An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy. Being an Essay on the Science of Domestic Policy in Free Nations, in which are particularly considered Population, Agriculture, Trade, Industry, Money, Coin, Interest, Circulation, Banks, Exchange, Public Credit, and Taxes. by Sir James Steuart


Sir James Steuart (1712 - 1790)

An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy

Being an Essay on the Science of Domestic Policy in Free Nations, in which are particularly considered Population, Agriculture, Trade, Industry, Money, Coin, Interest, Circulation, Banks, Exchange, Public Credit, and Taxes.

Ore trabit quodcumque potest atque addit acervo.

Written: 1767
Printed: for A. Millar, and T. Cadell, in the Strand. 1767
Source: Rod Hay's Archive for the History of Economic Thought, McMaster University, Canada.
Text from the revised edition in Steuart's collected works from 1805;
html Markup: Andy Blunden

Table of Contents:

Book One: Of Population and Agriculture

Chapter I: Of the Government of Mankind
Chapter II: Of the Spirit of a People
Chapter III: Upon what Principles, and from what natural Causes do Mankind multiply?
Chapter IV: with regard to the natural and immediate Effects of Agriculture, as to Population
Chapter V: In what Manner, and according to what Principles, and political Causes, does Agriculture augment Population?
Chapter VI: How the Wants of Mankind promote their Multiplication
Chapter VII: The Effects of Slavery upon the Multiplication and Employment of Mankind
Chapter VIII: What Proportion of Inhabitants is necessary for Agriculture, and what Proportion may be usefully employed in every other Occupation?
Chapter IX: What are the Principles which regulate the Distribution of Inhabitants into Farms, Hamlets, Villages, Towns, and City?
Chapter X: Of the Consequences which result from the Separation of the two principal Classes of a People, the Farmers and the Free Hands, with regard to their Dwelling
Chapter XI: Of the Distribution of Inhabitants into Classes; of the Employment and Multiplication of them
Chapter XII: Of the great Advantage of combining a well digested Theory and a perfect Knowledge of Facts with the practical Part of Government, in order to make a People multiply
Chapter XIII: Continuation of the same Subject, with regard to the Necessity of having exact Lists of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, for every Class of Inhabitants in a modern Society
Chapter XIV: Of the Abuse of Agriculture and Population
Chapter XV: Application of the above Principles to the State of Population in Great Britain
Chapter XVI: Why are some Countries found very populous in respect of others, equally well calculated for Improvement?
Chapter XVII: In what Manner and according to what Proportion do Plenty and Scarcity affect a People
Chapter XVIII: Of the Causes and Consequences of a Country's being fully peopled
Chapter XIX: In the Introduction of Machines into Manufactures prejudicial to the Interest of a State, or hurtful to Population?
Chapter XX: Miscellaneous Observations upon Agriculture and Population

Book Two: Of Trade and Industry

Chapter I: Of the reciprocal Connections between Trade and Industry
Chapter II: Of Demand
Chapter III: Of the first Principles of bartering, and how this grows into Trade
Chapter IV: How the Prices of Goods are determined by Trade
Chapter V: How foreign Trade opens to an industrious People, and the Consequences of it to the Merchants who set it on foot
Chapter VI: Consequences of the Introduction of a passive Foreign Trade among a People who live in Simplicity and Idleness
Chapter VII: Of double Competition
Chapter VIII: Of what is called Expence, Profit, and Loss
Chapter IX: The general Consequences resulting to a trading Nation, upon the opening of an active foreign Commerce
Chapter X: Of the Balance of Work and Demand
Chapter XI: Why in Time this Balance is destroyed
Chapter XII: Of the Competition between Nations
Chapter XIII: How far the Form of Government of a particular Country may be favourable or unfavourable to a Competition with other Nations, in matters of Commerce
Chapter XIV: Security, Ease and Happiness, no inseparable Concomitants of Trade and Industry
Chapter XV: A general View of the Principles to be attended to by a Statesman, who resolves to establish Trade and Industry upon a lasting Footing
Chapter XVI: Illustration of some Principles laid down in the former Chapter, relative to the Advancement and Support of foreign Trade
Chapter XVII: Symptoms of Decay in foreign Trade
Chapter XVIII: Methods of lowering the Price of Manufactures, in order to make them vendible in foreign Markets
Chapter XIX: Of infant, foreign, and inland Trade, with respect to the several Principles which influence them
Chapter XX: Of Luxury
Chapter XXI: Of Physical and Political Necessaries
Chapter XXII: Preliminary Reflections upon inland Commerce
Chapter XXIII: When a Nation, which has enriched herself by a reciprocal Commerce in Manufactures with other Nations, finds the Balance of Trade turn against her, it is her Interest to put a Stop to it altogether
Chapter XXIV: What is the proper Method to put a Stop to a foreign Trade in Manufactures, when the Balance of it turns against a Nations?
Chapter XXV: When a rich Nation finds her Foreign Trade reduced to the Articles of Natural Produce, what is the best Plan to be followed? and what are the Consequences of such a Change of Circumstances?
Chapter XXVI: Of the Vibration of the Balance of Wealth between the Subjects of a modern State
Chapter XXVII: Circulation and the Balance of Wealth, objects worthy of the attention of a modern Statesman
Chapter XXVIII: Circulation considered with regard to the Rise and Fall of the Price of Subsistence and Manufactures
Chapter XXIX: Circulation with foreign Nations, the same thing as the Balance of Trade
Chapter XXX: Miscellaneous Questions and Observations relative to Trade and Industry

Book Three: Of Money and Coin

Part I: The Principles of Money Deduced, and Applied to the Coin of Great Britain

Chapter I: Of Money of Account
Chapter II: Of Artificial or Material Money
Chapter III: Incapacities of the Metals to perform the Office of an invariable Measure of Value
Chapter IV: Methods which may be proposed for lessening the several inconveniences to which material Money is liable
Chapter V: Variations to which the Value of the Money-unit is exposed from every Disorder in the Coin
Chapter VI: How the variations in the intrinsic value of the unit of Money must affect all the domestic Interest of a Nation

Book Four: Of Credit and Debts

Book Four, Part 1, Of the Interest of Money

Chapter I: What Credit is, and on what founded
Chapter II: Of the Nature of Obligations to be performed, in consequence of Credit given; and of what is meant by the terms regorging and stagnating of money
Chapter III: Of the Interest of Money
Chapter IV: Of the Principles which regulate the Rate of Interest
Chapter V: Of the Regulation of Interest by Statute
Chapter VI: What would be the Consequence of reducing, by a British Statue, the legal Interest of Money below the present level of the Stocks?
Chapter VII: Methods of bringing down the Rate of Interest, in Consequence of the Principles of Demand and Competition
Chapter VIII: Is the Rate of Interest the certain measure of the State of Commerce?
Chapter IX: Does not Interest fall in Proportion as Wealth increases?

Book Four, Part 2, Of Banks

Chapter I: Of the various Kinds of Credit
Chapter II: Of private Credit
Chapter III: Of Banks
Chapter IV:
Chapter V: Such Banks ought to issue their Notes on private, not mercantile Credit
Chapter VI: Use of subaltern Bankers and Exchangers
Chapter VII: Concerning the Obligation to pay in Coin, and the Consequences thereof
Chapter VIII: How a wrong Balance of Trade affects Banks of Circulation
Chapter XIX: How a grand Balance may be paid by Banks, without the assistance of Coin
Chapter X: Insufficiency of temporary Credits for the Payment of a wrong Balance
Chapter XI: Of the Hurt resulting to Banks, when they leave the Payment of a wrong Balance to Exchangers
Chapter XII:
Chapter XIII: Continuation of the Same Subject; and of the Principles upon which Banks ought to borrow Abroad, and give credit at Home
Chapter XIV: Of optional Clauses contained in Bank Notes
Chapter XXII: Of the Bank of England and of the Banks of Circulation established on Mercantile Credit
Chapter XXIII: Of the first Establishment of Mr Law's Bank in France, in the year 1716
Chapter XXV: Continuation of the Account of Law's Bank
Chapter XXVI: Account of the Royal Missisippi Bank of France, established on Public Credit
Chapter XXIX: Continuation of the Account of the Royal Bank of France, until the time that the Company of the Indies promised a Dividend of 200 Livres per Action
Chapter XXX: Inquiry into the Motives of the Duke of Orleans in concerting the Plan of the Missisippi
Chapter XXXI: Continuation of the Account of the Royal Bank of France, until the total Bankruptcy on the 21st of May 1720
Chapter XXXII: Conclusion of the Mississippi Scheme
Chapter XXXIII: Why Credit fell, and how it might have been supported
Chapter XXXIV: Of Banks of Deposit and Transfer
Chapter XXXV: Of the Bank of Amsterdam

Book Four, Part 3, Of Exchange

Chapter I:Of the first Principles of Exchange
Chapter II:How to determine exactly the true and intrinsic value of the Metals, Coin, or Money, in which a Balance to foreign Nations is to be paid
Chapter III:How to remove the Inconveniences which occur in paying Balances with the Metals or Coin of a Nation
Chapter IV:How the Price of Exchange, in a prosperous trading Nation, may be prevented from operating upon the whole Mass of reciprocal Payments, instead of affecting the Balance only
Chapter V:How, when other Expedients prove ineffectual for the discharging of Balances, the same may be paid by the Means of Credit, without the Intervention of Coin or Bullion; and who are those who ought to conduct that Operation

Book Four, Part 4, Of Public Credit

Chapter I
Chapter II: Of the rise and Progress of Public Credit
Chapter III: Of Anticipations, or borrowing Money upon Assignments to Taxes for the Discharge of Principal and Interest; and of the Sentiments of Dr Davenant on this Subject
Chapter V: Of the Present State of Public Credit in Great Britain
Chapter VIII: Contingent Consequences of the Extension of Credit, and Increase of Debts
Chapter IX: Of Bankruptcies
Chapter X: Methods of contracting and paying off public Debts

Book Five: Of Taxes, and of the Proper Application of their Amount

Chapter I: I: Of the different Kinds of Taxes
Chapter II: Of proportional Taxes, and their proper Object
Chapter III: How proportional Taxes are drawn back by the Industrious and how that drawing back is the only reason why Taxes raise the Prices of Commodities
Chapter IV: Of cumulative Taxes
Chapter V: Of the Inconveniences which proceed from proportional Taxes, and of the Methods of removing them
Chapter VI: Cumulative and proportional Taxes compared with one another, and farther examined
Chapter VII: Consequences of Taxes when the Amount of them is properly applied
Chapter VIII: Of the Extent of Taxation
Chapter X: Are Taxes a Spur to Industry, as some pretend
Chapter XI: Considerations upon Land-Taxes, with some Observations upon those of England and France
Chapter XII: Miscellaneous Questions relating to Taxes