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relationship, and tyranny in the treatment of children, regularly flourish together and regularly decrease at like rates. In the same category we must now put—tyranny in commercial laws. Sinking those minor irregularities which pervade all Nature's processes, we shall find that from the days when exportation was a capital crime, down to our own free-trade era, there has been a constant ratio kept between the stringency of mercantile restraints and the stringency of other restraints, as there has also between the increase of commercial liberty and the increase of general liberty.
A few facts will sufficiently exemplify this. Take as one the instance just alluded to, in which associated with autocratic rule in Church, in State, and in feudal hall, we find Edward III., for the purpose of making foreigners come and buy in our markets, prohibiting his subjects from sending abroad any staple goods, “under penalty of death and confiscation;" and further enacting “that the law should be unalterable either by himself or his successors." Observe, too, how this same despotic spirit was exhibited in the regulations requiring these Continental traders to reside during their stay with certain inspectors, commissioned to see the cargoes sold within a specified time and the proceeds reinvested in English goods; and charged to transmit to the Exchequer periodical statements of each merchant's bargains: regulations, by the way, of which the abandonment was in after times lamented by the venerators of ancestral wisdom, much as the abolition of the sliding scale is mourned over by a certain party of our own day. Note again how, under the same régime, labourers were coerced into working for fixed wages; and then how, to keep the balance even, shopkeepers had the prices of provisions dictated to them. Mark, further, that when the most tyrannical of these ordinances fell into disuse, there still continued the less burdensome ones; such as those usury laws, orders to farmers, prescribing of the material for grave-clothes, instructions to manufacturers, &c., referred to in the last chapter. But without going into further detail-without enlarging upon the fact that those intolerable restraints once borne by the manufacturing classes of France were contemporary with intense despotism at court, and a still lingering feudalism in the provinces-without tracing the parallelism that exists between the political and commercial bondage under which, in spite of their revolutions, the French still iive-without pointing out at length the same connexion of phenomena in Prussia, in Austria, and in other similarly-ruled countries—without doing all this, the evidence adduced sufficiently shows that the oppressiveness of a nation's mercantile laws varies as the oppressiveness of its general arrangements and government.
Many much-reverenced social instrumentalities, have originated in the primitive necessity of ascribing all causation to special workers—the inability to detach the idea of force from an individual something. Just in proportion as natural phenomena are regarded by any people as of personal instead of impersonal origin, will the phenomena of national life be similarly construed; and, indeed, since moral sequences are less obvious than physical ones, they will be thus construed even more generally. The old belief that a king could fix the value of coinage, and the cry raised at the change of style -“Give us our eleven days," obviously implied minds incapable of conceiving social affairs to be regulated by other than visible, tangible agencies. That there should be at work some unseen but universally-diffused influences determining the buyings and sellings of citizens and the transactions of merchants from abroad, in a way the most advantageous to all parties, was an idea as foreign to such minds as was that of uniform physical causation to the primitive Greeks; and, conversely, as the primitive Greeks could understand the operations of Nature being performed by a number of presiding individualities, so, to the people of the middle ages, it was comprehensible that a proper production and distribution of commodities could be ensured by acts of Parliament and government officials. While the due regulation of trade by natural indestructible forces was inconceivable to them, they could conceive trade to be duly regulated by forces resident in some material instrumentality put together by legislators, clothed in the robes of office, painted by court-flatterers, and decorated with “jewels five words long."
EVERY State-church is essentially popish. We, also, have a Vatican-St. Stephen's. It is true that our arch-priest is a composite one. It is true that with us the triple tiara is separated into its parts--one for monarch, one for peers, and one for commons. But this fact makes no difference. In substance, popery is the assumption of infallibility. It matters not in principle whether this assumption is made by one man or by an assembly of men. No doubt the astounding announcement—“You must believe what we say is right, and not what you think is right," comes less offensively from the lips of a parliamentary majority than from those of a single individual. But there still arises the question-By what authority do these men assert this?
Before State-paid ministers can be set to preach, it must first be decided what they are to preach. And who is to say? Clearly the State. Either it must itself elaborate a creed, or it must depute some man or men to do so. It must in some way sift out truth from error, and cannot escape the responsibility attending this. If it undertakes itself to settle the doctrines to be taught, it is responsible. If it adopts a readymade set of doctrines, it is equally responsible. And if it selects its doctrines by proxy, it is still responsible ; both as appointing those who choose for it, and as approving their choice. Hence, to say that a government ought to set up and maintain a system of religious instruction, is to say that it ought to pick out from amongst the various tenets that men
hold or have held, those which are right; and that, when it has done this when it has settled between the Roman Catholic, the Greek, the Lutheran, and the Anglican creeds, or between High Church, Broad Church, and Evangelical ones—when it has decided whether we should be baptized during infancy or at a mature age, whether the truth is with Trinitarians or Unitarians, whether men are saved by faith or by works, whether pagans go to hell or not, whether ministers should preach in black or white, whether confirmation is scriptural, whether or not saints' days should be kept, and (as we have lately seen it debating) whether baptism does or does not regenerate-when, in short, it has settled all those controversies which have split mankind into innumerable sects, it ought to assert that its judgment is beyond appeal. There is no alternative. Unless the State says this, it convicts itself of the most absurd inconsistency. Only on the supposition of infallibility can its ecclesiastical doings be made to seem tolerable. How else shall it demand rates and tithes of the dissenter? Are you quite sure about these doctrines of yours ?” inquires the dissenter. “No," replies the State; “not quite sure, but nearly so.” “Then it is just possible you may be wrong, is it not?”; “Yes."
“And it is just possible that I may be right, is it not?” “Yes.” “Yet you threaten to inflict penalties upon me for nonconformity! You seize my goods; you imprison me if I resist; and all to force from me the means to preach up doctrines which you admit may be false, and, by implication, to preach down doctrines which
you admit may be true!” Evidently, therefore, if the State persists, the only position open to it is that its judgment cannot be mistaken. And now observe, that if it says this, it stands committed to the whole Roman Catholic discipline as well as to its theory. It is bound to put down all adverse teachers, as usurping its function and hindering the reception of its unquestionable doctrine—is bound to use as much force as may be needful for doing this-is bound, therefore, to imprison, to fine, and, if necessary, to inflict