able, yet give great power over the services of others. Moreover,
in a complete slave system or in a complete military, feudal, or
communal system, there might conceivably be great wealth
in the hands of those who controlled the system, and yet no
exchanges whatever j and in the estimation of some dreamers,
like Fourier, sustained in part, however, by the communal system
in vogue in the petty states of Greece, there might even be very
little private property. Subordination and coercion would per
form the functions which in a trading system are performed by ex
change. Carey, therefore, in defining wealth, points out as clearly
as language will permit the element in it which is eternal. Mac
Leod, Bastiat, and Perry, in seizing upon exchangeability, grasp
that which is both partial and evanescent.
In Political Economy, when pursued deductively, the defi
nitions are pregnant with all the ultimate theories and con
clusions. One who defines Political Economy as a Science of
Exchanges cannot but reach opposite conclusions to those at
tained by one who defines transportation and trade as taxes
Carey found rent defined as a payment for area of soil,
because of its fertility. He left it defined as a payment for
space, because of its nearness to the societary movement.*
* In 1836, in a book printed, but never published, entitled " The Harmony
of Nature," of which a copy lies before me, Mr. Carey states the true doctrine
of rent thus : " These rents diminish in amount as the lots are distant from
the center of attraction, the place of exchange. "Why should a lot opposite
the market sell for fifty times as much as an acre of land distant not one mile
from the spot ? Why should it sell for ten times as much as another lot of
similar dimensions distant not more than three hundred yards ? The answer
to these questions is, that owing to the great number of people who frequent
the market, and the large amount of merchandise brought there to be
exchanged for other articles required by the farmer, the amount of business
that can be done in the one place is vastly greater than in the other, that
22 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
Ricardo, Malthus, and Mill, in defining it as a monopoly price
paid for fertility, which was assumed to be the chief natural
and indestructible power of the soil, had made it a form
of legalized rapine, and thus had laid the foundation for the
modern French, German, and American socialists of the school
of Karl Marx and Henry George, to preach the new crusade
against landlords as the broad macadamized road to happy and
cheap homes. Carey identified rent with that principle of human
nature which would cause a window on Broadway to rent per
chance for $5.00 an hour while a pageant is passing. It is a
payment for space, which is competed for actively by reason of
its nearness to the societary movement. If poor land has this
advantage it will be so tilled as to make it fertile. Rich land,
without it, will be drained of its fertility. As MacLeod well
says, " the only original and indestructible power the earth has
is that of extent." Fertility is as variable a property in soils as
health is in man. Soils in England which once produced five
bushels of wheat per acre now produce fifty-five. Those in
Indiana which once produced thirty bushels now produce seven.
Yet a whole generation talked of rent as a payment for fertility,
and of fertility as an inherent and indestructible property.
Rent is a payment for productive space, as wages is a pay
ment for productive time. Rent is the centrifugal force which
disperses men from the centers toward which commerce and
exchange attract them. As men go from the centers they
save rent but lose and incur transportation. As men draw near
the centers they save time and transportation, but increase rent.
Rent, therefore, is just as beneficent a force in economics as
is wages or commerce, for it is as essential to disperse as to
attract mankind. Mill, Sedgwick, and especially MacLeod and
Devas,t though reluctantly, recognize Carey as the Hercules
who slew the English monopoly doctrine of rent. Francis A.
Walker I ingeniously avoids giving Carey this credit by so
restating the doctrine of Ricardo, that rent rises with the pro
ductiveness of the soil, as to incorporate into it the doctrine of
ten times as much may be done as in another place distant three hundred
yards, and fifty times as much as in another a mile distant; or, in other
words, because a capital so much larger can be used at the same rate of
profit as will enable the occupant first, to pay himself for his services,
secondly, to pay himself for the capital employed at the usual rate of profit,
and, third, to have a surplus for his landlord, termed rent.
t " Groundwork of Economics," 42. t " Land and its Rent."
AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 2&
Carey, viz., that rent rises with the productiveness of the
capital employed in the use of the soil, and makes this produc
tiveness turn upon the nearness of the soil to the markets of
consumption of its products, which is part of Carey's definition.
This is like incorporating into Judaism all that is Christian and
then asking for a verdict as between this reconstructed Judaism
and Christianity !
The first work written by Mr. Carey* was an attempt to
overthrow the Ricardo theory, that as wages rise profits must
fall, and to prove instead that as profits rise wages rise. The
previous theory made enterprise depend upon slavery, the true
source of the profits of the capitalist being the spoliation of the
wages worker. It is singular that the English should not have
perceived what a club this error would place in the hands of
socialism, with which to beat out the brains of both the econo
mist and the bourgeoisie. The peace of society is now endangered
in Europe and America by this infamous relic of Ricardo's
abnormal and ingenious ignorance. Carey showed that in all
nations where profits are high, wages go up, for the enter
priser competes actively for the hire of labor in the degree that
he is attracted by the prospect of profits. In a later work t he
politely attributed to Cobden the remark that freedom grows
where two employers are seeking to profit by the labor of one
workman, and that slavery grows where two workmen are seek
ing bread at the hands of one employer. If Cobden ever said
this, which I doubt, as I fail to find it in his speeches, he must
have derived it from Carey's previous works, including the
" Essay on Wages " and the " Principles."
As respects money, Carey was the first to teach that the chief
utility of a coin currency is attained only in the degree that coin
becomes the basis of that very credit currency which supersedes
the use of coin.f The beneficent power of coin, like that of
government, would be most felt when it was most invisible. In
this general attitude he is followed by the two ablest writers on
modern English monetary finance, MacLeod and Patterson. ||
Indeed, these two writers most nearly approach Mr. Carey in
* "Essay on the Bate of Wages/ 7 1835.
t " The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign," p, 294, 1853.
t " Social Science," by McKeon, 293 to 310.
" Theory and Practice of Banking," 1855.
II " The Science of Finance," by R. H. Patterson, 1867. " The Economy
of Capital," 1865.
24 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
vigor of economic insight and familiarity with the facts of
practical finance. In the quality of philosophic generalization,
he stands apart from other economists, like Mt. Blanc from
other summits, and his true altitude will be ascertainable only
when economics take on the character of a science. At present
no two economists in England or America can give the same
definition to wealth, value, labor, utility, profit, rent, interest,
capital, money, land, production, trade, distribution, exchange,
consumption, taxation, banks, credit, currency, commerce, wages,
or to Political Economy or Economics itself. The difference is
not one of words but of things. Each of these words connotes
as many distinct and unlike intellectual conceptions as there are
men to use them.
Take the term labor. If a man carries mortar from the
street to the roof of a building in a hod, that is labor, if he is
.free and works for wages. If he brings a horse, rope, and pulley
and lifts the mortar by horse-power, charging for the hire of the
horse, is his charge profits, interest, or wages ? If he is dispensed
with, and a machine raises it, then is not capital laboring ? and
when capital works, why is not interest wages ? But if capital
can labor, as in machinery it does, then capital is only one among
many laborers. And when labor is owned, as in the case of slaves,
is it capital or labor ? And if labor is capital when it works for
a subsistence, wherein is its nature changed when it merely
works for wages, which are exhausted in subsisting the laborer?
McCulloch says the fermentation of wine or beer is labpr.*
Every economic term eludes metaphysical analysis ; but so
does every scientific term. Matter becomes force, and force
becomes matter, under metaphysical analysis, as readily as
labor and capital pass into each other. This only proves that
the metaphysical method, banished from the other departments
of science, and taking refuge in Social Science, must be expelled.
But in England the metaphysical method, except in part in the
work of Adam Smith, is the only method known. Yet even
by this method Social Science discovers that the most valuable
thing it knows is that it knows nothing. Its cry is, " Lord,
have mercy upon me, a sinner."! Fifty years ago it was
* McCulloch's note 1 to Adam Smith.
t Jevons says: "When at length a true system of Economics comes to be
established, it will be seen that that able but wrong-headed man, David
Rieardo, shunted the car of economic science on to a wrong line, a line, how-
AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 25
supposed that the doctrine of laissez faire, or that the state
should in no way intermeddle to protect the industries in which
it was a silent partner, was firmly established. It would not, in
1846, protect Irish grain in English markets against foreign
competition, but now it steps in and utterly abrogates freedom
of contract by denying to the Irish landlord the power to rent
ever, on which it was further urged toward confusion by his equally able
and wrong-headed admirer, John Stuart Mill. ... It will be a work of
labor to pick up the fragments of a shattered science and to start anew, but
it is a work from which they must not shrink who wish to see any advance of
economic science." " The Theory of Practical Political Economy," Preface
Bonamy Price says : " It is the authority of economical writers which is
declining. This diminished weight is the result of their mode of treating the
problems of the living world, with which Political Economy deals. Men take
a shorter and a far clearer path through their own observations than through
the tangled jungle of scientific refinements." " Practical Political Economy,"
Mr. C. S. Devas, an apostle of the Catholic ethics of Sismondi, in a work
full of learning and acuteness, says : " It is time that something was done in
England either to restore the declining credit of what is known as Politi
cal Economy, or to replace that enfeebled body of doctrine by a worthier
successor. Our grandfathers exulted in Political Economy as a grand and
beneficent science, not the least among the glories of their age ; our fathers
respected it ; and little more than twenty years ago it successfully withstood
all the sharpness of Mr. Ruskin's reasoning and raillery. But times have
changed. There are men of intelligence who are beginning to suspect that
much of this science is but a collection partly of useless discussions and idle
declamation, partly of truisms, partly of untruths ; while the anarchy among
recent economists on the very foundations and first principles of their science,
as any one may see in Mr. Dillon's recent work on the Dismal Science, is a
matter not of suspicion but of certainty." "Groundwork of Economics."
Henry Dunning McLeod, discussing the Eicardo-Mill theory, that labor
causes value, says : " Surely we have had enough of this Bedlamite rubbish,
and it may be asked why do we load our pages with it ? Simply for this rea
son, that this idiotic stuff is the official Political Economy in England at the
present day ! This is what the candidates for the civil service of India are
told to believe in as the perfection of human wisdom, and which is still
taught and recommended in our Universities ! ProhPudor!" " Principles
Econ. Phil."!., 653.
Even upon the question of Protection, English Political Economy is
breaking up. A recent thoughtful and elaborate work ("Economy of Con
sumption," by Eobert Scott Moffat, p. 346) says : " This tendency toward
Protection is, as I have said, natural ; and it is fully justified by the strictest
economical reasoning. The fanatical intolerance with which it is often
assailed in this country is the result simply of ignorance and the prejudices
bred by self-interest. The aim of the policy is manifestly a legitimate one.
26 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
his land where he can rent it dearest. Professor Jevons says : t
u I conceive that the state is justified in passing any law,
or even in doing any single act which, without ulterior conse
quences, adds to the sum total of human happiness." Says the
Duke of Argyle : \ u During the present century two great dis
coveries have been made in the science of government ; the one
is the immense advantages of abolishing restrictions upon trade ;
the other is the absolute necessity of imposing restrictions upon
labor. 77 As if labor were not a form of trade, and all trade a
species of labor. The Duke of Argyle forgets that the discov
eries in government are four, not two. The other two were the
discoveries made by mothers, first, that their daughters ought
all to be taught to swim; secondly, that they should on no
account go near the water. The latter is exactly on a par with
the notion that it can be an economic doctrine that the worker
in trading in his work, or in that which his work produces, shall
not be free ; but that the trader, in trading in the product of
another's work, shall be free.
It is, however, in the domain of prophecy that the English
school is most conspicuous in failure. Said Cobden, at Man
chester, on January 15, 1846 : "I believe that if you abolish the
corn law honestly and adopt Free Trade in its simplicity, there
will not be a tariff in Europe that will not be changed in less
than five years to follow your example." Concerning agricult
ure, he audaciously promised that the future historian would
It has already been shown that a home organization is, in the strictest sense,
the most economical ; and there can be no doubt that, when a new country
has raised its manufactures to an equality in efficiency with those of older
countries, it will gain greatly by exchanging its agricultural products against
its own manufactures instead of sending them abroad. The whole question,
then, is one of method ; and the arguments which those who call themselves
free-traders direct against this form of protection relate exclusively to the
process it entails. Now, it is impossible for an unorganized industry, at any
point of its progress, to attack an organized one without entailing loss and
submitting to temporary disadvantage ; and if immediate advantage alone
is to be consulted, the industry of such a country must remain forever
But one English economic work of recent date has the merit of dealing in
facts. This is " Trade Population and Food," by S. Bourne. Though it
strives to appear to endorse accepted theories, it radically overturns them.
t " The State in relation to labor," p. 12.
t "Reign of Law," p. 334-35.
AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 27
say that " It was not until the corn law was utterly abolished
that agriculture sprang up to the full vigor of existence in Eng
land, to become, like her manufactures, unrivaled in the world."
Immediately after these utterances, Ireland, which, with all the
evils of absentee landlordism upon her, had doubled her popula
tion in the twenty-five years between 1785 and 1810, now
tumbled in gaunt famine, from 8,000,000 down to 4,500,000 popu
lation within ten years. Within twenty years past the number
of persons tilling British soil has shrunk from 2,110,454 by
727,270, a loss of one-third in twenty years. Nor did the people
get that cheap bread which was the essence of the Cobden
promise. The average price of wheat per quarter for the five
years preceding 1846 was 54s. lljd. In 1846 it was 54s. 8d.
For the eleven years following 1846 the average price was 55s.
lljd.* There is no possibility of a cheaper loaf in the later
figures. But 1,300,000 acres have gone out of grain and tillage
in Ireland, and quite as much has passed from pasture into
moor. The whole landlord clan are on their knees to the
Government, begging it to buy them out, to save them from
bankruptcy. A million acres have gone out of wheat in
It has become apparent that the continued maintenance of
prosperity consistently with Free Trade involves as its logical
means the unflinching march forward in the conquest by British
arms of Africa and the entire Mohammedan world and ulti
mately of China and Japan. This was not the kind of picnic to
which Gladstone thought he had invited England, when as a
junior member in Peel's cabinet he assisted at the stoning of
the corn laws. Aggressive Free Trade has worked all the better
soils Ireland, India, Turkey, Egypt, and Spain till they resent
its spade with famine. The Colonies resist it with Protection.
China, India, and Japan resist it with the sullen inertia of
numbers. The naked Africans are a barren soil, and the aged
Premier shrinks from the career of unending foreign war to
which forty years ago he cheerily invited England. During all
that period he has been doctoring Ireland on the theory that she
was to be let alone as to her industries, but was to be steadily
tortured for her lack of industries and the resultant crime and
* " Bradstreet's," April 5, 1884. See, also, " Encyclopedia Britannica,"
28 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
Meanwhile the greatest of all works in positive social science
is the United States census. Ten years after us Great Britain,
and later other nations have followed us in census work. From
these various sources it now appears that a full third of all the
annual increase in wealth now going on in the world is occur
ring in the United States.* It is to the American people, there
fore, that English, French, and Germans must come for their
Political Economy, for the reason that as we are here producing
the article of wealth on a far larger scale than it is elsewhere
being produced, we are arriving at that economy and wisdom of
method which are always proportioned to dimensions in pro
Mr. Carey's nine works and fifty-seven pamphlets, occupying
3000 pages, are the most potential force contributed toward
economic science since Adam Smith. They have been the mine
which later authors, French, German, English, and American
have worked when they wanted to be original, t Translated into
eleven languages, they span the earth and instruct the world.
The mode of economic emancipation which he outlined in 1838,
and which it was the object of his " Principles of Political
Economy " to recommend, was rejected by his own country in
favor of emancipation by sentimental hysterics, at a cost of
1,000,000 lives and $9,000,000,000. We preferred popular con
vulsions to economic prudence. Russia, however, not merely
studied his works but adopted his methods of emancipation,
freeing 23,000,000 of serfs without the shedding of a drop of
blood or the falling of a tear of sorrow. Japan and China,
Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany, as well as France and
England's colonies, have profited by our export of American
* Mulhall says of us : " Every day that the sun rises upon the American
people it sees an addition of two and a half millions of dollars to the accum
ulated wealth of the Republic, which is equal to one-third of the daily
accumulations of mankind. These are as follows, viz :
United States $825,000,000 per annum.
France 375,000,000 " "
Great Britain 325,000,000 " "
Germany 200,000,000 " "
Other countries 725,000,000 " "
t Lester F. Ward, however, in his " Dynamic Sociology, " has contributed
a work of great though uneven value not open to this criticism. Francis A.
Walker's writings are judicious merely, not creative.
AMERICAN ECONOMICS. 29
Political Economy. Recently an attempt was made to compile
an American Cyclopedia of Political Economy without any men
tion of Carey, and to consist largely of European articles. When
the book appeared it was discovered that each of the European
articles was freighted with his views and redolent of his name.
" For, lo I Ben Adhem's name led all the rest. "
America has much in National Economy to learn, though
more from the statesmen and practical legislators of Europe
than from England's closet theorists or cotton-spinning pluto
crats. Even now the United States are bringing upon the world
a severe monetary stringency, and greatly enhancing the pur
chasing power, while destroying the productive power, of money
by the payment of our national debt. Now, to extinguish a
national debt is to contract the world's circulating medium.
Yesterday, two factors were circulating, either of which would
have been equally available as means of payment for goods,
stocks, or land. One was the national bond, the other the gold
which paid the bond. To-day, the bond being paid and burned,
there is but one. Hence, the gold which has swallowed the bond
has increased in purchasing power, at the expense of goods,
stocks, land, and the people. The zeal of our patriotism is eat
ing us up. It is not the burden of taxation attending the pay
ment of a national debt which renders it destructive of industries ;
it is the fall in all commodities, due to the enhanced power of
coin, which, in turn, is due to the elimination from the world's
currency of half a million dollars per day of highly transferable
credit. Yet, with all our mistakes we do some good things in a
wise way. We prove that while the vox populi is not always
wise, yet neither is the highest wisdom associated, as Aristotle
and the Greeks thought, with the greatest leisure. Our busiest
men reflect with most truth, and perceive most accurately.
Those who have done most to make our social and financial
world what it is, ever continue to be those most competent and
best disposed to make it what it ought to be.
VAN BUREN DENSLOW.
MARRIAGE AND DIYORCE.
THE marital relation is the normal condition of adult man
kind. Whoever of either sex voluntarily lives out of that relation
is at war with nature and her laws, and consequently with the
best order of society. The rebellion may not be heinous enough
to call for any punishment, beyond what it carries as its own
consequence ; nevertheless it fights incessantly against the true
interest of organized communities. This is proven by the fact
that marriage alone is the mother of the family; and the
family is the organic unit of civil society, and the sheet-anchor
of its good order. Without marriage, there can be no family
in the sense in which I am using that term. Think for one
moment what society would be without the family. Blot out the
relation of marriage. Annul its obligations and duties. Con
ceive, if possible, of all women forever husbandless, of all men
forever wifeless, of all offspring forever bastardized. Imagine
the home, the hearthstone, the family circle with all their loves,
their tender friendships, their lifelong sympathies, their parental,
filial, and fraternal ties, their hopes, fears, and cares of infancy
and youth, in joy, health, and life, in sorrow, sickness, and death;
their rights of heritage and heirship, of lineage and name, all
shattered and gone forever, and the race turned loose in a pan
demonium of selfish and indiscriminate lusts and crimes. No
Dante could paint such a hell ; nor could its fires be extin
guished, save by the slow expiring ashes of universal dissolution.
He studies man and his origin, nature, and history to little pur
pose who fails to see that the family and marriage, its creator
and preserver, are of all things foremost in importance to the
peace, happiness, and progress of the race.
Polygamous marriages, while they impair, do not destroy, the