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The wants which necessarily accompany the cultivation
of a wilderness produced among them a state of society, which countries
long harassed by the quarrels and intrigues of governments, had
neglected to cherish. In such a situation man becomes what he ought. He
sees his species, not with the inhuman idea of a natural enemy, but as
kindred; and the example shows to the artificial world, that man must go
back to Nature for information.

From the rapid progress which America makes in every species of
improvement, it is rational to conclude that, if the governments of
Asia, Africa, and Europe had begun on a principle similar to that of
America, or had not been very early corrupted therefrom, those countries
must by this time have been in a far superior condition to what they
are. Age after age has passed away, for no other purpose than to behold
their wretchedness. Could we suppose a spectator who knew nothing of the
world, and who was put into it merely to make his observations, he would
take a great part of the old world to be new, just struggling with the
difficulties and hardships of an infant settlement. He could not suppose
that the hordes of miserable poor with which old countries abound
could be any other than those who had not yet had time to provide for
themselves. Little would he think they were the consequence of what in
such countries they call government.

If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those
which are in an advanced stage of improvement we still find the greedy
hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice
of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is
continually exercised to furnish new pretences for revenue and taxation.
It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a
tribute.

As revolutions have begun (and as the probability is always greater
against a thing beginning, than of proceeding after it has begun), it
is natural to expect that other revolutions will follow. The amazing and
still increasing expenses with which old governments are conducted, the
numerous wars they engage in or provoke, the embarrassments they throw
in the way of universal civilisation and commerce, and the oppression
and usurpation acted at home, have wearied out the patience, and
exhausted the property of the world. In such a situation, and with such
examples already existing, revolutions are to be looked for. They are
become subjects of universal conversation, and may be considered as the
Order of the day.

If systems of government can be introduced less expensive and more
productive of general happiness than those which have existed, all
attempts to oppose their progress will in the end be fruitless. Reason,
like time, will make its own way, and prejudice will fall in a combat
with interest. If universal peace, civilisation, and commerce are
ever to be the happy lot of man, it cannot be accomplished but by a
revolution in the system of governments. All the monarchical governments
are military. War is their trade, plunder and revenue their objects.
While such governments continue, peace has not the absolute security
of a day. What is the history of all monarchical governments but a
disgustful picture of human wretchedness, and the accidental respite of
a few years' repose? Wearied with war, and tired with human butchery,
they sat down to rest, and called it peace. This certainly is not the
condition that heaven intended for man; and if this be monarchy, well
might monarchy be reckoned among the sins of the Jews.

The revolutions which formerly took place in the world had nothing in
them that interested the bulk of mankind. They extended only to a change
of persons and measures, but not of principles, and rose or fell among
the common transactions of the moment. What we now behold may not
improperly be called a "counter-revolution." Conquest and tyranny,
at some earlier period, dispossessed man of his rights, and he is now
recovering them. And as the tide of all human affairs has its ebb
and flow in directions contrary to each other, so also is it in this.
Government founded on a moral theory, on a system of universal peace, on
the indefeasible hereditary Rights of Man, is now revolving from west
to east by a stronger impulse than the government of the sword revolved
from east to west. It interests not particular individuals, but nations
in its progress, and promises a new era to the human race.

The danger to which the success of revolutions is most exposed is that
of attempting them before the principles on which they proceed, and the
advantages to result from them, are sufficiently seen and understood.
Almost everything appertaining to the circumstances of a nation, has
been absorbed and confounded under the general and mysterious word
government. Though it avoids taking to its account the errors it
commits, and the mischiefs it occasions, it fails not to arrogate to
itself whatever has the appearance of prosperity. It robs industry of
its honours, by pedantically making itself the cause of its effects; and
purloins from the general character of man, the merits that appertain to
him as a social being.

It may therefore be of use in this day of revolutions to discriminate
between those things which are the effect of government, and those
which are not. This will best be done by taking a review of society
and civilisation, and the consequences resulting therefrom, as things
distinct from what are called governments. By beginning with this
investigation, we shall be able to assign effects to their proper causes
and analyse the mass of common errors.




CHAPTER I. OF SOCIETY AND CIVILISATION

Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect
of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the
natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and
would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual
dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the
parts of civilised community upon each other, create that great chain
of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer,
the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation,
prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the
whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law;
and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than
the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost
everything which is ascribed to government.

To understand the nature and quantity of government proper for man,
it is necessary to attend to his character. As Nature created him for
social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases
she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one
man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants,
and those wants, acting upon every individual, impel the whole of them
into society, as naturally as gravitation acts to a centre.

But she has gone further. She has not only forced man into society by
a diversity of wants which the reciprocal aid of each other can supply,
but she has implanted in him a system of social affections, which,
though not necessary to his existence, are essential to his happiness.
There is no period in life when this love for society ceases to act. It
begins and ends with our being.

If we examine with attention into the composition and constitution
of man, the diversity of his wants, and the diversity of talents in
different men for reciprocally accommodating the wants of each other,
his propensity to society, and consequently to preserve the advantages
resulting from it, we shall easily discover, that a great part of what
is called government is mere imposition.

Government is no farther necessary than to supply the few cases to which
society and civilisation are not conveniently competent; and instances
are not wanting to show, that everything which government can usefully
add thereto, has been performed by the common consent of society,
without government.

For upwards of two years from the commencement of the American War,
and to a longer period in several of the American States, there were no
established forms of government. The old governments had been abolished,
and the country was too much occupied in defence to employ its attention
in establishing new governments; yet during this interval order and
harmony were preserved as inviolate as in any country in Europe. There
is a natural aptness in man, and more so in society, because it embraces
a greater variety of abilities and resource, to accommodate itself to
whatever situation it is in. The instant formal government is abolished,
society begins to act: a general association takes place, and common
interest produces common security.

So far is it from being true, as has been pretended, that the abolition
of any formal government is the dissolution of society, that it acts by
a contrary impulse, and brings the latter the closer together. All
that part of its organisation which it had committed to its government,
devolves again upon itself, and acts through its medium. When men, as
well from natural instinct as from reciprocal benefits, have habituated
themselves to social and civilised life, there is always enough of its
principles in practice to carry them through any changes they may find
necessary or convenient to make in their government. In short, man is so
naturally a creature of society that it is almost impossible to put him
out of it.

Formal government makes but a small part of civilised life; and when
even the best that human wisdom can devise is established, it is a thing
more in name and idea than in fact. It is to the great and fundamental
principles of society and civilisation--to the common usage universally
consented to, and mutually and reciprocally maintained--to the unceasing
circulation of interest, which, passing through its million channels,
invigorates the whole mass of civilised man--it is to these things,
infinitely more than to anything which even the best instituted
government can perform, that the safety and prosperity of the individual
and of the whole depends.

The more perfect civilisation is, the less occasion has it for
government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and
govern itself; but so contrary is the practice of old governments to the
reason of the case, that the expenses of them increase in the proportion
they ought to diminish.



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