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the rent and the value of the inheritance of land depend on them greatly more than on nature, and this, though there is no considerable difference in the prices of our markets. Land of equal goodness lets for double the rent of other land lying in the same county, and there are many years' purchase difference between different counties, where rents are equally well paid and secure. Thus manners operate upon the number of inhabitants; but of their silent effects upon the civil constitution, history, and even our own experience, yields us abundance of proofs, though they are not uncommonly attributed to external causes ; their support of a government against external force is so great, that it is a common maxim among the advocates of liberty, that no free government was ever dissolved, or overcome, before the manners of its subjects were corrupted. The superiority of Greece over Persia was singly owing to their difference of manners; and that, though all natural advantages were on the side of the latter, to which I might add civil ones; for, though the greatest of all civil advantages, liberty, was on the side of Greece, yet that added no political strength to her, other than as it operated on her manners, and, when they were corrupted, the restoration of their liberty by the Romans, overturned the remains of their power. Whether the manners of ancient Rome were at any period calculated to promote the happiness of individuals, it is not my design to examine; but that their manners, and the effects of those manners on their government and public conduct, founded, enlarged, and supported, and afterwards overthrew their empire, is beyond all doubt. One of the effects of their conquest furnishes us with a strong proof, how prevalent manners are even beyond the quantity of subsistence; for, when the custom of bestowing on the citizens of Rome corn enough to support themselves and families, was become established, and Egypt and Sicily produced the grain, that fed the inhabitants of Italy, this became less populous every day, and the jus trium liberorum was but an expedient, that could not balance the want of industry and frugality. But corruption of manners did not only thin the inhabitants of the Roman empire, but it rendered the remainder incapable of defence, long before its fall, perhaps before the dissolution of the republic; so that without standing disciplined armies, composed of men, whose moral habits principally, and mechanical habits secondarily, made them different from the body of the people, the Roman empire had been a prey to the barbarians many ages before it was. By the mechanical habits of the soldiery, I mean their discipline, and the art of war; and that this is but a secondary quality, appears from the inequality that has in all ages been between raw, though well-disciplined armies, and veterans, and more from the irresistible force a single moral habit, religion, has conferred on troops, frequently neither disciplined nor experienced. The military manners of the noblesse in France compose the chief force of that kingdom, and the enterprising manners and restless dispositions of the inhabitants of Canada have enabled a handful of men to harass our populous and generally less martial colonies; yet neither are of the value they seem at first sight, because overbalanced by the defect they occasion of other habits, that would produce more eligible political good; and military manners in a people are not necessary in an age and country where such manners may be occasionally formed and preserved among men enough to defend the state; and such a country is Great Britain, where, though the lower class of people are by no means of a military cast, yet they make better soldiers than even the noblesse of France. The inhabitants of this country, a few ages back, were to the populous and rich provinces of France, what Canada is now to the British colonies. It is true, there was less disproportion between their natural strength; but I mean, that the riches of France were a real weakness, opposed to the military manners founded upon poverty and a rugged disposition, then the character of the English; but it must be remembered, that at this time the manners of a people were not distinct from that of their soldiery, for the use of standing armies has deprived a military people of the advantages they before had over others; and though it has been often said, that civil wars give power, because they render all men soldiers, I believe this has only been found true in internal wars following civil wars, and not in external ones; for now, in foreign wars, a small army, with ample means to support it, is of greater force than one more numerous, with less. This last fact has often happened between France and Germany. The means of supporting armies, and consequently the power of exerting external strength, are best found in the industry and frugality of the body of a people living under a government and laws, that encourage commerce; for commerce is at this day almost the only stimulus, that forces every one to contribute a share of labor for the public benefit. But such is the human frame, and the world is so constituted, that it is a hard matter to possess one's self of a benefit, without laying one's self open to a loss on some other side; the improvements of manners of one sort often deprave those of another; thus we see industry and frugality under the influence of commerce,
which I call a commercial spirit, tend to destroy, as well
the little danger of any conquest to be made upon them, I had rather they should suffer something through disunion, than see them under a general administration less equitable than that concerted at Albany.” I take it, the inhabitants of Pennsylvania are both frugal and industrious beyond those of any province in America. If luxury should spread, it cannot be extirpated by laws. We are told by Plutarch, that Plato used to say, It was a hard thing to make laws for the Cyrenians, a people abounding in plenty and opulence. But from what I set out with it is evident, if I be not mistaken, that education only can stem the torrent, and, without checking either true industry or frugality, prevent the sordid frugality and laziness of the old Irish, and many of the modern Scotch, (I mean the inhabitants of that country, those who leave it for another being generally industrious,) or the industry, mixed with luxury, of this capital, from getting ground, and, by rendering ancient manners familiar, produce a reconciliation between disinterestedness and commerce; a thing we often see, but almost always in men of a liberal education. To conclude; when we would form a people, soil and climate may be found at least sufficiently good; inhabitants may be encouraged to settle, and even supported for a while; a good government and laws may be framed, and even arts may be established, or their produce imported; but many necessary moral habits are hardly ever found among those who voluntarily offer themselves, in times of quiet at home, to people new colonies; besides that the moral, as well as mechanical habits, adapted to a mother country, are frequently not so to
"Alluding to a plan for the union of the colonies, which had been concerted by a convention at Albany. The papers relating to this subject may be seen in another part of this work. —Editor.