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By Say J.-B.

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No human being had even dreamt of disputing the doctrine, which is nevertheless false ; in- INTRODUCTION. * How many other opinions, as universally prevailing and as much respected, will in like manner pass away. There is something epidemical in the opinions of mankind ; they are subject to be attacked by moral maladies which infect the whole species; Periods at length arrive when, like the plague, the disease wears itself out and loses all its malignity ; but it still has required time. The entrails of the victims were consulted at Rome three hundred years after Cicero had remarked, that the two augurs could no longer examine them without laughter.

SXVlh" INTRODUCTION. thorough knowledge of its principles, will supply us with the means of appreciating the efforts hitherto made towards the advancement of this science. The literature of the ancients, their legislation, their public treaties, and their administration of the conquered provinces, all proclaim their utter ignorance of the nature and origin of wealth, of the manner in which it is distributed, and of the effects of its consumption. They knew, what has always been known wherever the right of property has been sanctioned by laws, that riches are increased by economy, and diminished by extravagance.

A rich Sybarite, residing according to his inclination, either at his castle in the country, or in his palace in the metropolis, in both, at an enormous expense, partaking of every luxury that sensuality can devise, transporting himself with the utmost rapidity and comfort in whatever direction new pleasures invite bin), engrossing the industry and talents of a multitude of retainers and servants, and killing a dozen horses to gratify a whim, may be of opinion that things go on sufficiently well, and that the science of political economy is not susceptible of any further improvement.

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