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Man is intended for action. Useful and skilful industry is the soul of an active life. But industry should have her just reward. That reward is property ; for of useful and active industry, property is the natural result.
Exclusive property multiplies the productions of the earth, and the means of subsistence. Who would cultivate the soil, and sow the grain, if he had no peculiar interest in the harvest? Who would rear and tend flocks and herds, if they were to be taken from him by the first person who should come to demand them?
: By exclusive property, the productions of the earth and the means of subsistence are secured and preserved, as well as multiplied. What belongs to no one is wasted by every one. What belongs to one man in particular is the object of his economy and care. '
Exclusive property prevents disorder, and promotes peace. Without its establishment, the tranquillity of society would be perpetually disturbed by fierce and ungovernable competitions for the possession and enjoyment of things, insufficient to satisfy all, and by no rules of adjustment distributed to each.
The conveniencies of 'life depend much on an exclu. sive property. The full effects of industry cannot be obtained without distinct professions and the division of labour. But labour cannot be divided, nor can distinct professions be pursued, unless the productions of one profession and of one kind of labour can be exchanged for those of another. This exchange implies a separate property in those who make it.
The observations concerning the conveniencies of life, may be applied with equal justness to its elegancies and its refinements.
On property some of the virtues depend for their more free and enlarged exercise. Would the same room be left for the benign indulgence of generosity and beneficence-would the same room be left for the becoming returns of esteem and gratitude-would the same room be left for the endearing interchange of good offices, in the various institutions and relations of social life, if the goods of fortune lay in a mass, confused and unappropriated ?
For these reasons, the establishment of exclusive property may justly be considered as essential to the interests of civilized society. With regard to land, in particular, a separate and exclusive property in it is a principal source of attachment to the country, in which one resides. A person becomes very unwilling to relinquish those well known fields of his own; which it has been the great object of his industry, and, perhaps, of his pride, to cultivate and adorn. This attachment to private landed property has, in some parts of the globe, covered barren heaths and in hospitable mountains with fair cities and populous villages ; while, in other parts, the most inviting climates and soils remain destitute of inhabitants, because the rights of private property in land are not established or regarded.
* The foregoing observations were intended to compose a part of those lectures, in which the Author designed “ to trace the history of property from its lowest rude beginnings to its highest artificial refinements.” (Vol. 1. p. 50.) It will be perceived that the piece is indeed but a fragment; as, however, the history of property is so far co plet to trace it from its gen ral to its separate and exclusive state, it is thought worthy of in. sertion. Ed.