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human labor; and therefore, in a commercial view, cost nothing.
We prefer the term freedom to that of liberty, not only as being
convenience requires the establishment of this right, and the abridgment of this liberty. So of all rights established by common and statute law. Not one of them is created without the abridgment of liberty. It is to be feared, that the lack of making this distinction between liberty and rights, has produced, and is perpetually producing, a great deal of mischief in society, and that many of the cries for liberty are no other than claims to do as one pleases, in violation of rights; whereas, the only freedom that is desirable and worth contending for, is that state of things which secures rights, and suppresses that liberty, or which is the same thing, that licentiousness, which would violate them.
Freedom, with most people, is an abstract and vague notion, supposed to be valuable, and even worth fighting and dying for. But ask people what freedom is, and there is, perhaps, not one in a thousand that can tell. It is not an abstraction, but a practical good. It is a palpable thing, a tangible blessing. But what is it? In what does it consist? Our definition answers, that it consists in the enjoyment of commercial rights, and in the independent control of commercial values, fairly acquired.
Oppressors do not rob men of water, or of air, except in extraordinary cases of a cruel despotism, for punishment or vengeance. Such deprivations are wanton acts of inhumanity, of barbarity. Such are not the things which oppressors usually want; but they want that which costs labor; they want commercial values. On this single and simple principle, as upon a pivot, turns the entire system of social wrongs and social rights, comprehending all that ever were, or ever can be. It is the principle of meum et tuum, mine and thine-a principle recognised from the origin of the social state, and which is not peculiar to man, but is constantly seen developed among all the animal tribes. Disturb the den of a wild beast, or the nest of a bird, and you will see it quickly manifested.
It will, perhaps, be thought by some, that our definition of freedom is not sufficiently comprehensive; especially, that it does not reach the case of exemption from spiritual despotism. We submit, however, that the object of every system of spiritual despotism, as a system, is to get possession and control of commercial values, which constitute the arm of physical power. Without these, this species of sway would be of no avail, and there would be no motive for the attempt to gain and hold it. While the subjects of this influence remain in the unimpaired possession of their commercial
rights, they are not and can not be subdued; for they have the power in their own hands. All history pertaining to this point— and history must decide the question—evinces, that spiritual despotisms are always erected for temporal sway as an end.*
It is sufficiently obvious that temporal power, for the oppression of the human race, can only be established and maintained, by physical means means derived from the commercial values of society. Despotism can not exist permanently, except at the expense of its victims, in a commercial point of view. To make the arm of despotism strong, its victims must be made commercially weak, by depriving them of such a portion of their commercial values, as to create a formidable and irresistible physical power over them, and by keeping them in a position of relative impotence as to the means of asserting and vindicating their rights. They must first be robbed, before they can be oppressed. Let, therefore, the commercial rights of the people be secured and maintained, and there is no danger of spiritual or any other despotism, first, because there is no adequate motive; next, because it has nothing to feed upon; and thirdly, because it has nothing wherewithal to maintain its power. The strength, the might of the nation, in such a case, is with the people. All the ability of a despotism to hold and defend its position, is composed of commercial values wrongfully acquired. Give back the rights, and the power is restored with them; or if the people have not parted with their rights, the power could not be easily usurped. It is true, indeed, that the government of a country always has the advantage of the people, in proportion to the commercial values, or means of power, in the hands of each party, because it is one of the duties of a govern
Directly in point, as to the aims of spiritual despotism, above asserted, is the following extract from an able article in the Courier Des Etats Unis, New York, September 9, 1847, on the spiritual and temporal power of the bishop of Rome:
"Du jour où le pape s'est trouvé revêtu de ces deux caractères, il a dû considérer l'un comme un but, l'autre comme un moyen. Or, de la souveraineté spirituelle ou de la souveraineté temporelle, laquelle est le but, laquelle est le moyen? Lorsque nous jetons les yeux sur l'histoire et que nous voyons les papes devenir les arbitres de l'Europe, les médiateurs des querelles de prince à prince et de prince à peuple, les dispensateurs des trônes; quand nous sondons les célèbres questions des investitures, des Guelfes et des Gibelins; quand nous examinons l'échec préparé à Wiclef, à Jean Huss, à Jérôme de Prague, les luttes engagées contre les conquêtes de Luther, de Zuingle et de Calvin; quand nous suivons Borgia et Paul Farnèse guerroyant pour la destinée princière des produits mâles de leur célibat fécond, nous sommes forcément conduits à dire que le but papal a été la souveraineté temporelle et non point la souveraineté spirituelle; cette dernière reste donc à l'état de moyen."
ment to be always prepared for the exigencies of war; in other words, to be armed, and ready for arming more effectually, on short notice. It must be obvious, therefore, that, in case of a controversy between the government and people, it is as easy for the former to turn its arms against the latter, as against a foreign foe, while the people are unprepared for the contest. Hence the security of freedom requires, first, that no more of the commercial values of a people should be absorbed by the government, than is necessary for the safety of the commonwealth against foreign machinations; and next, that popular influence should be sufficiently elevated and strong, to control executive power.
But some, perhaps, will say, there is a subtlety in spiritual despotism, that is independent of physical power. A systematized spiritual despotism is undoubtedly dangerous to freedom; and all such systems have the end of physical power in view. So long as spiritual influence, in its isolated positions, has no such aims, and stops short of such an end, it can hardly be seen why it should be a subject of any great concern. But when it emanates from an established polity, existing for ages, ever asserting imperious pretensions, and never failing to avail itself of physical power, when it can, it is safer to be vigilant of its operations, than indifferent to them. And it will be found, that the principle of the doctrine asserted at the head of this chapter, applies to such a case. Every religious privilege, in its social character, comprehends a commercial right. A man's domicil, and everything pertaining thereunto, is a commercial right. No spiritual power can lawfully invade that sanctuary. It is sacred to man and to God. In that retreat is or should be the tenant's domestic altar; and, in relation to society, it is a commercial right. There he may worship his God, without question from any other authority than that of the object of his devotions. It is a high and sacred privilege; but, in relation to man, it is no less a commercial right. His closet, his bible, if he is a Christian, and his aids to devotion, are there. Between him and his God, they are sacred privileges; between him and society, they are commercial rights. They have cost him care and labor, and they are his. He has the same commercial rights in the place of public worship, if, in one way or another, he contributes of his earthly substance to its support.
It must, we think, be seen, that the range of these rights, as connected with religion, is sufficiently comprehensive, when vindicated, to bar the encroachments of spiritual despotism. Let these rights
remain unimpaired, and be fully enjoyed, and it is all the religious freedom that any man could desire. And it will be observed, that they are commercial rights. Our object is to show, that the bulwarks of freedom are composed of rights of this kind, and of this kind only. And if this be true of religious freedom, it is much more so of civil. Religious and civil freedom are indeed identical, in their relations to the state.
But there is a quantum of every man's commercial values due to the state, as a consideration for his benefit in the commonwealth. How much? By what rule of measurement shall it be graduated? It will be observed, that we are speaking of freedom. It would be a solecism to suppose, that any man's commercial values can be taken without his consent, and he be free. Force of this kind is the essence of despotism. Possibly it may not be felt as such, when exerted only to a small extent; but this does not alter the principle. An improper act is not characterized by degrees; but by the principle on which it is based. Extortion in a trifle may not be grievous; but multiply and extend it, and it becomes an aggravated evil. Even the brute creation know what is their own are conscious of their rights in relation to each other. Much less does man need to be told what is his property, or that it can not lawfully be taken from him without his consent, without a quid pro quo. On this principle is based his right of voice in his contributions to the statee-a right which, of course, can be exercised only mediately, or in a representative capacity. It is essential to freedom, that government should be the creation, and under the control, of those who contribute of their commercial values to sustain it. In this way, their taxes to the public are graduated by their own sovereign will. They pay them as they pay any other demand, for which, as parties to an agreement, they receive a valuable consideration. There is no more force in their taxes, than in what they pay for the necessaries and comforts of life. This is freedom, and no other state of things can be freedom.
It should be observed, that this principle is not only comprehensive, but fundamental and vital to the subject. There is nothing that men have ever been dissatisfied with, as the opposite of freedom, in the various forms of slavery or despotism, which is not reached by this as a radical cure. We have already seen, that it is a remedy for, or a preventive of, spiritual despotism. In the same manner, it is so in application to every other species of oppression. It occupies precisely the position of what is commonly