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plaints of those about him. He fears not for his children, nor is he anxiously raising portions for his daughters ; but is secure, that he, his wife, children, grand-children, to as many generations as he can imagine, will all live in affluence and happiness ; since in his country, no less care is taken of those who once laboured and were afterward disabled, than elsewhere of those who are still able to work.
Would any man compare their justice with that of other countries ?-in which, may I perish! if I see any thing either like justice or equity. For what justice is there in a nobleman, &c. or any one who either does nothing, or is employed in things which are of no use to the public, living in luxury and splendour on what is so ill acquired ; while a carter, a smith, or a plowman, who works harder than a beast, and is employed in such necessary labour that no state could exist a year without it, can earn only a poor livelihood, and must lead so miserable a life, that the condition of the beast is often preferable. For the beast worketh not so incessantly, feedeth nearly as well and with more pleasure, and hath no anxiety about the future; while these men are depressed by a fruitless employment, and tormented with the apprehension of want in old age; since their daily labour doth but maintain them, and no overplus is left for hereafter.
Is not that government unjust as well as ungrateful, which is so prodigal of her favours to those called gentlemen, &c. or to such as are idle, live by flattery or contriving the arts of rain pleasure, while she takes no care of those of a meaner sort, as plowmen, colliers, &c. without whom she could not subsist? But, when the public hath reaped every advantage of the services of the latter, and they become oppressed with age, sickness, and want, all their labours and their benefit to society are forgotten, and all the recompence they receive is, to die in misery. The rich, moreover, often endeavour to lower the wages of labourers by their unjustifiable practices, and the laws they procure to be made; so that, although it be very unjust to give such low remuneration to those who deserve so well of the public, they have added to this hardship the name and colour of justice, by procuring laws for regulating the matter.
I must therefore say, as I hope for mercy! I can have no other notion of all the other governments I see or know, than that they are a combination of the rich ; who, under pretence of the public benefit, pursue their private ends, and devise every art they can invent, first of preserving, without danger, all that they have so ill acquired, and next of engaging the poor to toil for them at as low rates as possible, and of oppressing them as much as they please. And if they can but succeed in establishing these plans by the show of public authority (which passeth for the voice of the people), they are accounted laws.
· Yet these wickod men, even when they have, with the most insatiate avarice, divided that among themselves which would well have supplied all the rest, are far from that happiness which the Utopians enjoy. For the use as well as desire for money being extinguished, much anxiety and great occasions of mischief are cut off. Who seeth not that the frauds, thefts, quarrels, tumults, seditions, murders, treacheries, and witchcrafts, which are punished rather than restrained by law, would all cease with the value of money in the world? Mens fears, solicitudes, labours, watchings, would perish with it. Poverty itself, for whose relief money secmeth most necessary, would fall. But to apprehend this aright, take an instance.
Take any year in which thousands have died by famine. Had a survey been made at the end of that year of the granaries of the rich who had hoarded corn, it would have been found that there was enough to have prevented the misery, and that, had it been distributed, none would have felt the dreadful effects of scarcity. So easy would it be to supply every necessity of life, if that blessed thing called money, pretended to be invented for procuring them, was not in reality the only obstacle to it.
I doubt not but the rich are sensible of this, and that they are well aware how much happier it is to want nothing necessary, than to abound in superfluities ; to be rescued from such misery, than to roll in such wealth. And I cannot think but every man's sense of his interest, added to the authority of Christ (who, being infinitely wise, knew what was best, and was no less good in discovering it to
us), would have drawn all mankind over to the laws of Utopia, did not pride, that plague of humanity, that source of misery, prevent it. She measureth happiness less by her own comfort than by the misery of others, and would not be satisfied with being a goddess, were none left miserable whom she might domineer. She thinketh her own happiness shines brighter by the gloom of others' misfortunes, and displayeth her wealth, that they may the more sensibly feel their poverty.
This is the infernal serpent which slinketh into the breast of man, and possesseth him too strongly to be easily drawn out. I rejoice therefore that the Utopians have fallen on this form of government, in which I wish all the world could be so wise as to imitate them. For, they have instituted so politic a scheme, that men live happily under it, and are likely to do so for a long continuance. Having rooted from the minds of their people all the seeds of ambition and faction, they have no danger of civil commotion, which alone hath been the ruin of many a state, otherwise seemingly well secured. But while they live in peace at home, governed by most excellent laws, the envy of all their neighbouring princes, who have often in vain attempted their ruin, will never be able to put them into commotion or disorder.'
When Raphael had thus finished his discourse; though many things occurred to me in the manners and laws of this people which seemed sufficiently absurd, as their art of war, their notions of religion, &c. but principally (what seemed the foundation of the rest) their living in common without the use of money, by which all nobility, splendour, and majesty, in the common opinion the true ornaments of a nation, would be destroyed ; yet perceiving him to be weary, and being uncertain whether he could easily bear contradiction (for I remembered he had noticed some who seemed to think they were bound to support the credit of their wisdom, by finding something to censure in all other men's inventions), I only commended the constitution and the account he had given of it, in general terms; and, leading him to supper, said, I would find some other time for examining this subject more particularly. Indeed, I shall be glad to embrace an opportunity of so doing. Meanwhile, though it must be confessed he is a very learned man, and one who hath acquired great knowledge of the world, I cannot assent to every thing he hath said. Yet I freely confess, there are many things in the commonwealth of Utopia, which I wish, but have no hope of seeing adopted among us.