The Coming of Age of Political Economy, 1815-1825

By Gary F. Langer | Go to book overview
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4 Allies of Political Economy

I have the satisfaction of observing that the opinions which I deem the correct ones are daily gaining ground. Col. Torrens is becoming one of the most efficient advocates for the right principles, as may be seen both in his review of Owen in the Edinburgh, and in the last edition of his work on the impolicy of restrictions on the importation corn. Lord King too, with whom I have lately conversed, is also marshalled on our side. McCulloch has I am told an article in the Edinburgh just printed, in favor of free trade, and I dare say it is a good one. That we are improving is manifest from this that a petition is preparing in the city to Parliament in favor of free trade, in which the merchants (the petitioners) with great ability urge the advantages which would result from unrestrained commerce. It is very respectably signed and will be presented to the H. of Commons by Mr. Baring. That the merchants should condemn and expose the mercantile system is no unimportant evidence of the progress of liberal opinions.

Ricardo to Trower ( 13 March 1820)1

The celebrated masters of political economy were not the only people talking about political economy during these years. Indeed, it is as much to their allies and other admirers of the science that the celebrity it obtained is owed. Political economy and the political economists made a profound impression on a great many who occupied positions of distinction in scientific, literary, and political life. Through their efforts, often in alliance with the economists and usually appealing to the authority of the science, it was brought to bear on a variety of social and political causes. This chapter looks at the lives of a number of such


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