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subservient with him to a narrow sectionalism, which finally frustrated all hope of sound fruit from a laborious life. The electric power with which Mr. Clay acted upon the emotions of men was not coupled withi any special capacity for the research of principles; and while his name is inseparably connected with the “ American system,” his argumentative defence of that system is practically forgotten,- so much easier was it for him to give vogue to an effective name, than to give a scientific basis to the thing itself. Mr. Webster discussed with great power many questions involving general principles of political economy, but he never cared to apply his intellect to the foundations of the science. Indeed, in one of his letters he says: “I give up what is called the science of political economy.'... I believe I have recently run over twenty volumes, from Adam Smith to Professor Dew, of Virginia; and from the whole, if I were to pick out with one land all the mere truisms, and with the other all the doubtful propositions, little would be left.” Whatever else may be said of this passage, it absolves us from the necessity of further explanation of Mr. Webster's failure to contribute to the world's advancemeut in economic science. Of the contemporaries of these three great men, the other champions on whose words listening senates once hung, in the fierce contest over tariff and bank, no name can now be recalled as having any claim to connection with the development of the science of which we speak. Lowndes, Crawford, Wright, Berrien, McDuffie, Benton, and the others may yet shine in our political history, but they are unknown in political science.
And if we examine the roll of statesmen of the generation which closes our century, what better success is met ? We find, indeed, the names of some men who have skilfully managed interests of vast magnitude, and of others, not in great number, who have shown a competent scientific knowledge ; but we may safely challenge the mention of one who has added to the stock of economic principles with which the world was already acquainted, or has given any essential assistance in their elucidation. As a class our public men have confined themselves, like Franklin, to the sagacious application of rules of thumb. So far as they have dealt with the science at all, it has been made for them by others; they have not aided in making it. Indeed, the promise held out by Hamilton's great example, of the thorough examination of questions in the light of ascertained principles, has seldom been fulfilled, even by our highest officers of administration. Few things, in fact, are inore noticeable in our recent political history than the extreme fragility and brevity of the reputations acquired, either in administration or in legislation, by most of our public men who have assumed to deal with this class of subjects.
If we turn from the statesmen to the scholars of the United States, the result is not more satisfactory. Down to the year 1820 no American produced any treatise on political economy which the world has cared to remember. Such books of that period as come to light, upon industrious search in forgotten corners, are crude, unsystematic, full of empirical notions, and are now intellectually obsolete. The philosophical study of the subject, to which Adam Smith gave an impulse abroad, was, in fact, late in making any public appearance on this side of the Atlantic. The increasing interest in it is shown by three editions of the “ Wealth of Nations” (Philadelphia, 1789; Hartford, 1811; ibid., 1818), and by the reprinting of Ricardo's great work (Georgetown, 1819) only two years after its original publication. But when we remember that on the other side of the Atlantic this period was marked by the appearance of works so important, and in some cases of such lasting influence, as those of Malthus, Say, Ricardo, and Sismondi, the poverty of American thought upon the subject is striking, even if we allow, as we must, for the infancy of the country and the consequent small number of its literary class. In the twenty years which followed the period of which we have just spoken, a tolerably rapid succession of treatises by American authors was given to the public. Raymond (1820) brought to the discussion zeal and ingenuity, but such looseness of method and want of precision of ideas as to defeat his efforts and destroy the value of his work, — which, indeed, from its confusion of definition and want of system, seems a late growth of the generation which preceded Smith, rather than one of that which followed bim. Alexander H. Everett, fresh from the influences of a long residence in Europe, and of personal intercourse with some of the leading economists of the world, published (1822) an answer to the essay of Malthus on Population, which holds a place among the best of the many attempts 'made in this direction ; but his dialectic skill was not able even to supply the opponents of the Malthusian doctrine with a common standing ground, and still less to prevent the doctrine from being accepted in its essentials by the great majority of economists who have followed, and even by many who imagine that they reject it. Dr. Cooper, of South Carolina, issued a treatise (1826), of which McCulloch says that,
though not written in a very philosophical spirit, it is the best of the American works on political economy that we have met with,” — an encomium measured with judicious care. Dr. Cooper's chief success, in fact, was in reproducing in systematic form the results attained by the English economists, with whose works he was well acquainted ; but he did nothing in original speculation. Willard Phillips produced a treatise (1828) in which, treating the whole structure of Malthus and Ricardo as unsound, he sought to take up the subject where Adam Smith had left it. He treated it with an abundant knowledge of commercial and industrial facts, and with a mind well trained for speculative inquiry; but it was complained, even by a friendly contemporary critic, that he reared nothing in place of that which he sought to remove. Rae's book (1834) has been pronounced by high authority to be a valuable discussion of the subject of production; but as the work of a Scotchman settled in Canada, and originally intended for publication abroad, we can hardly count it as an American contribution. President Wayland's book (1837) is the only general treatise of the period which can fairly be said to have survived to our day; and this, it must be admitted, owes whatever value it has to its manner of presenting for easy comprehension some of the leading English doctrines,- of which, however, it may be doubted whether the author ever fully recognized the bearing. Vethake's treatise (1838) is now little known, its more valuable portion having served its purpose, like the works of Cooper and Wayland, of bringing before our public some of the results, at that time unfamiliar, which had been reached by writers not then well understood in this country. Other writers of this period, like Dew, Newman, Tucker, and Potter, can be dismissed even more summarily, so transient was their influence, and so completely forgotten are their works.
The years which followed from 1840 down to the war for the Union were for natural reasons much less prolific of works on political economy than the period just noticed. The stimulus given to the study of the science by the extraordinary advances made in it by the great English investigators had ceased to be active; questions of currency, as we shall presently see, had. fallen into a subordinate rank; the tariff question, after a furious party struggle in which all considerations of political science were lost sight of, seemed to have been settled ; and the great sectional controversy began to fill all minds, to the exclusion of every other public question. A few text-books appeared, recasting familiar material; as, for example, the well-known treatise of Professor Bowen (1856), in which he threw into connected form a long series of articles and lectures produced by him in the preceding ten years, and Bascom's convenient résumé of economic theory (1859). To these we must add Stephen Colwell's work on “ The Ways and Means of Payment” (1859), the production of an author who had few equals as regards his acquaintance with economic literature, but who in this, bis chief work, appears to have been led into unprofitable subtleties, which have failed to influence appreciably the opinions or studies of others. Beyond these works, however, — and omitting for the present a writer whom we must notice more at length further on, our literature now has little to show in this department except pamphlets and occasional essays of limited interest, for the years in which the wonderful phenomena of the California discoveries were occurring in our own country.
In the period which includes and follows the war we have a few works like that of the late Amasą Walker (1866), with its earnest but not always conclusive discussions of currency, and the vigorous treatise by Professor Perry (1866), - both designed for use as manuals, and claiming but little attention as statements of original thought. In general it must be said of the last ten years, that while they have witnessed a marked and salutary revival of interest in economic discussion, the
most absorbing questions which have caused this revival have been quite too rudimentary to lead to fresh development of principle. Whether we shall have more paper, or shall return to specie, are questions calling not for research so much as for skill and force in rhetorical treatment, which may carry axiomatic truths into unwilling or otherwise unreceptive minds. It is true that the question whether our fiscal policy should look to continued protection or to ultimate freedom of trade involves more really controversial matter ; but this has been so far overshadowed and complicated by the question of cur. rency, that it neither has produced nor seems to us likely to produce for some time to come any marked originality of investigation.
It might perhaps have been enough for our purpose, if, instead of passing in review this series of American writers on political economy, we had simply called attention to the fact that, with few exceptions, the works produced in the United States have been prepared as text-books by authors engaged in college instruction, and therefore chiefly interested in bringing principles previously worked out by others within the easy comprehension of undergraduate students. The success with which this work has often been done and its value, we shall not question ; but clearly it is not by such means that discoveries in abstract science are likely to be made or to be announced to the world. It should occasion no surprise, therefore, that of the considerable list of American writers on the subject, so few have produced any impression out of our own country, or have been able even at home to give to the study any strong impulse. Not only has no American school of writers on political economy been established, if we except that which we are about to notice, but no recognized contribution to the development of the science can be pointed out in any way comparable to those made by the French writers, or to those which the Germans are now making.
The writer to whom we have referred as offering in some respects a possible exception to these general remarks is Mr. Henry C. Carey. It cannot be said that Mr. Carey has not engaged attention outside of his own country, for his works have been translated and circulated in nearly every important