1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Steuart, Sir James Denham

STEUART, SIR JAMES DENHAM, Bart. (1712-1780), English economist, was the only son of Sir James Steuart, solicitor-general for Scotland under Queen Anne and George I., and was born at Edinburgh on the 21st of October 17 12. After passing through the university of Edinburgh he was admitted to the Scottish bar at the age of twenty-four. He then spent some years on the Continent, and while in Rome entered into relations with the Pretender. He was in Edinburgh in 1745, and so compromised himself that, after the battle of Culloden, he found it necessary to return to the Continent where he remained until 1763. It was not indeed until 1771 he was fully pardoned for any complicity he may have had in the rebellion. He died at his family seat, Coltness, in Lanarkshire, on the 26th of November 1780. In 1767 was published Steuart's Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy. It was the most com- plete and systematic survey of the science from the point of view of moderate mercantilism which had appeared in England. But the time for the mercantile doctrines was past. Nine years later the Wealth of Nations was given to the world. Adam Smith never quotes or mentions Steuart's book; being acquainted with Steuart, whose conversation he said was better than his book, he probably wished to keep clear of controversy with him. German economists have examined Steuart's treatise more carefully than English writers; and they have recognized its high merits, especially in relation to the theory of value and the subject of population. They have also pointed out that, in the spirit of the best modern research, he has dwelt on the special characters which distinguish the economies proper to different nations and different grades in social progress.

The Works, Political, Metaphysical and Chronological, of the late Sir James Steuart of Coltness, Bart., now first collected, with Anecdotes of the Author, by his Son, General Sir James Denham Steuart, were published in 6 vols. 8vo in 1805. Besides the Inquiry they include — A Dissertation upon the Doctrine and Principles of Money applied to the German Coin (1758), Apologie du sentiment de M. le Chevalier Newton sur V ancienne chronologie des Grecs (4to, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1757), The Principles of Money applied to the Present State of Bengal, published at the request of the East India Company (4to, 1772), A Dissertation on the Policy of Grain (1783), Plan for Introducing Uniformity in Weights and Measures within the Limits of the British Empire (1790), Observations on Beattie's Essay on Truth, A Dissertation concerning the Motive of Obedience to the Law of God, and other treatises.