Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/212

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204
THE LAW.
"The Greeks, naturally full of spirit and courage, had been early cultivated by kings and colonies who had come from Egypt. From them they had learned the exercises of the body, foot races, and horse and chariot races...... The best thing that the Egyptians had taught them was to become docile, and to allow themselves to be formed by the laws for the public good."

Fenelon.—Reared in the study and admiration of antiquity, and a witness of the power of Louis XIV, Fenelon naturally adopted the idea that mankind should be passive, and that its misfortunes and its prosperities, its virtues and its vices, are caused by the external influence which is exercised upon it by the law, or by the makers of the law. Thus, in his Utopia of Salentum, he brings the men, with their interests, their faculties, their desires, and their possessions, under the absolute direction of the legislator. Whatever the subject may be, they themselves have no voice in it—the prince judges for them. The nation is just a shapeless mass, of which the prince is the soul. In him resides the thought, the foresight, the principle of all organisation, of all progress; on him, therefore, rests all the responsibility.

In proof of this assertion, I might transcribe the whole of the tenth book of "Telemachus." I refer the reader to it, and shall content myself with quoting some passages taken at random from this celebrated work, to which, in every other respect, I am the first to render justice.

With the astonishing credulity which characterizes the classics, Fenelon, against the authority of reason and of facts, admits the general felicity of