William Peterfield Trent.

The Cambridge history of American literature online

. (page 121 of 144)
Online LibraryWilliam Peterfield TrentThe Cambridge history of American literature → online text (page 121 of 144)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of Unequal Wealth (1826) and Thomas Skidmore's The Rights of
Man to Property (1829) furnished the basis for the new and short-
lived socialist movement. Frances Wright, the eloquent and at-
tractive apostle of freedom for women and negroes, exerted a
great influence by her Course of Popular Lectures (1829) and by
The New Harmony Gazette (1825-35) which she edited in co-opera-
tion with Robert Dale Owen, a son of Robert Owen. Interest-
ing discussions of the principles of the labour movement are
found in The Journeyman Mechanic's Advocate (1827), which
has the distinction of being the first labour paper in the world ;
The Mechanics' Free Press (from 1828-1831); and TheWork-
ingmen's Advocate, edited by G. H. Evans (1829-36).

For the next few years the interest in the question was
maintained by William Maclure's Opinions on Various Sub-
jects Dedicated to the Industrious Producers (1831), Stephen
Simpson's Workingman's Manual, a New Theory of Political
Economy (1831), and Seth Luther's An Address to the Working-
men of New England (1833), as well as by the labour periodicals

Communistic Arguments 437

i>f which the most important were The Man (1834-35), The
National Labourer (1836-7), Thomas Brothers'? The Radical
Reformer (1836), and Ely Moore's The National Trades-Union

The labour movement was succeeded in the forties by a wave
of Fourierism and Associationism. The chief advocate of this
was Albert Brisbane, with his Social Destiny of Man (1840),
Association (1843), various translations of Fourier, and The
Phalanx; or Journal of Social Science (1843-5). He was fol-
lowed by Parke Godwin in his Popular View of the Doctrines of
Fourier (1844) and by Horace Greeley in Association Discussed
( 1 847) . Greeley, who for a time opened the influential columns of
the Tribune to this movement, showed his interest in the general
subject by writing an introduction to Atkinson's Principles of
Political Economy (1843). He soon became more interested in
the problems of protection and free land, editing, in 1843, The
American Laborer and publishing toward the end of his career
the Essays Designed to Elucidate the Science of Political Economy
(1869), devoted to the same topics.

The interest in the Communist movement was carried on
in The Harbinger (1845-47), of the Brook Farm phalanx;
J. M. Horner's The Herald of the New-Found World (1841-42);
The Communitist (1844); and J. A. Collins's The Social Pioneer
(l 844) . The general theories of the labour movement are reflect-
ed in Robert McFarlane's Mechanics' Mirror (1846). This
period is also marked by the advent of three original thinkers
who emphasized individualism to the very extreme of anar-
chism: Josiah Warren in Equitable Commerce (1846) and True
Civilization (1846); Stephen Pearl Andrews in The True Con-
stitution of Government in the Sovereignty of the Individual (1851)
and Cost the Limit of Price (1851); and Lysander Spooner in
Poverty: Its Alleged Causes and Legal Cure (1846). Less im-
portant were J. Pickering's The Workingman's Political Econ-
omy (1847), J. Campbell's A Theory of Equality (1848), and
E. Kellogg 's Labor and Other Capital (1849). The next decade,
with its period of prosperity, is marked by only two noteworthy
books: Adin Ballou's Practical Christian Socialism (1854) an d
H. Hughes's Treatise on Sociology (1854).

With the end of the Civil War the falling prices brought a
renewed interest in the labour question. The two national peri-

438 Economists

odicals were Fincher's Trades Review (Philadelphia) and The
Working-men's Advocate (Chicago). The philosophy of the la-
bour agitation was expounded by Ira Steward in The Eight Hour
Movement (1865) and Poverty (1873); by William Deal try in
The Laborer (1869) ; and by E. H. Haywood in Yours and Mine
(1869); while the Communist movement was best represented
by Alexander Longley in The Communist (1868-79). During
the early seventies there are to be noted H. B. Wright's Prac-
tical Treatise on Labor (1871), W. Brown's The Labor Question
(1872), W. B. Greene's Socialistic, Communistic, Mutualistic,
and Financial Fragments (1875), and L. Masquerier's Sociology
or The Reconstruction oj Society (1877).

The tariff controversies elicited but few works of importance.
In the earlier period, in the contest centring around the Bill
of Abominations of 1828 and its immediate successors, we have
to note, in addition to the works of Lee and Gallatin referred
to above, T. R. Dew's Lectures on the Restrictive System (1829)
and Hezekiah Niles's Journal of the Meeting of the Friends oj
Domestic Industry (1831). Perhaps the most outstanding fig-
ure of this period was Condy Raguet, author of The Principles
of Free Trade (1835) and The Examiner and Journal of Political
Economy (1834-35). In the later period, immediately after the
Civil War, we need mention only W. M. Grosvenor's Does
Protection Protect? (1871) and the numerous publications of
E. B. Bigelow.

Much the same may be said about the controversies on the
currency, which produced only a few works of more than pass-
ing interest. Worthy of mention are E. Lord's Principles of Cur-
rency (1829), W. M. Gouge's A Short History of Paper Money
and Banking (1833) and The Fiscal History of Texas (1852),
W. Beck's Money and Banking (1839), R. Hildreth's Banks \
Banking, and Paper Currencies (1840), and Dunscombe's Free
Banking (1841). In the later period we may call attention to J.
A. Ferris's The Financial Economy of the United States (1867).

This period is also marked by a more systematic study of
statistics as evidenced by A. Russell's Principles of Statistical
Inquiry (1839), Professor G. Tucker's Progress of the United
States (1843), and J. D. B. De Bow's The Industrial Resources
of the Southern and Western States. In 1839, moreover, was
founded the American Statistical Association, whose first sec-

Modern Developments 439

retary, J. B. Felt, published a variety of historical and statis-
tical works on population and finance; while the subject of
vital statistics was cultivated especially by L. Shattuck and
by Dr. Edward Jarvis, for thirty-one years the president of
the Association.

The last quarter of the nineteenth century witnessed a
marked change in economic conditions. The two fundamental
facts were the industrial transition with the advent of modern
capitalism, which completely transformed the East and which
was fast spreading inland ; and, on the other hand, the gradual
disappearance of the free lands in the West. These facts were
responsible for the emergence of the labour problem in its mod-
ern setting. Moreover, the rapid growth of the railway system
brought that subject to the front, and the fall in prices coupled
with the growing pressure of taxation attracted attention to the
silver problem and the general fiscal situation. In short, the
United States now reached its own as a more or less fully devel-
oped modern economic community and was confronted by a
multiplicity of difficult economic questions. The great strike
of 1877 sounded the first note of the newer and modern cam-
paign. Almost simultaneously a number of young and en-
thusiastic scholars went abroad to seek on the Continent an
economic training which could not be obtained at home. It
was these younger men who on their return at the end of the
seventies and in the early eighties founded the modern scientific
study of economics in the United States. Before speaking of
them, it may be well t<? mention a few of the more distinguished
representatives of the older school who had grown up amid the.
former conditions.

David A. Wells (1828-98) was a chemist who had sprung
into prominence by a pamphlet Our Burden and Our Strength
(1864), which contributed not a little to increase the confidence
of the North in ultimate victory. He now addressed him-
self to fiscal problems and became the special commissioner
on internal revenue. Having been converted from protection-
ism to free trade, he issued in rapid succession a number of
important books. Among these we may mention, in addition
to his official reports, The Relation of the Government to the
Telegraph (1873), Robinson Crusoe's Money (1876), Practical
Economics (1885), Recent Economic Changes (1890), and The

44 Economists

Theory and Practice of Taxation ( 1 900) . Wells had a remarkable
faculty for marshalling economic facts and exerted a great in-
fluence on public opinion and legislation. But he was far strong-
er in explaining facts than in elucidating economic principles,
and his extreme advocacy of individualism and free trade, to-
gether with a lack of acquaintance with the history of economic
literature, conspired to limit his influence within narrow cir-
cles. Much the same may be said of Edward Atkinson (1827-
1905), whose chief contributions were a Report on the Cotton
Manufacture (1863), Revenue Reform (1871), The Distribution of
Products (1885), The Margin of Profits (1887), and The Indus-
trial Progress of the Nation (1890), together with innumerable
pamphlets. Belonging. to the same group was Horace White,
who specialized on the currency problem in The Silver Question
(1876) and Money and Banking (1895), as well as J. Schoenhof,
who wrote The Destructive Influence of the Tariff (1883), A History
of Money and Prices (1885), and The Economy of High Wages
(1893). Somewhat more academic were Professor W. G. Sumner
(1840-1910), with his Lectures on the History of Protection (1877),
A History of American Currency (1878) , Problems in Political Eco-
nomy (1885), and What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1883),
and Professor C. F. Dunbar (1830-1900) with his Chapters on
the Theory and History of Banking (1891) and Economic Essays
(1904). A more original mind was the astronomer Simon New-
comb (1835-1919), who after devoting some attention to finan-
cial policy made his chief contribution in Principles of Political
Economy (1886). Worthy of mention as writers on money are
S. Dana Horton, Silver and Gold (1876), The Monetary Situation
(1878), The Silver Pound (1887); John J. Knox, United States
Notes (1884) ; A. Del Mar, A History of the Precious Metals (1880)
and Money and Civilization (1886) ; and C. A. Conant, A History
of Modern Banks of Issue (1886) and The Principles of Money
and Banking (1905).

Far and away the most prominent figure of the period was
Francis A. Walker (1840-97), who was the first lecturer on
economics at Johns Hopkins in 1876. Although not acquainted
with much of the newer Continental literature in economics,
General Walker possessed a powerful intellect and was so hos-
pitable to the newer ideas that he lent his weighty support to
the efforts of the younger men to put economic study on a

Francis A. Walker; Henry George 44 1

scientific basis. He became the first president of the American
Economic Association. His chief works, each marked by
vigour and independence of thought, are The Wages Question
(1876), Money (1878), Land and its Rent (1881), Political Econ-
omy (1883), International Bimetallism (1896), and Discussions
in Economics and Statistics (1899). Walker helped to give the
coup de grace to the wages fund doctrine, and his theory of
distribution has come to be known as the residual theory. Not
only did he exert a great influence on economic thought but
his contributions to statistics as Superintendent of the Ninth
and Tenth Census were scarcely less pronounced.

Another important milestone in the progress of economic
science is marked by Henry George (1839-97). George, living
in California at a time when everything seemed to point to the
rapid growth of bonanza farms, came to the conclusion that the
solution of the modern social problem lay in the nationalization
of land, through the medium of the single tax. Beginning with
Our Land and Land Policy (1871), he elaborated his general
theory in Progress and Poverty (1879), which ran through count-
less editions. The same ideas with further applications were
repeated in Social Problems (1884), Protection or Free Trade
(1891), A Perplexed Philosopher (1892), and The Science of
Political Economy (1898). In all other respects an extreme
individualist, Henry George carried to its logical extreme John
Stuart Mill's theory of the unearned increment. One-sided as
his doctrine has come to be considered, he contributed two
important points to the progress of economic thought in the
United States. The one was his theory of privilege even
though he was extreme in limiting this to land ; the other was
the theory that wages are fixed by the product of rentless land,
which started the thinking of Professor Clark.

The real beginning of the modern science of economics is
to be found in that group of younger men, all of them, with
one exception, still living, who founded at Saratoga in 1883 the
American Economic Association. This has now become one
of the most influential scientific organizations in the country.
The underlying principles of this group of younger thinkers,
almost all of whom had studied in Germany, appeared in 1886
in a volume entitled Science Economic Discussion. The most
eminent of the group is John Bates Clark (1847- ), whose

44 2 Economists

chief contributions are found in the Philosophy of Wealth (1886),
The Distribution of Wealth (1899), The Control of Trusts (1901),
and Essentials of Economic Theory (1907). Professor Clark
worked out independently the marginal -utility theory of value
as expounded by Jevons, Menger, and Walras, and is to be
noted for the elaboration of the doctrine of specific productivity
as applied to the shares of distribution. This doctrine, in con-
nection with his theory of capital and his distinction between
static and dynamic economics, has shed a flood of light on the
recesses of economic life and has been the starting point of
much modern discussion. Henry C. Adams ( 1 85 1- ) published
in 1886 his Outline of Lectures upon Political Economy as well as
A Study of the Principles that Should Control the Interference of
the State in Industries, in which issue was squarely taken with
the philosophy of laissez-faire. Later his Public Debts (1887)
and the Science of Finance (1898) proved to be the pioneer
American works in those fields. Richmond Mayo-Smith (1854-
1901) chose the field of statistics, which he treated from the
modern and comparative point of view in Statistics and Econom-
ics (1888) and Statistics and Sociology (1895), as he was also the
first to make a scientific study of the immigrant problem in
Emigration and Immigration ( 1 890) . Richard T. Ely ( 1 854- ) ,
the first secretary of the American Economic Association, did
perhaps more than any of the others in breaking into new fields
and in popularizing the modern concepts of economics. Among
his contributions may be mentioned French and German Social-
ism (1883), Taxation in American States and Cities (1888),
Monopolies and Trusts (1900), Outlines of Economics (1893),
Studies in the Evolution of Industrial Society (1903), and Prop-
erty and Contract (1914). Simon N. Patten (1852- ), in many
ways the most original thinker of the group, made a series of
notable contributions in The Premises of Political Economy
(1885), The Economic Basis of Protection (1886), The Develop-
ment of English Thought (1889), The Theory of Prosperity (1902),
and The New Basis of Civilization (1907). President A. T. Had-
ley (1856- )won his spurs by a scientific study of the railroad
problem in Railroad Transportation (1885), and followed this
by an attempt to sum up in one volume the present state of
modern thought in Economics (1896). F. W. Taussig (1859- )
started with Protection to Young Industries (1883) and followed

Contemporaries 443

this with The Silver Situation (1893), Wages and Capital (1896),
The Principles of Economics (1911), Investors and Money Makers
(1915), and a series of collected essays on the tariff problem.
The author of the present sketch (1861- ) is responsible for
Railway Tariffs (1887), Progressive Taxation (1892), The
Shifting and Incidence of Taxation (1894), Essays in Taxation
(1895), The Economic Interpretation of History (1902), The
Principles of Economics (1905), and The Income Tax (1911).
Among the economists who studied abroad but who have since
died may be mentioned President E. B. Andrews of Brown
(1844-1917), a student of Helfferich, best known by his Institutes
of Economics (1889), and J. C. Schwab (1865-1916) of Yale, a
student of Gustav Cohn, whose chief contribution was A Fi-
nancial and Industrial History of the South during the Civil War

From the advent of this group of writers may be marked
the rapid progress of economic thought in the United States.
Beginning in the early eighties the chairs of political economy
multiplied, and an opportunity was given to our university
students for advanced study of economics at home. With the
beginning of the present century the output of scientific litera-
ture in economics multiplied rapidly, with the result that the
United States counts today a body of economic thinkers supe-
rior in numbers and not inferior in quality to those of any other
country, who are devoting themselves with conspicuous success
and from many different points of view to the elucidation of
the complex principles that underlie modern economic life.

NOTE. On page 427 the four following important tracts were omitted:
Francis Rawles's Ways and Means for the Inhabitants of Delaware to become Rich
(Philadelphia, 1 725) ; a reply to the same by James Logan, A Dialogue shewing
What's thereinto be found. A Motto being Modish for Want of good Latin, are put
English Quotations (n. p., 1725); Cadwallader Golden, Papers relating to an Act oj
Assembly of the Province of New York, for Encouragement of the Indian Trade, etc..
and for Prohibiting the Selling of Indian Goods to the French, viz. of Canada (New
York, 1724); Joseph Morgan, The Nature of Riches, shelved from tJie Natural
Reasons of the Use and Effects thereof (Philadelphia, 1732).



THERE seem to be three external modes conditioning the
production of our scholarly literature. Until the Re-
volution, it was produced by scattered individuals.
Thereafter literary coteries and learned societies supervened
upon individual production, which continued, but with a more
definite tone and focus. Finally, with the nineteenth century
in its second quarter, the universities supervened upon the other
two modes, and were added to them, as stimulus and audience,
outlet and patron. Then all three modes continued together,
and were compounded. Speaking generally and tentatively, the
individualism of the first mode may be called British ; the urbane
social tone of the second, French ; the organized institutionalism
of the third, German.

With the exception of a monstrous accretion like the learn-
ing of Cotton Mather, I a leviathan of the seventeenth-century
type, such learning as the eighteenth century could muster in
this country was on the one hand rather elegant than professed-
ly scholarly, for a gentleman must not be too much of a special-
ist; and on the other hand, distinctly didactic, for a cultivated
citizen of a new country must endeavour to teach and improve
its uncultivated masses. What the eighteenth century offers is
a clerical and gentlemanly cultivation of Hebrew and the clas-
sics, a missionary concern with the languages of the American
Indians, a somewhat schoolmasterly interest in English gram-
mar and lexicography, and an elegant trifling with the modern
and the Oriental languages. Ezekiel Cheever's Short Intro-
duction to the Latin Tongue . . . being Accidence Abridged
was published in 1709. A mock-heroic Latin poem, Muscipula:

' See Book I, Chap. in.


Eighteenth Century 445

The Mousetrap, by Edward Holdsworth, translated into English
by Richard Lewis, was published at Annapolis in 1728; and
the next year Sami 11 ^ Keimer printed at Philadelphia a trans-
lation of the Morals of Epictetus in a " second edition," possibly
after a first edition published in Europe. William Logan, Chief
Justice of Pennsyl\ ran ^ a ' William Penn's friend, business agent,
and deputy gover nor > collected books, founded in 1745 the
Loganian Library, 1 conducted an extensive correspondence
with scholars and published Latin treatises and translations.
His translation of Dkmysius Cato's Moral Distichs (1735) and
of Cicero's Cato ]tf a J or ( J 744) were both of them printed by
Benjamin Frankli n - Another public man, James Otis, 2
found leisure to publish at Boston in 1760 the Rudiments of
Latin Prosody, whi cn * s sa ^ to have been used as a text book at
Harvard. Samuel Sewall the younger (grandnephew of Judge
Sewall) who in i j & 2 was librarian and instructor in Hebrew
at Harvard, publis hed a Hebrew grammar (1763), a Latin ver-
sion of the first Pk of Young's Night Thoughts (1780), as
well as several poe ms and orations in Greek and Latin. "A
native of America 1 " name ty John Park, 3 lieutenant-colonel in
the army of Gene' ra ^ Washington, dedicated to his chief the
Lyrick Works of fl orace translated into English Verse (Phila-
delphia, 1786). Ii 1 i8o4Sallust's complete works an edition
based upon Crisp mus>s Delphin appeared in Philadelphia,
and in 1805, at Sa^ em ' Sallust's history of the Catilinarian and
Jugurthine wars "the tatter "the first edition of an ancient
classic ever published m the United States, which was not a
professed reimpre? s i n ^ some former and foreign edition." 4
The omniscient E )r - Samuel Latham Mitchill, s when he was
United States Sef ia t r from New York, had a song on wai
"in the Osage ton2 ue " and two Cherokee songs of friendship,
which were sung ^ his house in Washington, translated into
French "by an interpreter and rendered into English im-
mediately Tanua r y J > I 8o6." 6 From the Latin Mitchill
also translated into sober English verse the third and the

1 Annexed in 1 792 tc* the library f tne Library Company of Philadelphia.

2 See Book I, Chap. vnl -

' Sandys's History oj Clascal Scholarship, in, 451.
4J. S. Buckminster, Monthly Anthology, 11, 549 (1805).

s See Book II, Chaj*' IIL

s American Antiqua nan So ciet y. Transactions, I, 313 (1820*

44 6 Scholars

fifth of Sannazaro's Piscatory Eclogues (1815); and, from the
Italian, Lancisi On the Fens and Marshes of Rome. Not only
Lindley Murray's Grammar (1795), and Noah Webster's
Compendious Dictionary (1806) and Philosophical and Prac-
tical Grammar of the English Language (1807), but also Web-
ster's great Dictionary of 1828, though it represents twenty
years of additional work and even some study abroad, belong
essentially to this epoch of individual production. : Joel Bar-
low translated Volney's Ruins. Richard Alsop, one of the
Hartford Wits, made translations from the French and the Ital-
ian. In The Monthly Anthology in 1805 was reprinted Sir
William Jones's translation of Sacontala . . . from the Sanscrit
of Calidas.

Thus the utilitarian and the dilettante production went spo-
radically on, continuing, as has been indicated, long after the
new forces had begun to work. The signs of these were not
wanting. During and shortly after the Revolution American
learning became self-conscious, and took account of itself.
In 1794 Mitchill, then professor of chemistry and botany in
Columbia College, made a report to the Senatus Academicus on
"the present state of learning in the College of New York"
(i. e. Columbia College) ; and Ezra Stiles, in his Latin Inaugural
Oration upon his induction as president of Yale in 1778, offered
a prospectus of much the same kind, which is notable as showing
the relative values that a highly estimable scholar then attached
to the various disciplines. Stiles would have his ideal pupil
study the vernacular with a view to rendering materials from
other languages available in it, and for practice in writing and
public speaking. Latin and Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and
Arabic he is also to study ; but arithmetic, algebra, geometry,
geography, logic, and rhetoric are mentioned only to be dis-
missed as leviora studia. Let the youth pass onward to the
higher mathematics, natural philosophy, and astronomy. As-
tronomy will lead him to the heavenly hierarchy, this to
metaphysics and ontology, and thence to ethics and moral
philosophy the latter chiefly mystical and concerned with the
Divine Love. He is to study human history too; and at odd
times (subsecivis horis], music, poetry, drama, and polite and
belles lettres. The programme is closed with the professional

1 For early school books see Book III, Chap. xxm.

Online LibraryWilliam Peterfield TrentThe Cambridge history of American literature → online text (page 121 of 144)