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| F you should see a flock of pigeons in a field
of corn; and if (instead of each picking where, and what it liked, taking just as much as it wanted, and no more) you should see ninety-nine of them gathering all they got into a heap; reserving nothing for themselves, but
the chaff and refuse ; keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest perhaps and worst pigeon of the flock; fitting round, and looking on all the winter, whilst this one was devouring, throwing about and wasting it; and, if a pigeon more hardy or hungry than the rest, touched a grain of the hoard, all the others instantly flying upon it, and tearing it to pieces: if you 1hould see this, you would see nothing more, than what is every day practised and established among men. Among men you see the ninety and nine, toiling and scraping together a heap of superfluities for one; getting nothing for themselves all the while, but a little of the coarsest of the provision, which their own labour produces ; and this one too, oftentimes the feeblest and worst of the whole set, a child, a woman, a madman, or a fool ; looking quietly on, while they see the fruits of all their labour spent or spoiled ; and if one of them take or touch a particle of it, the others join against him, and hang him for the theft.
THERE must be some very important ad
vantages to account for an institution, which in one view of it is so paradoxical and unnatural.
The principal of these advantages are the following:
I. It increases the produce of the earth.
The earth, in climates like ours, produces little without cultivation ; and none would be found willing to cultivate the ground, if others were to be admitted to an equal share of the produce. The fame is true of the care of flocks and herds of tame animals.
Crabs and acorns, red deer, rabbits, game, and fish, are all we should have to subsist upon in this country, if we trusted to the spontaneous productions of the foil: and it fares not much
better with other countries. A nation of North American favages, consisting of two or three hundred, will take up, and be half-starved upon a tract of land, which in Europe, and with European management, would be sufficient for the maintenance of as many thousands.
In some fertile foils, together with great abundance of fish upon their coasts, and in regions where clothes are unnecessary, a considerable degree of 'population may subsist without property in land; which is the case in the islands of Otaheite: but in less favoured situations, as in the country of New Zealand, though this fort of property obtain in a small degree, the inhabitants, for want of a more secure and regular establishment of it, are driven ofttimes by the scarcity of provision to devour one another.
II. It preserves the produce of the earth to maturity.
We may judge what would be the effects of a community of right to the productions of the earth, from the trifling specimens which we see of it at present. A cherry-tree in a hedge row, nuts in a wood, the grass of an unstinted pasture, are seldom of much advantage to any body, because people do not wait for the proper season of reaping them. Corn, if any were fown, would