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I was born near Ottawa, Illinois, January 6th, 1852, of Scotch-Irish descent. My great-great-grandfather Johnston was a Presbyterian clergyman, who graduated from the University of Edinburg, Scotland. My mother's name was Finch. The family originally came from New England and were typical Yankees as far as I have been able to trace them. My father, whose full name I bear, died six months previous to my birth. When two years of age my mother was... more...

Lastsummer, when we reached California for a year's sojourn, we had the good fortune to secure a house with a splendid garden. A few weeks ago, after the early warm days of a California February had opened up the first blossoms of the season, our little five-year-old discovered that the garden furnished a fine outlet for her enterprise, and she soon produced two gorgeous—I will not say beautiful—bouquets. Barring a certain doubt about... more...

For a special purpose, I have had occasion to examine with care the comments upon American life and institutions made by foreign critics during the period that extends from the later part of the eighteenth century up to the present time. If one puts aside the frivolous and ill-tempered studies and considers alone the fairer and more competent observers, the least pleasant of all the criticisms is that we are essentially a lawless people. If the... more...

THE FOUNDER'S PREFACE Despite all that can still be said against trade practices, against the business lies that are told, the false weights and measures that are used, the trade frauds to which the public is subjected, we are nearer a high commercial standard than ever before in the world's history. Man's confidence in man is greater than ever before, the commercial loss through fraud and dishonesty is constantly diminishing and standards are... more...

INTRODUCTION We are told every day that great social problems stand before us and demand a solution, and we are assailed by oracles, threats, and warnings in reference to those problems. There is a school of writers who are playing quite a rôle as the heralds of the coming duty and the coming woe. They assume to speak for a large, but vague and undefined, constituency, who set the task, exact a fulfillment, and threaten punishment for... more...


CHAPTER I—INTRODUCTORY Section 1. In any attempt to formulate principles for use in the settlement of wage disputes, past experience furnishes much guidance. What this experience consists of.—Section 2. Such principles as have been used in the settlement of wage disputes have usually resulted from compromise; reason and economic analysis have usually been secondary factors. However, industrial peace cannot be secured by a recurrent... more...

Capital and Interest. My object in this treatise is to examine into the real nature of the Interest of Capital, for the purpose of proving that it is lawful, and explaining why it should be perpetual. This may appear singular, and yet, I confess, I am more afraid of being too plain than too obscure. I am afraid I may weary the reader by a series of mere truisms. But it is no easy matter to avoid this danger, when the facts with which we have to... more...

INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. The annual labour of every nation is the fund which originally supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniencies of life which it annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of that labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations. According, therefore, as this produce, or what is purchased with it, bears a greater or smaller proportion to the number of... more...

CHAPTER I. INDUSTRY. "Not what I have, but what I do, is my kingdom."—Carlyle. "Productive industry is the only capital which enriches a people, and spreads national prosperity and well-being. In all labour there is profit, says Solomon. What is the science of Political Economy, but a dull sermon on this text?"—Samuel Laing. "God provides the good things of the world to serve the needs of nature, by the labours of the ploughman,... more...

THEIR MORAL AND ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE No more severe reflection could be passed upon the moral and political capacity of the human species than this: Five thousand years after the invention of writing, three thousand after the invention of money, and (nearly) five hundred since the invention of printing, governments all over the world are employing the third invention for the purpose of debasing the second; thereby robbing millions of innocent... more...