AND there lived a king in the land of Nineveh, who ruled the country in peace, and he distributed his favours among his people,giving to one great authority, and to other situations of emolument;but no man was oppressed thereby, for he gave but his own, and what the laws of the land permitted.
And his nobles confederated together and said,"Why suffer we this thing?This man placeth over us whom he listeth, and giveth away what he pleaseth to others, and pays no proper respect to our claims: Let us endure it no longer: Let us displace him: Let us divide his possessions and authority amongst us, and we shall be happy." And they did so, and the king fled, and lived in another country, and the nobles returned triumphing each to his own home.
And the husbandsman of the country heard this, and they assembled together, and said,"Behold the king that reigned over us has fled, and his nobles have seized every thing he had and they claim the inheritance of the land. What giveth them a right to do so? What mattereth their wax or their parchments? the land is ours, for we till it, and we will pay them their heavy exactions no more." And the nobles were few in number, and no man could trust another, and they fled, and the husbandsmen took each man the land he possessed, and he kept it as his own, and he lived in his own house rejoicing.
And these husbandmen had many servants, who were employed in tilling the land; and the servants said unto one another, "Whence cometh this?The king that reigned over us has fled, and his nobles are driven from their estates, and the husbandmen possess the soil, and they claim the whole land as their own; but what right have they to do so? Where are their deeds or parchments? Are their titles an atom better than ours? Let us then join together,let us drive these wicked men from our bounds, and let us divide the "land among us." And they did so, and the husbandmen fled every where, and none of them retained a spot of the land they had formerly possessed, and the [Page 4] servants said," There is none now to contest with us, we shall soon become rich and happy, we formerly tilled the land of others, we shall now cultivate our own."
And behold in the cities of that country, there dwelt persons professing different occupations; and these patrons met together, and said,"What is this that we hear? The king that reigned over us has fled, and his nobles are banished from the land, and the husbandmen are driven from amongst us, and their servants are now possessors of the soil. Why should this be suffered?We live in crowded cities; we breathe unwholesome air; we toil for others more than for ourselves; we can procure but a bare subsistence. Let us join and act together. Our enemies are scattered over the face of the land. We will soon drive them before us, and enjoy their possessions in peace." And they assembled together, and took arms, and went against the servants of the husbandmen, and drove them out of the country, and those who resisted they put to death.
And the men of occupation now possessed the whole land, and they said,"Let us divide it equally amongst us, that none may have more than his neighbour, and all may share alike." And they quarelled about the division and no man was satisfied with what he got, and they had no means of cultivating the soil, and they had no skill to do it, and famine spread over the land, and they wept bitterly, and said,"When we had no land, we got what it produceth in abundance, and now we have land, it yieldeth us nothing." and they cried," Give us some bread to eat."
And the Lord saw what the people had suffered, and how much they had repented of their transgressions, and he had compassion upon them, and he sent a prophet to announce to them the way in which they should walk, and the prophet said unto them, "Let the men of occupation return to their professions by the exercise of which they obtain their share of the produce of the soil. Let the servants labour for their masters, that the earth may be duly cultivated. Let the husbandmen hire their land, from those who lawfully inherit it, for no man must possess the territory of another without his consent. Let the nobles be restored to their property, and they will watch over the interests of the State. Let the King be re-established on his throne, that he may protect his people from injury. And let property be held sacred, the sure basis of the prosperity of a State, AND ALL SHALL BE WELL." And it was so; and the people blessed the Lord, and said, "Now we see what is good for us, and how alone a multitude of people can dwell together." And they lived happily, and increased in numbers, and all the neighbouring nations rejoiced with them.