Introduction

Political œconomy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services. It proposes to enrich both the people and the sovereign.
*1


The different progress of opulence in different ages and nations has given occasion to two different systems of political œconomy with regard to enriching the people. The one may be called the system of commerce, the other that of agriculture. I shall endeavour to explain both as fully and distinctly as I can, and shall begin with the system of commerce. It is the modern system, and is best understood in our own country and in our own times.


1.
[For other definitions of the purpose or nature of political economy see the index,
s.v.]

2.
[There seems to be a confusion between Plano-Carpini, a Franciscan sent as legate by Pope Innocent IV. in 1246, and Guillaume de Rubruquis, another Franciscan sent as ambassador by Louis IX. in 1253. As is pointed out by Rogers in a note on this passage, the reference appears to be to Rubruquis,
Voyage en Tartarie et à la Chine, chap. xxxiii. The great Khan’s secretaries, Rubruquis states, on one occasion displayed curiosity about France: ‘s’enquérant s’il y avait force bœufs, moutons, et chevaux, comme s’ils eussent déjà été tous prêts d’y venir et emmener tout’. Plano-Carpini and Rubruquis are both in Bergeron’s
Voyages faits principalement en Asie dans les xii., xiii., xiv. et xv. siècles, La Haye, 1735.]

3.
[There is very little foundation for any part of this paragraph. It perhaps originated in an inaccurate recollection of pp. 17, 18 and 77-79 of
Some Considerations (1696 ed.), and §§ 46-50 of
Civil Government. It was probably transferred bodily from the
Lectures without verification. See
Lectures, p. 198.]

4.
[See below, vol. ii., p. 17, note.]

5.
[Ed. 1 reads ‘expect least of all’.]

6.
[The words ‘forth of the realm’ occur in (January) 1487, c. 11. Other acts are 1436, c. 13; 1451, c. 15; 1482, c. 8.]

7.
[Ed. 1 reads ‘increase it’.]

8.
[
England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade, or the Ballance of our Forraign Trade is the Rule of our Treasure, 1664, chap. iv.,
ad fin., which reads, however, ‘we will rather accompt him a mad man’.]

9.
[Mun,
England’s Treasure chap. vi.]

10.
[‘Among other things relating to trade there hath been much discourse of the balance of trade; the right understanding whereof may be of singular use.’—Josiah Child,
New Discourse of Trade, 1694, p. 152, chap. ix., introducing an explanation. The term was used before Mun’s work was written. See Palgrave’s
Dictionary of Political Economy,s.v Balance of Trade, History of the theory.]

11.
[This sentence appears first in ed. 2. Ed. 1 begins the next sentence, ‘The high price of exchange therefore would tend’.]

12.
[‘In’ is a mistake for ‘by’.]

13.
[Here and four lines higher eds. 1-3 read ‘if there was’.]

14.
[Ed. 1 reads in’.]

15.
[Eds. 1-3 read ‘if it was’.]

16.
[The absence of any reference to the long Digression in bk. i., chap. xi., suggests that this passage was written before the Digression was incorporated in the work. Contrast the reference below, vol. ii., p. 12.]

17.
[Ed. 1 reads ‘not only without any inconveniency but with very great advantages’.]

18.
[This probably refers to p. 314, though the object there is rather to insist on the largeness of the saving effected by dispensing with money, and pp. 302-309.]

19.
[Eds. 1-3 read ‘was it not’.]

20.
[
Present State of the Nation (see below, p. 465 and note), p. 28.]

21.
[Eds. 1-3 read ‘was’.]

22.
[Ed. 1 reads ‘according to the exaggerated computation of Mr. Horsely’.]

23.
[
Lectures, p. 199.]

24.
[
The Present State of the Nation, particularly with respect to its Trade, Finances, etc., etc., addressed to the King and both Houses of Parliament, 1768 (written under the direction of George Grenville by William Knox), pp. 7, 8.]

25.
[Above, pp. 231-233.]

26.
[In place of these two sentences ed. 1 reads ‘A considerable part of the annual surplus of its manufactures must indeed in this case be exported without bringing back any returns. Some part of it, however, may still continue to bring back a return.’]

27.
[
History, chaps. xix. and xx., vol. iii., pp. 103, 104, 165 in ed. of 1773.]

28.
[Below, vol. ii., p. 445.]

29.
[This sentence and the nine words before it are repeated below, vol. ii., p. 442.]

30.
[‘Dercyllidas’ appears to be a mistake for Antiochus. See Xenophon,
Hellenica, vii., i., § 38.]

31.
[Ed. 1 reads ‘thereby increase’.]