The Spirit of Laws (1751)
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
Of Laws in relation to Commerce, considered in the Revolutions it has met with in the World
1. Some general Considerations.
Though commerce be subject to great revolutions, yet it is possible that certain physical causes, as the quality of the soil, or the climate, may fix its nature for ever.
We at present carry on the trade of the Indies merely by means of the silver which we send thither. The Romans carried annually thither about fifty millions of sesterces;1 and this silver, as ours is at present, was exchanged for merchandise, which was brought to the west. Every nation that ever traded to the Indies has constantly carried bullion and brought merchandise in return.
It is nature itself that produces this effect. The Indians have their hearts adapted to their manner of living. Our luxury cannot be theirs; nor theirs our wants. Their climate demands and permits hardly anything which comes from ours. They go in a great measure naked; such clothes as they have the country itself furnishes; and their religion, which is deeply rooted, gives them an aversion for those things that serve for our nourishment. They want, therefore, nothing but our bullion to serve as the medium of value; and for this they give us merchandise in return, with which the frugality of the people and the nature of the country furnish them in great abundance. Those ancient authors who have mentioned the Indies describe them just as we now find them, as to their policy, customs, and manners.2 The Indies have ever been the same Indies they are at present; and in every period of time those who traded with that country carried specie thither and brought none in return.
2. Of the People of Africa.
The greatest part of the people on the coast of Africa are savages and barbarians. The principal reason, I believe, of this is, because the small countries capable of being inhabited are separated from each other by large and almost uninhabitable tracts of land. They are without industry or arts. They have gold in abundance, which they receive immediately from the hand of nature. Every civilised state is therefore in a condition to traffic with them to advantage, by raising their esteem for things of no value, and receiving a very high price in return.
3. That the Wants of the People in the South are different from those of the North.
In Europe there is a kind of balance between the southern and northern nations. The first have every convenience of life, and few of its wants: the last have many wants, and few conveniences. To one nature has given much, and demands but little; to the other she has given but little, and demands a great deal. The equilibrium is maintained by the laziness of the southern nations, and by the industry and activity which she has given to those in the north. The latter are obliged to undergo excessive labour, without which they would want everything, and degenerate into barbarians. This has neutralised slavery to the people of the south: as they can easily dispense with riches, they can more easily dispense with liberty. But the people of the north have need of liberty, for this can best procure them the means of satisfying all those wants which they have received from nature. The people of the north, then, are in a forced state, if they are not either free or barbarians. Almost all the people of the south are, in some measure, in a state of violence, if they are not slaves.
4. The principal Difference between the Commerce of the Ancients and the Moderns.
The world has found itself, from time to time, in different situations; by which the face of commerce has been altered. The trade of Europe is, at present, carried on principally from the north to the south; and the difference of climate is the cause that the several nations have great occasion for the merchandise of each other. For example, the liquors of the south, which are carried to the north, form a commerce little known to the ancients. Thus the burden of vessels, which was formerly computed by measures of corn, is at present determined by tuns of liquor.
The ancient commerce, so far as it is known to us, was carried on from one port in the Mediterranean to another; and was almost wholly confined to the south. Now the people of the same climate, having nearly the same things of their own, have not the same need of trading among themselves as with those of a different climate. The commerce of Europe was therefore formerly less extended than at present.
This does not at all contradict what I have said of our commerce to the Indies: for here the prodigious difference of climate destroys all relation between their wants and ours.
5. Other Differences.
Commerce is sometimes destroyed by conquerors, sometimes cramped by monarchs; it traverses the earth, flies from the places where it is oppressed, and stays where it has liberty to breath: it reigns at present where nothing was formerly to be seen but deserts, seas, and rocks; and where it once reigned now there are only deserts.
To see Colchis in its present situation, which is no more than a vast forest, where the people are every day diminishing, and only defend their liberty to sell themselves by piecemeal to the Turks and Persians, one could never imagine that this country had ever, in the time of the Romans, been full of cities, where commerce convened all the nations of the world. We find no monument of these facts in the country itself; there are no traces of them, except in Pliny3 and Strabo.4
The history of commerce is that of the communication of people. Their numerous defeats, and the flux and reflux of populations and devastations, here form the most extraordinary events.
6. Of the Commerce of the Ancients.
The immense treasures of Semiramis,5 which could not be acquired in a day, give us reason to believe that the Assyrians themselves had pillaged other rich nations, as other nations afterwards pillaged them.
The effect of commerce is riches; the consequence of riches, luxury; and that of luxury the perfection of arts. We find that the arts were carried to great perfection in the time of Semiramis;6 which is a sufficient indication that a considerable commerce was then established.
In the empires of Asia there was a great commerce of luxury. The history of luxury would make a fine part of that of commerce. The luxury of the Persians was that of the Medes, as the luxury of the Medes was that of the Assyrians.
Great revolutions have happened in Asia. The northeast parts of Persia, viz., Hyrcania, Margiana, Bactria, &c., were formerly full of flourishing cities,7 which are now no more; and the north of this empire,8 that is, the isthmus which separates the Caspian and the Euxine Seas, was covered with cities and nations, which are now destroyed.
Eratosthenes and Aristobulus9 learned from Patroclus10 that the merchandise of India passed by the Oxus into the sea of Pontus. Marcus Varro11 tells us that at the time when Pompey commanded against Mithridates, they were informed that people went in seven days from India to the country of the Bactrians, and to the river Icarus, which falls into the Oxus; that by this method they were able to bring the merchandise of India across the Caspian Sea, and to enter the mouth of Cyrus; whence it was only five days’ passage to the Phasis, a river that discharges itself into the Euxine Sea. There is no doubt but it was by the nations inhabiting these several countries that the great empires of the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians had communication with the most distant parts of the east and west.
An entire stop is now put to this communication. All these countries have been laid waste by the Tartars,12 and are still infested by this destructive nation. The Oxus no longer runs into the Caspian Sea; the Tartars, for some private reasons, have changed its course, and it now loses itself in the barren sands.13
The Jaxartes, which was formerly a barrier between the polite and barbarous nations, has had its course turned in the same manner by the Tartars, and it no longer empties itself into the sea.14
Seleucus Nicator formed the project of joining the Euxine to the Caspian Sea.15 This project, which would have greatly facilitated the commerce of those days, vanished at his death.16 We are not certain it could have been executed in the isthmus which separates the two seas. This country is at present very little known; it is depopulated, and full of forests; however, water is not wanting, for an infinite number of rivers roll into it from Mount Caucasus; but as this mountain forms the north of the isthmus, and extends like two arms17 towards the south, it would have been a grand obstacle to such an enterprise, especially in those times, when they had not the art of making sluices.
It may be imagined that Seleucus would have joined the two seas in the very place where Peter I has since joined them; that is, in that neck of land where the Tanais approaches the Volga; but the north of the Caspian Sea was not then discovered.
While the empires of Asia enjoyed the commerce of luxury, the Tyrians had the commerce of economy, which they extended throughout the world. Bochard has employed the first book of his Canaan in enumerating all the colonies which they sent into all the countries bordering upon the sea; they passed the pillars of Hercules, and made establishments on the coasts of the ocean.18
In those times their pilots were obliged to follow the coasts, which were, if I may so express myself, their compass. Voyages were long and painful. The laborious voyage of Ulysses has been the fruitful subject of the finest poem in the world, next to that which alone has the preference.
The little knowledge which the greatest part of the world had of those who were far distant from them favoured the nations engaged in the economical commerce. They managed trade with as much obscurity as they pleased; they had all the advantages which the most intelligent nations could take over the most ignorant.
The Egyptians — a people who by their religion and their manners were averse to all communication with strangers — had scarcely at that time any foreign trade. They enjoyed a fruitful soil and great plenty. Their country was the Japan of those times; it possessed everything within itself.
So little jealous were these people of commerce, that they left that of the Red Sea to all the petty nations that had any harbours in it. Here they suffered the Idumeans, the Syrians and the Jews to have fleets. Solomon employed in this navigation the Tyrians, who knew those seas.19
Josephus20 says that this nation, being entirely employed in agriculture, knew little of navigation: the Jews, therefore, traded only occasionally in the Red Sea. They took from the Idumeans Eloth and Eziongeber, from whom they received this commerce; they lost these two cities, and with them lost this commerce.
It was not so with the Phoenicians: theirs was not a commerce of luxury; nor was their trade owing to conquest; their frugality, their abilities, their industry, their perils, and the hardships they suffered, rendered them necessary to all the nations of the world.
Before Alexander, the people bordering on the Red Sea traded only in this sea, and in that of Africa. The astonishment which filled the globe at the discovery of the Indian Sea, under that conqueror, is a sufficient proof of this. I have observed21 that bullion was always carried to the Indies, and never any brought thence; now the Jewish fleets, which brought gold and silver by the way of the Red Sea, returned from Africa, and not from the Indies.22
Besides, this navigation was made on the eastern coast of Africa; for the state of navigation at that time is a convincing proof that they did not sail to a very distant shore.
I am not ignorant that the fleets of Solomon and Jehoshaphat returned only every three years; but I do not see that the time taken up in the voyage is any proof of the greatness of the distance.
Pliny and Strabo inform us that the junks of India and the Red Sea were twenty days in performing a voyage which a Greek or Roman vessel would accomplish in seven.23 In this proportion, a voyage of one year, made by the fleets of Greece or Rome, would take very nearly three when performed by those of Solomon. Two ships of unequal swiftness do not perform their voyage in a time proportionate to their swiftness. Slowness is frequently the cause of much greater slowness. When it becomes necessary to follow the coast, and to be incessantly in a different position, when they must wait for a fair wind to get out of a gulf, and for another to proceed, a good sailor takes the advantage of every favourable moment, while the other still continues in a difficult situation, and waits many days for another change.
The slowness of the Indian vessels, which in an equal time could make but the third of the way of those of the Greeks and Romans, may be explained by what we every day see in our modern navigation. The Indian vessels, which were built with a kind of sea-rushes, drew less water than those of Greece and Rome, which were of wood and joined with iron.
We may compare these Indian vessels to those at present made use of in ports of little depth of water. Such are those of Venice, and even of all Italy in general.24 of the Baltic, and of the province of Holland.25 Their ships, which ought to be able to go in and out of port, are built round and broad at the bottom; while those of other nations, who have good harbours, are formed to sink deep into the water. This mechanism renders these last-mentioned vessels able to sail much nearer the wind; while the first can hardly sail, except the wind be nearly in the poop. A ship that sinks deep into the water sails towards the same side with almost every wind; this proceeds from the resistance which the vessel, while driven by the wind, meets with from the water, from which it receives a strong support; and from the length of the vessel which presents its side to the wind, while, from the form of the helm, the prow is turned to the point proposed; so that she can sail very near the wind, or, in other words, very near the point whence the wind blows. But when the hull is round and broad at the bottom, and consequently draws little water, it no longer finds this steady support; the wind drives the vessel, which is incapable of resistance, and can run them but with a small variation from the point opposite to the wind. Whence it follows that broad-bottomed vessels are longer in performing voyages.
1. They lose much time in waiting for the wind, especially if they are obliged frequently to change their course, 2. They sail much slower, because not having a proper support from a depth of water, they cannot carry so much sail. If this be the case at a time when the arts are everywhere known, at a time when art corrects the defects of nature, and even of art itself; if at this time, I say, we find this difference, how great must that have been in the navigation of the ancients?
I cannot yet leave this subject. The Indian vessels were small, and those of the Greeks and Romans, if we except those machines built for ostentation, much less than ours. Now, the smaller the vessel the greater danger it encounters from foul weather. A tempest that would swallow up a small vessel would only make a large one roll. The more one body surpasses another in size, the more its surface is relatively small. Whence it follows that in a small ship there is a less proportion, that is, a greater difference in respect to the surface of the vessel, compared with the weight or lading she can carry, than in a large one. We know that it is a pretty general practice to make the weight of the lading equal to that of half the water the vessel could contain. Suppose a vessel will contain eight hundred tons, her lading then must be four hundred; and that of a vessel which would hold but four hundred tons of water would be two hundred tons. Thus the largeness of the first ship will be to the weight she carries as 8 to 4, and that of the second as 4 to 2. Let us suppose, then, that the surface of the greater is to the surface of the smaller as 8 to 6; the surface of the latter will be to her weight as 6 to 2,26 while the surface of the former will be to her weight only as 8 to 4. Therefore as the winds and waves act only upon the surface, the large vessel will, by her weight, resist their impetuosity much more than the small.
7. Of the Commerce of the Greeks.
The first Greeks were all pirates. Minos, who enjoyed the empire of the sea, was only more successful, perhaps, than others in piracy; for his maritime dominion extended no farther than round his own isle. But when the Greeks became a great people, the Athenians obtained the real dominion of the sea; because this trading and victorious nation gave laws to the most potent monarch of that time,27 and humbled the maritime powers of Syria, of the isle of Cyprus, and Phoenicia.
But this Athenian lordship of the sea deserves to be more particularly mentioned. “Athens,” says Xenophon,28 “rules the sea; but as the country of Attica is joined to the continent, it is ravaged by enemies while the Athenians are engaged in distant expeditions. Their leaders suffer their lands to be destroyed, and secure their wealth by sending it to some island. The populace, who are not possessed of lands, have no uneasiness. But if the Athenians inhabited an island, and, besides this, enjoyed the empire of the sea, they would, so long as they were possessed of these advantages, be able to annoy others, and at the same time to be out of all danger of being annoyed.” One would imagine that Xenophon was speaking of England.
The Athenians, a people whose heads were filled with ambitious projects; the Athenians, who augmented their jealousy instead of increasing their influence; who were more attentive to extend their maritime empire than to enjoy it; whose political government was such that the common people distributed the public revenues among themselves, while the rich were in a state of oppression; the Athenians, I say, did not carry on so extensive a commerce as might be expected from the produce of their mines, from the multitude of their slaves, from the number of their seamen, from their influence over the cities of Greece, and, above all, from the excellent institutions of Solon. Their trade was almost wholly confined to Greece and to the Euxine Sea, whence they drew their subsistence.
Corinth was admirably situated; it separated two seas, and opened and shut the Peloponnesus; it was the key of Greece, and a city of the greatest importance, at a time when the people of Greece were a world, and the cities of Greece nations. Its trade was more extensive than that of Athens, having a port to receive the merchandise of Asia, and another those of Italy; for the great difficulties which attended the doubling Cape Malea, where the meeting of opposite winds causes shipwrecks,29 induced every one to go to Corinth, and they could even convey their vessels over land from one sea to the other. Never was there a city in which the works of art were carried to so high a degree of perfection. But here religion finished the corruption which their opulence began. They erected a temple to Venus, in which more than a thousand courtesans were consecrated to that deity; from this seminary came the greatest part of those celebrated beauties whose history Athen us has presumed to commit to writing.
It seems that in Homer’s time the opulence of Greece centred in Rhodes, Corinth, and Orchomenus; “Jupiter,” he says, “loved the Rhodians, and made them a very wealthy nation.”30 On Corinth he bestows the epithet of rich.31 In like manner, when he speaks of cities that have plenty of gold, he mentions Orchomenus, to which he joins Thebes in Egypt. Rhodes and Corinth preserved their power; but Orchomenus lost hers. The situation of Orchomenus in the neighbourhood of the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Euxine Sea makes us naturally imagine that she was indebted for her opulence to a trade along that maritime coast, which had given rise to the fable of the golden fleece; and, indeed, the name of Minyeios has been given to Orchomenus as well as to the Argonauts.32 But these seas becoming afterwards more frequented, the Greeks planted along the coasts a greater number of colonies, which traded with the barbarous nations, and at the same time preserved an intercourse with their mother country. In consequence of this, Orchomenus began to decline, till at length it was lost in the crowd of the other cities of Greece.
Before Homer’s time the Greeks had scarcely any trade but among themselves, and with a few barbarous nations; in proportion, however, as they formed new colonies, they extended their dominion. Greece was a large peninsula, the capes of which seemed to have kept off the seas, while its gulfs opened on all sides to receive them. if we cast an eye on Greece, we shall find, in a pretty compact country, a considerable extent of sea-coast. Her innumerable colonies formed an immense circle round her; and there she beheld, in some measure, the whole civilised world. Did she penetrate into Sicily and Italy, she formed new nations. Did she navigate towards the sea of Pontus, the coast of Asia Minor, or that of Africa, she acted in the same manner. Her cities increased in prosperity in proportion as they happened to have new people in their neighbourhood. And what was extremely beautiful, she was surrounded on every side with a prodigious number of islands, drawn, as it were, in a line of circumvallation.
What a source of prosperity must Greece have found in those games with which she entertained, in some measure, the whole globe; in those temples, to which all the kings of the earth sent their offerings; in those festivals, at which such a concourse of people used to assemble from all parts; in those oracles, to which the attention of all mankind was directed; and, in short, in that exquisite taste for the polite arts, which she carried to such a height that to expect ever to surpass her would be only betraying our ignorance!
8. Of Alexander: his Conquests.
Four great events happened in the reign of Alexander which entirely changed the face of commerce: the taking of Tyre, the conquest of Egypt, that likewise of the Indies, and the discovery of the sea which lies south of that country.
The empire of Persia extended to the Indus.33 Darius, long before Alexander, had sent some vessels, which sailed down this river, and passed even into the Red Sea.34 How then were the Greeks the first who traded with the Indies by the south? Had not the Persians done this before? Did they make no advantage of seas which were so near them, of the very seas that washed their coasts? Alexander, it is true, conquered the Indies; but was it necessary for him to conquer a country in order to trade with it? This is what I shall now examine.
Ariana,35 which extended from the Persian Gulf as far as the Indus, and from the South Sea to the mountains of Paropamisus, depended indeed, in some measure, on the empire of Persia; but in the southern part it was barren, scorched, rude, and uncultivated. Tradition relates36 that the armies of Semiramis and Cyrus perished in these deserts; and Alexander, who caused his fleet to follow him, could not avoid losing in this place a great part of his army. The Persians left the whole coast to the Ichthyophagi,37 the Orit , and other barbarous nations. Besides, the Persians were no great sailors,38 and their very religion debarred them from entertaining any such notion as that of a maritime commerce. The voyage undertaken by Darius’s direction upon the Indus and the Indian Sea proceeded rather from the capriciousness of a prince vainly ambitious of showing his power than from any settled regular project. It was attended with no consequence either to the advantage of commerce or of navigation. They emerged from their ignorance only to plunge into it again.
Besides, it was a received opinion39 before the expedition of Alexander that the southern parts of India were uninhabitable.40 This proceeded from a tradition that Semiramis41 had brought back thence only twenty men, and Cyrus but seven.
Alexander entered by the north. His design was to march towards the east; but having found a part of the south full of great nations, cities, and rivers, he attempted to conquer it, and succeeded.
He then formed a design of uniting the Indies to the western nations by a maritime commerce, as he had already united them by the colonies he had established by land.
He ordered a fleet to be built on the Hydaspes, then fell down that river, entered the Indus, and sailed even to its mouth. He left his army and his fleet at Patala, went himself with a few vessels to view the sea, and marked the places where he would have ports to be opened and arsenals erected. Upon his return from Patala he separated the fleet, and took the route by land, for the mutual support of fleet and army. The fleet followed the coast from the Indus along the banks of the country of the Orit , of the Ichthyophagi, of Carmania and Persia. He caused wells to be dug, built cities, and would not suffer the Ichthyophagi to live on fish,42 being desirous of having the borders of the sea inhabited by civilised nations. Nearchus and Onesecritus wrote a journal of this voyage, which was performed in ten months. They arrived at Susa, where they found Alexander, who gave an entertainment to his whole army.
This prince had founded Alexandria, with a view of securing his conquest of Egypt; this was a key to open it, in the very place where the kings his predecessors had a key to shut it;43 and he had not the least thought of a commerce of which the discovery of the Indian Sea could alone give him the idea.
It even seems that after his discovery he had no new design in regard to Alexandria. He had, indeed, a general scheme of opening a trade between the East Indies and the western parts of his empire; but as for the project of conducting this commerce through Egypt, his knowledge was too imperfect to be able to form any such design. It is true he had seen the Indus, he had seen the Nile, but he knew nothing of the Arabian seas between the two rivers. Scarcely had he returned from India when he fitted out new fleets, and navigated on the Euleus,44 the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the ocean; he removed the cataracts, with which the Persians had encumbered those rivers; and he discovered that the Persian Gulf was a branch of the main sea. But as he went to view this sea45 in the same manner as he had done in respect to that of India; as he caused a port to be opened for a thousand ships, and arsenals to be erected at Babylon; as he sent five hundred talents into Phoenicia and Syria, to draw mariners into this service whom he intended to distribute in the colonies along the coast; in fine, as he caused immense works to be erected on the Euphrates, and the other rivers of Assyria, there could be no doubt but he designed to carry on the commerce of India by the way of Babylon and the Persian Gulf.
There are some who pretend that Alexander wanted to subdue Arabia,46 and had formed a design to make it the seat of his empire: but how could he have pitched upon a place with which he was entirely unacquainted?47 Besides, of all countries, this would have been the most inconvenient to him; for it would have separated him from the rest of his empire. The Caliphs, who made distant conquests, soon withdrew from Arabia to reside elsewhere.
9. Of the Commerce of the Grecian Kings after the Death of Alexander.
At the time when Alexander made the conquest of Egypt, they had but a very imperfect idea of the Red Sea, and none at all of the ocean, which, joining this sea, on one side washes the coast of Africa, and on the other that of Arabia; nay, they thought it impossible to sail round the peninsula of Arabia. They who attempted it on each side had relinquished their design. “How is it possible,” said they,48 “to navigate to the southern coast of Arabia, when Cambyses’ army, which traversed it on the north side, almost entirely perished; and the forces which Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, sent to the assistance of Seleucus Nicator at Babylon, underwent incredible hardships, and, upon account of the heat, could march only in the night?”
The Persians were entire strangers to navigation. When they had subdued Egypt, they introduced the same spirit into that country as prevailed in Persia: hence, so great was the supineness of the Persians in this respect, that the Grecian kings found them quite strangers, not only to the commerce of the Tyrians, Idumeans, and the Jews on the ocean, but even to the navigation of the Red Sea. I am apt to think that the destruction of the first Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, together with the subversion of several petty nations and towns bordering on the Red Sea, had obliterated all their former knowledge of commerce.
Egypt, at the time of the Persian monarchy, did not front the Red Sea; it contained only that long narrow neck of land which the Nile covers with its inundations, and is enclosed on both sides by a chain of mountains.49 They were, therefore, under the necessity of making a second discovery of the ocean and the Red Sea; and this discovery engaged the curiosity of the Grecian monarchs.
They ascended the Nile, and hunted after elephants in the countries situated between that river and the sea; by this progression they traced the sea-coast; and as the discoveries were made by the Greeks, the names are all Grecian, and the temples are con- secrated to Greek divinities.50
The Greeks settled in Egypt were able to command a most extensive commerce; they were masters of all the harbours on the Red Sea; Tyre, the rival of every trading nation, was no more; they were not constrained by the ancient superstitions51 on the country; in short, Egypt had become the centre of the world.
The kings of Syria left the commerce of the south to those of Egypt, and attached themselves only to the northern trade, which was carried on by means of the Oxus and the Caspian Sea. They then imagined that this sea was part of the northern ocean; and Alexander,52 some time before his death, had fitted out a fleet53 in order to discover whether it communicated with the ocean by the Euxine Sea, or some other eastern sea towards India. After him, Seleucus and Antiochus applied themselves to make discoveries in it, with particular attention; and with this view they scoured it with their fleets.54 That part which Seleucus surveyed was called the Seleucidian Sea; that which Antiochus discovered received the name of the Sea of Antiochus. Attentive to the projects they might have formed on that side, they neglected the seas on the south; whether it was that the Ptolemies, by means of their fleets on the Red Sea, had already become the masters of it, or that they discovered an invincible aversion in the Persians against engaging in maritime affairs. The southern coasts of Persia supplied them with no seamen; there had been none in those parts, except towards the latter end of Alexander’s reign. But the Egyptian kings, being masters of the Isle of Cyprus, of Phoenicia, and of a great number of towns on the coast of Asia Minor, were possessed of all sorts of conveniences for undertaking maritime expeditions. They had no occasion to force; they had only to follow the genius and bent of their subjects.
I am surprised, I confess, at the obstinacy with which the ancients believed that the Caspian Sea was a part of the ocean. The expeditions of Alexander, of the kings of Syria, of the Parthians and the Romans, could not make them change their sentiments; notwithstanding these nations described the Caspian Sea with wonderful exactness: but men are generally tenacious of their errors. When only the south of this sea was known, it was at first taken for the ocean; in proportion as they advanced along the banks of the northern coast, instead of imagining it a great lake, they still believed it to be the ocean, that here made a sort of bay: surveying the coast, their discoveries never went eastward beyond the Jaxartes, nor westward farther than the extremity of Albania. The sea towards the north was shallow, and of course very unfit for navigation.55 Hence it was that they always looked upon this as the ocean.
The land army of Alexander had been in the east only as far as the Hypanis, which is the last of those rivers that fall into the Indus: thus the first trade which the Greeks carried on with the Indies was confined to a very small part of the country. Seleucus Nicator penetrated as far as the Ganges, and thereby discovered the sea into which this river falls, that is to say, the Bay of Bengal.56 The moderns discover countries by voyages at sea; the ancients discovered seas by conquests at land.
Strabo,57 notwithstanding the testimony of Apollodorus, seems to doubt whether the Grecian kings of Bactria proceeded farther than Seleucus and Alexander.58 Were it even true that they went no farther to the east than Seleucus, yet they went farther towards the south; they discovered Siger, and the ports on the coast of Malabar, which gave rise to the navigation I am going to mention.59
Pliny informs us that the navigation of the Indies was successively carried on in three different ways.60 At first they sailed from the Cape of Siagre to the island of Patalena, which is at the mouth of the Indus. This we find was the course that Alexander’s fleet steered to the Indies. They took afterwards a shorter and more certain course, by sailing from the same cape or promontory to Siger:61 this can be no other than the kingdom of Siger mentioned by Strabo,62 and discovered by the Grecian kings of Bactria. Pliny, by saying that this way was shorter than the other, can mean only that the voyage was made in less time: for, as Siger was discovered by the kings of Bactria, it must have been farther than the Indus: by this passage they must therefore have avoided the winding of certain coasts, and taken advantage of particular winds. The merchants at last took a third way; they sailed to Canes, or Ocelis, ports situated at the entrance of the Red Sea; whence by a west wind they arrived at Muziris, the first staple town of the Indies, and thence to the other ports. Here we see that instead of sailing to the mouth of the Red Sea as far as Siagre, by coasting Arabia Felix to the north-east, they steered directly from west to east, from one side to the other, by means of the monsoons, whose regular course they discovered by sailing in these latitudes. The ancients never lost sight of the coasts, except when they took advantage of these and the trade-winds, which were to them a kind of compass.63
Pliny64 says that they set sail for the Indies in the middle of summer and returned towards the end of December, or in the beginning of January. This is entirely conformable to our naval journals. In that part of the Indian Ocean which is between the Peninsula of Africa, and that on this side the Ganges, there are two monsoons; the first, during which the winds blow from west to east, begins in the month of August or September; and the second, during which the wind is in the east, begins in January. Thus we set sail from Africa for Malabar at the season of the year that Ptolemy’s fleet used to put to sea thence; and we return too at the same time as they.
Alexander’s fleet was seven months in sailing from Patala to Susa. It set out in the month of July, that is, at a season when no ship dare now put to sea to return from the Indies. Between these two monsoons there is an interval during which the winds vary; when a north wind, meeting with the common winds, raises, especially near the coasts, the most terrible tempests. These continue during the months of June, July, and August. Alexander’s fleet, therefore, setting sail from Patala in the month of July, must have been exposed to many storms, and the voyage must have been long, because they sailed against the monsoon.
Pliny says that they set out for the Indies at the end of summer; thus they spent the time proper for taking advantage of the monsoon in their passage from Alexandria to the Red Sea.
Observe here, I pray, how navigation has, little by little, arrived at perfection. Darius’s fleet was two years and a half in falling down the Indus and going to the Red Sea.65 Afterwards the fleet of Alexander,66 descending the Indus, arrived at Susa, in ten months, having sailed three months on the Indus, and seven on the Indian Ocean; at last the passage from the coast of Malabar to the Red Sea was made in forty days.67
Strabo,68 who accounts for their ignorance of the countries between the Hypanis and the Ganges, says there were very few of those who sailed from Egypt to the Indies that ever proceeded so far as the Ganges. Their fleets, in fact, never went thither: they sailed with the western monsoons from the mouth of the Red Sea to the coast of Malabar. They cast anchor in the ports along that coast, and never attempted to get round the peninsula on this side the Ganges by Cape Comorin and the coast of Coromandel. The plan of navigation laid down by the kings of Egypt and the Romans was to set out and return the same year.69
Thus it is demonstrable that the commerce of the Greeks and Romans to the Indies was much less extensive than ours. We know immense countries, which to them were entirely unknown; we traffic with all the Indian nations; we even manage their trade and carry on their commerce. But this commerce of the ancients was carried on with far greater facility than ours. And if the moderns were to trade only with the coast of Guzerat and Malabar, and, without seeking for the southern isles, were satisfied with what these islanders brought them, they would certainly prefer the way of Egypt to that of the Cape of Good Hope. Strabo informs us70 that they traded thus with the people of Taprobane.
10. Of the Circuit of Africa.
We find from history that before the discovery of the mariner’s compass four attempts were made to sail round the coast of Africa. The Phoenicians sent by Necho71 and Eudoxus,72 flying from the wrath of Ptolemy Lathyrus, set out from the Red Sea, and succeeded. Sataspes73 sent by Xerxes, and Hanno by the Carthaginians, set out from the Pillars of Hercules, and failed in the attempt.
The capital point in surrounding Africa was to discover and double the Cape of Good Hope. Those who set out from the Red Sea found this cape nearer by half than it would have been in setting out from the Mediterranean. The shore from the Red Sea is not so shallow as that from the cape to Hercules’ Pillars.74 The discovery of the cape by Hercules’ Pillars was owing to the invention of the compass, which permitted them to leave the coast of Africa, and to launch out into the vast ocean, in order to sail towards the island of St. Helena, or towards the coast of Brazil.75 It was, therefore, possible for them to sail from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean, but not to set out from the Mediterranean to return by the Red Sea.
Thus, without making this grand circuit, after which they could hardly hope to return, it was most natural to trade to the east of Africa by the Red Sea, and to the western coast by Hercules’ Pillars.
The Grecian kings of Egypt discovered at first, in the Red Sea, that part of the coast of Africa which extends from the bottom of the gulf, where stands the town of Heroum, as far as Dira, that is, to the strait now known by the name of Babelmandel. Thence to the promontory of Aromatia, situate at the entrance of the Red Sea,76 the coast had never been surveyed by navigators: and this is evident from what Artemidorus tells us,77 that they were acquainted with the places on that coast, but knew not their distances: the reason of which is, they successively gained a knowledge of those ports by land, without sailing from one to the other.
Beyond this promontory, at which the coast along the ocean commenced, they knew nothing, as we learn from Eratosthenes and Artemidorus.78
Such was the knowledge they had of the coasts of Africa in Strabo’s time, that is, in the reign of Augustus. But after the prince’s decease, the Romans found out the two capes Raptum and Prassum, of which Strabo makes no mention, because they had not as yet been discovered. It is plain that both those names are of Roman origin.
Ptolemy, the geographer, flourished under Adrian and Antoninus Pius; and the author of the Periplus of the Red Sea, whoever he was, lived a little after. Yet the former limits known Africa to Cape Prassum,79 which is in about the 14th degree of south latitude; while the author of the Periplus80 confines it to Cape Raptum, which is nearly in the tenth degree of the same latitude. In all likelihood the latter took his limit from a place then frequented, and Ptolemy his from a place with which there was no longer any communication.
What confirms me in this notion is that the people about Cape Prassum were Anthropophagi.81 Ptolemy takes notice82 of a great number of places between the port or emporium Aromatum and Cape Raptum, but leaves an entire blank between Capes Raptum and Prassum. The great profits of the East India trade must have occasioned a neglect of that of Africa. In fine, the Romans never had any settled navigation; they had discovered these several ports by land expeditions, and by means of ships driven on that coast; and as at present we are well acquainted with the maritime parts of Africa, but know very little of the inland country, the ancients, on the contrary, had a very good knowledge of the inland parts, but were almost strangers to the coasts.83
I said that the Phoenicians sent by Necho and Eudoxus under Ptolemy Lathyrus had made the circuit of Africa; but at the time of Ptolemy, the geographer, those two voyages must have been looked upon as fabulous, since he places after84 the Sinus Magnus, which I apprehend to be the Gulf of Siam, an unknown country, extending from Asia to Africa, and terminating at Cape Prassum, so that the Indian Ocean would have been no more than a lake. The ancients who discovered the Indies towards the north, advancing eastward, placed this unknown country to the south.
11. Of Carthage and Marseilles.
The law of nations which prevailed at Carthage was very extraordinary: all strangers who traded to Sardinia and towards Hercules’ Pillars this haughty republic sentenced to be drowned. Her civil polity was equally surprising; she forbade the Sardinians to cultivate their lands, upon pain of death. She increased her power by her riches, and afterwards her riches by her power. Being mistress of the coasts of Africa, which are washed by the Mediterranean, she extended herself along the ocean. Hanno, by order of the senate of Carthage, distributed thirty thousand Carthaginians from Hercules’ Pillars as far as Cerne. This place, he says, is as distant from Hercules’ Pillars as the latter from Carthage. This situation is extremely remarkable. It lets us see that Hanno limited his settlements to the 25th degree of north latitude; that is, to two or three degrees south of the Canaries.
Hanno being at Cerne undertook another voyage, with a view of making further discoveries towards the south. He took but little notice of the continent. He followed the coast for twenty-six days, when he was obliged to return for want of provisions. The Carthaginians, it seems, made no use of this second enterprise. Scylax says85 that the sea is not navigable beyond Cerne, because it is shallow, full of mud and sea-weeds:86 and, in fact, there are many of these in those latitudes.87 The Carthaginian merchants mentioned by Scylax might find obstacles which Hanno, who had sixty vessels of fifty oars each, had surmounted. Difficulties are at most but relative; besides, we ought not to confound an enterprise in which bravery and resolution must be exerted with things that require no extraordinary conduct.
The relation of Hanno’s voyage is a fine fragment of antiquity. It was written by the very man that performed it.
His recital is not mingled with ostentation. Great commanders write their actions with simplicity; because they receive more glory from facts than from words.
The style is agreeable to the subject; he deals not in the marvellous. All he says of the climate, of the soil, the behaviour, the manners of the inhabitants, correspond with what is every day seen on this coast of Africa; one would imagine it the journal of a modern sailor.
He observed from his fleet that in the day-time there was a prodigious silence on the continent, that in the night he heard the sound of various musical instruments, and that fires might then be everywhere seen, some larger than others.88 Our relations are conformable to this; it has been discovered that in the day the savages retire into the forests to avoid the heat of the sun, that they light up great fires in the night to disperse the beasts of prey, and that they are passionately fond of music and dancing.
The same writer describes a volcano with all the phenomena of Vesuvius; and relates that he captured two hairy women, who chose to die rather than follow the Carthaginians, and whose skins he carried to Carthage. This has been found not void of probability.
This narration is so much the more valuable as it is a monument of Punic antiquity; and hence alone it has been regarded as fabulous. For the Romans retained their hatred of the Carthaginians, even after they had destroyed them. But it was victory alone that decided whether we ought to say the Punic or the Roman faith.
Some moderns89 have imbibed these prejudices. What has become, say they, of the cities described by Hanno, of which even in Pliny’s time there remained no vestiges? But it would have been a wonder indeed if any such vestiges had remained. Was it a Corinth or Athens that Hanno built on those coasts? He left Carthaginian families in such places as were most commodious for trade, and secured them as well as his hurry would permit against savages and wild beasts. The calamities of the Carthaginians put a period to the navigation of Africa; these families must necessarily then either perish or become savages. Besides, were the ruins of these cities even still in being, who is it that would venture into the woods and marshes to make the discovery? We find, however, in Scylax and Polybius that the Carthaginians had considerable settlements on those coasts. These are the vestiges of the cities of Hanno; there are no others, for the same reason that there are no others of Carthage itself.
The Carthaginians were in the high road to wealth; and had they gone so far as four degrees of north latitude, and fifteen of longitude, they would have discovered the Gold Coast. They would then have had a trade of much greater importance than that which is carried on at present on that coast, at a time when America seems to have degraded the riches of all other countries. They would there have found treasures of which they could never have been deprived by the Romans.
Very surprising things have been said of the riches of Spain. If we may believe Aristotle,90 the Phoenicians who arrived at Tartessus found so much silver there that their ships could not hold it all; and they made of this metal their meanest utensils. The Carthaginians, according to Diodorus,91 found so much gold and silver in the Pyrenean mountains, that they adorned the anchors of their ships with it. But no foundation can be built on such popular reports. Let us therefore examine the facts themselves.
We find in a fragment of Polybius, cited by Strabo,92 that the silver mines at the source of the river B tis, in which forty thousand men were employed, produced to the Romans twenty-five thousand drachmas a day, that is, about five million livres a year, at fifty livres to the mark. The mountains that contained these mines were called the Silver Mountains:93 which shows they were the Potosi of those times. At present, the mines of Hanover do not employ a fourth part of the workmen, and yet they yield more. But as the Romans had not many copper mines, and but few of silver; and as the Greeks knew none but the Attic mines, which were of little value, they might well be astonished at their abundance.
In the war that broke out for the succession of Spain, a man called the Marquis of Rhodes, of whom it was said that he was ruined in gold mines and enriched in hospitals,94 proposed to the court of France to open the Pyrenean mines. He alleged the example of the Tyrians, the Carthaginians, and the Romans. He was permitted to search, but sought in vain; he still alleged, and found nothing.
The Carthaginians, being masters of the gold and silver trade, were willing to be so of the lead and pewter. These metals were carried by land from the ports of Gaul upon the ocean to those of the Mediterranean. The Carthaginians were desirous of receiving them at the first hand; they sent Himilco to make a settlement in the isles called Cassiterides,95 which are imagined to be those of Scilly.
These voyages from B tica into England have made some persons imagine that the Carthaginians knew the compass: but it is very certain that they followed the coasts. There needs no other proof than Himilco’s being four months in sailing from the mouth of the B tis to England; besides, the famous piece of history of the Carthaginian96 pilot who, being followed by a Roman vessel, ran aground, that he might not show her the way to England,97 plainly intimates that those vessels were very near the shore when they fell in with each other.
The ancients might have performed voyages that would make one imagine they had the compass, though they had not. If a pilot was far from land, and during his voyage had such serene weather that in the night he could always see a polar star and in the day the rising and setting of the sun, it is certain he might regulate his course as well as we do now by the compass: but this must be a fortuitous case, and not a regular method of navigation.
We see in the treaty which put an end to the first Punic war that Carthage was principally attentive to preserve the empire of the sea, and Rome that of the land. Hanno,98 in his negotiation with the Romans, declared that they should not be suffered even to wash their hands in the sea of Sicily; they were not permitted to sail beyond the promontorium pulchrum; they were forbidden to trade in Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa, except at Carthage:99 an exception that proves there was no design to favour them in their trade with that city.
In early times there had been very great wars between Carthage and Marseilles100 on the subject of fishing. After the peace they entered jointly into economical commerce. Marseilles at length grew jealous, especially as, being equal to her rival in industry, she had become inferior to her in power. This is the motive of her great fidelity to the Romans. The war between the latter and the Carthaginians in Spain was a source of riches to Marseilles, which had now become their magazine. The ruin of Carthage and Corinth still increased the glory of Marseilles, and had it not been for the civil wars, in which this republic ought on no account to have engaged, she would have been happy under the protection of the Romans, who were not the least jealous of her commerce.
12. The Isle of Delos.
Mithridates. Upon the destruction of Corinth by the Romans, the merchants retired to Delos, an island which from religious considerations was looked upon as a place of safety:101 besides, it was extremely well situated for the commerce of Italy and Asia, which, since the reduction of Africa and the weakening of Greece, had grown more important.
From the earliest times the Greeks, as we have already observed, sent colonies to Propontis and to the Euxine Sea — colonies which retained their laws and liberties under the Persians. Alexander, having undertaken his expedition against the barbarians only, did not molest these people.102 Neither does it appear that the kings of Pontus, who were masters of many of those colonies, ever deprived them of their own civil government.103
The power of those kings increased as soon as they subdued those cities.104 Mithridates found himself able to hire troops on every side; to repair his frequent losses; to have a multitude of workmen, ships, and military machines; to procure himself allies; to bribe those of the Romans, and even the Romans themselves; to keep the barbarians of Asia and Europe in his pay;105 to continue the war for many years, and of course to discipline his troops, he found himself able to train them to arms, to instruct them in the military art of the Romans,106 and to form considerable bodies out of their deserters; in a word, he found himself able to sustain great losses, and to be frequently defeated, without being ruined;107 neither would he have been ruined if the voluptuous and barbarous king had not destroyed, in his prosperous days, what had been done by the great prince in times of adversity.
Thus it was that when the Romans had arrived at their highest pitch of grandeur, and seemed to have nothing to apprehend but from the ambition of their own subjects, Mithridates once more ventured to contest the mighty point, which the overthrow of Philip, of Antiochus, and of Perseus had already decided. Never was there a more destructive war: the two contending parties, being possessed of great power, and receiving alternate advantages, the inhabitants of Greece and of Asia fell a sacrifice in the quarrel, either as foes, or as friends of Mithridates. Delos was involved in the general fatality, and commerce failed on every side: which was a necessary consequence, the people themselves being destroyed.
The Romans, in pursuance of a system of which I have spoken elsewhere,108 acting as destroyers, that they might not appear as conquerors, demolished Carthage and Corinth; a practice by which they would have ruined themselves had they not subdued the world. When the kings of Pontus became masters of the Greek colonies on the Euxine Sea, they took care not to destroy what was to be the foundation of their own grandeur.
13. Of the Genius of the Romans as to Maritime Affairs.
The Romans laid no stress on anything but their land forces, who were disciplined to stand firm, to fight on one spot, and there bravely to die. They could not like the practice of seamen, who first offer to fight, then fly, then return, constantly avoid danger, often make use of stratagem, and seldom of force. This was not suitable to the genius of the Greeks109 much less to that of the Romans.
They destined therefore to the sea only those citizens who were not considerable enough to have a place in their legions.110 Their marines were commonly freedmen.
At this time we have neither the same esteem for land forces nor the same contempt for those of the sea. In the former, art has decreased;111 in the latter, it has augmented:112 now things are generally esteemed in proportion to the degree of ability requisite to discharge them.
14. Of the Genius of the Romans with respect to Commerce.
The Romans were never distinguished by a jealousy for trade. They attacked Carthage as a rival, not as a commercial nation. They favoured trading cities that were not subject to them. Thus they increased the power of Marseilles by the cession of a large territory. They were vastly afraid of barbarians, but had not the least apprehension from a trading people. Their genius, their glory, their military education, and the very form of their government estranged them from commerce.
In the city, they were employed only about war, elections, factions, and law-suits; in the country, about agriculture; and as for the provinces, a severe and tyrannical government was incompatible with commerce.
But their political constitution was not more opposed to trade than their law of nations. “The people,” says Pomponius, the civilian,113 “with whom we have neither friendship, nor hospitality nor alliance, are not our enemies; however, if anything belonging to us falls into their hands, they are the proprietors of it; freemen become their slaves; and they are upon the same terms with respect to us.”
Their civil law was not less oppressive. The law of Constantine,114 after having stigmatised as bastards the children of a mean rank who had been married to those of a superior station, confounds women who retail merchandise with slaves, with the mistresses of taverns, with actresses, with the daughters of those who keep public stews, or who had been condemned to fight in the amphitheatre; this had its origin in the ancient institutions of the Romans.
I am not ignorant that men prepossessed with these two ideas (that commerce is of the greatest service to a state, and that the Romans had the best-regulated government in the world) have believed that these people greatly honoured and encouraged commerce; but the truth is, they seldom troubled their heads about it.
15. Of the Commerce of the Romans with the Barbarians.
The Romans having erected a vast empire in Europe, Asia, and Africa, the weakness of the people and the tyranny of their laws united all the parts of this immense body. The Roman policy was then to avoid all communication with those nations whom they had not subdued: the fear of carrying to them the art of conquering made them neglect the art of enriching themselves. They made laws to hinder all commerce with barbarians. “Let nobody,” said Valens and Gratian,115 “send wine, oil, or other liquors to the barbarians, though it be only for them to taste.” “Let no one carry gold to them,” add Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius;116 “rather, if they have any, let our subjects deprive them of it by stratagem.” The exportation of iron was prohibited on pain of death.
Domitian, a prince of great timidity, ordered the vines in Gaul to be pulled up,117 from fear, no doubt, lest their wines should draw thither the barbarians. Probus and Julian, who had no such fears, gave orders for their being planted again.
I am sensible that upon the declension of the Roman empire the barbarians obliged the Romans to establish staple towns, and to trade with them. But even this is a proof that the minds of the Romans were averse to commerce.118
16. Of the Commerce of the Romans with Arabia and the Indies.
The trade to Arabia Felix, and that to the Indies, were the two branches, and almost the only ones, of their foreign commerce. The Arabians were possessed of immense riches, which they found in their seas and forests; and as they sold much and purchased little, they drew to themselves the gold and silver of the Romans.119 Augustus,120 being well apprised of that opulence, resolved they should be either his friends or his enemies. With this view he sent lius Gallus from Egypt into Arabia. This commander found the people indolent, peaceable, and unskilled in war. He fought battles, laid sieges to towns, and lost but seven of his men by the sword; but the perfidy of his guides, long marches, the climate, want of provisions, distempers, and ill-conduct, caused the ruin of his army.
He was therefore obliged to be content with trading to Arabia, in the same manner as other nations; that is, with giving them gold and silver in exchange for their commodities. The Europeans trade with them still in the same manner; the caravans of Aleppo and the royal vessel of Suez carry thither immense sums.121
Nature had formed the Arabs for commerce, not for war; but when those quiet people came to be near neighbours to the Parthians and the Romans, they acted as auxiliaries to both nations. lius Gallus found them a trading people; Mahomet happened to find them trained to war; he inspired them with enthusiasm, which led them to glory and conquest.
The commerce of the Romans to the Indies was very considerable. Strabo122 had been informed in Egypt that they employed in this navigation one hundred and twenty vessels; this commerce was carried on entirely with bullion. They sent thither annually fifty millions of sesterces. Pliny123 says that the merchandise brought thence was sold at Rome at cent. per cent profit. He speaks, I believe, too generally; if this trade had been so vastly profitable, everybody would have been willing to engage in it, and then it would have been at an end.
It will admit of a question, whether the trade to Arabia and the Indies was of any advantage to the Romans. They were obliged to export their bullion thither, though they had not, like us, the resource of America, which supplies what we send away. I am persuaded that one of the reasons of their increasing the value of their specie by establishing base coin was the scarcity of silver, owing to the continual exportation of it to the Indies: and though the commodities of this country were sold at Rome at the rate of cent. per cent, this profit of the Romans, being obtained from the Romans themselves, could not enrich the empire.
It may be alleged, on the other hand, that this commerce increased the Roman navigation, and of course their power; that new merchandise augmented their inland trade, gave encouragement to the arts, and employment to the industrious; that the number of subjects multiplied in proportion to the new means of support; that this new commerce was productive of luxury, which I have proved to be as favourable to a monarchical government as fatal to a commonwealth; that this establishment was of the same date as the fall of their republic; that the luxury of Rome had become necessary; and that it was extremely proper that a city which had accumulated all the wealth of the universe should refund it by its luxury.
Strabo says124 that the Romans carried on a far more extensive commerce with the Indies than the kings of Egypt; but it is very extraordinary that those people who were so little acquainted with commerce should have paid more attention to that of India than the Egyptian kings, whose dominions lay so conveniently for it. The reason of this must be explained.
After the death of Alexander, the kings of Egypt established a maritime commerce with the Indies; while the kings of Syria, who were possessed of the more eastern provinces, and consequently of the Indies, maintained that commerce of which we have taken notice in the sixth chapter, which was carried on partly by land, and partly by rivers, and had been further facilitated by means of the Macedonian colonies; insomuch that Europe had communication with the Indies both by Egypt and by Syria. The dismembering of the latter kingdom, whence was formed that of Bactriana, did not prove in any way prejudicial to this commerce. Marinus the Tyrian, quoted by Ptolemy,125 mentions the discoveries made in India by means of some Macedonian merchants, who found out new roads, which had been unknown to kings in their military expeditions. We find in Ptolemy126 that they went from Peter’s tower127 as far as Sera; and the discovery made by mercantile people of so distant a mart, situated in the north-east part of China, was a kind of prodigy. Hence, under the kings of Syria and Bactriana, merchandise was conveyed to the west from the southern parts of India, by the river Indus, the Oxus, and the Caspian Sea; while those of the more eastern and northern parts were transported from Sera, Peter’s tower, and other staples, as far as the Euphrates. Those merchants directed their route nearly by the fortieth degree of north latitude, through countries situated to the west of China, more civilised at that time than at present, because they had not as yet been infested by the Tartars.
Now while the Syrian empire was extending its trade to such a distance by land, Egypt did not greatly enlarge its maritime commerce.
The Parthians soon after appeared, and founded their empire; and when Egypt fell under the power of the Romans, this empire was at its height, and had received its whole extension.
The Romans and Parthians were two rival nations, that fought not for dominion but for their very existence. Between the two empires deserts were formed and armies were always stationed on the frontiers; so that instead of there being any commerce, there was not so much as communication between them. Ambition, jealousy, religion, national antipathy, and difference of manners completed the separation. Thus the trade from east to west, which had formerly so many channels, was reduced to one; and Alexandria becoming the only staple, the trade to this city was immensely enlarged.
We shall say but one word of their inland trade. Its principal branch was the corn brought to Rome for the subsistence of the people; but this was rather a political affair than a point of commerce. On this account the sailors were favoured with some privileges, because the safety of the empire depended on their vigilance.128
17. Of Commerce after the Destruction of the Western Empire.
After the invasion of the Roman empire one effect of the general calamity was the destruction of commerce. The barbarous nations at first regarded it only as an opportunity for robbery; and when they had subdued the Romans, they honoured it no more than agriculture, and the other professions of a conquered people.
Soon was the commerce of Europe almost entirely lost. The nobility, who had everywhere the direction of affairs, were in no pain about it.
The laws of the Visigoths129 permitted private people to occupy half the beds of great rivers, provided the other half remained free for nets and boats. There must have been very little trade in countries conquered by these barbarians.
In those times were established the ridiculous rights of escheatage and shipwrecks. These men thought that, as strangers were not united to them by any civil law, they owed them on the one hand no kind of justice, and on the other no sort of pity.
In the narrow bounds which nature had originally prescribed to the people of the north, all were strangers to them: and in their poverty they regarded all only as contributing to their riches. Being established, before their conquest, on the coasts of a sea of very little breadth, and full of rocks, from these very rocks they drew their subsistence.
But the Romans, who made laws for all the world, had established the most humane ones with regard to shipwrecks.130 They suppressed the rapine of those who inhabited the coasts, and what was more still, the rapacity of their treasuries.131
18. A particular Regulation.
The law of the Visigoths made, however, one regulation in favour of commerce.132 It ordained that foreign merchants should be judged, in the differences that arose among themselves, by the laws and by judges of their own nation. This was founded on an established custom among all mixed people, that every man should live under his own law — a custom of which I shall speak more at large in another place.
19. Of Commerce after the Decay of the Roman Power in the East.
The Mahomedans appeared, conquered, extended, and dispersed themselves. Egypt had particular sovereigns; these carried on the commerce of India, and being possessed of the merchandise of this country, drew to themselves the riches of all other nations. The sultans of Egypt were the most powerful princes of those times. History informs us with what a constant and well-regulated force they stopped the ardour, the fire, and the impetuosity of the crusades.
20. How Commerce broke through the Barbarism of Europe.
Aristotle’s philosophy being carried to the west, pleased the subtle geniuses who were the virtuosi of those times of ignorance. The schoolmen were infatuated with it, and borrowed from that philosopher133 a great many notions on lending upon interest, whereas its source might have been easily traced in the gospel; in short, they condemned it absolutely and in all cases. Hence commerce, which was the profession only of mean persons, became that of knaves; for whenever a thing is forbidden, which nature permits or necessity requires, those who do it are looked upon as dishonest.
Commerce was transferred to a nation covered with infamy, and soon ranked with the most shameful usury, with monopolies, with the levying of subsidies, and with all the dishonest means of acquiring wealth.
The Jews, enriched by their exactions, were pillaged by the tyranny of princes; which pleased indeed, but did not ease, the people.134
What passed in England may serve to give us an idea of what was done in other countries. King John135 having imprisoned the Jews, in order to obtain their wealth, there were few who had not at least one of their eyes plucked out. Thus did that king administer justice. A certain Jew, who had a tooth pulled out every day for seven days successively, gave ten thousand marks of silver for the eighth. Henry III extorted from Aaron, a Jew at York, fourteen thousand marks of silver, and ten thousand for the queen, in those times they did by violence what is now done in Poland with some semblance of moderation. As princes could not dive into the purses of their subjects because of their privileges, they put the Jews to the torture, who were not considered as citizens.
At last a custom was introduced of confiscating the effects of those Jews who embraced Christianity. This ridiculous custom is known only by the law which suppressed it.136 The most vain and trifling reasons were given in justification of that proceeding; it was alleged that it was proper to try them, in order to be certain that they had entirely shaken off the slavery of the devil. But it is evident that this confiscation was a species of the right of amortisation, to recompense the prince, or the lords, for the taxes levied on the Jews, which ceased on their embracing Christianity.137 In those times, men, like lands, were regarded as property. I cannot help remarking, by the way, how this nation has been sported with from one age to another: at one time, their effects were confiscated when they were willing to become Christians; and at another, if they refused to turn Christians, they were ordered to be burned.
In the meantime, commerce was seen to arise from the bosom of vexation and despair. The Jews, proscribed by turns from every country, found out the way of saving their effects. Thus they rendered their retreats for ever fixed; for though princes might have been willing to get rid of their persons, yet they did not choose to get rid of their money.
The Jews invented letters of exchange;138 commerce, by this method, became capable of eluding violence, and of maintaining everywhere its ground; the richest merchant having none but invisible effects, which he could convey imperceptibly wherever he pleased.
The Theologians were obliged to limit their principles; and commerce, which they had before connected by main force with knavery, reentered, if I may so express myself, the bosom of probity.
Thus we owe to the speculations of the schoolmen all the misfortunes which accompanied the destruction of commerce;139 and to the avarice of princes, the establishment of a practice which puts it in some measure out of their power.
From this time it became necessary that princes should govern with more prudence than they themselves could ever have imagined; for great exertions of authority were, in the event, found to be impolitic; and from experience it is manifest that nothing but the goodness and lenity of a government can make it flourish.
We begin to be cured of Machiavelism, and recover from it every day. More moderation has become necessary in the councils of princes. What would formerly have been called a master-stroke in politics would be now, independent of the horror it might occasion, the greatest imprudence.
Happy is it for men that they are in a situation in which, though their passions prompt them to be wicked, it is, nevertheless, to their interest to be humane and virtuous.
21. The Discovery of two new Worlds, and in what Manner Europe is affected by it.
The compass opened, if I may so express myself, the universe. Asia and Africa were found, of which only some borders were known; and America, of which we knew nothing.
The Portuguese, sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, discovered the most southern point of Africa; they saw a vast sea, which carried them to the East Indies. Their danger upon this sea, the discovery of Mozambique, Melinda, and Calicut, have been sung by Camoens, whose poems make us feel something of the charms of the Odyssey and the magnificence of the Aeneid.
The Venetians had hitherto carried on the trade of the Indies through the Turkish dominions, and pursued it in the midst of oppressions and discouragements. By the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, and those which were made some time after, Italy was no longer the centre of the trading world; it was, if I may be permitted the expression, only a corner of the universe, and is so still. The commerce even of the Levant depending now on that of the great trading nations to both the Indies, Italy even in that branch can no longer be considered as a principal.
The Portuguese traded to the Indies in right of conquest. The constraining laws which the Dutch at present impose on the commerce of the little Indian princes had been established before by the Portuguese.140
The fortune of the house of Austria was prodigious. Charles V succeeded to the possession of Burgundy, Castile, and Aragon; he arrived afterwards at the imperial dignity; and to procure him a new kind of grandeur, the globe extended itself, and there was seen a new world paying him obeisance.
Christopher Columbus discovered America; and though Spain sent thither only a force so small that the least prince in Europe could have sent the same, yet it subdued two vast empires, and other great states.
While the Spaniards discovered and conquered the west, the Portuguese pushed their conquests and discoveries in the east. These two nations met each other; they had recourse to Pope Alexander VI, who made the celebrated line of partition, and determined the great suit.
But the other nations of Europe would not suffer them quietly to enjoy their shares. The Dutch chased the Portuguese from almost all their settlements in the East Indies; and several other nations planted colonies in America.
The Spaniards considered these newly-discovered countries as the subject of conquest; while others, more refined in their views, found them to be the proper subjects of commerce, and upon this principle directed their proceedings. Hence several nations have conducted themselves with so much wisdom that they have given a kind of sovereignty to companies of merchants, who, governing these far-distant countries only with a view to trade, have made a great accessory power without embarrassing the principal state.
The colonies they have formed are under a kind of dependence, of which there are but very few instances in all the colonies of the ancients; whether we consider them as holdings of the state itself, or of some trading company established in the state.
The design of these colonies is to trade on more advantageous conditions than could otherwise be done with the neighbouring people, with whom all advantages are reciprocal. It has been established that the metropolis,141 or mother country, alone shall trade in the colonies, and that from very good reason; because the design of the settlement was the extension of commerce, not the foundation of a city or of a new empire.
Thus it is still a fundamental law of Europe that all commerce with a foreign colony shall be regarded as a mere monopoly, punishable by the laws of the country; and in this case we are not to be directed by the laws and precedents of the ancients, which are not at all applicable.142
It is likewise acknowledged that a commerce established between the mother countries does not include a permission to trade in the colonies; for these always continue in a state of prohibition.
The disadvantage of a colony that loses the liberty of commerce is visibly compensated by the protection of the mother country, who defends it by her arms, or supports it by her laws.
Hence follows a third law of Europe, that when a foreign commerce with a colony is prohibited, it is not lawful to trade in those seas, except in such cases as are excepted by treaty. Nations who are, with respect to the whole globe, what individuals are in a state, are governed like the latter by the laws of nature, and by particular laws of their own making. One nation may resign to another the sea, as well as the land. The Carthaginians forbade the Romans to sail beyond certain limits,143 as the Greeks had obliged the King of Persia to keep as far distant from the sea-coast as a horse could gallop.144
The great distance of our colonies is not an inconvenience that affects their safety; for if the mother country, on whom they depend for their defence, is remote, no less remote are those nations who rival the mother country, and by whom they may be afraid of being conquered.
Besides, this distance is the cause that those who are established there cannot conform to the manner of living in a climate so different from their own; they are obliged therefore to draw from the mother country all the conveniences of life. The Carthaginians,145 to render the Sardinians and Corsicans more dependent, forbade their planting, sowing, or doing anything of the kind, under pain of death; so that they supplied them with necessaries from Africa.
The Europeans have compassed the same thing, without having recourse to such severe laws. Our colonies in the Caribbean islands are under an admirable regulation in this respect; the subject of their commerce is what we neither have nor can produce; and they want what is the subject of ours.
A consequence of the discovery of America was the connecting Asia and Africa with Europe; it furnished materials for a trade with that vast part of Asia known by the name of the East Indies. Silver, that metal so useful as the medium of commerce, became now as merchandise the basis of the greatest commerce in the world. In fine, the navigation to Africa became necessary in order to furnish us with men to labour in the mines, and to cultivate the lands of America.
Europe has arrived at so high a degree of power that nothing in history can be compared with it, whether we consider the immensity of its expenses, the grandeur of its engagements, the number of its troops, and the regular payments even of those that are least serviceable, and which are kept only for ostentation.
Father Du Halde says146 that the interior trade of China is much greater than that of all Europe. That might be, if our foreign trade did not augment our inland commerce. Europe carries on the trade and navigation of the other three parts of the world; as France, England, and Holland do nearly that of Europe.
22. Of the Riches which Spain drew from America.
If Europe has derived so many advantages from the American trade, it seems natural to imagine that Spain must have derived much greater.147 She drew from the newly- discovered world so prodigious a quantity of gold and silver, that all we had before could not be compared with it.
But (what one could never have expected) this great kingdom was everywhere baffled by its misfortunes. Philip II, who succeeded Charles V, was obliged to make the celebrated bankruptcy known to all the world. There never was a prince who suffered more from the murmurs, the insolence, and the revolt of troops constantly ill-paid.
From that time the monarchy of Spain has been incessantly declining. This has been owing to an interior and physical defect in the nature of those riches, which renders them vain — a defect which increases every day.
Gold and silver are either a fictitious or a representative wealth. The representative signs of wealth are extremely durable, and, in their own nature, but little subject to decay. But the more they are multiplied, the more they lose their value, because the fewer are the things which they represent.
The Spaniards, after the conquest of Mexico and Peru, abandoned their natural riches, in pursuit of a representative wealth which daily degraded itself. Gold and silver were extremely scarce in Europe, and Spain becoming all of a sudden mistress of a prodigious quantity of these metals, conceived hopes to which she had never before aspired. The wealth she found in the conquered countries, great as it was, did not, however, equal that of their mines. The Indians concealed part of it; and besides, these people, who made no other use of gold and silver than to give magnificence to the temples of their gods and to the palaces of their kings, sought not for it with an avarice like ours. In short, they had not the secret of drawing these metals from every mine; but only from those in which the separation might be made with fire: they were strangers to the manner of making use of mercury, and perhaps to mercury itself.
However, it was not long before the specie of Europe was doubled; this appeared from the price of commodities, which everywhere was doubled.
The Spaniards raked into the mines, scooped out mountains, invented machines to draw out water, to break the ore, and separate it; and as they sported with the lives of the Indians, they forced them to labour without mercy. The specie of Europe soon doubled, and the profit of Spain diminished in the same proportion; they had every year the same quantity of metal, which had become by one-half less precious.
In double the time the specie still doubled, and the profit still diminished another half.
It diminished even more than half: let us see in what manner.
To extract the gold from the mines, to give it the requisite preparations, and to import it into Europe, must be attended with some certain expense. I will suppose this to be as 1 to 64. When the specie was once doubled, and consequently became by one-half less precious, the expense was as 2 to 64. Thus the galoons which brought to Spain the same quantity of gold, brought a thing which really was of less value by one-half, though the expenses attending it had been twice as high.
If we proceed doubling and doubling, we shall find in this progression the cause of the impotency of the wealth of Spain.
It is about two hundred years since they have worked their Indian mines. I suppose the quantity of specie at present in the trading world is to that before the discovery of the Indies as 32 is to 1; that is, it has been doubled five times: in two hundred years more the same quantity will be to that before the discovery as 64 is to 1; that is, it will be doubled once more. Now, at present, fifty quintals of ore yield four, five, and six ounces of gold;148 and when it yields only two, the miner receives no more from it than his expenses. In two hundred years, when the miner will extract only four, this too will only defray his charges. There will then be but little profit to be drawn from the gold mines. The same reasoning will hold good of silver, except that the working of the silver mines is a little more advantageous than those of gold.
But, if mines should be discovered so fruitful as to give a much greater profit, the more fruitful they may be, the sooner the profit will cease.
The Portuguese in Brazil have found mines of gold so rich149 that they must necessarily very soon make a considerable diminution in the profits of those of Spain, as well as in their
I have frequently heard people deplore the blindness of the court of France, who repulsed Christopher Columbus, when he made the proposal of discovering the Indies. Indeed they did, though perhaps without design, an act of the greatest wisdom. Spain has behaved like the foolish king who desired that everything he touched might be converted into gold, and who was obliged to beg of the gods to put an end to his misery.
The companies and banks established in many nations have put a finishing stroke to the lowering of gold and silver as a sign of representation of riches; for by new fictions they have multiplied in such a manner the signs of wealth, that gold and silver having this office only in part have become less precious.
Thus public credit serves instead of mines, and diminishes the profit which the Spaniards drew from theirs.
True it is that the Dutch trade to the East Indies has increased, in some measure, the value of the Spanish merchandise: for as they carry bullion, and give it in exchange for the merchandise of the East, they ease the Spaniards of part of a commodity which in Europe abounds too much.
And this trade, in which Spain seems to be only indirectly concerned, is as advantageous to that nation as to those who are directly employed in carrying it on.
From what has been said we may form a judgment of the last order of the council of Spain, which prohibits the making use of gold and silver in gildings, and other superfluities; a decree as ridiculous as it would be for the states of Holland to prohibit the consumption of spices.
My reasoning does not hold good against all mines; those of Germany and Hungary, which produce little more than the expense of working them, are extremely useful. They are found in the principal state; they employ many thousand men, who there consume their superfluous commodities, and they are properly a manufacture of the country.
The mines of Germany and Hungary promote the culture of land; the working of those of Mexico and Peru destroys it.
The Indies and Spain are two powers under the same master; but the Indies are the principal, while Spain is only an accessory, it is in vain for politics to attempt to bring back the principal to the accessory; the Indies will always draw Spain to themselves.
Of the merchandise, to the value of about fifty millions of livres, annually sent to the Indies, Spain furnishes only two millions and a half: the Indies trade for fifty millions, the Spaniards for two and a half.
That must be a bad kind of riches which depends on accident, and not on the industry of a nation, on the number of its inhabitants, and on the cultivation of its lands. The king of Spain, who receives great sums from his custom-house at Cadiz, is in this respect only a rich individual in a state extremely poor. Everything passes between strangers and himself, while his subjects have scarcely any share in it; this commerce is independent both of the good and bad fortune of his kingdom.
Were some provinces of Castile able to give him a sum equal to that of the custom-house of Cadiz, his power would be much greater; his riches would be the effect of the wealth of the country; these provinces would animate all the others, and they would be altogether more capable of supporting their respective charges; instead of a great treasury he would have a great people.
23. A Problem, it is not for me to decide the question whether, if Spain be not herself able to carry on the trade of the Indies, it would not be better to leave it open to strangers.
I will only say that it is for their advantage to load this commerce with as few obstacles as politics will permit. When the merchandise which several nations send to the Indies is very dear, the inhabitants of that country give a great deal of their commodities, which are gold and silver, for very little of those of foreigners; the contrary to this happens when they are at a low price, it would perhaps be of use that these nations should undersell each other, to the end that the merchandise carried to the Indies might be always cheap. These are principles which deserve to be examined, without separating them, however, from other considerations: the safety of the Indies, the advantages of only one custom-house, the danger of making great alterations, and the foreseen inconveniences, which are often less dangerous than those which cannot be foreseen.
1. Pliny, vi. 23.
2. See Pliny, vi. 19, and Strabo, xv.
3. Book vi. 4, 5.
4. Book xi.
5. Diodorus, ii.
6. Ibid., 7, 8, 9.
7. Pliny, vi. 16, and Strabo, xi.
8. Strabo, xi.
10. The authority of Patroclus is of great weight, as appears from a passage in Strabo, ii.
11. Pliny, vi. 17. See also Strabo, xi, upon the passage by which the merchandise was conveyed from the Phasis to the Cyrus.
12. There must have been very great changes in that country since the time of Ptolemy, who gives us an account of so many rivers that empty themselves into the east side of the Caspian Sea. In the Czar’s chart we find only the river of Astrabat: in that of M. Bathaisi there is none at all.
13. See Jenkinson’s account of this, in the Collection of Voyages to the North, iv.
14. I am disposed to think that hence Lake Aral was formed.
15. Claudius Cæsar, in Pliny, vi. 11.
16. He was slain by Ptolemy Ceraunus.
17. See Strabo, xi.
18. They founded Tartessus, and made a settlement at Cadiz.
19. I Kings, 9. 26; II Chron., 8. 17.
20. Against Appian.
21. Chapter 1 of this book.
22. The proportion between gold and silver, as settled in Europe, may sometimes render it profitable to take gold instead of silver into the East Indies; but the advantage is very trifling.
23. See Pliny, vi. 22, and Strabo, xv.
24. They are mostly shallow; but Sicily has excellent ports.
25. I say the province of Holland; for the ports of Zealand are deep enough.
26. That is, to compare magnitudes of the same kind, the action or pressure of the fluid upon the ship will be to the resistance of the same ship as, &c.
27. The King of Persia.
28. On the Athenian Republic, 2.
29. See Strabo, viii.
30. Iliad, ii. 668.
31. Ibid., 570.
32. Strabo, ix, p. 414.
33. Strabo, xv.
34. Herodotus, Melpomene, iv. 44.
35. Strabo, xv.
36. Ibid., xv.
37. Pliny, vi. 33, Strabo, xv.
38. They sailed not upon the rivers, lest they should defile the elements — Hyde, Religion of the Persians. Even to this day they have no maritime commerce. Those who take to the sea are treated by them as Atheists.
39. Strabo, xv.
40. Herodotus, Melpomene, iv. 44, says that Darius conquered the Indies; this must be understood only to mean Ariana; and even this was only an ideal conquest.
41. Strabo, xv.
42. This cannot be understood of all the Ichthyophagi, who inhabited a coast of ten thousand furlongs in extent. How was it possible for Alexander to have maintained them? How could he command their submission? This can be only understood of some particular tribes. Nearchus, in his book Rerum Indicarum, says that at the extremity of this coast, on the side of Persia, he had found some people who were less Ichthyophagi than the others. I should think that Alexander’s prohibition related to these people, or to some other tribe still more bordering on Persia.
43. Alexandria was founded on a flat shore, called Rhacotis, where, in ancient times, the kings had kept a garrison to prevent all strangers, and more particularly the Greeks, from entering the country. — Pliny, vi. 10; Strabo, xviii.
44. Arrian, De Expedit. Alex. vii.
46. Strabo, vi, towards the end.
47. Seeing Babylon overflowed, he looked upon the neighbouring country of Arabia as an island. — Aristobulus, in Strabo, xvi.
48. See Rerum Indicarum.
49. Strabo, xvi.
50. Strabo, xvi.
51. These gave them an aversion to strangers.
52. Pliny, ii. 67, vi. 9, 13; Strabo, xi., p. 507; Arrian, De Expedit. Alex., iii, p 74, v, p. 104.
53. Arrian, De Expedit. Alex., vii.
54. Pliny, ii. 67.
55. See the Czar’s Chart.
56. Pliny, vi. 17.
57. Book xv.
58. Apollonius Adrumatinus in Strabo, xi.
59. The Macedonians of Bactria, India, and Ariana, having separated themselves from Syria, formed a great state.
60. Book vi. 23.
62. Sigertidis regnum, xi.
63. The monsoons blow part of the year from one quarter, and part from another; the trade winds blow the whole year round from the same quarter.
64. Book vi. 23.
65. Herodotus, Melpomene, iv. 44.
66. Pliny, vi. 23.
68. Book xv.
69. Pliny, vi. 23.
70. Book xv.
71. He was desirous of conquering it. — Herodotus, iv. 42.
72. Pliny, ii. 67; Pomponius Mela, iii. 9.
73. Herodotus, Melpomene, iv. 43.
74. Add to this what I shall say in chapter 11 of this book on the navigation of Hanno.
75. In the months of October, November, December, and January the wind in the Atlantic Ocean is found to blow north-east; our ships therefore either cross the line, and to avoid the wind, which is there generally east, they direct their course to the south: or else they enter into the torrid zone, in those places where the wind is west.
76. The sea to which we give this name was called by the ancients the Gulf of Arabia; the name of Red Sea they gave to that part of the ocean which borders on this gulf.
77. Strabo, xvi.
78. Ibid. Artemidorus settled the borders of the known coast at the place called Austricornu; and Eratosthenes, Cinnamomiferam.
79. Strabo, i. 7; iv. 9; table 4 of Africa.
80. This Periplus is attributed to Arrian.
81. Ptolemy, iv. 9.
82. Book iv. 7, 8.
83. See what exact descriptions Strabo and Ptolemy have given us of the different parts of Africa. Their knowledge was owing to the several wars which the two most powerful nations in the world had waged with the people of Africa, to the alliances they had contracted, and to the trade they had carried on with those countries.
84. Book vii. 3.
85. See his Periplus, under the article on Carthage.
86. See Herodotus, Melpomene, iv. 43, on the obstacles which Sataspes encountered.
87. See the charts and relations in the first volume of Collection of Voyages that Contributed to the Establishment of the East India Company, part i, p. 201. This weed covers the surface of the water in such a manner as to be scarcely perceived, and ships can only pass through it with a stiff gale.
88. Pliny, v. i, tells us the same thing, speaking of Mount Atlas: Noctibus micare crebris ignibus, tibiarum cantu timpanorumque sonitu strepere, neminem interdiu cerni.
89. Mr. Dodwell. See his Dissertation on Hanno’s Periplus.
90. Of Wonderful Things.
91. Book vi.
92. Book iii.
93. Mons argentarius.
94. He had some share in their management.
95. See Festus Avienus.
96. Strabo, iii, towards the end.
97. He was rewarded by the senate of Carthage.
98. Freinshemius, Supplement to Livy, dec. 2, vi.
99. In the parts subject to the Carthaginians.
100. Justin, xliii. 5.
101. See Strabo, x.
102. He confirmed the liberty of the city of Amisus, an Athenian colony which had enjoyed a popular government, even under the kings of Persia. Lucullus having taken Sinone and Amisus, restored them to their liberty, and recalled the inhabitants, who had fled on board their ships.
103. See what Appian writes concerning the Phanagoreans, the Amisians, and the Synopians, in his treatise Of the War against Mithridates.
104. See Appian, in regard to the immense treasures which Mithridates employed in his wars, those which he had buried, those which he frequently lost by the treachery of his own people, and those which were found after his death.
105. See Appian Of the War against Mithridates.
107. He lost at one time 170,000 men, yet he soon recruited his armies.
108. In the Considerations on the Causes of the Rise and Declension of the Roman Grandeur.
109. As Plato has observed. Laws, iv.
110. Polybius, v.
111. See the Considerations on the Causes of the Rise and Declension of the Roman Grandeur.
113. Leg. 5, ° 2, ff. De Captivis.
114. Quæ mercimoniis publice præfuit — Leg. 1, Cod. de natural. liberis.
115. Leg. ad barbaricum. Cod. quæ res exportari non debeant.
116. Leg. 2, Cod. de commerc. et mercator.
117. Procopius, War of the Persians, i.
118. See the Considerations on the Causes of the Rise and Declension of the Roman Grandeur.
119. Pliny, vi. 28, and Strabo, xvi.
121. The caravans of Aleppo and Suez carry thither annually to the value of about two millions of livres, and as much more clandestinely; the royal vessel of Suez carries thither also two millions.
122. Book ii, p. 181, ed. 1587.
123. Book vi. 23.
124. He says, book ii, that the Romans employed a hundred and twenty ships in that trade; and, in book xvii, that the Grecian kings scarcely employed twenty.
125. Book i, 2.
126. Book i, 13.
127. Our best maps place Peter’s tower in the hundredth degree of longitude, and about the fortieth of latitude.
128. Suetonius, Life of Claudius, 18; Leg. 7. Cod. Theodos. de naviculariis.
129. Book viii, tit. 4, ° 9.
130. Toto titulo, ff. de incend, ruin. et naufrag.; Cod. de naufragiis; Leg. 3, ff. ad leg. Cornel, de sicariis.
131. Leg. 1, Cod. de naufragiis.
132. Book xi, tit. 3, ° 2.
133. See Aristotle, Politics, i. 9, 10.
134. See in Marca Hispanica, the constitutions of Aragon, in the years 1228 and 1231; and in Brussel, the agreement, in the year 1206, between the King, the Countess of Champagne, and Guy of Dampierre.
135. Stow, Survey of London, iii, p. 54.
136. The edict passed at Baville, 4th of April, 1392.
137. In France the Jews were slaves in mortmain, and the lords their successors. Mr. Brussel mentions an agreement made in the year 1206, between the King and Thibaut, Count of Champagne, by which it was agreed that the Jews of the one should not lend in the lands of the other.
138. It is known that under Philip Augustus and Philip the Long, the Jews who were chased from France took refuge in Lombardy, and that there they gave to foreign merchants and travellers secret letters, drawn upon those to whom they had entrusted their effects in France, which were accepted.
139. See Nov. 83 of the Emperor Leo, which revokes the law of Basil his father. This law of Basil is in Hermenopulus, under the name of Leo, iii, tit. 7, ° 27.
140. See the account of Pirard, part II, 15.
141. This, in the language of the ancients, is the state which founded the colony.
142. Except the Carthaginians, as we see by the treaty which put an end to the first Punic war.
143. Polybius, iii.
144. The King of Persia obliged himself by treaty not to sail with any vessel of war beyond the Cyanean rocks and the Chelidonean isles. — Plutarch, Cimon.
145. Aristotle, Of Wonderful Things; Livy, dec. 2, vii.
146. Book ii, p. 170.
147. This has been already shown in a small treatise written by the author about twenty years ago; which has been almost entirely incorporated in the present work.
148. See Frezier, Voyages.
149. According to Lord Anson, Europe receives every year from Brazil two millions sterling in gold, which is found in sand at the foot of the mountains, or in the beds of rivers. When I wrote the little treatise mentioned in the first note of this chapter, the returns from Brazil were far from being so considerable an item as they are at present.