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divitem,' says Seneca, non est quod augeas divitias, sed minuas cupiditates.' Had these opinions ever obtained any considerable influence, they would have formed an insuperable obstacle to all improvement. Those who are contented with the situation in which they are placed, are without any motive to aspire to anything better; and hence it is to the absence of this feeling of contentment, and the existence of that which is directly opposed to it, to the desire to rise in the world, to improve our condition, and to obtain a constantly increasing command over the conveniences and luxuries of life, that society is indebted for every improvement. It not a matter of blame, but of praise, that individuals strive to attain to superior wealth and distinction, that they scruple not,

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"Contendere nobilitate

Noctes atque dies, niti præstante labore

Ad summas emergere opes, rerumque potiri.'

Ambition to rise is censurable only when, in order to forward our object, we resort to means injurious to the welfare of others. So long as we depend for success on the fair exercise of our talents and industry, it is deserving of every commendation. Until it has been excited, no progress can be made in civilisation; and the more powerful it becomes, the more rapid will be the accumulation of wealth, and the more prosperous will every individual be rendered." *

The doctrine here delivered is enveloped, indeed, in a beautiful method of description, and promulgated under terms which flatter the eager propensities of human passion. But when the pause for reflection is made, a great and important question arises, which is -Who, under this system, would be the best citizen? Who would contribute, in the

* Principles of Political Economy, by J. R. M'Culloch, Esq. pt. 4, p. 517.

highest degree, to fulfil the intention of his Creator? After a steady contemplation, and a little unveiling, the mystery is dispelled and the figure stands disclosed. It is the slave of the passion of avarice, the Miser. He it is who acquires the most money and property by dint of toiling, during the "noctes atque dies;" and, moreover, whatever he acquires he accumulates, or puts into heaps. He alone, therefore, fulfils the law of the system to completion, by yielding implicit obedience to its principle, from its origin to its end, that is, throughout its entire course.

Here, then, a clever and influential advocate of the modern system of Political Economy and of social philosophy, has exposed to us, though unintentionally, the false means and abominable foundation by and upon which the system is raised. It is, indeed, matter for the utmost astonishment, that any party of men, devoting their minds to a calm and solemn investigation of the subject, should have committed such a prostration of spirit and of intellect as the advocacy of the principles exhibits. I will direct particular attention to one feature of Mr. M'Culloch's argument. It is that where he notices the apprehension that may exist under the system he advocates, that an increased and increasing population, or an existing large number of the people of different nations, may not be able to find the due maintenance that is required for them, because the desire for wealth may become languid - because men in general may become too moderate and contented because the passion for acquiring and saving wealth may not be sufficiently encouraged or gratified and so the aggregate amount of capital may become proportionately smaller than the aggregate amount of population, by reason of the most ambitious and avaricious members of society desisting from their courses of accumulation. The writer, however, proceeds to allay the

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apprehension, and to offer comfort to all the numerous lovers of his worldly doctrine, by directing attention to the ample volume of history where the character of human desire and action is so strongly shown. Here he derives evidence and proof that the nature of man, instead of showing any such tendency to lassitude of desire, to a falling away from a love of the things of the world, and to a relinquishment of a love of wealth and an ardent pursuit of it, has exhibited quite an opposite tendency. He directs attention, and that with great truth and force, to the point that the desires of the human soul are boundless; that the capacity of the human soul is not even satisfied with the lustful enjoyment of all those luxuries that may be commanded by the wealth of a Croesus, nor by the power which the whole Persian Empire exhibited when in the zenith of its civilisation and wealth. As age after age passes we see the ancient doctrine verified, which is, the more men have the more they desire to have. It is proved to us that the passion for gain is increased and strengthened by what it feeds on. Education, industry, and skill, fostered by that which is called enlightened self-interest, are made to enlarge the boundaries of enjoyment, and to add immensely to its variety; but they are not made to control or diminish desire, though they may be made to divert the courses of desire, to lead it from one channel into another, or into many others. Gross enjoyments, of a bad character, may be shunned; whilst refined enjoyments, of a still worse and larger character, may be loved and pursued.

I have to direct the attention of the reader to one particular part of the confusedly constructed proposition just quoted from the work of Mr. M'Culloch. In the attempt there made to divest the passion of covetousness or ambition which shows itself by the uncontrolled pursuit and

accumulation of wealth from all bad quality, and, on the contrary, to maintain that good social effects result from the indulgence of this passion, the writer has asserted, in strict accordance with his adopted principles, and so in perfect logical sequence and factual consistency, that the uncontrolled and full exercise of the passion is not only not injurious, not criminal, and not censurable, but is beneficial and praiseworthy, provided that those so desiring, indulging, and acting, do not resort to courses that are injurious to the welfare of others.

Now, here the writer has appended to his affirmative proposition, a negative proviso. This proviso is of a most extensive and important character; for it involves, in fact, the truth or falsehood, the goodness or badness, of the whole subject-matter which an investigation of the science presents. The subject, from its original starting point to its extremest conclusion, or throughout its whole course, presents, for the consideration and finding of the inquirer, this one main feature, namely, that which is just. Social justice, based on the natural law and constitution of things, or courses of action involving the welfare of others as well as the advantage and welfare of the individual actor, is that which is professed to be presented by every course of social change and advancement, or that which is denominated progressive Civilisation. The writer, in order to have a pretext for, and to preserve, his required conclusion, the conclusion he had resolved on adopting, has found it necessary to assume the whole subject-matter of discussion, or to beg to have the whole of his asserted theory and system, from its first premises, through all its inductions, to its terminating conclusion, granted him; and, all this being granted, then he will boldly and confidently maintain, that the fullest action resulting from his principle, must eventuate in the largest or most

general advantage and benefit. But, plainly, this is too bad in the case of a writer who has been unable to discover, and lay down, any sound premises; who has been under the necessity of recording deficiencies and contradictions the most remarkable amongst the literary contributions of those writers who, with himself, have been engaged in an attempt to maintain the proffered principle and system which he is so desirous of investing with the high character of moral truth. I maintain, then, that the qualifying proviso, conveyed by the words, "resort to means injurious to the welfare of others," is hollow, and meaningless. I maintain this, because that which shall conduce to the welfare of the individual actor, as also to the welfare of others, is the very subjectmatter which the writer has had before him throughout the whole course of his labours, but which, failing to comprehend thoroughly, he has failed to solve or to explain. The only use to which the assertion may be turned, is a very bad use. It is that of making wrong appear to be right, and thereby reconciling the minds of superficial thinkers, and of weak and faulty reasoners, to those particular courses of social action which the writer had been so vainly endeavouring to sustain by apt evidence and sound argument, and which, being of a selfish or self-indulging character, the majority of mankind are preinclined to receive and to adopt.

Again, another very important commentary has to be made on the moral view thus propounded by Mr. McCulloch on the unrestrained gratification of the desire of accumulating wealth. Dugald Stewart, on making allusion to the results that accrue to the general social circumstances of a nation from the employment of money, has stigmatised as a mere "prejudice" the injunction given to the world under the authority of revealed religion, against the practice of usury; and in the instance now before us, it is seen that another member of the modern school of Political Economists, Mr.

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