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The Idea of Europe

Catriona Seth
Rotraud von Kulessa

74. Europe without Frontiers

Texte intégral

1If numerous authors show the exchanges which peace makes possible, the Marquis de Pezay manages here to find an epigrammatic expression of the happy consequences of such relations: ‘A nation rarely goes to war against a nation with which it often trades’.

2Beyond the advantage the traveller gains from the perfection of the roads traced almost throughout Europe, this multiplicity of paths gives rise to an idea yet more satisfying than the very ease procured.

3The traveller’s ease is nothing: it is almost the disadvantageous side, compared with the other seriously useful aims which improvement in major routes affects. It would indeed not be particularly serious if rocks were still to rise up before cossetting chariots, if fewer rich men allowed themselves to be cossetted in such carriages, and a greater number of them were, on horseback, to exercise their slumbering limbs and also their minds. But there is a true good, a good from which a thousand others derive, that is the universal appeal addressed to all the tradesmen in the universe by the simplicity of travelling along these routes and, by way of consequence, exchanging goods; it is the chain of society strengthened and extended by the power of mutual needs, satisfied by the ease of this exchange; it is the multiplicity of the ties to which it gives birth between people; it is the weeding out or at very least the weakening of national prejudice through commerce between Nations; it is courtesy in behaviour, perfection in the arts and in peace. A people rarely fights another people with which it has regular commercial exchanges.

4Alexandre-Frédéric-Jacques de Masson de Pezay,
Helvetic, Alsatian and Franc-Comtois Vigils (1771).

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