Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
By John J. Lalor
NEITHER American nor English literature has hitherto possessed a Cyclopædia of Political Science and Political Economy. The want of a work of reference on these important branches of knowledge has long been felt, especially by lawyers, journalists, members of our state and national legislatures, and the large and intelligent class of capitalists and business men who give serious thought to the political and social questions of the day. The present work, which will be completed in three volumes, is the first to supply that want. It is also the first Political History of the United States in encyclopædic form—the first to which the reader can refer for an account of the important events or facts in our political history, as he would to a dictionary for the precise meaning of a word. The French, the Germans and even the Italians are richer in works of reference on political science and political economy than the Americans or the English. The Germans have Rotteck and Welcker’s
Staatslexikon, and Bluntschli and Brater’s
Staatswörterbuch; the French, Block’s
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, and the celebrated
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, edited by Guillaumin and Coquelin.The “Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States” is intended to be to the American and English reader what the above-named works are to French and German students of political science and political economy. The articles by foreigners in our work are largely translations from the
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, the
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, the
Staatswörterbuch, and original articles by Mr. T. E. Cliffe Leslie, the eminent English economist; while the American articles are by the best American and Canadian writers on political economy and political science. The task of writing the articles on the political history of the United States was confided to one person, Mr. Alexander Johnston, of Norwalk, Connecticut, thoroughness, conciseness and the absence of repetition and of redundancy being thus secured…. [From the Preface]
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Originally printed in 3 volumes. Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
- V.1, Entry 1, ABDICATION
- V.1, Entry 2, ABOLITION AND ABOLITIONISTS
- V.1, Entry 3, ABSENTEEISM
- V.1, Entry 4, ABSOLUTE POWER
- V.1, Entry 5, ABSOLUTISM
- V.1, Entry 6, ABSTENTION
- V.1, Entry 7, ABUSES IN POLITICS
- V.1, Entry 8, ABYSSINIA
- V.1, Entry 9, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 10, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 11, ACCLAMATION
- V.1, Entry 12, ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH
- V.1, Entry 13, ACT
- V.1, Entry 14, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 15, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 16, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 17, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 18, ADJOURNMENT
- V.1, Entry 19, ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 20, ADMINISTRATIONS
- V.1, Entry 21, AFRICA
- V.1, Entry 22, AGE
- V.1, Entry 23, AGENT
- V.1, Entry 24, AGENTS
- V.1, Entry 25, AGIO
- V.1, Entry 26, AGIOTAGE
- V.1, Entry 27, AGRICULTURE
- V.1, Entry 28, ALABAMA
- V.1, Entry 29, ALABAMA CLAIMS
- V.1, Entry 30, ALASKA
- V.1, Entry 31, ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
- V.1, Entry 32, ALBANY REGENCY
- V.1, Entry 33, ALCALDE
- V.1, Entry 34, ALCOHOL
- V.1, Entry 35, ALGERIA
- V.1, Entry 36, ALGERINE WAR
- V.1, Entry 37, ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS
- V.1, Entry 38, ALIENS
- V.1, Entry 39, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 40, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 41, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 42, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 43, ALLOYAGE
- V.1, Entry 44, ALMANACH DE GOTHA
- V.1, Entry 45, ALSACE-LORRAINE
- V.1, Entry 46, AMBASSADOR
- V.1, Entry 47, AMBITION
- V.1, Entry 48, AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
- V.1, Entry 49, AMERICA
- V.1, Entry 50, AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE
- V.1, Entry 51, AMERICAN PARTY
- V.1, Entry 52, AMERICAN WHIGS
- V.1, Entry 53, AMES
- V.1, Entry 54, AMISTAD CASE
- V.1, Entry 55, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 56, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 57, ANAM
- V.1, Entry 58, ANARCHY
- V.1, Entry 59, ANCIEN RÉGIME
- V.1, Entry 60, ANDORRA
- V.1, Entry 61, ANHALT
- V.1, Entry 62, ANNEXATION
- V.1, Entry 63, ANNEXATIONS
- V.1, Entry 64, ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY
- V.1, Entry 65, ANTI-MASONRY
- V.1, Entry 66, ANTI-NEBRASKA MEN
- V.1, Entry 67, ANTI-RENTERS
- V.1, Entry 68, ANTI-SLAVERY.
- V.1, Entry 69, APPORTIONMENT
- V.1, Entry 70, APPROPRIATION.
- V.1, Entry 71, APPROPRIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 72, ARBITRAGE
- V.1, Entry 73, ARBITRARY ARRESTS
- V.1, Entry 74, ARBITRARY POWER
- V.1, Entry 75, ARBITRATION
- V.1, Entry 76, ARCHONS
- V.1, Entry 77, AREOPAGUS.
- V.1, Entry 78, ARGENTINE CONFEDERATION
- V.1, Entry 79, ARISTOCRACY.
- V.1, Entry 80, ARISTOCRATIC AND DEMOCRATIC IDEAS.
- V.1, Entry 81, ARITHMETIC
- V.1, Entry 82, ARIZONA
- V.1, Entry 83, ARKANSAS
- V.1, Entry 84, ARMISTICE
- V.1, Entry 85, ARMIES
- V.1, Entry 86, ARMY
- V.1, Entry 87, ARTHUR
- V.1, Entry 88, ARTISANS
- V.1, Entry 89, ARYAN RACES.
- V.1, Entry 90, ASIA
- V.1, Entry 91, ASSEMBLY (IN U. S. HISTORY)
- V.1, Entry 92, ASSESSMENTS
- V.1, Entry 93, ASSIGNATS
- V.1, Entry 94, ASSOCIATION AND ASSOCIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 95, ASYLUM
- V.1, Entry 96, ATELIERS NATIONAUX
- V.1, Entry 97, ATTAINDER
- V.1, Entry 98, ATTORNEYS GENERAL
- V.1, Entry 99, AUSTRALIA
- V.1, Entry 100, AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
- V.1, Entry 101, AUTHORITY
- V.1, Entry 102, AUTHORS
- V.1, Entry 103, AUTOCRAT
- V.1, Entry 104, AUTONOMY.
- V.1, Entry 105, AYES AND NOES
- V.1, Entry 106, BADEN
- V.1, Entry 107, BALANCE OF POWER
- V.1, Entry 108, BALANCE OF TRADE
- V.1, Entry 109, BALLOT
- V.1, Entry 110, BANK CONTROVERSIES
- V.1, Entry 111, BANKING
- V.1, Entry 112, BANK NOTES.
- V.1, Entry 113, BANKRUPTCY.
- V.1, Entry 114, BANKRUPTCY, National.
- V.1, Entry 115, BANKS.
- V.1, Entry 116, BANKS, Functions of.
- V.1, Entry 117, BANKS OF ISSUE
- V.1, Entry 118, BANKS, Advantages of Savings.
- V.1, Entry 119, BANKS, History and Management of Savings,
- V.1, Entry 120, BAR
- V.1, Entry 121, BARNBURNERS
- V.1, Entry 122, BARRICADE
- V.1, Entry 123, BARTER.
- V.1, Entry 124, BASTILLE
- V.1, Entry 125, BAVARIA
- V.1, Entry 126, BELGIUM
- V.1, Entry 127, BELL
- V.1, Entry 128, BELLIGERENTS
- V.1, Entry 129, BENTON
- V.1, Entry 130, BERLIN DECREE
- V.1, Entry 131, BILL
- V.1, Entry 132, BILL OF EXCHANGE
- V.1, Entry 133, BILL OF RIGHTS
- V.1, Entry 134, BILLION
- V.1, Entry 135, BILLS
- V.1, Entry 136, BI-METALLISM.
- V.1, Entry 137, BIRNEY
- V.1, Entry 138, BLACK COCKADE
- V.1, Entry 139, BLACK CODE.
- V.1, Entry 140, BLACK REPUBLICAN.
- V.1, Entry 141, BLAINE
- V.1, Entry 142, BLAIR
- V.1, Entry 143, BLOCKADE
- V.1, Entry 144, BLOODY BILL
- V.1, Entry 145, BLUE LAWS
- V.1, Entry 146, BLUE LIGHT
- V.1, Entry 147, BOARD OF TRADE.
- V.1, Entry 148, BOLIVIA
- V.1, Entry 149, BOOTY
- V.1, Entry 150, BORDER RUFFIANS
- V.1, Entry 151, BORDER STATES
- V.1, Entry 152, BOURGEOISIE
- V.1, Entry 153, BOUTWELL
- V.1, Entry 154, BRAHMANISM.
- V.1, Entry 155, BRAZIL
- V.1, Entry 156, BRECKENRIDGE
- V.1, Entry 157, BROAD SEAL WAR
- V.1, Entry 158, BROKERS
- V.1, Entry 159, BROOKS
- V.1, Entry 160, BROWN
- V.1, Entry 161, BUCHANAN
- V.1, Entry 162, BUCKSHOT WAR
- V.1, Entry 163, BUCKTAILS
- V.1, Entry 164, BUDDHISM
- V.1, Entry 165, BUDGET
- V.1, Entry 166, BULL
- V.1, Entry 167, BUNDESRATH
- V.1, Entry 168, BUREAUCRACY
- V.1, Entry 169, BURGESSES
- V.1, Entry 170, BURLINGAME
- V.1, Entry 171, BURR
- V.1, Entry 172, BUTLER, Benj. F.
- V.1, Entry 173, BUTLER, William Orlando
- V.1, Entry 174, CACHET
- V.1, Entry 175, CÆSARISM
- V.1, Entry 176, CALENDAR
- V.1, Entry 177, CALHOUN
- V.1, Entry 178, CALIFORNIA
- V.1, Entry 179, CANADA
- V.1, Entry 180, CANALS
- V.1, Entry 181, CANON LAW
- V.1, Entry 182, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 183, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 184, CAPITULATION
- V.1, Entry 185, CARICATURE
- V.1, Entry 186, CARPET BAGGERS
- V.1, Entry 187, CARTEL
- V.1, Entry 188, CASS
- V.1, Entry 189, CASUS BELLI
- V.1, Entry 190, CAUCUS
- V.1, Entry 191, CAUCUS SYSTEM
- V.1, Entry 192, CAUSE AND EFFECT IN POLITICS.
- V.1, Entry 193, CELIBACY, Clerical
- V.1, Entry 194, CELIBACY, Political Aspects of.
- V.1, Entry 195, CELTS.
- V.1, Entry 196, CENSURE.
- V.1, Entry 197, CENSURE OF MORALS.
- V.1, Entry 198, CENSURES
- V.1, Entry 199, CENSUS.
- V.1, Entry 200, CENTRALIZATION and DECENTRALIZATION.
- V.1, Entry 201, CEREMONIAL
- V.1, Entry 202, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 203, CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES.
- V.1, Entry 204, CHARITY, Private.
- V.1, Entry 205, CHARITY, Public.
- V.1, Entry 206, CHARITY, State.
- V.1, Entry 207, CHASE
- V.1, Entry 208, CHECKS AND BALANCES.
- V.1, Entry 209, CHEROKEE CASE
- V.1, Entry 210, CHESAPEAKE CASE.
- V.1, Entry 211, CHILI.
- V.1, Entry 212, CHINA
- V.1, Entry 213, CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
- V.1, Entry 214, CHIVALRY.
- V.1, Entry 215, CHRISTIANITY.
- V.1, Entry 216, CHURCH AND STATE
- V.1, Entry 217, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 218, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 219, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 220, CHURCHES AND RELIGIONS
- V.1, Entry 221, CHURCHES
- V.1, Entry 222, CINCINNATI
- V.1, Entry 223, CIPHER DISPATCHES AND DECIPHERMENT
- V.1, Entry 224, CIRCULATION OF WEALTH.
- V.1, Entry 225, CITIES
- V.1, Entry 226, CITIES AND TOWNS.
- V.1, Entry 227, CIVIL ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 228, CIVIL LIST.
- V.1, Entry 229, CIVIL RIGHTS BILL
- V.1, Entry 230, CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
- V.1, Entry 231, CIVILIZATION
- V.1, Entry 232, CLAY
- V.1, Entry 233, CLEARING, AND CLEARING HOUSES
- V.1, Entry 234, CLERICALISM
- V.1, Entry 235, CLIENTÈLE AND CUSTOM
- V.1, Entry 236, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 237, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 238, CLINTON
- V.1, Entry 239, CLINTON, George
- V.1, Entry 240, CL�TURE
- V.1, Entry 241, COASTING TRADE
- V.1, Entry 242, COCHIN CHINA
- V.1, Entry 243, COINAGE
- V.1, Entry 244, COLFAX
- V.1, Entry 245, COLONIZATION SOCIETY
- V.1, Entry 246, COLORADO
- V.1, Entry 247, COLOMBIA
- V.1, Entry 248, COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 249, COMMERCIAL CRISES
- V.1, Entry 250, COMMISSION
- V.1, Entry 251, COMMITTEES
- V.1, Entry 252, COMMON LAW
- V.1, Entry 253, COMMONS
- V.1, Entry 254, COMMUNE
- V.1, Entry 255, COMMUNISM
- V.1, Entry 256, COMPETITION.
- V.1, Entry 257, COMPROMISES
- V.1, Entry 258, COMPULSORY CIRCULATION
- V.1, Entry 259, COMPULSORY EDUCATION
- V.1, Entry 260, CONCESSION
- V.1, Entry 261, CONCLAVE.
- V.1, Entry 262, CONCLUSUM
- V.1, Entry 284, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
- V.1, Entry 301, CONVENTION
- V.1, Entry 375, DISTILLED SPIRITS
- V.1, Entry 384, DOMINION OF CANADA
- V.2, Entry 7, EDUCATION
- V.2, Entry 18, EMBARGO
- V.2, Entry 33, EXCHANGE
- V.2, Entry 35, EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS
- V.2, Entry 37, EXCHANGE OF WEALTH
- V.2, Entry 121, GREAT BRITAIN
- V.2, Entry 130, HABEAS CORPUS
- V.2, Entry 180, INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION
- V.2, Entry 225, JUSTICE, Department of
- V.2, Entry 246, LAW
- V.2, Entry 364, NEW GRANADA
- V.2, Entry 379, NULLIFICATION
- V.3, Entry 4, OCEANICA
- V.3, Entry 29, PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE
- V.3, Entry 32, PARLIAMENTARY LAW.
- V.3, Entry 116, RACES OF MANKIND
- V.3, Entry 137, REPUBLICAN PARTY
- V.3, Entry 155, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
- V.3, Entry 195, SLAVERY
- V.3, Entry 278, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- V. 2, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of American Writers
CHURCHES AND RELIGIONS, Politico-economical Aspects of. Why place such an article in this work? What can churches have in common with political economy? This question will doubtless present itself to the minds of some readers, who, before examining the question, will censure us for having considered from the point of view of material utility a side of human life in which, to their thinking, calculation should play no part.
—Their censure would perhaps be well founded if, being imbued in regard to churches in general with that philosophic, or pretended philosophic indifference on which radical thinkers pride themselves, we should pretend to weigh the different beliefs in the worldly balance of material interests and assign to economic considerations any influence in the choice of religion by individuals or nations. But such is not our idea. We know very well that a church is adopted from conviction, on account of religious beliefs of which it is the external manifestation, and not in consideration of what it costs, or what it brings in; and we should consider the statesman senseless whose views on the question of public worship should be determined by motives of economy alone.
—Let religious men, therefore, divest themselves of prejudice in reading what we write, and they will not be slow in recognizing with us that churches come naturally within the domain of political economy, first as exercising an influence more or less direct upon certain economic phenomena, then as applying a part of the wealth produced to the satisfaction of a social want.
—Political economy does not embrace the totality of human interests; it does not undertake to indicate to man, individual or collective, the means of happiness, even here below. Its only object is to explain the phenomena of production, circulation and distribution of wealth, to discover the laws according to which these phenomena take place. Finally, its object is to formulate the general theories which should direct nations in their economic development, that is to say, in seeking the advantages which have wealth for their cause or principal element.
—Thus when exact data permit us to compare the economic condition of a country with the productive powers at its disposal, it belongs to political economy to decide in what degree the results of this comparison are in accordance with the general laws which preside over the development of wealth, and indicate the causes which might have accelerated or retarded the progress of this development in the country in question. If, among these causes, it finds certain precepts or certain usages forming part of religious worship; it takes note of them, with no other object than to explain the complex phenomena of which it must render account, without expressing any judgment at all as to the religious, moral or even simply political propriety of the practices of the observances in question.
—Now who can deny the influence which certain churches have exercised on economic phenomena at different times, notably on the quantity of productive forces set at work and on the direction which was given them? Must we not seek in the religious beliefs of the people of the east, and in the practices derived from these beliefs, one of the principal causes of the profound difference existing between the material civilization of these peoples and that
of the western nations? Should we not attribute a considerable part, in many economic results in the political and social régime in France, to the precepts and usages of religion then dominant, especially to monastic institutions, to the celibacy of priests, to the great number of holidays, to abstinence in Lent, etc., etc.?
—We do not wish, however, to occupy ourselves here with these effects peculiar to certain churches and resulting from variable practices. Among the civilized nations of our time the economic influence of which we have just spoken has become, or tends to become, almost nothing or purely accidental. But between churches and our science there exist relations of another kind, to which we must call the attention of the reader.
—Religious beliefs common to a great number of individuals demand an external manifestation, collective and public; in other words, a worship more or less solemn. This is a universal fact in support of which any demonstration would be superfluous.
—It is another no less undoubted fact that this social want is one of those which the state is almost always obliged to provide for by means of an organization whose expenses are defrayed by society. From this two questions arise which evidently belong to political economy: 1. Are religious wants better and more completely satisfied by the intervention of the state than they could be by the spontaneous action of society itself? 2. Which of these two possible modes of satisfaction, all other things being equal, imposes the least material sacrifice on society?
—Before approaching the examination of these questions let us begin by stating that if we consider the two modes as equally possible, it is because they have both been tried. There exists in our time a great nation, highly civilized and at the same time very religious, in which churches are altogether private institutions. In the United States the state is absolutely a stranger, in law and in fact, to the external manifestation of religious belief. Religious wants are satisfied there, completely and liberally, without any intervention either of the public treasury or of the law. It was almost the same in France before the revolution of 1789, as the Catholic church had its own property at that time which relieved it of the necessity of asking anything from the state, and an organization which did not emanate from the civil power; while the other churches were not recognized.
—In political economy those who labor for the satisfaction of a social want are called
producers, and those who make use of the product intended for this satisfaction
consumers. When the state assumes the rôle of producer, it arrogates to itself a monopoly it excludes all competition in the kind of production to which it devotes itself. In the contrary case, that is to say, when the satisfaction of a social want is left to the free and spontaneous action of society itself, or to the parts of society which feel this want, it necessarily happens that the corresponding production is undertaken competitively by several individuals or several private associations. Sometimes it is manufacturers who thus apply their labor in view of an eventual pecuniary profit; sometimes consumers, who associate together to obtain, by their united efforts or their individual sacrifices, the satisfaction of the want which they feel in common. On both hypotheses each producer, individual or collective, is evidently interested in increasing his product, since he finds, on the first hypothesis, an increase of profit, and on the second, the combination of a greater number of individual efforts and consequently a more and more complete satisfaction of the wants which he intended to satisfy.
—Now the producer has two methods of increasing the number of consumers whose wants he provides for and of outstripping his competitors by increasing his production at the expense of theirs. The first is to improve the quality of his products; the second, to lower their price to consumers. The certain effect, therefore, of competition is to induce producers to improve their products and to furnish them at the lowest possible price.
—In the case of an absolute monopoly the stimulant of which we have just spoken does not exist, or, if it does exist, it is in a much lower degree and under certain exceptional circumstances, namely, when it is a question of material products, destined to satisfy the wants of luxury, the consumption of which may be extended or restricted indefinitely. We can affirm, then, that any social want will be satisfied more completely and economically in proportion as the competition of producers fitted to provide for it is freer and more extensive.
—Such is the general law laid down by political economy for the solution of the questions which occupy us. Does this law, evident in theory, and confirmed moreover by the daily experience of practical life, admit of exceptions? Are there special social wants which can be satisfied only through the intervention of the state? We do not hesitate to answer affirmatively, and we shall cite at once as special exceptional cases, the wants of security, justice, coinage, ways of communication for persons and things, etc., etc.
—Should religious wants be ranged among the exceptional cases or remain submitted to the general rule? This remains to be examined. But we must first establish a distinction which governs or whole subject.
—The Christian world from a religious point of view, has for three centuries been divided between two opposing principles, which we shall call the principle of unity and the principle of diversity. Those who admit the first, form but one single church, submitted to one single authority, practicing one and the same rite prescribed by this authority. Those who admit the second principle, form an indefinite number of distinct churches, capable of differing from each other in forms of worship, and, up to a certain point, in their beliefs.
—It will be seen that we describe Catholicism and Protestantism by their purely external and in some sense material aspect, because it is the only one, as we have already said, of which our science can take account.
this aspect the principle of unity becomes identical with that of monopoly. Catholicism excludes all internal competition. Whether the state interferes or not, there is but one
entrepreneur, one single producer charged with providing for the religious wants of Catholics. if it is not the state it is the church, a body exclusively monarchic according to some, mixed with aristocracy according to others, but whose will is always one and homogeneous with reference to what we may call
—There would be no further question then with reference to Catholicism than to decide which is preferable, the monopoly of the church or that of the state: a great question, which it is our duty to examine here only in its economic aspect, putting aside all political or moral motives which might militate in one sense or another. Now from this restricted point of view, the monopoly of the state appears to us preferable to that of the church for the following reasons: Among Catholics the acting church, the church which administers the worship and which disposes of the material means collected for this purpose, is not confounded, as among Protestants, with the religious community itself; it does not embrace the totality of believers; it is composed exclusively of members of the clergy, that is to say, of an organized hierarchy, which recruits its own ranks and which is consequently animated in the highest degree with the spirit of unity and perpetuity, of unity in time and space. The result of this, in the first place, is that the immovable property which the church has acquired, and the amount of which it is always interested in increasing, to assure its own existence more and more firmly and its means of action in the future, becomes inalienable in its hands and is withdrawn from circulation. Not only does it cease to belong to lay society; but it is withdrawn from its action, withdrawn from that commercial movement which, under the impulse of interest, tends to render the working of productive capital more and more profitable to the general interest, by causing it to pass through hands the best fitted to make use of it. The first consequence produces a second still more disadvantageous.
—If to satisfy the personal wants of its members and those of the church with which it is charged, the hierarchy had only the periodical contributions and casual offerings which laymen might voluntarily make, it would, although exercising a monopoly, be interested in arousing the zeal of believers in keeping up among them religious sentiments and habits. Can it be the same when once the church is possessed of considerable property which renders it independent of the zeal of the faithful? Evidently not. The stimulation of interest then becomes weaker, if it does not altogether disappear; and as that of duty, unfortunately, is not always of such constant efficacy, we may hold it for certain that the satisfaction of religious wants will become, under such a régime, more and more imperfect and insufficient for Catholic populations.
—The truth of what we advance was confirmed in a remarkable manner by the experience of France. Before the revolution of 1789, the church possessed one-fifth of all the territory of France and the rest was burdened with tithes for its profit, the annual product of which reached 133 millions francs. In this way a very great part of the soil of the country was either withdrawn from circulation, consequently from the fructifying and improving action of private interests, or weighted with a real burden, which, of all those that land can bear, is the most irrational, the most contrary to the progressive development of agricultural industry.
—In saying that all these ecclesiastical estates belonged to the hierarchy, that is, to the clergy considered in their totality as a moral body, we give expression to what was everywhere considered wrongly as of right, rather than what was really the law. We must agree with the greater part of the jurists who have gone to the bottom of this question, notably with the celebrated Savigny, that the subject of these rights of property, the real proprietor of these ecclesiastical estates, was the religious communities, the churches, in the primitive sense of the word (
ekklêsiœ). In the sixth century this had not yet become a question, as is shown by the constitutions of Justinian, in particular the 26th in the code
De sacrosanctis ecclesiis. But the influence of the canon law was not slow in introducing on this point a confusion of ideas which continued to grow and develop from that time.
—The error had become so general and so complete at the time of the first revolution that it formed the only ground upon which the partisans and the adversaries of the confiscation of ecclesiastical property met. When Mirabeau contended that the corporate existence of the Catholic clergy being once suppressed, the property of which this moral being had been the owner was left without a proprietor, and belonged, for want of an heir, by right to the state or to the nation as was then said, the Abbé Maury and other champions of the church opposed to this reasoning nothing but quotations and distinctions without significance. They did not think of disputing the principle, so eminently open to dispute, upon which the legality of the proposed secularization rested.
—The confusion in question results, as we have said, from the very essence of the Catholic organization; it is inherent in the institution of a sacerdotal hierarchy, and we think it will be necessarily reproduced to a greater or lesser degree wherever the church organized in this way preserves under any conditions and limits the power of acquiring property.
—It is not part of our plan to explain the principles on which the Catholic church has been successively reconstituted in France since the commencement of this century—principles which, to tell the truth, were vague enough in the minds of the legislators and statesmen charged with applying them. All we have to establish is, that the state as a rule undertook to provide for the religious wants of the Catholic population of France, and in
fact substituted its own monopoly for that of the church. The direct grants of the state are not sufficient, it is true, for the entire support of the Catholic church in France; but the remainder is furnished either by subsidies from the departments or the communes; or by the revenues of church property; or by means of real property or capital, composing what several French laws, in consequence of the above mentioned error, very improperly called
dotation du clergé; or by lands belonging to the state, the departments or the communes; or by property belonging to the congregations and authorized religious corporations. Now this last category of property is the only one really removed from circulation and subjected to ecclesiastical mortmain; all the rest is comprised in the domain of the state or administered under its direct control or by purely civil authorities.
—The territory of France, therefore, with the exception of a small fraction, is freed from that mortmain which had formerly covered so large a portion of it, and from those burdensome tithes which hindered the development of agricultural industry at every point.
—However vicious the French system of direct contributions may be in principle, it is impossible to compare it in economic results with those two plagues, the tithes and the mortmain which it has replaced. It must be recognized then that the country has realized a great economy in the satisfaction of its religious wants by substituting the monopoly of the state for that of the church.
—Are these wants themselves better or worse satisfied than formerly? If there is a fact generally admitted by all at the present time, it is this, that the Catholic clergy are better fitted morally and intellectually for the exercise of their functions, are more worthy in their private life, more zealous in the exercise of their pastoral duties, than they were in the last century. But, without wishing to attribute this amelioration exclusively to motives of material interest, we believe that it might have, in every case, and in the absence even of nobler motives, resulted from the insufficiency of the grants given by the state, the priests finding themselves in this way obliged to count on local assistance, as well as upon the liberality and the offerings of the faithful; that is to say, on resources whose product, essentially variable, must naturally increase and decrease in proportion to the degree of faith and religious fervor with which each minister of the faith may inspire his flock.
—Let us now apply the questions proposed above to churches governed by the principle of diversity, and we shall recognized at first that competition may exist in them and exhibit its effects in two ways.
—In the first place, as the churches established on this principle do not recognize any common superior, there is no reason to prevent persons professing the same belief and practicing the same rite separating into a number of communities distinct and independent of each other. This has taken place in all Protestant communions in the United States; also in Europe, especially in England among the dissenters, who are neither recognized nor salaried by the state. Now administrators and pastors of these competing associations would have to cease to be men were this state of things not to arouse among them a spirit of rivalry and emulation eminently fitted to stimulate their zeal and activity.
—In the second place, the separation and reciprocal independence of the churches which do not profess the same belief, or which do not practice the same rite, establish among them an inevitable competition the more active and efficacious in this, that the spirit of sect and proselytism adds its stimulating energy to that of simple rivalry.
—Are there reasons for thinking that the régime of free competition will not produce its ordinary effect in regard to worship? We do not know of any, and therefore we think we can affirm, that under such a régime the religious wants of a Protestant population will be as well and as economically satisfied as possible.
—The interference of the state can only tend to diminish this satisfaction. First, by organizing and paying the churches, the state places the administrators and the pastors of each church in a position which renders them independent, in all their material interests, of the zeal and faith of their flock. The parishes of the different churches being limited by law, the salaries fixed in consequence and subtracted from the mass of public revenue, religious production will in its growth merely increase the burden of producers without adding anything to their profits, or to the importance of their position.
—The principal inconvenience of state monopoly here is that, in organizing, at the expense of the entire nation and for all parts of its territory, a very limited number of recognized religions, it hinders, if it does not absolutely prevent, the manifestation of religious beliefs which can not be satisfied by any of the favored religions. Supposing even that dissenters enjoy the most complete legal toleration, it is impossible that their opinions should not labor under a certain disfavor; besides, they find themselves obliged to support alone the expenses of their own church at the same time that they contribute their quota to the dominant religious.
—The monopoly of the state, in other terms the system of
established churches, can assure but a very incomplete and costly satisfaction of the numerous wants which arise from the liberty of examination. Religious production here is, in the case of the greatest number of believers, either of poor quality or too high a price; in a word, insufficient.
—The way in which sects multiply under the régime of free competition shows well enough that religious wants are various and tend to become more and more diversified when the minds of men have once shaken off the yoke of authority and broken definitely with absolute unity of belief and worship, of organism and of action, the idea of which, as well as that of liberty, does not cease to have a powerful attraction for the human mind.
—We might examine
the case in which the two principles, of unity and diversity, meet among the same people; but we do not see how this circumstance could modify the theory which we have explained. In the countries at least where Catholics form a considerable portion of the population, above all, in those where they are in a great majority, as in France.
—In closing this article we think it our duty to insist once more that our readers should not forget the narrow and closely circumscribed province to which we have confined ourselves in the examination of the question which we had to solve. To conclude from our reasoning that economists, and particularly the writer, are absolute partisans of one system or another in the question of religious worship, would be to make us say something different from what we have said or wished to say. The problems of legislation and politics are always complex. Economic motives should be taken into consideration, without doubt, but together with motives of a nature altogether different; and if the error has often been committed of giving too small a place to the first, it would not be by giving it too great a place that the progress of our science would be favored, and injurious prejudices, which are still entertained by so many statesmen and administrators, dispelled.
A. E. CHERBULIEZ.