By Say J.-B.
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Additional info for A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, Distribution and consumption of Wealth
These are among the causes which have retarded the progress of political economy. Everything, however, announces that this beautiful, and above all, useful science, is spreading itself with increasing rapidity. Since it has been perceived that it does not rest upon hypothesis, but is founded upon observation and experience, its importance has been felt. It is now taught wherever knowledge is cherished. In the universities of Germany, of Scotland, of Spain, of Italy, and of the north of Europe, professorships of political economy are already established.
The moderns, even after having freed themselves from the barbarism of the middle a^es, have not for a very long time been more advanced. We shall have occasion to notice the stupidity of a multitude of laws relating to the Jews, to the interest of money, and to money itself. Henry IV. granted to his favourites and mistresses, as favours which cost him nothing, the permission to practise a thousand petty extortions, and to collect for their own benefit, from various branches of commerce, as many petty taxes.
How many other opinions, as universally prevailing and as much respected, will in like manner pass away. There is something epidemical in the opinions of mankind ; they are subject to be attacked by moral maladies which infect the whole species; Periods at length arrive when, like the plague, the disease wears itself out and loses all its malignity ; but it still has required time. The entrails of the victims were consulted at Rome three hundred years after Cicero had remarked, that the two augurs could no longer examine them without laughter.
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