« PředchozíPokračovat »
in a subsequent page, . Many writers and readers of political economy forget that wealth only is within the province of that science; and that the clearest proof that absenteeism diminishes the virtue or the happiness of the remaining members of a community, is no answer to arguments which aim only at proving that it does not diminish their wealth.'*
We trust we run no risk, through what we have said, of being classed with those who despise wealth and discourage its acquisition or increase; who think it incompatible with virtue or happiness, and that poverty is more fruitful in both. Still less do we consider it useless or prejudicial to investigate the nature of wealth, the causes that promote or accelerate its production, and the laws that regulate its distribution. On the contrary, it is our earnest wish for the advancement of this most useful study, that renders us desirous of simplifying and clearing it from all extraneous matter, which can only confuse and mislead its investigators. Nor are we less friendly to the augmentation of wealth, that is, of the purchaseable means of human gratification. All we are anxious for is a clear, general, and specific acknowledgment that the theory of wealth is not the theory of government; that the laws which regulate the increase or diminution of wealth are not the laws which determine the well or ill being of a nation; that it is of infinitely greater importance how the wealth of a community is distributed, than what is its absolute amount; that an increase of national wealth may be made at the expense of much national and individual happiness ; and consequently, that the conclusions of the science of wealth, serviceable as we acknowledge they must be, if correctly deduced from true principles, and properly applied, ought, on no account, to be taken by themselves as guides to the knowledge of the real interests of a society, but must be first tested and tried by a reference to other data, upon which the welfare of societies depends, in an equal, if not in a still greater degree, than on their aggregate wealth. Nor would our argument for the separation of the studies of wealth and general happiness be in the least weakened by any probable grounds that may be adduced for believing that when an enlarged and comprehensive view of the interests of mankind can be taken, the two pursuits will be found to coincide; that the circumstances which are most favourable to the progressive, continuous, and permanent advance of the wealth of a community, are really, in the long run, the same with those which conduce in the highest degree to its happiness. This may, or may not, be the truth. But it is clearly only after an elaborate and complete examination of the nature and causes of * Three Lectures on the Rate of Wages, p. 35.
both wealth and national welfare, studied separately, that we can arrive at this conclusion with any certainty. To begin by assuming that they are identical, would be to destroy all the means of being able to prove that they are so. To make such an assumption the ground of our inquiries into the causes of wealth and happiness, would only be to prevent the possibility of our ever obtaining clear views upon either.
If we confer the name of catallactics on the science of wealth, that of political, or (as we would prefer calling it) social economy, will be most aptly appropriate to the higher and more general class of studies, of which the former must be reckoned but a subordinate branch—THE SCIENCE OF THE INTERESTS, OR HAPPINESS, OF NATIONS ;-a glorious subject of speculation, the first, undoubtedly, in rank of the moral sciences, since, indeed, it comprehends and crowns them all. The great questions as to the best forms of government, the best institutions, the best schemes of municipal, national, and international law, the best systems of education and of morals, as well as that as to the best mode of directing the resources of each community for the acquisition and distribution of wealth, enter into the domain of social economy in this noble and extended sense. Catallactics, or the science of exchangeable wealth, bears the same relation to this great and almost boundless study, that botany bears to natural history, or mineralogy to geology. It would not be more hurtful to the progress of true knowledge to confound the classification of plants or of minerals with the general history of animated nature or of the globe, than the classification of phenomena relating to the production and distribution of wealth with the general theory of social happiness. That theory is too extensive and complicated to be studied as a whole, without subdivision into parts; but social economy has hitherto suffered the fate of all infant sciences, whose progress has always been at first impeded by the confusion of ill-directed efforts, until the necessary subdivision has taken place of the different branches of inquiry, and each has assumed its proper station, and had its just limits and right direction assigned to it.
The time is now arrived for submitting the science of national welfare to that subdivision of the several branches of inquiry included in it, which, at a certain epoch, has been found necessary for the due cultivation of all the physical sciences. That the • Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,' the mode in which it is produced and distributed, be studied as phenomena, and pursued up to their general determining laws, is of the very first importance ; but it is essential to the due prosecution, as well as to the subsequent utility, of this study, that it be no longer mixed up
and confounded with more general and complicated views on the moral and social happiness of men. It must be carried on independently, and on its own proper basis, or its conclusions are worse than worthless,--they become mischievous in the highest degree by introducing error, under the mask of exact science, into the great problems of legislation and politics. Whether its students choose to pursue their researches under the title of catallactics, or any other, we earnestly trust they will eschew that of political economy, leaving it, if still to be employed at all, to designate the higher and more general study of the laws which determine the happiness of nations ; but which, in order to avoid confusion, as well as the not wholly unmerited discredit so generally attached to that name, we should prefer calling, as we have said above, social economy.
It may be thought that we are extending too widely the domain of social economy in the new and enlarged sense we would affix to that term, when we comprehend in it the sciences of government, legislation, and moral and religious education. But it will appear on examination that an inquiry into the economy of a state, even if understood merely in a pecuniary sense, as the best means of applying the wealth of a nation and its resources for the production of wealth to the national benefit, must inevitably include all these several branches. Government, laws, institutions for public education, charity, or religion, are all of them contrivances for employing the joint resources of the community in the best imaginable manner for its advantage.
Each requires the appropriation of a part of the common funds, the stock purse, for their furtherance; and it is only by showing that they are the most economical modes of attaining in the greatest perfection the desirable objects of security to person, property, and industrious pursuits - peace at home and abroad -mutual harmony and goodwill--an increase of the general and individual command over the necessaries, comforts, and luxuries of life, and consequently of the general well-being of the society—that any national institutions, supported at the public expense, or by the public concurrence, can be justitied. In short, if social economy is to be to a society what domestic economy is to a family (and this is certainly the only legitimate application of the word), it must comprehend all these branches of study—it is identical with the science of civil polity, or the art of arranging a state for the best advantage of its component members.
Art. III.--The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of
London for the Year 1830--31. London. 1831.
society, which, if we mistake not, bids fair to arrive at an early state of maturity. That such a society should never have been thought of till about a twelvemonth ago, is somewhat surprising, in a great country like this, which throws out its numerous and comprehensive arms into every corner of the globe,--and the more so, since almost every capital in Europe had long had its Geographical Society, and our own metropolis its literary and scientific societies, in all their various branches, with the single exception of geography, probably the most popular of all. But, as had been seen in the origin of all the rest, it required only some person or persons, known to be zealous in the cause, to take the Jead, in order to fill up this vacant space in the circle. With this view it was announced on the dinner-card of the · Raleigh Travellers' Club, that a proposition would be made for the establishment of such a society. A full attendance of its members and other gentlemen, as visiters, was the consequence; and Mr. Barrow, who was in the chair, submitted to the meeting, that, to complete the circle of literary and scientific societies which fourished in this great city, an institution was still wanting, whose object should be the promotion and diffusion of that most inportant and entertaining branch of knowledge, Geography, -a pursuit so easy of attainment, that all who can read may comprehend; that an opportunity now offered for forming, under the auspices of the • Raleigh,' a new society, under the name of The GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON. The proposition having met the concurrence of the company present, a committee was then and there named; and from the rapidly increasing number, and still more from the character, of the subscribers, it soon became manifest that a favourable opinion of the scheme was spreading and strengthening. As a further proof of this feeling towards it, we observe, by a notification in the Journal, that the African Association, which sent out Hornemann, Houghton, Mungo Park, and some others, has united itself with the Geographical Society ; and that His Majesty, always ready to sanction by his patronage and liberality whatever undertakings may hold out a promise of being beneficial to the public, has not only lent the use of his royal name, but contributed to the society an annual donation of fifty guineas, as a premium for the encouragement of geographical knowledge.
This number of the Journal of the Society's proceedings, and of the papers read in the course of the first session, certainly holds out a fair promise, that the views and objects stated in the
introductory address will not be lost sight of. There can be little doubt, indeed, that when the establishment of such a society shall be made known in our distant colonies, much curious, interesting, and substantial information will pour in, and through the medium of the Geographical Journal become available to the public.
The first, in the series of papers, is on the state of the new colony of Swan River, chiefly extracted from Lieutenant-Governor Stirling's report, and preceded by a few observations from Mr. Barrow on New Holland generally; a country which, though as large as Europe, is as yet represented on our maps nearly as a blank. • Yet, it is observed, as this extensive territory will, in all probability, in process of time, support a numerous population, the progeny of Britons, and may be the means of spreading the English language, laws, and institutions over a great part of the Eastern Archipelago, it is presumed that every accession to our knowledge of its geographical features, however limited, will be acceptable to the Society,'—and, we may add, to the public at large, particularly at this time, when the subject of emigration is beginning to receive that attention which it has long merited. It is highly desirable that the true state of all those portions of that great country, which have been fixed on for settlements, should be accurately ascertained and made generally known, that persons intending to embark with their whole property and families may neither be deterred, nor urged on, by the gross misrepresentations so constantly made, from a spirit of rivalry and jealousy, in the provincial journals. As to the interior of Australia, we have as yet had very little but vague conjecture, and how valuable that is, one specimen may shew. The notion prevailed that the interior was a vast swamp, or a Mediterranean sea, towards which the land had a dip or inclination from every side, and that into this great basin all the waters flowed from the surrounding rim of mountains. The recent discovery of the Murrumbudgie river, which, uniting with the Lachlan, forms the Murray, and terminates in an estuary on the southern coast, of sixty by thirty miles in extent, fully demolishes, if any proof was wanted to demolish, this absurd notion. But, in fact, our knowledge of this vast country is confined to its coasts, and the greater part of them have only been looked at, not examined; and numerous rivers may, therefore, yet be found, on a closer survey, to discharge themselves into the sea, of which at present we are wholly ignorant.
. For instance, on the western side, from North-west Cape, in lat. 22°, to Clarence Strait, in lat. 121°, a distance of more than one thousand miles, there are numerous large openings, not yet examined, in which no land is visible to the eye of the spectator in the interior, and through which rivers of the first magnitude might discharge their