whom they place confidence, and are of course liable to be tinctured by the passions and views of those individuals? Has commerce hitherto done anything more than change the objects of war? Is not the love of wealth as domineering and enterprising a passion as that of power or glory? Have there not been as many wars founded upon commercial motives, since that has become the prevailing system of nations, as were before occasioned by the cupidity of territory or dominion? Has not the spirit of commerce, in many instances, administered new incentives to the appetite, both for the one and for the other? Let experience, the least fallible guide of human opinions, be appealed to for an answer to these inquiries.
Sparta, Athens, Rome, and Carthage, were all Republics; two of them, Athens and Carthage, of the commercial kind. Yet were they as often engaged in wars, offensive and defensive, as the neighboring Monarchies of the same times. Sparta was little better than a well-regulated camp; and Rome was never sated of carnage and conquest.
Carthage, though a commercial Republic, was the aggressor in the very war that ended in her destruction. Hannibal had carried her arms into the heart of Italy and to the gates of Rome, before Scipio, in turn, gave him an overthrow in the territories of Carthage, and made a conquest of the Commonwealth.
Venice, in later times, figured more than once in wars of ambition; till becoming an object to the other Italian States, Pope Julius II. found means to accomplish that formidable league, which gave a deadly blow to the power and pride of this haughty Republic.
The Provinces of Holland, till they were overwhelmed in debts and taxes, took a leading and conspicuous part
- The League of Cambray, comprehending the Emperor, the King of France, the King of Aragon, and most of the Italian Princes and States.—Publius.