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 I Of Population and Agriculture

Chap. I: Of the Government of Mankind
Chap. II: Of the Spirit of a People
Chap. III: Upon what Principles, and from what natural Causes do Mankind multiply?
Chap. IV: with regard to the natural and immediate Effects of Agriculture, as to Population
Chap. V: In what Manner, and according to what Principles, and political Causes, does Agriculture augment Population?
Chap. VI: How the Wants of Mankind promote their Multiplication
Chap. VII: The Effects of Slavery upon the Multiplication and Employment of Mankind
Chap. VIII: What Proportion of Inhabitants is necessary for Agriculture, and what Proportion may be usefully employed in every other Occupation?
Chap. IX: What are the Principles which regulate the Distribution of Inhabitants into Farms, Hamlets, Villages, Towns, and City?
Chap. 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
Chap. XI: Of the Distribution of Inhabitants into Classes; of the Employment and Multiplication of them
Chap. 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
Chap. 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
Chap. XIV: Of the Abuse of Agriculture and Population
Chap. XV: Application of the above Principles to the State of Population in Great Britain
Chap. XVI: Why are some Countries found very populous in respect of others, equally well calculated for Improvement?
Chap. XVII: In what Manner and according to what Proportion do Plenty and Scarcity affect a People
Chap. XVIII: Of the Causes and Consequences of a Country's being fully peopled
Chap. XIX: In the Introduction of Machines into Manufactures prejudicial to the Interest of a State, or hurtful to Population?
Chap. XX: Miscellaneous Observations upon Agriculture and Population

BOOK II Of Trade and Industry

Chap. I: Of the reciprocal Connections between Trade and Industry
Chap. II: Of Demand
Chap. III: Of the first Principles of bartering, and how this grows into Trade
Chap. IV: How the Prices of Goods are determined by Trade
Chap. V: How foreign Trade opens to an industrious People, and the Consequences of it to the Merchants who set it on foot
Chap. VI: Consequences of the Introduction of a passive Foreign Trade among a People who live in Simplicity and Idleness
Chap. VII: Of double Competition
Chap. VIII: Of what is called Expence, Profit, and Loss
Chap. IX: The general Consequences resulting to a trading Nation, upon the opening of an active foreign Commerce
Chap. X: Of the Balance of Work and Demand
Chap. XI: Why in Time this Balance is destroyed
Chap. XII: Of the Competition between Nations
Chap. 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
Chap. XIV: Security, Ease and Happiness, no inseparable Concomitants of Trade and Industry
Chap. 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
Chap. XVI: Illustration of some Principles laid down in the former Chapter, relative to the Advancement and Support of foreign Trade
Chap. XVII: Symptoms of Decay in foreign Trade
Chap. XVIII: Methods of lowering the Price of Manufactures, in order to make them vendible in foreign Markets
Chap. XIX: Of infant, foreign, and inland Trade, with respect to the several Principles which influence them
Chap. XX: Of Luxury
Chap. XXI: Of Physical and Political Necessaries
Chap. XXII: Preliminary Reflections upon inland Commerce
Chap. 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
Chap. 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?
Chap. 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?
Chap. XXVI: Of the Vibration of the Balance of Wealth between the Subjects of a modern State
Chap. XXVII: Circulation and the Balance of Wealth, objects worthy of the attention of a modern Statesman
Chap. XXVIII: Circulation considered with regard to the Rise and Fall of the Price of Subsistence and Manufactures
Chap. XXIX: Circulation with foreign Nations, the same thing as the Balance of Trade
Chap. XXX: Miscellaneous Questions and Observations relative to Trade and Industry

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

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

BOOK IV Of Credit and Debts

Part 1, Of the Interest of Money

Chap. I: What Credit is, and on what founded
Chap. 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
Chap. III: Of the Interest of Money
Chap. IV: Of the Principles which regulate the Rate of Interest
Chap. V: Of the Regulation of Interest by Statute
Chap. VI: What would be the Consequence of reducing, by a British Statue, the legal Interest of Money below the present level of the Stocks?
Chap. VII: Methods of bringing down the Rate of Interest, in Consequence of the Principles of Demand and Competition
Chap. VIII: Is the Rate of Interest the certain measure of the State of Commerce?
Chap. IX: Does not Interest fall in Proportion as Wealth increases?

Part 2, Of Banks

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

Part 3, Of Exchange

Chap. I:Of the first Principles of Exchange
Chap. 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
Chap. III:How to remove the Inconveniences which occur in paying Balances with the Metals or Coin of a Nation
Chap. 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
Chap. 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

Part 4, Of Public Credit

Chap. I
Chap. II: Of the rise and Progress of Public Credit
Chap. 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
Chap. V: Of the Present State of Public Credit in Great Britain
Chap. VIII: Contingent Consequences of the Extension of Credit, and Increase of Debts
Chap. IX: Of Bankruptcies
Chap. X: Methods of contracting and paying off public Debts

BOOK V Of Taxes, and of the Proper Application of their Amount

Chap I: I: Of the different Kinds of Taxes
Chap II: Of proportional Taxes, and their proper Object
Chap 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
Chap IV: Of cumulative Taxes
Chap V: Of the Inconveniences which proceed from proportional Taxes, and of the Methods of removing them
Chap VI: Cumulative and proportional Taxes compared with one another, and farther examined
Chap VII: Consequences of Taxes when the Amount of them is properly applied
Chap VIII: Of the Extent of Taxation
Chap X: Are Taxes a Spur to Industry, as some pretend
Chap XI: Considerations upon Land-Taxes, with some Observations upon those of England and France
Chap I: Miscellaneous Questions relating to Taxes

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