« AnteriorContinuar »
vours by a thousand attractions to engage the CHA P. attention of its mafter who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man fometimes ufes the fame arts with his brethren, and when he has no other means of engaging them to act according to his inclinations, endeavours by every fervile and fawning attention to obtain their good will. He has not time, however, to do this upon every occafion. In civilized
fociety he ftands at all times in need of the co-operation and affiftance of great multitudes, while his whole life is fcarce fufficient to gain the friendship of a few perfons. In almoft every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is intirely independent, and in its natural ftate has occafion for the affiftance of no other living creature. But man has almoft conftant occafion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can intereft their felf-love in his favour, and fhew them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this: Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every fuch offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we ftand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard
BOOK regard to their own intereft. We addrefs ourI. felves, not to their humanity but to their felflove, and never talk to them of our own neceffities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chufes to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-difpofed people, indeed, fupplies him with the whole fund of his fubfiftence. But though this principle ultimately provides him with all the neceffaries of life which he has occafion for, it neither does nor can provide him with them as he has occafion for them. The greater part of his occafional wants are fupplied in the fame manner as those of other people, by treaty, by barter, and by purchase. With the money which one man gives him he purchases food. The old cloaths which another bestows upon him he exchanges for other old cloaths which fuit him better, or for lodging, or for food, or for money, with which he can buy either food, cloaths, or lodging, as he has occafion.
As it is by treaty, by barter, and by purchase, that we obtain from one another the greater part of thofe mutual good offices which we ftand in need of, so it is this fame trucking difpofition which originally gives occafion to the divifion of labour. In a tribe of hunters or fhepherds a particular perfon makes bows and arrows, for example, with more readiness and dexterity than any other. He frequently exchanges them for cattle or for venifon with his companions;
and he finds at last that he can in this manner get CHAP. more cattle and venifon, than if he himself went to the field to catch them. From a regard to his own intereft, therefore, the making of bows and arrows grows to be his chief bufinefs, and he becomes a fort of armourer. Another excels in making the frames and covers of their little huts or moveable houfes. He is accuftomed to be of use in this way to his neighbours, who reward him in the fame manner with cattle and with venifon, till at laft he finds it his intereft to dedicate himself entirely to this employment, and to become a fort of houfe-carpenter. In the fame manner a third becomes a fmith or a brazier; a fourth a tanner or dreffer of hides or skins, the principal part of the clothing of favages. And thus the certainty of being able to exchange all that furplus part of the produce of his own labour, which is over and above his own confumption, for fuch parts of the produce of other men's labour as he may have occafion for, encourages every man to apply himself to a particular occupation, and to culti vate and bring to perfection whatever talent or genius he may poffefs for that particular species of bufinefs.
The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very different genius which appears to diftinguish men of different profeffions, when grown up to maturity, is not upon many occa fions fo much the caufe, as the effect of the divifion of labour. The difference between the
BOOK most diffimilar characters, between a philofopher and a common street porter, for example, feems to arife not fo much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education. When they came into the world, and for the firft fix or eight years of their existence, they were, perhaps, very much alike, and neither their parents nor playfellows could perceive any remarkable difference. About that age, or foon after, they come to be employed in very different occupations. The difference of talents comes then to be taken notice of, and widens by degrees, till at last the vanity of the philofopher is willing to acknowledge fcarce any refemblance. But without the difpofition to truck, barter, and exchange, every man must have procured to himself every neceffary and conveniency of life which he wanted. All must have had the fame duties to perform, and the fame work to do, and there could have been no fuch difference of employment as could alone give occafion to any great difference of talent.
As it is this difpofition which forms that dif ference of talents, fo remarkable among men of different profeffions, fo it is this fame difpofition which renders that difference ufeful. Many tribes of animals acknowledged to be all of the fame fpecies, derive from nature a much more remarkable diftinction of genius, than what, antecedent to cuftom and education, appears to take place among men. By nature a philofopher is not in genius and difpofition half fo different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from a
greyhound, or a greyhound from a spaniel, or C H A P. this last from a shepherd's dog. Thofe different tribes of animals, however, though all of the fame fpecies, are of fcarce any ufe to one another. The strength of the maftiff is not in the leaft fupported either by the fwiftnefs of the greyhound, or by the fagacity of the spaniel, or by the docility of the fhepherd's dog. The effects of thofe different geniufes and talents, for want of the power or difpofition to barter and exchange, cannot be brought into a common ftock, and do not in the leaft contribute to the better accommodation and conveniency of the fpecies. Each animal is still obliged to fupport and defend itself, feparately and inde pendently, and derives no fort of advantage from that variety of talents with which nature has diftinguished its fellows. Among men, on the contrary, the most diffimilar geniufes are of use to one another; the different produces of their respective talents, by the general difpofition to truck, barter, and exchange, being brought, as it were, into a common stock, where every man may purchase whatever part of the produce of other men's talents he has occafion for.