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as legitimately an integral part of our science as the study of its action through individual efforts.
The third grand division of Political Economy will deal with the reactions of production and distribution upon the social organism. I shall not undertake, at this time, to follow out the subdivision of this part. Let me merely say that it will include, besides the study of the consumption of wealth, an investigation of the reactions of the ways of getting and dividing wealth, and of the gradual change, under these reactions, of the economic natures of men and the economic institutions and customs which had been provisionally assumed to be fixed. I know of nothing more dreary and unimportant than the customary text-book chapter on the consumption of wealth. Nothing in economic science is of such immeasureable importance as the production, partition and consumption of wealth as related to the evolution of the social organism, and I believe that future students will find the study of this relation as much more fascinating than the study of other economic processes, as students of biology find the study of the reactions of activity upon the organism more fascinating than the mere dissection of parts.
Prepared by studies in this last field, economists may, I think, investigate with some success the past evolution of the economic organism. The historical economists are accumulating invaluable data for this work, but we are not yet able to use it to the best advantage. We lack as yet what the biologist calls the evolutionary sense. And this sense is to be acquired by the economist as by the biologist, chiefly by studying in the most common phenomena about us, the reciprocal reactions of the organism and its activities.
I believe that this scheme of Political Economy constitutes an organic whole. But because of its magnitude, and because its different parts require different mental qualities that are not always united in one student, it will resolve itself for working purposes into a number of special sciences. That part which I have called Economic Physics will include all of the a priori economy that culminated in the earlier writings of Mr. Mill. Professor Jevons was right, I think, in his belief that all of that economy will come within the range of the mathematical method. But besides Economic Physics there will be a Descriptive Political Economy, identical with what I have called the first division of the science ; an Economic Politics, co-extensive with the second part of the second division, and an Economic Biol. ogy and Psychology, co-extensive with the third division. My purpose is accomplished if I have shown that these cannot be independent, or mere loosely related sciences, but that they are true organic parts of a perfectly organic whole.
Some Considerations on the Legal--Tender Decisions.
BY EDMUND J. JAMES, PH.D., PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
Paper read at the joint session of the American Economic and Historical
Associations at Cambridge, Mass., May 24, 1887.
No decisions of our Supreme Court possess a more enduring interest for the student of our Constitutional History and Law than those rendered in the so-called Legal-Tender Cases. They are memorable on account of a number of important and in some respects unique circumstances. The question at issue belongs to the most important questions which have ever come before that court for adjudication, being nothing less than the power of the Federal Legislative to fix the legal means of payment at its discretion. It involved the right of the Federal Government to abolish gold and silver coin as the only means of debt payment, and substitute therefore mere pieces of paper, bearing the promise of the government to pay at its pleasure. It is, of course, difficult to conceive of a more farreaching power, or one which, if exercised in certain ways, could affect more intensively our industrial society.
Additional interest is lent to the cases by the fact that the Chief Justice of the Court, when the first case came before it, was the man, who as Secretary of the Treasury, was chiefly responsible for the very legislation, the constitutionality of which he was now called upon to determine; by the further fact that a decision rendered in one year was reversed by the court almost within a twelve month; and by the circumstance that a third decision was rendered within less than fifteen years, which, though not reversing, but rather confirming the decision of the court in the second case, yet repudiated, or at least ignored entirely the reasoning upon which the court had rested its opinion on that occasion.
An unpleasant sort of interest is moreover attached to it because of the deplorable fact that in connection with these decisions the charge of partisanship was openly made, and what is still more to be regretted, widely believed, even the Chief Justice himself not being able to conceal altogether his opinion that the decision in the second case was the result of conscious desire on the part of the executive to influence the action of the court in the direction of approving the course of the Legislative department. The opinions of the various members of the court give evidence of the excitement and bitterness of the discussion.
The following letter from Judge Hoar to the writer is of great interest. apropos of this charge :
WORCESTER, June 18, 1887. MY DEAR SIR-The pressure of some important professional and other duties has brought my correspondence sadly behindhand. I have to ask your pardon for great delay in answering your letter.
No sillier calumny was ever uttered on the stump than that which imputes the selection of Judges Strong and Bradley to a desire to reverse the legal-tender decision. Their names were sent to the Senate before that decision was made. General Grant, Secretary Fish and Attorney-General Hoar have emphatically denied the charge. There never was the smallest particle of evidence in its favor that I ever heard. Certainly no reason need be sought for their selection other than the character and learning of the men. Judge Strong