Important acquisitions

Inquiry into the principles of political oeconomy: being an essay on the science of domestic policy in free nations

Author Steuart, James, Sir
Title Inquiry into the principles of political oeconomy: being an essay on the science of domestic policy in free nations
Imprint London
Date of Publication 1767
Language English
Notes This fine set of Sir James Steuart's magnum opus, is a very important addition to the Library's holdings of Scottish Enlightenment texts. In it, Steuart, according to the 'Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences', was 'the first to set out with some pretence at system the principles of economic policy and to analyze their theoretical basis'. It was completely overshadowed after 1776 by Adam Smith's Wealth of nations, and Smith did not even refer to his work. Indeed he was somewhat critical of the turgid nature of the argument, saying that 'he understood Sir James's system better from his conversation than his volumes'. Other contemporaries, particularly the philsopher Thomas Reid (1710-1796), acknowledged their indebtedness to him. Steuart's work however was rediscovered in the 19th Century by German scholars who hailed him as the real founder of economic science. James Steuart was born in Edinburgh in 1712, entered Edinburgh University at the age of 13 and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1735. He adhered to the Jacobite cause and was in Paris on behalf of the Young Pretender at the time of Culloden. Although Steuart escaped being named in the Act of Oblivion, he was in exile until 1763, during which time he lived in Tübingen, Frankfurt and Venice, studying the political and military economies of Europe. He was not formally pardoned until 1771. After the publication of his Inquiry, Steuart interested himself in the recoinage question and wrote a number of treatises on politics, economics and religion. In 1773 on the death of his relative Sir Archibald Denham, he obtained the estate of Westshields and took the name of Denham.
Shelfmark RB.m.451
Reference Sources DNB, http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/steuart.htm
Acquired on 04/05/01
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