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truth into the minds of the people, showing them that moral science, social science, and economic science, are one and the
Statesmen who have to conduct the affairs of government in a nation such as our own, in which the constitutional and governing power is derived mainly from the popular will, and rests upon it, see the advantage that accrues to themselves, and the safety that accrues to the whole governing power, by avoiding, as much as possible, interference with the commercial dealings of the people. Let freedom be the large rule, they say, let interference be the small exception. By this policy of letting things alone-of allowing things to run in free courses—whatever may happen of an unprosperous and disastrous character, and whatever amount of discontent may be engendered, must then be referred to the people themselves. It is the people who must bear the burden of blame for all wrong courses, and for public suffering consequent on these courses, because the results come from their own will, and are the issues of their own preferred acts and deeds: and so all those who hold high offices of state, and are invested with supreme power, are released from temporal responsibility, and preserved from that opposition and rebellion which have, in many instances, threatened and destroyed the stability of empires and of thrones.
But, whatever commercial laws and regulations statesmen, acting amidst the most favourable circumstances of a nation, may deem it advisable to make, and may succeed in persuading the people to observe and support, for the purpose of insuring the wider diffusion of advantage, enjoyment, and improvement, amongst the general body of the people; yet, I have to maintain, that all which can be accomplished by means of positive or coercive laws and regulations, will be very little in comparison with that which will, and must,
remain to be accomplished under the influence of moral law, operating through the conscientious and honourable love of social justice and duty which may animate individual members of a nation acting in their capacity of free and enlightened men, impressed by the responsibility that is inseparably conjoined with their condition in life, and who will thus be brought into close and chosen union and action with the highest and noblest of all rule- the rule of natural social law.
On attempting, then, to solve the question of practical remedy, I have to maintain that no attempt should be made, in future, to check the freedom of trade now established and prevailing, by the adoption of any of those positive regulations and laws which have been found so ineffectual for the purpose designed. But, in contending that the freedom of trade, as now generally adopted, should be permitted to remain, it does not follow that trade is to be carried on freely, or that it is a right, a beneficial, and a good social course, to trade freely; for this would be a rejection of all principle, or true course. It is the high and noble duty of writers and statesmen to advocate, and to uphold, the true principle as a principle indispensably necessary to be observed. The end required to be attained, if it is to be attained at all, must be attained by means of a positive influence and operation on the consciences, wills, and convictions of men, and not by the establishment of positive regulations and laws by which an attempt may be made to insure positive results corresponding with these regulations and laws; whilst the spirits and the minds of the agents, by whom all is to be accomplished, remain adverse to the positive laws and regulations, for all such attempts must eventuate in failure. When, therefore, men are declared to be free; when the commerce of the world is declared to be free;-men are to
be instructed, and to be induced, to conduct production and consumption, buying and selling, or general commerce,—all those facts of which general living is composed-under the influence of that social principle which imparts to freedom,—to action, its due course-its law. Conscience, then, has to be made to take the place of the Custom House. Should all the existing barriers that have been raised for checking and diminishing communications, or commerce, between the people of the different nations of the world, be destroyed, the problem standing before the people of each nation would still be a recognition of the right Social Law, and the application, by them, of this law, to the commerce and trade carried on by them, whether it should be of a home or of a foreign character. The learning this lesson cannot too soon be commenced, nor too diligently pursued. For, above all things, people should learn to divest themselves of that foolishness by which it is attempted to cheat nature of her law by offering her freedom in its place. A most terrible a response over which the people of all nations will weep and wail-ever has been, and ever will be, given to this mockery.
Such, however, is the excited condition into which the minds of the people of our own nation, as well as the minds of the people of other nations, have been raised, by having listened, during a long period, to stimulating addresses on the benefits that may be expected to accrue from that complete freedom of social and commercial action, from that free employment or investment of capital which they have been told and taught to believe would lead to a rapid development of the natural resources of each country, that apprehension may be entertained of a persistence in these courses of great and excessive change, or that wrong employment, that derangement and dissipation of capital, by which
the social troubles and miseries of each people have already been brought on. I have had to show that the great question of the maintenance of the people of each nation rests on, and depends upon, a Sufficiency of Capital; and that when poverty and destitution, with their attendant miseries, prevail in a nation, a sign is given, — a warning is given, --that too much change has already been made: the case is as the case of the injudicious and reckless parents of a family, who, having indulged themselves in making improvements in their domestic condition, and in the enjoyment of luxuries and extravagant living, have not sufficient means or capital to maintain their children properly, and yet, under this emergency of insufficiency of means, are advised to seek relief, and to entertain the notion of seeking it, by entering on an enlarged sphere of expenditure. The plain and sensible course and duty in the case is, to stop awhile, to forego for the present any further change, and by this means effect consolidation of their circumstances; whereas, they are intending, as a remedy, to make still further and more rapid advances and expenditure, and so to continue the course of extension instead of adopting consolidation.
The one course appeals to their sense of honour and to their sense of justice; the other appeals to their ambition and to their selfishness. They despise the unostentatious and right course; they prefer the ostentatious and wrong; and, verily, they and their family will have their reward, which will be of a kind that they will not like. As with the individual family, so with the aggregate of individual families, or a nation.
The character of this great case. a nation's remedial course of social action-may be compared with the character of that important and interesting case which is narrated, for our instruction and warning, in the Holy Writings,
-the case of Naaman the Syrian. This exalted and powerful man was suffering under the terrible disease, leprosy. He wanted to be cured. He was told where he could meet with a cure. He applied for it in that quarter. A remedy, simple and easy of execution, was pointed out to him, and prescribed for him. With this remedy he was dissatisfied, and even offended, and that because of the simple and unostentatious character which it presented. He desired, and looked for, a remedy of another kind. He had hoped to have had a remedy of a character that should have accorded with his supposed greatness of his own character. Hence, when the simple and easy remedy of washing in the river Jordan was announced to him as the remedy, he turned away in a rage, because it did not comport with his worldly grandeur; because it did not satisfy his worldly views and expectations; because it was not calculated to gratify his vanity and his pride; because it would not fulfil his worldly hopes and his ambition; because it did not serve to exalt him in the eyes of those by whom he wished to be held as a very great and powerful man; because it was not attended by that commanding action in which he so greatly delighted, nor by that worldly glory which he so strongly coveted.
As it was with the leprosy of that day, so it is with the social leprosy--the spiritual and moral leprosy - of this day. When it is said, "Wash and be clean,"-" Cease to do evil, learn to do well," consider what you have received, and are receiving, from your neighbour and from society; and, hence, what is owing by you, and then render to your neighbour and to society that which is due by you; or, in plain words, become Honest Men,-people turn away, as did Naaman the Syrian leper, either greatly disappointed and dissatisfied, or unwilling, or in derision. It is felt, and it is sometimes covertly, but oftener openly, declared as follows:-"Tell us of