THE NATURAL LAWS OF ECONOMIC SOCIETY
IT is instructive to compare the state of philosophic and scientific opinion in England and in Germany about the year 1820. In Germany, the thinkers who were forming public opinion were philosophers who believed that they had discovered a synthetic form of speculation, more comprehensive than any special discipline, and such that it would satisfy at once all the needs of the spirit, of the sentimental and the rational, the poetic and the positive, the religious and the scientific. In England, the thinkers who were in the public eye adopted, on the contrary, a point of view which they systematically chose as being as harrow and as exclusive as possible: they looked at man under one aspect only, as a member of economic society, as a producer and consumer of wealth, and they devoted themselves to the methodical definition of the economic categories. In France, there were enthusiastic followers of both schools. To Victor Cousin, the admirer of Germany, Germany was the home of metaphysical speculation. To Jean-Baptiste Say, the admirer of England, England was the home of political economy. In addition to this, both German metaphysicians and English economists quarrelled amongst themselves; and these disputes dismayed Victor Cousin and Jean-Baptiste Say; they threatened to obscure the points on which agreement was fundamental to all, and to compromise, in the world at large, the prestige of German metaphysics, and of English political economy.
In England, it was the economists who opened the campaign against the laws regarding the importation of corn, against the navigation laws, and against the whole system of customs' protections and prohibitions. Until the re-establishment of peace, discussions on political economy had barely passed the bounds of a narrow circle of philosophers. Now, at last, public opinion did justice to the grea