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Joseph Addison on Globalization


Joseph Addison

The celebratory rhetoric of cosmopolitanism of commodities was
already perfected nearly three centuries ago:

There is no Place in the Town which I so much love to
frequent as the _Royal-Exchange_. It gives me a secret Satisfaction,
and, in some measure, gratifies my Vanity, as I am an _Englishman_,
to see so rich an Assembly of Country-men and Foreigners consulting
together upon the private Business of Mankind, and making this
Metropolis a kind of _Emporium_ for the whole Earth. I must confess I
look upon High-Change to be a great Council, in which all
considerable Nations have their Representatives. Factors in the
Trading World are what Ambassadors are in the Politick World; they
negotiate Affairs, conclude Treaties, and maintain a good
Correspondence between those wealthy Societies of Men that are
divided from one another by Seas and Oceans, or live on the different
Extremities of a Continent.I have often been pleased to hear
Disputes adjusted between an Inhabitant of _Japan_ and an Alderman of
_London_, or to see a Subject of the _Great Mogul_ entering into a
League with one of the _Czar of Muscovy_. I am infinitely delighted
in mixing with these several Ministers of Commerce, as they are
distinguished by their different Walks and different Languages:
Sometimes I am justled among a Body of _Armenians_: Sometimes I am
lost in a crowd of _Jews_, and sometimes make one in a Groupe of
_Dutch-men_. I am a _Dane_, _Swede_, or _French-Man_ at different
times, or rather fancy my self like the old Philosopher, who upon
being asked what Country-man he was, replied, That he was a Citizen
of the World.

* * *

This grand Scene of Business gives me an infinite Variety of solid
and substantial Entertainments. As I am a great Lover of Mankind, my
Heart naturally overflows with Pleasure at the sight of a prosperous
and happy Multitude, insomuch that at many publick Solemnities I
cannot forbear expressing my Joy with Tears that have stolen down my
Cheeks. For this reason I am wonderfully delighted to see such a Body
of Men thriving in their own private Fortunes, and at the same time
promoting the Publick Stock; or in other Words, raising Estates for
their own Families, by bringing into their Country whatever is
wanting, and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous.

Nature seems to have taken a particular Care to disseminate her
Blessings among the different Regions of the World, with an Eye to
this mutual Intercourse and Traffick among Mankind, that the Natives
of the several Parts of the Globe might have a kind of Dependance
upon one another, and be united together by their common Interest.
Almost every _Degree_ produces something peculiar to it. The Food
often grows in one Country, and the Sauce in another. The Fruits of
_Portugal_ are corrected by the Products of _Barbadoes_: The Infusion
of a _China_ Plant sweetned [sic] with the Pith of an _Indian_ Cane:
The _Philippick_ Islands give a Flavour to our _European_ Bowls. The
Single Dress of a Woman of Quality is often the Product of an hundred
Climates. The Muff and the Fan come together from the different Ends
of the Earth. The Scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the Tippet
from beneath the Pole. The Brocade Petticoat rises out of the Mines
of _Peru_, and the Diamond Necklace out of the Bowels of _Indostan_.

* * *

Nor is it the least part of this our happiness, that whilst we
enjoy the remotest Products of the North and South, we are free from
those Extremities of Weather which give them Birth; That our Eyes are
refreshed with the green Fields of _Britain_, at the same time that
our Palates are feasted with Fruits that rise between the Tropicks.

For these Reasons there are not more useful Members in a Commonwealth
than Merchants. They knit Mankind together in a mutual Intercourse of
good Offices, distribute the Gifts of Nature, find Work for the Poor,
add Wealth to the Rich, and Magnificence to the Great.

(Joseph Addison, _The Spectator_, No. 69, Saturday, May 19, 1711.
Guelph a &
Guelph b)