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A Conclusion of the First Three Books of Political Economy,—strictly so called. - Dugald Stewart, Lectures on Political Economy, vol. 2 
Lectures on Political Economy. Now first published. Vol. II. To which is Prefixed, Part Third of the Outlines of Moral Philosophy, edited by Sir William Hamilton (Edinburgh, Thomas Constable, 1856).
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A Conclusion of the First Three Books of Political Economy,—strictly so called.
I intended, before concluding my Lectures on Political Economy, to have marked out a plan of reading on the different subjects which have been under our review. But this, time will not allow me to attempt at present; and I regret the omission the less, that an enumeration of a long list of books might, not improbably, have had the effect (at least with my younger hearers) of distracting the attention, by leading to the perusal of a multiplicity of discordant and inconsistent theories. I shall therefore confine myself to a few authors whose works appear to me most likely to be useful to you in the farther prosecution of these studies.
On the first Article, (that of Population,) I formerly recommended the Dissertation of Dr. Wallace, On the Numbers of Mankind; and the Essay of Mr. Hume, Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations. In France, the chief writers on Population are Moheau and Des Parcieux, and the Marquis de Mirabeau, in his Ami des Hommes. Of a voluminous Treatise on Population, written in German by Mr. Suessmilch, I am sorry I cannot speak from my own knowledge; but by many very competent judges, both among English and French politicians, it is mentioned as a performance of extraordinary merit, distinguished equally by the correctness of the author’s researches into facts, and the soundness of his general principles. I am almost ashamed to add, that I am ignorant whether this book has or has not been yet translated into English.
In our own language, a great work, On the Principle of Population, has been lately published by Mr. Malthus. At the time I was treating of that subject, I had looked into the second edition in a very slight and cursory manner; but I have since perused great part of it with much attention, and I am happy to add my warmest testimony in its favour to the uncommon marks of approbation which it has already received from the public. With some of the author’s general views, indeed, I cannot agree; but they are always distinguished by ingenuity, and frequently by justness and depth; and he has had the merit (in addition to the extensive and seemingly accurate information which he has collected in the course of his own travels) of giving connexion and arrangement to an immense accumulation of insulated facts, which formerly lay scattered and useless in the miscellaneous volumes of preceding writers.
With respect to National Wealth, I have all along recommended, and must beg leave again to recommend, Mr. Smith’s Inquiry, as the book with which the student may, with most advantage, begin his researches on this subject; not only on account of the comprehensive outline it exhibits of its various parts, but as it is the Code which is now almost universally appealed to, all over Europe, as the highest authority which can be quoted in support of any political argument.—The work of Sir James Steuart, too, [Inquiry into the Principles of Political Œconomy,] besides some ingenious speculations of his own, contains a great mass of accurate details, (more particularly with respect to the state of foreign nations,) ascertained by his own personal observation during his long residence on the Continent.—Turgot’s Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches, form a beautiful outline of the fundamental principles of that branch of the science, according to the doctrine of the Economists; an outline which may be afterwards filled up by a perusal of Mercier de la Rivière’s Natural and Essential Order of Political Societies, and of the collection published by Dupont under the title of Physiocratie.
In this very difficult department of economical knowledge, a work has just appeared by the Earl of Lauderdale, [1804,] which, from the great abilities and extensive information of the author, cannot fail to throw many new and important lights on the questions it discusses. My time has not yet allowed me to give it a complete perusal; but I have read enough to be satisfied that some of those doctrines which are at present very generally received as elementary truths, require a new and a more accurate analysis than they have yet been subjected to. Various criticisms, in particular, which he has offered on the systems both of Mr. Smith and of the Economists, (more especially those in the chapter which treats Of the means of augmenting Public Wealth, and the Causes that regulate its increase,) deserve the serious examination of all those who are disposed to attach themselves exclusively to either of these authorities, and open some very original views on a subject equally interesting and abstruse.
On the much agitated topic concerning the Legislation of Grain, it gives me pleasure to observe, that a new edition has just been published of the truly valuable and very scarce collection, entitled Corn Tracts; ascribed by some to the late Mr. George Grenville, but now known to be the work of an English gentleman of the name of Charles Smith. This edition, I understand, contains some additional papers relative to the controversy.*
On the last article† which has been under our consideration, that of the State of the Poor, it is unnecessary for me to particularize any work, but that of Sir F. Morton Eden, [in three volumes quarto, 1797,] which may be considered as a sort of Thesaurus or Digest of all the most important facts and speculations which have been hitherto laid before the public; not only with respect to the Poor-Laws in these kingdoms, but with respect to many collateral questions connected with that branch of legislation. It contains, besides, a very complete list of the publications of his predecessors in the same line of study.—13th April 1804.
To Part II., p. 452.
[* ] [This collection, entitled Three Tracts on the Corn Laws, was first published in 1758 and 1759. It was reprinted in 1804, with a Life of the Author by George Chalmers, Charles Smith was born 1713, and died 1777.]
[† ] [The Lectures on Education followed, and they terminated the course.]