. 18
( 25)


very diligent and respectable author, the Marquis de Mirabeau, 'three
great inventions which have principally given stability to political
societies, independent of many other inventions which have enriched
and adorned them. The first is the invention of writing, which alone
gives human nature the power of transmitting, without alteration, its
laws, its contracts, its annals, and its discoveries. The second is
the invention of money, which binds together all the relations between
civilized societies. The third is the economical table, the result of
the other two, which completes them both by perfecting their object;
the great discovery of our age, but of which our posterity will reap
the benefit.'

As the political economy of the nations of modern Europe has been more
favourable to manufactures and foreign trade, the industry of the
towns, than to agriculture, the industry of the country; so that of
other nations has followed a different plan, and has been more
favourable to agriculture than to manufactures and foreign trade.

The policy of China favours agriculture more than all other
employments. In China, the condition of a labourer is said to be as
much superior to that of an artificer, as in most parts of Europe that
of an artificer is to that of a labourer. In China, the great ambition
of every man is to get possession of a little bit of land, either in
property or in lease; and leases are there said to be granted upon
very moderate terms, and to be sufficiently secured to the lessees.
The Chinese have little respect for foreign trade. Your beggarly
commerce! was the language in which the mandarins of Pekin used to
talk to Mr. De Lange, the Russian envoy, concerning it {See the
Journal of Mr. De Lange, in Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 258, 276,
293.}. Except with Japan, the Chinese carry on, themselves, and in
their own bottoms, little or no foreign trade; and it is only into one
or two ports of their kingdom that they even admit the ships of
foreign nations. Foreign trade, therefore, is, in China, every way
confined within a much narrower circle than that to which it would
naturally extend itself, if more freedom was allowed to it, either in
their own ships, or in those of foreign nations.

Manufactures, as in a small bulk they frequently contain a great
value, and can upon that account be transported at less expense from
one country to another than most parts of rude produce, are, in almost
all countries, the principal support of foreign trade. In countries,
besides, less extensive, and less favourably circumstanced for
inferior commerce than China, they generally require the support of
foreign trade. Without an extensive foreign market, they could not
well flourish, either in countries so moderately extensive as to
afford but a narrow home market, or in countries where the
communication between one province and another was so difficult, as to
render it impossible for the goods of any particular place to enjoy
the whole of that home market which the country could afford. The
perfection of manufacturing industry, it must be remembered, depends
altogether upon the division of labour; and the degree to which the
division of labour can be introduced into any manufacture, is
necessarily regulated, it has already been shewn, by the extent of the
market. But the great extent of the empire of China, the vast
multitude of its inhabitants, the variety of climate, and consequently
of productions in its different provinces, and the easy communication
by means of water-carriage between the greater part of them, render
the home market of that country of so great extent, as to be alone
sufficient to support very great manufactures, and to admit of very
considerable subdivisions of labour. The home market of China is,
perhaps, in extent, not much inferior to the market of all the
different countries of Europe put together. A more extensive foreign
trade, however, which to this great home market added the foreign
market of all the rest of the world, especially if any considerable
part of this trade was carried on in Chinese ships, could scarce fail
to increase very much the manufactures of China, and to improve very
much the productive powers of its manufacturing industry. By a more
extensive navigation, the Chinese would naturally learn the art of
using and constructing, themselves, all the different machines made
use of in other countries, as well as the other improvements of art
and industry which are practised in all the different parts of the
world. Upon their present plan, they have little opportunity of
improving themselves by the example of any other nation, except that
of the Japanese.

The policy of ancient Egypt, too, and that of the Gentoo government of
Indostan, seem to have favoured agriculture more than all other

Both in ancient Egypt and Indostan, the whole body of the people was
divided into different casts or tribes each of which was confined,
from father to son, to a particular employment, or class of
employments. The son of a priest was necessarily a priest; the son of
a soldier, a soldier; the son of a labourer, a labourer; the son of a
weaver, a weaver; the son of a tailor, a tailor, etc. In both
countries, the cast of the priests holds the highest rank, and that of
the soldiers the next; and in both countries the cast of the farmers
and labourers was superior to the casts of merchants and

The government of both countries was particularly attentive to the
interest of agriculture. The works constructed by the ancient
sovereigns of Egypt, for the proper distribution of the waters of the
Nile, were famous in antiquity, and the ruined remains of some of them
are still the admiration of travellers. Those of the same kind which
were constructed by the ancient sovereigns of Indostan, for the proper
distribution of the waters of the Ganges, as well as of many other
rivers, though they have been less celebrated, seem to have been
equally great. Both countries, accordingly, though subject
occasionally to dearths, have been famous for their great fertility.
Though both were extremely populous, yet, in years of moderate plenty,
they were both able to export great quantities of grain to their

The ancient Egyptians had a superstitious aversion to the sea; and as
the Gentoo religion does not permit its followers to light a fire, nor
consequently to dress any victuals, upon the water, it, in effect,
prohibits them from all distant sea voyages. Both the Egyptians and
Indians must have depended almost altogether upon the navigation of
other nations for the exportation of their surplus produce; and this
dependency, as it must have confined the market, so it must have
discouraged the increase of this surplus produce. It must have
discouraged, too, the increase of the manufactured produce, more than
that of the rude produce. Manufactures require a much more extensive
market than the most important parts of the rude produce of the land.
A single shoemaker will make more than 300 pairs of shoes in the year;
and his own family will not, perhaps, wear out six pairs. Unless,
therefore, he has the custom of, at least, 50 such families as his
own, he cannot dispose of the whole product of his own labour. The
most numerous class of artificers will seldom, in a large country,
make more than one in 50, or one in a 100, of the whole number of
families contained in it. But in such large countries, as France and
England, the number of people employed in agriculture has, by some
authors been computed at a half, by others at a third and by no author
that I know of, at less that a fifth of the whole inhabitants of the
country. But as the produce of the agriculture of both France and
England is, the far greater part of it, consumed at home, each person
employed in it must, according to these computations, require little
more than the custom of one, two, or, at most, of four such families
as his own, in order to dispose of the whole produce of his own
labour. Agriculture, therefore, can support itself under the
discouragement of a confined market much better than manufactures. In
both ancient Egypt and Indostan, indeed, the confinement of the
foreign market was in some measure compensated by the conveniency of
many inland navigations, which opened, in the most advantageous
manner, the whole extent of the home market to every part of the
produce of every different district of those countries. The great
extent of Indostan, too, rendered the home market of that country very
great, and sufficient to support a great variety of manufactures. But
the small extent of ancient Egypt, which was never equal to England,
must at all times, have rendered the home market of that country too
narrow for supporting any great variety of manufactures. Bengal
accordingly, the province of Indostan which commonly exports the
greatest quantity of rice, has always been more remarkable for the
exportation of a great variety of manufactures, than for that of its
grain. Ancient Egypt, on the contrary, though it exported some
manufactures, fine linen in particular, as well as some other goods,
was always most distinguished for its great exportation of grain. It
was long the granary of the Roman empire.

The sovereigns of China, of ancient Egypt, and of the different
kingdoms into which Indostan has, at different times, been divided,
have always derived the whole, or by far the most considerable part,
of their revenue, from some sort of land tax or land rent. This land
tax, or land rent, like the tithe in Europe, consisted in a certain
proportion, a fifth, it is said, of the produce of the land, which was
either delivered in kind, or paid in money, according to a certain
valuation, and which, therefore, varied from year to year, according
to all the variations of the produce. It was natural, therefore, that
the sovereigns of those countries should be particularly attentive to
the interests of agriculture, upon the prosperity or declension of
which immediately depended the yearly increase or diminution of their
own revenue.

The policy of the ancient republics of Greece, and that of Rome,
though it honoured agriculture more than manufactures or foreign
trade, yet seems rather to have discouraged the latter employments,
than to have given any direct or intentional encouragement to the
former. In several of the ancient states of Greece, foreign trade was
prohibited altogether; and in several others, the employments of
artificers and manufacturers were considered as hurtful to the
strength and agility of the human body, as rendering it incapable of
those habits which their military and gymnastic exercises endeavoured
to form in it, and as thereby disqualifying it, more or less, for
undergoing the fatigues and encountering the dangers of war. Such
occupations were considered as fit only for slaves, and the free
citizens of the states were prohibited from exercising them. Even in
those states where no such prohibition took place, as in Rome and
Athens, the great body of the people were in effect excluded from all
the trades which are now commonly exercised by the lower sort of the
inhabitants of towns. Such trades were, at Athens and Rome, all
occupied by the slaves of the rich, who exercised them for the benefit
of their masters, whose wealth, power, and protection, made it almost
impossible for a poor freeman to find a market for his work, when it
came into competition with that of the slaves of the rich. Slaves,
however, are very seldom inventive; and all the most important
improvements, either in machinery, or in the arrangement and
distribution of work, which facilitate and abridge labour have been
the discoveries of freemen. Should a slave propose any improvement of
this kind, his master would be very apt to consider the proposal as
the suggestion of laziness, and of a desire to save his own labour at
the master's expense. The poor slave, instead of reward would probably
meet with much abuse, perhaps with some punishment. In the
manufactures carried on by slaves, therefore, more labour must
generally have been employed to execute the same quantity of work,
than in those carried on by freemen. The work of the farmer must, upon
that account, generally have been dearer than that of the latter. The
Hungarian mines, it is remarked by Mr. Montesquieu, though not richer,
have always been wrought with less expense, and therefore with more
profit, than the Turkish mines in their neighbourhood. The Turkish
mines are wrought by slaves; and the arms of those slaves are the only
machines which the Turks have ever thought of employing. The Hungarian
mines are wrought by freemen, who employ a great deal of machinery, by
which they facilitate and abridge their own labour. From the very
little that is known about the price of manufactures in the times of
the Greeks and Romans, it would appear that those of the finer sort
were excessively dear. Silk sold for its weight in gold. It was not,
indeed, in those times an European manufacture; and as it was all
brought from the East Indies, the distance of the carriage may in some
measure account for the greatness of the price. The price, however,
which a lady, it is said, would sometimes pay for a piece of very fine
linen, seems to have been equally extravagant; and as linen was always
either an European, or at farthest, an Egyptian manufacture, this high
price can be accounted for only by the great expense of the labour
which must have been employed about It, and the expense of this labour
again could arise from nothing but the awkwardness of the machinery
which is made use of. The price of fine woollens, too, though not
quite so extravagant, seems, however, to have been much above that of
the present times. Some cloths, we are told by Pliny {Plin. 1.
ix.c.39.}, dyed in a particular manner, cost a hundred denarii, or
3:6s:8d. the pound weight. Others, dyed in another manner, cost a
thousand denarii the pound weight, or 33:6s:8d. The Roman pound, it
must be remembered, contained only twelve of our avoirdupois ounces.
This high price, indeed, seems to have been principally owing to the
dye. But had not the cloths themselves been much dearer than any which
are made in the present times, so very expensive a dye would not
probably have been bestowed upon them. The disproportion would have
been too great between the value of the accessory and that of the
principal. The price mentioned by the same author {Plin. 1.
viii.c.48.}, of some triclinaria, a sort of woollen pillows or
cushions made use of to lean upon as they reclined upon their couches
at table, passes all credibility; some of them being said to have cost
more than 30,000, others more than 300,000. This high price, too, is
not said to have arisen from the dye. In the dress of the people of
fashion of both sexes, there seems to have been much less variety, it
is observed by Dr. Arbuthnot, in ancient than in modern times; and the
very little variety which we find in that of the ancient statues,
confirms his observation. He infers from this, that their dress must,
upon the whole, have been cheaper than ours; but the conclusion does
not seem to follow. When the expense of fashionable dress is very
great, the variety must be very small. But when, by the improvements
in the productive powers of manufacturing art and industry, the
expense of any one dress comes to be very moderate, the variety will
naturally be very great. The rich, not being able to distinguish
themselves by the expense of any one dress, will naturally endeavour
to do so by the multitude and variety of their dresses.

The greatest and most important branch of the commerce of every
nation, it has already been observed, is that which is carried on
between the inhabitants of the town and those of the country. The
inhabitants of the town draw from the country the rude produce, which
constitutes both the materials of their work and the fund of their
subsistence; and they pay for this rude produce, by sending back to
the country a certain portion of it manufactured and prepared for
immediate use. The trade which is carried on between these two
different sets of people, consists ultimately in a certain quantity of
rude produce exchanged for a certain quantity of manufactured produce.
The dearer the latter, therefore, the cheaper the former; and whatever
tends in any country to raise the price of manufactured produce, tends
to lower that of the rude produce of the land, and thereby to
discourage agriculture. The smaller the quantity of manufactured
produce, which any given quantity of rude produce, or, what comes to
the same thing, which the price of any given quantity of rude produce,
is capable of purchasing, the smaller the exchangeable value of that
given quantity of rude produce; the smaller the encouragement which
either the landlord has to increase its quantity by improving, or the
farmer by cultivating the land. Whatever, besides, tends to diminish
in any country the number of artificers and manufacturers, tends to
diminish the home market, the most important of all markets, for the
rude produce of the land, and thereby still further to discourage

Those systems, therefore, which preferring agriculture to all other
employments, in order to promote it, impose restraints upon
manufactures and foreign trade, act contrary to the very end which
they propose, and indirectly discourage that very species of industry
which they mean to promote. They are so far, perhaps, more
inconsistent than even the mercantile system. That system, by
encouraging manufactures and foreign trade more than agriculture,
turns a certain portion of the capital of the society, from supporting
a more advantageous, to support a less advantageous species of
industry. But still it really, and in the end, encourages that species
of industry which it means to promote. Those agricultural systems, on
the contrary, really, and in the end, discourage their own favourite
species of industry.

It is thus that every system which endeavours, either, by
extraordinary encouragements to draw towards a particular species of
industry a greater share of the capital of the society than what would
naturally go to it, or, by extraordinary restraints, to force from a
particular species of industry some share of the capital which would
otherwise be employed in it, is, in reality, subversive of the great
purpose which it means to promote. It retards, instead of accelerating
the progress of the society towards real wealth and greatness; and
diminishes, instead of increasing, the real value of the annual
produce of its land and labour.

All systems, either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being
thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural
liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man, as long as he
does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue
his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and
capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men.
The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty, in the attempting
to perform which he must always be exposed to innumerable delusions,
and for the proper performance of which, no human wisdom or knowledge
could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of
private people, and of directing it towards the employments most
suitable to the interests of the society. According to the system of
natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to;
three duties of great importance, indeed, but plain and intelligible
to common understandings: first, the duty of protecting the society
from the violence and invasion of other independent societies;
secondly, the duty 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;
and, thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public
works, and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the
interest of any individual, or small number of individuals to erect
and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expense to any
individual, or small number of individuals, though it may frequently
do much more than repay it to a great society.

The proper performance of those several duties of the sovereign
necessarily supposes a certain expense; and this expense again
necessarily requires a certain revenue to support it. In the following
book, therefore, I shall endeavour to explain, first, what are the
necessary expenses of the sovereign or commonwealth; and which of
those expenses ought to be defrayed by the general contribution of the
whole society; and which of them, by that of some particular part
only, or of some particular members of the society: secondly, what are
the different methods in which the whole society may be made to
contribute towards defraying the expenses incumbent on the whole
society; and what are the principal advantages and inconveniencies of
each of those methods: and thirdly, what are the reasons and causes
which have induced almost all modern governments to mortgage some part
of this revenue, or to contract debts; and what have been the effects
of those debts upon the real wealth, the annual produce of the land
and labour of the society. The following book, therefore, will
naturally be divided into three chapters.


The two following accounts are subjoined, in order to illustrate and
confirm what is said in the fifth chapter of the fourth book,
concerning the Tonnage Bounty to the Whit-herring Fishery. The reader,
I believe, may depend upon the accuracy of both accounts.

An account of Busses fitted out in Scotland for eleven Years, with the
Number of empty Barrels carried out, and the Number of Barrels of
Herrings caught; also the Bounty, at a Medium, on each Barrel of
Sea-sricks, and on each Barrel when fully packed.

Years Number of Empty Barrels Barrels of Her- Bounty paid on
Busses carried out rings caught the Busses
. s. d.
1771 29 5,948 2,832 2,885 0 0
1772 168 41,316 22,237 11,055 7 6
1773 190 42,333 42,055 12,510 8 6
1774 240 59,303 56,365 26,932 2 6
1775 275 69,144 52,879 19,315 15 0
1776 294 76,329 51,863 21,290 7 6
1777 240 62,679 43,313 17,592 2 6
1778 220 56,390 40,958 16,316 2 6
1779 206 55,194 29,367 15,287 0 0
1780 181 48,315 19,885 13,445 12 6
1781 135 33,992 16,593 9,613 15 6

Totals 2,186 550,943 378,347 165,463 14 0

Sea-sticks 378,347 Bounty, at a medium, for each
barrel of sea-sticks, 0 8 2
But a barrel of sea-sticks
being only reckoned two thirds
of a barrel fully packed, one
third to be deducted, which
/deducted 126,115 brings the bounty to 0 12 3
Barrels fully
packed 252,231

And if the herrings are exported, there is besides a
premium of 0 2 8
So the bounty paid by government in money for each
barrel is 0 14 11

But if to this, the duty of the salt usually taken
credit for as expended in curing each barrel, which
at a medium, is, of foreign, one bushel and one-
fourth of a bushel, at 10s. a-bushel, be added, viz 0 12 6
the bounty on each barrel would amount to 1 7 5

If the herrings are cured with British salt, it will
stand thus, viz.
Bounty as before 0 14 11
But if to this bounty, the duty on two bushels of
Scotch salt, at 1s.6d. per bushel, supposed to be
the quantity, at a medium, used in curing each
barrel is added, viz. 0 3 0
The bounty on each barrel will amount to 0 17 11

And when buss herrings are entered for home
consumption in Scotland, and pay the shilling a
barrel of duty, the bounty stands thus, to wit,
as before 0 12 3
From which the shilling a barrel is to be deducted 0 1 0
0 11 3

But to that there is to be added again, the duty of
the foreign salt used curing a barrel of herring viz 0 12 6
So that the premium allowed for each barrel of her-
rings entered for home consumption is 1 3 9

If the herrings are cured in British salt, it will
stand as follows viz.
Bounty on each barrel brought in by the busses, as
above 0 12 3
From which deduct 1s. a-barrel, paid at the time
they are entered for home consumption 0 1 0
0 11 3

But if to the bounty, the the duty on two bushel
of Scotch salt, at 1s.6d. per bushel supposed to
be the quantity, at a medium, used in curing each
barrel, is added, viz 0 3 0
the premium for each barrel entered for home
consumption will be 1 14 3

Though the loss of duties upon herrings exported cannot, perhaps,
properly be considered as bounty, that upon herrings entered for
home consumption certainly may.

An account of the Quantity of Foreign Salt imported into Scotland,
and of Scotch Salt delivered Duty-free from the Works there, for
the Fishery, from the 5th. of April 1771 to the 5th. of April 1782
with the Medium of both for one Year.

Foreign Salt Scotch Salt delivered
PERIOD imported from the Works
Bushels Bushels

From 5th. April 1771 to
5th. April 1782 936,974 168,226
Medium for one year 85,159 15,293

It is to be observed, that the bushel of foreign salt weighs 48lbs.,
that of British weighs 56lbs. only.





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 improvement.

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, prepares
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 defenceless 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 agriculture
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 field.

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 service.

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 people.

In the republics of ancient Greece and Rome, during the whole period
of their existence, and under the feudal governments, 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

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 husbandman, 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 themselves.

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

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 officers.

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 a week, 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

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 arms.

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

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 battles.

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 country.

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

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

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 Caesar 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

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

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


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 society.

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

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
necessarily 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 likely 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


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