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such have ever been found in these pages. The welfare of our native land, all her true sons have at heart, however much they may differ as to the means of promoting it.
Those who have honoured with a perusal, any one of the former editions, will find in nearly every chapter of the present edition, emendations or additions. Several new chapters and an Index have been added.
Besides numerous strictures in periodical publications and newspapers, two " Answers" to these sheets, have appeared, and one of them has reached a second edition. The author of this little book has endeavoured to make the true and best use of hostile criticism. Where errors or obscurities have been pointed out, instead of defending, he has endeavoured to correct them: where he remains unconvinced by the statements or arguments of his opponents, he has left the book to speak for itself.
The all-important and decisive question of the comparative value of home and foreign trade, had so little attracted the attention of the public, and been so little understood, that the most opposite and mutually destructive attacks have been made on the chapters dealing with that subject. Some writers who have honoured this book with their animadversions, perceiving that the maxim examined in the fourth chapter is incorrect, have
boldly asserted that it has never been propounded by political economists at all. Others, well knowing that it has been often propounded, and that it is a favourite doctrine with nearly all of them, have maintained not only that it is correct, but so clearly right, that the most obvious truism might as well be disputed. Pressed, howeyer, by the difficulties that are shewn to attend it, some of these writers have endeavoured to evade them, by reasoning as if in the places where this book speaks of a loss to a nation by a change of policy, in substituting foreign for home production, it had spoken of a loss in the particular transaction. But that has never been stated. What is stated is this-that there is a loss to the nation by the change of policy, and that the greater cheapness of the foreign product is no compensation.
The fact is, that the maxim at the head of the fourth chapter, is at first sight, apparently true, and therefore has misled many writers; but when examined, it turns cut to be demonstrably false.
Experience has shewn the necessity of scrutinizing it at a length, which to many readers will appear quite unnecessary, and of presenting it in three distinct points of view, as is attempted in the fourth, fifth, and twentyeighth chapters.
By the unexpected and undeserved favour of the public in calling for several thousand copies, this book has gradually grown into what it never was intended, and never presumed to be, a sort of popular treatise on
Political Economy. Very different, it must be conceded, from other treatises which have a better title to be so considered. The writer cannot plead ignorance, that the views it ventures to submit are at irreconcileable variance with opinions generally received in this country. Time was, when he entertained those more fashionable opinions himself. Upwards of twenty-five years ago he wrote for his own use, an abridgement of the late Mr. Ricardo's 'Principles of Political Economy,' -seduced by the subtilty and clear style of that ingenious author. More mature reflection however, long since led to the conclusion that a large portion of Mr. Ricardo's doctrines are erroneous. Indeed many of them have since been attacked and refuted by writers of Mr. Ricardo's own school. Such a change of opinion is not singular: it has been experienced by others.
The Hon. Willard Phillips, of Cambridge, Massachusets, is a gentleman well known to members of the legal profession, both in England and America, by his profound and masterly treatise on the Law of Marine Insurance. He has lately published another book on Political Economy, well deserving to be extensively circulated in this country.*
* "Propositions concerning Protection and Free-trade," by Willard Phillips, Boston, 1850. The author much regrets that he had not seen this book, till after the seventh edition of his own book had appeared. In the present edition, however, he has in more than one place been under obligations to Mr. Phillips. The passage alluded to in the text is as follows:-" I should be happy to believe that there is little at stake,
In the preface he declares that being early imbued with the free-trade theory, he had occasion to attempt its vindication against its impugners, but on entering anew on an investigation for this purpose, his views became unexpectedly and entirely changed. His book gives the results of this re-investigation, and what appear to the majority of his enlightened countrymen, the unanswerable reasons.
The opinions of his distinguished and all accomplished fellow-citizen, Daniel Webster, have undergone a similar revolution. After long experience, not only in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, but in high office, he is now a decided protectionist.
Few persons have been the means of conferring greater happiness on millions, than the distinguished German, who was at once the author of the "National System of Political Economy," the father of the Zolverein, and the projector of the network of railways, that envelopes Germany. But the celebrated Dr. List and that the doctrines of free-trade do not tend directly to the distress, decay and political subordination and degradation of this country, and the too great entanglement of its industry and interests with those of other nations. But it has not happened to me in thus devoting my attention, more particularly to these inquiries, as it did some thirty years ago. Being then imbued with that economical creed, which is taught in our public seminaries, I had occasion to attempt its vindication against the aggressions then supposed to be made on commerce and the useful arts, through protective legislation; and I had the good fortune or misfortune on investigating the subject anew, to convert myself to the opinions I had undertaken to combat. I came out with the thorough conviction, that the science which seemed so luminous to those at the feet of the Gamaliels, consisted very much of groundless postulates and sophistry."