In the same manner, if, either from the influence of the social
institutions of a country, or from the operation of natural causes which
human power is unable to control, there is a class of men too low, and
degraded, and miserable to be reached by the ordinary inducements to
daily toil, so certain are they to grow corrupt and depraved, that
degradation has become in all languages a term almost synonymous with
vice. There are many exceptions, it is true, to these general laws. Many
active men are very wicked; and there have been frequent instances of
the most exalted virtue among nobles and kings. Still, as a general law,
it is unquestionably true that vice is the incident of idleness; and the
sphere of vice, therefore, is at the top and at the bottom of society--
those being the regions in which idleness reigns. The great remedy, too,
for vice is employment. To make a community virtuous, it is essential
that all ranks and gradations of it, from the highest to the lowest,
should have something to do.

In accordance with these principles, we observe that, while the most
extreme and abominable wickedness seemed to hold continual and absolute
sway in the palaces of the Ptolemies, and among the nobles of their
courts, the working ministers of state, and the men on whom the actual
governmental functions devolved, discharged their duties with wisdom and
fidelity, and throughout all the ordinary ranks and gradations of
society there prevailed generally a very considerable degree of
industry, prosperity and happiness. This prosperity prevailed not only
in the rural districts of the Delta and along the valley of the Nile,
but also among the merchants, and navigators, and artisans of
Alexandria.

[...]
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