Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/213

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205
THE LAW.

the Egyptians, and attributes it, not to their own wisdom, but to that of their kings:—

"We could not turn our eyes to the two shores, without perceiving rich towns and country seats, agreeably situated; fields which were covered every year, without intermission, with golden crops; meadows full of flocks; labourers bending under the weight of fruits which the earth lavished on its cultivators; and shepherds who made the echoes around repeat the soft sounds of their pipes and flutes. 'Happy,' said Mentor, 'is that people which is governed by a wise king.' .... Mentor afterwards desired me to remark the happiness and abundance which was spread over all the country of Egypt, where twenty-two thousand cities might be counted. He admired the excellent police regulations of the cities; the justice administered in favour of the poor against the rich; the good education of the children, who were accustomed to obedience, labour, and the love of arts and letters; the exactness with which all the ceremonies of religion were performed; the disinterestedness, the desire of honour, the fidelity to men, and the fear of the gods, with which every father inspired his children. He could not sufficiently admire the prosperous state of the country. 'Happy,' said he,' is the people whom a wise king rules in such a manner.'"

Fenelon's idyl on Crete is still more fascinating. Mentor is made to say:—

"All that you will see in this wonderful island is the result of the laws of Minos. The education which the children receive renders the body healthy and robust. They are accustomed, from the first, to a frugal and laborious life; it is supposed that all the pleasures of sense enervate the body and the mind; no other pleasure is presented to them but that of being invincible by virtue, that of acquiring much glory.... there they punish three vices which go unpunished amongst other people—ingratitude, dissimulation, and avarice. As to pomp and dissipation, there is no need to punish these, for they are unknown in Crete...... No costly furniture, no magnificent clothing, no delicious feasts, no gilded palaces are allowed."

It is thus that Mentor prepares his scholar to mould and manipulate, doubtless with the most