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nations become when they surrender themselves up to the influence and guidance of party party where the truth of the subject is sacrificed for the ambition and interest of those who compose the party, and who are its leaders. We see the assertion of the poet verified" Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few."
There are only two more writers whose evidence it will be useful to refer to, in completion of that volume of evidence and argument which has to be adduced against both the scientific and practical treatment of the science of Political Economy. These writers are, Mr. Senior and Mr. John Stuart Mill, who, with Mr. M'Culloch, may be reckoned as the living influential and authoritative members of the modern school. With respect to the general state of the science, Mr. Senior has written as follows:-" Our object in these remarks has been, not only to account for the slow progress which has as yet been made by Political Economy, but to suggest some means by which its advancement may be accelerated." t
Mr. J. S. Mill, in reviewing the state of the science of Political Economy, has written as follows:
"The Wealth of Nations' is in many parts obsolete, and in all imperfect. Political Economy, properly so called, has grown up almost from infancy since the time of Adam Smith: and the philosophy of society, from which, practically, that eminent thinker never separated his more peculiar theme, though still in a very early stage of its progress, has advanced many steps beyond the point at which he left it." ‡
Thus we see, that these two living and esteemed writers on Political Economy agree in declaring that so far are we, at
† Political Economy, by Nassau William Senior, p. 5.
Principles of Political Economy, by J. Stuart Mill, preface, p. 5.
this epoch, from possessing a thorough knowledge of the science, or from possessing it in a form fitted for deriving from it true and sound practical courses, that, in fact, a small advancement only has been made; and, hence, that the philosophy of society, or a knowledge of the true courses of social edification, is even now in a very early stage of its progress amongst us. This is, unquestionably, a just description of the existing state of the science,
The principle and system of the school of modern Political Economists submitted to the test of Moral Truth. · Writers on Political Economy claim to hold a title in the department of Physical Philosophy. — Having neglected the department of Philosophy they have lost their way in the department of Physics. The low and bad treatment of Moral Truth by Adam Smith. - Selfishness and Covetousness shown to constitute the soul of the modern system, all Social law being excluded.
THERE remains one other very strong and most important test required to be applied to our modern and prevailing system of Political Economy, for the purpose of trying the character of this system. This test is, Moral quality and truth.
It is a fact, deserving especial remark, that neither in the quarter of statesmanship, nor in the quarter of literature,— speaking of both through the characters and efforts of their highest members, has the great principle and system involving the commerce of the people of all the nations of the world, which having been made by them to derive its influence and operation merely from individual human desire, and having for its literary foundation the writings of men, been made really or truly subject to the great and powerful test of moral obligation and principle.
In the preceding course of my investigations and commentaries I have, indeed, discovered and shown that one writer, namely, Dugald Stewart, did enter this, the highest department of the science of social action and commercial dealing, recommending that attention should be especially directed to the supreme importance of this branch of the science; but, unhappily, the observation and efforts of this
writer were not extended beyond the bare acknowledgment of, and vague allusion to, that which he called"the philosophy of the human mind,"— secondly – moral powers which give motion to the whole social mechanism," — and, thirdly - "the vivifying spirit of an enlightened people." He did not direct the power of his mind either to a discovery of the true course itself, or even to a thorough or effective discovery of the erroneous courses that had been chosen, commended, and recommended, by the great body of schoolmen and statesmen.
As the case, then, now stands, the fact is, that a principle and system are propounded to the world, by which man's appropriation of all the materials of the earth for the common sustenance and enjoyment of his species, is to be worked, which principle and system are viewed, and are directed to be viewed, only through the medium of physical philosophy. No moral obligation, as connected with the great general subject, or as establishing and uniting the interests of man with his fellow man, is either discerned or acknowledged.
I think I hear a disciple of this school of physical philosophy, that is, a mere matterist, exclaim "This is enough! This is as it should be! It is in this material department of nature's kingdom that we have to explore, to discover, to operate, to apply, to combine, and so to use and enjoy as to promote and realise civilisation. If we explore and investigate here; if we discover here; if we combine here; if we realise here; and if we use and enjoy accordingly, our course will be right and complete. What more can be made of it? Or, what more can be done for it? Moral principle and law can neither change nor modify this; because if we thus work and appropriate, we must fulfil the course for which the nature or character of the material fund, on which we have to work, is designed and adapted, and so we shall, inevitably, comply
with all law, whether it be physical or moral. There must be identification prevailing between physical and moral course and law; and so it signifies nothing whether beginning at physics we work up to morals, or, beginning with morals, we work up to physics. The result must be the same in both
"The course thus advanced is commonly felt and entertained; is commonly adopted, and almost universally acted upon; and that, too, even where professions of a very different kind are made and constantly intruded."
Now, the gross dulness of perception, the absence of all elevated intellectual quality and power, hereby evinced, are easily to be shown, and that, too, within the circle of the great case now before us. In the first place, then, I advance this question: What is the state, and what is the character, of that physical philosophy, or those courses of reasoning on material subjects, which our body of writers on Political Economy have given to the world? The state of the science, --so called science,- together with its character, have been subjected to examination, and are exposed to view. What does the scene present? It presents a series of weaknesses, of unsound assumptions, of contradictions, and of false reasonings. The physical feature is indeed presented, and is solid, but of what kind is it? Where is the philosophical feature that feature by which we are shown the physical or material things so conjoined, arranged, or united together, as to realise the design intended; this design being the due assistance and maintenance of man by man, by means of the labour of man, and the united labour of man, being directed to the fund of that physical department which is given to us and sustained for us in nature?
Physical philosophy are two very noble words. But shall we be so weak, so foolish, and so unfaithful, as to accept