« AnteriorContinuar »
APPENDIX I.—To B. II. CH. 1. $ 3, p. 114.
Quotation on the Exportation of Grain, from Howlett.
Although I have already, I presume, sufficiently evinced that the influence of all legal regulations, with regard to the imports and exports of grain, is perfectly trifling when compared with the influence of the seasons, as well as the influence of the general state of the kingdom, I would, however, by no means have it concluded that I think them at all times and in all cases absolutely useless.
“There may be occasions in which they are highly expedient. If there be an uncommon scarcity of grain, we must endeavour to procure it from abroad, or run the hazard of starving. If, on the other hand, the domestic produce be so exceedingly abundant as to sink the price greatly below what the farmer can grow it for, some foreign market must be found, or, from the discouragement thence arising to the culture, it may probably occasion future want. Bounties, too, upon importation in the former instance, and upon exportation in the latter, provided the tricks and frauds of merchants and corn-dealers are sufficiently guarded against, may not be improper. In these extreme cases, I think there can be little doubt. But the principal question is, whether, in the intermediate situation of things, legal regulations, pointing out the exact prices at which exportation and importation should each respectively take place, be absolutely necessary, or even expedient. For my own part, I am rather inclined to think that the whole might safely be left to the natural course of things, and that a free unrestrained trade would be attended with no permanent evil.
"Were there no general prospect of either exportation or importation, the home consumption would be the sole object regulating the growth; the farmer would always endeavour to raise it as long as it were worth his while, and no laws could induce him to do it any longer. Whatever he finds most profitable he will turn his attention to, be it corn, hops, or cattle; and this in time will inevitably produce a general level. Variety of seasons, as better suiting the one or the other, will, indeed, occasion frequent vibrations of the balance, but all will finally tend to restore and preserve the due equilibrium. And I much question whether any of the corn laws, through the whole of the present century, have occasioned a single acre more or less to be sown, with any species of grain, than would have been had no such laws ever existed."-Dispersion of the Gloomy Apprehensions, &c., by the Rev. John Howlett, p. 37.
APPENDIX II.—To Part I., p. 326.
A Conclusion of the First Three Books of Political Economy,—strictly so called.
I intended, before concluding my Lectures on Political Economy, to have marked out a plan of reading on the different subjects which have been under our review. But this, time will not allow me to attempt at present; and I regret the omission the less, that an enumeration of a long list of books might, not improbably, have had the effect (at least with my younger hearers) of distracting the attention, by leading to the perusal of a multiplicity of discordant and inconsistent theories. I shall therefore confine myself to a few authors whose works appear to me most likely to be useful to you in the farther prosecution of these studies.
On the first Article, (that of Population,) I formerly recommended the Dissertation of Dr. Wallace, On the Numbers of Mankind; and the Essay of Mr. Hume, Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations. In France, the chief writers on Population are Moheau and Des Parcieux, and the Marquis de Mirabeau, in his Ami des Hommes. Of a voluminous Treatise on Population, written in German by Mr. Suessmilch, I am sorry I cannot speak from my own knowledge ; but by many very competent judges, both among English and French politicians, it is mentioned as a performance of extraordinary merit, distinguished equally by the correctness of the author's researches into facts, and the soundness of his general principles. I am almost ashamed to add, that I am ignorant whether this book has or has not been yet translated into English.
In our own language, a great work, On the Principle of Population, has been lately published by Mr. Malthus. At the time I was treating of that subject, I had looked into the second edition in a very slight and cursory manner; but I have since perused great part of it with much attention, and I am happy to add my warmest testimony in its favour to the uncommon marks of approbation which it has already received from the public. With some of the author's general views, indeed, I cannot agree; but they are always distinguished by ingenuity, and frequently by justness and depth ; and he has had the merit (in addition to the extensive and seemingly accurate information which he has collected in the course of his own travels) of giving connexion and arrangement to an immense accumulation of insulated facts, which formerly lay scattered and useless in the miscellaneous volumes of preceding writers.
With respect to National Wealth, I have all along recommended, and must beg leave again to recommend, Mr. Smith's Inquiry, as the book with which the student may, with most advantage, begin his researches on this subject; not only on account of the comprehensive outline it exhibits of its various parts, but as it is the Code which is now almost universally appealed to, all over Europe, as the highest authority which can be quoted in support of any political argument.— The work of Sir James Steuart, too, (Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, besides some ingenious speculations of his own, contains a great mass of accurate details, (more particularly with respect to the state of foreign nations,) ascertained by his own personal observation during his long residence on the Continent.Turgot's Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches, form a beau
tiful outline of the fundamental principles of that branch of the science, according to the doctrine of the Economists; an outline which may be afterwards filled up by a perusal of Mercier de la Rivière's Natural and Essential Order of Political Societies, and of the collection published by Dupont under the title of Physiocratie.
In this very difficult department of economical knowledge, a work has just appeared by the Earl of Lauderdale, (1804,] which, from the great abilities and extensive information of the author, cannot fail to throw many new and important lights on the questions it discusses. My time has not yet allowed me to give it a complete perusal; but I have read enough to be satisfied that some of those doctrines which are at present very generally received as elementary truths, require a new and a more accurate analysis than they have yet been subjected to. Various criticisms, in particular, which he has offered on the systems both of Mr. Smith and of the Economists, (more especially those in the chapter which treats Of the means of augmenting Public Wealth, and the Causes that regulate its increase,) deserve the serious examination of all those who are disposed to attach themselves exclusively to either of these authorities, and open some very original views on a subject equally interesting and abstruse.
On the much agitated topic concerning the LEGISLATION OF Grain, it gives me pleasure to observe, that a new edition has just been published of the truly valuable and very scarce collection, entitled Corn Tracts ; ascribed by some to the late Mr. George Grenville, but now known to be the work of an English gentleman of the name of Charles Smith. This edition, I understand, contains some additional papers
relative to the controversy.* On the last articlet which has been under our consideration, that of THE STATE of the Poor, it is unnecessary for me to particularize any work, but that of Sir F. Morton Eden, (in three volumes quarto, 1797,) which may be considered as a sort of Thesaurus or Digest of all the most important facts and speculations which have been liitherto laid before the public; not only with respect to the Poor-Laws in these kingdoms, but with respect to many collateral questions connected with that branch of legislation. It contains, besides, a very complete list of the publications of his predecessors in the same line of study.--13th April 1804.
APPENDIX III. - To Part II., p. 452.
An earlier Conclusion of Politics Proper. With these very slight remarks on the English Constitution, I shall for the present close our Political speculations, and the same time conclude the academical business of this Session. A review of that plan of polity under which we ourselves have the happiness to live, seemed to me to form (more particularly in such times as the present) the most useful and practical termination I could give to the discussions in which we have so long been engaged in this place. As the leading
• (This collection, entitled Three Tracts on the Corn Laus, was first published in 1758 and 1759. It was reprinted in 1804, with
Life of the Author by George Chalmers
Charles Smith was born 1713, and died 1777.)
† (The Lectures on EDICATION followed and they terminated the course.
object of these discussions has been to illustrate and enforce the great duties of life, so the duty of Patriotism, which, among those we owe to our fellow-creatures, certainly holds the most distinguished rank, is that which I was more particularly
I anxious at this moment to impress on your minds; by bestowing on those subjects which lead the thoughts to the obligations it imposes, all the occasional interest which may arise from the circumstance of our approaching separation. A sacred and uniform regard to this duty leads, in truth, more than any of our other social dispositions, to a conduct wise, manly, and beneficent; and so far from interfering with our more confined attachments, it presupposes and comprehends them all, or rather springs up from them, as from its proper root. “Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares ; sed omnes omnium caritates Patria una complexa est : pro qua quis bonus dubitet mortem oppetere, si ei sit profuturus ?"'* It was with this view chiefly, that I have employed my last Lectures in illustrating the peculiar excellencies of the English Constitution; satisfied as I am that a faithful delineation of its fundamental principles affords the strongest motives that can be suggested for our exertions in transmitting it as far as lies in our power unimpaired to our posterity.
I once intended, before taking my leave, to have resumed a subject which I left unfinished, when it was formerly under our consideration ; I mean a review of the principal causes which have hitherto retarded the progress of the Sciences. But this your time renders it impossible for me now to undertake; and, indeed, I flatter myself, that after the inquiries in which we have been so long engaged together, any additional illustrations of the object and spirit of the inductive philosophy would be, in a great measure, superfluous. It has certainly been my uniform aim to exemplify its rules to the utmost of my ability, founding my reasonings on facts alone; and checking myself whenever I was conscious of a disposition to depart from the genuine interpretation of nature. This inductive plan of philosophizing I was anxious to recommend, not only as the sole avenue which leads with certainty to the truth, but as the only effectual preservative against that miserable perversion of the understanding which blinds it to the perception of the wise and beneficent order of the universe. It is beautifully remarked by Dr. Ferguson, that "the foundations of religion are laid in the genuine lessons whether of physical or moral science; and are to be met with in the concluding observations of Newton's Principia, no less than in the remains of Socrates, or of Epictetus, or of Marcus Aurelius. In the one it is the suggestion of final causes, or of an arrangement in the works of nature, for which mechanism alone will not account. In the other it is the result of minds devoted to the government of wisdom and the sentiments of benevolence, and who receive with some degree of a congenial spirit, the indications of supreme intelligence and goodness, as they are perceived to operate in the great system of the world." +
It is in this manner that true philosophy furnishes the most effectual bulwark against Atheism ; insensibly moulding our habits of thinking and of feeling in conformity to the systematical operations of infinite wisdom and goodness; while, on the other hand, just moral impressions concerning the order of the universe and the course of human affairs, afford the best and surest lights to guide our inquiries,
*(Cicero, De Officiis, Lib. I. cap. xvii./