Epigraph to Book I
Though but an atom midst immensity,
Still I am something, fashioned by Thy hand
I hold a middle rank 'twixt heaven and earth --
On the last verge of mortal being stand
Close to the realms where angels have their birth
Just on the boundaries of the spirit land!
The chain of being is complete in me --
In me is matter's last gradation lost,
And the next step is spirit -- Diety!
I can command the lightning, and am dust!
-- Bowring's translation of Dershavin
The Science of Political Economy
Book I, The Meaning of Political Economy
The earliest, and as I think sufficient, definition of Political Economy, is, the science that treats of the nature of wealth, and of the laws of its production and distribution. But as this definition seems never to have been fully understood and adhered to by the accepted teachers of political economy, and has during late years been abandoned by those who occupy the position of official teachers in all our leading colleges and universities, let us, beginning at the beginnings, endeavor to see for ourselves just what political economy is.