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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

436                              POLITICAL  SCIENCE.
in. both monarchies and despotisms." But while this is true,
it is not all the truth. Sumptuary laws are enacted to
prevent or destroy an evil that is already too inveterate to be
destroyed. Tacitus (AnnaL, iii., 53) makes the emperor Tibe-
rius say, in a letter to the senate, that "the many laws
devised by the men of olden times, the many that the late
emperor Augustus had passed—the former becoming a dead
letter by being forgotten; the latter, what is more disgraceful,
by the contempt they met with—have rendered luxury more
secure." The whole series of laws was a failure.
A government may make laws, says Montesquieu, to pro-
mote absolute frugality, which is the spirit of sumptuary laws
in a republic; or to promote relative frugality, which is
effected by prohibiting expensive foreign products that re-
quire such an exportation of home manufactures as to cause
more loss than advantage. His meaning must be either more
moral loss than moral gain, or loss rather than gain of riches.
But kow crude the politico-economical doctrine here is, if we
are right in our doctrine at the present age! If home manu-
factures are exported, it will be because they are made at a
relative profit; and if prices at home rise, the exportation
must by and by cease, for in the other nation, or somewhere
else, the articles will then be made cheaper. Until that time,
the home production will be stimulated and the laborers be
employed. And what is meant by too high prices ? Not, cer-
tainly, too high for the importer's ability to dispose of them,
nor too high for the nation importing to pay, for then the
importation would stop of itself.
And this leads us to the inquiry whether, in the interests of
Tariffs in the in- morality, any law endeavoring to keep the in-
terests of morals.     habitants of a nation from vicious or expensive
indulgences ought to be passed. The answers may be two-
fold : i. The modern plan of laying duties, not equally on'
everything, but unequally, so as to derive as large a part of
the duty as possible from expensive articles used only by the
rich, has proved so successful and is so unobjectionable on prin-
ciple, that probably it will never be abandoned. It imposes