Quotes from Jean-Baptiste Say

Originally published in 2007.

While preparing my article Reisman Insights Without George Reisman, I took the opportunity to read Jean-Baptiste Say’s Traité d’économie politique in an English translation which is available on the web. The following is a collection of quotes that I found particularly important and/or interesting.

The book was written in 1803, and the translation was made shortly afterwards. For this reason, some words have an unfamiliar spelling, and occasionally a word is used in an unfamiliar sense. Also, the frequent use of comma might be slightly disturbing to a modern reader. Or that “cannot” is written “can not”.

And although I have grouped the quotes under sub-headings, this is not intended as a systematic presentation of Say´s economics.

On theory and practice

Nothing can be more idle than the opposition of theory to practice! What is theory, if it be not a knowledge of the laws which connect effects with their causes, or facts with facts? And who can be better acquainted with facts than the theorist who surveys them under all their aspects, and comprehends their relation to each other? And what is practice without theory, but the employment of means without knowing how or why they act? (Introduction, 1.22.)

On genius

A man of genius is indebted to everything around him; to the scattered lights which he has concentrated, to the errors which he has overthrown, and even to the enemies by whom he has been assailed; inasmuch as they all contribute to the formations of his opinions. But when out of these materials he afterwards embodies enlarged views, useful to his contemporaries and posterity, it rather behoves us to acknowledge the extent of our own obligations, than to reproach him with what has been supplied by others. (Introduction, 1.59.)

On the “labour theory of value”

To the labour of man alone he [Adam Smith] ascribes the power of producing values. This is an error. A more exact analysis demonstrates, as will be seen in the course of this work, that all values are derived from the operation of labour, or rather from the industry of man, combined with the operations of those agents which nature and capital furnish him. (Introduction, 1.59.)

* * *

It is a maxim with Smith and those of his school, that human labour was the first price, – the original purchase-money, paid for all things. They have omitted to add, that for every object of purchase, there is, moreover, paid, the agency and co-operation of the capital employed in its production. Is not capital itself, they will say, composed of accumulated products, – of accumulated labour? Granted: but the value of capital, like that of land, is distinguishable from the value of its productive agency; the value of a field is quite different from that of its annual rent. When a capital of 1000 dollars is lent, or rather lent on hire, for a year, in consideration of 50 dollars more or less, its agency is transferred for that space of time, and for that consideration; besides the 50 dollars, the lender receives back the whole principal sum of 1000 dollars, which is applicable to the same objects as before. Thus, although the capital be itself a pre-existent product, the annual profit upon it is an entirely new one, and has no reference to the industry, wherein the capital originated.

Wherefore when a product is ultimately completed by the aid of capital, one portion of its value must go to recompense the agency of the capital, as well as another to reward that of the industry, that have concurred in its production. And the portion so applied is wholly distinct from the capital itself, which is returned to the full amount, and emerges in a perfect state from its productive employment. Nor does this profit upon capital represent any part of the industry engaged in its original formation.

From all which it is impossible to avoid drawing this conclusion; that the profit of capital, like that of land and the other natural sources, is the equivalent given for a productive service, which though distinct from that of human industry, is nevertheless its efficient ally in the production of wealth. (II.VIII.41–43.)

* * *

Now facts demonstrate, that values produced are referable to the agency and concurrence of industry, of capital, and of natural agents, whereof the chief, though by no means the only one, is land capable of cultivation; and that no other but these three sources can produce value, or add to human wealth. (I.IV.11.)

On the role of government

When public authority is not itself a spoliator, it procures to the nation the greatest of all blessings, protection from spoliation by others. Without this protection of each individual by the united force of the whole community, it is impossible to conceive any considerable development of the productive powers of man, of land, and of capital; or even to conceive the existence of capital at all; for it is nothing more than accumulated value, operating under the safeguard of authority. This is the reason why no nation has ever arrived at any degree of opulence, that has not been subject to a regular government. Civilized nations are indebted to political organization for the innumerable and infinitely various productions, that satisfy their infinite wants, as well as for the fine arts and the opportunities of leisure that accumulation affords, without which the faculties of the mind could never be cultivated, or man by their means attain the full dignity, whereof his nature is susceptible.

The poor man, that can call nothing his own, is equally interested with the rich in upholding the inviolability of property. His personal services would not be available, without the aid of accumulations previously made and protected. Every obstruction to, or dissipation of these accumulations, is material injury to his means of gaining a livelihood; and the ruin and spoliation of the higher is as certainly followed by the misery and degradation of the lower classes. A confused notion of the advantages of this right of property has been equally conducive with the personal interest of the wealthy, to make all civilized communities pursue and punish every invasion of property as a crime. The study of political economy is admirably calculated to justify and confirm this act of legislation; inasmuch as it explains why the happy effects, resulting from the right of property, are more striking in proportion as that right is well guarded by political institutions. (I.XIV.9–10.)

* * *

[O]f all the means, by which a government can stimulate production, there is none so powerful as the perfect security of person and property, especially from the aggressions of arbitrary power. This security is itself a source of public prosperity, that more than counteracts all the restrictions hitherto invented for checking its progress. Restrictions compress the elasticity of production; but want of security destroys it altogether. To convince ourselves of this fact, it is sufficient to compare the nations of western Europe with those subject to Ottoman power. Look at most parts of Africa, Arabia, Persia, and Asia Minor, once so thickly strown with flourishing cities, whereof, as Montesquieu remarks, no trace now remains but in the pages of Strabo. The inhabitants are pillaged alike by bandits and pachas; wealth and population have vanished; and the thinly scattered remnant are miserable objects of want and wretchedness. Survey Europe on the other hand; and, though she is still far short of the prosperity she might attain, most of her kingdoms are in a thriving condition, in spite of taxes and restrictions innumerable; for the simple reason, that persons and property are there pretty generally safe from violence and arbitrary exaction.

There is one expedient by which a government may give its subjects a momentary accession of wealth, that I have hitherto omitted to mention. I mean the robbery from another nation of all its moveable property, and bringing home the spoil, or the imposition of enormous tributes upon its growing produce. This was the mode practised by the Romans in the latter periods of the republic, and under the earliest emperors. This is an expedient of the same nature, as the acquirement of wealth by individual acts of illegal violence or fraud. There is no actual production, but a mere appropriation of the products of others. I mention this method of acquiring wealth, once and for all, without meaning to recommend it as either safe or honourable. Had the Romans followed the contrary system with equal perseverance, had they studied to spread civilization among their savage neighbours, and to establish a friendly intercourse that might have engendered reciprocal wants, the Roman power would probably have existed to this day. (I.XVIII.11–12, italics mine.)

On the “balance of trade” doctrine:

The day will come, sooner or later, when people will wonder at the necessity of taking all this trouble to expose the folly of a doctrine, so childish and absurd, and yet so often enforced at the point of the bayonet. (I.XVII.51.)

* * *

A nation that should export to the value of 20,000 dollars, and import to the value of 24,000 dollars wholly in goods, without any money passing on either side, would make a profit of 4,000 dollars, in direct contradiction to the theory of the partizans of the balance of trade. (II.V.22.)

* * *

I have omitted to mention other serious evils of the exclusive system [i.e. mercantilism]; as, for instance, the creation of a new class of crime, that of smuggling; whereby an action, wholly innocent in itself, is made legally criminal: and persons, who are actually labouring for the general welfare, are subjected to punishment. (I.XVII.71.)

On “speculation”

… so long as difficulties shall exist, nobody will be able to surmount them so cheaply, as those who make it their special business. (I.XVII.148.)

On price controls

Whenever a maximum of price has been affixed to grain, it has immediately been withdrawn or concealed. The next step was to compel the farmers to bring their grain to market, and prohibit the private sales. These violations of property, with all their usual accompaniments of inquisitorial search, personal violence, and injustice, have never afforded any considerable resource to the government employing them. In polity as well as morality, the grand secret is, not to constrain the actions, but to awaken the inclinations of mankind. Markets are not to be supplied by the terror of the bayonet or the sabre. (I.XVII.150, italics mine.)

* * *

The more necessary an article is, the more dangerous it is to reduce its price below the natural level. An accidental dearness of corn, though doubtless a most unwelcome occurrence, is commonly brought about by causes out of all human power to remove. There is no wisdom in heaping one calamity upon another, and pass a bad law because there has been a bad season. (I.XVII.153, italics mine.)

* * *

When the price of any object is legally fixed below the charges of its production, the production of it is discontinued, because nobody is willing to labour for a loss: those, who before earned their livelihood by this branch of production, must die of hunger, if they find no other employment; and those, who could have purchased the product at its natural price, are obliged to go without it. The establishment of a fixed rate, or maximum, is a suppression of a portion of production and consumption; that is to say, a diminution of the prosperity of the community, which consists in production and consumption. Even the produce already existing is not so properly consumed as it should be. For, in the first place, the proprietor withholds it as much as possible from the market. In the next, it passes into the hands, not of those who want it most, but of those who have the most avidity, cunning, and dishonesty; and often with the most flagrant disregard of natural equity and humanity. A scarcity of corn occurs; the price rises in consequence; yet still it is possible, that the labourer, by redoubling his exertions, or by an increase of wages, may earn wherewithal to buy it at the market price. In the mean time, the magistrate fixes corn at half its natural price: what is the consequence? Another consumer, who had already provided himself, and consequently would have bought no more corn had it remained at its natural price, gets the start of the labourer, and now, from more superfluous precaution, and to take advantage of the forced cheapness, adds to his own store that portion, which should have gone to the labourer. The one has a double provision, the other none at all. The sale is no longer regulated by the wants and means, but by the superior activities of the purchasers. It is, therefore, not surprising, that a maximum of price on commodities should aggravate their scarcity.

A law, that simply fixes the price of commodities at the rate they would naturally obtain, is merely nugatory, or serves only to alarm producers and consumers, and consequently to derange the natural proportion between the production and the demand; which proportion, if left to itself, is invariably established in the manner most favourable to both. (II.I.28–29.)

On money

I must here observe, that the adoption of any specific commodity to serve as money, considerably augments its intrinsic value, or value as an article of commerce. A new use being discovered for the commodity, it unavoidably becomes more in request; the employment of a great part, the half or perhaps three-fourths of the whole stock of it on hand, in this new way cannot fail to render the whole more scarce and dear. (I.XXI.26.)

On interest

Before the functions and utility of capital were known, it is probable, that the demand of rent for it by lenders was considered an abuse and oppression, – an expedient to favour the rich and prejudice the poor; nay, further, that frugality, the sole means of amassing capital, was regarded as parsimony, and deemed a public mischief by the populace, in whose eyes, the sums not spent by great proprietors were looked upon as lost to themselves. They could not comprehend, that money, laid by to be turned to account in some beneficial employment, must be equally spent; for, if it were buried it could never be turned to account at all; that it is, in fact, spent in a manner a thousand times more profitable to the poor; and that a labouring man is never sure of earning a subsistence, except where there is a capital in reserve for him to work upon. This prejudice against rich individuals, who do not spend their whole income, still exists pretty generally; formerly, it was universal; lenders themselves were not altogether free from it, but were so much ashamed of the part they were acting, as to employ the most disreputable agents in the collection of profits perfectly just, and highly advantageous to society. (II.VIII.6.)

* * *

Thus, the practice of usury has been uniformly revived, whenever it has been attempted to limit the rate of interest, or abolish it altogether. The severer the penalties, and the more rigid their exaction, the higher the interest of money was sure to rise; and this is what might naturally have been expected; for the greater the risk, the greater premium of insurance did it require to tempt the lender. [Some historical examples follow.] (II.VIII.9.)

* * *

The resort to personal restraint against insolvent debtors has been generally considered as injurious to the borrower; but is, on the contrary, much in his favour. Loans are made more willingly, and on better terms, where the rights of the lender are best secured by law. Besides, the encouragement to accumulate capital is thereby enlarged; whenever individuals mistrust the mode of investing their savings, there is a strong inducement to everyone to consume the whole of his income, and this consideration will, perhaps, help to explain a curious moral phenomenon; namely, that irresistible avidity for excessive enjoyment, which is a common symptom in times of political turbulence and confusion. (II.VIII.17.)

* * *

To limit capitalists to the lending at a certain fixed rate only, is to set an arbitrary value on their commodity, to impose a maximum of price upon it, and to exclude, from the mass of floating or circulating capital, all that portion, whose proprietors cannot, or will not, accept of the limited rate of interest. Laws of this description are so mischievous, that it is well that they are so little regarded as they almost always are, the wants of borrowers combining with those of lenders, for the purpose of evading them; which is easily managed, by stipulating for benefits to the lender, not indeed bearing the name of interest, although really the same thing in the end. The only consequence of such enactments is, to raise the rate of interest, by adding the risks, to which the lender is exposed, and against which he must be indemnified. It is somewhat amusing to find that those governments, which have fixed the rate of interest, have almost invariably themselves set the example of breaking their own laws, by borrowing at higher than legal interest in their own case. (II.VIII.28.)

* * *

Capital, at the moment of lending, commonly assumes the form of money; whence it has been inferred, that abundance of money is the same thing as abundance of capital; and, consequently, that abundance of money is what lowers the rate of interest. Hence the erroneous expression used by men of business, when they tell us, that money is scarce, or that money is plentiful; which, it must be confessed, are equally just and appropriate, as the very incorrect term, interest of money. The fact is, that abundance or scarcity of money, or of its substitute, whatever it may be, no more affects the rate of interest, than abundance or scarcity of cinnamon, of wheat, or of silk. The article lent is not any commodity in particular, or even money, which is itself but a commodity, like all others; but it is a value accumulated and destined to beneficial investment. (II.VIII.31.)

On population

It appears to me, however, that one very natural consequence, deducible from this maxim [that the population of a state is always proportionate to the sum of its production in every kind], has escaped their observation; which is, that nothing can permanently increase population, except the encouragement and advance of production; and that nothing can occasion its permanent diminution, but such circumstances as attack production in its sources.

The Romans were forever making regulations to repair the loss of population, occasioned by their state of perpetual external warfare. Their censors preached up matrimony; their laws offered premiums and honours to plurality of children; but these measures were fruitless. There is no difficulty in getting children; the difficulty lies in maintaining them. They should have enlarged their internal production, instead of spreading devastation amongst their neighbours. All their boasted regulations did not prevent the effectual depopulation of Italy and Greece, even long before the inroads of the barbarous northern hordes. (II.IX.10–11; italics mine.)

* * *

It is not uncommon to find authors proposing, as the model for imitation, those nations whose wants are few; whereas, it is far preferable to have numerous wants, along with the power to gratify them. This is the way at once to multiply the human species, and to give to each a more enlarged existence.

Stewart extols the Lacedæmonian policy, which consisted in practising the art of self-denial in the extreme, without aiming at progressive advancement in the art of production. But herein the Spartans were rivalled by the rudest tribes of savages, which are commonly neither numerous nor amply provided. Upon this principle, it would be the very acme of perfection to produce nothing and to have no wants; that is to say, to annihilate human existence. (III.I.19–20.)

On “consumptionism”

How great, then, must be the mistake of those, who, on observing the obvious fact, that the production always equals the consumption, as it must necessarily do, since a thing can not be consumed before it is produced, have confounded the cause with the effect, and laid it down as a maxim, that consumption originates production; therefore that frugality is directly adverse to public prosperity, and that the most useful citizen is the one who spends the most. (III.V.22.)

* * *

These conclusions of theory [about production and consumption] have been confirmed by experience. Misery is the inevitable companion of luxury. The man of wealth and ostentation squanders upon costly trinkets, sumptuous repasts, magnificent mansions, dogs, horses, and mistresses, a portion of value, which, vested in productive occupation, would enable a multitude of willing labourers, whom his extravagance now consigns to idleness and misery, to provide themselves with warm clothing, nourishing food, and household conveniences. The gold buckles of the rich man leave the poor one without shoes to his feet; and the labourer will want a shirt to his back, while his rich neighbour glitters in velvet and embroidery. (III.V.25.)

* * *

It is alleged, that, to excite mankind to spend or consume, is to excite them to produce, inasmuch as they can only spend what they may acquire. This fallacy is grounded on the assumption, that production is equally within the ability of mankind as consumption; that it is as easy to augment as to expend one’s revenue. But, supposing it were so, nay further, that the desire to spend, begets a liking for labour, although experience by no means warrants such a conclusion, yet there can be no enlargement of production, without an augmentation of capital, which is one of the necessary elements of production; but it is clear, that capital can only be accumulated by frugality; and how can that be expected from those, whose only stimulus to production is the desire of enjoyment. (III.V.30.)

* * *

If it be pretended, that a system, which encourages profusion, operates only upon the wealthy, and thus tends to a beneficial end, inasmuch as it reduces the evil of the inequality of fortune, there can be little difficulty in showing, that profusion in the higher, begets a similar spirit in the middling and lower classes of society, which last must, of course, the soonest arrive at the limits of their income; so that, in fact, the universal profusion has the effect of increasing, instead of reducing, that inequality. Besides, the profusion of the wealthier class is always preceded, or followed, by that of the government, which must be fed and supplied by taxation, that is always sure to fall more heavily upon small incomes than on large ones.

The apologists of luxury have sometimes gone so far as to cry up the advantages of misery and indigence; on the ground, that, without the stimulus of want, the lower classes of mankind could never be impelled to labour, so that neither the upper classes, nor society at large, could have the benefit of their exertions.

Happily, this position is as false in principle as it would be cruel in practice. Were nakedness a sufficient motive of exertion, the savage would be the most diligent and laborious, for he is the nearest to nakedness, of his species. Yet his indolence is equally notorious and incurable. Savages will often fret themselves to death, if compelled to work. It is observable throughout Europe, that the laziest nations are those nearest approaching to the savage state; a mechanic in good circumstances, at London or Paris, would execute twice as much work in a given time, as the rude mechanic of a poor district. […] The shoemaker will make quite as good shoes in a warm room, with a good coat to his back, as when perishing of cold in an open stall; he is not less skilful or inclined to work, because he has the reasonable conveniences of life. Linen is washed as well in England, where washing is carried on comfortably within doors, as where it is executed in the nearest stream in the neighbourhood. (III.V.33–36.)

On public consumption

False principles are more fatal than even intentional misconduct; because they are followed up with erroneous notions of self-interest, and are long persevered in without remorse or reserve. If Louis XIV had believed his extravagant ostentation to have been a mere gratification of his personal vanity, and his conquests the satisfaction of personal ambition alone, his good sense and proper feeling would probably, in a short time, have made it a matter of conscience to desist, or at any rate, he would have stopped short for his own sake; but he was firmly persuaded, that his prodigality was for the public good as well as his own; so that nothing could stop him, but misfortune and humiliation. (III.VI.13.)

* * *

The consumption effected by the government forms so large a portion of the total national consumption, amounting sometimes to a sixth, a fifth, or even a fourth part of the total consumption of the community, that the system acted upon by the government, must needs have a vast influence upon the advance or decline of the national prosperity. Should an individual take it into his head, that the more he spends the more he gets, or that his profusion is a virtue; or should he yield to the powerful attractions of pleasure, or the suggestions of perhaps a reasonable resentment, he will in all probability be ruined, and his example will operate upon a very small circle of his neighbours. But a mistake of this kind in the government, will entail misery upon millions, and possibly end in the national downfall or degradation. It is doubtless very desirable, that private persons should have a correct knowledge of their personal interests; but it must be infinitely more so, that governments should possess that knowledge. Economy and order are virtues in a private station; but, in a public station, their influence upon national happiness is so immense, that one hardly knows how sufficiently to extol and honour them in the guides and rulers of national conduct.

An individual is fully sensible of the value of the article he is consuming; it has probably cost him a world of labour, perseverance, and economy; he can easily balance the satisfaction he derives from its consumption against the loss it will involve. But a government is not so immediately interested in regularity and economy, nor does it so soon feel the ill consequences of the opposite qualities. Besides, private persons have a further motive than even self-interest; their feelings are concerned; their economy may be a benefit to the objects of their affection; whereas, the economy of a ruler accrues to the benefit of those he knows very little of; and perhaps he is husbanding for an extravagant and rival successor. (III.VI.17–18.)

On taxation

But though such temporary calamities [the destructive scourges of the human species] are more afflicting to humanity than hurtful to the population of a nation, far other is the effect of a vicious government, acting upon a bad system of political economy. This latter attacks the very principle of population, by drying up the sources of production; and since the numbers of mankind, as before seen, always approach nearly to the utmost limits the annual revenue of the nation will admit of, if the government reduce that revenue by the pressure of intolerable taxation, forcing the subject to sacrifice part of his capital, and consequently diminishing the aggregate means of subsistence and reproduction possessed by the community, such a government not only imposes a preventive check on further procreation, but may be fairly said to commit downright murder; for nothing so effectually thins the effective ranks of mankind, as privation of the means of subsistence. (II.XI.17; italics mine.)

* * *

It may be urged, that the pressure of taxation impels the productive classes to redouble their exertions, and thus tends to enlarge the national production. I answer, that, in the first place, mere exertion can not alone produce, there must be capital for it to work upon, and capital is but an accumulation of the very products, that taxation takes from the subject; that, in the second place, it is evident, that the values, which industry creates expressly to satisfy the demands of taxation, are no increase of wealth; for they are seized on and devoured by taxation. It is a glaring absurdity to pretend, that taxation contributes to national wealth, by engrossing part of the national produce, and enriches the nation by consuming part of its wealth. Indeed, it would be trifling with my reader’s time, to notice such a fallacy, did not most governments act upon this principle, and had not well-intentioned and scientific writers endeavoured to support and establish it.

If, from the circumstance, that the nations most grievously taxed are those most abounding in wealth, as Great Britain, we are desired to infer, that their superior wealth arises from heavier taxation, it would be a manifest inversion of cause and effect. A man is not rich, because he pays largely; but he is able to pay largely, because he is rich. It would be not a little ridiculous, if a man should think to enrich himself by spending largely, because he sees a rich neighbour doing so. It must be clear, that the rich man spends, because he is rich; but never can enrich himself by the act of spending.

Cause and effect are easily distinguished, when they occur in succession; but are often confounded, when the operation is continuous and simultaneous. (III.VIII.5–7.)

* * *

Something can not be produced out of nothing by a mere touch of the wand. However an operation may be cloaked in mystery, however often we may twist and turn and transform values, there are but two ways of obtaining them, namely, creating oneself, or taking from others. The best scheme of finance is, to spend as little as possible; and the best tax is always the lightest. (III.VIII.10; italics mine.)

* * *

Excessive taxation is a kind of suicide, whether laid upon objects of necessity, or upon those of luxury; but there is this distinction, that, in the latter case, it extinguishes only a portion of the products on which it falls, together with the gratification they are calculated to afford; while, in the former, it extinguishes both production and consumption, and the tax-payer in the bargain. (III.VIII.16.)

* * *

It has been questioned whether it be just to tax that portion of revenues, which is spent on luxuries, more heavily than that spent on objects of necessity. It seems but reasonable to do so; for taxation is a sacrifice to the preservation of society and of social organization, which ought not to be purchased by the destruction of individuals. Yet, the privation of absolute necessaries implies the extinction of existence. It would be somewhat bold to maintain, that a parent is bound in justice to stint the food or clothing of his child, to furnish his contingent to the ostentatious splendour of a court, or the needless magnificence of public edifices. Where is the benefit of social institutions to an individual, whom they rob of an object of positive enjoyment or necessity in actual possession, and offer nothing in return, but the participation in a remote and contingent good, which any man in his senses would reject with disdain? (III.VIII.33.)


It is in the middling classes of society, equally secure from the intoxication of power, and the compulsory labour of indigence, in which are found moderate fortunes, leisure united with habits of industry, the free intercourse of friendship, a taste for literature, and the ability to travel, that knowledge originates, and is disseminated amongst the highest and lowest orders of the people. For these latter classes, not having the leisure necessary for meditation, only adopt truths when presented to them in the form of axioms, requiring no further demonstration. (Introduction, 1.96.)

* * *

Versatility [i.e. sudden change] is attended with such ruinous consequences, that it is impossible to pass even from a bad to a good system without serious inconvenience. The exclusive and restrictive [i.e. mercantilist] system is without doubt vastly injurious to the development of industry, and to the progress of national wealth; nevertheless, the establishments which this policy has created could not be suddenly suppressed, without causing great distress. A more favourable state of things can only be brought about, without any inconvenience, by the gradual adoption of measures introduced with infinite skill and care. A traveller whose limbs have been frozen in traversing the Arctic regions, can only be preserved from the dangers of a too sudden cure, and restored to entire health, by the most cautious and imperceptible remedies. (Introduction, 1.102; my italics.)

* * *

To render the laws intricate purposely to give lawyers full business in expounding them, would be equally absurd, as to spread a disease that doctors may find practice. (I.XIII.11.)

* * *

…no set of men are more bigoted to system, than those who boast that they go upon none. (I.XVII.2.)

* * *

It is the very acme of skill, to turn the powers of nature to best account, and the height of madness to contend against them; which is in fact wasting part of our strength, in destroying those powers she designed for our aid. (I.XVII.9.)

* * *

It was justly observed by Christina, queen of Sweden, upon the revocation of the edict of Nantes, that Louis XIV had used his right hand to cut off his left. (I.XX.5.)

* * *

The vain and costly amusements of the rich are not always justifiable in the eye of reason; but how much more disastrous is the senseless dissipation of the poor! The mirth of the indigent is invariably seasoned with tears; and the orgies of the populace are days of mourning to the philosopher. (II.VII.53.)

* * *

There are not two kinds of economy, any more than two kinds of honesty, or of morality. (III.VI.10.)

%d bloggers like this: