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As they are Blazon'd.
Van work111, merthin a Mine, uitle 1200 llaises crili!'rion i Chief Azure. A Cale of Copper rilees
hi Siken und Azure. 4 Denny man (ccdere ini) Irinkileon on his Breast Or und Azure per benzin
riend a Wedge, and in the prins Handlies Die Arbre, supported with two Ven, the Merid ...nur en hii Shoulder ; and the other the Smelns, no plorer colours,
M.A., D.LITT. (GLAS.)
With an Introduction by
Harvard University, U.S.A.
LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. LTD.
NEW YORK, TORONTO
The History of the Brass and Copper Industries, to which I am writing with much satisfaction this brief Introduction, is an original and instructive contribution to the history of Birmingham ; and it is peculiarly appropriate that it should be the work of one of the younger generation of economists who has for some years been associated with the Birmingham University. And Birmingham business men will read with pride of the enterprise and independent spirit of those predecessors of theirs in the later decades of the eighteenth century who broke down the monopoly, first of the brass producers outside and then of the copper producers, and effected this by means of combinations among the manufacturers who needed those metals as materials.
The book not only appeals to local patriotism, and, also -as I am sure it will—to those in other countries who are connected with the production and use of copper and brass ; it adds considerably to our knowledge of the economic development of England in the two centuries and a half which elapsed between the accession of Elizabeth and the death of William Pitt. And the book has a value much beyond that of mere annals. With protracted historical researches, and a painstaking piecing-together of fragmentary information so as to form a consecutive narrative, Dr. Hamilton combines a systematic analysis of the forces at work. His book is an example of the way in which economic history and economic theory, which are too often kept apart, can be made of mutual assistance. The external events are related first; and then the author goes carefully over the ground again, to point out the nature of the organisation that was established and the meaning of the commercial relationships which that organisation assumed or involved. The reader might do well, perhaps, to begin with the “ review and summary" in Dr. Hamilton's last chapter. A preliminary perception of the issues involved will fortify him to peruse a story which, in its later course, follows almost week by week the negotiations between conflicting interests.
The earlier chapters deal with the introduction into this country of the copper and brass industries by foreign enterprise, capital and skill, assisted by the policy of the English government under that great statesman Burleigh. It is remarkable what scant attention has commonly been given to the extent to which English economic life has been stimulated in the past, diversified and enriched, by the immigration or importation often of technical skill and sometimes of capital resources. In part this is, perhaps, due to national conceit; it is hard to remember that our ancestors were not always quite as courageous and clever as we imagine ourselves to be. In part, certainly, it has been due to the far too simple view which the economists of the school of Adam Smith took of "the wealth of nations.” As List has pointed out, they concentrated their attention too exclusively on the “ exchange values "created at any one moment of time; they thought of international trade as determined by the different “natural advantages ” of the several countries, as if these were given and fixed quantities; and they thought of the capital which "gave employment " in each country as due entirely to saving within the country itself. They did not realise that more important than immediate "exchange values” were lasting
were lasting “ productive powers and that it might sometimes be worth while to secure these for the future, even by the sacrifice of some of the wealth of the present.
In aiming at a more complete picture of the elements which went to make modern England, the late William Cunningham was a pioneer, as in much else. The very title of a chapter in the earliest form of his Growth of Industry and Commerce (1882), “ Conscious Imitation of the Dutch," was a flash of insight; and his little book, Alien Immigrants to England (1897) is less known than it deserves to be. That our modern cotton industry with Arkwright and Cartwright, the iron industry with Cort and Neilson, engineering with Watt and railroading with Stephenson were purely British developments has tended to close our eyes to our indebtedness to the men of other lands in respect