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Brteciples of Political Economy. With some of their Applications to Social Philoso-
phy. By John Stuart Mill. In two volumes Parler •
VOYAGES AND TRAVELS,
A. Three-Years Cruise in the Mozambique Channel, for the Suppression of the Slave- trade. ly Lieutenaut Barnard, Itat Bentley.
speculum Episcopi. The Mirror of a Bishop Edwards and Hughes.
The Artist's Married Life ; being that of Albert Darer. Translated from the German ofLeopold Scherer. By Mrs. J. B. Stodart Chapman.
JOHN STUART MILL'S POLITICAL ECO-NOMY.
WHOEPER has studied Mr. Mill's profound and comprehensive work, system of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, will expect front the same hand an exposition of political economy of no ordinary excellence. The present treatise will be found to come up fully to such expectations ; though the subject is one which does not, like the former, embrace the whole field of science, nor afford the same scope for originality, nor inter- pose those long-standing difficulties which it was Mr. Mill's honour to have cleared up for the first time in the province of logic.
The volumes now published contain a complete and scientific expo- sition of the theory of political economy, in its various general depart- ments of production, distribution, and exchange ; and an elaborate de- velopment of those complications which present themselves especially in the last of the three. Each of these subjects occupies a separate book in the author's arrangement; after which comes a fourth book, explaining the "Influence of the Progress of Society on Production and Distribu- tion"; and lastly, a fifth book, surveying the whole matter of interference by Government, economically considered—more particularly, the inci- dence, varieties, and comparative mischiefs, of taxes imposed by its authority.
Mr. Mill's scheme thus embraces all which is properly comprehended under the denomination of political economy, as it stands after the ample discussions and the several recent publications on different parts of the subject. But he proposes to himself this, and something more besides.
"The design of this book," he tells us in his Preface, "is different from that of any treatise on political economy which has been produced in England, since the work of Adam Smith. The most characteristic quality of that work, and the one in which it most differs from some others which have equalled or even sur- passed it as mere expositions of the general principles of the subject, is, that it invariably associates the principles with their applications. This of itself im- plies a much wider range of ideas and of topics than is included in political economy considered as a branch of abstract speculation. For practical purposes, political economy is inseparably intertwined with many other branches of social philosophy. Except on matters of mere detail, there are perhaps no practical ques- tions, even among those which approach nearest to the character of purely economi- cal questions, which admit of being decided on economical premises alone. And it is because Adam Smith never loses sight of this truth—because in his applica- tions of political economy he perpetually appeals to other and often far larger considerations than pure political economy affords—that he gives that well- grounded feeling of command over the principles of the subject for purposes of practice, owing to which the Wealth of Nations, alone among treatises on political economy, has not only been popular with general readers, but has impressed it- self strongly on the minds of men of the world and legislators. It appears to the present writer that a work similar in its object and general conception to that of Adam Smith, but adapted to the more extended knowledge and improved ideas of the present age, is the kind of contribution which political economy now requires."
To the peculiar characteristic here announced by Mr. Mill himself in the Preface, we may add another, which will be found realized through- out the work. It is not, like most of the works written by- English au- thors to explain the production and distribution of wealth, confined ex- clusively to production and distribution as exhibited in England. It keeps in perpetual comparative view the analogous phmnomena of other countries ; and the theory of distribution in particular, which is the de- partment most variable in different countries according to diversities of character or legislation, acquires in the work before us an expansion and a social value not paralleled among his predecessors.
Lastly, there is a third characteristic in Mr. Mill's work which we re- gret to be obliged to call peculiar—a profound conviction of the para- mount obligations of science, and of political economy especially, towards the great mass of the community, in respect to their-comforts as well as to their character ; a frank recognition of existing evils, a conscientious employment of science to trace the causes upon which they depend, and a strenuous enforcement of remedies which, because they may happen to be unpopular, are not the less the only remedies in the ease. We are far indeed from saying that previous political economists have been deficient in benevolent feeling towards the operative classes : such an assertion would be alike untrue and unbecoming. But we do say, that the science, as they state it, is one in which the bulk of the community have little or no interest. Most philosophers accept the low wages and condition of the working masses as a fact unavoidable in human society, just as it was as- sumed in the time of Plato and Aristotle that the labouring classes must of necessity be slaves. Discussing, indeed, often what is best to be done when individual labourers fall beneath this low common condition, (the question of Poor-laws,) they touch lightly the causes upon which the com- mon condition itself depends, or the possibility of raising it into a high one. Their reasonings turn almost entirely on sums-total and aggregate results; apart from theconstituent individuals—the only recipients of hap- )mess and misery : as if the main object were to stimulate production to Inc maximum, and to point out how the country might be made "to in- crease most rapidly in wealth and population,"—two words which stand constantly coupled together in treatises on political economy, though the increase of population always tends to neutralize, and generally altogether neutralizes, the increase of wealth as an accession to individual happiness and comfort. To know the laws of aggregate production is indeed in- dispensable, and they are nowhere better unfolded than in Mr. Mill's book; but they are there continually presented in conjunction with the Taws of distribution, and the reader is never allowed to forget the joint plane for improving it ; and suggests some I abusive expansionir of credit : but this is a question of degree., and we do duties of political economy towards this numerous mass, mai' be -jti from a striking passage at the commencement of the thirteenth chapter of the second book—one of the most valuable chapters of the whole work. After having examined various popular remedies for low wages, and shown them to be either pernicious or ineffective, he proceeds- " By what means, then, is poverty to be contended against ? How is the evil of low wages to be remedied ? Is the problem incapable of solution ? Clan political economy do nothing, but only object-to-everything, and demonstrate that nothing can he done?
" If this were so, political economy might have a needful, but would have a melancholy and a thankless task. If the bulk of the human race are always to remain as at present, slaves to toil in which they have no interest, and therefore fret no interest—drudgingfrom earlymorning till late at night for bare necessaries, and with all the moral and intellectual deficiencies which that implies—without re-sources either in mind or feelings—untaught, for they cannot be better taught than fed—selfish, for all their thoughts are required for themselves—without interests or sentiments as citizens or members of society and with a sense of injustice rankling in their minds equally for what they have not and for what others have—I know not what there is which should make a person with any capacity of reason concern himself about the destinies of the human race. There would be no wisdom except in extracting from life with Epicurean indifference as much personal satisfaction for himself and those with whom he sympathizes as it can yield without injury to any one, and letting the unmeaning bustle of so-called civilized existence pass by unheeded. But there is no ground for such a view of human affairs. Poverty, like most social evils, exists because men follow their brute instincts without due consideration. But society is possible, precisely because man is not necessarily a brute. Civilization in every one of its aspects is a struggle against these animal instincts. Over some even of the strongest of them it has shown itself capable of acquiring abundant control. If it has not brought the instinct of population under as much restraint as is need- ful, we must remember that it has never seriously tried."
We shall advert again to the opinions of Mr. Mill on the momentous subject of population : at present we transcribe the above passage to show that the ideal present to his mind, which kindles his scientific zeal and dictates his practical suggestions, is something almost new in treatises of political economy—not a community richest in the aggregate, nor the maximum of wealth and population attained in the shortest space of time; but a community wherein each individual of the great numerical ma- jority shall possess comfort, morality, instruction, and developed sensi- bilities, with opportunity to the better-endowed or fortunate few, of ac- quiring as mach more for themselves separately as is consistent with this paramount object.
It is indeed high time that political economists applied themselves to this larger and more benevolent ideal ; without at all relaxing the strict- ness of scientific method as to the means of attaining it. The science has hitherto been chiefly looked at from the point of view of the capitalist, not from that of the labourer. Now these two points of view do not always coincide even in regard to the efficiency of production, while in respect to distribution they are altogether opposite and hostile. But the Hu- manitarian school of preachers among ourselves, and still more -the grave manifestations of Oommunistn which have recently appeared on the Continent, show us that a different faith is not only nascent but widely spread, wherein production and distribution are looked at alto- gether from the point of view of the labouring masses. Far indeed are we from saying that the recommendations of this school would really prove effectual to the removal of that suffering which they so justly de- plore : but it is not the lessi truc. :that the overwhelming conception of such suffering is the real stimulant which an their invention at work, and which at the same time creates an antipathingainet scientific po- litical economy as the interpreter and champion of capital against labour.ir_ How strong such antipathy sometimes becomes, may be seen by the Cc-t, that the French Republican Government has suppressed the chair of Po- litical Economy in the College de France, recently lined by M. lE- chel Chevalier. It is wonderful to observe what a storm of enlightened indignation was provoked in this country by such au ill-advised proceed- ing on the part of Republican France : even writers who had been always in the habit of sneering at political economy, and who in writing against the new Poor-law or in support of the Ten Hours Bill would have thought no term too sharp to denounce the professors of that science, now affected a persuasion that it was to be numbered among the most essential items of the curriculum of instruction. We hold the suppression to be a serious admonitory event, which the teachers of political economy ought to lay to heart for the future. They who elucidate the production and distribution of wealth, ought to regard it as the most urgent of all problems in their science, to explain how it happens that the mass of the people are poorly off, in the midst of an aggregate production increasing everywhere more rapidly than ever. M. Louis Blanc, in his book .au the Organization of Labour—a book which even those who dissent froM his recommendations as widely as we do are net entitled to despise-- imputes this misfortune as a necessary consequence to the system tif competition, and proposes that all the labourers of the country shall be distributed by authority into various coiiperative partnerships for the purpose-of production, with equality of individual remuneration and with- out any competition. M. Chevalier, and others who have replied to BI. Blanc, have demonstrated the fallacy of' his positive recommendations ; bat when this has been done, the case made out by M. Blanc against the pre- sent system remains still untouched and unimpaired. For aught that his opponents have yet shown, the principle of competitiou is really chargeable with and inseparable from the poverty and low condition of the labouring population throughout even the richest countries of Europe. Ti!. Blanc, keenly sensible of the evil, tries to suggest a remedy, but fails: his oppo- nents, having exposed the futility of his propositions, are forced either to dwell upon some resources, equally illusory, derivable from private charity or poor-laws, or (as is more frequently the case) to acquiesce reluctantly in the evil as a datum of humanity—perhaps even to worship it as a dis- pensation of Providence, and to,console their readers by dwelling upon immensities of aggregate production and miracles of industrial skill. If this were the best which political economy could do in reply to M. 02 air. dim suows, it proof were wanting, that it is not the best which political economy can do. By accepting the con- dition of the labouring classes of society as the first of all problems for the political economist, he vindicates the science from the imputation oast upon it of being a mere systerme'zed view of the exploitation of the workman by the capitalist. By placing the great and serious prin- ciple of population in the predominant attitude which really belongs to it, instead of evading or slurring it over as others have done before him, he shows that the evils dwelt upon by M. Blanc arise not from the competi- tive principle, but from an increase of population not restrained by mo- rality, or prudence, or reason ; and that they would arise still more for- midably under the cooperative principle, assuming the increase of popula- tion to continue equally unrestrained : while a due restraint on the latter, even with less hard work than at present, would insure to the labourer comfort under the system of competition, whatever might be the case under that of coUperation. It is only thus that the principle of competi- tion—that constant primary force of which the political economist traces Out the multiform ramifications—can be vindicated against bad tendencies erroneously represented as inseparable from it. Mr. Milt's first book, divided into thirteen chapter; comprises an analy- sis and explanation of Production, and its three agents, labour, capital, and land ; with the laws which determine both the increase of the two first and the degree of productiveness of all three. Of these chapters, the fifth and sixth will be found particularly instructive—" Fundamental Propositions concerning Capital,' and "Of Circulating and Fixed Capi- tal.' Mr. Mill takes particular pains, and employs the greatest ampli- tude and variety of illustration to clear up the elementary notions of the science, in the misconception Of which for the most part the erroneous applications have their root. The first of his fundamental propositions concerning capital is, that industry is limited by capital. "There can be no more industry than is supplied with materials to work up, and food to eat. Self-evident as the thing is, it is often forgotten that the people of a country are maintained and have their wants supplied, not by the produce of present labour, but of past. They consume what has been produced, not what is about to be produced." "Yet, in disregard of a -fact so evident, it long continued to be believed that laws and go- vernments could, without creating capital, create industry." (P. 79.) We apprehend that it is so believed still, by that large number of persons who so emphatically urge the obligation of Govern- ment, or the parish, or the great proprietors, to "find work" for everybody. Mr. Mill remarks, however, that though industry is limited by capital, it does not always or necessarily reach that limit : there may be some capital unemployed for want of labourers. And farther, that every increase of capital is capable of giving additional employment to industry, without any assignable limit—" If there are human beings capable of work and food to feed them, they may always be employed in producing something." (Page 82.) This proposition might perhaps, when generally stated, receive ready assent ; yet it stands opposed to many current opinions, as well as to the doctrine of Mr. Malthus Dr. ' Chalmers, and M. Sismondi, that the unproductive expenditure Of the rich is necessary to the employment of the poor, and that the latter would be partially deprived of employment if saving on the part of the rich were carried beyond a certain point. M.'. Mill justly treats this as a serious fallacy, and the truth t.i which it stands opposed as of cardinal importance in econoeck.aftscience : he reverts to it again in his third ,book, on Excluiage, and in both places he refutes the error in a masterly /mmsner. (Vol. H. book iii. p. 90.) Other fundamental theorems which he states respecting capital, are— that it is all derived from saving ; but that although saved, yet when em- ployed as capital, it is nevertheless all consumed. "That which is saved (for capital) is consumed just as much as that which is spent." He ex- pands this proposition into many of its particular consequences, and shows the prevalent errors afloat on the subject. Lastly, he points out another important theorem respecting capital—that "demand for commo- dities is not demand for labour. What supports and employs productive labour, is the capital expended in setting it to work, not the demand of purchasers for the produce of the labour when completed." (P. 97.) "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 set apart for the use of labourers." (P. 99.) We wish we had room to transcribe the excellent illustration given by Mr. Mill of this truth ; though there are one or two sentences (the commencement of the paragraph "It must not be," p. 101) which, if they be not contradictory, are at least wanting in the perspicuity cha- racteristic of the whole work.
Chapter the seventh, on the Degrees of Productiveness of Natural Agents, presents among other things a comparison of the different in- dustrial . .energy which marks the labour of different nations. The great superiority of the English labourer in productive efficiency, over the la- bourers of other countries, is well set forth, as standing foremost among the various causes of English accumulation. Unfortunately, he is, or has hitherto been at least, not leas improvident than hard-working; suit- able in both features to the interest of his employer rather than to his own. "Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes." So admirable an instru- ment for enriching others was never turned out elsewhere in the history of the world. We commend to the attention of the reader the testimony of Continental manufacturers respecting workmen of different nations, cited at page 129.
Mr. Mill next expounds (chapters x. xi. xii.) the Law of the Increase of Labour, the Law of the Increase of Capital, and the Law of the In- Grease of Production from Land. In the first of these three, the principle proporuonat productiveness, as well as limited quantity, 'of land—is traced to its consequence.,. In any giv,„, state of agricultural skill, doubling the labour applied to land does not double the produce : every increase of produce is obtained by a more than proportional increase in the application of labour to the land. Nor does this general fact cease to be true though new improvements in agri. culture antagonize it as far as they go, and might for a time even fully countervail it. These two cardinal principles-of economical science—the constant tendency of population to increase, repressed as yet very imper. fectly, but capable of being fully repressed, by moral and prudential considerations—and the constantly diminishing proportional return ta the employment of labour on land, partially antagonized, but ineapabje of being systematically and permanently counteracted, by improvements in human skill—are considered farther in their joint action in chapter xiii.; wherein the reader will find some valuable applications to the sub- jects of Corn-laws and Emigration.
The complete analysis which Mr. Mill has given of the agents and phasnomena of production was essential as a preparation for his second book—on the Laws of Distribution. This book contains the full theory of English distribution—Rent, Profit, and Wages—as it is to be found in the best treatises on political economy since Mr. Ricardo, and with the corrections and additions subsequently introduced. But it also contains a great deal besides : the reader is familiarized with distribution as it is exhibited out of England ; and the subject is handled with a degree of novelty, amplitude, and practical regard for the happiness of the mass of mankind, unparalleled, so far as our knowledge goes, in any previous author.
Mr. Mill begins with an examination of the theory of individual pro- perty; which he contrasts with Communism, St. Simonianism, and the various Cooperative schemes started both here and on the Continent. Speculations on these subjects have acquired great additional importance since his work was written, (of course, before the recent French Revolu- tion,) through the mutiny of so considerable a proportion of the Conti- nental workmen against the existing mechanism of production and dis- tribution. His two chapters on these subjects contain a refutation at once searching and dispassionate of these various schemes,—a refutation wherein (as we have before noted) the remark stands prominently for- ward, that under all of them securities against an over-increase of popu- lation would be at least as indispensable as they are at present. " Private property, and the three separate requisites of production— labour, capital, and land—being assumed, it remains to be seen how the produce distributes itself." In England, for the most part, each of the three has its separate, representative, and the distribution between them adjusts itself by bargain and competition : but there are other societies in which this does not hold : sometimes, as in North America and in a large portion of the European Continent, the labourer is himself the pro- prietor both of the land and the capital ; while in slave countries the landowner owns at the same time both capital and labour. Sometimes the same person owns the capital and the land, but not the labour, as in the metayer system of France and Italy. Lastly, in Ireland as well as in India the labourer owns all the little stock employed on the land ; while the Irish landlord and the Indian Government are proprietors of the soil. In these two last-mentioned cases there is a doable and not a triple division of the produce; and both the one and the other may be governed either by competition or by some peculiar custom. In Eng- land we are so much used to consider competition 'Only, that the reader will probably be surprised to find the collection of instances in Mr. Mill's fourth chapter wherein its effects are plainly Overruled by some custom- ary practice.
He first examines the cases of the slave-owner and -the peasant- proprietor, in both of which there is no distribution—the whole pro- duce belongs to one and the same person. Next, he takes the metayer tenure of land, where there are two partners to share, but the share of each is determined by the custom of the country, and does not vary either from year to year or from farm to farm—a third, a half, or two- thirds, of the gross produce, as the case may be. He then reviews the cottier tenancy of Ireland, where the division, being regulated by com- petition, depends upon the relation between the demand for land and the supply of it. Lastly, he treats _of hired labour and wages, where the distribution is also determined (saving a few special exceptions) by com- petition, and by the number of persons bidding for employment as com- pared with the aggregate wages-fund available to employ them. On slavery little new remains to be said : the unanimity of sentiment now existing upon that subject, contrasted with the very different cast of opinion which reigned a few years ago, is one of the few consoling evidences which raise hopes of other amendments in the national mind upon social and economical subjects. But on the subject of peasant-pro- prietors almost everything is new to an English reader ; wbo cannot conceive land being cultivated except under the trinity of landlord, te- nant., and labourer,—a great landlord to keep up the buildings, to re- ceive rent, and to dictate votes ; a farmer to find capital, personal super- intendence, and knowledge; and a body of labourers working for wages. Though the class of small proprietors, whom Mr. Mill supposes to have been once common in England, has been nearly rooted out of the Eng- lish soil, and completely rooted out of the English mind, we rejoice to think that neither on the Continent, nor in the United States, nor even in our own Colonies, is such an example likely to be followed. The facts which he produces on this subject are numerous and striking. (Chapter vii.) The chapter which immediately follows presents the Irish cottier te- nants; a melancholy contrast to those small Continental cultivators in whom the "magic of property" (to use Arthur Young's expression) operates to generate an industry, which is often almost superhuman, amidst a population not bard-working by instinct. In the two chapters x. and xi. Mr. Mill Imposes the incurable defects of this Irish cottier-te- mug ; considers the various plans for improving it; and suggests some ideas for employing the waste lands in Ireland to transform the cottiers gradually into peasant-proprietors. Chapters xi. xii. xiii. and xiv. are devoted to the consideration of Wages—the remuneration of the labourer by the capitalist. In the first of these four chapters, Mr. Mill lays down the law by which that remu- neration is determined. In the second, he examines and exposes the most current popular remedies for low wages, or propositions for better- ing the condition of the labouring classes in spite of the inherent law by which wages are determined. In the third, he states, illustrates, and vindicates, the remedy by which alone this object can really be attained, --namely, an increased moral and prudential control on the part of the labourers themselves over their own multiplication of numbers.
These three chapters are in our judgment the most valuable and im- pressive of the whole work : not so much from originality of exposition, in which other parts' of it fully equal them, as from the transcendent im- portance of the ideas which they embody, the clearness with which these ideas are set forth, and the earnest pleading of the author on behalf of a truth which so many others only look for an excuse to set aside. He shows that the rate of wages depends upon the competition between the number of persons seeking employment on the one side and the aggre- gate capital (or rather wages-fund) seeking labour on the other • and that unless the first number be diminished, or the last aggregate increased, there is no possibility of raising the rate of wages. To leave the two un- altered, and to double the rate of wages either by law or by opinion, would simply end (supposing the thing could be carried into effect) by throwing so many labourers out of employment.
You may increase the wages-fund forcibly, by imposing taxes, and using the proceeds in direct payment of labour. Mr. Mill discusses this proposition carefully ; granting that "if all that were required was, to provide permanent employment at ample wages for the existing numbers of the people," he should strenuously advocate it. But he shows that the effect of doing this would only be to make the people multiply still faster than they do now, and tq remove what little there is at present effective of moral and prudential restraint : the labourers, having no mo- tive to bestow any diligence on work merely found for them, would pro- duce less, while the taxation for support of the poor would continually increase, until it engrossed the whole income of the country, and until "payers and receivers were melterdown into one mass."
There remains then only the possibility of diminishing the rate of in- crease of population—of erecting into an active and paramount sentiment the duty of not bringing offspring into the world until a man has the means of maintaining it in decent comfort, or not in greater numbers than he can so maintain. Mr. Mill both enforces the necessity and vin- dicates the possibility of inculcating such morality, throughout his very emphatic thirteenth chapter; wherein are produced some striking extracts from M. Sismondi respecting the exemplary prudence and ordinary pre- valence of small families among the little landed proprietors in various parts of the Continent. To treat those who would inculcate such moral and prudential restraint as the enemies of the labourer, is the most mon- strous of all misrepresentations : to pronounce the lesson unteachable, is out of all reason, seeing that as yet not even the superior minds of society have ever tried to teach it, while great efforts have been made to incul- cate the direct contrary : to talk of it as difficult, unless you can show that the same inestimable end can be accomplished by some other means less difficult, is only to spur on the benevolent mind to increased effort. "Incusare Deos atque homines," may serve as an evasion so long as the talk is confined to the capitalists; but it will not do when the labourer himself is taught to canvass the subject, and to ask whether you really mean to tell him that the general condition of his class admits of no amendment: who can wonder that he turns aside from a future not only gloomy, but hopelessi to listen to the eloquence of M. Louis Blanc ? Surely, under these circumstances, the only proceeding either rational or humane is, while impressing upon the labourer such measure of self- denial as is absolutely essential to his own welfare, to seek out every means whereby that self-denial may be rendered least painful and oppres- sive. Mr. Mill recommends, as ancillary to the formation of improved national morality on the subject of population, large measures both for popular education and for colonization on a large scale. At present it seems to us that the morality, even of the superior portion of society, upon this all-important subject, has yet to be formed ; and it perhaps is only destined to be formed through a course of painful alternation be- tween increasing misery and delusive palliatives. Mr. Mill's third book is devoted to Exchange, the Theory of Value, Prices, Money, Credit, &c. It is in this part of the subject that the great- est complications reside which the political economist is called upon to explain ; and Mr. Mill has fully shown his power of grappling with them. The most difficult part of all, the theory of international trade and value —difficult in consequence mainly of the fundamental fact that capital is Dot transferred from nation to nation in the same manner as from one part of the same country to another—receives from him in two chapters (rvii. and swill) an elaborate and finished exposition.
There is, however, one chapter in this book, (chapter xxiv.) " On the Regulation of the Currency,' from the conclusions of which we dissent. Mr. Mill agrees in the main with Messrs. Tooke and Fullerton respecting the act of 1844; though he recognizes certain advantages in it which they dispute, he yet thinks that these are purchased by more than corre- sponding disadvantages. We hold the opposite opinion, and continue to hold it even after reading his chapter. We have no space here to set forth what we think might be offered in reply to several points of his rea- soning. The act of 1844 seems to us essential to insure what simple convertibility promises, but does not insure—constant conformity in value of bank-notes to gold ; constant conformity in quantity being, in oar judgment, the inseparable condition and correlative of constant con- formity in value. We think also that the act is calculated to work well, Ind has already worked better than Mr. Mill admits, in restraining
abusive expansion of credit : but this is a question of degree, and we do not put it in the front of the argument.
The fourth book of Mr. Mill's work, "Influence of the Progress of Society on Production and Distribution," follows the thread of economi- cal speculation to many consequences alike novel and important. The last book, going as it does over the whole range of the interference of Government, is the most miscellaneous of all. We recommend to the attention of the reader chapter ix., wherein Mr. Mill compares the va- rious laws of different countries respecting inheritance : though, while we agree with him in disapproving primogeniture and entails, we think mach more favourably than he does respecting the principle and work- ing of the French law of succession. He examines at considerable length all the principal diversities of taxation; a subject wherein it is above all things difficult to -arrive at any conclusion certain or satis- factory, since every tax is an undeniable evil, and the evil produced by one is often of a nature generically different from and hardly commen- surable with that caused by another, while all classes of society seem alike selfish in trying to shift the burden from themselves upon others.
The last chapter of all, "On the Limits of the Province of Government," is one of large scope and very peculiar value : not unworthy to close a work which places its author in the highest rank of political economists— which sets forth the truths already ascertained in a manner more perspi- cuous and systematic, and with greater fulness of illustration, than they will be found in any other work known to us—and which possesses the farther merit of having enlarged the range, improved the ideal, and en- nobled the aspirations, of economical science.