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fact, that the working classes to whom it is addressed, and who have been to a great extent soured and demoralized by misery, form a large majority of the nation, and that the democratic tendencies of the age are every day placing more and more political power and influence within their grasp. It is easy to sit in one's study and calmly preach to them the theorems of a science which professes to show that neither their employers nor Parliament are responsible for what they suffer, or capable of alleviating it if they would. They will be slow to understand, and still slower to be convinced.

In a lighter tone, with more vivacity of style and more novelty of doctrine, Mr. Lalor considers the probable results of the great influx of gold from California and Australia, and the consequent inevitable depreciation of money. This is his principal theme; but the discursive habit of mind and the dashing and superficial manner, that are formed by long connection with the newspaper press, have led him to intermingle with the discussion of it some remarks upon the multitude of topics, both of a domestic and foreign character, on which a British editor is led to form or follow the opinions of his particular circle of readers. Accordingly, we find in his work chapters on rural life and employments, theories of social progress, reconciliation of the churches, agricultural loans, national defences, and-"England among the nations." All the matter contained in them is not so irrelevant to the main subject in hand as might be inferred from their titles. They all have something to do with the depreciation of money; but they also contain a great deal of general disquisition, which might more pertinently find place in an essay on town and country life, the balance of power, or the morality of the people, than in a treatise of political economy. Mr. Lalor has looked into a good many books on economical science; but his acquaintance with them is about as thorough as his knowledge of the theories of Comte and Hegel, which he discusses in a very summary and edifying manner. We think he fails to understand the leading conditions of the problem that he undertakes to investigate.

The title-page of Mr. Byles's volume informs us that it is written by a lawyer, a fact that might have been adequately

learned from internal evidence alone; for he takes an ex parte view of an important subject, and reasons about it, often correctly indeed, but too much in the manner of a special pleader. The success of his book, attested by the fact that it passed through eight editions in less than three years, is probably attributable to its partisan character. It is written to serve the interests and defend the doctrines of the Protectionists, or the landed proprietors of England, -the party who have been so deeply aggrieved by the repeal of the Corn Laws. Because it is thought necessary to assail the general theorem of Free Trade in order to defend the Corn Laws, and because the English economists, almost without exception, have been zealous opponents of the Protective system, Mr. Byles feels constrained to attack the whole system of "popular political economy." And he conducts the assault after the most approved manner of a legal advocate,—by taking up successively, and by isolation, thirty or forty leading principles or maxims of his opponents, and endeavoring to show that not one of them is impeccable; that flaws may be found in the reasoning on which most of them are based; that extreme cases may be stated in which hardly one will hold good; that nations have prospered while disregarding or acting in direct opposition to most of them; and that some of the propositions may be so construed as to appear meaningless or absurd. Now we agree with Mr. Byles in his general conclusion; and are firm believers in the merits of a Protective system when judiciously devised and applied, though we certainly do not admit the justice or the expediency of heavily taxing the bread of the people of England. But we must confess that the kind of reasoning which he employs appears to us wholly sophistical and unsound. Out of the range of the exact, demonstrative sciences, it would disprove anything. Take any one of the moral sciences, — ethics, the science of government, or the philosophy of mind; chop it up into fifty isolated propositions, some theoretical and some practical; and proceed to try each after the manner of a special pleader, by quibbling upon the language, picking flaws in the argument, stating extreme cases, and other similar devices. The ignorant might thus be led to scoff at the whole science;

but the convictions of the philosopher would remain unshaken. Mr. Byles's method is the very opposite of Mr. Morrison's. The latter reasons from a few prominent conclusions of the economists, as if they were absolute, unlimited truths, from which there was no appeal, and held good, not only in the abstract and in the long run, but in every particular instance to which they could be applied. The former finds that these conclusions are not thus universally and necessarily true, and do not admit of application in every case; and he therefore jumps to the conclusion that they are universally false, and rejects them altogether. Perhaps a brief examination of the nature of the science, and of the logic which is appropriate to the cultivation of it, may serve to reconcile, to some extent, these extreme opinions, and may also afford some fruitful conclusions respecting each of the important themes particularly considered by the three authors upon our list.

Political Economy, then, is a science of human nature, just as much so as morality, civil polity, jurisprudence, or psychology. It relates, not indeed to the individual man, as ethical science does to a considerable extent, but to men collected in society, and acting and competing with each other in the pursuit of wealth. It is not a science merely of the production of wealth; for if there were but one man in the world, though by the labor of his hands he might surround himself with the comforts, and even the luxuries, of life, and might thus be properly accounted wealthy, no such science as Political Economy would be conceivable. He would estimate the things around him in proportion to their absolute utility, or their fitness to satisfy his wants and desires,-not in proportion to their value, as that term is considered by the economists. Value consists in the estimation of men, and is therefore, in great part, arbitrary or conventional. A bushel of grain is more useful than the Pitt diamond; but the diamond is more valuable than many bushels of grain, as it may be exchanged for many. Value is founded on exchangeableness, and therefore requires the existence of two or more persons. Political Economy is a generalization of the motives, habits, and dispositions of men, so far as these are manifested in the pursuit of wealth. We may accept, for the moment, a provisional definition by

Mr. Mill, and say that it is "the science relating to the moral or psychological laws of the production and distribution of wealth." The moral or psychological laws, we say; not the material or mechanical. The process by which crude iron ore is manufactured into table-cutlery, for instance, though it is a production of wealth, does not concern us here; this is the business of the metallurgist, the smith, the artisan. The economist looks only to the estimate which men form of the comparative value of iron ore and finished cutlery, as manifested by the proportions in which they are willing to exchange them for each other. The definition is further limited by remarking, that not all moral or psychological laws here require to be noticed, but only such as concern the creation and exchange of values. It is a law of human nature, for instance, that men prefer freedom to constraint, even when the latter is exercised with a beneficent purpose, and tends to promote the well-being of those who are under its influence. This is a fact to be considered in the science of government, not in that of Political Economy, except indeed it could be shown to have some bearing upon the production of wealth. It does not in itself form an argument for the freedom of trade, unless it were manifest that, in consequence of restriction, the energies of commerce would be paralyzed or the arm of labor unnerved.

Now there are two views of human nature, both of which are prejudicial to the successful cultivation of this science. The one is the hypothesis of the necessarian or the fatalist, who regards all men as irresistibly led by certain motives towards the accomplishment of particular ends, no matter how the result may be obscured by the interference or consentaneous action of other purposes. The mode of reasoning here is geometrical and deductive. The law is not discovered from the phenomena, but is first established by a priori reasoning, and then the phenomena must be analyzed, and tortured, and explained away, so as to conform to the expected results of the principle. This was the error of Mr. Ricardo and his followers, who have endeavored to raise Political Economy almost to the rank of an exact science. No matter how discordant the facts might appear with the theory. Their

whole ingenuity is shown, not in qualifying the principle, or limiting the application of it, but in laboring to bring the phenomena into conformity with it; that is, in explaining them away. Thus it is assumed that men compete with one another in the pursuit of wealth, and that the effect of such competition is to bring prices, wages, and profits to a level. This reasoning is asserted to hold true universally, because it is taken for granted that competition is universal. But in fact, as Mr. Mill has well observed, competition is not a general regulator, for its effects are often modified and controlled by custom, either the customs of the place or the customs of the particular trade. The relations of landlord and tenant, and of domestic servants and their employers, in most countries of the Old World, scarcely ever feel the influence of competition, but are regulated by habit that has become prescription. Booksellers and publishers have a mutual understanding as to the prices of their commodities, and easily enforce their trade-rules against an intruding or dissentient member of the craft. "All professional remuneration," says Mr. Mill, "is regulated by custom. The fees of physicians, surgeons, and barristers, the charges of attorneys, are nearly invariable." Yet unlimited competition is the primary and most general assumption of the whole science; it is to Political Economy what both the main-spring and hair-spring are to a watch,at once primum mobile and regulator.

Just the opposite error is committed by reasoners like Mr. Byles, who are so impressed with a view of the complex and infinitely diversified aspect of human nature, even when limited to one occupation, the pursuit of wealth, that they are led to deny that it has any groundwork of uniformity, or any unity of plan. They scoff at general principles, and pretend only to try results and analyze facts. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, is their favorite logical maxim. They reason like those sceptics in morals, who, on the ground of certain diversities in men's moral judgments,-because the Spartans taught their children to steal, and Indians expose their aged parents to die, and Hindoo mothers throw their infants into the Ganges, not only deny that there is any moral nature in man, but attempt to resolve common honesty, filial piety,


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