Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/218

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210
THE LAW.

dignity if it were entrusted to the disciples of Rousseau?

Raynal. "The climate, that is, the air and the soil, is the first element for the legislator. His resources prescribe to him his duties. First, he must consult his local position. A population dwelling upon maritime shores must have laws fitted for navigation. … If the colony is located in an inland region, a legislator must provide for the nature of the soil, and for its degree of fertility.

"It is more especially in the distribution of property that the wisdom of legislation will appear. As a general rule, and in every country, when a new colony is founded, land should be given to each man, sufficient for the support of his family.…

"In an uncultivated island, which you are colonizing with children, it will only be needful to let the germs of truth expand in the developments of reason!. … But when you establish old people in a new country, the skill consists in only allowing it those injurious opinions and customs which it is impossible to cure and correct. If you wish to prevent them from being perpetuated, you will act upon the rising generation by a general and public education of the children. A prince or legislator ought never to found a colony without previously sending wise men there to instruct the youth. … In a new colony, every facility is open to the precautions of the legislator who desires to purify the tone and the manners of the people. If he has genius and virtue, the lands and the men which are at his disposal will inspire his soul with a plan of society which a writer can only vaguely trace, and in a way which would be subject to the instability of all hypotheses, which are varied and complicated by an infinity of circumstances too difficult to foresee and to combine."

One would think it was a professor of agriculture who was saying to his pupils—"The climate is the only rule for the agriculturist. His resources dictate to him his duties. The first thing he has to consider is his local position. If he is on a clayey soil, he must do so and so. If he has to contend with sand, this is the way in which he must set about it. Every facility is open to the agricul-