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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
TICKNOR AND FIELDS,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
University Press, Cambridge:
FROM THE AUTHOR,
THE AMERICAN EDITOR
OF HIS WORKS.
I am anxious to put into the hands of your house, and, so far as regards the United States, of your house exclusively; not with any view to further emolument, but as an acknowledgment of the services which you have already rendered me; namely, first, in having brought together so widely scattered a collection, — a difficulty which in my own hands by too painful an experience I had found, from nervous depression, to be absolutely insurmountable ; secondly, in having made me a participator in the pecuniary profits of the American edition, without solicitation or the shadow of any expectation on my part, — without any legal claim that I could plead, or equitable warrant in established usage, - solely and merely upon your own spontaneous motion. Some of these new papers, I hope, will not be without their value in the eyes of those who have taken an interest in the original series. But at all events, good or bad, they are now tendered to the
appropriation of your individual house, the MessRS. TICKNOR AND FIELDS, according to the amplest extent of any power to make such a transfer that I may be found to possess by law or custom in America.
I wish this transfer were likely to be of more value. But the veriest trifle, interpreted by the spirit in which I offer it, may express my sense of the liberality manifested throughout this transaction by your honorable house.
Ever believe me, my dear sir,
Your faithful and obliged,
THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
LOGIC OF POLITICAL ECONOMY.
That the reader may not seek in this little work anything other or more than was designed, I will briefly state its primary object. Political Economy does not advance. Since the revolution effected in that science by Ricardo (1817), upon the whole it has been stationary. But why? It has always been my own conviction that the reason lies, not in any material defect of facts (except as to the single question of money), but in the laxity of some amongst the distinctions which are elementary to the science. For example, that one desperate enormity of vicious logic, which takes place in the ordinary application to price of the relation between supply and demand, has ruined more arguments dispersed through speeches, books, journals, than a long life could fully expose. Let us judge by analogy drawn from mathematics. If it were possible that but three elementary definitions, or axioms, or postulates, in geometry, should be liable to controversy and to a precarious use (a use dependent upon petition and momentary consent), what would follow ? Simply this, — that the whole vast aerial synthesis of that science, at present towering upwards towards infinity, would exhibit an edifice eternally, perhaps, renewing itself by parts, but eternally tottering in some parts, and in other parts mouldering eternally into ruins. That science,