capital and of labor, etc., etc. We have pointed out above the striking analogy between the setting up of a new machine and the suppression of a prohibition. The result of each is to substitute a good market for a high-priced one, and abundance for penury. But all progress, from whatever source, is accompanied by some disturbance. Must we renounce a permanent advantage, to avoid this transient disturbance? Must we give up new machines, new methods, new ideas, under pretense that they disturb the old machines, the old methods, the old ideas? Shall we immobilize humanity, to prevent some change of employments? Let us hear Dr. Bowring on this subject, in his speech at the congress of economists, at Bruxelles, in 1847, where he admirably refuted this paralytic objection: "The displacement of capital," he said, "the displacement of capital! Why, it is a sign of progress. Has not the plow displaced the spade? What became of the copyists after the invention of printing? * * We formerly had thousands of little boats on the Thames: what has become of them, now that the Thames is furrowed by hundreds of steamboats? But are not the interests of the workman himself subserved by so rapid and economical means of transportation? The first time I ever went to London I had to pay four shillings to go from one part of the city to the other: to-day I make the same trip fox six pence; and if you ask how this has been brought about, I answer: by the displacement of labor and capital. This displacement may be found everywhere. I was born in a town which figures in the commercial history of my country. I have seen there, at Exeter, an entire industry, the woolen industry, abandoned. I have seen, in the port of that city, ships from all countries, and have heard my ancestors speak of their relations with most distant lands. But so soon as steam was introduced into manufactories, fuel being dear in that part of the country, the industry removed to where it was cheap. Well, capital was displaced; but the population has nevertheless increased. When I left Exeter the population was 25,000 inhabitants; now it is 40,000. The workmen have taken up other employments. But what has displaced labor? What has displaced capital? What has displaced industries? What has put them on a false basis? What has built upon sand? Prohibition. What, we ask, is to found the industries on a rock which can not be moved?"
—But do the displacements which the substitution of free exchanges for prohibition may occasion, occur on so large a scale as has been attributed to them? Would the advent of free trade become the signal for the ruin of a multitude of industries? Would one see entire countries deserted for others, as the prohibition pessimists affirm? Observation and experience agree in contradicting these gloomy predictions. The London exposition convinced the most prejudiced minds that the great industries of the various countries of Europe were in a nearly equal state of advancement, and that no people possessed a decidedly marked superiority over their rivals. "The crystal palace," says Michel Chevalier, in his interesting letters on the London exposition, "is a good place to prove this similarity, this fraternity, this equality of the industries of the principal nations of western civilization It is manifest there, it forces itself upon our attention. When I go from the English department to the French, thence to that occupied by the Zollverein, or to the Swiss, or the Belgian, or the Dutch, I find articles of nearly equal merit, which give evidence of nearly the same aptitude and experience, and at nearly the same prices. This is more especially manifest in regard to England and France, especially if we take the trouble to complete our exhibit at London by recalling the articles we had in Marigny Square in 1849, of which the abused producers refused to send specimens to London. In thus speaking of equality, I do not mean that the productions of the principal nations are identical, on the contrary, they are diverse, they have their peculiar stamp. They reveal special industrial aptitudes, a distinct originality, but they manifest a nearly equal degree of advancement. If one is surpassed in one kind of articles, it is first in another, perhaps similar and equally difficult: and we can not doubt, that, with a little incentive, each nation could equal the one which excels it in any particular product. If prime materials were equally cheap everywhere (and they would be if the legislators of certain countries would abolish the wholly artificial causes of high prices which it has pleased them to multiply), the expense at which the manufactured articles could be produced would be nearly the same, and the several countries would have markets about equally low priced."
—A well-known French manufacturer, Jean Dolfus, corroborated the statements of Chevalier, and showed how the prohibitory régime had resulted in preventing the cotton industry in France from adopting improvements in machinery. "We do not," he says, "keep pace with England in industrial progress. Ten years ago they commenced there to substitute machines which twist the thread on the pirn without the aid of a workman for the old spinning machines: today, for certain numbers, no other machines exist. All have been obliged to adopt the improvement. With us, on the contrary, people still make money while using very antiquated machines; and the sum appropriated to compensate for the annual depreciations, at least in the spinning of cotton, is scarcely necessary, for it is not generally employed to improve the machines. Why have not the improvements adopted in England become necessary in France? Because all remain in the old way, and continue to make spun goods that could be manufactured at much less expense, by a little additional outlay. My house has a spinning mill of 25,000 spindles, 20,000 of which are for calico: it could, by replacing its looms, a part of which are nearly forty years old, spin a kilogramme twenty centimes cheaper than it does to-day: but home competition is not sufficient to compel them to do it. Is not this conclusive? Who pays the twenty centimes? The consumer, the country. The committee for the protection of national labor did not think it best to change our looms, because many spinners might thus be thrown out of employment. But can we with impunity resist progress thus? On this principle we should return to the spinning wheel, and regret all the mechanical progress realized for the last fifty years. If spinning can be done more economically, consumption will increase; more cotton goods will be sold, more machines will be constructed, and more labor will be needed." (See the corroborative testimony of D. A. Wells, when a special tariff commissioner of the United States government, showing how the protective tariff has operated in the United States to keep in use inferior machines long since discarded in England.
—E. J. L.)
—Thus, in the view of manufacturers themselves, the prohibitory régime retards production. Let this régime be abolished, and every industry which is located under favourable natural conditions will inevitably become considerably extended. It will doubtless then be necessary to exercise more intelligence, activity and energy, in order to preserve and increase one's trade; for freedom of exchange is not so easy a couch as prohibition. Every industry would be at once obliged to employ every new improvement to keep up with its rivals. But would not humanity as a whole profit by the great impulse production would have received? Would not people be more abundantly provided with all things, and their minds kept active by necessity, become more accessible to light? Necessity is a powerful incentive to progress, and the chief result of freedom of exchange will be to render progress more and more necessary. Look for example, at British agriculture. How many times the prohibitionists had predicted that it could not endure the competition of the United States, Poland and Russia! How many times they had depicted its fields devastated, its laborers ruined and dispersed by the storm of free trade, and old England, deprived of this main-stay of her power, disappearing from the list of nations! Well, the corn laws have been abolished, free trade is enthroned, and what has become of British agriculture? Has it sunk in the storm? Has its capital been destroyed, and its fields submerged by the "deluge of foreign grain"? Have proprietors and farmers carried into effect their threat to emigrate to America, abandoning their fields to the thorn and the briar? No. Scarcely had the corn laws been repealed, when the agriculturists, redoubling their efforts, made improvement the order of the day on every hand. The old instruments and the old methods were abandoned; and agriculture, so long given over to routine, took rank among the most progressive industries. Thus transformed under the strong pressure of foreign competition, it now laughs at the phantom which formerly gave it apprehension. And this was an industry which was to be infallibly ruined by free trade!
—Observing, then, as Chevalier and Blanqui did at the universal exposition at London, the condition of the industries of the civilized world, and investigating carefully the results already obtained by tariff reforms, one becomes convinced that the ruinous displacements of production, the destruction of protected industries, and so many other calamities, which, according to the prohibitionists, were inevitably to accompany the advent of liberty of the exchanges, were vain phantoms. One also acquires the conviction, that the adoption of free trade would strengthen and develop industries, instead of compromising and ruining them.
—Here we terminate our review of the sophisms of the prohibitionists, although the subject is far from exhausted. But these unsound arguments have been refuted by all the economists in succession since Adam Smith and Turgot. An especially lively and satirical refutation of them will be found in Bastiat's Sophismes Economiques, to which we refer our readers.
—V. Conclusion. Freedom of exchanges tends to produce a cheaper market and to favor stability. Should it become permanently established, the industries, having no restriction as to market, would have all the development of which they are capable. At the same time they would acquire a maximum of stability, by ceasing to be based on a precarious foundation. To the high prices and instability inherent in the artificial régime, would succeed a return to the order instituted by Providence. Now, is it chimerical to count on progress so beneficent? Is free trade an economic ideal which we are interdicted from attaining? Is it a pure utopia, a humanitarian dream, as the defenders of prohibition affirm? Observe the signs of the times, and then reply. Is not one of the most absorbing interests of our time, the improvement of means of intercommunication? Are not all civilized nations multiplying railroads, electric telegraphs, and other means of intercourse? Are not steam and electricity having a constantly increasing effect in diminishing the natural obstacle of distance? Now, what is the economic result of all this? It is to extend the sphere of the exchanges. Railroads, steamboats, electric telegraphs, are powerful instruments in destroying distance, to the profit of the exchanges from city to city, and from people to people. But lo! while nations are imposing on themselves gigantic sacrifices to multiply the ways which facilitate the exchanges, they are, on the other hand, maintaining the prohibitory system, which interrupts them! They would stimulate exchange with one hand, and cut it off with the other! Such a flagrant contradiction must eventually impress all minds. Either steam locomotion and the electric telegraph must be abandoned, or else the prohibitory system must fall; for the simultaneous existence of these agents of civilization and of this relic of barbarism is absurd. But there is small likelihood that steam locomotion and the electric telegraph will be abandoned. The prohibitory régime, however, has received severe blows. Governments have finally perceived that prohibitory duties brought them nothing, and that it would be an excellent operation to substitute for them revenue taxes. Sir Robert Peel took this position as the starting point of his financial policy, and the budget of Great Britain, whose accounts showed a continual deficit before the reforms of Peel, afterward presented a regular surplus revenue. A similar reform in the United States gave like results in 1851. Under reduced tariff duties, exports doubled, and the revenue was increased $50,000,000. Financial necessities thus combine with economic necessities and the progressive tendencies of our age, to put an end to the prohibitory régime. Prohibitions may be compared to the chains which were used in the middle ages to bar the streets. In our day they are a vestige of a system of defense which the progress of civilization has rendered useless and superannuated. Before long, we trust, the frontiers will cease to be barred, as the streets have ceased to be so: and, despite those utopists whose ideal is in the past, liberty will at last become the law in human affairs.
—BIBLIOGRAPHY. Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, book iv., chaps. iv. and v., Restraints on the importation from foreign countries of such goods as can be produced at home—also chaps. iv. and v., On drawbacks and bounties; J. B. Say, Political Economy, chap. xvii., The effect of government regulations intended to influence production, (trans. from the French), Philadelphia, 1832 and 1850; Jas. Mill, Elements of political Economy, chap. iii., sec. 17, Bounties and prohibitions, 2d ed., London, 1824; J. A. Blanqui, History of Political Economy, chaps. xvi., xx. and xxix., Results of free trade in the Hanse towns, in Venice, and in Holland—Contrasting policy of Chas. V. given in chap. xxi., (trans.), New York, 1880; Wm. Roscher, Political Economy, app. iii., sec. i, The industrial protective system and international free trade, (trans.), New York, 1878; Amasa Walker, The Science of Wealth, chaps, ii. and iii., Obstructions to trade, fallacies of the protective theory, 7th rev. ed., Boston, 1874; W. G. Sumner, History of Protection in the United States, New York, 1877; J. E. Cairnes, Leading Principles of Political Economy, newly expounded, part iii., chap. iv., Free trade and protection, New York, 1874; A. L. Perry, Elements of Political Economy, chap. xiii., Foreign trade and the mercantile system—also chap. xv., On American tariffs, New York, 1866 and 1873; F. A. Walker, Political Economy, part vi., chap. xiii., Protection vs. Freedom of production, New York, 1883; J. S. Mill, Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, chap. i., The laws of interchange between nations, 3d ed., London, 1877; John McDonell, Survey of Political Economy, chap. xxviii., Protectionism, Edinburgh, 1871; Edmund About, Handbook of social Economy, chap. vi., Liberty, (trans. from the French), New York, 1873; Frédéric Bastiat, Sophisms of Protection, (trans.), New York, 1877, 12mo, 397 pp.; S. S. Cox, Free Land and Free Trade, 16mo, 126 pp., New York, 1880; Henry Fawcett, Free Trade and Protection, 12mo, 173 pp., London, 1878; W. F. Marriott, Grammar of Political Economy, chap. xxv., Free trade and protection, London, 1874; Emil Walter, What is Free Trade? 12mo, 158pp., New York, 1867. To the above list may be added the following popular tracts, which, with others, are circulated by the New York Free Trade Club: David A. Wells, The Creed of Free Trade, 8vo, 21 pp., New York, 1875—The Results of Protection in the United States, 12mo, 31 pp., 1873—How Congress and the Public deal with a great Revenue and Industrial Problem, 8vo, 26 pp., New York, 1880—Freer Trade essential to Future National Prosperity and Development, 51 pp., New York, 1882—Why we Trade, and How we trade, 8vo, New York; Abraham L. Earle, Our Revenue System and Civil Service, 8vo, 47 pp., New York, 1878; Abram S. Hewitt, Labor, Wages, and the Tariff, Speech in House of Representatives, March 30, 1882; S. S. Cox, Reciprocal Brigandage of the Tariff, Speech in House Representatives, May, 1882; E. P. Wheeler Crude Materials, Testimony before Tariff Commission, July, 1882, 19 pp.; J. B. Sargent, (a New Heaven, Conn., manufacturer), Reduction of Duties, Testimony before Tariff Commission, Aug., 1882; J. Schoenhoff, The Tariff on Wool and Woolens, 14 pp., New York, 1883; W. G. Sumner, Protection and Revenue in 1877; Graham McAdam, The Protective System: What it costs the American Farmer,. 37 pp., New York, 1880—What is Free Trade? 3 pp.
—The Tariff in American Politics, 3 pp.
—Protection and Wages; H. J. Philpott, Free Trade vs Protection; Horace White, The Tariff Question; E. J. Donnell, Slavery and Protection, 69 pp., New York, 1882—The Impending Crisis, 32 pp.; Review of the Tariff Commission Report, by the Ex. Com. of Brooklyn Revenue club, New York, 1882; Free trade the best Protection to American Industry, (12 tracts, of one page each), New York, 1883; The Tariff Question: A few questions to intelligent voters, one page; Thos. G. Shearman, Free Trade the Only Road to Manufacturing Prosperity and High wages, 22 pp., New York, 1883. Of protectionist writers, Henry C. Carey, of Philadelphia, has been the most noted. His Principles of Social Science, (3 vols., Phila, 1858), give an exposition of his views on this subject. Prof. Francis Bowen, of Harvard College, in his American Political Economy, chap. xx., treats of the doctrine of international exchanges, and the limits of free trade and the protective system. Geo M. Weston, of New York, has also well presented the arguments of Protectionists in his Refutation of Some Current Errors in Respect to Foreign Commerce, (8vo, 33 pp., Cambridge, Mass., 1883), and argument read before the tariff commission.
E. J. L., Tr.
G. DE MOLINARI.