Chapter 6

Public Consumption

September 30, 2015

Section 1= The Nature and general Effect of Public Consumption.

Besides the wants of individuals and of families which it is the object of private consumption to satisfy, the collection of many individuals into a community gives rise to a new class of wants, the wants of the society in its aggregate capacity, the satisfaction of which is the object of public consumption.

The public buys and consumes the personal service of the minister, that directs its affairs, the soldier, that protects it from external violence, the civil or criminal judge, that protects the rights and interests of each member against the aggression of the rest. All these different vocations have their use, although they may often be unnecessarily multiplied or overpaid; but that arises from a defective political organization, which it does not fall within the scope of this work to investigate.

The same reasoning may be easily applied to all other kinds of public consumption. When the money of the tax-payer goes to pay the salary of a public officer, that officer sells his time, his talents, and his exertions, to the public, all of which are consumed for public purposes. On the other hand, that officer consumes, instead of the tax-payer, the value he receives in lieu of his services; in the same manner as any clerk or person in the private employ of the tax-payer would do.

We shall see presently whence it is, that the public derives all the values, wherewith it purchases the services of its agents, as well as the articles its wants require. All we have to con- sider in this chapter is, the mode in which its consumption is effected, and the consequences resulting from it. There has been long a prevalent notion, that the values, paid by the community for the public service, return to it again in some shape or other; in the vulgar phrase, that what govern- ment and its agents receive, is refunded again by their expen- diture. This is a gross fallacy; but one that has been produc- tive of infinite mis chief, inasmuch as it has been the pretext If I have made myself understood in the commencement of this third book, my readers will have no difficulty in compre- 224Book III= On Consumption for a great deal of shameless waste and dilapidation. The value paid to government by the tax-payer is given without equiva- lent or return= it is expended by the government in the pur- chase of personal service, of objects of consumption; in one word, of products of equivalent value, which are actually trans- ferred. Purchase or exchange is a very different thing from restitution. 26 contrary, that public wealth increases with the increase of public consumption= inferring thence this false and danger- ous conclusion, that the rules of conduct in the management of private fortune and of public treasure, are not only differ- ent, but in direct opposition? If such principles were to be found only in books, and had never crept into practice, one might suffer them without care or regret to swell the monstrous heap of printed absurdity; but it must excite our compassion and indignation to hear them professed by men of eminent rank, talents, and intelli- gence; and still more to see them reduced into practice by the agents of public authority, who can enforce error and absur- dity at the point of the bayonet or mouth of the cannon. 28 Turn it which way you will, this operation, though often very complex in the execution, must always be reducible by analy- sis to this plain statement. A product consumed must always be a product lost, be the consumer who he may; lost without return, when. ever no value or advantage is received in re- turn; but, to the tax. payer, the advantage derived from the services of the public functionary, or from the consumption effected in the prosecution of public objects, is a positive return. Madame de Maintenon mentions in a letter to the Cardinal de Noailles, that, when she one day urged Louis XIV to be more liberal in charitable donations, he replied, that royalty dis- penses charity by its profuse expenditure; a truly alarming dogma, and one that shows the ruin of France to have been reduced to principle. 29 False principles are more fatal than even intentional misconduct; because they are followed up with erroneous notions of self-interest, and are long perse- vered in without remorse or reserve. If Louis XIV had be- lieved his extravagant ostentation to have been a mere grati- fication of his personal vanity, and his conquests the satisfac- tion of personal ambition alone, his good sense and proper feeling would probably, in a short time, have made it a matter of conscience to desist, or at any rate, he would have stopped short for his own sake; but he was firmly persuaded, that his prodigality was for the public good as well as his own; so that nothing could stop him, but misfortune and humiliation. 30 If, then, public and private expenditure affect social wealth in the same manner, the principles of economy, by which it should be regulated, must be the same in both cases. There are not two kinds of economy, any more than two kinds of honesty, or of morality. If a government or an individual con- sume in such a way, as to give birth to a product larger than that consumed, a successful effort of productive industry will be made. If no product result from the act of consumption, there is a loss of value, whether to the state or to the indi- vidual; yet, probably, that loss of value may have been pro- ductive of all the good anticipated. Military stores and sup- plies, and the time and labour of civil and military function- aries, engaged in the effectual defence of the state, are well bestowed, though consumed and annihilated; it is the same with them, as with the commodities and personal service, that have been consumed in a private establishment. The sole ben- efit resulting in the latter case is, the satisfaction of a want; if the want had no existence, the expense or consumption is a positive mischief, incurred without an object. So likewise of the public consumption; consumption for the mere purpose of consumption, systematic profusion, the creation of an of- fice for the sole purpose of giving a salary, the destruction of an article for the mere pleasure of paying for it, are acts of extravagance either in a government or an individual, in a small state or a large one, a republic or a monarchy. Nay, there is more criminality in public, than in private extrava- gance and profusion; inasmuch as the individual squanders only what belongs to him; but the government has nothing of its own to squander, being, in fact, a mere trustee of the pub- lic treasure. 27 So little were the true principles of political economy under- stood, even by men of the greatest science, so late as the 18th century, that Frederick II of Prussia, with all his anxiety in search of truth, his sagacity, and his merit, writes thus to D’Alembert, in justification of his wars= “My numerous armies promote the circulation of money, and disburse impartially amongst the provinces the taxes paid by the people to the state.” Again I repeat, this is not the fact; the taxes paid to the government by the subject are not refunded by its expendi- ture. Whether paid in money or in kind, they are converted into provisions and supplies, and in that shape consumed and destroyed by persons, that never can replace the value, be- cause they produce no value whatever. 31 It was well for Prussia that Frederick II did not square his conduct to his principles. The good he did to his people, by the economy of his internal administration, more than compensated for the mischief of his wars. What, then, are we to think of the principles laid down by those writers, who have laboured to draw an essential dis- tinction between public and private wealth; to show, that economy is the way to increase private fortune, but, on the Since the consumption of nations or the governments which represent them, occasions a loss of value, and consequently, 225Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy of their affection; whereas, the economy of a ruler accrues to the benefit of those he knows very little of; and perhaps he is but husbanding for an extravagant and rival successor. of wealth, it is only so far justifiable, as there results from it some national advantage, equivalent to the sacrifice of value; The whole skill of government, therefore, consists in the con- tinual and judicious comparison of the sacrifice about to be incurred, with the expected benefit to the community; for I have no hesitation in pronouncing every instance, where the benefit is not equivalent to the loss, to be an instance of folly, or of criminality, in the government. Nor is this evil remedied, by adopting the principle of heredi- tary rule. The monarch has little of the feelings common to other men in this respect. He is taught to consider the fortune of his descendants as secure, if they have ever so little assur- ance of the succession. Besides, the far greater part of the public consumption is not personally directed by himself; contracts are not made by himself, but by his generals and ministers; the experience of the world hitherto all tends to show, that aristocratical republics are more economical, than either monarchies or democracies. Neither are we to suppose, that the genius which prompts and excites great national un- dertakings, is incompatible with the spirit of public order and economy. The name of Charlemagne stands among the fore- most in the records of renown; he achieved the conquest of Italy, Hungary, and Austria; repulsed the Saracens; broke the Saxon confederacy; and obtained at length the honours of the purple. Yet Montesquieu has thought it not derogatory to say of him, that “ the father of a family might take a lesson of good housekeeping from the ordinances of Charlemagne. His expenditure was conducted with admirable system; he had his demesnes valued with care, skill, and minuteness. We find detailed in his capitularies the pure and legitimate sources of his wealth. In a word, such were his regularity and thrift, that he gave orders- for the eggs of his poultry-yards, and the sur- plus vegetables of his garden, to be brought to market.” 35 The celebrated Prince Eugene, who displayed equal talent in ne- gotiation and administration as in the field, advised the Em- peror Charles VI to take the advice of merchants and men of business, in matters of finance. 36 Leopold, when Grand Duke of Tuscany, towards the close of the 18 th century, gave an eminent example of the resources, to be derived from a rigid adherence to the principles of private economy, in the admin- istration of a state of very limited extent. In a few years, he made Tuscany one of the most flourishing states of Europe. It is yet more monstrous, then, to see how frequently govern- ments, not content with squandering the substance of the people 32 in folly and absurdity, instead of aiming at any re- turn of value. actually spend that substance in bringing down upon the nation calamities innumerable; practise exactions the most cruel and arbitrary, to forward schemes the most extravagant and wicked; first rifle the pockets of the subject, to enable them afterwards to urge him to the further sacrifice of his blood. Nothing, but the obstinacy of human passion and weakness, could induce me again and again to repeat these unpalatable truths, at the risk of incurring the charge of declamation. The consumption effected by the government 33 forms so large a portion of the total national consumption, amounting some- times to a sixth, a fifth, or even a fourth part 34 of the total consumption of the community, that the system acted upon by the government, must needs have a vast influence upon the advance or decline of the national prosperity. Should an individual take it into his head, that the more he spends the more he gets, or that his profusion is a virtue; or should he yield to the powerful attractions of pleasure, or the sugges- tions of perhaps a reasonable resentment, he will in all prob- ability be ruined, and his example will operate upon a very small circle of his neighbours. But a mistake of this kind in the government, will entail misery upon millions, and possi- bly end in the national downfall or degradation. It is doubt- less very desirable, that private persons should have a correct knowledge of their personal interests; but it must be infinitely more so, that governments should possess that knowledge. Economy and order are virtues in a private station; but, in a public station, their influence upon national happiness is so immense, that one hardly knows how sufficiently to extol and honour them in the guides and rulers of national conduct. The most successful financiers of France, Suger, Abbé de St. Dennis, the Cardinal D’Amboise, Sully, Colbert, and Necker, have all acted on the same principle. All found means of car- rying into effect the grandest operations by adhering to the dictates of private economy. The Abbé de St. Dennis fur- nished the outfit of the second crusade; a scheme that required very large supplies, although one I am far from approving. The Cardinal furnished Louis XII with the means of making his conquest of the Milanese. Sully accumulated the resources, that afterwards humbled the house of Austria — Colbert sup- plied the splendid operations of Louis XIV. Necker provided the ways and means of the only successful war waged by France in the 18th century. 37 An individual is fully sensible of the value of the article he is consuming; it has probably cost him a world of labour, perse- verance, and economy; he can easily balance the satisfaction he derives from its consumption against the loss it will in- volve. But a government is not so immediately interested in regularity and economy, nor does it so soon feel the ill conse- quences of the opposite qualities. Besides, private persons have a further motive than even self-interest; their feelings are concerned; their economy may be a benefit to the objects

Section II. Of the principal Objects of National Expenditure

Those governments, on the contrary, that have been perpetu- ally pressed with the want of money, have been obliged, like individuals, to have recourse to the most ruinous, and some- times the most disgraceful, expedients to extricate themselves. Charles the Bald put his titles and safe-conducts up to sale. Thus, too, Charles II of England sold Dunkirk to the French king, and took a bribe of £80,000 from the Dutch, to delay the sailing of the English expedition to the East Indies, 1680, intended to protect their settlements in that quarter, which, in consequence, fell into the hands of the Dutchmen. 38 Thus, too, have governments committed frequent acts of bankruptcy, sometimes in the shape of adulteration of their coin, and some- times by open breach of their engagements. In the preceding section, it has been endeavoured to show, that, since all consumption by the public is in itself a sacrifice of value, an evil balanced only by such benefit, as may result to the community from the satisfaction of any of its wants, a good administration will never spend for the mere sake of spending, but take care to ascertain that the public benefit, resulting, in such instance, from the satisfaction of a public want, shall exceed the sacrifice incurred in its acquirement. A comprehensive view of the principal public wants of a civi- lized community, can alone qualify us to estimate with toler- able accuracy the sacrifice it is worth while for the commu- nity to make for their gratification. 40 Louis XIV towards the close of his reign, having utterly ex- hausted the resources of a noble territory, was reduced to the paltry shift of creating the most ridiculous offices, making his counsellors of state, one an inspector of fagots, another a licenser of barber-wigmakers, another, visiting inspector of fresh, or taster of salt, butter, and the like. Such paltry and mischievous expedients can never long defer the hour of ca- lamities, that must sooner or later befal the extravagant and spendthrift governments. “When a man will not listen to rea- son,” says Franklin, “she is sure to make herself felt.” The public consumes little else, but what have been denomi- nated Immaterial products, that is to say, products destroyed as soon as created; in other words, the services or agency, either of human beings, or of other objects, animate or inani- mate.

It consumes the personal service of all its functionaries, civil, judicial, military, or ecclesiastical. It consumes the agency of land and capital. The navigation of rivers and seas, utility of roads and ground open to the public, are so much agency derived by the public from land, of which either the absolute property, or the beneficial enjoyment, is vested in the public. Where capital has been vested in the land, in the shape of buildings, bridges, artificial harbours, causeways, dikes, ca- nals, &c. the public then consumes the agency, or the rent of the land, plus the agency, or the interest, of the capital so vested. Fortunately, an economical administration soon repairs the mischiefs of one of an opposite character. Sound health can not be restored all at once; but there is a gradual and percep- tible improvement; every day some cause of complaint dis- appears, and some new faculty comes again into play. Half the remaining resources of a nation, impoverished by an ex- travagant administration, are neutralized by alarm and uncer- tainty; whereas, credit 39 doubles those of a nation, blessed with one of a frugal character. It would seem, that there exists in the politic, to a stronger degree than even in the natural, body a principle of vitality and elasticity, which can not be extinguished without the most violent pressure. One can not look into the pages of history, without being struck with the rapidity, with which this principle has operated. It has no- where been more strikingly exemplified, than in the frequent vicissitudes that our own France has experienced since the commencement of the revolution. Prussia has afforded an- other illustration in our time. The successor of Frederick the Great squandered the accumulations of that monarch, which were estimated at no less a sum than 42 millions of dollars, and left behind him, besides, a debt of 27 millions. In less than eight years, Frederick William III had not only paid off his father’s debts, but actually began a fresh accumulation; such is the power of economy, even in a country of limited extent and resources. Sometimes the public maintains establishments of produc- tive industry for instance, the porcelain manufacture of Sevres, the Gobelin tapestry, the salt-works of Lorraine and of the Jura, &c., in France. When concerns of this kind bring more than their expenditure, which is but rarely the case, they fur- nish part of the national revenue, and must by no means be classed among the items of national charge. Of the Charge of Civil and Judicial Administration. The charge of civil and judicial administration is made up, partly of the specific allowances of magistrates and other of- ficers, and partly of such degree of pomp and parade, as may be deemed necessary in the execution of their duties. Even if the burthen of that pomp and parade be thrown wholly or 227Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy For the same reason, whenever the officers of government are needlessly multiplied, the people are saddled with charges, which are not necessary to the maintenance of public order. It is only giving an unnecessary form to that benefit, or prod- uct, which is not at all the better of it, if indeed it be not worse. 43 A bad government, that can not support its violence, injustice, and exaction, without a multitude of mercenaries, satellites, and spies, and gaols innumerable, makes its sub- jects pay for its prisons, spies, and soldiers, which nowise contribute to the public happiness. partially upon the public functionary, it must ultimately fall upon the shoulders of the public, for the salary of the func- tionary must be raised, in proportion to the appearance he is expected to make. This observation applies to every descrip- tion of functionary, from the prince to the constable inclusive consequently, a nation, which reverences its prince only when sur rounded with the externals of greatness, with guards, horse and foot, laced liveries, and such costly trappings of royalty, must pay dearly for its taste. If, on the contrary, it can be content, to respect simplicity rather than pageantry, and obey the laws, though unaided by the attributes of pomp and cer- emony, it will save in proportion. This is what made the charges of government so light in many of the Swiss cantons, before the revolution, and in the North American colonies before their emancipation. It is well known, that those colo- nies, though under the dominion of England, had separate governments, of which they respectively defrayed the charge; yet the whole annual expenditure all together amounted to no more than £64,700 sterling. “An ever memorable example,” observes Smith, “at how small an expense three millions of people may not only be governed, but well governed.” 42 On the other hand, a public duty may be cheap, although very liberally paid. A low salary is wholly thrown away upon an incapable and inefficient officer; his ignorance will probably cost the public ten times the amount of his salary; but the knowledge and activity of a man of ability are fully equiva- lent to the pay he receives; the losses he saves to the public, and the benefits derived from his exertions, greatly outweigh his personal emolument, even if settled on the most liberal scale. There is real economy in procuring the best of every thing, even at a larger price. Merit can seldom be engaged at a low rate, because it is applicable to more occupations than one. The talent, that makes an able minister, would, in another profession, make a good advocate, physician, farmer, or mer- chant; and merit will find both employment and emolument in all these departments. If the public service offer no ad- equate reward for its exertion, it will choose some other more promising occupation. Causes entirely of a political nature as well as the form of government which they help to determine, have an influence in apportioning the salaries of public officers, civil and judi- cial, the charge of public display, and those likewise of pub- lic institutions and establishments. Thus, in a despotic gov- ernment, where the subject holds his property at the will of the sovereign, who fixes himself the charge of his household, that is to say, the amount of the public money which he chooses to spend on his personal necessities and pleasures, and the keeping up of the royal establishment, that charge will prob- ably be fixed at a higher rate, than where it is arranged and contested between the representatives of the prince and of the tax payers respectively. Integrity is like talent; it can not be had without paying for it, which is not at all wonderful; for the honest man can not re- sort to those discreditable shifts and contrivances, which dis- honesty looks to as a supplemental resource. The salaries of inferior public officers in like manner depend, partly upon their individual importance, and partly upon the general plan of government. Their services are dear or cheap to the public, not merely in proportion to what they actually cost, but likewise in proportion as they are well or ill ex- ecuted. A duty ill performed is dearly bought, however little be paid for it; it is dear too, if it be superfluous, or unneces- sary; resembling in this respect an article of furniture, that, if it do not answer its purpose, or be not wanted, is merely use- less lumber. Of this description, under the old regime of France, were the officers of high-admiral, high-steward of the household, the king’s cup-bearer, the master of his hounds, and a variety of others, which added nothing even to the splendour of royalty, and were merely so many means of dis- pensing personal favour and emolument. The power, which commonly accompanies the exercise of public functions, is a kind of salary, that often far exceeds the pecuniary emolument attached to them. It is true, that in a well ordered state, where law is supreme, and little is left to the arbitrary control of the ruler, there is little opportunity of indulging the caprice and love of domination implanted in the human breast. Yet the discretion, which the law must in- evitably vest in those who are to enforce it, and particularly in the ministerial department, together with the honour com- monly attendant on the higher offices of the state, have a real value, which makes them eagerly sought for, even in coun- tries where they are by no means lucrative. The rules of strict economy would probably make it advis- able to abridge all pecuniary allowance, wherever there are other sufficient attractions to excite a competition for office, and to confer it on none but the wealthy, were there not a risk 228Book III= On Consumption of losing, by the incapacity of the officer, more than would be gained by the abridgment of his salary. This, as Plato well observes in his Republic, would be like entrusting the helm to the richest man on board. Besides, there is some danger, that a man, who gives his services for nothing, will make his authority a matter of gain, however rich he may be. The wealth of a public functionary is no security against his venality= for ample fortune is commonly accompanied with desires as ample, and probably even more ample, especially if he have to keep up an appearance, both as a man of wealth and a magistrate. Moreover, supposing what is not altogether im- possible, namely, that one can meet with wealth united with probity, and with, besides, the activity requisite to the due performance of public duty, is it wise to run the risk of adding the preponderance of authority to that of wealth, which is already but too manifest? With what grace could his employ- ers call to account an agent, who could assume the merit of generosity, both with the people and with the government? There are, however, some ways, in which the gratuitous ser- vices of the rich may be employed with advantage; particu- larly in those departments, that confer more honour than power= as in the administration of institutions of public char- ity, or of public correction or punishment. the monarch and the nation, who are the parties most inter- ested in good public administration, because it consolidates the power of the one and enlarges the happiness of the other, it is next to impossible for them to exert a perpetual and ef- fectual control. In most cases, this duty must of necessity devolve on agents, who will deceive them when it is their interest to do so, as is proved by abundance of examples. “Public services,” says Smith, “are never better performed than when their reward comes only in consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the diligence em- ployed in performing them.” Accordingly, he recommends, that the salaries of judges should be paid at the final determi- nation of each suit, and the share of each judge proportioned to their respective trouble in the progress of it. This would be some encouragement to the diligence of each particular judge, as well as to that of the court, in bringing litigation to an end. There would be some difficulty in applying this method to all the branches of the public service; and it would probably in- troduce as great abuses in the opposite way; but it would at least be productive of one good; viz., preventing the needless multiplication of offices. It would likewise give the public the same advantage of competition as is enjoyed by individu- als, in respect to the services they call for. In France under the old regime, the government, when ha- rassed with the want of money, was in the habit of putting up its offices to sale. This is the very worst of all expedients; it introduces all the mischiefs of gratuitous service; for the emolument is then no more, than the interest of the capital expended in the purchase of the office; and has the additional evil of costing to the state as much as if the service were not gratuitously performed; for the public remains charged with the interest of a capital, that has been consumed and lost. Not only are the time and labour of public men in general better paid for than those of other persons; besides being of- ten wasted by their own mismanagement, without the possi- bility of an efficient check; but there is often a further enor- mous waste, occasioned by compliance with the customs of the country, and court etiquette. It would be curious to calcu- late the time wasted in the toilet, or to estimate, if possible, the many dearly-paid hours lost, in the course of the last cen- tury, on the road between Paris and Versailles. It has been sometimes the practice to consign certain civil functions, such as the registry of births, marriages, and deaths, to the ecclesiastical body, whose emoluments, arising from their clerical duties, may be supposed to enable them to ex- ecute these without pay. But there is always danger in confid- ing the execution of civil duties to a class of men, that pre- tend to a commission from a still higher than a national au- thority. 44 Thus, in the governments of Asia, there is an immense waste of the time of the superior public servants in tedious and cer- emonious observances. The monarch, after allowing for the hours of customary parade, and those of personal pleasure, has little time left to look after his own affairs, which, conse- quently, soon go to ruin. Frederick II. of Prussia, by adopting a contrary line of conduct, and by the judicious distribution and apportionment of his time. contrived to get through a great deal of business himself. By this means, he really lived longer than older men than himself, and succeeded in raising his kingdom to a first-rate power. His other great qualities, doubtless, contributed to his success; but they would not have been sufficient, without a methodical arrangement of his. In spite of every precaution, the public or the monarch will never be served so well or so cheaply as individuals. Inferior public agents can not be so narrowly watched by their superi- ors, as private ones; nor have the superiors themselves an equal interest in vigilant superintendence. Besides, it is easy enough for underlings to impose on a superior, who has many to look after, is perhaps placed at a distance, and can give but little attention to each individually; and whose vanity makes him more alive to the officious zeal of his inferior, than to the real service and utility, that the public good requires. As to 229Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy Of Charges, Military and Naval. of the Prussians; and, when the violent agitation of the French revolution pressed every resource of science to the aid of the armies of the republic, the enemies of France were obliged to follow the example. When a nation has made any considerable progress in com- merce, manufacture, and the arts, and its products have, con- sequently, become various and abundant, it would be an im- mense inconvenience, if every citizen were liable to be dragged from a productive employment. which has become necessary to society, for the purposes of national defence. The cultivator of the soil works no longer for the sustenance of himself and family only, but also for that of many other families, who are either owners of the soil, and share in its produce, or traders and manufacturers, that supply him with articles he cannot do without. He must, therefore, cultivate a larger extent of surface, must vary his tillage, keep a larger stock of cattle, and follow a complex mode of cultivation that will fully occupy his leisure between seed-time and harvest. 45 This extensive application of science, and adaptation of fresh means and more ample resources to military purposes, have made war far more expensive now than in former times. It is necessary now-a-days, to provide an army beforehand, with supplies of arms, ammunition, magazines of provision, ord- nance, &c., equal to the consumption of one campaign at the least. The invention of gunpowder has introduced the use of weapons more complex and expensive, and very chargeable in the transport, especially the field and battering trains. Moreover, the wonderful improvement of naval tactics, the variety of vessels of every class and construction, all requir- ing the utmost exertion of human genius and industry; the yards, docks, machinery, store-houses, &c. have entailed upon nations addicted to war almost as heavy an expense in peace, as in times of actual hostility; and obliged them not only to expend a great portion of their income, but to vest a great amount of capital likewise in military establishments. In ad- dition to which, it is to be observed, that the modern colonial system, that is to say, the system of retaining the sovereignty of towns and provinces in distant parts of the world, has made the European states open to attack and aggression in the most remote quarters of the globe, and the whole world the theatre of warfare, when any of the leading powers are the belligerents. 46 Still less can the trader and manufacturer afford thus to sacri- fice time and talents, whereof the constant occupation, ex- cept during the intervals of rest, is necessary to the produc- tion, from which they are to derive their subsistence. The owners of land let out to farm may, undoubtedly, serve as soldiers without pay; as, indeed, the nobility and gentry do, in some measure, in monarchical states; but they are, for the most part, so much accustomed to the sweets of social exist- ence, so little goaded by necessity towards the conception and achievement of great enterprises, and feel so little of the enthusiasm of emulation and esprit de corps, that they com- monly prefer a pecuniary sacrifice to that of comfort, and possibly of life. And these motives operate equally with the owners of capital. Wealth has, consequently, become as indispensable as valour to the prosecution of modern warfare; and a poor nation can no longer withstand a rich one. Wherefore, since wealth can be acquired only by industry and frugality, it may safely be predicted, that every nation, whose agriculture, manufacture, and commerce, shall be ruined by bad government, or exor- bitant taxation, must infallibly fall under the yoke of its more provident neighbours. We may further conclude, that hence- forward national strength will accompany national science and civilization; for none but civilized nations can maintain considerable standing armies; so that there is no reason to apprehend the future recurrence of those sudden overthrows of civilized empires by the influx of barbarous tribes, of which history affords many examples. All these reasons have led individuals, in most modern states, to consent to a taxation, that may enable the monarch or the republic to defend the country against external violence with a hired and professional soldiery, who are, however, too apt to become the tools of their leader’s ambition or tyranny. When war has become a trade, it benefits, like all other trades, from the division of labour. Every branch of human science is pressed into its service. Distinction or excellence, whether in the capacity of general, engineer, subaltern, or even pri- vate soldier, can not be obtained without long training, per- haps, and constant practice. The nation, which should act upon a different principle, would lie under the disadvantage of opposing the imperfection, to the perfection, of art. Thus, excepting the cases, in which the enthusiasm of a whole na- tion has been roused to action, the advantage has uniformly been on the side of a disciplined and professional soldiery. The Turks, although professing the utmost contempt for the arts of their Christian neighbours, are compelled by the dread of extermination, to be their scholars in the art of war. The European powers were all forced to adopt the military tactics War costs a nation more than its actual expense; it costs be- sides, all that would have been gained, but for its occurrence. When Louis XIV in 1672, resolved in a fit of passion, to chastise the Dutch for the insolence of their newspaper writ- ers, Boreel. the Dutch ambassador, laid before him a memo- rial showing that France through the medium of Holland, sold produce annually to foreign nations, to the amount of sixty 230Book III= On Consumption millions fr. at the then scale of price; which will fall little short of 120 millions (22,000,000 of dollars) at the present. But the court treated his representations as the mere empty bravado of an ambassador. But human intelligence will not stand still; the same impulse that has hitherto borne it onwards, will continue to advance it yet further. 48 The very circumstance of the vast increase of expense attending national warfare has made it impossible for governments henceforth to engage in it, without the pub- lic assent, express or implied; and that assent will be obtained with the more difficulty, in proportion as the public shall be- come more generally acquainted with their real interest. The national military establishment will be reduced to what is barely sufficient to repel external attack; for which purpose little more is necessary, than a small body of such kinds of troops as can not be had without long training and exercise; as of cavalry and artillery. For the rest, nations will rely on their militia, and on the excellence of their internal polity= for it is next to impossible to conquer a people unanimous in their attachment to their national institutions; and their at- tachment will always be proportionate to the loss they will incur by a change of domination. 49 To conclude= the charges of war would be very incorrectly estimated, were we to take no account of the havoc and de- struction it occasions; for that one at least of the belligerents, whose territory happens to be the scene of operations, must be exposed to its ravages. The more industrious the nation, the more does it suffer from warfare. When it penetrates into a district abounding in agricultural, manufacturing, and com- mercial establishments, it is like a fire in a place full of com- bustibles; its fury is aggravated, and the devastation prodi- gious. Smith calls the soldier an unproductive labourer; would to God he were nothing more, and not a destructive one into the bargain! he not only adds no product of his own 47 to the general stock of wealth, in return for the necessary subsis- tence he consumes, but is often set to work to destroy the fruits of other people’s labour and toil, without doing himself any benefit. Of the Charges of Public Instruction. The tardy, but irresistible expansion of intelligence will prob- ably operate a still further change in external political rela- tions, and with it a prodigious saving of expenditure for the purposes of war. Nations will be taught to know that they have really no interest in fighting one another; that they are sure to suffer all the calamities incident to defeat, while the advantages of success are altogether illusory. According to the international policy of the present day, the vanquished are sure to be taxed by the victor, and the victor by domestic authority= for the interest of loans must be raised by taxation. There is no instance on record, of any diminution of national expenditure being effected by the most successful issue of hostilities. And, what is the glory it can confer more than a mere toy of the most extravagant price, that can never even amuse rational minds for any length of time? Dominion by land or sea will appear equally destitute of attraction, when it comes to be generally understood, that all its advantages rest with the rulers, and that the subjects at large derive no benefit whatever. To private individuals, the greatest possible ben- efit is entire freedom of intercourse, which can hardly be en- joyed except in peace. Nature prompts nations to mutual amity; and, if their governments take upon themselves to in- terrupt it, and engage them in hostility, they are equally in- imical to their own people, and to those they war against. If their subjects are weak enough to second the ruinous vanity or ambition of their rulers in this propensity, I know not now to distinguish such egregious folly and absurdity, from that of the brutes that are trained to fight and tear each other to pieces, for the mere amusement of their savage masters. Two questions have been raised in political economy; 1. Whether the public be interested in the cultivation of science in all its branches? 2. Whether it be necessary, that the public should be at the expense of teaching those branches, it has an interest in cultivating? Whatever be the position of man in society, he is in constant dependence upon the three kingdoms of nature. His food, his clothing, his medicines, every object either of business or of pleasure, is subject to fixed laws; and the better those laws are understood, the more benefit will accrue to society. Every individual, from the common mechanic, that works in wood or clay, to the prime minister that regulates with the dash of his pen the agriculture, the breeding of cattle, the mining, or the commerce of a nation, will perform his business the bet- ter, the better he understands the nature of things, and the more his understanding is enlightened. For this reason, every advance of science is followed by an increase of social happiness. A new application of the lever, or of the power of wind or water, or even a method of reduc- ing the friction of bodies, will, perhaps, have an influence on twenty different arts. An uniformity of weights and measures, arranged upon mathematical principles, would be a benefit to the whole commercial world, if it were wise enough to adopt such an expedient. An important discovery in astronomy or geology may possibly afford the means of ascertaining the longitude at sea with precision, which would be an immense advantage to navigation all over the world. The naturalisation in Europe of a new botanical genus or species might possibly influence the comfort of many millions of individuals. 50 231Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy comparative merit, there is much unfairness to be apprehended from the esprit de corps of such communities. Among the numerous classes of science, theoretical and prac- tical, which it is the interest of the public to advance and promote, there are fortunately many, that individuals have a personal interest in pursuing, and which the public, there- fore, is not called upon to pay the expense of teaching. Every adventurer in any branch of industry is urged most strongly by self-interest to learn his business and whatever concerns it. The journeyman gains in his apprenticeship, besides manual dexterity, a variety of notions and ideas only to be learnt in the work-shop, and which can be no otherwise recompensed, than by the wages he will receive. Encouragement may, with perfect safety, be held out to a mode of instruction of no small efficacy; I mean, the composition of good elementary 53 works. The reputation and profit of a good book in this class do not indemnify the labour, science, and skill, requisite to its composition. 54 A man must be a fool to serve the public in this line where the natural profit is so little proportioned to the benefit derived to the public. The want of good elementary books will never be thoroughly sup- plied, until the public shall hold out temptations, sufficiently ample to engage first-rate talents in their composition. It does not answer to employ particular individuals for the express purpose; for the man of most talents will not always succeed the best= nor to offer specific premiums; for they are often bestowed on very imperfect productions, and the encourage- ment ceases the moment the premium is awarded. But merit in this kind should be paid proportionately to its degree, and always liberally. A good work will thus be sure to be super- seded by a better, till perfection is at last attained in each class. And I must observe, by the way, that there is no great expense incurred by liberally rewarding excellence; for it must always be extremely rare; and what is a great sum to an indi- vidual, is a small matter to the pockets of a nation. But it is not every degree or class of knowledge, that yields a benefit to the individual, equivalent to that accruing to the public. In treating above 51 of the profits of the man of sci- ence, I have shown the reason, why his talents are not ad- equately remunerated; yet theoretical is quite as useful to so- ciety as practical knowledge; for how could science ever be applied to the practical utility of mankind, unless it were dis- covered and preserved by the theorist? It would rapidly de- generate into mere mechanical habit, which must soon de- cline; and the downfall of the arts would pave the way for the return of ignorance and barbarism. In every country that can at all appreciate the benefits to be derived from the enlargement of human faculties, it has been deemed by no means a piece of extravagance, to support acad- emies and learned institutions, and a limited number of very superior schools, intended not as mere repositories of sci- ence, and of the most approved mode of instruction, but as a means of its still further extension. But it requires some skill in the management, to prevent such establishments from op- erating as an impediment, instead of a furtherance, to the progress of knowledge, and as an obstruction rather than as an avenue to the improvement of education. Long before the revolution, it had become notorious, that most of our French universities had been thus perverted from the intention of their founders. All the principal discoveries were made elsewhere; and most of them had to encounter the weight of their influ- ence over the rising generation and credit with men in power. 52 These are the kinds of instruction most calculated to promote national wealth, and most likely to retrograde, if not in some measure supported by the public. There are others, which are essential to the softening of national manners, and stand yet more in need of that support. When the useful arts have arrived at a high degree of perfec- tion, and labour has been very generally and minutely subdi- vided, the occupation of the lowest classes of labourers is reduced to one or two operations, for the most part simple in themselves, and continually repeated= to these their whole thought and attention are directed; and from them they are seldom diverted by any novel or unforeseen occurrence= their intellectual faculties, being rarely or never called into play, must of course be degraded and brutified, and themselves rendered incapable of uttering two words of common sense out of their peculiar line of business, and utterly devoid of any generous ideas or elevated notions. Elevation of mind is generated by enlarged views of men and things, and can never exist in a being incapable of conceiving the general bearings and connexions of objects. A plodding mechanic can con- ceive no connexion between the inviolability of property and public prosperity, or how he can be more interested in that prosperity, than his more wealthy neighbour; but is apt to consider all these important benefits as so many encroach- ments on his rights and happiness. A certain degree of educa- tion, of reading, of reflection while at work, and of intercourse From this example, we may see how dangerous it is, to en- trust them with any discretionary control. If a candidate pre- sents himself for examination, he must not be referred to teach- ers, who are at the same time judges and interested parties, sure to think well of their own scholars, and ill of those of every body else. The merit of the candidate should alone de- cide, and not the place where he happens to have studied, nor the length of his probation; for to oblige a student in any sci- ence, medicine for instance, to learn it at a particular place, is, possibly, to prevent his learning it better elsewhere; and, to prescribe any fixed routine of study, is, possibly, to pre- vent his fixing a shorter road. Moreover, in deciding upon 232Book III= On Consumption retrograde, until it reached the confines of barbarism, before individuals had observed the operating cause of its decline. with persons of his own condition, will open his mind to these conceptions, as well as introduce a little more delicacy of feeling into his conduct, as a father, a husband, a brother, or a citizen. I would not be understood to find fault with public establish- ments for purposes of education, in other branches than those I have been describing. I am only endeavouring to show, in what branches a nation may wisely, and with due regard to its own interest, defray the charge out of the public purse. Every diffusion of such knowledge, as is founded upon fact and experience, and does not proceed upon dogmatical opinions and assertions, every kind of instruction, that tends to im- prove the taste and understanding, is a positive good; and, consequently, an institution calculated to diffuse it must be beneficial. But care must be taken, that encouragement of one branch shall not operate to discourage another. This is the general mischief of premiums awarded by the public; a private teacher or institution will not be adequately paid, where the same kind of instruction is to be had for nothing, though, perhaps, from inferior teachers. There is, therefore, some danger, that talent may be superseded by mediocrity; and a check be given to private exertions, from which the resources of the state might expect incalculable benefit. But, in the vast machinery of national production, the mere manual labourer is so placed, as to earn little or nothing more than a bare subsistence. The most he can do is, to rear his young family, and bring them up to some occupation= he can- not be expected to give them that education, which we have supposed the well-being of society to require. If the commu- nity wish to have the benefit of more knowledge and intelli- gence in the labouring classes, it must dispense it at the pub- lic charge. This object may be obtained by the establishment of primary schools, of reading, writing, and arithmetic. These are the groundwork of all knowledge, and are quite sufficient for the civilization of the lower classes. In fact, one can not call a nation civilized, nor consequently possessed of the benefits of civilization, until the people at large be instructed in these three particulars= till then it will be but partially reclaimed from barbarism. With tile help of these advantages alone, it may safely be affirmed, that no transcendent genius or supe- rior mind will long remain in obscurity, or be prevented from displaying itself to the infinite benefit of the community. The faculty of reading alone, will, for a few dollars, put a man in possession of all that eminent men have said or done, in the line to which the bent of genius impels. Nor should the fe- male part of the creation be shut. out from this elementary education; for the public is equally interested in their civili- zation; and they are indeed the first, and often the only teach- ers of the rising generation. The only important science, which seems to me not suscep- tible of being taught at the public charge, is that of moral philosophy, which may be considered as either experimental or doctrinal. The former consists in the knowledge of moral qualities, and of the chain of connexion between events de- pendent upon human will; and forms indeed a part of the study of man, which is best pursued by social converse and inter- course. The latter is a series of maxims and precepts, pos- sessing very little influence upon human conduct, which is best guided in the relations of public and of private life, by the operation of good laws, of good education, and of good example. 56 It would be the more unpardonable in governments to ne- glect the business of education, and abandon to their present ignorance the great majority of the population in those na- tions of Europe, that pretend to the character of refinement and civilization, now that the improved methods of mutual instruction, that have been tried with such complete success, afford a ready and most economical means of universally dif- fusing knowledge amongst the inferior classes. 55 The sole encouragement to virtue and good conduct, that can be relied on, is, the interest that every body has in discover- ing and employing no persons but those of good character. Men the most independent in their circumstances want some- thing more to make them happy; that is to say, the general esteem and good opinion of their fellow-creatures; and these can only be acquired by putting on the appearance at least of estimable qualities, which it is much easier to acquire than to simulate. The influence of the sovereign or ruling body, upon the manners of the nation, is very extensive, because it em- ploys a vast number of people; but it operates less benefi- cially than that of individuals, because it is less interested in employing none but persons of integrity. If to its lukewarmness in this particular be added, the example of immorality and contempt for honesty and economy too frequently held out to people by their rulers, the corruption of national morals will be wonderfully accelerated. 57 But a nation may be rescued Thus, none but elementary and abstract science, — the high- est and the lowest branches of knowledge, are so much less favoured in the natural course of things, and so little stimu- lated by the competition of demand, as to require the aid of that authority, which is created purposely to watch over the public interests. Not that individuals have no interest in the support and promotion of these, as well as of the other, branches of knowledge; but they have not so direct an inter- est, — the loss occasioned by their disappearance is neither so immediate nor so perceptible; a flourishing empire might 233Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy These are the causes, that have a positive influence upon na- tional morality. To these must be added, the effect of educa- tion in general, in opening the eyes of mankind to their real interests, and softening the temper and disposition. Hospitals for the sick, almshouses and asylums for old age and infancy, inasmuch as they partially relieve the poorer classes from the charge of maintaining those who are natu- rally dependent on them, and thereby to allow population to advance somewhat more rapidly, have a natural tendency a little to depress the wages of labour. That depression would be greater still, if such establishments should be so multi- plied, as to take in all the sick, aged, and infants of those classes, who would then have none but themselves to provide for out of their wages. If they were entirely done away, there would be some rise of wages, although not sufficient to main- tain so large a labouring population, as may be kept up with their help; for the demand for their labour would be some- what reduced by the advance of its price. Religious instruction ought, strictly speaking, to be defrayed by the respective religious communions and societies, each of which regards the opinions of the rest as heretical, and naturally revolts at the injustice of contributing to the propa- gation of what it deems erroneous, if not criminal. From these two extreme suppositions, we may judge of the effect of those efforts to relieve indigence, which all nations have made in some degree or other; and see the reason, why the distress and relief go on increasing together, although not exactly in the same ratio. from moral degradation by the re-action of opposite causes. Colonies are, for the most part, composed of by no means the most estimable classes of the mother-country= in a very short time, however, when the hopes of return are wholly aban- doned, and the settlers have made up their minds to pass the rest of their lives in their new abode, they gradually feel the necessity of conciliating the esteem of their fellow-citizens, and the morals of the colony improve rapidly. By morals, I mean the general course of human conduct and behaviour. Most nations preserve a middle course between the two ex- tremes, affording public relief to a part only of those, who are helpless from age, infancy, or casual sickness. Of the rest they endeavour to rid themselves in one of two ways; either by requiring certain qualifications in the applicants, whether of age, of specific disease, or, perhaps, of mere interest and favouritism; or by limiting narrowly the extent of the relief, giving it upon hard terms to the applicants, or attaching some degree of shame to the acceptance. 58 Of the Charges of Public, Benevolent Institutions. It has been much debated, whether individual distress has any title to public relief. I should say none, except inasmuch as it is an unavoidable consequence of existing social institu- tions. If infirmity and want be the effect of the social system, they have a title to public relief= provided always, that it be shown, that the same system affords no means of prevention or cure. But it would be foreign to the matter to discuss the question of right in this place. All we need do is, to consider benevolent institutions with regard to their nature and conse- quences. It is a distressing reflection, that there are no other methods of confining the number of applicants for relief within the means available to the community, except the offer of hard conditions, or the want of a patron. It were to be desired, that asylums of the more comfortable class, instead of favouritism, should be open to unmerited misfortune only; and that, to prevent improper nominations, the pretensions of the candi- date should be ascertained by the inquest of a jury. The rest can probably be protected from too great an influx of indi- gence, by no other means consistent with humanity, except the observance of severe, though impartial, discipline, suffi- cient to invest them with some degree of terror. When a community establishes at the public charge any insti- tution for benevolent purposes, it forms a kind of saving-bank, to which every member contributes a portion of his revenue, to entitle him to claim a benefit, in the event of accident or misfortune. The wealthy are generally impressed with an idea, that they shall never stand in need of public charitable relief; but a little less confidence would become them better. No man can reckon in his own case upon the continuance of good fortune, with as much certainty as upon the permanence of wants and infirmities; the former may desert him; but the lat- ter are inseparable companions. It is enough to know, that good fortune is not inexhaustible, to infuse an apprehension that it may some day or other be exhausted= one has but to look round, and this apprehension will be confirmed by the experience of numbers, whose misfortunes were to themselves quite unexpected. This evil does not apply to the asylums devoted to invalid soldiers, and sailors. The qualification is so plain and intelli- gible, that the doors ought to be shut against none who are possessed of it; and the comforts of the institution can never increase the number of applicants. Their being nursed in the public asylums with the same domestic care and comfort, as are to be found in the homes of persons in the same class of life, and indulged in repose, and some even of the whims of old age, will undoubtedly somewhat enhance the charge, that 234Book III= On Consumption is to say, so far as it might prolong lives, that otherwise might fall a sacrifice to wretchedness; but this is the utmost increase of charge; and it is one, that neither patriotism nor humanity will grudge. 59 ment= this is an excellent precaution, but prevents their work- ing at such cheap rates, as to drive all competition out of the market. Although the honour, attached to the direction and manage- ment of institutions of public benevolence, will generally at- tract the gratuitous service of the affluent and respectable part of the community, yet, when the duties become numerous and laborious, they are commonly discharged by gratuitous ad- ministrators with the most unfeeling negligence. It was prob- ably by no means wise, to subject all the hospitals of Paris to a general superintendence. At London, each hospital is sepa- rately administered; and the whole are managed with more economy and attention in consequence. A laudable emula- tion is thereby excited amongst the managers of rival estab- lishments; which affords an additional proof of the practica- bility and benefit of competition in the business of public administration. The houses of industry, that are multiplying so rapidly in America, Holland, Germany, and France, are noble and ex- cellent institutions of public benevolence. They are designed to provide all persons of sound health with work according to their respective capacities; some of them are open to any workman out of employ, that chooses to apply; others are a kind of houses of correction, where vagrants, beggars, and offenders, are kept to work for fixed periods. Convicts have sometimes been set to hard labour in their respective voca- tions, during their confinement; whereby the public has been wholly or partially relieved from the charge of keeping up gaols, and a method contrived for reforming the morals of the criminals, and rendering them a blessings instead of a curse, to society. Indeed, such establishments can hardly be reckoned among the items of public charge; for, the moment their production equals their consumption, they are no longer all incumbrance to any body. They are of immense benefit in a dense popula- tion, where, amidst the vast variety of occupations, some must unavoidably )e in a state of temporary inaction. The perpetual shiftings of commerce, the introduction of new processes, the withdrawing of capital from a productive concern, accidental fire, or other calamity, may throw numbers out of employ- ment; and the most deserving individual may, without any fault of his own, be reduced to the extreme of want. In these institutions, he is sure of earning at least a subsistence, if not in his own line, in one of a similar description. Of the Charges of Public Edifices and Works. I shall not here attempt to enumerate the great variety of works requisite for the use of the public; but merely lay down some general rules, for calculating their cost to the nation. It is of- ten impossible to estimate with any tolerable accuracy the public benefit derived from them. How is one to calculate the utility, that is to say, the pleasure which the inhabitants of a city derive from a public terrace or promenade? It is a posi- tive benefit to have, within an easy distance of the close and crowded streets of a populous town, some place where the population can breathe a pure and wholesome atmosphere, and take health and exercise, under the shade of a grove, or with a verdant prospect before the eye; and where school- boys can spend their hours of recreation; yet this advantage it would be impossible to set a precise value upon. The grand obstacle to such establishments is, the great outlay of capital they require. They are adventures of industry, and as such must be provided with a variety of tools, implements, and machines, besides raw material of different kinds to work upon. Before they can be said to maintain themselves, they must earn enough to pay the interest of the capital embarked, as well as their current expenses. The amount of its cost, however, may be ascertained or esti- mated. The cost of every public work or construction con- sists= —

  1. Of the rent of the surface whereon it is erected; which rent amounts to what a tenant would give to the proprietor. The favour shown them by the public authority, in the gratu- itous supply of the capital and buildings, and in many other particulars. would make them interfere with private under- takings, were they not subject, on the other hand, to some peculiar disadvantages. They are obliged to confine their operations to such kinds of work, as sort with the feebleness and general inferiority in skill of the inmates, and can not direct them to such as may be most in demand. Moreover, it is in most of them a matter of regulation and police, to lay by always the third or fourth part of the labourer’s wages or earn- ings, as a capital to set him up, on his quitting the establish-
  2. Of the interest of the capital expended in the erection.
  3. Of the annual charge of maintenance. Sometimes, one or more of these items may be curtailed. When the soil, whereon a public work is erected, will fetch nothing from either a purchaser, or a tenant, the public will be charged with nothing in the nature of rent; for no rent could be got if the spot had never been built on. A bridge, for instance, costs 235Jean-Baptise Say, A Treatise on Political Economy the consumer. 62 Were we to calculate what would be the charge of carriage upon all the articles and commodities that now pass along any road in the course of a year, if the road did not exist, and compare it with the utmost charge under present circumstances, the whole difference that would appear, will be so much gain to the consumers of all those articles, and so much positive and clear net profit to the community. 63 nothing but the interest of the capital expended in its con- struction, and the annual charge of keeping it in repair. If it be suffered to fall into decay, the public consumes, annually, the agency of the capital vested, reckoned in the shape of interest on the sum expended, and, gradually, the capital itself, into the bargain; for, as soon as the bridge ceases to be passable, not only is the agency or rent of she capital lost, but the capi- tal is gone likewise. Canals are still more beneficial; for in them the saving of carriage is still more considerable. 64 Supposing one of the dikes in Holland to have cost in the outset, 20,000 dollars; the annual charge on the score of in- terest, at 5 per cent, will be 1000 dollars; and, if it cost 600 dollars more in the keeping it up, the total annual charge will be 1600 dollars. Public works of no utility, such as palaces, triumphal arches, monumental columns, and the like, are items of national luxury. They are equally indefensible, with instances of pri- vate prodigality. The unsatisfactory gratification afforded by them to the vanity of the prince or the people, by no means balances the cost, and often the misery they have occasioned. The same mode of reckoning may be applied to roads and canals. If a road be broader than necessary, there is annually a loss of the rent of all the superfluous land it occupies, and, besides, of all the additional charge of repair. Many of the roads out of Paris are 180 feet wide, including the unpaved part on each side; whereas, a breadth of 60 feet would be full wide for all useful purposes, aid would be quite magnificent enough, even for the approaches to a great metropolis. The surplus is only so much useless splendour; indeed, I hardly know how to call it so; for the narrow pavement in the centre of a broad road, the two sides of which are impassable the greater part of the year, is an equal imputation upon the liber- ality, and upon the good sense and taste of the nation. It gives a; disagreeable sensation, to see so much loss of space, more particularly if it be badly kept. It appears like a wish to have magnificent roads, without having the means of keeping them uniform and ill good condition; like the palaces of the Italian nobles, that never feel the effects of the broom.

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