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Chapter 1




PART I. Of the Expense of Defence.

The first duty of the sovereign, that of protecting the society
from the violence and invasion of other independent societies,
can be performed only by means of a military force. But the
expense both of preparing this military force in time of peace,
and of employing it in time of war, is very different in the
different states of society, in the different periods of

Among nations of hunters, the lowest and rudest state of society,
such as we find it among the native tribes of North America,
every man is a warrior, as well as a hunter. When he goes to war,
either to defend his society, or to revenge the injuries which
have been done to it by other societies, he maintains himself by
his own labour, in the same manner as when he lives at home. His
society (for in this state of things there is properly neither
sovereign nor commonwealth) is at no sort of expense, either to
prepare him for the field, or to maintain him while he is in it.

Among nations of shepherds, a more advanced state of society,
such as we find it among the Tartars and Arabs, every man is, in
the same manner, a warrior. Such nations have commonly no fixed
habitation, but live either in tents, or in a sort of covered
waggons, which are easily transported from place to place. The
whole tribe, or nation, changes its situation according to the
different seasons of the year, as well as according to other
accidents. When its herds and flocks have consumed the forage of
one part of the country, it removes to another, and from that to
a third. In the dry season, it comes down to the banks of the
rivers; in the wet season, it retires to the upper country. When
such a nation goes to war, the warriors will not trust their
herds and flocks to the feeble defence of their old men, their
women and children; and their old men, their women and children,
will not be left behind without defence, and without subsistence.
The whole nation, besides, being accustomed to a wandering life,
even in time of peace, easily takes the field in time of war.
Whether it marches as an army, or moves about as a company of
herdsmen, the way of life is nearly the same, though the object
proposed by it be very different. They all go to war together,
therefore, and everyone does as well as he can. Among the
Tartars, even the women have been frequently known to engage in
battle. If they conquer, whatever belongs to the hostile tribe is
the recompence of the victory ; but if they are vanquished, all
is lost; and not only their herds and flocks, but their women and
children. become the booty of the conqueror. Even the greater
part of those who survive the action are obliged to submit to him
for the sake of immediate subsistence. The rest are commonly
dissipated and dispersed in the desert.

The ordinary life, the ordinary exercise of a Tartar or Arab,
prepare him sufficiently for war. Running, wrestling,
cudgel-playing, throwing the javelin, drawing the bow, etc. are
the common pastimes of those who live in the open air, and are
all of them the images of war. When a Tartar or Arab actually
goes to war, he is maintained by his own herds and flocks, which
he carries with him, in the same manner as in peace. His chief or
sovereign (for those nations have all chiefs or sovereigns) is at
no sort of expense in preparing him for the field ; and when he
is in it, the chance of plunder is the only pay which he either
expects or requires.

An army of hunters can seldom exceed two or three hundred men.
The precarious subsistence which the chace affords, could seldom
allow a greater number to keep together for any considerable
time. An army of shepherds, on the contrary, may sometimes amount
to two or three hundred thousand. As long as nothing stops their
progress, as long as they can go on from one district, of which
they have consumed the forage, to another, which is yet entire;
there seems to be scarce any limit to the number who can march on
together. A nation of hunters can never be formidable to the
civilized nations in their neighbourhood; a nation of shepherds
may. Nothing can be more contemptible than an Indian war in North
America; nothing, on the contrary, can be more dreadful than a
Tartar invasion has frequently been in Asia. The judgment of
Thucydides, that both Europe and Asia could not resist the
Scythians united, has been verified by the experience of all
ages. The inhabitants of the extensive, but defenceles plains of
Scythia or Tartary, have been frequently united under the
dominion of the chief of some conquering horde or clan; and the
havock and devastation of Asia have always signalized their
union. The inhabitants of the inhospitable deserts of Arabia, the
other great nation of shepherds, have never been united but once,
under Mahomet and his immediate successors. Their union, which
was more the effect of religious enthusiasm than of conquest, was
signalized in the same manner. If the hunting nations of America
should ever become shepherds, their neighbourhood would be much
more dangerous to the European colonies than it is at present.

In a yet more advanced state of society, among those nations of
husbandmen who have little foreign commerce, and no other
manufactures but those coarse and household ones, which almost
every private family prepares for its own use, every man, in the
same manner, either is a warrior, or easily becomes such. Those
who live by agricuiture generally pass the whole day in the open
air, exposed to all the inclemencies of the seasons. The
hardiness of their ordinary life prepares them for the fatigues
of war, to some of which their necessary occupations bear a great
analogy. The necessary occupation of a ditcher prepares him to
work in the trenches, and to fortify a camp, as well as to
inclose a field. The ordinary pastimes of such husbandmen are the
same as those of shepherds, and are in the same manner the images
of war. But as husbandmen have less leisure than shepherds, they
are not so frequently employed in those pastimes. They are
soldiers but soldiers not quite so much masters of their
exercise. Such as they are, however, it seldom costs the
sovereign or commonwealth any expense to prepare them for the

Agriculture, even in its rudest and lowest state, supposes a
settlement, some sort of fixed habitation, which cannot be
abandoned without great loss. When a nation of mere husbandmen,
therefore, goes to war, the whole people cannot take the field
together. The old men, the women and children, at least, must
remain at home, to take care of the habitation. All the men of
the military age, however, may take the field, and in small
nations of this kind, have frequently done so. In every nation,
the men of the military age are supposed to amount to about a
fourth or a fifth part of the whole body of the people. If the
campaign, too, should begin after seedtime, and end before
harvest, both the husbandman and his principal labourers can be
spared from the farm without much loss. He trusts that the work
which must be done in the mean time, can be well enough executed
by the old men, the women, and the children. He is not unwilling,
therefore, to serve without pay during a short campaign ; and it
frequently costs the sovereign or commonwealth as little to
maintain him in the field as to prepare him for it. The citizens
of all the different states of ancient Greece seem to have served
in this manner till after the second Persian war; and the people
of Peloponnesus till after the Peloponnesian war. The
Peloponnesians, Thucydides observes, generally left the field in
the summer, and returned home to reap the harvest. The Roman
people, under their kings, and during the first ages of the
republic, served in the same manner. It was not till the seige of
Veii, that they who staid at home began to contribute something
towards maintaining those who went to war. In the European
monarchies, which were founded upon the ruins of the Roman
empire, both before, and for some time after, the establishment
of what is properly called the feudal law, the great lords, with
all their immediate dependents, used to serve the crown at their
own expense. In the field, in the same manner as at home, they
maintained themselves by their own revenue, and not by any
stipend or pay which they received from the king upon that
particular occasion.

In a more advanced state of society, two different causes
contribute to render it altogether impossible that they who take
the field should maintain themselves at their own expense. Those
two causes are, the progress of manufactures, and the improvement
in the art of war.

Though a husbandman should be employed in an expedition, provided
it begins after seedtime, and ends before harvest, the
interruption of his business will not always occasion any
considerable diminution of his revenue. Without the intervention
of his labour, Nature does herself the greater part of the work
which remains to be done. But the moment that an artificer, a
smith, a carpenter, or a weaver, for example, quits his
workhouse, the sole source of his revenue is completely dried up.
Nature does nothing for him ; he does all for himself. When he
takes the field, therefore, in defence of the public, as he has
no revenue to maintain himself, he must necessarily be maintained
by the public. But in a country, of which a great part of the
inhabitants are artificers and manufacturers, a great part of the
people who go to war must be drawn from those classes, and must,
therefore, be maintained by the public as long as they are
employed in its service,

When the art of war, too, has gradually grown up to be a very
intricate and complicated science; when the event of war ceases
to be determined, as in the first ages of society, by a single
irregular skirmish or battle ; but when the contest is generally
spun out through several different campaigns, each of which lasts
during the greater part of the year; it becomes universally
necessary that the public should maintain those who serve the
public in war, at least while they are employed in that service.
Whatever, in time of peace, might be the ordinary occupation of
those who go to war, so very tedious and expensive a service
would otherwise be by far too heavy a burden upon them. After the
second Persian war, accordingly, the armies of Athens seem to
have been generally composed of mercenary troops, consisting,
indeed, partly of citizens, but partly, too, of foreigners; and
all of them equally hired and paid at the expense of the state.
From the time of the siege of Veii, the armies of Rome received
pay for their service during the time which they remained in the
field. Under the feudal governments, the military service, both
of the great lords, and of their immediate dependents, was, after
a certain period, universally exchanged for a payment in money,
which was employed to maintain those who served in their stead.

The number of those who can go to war, in proportion to the whole
number of the people, is necessarily much smaller in a civilized
than in a rude state of society. In a civilized society, as the
soldiers are maintained altogether by the labour of those who are
not soldiers, the number of the former can never exceed what the
latter can maintain, over and above maintaining, in a manner
suitable to their respective stations, both themselves and the
other officers of government and law, whom they are obliged to
maintain. In the little agrarian states of ancient Greece, a
fourth or a fifth part of the whole body of the people considered
the themselves as soldiers, and would sometimes, it is said, take
the field. Among the civilized nations of modern Europe, it is
commonly computed, that not more than the one hundredth part of
the inhabitants of any country can be employed as soldiers,
without ruin to the country which pays the expense of their

The expense of preparing the army for the field seems not to have
become considerable in any nation, till long after that of
maintaining it in the field had devolved entirely upon the
sovereign or commonwealth. In all the different republics of
ancient Greece, to learn his military exercises, was a necessary
part of education imposed by the state upon every free citizen.
In every city there seems to have been a public field, in which,
under the protection of the public magistrate, the young people
were taught their different exercises by different masters. In
this very simple institution consisted the whole expense which
any Grecian state seems ever to have been at, in preparing its
citizens for war. In ancient Rome, the exercises of the Campus
Martius answered the same purpose with those of the Gymnasium in
ancient Greece. Under the feudal governments, the many public
ordinances, that the citizens of every district should practise
archery, as well as several other military exercises, were
intended for promoting the same purpose, but do not seem to have
promoted it so well. Either from want of interest in the officers
entrusted with the execution of those ordinances, or from some
other cause, they appear to have been universally neglected; and
in the progress of all those governments, military exercises seem
to have gone gradually into disuse among the great body of the

In the republics of ancient Greece and Rome, during the whole
period of their existence, and under the feudal govermnents, for
a considerable time after their first establishment, the trade of
a soldier was not a separate, distinct trade, which constituted
the sole or principal occupation of a particular class of
citizens; every subject of the state, whatever might be the
ordinary trade or occupation by which he gained his livelihood,
considered himself, upon all ordinary occasions, as fit likewise
to exercise the trade of a soldier, and, upon many extraordinary
occasions, as bound to exercise it.

The art of war, however, as it is certainly the noblest of all
arts, so, in the progress of improvement, it necessarily becomes
one of the most complicated among them. The state of the
mechanical, as well as some other arts, with which it is
necessarily connected, determines the degree of perfection to
which it is capable of being carried at any particular time. But
in order to carry it to this degree of perfection, it is
necessary that it should become the sole or principal occupation
of a particular class of citizens; and the division of labour is
as necessary for the improvement of this, as of every other art.
Into other arts, the division of labour is naturally introduced
by the prudence of individuals, who find that they promote their
private interest better by confining themselves to a particular
trade, than by exercising a great number. But it is the wisdom of
the state only, which can render the trade of a soldier a
particular trade, separate and distinct from all others. A
private citizen, who, in time of profound peace, and without any
particular encouragement from the public, should spend the
greater part of his time in military exercises, might, no doubt,
both improve himself very much in them, and amuse himself very
well; but he certainly would not promote his own interest. It is
the wisdom of the state only, which can render it for his
interest to give up the greater part of his time to this peculiar
occupation ; and states have not always had this wisdom, even
when their circumstances had become such, that the preservation
of their existence required that they should have it.

A shepherd has a great deal of leisure; a husbmdman, in the rude
state of husbandry, has some; an artificer or manufacturer has
none at all. The first may, without any loss, employ a great deal
of his time in martial exercises ; the second may employ some
part of it ; but the last cannot employ a single hour in them
without some loss, and his attention to his own interest
naturally leads him to neglect them altogether. Those
improvements in husbandry, too, which the progress of arts and
manufactures necessarily introduces, leave the husbandman as
little leisure as the artificer. Military exercises come to be as
much neglected by the inhabitants of the country as by those of
the town, and the great body of the people becomes altogether
unwarlike. That wealth, at the same time, which always follows
the improvements of agriculture and manufactures, and which, in
reality, is no more than the accumulated produce of those
improvements, provokes the invasion of all their neighbours. An
industrious, and, upon that account, a wealthy nation, is of all
nations the most likely to be attacked ; and unless the state
takes some new measure for the public defence, the natural habits
of the people render them altogether incapable of defending

In these circumstances, there seem to be but two methods by which
the state can make any tolerable provision for the public

It may either, first, by means of a very rigorous police, and in
spite of the whole bent of the interest, genius, and inclinations
of the people, enforce the practice of military exercises, and
oblige either all the citizens of the military age, or a certain
number of them, to join in some measure the trade of a soldier to
whatever other trade or profession they may happen to carry on.

Or, secondly, by maintaining and employing a certain number of
citizens in the constant practice of military exercises, it may
render the trade of a soldier a particular trade, separate and
distinct from all others.

If the state has recourse to the first of those two expedients,
its military force is said to consist in a militia; if to the
second, it is said to consist in a standing army. The practice of
military exercises is the sole or principal occupation of the
soldiers of a standing army, and the maintenance or pay which the
state affords them is the principal and ordinary fund of their
subsistence. The practice of military exercises is only the
occasional occupation of the soldiers of a militia, and they
derive the principal and ordinary fund of their subsistence from
some other occupation. In a militia, the character of the
labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the
soldier; in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates
over every other character ; and in this distinction seems to
consist the essential difference between those two different
species of military force.

Militias have been of several different kinds. In some countries,
the citizens destined for defending the state seem to have been
exercised only, without being, if I may say so, regimented; that
is, without being divided into separate and distinct bodies of
troops, each of which performed its exercises under its own
proper and permanent officers. In the republics of ancient Greece
and Rome, each citizen, as long as he remained at home, seems to
have practised his exercises, either separately and
independently, or with such of his equals as he liked best; and
not to have been attached to any particular body of troops, till
he was actually called upon to take the field. In other
countries, the militia has not only been exercised, but
regimented. In England, in Switzerland, and, I believe, in every
other country of modern Europe, where any imperfect military
force of this kind has been established, every militiaman is,
even in time of peace, attached to a particular body of troops,
which performs its exercises under its own proper and permanent

Before the invention of fire-arms, that army was superior in
which the soldiers had, each individually, the greatest skill and
dexterity in the use of their arms. Strength and agility of body
were of the highest consequence, and commonly determined the fate
of battles. But this skill and dexterity in the use of their arms
could be acquired only, in the same manner as fencing is at
present, by practising, not in great bodies, but each man
separately, in a particular school, under a particular master, or
with his own particular equals and companions. Since the
invention of fire-arms, strength and agility of body, or even
extraordinary dexterity and skill in the use of arms, though they
are far from being of no consequence, are, however, of less
consequence. The nature of the weapon, though it by no means puts
the awkward upon a level with the skilful, puts him more nearly
so than he ever was before. All the dexterity and skill, it is
supposed, which are necessary for using it, can be well enough
acquired by practising in great bodies.

Regularity, order, and prompt obedience to command, are qualities
which, in modern armies, are of more importance towards
determining the fate of battles, than the dexterity and skill of
the soldiers in the use of their arms. But the noise of
fire-arms, the smoke, and the invisible death to which every man
feels himself every moment exposed, as soon as he comes within
cannon-shot, and frequently a long time before the battle can be
well said to be engaged, must render it very difficult to
maintain any considerable degree of this regularity, order, and
prompt obedience, even in the beginning of a modern battle. In an
ancient battle, there was no noise but what arose from the human
voice ; there was no smoke, there was no invisible cause of
wounds or death. Every man, till some mortal weapon actually did
approach him, saw clearly that no such weapon was near him.
In these circumstances, and among troops who had some confidence
in their own skill and dexterity in the use of their arms, it
must have been a good deal less difficult to preserve some degree
of regularity and order, not only in the beginning, but through
the whole progress of an ancient battle, and till one of the two
armies was fairly defeated. But the habits of regularity, order,
and prompt obedience to command, can be acquired only by troops
which are exercised in great bodies.

A militia, however, in whatever manner it may be either
disciplined or exercised, must always be much inferior to a well
disciplined and well exercised standing army.

The soldiers who are exercised only once aweek, or once a-month,
can never be so expert in the use of their arms, as those who are
exercised every day, or every other day; and though this
circumstance may not be of so much consequence in modern, as it
was in ancient times, yet the acknowledged superiority of the
Prussian troops, owing, it is said, very much to their superior
expertness in their exercise, may satisfy us that it is, even at
this day, of very considerable consequence.

The soldiers, who are bound to obey their officer only once
a-week, or once a-month, and who are at all other times at
liberty to manage their own affairs their own way, without being,
in any respect, accountable to him, can never be under the same
awe in his presence, can never have the same disposition to ready
obedience, with those whose whole life and conduct are every day
directed by him, and who every day even rise and go to bed, or at
least retire to their quarters, according to his orders. In what
is called discipline, or in the habit of ready obedience, a
militia must always be still more inferior to a standing army,
than it may sometimes be in what is called the manual exercise,
or in the management and use of its arms. But, in modern war, the
habit of ready and instant obedience is of much greater
consequence than a considerable superiority in the management of

Those militias which, like the Tartar or Arab militia, go to war
under the same chieftains whom they are accustomed to obey in
peace, are by far the best. In respect for their officers, in the
habit of ready obedience, they approach nearest to standing
armies The Highland militia, when it served under its own
chieftains, had some advantage of the same kind. As the
Highlanders, however, were not wandering, but stationary
shepherds, as they had all a fixed habitation, and were not, in
peaceable times, accustomed to follow their chieftain from place
to place; so, in time of war, they were less willing to follow
him to any considerable distance, or to continue for any long
time in the field. When they had acquired any booty, they were
eager to return home, and his authority was seldom sufficient to
detain them. In point of obedience, they were always much
inferior to what is reported of the Tartars and Arabs. As the
Highlanders, too, from their stationary life, spend less of their
time in the open air, they were always less accustomed to
military exercises, and were less expert in the use of their arms
than the Tartars and Arabs are said to be.

A militia of any kind, it must be observed, however, which has
served for several successive campaigns in the field, becomes in
every respect a standing army. The soldiers are every day
exercised in the use of their arms, and, being constantly under
the command of their officers, are habituated to the same prompt
obedience which takes place in standing armies. What they
were before they took the field, is of little importance. They
necessarily become in every respect a standing army, after they
have passed a few campaigns in it. Should the war in America drag
out through another campaign, the American militia may become, in
every respect, a match for that standing army, of which the
valour appeared, in the last war at least, not inferior to that
of the hardiest veterans of France and Spain.

This distinction being well understood, the history of all ages,
it will be found, hears testimony to the irresistible superiority
which a well regulated standing army has over a militia.

One of the first standing armies, of which we have any distinct
account in any well authenticated history, is that of Philip of
Macedon. His frequent wars with the Thracians, Illyrians,
Thessalians, and some of the Greek cities in the neighbourhood of
Macedon, gradually formed his troops, which in the beginning were
probably militia, to the exact discipline of a standing army.
When he was at peace, which he was very seldom, and never for any
long time together, he was careful not to disband that army. It
vanquished and subdued, after a long and violent struggle,
indeed, the gallant and well exercised militias of the principal
republics of ancient Greece; and afterwards, with very little
struggle, the effeminate and ill exercised militia of the great
Persian empire. The fall of the Greek republics, and of the
Persian empire was the effect of the irresistible superiority
which a standing arm has over every other sort of militia. It
is the first great revolution in the affairs of mankind of which
history has preserved any distinct and circumstantial account.

The fall of Carthage, and the consequent elevation of Rome, is
the second. All the varieties in the fortune of those two famous
republics may very well be accounted for from the same cause.

From the end of the first to the beginning of the second
Carthaginian war, the armies of Carthage were continually in the
field, and employed under three great generals, who succeeded one
another in the command; Amilcar, his son-in-law Asdrubal, and his
son Annibal: first in chastising their own rebellious slaves,
afterwards in subduing the revolted nations of Africa; and
lastly, in conquering the great kingdom of Spain. The army which
Annibal led from Spain into Italy must necessarily, in those
different wars, have been gradually formed to the exact
discipline of a standing army. The Romans, in the meantime,
though they had not been altogether at peace, yet they had not,
during this period, been engaged in any war of very great
consequence; and their military discipline, it is generally said,
was a good deal relaxed. The Roman armies which Annibal
encountered at Trebi, Thrasymenus, and Cannae, were militia
opposed to a standing army. This circumstance, it is probable,
contributed more than any other to determine the fate of those

The standing army which Annibal left behind him in Spain had the
like superiority over the militia which the Romans sent to oppose
it; and, in a few years, under the command of his brother, the
younger Asdrubal, expelled them almost entirely from that

Annibal was ill supplied from home. The Roman militia, being
continually in the field, became, in the progress of the war, a
well disciplined and well exercised standing army ; and the
superiority of Annibal grew every day less and less. Asdrubal
judged it necessary to lead the whole, or almost the whole, of
the standing army which he commanded in Spain, to the assistance
of his brother in Italy. In this march, he is said to have been
misled by his guides ; and in a country which he did not know,
was surprised and attacked, by another standing army, in every
respect equal or superior to his own, and was entirely defeated.

When Asdrubal had left Spain, the great Scipio found nothing to
oppose him but a militia inferior to his own. He conquered and
subdued that militia, and, in the course of the war, his own
militia necessarily became a well disciplined and well exercised
standing army. That standing army was afterwards carried to
Africa, where it found nothing but a militia to oppose it. In
order to defend Carthage, it became necessary to recal the
standing army of Annibal. The disheartened and frequently
defeated African militia joined it, and, at the battle of Zama,
composed the greater part of the troops of Annibal. The event of
that day determined the fate of the two rival republics.

From the end of the second Carthaginian war till the fall of the
Roman republic, the armies of Rome were in every respect standing
armies. The standing army of Macedon made some resistance to
their arms. In the height of their grandeur, it cost them two
great wars, and three great battles, to subdue that little
kingdom, of which the conquest would probably have been still
more difficult, had it not been for the cowardice of its last
king. The militias of all the civilized nations of the ancient
world, of Greece, of Syria, and of Egypt, made but a feeble
resistance to the standing armies of Rome. The militias of some
barbarous nations defended themselves much better. The
Scythian or Tartar militia, which Mithridates drew from the
countries north of the Euxine and Caspian seas, were the most
formidable enemies whom the Romans had to encounter after the
second Carthaginian war. The Parthian and German militias, too,
were always respectable, and upon several occasions, gained very
considerable advantages over the Roman armies. In general,
however, and when the Roman armies were well commanded, they
appear to have been very much superior; and if the Romans did not
pursue the final conquest either of Parthia or Germany, it was
probably because they judged that it was not worth while to add
those two barbarous countries to an empire which was already too
large. The ancient Parthians appear to have been a nation of
Scythian or Tartar extraction, and to have always retained a good
deal of the manners of their ancestors. The ancient Germans were,
like the Scythians or Tartars, a nation of wandering shepherds,
who went to war under the same chiefs whom they were accustomed
to follow in peace. 'Their militia was exactly of the same kind
with that of the Scythians or Tartars, from whom, too, they were
probably descended.

Many different causes contributed to relax the discipline of the
Roman armies. Its extreme severity was, perhaps, one of those
causes. In the days of their grandeur, when no enemy appeared
capable of opposing them, their heavy armour was laid aside as
unnecessarily burdensome, their laborious exercises were
neglected, as unnecessarily toilsome. Under the Roman emperors,
besides, the standing armies of Rome, those particularly which
guarded the German and Pannonian frontiers, became dangerous to
their masters, against whom they used frequently to set up their
own generals. In order to render them less formidable, according
to some authors, Dioclesian, according to others, Constantine,
first withdrew them from the frontier, where they had always
before been encamped in great bodies, generally of two or three
legions each, and dispersed them in small bodies through the
different provincial towns, from whence they were scarce ever
removed, but when it became necessary to repel an invasion. Small
bodies of soldiers, quartered in trading and manufacturing towns,
and seldom removed from those quarters, became themselves trades
men, artificers, and manufacturers. The civil came to predominate
over the military character ; and the standing armies of Rome
gradually degenerated into a corrupt, neglected. and
undisciplined militia, incapable of resisting the attack of the
German and Scythian militias, which soon afterwards invaded the
western empire. It was only by hiring the militia of some of
those nations to oppose to that of others, that the emperors were
for some time able to defend themselves. The fall of the western
empire is the third great revolution in the affairs of mankind,
of which ancient history has preserved any distinct or
circumstantial account. It was brought about by the
irresistible superiority which the militia of a barbarous has
over that of a civilized nation; which the militia of a nation of
shepherds has over that of a nation of husbandmen, artificers,
and manufacturers. The victories which have been gained by
militias have generally been, not over standing armies, but over
other militias, in exercise and discipline inferior to
themselves. Such were the victories which the Greek militia
gained over that of the Persian empire; and such, too, were those
which, in later times, the Swiss militia gained over that of the
Austrians and Burgundians.

The military force of the German and Scythian nations, who
established themselves upon ruins of the western empire,
continued for some time to be of the same kind in their new
settlements, as it had been in their original country. It was a
militia of shepherds and husbandmen, which, in time of war, took
the field under the command of the same chieftains whom it was
accustomed to obey in peace. It was, therefore, tolerably well
exercised, and tolerably well disciplined. As arts and industry
advanced, however, the authority of the chieftains gradually
decayed, and the great body of the people had less time to spare
for military exercises. Both the discipline and the exercise of
the feudal militia, therefore, went gradually to ruin, and
standing armies were gradually introduced to supply the place of
it. When the expedient of a standing army, besides, had once been
adopted by one civilized nation, it became necessary that all its
neighbours should follow the example. They soon found that their
safety depended upon their doing so, and that their own militia
was altogether incapable of resisting the attack of such an army.

The soldiers of a standing army, though they may never have seen
an enemy, yet have frequently appeared to possess all the courage
of veteran troops, and, the very moment that they took the field,
to have been fit to face the hardiest and most experienced
veterans. In 1756, when the Russian army marched into Poland, the
valour of the Russian soldiers did not appear inferior to that of
the Prussians, at that time supposed to be the hardiest and most
experienced veterans in Europe. The Russian empire, however, had
enjoyed a profound peace for near twenty years before, and could
at that time have very few soldiers who had ever seen an enemy.
When the Spanish war broke out in 1739, England had enjoyed a
profound peace for about eight-and-twenty years. The valour of
her soldiers, however, far from being corrupted by that long
peace, was never more distinguished than in the attempt upon
Carthagena, the first unfortunate exploit of that unfortunate
war. In a long peace, the generals, perhaps, may sometimes forget
their skill; but where a well regulated standing army has been
kept up, the soldiers seem never to forget their valour.

When a civilized nation depends for its defence upon a militia,
it is at all times exposed to be conquered by any barbarous
nation which happens to be in its neighbourhood. The frequent
conquests of all the civilized countries in Asia by the Tartars,
sufficiently demonstrates the natural superiority which the
militia of a barbarous has over that of a civilized nation. A
well regulated standing army is superior to every militia.
Such an army, as it can best be maintained by an opulent and
civilized nation, so it can alone defend such a nation against
the invasion of a poor and barbarous neighbour. It is only by
means of a standing army, therefore, that the civilization of any
country can be perpetuated, or even preserved, for any
considerable time.

As it is only by means of a well regulated standing army, that a
civilized country can be defended, so it is only by means of it
that a barbarous country can be suddenly and tolerably civilized.
A standing army establishes, with an irresistible force, the law
of the sovereign through the remotest provinces of the empire,
and maintains some degree of regular government in countries
which could not otherwise admit of any. Whoever examines with
attention, the improvements which Peter the Great introduced into
the Russian empire, will find that they almost all resolve
themselves into the establishment of a well regulated standing
army. It is the instrument which executes and maintains all his
other regulations. That degree of order and internal peace, which
that empire has ever since enjoyed, is altogether owing to the
influence of that army.

Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing
army, as dangerous to liberty. It certainly is so, wherever the
interest of the general, and that of the principal officers, are
not necessarily connected with the support of the constitution of
the state. The standing army of Czesar destroyed the Roman
republic. The standing army of Cromwell turned the long
parliament out of doors. But where the sovereign is himself the
general, and the principal nobility and gentry of the country the
chief officers of the army ; where the military force is placed
under the command of those who have the greatest interest in the
support of the civil authority, because they have themselves the
greatest share of that authority, a standing army can never be
dangerous to liberty. On the contrary, it may, in some cases, be
favourable to liberty. The security which it gives to the
sovereign renders unnecessary that troublesome jealousy, which,
in some modern republics, seems to watch over the minutest
actions, and to be at all times ready to disturb the peace of
every citizen. Where the security of the magistrate, though
supported by the principal people of the country, is endangered
by every popular discontent; where a small tumult is capable of
bringing about in a few hours a great revolution, the whole
authority of government must be employed to suppress and punish
every murmur and complaint against it. To a sovereign, on the
contrary, who feels himself supported, not only by the natural
aristocracy of the country, but by a well regulated standing
army, the rudest, the most groundless, and the most licentious
remonstrances, can give little disturbance. He can safely pardon
or neglect them, and his consciousness of his own superiority
naturally disposes him to do so. That degree of liberty which
approaches to licentiousness, can be tolerated only in countries
where the sovereign is secured by a well regulated standing army.
It is in such countries only, that the public safety does not
require that the sovereign should be trusted with any
discretionary power, for suppressing even the impertinent
wantonness of this licentious liberty.

The first duty of the sovereign, therefore, that of defending the
society from the violence and injustice of other independent
societies, grows gradually more and more expensive, as the
society advances in civilization. The military force of the
society, which originally cost the sovereign no expense, either
in time of peace, or in time of war, must, in the progress of
improvement, first be maintained by him in time of war, and
afterwards even in time of peace.

The great change introduced into the art of war by the invention
of fire-arms, has enhanced still further both the expense of
exercising and disciplining any particular number of soldiers in
time of peace, and that of employing them in time of war. Both
their arms and their ammunition are become more expensive. A
musket is a more expensive machine than a javelin or a bow and
arrows; a cannon or a mortar, than a balista or a catapulta. The
powder which is spent in a modern review is lost irrecoverably,
and occasions a very considerable expense. The javelins and
arrows which were thrown or shot in an ancient one, could easily
be picked up again, and were, besides, of very little value. The
cannon and the mortar are not only much dearer, but much heavier
machines than the balista or catapulta; and require a greater
expense, not only to prepare them for the field, but to carry
them to it. As the superiority of the modern artillery, too, over
that of the ancients, is very great ; it has become much more
difficult, and consequently much more expensive, to fortify a
town, so as to resist, even for a few weeks, the attack of that
superior artillery. In modern times, many different causes
contribute to render the defence of the society more expensive.
The unavoidable effects of the natural progress of improvement
have, in this respect, been a good deal enhanced by a great
revolution in the art of war, to which a mere accident, the
invention of gunpowder, seems to have given occasion.

In modern war, the great expense of firearms gives an evident
advantage to the nation which can best afford that expense; and,
consequently, to an opulent and civilized, over a poor and
barbarous nation. In ancient times, the opulent and civilized
found it difficult to defend themselves against the poor and
barbarous nations. In modern times, the poor and barbarous find
it difficult to defend themselves against the opulent and
civilized. The invention of fire-arms, an invention which at
first sight appears to be so pernicious, is certainly favourable,
both to the permanency and to the extension of civilization.


Of the Expense of Justice

The second duty of the sovereign, that of protecting, as far as
possible, every member of the society from the injustice or
oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of
establishing an exact administration of justice, requires two
very different degrees of expense in the different periods of

Among nations of hunters, as there is scarce any property, or at
least none that exceeds the value of two or three days labour ;
so there is seldom any established magistrate, or any regular
administration of justice. Men who have no property, can injure
one another only in their persons or reputations. But when one
man kills, wounds, beats, or defames another, though he to whom
the injury is done suffers, he who does it receives no benefit.
It is otherwise with the injuries to property. The benefit of the
person who does the injury is often equal to the loss of him who
suffers it. Envy, malice, or resentment, are the only passions
which can prompt one man to injure another in his person or
reputation. But the greater part of men are not very frequently
under the influence of those passions; and the very worst men are
so only occasionally. As their gratification, too, how agreeable
soever it may be to certain characters, is not attended with any
real or permanent advantage, it is, in the greater part of men,
commonly restrained by prudential considerations. Men may live
together in society with some tolerable degree of security,
though there is no civil magistrate to protect them from the
injustice of those passions. But avarice and ambition in the
rich, in the poor the hatred of labour and the love of present
ease and enjoyment, are the passions which prompt to invade
property ; passions much more steady in their operation, and much
more universal in their influence. Wherever there is a great
property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there
must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few
supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich
excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by
want, and prompted by envy to invade his possessions. It is only
under the shelter of the civil magistrate, that the owner of that
valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years,
or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single
night in security. He is at all times surrounded by unknown
enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease,
and from whose injustice he can be protected only by the powerful
arm of the civil magistrate, continually held up to chastise it.
The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore,
necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. Where
there is no property, or at least none that exceeds the value of
two or three days labour, civil government is not so necessary.

Civil government supposes a certain subordination. But as the
necessity of civil government gradually grows up with the
acquisition of valuable property; so the principal causes, which
naturally introduce subordination, gradually grow up with the
growth of that valuable property.

The causes or circumstances which naturally introduce
subordination, or which naturally and antecedent to any civil
institution, give some men some superiority over the greater part
of their brethren, seem to be four in number.

The first of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of
personal qualifications, of strength, beauty, and agility of body
; of wisdom and virtue; of prudence, justice, fortitude, and
moderation of mind. The qualifications of the body, unless
supported by those of the mind, can give little authority in any
period of society. He is a very strong man, who, by mere strength
of body, can force two weak ones to obey him. The qualifications
of the mind can alone give very great authority They are however,
invisible qualities; always disputable, and generally disputed.
No society, whether barbarous or civilized, has ever found it
convenient to settle the rules of precedency of rank and
subordination, according to those invisible qualities; but
according to something that is more plain and palpable.

The second of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority
of age. An old man, provided his age is not so far advanced as to
give suspicion of dotage, is everywhere more respected than a
young man of equal rank, fortune, and abilities. Among nations of
hunters, such as the native tribes of North America, age is the
sole foundation of rank and precedency. Among them, father is the
appellation of a superior ; brother, of an equal ; and son, of an
inferior. In the most opulent and civilized nations, age
regulates rank among those who are in every other respect equal ;
and among whom, therefore, there is nothing else to regulate it.
Among brothers and among sisters, the eldest always takes place ;
and in the succession of the paternal estate, every thing which
cannot be divided, but must go entire to one person, such as a
title of honour, is in most cases given to the eldest. Age is a
plain and palpable quality, which admits of no dispute.

The third of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of
fortune. The authority of riches, however, though great in every
age of society, is, perhaps, greatest in the rudest ages of
society, which admits of any considerable inequality of fortune.
A Tartar chief, the increase of whose flocks and herds is
sufficient to maintain a thousand men, cannot well employ that
increase in any other way than in maintaining a thousand men. The
rude state of his society does not afford him any manufactured
produce any trinkets or baubles of any kind, for which he can
exchange that part of his rude produce which is over and above
his own consumption. The thousand men whom he thus maintains,
depending entirely upon him for their subsistence, must both obey
his orders in war, and submit to his jurisdiction in peace. He is
necessarily both their general and their judge, and his
chieftainship is the necessary effect of the superiority of his
fortune. In an opulent and civilized society, a man may possess a
much greater fortune, and yet not be able to command a dozen of
people. Though the produce of his estate may be sufficient to
maintain, and may, perhaps, actually maintain, more than a
thousand people, yet, as those people pay for every thing which
they get from him, as he gives scarce any thing to any body but
in exchange for an equivalent, there is scarce anybody who
considers himself as entirely dependent upon him, and his
authority extends only over a few menial servants. The authority
of fortune, however, is very great, even in an opulent and
civilized society. That it is much greater than that either of
age or of personal qualities, has been the constant complaint of
every period of society which admitted of any considerable
inequality of fortune. The first period of society, that of
hunters, admits of no such inequality. Universal poverty
establishes their universal equality ; and the superiority,
either of age or of personal qualities, are the feeble, but the
sole foundations of authority and subordination. There is,
therefore, little or no authority or subordination in this period
of society. The second period of society, that of shepherds,
admits of very great inequalities of fortune, and there is no
period in which the superiority of fortune gives so great
authority to those who possess it. There is no period,
accordingly, in which authority and subordination are more
perfectly established. The authority of an Arabian scherif is
very great; that of a Tartar khan altogether despotical.

The fourth of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority
of birth. Superiority of birth supposes an ancient superiority of
fortune in the family of the person who claims it. All families
are equally ancient ; and the ancestors of the prince, though
they may be better known, cannot well be more numerous than those
of the beggar. Antiquity of family means everywhere the antiquity
either of wealth, or of that greatness which is commonly either
founded upon wealth, or accompanied with it. Upstart greatness is
everywhere less respected than ancient greatness. The hatred of
usurpers, the love of the family of an ancient monarch, are in a
great measure founded upon the contempt which men naturally have
for the former, and upon their veneration for the latter. As a
military officer submits, without reluctance, to the authority of
a superior by whom he has always been commanded, but cannot bear
that his inferior should be set over his head; so men easily
submit to a family to whom they and their ancestors have always
submitted; but are fired with indignation when another family, in
whom they had never acknowledged any such superiority, assumes a
dominion over them.

The distinction of birth, being subsequent to the inequality of
fortune, can have no place in nations of hunters, among whom all
men, being equal in fortune, must likewise be very nearly equal
in birth. The son of a wise and brave man may, indeed, even among
them, be somewhat more respected than a man of equal merit, who
has the misfortune to be the son of a fool or a coward. The
difference, however will not be very great; and there never was,
I believe, a great family in the world, whose illustration was
entirely derived from the inheritance of wisdom and virtue.

The distinction of birth not only may, but always does, take
place among nations of shepherds. Such nations are always
strangers to every sort of luxury, and great wealth can scarce
ever be dissipated among them by improvident profusion. There are
no nations, accordingly, who abound more in families revered and
honoured on account of their descent from a long race of great
and illustrious ancestors ; because there are no nations among
whom wealth is likely to continue longer in the same families.

Birth and fortune are evidently the two circumstances which
principally set one man above another. They are the two great
sources of personal distinction, and are, therefore, the
principal causes which naturally establish authority and
subordination among men. Among nations of shepherds, both those
causes operate with their full force. The great shepherd or
herdsman, respected on account of his great wealth, and of the
great number of those who depend upon him for subsistence, and
revered on account of the nobleness of his birth, and of the
immemorial antiquity or his illustrious family, has a natural
authority over all the inferior shepherds or herdsmen of his
horde or clan. He can command the united force of a greater
number of people than any of them. His military power is greater
than that of any of them. In time of war, they are all of them
naturally disposed to muster themselves under his banner, rather
than under that of any other person ; and his birth and fortune
thus naturally procure to him some sort of executive power. By
commanding, too, the united force of a greater number of people
than any of them, he is best able to compel any one of them, who
may have injured another, to compensate the wrong. He is the
person, therefore, to whom all those who are too weak to defend
themselves naturally look up for protection. It is to him that
they naturally complain of the injuries which they imagine have
been done to them ; and his interposition, in such cases, is more
easily submitted to, even by the person complained of, than that
of any other person would be. His birth and fortune thus
naturally procure him some sort of judicial authority.

It is in the age of shepherds, in the second period of society,
that the inequality of fortune first begins to take place, and
introduces among men a degree of authority and subordination,
which could not possibly exist before. It thereby introduces some
degree of that civil government which is indispensably necessary
for its own preservation; and it seems to do this naturally, and
even independent of the consideration of that necessity. The
consideration of that necessity comes, no doubt, afterwards, to
contribute very much to maintain and secure that authority and
subordination. The rich, in particular, are necesarily interested
to support that order of things, which can alone secure them in
the possession of their own advantages. Men of inferior wealth
combine to defend those of superior wealth in the possession of
their property, in order that men of superior wealth may combine
to defend them in the possession of theirs. All the inferior
shepherds and herdsmen feel, that the security of their own herds
and flocks depends upon the security of those of the great
shepherd or herdsman; that the maintenance of their lesser
authority depends upon that of his greater authority ; and that
upon their subordination to him depends his power of keeping
their inferiors in subordination to them. They constitute a sort
of little nobility, who feel themselves interested to defend the
property, and to support the authority, of their own little
sovereign. in order that he may be able to defend their property,
and to support their authority. Civil government, so far as it is
instituted for the security of property, is, in reality,
instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of
those who have some property against those who have none at all.

The judicial authority of such a sovereign, however, far from
being a cause of expense, was, for a long time, a source of
revenue to him. The persons who applied to him for justice were
always willing to pay for it, and a present never failed to
accompany a petition. After the authority of the sovereign, too,
was thoroughly established, the person found guilty, over and
above the satisfaction which he was obliged to make to the party,
was like-wise forced to pay an amercement to the sovereign. He
had given trouble, he had disturbed, he had broke the peace of
his lord the king, and for those offences an amercement was
thought due. In the Tartar governments of Asia, in the
governments of Europe which were founded by the German and
Scythian nations who overturned the Roman empire, the
administration of justice was a considerable source of revenue,
both to the sovereign, and to all the lesser chiefs or lords who
exercised under him any particular jurisdiction, either over some
particular tribe or clan, or over some particular territory or
district. Originally, both the sovereign and the inferior chiefs
used to exercise this jurisdiction in their own persons.
Afterwards, they universally found it convenient to delegate it
to some substitute, bailiff, or judge. This substitute, however,
was still obliged to account to his principal or constituent for
the profits of the jurisdiction. Whoever reads the instructions
(They are to be found in Tyrol's History of England) which were
given to the judges of the circuit in the time of Henry II will
see clearly that those judges were a sort of itinerant factors,
sent round the country for the purpose of levying certain
branches of the king's revenue. In those days, the administration
of justice not only afforded a certain revenue to the sovereign,
but, to procure this revenue, seems to have been one of the
principal advantages which he proposed to obtain by the
administration of justice.

This scheme of making the administration of justice subservient
to the purposes of revenue, could scarce fail to be productive of
several very gross abuses. The person who applied for justice
with a large present in his hand, was likeiy to get something
more than justice; while he who applied for it with a small one
was likely to get something less. Justice, too, might frequently
be delayed, in order that this present might be repeated. The
amercement, besides, of the person complained of, might
frequently suggest a very strong reason for finding him in the
wrong, even when he had not really been so. That such abuses were
far from being uncommon, the ancient history of every country in
Europe bears witness.

When the sovereign or chief exercises his judicial authority in
his own person, how much soever he might abuse it, it must have
been scarce possible to get any redress ; because there could
seldom be any body powerful enough to call him to account. When
he exercised it by a bailiff, indeed, redress might sometimes be
had. If it was for his own benefit only, that the bailiff had
been guilty of an act of injustice, the sovereign himself might
not always be unwilling to punish him, or to oblige him to repair
the wrong. But if it was for the benefit of his sovereign; if it
was in order to make court to the person who appointed him, and
who might prefer him, that he had committed any act of oppression
; redress would, upon most occasions, be as impossible as if the
sovereign had committed it himself. In all barbarous governments,
accordingly, in all those ancient governments of Europe in
particular, which were founded upon the ruins of the Roman
empire, the administration of justice appears for a long time to
have been extremely corrupt ; far from being quite equal and
impartial, even under the best monarchs, and altogether
profligate under the worst.

Among nations of shepherds, where the sovereign or chief is only
the greatest shepherd or herdsman of the horde or clan, he is
maintained in the same manner as any of his vassals or subjects,
by the increase of his own herds or flocks. Among those nations
of husbandmen, who are but just come out of the shepherd state,
and who are not much advanced beyond that state, such as the
Greek tribes appear to have been about the time of the Trojan
war, and our German and Scythian ancestors, when they first
settled upon the ruins of the western empire; the sovereign or
chief is, in the same manner, only the greatest landlord of the
country, and is maintained in the same manner as any other
landlord, by a revenue derived from his own private estate. or
from what, in modern Europe, was called the demesne of the crown.
His subjects, upon ordinary occasions, contribute nothing to his
support, except when, in order to protect them from the
oppression of some of their fellow-subjects, they stand in need
of his authority. The presents which they make him upon such
occasions constitute the whole ordinary revenue, the whole of the
emoluments which, except, perhaps, upon some very extraordinary
emergencies, he derives from his dominion over them. When
Agamemnon, in Homer, offers to Achilles, for his friendship, the
sovereignty of seven Greek cities, the sole advantage which he
mentions as likely to be derived from it was, that the people
would honour him with presents. As long as such presents, as long
as the emoluments of justice, or what may be called the fees of
court, constituted, in this manner, the whole ordinary revenue
which the sovereign derived from his sovereignty, it could not
well be expected, it could not even decently be proposed, that he
should give them up altogether. It might, and it frequently was
proposed, that he should regulate and ascertain them. But after
they had been so regulated and ascertained, how to hinder a
person who was all-powerful from extending them beyond those
regulations, was still very difficult, not to say impossible.
During the continuance of this state of things, therefore, the
corruption of justice, naturally resulting from the arbitrary and
uncertain nature of those presents, scarce admitted of any
effectual remedy.

But when, from different causes, chiefly from the continually
increasing expense of defending the nation against the invasion
of other nations, the private estate of the sovereign had become
altogether insufficient for defraying the expense of the
sovereignty; and when it had become necessary that the people
should, for their own security, contribute towards this expense
by taxes of different kinds; it seems to have been very commonly
stipulated, that no present for the administration of justice
should, under any pretence, be accepted either by the sovereign,
or by his bailiffs and substitutes, the judges. Those presents,
it seems to have been supposed, could more easily be abolished
altogether, than effectually regulated and ascertained. Fixed
salaries were appointed to the judges, which were supposed to
compensate to them the loss of whatever might have been their
share of the ancient emoluments of justice; as the taxes more
than compensated to the sovereign the loss of his. Justice was
then said to be administered gratis.

Justice, however, never was in reality administered gratis in any
country. Lawyers and attorneys, at least, must always be paid by
the parties; and if they were not, they would perform their duty
still worse than they actually perform it. The fees annually paid
to lawyers and attorneys, amount, in every court, to a much
greater sum than the salaries of the judges. The circumstance of
those salaries being paid by the crown, can nowhere much diminish
the necessary expense of a law-suit. But it was not so much to
diminish the expense, as to prevent the corruption of justice,
that the judges were prohibited from receiving my present or fee
from the parties.

The office of judge is in itself so very honourable, that men are
willing to accept of it, though accompanied with very small
emoluments. The inferior office of justice of peace, though
attended with a good deal of trouble, and in most cases with no
emoluments at all, is an object of ambition to the greater part
of our country gentlemen. The salaries of all the different
judges, high and low, together with the whole expense of the
administration and execution of justice, even where it is not
managed with very good economy, makes, in any civilized country,
but a very inconsiderable part of the whole expense of

The whole expense of justice, too, might easily be defrayed by
the fees of court ; and, without exposing the administration of
justice to any real hazard of corruption, the public revenue
might thus be entirely discharged from a certain, though perhaps
but a small incumbrance. It is difficult to regulate the fees of
court effectually, where a person so powerful as the sovereign is
to share in them and to derive any considerable part of his
revenue from them. It is very easy, where the judge is the
principal person who can reap any benefit from them. The law can
very easily oblige the judge to respect the regulation though it
might not always be able to make the sovereign respect it. Where
the fees of court are precisely regulated and ascertained where
they are paid all at once, at a certain period of every process,
into the hands of a cashier or receiver, to be by him distributed
in certain known proportions among the different judges after the
process is decided and not till it is decided ; there seems to be
no more danger of corruption than when such fees are prohibited
altogether. Those fees, without occasioning any considerable
increase in the expense of a law-suit, might be rendered fully
sufficient for defraying the whole expense of justice. But
not being paid to the judges till the process was determined,
they might be some incitement to the diligence of the court in
examining and deciding it. In courts which consisted of a
considerable number of judges, by proportioning the share of each
judge to the number of hours and days which he had employed in
examining the process, either in the court, or in a committee, by
order of the court, those fees might give some encouragement to
the diligence of each particular judge. Public services are never
better performed, than when their reward comes only in
consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the
diligence employed in performing them. In the different
parliaments of France, the fees of court (called epices and
vacations) constitute the far greater part of the emoluments of
the judges. After all deductions are made, the neat salary paid
by the crown to a counsellor or judge in the parliament of
Thoulouse. in rank and dignity the second parliament of the
kingdom, amounts only to 150 livres, about £6:11s. sterling
a-year. About seven years ago, that sum was in the same place the
ordinary yearly wages of a common footman. The distribuion of
these epices, too, is according to the diligence of the judges. A
diligent judge gains a comfortable, though moderate revenue, by
his office; an idle one gets little more than his salary.
Those parliaments are, perhaps, in many respects, not very
convenient courts of justice; but they have never been accused ;
they seem never even to have been suspected of corruption.

The fees of court seem originaliy to have been the principal
support of the different courts of justice in England. Each
court endeavoured to draw to itself as much business as it could,
and was, upon that account, willing to take cognizance of many
suits which were not originally intended to fall under its
jurisdiction. The court of king's bench, instituted for the trial
of criminal causes only, took cognizance of civil suits; the
plaintiff pretending that the defendant, in not doing him
justice, had been guilty of some trespass or misdemeanour. The
court of exchequer, instituted for the levying of the king's
revenue, and for enforcing the payment of such debts only as were
due to the king, took cognizance of all other contract debts ;
the plantiff alleging that he could not pay the king, because the
defendant would not pay him. In consequence of such fictions, it
came, in many cases, to depend altogether upon the parties,
before what court they would choose to have their cause tried,
and each court endeavoured, by superior dispatch and
impartiality, to draw to itself as many causes as it could. The
present admirable constitution of the courts of justice in
England was, perhaps, originally, in a great measure, formed by
this emulation, which anciently took place between their
respective judges : each judge endeavouring to give, in his own
court, the speediest and most effectual remedy which the law
would admit, for every sort of injustice. Originally, the courts
of law gave damages only for breach of contract. The court of
chancery, as a court of conscience, first took upon it to enforce
the specific performance of agreements. When the breach of
contract consisted in the non-payment of money, the damage
sustained could be compensated in no other way than by ordering
payment, which was equivalent to a specific performance of the
agreement. In such cases, therefore, the remedy of the courts
of law was sufficient. It was not so in others. When the
tenant sued his lord for having unjustly outed him of his lease,
the damages which he recovered were by no means equivalent to the
possession of the land. Such causes, therefore, for some time,
went all to the court of chancery, to the no small loss of the
courts of law. It was to draw back such causes to themselves,
that the courts of law are said to have invented the artificial
and fictitious writ of ejectment, the most effectual remedy for
an unjust outer or dispossession of land.

A stamp-duty upon the law proceedings of each particular court,
to be levied by that court, and applied towards the maintenance
of the judges, and other officers belonging to it, might in the
same manner, afford a revenue sufficient for defraying the
expense of the administration of justice, without bringing any
burden upon the general revenue of the society. The judges,
indeed, might in this case, be under the temptation of
multiplying unnecessarily the proceedings upon every cause, in
order to increase, as much as possible, the produce of such a
stamp-duty. It has been the custom in modern Europe to regulate,
upon most occasions, the payment of the attorneys and clerks of
court according to the number of pages which they had occasion to
write; the court, however, requiring that each page should
contain so many lines, and each line so many words. In order to
increase their payment, the attorneys and clerks have contrived
to multiply words beyond all necessity, to the corruption of the
law language of, I believe, every court of justice in Europe.
A like temptation might, perhaps, occasion a like corruption in
the form of law proceedings.

But whether the administration of justice be so contrived as to
defray its own expense, or whether the judges be maintained by
fixed salaries paid to them from some other fund, it does not
seen necessary that the person or persons entrusted with the
executive power should be charged with the management of that
fund, or with the payment of those salaries. That fund might
arise from the rent of landed estates, the management of each
estate being entrusted to the particular court which was to be
maintained by it. That fund might arise even from the
interest of a sum of money, the lending out of which might, in
the same manner, be entrusted to the court which was to be
maintained by it. A part, though indeed but a small part of the
salary of the judges of the court of session in Scotland, arises
from the interest of a sum of money. The necessary instability of
such a fund seems, however, to render it an improper one for the
maintenance of an institution which ought to last for ever.

The separation of the judicial from the executive power, seems
originally to have arisen from the increasing business of the
society, in consequence of its increasing improvement. The
administration of justice became so laborious and so complicated
a duty, as to require the undivided attention of the person to
whom it was entrusted. The person entrusted with the executive
power, not having leisure to attend to the decision of private
causes himself, a deputy was appointed to decide them in his
stead. In the progress of the Roman greatness, the consul was too
much occupied with the political affairs of the state, to attend
to the administration of justice. A praetor, therefore, was
appointed to administer it in his stead. In the progress of the
European monarchies, which were founded upon the ruins of the
Roman empire, the sovereigns and the great lords came universally
to consider the administration of justice as an office both too
laborious and too ignoble for them to execute in their own
persons. They universally, therefore, discharged themselves of
it, by appointing a deputy, bailiff or judge.

When the judicial is united to the executive power, it is scarce
possible that justice should not frequently be sacrificed to what
is vulgarly called politics. The persons entrusted with the
great interests of the state may even without any corrupt views,
sometimes imagine it necessary to sacrifice to those interests
the rights of a private man. But upon the impartial
administration of justice depends the liberty of every
individual, the sense which he has of his own security. In order
to make every individual feel himself perfectly secure in the
possession of every right which belongs to him, it is not only
necessary that the judicial should be separated from the
executive power, but that it should be rendered as much as
possible independent of that power. The judge should not be
liable to be removed from his office according to the caprice of
that power. The regular payment of his salary should not depend
upon the good will, or even upon the good economy of that power.


Of the Expense of public Works and public Institutions.

The third and last duty of the sovereign or commonwealth, is that
of erecting and maintaining those public institutions and those
public works, which though they may be in the highest degree
advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature,
that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual,
or small number of individuals; and which it, therefore, cannot
be expected that any individual, or small number of individuals,
should erect or maintain. The performance of this duty requires,
too, very different degrees of expense in the different periods
of society.

After the public institutions and public works necessary for the
defence of the socicty, and for the administration of justice,
both of which have already been mentioned, the other works and
institutions of this kind are chiefly for facilitating the
commerce of the society, and those for promoting the instruction
of the people. The institutions for instruction are of two kinds:
those for the education of the youth, and those for the
instruction of people of all ages. The consideration of the
manner in which the expense of those different sorts of public
works and institutions may be most properly defrayed will divide
this third part of the present chapter into three different

ARTICLE I. - Of the public Works and Institutions for
facilitating the Commerce of the Society.

And, first, of those which are necessary for facilitating
Commerce in general.

That the erection and maintenance of the public works which
facilitate the commerce of any country, such as good roads,
bridges, navigable canals, harbours, etc. must require very
different degrees of expense in the different periods of society,
is evident without any proof. The expense of making and
maintaining the public roads of any country must evidently
increase with the annual produce of the land and labour of that
country, or with the quantity and weight of the goods which it
becomes necessary to fetch and carry upon those roads. The
strength of a bridge must be suited to the number and weight of
the carriages which are likely to pass over it. The depth and the
supply of water for a navigable canal must be proportioned to the
number and tonnage of the lighters which are likely to carry
goods upon it; the extent of a harbour, to the number of the
shipping which are likely to take shelter in it.

It does not seem necessary that the expense of those public works
should be defrayed from that public revenue, as it is commonly
called, of which the collection and application are in most
countries, assigned to the executive power. The greater part of
such public works may easily be so managed, as to afford a
particular revenue, sufficient for defraying their own expense
without bringing any burden upon the general revenue of the

A highway, a bridge, a navigable canal, for example, may, in most
cases, be both made add maintained by a small toll upon the
carriages which make use of them ; a harbour, by a moderate
port-duty upon the tonnage of the shipping which load or unload
in it. The coinage, another institution for facilitating
commerce, in many countries, not only defrays its own expense,
but affords a small revenue or a seignorage to the sovereign. The
post-office, another institution for the same purpose, over and
above defraying its own expense, affords, in almost all
countries, a very considerable revenue to the sovereign.

When the carriages which pass over a highway or a bridge, and the
lighters which sail upon a navigable canal, pay toll in
proportion to their weight or their tonnage, they pay for the
maintenance of those public works exactly in proportion to the
wear and tear which they occasion of them. It seems scarce
possible to invent a more equitable way of maintaining such
works. This tax or toll, too, though it is advanced by the
carrier, is finally paid by the consumer, to whom it must always
be charged in the price of the goods. As the expense of carriage,
however, is very much reduced by means of such public works, the
goods, notwithstanding the toll, come cheaper to the consumer
than they could otherwise have done, their price not being so
much raised by the toll, as it is lowered by the cheapness of the
carriage. The person who finally pays this tax, therefore, gains
by the application more than he loses by the payment of it. His
payment is exactly in proportion to his gain. It is, in reality,
no more than a part of that gain which he is obliged to give up,
in order to get the rest. It seems impossible to imagine a
more equitable method of raising a tax.

When the toll upon carriages of luxury, upon coaches,
post-chaises, etc. is made somewhat higher in proportion to their
weight, than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts,
waggons, etc. the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to
contribute, in a very easy manner, to the relief of the poor, by
rendering cheaper the transportation of heavy goods to all the
different parts of the country.

When high-roads, bridges, canals, etc. are in this manner made
and supported by the commerce which is carried on by means of
them, they can be made only where that commerce requires them,
and, consequently, where it is proper to make them. Their
expense, too, their grandeur and magnificence, must be suited to
what that commerce can afford to pay. They must be made,
consequently, as it is proper to make them. A magnificent
high-road cannot be made through a desert country, where there is
little or no commerce, or merely because it happens to lead to
the country villa of the intendant of the province, or to that of
some great lord, to whom the intendant finds it convenient to
make his court. A great bridge cannot be thrown over a river at a
place where nobody passes, or merely to embellish the view from
the windows of a neighbouring palace ; things which sometimes
happen in countries, where works of this kind are carried on by
any other revenue than that which they themselves are capable of

In several different parts of Europe, the toll or lock-duty upon
a canal is the property of private persons, whose private
interest obliges them to keep up the canal. If it is not kept in
tolerable order, the navigation necessarily ceases altogether,
and, along with it, the whole profit which they can make by the
tolls. If those tolls were put under the management of
commissioners, who had themselves no interest in them, they might
be less attentive to the maintenance of the works which produced
them. The canal of Languedoc cost the king of France and the
province upwards of thirteen millions of livres, which (at
twenty-eight livres the mark of silver, the value of French money
in the end of the last century) amounted to upwards of nine
hundred thousand pounds sterling. When that great work was
finished, the most likely method, it was found, of keeping it in
constant repair, was to make a present of the tolls to Riquet,
the engineer who planned and conducted the work. Those tolls
constitute, at present, a very large estate to the different
branches of the family of that gentleman, who have, therefore, a
great interest to keep the work in constant repair. But had those
tolls been put under the management of commissioners, who had no
such interest, they might perhaps, have been dissipated in
ornamental and unnecessary expenses, while the most essential
parts of the works were allowed to go to ruin.

The tolls for the maintenance of a highroad cannot, with any
safety, be made the property of private persons. A high-road,
though entirely neglected, does not become altogether impassable,
though a canal does. The proprietors of the tolls upon a
high-road, therefore, might neglect altogether the repair of the
road, and yet continue to levy very nearly the same tolls. It is
proper, therefore, that the tolls for the maintenance of such a
work should be put under the managmnent of commissioners or

In Great Britain, the abuses which the trustees have committed in
the management of those tolls, have, in many cases, been very
justly complained of. At many turnpikes, it has been said, the
money levied is more than double of what is necessary for
executing, in the completest manner, the work, which is often
executed in a very slovenly manner, and sometimes not executed at
all. The system of repairing the high-roads by tolls of this
kind, it must be observed, is not of very long standing. We
should not wonder, therefore, if it has not yet been brought to
that degree of perfection of which it seems capable. If mean and
improper persons are frequently appointed trustees ; and if
proper courts of inspection and account have not yet been
established for controlling their conduct, and for reducing the
tolls to what is barely sufficient for executing the work to be
done by them ; the recency of the institution both accounts and
apologizes for those defects, of which, by the wisdom of
parliament, the greater part may, in due time, be gradually

The money levied at the different turnpikes in Great Britain, is
supposed to exceed so much what is necessary for repairing the
roads, that the savings which, with proper economy, might be made
from it, have been considered, even by some ministers, as a very
great resource, which might, at some time or another, be applied
to the exigencies of the state. Government, it has been said, by
taking the management of the turnpikes into its own hands, and by
employing the soldiers, who would work for a very small addition
to their pay, could keep the roads in good order, at a much less
expense than it can be done by trustees, who have no other
workmen to employ, but such as derive their whole subsistence
from their wages. A great revenue, half a million, perbaps {Since
publishing the two first editions of this book, I have got good
reasons to believe that all the turnpike tolls levied in Great
Britain do not procduce a neat revenue that amounts to half a
million ; a sum which, under the management of government, would
not be sufficient to keep, in repair five of the principal roads
in the kingdom}, it has been pretended, might in this manner be
gained, without laying any new burden upon the people; and the
turnpike roads might be made to contribute to the general expense
of the state, in the same manner as the post-office does at

That a considerable revenue might be gained in this manner, I
have no doubt, though probably not near so much as the projectors
of this plan have supposed. The plan itself, however, seems
liable to several very important objections.

First, If the tolls which are levied at the turnpikes should ever
be considered as one of the resources for supplying the
exigencies of the state, they would certainly be augmented as
those exigencies were supposed to require. According to the
policy of Great Britain, therefore, they would probably he
augmented very fast. The facility with which a great revenue
could be drawn from them, would probably encourage administration
to recur very frequently te this resource. Though it may,
perhaps, be more than doubtful whether half a million could by
any economy be saved out of the present tolls, it can scarcely be
doubted, but that a million might be saved out of them, if they
were doubled ; and perhaps two millions, if they were tripled {I
have now good reason to believe that all these conjectural sums
are by much too large.}. This great revenue, too, might be levied
without the appointment of a single new officer to collect and
receive it. But the turnpike tolls, being continually augmented
in this manner, instead of facilitating the inland commerce of
the country, as at present, would soon become a very great
incumbrance upon it. The expense of transporting all heavy goods
from one part of the country to another, would soon be so much
increased, the market for all such goods, consequently, would
soon be so much narrowed, that their production would be in a
great measure discouraged, and the most important branches of the
domestic industry of the country annihilated altogether.

Secondly, A tax upon carriages, in proportion to their weight,
though a very equal tax when applied to the sole purpose of
repairing the roads, is a very unequal one when applied to any
other purpose, or to supply the common exigencies of the state.
When it is applied to the sole purpose above mentioned, each
carriage is supposed to pay exactly for the wear and tear which
that carriage occasions of the roads. But when it is applied to
any other purpose, each carriage is supposed to pay for more than
that wear and tear, and contributes to the supply of some other
exigency of the state. But as the turnpike toll raises the price
of goods in proportion to their weight and not to their value, it
is chiefly paid by the consumers of coarse and bulky, not by
those of precious and light commodities. Whatever exigency of the
state, therefore, this tax might be intended to supply, that
exigency would be chiefly supplied at the expense of the poor,
not of the rich; at the expense of those who are least able to
supply it, not of those who are most able.

Thirdly, If government should at any time neglect the reparation
of the high-roads, it would be still more difficult, than it is
at present, to compel the proper application of any part of the
turnpike tolls. A large revenue might thus be levied upon the
people, without any part of it being applied to the only purpose
to which a revenue levied in this manner ought ever to be
applied. If the meanness and poverty of the trustees of turnpike
roads render it sometimes difficult, at present, to oblige them
to repair their wrong ; their wealth and greatness would render
it ten times more so in the case which is here supposed.

In France, the funds destined for the reparation of the
high-roads are under the immediate direction of the executive
power. Those funds consist, partly in a certain number of days
labour, which the country people are in most parts of Europe
obliged to give to the reparation of the highways; and partly in
such a portion of the general revenue of the state as the king
chooses to spare from his other expenses.

By the ancient law of France, as well as by that of most other
parts of Europe, the labour of the country people was under the
direction of a local or provincial magistracy, which had no
immediate dependency upon the king's council. But, by the
present practice, both the labour of the country people, and
whatever other fund the king may choose to assign for the
reparation of the high-roads in any particular province or
generality, are entirely under the management of the intendant ;
an officer who is appointed and removed by the king's council who
receives his orders from it, and is in constant correspondence
with it. In the progress of despotism, the authority of the
executive power gradually absorbs that of every other power in
the state, and assumes to itself the management of every branch
of revenue which is destined for any public purpose. In France,
however, the great post-roads, the roads which make the
communication between the principal towns of the kingdom, are in
general kept in good order; and, in some provinces, are even a
good deal superior to the greater part of the turnpike roads of
England. But what we call the cross roads, that is, the far
greater part of the roads in the country, are entirely neglected,
and are in many places absolutely impassable for any heavy
carriage. In some places it is even dangerous to travel on
horseback, and mules are the only conveyance which can safely be
trusted. The proud minister of an ostentatious court, may
frequently take pleasure in executing a work of splendour and
magnificence, such as a great highway, which is frequently seen
by the principal nobility, whose applauses not only flatter his
vanity, but even contribute to support his interest at court. But
to execute a great number of little works, in which nothing that
can be done can make any great appearance, or excite the smallest
degree of admiration in any traveller, and which, in short, have
nothing to recommend them but their extreme utility, is a
business which appears, in every respect, too mean and paltry to
merit the attention of so great a magistrate. Under such an
administration therefore, such works are almost always entirely

In China, and in several other governments of Asia, the executive
power charges itself both with the reparation of the high-roads,
and with the maintenance of the navigable canals. In the
instructions which are given to the governor of each province,
those objects, it is said, are constantly recommended to him, and
the judgment which the court forms of his conduct is very much
regulated by the attention which he appears to have paid to this
part of his instructions. This branch of public police,
accordingly, is said to be very much attended to in all those
countries, but particularly in China, where the high-roads, and
still more the navigable canals, it is pretended, exceed very
much every thing of the same kind which is known in Europe. The
accounts of those works, however, which have been transmitted to
Europe, have generally been drawn up by weak and wondering
travellers; frequently by stupid and lying missionaries. If they
had been examined by more intelligent eyes, and if the accounts
of them had been reported by more faithful witnesses, they would
not, perhaps, appear to be so wonderful. The account which
Bernier gives of some works of this kind in Indostan, falls very
short of what had been reported of them by other travellers, more
disposed to the marvellous than he was. It may too, perhaps, be
in those countries, as it is in France, where the great roads,
the great communications, which are likely to be the subjects of
conversation at the court and in the capital, are attended to,
and all the rest neglected. In China, besides, in Indostan, and
in several other governments of Asia, the revenue of the
sovereign arises almost altogether from a land tax or land rent,
which rises or falls with the rise and fall of the annual produce
of the land. The great interest of the sovereign, therefore, his
revenue, is in such countries necessarily and immediately
connected with the cultivation of the land, with the greatness of
its produce, and with the value of its produce. But in order to
render that produce both as great and as valuable as possible, it
is necessary to procure to it as extensive a market as possible,
and consequently to establish the freest, the easiest, and the
least expensive communication between all the different parts of
the country; which can be done only by means of the best roads
and the best navigable canals. But the revenue of the sovereign
does not, in any part of Europe, arise chiefly from a land tax or
land rent. In all the great kingdoms of Europe, perhaps, the
greater part of it may ultimately depend upon the produce of the
land: but that dependency is neither so immediate nor so evident.
In Europe, therefore, the sovereign does not feel himself so
directly called upon to promote the increase, both in quantity
and value of the produce of the land, or, by maintaining good
roads and canals, to provide the most extensive market for that
produce. Though it should be true, therefore, what I
apprehend is not a little doubtful, that in some parts of Asia
this department of the public police is very properly managed by
the executive power, there is not the least probability that,
during the present state of things, it could be tolerably managed
by that power in any part of Europe.

Even those public works, which are of such a nature that they
cannot afford any revenue for maintaining themselves, but of
which the convecniency is nearly confined to some particular
place or district, are always better maintained by a local or
provincial revenue, under the management of a local and
provincial administration, than by the general revenue of the
state, of which the executive power must always have the
management. Were the streets of London to be lighted and paved at
the expense of the treasury, is there any probability that they
would be so well lighted and paved as they are at present, or
even at so small an expense ? The expense, besides, instead of
being raised by a local tax upon the inhabitants of each
particular street, parish, or district in London, would, in this
case, be defrayed out of the general revenue of the state, and
would consequently be raised by a tax upon all the inhabitants of
the kingdom, of whom the greater part derive no sort of benefit
from the lighting and paving of the streets of London.

The abuses which sometimes creep into the local and provincial
administration of a local and provincial revenue, how enormous
soever they may appear, are in reality, however, almost always
very trifling in comparison of those which commonly take place in
the administration and expenditure of the revenue of a great
empire. They are, besides, much more easily corrected. Under the
local or provincial administration of the justices of the peace
in Great Britain, the six days labour which the country people
are obliged to give to the reparation of the highways, is not
always, perhaps, very judiciously applied, but it is scarce ever
exacted with any circumstance of cruelty or oppression. In
France, under the administration of the intendants, the
application is not always more judicious, and the exaction is
frequently the most cruel and oppressive. Such corvees, as they
are called, make one of the principal instruments of tyranny by
which those officers chastise any parish or communeaute, which
has had the misfortune to fall under their dspleasure.

Of the public Works and Institution which are necessary for
facilitating particular Branches of Commerce.

The object of the public works and institutions above mentioned,
is to facilitate commerce in general. But in order to facilitate
some particular branches of it, particular institutions are
necessary, which again require a particular and extraordinary

Some particular branches of commerce which are carried on with
barbarous and uncivilized nations, require extraordinary
protection. An ordinary store or counting-house could give
little security to the goods of the merchants who trade to the
western coast of Africa. To defend them from the barbarous
natives, it is necessary that the place where they are deposited
should be in some measure fortified. The disorders in the
government of Indostan have been supposed to render a like
precaution necessary, even among that mild and gentle people; and
it was under pretence of securing their persons and property from
violence, that both the English and French East India companies
were allowed to erect the first forts which they possessed in
that country. Among other nations, whose vigorous government will
suffer no strangers to possess any fortified place within their
territory, it may be necessary to maintain some ambassador,
minister, or consul, who may both decide, according to their own
customs, the differences arising among his own countrymen, and,
in their disputes with the natives, may by means of his public
character, interfere with more authority and afford them a more
powerful protection than they could expect from any private man.
The interests of commerce have frequently made it necessary to
maintain ministers in foreign countries, where the purposes
either of war or alliance would not have required any. The
commerce of the Turkey company first occasioned the establishment
of an ordinary ambassador at Constantinople. The first English
embassies to Russia arose altogether from commercial interests.
The constant interference with those interests, necessarily
occasioned between the subjects of the different states of
Europe, has probably introduced the custom of keeping, in all
neighbouring countries, ambassadors or ministers constantly
resident, even in the time of peace. This custom, unknown to
ancient times, seems not to be older than the end of the
fifteenth, or beginning of the sixteenth century; that is, than
the time when commerce first began to extend itself to the
greater part of the nations of Europe, and when they first began
to attend to its interests.

It seems not unreasonable, that the extraordinary expense which
the protection of any particular branch of commerce may occasion,
should be defrayed by a moderate tax upon that particular branch;
by a moderate fine, for example, to be paid by the traders when
they first enter into it; or, what is more equal, by a particular
duty of so much per cent. upon the goods which they either import
into, or export out of, the particular countries with which it is
carried on. The protection of trade, in general, from pirates and
freebooters, is said to have given occasion to the first
institution of the duties of customs. But, if it was thought
reasonable to lay a general tax upon trade, in order to defray
the expense of protecting trade in general, it should seem
equally reasonable to lay a particular tax upon a particular
branch of trade, in order to defray the extraordinary expense of
protecting that branch.

The protection of trade, in general, has always been considered
as essential to the defence of the commonwealth, and, upon that
account, a necessary part of the duty of the executive power. The
collection and application of the general duties of customs,
therefore, have always been left to that power. But the
protection of any particular branch of trade is a part of the
general protection of trade; a part, therefore, of the duty of
that power; and if nations always acted consistently, the
particular duties levied for the purposes of such particular
protection, should always have been left equally to its disposal.
But in this respect, as well as in many others, nations have not
always acted consistently; and in the greater part of the
commercial states of Europe, particular companies of merchants
have had the address to persuade the legislature to entrust to
them the performance of this part of the duty of the sovereign,
together with all the powers which are necessarily connected with

These companies, though they may, perhaps, have been useful for
the first introduction of some branches of commerce, by making,
at their own expense, an experiment which the state might not
think it prudent to make, have in the long-run proved,
universally, either burdensome or useless, and have either
mismanaged or confined the trade.

When those companies do not trade upon a joint stock, but are
obliged to admit any person, properly qualified, upon paying a
certain fine, and agreeing to submit to the regulations of the
company, each member trading upon his own stock, and at his own
risk, they are called regulated companies. When they trade upon a
joint stock, each member sharing in the common profit or loss, in
proportion to his share in this stock, they are called
joint-stock companies. Such companies, whether regulated or
joint-stock, sometimes have, and sometimes have not, exclusive

Regulated companies resemble, in every respect, the corporation
of trades, so common in the cities and towns of all the different
countries of Europe; and are a sort of enlarged monopolies of the
same kind. As no inhabitant of a town can exercise an
incorporated trade, without first obtaining his freedom in the
incorporation, so, in most cases, no subject of the state can
lawfully carry on any branch of foreign trade, for which a
regulated company is established, without first becoming a member
of that company. The monopoly is more or less strict, according
as the terms of admission are more or less difficult, and
according as the directors of the company have more or less
authority, or have it more or less in their power to manage in
such a manner as to confine the greater part of the trade to
themselves and their particular friends. In the most ancient
regulated companies, the privileges of apprenticeship were the
same as in other corporations, and entitled the person who had
served his time to a member of the company, to become himself a
member, either without paying any fine, or upon paying a much
smaller one than what was exacted of other people. The usual
corporation spirit, wherever the law does not restrain it,
prevails in all regulated companies. When they have been allowed
to act according to their natural genius, they have always, in
order to confine the competition to as small a number of persons
as possible, endeavoured to subject the trade to many burdensome
regulations. When the law has restrained them from doing this,
they have become altogether useless and insignificant.

The regulated companies for foreign commerce which at present
subsist in Great Britain, are the ancient merchant-adventurers
company, now commonly called the Hamburgh company, the Russia
company, the Eastland company, the Turkey company, and the
African company.

The terms of admission into the Hamburgh company are now said to
be quite easy ; and the directors either have it not in their
power to subject the trade to any troublesome restraint or
regulations, or, at least, have not of late exercised that power.
It has not always been so. About the middle of the last century,
the fine for admission was fifty, and at one time one hundred
pounds, and the conduct of the company was said to be extremely
oppressive. In l643, in 1645, and in 1661, the clothiers and free
traders of the west of England complained of them to parliament,
as of monopolists, who confined the trade, and oppressed the
manufactures of the country. Though those complaints produced no
act of parliament, they had probably intimidated the company so
far, as to oblige them to reform their conduct. Since that time,
at least, there have been no complaints against them. By the 10th
and 11th of William III. c.6, the fine for admission into the
Russia company was reduced to five pounds; and by the 25th of
Charles II. c.7, that for admission into the Eastland company to
forty shillings ; while, at the same time, Sweden, Denmark, and
Norway, all the countries on the north side of the Baltic, were
exempted from their exclusive charter. The conduct of those
companies had probably given occasion to those two acts of
parliament. Before that time, Sir Josiah Child had
represented both these and the Hamburgh company as extremely
oppressive, and imputed to their bad management the low state of
the trade, which we at that time carried on to the countries
comprehended within their respective charters. But though such
companies may not, in the present times, be very oppressive, they
are certainly altogether useless. To be merely useless, indeed,
is perhaps, the highest eulogy which can ever justly be bestowed
upon a regulated company; and all the three companies above
mentioned seem, in their present state, to deserve this eulogy.

The fine for admission into the Turkey company was formerly
twenty-five pounds for all persons under twenty-six years of age,
and fifty pounds for all persons above that age. Nobody but mere
merchants could be admitted; a restriction which excluded all
shop-keepers and retailers. By a bye-law, no British manufactures
could be exported to Turkey but in the general ships of the
company; and as those ships sailed always from the port of
London, this restriction confined the trade to that expensive
port, and the traders to those who lived in London and in its
neighbourhood. By another bye-law, no person living within twenty
miles of London, and not free of the city, could be admitted a
member ; another restriction which, joined to the foregoing,
necessarily excluded all but the freemen of London. As the time
for the loading and sailing of those general ships depended
altogether upon the directors, they could easily fill them with
their own goods, and those of their particular friends, to the
exclusion of others, who, they might pretend, had made their
proposals too late. In this state of things, therefore, this
company was, in every respect, a strict and oppressive monopoly.
Those abuses gave occasion to the act of the 26th of George II.
c. 18, reducing the fine for admission to twenty pounds for all
persons, without any distinction of ages, or any restriction,
either to mere merchants, or to the freemen of London; and
granting to all such persons the liberty of exporting, from all
the ports of Great Britain, to any port in Turkey, all British
goods, of which the exportation was not prohibited, upon paying
both the general duties of customs, and the particular duties
assessed for defraying the necessary expenses of the company ;
and submitting, at the same time, to the lawful authority of the
British ambassador and consuls resident in Turkey, and to the
bye-laws of the company duly enacted. To prevent any oppression
by those bye-laws, it was by the same act ordained, that if any
seven members of the company conceived themselves aggrieved by
any bye-law which should be enacted after the passing of this
act, they might appeal to the board of trade and plantations (to
the authority of which a committee of the privy council has now
succeeded), provided such appeal was brought within twelve months
after the bye-law was enacted; and that, if any seven members
conceived themselves aggrieved by any bye-law which had been
enacted before the passing of this act, they might bring a like
appeal, provided it was within twelve months after the day on
which this act was to take place. The experience of one year,
however, may not always be sufficient to discover to all the
members of a great company the pernicious tendency of a
particular bye-law ; and if several of them should afterwards
discover it, neither the board of trade, nor the committee of
council, can afford them any redress. The object, besides, of the
greater part of the bye-laws of all regulated companies, as well
as of all other corporations, is not so much to oppress those who
are already members, as to discourage others from becoming so;
which may be done, not only by a high fine, but by many other
contrivances. The constant view of such companies is always to
raise the rate of their own profit as high as they can; to keep
the market, both for the goods which they export, and for those
which they import, as much understocked as they can ; which can
be done only by restraining the competition, or by discouraging
new adventurers from entering into the trade. A fine, even of
twenty pounds, besides, though it may not, perhaps, be sufficient
to discourage any man from entering into the Turkey trade, with
an intention to continue in it, may be enough to discourage a
speculative merchant from hazarding a single adventure in it. In
all trades, the regular established traders, even though not
incorporated, naturally combine to raise profits, which are noway
so likely to be kept, at all times, down to their proper level,
as by the occasional competition of speculative adventurers. The
Turkey trade, though in some measure laid open by this act of
parliament, is still considered by many people as very far from
being altogether free. The Turkey company contribute to maintain
an ambassador and two or three consuls, who, like other public
ministers, ought to be maintained altogether by the state, and
the trade laid open to all his majesty's subjects. The different
taxes levied by the company, for this and other corporation
purposes, might afford a revenue much more than sufficient to
enable a state to maintain such ministers.

Regulated companies, it was observed by Sir Josiah Child, though
they had frequently supported public ministers, had never
maintained any forts or garrisons in the countries to which they
traded; whereas joint-stock companies frequently had. And, in
reality, the former seem to be much more unfit for this sort of
service than the latter. First, the directors of a regulated
company have no particular interest in the prosperity of the
general trade of the company, for the sake of which such forts
and garrisons are maintained. The decay of that general trade may
even frequently contribute to the advantage of their own private
trade; as, by diminishing the number of their competitors, it may
enable them both to buy cheaper, and to sell dearer. The
directors of a joint-stock company, on the contrary, having only
their share in the profits which are made upon the common stock
committed to their management, have no private trade of their
own, of which the interest can be separated from that of the
general trade of the company. Their private interest is connected
with the prosperity of the general trade of the company, and with
the maintenance of the forts and garrisons which are necessary
for its defence. They are more likely, therefore, to have that
continual and careful attention which that maintenance
necessarily requires. Secondly, The directors of a joint-stock
company have always the management of a large capital, the joint
stock of the company, a part of which they may frequently employ,
with propriety, in building, repairing, and maintaining such
necessary forts and garrisons. But the directors of a regulated
company, having the management of no common capital, have no
other fund to employ in this way, but the casual revenue arising
from the admission fines, and from the corporation duties imposed
upon the trade of the company. Though they had the same interest,
therefore, to attend to the maintenance of such forts and
garrisons, they can seldom have the same ability to render that
attention effectual. The maintenance of a public minister,
requiring scarce any attention, and but a moderate and limited
expense, is a business much more suitable both to the temper and
abilities of a regulated company.

Long after the time of Sir Josiah Child, however, in 1750, a
regulated company was established, the present company of
merchants trading to Africa ; which was expressly charged at
first with the maintenance of all the British forts and garrisons
that lie between Cape Blanc and the Cape of Good Hope, and
afterwards with that of those only which lie between Cape Rouge
and the Cape of Good Hope. The act which establishes this
company (the 23rd of George II. c.51 ), seems to have had two
distinct objects in view; first, to restrain effectually the
oppressive and monopolizing spirit which is natural to the
directors of a regulated company ; and, secondly, to force them,
as much as possible, to give an attention, which is not natural
to them, towards the maintenance of forts and garrisons.

For the first of these purposes, the fine for admission is
limited to forty shillings. The company is prohibited from
trading in their corporate capacity, or upon a joint stock ; from
borrowing money upon common seal, or from laying any restraints
upon the trade, which may be carried on freely from all places,
and by all persons being British subjects, and paying the fine.
The government is in a committee of nine persons, who meet at
London, but who are chosen annually by the freemen of the company
at London, Bristol, and Liverpool ; three from each place. No
committeeman can be continued in office for more than three years
together. Any committee-man might be removed by the board of
trade and plantations, now by a committee of council, after being
heard in his own defence. The committee are forbid to export
negroes from Africa, or to import any African goods into Great
Britain. But as they are charged with the maintenance of forts
and garrisons, they may, for that purpose export from Great
Britain to Africa goods and stores of different kinds. Out of the
moneys which they shall receive from the company, they are
allowed a sum, not exceeding eight hundred pounds, for the
salaries of their clerks and agents at London, Bristol, and
Liverpool, the house-rent of their offices at London, and all
other expenses of management, commission, and agency, in England.
What remains of this sum, after defraying these different
expenses, they may divide among themselves, as compensation for
their trouble, in what manner they think proper. By this
constitution, it might have been expected, that the spirit of
monopoly would have been effectually restrained, and the first of
these purposes sufficiently answered. It would seem, however,
that it had not. Though by the 4th of George III. c.20, the fort
of Senegal, with all its dependencies, had been invested in the
company of merchants trading to Africa, yet, in the year
following (by the 5th of George III. c.44), not only Senegal and
its dependencies, but the whole coast, from the port of Sallee,
in South Barbary, to Cape Rouge, was exempted from the
jurisdiction of that company, was vested in the crown, and the
trade to it declared free to all his majesty's subjects. The
company had been suspected of restraining the trade and of
establishing some sort of improper monopoly. It is not, however,
very easy to conceive how, under the regulations of the 23d
George II. they could do so. In the printed debates of the house
of commons, not always the most authentic records of truth, I
observe, however, that they have been accused of this. The
members of the committee of nine being all merchants, and the
governors and factors in their different forts and settlements
being all dependent upon them, it is not unlikely that the latter
might have given peculiar attention to the consignments and
commissions of the former, which would establish a real monopoly.

For the second of these purposes, the maintenance of the forts
and garrisons, an annual sum has been allotted to them by
parliament, generally about £13,000. For the proper application
of this sum, the committee is obliged to account annually to the
cursitor baron of exchequer; which account is afterwards to be
laid before parliament. But parliament, which gives so little
attention to the application of millions, is not likely to give
much to that of £13,000 a-year; and the cursitor baron of
exchequer, from his profession and education, is not likely to be
profoundly skilled in the proper expense of forts and garrisons.
The captains of his majesty's navy, indeed, or any other
commissioned officers, appointed by the board of admiralty, may
inquire into the condition of the forts and garrisons, and report
their observations to that board. But that board seems to have no
direct jurisdiction over the committee, nor any authority to
correct those whose conduct it may thus inquire into; and the
captains of his majesty's navy, besides, are not supposed to be
always deeply learned in the science of fortification. Removal
from an office, which can he enjoyed only for the term of three
years, and of which the lawful emoluments, even during that term,
are so very small, seems to be the utmost punishment to which any
committee-man is liable, for any fault, except direct
malversation, or embezzlement, either of the public money, or of
that of the company ; and the fear of the punishment can never be
a motive of sufficient weight to force a continual and careful
attention to a business to which he has no other interest to
attend. The committee are accused of having sent out bricks and
stones from England for the reparation of Cape Coast Castle, on
the coast of Guinea ; a business for which parliament had several
times granted an extraordinary sum of money. These bricks and
stones, too, which had thus been sent upon so long a voyage, were
said to have been of so bad a quality, that it was necessary to
rebuild, from the foundation, the walls which had been repaired
with them. The forts and garrisons which lie north of Cape Rouge,
are not only maintained at the expense of the state, but are
under the immediate government of the executive power ; and why
those which lie south of that cape, and which, too, are, in part
at least, maintained at the expense of the state, should be under
a different government, it seems not very easy even to imagine a
good reason. The protection of the Mediterranean trade was the
original purpose or pretence of the garrisons of Gibraltar and
Minorca ; and the maintenance and government of those garrisons
have always been, very properly, committed, not to the Turkey
company, but to the executive power. In the extent of its
dominion consists, in a great measure, the pride and dignity of
that power ; and it is not very likely to fail in attention to
what is necessary for the defence of that dominion. The garrisons
at Gibraltar and Minorca, accordingly, have never been neglected.
Though Minorca has been twice taken, and is now probably lost for
ever, that disaster has never been imputed to any neglect in the
executive power. I would not, however, be understood to
insinuate, that either of those expensive garrisons was ever,
even in the smallest degree, necessary for the purpose for which
they were originally dismembered from the Spanish monarchy. That
dismemberment, perhaps, never served any other real purpose than
to alienate from England her natural ally the king of Spain, and
to unite the two principal branches of the house of Bourbon in a
much stricter and more permanent alliance than the ties of blood
could ever have united them.

Joint-stock companies, established either by royal charter, or by
act of parliament, are different in several respects, not only
from regulated companies, but from private copartneries.

First, In a private copartnery, no partner without the consent of
the company, can transfer his share to another person, or
introduce a new member into the company. Each member, however,
may, upon proper warning, withdraw from the copartnery, and
demand payment from them of his share of the common stock. In a
joint-stock company, on the contrary, no member can demand pay
ment of his share from the company; but each member can, without
their consent, transfer his share to another person, and thereby
introduce a new member. The value of a share in a joint stock is
always the price which it will bring in the market ; and this may
be either greater or less in any proportion, than the sum which
its owner stands credited for in the stock of the company.

Secondly, In a private copartnery, each partner is bound for the
debts contracted by the company, to the whole extent of his
fortune. In a joint-stock company, on the contrary, each partner
is bound only to the extent of his share.

The trade of a joint-stock company is always managed by a court
of directors. This court, indeed, is frequently subject, in many
respects, to the control of a general court of proprietors.
But the greater part of these proprietors seldom pretend to
understand any thing of the business of the company; and when the
spirit of faction happens not to prevail among them, give
themselves no trouble about it, but receive contentedly such
halfyearly or yearly dividend as the directors think proper to
make to them. This total exemption front trouble and front risk,
beyond a limited sum, encourages many people to become
adventurers in joint-stock companies, who would, upon no account,
hazard their fortunes in any private copartnery. Such companies,
therefore, commonly draw to themselves much greater stocks, than
any private copartnery can boast of. The trading stock of the
South Sea company at one time amounted to upwards of thirty-three
millions eight hundred thousand pounds. The divided capital
of the Bank of England amounts, at present, to ten millions seven
hundred and eighty thousand pounds. The directors of such
companies, however, being the managers rather of other people's
money than of their own, it cannot well be expected that they
should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which
the partners in a private coparnery frequently watch over their
own. Like the stewards of a rich man, they are apt to consider
attention to small matters as not for their master's honour, and
very easily give themselves a dispensation from having it.
Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or
less, in the management of the affairs of such a company. It is
upon this account, that joint-stock companies for foreign trade
have seldom been able to maintain the competition against private
adventurers. They have, accordingly, very seldom succeeded
without an exclusive privilege ; and frequently have not
succeeded with one. Without an exclusive privilege, they have
commonly mismanaged the trade. With an exclusive privilege, they
have both mismanaged and confined it.
The Royal African company, the predecessors of the present
African company, had an exclusive privilege by charter ; but as
that charter had not been confirmed by act of parliament, the
trade, in consequence of the declaration of rights, was, soon
after the Revolution, laid open to all his majesty's subjects.
The Hudson's Bay company are, as to their legal rights, in the
same situation as the Royal African company. Their exclusive
charter has not been confirmed by act of parliament. The South
Sea company, as long as they continued to be a trading company,
had an exclusive privilege confirmed by act of parliament; as
have likewise the present united company of merchants trading to
the East Indies.

The Royal African company soon found that they could not maintain
the competition against private adventurers, whom,
notwithstanding the declaration of rights, they continued for
some time to call interlopers, and to persecute as such. In 1698,
however, the private adventurers were subjected to a duty of ten
per cent. upon almost all the different branches of their trade,
to be employed by the company in the maintenance of their forts
and garrisons. But, notwithstanding this heavy tax, the company
were still unable to maintain the competition. Their stock and
credit gradually declined. In 1712, their debts had become so
great, that a particular act of parliament was thought necessary,
both for their security and for that of their creditors. It was
enacted, that the resolution of two-thirds of these creditors in
number and value should bind the rust, both with regard to the
time which should be allowed to the company for the payment of
their debts, and with regard to any other agreement which it
might be thought proper to make with them concerning those debts.
In 1730, their affairs were in so great disorder, that they were
altogether incapable of maintaining their forts and garrisons,
the sole purpose and pretext of their institution. From that
year till their final dissolution, the parliament judged it
necessary to allow the annual sum of £10,000 for that purpose.
In 1732, after having been for many years losers by the trade of
carrying negroes to the West Indies, they at last resolved to
give it up altogether ; to sell to the private traders to America
the negroes which they purchased upon the coast; awl to employ
their servants in a trade to the inland parts of Africa for gold
dust, elephants teeth, dyeing drugs, etc. But their success in
this more confined trade was not greater than in their former
extensive one. Their affairs continued to go gradually to
decline, till at last, being in every respect a bankrupt company,
they were dissolved by act of parliament, and their forts and
garrisons vested in the present regulated company of merchants
trading to Africa. Before the erection of the Royal African
company, there had been three other joint-stock companies
successively established, one after another, for the African
trade. They were all equally unsuccessful. They all, however, had
exclusive charters, which, though not confirmed by act of
parliament, were in those days supposed to convey a real
exclusive privilege.

The Hudson's Bay company, before their misfortunes in the late
war, had been much more fortunate than the Royal African company.
Their necessary expense is much smaller. The whole number of
people whom they maintain in their different settlements and
habitations, which they have honoured with the name of forts, is
said not to exceed a hundred and twenty persons. This number,
however, is sufficient to prepare beforehand the cargo of furs
and other goods necessary for loading their ships, which, on
account of the ice, can seldom remain above six or eight weeks in
those seas. This advantage of having a cargo ready prepared,
could not, for several years, be acquired by private adventurers
; and without it there seems to be no possibility of trading to
Hudson's Bay. The moderate capital of the company, which, it is
said, does not exceed one hundred and ten thousand pounds, may,
besides, be sufficient to enable them to engross the whole, or
almost the whole trade and surplus produce, of the miserable
though extensive country comprehended within their charter. No
private adventurers, accordingly, have ever attempted to trade to
that country in competition with them. This company, therefore,
have always enjoyed an exclusive trade, in fact, though they may
have no right to it in law. Over and above all this, the moderate
capital of this company is said to be divided among a very small
number of proprietors. But a joint-stock company, consisting of a
small number of proprietors, with a moderate capital, approaches
very nearly to the nature of a private copartnery, and may be
capable of nearly the same degree of vigilance and attention. It
is not to be wondered at, therefore, if, in consequence of these
different advantages, the Hudson's Bay company had, before the
late war, been able to carry on their trade with a considerable
degree of success. It does not seem probable, however, that their
profits ever approached to what the late Mr Dobbs imagined them.
A much more sober and judicious writer, Mr Anderson, author of
the Historical and Chronological Deduction of Commerce, very
justly observes, that upon examining the accounts which Mr Dobbs
himself has given for several years together, of their exports
and imports, and upon making proper allowances for their
extraordinary risk and expense, it does not appear that their
profits deserve to be envied, or that they can much, if at all,
exceed the ordinary profits of trade.

The South Sea company never had any forts or garrisons to
maintain, and therefore were entirely exempted from one great
expense, to which other joint-stock companies for foreign trade
are subject; but they had an immense capital divided among an
immense number of proprietors. It was naturally to be expected,
therefore, that folly, negligence, and profusion, should prevail
in the whole management of their affairs. The knavery and
extravagance of their stock-jobbing projects are sufficiently
known, and the explication of them would be foreign to the
present subject. Their mercantile projects were not much better
conducted. The first trade which they engaged in, was that of
supplying the Spanish West Indies with negroes, of which (in
consequence of what was called the Assiento Contract granted them
by the treaty of Utrecht) they had the exclusive privilege. But
as it was not expected that much profit could be made by this
trade, both the Portuguese and French companies, who had enjoyed
it upon the same terms before them, having been ruined by it,
they were allowed, as compensation, to send annually a ship of
acertain burden, to trade directly to the Spanish West Indies. Of
the ten voyages which this annual ship was allowed to make, they
are said to have gained considerably by one, that of the Royal
Caroline, in 1731 ; and to have been losers, more or less, by
almost all the rest. Their ill success was imputed, by their
factors and agents, to the extortion and oppression of the
Spanish government ; but was, perhaps, principally owing to the
profusion and depredations of those very factors and agents; some
of whom are said to have acquired great fortunes, even in one
year. In 1734, the company petitioned the king, that they might
be allowed to dispose of the trade and tonnage of their annual
ship, on account of the little profit which they made by it, and
to accept of such equivalent as they could obtain from the king
of Spain.

In 1724, this company had undertaken the whale fishery. Of this,
indeed, they had no monopoly ; but as long as they carried it on,
no other British subjects appear to have engaged in it. Of the
eight voyages which their ships made to Greenland, they were
gainers by one, and losers by all the rest. After their eighth
and last voyage, when they had sold their ships, stores, and
utensils, they found that their whole loss upon this branch,
capital and interest included, amounted to upwards of £237,000.

In 1722, this company petitioned the parliament to be allowed to
divide their immense capital of more than thirty-three millions
eight hundred thousand pounds, the whole of which had been lent
to government, into two equal parts; the one half, or upwards of
£16,900,000, to be put upon the same footing with other
government annuities, and not to be subject to the debts
contracted, or losses incurred, by the directors of the company,
in the prosecution of their mercantile projects ; the other half
to remain as before, a trading stock, and to be subject to those
debts and losses. The petition was too reasonable not to be
granted. In 1733, they again petitioned the parliament, that
three-fourths of their trading stock might be turned into annuity
stock, and only one-fourth remain as trading stock, or exposed to
the hazards arising from the bad management of their directors.
Both their annuity and trading stocks had, by this time, been
reduced more than two millions each, by several different
payments from government ; so that this fourth amounted only to
£3,662,784:8:6. In 1748, all the demands of the company upon the
king of Spain, in consequence of the assiento contract, were, by
the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, given up for what was supposed an
equivalent. An end was put to their trade with the Spanish West
Indies; the remainder of their trading stock was turned into an
annuity stock ; and the company ceased, in every respect, to be a
trading company.

It ought to be observed, that in the trade which the South Sea
company carried on by means of their annual ship, the only trade
by which it ever was expected that they could make any
considerable profit, they were not without competitors, either in
the foreign or in the home market. At Carthagena, Porto Bello,
and La Vera Cruz, they had to encounter the competition of the
Spanish merchants, who brought from Cadiz to those markets
European goods, of the same kind with the outward cargo of their
ship ; and in England they had to encounter that of the English
merchants, who imported from Cadiz goods of the Spanish West
Indies, of the same kind with the inward cargo. The goods, both
of the Spanish and English merchants, indeed, were, perhaps,
subject to higher duties. But the loss occasioned by the
negligence, profusion, and malversation of the servants of the
company, had probably been a tax much heavier than all those
duties. That a joint-stock company should be able to carry on
successfully any branch of foreign trade, when private
adventurers can come into any sort of open and fair competition
with them, seems contrary to all experience.

The old English East India company was established in 1600, by a
charter from Queen Elizabeth. In the first twelve voyages which
they fitted out for India, they appear to have traded as a
regulated company, with separate stocks, though only in the
general ships of the company. In 1612, they united into a joint
stock. Their charter was exclusive, and, though not confirmed
by act of parliament, was in those days supposed to convey a real
exclusive privilege. For many years, therefore, they were not
much disturbed by interlopers. Their capital, which never
exceeded £744,000, and of which £50 was a share, was not so
exorbitant, nor their dealings so extensive, as to afford either
a pretext for gross negligence and profusion, or a cover to gross
malversation. Notwithstanding some extraordinary losses,
occassioned partly by the malice of the Dutch East India company,
and partly by other accidents, they carried on for many years a
successful trade. But in process of time, when the principles of
liberty were better understood, it became every day more and more
doubtful, how far a royal charter, not confirmed by act of
parliament, could convey an exclusive privilege. Upon this
question the decisions of the courts of justice were not uniform,
but varied with the authority of government, and the humours of
the times. Interlopers multiplied upon them; and towards the
end of the reign of Charles II., through the whole of that of
James II., and during a part of that of William III., reduced
them to great distress. In 1698, a proposal was made to
parliament, of advancing two millions to government, at eight per
cent. provided the subscribers were erected into a new East India
company, with exclusive privileges. The old East India company
offered seven hundred thousand pounds, nearly the amount of their
capital, at four per cent. upon the same conditions. But such was
at that time the state of public credit, that it was more
convenient for government to borrow two millions at eight per
cent. than seven hundred thousand pounds at four. The proposal of
the new subscribers was accepted, and a new East India company
established in consequence. The old East India company, however,
had a right to continue their trade till 1701. They had, at the
same time, in the name of their treasurer, subscribed very
artfully three hundred and fifteen thousand pounds into the stock
of the new. By a negligence in the expression of the act of
parliament, which vested the East India trade in the subscribers
to this loan of two millions, it did not appear evident that they
were all obliged to unite into a joint stock. A few private
traders, whose subscriptions amounted only to seven thousand two
hundred pounds, insisted upon the privilege of trading separately
upon their own stocks, and at their own risks. The old East India
company had a right to a separate trade upon their own stock till
1701 ; and they had likewise, both before and after that period,
a right, like that or other private traders, to a separate trade
upon the £315,000, which they had subscribed into the stock of
the new company. The competition of the two companies with the
private traders, and with one another, is said to have well nigh
ruined both. Upon a subsequent occasion, in 1750, when a proposal
was made to parliament for putting the trade under the management
of a regulated company, and thereby laying it in some measure
open, the East India company, in opposition to this proposal,
represented, in very strong terms, what had been, at this time,
the miserable effects, as they thought them, of this competition.
In India, they said, it raised the price of goods so high, that
they were not worth the buying ; and in England, by overstocking
the market, it sunk their price so low, that no profit could be
made by them. That by a more plentiful supply, to the great
advantage and conveniency of the public, it must have reduced
very much the price of India goods in the English market, cannot
well be doubted; but that it should have raised very much their
price in the Indian market, seems not very probable, as all the
extraordinary demand which that competition could occasion must
have been but as a drop of water in the immense ocean of Indian
commerce. The increase of demand, besides, though in the
beginning it may sometimes raise the price of goods, never fails
to lower it in the long-run. It encourages production, and
thereby increases the competition of the producers, who, in order
to undersell one another, have recourse to new divisions or
labour and new improvements of art, which might never otherwise
have been thought of. The miserable effects of which the
company complained, were the cheapness of consumption, and the
encouragement given to production ; precisely the two effects
which it is the great business of political economy to promote.
The competition, however, of which they gave this doleful
account, had not been allowed to be of long continuance. In 1702,
the two companies were, in some measure, united by an indenture
tripartite, to which the queen was the third party ; and in 1708,
they were by act of parliament, perfectly consolidated into one
company, by their present name of the United Company of Merchants
trading to the East Indies. Into this act it was thought worth
while to insert a clause, allowing the separate traders to
continue their trade till Michaelmas 1711 ; but at the same time
empowering the directors, upon three years notice, to redeem
their little capital of seven thousand two hundred pounds, and
thereby to convert the whole stock of the company into a joint
stock. By the same act, the capital of the company, in
consequence of a new loan to government, was augmented from two
millions to three millions two hundred thousand pounds. In 1743,
the company advanced another million to government. But this
million being raised, not by a call upon the proprietors, but by
selling annuities and contracting bond-debts, it did not augment
the stock upon which the proprietors could claim a dividend. It
augmented, however, their trading stock, it being equally liable
with the other three millions two hundred thousand pounds, to the
losses sustained, and debts contracted by the company in
prosecution of their mercantile projects. From 1708, or at least
from 1711, this company, being delivered from all competitors,
and fully established in the monopoly of the English commerce to
the East Indies, carried on a succesful trade, and from their
profits, made annually a moderate dividend to their proprietors.
During the French war, which began in 1741, the ambition of Mr.
Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry, involved them in the
wars of the Carnatic, and in the politics of the Indian princes.
After many signal successes, and equally signal losses, they at
last lost Madras, at that time their principal settlement in
India. It was restored to them by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle;
and, about this time the spirit of war and conquest seems to have
taken possession of their servants in India, and never since to
have left them. During the French war, which began in 1755,
their arms partook of the general good fortune of those of Great
Britain. They defended Madras, took Pondicherry, recovered
Calcutta, and acquired the revenues of a rich and extensive
territory, amounting, it was then said, to upwards of three
millions a-year. They remained for several years in quiet
possession of this revenue; but in 1767, administration laid
claim to their territorial acquisitions, and the revenue arising
from them, as of right belonging to the crown ; and the company,
in compensation for this claim, agreed to pay to government
£400,000 a-year. They had, before this, gradually augmented their
dividend from about six to ten per cent. ; that is, upon their
capital of three millions two hundred thousand pounds, they had
increased it by £128,000, or had raised it from one hundred and
ninety-two thousand to three hundred and twenty thousand pounds
a-year. They were attempting about this time to raise it still
further, to twelve and a-half per cent., which would have made
their annual payments to their proprietors equal to what they had
agreed to pay annually to government, or to £400,000 a-year. But
during the two years in which their agreement with government was
to take place, they were restrained from any further increase of
dividend by two successive acts of parliament, of which the
object was to enable them to make a speedier progress in the
payment of their debts, which were at this time estimated at
upwards of six or seven millions sterling. In 1769, they renewed
their agreement with government for five years more, and
stipulated, that during the course of that period, they should be
allowed gradually to increase their dividend to twelve and a-half
per cent; never increasing it, however, more than one per cent.
in one year. This increase of dividend, therefore, when it had
risen to its utmost height, could augment their annual payments,
to their proprietors and government together, but by £680,000 ,
beyond what they had been before their late territorial
acquisitions. What the gross revenue of those territorial
acquisitions was supposed to amount to, has already been
mentioned ; and by an account brought by the Cruttenden East
Indiaman in 1769, the neat revenue, clear of all deductions and
military charges, was stated at two millions forty-eight thousand
seven hundred and forty-seven pounds. They were said, at the same
time, to possess another revenue, arising partly from lands, but
chiefly from the customs established at their different
settlements, amounting to £439,000. The profits of their trade,
too, according to the evidence of their chairman before the house
of commons, amounted, at this time, to at least £400,000 a-year ;
according to that of their accountant, to at least £500,000;
according to the lowest account, at least equal to the highest
dividend that was to be paid to their proprietors. So great a
revenue might certainly have afforded an augmentation of
£680,000 in their annual payments ; and, at the same time, have
left a large sinking fund, sufficient for the speedy reduction of
their debt. In 1773, however, their debts, instead of being
reduced, were augmented by an arrear to the treasury in the
payment of the four hundred thousand pounds ; by another to the
custom-house for duties unpaid; by a large debt to the bank, for
money borrowed; and by a fourth, for bills drawn upon them from
India, and wantonly accepted, to the amount of upwards of twelve
hundred thousand pounds. The distress which these accumulated
claims brought upon them, obliged them not only to reduce all at
once their dividend to six per cent. but to throw themselves upon
the mercy of govermnent, and to supplicate, first, a release from
the further payment of the stipulated £400,000 a-year ; and,
secondly, a loan of fourteen hundred thousand, to save them from
immediate bankruptcy. The great increase of their fortune had, it
seems, only served to furnish their servants with a pretext for
greater profusion, and a cover for greater malversation, than in
proportion even to that increase of fortune. The conduct of their
servants in India, and the general state of their affairs both in
India and in Europe, became the subject of a parliamentary
inquiry: in consequence of which, several very important
alterations were made in the constitution of their government,
both at home and abroad. In India, their principal settlements or
Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, which had before been altogether
independent of one another, were subjected to a governor-general,
assisted by a council of four assessors, parliament assuming to
itself the first nomination of this governor and council, who
were to reside at Calcutta ; that city having now become, what
Madras was before, the most important of the English settlements
in India. The court of the Mayor of Calcutta, originally
instituted for the trial of mercantile causes, which arose in the
city and neighbourlood, had gradually extended its jurisdiction
with the extension of the empire. It was now reduced and confined
to the original purpose of its institution. Instead of it, a new
supreme court of judicature was established, consisting of a
chief justice and three judges, to be appointed by the crown. In
Europe, the qualification necessary to entitle a proprietor to
vote at their general courts was raisted, from five hundred
pounds, the original price of a share in the stock of the
company, to a thousand pounds. In order to vote upon this
qualification, too, it was declared necessary, that he should
have possessed it, if acquired by his own purchase, and not by
inheritance, for at least one year, instead of six months, the
term requisite before. The court of twenty-four directors had
before been chosen annually; but it was now enacted, that each
director should, for the future, be chosen for four years ; six
of them, however, to go out of office by rotation every year, and
not be capable of being re-chosen at the election of the six new
directors for the ensuing year. In consequence of these
alterations, the courts, both of the proprietors and directors,
it was expected, would be likely to act with more dignity and
steadiness than they had usually done before. But it seems
impossible, by any alterations, to render those courts, in any
respect, fit to govern, or even to share in the government of a
great empire; because the greater part of their members must
always have too little interest in the prosperity of that empire,
to give any serious attention to what may promote it. Frequently
a man of great, sometimes even a man of small fortune, is willing
to purchase a thousand pounds share in India stock, merely for
the influence which he expects to aquire by a vote in the court
of proprietors. It gives him a share, though not in the plunder,
yet in the appointment of the plunderers of India; the court of
directors, though they make that appointment, being necessarily
more or less under the influence of the proprietors, who not only
elect those directors, but sometimes over-rule the appointments
of their servants in India. Provided he can enjoy this
influence for a few years, and thereby provide for a certain
number of his friends, he frequently cares little about the
dividend, or even about the value of the stock upon which his
vote is founded. About the prosperity of the great empire,
in the government of which that vote gives him a share, he seldom
cares at all. No other sovereigns ever were, or, from the nature
of things, ever could be, so perfectly indifferent about the
happiness or misery of their subjects, the improvement or waste
of their dominions, the glory or disgrace of their
administration, as, from irresistible moral causes, the greater
part of the proprietors of such a mercantile company are, and
necessarily must be. This indifference, too, was more likely to
be increased than diminished by some of the new regulations which
were made in consequence of the parliamentary inquiry. By a
resolution of the house of commons, for example, it was declared,
that when the £1,400,000 lent to the company by government,
should be paid, and their bond-debts be reduced to £1,500,000,
they might then, and not till then, divide eight per cent. upon
their capital; and that whatever remained of their revenues and
neat profits at home should be divided into four parts; three of
them to be paid into the exchequer for the use of the public, and
the fourth to be reserved as a fund, either for the further
reduction of their bond-debts, or for the discharge of other
contingent exigencies which the company might labour under. But
if the company were bad stewards and bad sovereigns, when the
whole of their neat revenue and profits belonged to themselves,
and were at their own disposal, they were surely not likely to be
better when three-fourths of them were to belong to other people,
and the other fourth, though to be laid out for the benefit of
the company, yet to be so under the inspection and with the
approbation of other people.

It might be more agreeable to the company, that their own
servants and dependants should have either the pleasure of
wasting, or the profit of embezzling, whatever surplus might
remain, after paying the proposed dividend of eight per cent.
than that it should come into the hands of a set of people with
whom those resolutions could scarce fail to set them in some
measure at variance. The interest of those servants and
dependants might so far predominate in the court of proprietors,
as sometimes to dispose it to support the authors of depredations
which had been committed in direct violation of its own
authority. With the majority of proprietors, the support even of
the authority of their own court might sometimes be a matter of
less consequence than the support of those who had set that
authority at defiance.

The regulations of 1773, accordingly, did not put an end to the
disorder of the company's government in India. Notwithstanding
that, during a momentary fit of good conduct, they had at one
time collected into the treasury of Calcutta more than £3,000,000
sterling ; notwithstanding that they had afterwards extended
either their dominion or their depredations over a vast accession
of some of the richest and most fertile countries in India, all
was wasted and destroyed. They found themselves altogether
unprepared to stop or resist the incursion of Hyder Ali; and in
consequence of those disorders, the company is now (1784) in
greater distress than ever ; and, in order to prevent immediate
bankruptcy, is once more reduced to supplicate the assistance of
government. Different plans have been proposed by the
different parties in parliament for the better management of its
affairs; and all those plans seem to agree in supposing, what was
indeed always abundantly evident, that it is altogether unfit to
govern its territorial possessions. Even the company itself seems
to be convinced of its own incapacity so far, and seems, upon
that account willing to give them up to government.

With the right of possessing forts and garrisons in distant and
barbarous countries is necessarily connected the right of making
peace and war in those countries. The joint-stock companies,
which have had the one right, have constantly exercised the
other, and have frequently had it expressly conferred upon them.
How unjustly, how capriciously, how cruelly, they have commonly
exercised it, is too well known from recent experience.

When a company of merchants undertake, at their own risk and
expense, to establish a new trade with some remote and barbarous
nation, it may not be unreasonable to incorporate them into a
joint-stock company, and to grant them, in case of their success,
a monopoly of the trade for a certain number of years. It is
the easiest and most natural way in which the state can
recompense them for hazarding a dangerous and expensive
experiment, of which the public is afterwards to reap the
benefit. A temporary monopoly of this kind may be vindicated,
upon the same principles upon which a like monopoly of a new
machine is granted to its inventor, and that of a new book to its
author. But upon the expiration of the term, the monopoly ought
certainly to determine; the forts and garrisons, if it was found
necessary to establish any, to be taken into the hands of
government, their value to be paid to the company, and the trade
to be laid open to all the subjects of the state. By a
perpetual monopoly, all the other subjects of the state are taxed
very absurdly in two different ways : first, by the high price of
goods, which, in the case of a free trade, they could buy much
cheaper ; and, secondly, by their total exclusion from a branch
of business which it might be both convenient and profitable for
many of them to carry on. It is for the most worthless of all
purposes, too, that they are taxed in this manner. It is merely
to enable the company to support the negligence, profusion, and
malversation of their own servants, whose disorderly conduct
seldom allows the dividend of the company to exceed the ordinary
rate of profit in trades which are altogether free, and very
frequently makes a fall even a good deal short of that rate.
Without a monopoly, however, a joint-stock company, it would
appear from experience, cannot long carry on any branch of
foreign trade. To buy in one market, in order to sell with profit
in another, when there are many competitors in both; to watch
over, not only the occasional variations in the demand, but the
much greater and more frequent variations in the competition, or
in the supply which that demand is likely to get from other
people; and to suit with dexterity and judgment both the quantity
and quality of each assortment of goods to all these
circumstances, is a species of warfare, of which the operations
are continually changing, and which can scarce ever be conducted
successfully, without such an unremitting exertion of vigilance
and attention as cannot long be expected from the directors of a
joint-stock company. The East India company, upon the redemption
of their funds, and the expiration of their exclusive privilege,
have a right, by act of parliament, to continue a corporation
with a joint stock, and to trade in their corporate capacity to
the East Indies, in common with the rest of their fellow
subjects. But in this situation, the superior vigilance and
attention of a private adventurer would, in all probability, soon
make them weary of the trade.

An eminent French author, of great knowledge in matters of
political economy, the Abbe Morellet, gives a list of fifty-five
joint-stock companies for foreign trade, which have been
established in different parts of Europe since the year 1600, and
which, according to him, have all failed from mismanagement,
notwithstanding they had exclusive privileges. He has been
misinformed with regard to the history of two or three of them,
which were not joint-stock companies and have not failed. But, in
compensation, there have been several joint-stock companies which
have failed, and which he has omitted.

The only trades which it seems possible for a joint-stock company
to carry on successfully, without an exclusive privilege, are
those, of which all the operations are capable of being reduced
to what is called a routine, or to such a uniformity of method as
admits of little or no variation. Of this kind is, first, the
banking trade ; secondly, the trade of insurance from fire and
from sea risk, and capture in time of war ; thirdly, the trade of
making and maintaining a navigable cut or canal; and, fourthly,
the similar trade of bringing water for the supply of a great

Though the principles of the banking trade may appear somewhat
abstruse, the practice is capable of being reduced to strict
rules. To depart upon any occasion from those rules, in
consequence of some flattering speculation of extraordinary gain,
is almost always extremely dangerous and frequently fatal to the
banking company which attempts it. But the constitution of
joint-stock companies renders them in general, more tenacious of
established rules than any private copartnery. Such companies,
therefore, seem extremely well fitted for this trade. The
principal banking companies in Europe, accordingly, are
joint-stock companies, many of which manage their trade very
successfully without any exclusive privilege. The bank of England
has no other exclusive privilege, except that no other banking
company in England shall consist of more than six persons.
The two banks of Edinburgh are joint-stock companies, without any
exclusive privilege.

The value of the risk, either from fire, or from loss by sea, or
by capture, though it cannot, perhaps, be calculated very
exactly, admits, however, of such a gross estimation, as renders
it, in some degree, reducible to strict rule and method. The
trade of insurance, therefore, may be carried on successfully by
a joint-stock company, without any exclusive privilege. Neither
the London Assurance, nor the Royal Exchange Assurance companies
have any such privilege.

When a navigable cut or canal has been once made, the management
of it becomes quite simple and easy, and it is reducible to
strict rule and method. Even the making of it is so, as it may be
contracted for with undertakers, at so much a mile, and so much a
lock. The same thing may be said of a canal, an aqueduct, or a
great pipe for bringing water to supply a great city. Such
under-takings, therefore, may be, and accordingly frequently are,
very successfully managed by joint-stock companies, without any
exclusive privilege.

To establish a joint-stock company, however, for any undertaking,
merely because such a company might be capable of managing it
successfully ; or, to exempt a particular set of dealers from
some of the general laws which take place with regard to all
their neighbours, merely because they might be capable of
thriving, if they had such an exemption, would certainly not be
reasonable. To render such an establishment perfectly reasonable,
with the circumstance of being reducible to strict rule and
method, two other circumstances ought to concur. First, it
ought to appear with the clearest evidence, that the undertaking
is of greater and more general utility than the greater part of
common trades ; and, secondly, that it requires a greater capital
than can easily be collected into a private copartnery. If a
moderate capital were sufficient, the great utility of the
undertaking would not be a sufficient reason for establishing a
joint-stock company; because, in this case, the demand for what
it was to produce, would readily and easily be supplied by
private adventurers. In the four trades above mentioned, both
those circumstances concur.

The great and general utility of the banking trade, when
prudently managed, has been fully explained in the second book of
this Inquiry. But a public bank, which is to support public
credit, and, upon particular emergencies, to advance to
government the whole produce of a tax, to the amount, perhaps, of
several millions, a year or two before it comes in, requires a
greater capital than can easily be collected into any private

The trade of insurance gives great security to the fortunes of
private people, and, by dividing among a great many that loss
which would ruin an individual, makes it fall light and easy upon
the whole society. In order to give this security, however, it is
necessary that the insurers should have a very large capital.
Before the establishment of the two joint-stock companies for
insurance in London, a list, it is said, was laid before the
attorney-general, of one hundred and fifty private iusurers, who
had failed in the course of a few years.

That navigable cuts and canals, and the works which are sometimes
necessary for supplying a great city with water, are of great and
general utility, while, at the same time, they frequently require
a greater expense than suits the fortunes of private people, is
sufficiently obvious.

Except the four trades above mentioned, I have not been able to
recollect any other, in which all the three circumstances
requisite for rendering reasonable the establislment of a
joint-stock company concur. The English copper company of
London, the lead-smelting company, the glass-grinding company,
have not even the pretext of any great or singular utility in the
object which they pursue ; nor does the pursuit of that object
seem to require any expense unsuitable to the fortunes of many
private men. Whether the trade which those companies carry on, is
reducible to such strict rule and method as to render it fit for
the management of a joint-stock company, or whether they have any
reason to boast of their extraordinary profits, I do not pretend
to know. The mine-adventurers company has been long ago bankrupt.
A share in the stock of the British Linen company of Edinburgh
sells, at present, very much below par, though less so than it
did some years ago. The joint-stock companies, which are
established for the public-spirited purpose of promoting some
particular manufacture, over and above managing their own affairs
ill, to the diminution of the general stock of the society, can,
in other respects, scarce ever fail to do more harm than good.
Notwithstanding the most upright intentions, the unavoidable
partiality of their directors to particular branches of the
manufacture, of which the undertakers mislead and impose upon
them, is a real discouragement to the rest, and necessarily
breaks, more or less, that natural proportion which would
otherwise establish itself between judicious industry and profit,
and which, to the general industry of the country, is of all
encouragements the greatest and the most effectual.

ART. II. ˜ Of the Expense of the Institution for the Education of

The institutions for the education of the youth may, in the same
manner, furnish a revenue sufficient for defraying their own
expense. The fee or honorary, which the scholar pays to the
master, naturally constitutes a revenue of this kind.

Even where the reward of the master does not arise altogether
from this natural revenue, it still is not necessary that it
should be derived from that general revenue of the society, of
which the collection and application are, in most countries,
assigned to the executive power. Through the greater part of
Europe, accordingly, the endowment of schools and colleges makes
either no charge upon that general revenue, or but a very small
one. It everywhere arises chiefly from some local or provincial
revenue, from the rent of some landed estate, or from the
interest of some sum of money, allotted and put under the
management of trustees for this particular purpose, sometimes by
the sovereign himself, and sometimes by some private donor.

Have those public endowments contributed in general, to promote
the end of their institution ? Have they contributed to encourage
the diligence, and to improve the abilities, of the teachers?
Have they directed the course of education towards objects more
useful, both to the individual and to the public, than those to
which it would naturally have gone of its own accord ? It should
not seem very difficult to give at least a probable answer to
each of those questions.

In every profession, the exertion of the greater part of those
who exercise it, is always in proportion to the necessity they
are under of making that exertion. This necessity is greatest
with those to whom the emoluments of their profession are the
only source from which they expect their fortune, or even their
ordinary revenue and subsistence. In order to acquire this
fortune, or even to get this subsistence, they must, in the
course of a year, execute a certain quantity of work of a known
value; and, where the competition is free, the rivalship of
competitors, who are all endeavouring to justle one another out
of employment, obliges every man to endeavour to execute his work
with a certain degree of exactness. The greatness of the objects
which are to be acquired by success in some particular
professions may, no doubt, sometimes animate the exertions of a
few men of extraordinary spirit and ambition. Great objects,
however, are evidently not necessary, in order to occasion the
greatest exertions. Rivalship and emulation render excellency,
even in mean professions, an object of ambition, and frequently
occasion the very greatest exertions. Great objects, on the
contrary, alone and unsupported by the necessity of application,
have seldom been sufficient to occasion any considerable
exertion. In England, success in the profession of the law leads
to some very great objects of ambition ; and yet how few men,
born to easy fortunes, have ever in this country been eminent in
that profession?

The endowments of schools and colleges have necessarily
diminished, more or less, the necessity of application in the
teachers. Their subsistence, so far as it arises from their
salaries, is evidently derived from a fund, altogether
independent of their success and reputation in their particular

In some universities, the salary makes but a part, and frequently
but a small part, of the emoluments of the teacher, of which the
greater part arises from the honoraries or fees of his pupils.
The necessity of application, though always more or less
diminished, is not, in this case, entirely taken away. Reputation
in his profession is still of some importance to him, and he
still has some dependency upon the affection, gratitude, and
favourable report of those who have attended upon his
instructions; and these favourable sentiments he is likely to
gain in no way so well as by deserving them, that is, by the
abilities and diligence with which he discharges every part of
his duty.

In other universities, the teacher is prohibited from receiving
any honorary or fee from his pupils, and his salary constitutes
the whole of the revenue which he derives from his office.
His interest is, in this case, set as directly in opposition to
his duty as it is possible to set it. It is the interest of
every man to live as much at his ease as he can; and if his
emoluments are to be precisely the same, whether he does or does
not perform some very laborious duty, it is certainly his
interest, at least as interest is vulgarly understood, either to
neglect it altogether, or, if he is subject to some authority
which will not suffer him to do this, to perform it in as
careless and slovenly a manner as that authority will permit.
If he is naturally active and a lover of labour, it is his
interest to employ that activity in any way from which he can
derive some advantage, rather than in the performarnce of his
duty, from which he can derive none.

If the authority to which he is subject resides in the body
corporate, the college, or university, of which he himself is a
member, and in which the greater part of the other members are,
like himself, persons who either are, or ought to be teachers,
they are likely to make a common cause, to be all very indulgent
to one another, and every man to consent that his neighbour may
neglect his duty, provided he himself is allowed to neglect his
own. In the university of Oxford, the greater part of the public
professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even
the pretence of teaching.

If the authority to which he is subject resides, not so much in
the body corporate, of which he is a member, as in some other
extraneous persons, in the bishop of the diocese, for example, in
the governor of the province, or, perhaps, in some minister of
state, it is not, indeed, in this case, very likely that he will
be suffered to neglect his duty altogether. All that such
superiors, however, can force him to do, is to attend upon his
pupils a certain number of hours, that is, to give a certain
number of lectures in the week, or in the year. What those
lectures shall be, must still depend upon the diligence of the
teacher ; and that diligence is likely to be proportioned to the
motives which he has for exerting it. An extraneous jurisdiction
of this kind, besides, is liable to be exercised both ignorantly
and capriciously. In its nature, it is arbitrary and
discretionary; and the persons who exercise it, neither attending
upon the lectures of the teacher themselves, nor perhaps
understanding the sciences which it is his business to teach, are
seldom capable of exercising it with judgment. From the insolence
of office, too, they are frequently indifferent how they exercise
it, and are very apt to censure or deprive him of his office
wantonly and without any just cause. The person subject to such
jurisdiction is necessarily degraded by it, and, instead of being
one of the most respectable, is rendered one of the meanest and
most contemptible persons in the society. It is by powerful
protection only, that he can effectually guard himself against
the bad usage to which he is at all times exposed; and this
protection he is most likely to gain, not by ability or diligence
in his profession, but by obsequiousness to the will of his
superiors, and by being ready, at all times, to sacrifice to that
will the rights, the interest, and the honour of the body
corporate, of which he is a member. Whoever has attended for any
considerable time to the administration of a French university,
must have had occasion to remark the effects which naturally
result from an arbitrary and extraneous jurisdiction of this

Whatever forces a certain number of students to any college or
university, independent of the merit or reputation of the
teachers, tends more or less to diminish the necessity of that
merit or reputation.

The privileges of graduates in arts, in law, physic, and
divinity, when they can be obtained only by residing a certain
number of years in certain universities, necessarily force a
certain number of students to such universities, independent of
the merit or reputation of the teachers. The privileges of
graduates are a sort of statutes of apprenticeship, which have
contributed to the improvement of education just as the other
statutes of apprenticeship have to that of arts and manufactures.

The charitable foundations of scholarships, exhibitions,
bursaries, etc. necessarily attach a certain number of students
to certain colleges, independent altogether of the merit of those
particular colleges. Were the students upon such charitable
foundations left free to choose what college they liked best,
such liberty might perhaps contribute to excite some emulation
among different colleges. A regulation, on the contrary, which
prohibited even the independent members of every particular
college from leaving it, and going to any other, without leave
first asked and obtained of that which they meant to abandon,
would tend very much to extinguish that emulation.

If in each college, the tutor or teacher, who was to instruct
each student in all arts and sciences, should not be voluntarily
chosen by the student, but appointed by the head of the college ;
and if, in case of neglect, inability, or bad usage, the student
should not be allowed to change him for another, without leave
first asked and obtained ; such a regulation would not only tend
very much to extinguish all emulation among the different tutors
of the same college, but to diminish very much, in all of them,
the necessity of diligence and of attention to their respective
pupils. Such teachers, though very well paid by their
students, might be as much disposed to neglect them, as those who
are not paid by them at all or who have no other recompense but
their salary.

If the teacher happens to be a man of sense, it must be an
unpleasant thing to him to be conscious, while he is lecturing to
his students, that he is either speaking or reading nonsense, or
what is very little better than nonsense. It must, too, be
unpleasant to him to observe, that the greater part of his
students desert his lectures ; or perhaps, attend upon them with
plain enough marks of neglect, contempt, and derision. If he is
obliged, therefore, to give a certain number of lectures, these
motives alone, without any other interest, might dispose him to
take some pains to give tolerably good ones. Several different
expedients, however, may be fallen upon, which will effectually
blunt the edge of all those incitements to diligence. The
teacher, instead of explaining to his pupils himself the science
in which he proposes to instruct them, may read some book upon
it; and if this book is written in a foreign and dead language,
by interpreting it to them into their own, or, what would give
him still less trouble, by making them interpret it to him, and
by now and then making an occasional remark upon it, he may
flatter himself that he is giving a lecture. The slightest
degree of knowledge and application will enable him to do this,
without exposing himself to contempt or derision, by saying any
thing that is really foolish, absurd, or ridiculous. The
discipline of the college, at the same time, may enable him to
force all his pupils to the most regular attendance upon his sham
lecture, and to maintain the most decent and respectful behaviour
during the whole time of the performance.

The discipline of colleges and universities is in general
contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the
interest, or, more properly speaking, for the ease of the
masters. Its object is, in all cases, to maintain the authority
of the master, and, whether he neglects or performs his duty, to
oblige the students in all cases to behave to him as if he
performed it with the greatest diligence and ability. It seems to
presume perfect wisdom and virtue in the one order, and the
greatest weakness and folly in the other. Where the masters,
however, really perform their duty, there are no examples, I
believe, that the greater part of the students ever neglect
theirs. No discipline is ever requisite to force attendance
upon lectures which are really worth the attending, as is well
known wherever any such lectures are given. Force and restraint
may, no doubt, be in some degree requisite, in order to oblige
children, or very young boys, to attend to those parts of
education, which it is thought necessary for them to acquire
during that early period of life ; but after twelve or thirteen
years of age, provided the master does his duty, force or
restraint can scarce ever be necessary to carry on any part of
education. Such is the generosity of the greater part of young
men, that so far from being disposed to neglect or despise the
instructions of their master, provided he shews some serious
intention of being of use to them, they are generally inclined to
pardon a great deal of incorrectness in the performance of his
duty, and sometimes even to conceal from the public a good deal
of gross negligence.

Those parts of education, it is to be observed, for the teaching
of which there are no public institutions, are generally the best
taught. When a young man goes to a fencing or a dancing school,
he does not, indeed, always learn to fence or to dance very well;
but he seldom fails of learning to fence or to dance. The good
effects of the riding school are not commonly so evident. The
expense of a riding school is so great, that in most places it is
a public institution. The three most essential parts of literary
education, to read, write, and account, it still continues to be
more common to acquire in private than in public schools; and it
very seldom happens, that anybody fails of acquiring them to the
degree in which it is necessary to acquire them.

In England, the public schools are much less corrupted than the
universities. In the schools, the youth are taught, or at least
may be taught, Greek and Latin; that is, everything which the
masters pretend to teach, or which it is expected they should
teach. In the universities, the youth neither are taught, nor
always can find any proper means of being taught the sciences,
which it is the business of those incorporated bodies to teach.
The reward of the schoolmaster, in most cases, depends
principally, in some cases almost entirely, upon the fees or
honoraries of his scholars. Schools have no exclusive privileges.
In order to obtain the honours of graduation, it is not necessary
that a person should bring a certificate of his having studied a
certain number of years at a public school. If, upon examination,
he appears to understand what is taught there, no questions are
asked about the place where he learnt it.

The parts of education which are commonly taught in universities,
it may perhaps be said, are not very well taught. But had it not
been for those institutions, they would not have been commonly
taught at all; and both the individual and the public would have
suffered a good deal from the want of those important parts of

The present universities of Europe were originally, the greater
part of them, ecclesiastical corporations, instituted for the
education of churchmen. They were founded by the authority of the
pope; and were so entirely under his immediate protection, that
their members, whether masters or students, had all of them what
was then called the benefit of clergy, that is, were exempted
from the civil jurisdiction of the countries in which their
respective universities were situated, and were amenable only to
the ecclesiastical tribunals. What was taught in the greater part
of those universities was suitable to the end of their
institution, either theology, or something that was merely
preparatory to theology.

When Christianity was first established by law, a corrupted Latin
had become the common language of all the western parts of
Europe. The service of the church, accordingly, and the
translation of the Bible which were read in churches, were both
in that corrupted Latin; that is, in the common language of the
country, After the irruption of the barbarous nations who
overturned the Roman empire, Latin gradually ceased to be the
language of any part of Europe. But the reverence of the people
naturally preserves the established forms and ceremonies of
religion long after the circumstances which first introduced and
rendered them reasonable, are no more. Though Latin, therefore,
was no longer understood anywhere by the great body of the
people, the whole service of the church still continued to be
performed in that language. Two different languages were
thus established in Europe, in the same manner as in ancient
Egypt: a language of the priests, and a language of the people; a
sacred and a profane, a learned and an unlearned language. But it
was necessary that the priests should understand something of
that sacred and learned language in which they were to officiate;
and the study of the Latin language therefore made, from the
beginning, an essential part of university education.

It was not so with that either of the Greek or of the Hebrew
language. The infallible decrees of the church had pronounced the
Latin translation of the Bible, commonly called the Latin
Vulgate, to have been equally dictated by divine inspiration, and
therefore of equal authority with the Greek and Hebrew originals.
The knowledge of those two languages, therefore, not being
indispensably requsite to a churchman, the study of them did not
for along time make a necessary part of the common course of
university education. There are some Spanish universities, I
am assured, in which the study of the Greek language has never
yet made any part of that course. The first reformers found the
Greek text of the New Testament, and even the Hebrew text of the
Old, more favourable to their opinions than the vulgate
translation, which, as might naturally be supposed, had been
gradually accommodated to support the doctrines of the Catholic
Church. They set themselves, therefore, to expose the many errors
of that translation, which the Roman catholic clergy were thus
put under the necessity of defending or explaining. But this
could not well be done without some knowledge of the original
languages, of which the study was therefore gradually introduced
into the greater part of universities; both of those which
embraced, and of those which rejected, the doctrines of the
reformation. The Greek language was connected with every part of
that classical learning, which, though at first principally
cultivated by catholics and Italians, happened to come into
fashion much about the same time that the doctrines of the
reformation were set on foot. In the greater part of
universities, therefore, that language was taught previous to the
study of philosophy, and as soon as the student had made some
progress in the Latin. The Hebrew language having no connection
with classical learning, and, except the Holy Scriptures, being
the language of not a single book in any esteem the study of it
did not commonly commence till after that of philosophy, and when
the student had entered upon the study of theology.

Originally, the first rudiments, both of the Greek and Latin
languages, were taught in universities; and in some universities
they still continue to be so. In others, it is expected that the
student should have previously acquired, at least, the rudiments
of one or both of those languages, of which the study continues
to make everywhere a very considerable part of university

The ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three great
branches; physics, or natural philosophy; ethics, or moral
philosophy; and logic. This general division seems perfectly
agreeable to the nature of things.

The great phenomena of nature, the revolutions of the heavenly
bodies, eclipses, comets; thunder and lightning, and other
extraordinary meteors; the generation, the life, growth, and
dissolution of plants and animals; are objects which, as they
necessarily excite the wonder, so they naturally call forth the
curiosity of mankind to inquire into their causes.
Superstition first attempted to satisfy this curiosity, by
referring all those wonderful appearances to the immediate a
gency of the gods. Philosophy afterwards endeavoured to account
for them from more familiar causes, or from such as mankind were
better acquainted with, than the agency of the gods. As those
great phenomena are the first objects of human curiosity, so the
science which pretends to explain them must naturally have been
the first branch of philosophy that was cuitivated. The first
philosophers, accordingly, of whom history has preserved any
account, appear to have been natural philosophers.

In every age and country of the world, men must have attended to
the characters, designs, and actions of one another; and many
reputable rules and maxims for the conduct of human life must
have been laid down and approved of by common consent. As soon as
writing came into fashion, wise men, or those who fancied
themselves such, would naturally endeavour to increase the number
of those established and respected maxims, and to express their
own sense of what was either proper or improper conduct,
sometimes in the more artificial form of apologues, like what are
called the fables of Aesop; and sometimes in the more simple one
of apophthegms or wise sayings, like the proverbs of Solmnon, the
verses of Theognis and Phocyllides, and some part of the works of
Hesiod. They might continue in this manner, for a long time,
merely to multiply the number of those maxims of prudence and
morality, without even attempting to arrange them in any very
distinct or methodical order, much less to connect them together
by one or more general principles, from which they were all
deducible, like effects from their natural causes. The beauty of
a systematical arrangement of different observations, connected
by a few common principles, was first seen in the rude essays of
those ancient times towards a system of natural philosophy.
Something of the same kind was afterwards attempted in morals.
The maxims of common life were arranged in some methodical order,
and connected together by a few common principles, in the same
manner as they had attempted to arrange and connect the phenomena
of nature. The science which pretends to investigate and
explain those connecting principles, is what is properly called
Moral Philosophy.

Different authors gave different systems, both of natural and
moral philosophy. But the arguments by which they supported those
different systems, far from being always demonstrations, were
frequently at best but very slender probabilities, and sometimes
mere sophisms, which had no other foundation but the inaccuracy
and ambiguity of common language. Speculative systems, have,
in all ages of the world, been adopted for reasons too frivolous
to have determined the judgment of any man of common sense, in a
matter of the smallest pecuniary interest. Gross sophistry has
scarce ever had any influence upon the opinions of mankind,
except in matters of philosophy and speculation ; and in these it
has frequently had the greatest. The patrons of each system of
natural and moral philosophy, naturally endeavoured to expose the
weakness of the arguments adduced to support the systems which
were opposite to their own. In examining those arguments, they
were necessarily led to consider the difference between a
probable and a demonstrative argument, between a fallacious and a
conclusive one; and logic, or the science of the general
principles of good and bad reasoning, necessarily arose out of
the observations which a scrutiny of this kind gave occasion to ;
though, in its origin, posterior both to physics and to ethics,
it was commonly taught, not indeed in all, but in the greater
part of the ancient schools of philosophy, previously to either
of those sciences. The student, it seems to have been thought,
ought to understand well the difference between good and bad
reasoning, before he was led to reason upon subjects of so great

This ancient division of philosophy into three parts was, in the
greater part of the universities of Europe, changed for another
into five.

In the ancient philosophy, whatever was taught concerning the
nature either of the human mind or of the Deity, made a part of
the system of physics. Those beings, in whatever their
essence might be supposed to consist, were parts of the great
system of the universe, and parts, too, productive of the most
important effects. Whatever human reason could either
conclude or conjecture concerning them, made, as it were, two
chapters, though no doubt two very important ones, of the science
which pretended to give an account of the origin and revolutions
of the great system of the universe. But in the universities of
Europe, where philosophy was taught only as subservient to
theology, it was natural to dwell longer upon these two chapters
than upon any other of the science. They were gradually more and
more extended, and were divided into many inferior chapters; till
at last the doctrine of spirits, of which so little can be known,
came to take up as much room in the system of philosophy as the
doctrine of bodies, of which so much can be known. The doctrines
concerning those two subjects were considered as making two
distinct sciences. What are called metaphysics, or
pnemnatics, were set in opposition to physics, and were
cultivated not only as the more sublime, but, for the purposes of
a particular profession, as the more useful science of the two.
The proper subject of experiment and observation, a subject in
which a careful attention is capable of making so many useful
discoveries, was almost entirely neglected. The subject in
which, after a very few simple and almost obvious truths, the
most careful attention can discover nothing but obscurity and
uncertainty, and can consequently produce nothing but subtlelies
and sophisms, was greatly cultivated.

When those two sciences had thus been set in opposition to one
another, the comparison between them naturally gave birth to a
third, to what was called ontology, or the science which treated
of the qualities and attributes which were common to both the
subjects of the other two sciences. But if subtleties and
sophisms composed the greater part of the metaphysics or
pneumatics of the schools, they composed the whole of this cobweb
science of ontology, which was likewise sometimes called

Wherein consisted the happiness and perfection of a man,
considered not only as an individual, but as the member of a
family, of a state, and of the great society of mankind, was the
object which the ancient moral philosophy proposed to
investigate. In that philosophy, the duties of human life were
treated of as subservient to the happiness and perfection of
human life, But when moral, as well as natural philosophy, came
to be taught only as subservient to theology, the duties of human
life were treated of as chiefly subservient to the happiness of a
life to come. In the ancient philosophy, the perfection of virtue
was represented as necessarily productive, to the person who
possessed it, of the most perfect happiness in this life. In the
modern philosophy, it was frequently represented as generally, or
rather as almost always, inconsistent with any degree of
happiness in this life; and heaven was to be earned only by
penance and mortification, by the austerities and abasement of a
monk, not by the liberal, generous, and spirited conduct of a
man. Casuistry, and an ascetic morality, made up, in most cases,
the greater part of the moral philosophy of the schools. By far
the most important of all the different branches of philosophy
became in this manner by far the most corrupted.

Such, therefore, was the common course of philosophical education
in the greater part of the universities in Europe. Logic was
taught first; ontology came in the second place; pneumatology,
comprehending the doctrine concerning the nature of the human
soul and of the Deity, in the third; in the fourth followed a
debased system of moral philosophy, which was considered as
immediately connected with the doctrines of pneumatology, with
the immortality of the human soul, and with the rewards and
punishments which, from the justice of the Deity, were to be
expected in a life to come: a short and superficial system of
physics usually concluded the course.

The alterations which the universities of Europe thus introduced
into the ancient course of philosophy were all meant for the
education of ecclesiastics, and to render it a more proper
introduction to the study of theology But the additional quantity
of subtlety and sophistry, the casuistry and ascetic morality
which those alterations introduced into it, certainly did not
render it more for the education of gentlemen or men of the
world, or more likely either to improve the understanding or to
mend the heart.

This course of philosophy is what still continues to be taught in
the greater part of the universities of Europe, with more or less
diligence, according as the constitution of each particular
university happens to render diligence more or less necessary to
the teachers. In some of the richest and best endowed
universities, the tutors content themselves with teaching a few
unconnected shreds and parcels of this corrupted course ; and
even these they commonly teach very negligently and

The improvements which, in modern times have been made in several
different branches of philosophy, have not, the greater part of
them, been made in universities, though some, no doubt, have. The
greater part of universities have not even been very forward to
adopt those improvements after they were made; and several of
those learned societies have chosen to remain, for a long time,
the sanctuaries in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices
found shelter and protection, after they had been hunted out of
every other corner of the world. In general, the richest and best
endowed universities have been slowest in adopting those
improvements, and the most averse to permit any considerable
change in the established plan of education. Those improvements
were more easily introduced into some of the poorer universities,
in which the teachers, depending upon their reputation for the
greater part of their subsistence, were obliged to pay more
attention to the current opinions of the world.

But though the public schools and universities of Europe were
originally intended only for the education of a particular
profession, that of churchmen ; and though they were not always
very diligent in instructing their pupils, even in the sciences
which were supposed neccessary for that profession; yet they
gradually drew to themselves the education of almost all other
people, particularly of almost all gentlemen and men of fortune.
No better method, it seems, could be fallen upon, of spending,
with any advantage, the long interval between infancy and that
period of life at which men begin to apply in good earnest to the
real business of the world, the business which is to employ them
during the remainder of their days. The greater part of what is
taught in schools and universities, however, does not seem to be
the most proper preparation for that business.

In England, it becomes every day more and more the custom to send
young people to travel in foreign countries immediately upon
their leaving school, and without sending them to any university.
Our young people, it is said, generally return home much improved
by their travels. A young man, who goes abroad at seventeen or
eighteen, and returns home at one-and-twenty, returns three or
four years older than he was when he went abroad ; and at that
age it is very difficult not to improve a good deal in three or
four years. In the course of his travels, he generally acquires
some knowledge of one or two foreign languages; a knowledge,
however, which is seldom sufficient to enable him either to speak
or write them with propriety. In other respects, he commonly
returns home more conceited, more unprincipled, more dissipated,
and more incapable of my serious application, either to study or
to business, than he could well have become in so short a time
had he lived at home. By travelling so very young, by spending in
the most frivolous dissipation the most previous years of his
life, at a distance from the inspection and controul of his
parents and relations, every useful habit, which the earlier
parts of his education might have had some tendency to form in
him, instead of being riveted and confirmed, is almost
necessarily either weakened or effaced. Nothing but the discredit
into which the universities are allowing themselves to fall,
could ever have brought into repute so very absurd a practice as
that of travelling at this early period of life. By sending his
son abroad, a father delivers himself, at least for some time,
from so disagreeable an object as that of a son unemployed,
neglected, and going to ruin before his eyes.

Such have been the effects of some of the modern institutions for

Different plans and different institutions for education seem to
have taken place in other ages and nations.

In the republics of ancient Greece, every free citizen was
instructed, under the direction of the public magistrate, in
gymnastic exercises and in music. By gynmastic exercises, it was
intended to harden his body, to sharpen his courage, and to
prepare him for the fatigues and dangers of war ; and as the
Greek militia was, by all accounts, one of the best that ever was
in the world, this part of their public education must have
answered completely the purpose for which it was intended. By the
other part, music, it was proposed, at least by the philosophers
and historians, who have given us an account of those
institutions, to humanize the mind, to soften the temper, and to
dispose it for performing all the social and moral duties of
public and private life.

In ancient Rome, the exercises of the Campus Martius answered the
same purpose as those of the Gymnasium in ancient Greece, and
they seem to have answered it equally well. But among the Romans
there was nothing which corresponded to the musical education of
the Greeks. The morals of the Romans, however, both in private
and public life, seem to have been, not only equal, but, upon the
whole, a good deal superior to those of the Greeks. That they
were superior in private life, we have the express testimony of
Polybius, and of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, two authors well
acquainted with both nations; and the whole tenor of the Greek
and Roman history bears witness to the superiority of the public
morals of the Romans. The good temper and moderation of
contending factions seem to be the most essential circumstances
in the public morals of a free people. But the factions of the
Greeks were almost always violent and sanguinary ; whereas, till
the time of the Gracchi, no blood had ever been shed in any Roman
faction; and from the time of the Gracchi, the Roman republic may
be considered as in reality dissolved. Notwithstanding,
therefore, the very respectable authority of Plato, Aristotle,
and Polybius, and notwithstanding the very ingenious reasons by
which Mr. Montesquieu endeavours to support that authority, it
seems probable that the musical education of the Greeks had no
great effect in mending their morals, since, without any such
education, those of the Romans were, upon the whole, superior.
The respect of those ancient sages for the institutions of their
ancestors had probably disposed them to find much political
wisdom in what was, perhaps, merely an ancient custom, continued,
without interruption, from the earliest period of those
societies, to the times in which they had arrived at a
considerable degree of refinement. Music and dancing are the
great amusements of almost all barbarous nations, and the great
accomplishments which are supposed to fit any man for
entertaining his society. It is so at this day among the negroes
on the coast of Africa. It was so among the ancient Celtes, among
the ancient Scandinavians, and, as we may learn from Homer, among
the ancient Greeks, in the times preceding the Trojan war. When
the Greek tribes had formed themselves into little republics, it
was natural that the study of those accomplishments should for a
long time make a part of the public and common education of the

The masters who instructed the young people, either in music or
in military exercises, do not seem to have been paid, or even
appointed by the state, either in Rome or even at Athens, the
Greek republic of whose laws and customs we are the best
informed. The state required that every free citizen should fit
himself for defending it in war, and should upon that account,
learn his military exercises. But it left him to learn them of
such masters as he could find ; and it seems to have advanced
nothing for this purpose, but a public field or place of
exercise, in which he should practise and perform them.

In the early ages, both of the Greek and Roman republics, the
other parts of education seem to have consisted in learning to
read, write, and account, according to the arithmetic of the
times. These accomplishments the richer citizens seem frequently
to have acquired at home, by the assistance of some demestic
pedagogue, who was, generally, either a slave or a freedman ; and
the poorer citizens in the schools of such masters as made a
trade of teaching for hire. Such parts of education, however,
were abandoned altogether to the care of the parents or guardians
of each individual. It does not appear that the state ever
assumed any inspection or direction of them. By a law of Solon,
indeed, the children were acquitted from maintaining those
parents who had neglected to instruct them in some profitable
trade or business.

In the progress of refinement, when philosophy and rhetoric came
into fashion, the better sort of people used to send their
children to the schools of philosophers and rhetoricians, in
order to be instructed in these fashionable sciences. But those
schools were not supported by the public. They were, for a long
time, barely tolerated by it. The demand for philosophy and
rhetoric was, for a long time, so small, that the first professed
teachers of either could not find constant employment in any one
city, but were obliged to travel about from place to place. In
this manner lived Zeno of Elea, Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and
many others. As the demand increased, the school, both of
philosophy and rhetoric, became stationary, first in Athens, and
afterwards in several other cities. The state, however, seems
never to have encouraged them further. than by assigning to some
of them a particular place to teach in, which was sometimes done,
too, by private donors. The state seems to have assigned the
Academy to Plato, the Lyceum to Aristotle, and the Portico to
Zeno of Citta, the founder of the Stoics. But Epicurus bequeathed
his gardens to his own school. Till about the time of Marcus
Antoninus, however, no teacher appears to have had any salary
from the public, or to have had any other emoluments, but what
arose from the honorarius or fees of his scholars. The bounty
which that philosophical emperor, as we learn from Lucian,
bestowed upon one of the teachers of philosophy, probably lasted
no longer than his own life. There was nothing equivalent to the
privileges of graduation; and to have attended any of those
schools was not necessary, in order to be permitted to practise
any particular trade or profession. If the opinion of their own
utility could not draw scholars to them, the law neither forced
anybody to go to them, nor rewarded anybody for having gone to
them. The teachers had no jurisdiction over their pupils, nor any
other authority besides that natural authority which superior
virtue and abilities never fail to procure from young people
towards those who are entrusted with any part of their education.

At Rome, the study of the civil law made a part of the education,
not of the greater part of the citizens, but of some particular
families. The young people, however, who wished to acquire
knowledge in the law, had no public school to go to, and had no
other method of studying it, than by frequenting the company of
such of their relations and friends as were supposed to
understand it. It is, perhaps, worth while to remark, that though
the laws of the twelve tables were many of them copied from those
of some ancient Greek republics, yet law never seems to have
grown up to be a science in any republic of ancient Greece. In
Rome it became a science very early, and gave a considerable
degree of illustration to those citizens who had the reputation
of understanding it. In the republics of ancient Greece,
particularly in Athens, the ordinary courts of justice consisted
of numerous, and therefore disorderly, bodies of people, who
frequently decided almost at random, or as clamour, faction, and
party-spirit, happened to determine. The ignominy of an unjust
decision, when it was to be divided among five hundred, a
thousand, or fifteen hundred people (for some of their courts
were so very numerous), could not fall very heavy upon any
individual. At Rome, on the contrary, the principal courts
of justice consisted either of a single judge, or of a small
number of judges, whose characters, especially as they
deliberated always in public, could not fail to be very much
affected by any rash or unjust decision. In doubtful cases such
courts, from their anxiety to avoid blame, would naturally
endeavour to shelter themselves under the example or precedent of
the judges who had sat before them, either in the same or in some
other court. This attention to practice and precedent,
necessarily formed the Roman law into that regular and orderly
system in which it has been delivered down to us ; and the like
attention has had the like effects upon the laws of every other
country where such attention has taken place. The superiority of
character in the Romans over that of the Greeks, so much remarked
by Polybius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, was probably more
owing to the better constitution of their courts of justice, than
to any of the circumstances to which those authors ascribe it.
The Romans are said to have been particularly distinguished for
their superior respect to an oath. But the people who were
accustomed to make oath only before some diligent and well
informed court of justice, would naturally be much more attentive
to what they swore, than they who were accustomed to do the same
thing before mobbish and disorderly assemblies.

The abilities, both civil and military, of the Greeks and Romans,
will readily be allowed to have been at least equal to those of
any modern nation. Our prejudice is perhaps rather to overrate
them. But except in what related to military exercises, the state
seems to have been at no pains to form those great abilities; for
I cannot be induced to believe that the musical education of the
Greeks could be of much consequence in forming them. Masters,
however, had been found, it seems, for instructing the better
sort of people among those nations, in every art and science in
which the circumstances of their society rendered it necessary or
convenient for them to be instructed. The demand for such
instruction produced, what it always produces, the talent for
giving it; and the emulation which an unrestrained competition
never fails to excite, appears to have brought that talent to a
very high degree of perfection. In the attention which the
ancient philosophers excited, in the empire which they acquired
over the opinions and principles of their auditors, in the
faculty which they possessed of giving a certain tone and
character to the conduct and conversation of those auditors, they
appear to have been much superior to any modern teachers. In
modern times, the diligence of public teachers is more or less
corrupted by the circumstances which render them more or less
independent of their success and reputation in their particular
professions. Their salaries, too, put the private teacher, who
would pretend to come into competition with them, in the same
state with a merchant who attempts to trade without a bounty, in
competition with those who trade with a considerable one. If he
sells his goods at nearly the same price, he cannot have the same
profit ; and poverty and beggary at least, if not bankruptcy and
ruin, will infallibly be his lot. If he attempts to sell
them much dearer, he is likely to have so few customers, that his
circumstances will not be much mended. The privileges of
graduation, besides, are in many countries necessary, or at least
extremely convenient, to most men of learned professions, that
is, to the far greater part of those who have occasion for a
learned education. But those privileges can be obtained only by
attending the lectures of the public teachers. The most careful
attendance upon the ablest instructions of any private teacher
cannot always give any title to demand them. It is from these
different causes that the private teacher of any of the sciences,
which are commonly taught in universities, is, in modern times,
generally considered as in the very lowest order of men of
letters. A man of real abilities can scarce find out a more
humiliating or a more unprofitable employment to turn them to.
The endowments of schools and colleges have in this manner not
only corrupted the diligence of public teachers, but have
rendered it almost impossible to have any good private ones.

Were there no public institutions for education, no system, no
science, would be taught, for which there was not some demand, or
which the circumstances of the times did not render it either
necessary or convenient, or at least fashionable to learn. A
private teacher could never find his account in teaching either
an exploded and antiquated system of a science acknowledged to be
useful, or a science universally believed to be a mere useless
and pedantic heap of sophistry and nonsense. Such systems,
such sciences, can subsist nowhere but in those incorporated
societies for education, whose prosperity and revenue are in a
great measure independent of their industry. Were there no public
institutions for education, a gentleman, after going through,
with application and abilities, the most complete course of
education which the circumstances of the times were supposed to
afford, could not come into the world completely ignorant of
everything which is the common subject of conversation among
gentlemen and men of the world.

There are no public institutions for the education of women, and
there is accordingly nothing useless, absurd, or fantastical, in
the common course of their education. They are taught what their
parents or guardians judge it necessary or useful for them to
learn, and they are taught nothing else. Every part of their
education tends evidently to some useful purpose ; either to
improve the natural attractions of their person, or to form their
mind to reserve, to modesty, to chastity, and to economy ; to
render them both likely to became the mistresses of a family, and
to behave properly when they have become such. In every part of
her life, a woman feels some conveniency or advantage from every
part of her education. It seldom happens that a man, in any
part of his life, derives any conveniency or advantage from some
of the most laborious and troublesome parts of his education.

Ought the public, therefore, to give no attention, it may be
asked, to the education of the people ? Or, if it ought to give
any, what are the different parts of education which it ought to
attend to in the different orders of the people? and in what
manner ought it to attend to them ?

In some cases, the state of society necessarily places the
greater part of individuals in such situations as naturally form
in them, without any attention of government, almost all the
abilities and virtues which that state requires, or perhaps can
admit of. In other cases, the state of the society does not place
the greater part of individuals in such situations; and some
attention of government is necessary, in order to prevent the
almost entire corruption and degeneracy of the great body of the

In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the
far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the
great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very
simple operations; frequently to one or two. But the
understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed
by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent
in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects, too,
are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no
occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his
invention, in finding out expedients for removing difficulties
which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of
such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it
is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his
mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a
part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any
generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming
any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of
private life. Of the great and extensive interests of his country
he is altogether incapable of judging; and unless very particular
pains have been taken to render him otherwise, he is equally
incapable of defending his country in war. The uniformity of his
stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind, and
makes him regard, with abhorrence, the irregular, uncertain, and
adventurous life of a soldier. It corrupts even the activity
of his body, and renders him incapable of exerting his strength
with vigour and perseverance in any other employment, than that
to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular
trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expense of his
intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved
and civilized society, this is the state into which the labouring
poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily
fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.

It is otherwise in the barbarous societies, as they are commonly
called, of hunters, of shepherds, and even of husbandmen in that
rude state of husbandry which precedes the improvement of
manufactures, and the extension of foreign commerce. In such
societies, the varied occupations of every man oblige every man
to exert his capacity, and to invent expedients for removing
difficulties which are continually occurring. Invention is
kept alive, and the mind is not suffered to fall into that drowsy
stupidity, which, in a civilized society, seems to benumb the
understanding of almost all the inferior ranks of people. In
those barbarous societies, as they are called, every man, it has
already been observed, is a warrior. Every man, too, is in some
measure a statesman, and can form a tolerable judgment concerning
the interest of the society, and the conduct of those who govern
it. How far their chiefs are good judges in peace, or good
leaders in war, is obvious to the observation of almost every
single man among them. In such a society, indeed, no man can well
acquire that improved and refined understanding which a few men
sometimes possess in a more civilized state. Though in a rude
society there is a good deal of variety in the occupations of
every individual, there is not a great deal in those of the whole
society. Every man does, or is capable of doing, almost every
thing which any other man does, or is capable of being. Every man
has a considerable degree of knowledge, ingenuity, and invention
but scarce any man has a great degree. The degree, however, which
is commonly possessed, is generally sufficient for conducting the
whole simple business of the society. In a civilized state, on
the contrary, though there is little variety in the occupations
of the greater part of individuals, there is an almost infinite
variety in those of the whole society These varied occupations
present an almost infinite variety of objects to the
contemplation of those few, who, being attached to no particular
occupation themselves, have leisure and inclination to examine
the occupations of other people. The contemplation of so great a
variety of objects necessarily exercises their minds in endless
comparisons and combinations, and renders their understandings,
in an extraordinary degree, both acute anti comprehensive. Unless
those few, however, happen to be placed in some very particular
situations, their great abilities, though honourable to
themselves, may contribute very little to the good government or
happiness of their society. Notwithstanding the great abilities
of those few, all the nobler parts of the human character may be,
in a great measure, obliterated and extinguished in the great
body of the people.

The education of the common people requires, perhaps, in a
civilized and commercial society, the attention of the public,
more than that of people of some rank and fortune. People of some
rank and fortune are generally eighteen or nineteen years of age
before they enter upon that particular business, profession, or
trade, by which they propose to distinguish themselves in the
world. They have, before that, full time to acquire, or at least
to fit themselves for afterwards acquiring, every accomplishment
which can recommend them to the public esteem, or render them
worthy of it. Their parents or guardians are generally
sufficiently anxious that they should be so accomplished, and are
in most cases, willing enough to lay out the expense which is
necessary for that purpose. If they are not always properly
educated, it is seldom from the want of expense laid out upon
their education, but from the improper application of that
expense. It is seldom from the want of masters, but from the
negligence and incapacity of the masters who are to be had, and
from the difficulty, or rather from the impossibility, which
there is, in the present state of things, of finding any better.
The employments, too, in which people of some rank or fortune
spend the greater part of their lives, are not, like those of the
common people, simple and uniform. They are almost all of them
extremely complicated, and such as exercise the head more than
the hands. The understandings of those who are engaged in such
employments, can seldom grow torpid for want of exercise. The
employments of people of some rank and fortune, besides, are
seldom such as harass them from morning to night. They generally
have a good deal of leisure, during which they may perfect
themselves in every branch, either of useful or ornamental
knowledge, of which they may have laid the foundation, or for
which they may have acquired some taste in the earlier part of

It is otherwise with the common people. They have little time to
spare for education. Their parents can scarce afford to maintain
them, even in infancy. As soon as they are able to work, they
must apply to some trade, by which they can earn their
subsistence. That trade, too, is generally so simple and uniform,
as to give little exercise to the understanding; while, at the
same time, their labour is both so constant and so severe, that
it leaves them little leisure and less inclination to apply to,
or even to think of any thing else.

But though the common people cannot, in any civilized society, be
so well instructed as people of some rank and fortune; the most
essential parts of education, however, to read, write, and
account, can be acquired at so early a period of life, that the
greater part, even of those who are to be bred to the lowest
occupations, have time to acquire them before they can be
employed in those occupations. For a very small expense, the
public can facilitate, can encourage and can even impose upon
almost the whole body of the people, the necessity of acquiring
those most essential parts of education.

The public can facilitate this acquisition, by establishing in
every parish or district a little school, where children maybe
taught for a reward so moderate, that even a common labourer may
afford it ; the master being partly, but not wholly, paid by the
public ; because, if he was wholly, or even principally, paid by
it, he would soon learn to neglect his business. In Scotland, the
establishment of such parish schools has taught almost the whole
common people to read, and a very great proportion of them to
write and account. In England, the establishment of charity
schools has had an effect of the same kind, though not so
universally, because the establishmnent is not so universal. If,
in those little schools, the books by which the children are
taught to read, were a little more instructive than they commonly
are; and if, instead of a little smattering in Latin, which the
children of the common people are sometimes taught there, and
which can scarce ever be of any use to them, they were instructed
in the elementary parts of geometry and mechanics ; the literary
education of this rank of people would, perhaps, be as complete
as can be. There is scarce a common trade, which does not afford
some opportunities of applying to it the principles of geometry
and mechanics, and which would not, therefore, gradually exercise
and improve the common people in those principles, the necessary
introduction to the most sublime, as well as to the most useful

The public can encourage the acquisition of those most essential
parts of education, by giving small premiums, and little badges
of distinction, to the children of the common people who excel in

The public can impose upon almost the whole body of the people
the necessity of acquiring the most essential parts of education,
by obliging every man to undergo an examination or probation in
them, before he can obtain the freedom in any corporation, or be
allowed to set up any trade, either in a village or town

It was in this manner, by facilitating the acquisition of their
military and gymnastic exercises, by encouraging it, and even by
imposing upon the whole body of the people the necessity of
learning those exercises, that the Greek and Roman republics
maintained the martial spirit of their respective citizens. They
facilitated the acquisition of those exercises, by appointing a
certain place for learning and practising them, and by granting
to certain masters the privilege of teaching in that place. Those
masters do not appear to have had eirher salaries or exclusive
privileges of any kind. Their reward consisted altogether in what
they got from their scholars ; and a citizen, who had learnt his
exercises in the public gymnasia, had no sort of legal advantage
over one who had learnt them privately, provided the latter had
learned them equally well. Those republics encouraged the
acquisition of those exercises, by bestowing little premiums and
badges of distinction upon those who excelled in them. To have
gained a prize in the Olympic, Isthmian, or Nemaean games, gave
illustration, not only to the person who gained it, but to his
whole family and kindred. The obligation which every citizen was
under, to serve a certain number of years, if called upon, in the
armies of the republic, sufficiently imposed the necessity of
learning those exercises, without which he could not be fit for
that service.

That in the progress of improvement, the practice of military
exercises, unless government takes proper pains to support it,
goes gradually to decay, and, together with it, the martial
spirit of the great body of the people, the example of modern
Europe sufficiently demonstrates. But the security of every
society must always depend, more or less, upon the martial spirit
of the great body of the people. In the present times, indeed,
that martial spirit alone, and unsupported by a well-disciplined
standing army, would not, perhaps, be sufficient for the defence
and security of any society. But where every citizen had the
spirit of a soldier, a smaller standing army would surely be
requisite. That spirit, besides, would necessarily diminish very
much the dangers to liberty, whether real or imaginary, which are
commonly apprehended from a standing army. As it would very much
facilitate the operations of that army against a foreign invader;
so it would obstruct them as much, if unfortunately they should
ever be directed against the constitution of the state.

The ancient institutions of Greece and Rome seem to have been
much more effectual for maintaining the martial spirit of the
great body of the people, than the establishment of what are
called the militias of modern times. They were much more simple.
When they were once established, they executed themselves, and it
required little or no attention from government to maintain them
in the most perfect vigour. Whereas to maintain, even in
tolerable execution, the complex regulations of any modern
militia, requires the continual and painful attention of
government, without which they are constantly falling into total
neglect and disuse. The influence, besides, of the ancient
institutions, was much more universal. By means of them, the
whole body of the people was completely instructed in the use of
arms ; whereas it is but a very small part of them who can ever
be so instructed by the regulations of any modern militia,
except, perhaps, that of Switzerland. But a coward, a man
incapable either of defending or of revenging himself, evidently
wants one of the most essential parts of the character of a man.
He is as much mutilated and deformed in his mind as another is in
his body, who is either deprived of some of its most essential
members, or has lost the use of them. He is evidently the more
wretched and miserable of the two; because happiness and misery,
which reside altogether in the mind, must necessarily depend more
upon the healthful or unhealthful, the mutilated or entire state
of the mind, than upon that of the body. Even though the martial
spirit of the people were of no use towards the defence of the
society, yet, to prevent that sort of mental mutilation,
deformity, and wretchedness, which cowardice necessarily involves
in it, from spreading themselves through the great body of the
people, would still deserve the most serious attention of
government; in the same manner as it would deserve its most
serious attention to prevent a leprosy, or any other loathsome
and offensive disease, though neither mortal nor dangerous, from
spreading itself among them; though, perhaps, no other public
good might result from such attention, besides the prevention of
so great a public evil.

The same thing may be said of the gross ignorance and stupidity
which, in a civilized society, seem so frequently to benumb the
understandings of all the inferior ranks of people. A man without
the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if
possible, more contemptible than even a coward, and seems to be
mutilated and deformed in a still more essential part of the
character of human nature. Though the state was to derive no
advantage from the instruction of the inferior ranks of people,
it would still deserve its attention that they should not be
altogether uninstructed. The state, however, derives no
inconsiderable advantage from their instruction. The more they
are instructed, the less liable they are to the delusions of
enthusiasm and superstition, which, among ignorant nations
frequently occasion the most dreadful disorders. An instructed
and intelligent people, besides, are always more decent and
orderly than an ignorant and stupid one. They feel themselves,
each individually, more respectable, and more likely to obtain
the respect of their lawful superiors, and they are, therefore,
more disposed to respect those superiors. They are more disposed
to examine, and more capable of seeing through, the interested
complaints of faction and sedition; and they are, upon that
account, less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary
opposition to the measures of government. In free countries,
where the safety of government depends very much upon the
favourable judgment which the people may form of its conduct, it
must surely be of the highest importance, that they should not be
disposed to judge rashly or capriciously concerning it.

Art. III. ˜ Of the Expense of the Institutions for the
Instruction of People of all Ages.

The institutions for the instruction of people of all ages, are
chiefly those for religious instruction. This is a species of
instruction, of which the object is not so much to render the
people good citizens in this world, as to prepare them for
another and a better world in the life to come. The teachers
of the doctrine which contains this instruction, in the same
manner as other teachers, may either depend altogether for their
subsistence upon the voluntary contributions of their hearers; or
they may derive it from some other fund, to which the law of
their country may entitle them ; such as a landed estate, a tythe
or land tax. an established salary or stipend. Their exertion,
their zeal and industry, are likely to be much greater in the
former situation than in the latter. In this respect, the
teachers of a new religion have always had a considerable
advantage in attacking those ancient and established systems, of
which the clergy, reposing themselves upon their benefices, had
neglected to keep up the fervour of faith and devotion in the
great body of the people; and having given themselves up to
indolence, were become altogether incapable of making any
vigorous exertion in defence even of their own establishment. The
clergy of an established and well endowed religion frequently
become men of learning and elegance, who possess all the virtues
of gentlemen, or which can recommend them to the esteem of
gentlemen; but they are apt gradually to lose the qualities, both
good and bad, which gave them authority and influence with the
inferior ranks of people, and which had perhaps been the original
causes of the success and establishment of their religion. Such a
clergy, when attacked by a set of popular and bold, though
perhaps stupid and ignorant enthusiasts, feel themselves as
perfectly defenceless as the indolent, effeminate, and full fed
nations of the southern parts of Asia, when they were invaded by
the active, hardy, and hungry Tartars of the north. Such a
clergy, upon such an emergency, have commonly no other resource
than to call upon the civil magistrate to persecute, destroy, or
drive out their adversaries, as disturbers of the public peace.
It was thus that the Roman catholic clergy called upon the civil
magistrate to persecute the protestants, and the church of
England to persecute the dissenters; and that in general every
religious sect, when it has once enjoyed, for a century or two,
the security of a legal establishment, has found itself incapable
of making any vigorous defence against any new sect which chose
to attack its doctrine or discipline. Upon such occasions, the
advantage, in point of learning and good writing, may sometimes
be on the side of the established church. But the arts of
popularity, all the arts of gaining proselytes, are constantly on
the side of its adversaries. In England, those arts have been
long neglected by the well endowed clergy of the established
church, and are at present chiefly cultivated by the dissenters
and by the methodists. The independent provisions, however,
which in many places have been made for dissenting teachers, by
means of voluntary subscriptions, of trust rights, and other
evasions of the law, seem very much to have abated the zeal and
activity of those teachers. They have many of them become very
learned, ingenious, and respectable men; but they have in general
ceased to be very popular preachers. The methodists, without half
the learning of the dissenters, are much more in vogue.

In the church of Rome the industry and zeal of the inferior
clergy are kept more alive by the powerful motive of
self-interest, than perhaps in any established protestant church.
The parochial clergy derive many of them, a very considerable
part of their subsistence from the voluntary oblations of the
people; a source of revenue, which confession gives them many
opportunities of improving. The mendicant orders derive their
whole subsistence from such oblations. It is with them as with
the hussars and light infantry of some armies; no plunder, no
pay. The parochial clergy are like those teachers whose reward
depends partly upon their salary, and partly upon the fees or
honoraries which they get from their pupils ; and these must
always depend, more or less, upon their industry and reputation.
The mendicant orders are like those teachers whose subsistence
depends altogether upon their industry. They are obliged,
therefore, to use every art which can animate the devotion of the
common people. The establishment of the two great mendicant
orders of St Dominic and St. Francis, it is observed by
Machiavel, revived, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,
the languishing faith and devotion of the catholic church. In
Roman catholic countries, the spirit of devotion is supported
altogether by the monks, and by the poorer parochial clergy. The
great digititartes of the church, with all the accomplishments of
gentlemen and men of the world, and sometimes with those of men
of learning, are careful to maintain the necessary discipline
over their inferiors, but seldom give themselves any trouble
about the instruction of the people.

"Most of the arts and professions in a state," says by far the
most illustrious philosopher and historian of the present age,
"are of such a nature, that, while they promote the interests of
the society, they are also useful or agreeable to some
individuals; and, in that case, the constant rule of the
magistrate, except, perhaps, on the first introduction of any
art, is, to leave the profession to itself, and trust its
encouragement to the individuals who reap the benefit of it. The
artizans, finding their profits to rise by the favour of their
customers, increase, as much as possible, their skill and
industry ; and as matters are not disturbed by any injudicious
tampering, the commodity is always sure to be at all times nearly
proportioned to the demand.

" But there are also some callings which, though useful and even
necessary in a state, bring no advantage or pleasure to any
individual; and the supreme power is obliged to alter its conduct
with regard to the retainers of those professions. It must
give them public encouragement in order to their subsistence; and
it must provide against that negligence to which they will
naturally be subject, either by annexing particular ho0nours to
profession, by establishing a long subordination of ranks, and a
strict dependence, or by some other expedient. The persons
employed in the finances, fleets, and magistracy, are instances
of this order of men.

"It may naturally be thought, at first sight, that the
ecclesiastics belong to the first class, and that their
encouragement, as well as that of lawyers and physicians, may
safely be entrusted to the liberality of individuals, who are
attached to their doctrines. and who find benefit or consolation
from their spiritual ministry and assistance. Their industry and
vigilance will, no doubt, be whetted by such an additional
motive; and their skill in the profession, as well as their
address in governing the minds of the people, must receive daily
increase, from their increasing practice, study, and attention.

" But if we consider the matter more closely, we shall find that
this interested diligence of the clergy is what every wise
legislator will study to prevent ; because, in every religion
except the true. it is highly pernicious, and it has even a
natural tendency to pervert the truth, by infusing into it a
strong mixture of superstition, folly, and delusion. Each
ghostly practitioner, in order to render himself more precious
and sacred in the eyes of his retainers, will inspire them with
the most violent abhorrence of all other sects, and continually
endeavour, by some novelty, to excite the languid devotion of his
audience. No regard will be paid to truth, morals, or decency, in
the doctrines inculcated. Every tenet will be adopted that best
suits the disorderly affections of the human frame. Customers
will be drawn to each conventicle by new industry and address, in
practising on the passions and credulity of the populace. And, in
the end, the civil magistrate will find that he has dearly paid
for his intended frugality, in saving a fixed establishment for
the priests ; and that, in reality, the most decent and
advantageous composition, which he can make with the spiritual
guides, is to bribe their indolence, by assigning stated salaries
to their profession, and rendering it superfluous for them to be
farther active, than merely to prevent their flock from straying
in quest of new pastors. And in this manner ecclesiastical
establishments, though commonly they arose at first from
religious views, prove in the end advantageous to the political
interests of society."

But whatever may have been the good or bad effects of the
independent provision of the clergy, it has, perhaps, been very
seldom bestowed upon them from any view to those effects.
Times of violent religious controversy have generally been times
of equally violent political faction. Upon such occasions, each
political party has either found it, or imagined it, for his
interest, to league itself with some one or other of the
contending religious sects. But this could be done only by
adopting, or, at least, by favouring the tenets of that
particular sect. The sect which had the good fortune to be
leagued with the conquering party necessarily shared in the
victory of its ally, by whose favour and protection it was soon
enabled, in some degree, to silence and subdue all its
adversaries. Those adversaries had generally leagued
themselves with the enemies of the conquering party, and were,
therefore the enemies of that party. The clergy of this
particular sect having thus become complete masters of the field,
and their influence and authority with the great body of the
people being in its highest vigour, they were powerful enough to
overawe the chiefs and leaders of their own party, and to oblige
the civil magistrate to respect their opinions and inclinations.
Their first demand was generally that he should silence and
subdue all their adversaries; and their second, that he should
bestow an independent provision on themselves. As they had
generally contributed a good deal to the victory, it seemed not
unreasonable that they should have some share in the spoil.
They were weary, besides, of humouring the people, and of
depending upon their caprice for a subsistence. In making this
demand, therefore, they consulted their own ease and comfort,
without troubling themselves about the effect which it might
have, in future times, upon the influence and authority of their
order. The civil magistrate, who could comply with their
demand only by giving them something which he would have chosen
much rather to take, or to keep to himself, was seldom very
forward to grant it. Necessity, however, always forced him
to submit at last, though frequently not till after many delays,
evasions, and affected excuses.

But if politics had never called in the aid of religion, had the
conquering party never adopted the tenets of one sect more than
those of another, when it had gained the victory, it would
probably have dealt equally and impartially with all the
different sects, and have allowed every man to choose his own
priest, and his own religion, as he thought proper. There would,
and, in this case, no doubt, have been, a great multitude of
religious sects. Almost every different congregation might
probably have had a little sect by itself, or have entertained
some peculiar tenets of its own. Each teacher, would, no doubt,
have felt himself under the necessity of making the utmost
exertion, and of using every art, both to preserve and to
increase the number of his disciples. But as every other teacher
would have felt himself under the same necessity, the success of
no one teacher, or sect of teachers, could have been very great.
The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be
dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect
tolerated in the society, or where the whole of a large society
is divided into two or three great sects; the teachers of each
acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and
subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent,
where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or,
perhaps, into as many thousand small sects, of which no one could
be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquillity.
The teachers of each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all
sides with more adversaries than friends, would be obliged to
learn that candour and moderation which are so seldom to be found
among the teachers of those great sects, whose tenets, being
supported by the civil magistrate, are held in veneration by
almost all the inhabitants of extensive kingdoms and empires, and
who, therefore, see nothing round them but followers, disciples,
and humble admirers. The teachers of each little sect, finding
themselves almost alone, would be obliged to respect those of
almost every other sect; and the concessions which they would
mutually find in both convenient and agreeable to make one to
another, might in time, probably reduce the doctrine of the
greater part of them to that pure and rational religion, free
from every mixture of absurdity, imposture, or fanaticism, such
as wise men have, in all ages of the world, wished to see
established ; but such as positive law has, perhaps, never yet
established, and probably never will establish in any country ;
because, with regard to religion, positive law always has been,
and probably always will be, more or less influenced by popular
superstition and enthusiasm. This plan of ecclesiastical
government, or, more properly, of no ecclesiastical government,
was what the sect called Independents (a sect, no doubt, of very
wild enthusiasts), proposed to establish in England towards the
end of the civil war. If it had been established, though of a
very unphilosophical origin, it would probably, by this time,
have been productive of the most philosophical good temper and
moderation with regard to every sort of religious principle. It
has been established in Pennsylvania, where, though the quakers
happen to be the most numerous, the law, in reality, favours no
one sect more than another ; and it is there said to have been
productive of this philosophical good temper and moderation,

But though this equality of treatment should not be productive of
this good temper and moderation in all, or even in the greater
part of the religious sects of a particular country; yet,
provided those sects were sufficiently numerous, and each of them
consequently too small to disturb the public tranquillity, the
excessive zeal of each for its particular tenets could not well
be productive of any very hurtful effects, but, on the contrary,
of several good ones; and if the government was perfectly
decided, both to let them all alone, and to oblige them all to
let alone one another, there is little danger that they would not
of their own accord, subdivide themselves fast enough, so as soon
to become sufficiently numerous.

In every civilized society, in every society where the
distinction of ranks has once been completely established, there
have been always two different schemes or systems of morality
current at the same time; of which the one may be called the
strict or austere; the other the liberal, or, if you will, the
loose system. The former is generally admired and revered by the
common people; the latter is commonly more esteemed and adopted
by what are called the people of fashion. The degree of
disapprobation with which we ought to mark the vices of levity,
the vices which are apt to arise from great prosperity, and from
the excess of gaiety and good humour, seems to constitute the
principal distinction between those two opposite schemes or
systems. In the liberal or loose system, luxury, wanton, and even
disorderly mirth, the pursuit of pleasure to some degree of
intemperance, the breach of chastity, at least in one of the two
sexes, etc. provided they are not accompanied with gross
indecency, and do not lead to falsehood and injustice, are
generally treated with a good deal of indulgence, and are easily
either excused or pardoned altogether. In the austere system, on
the contrary, those excesses are regarded with the utmost
abhorrence and detestation. The vices of levity are always
ruinous to the common people, and a single week's thoughtlessness
and dissipation is often sufficient to undo a poor workman for
ever, and to drive him, through despair, upon committing the most
enormous crimes. The wiser and better sort of the common people,
therefore, have always the utmost abhorrence and detestation of
such excesses, which their experience tells them are so
immediately fatal to people of their condition. The disorder and
extravagance of several years, on the contrary, will not always
ruin a man of fashion ; and people of that rank are very apt to
consider the power of indulging in some degree of excess, as one
of the advantages of their fortune ; and the liberty of doing so
without censure or reproach, as one of the privileges which
belong to their station. In people of their own station,
therefore, they regard such excesses with but a small degree of
disapprobation, and censure them either very slightly or not at

Almost all religious sects have begun among the common people,
from whom they have generally drawn their earliest, as well as
their most numerous proselytes. The austere system of morality
has, accordingly, been adopted by those sects almost constantly,
or with very few exceptions; for there have been some. It was the
system by which they could best recommend themselves to that
order of people, to whom they first proposed their plan of
reformation upon what had been before established. Many of them,
perhaps the greater part of them, have even endeavoured to gain
credit by refining upon this austere system, and by carrying it
to some degree of folly and extravagance; and this excessive
rigour has frequently recommended them, more than any thing else,
to the respect and veneration of the common people.

A man of rank and fortune is, by his station, the distinguished
member of a great society, who attend to every part of his
conduct, and who thereby oblige him to attend to every part of
it himself. His authority and consideration depend very much upon
the respect which this society bears to him. He dares not do
anything which would disgrace or discredit him in it; and he is
obliged to a very strict observation of that species of morals,
whether liberal or austere, which the general consent of this
society prescribes to persons of his rank and fortune. A man of
low condition, on the contrary, is far from being a distinguished
member of any great society. While he remains in a country
village, his conduct may be attended to, and he may be obliged to
attend to it himself. In this situation, and in this situation
only, he may have what is called a character to lose. But as soon
as he comes into a great city, he is sunk in obscurity and
darkness. His conduct is observed and attended to by nobody; and
he is, therefore, very likely to neglect it himself, and to
abandon himself to every sort of low profligacy and vice. He
never emerges so effectually from this obscurity, his conduct
never excites so much the attention of any respectable society,
as by his becoming the member of a small religious sect. He from
that moment acquires a degree of consideration which he never had
before. All his brother sectaries are, for the credit of the
sect, interested to observe his conduct; and, if he gives
occasion to any scandal, if he deviates very much from those
austere morals which they almost always require of one another,
to punish him by what is always a very severe punishment, even
where no evil effects attend it, expulsion or excommunication
from the sect. In little religious sects, accordingly, the morals
of the common people have been almost always remarkably regular
and orderly ; generally much more so than in the established
church. The morals of those little sects, indeed, have frequently
been rather disagreeably rigorous and unsocial.

There are two very easy and effectual remedies, however, by whose
joint operation the state might, without violence, correct
whatever was unsocial or disagreeably rigorous in the morals of
all the little sects into which the country was divided.

The first of those remedies is the study of science and
philosophy, which the state might render almost universal among
all people of middling or more than middling rank and fortune ;
not by giving salaries to teachers in order to make them
negligent and idle, but by instituting some sort of probation,
even in the higher and more difficult sciences, to be undergone
by every person before he was permitted to exercise any liberal
profession, or before he could be received as a candidate for any
honourable office, of trust or profit. if the state imposed upon
this order of men the necessity of learning, it would have no
occasion to give itself any trouble about providing them with
proper teachers. They would soon find better teachers for
themselves, than any whom the state could provide for them.
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and
superstition; and where all the superior ranks of people were
secured from it, the inferior ranks could not be much exposed to

The second of those remedies is the frequency and gaiety of
public diversions. The state, by encouraging, that is, by giving
entire liberty to all those who, from their own interest, would
attempt, without scandal or indecency, to amuse and divert the
people by painting, poetry, music, dancing; by all sorts of
dramatic representations and exhibitions; would easily dissipate,
in the greater part of them, that melancholy and gloomy humour
which is almost always the nurse of popular superstition and
enthusiasm. Public diversions have always been the objects of
dread and hatred to all the fanatical promoters of those popular
frenzies. The gaiety and good humour which those diversions
inspire, were altogether inconsistent with that temper of mind
which was fittest for their purpose, or which they could best
work upon. Dramatic representations, besides, frequently exposing
their artifices to public ridicule, and sometimes even to public
execration, were, upon that account, more than all other
diversions, the objects of their peculiar abhorrence.

In a country where the law favoured the teachers of no one
religion more than those of another, it would not be necessary
that any of them should have any particular or immediate
dependency upon the sovereign or executive power ; or that he
should have anything to do either in appointing or in dismissing
them from their offices. In such a situation, he would have no
occasion to give himself any concern about them, further than to
keep the peace among them, in the same manner as among the rest
of his subjects, that is, to hinder them from persecuting,
abusing, or oppressing one another. But it is quite
otherwise in countries where there is an established or governing
religion. The sovereign can in this case never be secure,
unless he has the means of influencing in a considerable degree
the greater part of the teachers of that religion.

The clergy of every established church constitute a great
incorporation. They can act in concert, and pursue their interest
upon one plan, and with one spirit as much as if they were under
the direction of one man ; and they are frequently, too, under
such direction. Their interest as an incorporated body is
never the same with that of the sovereign, and is sometimes
directly opposite to it. Their great interest is to maintain
their authority with the people, and this authority depends upon
the supposed certainty and importance of the whole doctrine which
they inculcate, and upon the supposed necessity of adopting every
part of it with the most implicit faith, in order to avoid
eternal misery. Should the sovereign have the imprudence to
appear either to deride, or doubt himself of the most trifling
part of their doctrine, or from humanity, attempt to protect
those who did either the one or the other, the punctilious honour
of a clergy, who have no sort of dependency upon him, is
immediately provoked to proscribe him as a profane person, and to
employ all the terrors of religion, in order to oblige the people
to transfer their allegiance to some more orthodox and obedient
prince. Should he oppose any of their pretensions or usurpations,
the danger is equally great. The princes who have dared in this
manner to rebel against the church, over and above this crime of
rebellion, have generally been charged, too, with the additional
crime of heresy, notwithstanding their solemn protestations of
their faith, and humble submission to every tenet which she
thought proper to prescribe to them. But the authority of
religion is superior to every other authority. The fears which it
suggests conquer all other fears. When the authorized teachers of
religion propagate through the great body of the people,
doctrines subversive of the authority of the sovereign, it is by
violence only, or by the force of a standing army, that he can
maintain his authority. Even a standing army cannot in this case
give him any lasting security ; because if the soldiers are not
foreigners, which can seldom be the case, but drawn from the
great body of the people, which must almost always be the case,
they are likely to be soon corrupted by those very doctrines. The
revolutions which the turbulence of the Greek clergy was
continually occasioning at Constantinople, as long as the eastern
empire subsisted; the convulsions which, during the course of
several centuries, the turbulence of the Roman clergy was
continually occasioning in every part of Europe, sufficiently
demonstrate how precarious and insecure must always be the
situation of the sovereign, who has no proper means of
influencing the clergy of the established and governing religion
of his country.

Articles of faith, as well as all other spiritual matters, it is
evident enough, are not within the proper department of a
temporal sovereign, who, though he may be very well qualified for
protecting, is seldom supposed to be so for instructing the
people. With regard to such matters, therefore, his authority can
seldom be sufficient to counterbalance the united authority of
the clergy of the established church. The public
tranquillity, however, and his own security, may frequently
depend upon the doctrines which they may think proper to
propagate concerning such matters. As he can seldom directly
oppose their decision, therefore, with proper weight and
authority, it is necessary that he should be able to influence it
; and he can influence it only by the fears and expectations
which he may excite in the greater part of the individuals of the
order. Those fears and expectations may consist in the fear of
deprivation or other punishment, and in the expectation of
further preferment.

In all Christian churches, the benefices of the clergy are a sort
of freeholds, which they enjoy, not during pleasure, but during
life or good behaviour. If they held them by a more
precarious tenure, and were liable to be turned out upon every
slight disobligation either of the sovereign or of his ministers,
it would perhaps be impossible for them to maintain their
authority with the people, who would then consider them as
mercenary dependents upon the court, in the sincerity of whose
instructions they could no longer have any confidence. But should
the sovereign attempt irregularly, and by violence, to deprive
any number of clergymen of their freeholds, on account, perhaps,
of their having propagated, with more than ordinary zeal, some
factious or seditious doctrine, he would only render, by such
persecution, both them and their doctrine ten times more popular,
and therefore ten times more troublesome and dangerous, than they
had been before. Fear is in almost all cases a wretched
instrument of govermnent, and ought in particular never to be
employed against any order of men who have the smallest
pretensions to independency. To attempt to terrify them, serves
only to irritate their bad humour, and to confirm them in an
opposition, which more gentle usage, perhaps, might easily induce
them either to soften, or to lay aside altogether. The violence
which the French government usually employed in order to oblige
all their parliaments, or sovereign courts of justice, to
enregister any unpopular edict, very seldom succeeded. The means
commonly employed, however, the imprisonment of all the
refractory members, one would think, were forcible enough. The
princes of the house of Stuart sometimes employed the like means
in order to influence some of the members of the parliament of
England, and they generally found them equally intractable. The
parliament of England is now managed in another manner ; and a
very small experiment, which the duke of Choiseul made, about
twelve years ago, upon the parliament of Paris, demonstrated
sufficiently that all the parliaments of France might have been
managed still more easily in the same manner. That experiment was
not pursued. For though management and persuasion are always
the easiest and safest instruments of government as force and
violence are the worst and the most dangerous; yet such, it
seems, is the natural insolence of man, that he almost always
disdains to use the good instrument, except when he cannot or
dare not use the bad one. The French government could and durst
use force, and therefore disdained to use management and
persuasion. But there is no order of men, it appears I believe,
from the experience of all ages, upon whom it is so dangerous or
rather so perfectly ruinous, to employ force and violence, as
upon the respected clergy of an established church. The
rights, the privileges, the personal liberty of every individual
ecclesiastic, who is upon good terms with his own order, are,
even in the most despotic governments, more respected than those
of any other person of nearly equal rank and fortune. It is so in
every gradation of despotism, from that of the gentle and mild
government of Paris, to that of the violent and furious
government of Constantinople. But though this order of men can
scarce ever be forced, they may be managed as easily as any other
; and the security of the sovereign, as well as the public
tranquillity, seems to depend very much upon the means which he
has of managing them ; and those means seem to consist altogether
in the preferment which he has to bestow upon them.

In the ancient constitution of the Christian church, the bishop
of each diocese was elected by the joint votes of the clergy and
of the people of the episcopal city. The people did not long
retain their right of election; and while they did retain it,
they almost always acted under the influence of the clergy, who,
in such spiritual matters, appeared to be their natural guides.
The clergy, however, soon grew weary of the trouble of managimg
them, and found it easier to elect their own bishops themselves.
The abbot, in the same manner, was elected by the monks of the
monastery, at least in the greater part of abbacies. All the
inferior ecclesiastical benefices comprehended within the diocese
were collated by the bishop, who bestowed them upon such
ecclesiastics as he thought proper. All church preferments were
in this manner in the disposal of the church. The sovereign,
though he might have some indirect influence in those elections,
and though it was sometimes usual to ask both his consent to
elect, and his approbation of the election, yet had no direct or
sufficient means of managing the clergy. The ambition of every
clergyman naturally led him to pay court, not so much to his
sovereign as to his own order, from which only he could expect

Through the greater part of Europe, the pope gradually drew to
himself, first the collation of almost all bishoprics and
abbacies, or of what were called consistorial benefices, and
afterwards, by various machinations and pretences, of the greater
part of inferior benefices comprehended within each diocese,
little more being left to the bishop than what was barely
necessary to give him a decent authority with his own clergy. By
this arrangement the condition of the sovereign was still worse
than it had been before. The clergy of all the different
countries of Europe were thus formed into a sort of spiritual
army, dispersed in different quarters indeed, but of which all
the movements and operations could now be directed by one head,
and conducted upon one uniform plan. The clergy of each
particular country might be considered as a particular detachment
of that army, of which the operations could easily be supported
and seconded by all the other detachments quartered in the
different countries round about. Each detachment was not only
independent of the sovereign of the country in which it was
quartered, and by which it was maintained, but dependent upon a
foreign sovereign, who could at any time turn its arms against
the sovereign of that particular country, and support them by the
arms of all the other detachments.

Those arms were the most formidable that can well be imagined. In
the ancient state of Europe, before the establishment of arts and
manufactures, the wealth of the clergy gave them the same sort of
influence over the common people which that of the great barons
gave them over their respective vassals, tenants, and retainers.
In the great landed estates, which the mistaken piety both of
princes and private persons had bestowed upon the church,
jurisdictions were established, of the same kind with those of
the great barons, and for the same reason. In those great landed
estates, the clergy, or their bailiffs, could easily keep the
peace, without the support or assistance either of the king or of
any other person; and neither the king nor any other person could
keep the peace there without the support and assistance of the
clergy. The jurisdictions of the clergy, therefore, in their
particular baronies or manors, were equally independent, and
equally exclusive of the authority of the king's courts, as those
of the great temporal lords. The tenants of the clergy were, like
those of the great barons, almost all tenants at will, entirely
dependent upon their immediate lords, and, therefore, liable to
be called out at pleasure, in order to fight in any quarrel in
which the clergy might think proper to engage them. Over and
above the rents of those estates, the clergy possessed in the
tithes a very large portion of the rents of all the other estates
in every kingdom of Europe. The revenues arising from both those
species of rents were, the greater part of them, paid in kind, in
corn, wine, cattle, poultry, etc. The quantity exceeded greatly
what the clergy could themselves consume; and there were neither
arts nor manufactures, for the produce of which they could
exchange the surplus. The clergy could derive advantage from this
immense surplus in no other way than by employing it, as the
great barons employed the like surplus of their revenues, in the
most profuse hospitality, and in the most extensive charity. Both
the hospitality and the charity of the ancient clergy,
accordingly, are said to have been very great. They not only
maintained almost the whole poor of every kingdom, but many
knights and gentlemen had frequently no other means of
subsistence than by travelling about from monastery to monastery,
under pretence of devotion, but in reality to enjoy the
hospitality of the clergy. The retainers of some particular
prelates were often as numerous as those of the greatest
lay-lords ; and the retainers of all the clergy taken together
were, perhaps, more numerous than those of all the lay-lords.
There was always much more union among the clergy than among the
lay-lords. The former were under a regular discipline and
subordination to the papal authority. The latter were under no
regular discipline or subordination, but almost always equally
jealous of one another, and of the king. Though the tenants and
retainers of the clergy, therefore, had both together been less
numerous than those of the great lay-lords, and their tenants
were probably much less numerous, yet their union would have
rendered them more formidable. The hospitality and charity of the
clergy, too, not only gave them the command of a great temporal
force, but increased very much the weight of their spiritual
weapons. Those virtues procured them the highest respect and
veneration among all the inferior ranks of people, of whom many
were constantly, and almost all occasionally, fed by them.
Everything belonging or related to so popular an order, its
possessions, its privileges, its doctrines, necessarily appeared
sacred in the eyes of the common people; and every violation of
them, whether real or pretended, the highest act of sacrilegious
wickedness and profaneness. In this state of things, if the
sovereign frequently found it difficult to resist the confederacy
of a few of the great nobility, we cannot wonder that he should
find it still more so to resist the united force of the clergy of
his own dominions, supported by that of the clergy of all the
neighbouring dominions. In such circumstances, the wonder is, not
that he was sometimes obliged to yield, but that he ever was able
to resist.

The privileges of the clergy in those ancient times (which to
us, who live in the present times, appear the most absurd), their
total exemption from the secular jurisdiction, for example, or
what in England was called the benefit ofclergy, were the
natural, or rather the necessary, consequences of this state of
things. How dangerous must it have been for the sovereign to
attempt to punish a clergyman for any crime whatever, if his
order were disposed to protect him, and to represent either the
proof as insufficient for convicting so holy a man, or the
punishment as too severe to be inflicted upon one whose person
had been rendered sacred by religion ? The sovereign could, in
such circumstances, do no better than leave him to be tried by
the ecclesiastical courts, who, for the honour of their own
order, were interested to restrain, as much as possible, every
member of it from committing enormous crimes, or even from giving
occasion to such gross scandal as might disgust the minds of the

In the state in which things were, through the greater part of
Europe, during the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth
centuries, and for some time both before and after that period,
the constitution of the church of Rome may be considered as the
most formidable combination that ever was formed against the
authority and security of civil government, as well as against
the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind, which can flourish
only where civil government is able to protect them. In that
constitution, the grossest delusions of superstition were
supported in such a manner by the private interests of so great a
number of people, as put them out of all danger from any assault
of human reason; because, though human reason might, perhaps,
have been able to unveil, even to the eyes of the common people,
some of the delusions of superstition, it could never have
dissolved the ties of private interest. Had this constitution
been attacked by no other enemies but the feeble efforts of human
reason, it must have endured for ever. But that immense and
well-built fabric, which all the wisdom and virtue of man could
never have shaken, much less have overturned, was, by the natural
course of things, first weakened, and afterwards in part
destroyed; and is now likely, in the course of a few centuries
more, perhaps, to crumble into ruins altogether.

The gradual improvements of arts, manufactures, and commerce, the
same causes which destroyed the power of the great barons,
destroyed, in the same manner, through the greater part of
Europe, the whole temporal manufactures, and commerce, the
clergy, like the great barons, found something for which they
could exchange their rude produce, and thereby discovered the
means of spending their whole revenues upon their own persons,
without giving any considerable share of them to other people.
Their charity became gradually less extensive, their hospitality
less liberal, or less profuse. Their retainers became
consequently less numerous, and, by degrees, dwindled away
altogether. The clergy, too, like the great barons, wished to get
a better rent from their landed estates, in order to spend it, in
the same manner, upon the gratification of their own private
vanity and folly. But this increase of rent could be got only by
granting leases to their tenants, who thereby became, in a great
measure, independent of them. The ties of interest, which bound
the inferior ranks of people to the clergy, were in this manner
gradually broken and dissolved. They were even broken and
dissolved sooner than those which bound the same ranks of people
to the great barons ; because the benefices of the church being,
the greater part of them, much smaller than the estates of the
great barons, the possessor of each benefice was much sooner able
to spend the whole of its revenue upon his own person. During the
greater part of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the power
of the great barons was, through the greater part of Europe, in
full vigour. But the temporal power of the clergy, the absolute
command which they had once had over the great body of the people
was very much decayed. The power of the church was, by that time,
very nearly reduced, through the greater part of Europe, to what
arose from their spiritual authority ; and even that spiritual
authority was much weakened, when it ceased to he supported by
the charity and hospitality of the clergy. The inferior ranks of
people no longer looked upon that order as they had done before;
as the comforters of their distress, and the relievers of their
indigence. On the contrary, they were provoked and disgusted by
the vanity, luxury, and expense of the richer clergy, who
appeared to spend upon their own pleasures what had always before
been regarded as the patrimony of the poor.

In this situation of things, the sovereigns in the different
states of Europe endeavoured to recover the influence which they
had once had in the disposal of the great benefices of the
church; by procuring to the deans and chapters of each diocese
the restoration of their ancient right of electing the bishop ;
and to the monks of each abbacy that of electing the abbot. The
re-establishing this ancient order was the object of several
statutes enacted in England during the course of the fourteenth
century, particularly of what is called the statute of provisors
; and of the pragmatic sanction, established in France in the
fifteenth century. In order to render the election valid, it was
necessary that the sovereign should both consent to it before
hand, and afterwards approve of the person elected; and though
the election was still supposed to be free, he had, however all
the indirect means which his situation necessarily afforded him,
of influencing the clergy in his own dominions. Other
regulations, of a similar tendency, were established in other
parts of Europe. But the power of the pope, in the collation of
the great benefices of the church, seems, before the reformation,
to have been nowhere so effectually and so universally restrained
as in France and England. The concordat afterwards, in the
sixteenth century, gave to the kings of France the absolute right
of presenting to all the great, or what are called the
consistorial, benefices of the Gallican church.

Since the establishment of the pragmatic sanction and of the
concordat, the clergy of France have in general shewn less
respect to the decrees of the papal court, than the clergy of any
other catholic country. In all the disputes which their sovereign
has had with the pope, they have almost constantly taken part
with the former. This independency of the clergy of France upon
the court of Rome seems to be principally founded upon the
pragmatic sanction and the concordat. In the earlier periods of
the monarchy, the clergy of France appear to have been as much
devoted to the pope as those of any other country. When Robert,
the second prince of the Capetian race, was most unjustly
excommunicated by the court of Rome, his own servants, it is
said, threw the victuals which came from his table to the dogs,
and refused to taste any thing themselves which had been polluted
by the contact of a person in his situation. They were taught to
do so, it may very safely be presumed, by the clergy of his own

The claim of collating to the great benefices of the church, a
claim in defence of which the court of Rome had frequently
shaken, and sometimes overturned, the thrones of some of the
greatest sovereigns in Christendom, was in this manner either
restrained or modified, or given up altogether, in many different
parts of Europe, even before the time of the reformation. As the
clergy had now less influence over the people, so the state had
more influence over the clergy. The clergy, therefore, had both
less power, and less inclination, to disturb the state.

The authority of the church of Rome was in this state of
declension, when the disputes which gave birth to the reformation
began in Germany, and soon spread themselves through every part
of Europe. The new doctrines were everywhere received with a high
degree of popular favour. They were propagated with all that
enthusiastic zeal which commonly animates the spirit of party,
when it attacks established authority. The teachers of those
doctrines, though perhaps, in other respects, not more learned
than many of the divines who defended the established church,
seem in general to have been better acquainted with
ecclesiastical history, and with the origin and progress of that
system of opinions upon which the authority of the church was
established ; and they had thereby the advantage in almost every
dispute. The austerity of their manners gave them authority with
the common people, who contrasted the strict regularity of their
conduct with the disorderly lives of the greater part of their
own clergy. They possessed, too, in a much higher degree than
their adversaries, all the arts of popularity and of gaining
proselytes; arts which the lofty and dignified sons of the church
had long neglected, as being to them in a great measure useless.
The reason of the new doctrines recommended them to some, their
novelty to many; the hatred and contempt of the established
clergy to a still greater number: but the zealous, passionate,
and fanatical, though frequently coarse and rustic eloquence,
with which they were almost everywhere inculcated, recommended
them to by far the greatest number.

The success of the new doctrines was almost everywhere so great,
that the princes, who at that time happened to be on bad terms
with the court of Rome, were, by means of them, easily enabled,
in their own dominions, to overturn the church, which having lost
the respect and veneration of the inferior ranks of people, could
make scarce any resistance. The court of Rome had disobliged some
of the smaller princes in the northern parts of Germany, whom it
had probably considered as too insignificant to be worth the
managing. They universally, therefore, established the
reformation in their own dominions. The tyranny of Christiern
II., and of Troll archbishop of Upsal, enabled Gustavus Vasa to
expel them both from Sweden. The pope favoured the tyrant and the
archbishop, and Gustavus Vasa found no difficulty in establishing
the reformation in Sweden. Christiern II. was afterwards deposed
from the throne of Denmark, where his conduct had rendered him as
odious as in Sweden. The pope, however, was still disposed to
favour him; and Frederic of Holstein, who had mounted the throne
in his stead, revenged himself, by following the example of
Gustavus Vasa. The magistrates of Berne and Zurich, who had no
particular quarrel with the pope, established with great ease the
reformation in their respective cantons, where just before some
of the clergy had, by an imposture somewhat grosser than
ordinary, rendered the whole order both odious and contemptible.

In this critical situation of its affairs the papal court was at
sufficient pains to cultivate the friendship of the powerful
sovereigns of France and Spain, of whom the latter was at that
time emperor of Germany. With their assistance, it was enabled,
though not without great difficulty, and much bloodshed, either
to suppress altogether, or to obstruct very much, the progress of
the reformation in their dominions. It was well enough inclined,
too, to be complaisant to the king of England. But from the
circumstances of the times, it could not be so without giving
offence to a still greater sovereign, Charles V., king of Spain
and emperor of Germany. Henry VIII., accordingly, though he did
not embrace himself the greater part of the doctrines of the
reformation, was yet enabled, by their general prevalence, to
suppress all the monasteries, and to abolish the authority of the
church of Rome in his dominions. That he should go so far,
though he went no further, gave some satisfaction to the patrons
of the reformation, who, having got possession of the government
in the reign of his son and successor completed, without any
difficulty, the work which Henry VIII. had begun.

In some countries, as in Scotland, where the government was weak,
unpopular, and not very firmly established, the reformation was
strong enough to overturn, not only the church, but the state
likewise, for attempting to support the church.

Among the followers of the reformation, dispersed in all the
different countries of Europe, there was no general tribunal,
which, like that of the court of Rome, or an oecumenical council,
could settle all disputes among them, and, with irresistible
authority, prescribe to all of them the precise limits of
orthodoxy. When the followers of the reformation in one country,
therefore, happened to differ from their brethren in another, as
they had no common judge to appeal to, the dispute could never be
decided; and many such disputes arose among them. Those
concerning the government of the church, and the right of
conferring ecclesiastical benefices, were perhaps the most
interesting to the peace and welfare of civil society. They
gave birth, accordingly, to the two principal parties or sects
among the followers of the reformation, the Lutheran and
Calvinistic sects, the only sects among them, of which the
doctrine and discipline have ever yet been established by law in
any part of Europe.

The followers of Luther, together with what is called the church
of England, preserved more or less of the episcopal government,
established subordination among the clergy, gave the sovereign
the disposal of all the bishoprics, and other consistorial
benefices within his dominions, and thereby rendered him the real
head of the church; and without depriving the bishop of the right
of collating to the smaller benefices within his diocese, they,
even to those benefices, not only admitted, but favoured the
right of presentation, both in the sovereign and in all other lay
patrons. This system of church government was, from the
beginning, favourable to peace and good order, and to submission
to the civil sovereign. It has never, accordingly, been the
occasion of any tumult or civil commotion in any country in which
it has once been established. The church of England, in
particular, has always valued herself, with great reason, upon
the unexceptionable loyalty of her principles. Under such a
government, the clergy naturally endeavour to recommend
themselves to the sovereign, to the court, and to the nobility
and gentry of the country, by whose influence they chiefly expect
to obtain preferment. They pay court to those patrons, sometimes,
no doubt, by the vilest flattery and assentation ; but
fruquently, too, by cultivating all those arts which best
deserve, and which are therefore most likely to gain them, the
esteem of people of rank and fortune; by their knowledge in all
the different branches of useful and ornamental learning, by the
decent liberality of their manners, by the social good humour of
their conversation, and by their avowed contempt of those absurd
and hypocritical austerities which fanatics inculcate and pretend
to practise, in order to draw upon themselves the veneration, and
upon the greater part of men of rank and fortune, who avow that
they do not practise them, the abhorrence of the common people.
Such a clergy, however, while they pay their court in this manner
to the higher ranks of life, are very apt to neglect altogether
the means of maintaining their influence and authority with the
lower. They are listened to, esteemed, and respected by their
superiors; but before their inferiors they are frequently
incapable of defending, effectually, and to the conviction of
such hearers, their own sober and moderate doctrines, against the
most ignorant enthusiast who chooses to attack them.

The followers of Zuinglius, or more properly those of Calvin, on
the contrary, bestowed upon the people of each parish, whenever
the church became vacant, the right of electing their own pastor;
and established, at the same time, the most perfect equality
among the clergy. The former part of this institution, as long as
it remained in vigour, seems to have been productive of nothing
but disorder and confusion, and to have tended equally to corrupt
the morals both of the clergy and of the people. The latter part
seems never to have had any effects but what were perfectly

As long as the people of each parish preserved the right of
electing their own pastors, they acted almost always under the
influence of the clergy, and generally of the most factious and
fanatical of the order. The clergy, in order to preserve their
influence in those popular elections, became, or affected to
become, many of them, fanatics themselves, encouraged fanaticism
among the people, and gave the preference almost always to the
most fanatical candidate. So small a matter as the appointment of
a parish priest, occasioned almost always a violent contest, not
only in one parish, but in all the neighbouring parishes who
seldom failed to take part in the quarrel. When the parish
happened to be situated in a great city, it divided all the
inhabitants into two parties; and when that city happened, either
to constitute itself a little republic, or to be the head and
capital of a little republic, as in the case with many of the
considerable cities in Switzerland and Holland, every paltry
dispute of this kind, over and above exasperating the animosity
of all their other factions, threatened to leave behind it, both
a new schism in the church, and a new faction in the state.
In those small republics, therefore, the magistrate very soon
found it necessary, for the sake of preserving the public peace,
to assume to himself the right of presenting to all vacant
benefices. In Scotland, the most extensive country in which
this presbyterian form of church government has ever been
established, the rights of patronage were in effect abolished by
the act which established presbytery in the beginning of the
reign of William III. That act, at least, put in the power of
certain classes of people in each parish to purchase, for a very
small price, the right of electing their own pastor. The
constitution which this act established, was allowed to subsist
for about two-and-twenty years, but was abolished by the 10th of
queen Anne, ch.12, on account of the confusions and disorders
which this more popular mode of election had almost everywhere
occasioned. In so extensive a country as Scotland, however, a
tumult in a remote parish was not so likely to give disturbance
to government as in a smaller state. The 10th of queen Anne
restored the rights of patronage. But though, in Scotland, the
law gives the benefice, without any exception to the person
presented by the patron; yet the church requires sometimes (for
she has not in this respect been very uniform in her decisions) a
certain concurrence of the people, before she will confer upon
the presentee what is called the cure of souls, or the
ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the parish. She sometimes, at
least, from an affected concern for the peace of the parish,
delays the settlement till this concurrence can be procured. The
private tampering of some of the neighbouring clergy, sometimes
to procure, but more frequently to prevent this concurrence, and
the popular arts which they cultivate, in order to enable them
upon such occasions to tamper more effectually, are perhaps the
causes which principally keep up whatever remains of the old
fanatical spirit, either in the clergy or in the people of

The equality which the presbyterian form of church government
establishes among the clergy, consists, first, in the equality of
authority or ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and, secondly, in the
equality of benefice. In all presbyterian churches, the equality
of authority is perfect; that of benefice is not so. The
difference, however, between one benefice and another, is seldom
so considerable, as commonly to tempt the possessor even of the
small one to pay court to his patron, by the vile arts of
flattery and assentation, in order to get a better. In all the
presbyterian churches, where the rights of patronage are
thoroughly established, it is by nobler and better arts, that the
established clergy in general endeavour to gain the favour of
their superiors; by their learning, by the irreproachable
regularity of their life, and by the faithful and diligent
discharge of their duty. Their patrons even frequently complain
of the independency of their spirit, which they are apt to
construe into ingratitude for past favours, but which, at worse,
perhaps, is seldom anymore than that indifference which naturally
arises from the consciousness that no further favours of the kind
are ever to be expected. There is scarce, perhaps, to be
found anywhere in Europe, a more learned, decent, independent,
and respectable set of men, than the greater part of the
presbyterian clergy of Holland, Geneva, Switzerland, and

Where the church benefices are all nearly equal, none of them can
be very great; and this mediocrity of benefice, though it may be,
no doubt, carried too far, has, however, some very agreeable
effects. Nothing but exemplary morals can give dignity to a
man of small fortune. The vices of levity and vanity
necessarily render him ridiculous, and are, besides, almost as
ruinous to him as they are to the common people. In his own
conduct, therefore, he is obliged to follow that system of morals
which the common people respect the most. He gains their esteem
and affection, by that plan of life which his own interest and
situation would lead him to follow. The common people look upon
him with that kindness with which we naturally regard one who
approaches somewhat to our own condition, but who, we think,
ought to be in a higher. Their kindness naturally provokes
his kindness. He becomes careful to instruct them, and attentive
to assist and relieve them. He does not even despise the
prejudices of people who are disposed to be so favourable to him,
and never treats them with those contemptuous and arrogant airs,
which we so often meet with in the proud dignitaries of opulent
and well endowed churches. The presbyterian clergy, accordingly,
have more influence over the minds of the common people, than
perhaps the clergy of any other established church. It is,
accordingly, in presbyterian countries only, that we ever find
the common people converted, without persecution completely, and
almost to a man, to the established church.

In countries where church benefices are, the greater part of
them, very moderate, a chair in a university is generally a
better establishment than a church benefice. The
universities have, in this case, the picking and chusing of their
members from all the churchmen of the country, who, in every
country, constitute by far the most numerous class of men of
letters. Where church benefices, on the contrary, are many of
them very considerable, the church naturally draws from the
universities the greater part of their eminent men of letters;
who generally find some patron, who does himself honour by
procuring them church preferment. In the former situation, we
are likely to find the universities filled with the most eminent
men of letters that are to be found in the country. In the
latter, we are likely to find few eminent men among them, and
those few among the youngest members of the society, who are
likely, too, to be drained away from it, before they can have
acquired experience and knowledge enough to be of much use to it.
It is observed by Mr. de Voltaire, that father Porée, a jesuit of
no great eminence in the republic of letters, was the only
professor they had ever had in France, whose works were worth the
reading. In a country which has produced so many eminent men of
letters, it must appear somewhat singular, that scarce one of
them should have been a professor in a university. The famous
Cassendi was, in the beginning of his life, a professor in the
university of Aix. Upon the first dawning of his genius, it was
represented to him, that by going into the church he could easily
find a much more quiet and comfortable subsistence, as well as a
better situation for pursuing his studies; and he immediately
followed the advice. The observation of Mr. de Voltaire may
be applied, I believe, not only to France, but to all other Roman
Catholic countries. We very rarely find in any of them an eminent
man of letters, who is a professor in a university, except,
perhaps, in the professions of law and physic; professions from
which the church is not so likely to draw them. After the church
of Rome, that of England is by far the richest and best endowed
church in Christendom. In England, accordingly, the church is
continually draining the universities of all their best and
ablest members; and an old college tutor who is known and
distinguished in Europe as an eminent man of letters, is as
rarely to be found there as in any Roman catholic country, In
Geneva, on the contrary, in the protestant cantons of
Switzerland, in the protestant countries of Germany, in Holland,
in Scotland, in Sweden, and Denmark, the most eminent men of
letters whom those countries have produced, have, not all indeed,
but the far greater part of them, been professors in
universities. In those countries, the universities are
continually draining the church of all its most eminent men of

It may, perhaps, be worth while to remark, that, if we except the
poets, a few orators, and a few historians, the far greater part
of the other eminent men of letters, both of Greece and Rome,
appear to have been either public or private teachers; generally
either of philosophy or of rhetoric. This remark will be
found to hold true, from the days of Lysias and Isocrates, of
Plato and Aristotle, down to those of Plutarch and Epictetus,
Suetonius, and Quintilian. To impose upon any man the necessity
of teaching, year after year, in any particular branch of science
seems in reality to be the most effectual method for rendering
him completely master of it himself. By being obliged to go
every year over the same ground, if he is good for any thing, he
necessarily becomes, in a few years, well acquainted with every
part of it. and if, upon any particular point, he should form too
hasty an opinion one year, when he comes, in the course of his
lectures to reconsider the same subject the year thereafter, he
is very likely to correct it. As to be a teacher of science is
certainly the natural employment of a mere man of letters ; so is
it likewise, perhaps, the education which is most likely to
render him a man of solid learning and knowledge. The mediocrity
of church benefices naturally tends to draw the greater part of
men of letters in the country where it takes place, to the
employment in which they can be the most useful to the public,
and at the same time to give them the best education, perhaps,
they are capable of receiving. It tends to render their learning
both as solid as possible, and as useful as possible.

The revenue of every established church, such parts of it
excepted as may arise from particular lands or manors, is a
branch, it ought to be observed, of the general revenue of the
state, which is thus diverted to a purpose very different from
the defence of the state. The tithe, for example, is a real land.
tax, which puts it out of the power of the proprietors of land to
contribute so largely towards the defence of the state as they
otherwise might be able to do. The rent of land, however, is,
according to some, the sole fund; and, according to others, the
principal fund, from which, in all great monarchies, the
exigencies of the state must be ultimately supplied. The more of
this fund that is given to the church, the less, it is evident,
can be spared to the state. It may be laid down as a certain
maxim, that all other things being supposed equal, the richer the
church, the poorer must necessarily be, either the sovereign on
the one hand, or the people on the other; and, in all cases, the
less able must the state be to defend itself. In several
protestant countries, particularly in all the protestant cantons
of Switzerland, the revenue which anciently belonged to the Roman
catholic church, the tithes and church lands, has been found a
fund sufficient, not only to afford competent salaries to the
established clergy, but to defray, with little or no addition,
all the other expenses of the state. The magistrates of the
powerful canton of Berne, in particular, have accumulated, out of
the savings from this fund, a very large sum, supposed to amount
to several millions; part or which is deposited in a public
treasure, and part is placed at interest in what are called the
public funds of the different indebted nations of Europe; chiefly
in those of France and Great Britain. What may be the amount of
the whole expense which the church, either of Berne, or of any
other protestant canton, costs the state, I do not pretend to
know. By a very exact account it appears, that, in 1755, the
whole revenue of the clergy of the church of Scotland, including
their glebe or church lands, and the rent of their manses or
dwelling-houses, estimated according to a reasonable valuation,
amounted only to £68,514:1:5 1/12d. This very moderate revenue
affords a decent subsistence to nine hundred and fortyfour
ministers. The whole expense of the church, including what is
occasionally laid out for the building and reparation of
churches, and of the manses of ministers, cannot well be supposed
to exceed eighty or eighty-five thousand pounds a-year. The most
opulent church in Christendom does not maintain better the
uniformity of faith, the fervour of devotion, the spirit of
order, regularity, and austere morals, in the great body of the
people, than this very poorly endowed church of Scotland. All the
good effects, both civil and religious, which an established
church can be supposed to produce, are produced by it as
completely as by any other. The greater part of the protestant
churches of Switzerland, which, in general, are not better
endowed than the church of Scotland, produce those effects in a
still higher degree. In the greater part of the protestant
cantons. there is not a single person to be found. who does not
profess himself to be of the established church. If he professes
himself to be of any other, indeed, the law obliges him to leave
the canton. But so severe, or, rather, indeed, so oppressive a
law, could never have been executed in such free countries, had
not the diligence of the clergy beforehand converted to the
established church the whole body of the people, with the
exception of, perhaps, a few individuals only. In some parts of
Switzerland, accordingly, where, from the accidental union of a
protestant and Roman catholic country, the conversion has not
been so complete, both religions are not only tolerated, but
established by law.

The proper performance of every service seems to require, that
its pay or recompence should be, as exactly as possible,
proportioned to the nature of the service. If any service is very
much underpaid, it is very apt to suffer by the meanness and
incapacity of the greater part of those who are employed in it.
If it is very much overpaid, it is apt to suffer, perhaps still
more, by their negligence and idleness. A man of a large revenue,
whatever may be his profession, thinks he ought to live like
other men of large revenues; and to spend a great part of his
time in festivity, in vanity, and in dissipation. But in a
clergyman, this train of life not only consumes the time which
ought to be employed in the duties of his function, but in the
eyes of the common people, destroys almost entirely that sanctity
of character, which can alone enable him to perform those duties
with proper weight and authority.


Of the Expense of supporting the Dignity of the Sovereign.

Over and above the expenses necessary for enabling the sovereign
to perform his several duties, a certain expense is requisite for
the support of his dignity. This expense varies, both with the
different periods of improvement, and with the different forms of

In an opulent and improved society, where all the different
orders of people are growing every day more expensive in their
houses, in their furniture, in their tables, in their dress, and
in their equipage; it cannot well be expected that the sovereign
should alone hold out against the fashion. He naturally,
therefore, or rather necessarily, becomes more expensive in all
those different articles too. His dignity even seems to require
that he should become so.

As, in point of dignity, a monarch is more raised above his
subjects than the chief magistrate of any republic is ever
supposed to be above his fellow-citizens ; so a greater expense
is necessary for supporting that higher dignity. We naturally
expect more splendour in the court of a king, than in the
mansion-house of a doge or burgo-master.


The expense of defending the society, and that of supporting the
dignity of the chief magistrate, are both laid out for the
general benefit of the whole society. It is reasonable,
therefore, that they should be defrayed by the general
contribution of the whole society ; all the different members
contributing, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their
respective abilities.

The expense of the administration of justice, too, may no doubt
be considered as laid out for the benefit of the whole society.
There is no impropriety, therefore, in its being defrayed by the
general contribution of the whole society. The persons, however,
who give occasion to this expense, are those who, by their
injustice in one way or another, make it necessary to seek
redress or protection from the courts of justice. The persons,
again, most immediately benefited by this expense, are those whom
the courts of justice either restore to their rights, or maintain
in their rights. The expense of the administration of justice,
therefore, may very properly be defrayed by the particular
contribution of one or other, or both, of those two different
sets of persons, according as different occasions may require,
that is, by the fees of court. It cannot be necessary to have
recourse to the general contribution of the whole society, except
for the conviction of those criminals who have not themselves any
estate or fund sufficient for paying those fees.

Those local or provincial expenses, of which the benefit is local
or provincial (what is laid out, for example, upon the police of
a particular town or district), ought to be defrayed by a local
or provincial revenue, and ought to be no burden upon the general
revenue of the society. It is unjust that the whole society
should contribute towards an expense, of which the benefit is
confined to a part of the society.

The expense of maintaining good roads and communications is, no
doubt, beneficial to the whole society, and may, therefore,
without any injustice, be defrayed by the general contributions
of the whole society. This expense, however, is most immediately
and directly beneficial to those who travel or carry goods from
one place to another, and to those who consume such goods. The
turnpike tolls in England, and the duties called peages in other
countries, lay it altogether upon those two different sets of
people, and thereby discharge the general revenue of the society
from a very considerable burden.

The expense of the institutions for education and religious
instruction, is likewise, no doubt, beneficial to the whole
society, and may, therefore, without injustice, be defrayed by
the general contribution of the whole society. This expense,
however, might, perhaps, with equal propriety, and even with some
advantage, be defrayed altogether by those who receive the
immediate benefit of such education and instruction, or by the
voluntary contribution of those who think they have occasion for
either the one or the other.

When the institutions, or public works, which are beneficial to
the whole society, either cannot be maintained altogether, or are
not maintained altogether, by the contribution of such particular
members of the society as are most immediately benefited by them
; the deficiency must, in most cases, be made up by the general
contribution of the whole society. The general revenue of the
society, over and above defraying the expense of defending the
society, and of supporting the dignity of the chief magistrate,
must make up for the deficiency of many particular branches of
revenue. The sources of this general or public revenue, I shall
endeavour to explain in the following chapter.

Adam Smith

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