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tion of these duties, whofe enormity gives rife to fmuggling, fhe has fixed them upon objects which leave no room for fraud, aggrieve not the poorer claffes of the nation, and which admit of an eafy and little expensive collection. The smuggling of tea is already destroyed by changing the duties which this leaf paid, for a new tax upon windows;* and the excellence of this operation being actually out of doubt, the fame thing will be done in refpect to other taxes. Now, from the moment that there will be nothing to fell to English smugglers, they will no longer bring us the articles which cannot go out of England but by contraband, and attended with very great rifques, or at least it will only be by rendering them much dearer, as they are deprived of the advantage of returns.
These events, more interesting in our rivalship, than the extenfion of the British dominions, should withdraw us from our languor. It is not by beating and killing from time to time a few thousands of English and Frenchmen, that we shall hinder a competition disadvantageous to us. Men are foon replaced, efpecially in England, where a free conftitution calls them from every quarter; and these wars ferve only to cherish foolish antipathies, pro
* The tax upon windows has been a good deal joked upon in London, and upon the continent. Mr. Pitt left the wits to amuse themfelves, and continued his operation. Its advantages are now demonftrated. It is to be wifhed, that fick Governments would adopt the commutative taxes, which would comfort them.
jects of vengeance or invafion, which, when executed, render thofe who conquer still more miferable.
It is in the avocations of peace, in the industry it favors, in the views it permits to be realized, that we shall find, joined to public happiness, all that the interest of our rivality requires. It is in the bofom of peace that we shall be able to improve our cloths, encrease our wool and our fheep; there are an hundred means of doing these things; I will confine myself to one of them; it has hitherto
been treated very lightly, it is, however, at the fame time of the highest confequence. I fpeak of the deftruction of wolves.
The abfolute deftruction of wolves in the British Isles is, without doubt, the first cause of the great quantity of wool found there. A beginning is neceffary to every thing, and when a poor ruftic could have two or three fheep wandering in the country, without fear of their being loft, or being obliged to watch them, it is clear that the multiplication of these animals must be very rapid; it will be flow on the continent, where dogs and fhepherds are neceffary, and confequently great flocks will be requifite.*
The deftruction of wolves, by rendering dogs and fhepherds ufelefs, has given to the flocks a tranquillity neceffary to their increafe; which tranquillity they cannot have with dogs, which inceffantly harrass them. Nature has but one law for every thing that has life; nothing is well without liberty. No fecundity where this is wanting.
But it has perhaps been too easily believed upon the continent that it was impoffible to deftroy wolves. I will fay one word only upon the fubject; if people in France would confider that the death of one wolf is more important to the profperity of the public than the Opera of Paris; and if in confequence government would apply to the killing of French wolves, the fame fund which it employs to make Automatons fing and jump upon the stage, there would foon be no more wolves in France, and sheep might propagate in peace, without dogs or fhepherds, as in England.
It is even probable that two years expences of the Opera, would be fufficient for that great and useful end, and that a recompenfe of five hundred crowns, well aflured, and punctually paid to him who G 3 fhould
I fay folidly affured, andpunЯually paid; for want of these conditions, the most confiderable recompenfes by edict or declaration,will not caufe one ftep to be taken, becaufe no one likes to be deceived.The following is a fact, which will prove the neceffity of paying recompenfes faithfully. Adminiftration, by a humane, wife and political law, grants a third of the value of fhip-wrecked merchandizes to him, who finding them, fhall carry them to the registry of the admiralty. There were at first fome credulous perfons who, hoping for payment, reftored fcrupulously that which hazard had given them the poffeffion of. But afterwards it was perceived that thefe recompenfes were badly paid, after a long time and with great difficulty. The confequence was, that which was fo found was kept? afterwards half of it was fold, or even two thirds, for ready money, indifcriminately. The idea is natural, and no one can be blamed for acting accordingly. The peasant or failor, who thus meets with any thing, is fure of finding a purchaser, who will give at leaft
should kill a wolf upon French ground, would for ever clear the kingdom of thefe animals. Five hundred crowns for the head of a wolf!* Yes! and although there were five hundred thousand crowns a year to be paid, which is abfurd to imagine, the state would still make a good speculation; undoubtedly better than that of many military expeditions, which have exhausted our blood and treasures.
It is, without doubt, of little confequence to lofe one or two sheep in a number of flocks; but it is
leaft a third of its value in ready money. He will not, therefore, render the merchandize to the admiralty without being immediately paid this third; until then all the laws in the world will be ufelefs. Can it be believed that our laws are abfurd enough to punish thofe who are convicted of having found fomething and of not having reftored it.
I will ask pardon of the Gentlemen of the Louveterie-It is well known they have good brevets for deftroying wolves. But have thefe killings by brevet ever been seriously calculated upon? What would become of the Louveterie if there were no wolves? I appeal to those who have been witnesses to the valiant expeditions against thefe animals. Who does not, on feeing them, call to mind the fable of the peafant and his feigneur? I know alfo there are recompenfes propofed for every head of a wolf. But could one believe, that this premium of government was the fource of abuses? There is a little district, the Sub delegate of which puts one day into his accounts the price of ten thousand wolves heads. The quantity appeared a little extraordinary to the Minifter. The affair was examined, the fubaltern rogue was deprived of his office-This was again the fable of the ass punished, for having cropped in a meadow the breadth of his tongue. He who prompted him to act, went unpunished.
The Mafter of the French King's wolf-hounds, and his affocia ves.
of the greatest confequence that a poor farmer fhould have a few fheep without being obliged to watch them! How fhall we calculate? We know that flight impofitions upon the people produce more than great ones upon the rich. When fhall we know that there are more sheep in France?when every poor ruftic will have it in his power to have a few of them; except when there fhall be great proprietors only, and numerous flocks.
Let us be well convinced of this truth, that we shall never be able to enter into competition with the English with refpect to cloths and woollen Ruffs in general, until like them, we shall have encreased our flocks; for if we are induftrious, they are equally fo, and have, moreover, raw materials cheap and in abundance.
The encrease of sheep depends ftill upon the means which must be created in France, upon the encrease of pafturage, upon the improvement of those which exist, and upon a reform of the management of commons; (for Iam far from thinking they ought to be destroyed, especially for the purpofe of enriching great landed proprietors) upon the continual hurdling of fheep in the open air, or at leaft upon the falubrity of sheep folds, made higher and more airy; upon the reform of the pernicious
* Who does not recollect how much the frightful fcarcity for feveral years, of hay and other provender, diminished the number of cattle in France? What a length of time will be neceffary to repair this lofs, and what a prospect for the manufacturer of cloths. G 4