Economic Sophisms/219

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"of Paris is an incontestable fact. Is there no means, then, of counteracting this singular measure that Peter and his colleagues got adopted twenty years ago?

FATHER: I am going to tell you a secret. I remain in Paris on purpose. I shall call in the people to my assistance. It rests with them to replace the octroi on its ancient basis, and get quit of that fatal principle which was engrafted on it, and which still vegetates there like a parasitical fungus.

Son: You must succeed in this at once.

Father: On the contrary, the work will be difficult and laborious. Peter, Paul, and John understand one another marvellously. They will do anything rather than allow firewood, butter, and butchers' meat to enter Paris. They have on their side the people, who see clearly the employment which these three protected branches of industry afford. They know well to what extent the cowfeeders and wood-merchants give employment to labour; but they have by no means the same exact idea of the labour which would be developed in the open air of liberty.

Son: If that is all, you will soon enlighten them.

Father:At your age, my son, no doubts arise. If I write, the people will not read; for, to support their miserable existence, they have not much time at their disposal. If I speak, the magistrates will shut my mouth. The people, therefore, will long remain under their fatal mistake. Political parties, whose hopes are founded on popular passions, will set themselves, not to dissipate their prejudices, but to make merchandise of them. I shall have to combat at one and the same time the great men of the day, the people, and their leaders. In truth, I see a frightful storm ready to burst over the head of the bold man who shall venture to protest against an iniquity so deeply rooted in this country.

Son: You will have truth and justice on your side.

Father: And they will have force and calumny on theirs. Were I but young again! but age and suffering have exhausted my strength.

Son: Very well, father; what strength remains to you, devote to the service of the country. Begin this work of enfranchisement, and leave to me the care of finishing it.