Front Page Titles (by Subject) AUTHOR\'S PREFACE - The Continental System: An Economic Interpretation
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
AUTHOR'S PREFACE - Eli F. Heckscher, The Continental System: An Economic Interpretation 
The Continental System: An Economic Interpretation, ed. Harald Westergaard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
FOR the aim and character of this short study the reader is referred to the Introduction and the Bibliographical Note. A few words may be added, however, as to the conditions under which it was written.
The book represents a sort of synthesis of earlier studies of the mercantile system and its outgrowths, on the one side, and the result of extensive theoretical and practical work—private, academic, and government—in the field of present-day war economics, on the other. In its original form it was written very rapidly during the winter of 1917-18, under strong pressure of other work, and was presented to my history teacher, Professor Harald Hjärne, on the seventieth anniversary of his birth, at the beginning of May 1918. Probably the atmosphere of a rather strict blockade in a neutral country will be found to pervade it as a more or less natural consequence of the time of its production.
When the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, through its representative for Scandinavia, my esteemed colleague, Professor Harald Westergaard, proposed that I should treat the subject for its series, I overhauled my earlier text, changing its outward arrangement in several respects and making a number of additions, partly based on new materials. As before, however, I was restricted to such information as was to be found in my own country, and consequently I cannot hope to have escaped error altogether, especially as the field is very large and some of my sources not above suspicion. But what I hope is that the leading ideas of the book, that is, the interpretation of the Continental System, will prove substantially correct.
As the book appears in an English translation, it may be well for me to point out that I have not had American readers principally in mind. Had that been the case, the brief outline of American policy with regard to the Continental System (part II, chapter IV) would have been either enlarged or omitted altogether, since it cannot contain, in its present form, much that is unknown to educated American readers.
The British Orders in Council of 1807 have been reproduced in an appendix, as they are far more inaccessible than the Napoleonic decrees, and are, moreover, very often misunder-stood and sometimes even misquoted.
The English text is, in the main, the work of my colleague Mr. C. S. Fearenside, M.A. (Oxford), Junior Lector in English at the University College of Commerce. There can be no question about the desirability of writing a book from the beginning in the language in which it is to appear, since the association of ideas with language, at least in political and social sciences, is far too close to allow a text to pass entirely unscathed through the ordeal of a translation. But in this case too much was already written in Swedish to leave more than one course open to me. Mr. Fearenside has found it the best plan to follow the Swedish original very closely, instead of attempting to recast the sentence structure on English lines. I am very grateful to him, not only for the work of translation, but also for numerous valuable suggestions regarding the outward arrangement of the text.
My wife has been my best helpmate throughout the work, and to the Carnegie Endowment I am deeply indebted for the reading of the proof.
ELI F. HECKSCHER.
July 4, 1919.