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ings to their remotest consequences, without comparing their results with those of actual experience. In this respect resembling a philosophical mechanician, who, from undoubted proofs drawn from the nature of the lever, would demonstrate the impossibility of the vaults daily executed by dancers on the stage. And how does this happen? The reasoning proceeds in a straight line; but a vital force, often unperceived, and always inappreciable, makes the facts differ very far from our calculations. From that instant nothing in the author's work is represented as it really occurs in nature. It is not sufficient to set out from facts; they must be brought together, steadily pursued, and the consequences drawn from them constantly compared with the effects observed. The science of Political Economy, to be of practical utility, should not teach, what must necessarily take place, if even deduced by legitimate reasoning, and from undoubted premises; it ought to show, in what manner that which in reality does take place, is the consequence of another fact equally certain. It should ascertain the chain which binds them together, and always establish from observation the existence of the two links at their point of connexion.

With respect to the wild or antiquated theories, so often produced or reproduced by authors who possess neither sufficiently extensive nor well digested information to entitle them to form a sound judgment, the most effectual method of refuting them is to display the true doctrines of the science with still greater clearness, and to leave to time the care of disseminating them. We otherwise should be involved in interminable controversies, affording no instruction to the enlightened part of society, and inducing the uninformed to be-. lieve that nothing is susceptible of proof, inasmuch as every thing is made the subject of argument and disputation.

Disputants, infected with every kind of prejudice, have with a sort of doctorial confidence remarked, that both nations and individuals sufficiently well understand how to improve their fortunes without any knowledge of the nature of wealth, and that this knowledge is in itself a purely speculative and useless inquiry. This is but saying that we know perfectly well how to live and breathe, without any knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and that these sciences are therefore superfluous. Such a proposition would not be tenable; but what should we say if it were maintained, and too, by a class of doctors, who, whilst decrying the science of medicine, should themselves subject you to a treatment founded upon antiquated empiricism and the most absurd prejudices; who rejecting all regular and systematic instruction, in spite of your remonstrances, should perform upon your own body the most bloody experiments; whose orders should be enforced with the weight and solemnity of laws, and, finally, carried into execution by a host of clerks and soldiers?

In support of antiquated errors it has, also, been said, "that

there surely must be some foundations for opinions, so generally embraced by all mankind; and that we ourselves ought rather to call in question the observations and reasonings which overturn what has been hitherto so uniformly maintained and acquiesced in by so many individuals, distinguished alike by their wisdom and benevolence." Such reasoning, it must be acknowledged, should make a profound impression on our minds, and even cast some doubts on the most incontrovertible positions, had we not alternately seen the falsest hypotheses, now universally recognised as such, every where received and taught during a long succession of ages. It is yet but a very little time, since the rudest, as well as the most refined nations, and all mankind, from the unlettered peasant to the enlightened philosopher, believed in the existence of but four material elements. No human being had even dreamt of disputing a doctrine, which is nevertheless false; insomuch, that a tyro in natural philosophy, who should at present consider earth, air, fire, and water as distinct elements, would be disgraced. How many other opinions, as universally prevailing and as much respected, will in like manner pass away! There is something epidemical in the opinions of mankind; they are subject to be attacked by moral maladies which infect the whole species. Periods at length arrive when, like the plague, the disease wears itself out and loses all its malignity; but it still has required time. The entrails of the victims were consulted at Rome three hundred years after Cicero had remarked, that the two augurs could no longer examine them without laughter.

The contemplation of this successive fluctuation of opinions must not, however, inspire us with a belief that nothing is to be admitted as certain, and thus induce us to yield up to universal scepticism. Facts repeatedly observed by individuals in a situation to examine them under all their aspects, when once well established and accurately described, can no longer be considered as mere opinions, but must be received as positive truths. When it was demonst: ated, that all bodies are expanded by heat, this truth could no longer be called in question. Moral and political science present truths equally indisputable, but of more difficult solution. In these sciences, every individual considers himself not only as being entitled to make discoveries, but as being also authorized to pronounce upon the discoveries of others; yet how few persons acquire compe

Every branch of knowledge, even the most important, is but of very recent origin. The celebrated writer on agriculture, Arthur Young, after having bestowed uncommon pains in the collection of all the observations that had been made in relation to soils, one of the most important parts of this science, and which teaches us by what succession of crops the earth may be at all times and with the greatest success cultivated, remarked, that he could not find that any thing had heen written on this subject prior to the year 1763. Other arts, not less essential to the happiness and prosperity of society, are still also in their infancy.

tent knowledge, and views sufficiently enlarged, to become assured, that the subject upon which they thus venture to pronounce judgment, is thoroughly understood by them in all its bearings. In society, one is astonished to find the most abstruse questions as quickly decided as if every circumstance, which, in any way, could and ought to affect the decision, were known. What would be said of a party passing rapidly in front of a large castle, that should undertake to give an account of every thing that is going on within?

Certain individuals, whose minds have never caught a glimpse of a more improved state of society, boldly affirm that it could not exist; they acquiesce in established evils, and console themselves for their existence by remarking, that they could not possibly be otherwise; in this respect reminding us of that emperor of Japan who thought he would have suffocated with laughter, upon being told that the Dutch had no king. The Iroquois were at a loss to conceive how wars could be carried on with success, if prisoners were not to be burnt.

Although, to all appearance, many European nations may be in a very flourishing condition, and some of them annually expend from one to two hundred millions of dollars solely for the support of government, it must not thence be inferred that their situation leaves nothing to be desired. A rich Sybarite, residing according to his inclination either at his castle in the country or in his palace in the metropolis, in both, at an enormous expense, partaking of every luxury that sensuality can. devise, transporting himself with the utmost rapidity and comfort in whatever direction new pleasures invite him, engrossing the industry and talents of a multitude of retainers and servants, and killing a dozen horses to gratify a whim, may be of opinion that things go on sufficiently well, and that the science of Political Economy is not susceptible of any further improvement. But in the countries said to be in a flourishing condition, how many human beings can be enumerated, in a situation to partake of such enjoyments? One out of a hundred thousand at most; and out of a thousand, perhaps not one who may be permitted to enjoy what is called a comfortable independence. The haggardness of poverty is every where seen contrasted with the sleekness of wealth, the extorted labour of some compensating for the idleness of others, wretched hovels by the side of stately colonades, the rags of indigence blended with the ensigns of opulence; in a word, the most useless profusion in the midst of the most urgent wants.

Persons who, under a vicious order of things, have obtained a competent share of social enjoyments, are never in want of arguments to justify to the eye of reason such a state of society; for what may not admit of apology when exhibited in but one point of view? If the same individuals were to-morrow required to cast anew the lots assigning them a place in society, they would find many things to object to.

Accordingly, opinions in Political Economy are not only

maintained by vanity, the most universal of human infirmities, but by self interest, unquestionably not less so; and which, without our knowledge, and in spite of ourselves, exercises a powerful influence over our mode of thinking. Hence, the sharp and sour intolerance by which truth has been so often alarmed and obliged to retire; or which, when she is armed with courage, encompasses her with disgrace, and sometimes with persecution. Knowledge is at present so very generally diffused, that a philosopher may assert, without the risk of contradiction, that the laws of nature are the same in a world and in an atom; but a statesman who should venture to affirm, that there is a perfect analogy between the finances of a nation and those of an individual, and that the same principles of economy should regulate the management of the affairs of both, would have to encounter the clamours of various classes of society, and to refute ten or a dozen different systems.

Nor is this all: writers are found who possess the lamentable facility of composing articles for journals, pamphlets, and even whole volumes upon subjects which, according to their own confession, they do not understand. And what is the consequence? The science is involved in the clouds of their own minds, and that is rendered obscure which was becoming clear. Such is the indifference of the public, that they rather prefer trusting to assertions, than be at the trouble of investigating them. Sometimes, moreover, a display of figures and calculations imposes upon them; as if numerical calculations alone could prove any thing, and as if any rule could be laid down, from which an inference could be drawn, without the aid of sound reasoning.

These are among the causes which have retarded the progress of Political Economy.

Every thing, however, announces that this beautiful, and above all, useful science is spreading itself with increasing rapidity. Since it has been perceived, that it does not rest upon hypothesis, but is founded upon observation and experience, its importance has been felt. It is now taught wherever knowledge is cherished. In the universities of Germany, of Scotland, of Spain, of Italy, and of the North of Europe, professorships of Political Economy are already established. But hereafter this science will be taught in them, with all the advantages of a regular and systematic study. Whilst the university of Oxford proceeds in her old and beaten track, within a few years that of Cambridge has established a chair for the purpose of imparting instruction in this new science. Courses of lectures are delivered in Geneva and various other places; and the merchants of Barcelona have, at their own expense, founded a professorship on Political Economy. It is now considered as forming an essential part of the education of princes; and those who are worthy of that high distinction blush at being ignorant of its principles. The emperor of Russia has desired his brothers, the grand dukes Nicholas and Michael, to

pursue a course of study on this subject under the direction of M. Storch. Finally, the government of France has done itself lasting honour by establishing in this kingdom, under the sanction of public authority, the first professorship of Political Economy.

When the youths who are now students, shall be scattered through all the various classes of society, and elevated to the principal posts under government, public affairs will be conducted in a much better manner than they hitherto have been. Princes as well as people, becoming more enlightened as to their true interests, will perceive that these interests are not at variance with each other; which on the one side will naturally induce less oppression and on the other beget more confidence.

At present, authors who venture to write upon politics, history, and à fortiori upon finance, commerce and the arts, without any previous knowledge of the principles of Political Economy, only produce works of temporary success, that do not succeed in fixing public attention.

But what has chiefly contributed to the advancement of Political Economy, is the grave posture of affairs in the civilized world during the last thirty years. The expenses of governments have risen to a scandalous height; the appeals which they have been obliged to make to their subjects in order to relieve their exigencies, have disclosed to them their own importance. A concurrence of public sentiment, or at least the semblance of it, has been almost every where called for, if not brought about. The enormous contributions drawn from the people, under pretexts more or less specious, not even having been found sufficient, recourse has been had to loans; to obtain credit it became necessary for governments to disclose their wants as well as their resources; and the publicity of the national accounts, the necessity of vindicating to the world the acts of the administration, have in the science of politics produced a moral revolution, whose course can no longer be impeded.

The disorders and calamities incident to the same period, have also supplied us with important experiments. The abuse of paper money, commercial and other restrictions, have made us feel the ultimate effects of almost all excesses. And the sudden overthrow of the most imposing bulwarks of society, the gigantic invasions, the destruction of old governments and the creation of new, the formation of rising empires in another hemisphere, the colonies that have become independent, the general impulse given to the human mind, so favourable to the development of all its faculties, the great expectations and the great mistakes, have undoubtedly very much enlarged our views; at first operating upon men of calm observation and reflection, and subsequently upon all mankind.

It is to the facility of tracing the links in the chain of causes and effects that we must ascribe the great improvement in the

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