Nathaniel Hillyer. Egleston.

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of our Union, and some allowance must always be made for per
sonal idiosyncrasy, it is safe to assert that the American trend
has been toward a more complete separation of the functions of
court and jury, and several of the States have enforced this by
special statutes. In Massachusetts, for instance, it is provided
that " the courts shall not charge juries with respect to matters of



JURIES AND JURYMEN. 11

fact." Throughout the United States it would be an unusual
and an uncomplimentary description of a charge from the bench
to say that its " bias " helped to guide the jury to a right result.
I am by no means sure that we have the better practice, tested by
its utility ; but we are not likely soon to change it.

Meantime, disagreements of juries go on with loss to the pock
ets and peace of mind of litigants and with cost to the public in
expense and time. If it could be assumed that the dissentient
jurors were fairer or wiser than the majority, we could tolerate
it well j but, unfortunately, the alliance between ignorance and
obstinacy, well known of old, continues to the present day.

There are, no doubt, exceptional cases where the majority may
be carried away by popular prejudice or personal sympathy, and
to meet such cases the concurrence of the presiding judge might
be required in order to make valid a majority verdict. I am
fully aware that such a change in jury trial as to dispense with
unanimity would require some constitutional changes as well as
legislation. No one proposes to disturb the present rule in crim
inal cases, because it well consists with the great principle that no
one is to be convicted while there remains a reasonable doubt of
his guilt." But in civil cases, where a preponderance of evidence
alone is required, it would seem that, sooner or later, the prac
tical American mind would conclude that when this preponder
ance was made out to the satisfaction of at least three-fourths of
the jury and of the court, it was time to make an end of the liti
gation^ especially when we consider that this state of things
would almost certainly foreshadow the ultimate result, the pres
ent acceptance of which would merely avoid one of those calam
itous delays of the law which have tired out sturdier natures
than that of Hamlet.

ROBERT C. PITMAN.



AMERICAN ECONOMICS.



A RADICAL revulsion has occurred in economic discussion in
England within twenty-five years. Professor Bonamy Price of
the University of Oxford, Professors Fawcett, Henry Dunning
MacLeod, Henry Sidgwick, and Leslie Stephen of Cambridge,
and "W. Stanley Jevons and Professor Cairnes of University
College, London, represent fairly the existing condition of
political economy in England. While each of these discards
different portions of what was once considered orthodox eco
nomics, all except Fawcett discard so much that the science
is seen to be rent with ghastly fissures, and everywhere the
thinness of the crust warns us that the work of creation is
still going on. To change the metaphor : what were once
supposed to be almost perfected fruits, which needed only the
warm sun of public favor and general assent to ripen their
juices to sweetness, are now found to be mere puff-balls filled
with acrid dust. The works of Malthus, Eicardo, and Mill, now
considered as repositories of curious errors, rank with Ptolemy's
"Almagest," or Spurzheim's " Phrenology ." They are read not so
much because they teach us truth, as because they stand as
mile-posts which serve to measure the distance by which thought
has passed them.

When we now try to place ourselves en rapport with Malthus,
the disproof of his main proposition is so obvious that the only
inquiry we are disposed to make is, whether his idea that man's
consuming powers increased faster than his producing powers
was suggested by the unusual largeness of his own family, or by
the local phenomenon of emigration from England, which was
then beginning ; or whether he really thought that nature was
in some way the provider of a food fund which would not bear
a constant ratio to the labor employed. The idea that the food
of the human race tends to increase in an arithmetical ratio, or

12



AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 13

as 2-3-4-5-6, while the race itself tends to increase in a geomet
rical ratio, or as 2-4-8-16-32-64, has so specious an appearance
of deflniteness that, in all the bulky volumes written in support
of the theory, never has the actual fecundity of a human couple
been compared with that of a grain of wheat, a potato, a couple
of swine, or a pair of beeves. Mr. Fawcett, quoting from Dar
win, barely escapes impaling himself on an ugly horn by taking,
as a term of comparison, elephants, which are not human food.
Of these he says one pair would, in five centuries, produce fifteen
millions, each pair producing only three pairs of young in ninety
years. If the progeny of a pair of beeves had been made the
basis of the calculation, how would it have been possible to
escape from the resulting inference of cheap beef f

In our colonial period one woman has produced as many as
twenty-five children, and Adam Smith speaks of persons in
America who would live to be surrounded by more than a hun
dred lineal descendants. This would show a maximum repro
ductive capacity in the human couple of thirty-three per cent,
per annum, or fifteen per cent, to the unit of population. The
highest actual increase in the United States is, with immigra
tion, three per cent., and without immigration, two and a half
per cent, per annum.

Compare with this wheat, which has but a small fraction of
the fecundity of maize or potatoes. American wheat-growers
sow 80,000,000 bushels of seed annually to produce 500,000,000
bushels of wheat, being only six-fold ; but this is two hundred
times the actual, and forty times the highest hypothetical in
crease possible to the unit of population. Major Hallett, of
Brighton, England, in 1857-61, by planting wheat in rows a
foot apart, and selecting best grains from best ears, and best
ears from most abundant stools, attained the following result,
beginning with best grains selected from best ears, four and
three-eighths inches long and containing forty-seven grains per
ear, which he found in a common field.

Containing No. of ears on
Tear. Ears selected. Height, inches. Grains. .finest stool.

185 8... Finest ears 614 79 10

1859... " 73 4 91 22

1860 ^ ^ ars imperfect from wet ? og

( SG3/SO11* y

1861 . .Finest ears 83 4 123 52



14 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.

In an ordinary wheat-field, thickly sown, only one and a half
ears grow from one stool. Here is an increase in fecundity from
one ear having forty-seven grains (forty-seven fold) to fifty-
two ears, carrying (in the best ear) 123 grains, or 6396-fold per
annum. Such a hypothetical rate of increase would produce in
the second year, from a grain of wheat, 40,908,816 grains, or
seventy bushels, supposing the grains to retain only their pre
vious size under improved planting. In fact, however, Major
Hallett's processes very largely increased the size of the grain,
causing 460,000 grains to make a bushel, instead of 700,000.
Adding this quality, the possible productive power of a grain of
wheat in two years would be about 130 bushels. Yet Bonamy
Price, of Oxford, says* : "What is the essence of this (the Mal-
thusian) theory but the well-known fact that human beings, like
all other animals, have a power of multiplying faster than their
food." Apply to this statement the fact that in the earlier
periods animals constituted almost the whole of human food,
and man, as often as he could be killed, became the food of
animals; and so this "well-known fact" becomes a statement of
three independent laws in economics, viz. :

1. When man eats an animal, that proves that man multi
plies faster than animals.

2. When an animal eats man, that proves that animals
multiply faster than men.

3. So, between man and animals, each multiplies faster than
the other.

Henry C. Carey opened fire on the Malthus assumption, in
1835 1 to 1838,| by asserting that the lower the organization,
whether vegetable, animal, or social, the greater the rapidity,
certainty, frequency, and fecundity of its power of reproduction,
and the greater the ease and economy with which it sustains
itself ; that in the infancy of society the production of wealth
by man is kept down to a degree little above the nakedness of
beasts by the constant state of war and insecurity prevailing,
the absence of implements and of knowledge of every kind, and
especially by that absence of money which leaves slavery the
only possible basis of association among men. He did not make
the direct comparison above made between the relative fecundity

* "Practical Political Economy," p. 14.

t "Essay on Wages," 1835.

t " Principles of Political Economy," 3 vols.



AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 15

of the unit of population and the unit of subsistence. Nor had
he yet reached the conclusion that man, instead of beginning
cultivation on best soils, begins on worst soils ; but as to every
other implement than the soil, he already taught the doctrine of
evolution from the lower to the higher and from the less to the
more productive. It would have negatived the very law of
which he was the discoverer if he had used the best arguments
first j but he did enough to break the back of the Malthusian
theory. He taught then * that, as machinery takes the place of
muscle, as iron and steel supersede flint, as coal displaces wood,
as steam supersedes sails where sails have displaced canoes,
as skins give way before cloths and hand-looms before the
power-loom, and as new soils, new implements, and new sciences
become available, the means of industriously employing all
men's time increases, the product derived from industry in
creases in a far more rapid ratio than the number employed,
and the portion of the product of industry which is awarded
to labor increases relatively to the portion won by capital,
and man becomes free. This growth of man in freedom was
his theme. He supplied Bastiat with all the materials of
his " Harmonies Bconomiques," except that pleasing style which
is more apt to belong to the borrower than to the inventor.
Carey was inductive, Bastiat seductive. Carey was abstract,
looking for the law ; Bastiat was concrete, looking for the fee.
Carey was profound and original, but discursive; he was a
traveler with a long stride, who had the devil's own habit of
constantly taking you up to the pinnacle of the temple or the
top of a high mountain, and there showing you all the kingdoms
of earth, as illustrations of his law. Bastiat remained at home,
exhibiting to his guests the trophies collected by Carey in his
travels ; and what Carey had proved by elaborate tables and cita
tions, Bastiat illustrated with anecdote and with all the arts
of a consummate wit. In the degree that a man sought to be
amused, he would throw up his hat for Bastiat. Hence Bastiat
got all the headless hats.

Carey treated political economy not only inductively, but as
a science which sought to measure forces and not quantities ;
the growth of the power of man over things, not the science of
the things that burden or condition man. His definitions, there-

* " Principles of Political Economy," 1837-40, vol. 2, p. 251.



16 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.

fore, are all dynamic, not static 5 they are laws of motion, not
equations between commodities. He expects Burnam Wood to
come to Dunsinane, because every tree hides a man. He expects
mountains to be removed and cast into the sea, because, where
mind is, nothing is inert 5 all lives.

Sir John Herschel, reviewing {i Quetelet on Probabilities," re
marked that, " one great source of error and mistake in political
economy consists in regarding its problems as statical rather
than dynamical in their character." The statement happily
illustrates Sir Henry Bessemer's observation,* that while men
versed in an art make the trifling ameliorations in its processes,
the great discoveries and inventions more frequently come from
persons wholly untrammeled by accurate knowledge of the
details. Prof. Henry Dunning MacLeod declares! that in these
words Herschel " has exactly described the fundamental defect
of the whole Eicardo-Mill system of political economy. . . .
Ricardo treats it statically, but Condillac treats it dynamically.
. . . No one versed in Natural Philosophy can have a mo
ment's doubt that it (the dynamic system) is the true one." To
treat political economy dynamically detracts from its simplicity;
for it is the pursuit of varying ratios between perpetually vary
ing forces, always in motion, but with varying degrees of inten
sity, where the standards of measurement vary almdst as rapidly
as the ratios. Carey was the first among economists to make use
of statical charts to represent the effect of government policies
upon all the phases of a nation's progress. These ought, how
ever, to be called dynamic charts ; for while each dot in the chart
represents the relative status or condition of a given datum in
the problem, the movement of the whole line becomes dynamic
and measures the force operating. A single chapter in one of
his works | uses forty-six of these static charts to show by com
parison to the eye the relation between the four tariff acts of
1828, '33, ? 42, and '46, and the attendant increase or decrease in
production or circulation of forty-six distinct commodities or
modes of service, including points of observation as far apart as
the growth of lake tonnage, the consumption of iron and woolens,
and the use of all the leading necessaries of life, all so arranged
as to show that t)ie purchasing power of labor and the freedom

* " Creators of the Age of Steel," by W. T. Jeans, p. 34.
t " Principles of Economical Philosophy," vol. 1, p. 359.
t " The Harmony of Interests," 1852, C. 3.



AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 17

of man, as forces, are intensified with the increase in the soeie-
tary movement induced by protection, and are relaxed by its
withdrawal. As the water that turns the wheel, the wheel itself,
and the spirit in the dynamometer which measures the force
are all variable forces, and yet the measurement is perfect, so by
charts which represent social effects, in connection with their
causes, can the exact dynamic vigor of certain policies be
measured in their action on society.

Jevons,* alone among Englishmen, in a feeble manner and
far to the rearward, attempts to f ollow Carey in the use of dia
grams to represent the relation between economic causes and
effects ; but the effect he is aiming to illustrate attaches to the
metaphysical stage of economics, being merely a statement of
the decline in value to a producer of what he produces in excess
of his own wants. The metaphysical character of nearly all
English political economy since Adam Smith, especially the
works of Eicardo, Mill, Senior, Price, Moffat,t and Jevons, con
signs them inexorably to that second and transitional stage of
thought which marks, says Comte, the passage of society from the
military and theological to the industrial and scientific stage, and
which proves by its very form that something better in the way
of positive science must follow it. They affect to triumph when
they analyze metaphysically the emotions which induce trade,
as e. g. by arguing that because each party to a trade experiences
a separate satisfaction, foreign trade should not be restricted. As
well argue that because in a war each party fights until he gets
all the fighting he wants, therefore there is only beneficence in
war.

Carey antagonizes the English school, which was regnant in
1845, but defunct by 1875, in three ways. It was deductive ; he
is inductive. It was metaphysical; he is historical. It was
statical, and studied the individual unit of society as conditioned
by the environing circumstances ; he studies the dynamic move
ment of society as a whole, looking upon man as largely the
creator of all his conditions. Bastiat in France, Ferrara in
Italy, Duhring of the University of Berlin, comprehended him.
The omnivorous Roscher runs over Carey like an industrious
ant over the pyramid of Gizeh, carefully noting all exterior ine-

* " Theory of Political Economy," by W. S. Jevons, p. 33.
t " The Economy of Consumption," by Eobt. Scott Moffat.

VOL. cxxxix. NO. 332. 2



18 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.

qualities, but mutely powerless to comprehend any one sublime
meaning. He cites without disputing Carey's definition of utility
as the measure of man ; s power over nature, and of value as the
measure of nature's power over man. He then adds* that Carey
very inaccurately views them both as being always in opposite
directions. If he had got any correct sense out of the definition,
he could no more have said this than he could have branded as
inaccurate a statement that attraction and radiation are in
opposite directions. When Roseher begins to define value he
shows that his stand-point is at once statical, metaphysical, and
subjective, by preceding it with the words, " looked at from the
point of view of the person who wishes to employ them (goods)
either for use or in exchange." Nor does he ever get away from
this individual point of view.

Carey, however, being a philosopher of society, in search of
laws that measure and forces that govern the aggregate socie-
tary movement, and not a mere recorder of the moods and tenses
of persons, considers the onward march of the social mass, the
flowing river of mankind, and perceives that to the savage noth
ing has utility. The forests are useless, for he cannot fell or
hew the trees for want of the axe, saw, chisel, and auger. Iron
is useless, for he cannot distinguish it from the red clay. Glass
does not exist. The beasts are all armed, while he is not. Even
the mountain goat and the ram master him, and the wild boar
is a terror. The apple is not yet a fruit, the potato is poison,
maize is an unnoticed weed. Wheat is little more than a grass j
but if it were equal to modern wheat, it would still be useless,
as he would not know how to grind or cook it. All things
are so void of utility that only among the date groves and
naturally fruited but torrid plains of Africa could he survive
long enough to learn the utilities of anything. But in this
wretched nomad state, how are all values magnified ! A bead or
an inch of cloth is worn around his neck as a charm to keep
away evil spirits. A master who will furnish him with daily
bread would be hailed with the gratitude due to a descended
god. He feels the value even of slavery, and kisses the figurative
chains which a later epoch will see upon his limbs. Then begins
his slow upward march. With each day he learns some new
utility in metal, plant, flower, fruit, and animal. A million
things become useful, which either did not exist or were useless.

* "Political Economy," translated by Lawler, vol. 1, p. 62.



AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 19

After many generations his successor will, perchance, buy a
palace with less toil than he would have expended for a bead.
In no instance do values increase or utilities lessen with the
advance of man toward a higher civilization. The supposed
exceptions referred to by Eoscher are doubtless those of works of
art and vertu, cited by Adam Smith, whose fame keeps on grow
ing, as in the case of Angelo's, Raphael's, or Correggio's produc
tions, long after the artist who supplied them is deceased. Even
in these cases there is perfect conformity to the inverse form
of Carey's law, viz., that as human progress declines and man
relapses toward barbarism in some single art, values in
crease and utilities decline in that art. In the case of these
works of art it maybe said that, while civilization in many
things has advanced, yet in the particular line of creative art, to
which these belong, civilization in its pre-occupation with other
things has declined, and, simultaneously, the utility of these
things has lessened pari passu with their increase in value j for,
though higher prices are paid, the ratio in which they are useful
has declined with the decline of the art which produced them.
Compare the decline in value with the increase in utility of the
transportation of a representative of savage life and of civilized
life from, say, Niagara to the Pacific coast. Black-Hawk would
have regarded the journey from Niagara to the Pacific as involving
a year's toil and danger, with an even probability that he would
lose his life. In cost or value it would be prodigious. In utility it
would be nil, as he could do no more on the Pacific coast than he
could have done at Niagara, viz., hunt, fish, and fight. Van-
derbilt, however, could ride through in five days, and a palace
car and free transportation would gladly be tendered him, since it
would be known that, but for some purpose of large utility, such
as the establishment of a new line of Pacific steamers, or the
building or purchase of a new railway, he would not make the
journey. The cost (value) sinks to the minimum, while the
utility rises to the maximum.

Carey's definition of Commerce as the exchange of products
between producers, and of Trade as the intermediate agency of
the middlemen and transporters, by which this exchange is
effected, so that as Commerce increases Trade declines, and as
Trade increases Commerce declines,* thus making Trade and
Transportation taxes upon Commerce, instead of being Com-

* " Manual of Social Science," condensed by McKean.



20 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.

merce itself, as they are usually assumed to be ; is too bitter a
pill for strict free-traders to swallow. Conceiving themselves
to be the enemies of all taxes, they cannot endure a definition
which converts trade itself into the severest of all taxes.

So Carey's definition of wealth,* as " the power to command
the always gratuitous services of the great forces of nature,"
might as well have been uttered in Greek to a Modoe, as in these
terms to a modern Englishman of the metaphysical school. " Ah,"
he exclaims, " wealth is the means of buying only what comes
gratis, is it? Then, for the first time in my life, I don't want it !"
Perry t gives us wealth as an indefinable term. True, it is the
subject of Political Economy, but no fellow can find out what
it means j or whether it is a commodity, and so belonging to
the domain of physics ; or a mental condition, and so belonging
to metaphysics ; J or a quality of one thing which is a subjective
conception of the mind, or a ratio between two things, which is
an equation in mathematics. Carey's peculiarity of definition
comes from the fact that he is defining wealth in the function it
performs toward society. Confessedly coal, iron, wood, wheat,
and animal life, and whatever else we enjoy, come to society at
large as the gratuitous gifts of nature. To the individual who
enjoys them, the properties which he enjoys, such as the heat-
giving property in coal, the hardness and firmness of iron, the
constructibility of wood, the nutrition in wheat and the life-sus
taining powers of animal food are all gratis from nature. Man
makes no property of matter or force which we enjoy. But
nature having affixed impassable limits to each man's power to
consume, and not having presented to any man all he needs to
consume, the surplus of one man must be forwarded to supply
the deficiency of another ; and every article takes on value in a
fluctuating degree, varying with every moment of time and every
league of space by which it is forwarded from the point where it
is in surplus to the point where it is in demand, if it requires
merely change of place to adapt it to demand ; and varying with
every process in the change of form, if it requires change of form,
and with every change of ownership, if that be what it needs,
and with every combination of these three changes, if it needs

* " The Unity of Law," p. 6.

t " Political Economy," preface 8.

t Price, "Practical Political Economy," 361.

$ MacLeod, "Political Phil."



AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 21

them all to bring it to the consumer in a form fit for his use.
Wealth, therefore,, is that power in me, howsoever and wherever
obtained, which gives me command, through the services of my
fellow-men, of all these gifts or services which nature brought
gratuitously to some member of society, but only through his
toil and that of others to me. Exchangeability does not consti
tute it, for many of the highest elements of wealth, such as in
tellectual and social power, character, religious belief and
influence, courage, sagacity, rank, titles, fame, are not exchange



Online LibraryNathaniel Hillyer. EglestonThe North American review (Volume 139) → online text (page 2 of 60)