X.) To make a Great an Honest Hive: Page 23. Line 2.
THIS perhaps might be done where People are contented to be poor and hardy; but if they would likewise enjoy their Ease and the Comforts of the World, and be at once an opulent, potent, and flourishing, as well as a Warlike Nation, it is utterly impossible. I have heard People speak of the mighty Figure the Spartans made above all the Commonwealths of Greece, notwithstanding their uncommon Frugality and other exemplary Virtues. But certainly there never was a Nation whose Greatness was more empty than theirs: The Splendor they lived in was inferior to that of a Theatre, and the only thing they could be proud of, was, that they enjoy’d nothing. They were indeed both feared and esteemed Abroad: They were so famed for Valour and Skill in Martial Affairs, that their Neighbours did not only court their Friendship and Assistance in their Wars, but were satisfied and thought themselves sure of the Victory, if they could but get a Spartan General to command their Armies. But then their Discipline was so rigid, and their manner of living so Austere and void of all Comfort, that the most temperate Man among us would refuse to submit to the Harshness of such uncouth Laws. There was a perfect Equality among them: Gold and Silver Coin were cried down; their current Money was made of Iron, to render it of a great Bulk and little Worth: To lay up twenty or thirty Pounds, required a pretty large Chamber, and to remove it nothing less than a Yoke of Oxen. Another Remedy, they had against Luxury, was, that they were obliged to eat in common of the same Meat, and they so little allowed any body to Dine or Sup by himself at home, that Agis, one of their Kings, having vanquished the Athenians, and sending for his Commons at his return home (because he desired privately to eat with his Queen) was refused by the Polemarchi.
In training up their Youth, their chief Care, says Plutarch, was to make them good Subjects, to fit them to endure the Fatigues of long and tedious Marches, and never to return without Victory from the Field. When they were twelve Years old, they lodg’d in little Bands, upon Beds made of the Rushes which grew by the Banks of the River Eurotas; and because their Points were sharp, they were to break them off with their Hands without a Knife: If it were a hard Winter, they mingled some Thistle-down with their Rushes to keep them warm (see Plutarch in the Life of Lycurgus.) From all these Circumstances it is plain, that no Nation on Earth was less effeminate; but being debarred from all the Comforts of Life, they could have nothing for their Pains but the Glory of being a Warlike People inured to Toils and Hardships, which was a Happiness that few People would have cared for upon the same Terms: And though they had been Masters of the World, as long as they enjoyed no more of it, Englishmen would hardly have envy’d them their Greatness. What Men want now-a-days has sufficiently been shewn in Remark (O.) where I have treated of real Pleasures.