Luxury, so far as it reaches the people, will do good to the race of people; it will strengthen and multiply them. Sir, no nation was ever hurt by luxury; for, as I said before, it can reach but a very few.
The more various our artificial necessities, the wider is our circle of pleasure; for all pleasure consists in obviating necessities as they rise; luxury, therefore, as it increases our wants, increases our capacity for happiness.
I know it is more agreeable to walk upon carpets than to lie upon dungeon floors, I know it is pleasant to have all the comforts and luxuries of civilization; but he who cares only for these things is worth no more than a butterfly, contented and thoughtless, upon a morning flower; and who ever thought of rearing a tombstone to a last summers butterfly?
Let us consider what we call vicious luxury. No gratification, however sensual, can of itself be esteemed vicious. A gratification is only vicious when it engrosses all a mans expense, and leaves no ability for such acts of duty and generosity as are required by his situation and fortune. The same care and toil that raise a dish of peas at Christmas would give bread to a whole family during six months.