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natural it should so become. But it had always so been. The wealth which came thus to be at its disposal did two things-it first threw a new and false glare about this old form of authority, and then corrupted it. This happened once and again, and corruption naturally issued in decay and ruin. Thus the wheel has gone round from the beginning in Oriental history. Rudeness, refinement, luxury, feebleness, and decay have made up this circle. This tendency in the Asiatio territory to give existence to two such distinct types of humanity—the hardy and the brave, and the luxurious and effeminate, is a great fact which seems to ensure revolutions of the kind which have taken place there.
It may be quite true, therefore, as stated by Mr. Buckle, that in Egypt, and in a large portion of Asia and America, the climate is such that the wants of man are few, either as to clothing or food, and that the soil is so fruitful as to make but a light demand upon his labour; but we see that the form of government in those countries, which pretty well determines the form of everything else, does not come from those facts. Despotic authority has used these circumstances, but it did not create them ; and it not only existed before them, but it has been only partially dependent on them.
But there is another consideration here that should not be overlooked. It is this limitation of human wants, and this productiveness of human labour, we are told, that makes the accumulation of wealth possible, and so makes civilization possible. But it may be safely affirmed that wealth never comes from climate or soil, not from either separately, nor from both conjointly. Agriculture caters for the animal nature of man, for that, and no more. If the agriculturalist produces more than will meet such wants in his own case, or in the case of those dependent on him, it must be because the surplus is a commodity for which it will be
easy to find a market. But this market must be found with the manufacturer and the trader. Hence it may be laid down as a great historical principle, that the world will never see a prosperous agriculture, but as the effect of a prosperous commerce. If, therefore, the accumulation of wealth be the necessary and great condition of civilization, that condition must not be sought, even in the main, where Mr. Buckle seeks it exclusively. The ploughs of Babylonia would have produced little apart from the productions of its looms.
Mr. Buckle has more to do, accordingly, than to show how Asiatic agriculture has favoured despotism, and the sort of civilization natural to despotism. He must show how it came to pass that manufactures, merchandize, the vast scheme of city industries so conspicuous in Oriental history, was found to Effects attributed to Climate and Cheap Food.
move in the same track. But this material point for investigation does not appear to have entered his thoughts.
This oversight reminds us of another. In hot countries, it is said, men cannot labour all day, and the leisure thus thrown upon their hands generates fickleness and vice. In cooler latitudes, where employment is more continuous, the general habit is more steady and more moral. But it should be remembered, that if men stop from their labour in hot countries in the middle of the day, they commonly rise earlier and seek repose later, as the consequence. The main difference accordingly would seem to be that a part of the day is made to be as a part of the night. This argument, however, applies only to those who labour in the field; it is hardly applicable to those who have their employment in the factory or the bazaar; and, as we have seen, it is the latter form of industry which determines whether a country shall be rich or poor. Hot countries certainly induce lassitude, but we are not sure that they necessitate a great abridgment of the hours of labour.
It is a great mistake to suppose that Asiatic governments have afforded little or no security to person or property. The anecdotes of classical historians on this subject must be taken with a discount. Nothing was too bad to be attributed to the barbarians who could submit to a tyrant under the name of a king. Despotism, however, as Montesquieu remarks, must preserve the tree, if it would not lose the fruit. It is true the orientalist knows nothing of parliaments as a check on the extravagance of the Crown; but checks may come in other forms. In the theocratic spirit we see the oldest element of power in those regions. It pervades everything. It gives a religious character to all the forms of civil polity. The Koran is the statute-book of the Moslem. The Zenda-vesta was the statute-book of the Persian empire. In the Zenda-vesta of the Persian, and in the sacred books of ancient India, the rights and privileges of classes were defined by the authority, and guarded by the sanctions, of religion. First came the priests, then the warriors, and then the various classes engaged in agriculture, manufactures, and trade. To break in upon this framework, in any way, was not only to commit a social wrong, it was to offend against religion. It was not, therefore, all power with the king on the one side, and all subjection with the people on the other. The distance between the highest and the lowest was not that of a chasm—it was measured by the links of a chain. Society even there had its middle class and its middle power, between the top and the bottom. Commerce was this middle power. It made agriculture what it would never otherwise have been, and both together held a place in the social scale, which warriors, and priests, and even kings, deemed it wise in general to respect.
Now it may be quite true, as alleged by Mr. Buckle, that where food is cheap, wages will be low, and that at this point the landlord may come in, and may require the tenant to cultivate his land, not only to half its extent, which would suffice for his own wants, but to its whole extent; and to furnish the second half of the proceeds to himself in the form of rent. But before we accept this representation as giving us a full explanation of the unequal distribution of wealth, and consequently of the unequal distribution of political power, in all great tropical countries, we must be permitted to ask a question or two. If you suppose this rent to be paid in kind, and the landlord to have no market for disposing of it, then tenant and landlord are on the same low level, with this only difference—that the one is a worker, and the other an idler. Both are feeding animals—that, and nothing more. But if we suppose the existence of markets, and that there are products of the city to be given in exchange for these products of the country, then we can see how the wealth of the landlord may suffice to surround him with splendour, and to raise him to political power.
But must not those citizen industries which contribute thus to make him powerful, be themselves a power ? In Mr. Buckle's reasoning, however, this power is entirely overlooked, and the simple questions—food—wages-rent-settle everything. All the world over, the consumers of the fruits of agriculture have been a greater power than its producers. The very term 'civilization' supposes this. It takes you from the rural district to the city. In the Asiatic civilizations the populations of cities, such as Tyre and Babylon, Delhi and Benares, have not only ensured to the landlord his wealth, but have ensured the distribution both of his wealth and of their own into the hands of society, through innumerable channels. The tropical civilizations have been too complex and too varied to be the result of causes so limited and simple as those assigned by Mr. Buckle.
We feel sure also that the bad relations between tenant and landlord in modern India do not fairly represent what has obtained generally even in tropical countries. Everything native in India has been grossly corrupted. It has been so elsewhere, but not everywhere and at all times. Syria, and many other provinces, must have been marked exceptions to any such state of things. The vast empire of China, lying for the greater part in the same latitude, is an exception. An Asiatic poet has given us his conception of the true Asiatic prince-of such a prince as the men of his time would have been prepared to Effects attributed to Climate and Cheap Food,
hail as realizing the Oriental idea of paternal sovereignty. 'He shall judge the people with righteousness and the poor with
judgment. He shall save the children of the needy, and break ' in pieces the rod of the oppressor. He shall come down like ' rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. 'In his days shall the righteous flourish. For he shall deliver 'the needy when he crieth ; the poor also, and him that hath 'no helper. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence,
and precious shall their blood be in his sight. Men shall be 'blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed.'* Peoples capable of appreciating the ethics of government at all after this manner, will hardly be supposed to have been altogether without the experience of such influences. Our ideas of a political millennium all centre in a perfect constitution; the ideas of an Asiatic centre in a perfect prince. It should never be forgotten that it is from Asia—from the Asiatic mind—that Christianity has come to us. Who shall say what the quarter of the globe which produced that may not yield ?
Every man knows, moreover, that despotic government, the type into which all the extra-European civilizations have run, has not been confined to climates which make the wants of man to be small and his food to be cheap. It developed itself pretty largely in old Rome, and it has so done since on the Bosphorus, in St. Petersburgh, at Vienna, and even in Paris. The sway of the Antonines covered the east and west, from the Tigris to the Thames, and was everywhere the sway of an imperial master. Rice-growing bad little to do with that. If the Turk in Europe will be lazy, he has to pay the penalty of so being. The Mus. covite needs warm clothing and warm food, and more of it than he well knows how to obtain. If the Austrian peasant has low wages, it is not because he has cheap food, and not from that cause was it that France bowed her neck so long to the yoke imposed by her nobles and kings. Louis XIV. was prayed for in all churches as the living image' of the Almighty. On his taking part in a State ceremony in the Place de Victoires, such was the enthusiasm of the people, that a bystander writes—had he proclaimed himself a divinity, it was easy to imagine them accepting him as such with acclamation and worship. Even on the fairest soil of Europe the inequalities of wealth and of political power may thus become Oriental, and the people seem to be content that it should be so.
In brief, then, we do not say that climate and soil have not tended in a considerable degree to make the extra-European civilizations such as we find them. But we do say that those influences have not been so general, nor anywhere so exclusive and potent, as Mr. Buckle's theory represents. In this particular, as in many beside, his premises are narrow and partial, and do not warrant his conclusions. It is no doubt very true that the higher forms of civilization require a large distribution of political power, and that this supposes some approach towards an equal distribution of wealth; but the causes which impede such distributions are not confined to hot countries. You may find them powerfully at work on the shores of the Baltic, and in regions as temperate as the meridian of Paris and Vienna. Even Asia has known something of freedom, as in her old Phænician cities, and more of it in other forms than Europeans suspect. Brave men are always more or less free. The Sudra of Hindostan is no fair representative of the true Asiatic. You see that character rather in the youth who encountered that huge boaster from Gath, or in the stern truth-teller who faced the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. We can expect much, even for Asia, from the growth of intelligence; and more from causes from which Mr. Buckle can expect nothing-viz., from the growth of the true religion, and of a pure morality. The quarter of the globe in which the first Christian churches were formed has had its beginnings in religious life, and is it to have no future of that complexion ? Yes—in its season.
* Psalm lxxii,
Let it be remembered, then, that it belongs to the soil of Asia to give existence to two widely-different races of men-to the effeminate and passive who cultivate a great part of the level lands of the south, and to the hardy and brave who grow up amidst the mountains and plains of the north. Let it also be remembered, that this more hardy and northern race has migrated from time to time to the south, and has there founded great empires. But the rice-growers of the south could never have made that country a tempting spoil to the north had they existed alone. There would have been nothing in that case to care about either in the land or its people. But the arts and commerce came in. By these, agriculture was stimulated, and wealth and power ensured. Now it was that the south became a tempting region to the north, and in the mixture of races which ensued from the periodical incursions of the northern populations we have the great fact in Asiatic history. To the south of the Tauric and Himalaya mountains we have the one race, to the north of that line the other. It is not true, therefore, that the destiny of India has been determined by the rice-growers; it is rather true that it has been determined by the artisan and the merchant, for without these the south must have remained poor, and the northerns