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labour it will be evident that this individual and general control and government of man, presents a subject far more difficult in management. What instrumentality can be invented and applied by which the obedience and observance of a nation of people shall be insured?
We are able to cultivate the earth; to turn to fit uses all the varieties of elements that exist within the vegetable, the mineral, and the animal kingdoms, and to make all things thus supplied subserve the numberless uses to which we desire to apply them; but all this presents only the sphere of gross production, whilst the essential or economic character of the subject lies in the social principle of appropriation, or those exchanges of the productions of labour, involving individual and general support and maintenance, by which distribution is to be realised. By what instrumentality, then, are we to make men duly industrious; duly faithful to the social law of labour and of trade; duly sober; duly honest; duly just and uncovetous; so that, whilst having regard to their own interests, they may, at the same time, have equal or due regard to the interest of other men? By what positive law, or law of the realm, are such results to be accomplished? What system of organisation can we invent, construct, and apply, so that the fulfilment of these purposes may be insured? What judges are to be selected, who, being competent, shall be invested with the office of considering and deciding the quality and the quantity of each man's duty? What police is to be constituted, by whose supervision and interference all that is required may be set in correct motion, so that the ends desired may be attained? What governmental board is to be appointed, which shall be charged with the duty of determining what trade or manufacture each person shall pursue; and also what shall be the amount of his trade and manufacture? It is evident that no adequate organisation and mechanism can
be invented, much less applied, and that all these important things and courses must be mainly, if not wholly, left to be worked out under the free will, the free agency, and the individual responsibility of men.
It is true, indeed, that assistance - most important and valuable assistance, of a regulating and restraining kindmay be derived in some instances, by the enactment and application of positive or statutory laws. Of such instances, laws affecting both the creation and use of money, and, also, laws affecting both the production and consumption of spirituous liquors, together with other important statutory laws, are to be adduced; but, these laws, though fraught with a most important influence and operation on the social circumstances of a people, yet embrace only a small part of those numerous exchanges which the general production and consumption of a nation involve. The general inefficaciousness of restrictive and regulating laws, is shown by the failure of them under that mercantile system which was so long, so ingeniously, and so perseveringly, upheld throughout the several nations of Europe. In those laws - though based, for the main part, on false premises, and upheld by false reasonings, having reference to the subject of money and to the supreme importance to a nation of increasing and accumulating that part of its stock or capital which consists of money— there is to be discerned an acknowledgment of that sound social principle of the connection and mutual dependence that subsist between man and man by reason of the division and subdivision of labour, and that demand for the productions of labour by which all value and property are constituted, and an attempt to conserve this course. But, by the bad social condition of so many of the people of all these nations under the operation of these laws, it is proved that little efficacy is connected with them; for, if disproportioned pro
duction and destructive competition have been, in some degree, prevented by them in the case of foreign production and foreign trade, yet the same bad results being attendant on disproportioned production and undue or severe competition connected with home production and home trade, as with foreign, so the bad and unsocial employment of capital having been carried on, within the home sphere, equal or almost equal injury has been done within the home department, as could have been done if every other department of trade had been alike open.
With respect to the effects produced on the circumstances, or general capital, of a nation by means of the restrictive and regulating laws of the mercantile system, I have elsewhere shown that Adam Smith, while contending for the principle of free trade, was constrained, nevertheless, to acknowledge the necessity for restriction and regulation, and to admit, that the operation of the mercantile system by which restrictive laws and regulations were established, was of that character as to conduce to a general increase of the profit of trade-of all trade, and thereby to insure a larger increase in the growth and creation of capital, or the general fund by which the whole people of a nation are maintained. My argument, here, may, hence, appear to be inconsistent with the course previously contended for. When, however, the records of history are turned to and carefully examined, it will be found that as nations have increased in the number of their people, and as luxury, together with a constantly increasing love of luxury, have prevailed amongst them, attempts have been made, on all sides, first to evade, and then to break down, these restrictions and regulations. By the evasions and infractions thus committed, it has happened, inevitably, that the laws have become so unequal in their operation as to inflict general injury, in place of insuring
general benefit; so that the people, to procure relief from their galling yokes, have loudly demanded the abolition of all restrictive and regulating laws.
Under unsocial and bad political excitement, the astounding moral exhibition has been made, and that in every civilised and wealthy nation, and, in the larger degree, too, by the more wealthy members, of attempts to evade, by fraudulent concealment of commodities, all the regulations that bore the stamp of national law,-the law of the country. Believing in the false doctrines of Political Economists, and accepting the advice and counsel of some statesmen, because these doctrines and this advice appealed to and stimulated their selfish passions, persons of all ranks, professing to be of moral and religious characters, have been known, in numberless instances, to have lent themselves to the unlawful and criminal course of smuggling, thus setting themselves up as judges, and judges superior, over the combined legislature of their country, both of social principle and of statutory law. A notable instance of this weak self-conceit, self-estimation, and irreverence of law, based, as I have shown them to be, on an ignorance of the subject, and of the science of Political Economy in general, is remembered to have been exhibited even within the walls of Parliament. I allude to the case of a popular member of the House of Commons, who, under the impulse of self-assurance, and zeal in the cause of free trade, on having to make a speech on the subject, took from his pocket, in the course of this speech, a handkerchief of silk that might be known to have been smuggled, and so gave proof that people would rebel, successfully rebel, against such laws as those he wished to denounce and to abolish. This inciting fact was carried throughout the country, and received and applauded as a bold and commendable action. If the people choose such leaders,
and follow them, they must not be surprised, nor should they complain, when they find themselves sinking deeper and deeper in the mire, until they are steeped to the chin in poverty and wretchedness. They only have that which has been evoked both for them and by them.
But the confusion and the difficulties that have arisen, have not, in any manner, absolved either the writer on Political Economy, or the statesman, from advocating that essential and salutary principle of restriction and regulation, operating through the law of due proportions, by means of which the foundation of all individual and national prosperity is constituted. The truth of the subject is not to be abandoned because there is difficulty in getting people to acknowledge, to understand, and to comply with it. Even though positive laws may not be enforced, or even enacted, yet the people should be made to hear, and hence to know, what the truth of the subject is, or what Economic science really consists of, so that every man may know, at all events, what he is doing, or be made acquainted with the real character of his social actions and conduct.
Of two courses, let the immense difference on the feelings, minds, habits, and actions of a people be considered; the one course that, by which writers on Social and Political Economy, and Statesmen, endeavour to ingratiate themselves with the people, by ministering to their selfish passions, and acquiring, by these means, influence over them, and with it political authority and power, commit the grave offence against principle, morality, and honour, of deserting the cause and courses of truth, and of preferring and pursuing the cause and courses of falsehood, proclaim that to be Economic science which has nothing of the character of science in it; the other course that, by which they fearlessly and honourably advocate the truth of the subject, and sedulously instil this