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In one united ardour rise to heaven.
rather choose the rural shade,
Should Fate command me to the farthest verge
Security, an inestimable good, is the distinctive mark of civilization; it is entirely the work of the laws. Without law there is no security; consequently no abundance, nor even certain subsistence. And the only equality which can exist in such a condition is the equality of misery.
In order rightly to estimate this great benefit of the laws, it is only necessary to consider the condition of savages. They struggle, without ceasing, against famine, which sometimes cuts off, in a few days, whole nations. Rivalry with respect to the means of subsistence produces among them the most cruel wars ; and, like the most ferocious beasts, men pursue men, that they may feed on one another. The dread of this horrible calamity destroys amongst them the gentlest sentiments of nature : pity connects itself with insensibility in putting the old persons to death, because they can no longer follow their prey.
Examine, also, what passes at those periods during which civilized societies almost return into the savage state ;-I refer to a time of war, when the laws which give security are, in part, suspended. Every instant of its duration is fruitful in calamity: at every step which it imprints upon the globe, at every movement which it makes, the existing mass of riches—the foundation of abundance and subsistence is de
creased, and disappears: the lowly cottage and the lofty palace are alike subject to its ravages ; and often the anger or caprice of a moment consigns to destruction the slow productions of an age of labour.
Law, alone, has accomplished what all the natural feelings were not able to do; Law, alone, has been able to create a fixed and durable possession, which deserves the name of Property. The law, alone, could accustom men to submit to the yoke of foresight, at first painful to be borne, but afterwards, agreeable and mild; it alone could encourage them in laboursuperfluous at present, and which they are not to enjoy till the future. Economy has as many enemies as there are spendthrifts, or men who would enjoy withoʻit taking the trouble to produce. Labour is too painful for idleness ; it is too slow for impatience: Cunning and Injustice underhandedly conspire to appropriate its fruits ; Insolence and Audacity plot to seize them by open force. Hence Society, always threatened, never at rest, lives in the midst of snares.
The law does not say to a man, “Work, and I will reward you ;" but it says to him, “Work, and by stopping the hand that would take them from you, I will insure to you the fruits of your labour, its natural and sufficient reward, which, without me, you could not preserve.” If industry creates, it is the law which preserves ; if, at the first moment, we owe everything to labour, at the second, and every succeeding moment, we owe everything to the law.
The laws, in creating property, have created wealth:
but, with respect to poverty, it is not the work of the laws; it is the primitive condition of the human race. The man who lives only from day to day is precisely the man in a state of nature. The
poor in society, I acknowledge, obtain nothing but by painful labour; but in a state of nature what could he obtain but at the price of his toil ? · Has not hunting its fatigues, fishing its dangers, war its uncertainties? And if man appear to love this adventurous life-if he have an instinct greedy of these kinds of peril—if the savage rejoice in the delights of an idleness so dearly purchased-ought it to be concluded that he is more happy than our day labourers ? No: the labour of these is more uniform, but the reward is more certain; the lot of the woman is more gentle; infancy and old age have more resources; the species multiplies in a proportion a thousand times greater, and this alone would suffice to show on which side is the superiority of happiness.
Hence the laws, in creating property, have been benefactors to those who remain in their original poverty. They participate more or less in the pleasures, advantages, and resources of civilized society; their industry and labour place them among the candidates for fortune; they enjoy the pleasures of acquisition; hope mingles with their labours; so that, all things considered, the protection of the laws contributes as much to the happiness of the cottage as to the security of the palace.-Bentham.
MARK A KENSIDE.
BORN, 1721 ; DIED, 1770.
WHAT, though not all Of mortal offspring can attain the heights Of envied life; though only few possess Patrician treasures, or imperial state; Yet Nature's carė, to all her children just, With richer treasures and an ampler state, Endows at large whatever happy man Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp, The rural honours his. Whate'er adorps The princely dome, the column and the arch, The breathing marble and the sculptured gold, Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim, His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the spring Distils her dews, and from the silken gem Its lucid leaves unfolds: for him the hand Of autumn tinges every fertile branch With blooming gold and blushes like the morn. Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings; And still new beauties meet his lonely walk, And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze Flies o'er the meadow, not a cloud imbibes The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain From all the tenants of the warbling shade Ascends, but whence his bosom can partako Fresh pleasure, unreproved.