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paid for it after it is finished, proceeds assignments on the revenue collectors, with his tools to his customer's house, or by having certain districts put into and is there subsisted until the work is their possession, that they may pay themcomplete. The insecurity, however, of selves from the revenues; to enable all possessions in this state of society, them to do which, a great portion of induces even the richest purchasers to the powers of government are usually give a preference to such articles as, made over simultaneously, to be exerbeing of an imperishable nature, and cised by them until either the districts containing great value in small bulk, are redeemed, or their receipts have are adapted for being concealed or car- liquidated the debt. Thus, the comried off. Gold and jewels, therefore, mercial operations of both these classes constitute a large proportion of the of dealers take place principally upon wealth of these nations, and many a | that part of the produce of the country rich Asiatic carries nearly his whole which forms the revenue of the governfortune on his person, or on those of ment. From that revenue their capital the women of his harem. No one, is periodically replaced with a profit, except the monarch, thinks of invest and that is also the source from which ing his wealth in a manner not suscep-| their original funds have almost always tible of removal. He, indeed, if he been derived. Such, in its general feels safe on his throne, and reasonably features, is the economical condition of secure of transmitting it to his descen- most of the countries of Asia, as it has dants, sometimes indulges a taste for been from beyond the commencement durable edifices, and produces the of authentic history, and is still, wherPyramids, or the Taj Mehal and the ever not disturbed by foreign influMausoleum at Sekundra. The rude ences. manufactures destined for the wants of In the agricultural communities of the cultivators are worked up by vil- ancient Europe whose early conclition lage artisans, who are remunerated by is best known to us, the course of land given to them rent-free to culti- things was different. These, at their vate, or by fees paid to them in kind origin, were mostly small town-commufrom such share of the crop as is left nities, at the first plantation of which, to the villagers by the government. in an unoccupied country, or in one This state of society, however, is not from which the former inhabitants had destitute of a mercantile class; com been expelled, the land which was posed of two divisions, grain dealers taken possession of was regularly and money dealers. The grain dealers | divided, in equal or in graduated allotdo not usually buy grain from the pro- ments, among the families composing ducers, but from the agents of govern- the community. In some cases, inment, who, receiving the revenue instead of a town there was a confederakind, are glad to devolve upon others tion of towns, occupied by people of the the business of conveying it to the same reputed race, and who were supplaces where the prince, his chief civil | posed to have settled in the country and military officers, the bulk of his about the same time. Each family troops, and the artisans who supply produced its own food and the matethe wants of these various persons, are rials of its clothing, which were worked assembled. The money dealers lend up within itself, usually by the women to the unfortunate cultivators, when of the family, into the coarse fabrics ruined by bad seasons or fiscal exac- with which the age was contented. tions, the means of supporting life and Taxes there were none, as there were continuing their cultivation, and are either no paid officers of government, repaid with enormous interest at the l or if there were, their payment had next harvest : or, on a larger scale, been provided for by a reserved portion they lend to the government, or to of land, cultivated by slaves on account those to whom it has granted a portion of the state ; and the army consisted of the revenue, and are indemnified by of the body of citizens. The whole produce of the soil, therefore, belonged, , slaves for the benefit of their despoilers. without deduction, to the family which What the less advanced tribes did cultivated it. So long as the progress from necessity, the more prosperous of events permitted this disposition of did from ambition and the military property to last, the state of society spirit: and after a time the whole of was, for the majority of the free culti- these city-communities were either vators, probably not an undesirable conquerors or conquered. In some one ; and under it, in some cases, the cases, the conquering state contented advance of mankind in intellectual cul- | itself with imposing a tribute on the ture was extraordinarily rapid and vanquished: who being, in considerabrilliant. This more especially hap- tion of that burden, freed from the expened where, along with advantageous pense and trouble of their own military circumstances of race and climate, and and naval protection, might enjoy no doubt with many favourable acci- under it a considerable share of econodents of which all trace is now lost, | mical prosperity, while the ascendant was combined the advantage of a community obtained a surplus of position on the shores of a great inland wealth, available for purposes of collecsea, the other coasts of which were tive luxury or magnificence. From already occupied by settled commu- such a surplus the Parthenon and the nities. The knowledge which in such Propylæa were built, the sculptures of a position was acquired of foreign pro Pheidias paid for, and the festivals ductions, and the easy access of foreign celebrated, for which Æschylus, Sophoideas and inventions, made the chain cles, Euripides, and Aristophanes comof routine, usually so strong in a rude posed their dramas. But this state of people, hang loosely on these commu political relations, most useful, while it nities. To speak only of their indus- lasted, to the progress and ultimate trial development; they early acquired interest of mankind, had not the elevariety of wants and desires, which ments of durability. A small conquerstimulated them to extract from their ing community which does not incorown soil the utmost which they knew porate its conquests, always ends by how to make it yield; and when their being conquered. Universal dominion, soil was sterile, or after they had therefore, at last rested with the reached the limit of its capacity, they people who practised this art—with the often became traders, and bought up Romans; who, whatever were their the productions of foreign countries, to other devices, always either began or sell them in other countries with a ended by taking a great part of the profit.
land to enrich their own leading citiThe duration, however, of this state zens, and by adopting into the governof things was from the first precarious. ing body the principal possessors of the These little communities lived in a remainder. It is unnecessary to dwell state of almost perpetual war. For on the melancholy economical history this there were many causes. In the of the Roman empire. When inruder and purely agricultural commu- equality of wealth once commences, in nities a frequent cause was the mere a community not constantly engaged pressure of their increasing population in repairing by industry the injuries of upon their limited land, aggravated as fortune, its advances are gigantic; the that pressure so often was by deficient great masses of wealth swallow up the harvests in the rude state of their agri- smaller. The Roman empire ulticulture, and depending as they did for mately became covered with the vast food upon a very small extent of coun- landed possessions of a comparatively try. On these occasions, the commu- few families, for whose luxury, and nity often emigrated in a body, or sent still more for whose ostentation, the forth a swarm of its youth, to seek, most costly products were raised, while sword in hand, for some less warlike the cultivators of the soil were slaves, people, who could be expelled from their or small tenants in a nearly servile land, or detained to cultivate it as condition. From this time the wealth of the empire progressively declined. , primitive source of the wealth of In the beginning, the public revenues, modern Europe. and the resources of rich individuals, / In that age of violence and disorder, sufficed at least to cover Italy with the first use made by a serf of any small splendid edifices, public and private : 1 provision which he had been able to bat at length só dwindled under the accumulate, was to buy his freedom enervating influences of misgovernment, and withdraw himself to some town or that what remained was not even suffi- fortified village, which had remained cient to keep those edifices from decay. undestroyed from the time of the RoThe strength and riches of the civilized man dominion; or, without buying his world became inadequate to make head freedom, to abscond thither. In that against the nomad population which place of refuge, surrounded by others of skirted its northern frontier: they his own class, he attempted to live, seoverran the empire, and a different cured in some measure from the outorder of things succeeded.
rages and exactions of the warrior caste, In the new frame in which European by his own prowess and that of his felsociety was now cast, the population | lows. These emancipated serfs mostly of each country may be considered as | became artificers; and lived by excomposed, in unequal proportions, of changing the produce of their industry two distinct nations or races, the con- for the surplus food and material which querors and the conquered : the first the the soil yielded to its feudal proprietors. proprietors of the land, the latter the | This gave rise to a sort of European tillers of it. These tillers were allowed counterpart of the economical condition to occupy the land on conditions which, l of Asiatic countries; except that, in being the product of force, were always | lieu of a single monarch and a fluctuaonerous, but seldom to the extent of ting body of favourites and employés, absolute slavery. Already, in the later there was a numerous and in a consider times of the Roman empire, predial able degree fixed class of great landslavery had extensively transformed holders; exhibiting far less splendour, itself into a kind of serfdom : the coloni | because individually disposing of a of the Romans were rather villeins than much smaller surplus produce, and for actual slaves ; and the incapacity and a long time expending the chief part of distaste of the barbarian conquerors it in maintaining the body of retainers for personally superintending industrial whom the warlike habits of society, and occupations, left no alternative but to the little protection afforded by governallow to the cultivators, as an incentivement, rendered indispensable to their to exertion, some real interest in the safety. The greater stability, the fixity soil. If, for example, they were com- of personal position, which this state pelled to labour, three days in the of society afforded, in comparison with week, for their superior, the produce of the Asiatic polity to which it economithe remaining days was their own. If cally corresponded, was one main reathey were required to supply the pro- son why it was also found more favourvisions of various sorts, ordinarily able to improvement. From this time needed for the consumption of the the economical advancement of society castle, and were often subject to has not been further interrupted. Serequisitions in excess, yet after sup-curity of person and property grew plying these demands they were suf- slowly, but steadily; the arts of life fered to dispose at their will of what made constant progress; plunder ceased ever additional produce they could to be the principal source of accumularaise. Under this system during the tion; and feudal Europe riper Middle Ages it was not impossible, no commercial and manufacturing Europe. more than in modern Russia (where, In the latter part of the Middle Ages, up to the recent measure of emancipa- the towns of Italy and Flanders, the tion, the same system still essentially free cities of Germany, and some towns prevailed) for serfs to acquire property ; 1 of France and England, contained a and in fact, their accumulations are the large and energetic population of artibans, and many rich burghers, whose recurring famines so abundant in the wealth had been acquired by manufac- | early history of Europe, and in Oriental turing industry, or by trading in the countries even now not unfrequent. produce of such industry. The Com- Besides this great increase in the quanmons of England, the Tiers-Etat of|tity of food, it has greatly improved in France, the bourgeoisie of the Conti- ' quality and variety; while conveniences nent generally, are the descendants of and luxuries, other than food, are no this class. As these were a saving longer limited to a small and opulent class, while the posterity of the feudal class, but descend, in great abundance, aristocracy were a squandering class, through many widening strata in sothe former by degrees substituted them- | ciety. The collective resources of one selves for the latter as the owners of of these communities, when it chooses a great proportion of the land. This to put them forth for any unexpected natural tendency was in some cases purpose ; its ability to maintain fleets retarded by laws contrived for the pur- and armies, to execute public works, pose of detaining the land in the fami- either useful or ornamental, to performi lies of its existing possessors, in other national acts of beneficence like the cases accelerated by political revolu- | ransom of the West India slaves; to tions. Gradually, though more slowly, found colonies, to have its people the immediate cultivators of the soil, in taught, to do anything in short which all the more civilized countries, ceased requires expense, and to do it with no to be in a servile or semi-servile state: sacrifice of the necessaries or even the though the legal position, as well as substantial comforts of its inhabitants, the economical condition attained by are such as the world never saw them, vary extremely in the different before. nations of Europe, and in the great But in all these particulars, characcommunities which have been founded teristic of the modern industrial combeyond the Atlantic by the descendants munities, those communities differ of Europeans.
widely from one another. Though The world now contains several ex- abounding in wealth as compared with tensive regions, provided with the va- former ages, they do so in very different vious ingredients of wealth in a degree degrees. Even of the countries which of abundance of which former ages had are justly accounted the richest, some not even the idea. Without compulsory have made a more complete use of their labour, an enormous mass of food is productive resources, and have obtained, annually extracted from the soil, and relatively to their territorial extent, a maintains, besides the actual producers, much larger produce, than others; nor an equal, sometimes a greater number do they differ only in amount of wealth, of labourers, occupied in producing but also in the rapidity of its increase. conveniences and luxuries of innumer The diversities in the distribution of able kinds, or in transporting them from wealth are still greater than in the place to place; also a multitude of per- production. There are great differences sons employed in directing and super- in the condition of the poorest class in intending these various labours; and different countries; and in the proporover and above all these, a class more tional numbers and opulence of the numerous than in the most luxurious classes which are above the poorest. ancient societies, of persons whose oc The very nature and designation of the cupations are of a kind not directly classes who originally share among productive, and of persons who have them the produce of the soil, vary not no occupation at all. The food thus a little in different places. In some, raised, supports a far larger population the landowners are a class in them. than had ever existed (at least in the selves, almost entirely separate from same regions) on an equal space of the classes engaged in industry: in ground; and supports them with cer- others, the proprietor of the land is tainty, exempt from those periodically almost universally its cultivator, own. ing the plough, and often himself hold distribution of wealth, must, like all ing it. Where the proprietor himself other phenomena, depend on causes. does not cultivate, there is sometimes, And it is not a sufficient explanation between him and the labourer, an in- to ascribe them exclusively to the determediate agency, that of the farmer, grees of knowledge, possessed at difwho advances the subsistence of the ferent times and places, of the laws of labourers, supplies the instruments of nature and the physical arts of life. production, and receives, after paying Many other causes co-operate; and a rent to the landowner, all the pro- | that very progress and unequal disduce: in other cases, the landlord, tribution of physical knowledge, are his paid agents, and the labourers, are partly the effects, as well as partly the the only sharers. Manufactures, again, causes, of the state of the production are sometimes carried on by scattered and distribution of wealth. individuals, who own or hire the tools In so far as the economical condition or machinery they require, and employ of nations turns upon the state of phylittle labour besides that of their own sical knowledge, it is a subject for the family; in other cases, by large num-physical sciences, and the arts founded bers working together in one building, on them. But in so far as the causes with expensive and complex machinery are moral or psychological, dependent owned by rich manufacturers. The on institutions and social relations, or same difference exists in the operations on the principles of human nature, of trade. The wholesale operations in their investigation belongs not to phydeed are everywhere carried on by large sical, but to moral and social science, capitals, where such exist; but the and is the object of what is called Poretail dealings, which collectively oc- litical Economy. cupy a very great amount of capital, The production of wealth; the exare sometimes conducted in small shops, traction of the instruments of human chiefly by the personal exertions of the subsistence and enjoyment from the dealers themselves, with their families, materials of the globe, is evidently not and perhaps an apprentice or two; and an arbitrary thing. It has its necessometimes in large establishments, of sary conditions. Of these, some are which the funds are supplied by a physical, depending on the properties wealthy individual or association, and of matter, and on the amount of the agency is that of numerous salaried knowledge of those properties possessed shopmen or shopwomen. Besides these at the particular place and time. These differences in the economical pheno- Political Economy does not investigate, mena presented by different parts of but assumes; referring for the grounds, what is usually called the civilized to physical science or common expeworld, all those earlier states which we rience. Combining with these facts previously passed in review, have con. of outward nature other truths relating tinued in some part or other of the to human nature, it attempts to trace world, down to our own time. Hunt- the secondary or derivative laws, by ing communities still exist in America, which the production of wealth is denoznadic in Arabia and the steppes of termined; in which must lie the exNorthern Asia ; Oriental society is in planation of the diversities of riches essentials what it has always been; the and poverty in the present and past, great en pire of Russia is even now, in and the ground of whatever inmany respects, the scarcely modified crease in wealth is reserved for the image of feudal Europe. Every one of future. the great types of human society, down Unlike the laws of Production, those to that of the Esquimaux or Patago- of Distribution are partly of human nians, is still extant.