1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Laveleye, Émile Louis Victor de

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LAVELEYE, ÉMILE LOUIS VICTOR DE (1822-1892), Belgian economist, was born at Bruges on the 5th of April 1822, and educated there and at the Collège Stanislas in Paris, a celebrated establishment in the hands of the Oratorians. He continued his studies at the Catholic university of Louvain and afterwards at Ghent, where he came under the influence of François Huet, the philosopher and Christian Socialist. In 1844 he won a prize with an essay on the language and literature of Provence. In 1847 he published L'Histoire des rois francs, and in 1861 a French version of the Nibelungen, but though he never lost his interest in literature and history, his most important work was in the domain of economics. He was one of a group of young lawyers, doctors and critics, all old pupils of Huet, who met once a week to discuss social and economic questions, and was thus led to publish his views on these subjects. In 1859 some articles by him in the Revue des deux mondes laid the foundation of his reputation as an economist. In 1864 he was elected to the chair of political economy at the state university of Liége. Here he wrote his most important works: La Russie et l'Autriche depuis Sadowa (1870), Essai sur les formes de gouvernement dans les sociétés modernes (1872), Des Causes actuelles de guerre en Europe et de l'arbitrage and De la propriété et de ses formes primitives (1874), dedicated to the memory of John Stuart Mill and François Huet. He died at Doyon, near Liége, on the 3rd of January 1892. Laveleye's name is particularly connected with bimetallism and primitive property, and he took a special interest in the revival and preservation of small nationalities. But his activity included the whole realm of political science, political economy, monetary questions, international law, foreign and Belgian politics, questions of education, religion and morality, travel and literature. He had the art of popularizing even the most technical subjects, owing to the clearness of his view and his firm grasp of the matter in hand. He was especially attracted to England, where he thought he saw many of his ideals of social, political and religious progress realized. He was a frequent contributor to the English newspapers and leading reviews. The most widely circulated of his works was a pamphlet on Le Parti clérical en Belgique, of which 2,000,000 copies were circulated in ten languages.