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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter VI
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter VI Post by :Billbeebee Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :January 2011 Read :2210

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter VI

with respect to placing a city in the neighbourhood of the sea,
there are some who have many doubts whether it is serviceable or
hurtful to a well-regulated state; for they say, that the resort of
persons brought up under a different system of government is
disserviceable to the state, as well by impeding the laws as by their
numbers; for a multitude of merchants must necessarily arise from
their trafficking backward and forward upon the seas, which will
hinder the well-governing of the city: but if this inconvenience
should not arise, it is evident that it is better, both on account of
safety and also for the easier acquisition of the necessaries of life,
that both the city and the country should be near the sea; for it is
necessary that those who are to sustain the attack of the enemy should
be ready with their assistance both by land and by sea, and to oppose
any inroad, both ways if possible but if not, at least where they are
most powerful, which they may do while they possess both. A maritime
situation is also useful for receiving from others what your own
country will not produce, and exporting those necessaries of your own
growth which are more than you have occasion for; but a city ought to
traffic to supply its own wants, and not the wants of others; for
those who themselves furnish an open market for every one, do it for
the sake of gain; which it is not proper for a well-established state
to do, neither should they encourage such a commerce. Now, as we see
that many places and cities have docks and harbours lying very
convenient for the city, while those who frequent them have no
communication with the citadel, and yet they are not too far off, but
are surrounded by walls and such-like fortifications, it is evident,
that if any good arises from such an intercourse the city will receive
it, but if anything hurtful, it will be easy to restrain it by a law
declaring and deputing whom the state will allow to have an
intercourse with each other, and whom not. As to a naval power, it is
by no means doubtful that it is necessary to have one to a certain
degree; and this not only for the sake of the (1327b) city itself, but
also because it may be necessary to appear formidable to some of the
neighbouring states, or to be able to assist them as well by sea as by
land; but to know how great that force should be, the health of the
state should be inquired into, and if that appears vigorous and
enables her to take the lead of other communities, it is necessary
that her force should correspond with her actions. As for that
multitude of people which a maritime power creates, they are by no
means necessary to a state, nor ought they to make a part of the
citizens; for the mariners and infantry, who have the command, are
freemen, and upon these depends a naval engagement: but when there are
many servants and husbandmen, there they will always have a number of
sailors, as we now see happens to some states, as in Heraclea, where
they man many triremes, though the extent of their city is much
inferior to some others. And thus we determine concerning the country,
the port, the city, the sea, and a maritime power: as to the number of
the citizens, what that ought to be we have already said.
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ow proceed to point out what natural disposition the members ofthe community ought to be of: but this any one will easily perceivewho will cast his eye over the states of Greece, of all others themost celebrated, and also the other different nations of thishabitable world. Those who live in cold countries, as the north ofEurope, are full of courage, but wanting in understanding and thearts: therefore they are very tenacious of their liberty; but, notbeing politicians, they cannot reduce their neighbours under theirpower: but the Asiatics, whose understandings are quick, and who areconversant in the arts, are deficient in courage;
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we have said concerning a city may nearly be applied to acountry; for as to what soil it should be, every one evidently willcommend it if it is such as is sufficient in itself to furnish whatwill make the inhabitants happy; for which purpose it must be able tosupply them with all the necessaries of life; for it is the havingthese in plenty, without any want, which makes them content. As to itsextent, it should be such as may enable the inhabitants to live attheir ease with freedom and temperance. Whether we have done right orwrong in fixing this limit to
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