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the earliest to sink under enervation and decay. Napoleon's lot was cast in the times when the feebleness of nations was conspicuous elsewhere than in Italy. Under the banners of his French generals he could therefore collect a host not unlike in form that of the Persian *, and like the Persian he was at last repelled because he attacked nations whose sons had a stout and determined spirit, neither enervated by the business and the idleness of luxury, nor so subdued by former conquerors (as was often the case in Charlemagne's † subject provinces) as to care little for a change of masters.
The principle on which these Babylonian kingdoms are founded is rigid centralisation. So soon as they deviate from that they fall to pieces, as did Alexander's empire when it was partitioned among his generals, as did Charlemagne's after the central tie was broken by his death, and as Turkey must do (and has done as far as Egypt is concerned), when its pashas become independent of the Porte. Now the consequence of the rigid centralisation by which alone they are sustained, is that all the wealth of the country is drawn to the government. Scarce anything else is left to the conquered cultivators than provision for the bare necessities of life. The sovereign not only makes the public functionaries, but he likewise makes the few rich men who are found in such a country, and as he makes so he can also unmake. The large tribute exacted by the sovereign and his creatures gives them a show of riches out of proportion with the general possessions, and this, as Mr. Mill remarks $, has led to the common belief of the great opulence of Oriental nations. Two results follow from the fact of all the sur
* Napier, Peninsular War, i. 5.
† Charlemagne's kingdom does not belong strictly to the class of these later kingdoms, because the populations of which it was formed were in general not corrupt, but it was created rather by the agglomeration of feudal baronies than by actual conquests over nations, and at that time the serfs cared little about a change of masters.
Political Economy, i. 14, sqq.
plus produce thus flowing to the central treasury. First the luxury in which the rulers indulge, and the consequent raising up of a class of ingenious artisans who minister to their luxury. Secondly, the great command of human labour * possessed by the sovereign, who, by the enormous tribute pouring in to him, is able to feed large gangs of workmen, while they produce monuments, embankments, canals, and roads, and other public undertakings, of a vastness unattainable by the elected head of a feudal aristocracy.
And thus, though they are often but shortlived themselves, these great empires leave the most enduring monuments. The palaces of Nineveh, the canal of Nebuchadnezzar, the Pyramids of Egypt and its Lake Mæris, the city of Heliopolis, the great roads of the Moguls in India, and of the Romans in Europe, Napoleon's passes over the Alps; these are records on the earth's surface which it blunts old Saturn's scythe to cut against
* Grote, Greece, iii. 401.
“ How shall we mortals spend our days ?”-Old Song. “La nature a donné à tous les hommes le droit d'être heureux." - TURGOT.
The happiness of his nation has engaged the solicitude of everyone who has deserved to be ranked as a states
But ill-observing the differences and the changes in national progress, and the consequent diversity of the means necessary for promoting public happiness, they have acted like physicians who should have but one prescription for the old and young alike.
In what does public happiness consist? Is it in liberty ? Then the times of greatest discontent are the times of the greatest happiness, for the times of greatest and most active discontent are the times of greatest liberty: * Is it
Lord Mahon (Hist. of Eng. i. 3), after noticing the discontents which prevailed in the prosperous period of English history, says:“ To such an extent, in fact, have these outcries proceeded, that a very acute observer has founded a new theory upon them ;, and far from viewing them as evidence of suffering, considers them as one of the proofs and tokens of good government :- J'ai toujours trouvé que le meilleur gouvernement est celui contre lequel on crie le plus fort sur les lieux mêmes : et il suffit de citer l'Angleterre et les États-Unis d'Amérique; car cela prouve que l'on a l'æil sur ceux qui dirigent les affaires, et qu'on peut impunément censurer leurs mesures.'"-Sismondi, Voyage
in material prosperity? Then America is the most happy of nations, a nation whose citizens are proverbial for a constitutional wretchedness which takes away the worth of living, and even life itself. Is it in a peaceful plodding industry? Then the Chinaman is the most happy of beings; he is always busy and employed, and his thoughts and aspirations, if unofficial, never rise higher than the steam of his domestic dunghill. Yet is China a happy
True happiness does not consist in any one of these blessings, but is produced by the temperate exercise of erery faculty, bodily and mental, with which nature has gifted us. We are a mass of complicated machinery, and if one section of the machinery, however small, is left wholly unused, or is not used enough, it rusts, and its rusting makes us unhappy; while great and continued use will bring another section of the machinery to more than its usual development, and this, when it becomes excessive, destroys the equilibrium of the whole ; and so is as great a cause of unhappiness as the other.
Of men, therefore, those are more happy whose situation in life leads naturally to the moderate exercise of all the physical and mental faculties. Among nations, the happiest are those where each man with moderate toil obtains his daily bread by various occupations, and performs for himself the greater part of the necessary offices of life, with leisure sufficient to make him exercise, by way of amusement, those powers, bodily and mental, which are not required for the provision of his maintenance.
Here are a few testimonies of travellers to which the observation or the reading of every one could supply
d'Italie, tom, ii. p. 286. A still more celebrated Genevese, M. de Sismondi, makes a similar observation in his essay, sur l'élément aristocratique. The observation is only partially true. There is more sound of discontent in times of liberty, because then only is it of use to make complaints. Complaints are not made when it is useless to make them.
abundant corroboration. Of a certain tribe in Syria :—“Il me semble que pour rendre l'homme le moins malheureux qu'il est possible, il faut lui désirer une position égale à celle de ces Montagnards, où il ne puisse se procurer que le nécessaire mais avec abondance. Il faut aussi qu'il n'y parvienne que par un léger travail des mains, qui, sans l'affaiblir, entretienne son corps dans un exercice qui le rende robuste. Ce travail écarte la mollesse et le besoin de toutes ces superfluités, qui ne deviennent nécessaires qu'aux hommes sensuels et oisifs, il ne faut pas même que les hommes puissent regarder l'oisiveté comme le terme et la recompense de leurs travaux, et il leur est utile qu'une moyenne rétribution à leur fatigue les mette dans le cas de continuer leurs travaux, pour s'assurer une honnête nécessaire. L'âme acquiert plus de nerf, lorsque le corps est robuste, et fait aux exercices journaliers et pénibles, et l'homme laborieux goûte mieux que tout autre les plaisirs purs et permis qui sont le délassement de ses fatigues.”
Of the Dalecarlians in Sweden, Joseph Marshall says, “All the purchases they have to make with money are some parts of their clothing, which is extremely coarse and cheap, and also utensils and implements, all which are bought of travelling pedlars; for I do not apprehend there are three shops for buying them in this immense province. As their money is sufficient, therefore, for their wants, these being all the uses for it except some very slight taxes, they have very few instances among them of unhappiness on account of the want of money; nor do I anywhere remember seeing a people that had more appearance of perfect content and happiness among them. They are blessed with an almost uninterrupted flow of health, which is owing to the hardiness of their lives, attended with wholesome diet. A bolder, braver, hardier race of men, I apprehend do not exist than the