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POLITICAL CHANGES.                             597
ruined Italy and the provinces." He adds that six land-
owners held possession of half of the province of Africa, un-
til Nero had them put to death. (Nat. hist., xviii., 35.) The
gradual gathering of land in England into fewer hands, and
the disappearance to a great extent of the old yeomanry, is
well known. How can a nation thrive for a long time,
where " wealth accumulates and men decay."
Such is a fair view of the evils to which nations are exposed
where the liberties of buying and selling  land  are  great.
But is there no other side to the picture ?    There are, as it
seems to us, advantages both industrial and moral on the side
of nations which have accumulated large amounts of capital,
and where, consequently, the profits of capital and the inter-
est of money are small,    For the capital must be contented
with small returns and commodities are cheap, so that the
whole community, laborers and others, derive a benefit from
the low price of articles needed by all.    Then,   unless the
laborers are too many relatively to the capital, their share of
the whole produce will not be diminished, because the large
capital is a constant demand for their services.    Add to this
that where the returns to a given amount of capital are small,
there is a  constant  motive to  thrift and abstinence, so that
industry,  carefulness,   self-restraint find in such a state  of
things a greater motive to their exercise than in countries
where it is easier to grow rich.    There is no necessity then
that a large amount of wealth in a country should make it
hard for the laboring class to live, or even to raise their con-
dition by the use   of the  capital  of others.     The  amount
needed to carry on a given enterprise is less, the interest to
be deducted when money is borrowed is less, and the willing-
ness to lend as well as the ability to borrow on good security (
greater.    The comparisons often made between old and newly
settled countries, in favor of the latter as homes of the poor,
are in some degree deceptive.    If land is cheap and abundant
there, that is a great thing.     But the large wages in all em-
ployments shrink when you take rents and the prices paid
for commodities into account.