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574                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
the great  landholders are met by manufactures carried on
within their own domains by their retainers, or by imports
which a small trade offers in exchange for various raw pro-
ducts of the soil.    This kind  of life might   almost get the
solidity of a  system of castes,   if an innovation could not
begin from the growth of towns, for it may be laid down as
a rule that no durable political change in a country yet unde-
veloped can begin from a landless rural population.*   Least of
all could the peasants initiate a successful change in a feudal
or scmifeudal society, where   a  country itself had become
disintegrated, and nearly all the central authority had passed
over into the hands of the great landholders or barons.    But
what the  laborers  on the soil cannot do, in that they are
-incapable of combination and are destitute at once of skill-
ful leaders and military experience, that the towns can do at
some favorable crisis and epoch of their growth, unless the
military class perceive that there must be in the end an essen-
tial opposition between their political interests and those of
the dwellers in cities.    It is for their direct advantage to have
taxable subjects on their own soil, to find that a settlement
of merchants and manufactures  increases the worth of their
lands and products, and that they are placed within easier reach
of the luxuries of remote lands.    They are content, therefore,
to confer such privileges of local self-government and police,
under an officer of their own, as will protect their rights and
offer  inducements  to new-comers.    From these beginnings
towns may push forward into still greater independence ; they
may form alliances with one another and with the suzerain;
may, for help afforded to their immediate sovereign, buy him
out in regard to all important political rights ; until they are
felt to be a body in  the state which cannot be despised, by
whose aid the suzerain can subdue the nobles, through the
*I say "durable" with the jacquerie and peasant's revolt in
mind, which broke out before their time, owing to the action of pecu-
liar and even temporary causes, but died down quickly. The peas-
ants' war in Germany, caused, it would seem, by wrongs of the fif"
teenth century and a new awakening of thought, ended unfortunately.