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ERRATA IN THE LAST NUMBER.
Page 190 line 16 for presoribe read proscribe.
193 5 from bottom, for inadmissible read inamissible.
Non est inventus will accept our thanks for his friendly expression of approbation.
FOR APRIL, 1820.
Art. I. Nouveaux Principes d'Economie Politique, ou de la Richesse dans ses Rapports avec la Population. Par J. Ć. L. Simonde de Sismondi. Correspondant de l'Institut de France, &c. 2. Tomes, 8vo. pp. viii. 880. Paris, 1819. FEW EW subjects are of less seductive interest to general readers, than those which relate to political economy. Every En
: glishman prides himself, indeed, upon being a politician; and those were good old times when
Village statesmen talked with looks profound, While news much older than their ale went round.' But although politics, the dirty politics of the day, are the general theine, there is a prevailing disinclination, even among well informed persons, to enter upon the bewildering complexities of political science. An individual unaccustomed to such investigations, finds, on taking up a work of the kind, that he has a language to learn ; that what are assumed by the Writer as fundamental principles, both obvious and certain, bear so little relation to his previous knowledge, that the very terms are to him enigmatical." Startled at the sweeping conclusions which be finds too often rasbly deduced from those principles, and perplexed by the contradictory assertions of theoretical controvertists, he is led to regard the science itself as involved in inextricable embarrassment.
But the misfortune is, that where principles are not understood, opinions are held not withstanding, and held with the greater tenacity, because they are mere opinions. When persons feel themselves to be in the dark, they naturally hold the faster by what they trust to for guidance. The understanding calmly reposes on what it knows, because it feels secure of its possession; but half-thinkers and half-believers, men of opinions, be the subject what it may, whether it relate to taste, religion, or politics, uniformly betray the superficial nature of their knowledge, by their pertinacity and intolerance.
Political science embraces questions upon which men in geneVol. XIII. N.S.
ral cannot fail to entertain opinions. The terms in current Ose among
all classes of men of business, at once express and per. petuate opinions--opinions unconsciously and involuntarily beld, yet, continually acted upon, by numbers who either affect to contemn, or at least neglect to examine, the reasonings of political writers. These terins are often themselves remains of former exploded theories, which thus continue imperceptibly to maintain their ascendancy over men's ideas, long after they have been formally abandoned. And it is not till science has become so generally diffused as to bring new terms, the symbols of more correct ideas, into familiar use, that the abstract truths which constitute its principles, stand any chance of obtaining due attention in their practical application. There are terms now in 'current use among the lower classes, which were once mystic sigos, even to the well educated, of ideas so foreign from their knowledge as to require considerable circumlocution to render them intelligible. An abstract term, when it bears à perceived relation to our previously acquired information, is not more hard to be understood, than the simplest appellative. Yet, it is the abstract nature of the terins employed in the discussions we are referring to, which is the chief source of the perplexity and difficulty most persons experience in first entering upon the subject. As the science shall be developed, and, ac cording to the natural progress of knowledge, its terms find their way into the conventional medium, much of its apparent abstruseness will vanish ; nor is it chimerical to anticipate that at no very distant period, the science of political economy, composed as it is, for the most part, of facis cognizable by men of the average understanding, will come to he as generally apprehended among persons of ordinary intelligence, as any of the physical sciences. Let it not be imagined that it is of a nature too abstract or too complicated, ever to become thus transfused into the general circulating ipass of national intelligence. The abstract nature of an inquiry, presents an obstacle to the discovery of truth, but does not binder what has once been clearly ascertained, from being generally made known. On all subjects on wbich men are capable of forming opinions, they are, assuredly, capable of genuine knowledge. "Crude opinions on all the leading topics of political science, bave long been exerting a pernicious influence on the minds of practical men. A writer, Therefore, cannot do his generation a more important service, than by contributing to displace those prejudices with what, from their obvious truth and clearness, may deserve the name of science,-facts separated from the theories in which they have been enveloped, principles relieved from the responsibility of the conclusions erroneously charged upon them, and deductions shewn to be in accordance with the whole of our experience