INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CAUSES. 527 was in some respects intolerable, and the strife of orders fierce; yet how severe were the morals of this unlettered community, how sacred the marriage tie, how rare divorce,* what a spirit there was of thrift and frugality pervading the whole society. But in later times, when the polity was more just and equal, the morals were vastly worse. i. One of the chief differences between different govern- ments consists in the ease or difficulty with which individuals can acquire wealth and change their condition in society. As wealth means the power of self-gratification in any way, as well as higher social position, no motive can be more compre- hensive. There is a stream of adventurers from the humbler classes, not content with the life their fathers have led, press- ing on to fill positions in mercantile and professional life ; and where education is diffused in.a free country, their numbers and zeal will be so much the greater. If, as in England, there is a well-born and titled class into which they can scarcely hope to be admitted, this will be a barrier in one direction; but the middle class, as has been remarked, in England, will be so much the more eager to raise themselves by the pursuits of industry to an elevated position in the world. This class there is the zone of hope, lying between the zone of listlessness and despair, and the zone of content- ment. In proportion to the power of bettering their fortune by personal endeavors will be the energy, restlessness, hopeful- ness and discontent of those who are climbing the ladder. In. a country like the United States this stimulus to exertion is exceedingly strong and far diffused. Its effects are, some of them, very good, and others very evil. It produces speci- mens of covetousness, thorough earthliness, unreflecting pur~ suit of ends even by the rashest speculation, such as the absorbing desire of the goods of life naturally forms. With J t"Vi^ this are joined the vices that grow out of cupidity, ana * Even if we refuse to believe what D. Hal. says, ii. *5» °F su^ pose, as we may, that for other causes besides barrenness <uy was practiced before. Comp. GelL, iv. 3, who gives his authority.