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THE STATE'S INTEREST IN STORED LABOUR
EVERYTHING in the world is purchased by labour, and our passions are the only causes of labour. When a nation abounds in manufactures and mechanic arts, the proprietors of land, as well as the farmers, study agriculture as a science, and redouble their industry and attention. The superfluity, which arises from their labour, is not lost, but is exchanged with manufactures for those commodities which men's luxury now makes them covet. By this means land furnishes a great deal more of the necessaries of life than what suffices for those who cultivate it. In times of peace and tranquillity this superfluity goes to the maintenance of manufacturers, and the improvers of liberal arts. But it is easy for the public to convert many of these manufacturers into soldiers, and maintain them by that superfluity which arises from the labour of the farmers. Accordingly we find that this is the case in all civilised governments. When the sovereign raises an army, what is the consequence? He imposes a tax. This tax obliges all the people to retrench what is least necessary to their subsistence. Those who labour in such commodities must either enlist in the troops, or turn themselves to agriculture, and thereby oblige some labourers to enlist for want of business. And to consider the matter abstractedly, manufacturers increase the power of the state only as they store up so much labour, and that of a kind to which the public may lay claim without depriving anyone of the necessaries of life. The more labour, therefore, is employed beyond mere necessaries, the more powerful is any state; since the persons engaged in that labour may easily be converted to the public service. In a state without manufacturers, there may be the same number of hands, but there is not the same quantity of labour, nor of the same kind. All the labour is there bestowed upon necessaries, which can admit of little or no abatement.
Thus the greatness of the sovereign and the happiness of the state are, in a great measure, united with regard to trade and manufactures. It is a violent method, and in most cases impracticable, to oblige the labourer to toil in order to raise from the land more than what subsists himself and family. Furnish him with manufactures and commodities, and he will do it of himself, Afterwards you will find it easy to seize some part of his superfluous labour, and employ it in the public service without giving him
his wonted return. Being accustomed to industry, he will think his less grievous than if, at once, you obliged him to augmentation of labour without any reward. The case is the same with regard to the other members of the state. The greater is the stock of labour of all kinds, the greater quantity may be taken from the heap, without making any sensible alteration in it.
(From Of Commerce.)
REASON NO AID TO RELIGION
I AM the better pleased with the method of reasoning here delivered, as I think it may serve to confound those dangerous friends or disguised enemies to the Christian religion, who have undertaken to defend it by the principles of human reason. Our most holy religion is founded on faith, not on reason; and it is a sure method of exposing it to put it to such a trial as it is by no means fitted to endure. To make this more evident, let us examine those miracles related in Scripture ; and not to lose ourselves in too wide a field, let us confine ourselves to such as we find in the Pentateuch, which we shall examine according to the principles of those pretended Christians, not as the word or testimony of God himself, but as the production of a mere human writer and historian. Here then we are first to consider a book, presented to us by a barbarous and ignorant people, written in an age when they are still more barbarous, and in all probability long after the facts which it relates, corroborated by no concurring testimony, and resembling those fabulous accounts which every nation gives of its origin. Upon reading this book we find it full of prodigies and miracles. It gives an account of a state of the world and of human nature entirely different from the present; of our fall from that state ; of the age of man, extended to near a thousand years ; of the destruction of the world by a deluge ; of the arbitrary choice of one people as the favourites of heaven, and that people the countrymen of the author ; of their deliverance from bondage by prodigies the most astonishing imaginable. I desire any one to lay his hand upon his heart, and after a serious consideration declare whether he thinks that the falsehood of such a book, supported by such a testimony, would be more extraordinary and miraculous than all the miracles it relates ; which is, however, necessary to make it be received, according to the measures of probability above established.
What we have said of miracles may be applied, without any variation, to prophecies; and, indeed, all prophecies are real miracles, and as such only can be admitted as proofs of any revelation. If it did not exceed the capacity of human nature to foretell future events, it would be absurd to employ any prophecy as an argument for a divine mission or authority from heaven. So that, upon the whole, we may conclude that the Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity. And whoever is moved by faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience.
(From An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding.)
(Laurence Sterne was born at Clonmel on the 24th of November 1713. His father, Roger Sterne, was an ensign of Foot, who had served in the great war which was brought to a close by the treaty of Utrecht, and whose regiment had just been disbanded on its arrival in Ireland a day or two before the infant's birth took place. After some months of enforced idleness his regiment was again embodied, and for the first ten years of his life Laurence accompanied his father and mother in their continual movements, under military orders, from place to place. In the autumn of 1723, however, or the spring of the following year, the boy was sent to Halifax Grammar School, whence, after a stay of about eight years, near the end of which period his father died, he was sent, at the charges of a cousin on the paternal side, to Cambridge, where he obtained a sizarship at Jesus and duly proceeded to his B. A. degree. Dr. Jacques Sterne, an elder brother of his father's, now undertook the advancement of his fortunes; and immediately on his taking priest's orders procured for him the Yorkshire living of Sutton in the Forest, into which he was inducted in 1738, and which he held in complete obscurity for upwards of twenty years. In 1759, in consequence, as he alleged, of a coolness having arisen between him and his uncle, for whose advantage he had, according to his own account, been employing his brain and his pen without adequate recognition, he“ turned author" on his own account. The first two volumes of Tristram Shandy appeared in 1760 ; and Sterne leaped at one bound into fame. The book became the rage of London, and the author the lion of its fashionable society. One of his aristocratic patrons, Lord Fauconberg, presented him to the living of Coxwold in Yorkshire, whither he retired after his London triumph, and whence in the following year he sent forth the third and fourth volumes of this famous extravaganza of fiction. About the middle of 1761, however, the health of the author, never very robust, began to fail; and during the six following years the remaining volumes V. to IX., appeared at irregular intervals determined by Sterne's repeated visits to and prolonged sojourns in France and Italy. The ninth, and as it proved, the last volume of Tristram Shandy appeared in January 1767, and was followed in February of the next year by the Sentimental Journey. A month later, on the 18th March 1768, Sterne died of pleurisy at his lodgings in Bond Street. ]
To talk of “the style" of Sterne is almost to play one of those tricks with language of which he himself was so fond. For there
is hardly any definition of the word which can make it possible to describe him as having any style at all. It is not only that he manifestly recognised no external canons whereto to conform the expression of his thoughts, but he had apparently no inclination to invent and observe, except indeed in the most negative of senses, any style of his own. The “style of Sterne,” in short, is as though one should say “the form of Proteus.”
He was determined to be uniformly eccentric, regularly irregular, and that was all. His digressions, his "asides,” and his fooleries, in general, would of course have in any case necessitated a certain jerkiness of manner; but this need hardly have extended itself habitually to the structure of individual sentences, and as a matter of fact he can at times write, as he does for the most part in his sermons, in a style which is not the less vigorous for being fairly correct. But as a rule his mode of expressing himself is destitute of any pretensions to precision; and in many instances it is a perfect marvel of literary slipshod. Nor is there any ground for believing that the slovenliness was invariably intentional. Sterne's truly hideous French French at which even the average English tourist would stand aghast—is in itself sufficient evidence of a natural insensibility to grammatical accuracy. Here there can be no suspicion of designed defiance of rules; and more than one solecism of rather a serious kind in his use of English words and phrases affords confirmatory testimony to the same point. His punctuation is fearful and wonderful, even for an age in which the rationale of punctuation was more imperfectly understood than it is at present; and this, though an apparently slight matter, is not without value as an indication of ways of thought. But if we can hardly describe Sterne's style as being in the literary sense a style at all, it has a very distinct colloquial character of its own, and as such it is nearly as much deserving of praise as from the literary point of view it is open to exception. Chaotic as it is in the syntactical sense, it is a perfectly clear vehicle for the conveyance of thought. We are as rarely at a loss for the meaning of one of Sterne's sentences, as we are, for very different reasons, for the meaning of one of Macaulay's. And his language is so full of life and colour, his tone so animated and vivacious, that we forget we are reading and not listening, and we are as little disposed to be exacting in respect to form as though we were listeners in actual fact. Sterne's manner, in short, may be that of a bad and care