Page:Treatise on Currency and Banking.djvu/18

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entitled to regard, because most intimately connected with the prosperity of a country, is of all others the most neglected. I assert it, and, in so doing, I think I do not overestimate its value, that political economy is the most important of sciences; and if its practical branches were introduced as a study into all our colleges and principal schools, it would do more towards exempting the country from erroneous and destructive legislation, than any other study to which the attention of our youth could be directed.

Of these practical branches, the science of banking is one, but it is one, to the attainment of a knowledge of which there is no " royal road," any more than there is to any other species of learning. He who wishes to understand it, must study and reflect, and this not with the feelings of a partisan, but in the true spirit of philosophy, unbiassed by self-interest, or by any other consideration than a pure love of the truth. The rapid strides which the banking system has been making of late in France and other countries of Europe, accompanied, as it has been, by indications of unsoundness, in Belgium and elsewhere, gives just ground for apprehension, that the same spirit which has characterised the management of most of our institutions, as well as those of Great Britain, producing alternate expansions and contractions of the currency, to the great injury of the public, will also there extensively prevail. In such event, the check to over-issues in this country and England, which now exists from the reaction of the metallic currencies of continental Europe, would be greatly diminished, and in consequence of it, inflations and