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aciem, ficut instruxerat, transversis principiis in planum deducit.' (Bell. Jugurth. 49.) Dr Steuart calls this clothing the military part of the narrative in an appropriate dress; without which, (he thinks) in the present diffusion of military ideas throughout the ifand, it could have been perused with no pleasure, by a reader of discernment.' (Pref. p. 29.)
From what has been said, our readers may without much difficulty infer, that we are not likely to agree with Dr Steuart, that this will probably be the last time that the true principles of translation will need to be defended by a formal discussion.' (Pref. p. 23.) After all, however, the tranflation is tolerable enough ; and if it had been printed by itself, in a cheap volume, might have had a fair chance of becoming popular among lazy school. boys, or even of being occasionally pored on by ladies who had pretensions to learning. As it is, we really cannot confcientioudy join the worthy author, in recommending it to the use of • the great schools of the kingdom (Pref. p. 39.), though we conceive that there exists, in its exorbitant price, a much more serious obstacle to its being adopted in them, than the want of our approbation. Whether it will make its way into Germany, as its author seems to expect (vol. I. p. 418.), and, if it does, whether the pockets and the patience of German readers will enable them to benefit by it, we do not pretend to determine; but we will venture to predict, that, in our own island, its circulation will not be very extensive.
Art. XI. Britain independent of Commerce; or, Proofs deduced
from an Investigation into the true Causes of the Wealth of Nations, that our Riches, Prosperity, and Power, are derived from Resources inherent in ourselves, and would not be affected, even though 0:4r Commerce were annihilated. By William Spence, F.L.S. The
Third Edition. Cadell & Davies. London, 1807. From the sensation which this pamphlet has excited, we were naI turally led to expect that some important truths were brought to light in it, which had been totally overlooked by preceding political economists, although of a nature to afford peculiar consolation under the present lowering aspect of public affairs. We were a good deal disappointed, therefore, to find in it merely a restatement and application to the present state of things, of the doctrine of the French economists, with only one slight alteration for the bet. ter, and with two or three antiquated errors retained, which these ingenious writers had long since most successfully exposed. As, however, we consider the talent of making important truths familiar to the general mass of society, almost as valuable as the origiE e 3
nal discovery of them, we were prepared to give Mr Spence no small degree of praise, if it had appeared, that the impression which his publication had made, was to be attributed to the peculiar force of language, or happiness of illustration, with which he had stated any old truths ; but as, after a careful perusal, we are at a loss to point out to the reader any passages of this description, we are compelled to conclude, that the present extraordinaTy crisis of public affairs, which has given occasion to the ephemeral title of the pamphlet, together with the attention which has
been rcpeatedly drawn to it in a journal of great circulation, must · more than divide with Mr Spence, the credit derived from its po
pularity. Such being our general impressions, we perhaps owe some apology to our readers for making it the subject of serious discussion; but it will be recollected, that one of our professed objects, has always been to use our feeble endeavours in assisting the public judgment on those topics to which its attention was actually directed; and consequently, that the mere popularity of any work gives it a claim upon our attention, independently of its intri:sic merits.
As Mr Spence's production is not very long, we will advert to the prircipal parts of it, nearly in the order in which they occur; at least where his desultory mode of treating the subject will admit; noticing, as we go along, the errors into which we conceive he has fallen.
After some preliminary matter on Bonaparte, and on the gratification which the public must feel at being convinced by the arguments about to be propounded to them,--Mr Spence proceeds to express a very safe and laudable opinion, that gold and silver alone do not constitute wealth,—and to give a definition of wealth, to which we by no means object, but which we think will be found, 'together with his opinion respecting the value of the precious metals, in direct opposition to the doctrines which he afterwards maintains.
Mr Spence divides the political economists, who have investigated the sources of national wealth, into two great classes,-the mercantile sect, and the agricultural sect; without noticing the fol. lowers of Dr Smith, who hold a middle doctrine, and among whom we conceive by far the greatest portion of truth will be found to lye. As Dr Smith has endeavoured to refute both these sects, he certainly cannot be properly classed in either; yet, entirely to exclude him from among those who have investigated the sources of national wealth, does not seem to imply much discrimination in the outset of a discussion on a subject of political economy. Mr Spence next proceeds to state the well known argument of M. Dienai on the unproductiveness of manufactures; and in a subse
quent page, alludes to the confused and unintelligible atte npt of Dr Smith to refute it. Though we are reviewing Mi Spence, and not the economists, it may not be irrelevant to the general question, or to the reflection on Dr Smith, here noticed, to observe, that if the arguments of Dr Smith had been expressly direct:d against the definition of productiveness given by the economists, as evidently too confined to include all national wanith, instead of against the natural consequences respecting manufactures, which followed from this confined definition, we conccire that they would have been satisfactory; as we are of opinion, that this rally do prove, that manufactures are productive of national wealth, india pendently of the circumstance of whether they do or do not produce a net rent. We allude particularly to the third argument adla duced by Dr Smith, * which has often been controverted by the friends of the economical system; but as to which we agree entirely with the illustrious author, viz. that the real revenue of the whole society is to be estimated, not only by all the food that is consumed, but also, by all the manufactures and commodities of all kinds which are produced during that consumption, or what amounts to nearly the same thing, by the value of all that each individual in the country consumes, which evidently consists, not only in a certain portion of food, but in a certain quantity of manufactures, and other commodities in addition to it. In confirmation of this opinion, we will only make one observation, which to us, we confess, appears conclusive. If the foot given to an artificer were, like the seeds committed to the earth, abso. lutely thrown away, unless they yielded a greater return, we might be disposed to agree with the economists, that the production of a net rent is essential to the increase of wealth ; but as we know of no other important use of food but that of being applied in the support of human creatures, and as, in performing this oifice, it fulfils its appropriate and final destination, we cannot see how a country can be said to be poorer for this consumption ; on the contrary, we should say, and we think, that the economists ought to agree with us, that, putting manufactures out of the question, any particular district of country would be called richer on account of its producing a greater quantity of corn, and of being able to support equally well a greater number of human creatures; but if this be allowed, it follows incontestably, that a country is enriched by manufactures, not merely in proportion to the excess of their value above the food and raw materials of which they may be said to be composed, but in proportion to the whi e of heir value, when fit for consumption, in ckar addition to the food consumed during their preparation.
* Vol. III. p. 23. 6th Edicior.
Mr Spence so far differs from the economists, as to be of opi. nion, that, in the state of landed property in Europe, which has resulted from the feudal system, manufactures have formed, and must continue to form, the principal stimulus to agriculture. In this, he nearly follows the mode of treating the subject adopted by Dr Smith ; and this is the only point in which he appears to us to have differed from the economists with success ; but it is only a very partial improvement, as he still retains the opinion, that manufactures are no source at all of national wealth,' except in as far as they furnish a powerful stimulụs to an increased cultivation of the soil. The general grounds of our entire dis, sent from this opinion, we have stated in the preceding paragraph ; but we cannot quit the subject of home manufactures, without noticing an important error, into which Mr Spence has fallen, on the subject of trading profits.
He asserts roundly, that no addition can be made to the na, tional wealth by the accumulation of profits in the hands of the home trader; and to illustrate this position, or, in the stronger language of Mr Spence, to demonstrate it, he takes the instance of a coachmaker, whom he supposes to sell a coach for sixty quarters of corn, which it had cost him fifty to make; and he observes, that if the coachmaker becomes ten pounds richer in consequence of the profitable transfer, the landholder or purchaser of the coach, whoever he may be, will be ten pounds poorer than if he had got it at the original cost; and, consequentiy, that the national wcalth is just the same after the transfer, as before. Taking an individual transaction of this kind after the commodity is made, we might allow the first part of this observation ; though the consequence with respect to national wealth would by po means follow, as both parties may fairly be said to have gained, by having obtained what they wanted, in exchange for what they did not want. But, independently of the consideration, we would observe, in the first place, that it is quite clear, the coach would never have existed, if the coachmaker could obtain no profits ; and, in the next place, that the ten quarters of corn beyond the original cost of the commodity, and other. quarters collected in the same way by similar transfers, perform, in the hands of the master manufacturer, a most important oflice in the production of national wealth. Various sums which would otherwise be spent as revenue, are accumulated by these means into the form of capital, by which the master manufacturer is enabled to command such a quantity of raw materials,—such a quantity of food and clothing, in the shape of wages to his workmen,—and such a quantity of the necessary machinery for carrying on his trade, as, in the existing state of the market, iş best suited to that division
enue, are master mals, such works
af labour, and application of his materials, which will enable him to produce the greatest quantity of commodities at the least cost; by which process, not only future production is facilitated, and manufactures multiplied, but, as a necessary consequence, they come cheaper to the purchaser ; and the whole society is decidedly enriched by the greater abundance of consumable commodities produced in it.
If it were not for the establishment of this system of commerce and manufactures which Mr Spence is here attempting to depreciate, and for the skill and dexterity which it engenders, it is perfectly evident that the coach, which is now constructed by a quantity of labour, which can be maintained with fifty quarters of grain, could not have been put together by twice as much labour. If men had not been trained to coach- · making by those gainful establishments and that subdivision of labour which constitute the commercial system, it is obvious that it would have taken at least twice as many men, and twice as long a time, to manufacture a coach, as it does now with the benefit of these establishments. There must also have been a proportionately greater waste of materials. If a coach, therefore, be a part of wealth, it is evident, that wealth must be increased by that system of commerce and subdivided labour by which coaches are multiplied with less consumption either of food or materials. The case is precisely the same with every other production of industry; and the multiplication of every thing which contributes to the comfort or delight of human beings, is evi, dently dependent, in a great degree, on that accumulation of capital, and that perfection of manufacture, which Mr Spence conceives to make no addition to the wealth of a country. For our own parts, we know not whence is deriyed that proud preemi. nence which England enjoys in agricultural and mauufacturing capital, which enables her to cultivate her lands so well with such few hands; and, with the price of labour at two shillings aday, to contend in the low price of muslins with the natives of India, who work for an eighth part of the sum,-unless it be to the accumulation and skilful direction of the profits derived from the transfers here described ; and it is to be sure a most gross inconsistency in Mr Spence, who thinks that we are not enriched by foreign commerce, and that expenditure is the sole duty of the landholder, to treat as unproductive the only remaining source of that capital which makes a part of his definition of wealth.
Mr Spence, however, seems to be of opinion, that there is another far more powerful source of riches to a nation, which Dr Smith has overlooked ; and that the extension of the wealth of a society depends on the yearly expenditure of the revenue which the land proprietors derive from the soil.' It is abolutely neces