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Mr Mitl.


the subject Mr Mill Fram3

Mr Mill seems to be his peat



make artificial experiments, in the case of man and society, as
in the mathematical, mechanical, and physical sciences; but we
are always compelled to take man and society, just as we find

As we are now approaching the main point on which our defini-
tion of public economy is based, in confirmation of the correctness
of our position, we would here cite a little from Mr. Mill, who,
sympathizing with the state of society in Great Britain, is himself
a Free-Trader. We wish to show from Mr. Mill's own words,
that, as in sociology, so also in public economy, and precisely for
the same reasons, no science has ever yet been constructed. Mr.
Mill says: "There is, indeed, no hope that these laws [laws of
sociology], though our knowledge of them were as certain and as
complete as it is of astronomy, would enable us to produce the
history of society, like that of the celestial appearances for thousands
of years to come. But the difference of certainty is not in the laws
themselves; it is in the data to which those laws are to be applied.
In astronomy the causes influencing the result, are few, and change
little, and that little according to known laws; we can ascertain
what they are now, and thence determine what they will be at any
epoch of a distant future. The data, therefore, in astronomy, are
as certain as the laws themselves. The circumstances, on the con-
trary, which influence the condition and progress of society, are
innumerable, and perpetually changing; and though they all
change in obedience to causes, and therefore to laws, the multitude
of the causes is so great as to defy our limited powers of calcula-
tion." So far on sociology. Next Mr. Mill adduces the very case
of the general inquiry of this work, to wit, "The great topic of
debate in the present day, the operation of restrictive and pro-
hibitory commercial legislation on national wealth. Let this, then,"
he says,
"be the scientific question to be investigated by specific
experience. If two nations can be found which are alike in all
natural advantages and disadvantages; whose people resemble
each other in every quality, physical and moral, innate and ac-
quired; whose habits, usages, opinions, laws, and institutions are
the same in all respects, except that one of them has a more pro-
tective tariff; and if one of these nations is found to be rich and
the other poor, or one richer than the other, this will be an experi-
mentum crucis; a real proof by experience, which of the two sys-
tems is most favorable to national riches. But the supposition, that
two such instances can be met with, is absurd on the face of it. Nor

X As if the same would not hold good of all politics, law, and every knowledge relating, to matters



is such an occurrence ever abstractedly possible. Two nations


which agreed in everything except their commercial policy, would law, ultimate diversities; are not properties of kinds. They are effects justic

agree also in that. Differences of legislation are not inherent and


of preexisting causes. If the two nations differ in this portion of
their institutions, it is from some difference in their position, and
thence in their apparent interests, or in some portion or other of
their opinions, habits, and tendencies; which opens a view of and
further differences, without any assignable limit, capable of opera- euery.
ting on their industrial prosperity, as well as on every other feature
of their condition, in more ways than can be enumerated or ima-
gined. There is thus a demonstrated impossibility of obtaining, medi
in the investigations of the social science, the conditions required
for the most conclusive form of inquiry by specific experience."



This is enough. We have here a full confession, from a be- worker

liever in Free Trade, a severe and logical argument, itself com-
posing a part of a system of logic, that even two nations can not be ide
found enough alike to justify general deductions equally applicable
to both in public economy; a fortiori, that no such rules can safely
be applied to all nations, as is claimed by Free Trade. Science,
here, is proved to be utterly at fault for general rules. The only
defect of this argument is the last sentence of the above citation,
where Mr. Mill would seem to make his "demonstrated impossi-
bility" apply also to the experience of one nation. It clearly ap-
plies to two, and much more to an increased number; but there is
nothing in this reasoning to show, that a nation may not find rules
in its own experience for itself, and rules based on scientific and
experimental induction. Mr. Mill has not only demolished the so-
called science of Free Trade, which assumes to give rules for all
nations, but he has fully vindicated our definition, and shown that
it was impossible, with propriety, to give any other. It is even
possible that our definition should fall within the scope of a well-
built science; and we intend yet to show that it has some strong
claims to that position; while it is clearly impossible that the gen-
eral propositions of Free Trade should have that advantage.

A few more brief remarks of Mr. Mill will be pertinent here:
"The aim of practical politics is to surround the society which is con

under our superintendence with the greatest number of Sequity

circumstances of which the tendencies are beneficial, and to remove
or counteract, as far as practicable, those of which the tendencies are


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injurious." Any one can see how directly this looks to the ex- gion above all is matter

yet the steady cotter & politics, cine civilisatsion is to separa


perience of one society only for rules of its policy, and how directly opposed it is to general rules having no respect to such experience. In other words, it falls directly within the line of our definition. Again: "It would be an error to suppose we could arrive at any great number of propositions, which will be true in all societies without exception. Such a supposition would be inconsistent with the eminently modifiable nature of the social phenomena, and the multitude and variety of the circumstances by which they are modified-circumstances never the same, or even nearly the same, in two different societies, or in two different periods of the same society. . . We can never either understand in theory, or command in practice, the condition of a society in any one respect, without taking into consideration its condition in all other respects. . . Unless two societies could be alike in all the circumstances which surround and influence them (which would imply their being alike in their previous history), no portion whatever of their phenomena will, unless by accident, precisely correspond; no one cause will produce exactly the same effect in both... We can never affirm with certainty that a cause which has a particular tendency in one people or in one age, will have exactly the same tendency in another, without referring back to our premises, and performing over again for the second age or nation, that analysis of the whole of its influencing circumstances, which we had already performed for the first. The deductive science of society [here, observe, is the very hypothesis of Free Trade repudiated] does not lay down a theorem, asserting in a universal manner the effect of any cause; but rather teaches us how to frame the proper theorem for any given case [which is the principle of our definition]. It does not give us the laws of society in general, but the means of determining the phenomena of any given society, from the particular elements or data of that society. All the general propositions of the deductive science [such as those of Free Trade] are, therefore, in the strictest sense of the word, hypothetical. The hypothetical combination of circumstances upon which we construct the general theorems of the science, can not be made very complex, without so rapidly accumulating a liability to error as must soon deprive our conclusions [which happen to be those of Free Trade] of all value. This mode of inquiry [to wit, Free Trade], considered as a means of obtaining general propositions, must therefore, on pain of entire frivolity, be limited to those classes of social facts which, though influenced like the rest of all sociological agents, are under

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the immediate influence, principally at least, of a few only. In order to verify a theory by an experiment, the circumstances of the experiment must be exactly the same as those contemplated in the theory. But in social phenomena the circumstances of no two experiments are exactly alike."

This, we confess, is one of the most remarkable confutations of the theory of Free Trade we have ever seen; and the more remarkable as coming from one who believes in the doctrine. Thanks to his fidelity as a logician, he would not, and could not, sacrifice logic to a fancy of this kind. Without dreaming of this incidental result of such a discharge of his professional functions, he has swept - Free Trade clean into an irrecoverable abyss.

This point is so important in the general argument, that we are tempted, notwithstanding the fulness and sufficiency of Mr. Mill's reasonings, to add a little of our own.

There is usually no more similarity or equality in the condition and interests of nations, than in those of private persons; and the very necessity of a system of public economy, for any one nation, in its relations to others, is based upon the fact of such dissimilarity and inequality. If there were no diversity of interests in different nations, and no dissimilarity in their condition, physical or social, a common system of public economy might, perhaps, be equally adapted to all. It is the exigency, or permanent fact, of these differences, numerous, essential, and important, which renders systems of public economy-diversified as the circumstances to which they are applied-indispensable to all nations; and if they are not, in each case, adapted to these differences, and made expressly for them, they will not only fail of their end, but will probably be injurious. A system made for one nation, and adapted to its condition and interests, may be ruinous to another-will certainly be more or less hurtful.

Ricardo has very well said: "That which is wise in an individual, is wise also in a nation." We know that no two persons can be found, whose condition and interests are precisely similar, and that each must have his own rules for the management of his own affairs. It would be mischievous, possibly ruinous, for any two persons to interchange rules of private life and economy, and for each to work by those of the other. Nor could both work by the same rules. Just in proportion as the difference in the condition, pursuits, and interests of any such two persons, is increased, in the same proportion must there be a difference in their respective sys


tems of private economy, or rules of business. The farmer can not work by the rules of a mechanic; or of a merchant; or of an artist; or of a lawyer; or of a doctor; or of a soldier; nor can either of these work by the rules of either of the others; and so on, through all the diversified pursuits of life, each one's system of economy, or rules of business, must be adapted to his pursuit and peculiar position and interests. Even those in the same calling require rules, or a system, adapted to the peculiarities of their respective positions and circumstances. The same system can not be equally beneficial to any two parties, whose position and interests are in any respect diverse. It must be seen, therefore, that, although there may be principles of conduct common to all persons, there can not be a common economical system for any two.

In the same manner, it is impossible that a given system of public economy should be equally well adapted even to two nations; and much more impossible, that it should be adapted to all nations. Adam Smith's pretension, therefore, in giving to the world his "Inquiry," &c., is a manifest absurdity, if the title of "the Wealth of Nations" be regarded as involving a proposition descriptive of the work, which may, no doubt, with fairness, be accepted as the intention. It is believed, that he wrote for all nations, Great Britain, perhaps, excepted. It is certain that his system has been received by the world, as carrying with it this pretension. Adam Smith doubtless supposed, that he was laying the foundations of a science; and those of his school, such as Say, Ricardo, and M'Culloch, have been more open and more emphatic in their claims, and have not hesitated, as before observed, to rank the Free-Trade hypothesis among the sciences. M'Culloch says: "Political economy may be defined to be the SCIENCE of the laws which regulate," &c. He also says: "Political economy is of very recent origin," that is, as a SCIENCE; and that "it was not treated in a scientific manner, till about the middle of the last century." Of M. Quesney, a physician, attached to the court of Louis XV., he says, that “he gave to political economy a systematic form, and reduced it to the rank of a science." Also: "We are justified in considering Dr. [Adam] Smith the real founder of the modern system [science] of political economy."

In the same manner, all the economists of the Free-Trade school have imbibed the notion, and started on the principle, maintaining that position throughout, that their theory is a science, composed of uniform propositions, all the world over, and in all time. M.

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