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themselves and the public, than all the wealth and accomplishments which industry and study can bestow. Let them display a scrupulous regard to truth, even in the most trivial matters. "The beginning of wrath, (says Solomon,) is as the letting out of waters." The observation may be extended to the beginning of falsehood. Let every man consider this,—that when, either by example or tolerance, he weakens that reverence in which truth ought to be held, he may perhaps be sowing the seeds of perjury. Perhaps, if the minute links of human events were discernible, a judicial murder might sometimes be traced to an apparently harmless lie. But the fountain of justice is polluted from another quarter,—the foul sink of revenue oaths. Many mercantile houses keep a swearing clerk. Such a man makes fifty appeals to the Deity in the course of a day. What he swears is sometimes consistent with his knowledge, sometimes not. No matter; he gains by it two or three hundred pounds a-year, that is, he is paid at the rate of about sixpence per oath.
How unspeakably contemptible is that system of legislation which acts on the supposition that oatht are the proper checks to fraud against the revenue!
Note 15. p. 30. 1. 354.
Each one returns to his inheritance.
Lycuegus' contrivance of iron money, as a preventive of the corruption arising from the commercial system, was clumsy and inefficient, compared with that part of the Mosaic institution here alluded to.
Note 16. p. 33. 1. 399
Driven from their homes by fell monopoly.
The utility of all such agricultural improvements as diminish the quantum of human labour employed in the cultivation of the soil, is very questionable. In the Highlands of Scotland, black cattle were the produce which in former times was cultivated. Afterwards it was discoM
A vered, that the rearing of sheep was a mode of farming which required a much smaller proportion of hands than the rearing of black cattle did: In other words, the Highland proprietors discovered, that by the substitution of sheep for black cattle, nine-tenths of that fund which formerly was consumed in the maintenance of a numerous tenantry, might be added to the amount of their rent-rolls. The consequence has been, that large districts of the Highlands have been nearly depopulated. Make the supposition, that an improvement similar in its effects should be made on the agricultural system of the low country; suppose, for instance, that a new kind of grain or root should be discovered, the cultivation of which should require no more than one-tenth part of the manual labour necessary for the cultivation of our present crops; or suppose, that there should be invented a machine for turiiing up the soil, as much superior to the plough as the plough is to the spade; and that the other implements of husbandry should be improved on a proportional
scale; the consequence undoubtedly would be, that the peasantry of this country would be nearly extirpated. It is true, that the supposed improvements would not only increase the revenue of the landlord, but would add to the quantity of agricultural produce, and that an increase of produce would tend to an increase of population. I, however, doubt very much, whether the increase of agricultural produce is always attended with a proportional increase of population. At any rate, the population that is in this way acquired must be added to the already overgrown mass of manufacturing towns. No doubt the apparent strength of the nation would be thus increased. But a healthy and a virtuous populace constitute the real power of a state; and it will not be said, that crowded towns are favourable either to health or to morals.—The country and the village inhabitants are in truth the source of the national population; and if it be drained, the towns themselves must of course decay; since the demand tor live-supplies, consequent on the consumpt of human life in towns, could no longer be answered.—But how are the evils arising from the abridgment of agricultural labour to be counteracted? They may be partially counteracted by a limitation of the extent of farms. If the arable districts were parcelled out into possessions not exceeding a hundred and fifty acres; and if every landlord and tenant were bound either to keep up a certain number of inhabited cottages, in the proportion, let it be said, of one to each thirty acres,—or else, to pay triple land-tax and poorrate, our crops would perhaps not be quite so abundant as in process of time they may come to be, under the present system of weeding out the small farmers and cottagers; but the nation would be richer in a more important kind of produce, a numerous peasantry ; and even the landlords themselves would find more real comfort and enjoyment in contemplating a populous and happy neighbourhood, than in surveying large deserted domains, teeming with all the means of virtuous and happy existence, but barren of inhabitants to