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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE Delegates of the Clarendon Press, having determined on issuing a series of manuals intended for educational purposes, have entrusted me with the duty of supplying a short treatise on Political Economy. The several topics discussed in this little work have formed the material for certain courses of lectures which I have given during some years in London and Oxford, though they are presented in the following pages in a condensed form, many historical and statistical illustrations being omitted. These illustrations, which should be supplied by the teacher, are of the utmost importance in the study of the science, for just as the historian who is ignorant of the interpretations of political economy is constantly mazed in a medley of unconnected and unintelligible facts, so the economist who disdains the inductions of history is sure to utter fallacies. Much of the merit of Adam Smith's great work is derived from the steady use which this philosopher made of history and statistics, though in his time the former was uncritical, the latter were inexact.