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Naturally with each of these economic problems, especially slavery, constitutional, or strictly political questions were involved, and these are discussed with a due sense of their importance, though at the same time with a realization of their subordination to the economic aspect of the subjects. Early American statesmen, because of their almost exclusive training in law, seemed to regard establishing the constitutionality of a proposition as ex proprio vigore settling any economic problems connected therewith. It will be amusing to future generations to see how optimistically statesmen of even the present age have applied political poultices to industrial sores, not realizing that the cure for these is the removal of all political bandages, including the original causative legal strictures and the intended palliatives. Thus, instead of abolishing taxation on production and consumption, which, both in this positive aspect, and in the negative corollary of exemption of privilege from taxation, has created the Trusts, they have sought to abate these industrial evils by using the constitutional right of Federal control over interstate commerce to regulate them, with the result that, so long as the regulation continues, these monopolies possess as it were a vested right in their governmental privileges which tend continually to create the abuses requiring to be abated.
The lesson of this volume is that a thorough course in economic science even more than a course in political science, and certainly as much as one in law, is essential to the student of public affairs, particularly the statesman. That any legislator, national or State, should be ignorant of such subjects as Ricardo's law of rent, the canons and incidence of taxation, the quantitative theory of money, etc., and yet dare to vote on bills framed
in all probability in opposition to sound principles of revenue and finance, is a form of criminality so general that oftentimes "serving a term at the Capitol” ought morally, if not legally to be followed by the lawmaker "doing his bit” at the Penitentiary-granted that the character of the latter institution really justifies its name.
P. 14, 1. 33. Philadelphia should be Pennsylvania.
P. 198, lines 29, 30. a man of years and distinction, General, should
P. 296, 1. 32. 1868 should be 1858.