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POPULAR POLITICAL ECONOMY
BY A BARRISTER.
"A nation, whether it consume its own productions, or with
PUBLISHED BY THE MANCHESTER RECIPROCITY
BY PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.
JOHN HEYWOOD, 141 AND 143, DEANSGATE.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST
WHOEVER Contemplates, on the one hand, the enormous powers of production in the United Kingdom, and on the other, the misery which nevertheless grinds down masses of the population, will necessarily conclude that the circumstances which ensure or promote the creation and due distribution of wealth, are yet unknown or mistaken. He will see the science which assumes to teach these things, discredited, helpless, and utterly at fault. There must be something fearfully wrong or essentially deficient in the prevailing system: there must necessarily be some error in theory. No adequate practical measures of relief can be devised till it is discovered.
The following sheets are not written to aid a party, but to assist, if possible, in reaching the truth on a very complex and difficult subject. Protectionists will find no defence of a high price of subsistence, and free-traders no acquiescence in their recommendation of unlimited and indiscriminate imports.
If any who profess the doctrines of modern English political economy, should condescend to cast their eye on these pages, they will, no doubt, dissent from nearly all that is said on free-trade, population, pauperism, wages, and currency. But among political economists, as well as among their opponents, in England, France, Germany, and America, are to be found those who cherish the true spirit of scientific inquiry. That spirit is a simple devotion to THE TRUTH, whatever it shall turn out to be, and an entire indifference to the results of inquiry, so that they be but TRUE. Criticism and correction by such are not deprecated—they are respectfully and earnestly invited.
The vulgar, however, on both sides, are incapable of independent judgment, take their opinions on trust, and mix up abstract and scientific truth with strong party feelings and predilections. They begin to read with a secret but irresistible wish before-hand that a particular doctrine should prove true. The discovery of truth is not given to such a disposition. On complex and really disputable subjects, what a man earnestly wishes to be true, he will find true. Reading and enquiry only serve to entrench him in his notions. Whether those notions be truth or error is the result,
* Mr. Mill is an example.
"To be indifferent which of two opinions is true, is the right temper of the mind that preserves it from being imposed on, and disposes it to examine. This is the only direct and safe way to TRUTH."-Locke.