Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy

John Stuart Mill
Mill, John Stuart
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William J. Ashley, ed.
First Pub. Date
London; Longmans, Green and Co.
Pub. Date
7th edition.

Notes to the Electronic Edition:

* The Library of Economics and Liberty electronic edition is taken from that prepared by W. J. Ashley in 1909, based on Mill's 7th edition, 1870. Footnote references in the text are color coded according to authorship as follows:

14* Mill's original notes, color-coded green in the text, are unbracketed and unlabeled in the footnote file.
14* [Ashley's's notes, color-coded gold in the text, are bracketed in the footnote file.]
* Occasional website (Library of Economics and Liberty) Editor's notes, color-coded red in the text, are unbracketed and indicated by asterisks without numbers in the text.

Editor's Introduction

1. [Autobiography, p. 27 (Pop. ed. p. 15).]

2. [Ibid. p. 60 (Pop. ed. p. 34).]

3. [Ibid. p. 62 (Pop. ed. p. 36).]

4. [Ibid. p. 119 (Pop. ed. p. 68).]

5. [Autobiography, p. 101 (Pop. ed. p. 58).]

6. [Ibid. p. 242 (Pop. ed. p. 139).]

7. [Ibid. p. 247 (Pop. ed. p. 142).]

8. [Political Economy. Book iv. chap. vi. § 2.]

9. [Autobiography, p. 246 (Pop. ed. p. 141).]

10. [Ibid. p. 243 (Pop. ed. p. 139).]

11. [Ibid. p. 128 (Pop. ed. p. 73).]

12. [Reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions. Series I.]

13. [Dissertations and Discussions, I. p. 452.]

14. [Ibid. p. 425.]

15. [Ibid. p. 426.]

16. [Ibid. p. 453.]

17. [Alexander Bain, John Stuart Mill, A Criticism: with personal recollections, p. 56.]

18. [Ibid. p. 57 n.]

19. [L. Lévy-Bruhl, Lettres Inédites de John Stuart Mill à Auguste Comte (Paris, 1899), p. 2. Writing to Comte, Mill naturally employs Comtean phraseology, and speaks of "ma sortie definitive de la section benthamiste de l'école revolutionnaire."]

20. [Bain, J. S. Mill, p. 63.]

21. [Cf. Bain, p. 72.]

22. [Cours de Philosophie Positive, vol. iv. (1839), pp. 412 seq.]

23. [Ibid. pp. 318 seq.]

24. [Ibid. pp. 264-79.]

25. [Mill's Logic, book vi. chaps. 6, 10.]

26. [Ibid. ii. p. 472 (ed. 3).]

27. [Ibid. ii. pp. 480-1.]

28. [Mill's Logic, ii. p. 486.]

29. [Reprinted in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy (1844).]

30. [Logic, ii. pp. 476-7.]

31. [Ibid. ii. p. 441.]

32. [Ibid. ii. p. 486.]

33. [Ibid. ii. p. 487.]

34. [Bain, pp. 78-9.]

35. [Besides Bain's account, Mill's letters to Comte, printed by Lévy-Bruhl, pp. 260, 285, are of interest.]

36. [Lévy-Bruhl, p. 308.]

37. [P. 235 (Pop. ed. p. 135).]

38. [Leslie Stephen, The English Utilitarians, ii. 161.]

39. [Unsettled Questions, p. 149.]

40. [Autobiography, p. 236 (Pop. ed. p. 135).]

41. [Book ii. chap. 4.]

42. [Book iv, chap. 1.]

43. [See the concluding paragraphs in the Preliminary Remarks, and book ii, chap. i. § 1.]

44. [P. 246 (Pop. ed. p. 141).]

45. [Autobiography, p. 234 (Pop. ed. p. 134).]

46. [April 3, 1844. Translated from the French text in Lévy-Bruhl, p. 309.]

47. [May 1, 1844. Ibid. p. 314. The original French should be consulted. It is impossible in a free rendering to give all the nuances of the original.]

48. [June 6, 1844. Ibid. p. 322.]

49. [July 22, 1844. Ibid. p. 338.]


50. [The original Preface remained unchanged throughout the subsequent editions. But each of the later editions during the author's lifetime contained an addition peculiar to itself, either a new paragraph subjoined to the original preface or a further preface. These are reprinted in the present edition.]

51. [The English translations in the People's edition have similarly been substituted for the originals in this, Students', edition, but none of the quotations have been omitted.]

52. [This example has been followed in the present, Students', edition.]

53. The last in the author's lifetime; [and to the subsequent eighth and ninth Library editions].

54. [See, however, pp. 934, 936.]

55. The present state of the discussion may be learnt from a review (by the author) of Mr. Thornton's work "On Labour," in the Fortnightly Review of May and June, 1869, and from Mr. Thornton's reply to that review in the second edition of his very instructive book. [See Appendix O. The Wages Fund Doctrine.]

Preliminary Remarks

56. [See Appendix A. The Mercantile System.]

57. [1st ed. (1848) "about"; 5th ed. (1862) "almost."]

58. [Paragraph added in 6th ed. (1865).]

59. Infra, book i. chap. iii.

60. [See Appendix B. The Definition of Wealth.]

61. [Parenthesis added in 6th ed. (1865).]

62. [So since 2nd ed. (1849). In the 1st ed. (1848) the text ran: "Russia and Hungary are," &c.]

63. [See Appendix C. The Types of Society.]

Book I. Chapter I. Section 2

1. This essential and primary law of man's power over nature was, I believe, first illustrated and made prominent as a fundamental principle of Political Economy, in the first chapter of Mr. [James] Mill's Elements.

Book I. Chapter II. Section 4

2. The able and friendly reviewer of this treatise in the Edinburgh Review (October 1848) conceives the distinction between materials and implements rather differently: proposing to consider as materials "all the things which, after having undergone the change implied in production, are themselves matter of exchange," and as implements (or instruments) "the things which are employed in producing that change, but do not themselves become part of the exchangeable result." According to these definitions, the fuel consumed in a manufactory would be considered, not as a material, but as an instrument. This use of the terms accords better than that proposed in the text with the primitive physical meaning of the word "material"; but the distinction on which it is grounded is one almost irrelevant to political economy.

Book I. Chapter III. Section 3

3. Some authorities look upon it as an essential element in the idea of wealth, that it should be capable not solely of being accumulated but of being transferred; and inasmuch as the valuable qualities, and even the productive capacities, of a human being, cannot be detached from him and passed to some one else, they deny to these the appellation of wealth, and to the labour expended in acquiring them the name of productive labour. It seems to me, however, that the skill of an artisan (for instance) being both a desirable possession, and one of a certain durability (not to say productive even of national wealth), there is no better reason for refusing to it the title of wealth because it is attached to a man, than to a coalpit or manufactory because they are attached to a place. Besides, if the skill itself cannot be parted with to a purchaser, the use of it may; if it cannot be sold, it can be hired; and it may be, and is, sold outright in all countries whose laws permit that the man himself should be sold along with it. Its defect of transferability does not result from a natural but from a legal and moral obstacle.

The human being himself (as formerly observed) I do not class as wealth. He is the purpose for which wealth exists. But his acquired capacities, which exist only as means, and have been called into existence by labour, fall rightly, as it seems to me, within that designation.

4. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Essay III. On the words Productive and Unproductive.

Book I. Chapter III. Section 4

5. ["The bankrupt states of North America" in all editions until the 7th (1871). "It remains to be shown whether England," &e., remained two lines below until the 5th ed. (1862).]

Book I. Chapter III. Section 6

6. [See Appendix D. Productive and Unproductive.]

Book I. Chapter IV. Section 3

7. [See Appendix E. The Definition of Capital.]

Book I. Chapter V. Section 1

8. An exception must be admitted when the industry created or upheld by the restrictive law belongs to the class of what are called domestic manufactures. These being carried on by persons already fed—by labouring families, in the intervals of other employment—no transfer of capital to the occupation is necessary to its being undertaken, beyond the value of the materials and tools, which is often inconsiderable. If, therefore, a protecting duty causes this occupation to be carried on, when it otherwise would not, there is in this case a real increase of the production of the country.

In order to render our theoretical proposition invulnerable, this peculiar case must be allowed for; but it does not touch the practical doctrine of free trade. Domestic manufactures cannot, from the very nature of things, require protection, since the subsistence of the labourers being provided from other sources, the price of the product, however much it may be reduced, is nearly all clear gain. If, therefore, the domestic producers retire from the competition, it is never from necessity, but because the product is not worth the labour it costs, in the opinion of the best judges, those who enjoy the one and undergo the other. They prefer the sacrifice of buying their clothing to the labour of making it. They will not continue their labour unless society will give them more for it, than in their own opinion its product is worth.

Book I. Chapter V. Section 3

9. For example, Mr. Malthus, Dr. Chalmers, M. de Sismondi.

Book I. Chapter V. Section 5

10. It is worth while to direct attention to several circumstances which to a certain extent diminish the detriment caused to the general wealth by the prodigality of individuals, or raise up a compensation, more or less ample, as a consequence of the detriment itself. One of these is, that spendthrifts do not usually succeed in consuming all they spend. Their habitual carelessness as to expenditure causes them to be cheated and robbed on all quarters, often by persons of frugal habits. Large accumulations are continually made by the agents, stewards, and even domestic servants, of improvident persons of fortune; and they pay much higher prices for all purchases than people of careful habits, which accounts for their being popular as customers. They are, therefore, actually not able to get into their possession and destroy a quantity of wealth by any means equivalent to the fortune which they dissipate. Much of it is merely transferred to others, by whom a part may be saved. Another thing to be observed is, that the prodigality of some may reduce others to a forced economy. Suppose a sudden demand for some article of luxury, caused by the caprice of a prodigal, which not having been calculated on beforehand, there has been no increase of the usual supply. The price will rise; and may rise beyond the means or the inclinations of some of the habitual consumers, who may in consequence forego their accustomed indulgence, and save the amount. If they do not, but continue to expend as great a value as before on the commodity, the dealers in it obtain, for only the same quantity of the article, a return increased by the whole of what the spendthrift has paid; and thus the amount which he loses is transferred bodily to them, and may be added to their capital: his increased personal consumption being made up by the privations of the other purchasers, who have obtained less than usual of their accustomed gratification for the same equivalent. On the other hand, a counter-process must be going on somewhere, since the prodigal must have diminished his purchases in some other quarter to balance the augmentation in this; he has perhaps called in funds employed in sustaining productive labour, and the dealers in subsistence and in the instruments of production have had commodities left on their hands, or have received, for the usual amount of commodities, a less than usual return. But such losses of income or capital, by industrious persons except when of extraordinary amount, are generally made up by increased pinching and privation; so that the capital of the community may not be, on the whole, impaired, and the prodigal may have had his self-indulgence at the expense not of the permanent resources, but of the temporary pleasures and comforts of others. For in every case the community are poorer by what any one spends, unless others are in consequence led to curtail their spending. There are yet other and more recondite ways in which the profusion of some may bring about its compensation in the extra savings of others; but these can only be considered in that part of the Fourth Book, which treats of the limiting principle to the accumulation of capital.

Book I. Chapter V. Section 8

11. On the other hand, it must be remembered that war abstracts from productive employment not only capital, but likewise labourers; that the funds withdrawn from the remuneration of productive labourers are partly employed in paying the same or other individuals for unproductive labour; and that by this portion of its effects war expenditure acts in precisely the opposite manner to that which Dr. Chalmers points out, and, so far as it goes, directly counteracts the effects described in the text. So far as labourers are taken from production, to man the army and navy, the labouring classes are not damaged, the capitalists are not benefited; and the general produce of the country is diminished, by war expenditure. Accordingly, Dr. Chalmers's doctrine, though true of this country, is wholly inapplicable to countries differently circumstanced; to France, for example, during the Napoleon wars. At that period the draught on the labouring population of France, for a long series of years, was enormous, while the funds which supported the war were mostly supplied by contributions levied on the countries overrun by the French arms, a very small proportion alone consisting of French capital. In France, accordingly, the wages of labour did not fall, but rose; the employers of labour were not benefited, but injured; while the wealth of the country was impaired by the suspension or total loss of so vast an amount of its productive labour. In England all this was reversed. England employed comparatively few additional soldiers and sailors of her own, while she diverted hundreds of millions of capital from productive employment, to supply munitions of war and support armies for her Continental allies. Consequently, as shown in the text, her labourers suffered, her capitalists prospered, and her permanent productive resources did not fall off.

12. Infra, book iv, chaps. iv, v.

Book I. Chapter V. Section 9

13. [This sentence replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the original text: "So that the capital cannot be dispensed with—the purchasers can."]

14. [The rest of this paragraph replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the original text: "I am desirous of impressing on the reader that a demand for commodities does not in any manner constitute a demand for labour, but only determines into a particular channel a portion, more or less considerable, of the demand already existing. It determines that a part of the labour and capital of the community shall be employed in producing certain things instead of other things. The demand for labour is constituted solely by the funds directly set apart for the use of labourers."]

15. [In the 2nd ed. (1849) there was here inserted "a different mode of stating the argument." In the 3rd ed. (1852) this became the long footnote of this section; and five new paragraphs were inserted at this point.]

16. [This paragraph was inserted in the 6th ed. (1865).]

17. [1849] The following case, which presents the argument in a somewhat different shape, may serve for still further illustration.

Suppose that a rich individual, A, expends a certain amount daily in wages or alms, which, as soon as received, is expended and consumed, in the form of coarse food, by the receivers. A dies, leaving his property to B, who discontinues this item of expenditure, and expends in lieu of it the same sum each day in delicacies for his own table. I have chosen this supposition, in order that the two cases may be similar in all their circumstances, except that which is the subject of comparison. In order not to obscure the essential facts of the case by exhibiting them through the hazy medium of a money transaction, let us further suppose that A, and B after him, are landlords of the estate on which both the food consumed by the recipients of A's disbursements, and the articles of luxury supplied for B's table, are produced; and that their rent is paid to them in kind, they giving previous notice what description of produce they shall require. The question is, whether B's expenditure gives as much employment or as much food to his poorer neighbours as A's gave.

From the case as stated, it seems to follow that while A lived, that portion of his income which he expended in wages or alms, would be drawn by him from the farm in the shape of food for labourers, and would be used as such; while B, who came after him, would require, instead of this, an equivalent value in expensive articles of food, to be consumed in his own household: that the farmer, therefore, would, under B's regime, produce that much less, of ordinary food, and more of expensive delicacies, for each day of the year than was produced in A's time, and that there would be that amount less of food shared, throughout the year, among the labouring and poorer classes. This is what would be conformable to the principles laid down in the text. Those who think differently, must, on the other hand, suppose that the luxuries required by B would be produced, not instead of, but in addition to, the food previously supplied to A's labourers, and that the aggregate produce of the country would be increased in amount. But when it is asked, how this double production would be effected—how the farmer, whose capital and labour were already fully employed, would be enabled to supply the new wants of B, without producing less of other things; the only mode which presents itself is, that he should first produce the food, and then, giving that food to the labourers whom A formerly fed, should by means of their labour, produce the luxuries wanted by B. This, accordingly, when the objectors are hard pressed, appears to be really their meaning. But it is an obvious answer, that, on this supposition, B must wait for his luxuries till the second year, and they are wanted this year. By the original hypothesis, he consumes his luxurious dinner day by day, pari passu with the rations of bread and potatoes formerly served out by A to his labourers. There is not time to feed the labourers first, and supply B afterwards: he and they cannot both have their wants ministered to: he can only satisfy his own demand for commodities, by leaving as much of theirs, as was formerly supplied from that fund, unsatisfied.

It may, indeed, be rejoined by an objector, that since, on the present showing, time is the only thing wanting to render the expenditure of B consistent with as large an employment to labour as was given by A, why may we not suppose that B postpones his increased consumption of personal luxuries until they can be furnished to him by the labour of the persons whom A employed? In that case, it may be said, he would employ and feed as much labour as his predecessors. Undoubtedly he would; but why? Because his income would be expended in exactly the same manner as his predecessor's; it would be expended in wages. A reserved from his personal consumption a fund which he paid away directly to labourers; B does the same, only instead of paying it to them himself, he leaves it in the hands of the farmer who pays it to them for him. On this supposition, B, in the first year, neither expending the amount, as far as he is personally concerned, in A's manner nor in his own, really saves that portion of his income, and lends it to the farmer. And if, in subsequent years, confining himself within the year's income, he leaves the farmer in arrears to that amount, it becomes an additional capital, with which the farmer may permanently employ and feed A's labourers. Nobody pretends that such a change as this, a change from spending an income in wages of labour to saving it for investment, deprives any labourers of employment. What is affirmed to have that effect is, the change from hiring labourers to buying commodities for personal use; as represented by our original hypothesis.

In our illustration we have supposed no buying and selling, or use of money. But the case as we have put it, corresponds with actual fact in everything except the details of the mechanism. The whole of any country is virtually a single farm and manufactory, from which every member of the community draws his appointed share of the produce, having a certain number of counters, called pounds sterling, put into his hands, which, at his convenience, he brings back and exchanges for such goods as he prefers, up to the limit of the amount. He does not, as in our imaginary case, give notice beforehand what things he shall require; but the dealers and producers are quite capable of finding it out by observation, and any change in the demand is promptly followed by an adaptation of the supply to it. If a consumer changes from paying away a part of his income in wages, to spending it that same day (not some subsequent and distant day) in things for his own consumption, and perseveres in this altered practice until production has had time to adapt itself to the alteration of demand, there will from that time be less food and other articles for the use of labourers, produced in the country, by exactly the value of the extra luxuries now demanded; and the labourers, as a class, will be worse off by the precise amount.

18. [This paragraph was inserted in the 6th ed. (1865).]

Book I. Chapter V. Section 10

19. ["Not a labourer" was inserted in the 3rd ed. (1852).]

20. [See Appendix F. Fundamental Propositions on Capital.]

Book I. Chapter VI. Section 1

21. Infra, book ii. chap. xvi. On Rent.

Book I. Chapter VI. Section 2

22. [So altered in 2nd ed. (1849) from the original: "this may not, and often will not, be the case."]

23. [The first two sentences of this paragraph were inserted in the 2nd ed. (1849), and the subsequent sentences slightly changed in form.]

24. [1865] The clearing away of the small farmers in the North of Scotland, within the present century, was, however, a case of it; and Ireland, since the potato famine and the repeal of the corn laws, is another. The remarkable decrease which has lately attracted notice in the gross produce of Irish agriculture, is, to all appearance, partly attributable to the diversion of land from maintaining human labourers to feeding cattle; and it could not have taken place without the removal of a large part of the Irish population by emigration or death. We have thus two recent instances, in which what was regarded as an agricultural improvement, has diminished the power of the country to support its population. The effect, however, of all the improvements due to modern science is to increase, or at all events, not to diminish, the gross produce.

Book I. Chapter VI. Section 3

25. Infra, book iv. chap. v.

Book I. Chapter VII. Section 3

26. [From the 4th ed. (1857) a long passage was omitted at this point. This originally ran as follows:

"In this last quality the English, and perhaps the Anglo-Americans, appear at present to surpass every other people. This efficiency of labour is connected with their whole character; with their defects, as much as with their good qualities. The majority of Englishmen and Americans have no life but in their work; that alone stands between them and ennui. Either from original temperament, climate, or want of development, they are too deficient in senses to enjoy mere existence in repose; and scarcely any pleasure or amusement is pleasure or amusement to them. Except, therefore, those who are alive to some of the nobler interests of humanity (a small minority in all countries), they have little to distract their attention from work, or to divide the dominion over them with the one propensity which is the passion of those who have no other, and the satisfaction of which comprises all that they imagine of success in life—the desire of growing richer, and getting on in the world. This last characteristic belongs chiefly to those who are in a condition superior to day labourers; but the absence of any taste for amusement, or enjoyment of repose, is common to all classes. Whether from this or any other cause, the national steadiness and persistency of labour extends to the most improvident of the English working classes—those who never think of saving, or improving their condition. It has become the habit of the country; and life in England is more governed by habit, and less by personal inclination and will, than in any other country, except perhaps China or Japan. The effect is, that where hard labour is the thing required, there are no labourers like the English; though in natural intelligence, and even in manual dexterity, they have many superiors.

"Energy of labour, though not an unqualified good, nor one which it is desirable to nourish at the expense of other valuable attributes of human nature, is yet, in a certain measure, a necessary condition," &c.

In the 3rd ed. (1852) the characterisation had been made to apply to the English alone, and the passage began thus: "This last quality is the principal industrial excellence of the English people." After "a small minority in all countries," had been inserted "and particularly so in this;" and for "no labourers like the English" had been substituted "no better labourers than the English."]

27. [The three preceding sentences originally ran as follows: "As much as the industrial spirit required to be stimulated in their case, so much does it require to be moderated in such countries as England and the United States. There, it is not the desire of wealth...; required. Every real improvement in the character of the English or Americans, whether it consist in giving them higher aspirations, or only more numerous and better pleasures, must necessarily moderate the all-engrossing torment of their industrialism; must diminish, therefore, so far as it depends on that cause alone, the aggregate productiveness of their labour. There is no need, however, that it should diminish that strenuous and business-like application to the matter in hand, which is one of their most precious characteristics."

In the 3rd ed. (1852) they were modified to make the description apply to England only, and "the best English workmen;" and in the 4th (1857) "the ardour of their devotion to the pursuit of wealth" was substituted for "the all-engrossing torment of their industrialism."

Then followed in the original the following quotation and comments, omitted in the 3rd ed.:

" 'Whoever' (says Mr. Laing, Notes of a Traveller, p. 290) 'looks into the social economy of an English or Scotch manufacturing district, in which the population has become thoroughly imbued with the spirit of productiveness, will observe that it is not merely the expertness, despatch, and skill of the operative himself, that are concerned in the prodigious amount of his production in a given time, but the labourer who wheels coal to his fire, the girl who makes ready his breakfast, the whole population, in short, from the potboy who brings his beer, to the banker who keeps his employer's cash, are inspired with the same alert spirit, are in fact working to his hand with the same quickness and punctuality as he works himself. English workmen taken to the Continent always complain that they cannot get on with their work as at home, because of the slow, unpunctual, pipe-in-mouth working habits of those who have to work to their hands, and on whom their own activity and productiveness mainly depend.'

"Foreigners are generally quite unaware that to these qualities in English industry the wealth and power which they seek to emulate are in reality owing, and not to the 'ships, colonies, and commerce' which these qualities have called into being, and which, even if annihilated, would leave England the richest country in the world. An Englishman, of almost every class, is the most efficient of all labourers, because, to use a common phrase, his heart is in his work. But it is surely quite possible to put heart into his work without being incapable of putting it into anything else."]

Book I. Chapter VII. Section 5

28. The whole evidence of this intelligent and experienced employer of labour is deserving of attention; as well as much testimony on similar points by other witnesses, contained in the same volume.

29. [This comment was added in the 3rd ed. (1852).]

30. [This statement took the place in the 3rd ed. (1852) of the sentence: "Nor are the greatest outward precautions; comparable in efficacy to the monitor within."]

31. Some minor instances noticed by Mr. Babbage may be cited in further illustration of the waste occasioned to society through the inability of its members to trust one another.

"The cost to the purchaser is the price he pays for any article, added to the cost of verifying the fact of its having that degree of goodness for which he contracts. In some cases the goodness of the article is evident on mere inspection; and in those cases there is not much difference of price at different shops. The goodness of loaf sugar, for instance, can be discerned almost at a glance; and the consequence is that the price is so uniform, and the profit upon it so small, that no grocer is at all anxious to sell it; whilst on the other hand, tea, of which it is exceedingly difficult to judge, and which can be adulterated by mixture so as to deceive the skill even of a practised eye, has a great variety of different prices, and is that article which every grocer is most anxious to sell to his customers. The difficulty and expense of verification are in some instances so great, as to justify the deviation from well-established principles. Thus, it is a general maxim that Government can purchase any article at a cheaper rate than that at which they can manufacture it themselves. But it has, nevertheless, been considered more economical to build extensive flour-mills (such as those at Deptford), and to grind their own corn, than to verify each sack of purchased flour, and to employ persons in devising methods of detecting the new modes of adulteration which might be continually resorted to." A similar want of confidence might deprive a nation, such as the United States, of a large export trade in flour.

Again: "Some years since, a mode of preparing old clover and trefoil seeds by a process called doctoring became so prevalent as to excite the attention of the House of Commons. It appeared in evidence before a Committee, that the old seed of the white clover was doctored by first wetting it slightly, and then drying it by the fumes of burning sulphur; and that the red clover seed had its colour improved by shaking it in a sack with a small quantity of indigo; but this being detected after a time, the doctors then used a preparation of logwood, fined by a little copperas, and sometimes by verdigris; thus at once improving the appearance of the old seed, and diminishing, if not destroying, its vegetative power, already enfeebled by age. Supposing no injury had resulted to good seed so prepared, it was proved that, from the improved appearance, the market price would be enhanced by this process from five to twenty-five shillings a hundred-weight. But the greatest evil arose from the circumstances of these processes rendering old and worthless seed equal in appearance to the best. One witness had tried some doctored seed, and found that not above one grain in a hundred grew, and that those which did vegetate died away afterwards; whilst about eighty or ninety per cent of good seed usually grows. The seed so treated was sold to retail dealers in the country, who of course endeavoured to purchase at the cheapest rate, and from them it got into the hands of the farmers, neither of these classes being capable of distinguishing the fraudulent from the genuine seed. Many cultivators in consequence diminished their consumption of the articles, and others were obliged to pay a higher price to those who had skill to distinguish the mixed seed, and who had integrity and character to prevent them from dealing in it."

The same writer states that Irish flax, though in natural quality inferior to none, sells, or did lately sell, in the market at a penny to twopence per pound less than foreign or British flax; part of the difference arising from negligence in its preparation, but part from the cause mentioned in the evidence of Mr. Corry, many years Secretary to the Irish Linen Board: "The owners of the flax, who are almost always people in the lower classes of life, believe that they can best advance their own interests by imposing on the buyers. Flax being sold by weight, various expedients are used to increase it; and every expedient is injurious, particularly the damping of it; a very common practice, which makes the flax afterwards heat. The inside of every bundle (and the bundles all vary in bulk) is often full of pebbles, or dirt of various kinds, to increase the weight. In this state it is purchased and exported to Great Britain."

It was given in evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons that the lace trade at Nottingham had greatly fallen off, from the making of fraudulent and bad articles: that "a kind of lace called single-press was manufactured," (I still quote Mr. Babbage,) "which although good to the eye, became nearly spoiled in washing by the slipping of the threads; that not one person in a thousand could distinguish the difference between single-press and double-press lace; that even workmen and manufacturers were obliged to employ a magnifying-glass for that purpose; and that in another similar article, called warp-lace, such aid was essential."

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 1

32. Note to Wakefield's edition of Adam Smith, vol. i. p. 26.

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 2

33. Supra, pp. 79-90.

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 3

34. ["Now" was omitted before "rapid" in the 3rd ed. (1852).]

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 4

35. SAY, Cours d'Economie Politique Pratique, vol. i. p. 340.

It is a remarkable proof of the economy of labour occasioned by this minute division of occupations, that an article, the production of which is the result of such a multitude of manual operations, can be sold for a trifling sum.

36. Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, 3rd edition, p. 201.

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 5

37. "In astronomical observations, the senses of the operator are rendered so acute by habit, that he can estimate differences of time to the tenth of a second; and adjust his measuring instrument to graduations of which five thousand occupy only an inch. It is the same throughout the commonest processes of manufacture. A child who fastens on the heads of pins will repeat an operation requiring several distinct motions of the muscles one hundred times a minute for several successive hours. In a recent Manchester paper it was stated that a peculiar sort of twist or 'gimp,' which cost three shillings making when first introduced, was now manufactured for one penny; and this not, as usually, by the invention of a new machine, but solely through the increased dexterity of the workman."—Edinburgh Review for January 1849, p. 81.

38. Page 171.

39. Statement of some New Principles on the subject of Political Economy, by John Rae (Boston, U.S.), p. 164. [Sociological Theory of Capital (1905), p. 102. See infra, p. 165 n.]

Book I. Chapter VIII. Section 6

40. [See Appendix G. Division and Combination of Labour.]

Book I. Chapter IX. Section 1

41. Page 214 et seqq.

42. Supra, chap. vi.

Book I. Chapter IX. Section 2

43. [This paragraph was added in the 6th ed. (1865).]

Book I. Chapter IX. Section 4

44. [1852] The observations in the text may hereafter require some degree of modification from inventions such as the steam plough and the reaping machine. The effect, however, of these improvements on the relative advantages of large and small farms, will not depend on the efficiency of the instruments, but on their costliness. I see no reason to expect that this will be such as to make them inaccessible to small farmers, or combinations of small farmers.

45. [This reference to steam threshing machines was inserted in the 5th ed. (1862); and "until lately" in the reference to Ireland, infra, p. 149.]

46. Prize Essay on The Management of Landed Property in Ireland, by William Blacker (1837), p. 23.

47. "The number of beasts fed on a farm of which the whole is arable land," (says the elaborate and intelligent treatise on Flemish Husbandry, from personal observation and the best sources, published in the Library of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,) "is surprising to those who are not acquainted with the mode in which the food is prepared for the cattle. A beast for every three acres of land is a common proportion, and in very small occupations, where much spade husbandry is used, the proportion is still greater. After comparing the accounts given in a variety of places and situations of the average quantity of milk which a cow gives when fed in the stall, the result is, that it greatly exceeds that of our best dairy farms, and the quantity of butter made from a given quantity of milk is also greater. It appears astonishing that the occupier of only ten or twelve acres of light arable land should be able to maintain four or five cows, but the fact is notorious in the Wacs country." (pp. 59, 60.)

This subject is treated very intelligently in the work of M. Passy, Des Systêmes de Culture et de leur Influence sur l'Economie Sociale, one of the most impartial discussions, as between the two systems, which has yet appeared in France.

"Without doubt it is England that, on an equal surface, feeds the greatest number of animals; Holland and some parts of Lombardy can alone vie with her in this respect: but is this a consequence of the mode of cultivation, and have not climate and local situation a share in producing it? Of this I think there can be no doubt. In fact, whatever may have been said, wherever large and small cultivation meet in the same place, the latter, though it cannot support as many sheep, possesses, all things considered, the greatest quantity of manure-producing animals.

"In Belgium, for example, the two provinces of smallest farms are Antwerp and East Flanders, and they possess on an average for every 100 hectares (250 acres) of cultivated land, 74 horned cattle and 14 sheep. The two provinces where we find the large farms are Namur and Hainaut, and they average, for every 100 hectares of cultivated ground, only 30 horned cattle and 45 sheep. Reckoning, as is the custom, ten sheep as equal to one head of horned cattle, we find in the first case, the equivalent of 76 beasts to maintain the fecundity of the soil; in the latter case less than 35, a difference which must be called enormous. (See the statistical documents published by the Minister of the Interior.) The abundance of animals, in the parts of Belgium which are most subdivided, is nearly as great as in England. Calculating the number in England in proportion only to the cultivated ground, there are for each 100 hectares, 65 horned cattle and nearly 260 sheep, together equal to 91 of the former, being only an excess of 15. It should besides be remembered, that in Belgium stall feeding being continued nearly the whole year, hardly any of the manure is lost, while in England grazing in the open fields diminishes considerably the quantity which can be completely utilized.

"Again, in the Department of the Nord, the arrondissements which have the smallest farms support the greatest quantity of animals. While the arrondissements of Lille and Hazebrouek, besides a greater number of horses, maintain the equivalent of 52 and 46 head of horned cattle, those of Dunkirk and Avesnes, where the farms are larger, produce the equivalent of only 44 and 40 head. (See the statistics of France published by the Minister of Commerce.)

"A similar examination extended to other portions of France would yield similar results. In the immediate neighbourhood of towns, no doubt, the small farmers, having no difficulty in purchasing manure, do not maintain animals: but, as a general rule, the kind of cultivation which takes most out of the ground must be that which is obliged to be most active in renewing its fertility. Assuredly the small farms cannot have numerous flocks of sheep, and this is an inconvenience; but they support more horned cattle than the large farms. To do so is a necessity they cannot escape from, in any country where the demands of consumers require their existence: if they could not fulfil this condition, they must perish.

"The following are particulars, the exactness of which is fully attested by the excellence of the work from which I extract them, the statistics of the commune of Vensat (department of Puy de Dôme), lately published by Dr. Jusseraud, mayor of the commune. They are the more valuable, as they throw full light on the nature of the changes which the extension of small farming has, in that district, produced in the number and kind of animals by whose manure the productiveness of the soil is kept up and increased. The commune consists of 1612 hectares, divided into 4600 parcelles, owned by 591 proprietors, and of this extent 1466 hectares are under cultivation. In 1790, seventeen farms occupied two-thirds of the whole, and twenty others the remainder. Since then the land has been much divided, and the subdivision is now extreme. What has been the effect on the quantity of cattle? A considerable increase. In 1790 there were only about 300 horned cattle, and from 1800 to 2000 sheep; there are now 676 of the former and only 533 of the latter. Thus 1300 sheep have been replaced by 376 oxen and cows, and (all things taken into account) the quantity of manure has increased in the ratio of 490 to 729, or more than 48 per cent, not to mention that the animals being now stronger and better fed, yield a much greater contribution than formerly to the fertilization of the ground.

"Such is the testimony of facts on the point. It is not true, then, that small farming feeds fewer animals than large; on the contrary, local circumstances being the same, it feeds a greater number: and this is only what might have been presumed; for, requiring more from the soil, it is obliged to take greater pains for keeping up its productiveness. All the other reproaches cast upon small farming, when collated one by one with facts justly appreciated, will be seen to be no better founded, and to have been made only because the countries compared with one another were differently situated in respect to the general causes of agricultural prosperity." (pp. 116-120.)

48. See pp. 352 and 353 of a French translation published at Brussels in 1839, by M. Fred. de Kemmeter, of Ghent.

49. "In the department of the Nord," says M. Passy, "a farm of 20 hectares (50 acres) produces in calves, dairy produce, poultry, and eggs, a value of sometimes 1000 francs (£40) a year: which, deducting expenses, is an addition to the net produce of 15 to 20 francs per hectare." Des Systèmes de Culture, p. 114.

50. [1857] During the interval between the census of 1851 and that of 1856, the increase of the population of Paris alone exceeded the aggregate increase of all France: while nearly all the other large towns likewise showed an increase.

51. [This and the following paragraph were added in the 5th ed. (1862).]

52. Economie Rurale de la France depuis 1789. Par M. Léonce de Lavergne, Membre de l'Institut et de la Société Centrale d'Agriculture de France. 2mo éd. p. 59.

53. [See Appendix H. Large and Small Farming.]

Book I. Chapter X. Section 2

54. [1865] This has been disputed; but the highest estimate I have seen of the term which population requires for doubling itself in the United States, independently of immigrants and of their progeny—that of Mr. Carey—does not exceed thirty years.

55. [1852] One of these theories, that of Mr. Doubleday, may be thought to require a passing notice, because it has of late obtained some followers, and because it derives a semblance of support from the general analogies of organic life. This theory maintains that the fecundity of the human animal, and of all other living beings, is in inverse proportion to the quantity of nutriment: that an underfed population multiplies rapidly, but that all classes in comfortable circumstances are, by a physiological law, so unprolific, as seldom to keep up their numbers without being recruited from a poorer class. There is no doubt that a positive excess of nutriment, in animals as well as in fruit trees, is unfavourable to reproduction; and it is quite possible, though by no means proved, that the physiological conditions of fecundity may exist in the greatest degree when the supply of food is somewhat stinted. But any one who might be inclined to draw from this, even if admitted, conclusions at variance with the principles of Mr. Malthus, needs only be invited to look through a volume of the Peerage, and observe the enormous families, almost universal in that class; or call to mind the large families of the English clergy, and generally of the middle classes of England.

[1865] It is, besides, well remarked by Mr. Carey, that, to be consistent with Mr. Doubleday's theory, the increase of the population of the United States, apart from immigration, ought to be one of the slowest on record.

[1865] Mr. Carey has a theory of his own, also grounded on a physiological truth, that the total sum of nutriment received by an organized body directs itself in largest proportion to the parts of the system which are most used; from which he anticipates a diminution in the fecundity of human beings, not through more abundant feeding, but through the greater use of their brains incident to an advanced civilization. There is considerable plausibility in this speculation, and experience may hereafter confirm it. But the change in the human constitution which it supposes, if ever realized, will conduce to the expected effect rather by rendering physical self-restraint easier, than by dispensing with its necessity; since the most rapid known rate of multiplication is quite compatible with a very sparing employment of the multiplying power.

Book I. Chapter X. Section 3

56. [1865] Mr. Carey expatiates on the absurdity of supposing that matter tends to assume the highest form of organization, the human, at a more rapid rate than it assumes the lower forms, which compose human food; that human beings multiply faster than turnips and cabbages. But the limit to the increase of mankind, according to the doctrine of Mr. Malthus, does not depend on the power of increase of turnips and cabbages, but on the limited quantity of the land on which they can be grown. So long as the quantity of land is practically unlimited, which it is in the United States, and food, consequently, can be increased at the highest rate which is natural to it, mankind also may, without augmented difficulty in obtaining subsistence, increase at their highest rate. When Mr. Carey can show, not that turnips and cabbages, but that the soil itself, or the nutritive elements contained in it, tend naturally to multiply, and that too at a rate exceeding the most rapid possible increase of mankind, he will have said something to the purpose. Till then, this part at least of his argument may be considered as non-existent.

57. [So from the 3rd ed. (1852). The original second clause of the sentence ran: "There is always an immense residuary power behind, ready to start into activity as soon as the pressure which restrained it is taken off."]

58. [See Appendix I. Population.]

Book I. Chapter XI. Section 2

59. This treatise is an example, such as not unfrequently presents itself, how much more depends on accident, than on the qualities of a book, in determining its reception. Had it appeared at a suitable time, and been favoured by circumstances, it would have had every requisite for great success. The author, a Scotchman settled in the United States, unites much knowledge, an original vein of thought, a considerable turn for philosophic generalities, and a manner of exposition and illustration calculated to make ideas tell not only for what they are worth, but for more than they are worth, and which sometimes, I think, has that effect in the writer's own mind. The principal fault of the book is the position of antagonism in which, with the controversial spirit apt to be found in those who have new thoughts on old subjects, he has placed himself towards Adam Smith. I call this a fault, (though I think many of the criticisms just, and some of them far-seeing,) because there is much less real difference of opinion than might be supposed from Dr. Rae's animadversions; and because what he has found vulnerable in his great predecessor is chiefly the "human too much" in his premises; the portion of them that is over and above what was either required or is actually used for the establishment of his conclusions. [A re-arranged reprint of John Rae's New Principles of Political Economy (1834) has been edited by Professor Mixter, and published (1905) under the title The Sociological Theory of Capital.]

60. Rae, p. 123 [ed. Mixter, p. 57].

Book I. Chapter XI. Section 3

61. Rae, p. 136 [ed. Mixter, p. 71].

62. Rae, p. 140 [ed. Mixter, p. 76].

63. Rae, pp. 151-5 [ed. Mixter, pp. 88-92].

Book I. Chapter XII. Section 2

64. [From the 6th ed. (1865) was first omitted the following explanatory clause of the original: "as soon, in fact, as men have applied themselves to cultivation with any energy, and have brought to it any tolerable tools."]

65. Letters from America, by John Robert Godley, vol. i. p. 42, See also Lyell's Travels in America, vol. ii. p. 83,

Book I. Chapter XII. Section 3

66. [The account of Carey's argument, occupying this and the next two paragraphs, took the place in the 6th ed. (1865) of the brief paragraph referring, without mentioning any name, to the assertion that "the returns from land are greater in an advanced, than in an early, stage of cultivation—when much capital, than when little, is applied to agriculture.]

67. Ireland may be alleged as an exception; a large fraction of the entire soil of that country being still [1865] incapable of cultivation for want of drainage. But though Ireland is an old country, unfortunate social and political circumstances have kept it a poor and backward one. Neither is it at all certain that the bogs of Ireland, if drained and brought under tillage, would take their place along with Mr. Carey's fertile river bottoms, or among any but the poorer soils.

68. [See Appendix J. The Law of Diminishing Return.]

Book I. Chapter XIII. Section 2

69. [In the 6th ed. (1865) "rather" replaced the original "very."]

70. [The qualifying clause "notwithstanding . . population" was inserted in the 6th ed. (1865).]

71. [So from the 3rd ed. (1852). The original ran: "so unexampled a degree as to double the productive power of labour."]

Book I. Chapter XIII. Section 3

72. [This one sentence replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the following passage of the original text: "If, indeed, the release of the corn trade from restriction had produced, or should still produce, a sudden cheapening of food, this, like any other sudden improvement in the arts of life, would throw the natural tendency of affairs a stage or two further back, but without at all altering its course. There would be more for everybody in the first instance; but this more would begin immediately and continue always to grow less, so long as population went on increasing, unaccompanied by other events of a countervailing tendency.

"Whether the repeal of the corn laws is likely, even temporarily, to give any considerable increase of margin for population to fill up, it would be premature as yet to attempt to decide. All the elements of the question have been thrown into temporary disorder by the consequences of bad harvests and of the potatoe failure. But as far as can be foreseen, there seems little reason to expect an importation of the customary articles of food either so great in itself, or capable of such rapid increase, as to interfere much with the operation of the general law."]

Book I. Chapter XIII. Section 4

73. [The reference to Ireland ("and though... scheme") was inserted in the 3rd ed. (1852).]

74. [So from the 6th ed. (1865). The original ran: "There is no probability that even under the most enlightened arrangements a permanent stream, &c."]

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