Lapas attēli

merous classes" demand especial consideration, and should lead to the following out the facts to their most extended ramifications.

Here, again, the attention, and the scientific ability and reasoning, of the true Economist have to be most carefully directed to the fact so prominently advanced by the GovernorGeneral of India, in his report of the existing state of things in that country. This fact is, that the result of the new course of manufacturing industry and commerce was not only destructive of those of the people of India, who were directly engaged in the manufacture of the same kind of commodities as those imported from England; but also, that by an indirect course, other classes of the people of India were likewise destroyed, that is, those who were so connected, commercially and socially, with the manufacturing capitalists and labourers of India as to derive employment and support by producing for them, and supplying them with, the commodities required by them; which commodities were not, of course, demanded in the markets of India by the merchants trading for England. Here, then, there is placed before us, in another form and in another nation, the Two Values- Dependent Values of which Adam Smith's great proposition is constituted.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In the description thus given by an ardent advocate of the principle of free social action and free commerce, assumptions of the most important character are advanced; these assumptions containing five distinct propositions. They are these: 1. That the improvements in manufacturing industry, by superseding manual labour more and more, infallibly bring with them much temporary suffering. 2. That the condition of the man who has to compete with a cheaper, better, or more rapid mode of production must be deteriorated. 3. That national good cannot be purchased but at the expense of some individual evil. 4. That no advance

in manufactures was ever made but at some cost to those who were in the rear. 5. That of all discoveries the power-loom is that which most directly bears on the condition of the hand-loom weaver; and that as he is already beaten out of the field in many articles, he will infallibly be compelled to surrender many more.

Such is the state of things which this advocate declared to be inevitably attendant on that course and progress of civilisation for which he was contending. His assumption and announcement respecting those who have to live by the exercise of their labour, are, that the car of civilisation is to be driven onwards, the faster the better, regardless of whom it may crush; that a total sacrifice of the happiness, comfort, maintenance, and lives of very many of them, are necessary, under the law of nature, for insuring the advancement, the improvement, the gratification, and the luxury of their more powerful fellow-men. That the weaker are to be deprived of the little they enjoy in order that the stronger may revel in excess. He has announced that national good cannot be attained but at the expense of individual evil. Where he found this axiom, or whence he derived it, he did not stop to show. Seeing it to be the course to which human nature is addicted, or the course which men in general in all ages and nations have pursued, and of which all the records of history afford proof; and having united himself to the fact of human nature as it is, in place of human nature as it ought to be, and as it might be; hence this member of our legislature took his position on the free principle, preferring to have it with all those horrible consequences which he himself was under the necessity of depicting. If the utterer of this declaration regarding the inevitable law of nature had been pressed onwards to the point of proof, he must soon have sought refuge for the recklessness of his declaration, and the

falseness of his assumption, behind a form of words which, on occasions of similar difficulty and of frequent recurrence, have been resorted to by the school of Political Economists: the words I allude to are, "the subject does not admit of a satisfactory solution.”

In my next chapter I will continue to adduce more evidence of the very defective manner in which Political Economy has been treated, by entering upon a further examination of the matter presented by Adam Smith in his "Wealth of Nations."


Examination of the character of "The Wealth of Nations" continued. Its author is shown to have advocated in one part of his work the assumed theory of Regulation of Trade against the assumed theory of Freedom of Trade, and to have advocated in another part the assumed theory of Free Trade against the assumed theory of Regulation of Trade.—This remarkable contradiction applied by him to home and foreign trade, to colonial trade, to the navigation trade, and to usury. — Similar confusion and contradiction prevailing with the Economical writers in general. -Extraordinary description given by Mr. M'Culloch of the character of "The Wealth of Nations."

THE great work of Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations," has acquired for the name of its author so much celebrity; has been so highly extolled by statesmen in general and by writers on Political Economy; has been so widely received as to constitute it the foundation of a large and influential school of political and social science: and, moreover, evinces on the part of its conceiver a spirit so inclined to maintain the rights of humanity in general, that I feel deep regret at having to impugn the judgment pronounced upon it.

But the highest tribute that can be offered to the memory of the author of such a work is to infer that he was actuated by a desire of discovering and promulging the truth of his subject, and having been so actuated, that it would be fulfilling his wish and intention, if an examiner and commentator should be able so to deal with the contents of his work as to separate that which is false from that which is true; so that the dulness and deformity of the one being brought into contrast with the purity and lustre of the other, the

interests of men may, as far as human argument and persuasion can attain, be rescued from the injurious and destructive operation of error.

It has often been said of his work that it contains a luminous exposition of the great subject of which it treats, but a few references and citations, together with a little correct examination, are sufficient to show that this judgment has been delivered without due consideration and knowledge.

With regard, then, to the remarkable proposition which has formed the main substantive matter of the preceding part of my argument, wherein the superior advantageousness to a country of its home trade is asserted, and which has excited so much notice, and created so much confusion amongst commentators and reasoners, and which remains at the present moment wholly unanswered or undisposed of, I have to observe, that it would appear as though the mind of its author had been enabled to take merely a sudden or transient view of the great arrangement of facts which the proposition embraces; for, subsequently, he falls away altogether from it, and proceeds, on many occasions, to argue in direct opposition to the great conclusion thereby adopted.

The fourth book of "The Wealth of Nations" is devoted to an examination of the different systems of Political Economy which have been offered and commended to the world; and herein the policy of affixing regulations or restrictions upon production is treated of in a most elaborate manner. The matter occupies about one-third part of the entire work. The author commences the second chapter of this book by bringing under notice the restrictions and prohibitions which the British Legislature has enacted at different periods for the purpose of protecting such commodities as are or can be produced at

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »