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Special issue

Adam Smith and Josiah Tucker on Restructuring Empire

Restructurer de l'Empire : Adam Smith et Josiah Tucker
Hiroki Ueno et Sora Sato

Résumés

La critique de l'empire par Adam Smith a suscité un regain d'intérêt récemment, mais principalement sous l'angle de la justice. Le présent article avance l'hypothèse que ses opinions à ce sujet peuvent également être appréciées à l'aune de son attitude 'utilitariste' vis-à-vis de l'empire. Associé à une approche similaire de la pensée de Josiah Tucker, une autre figure clé, bien que négligée, l'article espère contribuer à la recherche sur la critique de l'empire par les Lumières. Ni Smith ni Tucker n'ont fait appel à de simples principes de droit politique, mais ont souvent exploré les problèmes impériaux d'un point de vue 'utilitaire'. Une des différences entre Smith et Tucker réside dans l'appel explicite de ce dernier à l'éthique chrétienne ou protestante, à laquelle Tucker s'associait non seulement avec son mentor, Joseph Butler, mais aussi avec certains de ses adversaires, tels que Richard Price et Joseph Priestley. Le concept non-welfariste ou non-conséquentialiste de la justice était un élément important de la critique de l'empire par les Lumières, mais ce n'était pas le seul. Afin d'apprécier pleinement cette critique, il convient d'accorder une attention plus érudite aux rapports entre la justice et d'autres idées telles que la providence divine et l'utilité.

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Introduction

  • 1 A representative figure of this current, David Armitage, who moved from Cambridge in Britain to the (...)
  • 2 Muthu, Sankar, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton, N.J.  : Princeton University Press, 2003); (...)

1Were the British Empire and its colonialism the necessary outcome of the Enlightenment or only a deviation from it? Postmodernist historians, along with the first generation of Frankfurters, tend to prefer the former understanding, while progressivist proponents of modernity — as an “unfinished project”, for instance — emphasise the possibility of the latter. Lately, there appears to have been an increasingly influential third position; global intellectual historians (who have been establishing the history of international political thought, particularly in North America) are now searching for the positive potential of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thought and culture, distinguishing it from the far more imperialistic intellectual currents of nineteenth-century Britain and Europe at large.1 There were more than a few Enlightenment thinkers who strongly criticised the imperialism and colonialism of the European powers that were violently expanding beyond their region with the 'mission of civilisation'. In addition to Immanuel Kant, the author of Zum ewigen Frieden (Toward Perpetual Peace), and Guillaume Thomas Raynal and Denis Diderot, co-authors of the Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, there are several eminent British literati, including Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Josiah Tucker, and some English radicals who belong to this camp.2 Smith's Wealth of Nations, the pre-eminent magnum opus in the history of economics, is now interpreted by political theorists and global intellectual historians as representing the liberal and anti-Eurocentric tendencies at the core of the Enlightenment.

  • 3 Pitts, Jennifer, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton (...)
  • 4 Before the nineteenth century, Europeans already regarded native Americans (and Africans) as obviou (...)

2 As exemplified by Jennifer Pitts, these global intellectual historians share a general inclination to make the following dichotomy, which contrasts eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century European thought:3 while many intellectuals in the Age of the Enlightenment were rather modest with their skeptical attitude toward the supremacy of Western civilisation over the Orient — even including the Scots and the French who posited the so-called progressivist view of history — those of the nineteenth-century, on the contrary, felt sure of their historically unprecedented attainment of hard as well as soft power, showing no hesitation when it came to 'civilising' or 'enlightening' barbarous and savage nations any longer.4 While the authors of this paper agree with many of their arguments, they also wonder whether such a thesis may be too simplistic to frame the intellectual relations between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. What historians have to be careful of here is that one would expect too much of the idea of Enlightenment by idealising or aggrandising eighteenth-century thinkers as resolute anti-imperialist fighters. Instead, it is necessary to pay sufficient attention to the complex and subtle posture of the imperial and colonial projects of the West. They judged matters on their own merits, after all, rather than giving unconditional or categorical support to the independence of the colonies and those colonised by European powers.

  • 5 Williams, David, 'Adam Smith and Colonialism', Journal of International Political Theory, 10 (2014) (...)
  • 6 Campbell, T.D. and I.S. Ross, 'The Utilitarianism of Adam Smith's Policy Advice', Journal of the Hi (...)

3 Influential studies such as those by Pitts and Sankar Muthu have invited several responses from other commentators. Regarding Smith’s critique of the empire, recent scholarship has pointed to its 'ambivalence', meaning that Smith uncritically or more positively assessed the projects for European colonies in some respects than previously thought.5 What is common throughout these studies of Smith’s critical or conciliatory attitude towards the empire is their attention to his idea of justice or morality on the subject. The studies, although not neglected, do not particularly highlight other elements of Smith’s thought, such as public welfare and expediency. Apart from these, scholarship on Smith has paid considerable attention to the 'utilitarian' aspects of his moral philosophy and political economy. More than forty years ago, for example, T.D. Campbell and Ian S. Ross interpreted Smith’s 'policy advice' in the Wealth of Nations as largely 'utilitarian in cast'.6

  • 7 Utilitarianism may be the moral theory that has been most consistently misunderstood, particularly (...)
  • 8 J. G. A. Pocock alludes only briefly to the common utilitarian ground to Smith and Tucker (and Hume (...)

4 Far from dismissing the fruits of recent discussions on Smith’s critique of the empire, the present article hopes to show that the debate would be improved by drawing attention, once again, to his “utilitarian” position.7 Current scholarship on the Enlightenment attitude toward empire would, the authors believe, be further enriched by exploring the largely neglected figures of the period, such as Josiah Tucker. On this theme, Smith has often been compared to Burke, which has led scholars to the problem of justice; a necessary outcome, chiefly due to Burke’s active engagement with East Indian affairs. However, a comparative study between Smith and Tucker may generate a different scholarly interest, and it will contribute to the Tucker scholarship as well, since it has rightly pointed to the Christian (or 'Butlerian') character of Tucker’s political economy, but often neglected a 'utilitarian' stance in his imperial thought. While Tucker never advanced any 'utilitarian' theory intentionally nor systematically, pointing to Tucker’s utilitarian “stance” reveals an aspect of his thought rather than searching for ideological genealogies within it.8

  • 9 To quickly mention the order of our argument, which addresses Smith first and then Tucker: one may (...)
  • 10 Several alternatives to be compared with Tucker are surely present in the Scottish Enlightenment in (...)

5 From this perspective, this article investigates, in detail, the argumentative structure of championing the reform of the British Empire on the part of Smith and Tucker, including the conditional justification of American Independence.9 As is well known, they have much in common with regard to several essential issues of the Enlightenment, with their advocacy of American Independence and valuing an international free trade both being at the centre.10 Through analysing the arguments of these two intellectuals, who took the lead in justifying the independence of the colonies, we assert that the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century should not only be understood in opposition to imperial colonialism, but rather has entangled and intricate relations with them. What was at issue then is in general a project of restructuring the British Empire in order to maintain and improve it, and it is therefore no less important to discuss the “imperial” Enlightenment than the Enlightenment against the Empire.

Adam Smith's Enlightenment: For or Against Empire?

  • 11 For recent arguments from the international relations theory, see van de Harr, Edwin, 'Adam Smith o (...)
  • 12 Ross, Ian Simpson, The Life of Adam Smith, Second Edition (Oxford : Oxford University Press, [1995] (...)
  • 13 Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, eds. R. H. Campbell an (...)
  • 14 Pocock, J. G. A., 'Hume and the American Revolution: The dying thoughts of a North Briton' in his V (...)
  • 15 While Hume’s advocacy of American independence tends to chiefly be framed in terms of criticism of (...)

6Compared to Josiah Tucker, whom we will examine in the following section, Adam Smith's politico-economic criticism of the inefficient and unjust structure of the British Empire has been well discussed.11 It is well known that it is because of his avid — and possibly excessive — interest in the American problem that Smith could not publish his masterwork until another three years had passed since his visit to London in 1773. It may also be widely acknowledged that a complaint by David Hume, who was nearing the end of his life, was likely to have forced Smith to abandon further revision of his manuscript and encouraged him to publish the first edition of his second book.12 It is the result of Smith's extreme concern with the contemporary situation of revolutionary North America that we have such a voluminous chapter in Book IV, entitled 'Of colonies', probably much to our benefit.13 While Hume himself was actually interested in the American affair in terms of quite domestic politics,14 his complaint about Smith's persistence in seeing the consequence of this 'turbulence' unexpectedly revealed how essential Smith's concern with the politico-economic structure of the British (and other) Empires was to the argument of The Wealth of Nations. Consequently, in response to Hume’s comment, Smith’s view of the American question crystallised as an indispensable part of his future vision of modern society and international order.15

  • 16 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.60, p. 589
  • 17 Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire; Muthu, Sankar, 'Adam Smith’s Critique of International Trading (...)

7 In more than a few passages in Chapter 7, Book IV of The Wealth of Nation, we encounter his relentless impeachment of European colonialism. In comparison to the colonial policy of the Ancient Roman and Greek states, all of the modern European powers’ colonial policies were regarded as being marked by 'folly and injustice' as it was a 'chimerical project of finding gold and silver mines' after all.16 The tone of his moral impeachment is striking enough for recent global intellectual historians to recognise Smith as representing the conscience of the Enlightenment against imperial colonialism:17

  • 18 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.58-59, p. 588.

The policy of Europe, therefore, has very little to boast of, either in the original establishment, or so far as concerns their internal government, in the subsequent prosperity of the colonies of America. / Folly and injustice seem to have been the principles which presided over and directed the first project of establishing those colonies; the folly of hunting after gold and silver mines, and the injustice of coveting the possession of a country whose harmless natives, far from having ever injured the people of Europe, had received the first adventurers with every mark of kindness and hospitality.18

  • 19 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.a.17, p. 562. He described it as similar to 'the absurd idea o (...)
  • 20 While Smith’s distinction between the laws of justice and conveniencies is at the centre of his fra (...)

8Needless to say, his critique of the European colonial project was largely due to his value theory, which revealed mercantilists’ 'sacred thirst of gold'19 groundless and mistaken by reification. However, he described that this 'most disadvantageous lottery in the world' was not only irrational and absurd, but also of immoral quality. His well-regulated moral resentment can be easily read behind his descriptive explanation of the history of the European empires.20

Smith’s Utilitarian Critique of the Current Structure of the Mercantilist Empire

  • 21 Skinner, Andrew, 'Adam Smith : the demise of the colonial relationship with America', Cahier d’écon (...)
  • 22 Skinner, A., 'Demise', p. 114; Stevens, D, 'Adam Smith and the Colonial Disturbances', in Essays on (...)

9Smith’s harsh criticism of European injustice to natives and settlers embodied the Enlightenment’s liberal and democratic ideals, to some extent. This surely allowed him to defend against resistance and even independence, with quite a sympathetic attitude toward colonial causes. On the other hand, specialist scholarship on Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment has paid more attention to his multiple plans and futurist vision for the British colonies in North America after 1775 than recent historians of international thought. According to Andrew Skinner, one of the most influential experts representing modern scholarship on Smith, his 'consolidation' plan is no less worthy of detailed investigation than his 'separation' or 'independence' plan.21 Skinner and others interpret Smith as preferring the former solution, the incorporating union.22 This does not denote, as shall be demonstrated here, that they attempt to expose his true character as an apologist for the British Empire, demystifying the idealised image of the Enlightenment figure. Rather, by thoroughly investigating his 'unionist' solution, it is possible to understand how and to what extent the Enlightenment thinkers could be 'liberal' without being an unsparing adversary against the Empire. Most conspicuously, behind his thinking of multiple possibilities about the future of Great Britain and North America is an analysis based on the language of utility or expediency, rather than defending political independence as a categorical natural right. His utilitarian and comparative analysis enabled him to weigh the merits and demerits of the two possible visions instead of presuming a single picture as what was unnegotiably right.

  • 23 For the details, see Ueno, Hiroki, 'Educating a Young Aristocrat during Grand Tour', Journal of Sco (...)

10 It should be emphasised that Smith had in mind more than one direction for Great Britain and her colonies to go to in terms of public happiness or utility, while no less importantly, the same utilitarian principle prompted him to attack the contemporary structure of the Empire almost without reservation. The main point of his strategy is to define the essence of her imperial trade as a mercantile policy, with monopoly as a central means. According to Smith, mercantilism was in fatal contradiction to the principle of public welfare in two manners: first, a refined form of the mercantile ideology could have this principle in common with Smith’s system, while it misunderstood the essential nature of public wealth (as a material form of public happiness) and therefore the way to reach its maximisation; second, the mercantile policy was actually a disguised pursuit of greedy merchants’ self-interest at the expense of public interest, something that easily deceived politicians who were not enlightened enough to have acquired knowledge of political economy as a science of the legislator — even if they had good intentions to serve the public.23 In both cases, Smith rebuked the contemporary structure of the British Empire and its colonial trade on the grounds that the pursuit of mercantile private interest with unjust political measures severely damaged public wealth:

  • 24 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.60, p. 612; cf. IV.vii.b.49, p. 584.

All the original sources of revenue, the wages of labor, the rent of land, and the profits of stock, the monopoly renders much less abundant than they otherwise would be. To promote the little interest of one little order of men in one country, it hurts the interest of all other orders of men in that country, and of all men in all other countries.24

  • 25 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.62, p. 613.
  • 26 Smith, Craig, Adam Smith (Cambridge : Polity Press, 2020), pp. 137-138.
  • 27 According to Smith, although the American colonies appeared to be free from heavy direct taxes, the (...)

11It should be noted that the mercantile policy and trade structure was condemned because of its harmfulness to 'the general interest of the country',25 while Smith acknowledged the sole, relatively minor advantage it procured to a single class of society. Particular attention should be paid to Smith’s definition of public (material) happiness and welfare. He not only asserted that restructuring an Empire deformed by the mercantile policy would be beneficial to the inhabitants of North America but also emphasised that the same reform would promote the welfare of people in Great Britain as well.26 It is even possible to assert that Smith’s primary focus was on the fact that the reform of the Empire and its colonial trade was required for the happiness of the people in Great Britain above all else. Of course, Smith does not fail to point out that the happiness of the people in British America would improve as well,27 and both of them constitute public happiness as a whole. On the following pages, he states:

  • 28 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.67, p. 618.

[The monopoly] diminishes instead of increasing [the revenue] of the great body of the people; and consequently diminishes instead of increasing the ability of the great body of the people to pay taxes.28

12Another emphatic point here is that the current imperial structure influenced by mercantile policy was harmful to the interests of the state (government) because it was harmful to the interests of the nation as a whole. Smith considered public finance part of the national interest. Based on the thesis that the total amount of private revenue is the basis of public revenue, Smith asserted that rendering people wealthy is also essential to ameliorate the source of the national budget.

Consolidation for Making Colonial Trade Free: Smith’s Divergence from the Colonists’ Logic

  • 29 Smith discusses that free trade within the imperial territory is beneficial to the general wealth o (...)

13Smith’s central argument is that, in opposition to the mercantile structure of the current Empire, free trade would best suit the aforementioned 'utilitarian' principle. The reason imperial or international free trade would be far better than the mercantile monopoly, in Smith’s view, is clear; it is the former, rather than the latter, which enhances public or national interest, whose focus would unprecedentedly be on the lower and middle class people.29 What should be kept in mind in our context is that, as a means conducive to the best interests of the British nation as a whole, free trade was considered a feasible project without destroying the Empire. On the contrary, Smith admitted that the free exchange of goods and capital is, in general, much easier to install within a single or united political entity rather than between distinct nations. If the increase in national welfare through free trade was of primary importance to Smith, it would be of secondary importance whether it was implemented through imperial consolidation or separation.

  • 30 Keane, J., Tom Paine: A Political Life (London : Bloomsbury, 1995), pp. 257-8.
  • 31 Smith, C., Adam Smith, p. 153.
  • 32 Dickinson, Harry T., 'The Failure of Conciliation: Britain and the American Colonies 1763-1783', Th (...)

14 In fact, Smith’s consolidation plan, which Smith preferred to the separation, showed his distancing from the logic of the colonists. It would be misleading if one considers that Smith shared such a strong moral commitment to the American cause, as shown by the likes of Thomas Paine (who cited Smith several times though).30 According to Smith, the reasoning behind ‘their complaints about arbitrary and excessive taxation’ is not very compelling.31 It is true that both of them were similarly critical of the enforced oppression of the British mercantile policy in the actual form, and Smith clarified his disagreement with the conservative view on the British side, according to which the 'virtual representation' of the North American colonies in Westminster was already fulfilled.32 However, his assessment of the current financial structure of Britain and its American colonies is quite different from major discussions by colonists, and even somewhat favourable to the British government’s attempt to restructure its Atlantic Empire:

  • 33 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.67, pp. 617-618.

In order to render any province advantageous to the empire to which it belongs, it ought to afford, in time of peace, a revenue to the public sufficient not only for defraying the whole expence of its own peace establishment, but for contributing its proportion to the support of the general government of the empire. Every province necessarily contributes, more or less, to increase the expence of that general government. If any particular province, therefore, does not contribute its share towards defraying this expence, an unequal burden must be thrown upon some other part of the empire. The extraordinary revenue too which every province affords to the public in time of war, ought, from parity of reason, to bear the same proportion to the extraordinary revenue of the whole empire which its ordinary revenue does in time of peace. That neither the ordinary nor extraordinary revenue which Great Britain derives from her colonies, bears this proportion to the whole revenue of the British empire, will readily be allowed.33

  • 34 See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.69-70, pp. 619-620. Cf. Dickinson, H. T., 'Failure of Co (...)

15These statements obviously include Smith’s view that the colonies should pay more tax in order to make reasonable contributions to the ordinary governance and defence of the British Empire. Needless to say, he opposed the taxation contemporarily imposed on American colonies because it currently did not accompany proper representation. However, in Smith’s case, 'no taxation without representation' would rather mean that more taxation should be imposed on the American colonies on the condition that the people in British America were properly represented in the imperial capital and its parliament (namely London and Westminster at the time). Smith did not agree with the colonists who tended to interpret this slogan as demonstrating that British people in North America need not pay taxes or obey decisions by parliament in Westminster, as the American colonies did not send their delegates there. He could not recognise the colonists’ refusal to acknowledge the right of taxation regarding imperial governance belonging exclusively to the integrated imperial parliament.34

  • 35 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.77, p. 624.
  • 36 Smith understands considerable differences between their logic and his own vision of restructuring (...)
  • 37 Pocock, J. G. A., The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History (Cambridge : Cambridge Univer (...)
  • 38 In the consolidation plan, Smith highly recommends the incorporation union modelled out of the new (...)

16 Perhaps most importantly, there was significant ideological divergence between the American colonists and people in Great Britain regarding what proper representation might be, which was proper enough to justify imposing taxes.35 A Hanoverian Unionist, Smith firmly believed that the parliamentary Union was essential for the further development of the British Empire and its American colonies in the same manner as the case of the 1707 Union of England and Scotland. In contrast, American politicians gathering for the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 did not hesitate to proclaim that the parliament in Westminster did not have the right to impose taxes on the colonies, as it did not accept representatives from North America, but also that each colony in America could have taxes imposed on it only by its own parliament.36 Quite famously, Edmund Burke retrospectively characterised the laissez-faire attitude of the metropole toward the American colonies as 'Salutary Neglect' in early 1775 (March 22), and this traditional policy was what the Americans demanded the Metropolitan government return to. For Smith, this type of Ancien Régime could no longer function well, as the Scots’ past experiences had taught them. The centralised sovereign state with the idea of 'king in parliament' was, for Smith and the majority of the Scottish literati, the almost exclusive conclusion drawn from the seventeenth-century history of unstable relations between England and Scotland that had only partly united by sharing the crown while retaining its own individual parliaments.37 This form of union, the union of not parliaments but crowns, is actually equivalent to the ideal widely shared by American colonists, at least before the publication of Paine’s Common Sense. Rather, they had naturally believed that they were able to share the British crown without sharing a single imperial parliament, meaning that each of the colonies did not need to become entirely independent from Britain in order to keep its independent parliament. Frequently called 'dominion theory', this idea can also be dubbed the 'king in parliaments' (plural), an idea that the mainstream of the Scottish Enlightenment gave up as converts to the Hanoverian Unionists.38

  • 39 For qualification, it should be mentioned that there were several plans suggested by the American s (...)

17 It is here that Smith’s main vision of the restructured Empire substantially diverged from the major understanding of the categorical proposition of 'no taxation without representation' on the side of American colonists.39 Proper attention should be paid to the fact that many Americans had considered remaining in the empire justifiable and realistic, even though they refused to admit the supreme authority of the single imperial parliament over self-governing assemblies established by each autonomous province. This is exactly what the Scottish Unionist — even if sympathetic about the colonists’ complaints about mercantile oppression — could not speak for.

'Free Trade' as Part of the Utilitarian Persuasion for the Separation Plan

  • 40 Smith, Adam, Correspondence of Adam Smith, eds. Ernest Campbell Mossner and Ian Simpson Ross (Oxfor (...)

18While the idea of remaining in the British Empire without acknowledging the exclusive right of the Westminster parliament to impose necessary taxes on American colonies was not acceptable for Smith, the new direction of complete independence from the United Kingdom probably appeared to him to be a much more coherent political stance. This would still be so, even if it was the second-best choice in terms of public welfare for all those living in the British Empire. The enduring importance Smith placed in the consolidation plan may be detected from his decision to leave its detailed explanation as it originally appeared in all of the later editions of the Wealth of Nations. However, he explicitly admitted at the same time that this best choice for public welfare became much less realistic as early as 1778, after which he started to pay more heed to the separation plan.40

  • 41 According to J. G. A. Pocock, this utilitarian view of American independence is shared with both Tu (...)
  • 42 Pocock, J., 'American Revolution', p. 138: 'Like Adam Smith in Scotland and Josiah Tucker in Englan (...)
  • 43 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.
  • 44 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.

19 Of exclusive importance here is the fact that Smith regarded the separation plan as no less beneficial to the welfare of American and British peoples, rather than claiming that American Independence was an absolute natural right of an American people, regardless of whether it was beneficial or harmful to people in Great Britain.41 This line of argument is, as suggested by J. G. A. Pocock, what can be dubbed a 'Tory' advocacy or reasoning of American independence, and one that is shared by David Hume and Josiah Tucker.42 Actually, such an assertion was quite astonishing to contemporaries within the context of the dispute over the American question. In addition to conservative hawks, most British politicians and intellectuals tend to think that they would have no choice but to put down the riot if the colonists declared their independence, because such separation would cause fatal damage to the most significant lifeline for the British Empire: trans-Atlantic trade. The voluntary admission of the colonial separation seemed to Smith no longer realistic by 1788, owing not solely to the existing private interests of the privileged mercantile capitalists and ruling classes in maintaining the current commercial structure, but also to a dominant public opinion obsessed with national pride and dignity rather than national interest.43 Taking this situation into account, it is quite natural to assume that the only possibility of defending this imperial lifeline would be to defeat the American riot. This is because, without the victory of the war, it was supposed that Britain would lose almost every fruit of the trans-Atlantic imperial trade, with this loss being so devastating that the public welfare of those living in Great Britain would be vitally harmed. Surprisingly, the prospect Smith’s depicted in The Wealth of Nations differed from this common view. He considered that, rather than breaking off the economic and social exchanges between the Old and New Worlds, prosperous trans-Atlantic trade between Britain and North America could be maintained and possibly even further developed if the colonies became independent states. The tremendous merit of voluntary separation was not only that Great Britain would 'be immediately freed from the whole annual expence of the peace establishment of the colonies', but also that Britain 'might settle with them such a treaty of commerce as would effectually secure to her a free trade, more advantageous to the great body of the people, though less so to the merchants, than the monopoly which she at present enjoys.'44

  • 45 On the relationship between justice and utility in Adam Smith, see also Ueno, H., 'Does Adam Smith’ (...)

20 If people in Great Britain could continue to enjoy international trade with North America without high tariffs after the separation, this prospect had the discursive power to persuade British people to understand and even acknowledge American independence, particularly those in Great Britain, who could not help opposing independence in terms of national wealth and welfare while appreciating the American cause itself. It is of vital importance to be cognizant of the fact that Smith’s scientific analysis was also a practical art of persuasion for the separation plan. Smith attempted to demonstrate the real possibility of free trade between Britain and an independent North America in order to convince others that there was a certain form of separation that would instead promote the public happiness of the British on the East side of the Atlantic Ocean. Smith had to make every effort to demonstrate the compatibility of free trade and separation all the more because most of the people in Great Britain anticipated that their economic prosperity would contradict American independence. Special attention should thus be paid to the fact that this was part of Smith’s strategy of political persuasion, and that it was essentially different from saying that independence was a collective natural right of the American people, particularly as the Lockean right of resistance.45

21 Smith’s future vision for international relations between Britain and North America was thus characterised by a type of political realism rather than economic utopianism. Instead of asserting the a-priori dogma of unconditional superiority of free trade, he tried to show that a free trade area covering the Anglo Atlantic region stood a high likelihood of being established through an empirical analysis of the political and cultural dimensions of the history of Britain and her American colonies:

  • 46 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.

By thus parting good friends, the natural affection of the colonies to the mother country, which, perhaps, our late dissensions have well nigh extinguished, would quickly revive. It might dispose them not only to respect, for whole centuries together, that treaty of commerce which they had concluded with us at parting, but to favour us in war as well as in trade, and, instead of turbulent and factious subjects, to become our most faithful, affectionate, and generous allies; and the same sort of parental affection on the one side, and filial respect on the other, might revive between Great Britain and her colonies, which used to subsist between those of ancient Greece and the mother city from which they descended.46

  • 47 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.44, p. 606.
  • 48 Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, eds. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie (Oxford : Oxford Uni (...)
  • 49 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.44, p. 606.

22It is within this political realism that Smith’s well-known gradualism regarding reform should be situated.47 Under the separation scenario, it is especially important to consider how to reach free trade as an ideal state. Separation would be likely to cause much more drastic changes than consolidation. Smith severely condemned 'a man of system' because such a radical reform for a free market as implemented by Turgot and Physiocrats in France could incite wide-ranging reactions throughout society.48 Instead of the so-called 'constructivist' way of thinking, Smith employed an incrementalist approach, asserting the need to consider a variety of invested interests formed under the mercantile system. The most important reason for this is that the turbulence, disorder, and political instability that rapid reformation would likely bring about could be fatal to public safety, even when taking into account the increase in public welfare promoted by the introduction of free trade.49 This denotes that his powerful defence of international economic freedom is not necessarily a categorical assertion, but subordinate to, and determined by what Jeremy Bentham would call the 'principle of utility'.

23 In the cases of both consolidation and separation, what is vitally significant to Smith is to demonstrate the political reality of the actual realisation of free Atlantic trade. His main focus was on the prospect of achieving free trade, grounded not so much in the language of natural rights as the language of national wealth or welfare. In the case of separation, in particular, free trade in the Anglo Atlantic region was, for Smith, not a categorically secure prospect, but something that was likely or unlikely to be established depending on other political factors that were subject to change. What he had to show was not just the normative desirability of free trade, but rather the empirical likelihood of maintaining and developing Atlantic trade. This might suggest that if a friendly relationship that would ensure free trade had hardly been anticipated between the two countries concerned, it might have been more difficult for Smith to admit independence, as his support for it was constituted chiefly in terms of rising standards of living in the British nation. This is exactly the point that differentiates supporting independence based on the categorial natural right of resistance, on the one hand, and Smith’s utilitarian logic for conditional backing of separation on the other.

Smith’s View of Other Parts of the British Empire

  • 50 For example, see Dickinson, H. T., 'Failure of Conciliation'.

24As suggested, Smith’s liberal stance regarding the American question was beyond doubt, and was already apparent by early 1776. At the time, the overwhelming majority of parliamentarians, and public opinion in general, favoured asserting military suppression over the rebel army with the expectation of an easy victory.50 By contrast, Smith took the fact that a colonial uprising came into existence on such a scale much more seriously, as well as understandable reasons and moral causes behind it. However, his liberality and sympathy toward Americans were far from an unconditional moral commitment to their independence. Instead of stressing the unnegotiable right to collective self-determination, Smith assessed the reasonableness of possible American Independence in terms of whether it contributed to public happiness and welfare. This suggests the theoretical possibility that independence would be better avoided if it did not result in the best realisation of public happiness. This is the chief reason why this paper emphasises that a comparison of his consolidation and separation scenarios is indispensable. Smith almost unconditionally criticised the contemporary structure of the British Empire and its colonial trade, while attempting to outline several directions toward its improved future to be chosen from.

  • 51 This expression is derived from the title of the following collection of essays: Robertson, John (e (...)

25 His experimental and conditional analysis of the British Empire discussed so far also explains the variety of his stances on different parts of the Empire. At first glance, for example, Smith’s view of Ireland and that of East India appears to be almost contradictory: while his undoubtedly enlightened positioning against the Empire can easily be found when criticising the tyrannical rule of the East India Company over India and other Asian regions, his positive portrayal of good governance in Ireland under the Union implies what can be dubbed his 'Unionism for the Empire'.51 Nevertheless, if the aforementioned utilitarian perspective that belongs to him is well understood, the Smith who was against the Empire would not be incompatible with the Smith who was in favour of the Empire.

26 Smith’s affirmative view of civilising Ireland through the expansion of the British Empire is closely entwined with his understanding of the Scottish Union with England. According to Smith’s explanation, 'By the union with England, the middling and inferior ranks of people in Scotland gained a complete deliverance from the power of an aristocracy which had always before oppressed them.' In the same manner, Smith considers whether Ireland should be incorporated into the British Empire in light of the welfare of the vast majority of Irish people themselves, and that they should require the Empire to be equally represented by each part while remaining within it. This is because 'By an union with Great Britain, the greater part of the people of all ranks in Ireland would gain an equally complete deliverance from a much more oppressive aristocracy'. This oppressiveness is due to the fact that the Irish aristocracy was founded in:

  • 52 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, V.iii.89, p. 944.

distinctions which, more than any other, animate both the insolence of the oppressors and the hatred and indignation of the oppressed, and which commonly render the inhabitants of the same country more hostile to one another than those of different countries ever are.52

  • 53 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, V.iii.89, p. 944.

27Smith’s conclusion, therefore, is not endorsing Irish independence from the British Empire but 'inventing' the single Irish nation via extending the imperial blessing of the centralised government with the rule of law: 'Without a union with Great Britain, the inhabitants of Ireland are not likely for many ages to consider themselves as one people'.53 The thrust of his argument is summarised by Phillipson as follows:

  • 54 Phillipson, N., Adam Smith, pp. 235-236.

What, [Smith] asked, had done more to stimulate economic growth and tax takings in Scotland than the free trade with England and the colonies as established by the parliamentary Union of 1707? And would not a similar union between Great Britain, Ireland and the American colonies bring political as well as economic benefits? For it went without saying that this new union would be 'incorporating' in the sense that Ireland and America would be represented in the imperial parliament.54

28As suggested here, this line of Unionist thought seems to flow into his consolidation plan regarding the American question. What can be called 'Enlightenment through expanding and improving the Empire' is clearly discernible in Smith’s vision of the United Kingdom as an Atlantic empire composed of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the American colonies. This line of thought can even be dubbed Smith’s 'imperial Enlightenment'.

  • 55 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.90-91, p. 631; cf. IV.vii.b.22-24, pp. 575-577:'Monopolies o (...)
  • 56 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.102-104, pp. 637-638: 'Nothing, however, can be more directl (...)

29 In contrast, Smith’s critique of the East India Company represents another aspect of his Enlightenment: one opposed to empire and imperialism. His attack on the imperial structure of East Indian trade is more explicitly severe than in the case of North America and the West Indies, for two main reasons. The first is that, compared to the exclusion of foreign merchants found in Atlantic commerce, the market monopoly by a single chartered company found in East India trade was regarded by the Smithian economic analysis as having an even worse effect on the welfare of the people. This is because this mercantile structure severely limited competition between capitals by excluding not only foreigners, but also other domestic merchants and manufacturers.55 The second reason is that the total domination of a single trading company over international commerce resulted in the worst kind of political rule: a government of merchants, which would be worse than any tyrannical rule the world had ever seen, in either ancient and modern times.56

  • 57 Cooperative aspects of the principles of public utility and natural justice in Smith should be unde (...)

30 Along with his serious investigation of the possible compatibility between American separation and international free trade, Smith’s unsparing criticism of the East India Company shows that he was frequently a real critic of the Empire. Smith’s (restrained) resentment, which is directed toward the atrocities of mercantile imperialism, can also be detected in his renowned criticism of modern slavery, wherein his utilitarian and right-based languages go hand in hand.57 At the same time, however, his thorough consideration of the consolidation scenario and his basic stance on the Irish question no doubt demonstrate that he was far from a categorical anti-imperialist. Rather, he could sometimes be a liberal imperialist without theoretical contradiction who was eager to restructure and improve the British Empire.

Tucker’s Critique of the British Empire

31As Smith, Josiah Tucker was not a simple anti-imperialist, no matter how vehement his critique of the British Empire was. He did not appeal to the language of political rights in his critique of the Empire, and rather aspects of his views on it were 'utilitarian', or focusing on public welfare (chiefly, the welfare of Britons). However, a close reading of Tucker’s works makes us realise both similarities and critical differences between him and Smith in their ideas on the British empire. As he was one of the representative critics of the British empire of the age, such comparative research will help uncover, from a novel perspective, the characteristics of Smith’s critique of eighteenth-century views on the British empire as a whole.

  • 58 For an overview of Tucker’s engagement with the American affairs, see Shelton, George, Dean Tucker (...)

32Tucker’s engagement with the Empire was mainly seen through three subjects: the American colonies,58 Ireland and international trade, including the issues of exclusive companies (we may add the East India affairs here, although he discussed it only briefly). He structured his discussion by employing several languages of political thought, including the language of religion, history and political economy.

  • 59 For Tucker's Christian morality, see Price, Peter Xavier, 'Liberty, Poverty and Charity in the Poli (...)
  • 60 On this, see especially, Price, P., 'Liberty, Poverty and Charity in the Political Economy of Josia (...)

33One of the characteristics of his political thought was intellectual coherence: in his view, morality, political institutions and commerce are closely linked, and if one of them become corrupted, it adversely affected the others. England’s pre-eminent constitution, first enacted around 1688-9, and its quickly growing economy could, in that respect, be perfectly compatible with Christian, or more precisely Protestant morality, even though that morality may still have been at the risk of corruption.59 Yet, despite his 'Butlerian' world views,60 Tucker’s critique of the British empire frequently derived from his viewpoints of public welfare. That was most clearly seen in his discussion on the issues of America and Ireland, while a more ethical and religious attitude was seen in his critique of foreign commerce.

34It must also be noted that his views on the British empire had been changing over time during his career. While Tucker’s argument for Britain’s voluntary separation from the American colonies is the most well-known aspect of his thought on empire, he expressed this argument, at least publicly, only after the mid-1760s, when colonial affairs became spotlighted in British politics. Before that period, he believed that British policy on the colonies had to help produce mutual benefits for the colonies and the mother country so that the colonists would not wish to become independent. In the second, enlarged edition of his Essay on Trade, published in 1753, he added the passages including the following one:

  • 61 Tucker, Josiah, A Brief Essays on the Advantages and Disadvantages which respectively attend France (...)

It is a just Complaint, That many of the Provinces have set up several Species of Manufactures, which greatly interfere with the Trade and Prosperity of their Mother Country. Yet how shall we prevent them? ― There is but one Way to do it, that is either just, or practicable: and that is, By an Exchange of Commodities to MUTUAL DEPENDENCE. And this Principle alone will contribute more to the preserving of the Dependency of our Colonies upon their Mother Country, than any other Refinement or Invention. For if we are afraid, that one Day or other they will revolt, and set up for themselves, as some seem to apprehend; Let us not drive them to a Necessity to feel themselves independent of us: ― As they will do, the Moment they perceive, that they can be supplied with all Things from within themselves, and do not need our Assistance. If we would keep them still dependent upon their Mother Country, and in some Respects subservient to her Views, and Welfare; ― Let us make it their INTEREST always so to be.61

35Here, the increase in international trade, not commercial restraint, was recommended, and the colonists were obviously the subjects rather than fellow citizens, even if the trade aimed at promoting the 'mutual benefits'.

  • 62 On this see, for example, Kobayashi, N., Collected Works of the History of Economic Thought 4, pp.  (...)
  • 63 Tucker, Josiah, A Series of Answers to Certain Popular Objections, against Separating from the Rebe (...)
  • 64 Tucker, Josiah, A Letter to Edmund Burke (Gloucester, 1775).

36However, by the mid-1760s, he decided to propose Britain’s separateness from America.62 He looked upon contemporary Americans as republicans, who accepted John Locke’s contractual theory and thus a politically dangerous element, whose influence might subvert Britain’s politics. From another point of view, the American continent was simply too remote to be practically governed by the British. By the mid-1770s, he was insisting that the Rockingham’s repeal of the Stamp Act of 1765 was the main cause of Britain’s war with the colonies.63 He started targeting Edmund Burke, then, for his criticism.64

  • 65 Maseres, Francis, Considerations on the Expediency of Admitting Representatives from the American C (...)
  • 66 Tucker, Josiah, Four Tracts, Political and Commercial Subjects (Gloucester, 1774), pp. 164-202. On (...)
  • 67 Correspondence of Adam Smith, 380-1 ; Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 196-201 (quotation at 197).

37In one of his major works, Four Tracts on Political and Commercial Subjects, which was first published in 1774, Tucker examined five possible solutions to the problem of the colonies that had been proposed by some of his contemporaries, including neglecting the situation, bringing colonists’ representatives to London (proposed by Francis Maseres)65, declaring a war against the colonies, relocating the imperial seat to North America, or Britain’s voluntary separation from the colonists.66 However, he believed that none of these options, except the total separation, could produce a beneficial outcome for Britain. Warfare would foster resentment against Great Britain, which would endanger the future commercial relationship between the two peoples. As was also discussed by Smith, even victory could not secure long-term military supremacy.67

  • 68 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 201-2.
  • 69 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 172-196.

38Practicality was another issue. Turning Britain to be a province of America by moving the imperial seat was a 'wild', fanciful idea, but governing from a remote distance by sending viceroys was practically impossible.68 To Tucker, Maseres’s idea of inviting colonial representatives to Britain seemed harmful and unrealistic. The American principle of consent of the governed would, in his view, confuse the legislative process. At worse, British republicans might even take advantage of that principle. As Maseres himself admitted, the colonists themselves would probably not agree to that idea.69

  • 70 Tucker, Josiah, Tract V : The Respective Pleas and Arguments of the Mother Country, and of the Colo (...)
  • 71 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 203, 210-212.

39For Tucker, the most desirable solution would be Britain’s voluntary separation from the colonies, and unlike other thinkers, he believed that that would be feasible (or, as he put it in 1775, 'the only eligible one [measure] for the Mother Country to pursue').70 Despite the worries expressed by some of his contemporaries, he claimed that, neither trade nor navigation would be harmed by the separation. Considering that the colonists had often continued to trade with hostile countries, they would no doubt soon restore their commercial relationship with Britain. Equally absurd, he wrote, was the worry that France would take over the colonies after Britain had left since it was unimaginable that the freedom-loving, or rather unruly, colonists would obey such a tyrannical monarchy as France. That was quite unlikely to happen.71

  • 72 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 218-220.

40According to Tucker, Britain’s influence on the colonies would instead become even greater after the separation. Even if the colonists had so far cooperated with one another while considering Britain their 'common enemy', they would soon plunge into a conflict once they acquired independence. In that regard, his views were similar to those of several contemporaries, including Smith and Burke, but unique in some ways. After the separation, Britain could, then, serve as an 'umpire' or 'referee'. Seeing the chaos in North America, the British colonies in the West Indies would meanwhile become more obedient than before, which would further benefit Britain.72 Judging by that, it seems that he ceased to consider those 'mutual benefits'.

Implementing a Union with Ireland

  • 73 Tucker, Josiah, An Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Brita (...)
  • 74 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, tract I (esp., p. 28).
  • 75 Tucker, J., Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Britain and (...)

41In contrast to America, Ireland was geographically closer, and that was significant for Tucker when arguing for it to be united with Britain by a union.73 As seen in the case of the American colonies, his knowledge of history played a significant role in developing his views on Ireland. Both England and Scotland had flourished after 1707, and in Tucker’s view, the same would become true for Ireland and Britain.74 This union would thus make the Empire more stable and powerful.75 Clearly, here there are some overlaps with Smith’s idea of the Anglo-Irish union, yet Tucker deviated from the Scotsman in neglecting the problem of justice behind the issue. Tucker’s idea of religious tolerance was similar to Smith’s in many respects, but he did not turn (at least, explicitly) to the problems of the aristocratic and Protestant oppression in Ireland, which Smith believed would be mitigated after the union.

  • 76 Tucker, J., Tract V, pp. 16-21.

42Like the American colonies, Ireland had also been threatened by republican conspiracies inspired by William Molyneux’s argument for parliamentary independence. As a disciple of Locke, Molyneux applied a contract theory to the conquest of Ireland by Henry II and his successors, according to which the Irish were granted their own parliament as a distinct nation. Tucker, however, argued that there was no historical evidence to prove that and that the Irish were still required to submit to England’s parliament, even though they were allowed to establish their own parliament. That is to say, England’s law had a supremacy over the Irish law.76

  • 77 Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country” Debate in the Scottish Enlightenment', in idem, Jealousy (...)

43Like Scotland, Ireland was a 'poor' country, whereas England and Holland were 'rich'. Tucker shared these views with most of his contemporaries. Yet, he departed from many of them in arguing that both types of countries would benefit from free commerce and that rich countries would maintain their initial advantage over the poor. In that argument, Tucker famously criticised David Hume, who he believed failed to appreciate the long-term superiority of the 'rich' countries.77 Tucker even believed that:

  • 78 Josiah Tucker to Lord Kames (26 December 1763), quoted in Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country (...)

I have had the honour of making him [Hume] a convert, in regard to the notion, That cheap countries do not produce cheap manufactures. The more he reflects on the matter, the more he will be convinced, that a rich industrious country can never be overtaken, much less outdone by a poor one; equal industry operating in both.78

  • 79 Tucker, Josiah, The Elements of Commerce, and Theory of Taxes (n.p. ([Bristol?]), 1755), p. 88.
  • 80 Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country” Debate in the Scottish Enlightenment', in idem, Jealousy (...)
  • 81 On this, see Kobayashi, N., Collected Works of the History of Economic Thought 4, p. 99.

44Indeed, free trade was one of the key strategies that Tucker proposed to improve the conditions of the British Empire. The Revolution of 1688-9 had brought England a constitution of liberty, but another revolution was required for Britain’s commercial system.79 Monopolies had been prevalent in the British commerce since the seventeenth century, and were bad for both countries and individuals. Tucker and Hume were basically held similar views in that respect, but, according to Istvan Hont, Tucker still departed from the Scotsman, in claiming 'for pronounced protectionism and selective tariff policies for poor countries in legitimate self-defense against the rich'.80 Also, Tucker had basically remained uncritical of the Navigation Acts until the mid-1780s,81 by which time he became closer to an anti-imperialist stance (although he never fully embraced it).

Monopolies as a Violation of Natural Rights

45Even so, it is doubtless that Tucker was a staunch defender of free trade, as his position on that issue remained mostly consistent throughout almost his entire career. Also, mostly consistent was his idea of justice and religiousness within the problems of international commerce. As to the issues of the Empire and the American and Irish affairs, he placed an emphasis on political and economic benefits, not on justice, but both elements existed along one another in his discussion on international trade.

  • 82 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, p. 124.
  • 83 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.44, p. 582. See also Smith, Adam, Lectures on Jurisprudence, (...)
  • 84 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, passim; idem, Reflections on the Expediency of Opening (...)
  • 85 Tucker, J., Reflections on the Expediency of Opening the Trade to Turkey, pp. 6-20.
  • 86 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, pp. 120-123.

46According to Tucker, monopoly was a violation of natural rights, even if the charters granted to exclusive companies were considered almost 'sacred'.82 Note that Smith similarly looked upon free trade as 'the most sacred rights of mankind'.83 Moreover, monopolies were incompatible with public welfare, whereas free trade would promote 'emulation' among the participants, from which all the parties would benefit.84 Cheaper materials for manufacturers would be imported in large quantities, and the government would increase its revenue from free trade. If peripheral areas, like the farthest corners of Scotland, became rich by trade, cities like London would also flourish. The overall population would increase as well, which would be to the advantages of both landed interests and the poor.85 Replacing monopolies like the Hudson’s Bay Company with free trade would benefit both the mother country and her colonies.86

  • 87 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 213-215: 'And this Country in particular would have found the happy Ef (...)
  • 88 Tucker, Josiah, Reflections on the Present Matters in Dispute between Great Britain and Ireland (Du (...)

47After 1688-9, Britain’s foreign trade increased thanks to the government’s suppression of most monopolistic foreign trade, funding for new commercial projects and large investments in agriculture, manufacture and commerce. In the eighteenth century, economics became better understood so even more effective measures could be taken. However, further growth was still prevented by futile wars, excessive wealth, and the oppression of natives in places like East India and the surviving monopolies.87 By 1785, Tucker came to believe that even the Acts of Trade and Navigation were harmful to the commercial interests.88

  • 89 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages, 1753, p. ii ('Introduction').
  • 90 Tucker, Josiah, Cui Bono?: Or, an Inquiry, what Benefits Can Arise Either to the English Or the Ame (...)

48While Tucker often proposed ideas for the British Empire from the perspective of mainly political and economic benefits, his religious faith and concerns with justice and morality also played a great role in the background of the arguments. In his view, international trade was the realisation of the plans of the divine providence, in the sense that God intended a system of mutual dependence to ensure that no civilised society could survive independently of its neighbours.89 As military conquests, economic jealousy was pernicious to the welfare of everyone in the world, and the way world was designed to be so by a heavenly power. As Tucker put it, 'this Demon, the Jealousy of Trade, puts on various Shapes, in order to haunt and terrify Mankind with dreadful Panics, and groundless Fears […] [but] Providence never designed us to be Beasts of Prey, to bite and devour one another'.90

  • 91 Tucker, Josiah, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London, 1781), pp. 183-184; (...)
  • 92 Tucker, Letter to Edmund Burke, p. 23: 'Nay, I think it is demonstrable, that domestic pr predial S (...)

49Following the paths of providence, the British Empire could conceivably have become more virtuous and prosperous, but it had long been not just economically inefficient, but morally corrupt. The most deplorable example is the slave trade. In a passage of his Treatise of Civil Government, Tucker explained how slavery had been introduced into the European colonies in America. According to Tucker’s understanding, Native Americans had been forced to labour in the colonies once they became prisoners following their struggle against the Europeans. The colonists, then, realised that they were useless because of their alleged physical weaknesses and choose Africans as their substitute. However, in Tucker’s view, slavery was not only inefficient but also 'the most inhuman Custom'.91 As he wrote to Burke, 'the Laws of Commerce, when rightly understood, do perfectly co-incide with the Laws of Morality; both originally from the same good Being, whose Mercies are over all his Works'.92

50What Tucker wished to establish was an Empire that was not just economically efficient, but also politically stable and morally righteous, without which its nations could not flourish for a long time. That was closely linked to the fundamental principle of his political thought: the coherence between morality, political institutions and social welfare.

  • 93 Tuker, Josiah, Seventeen Sermons on some of the Most Important Points on Natural and Revealed Relig (...)
  • 94 Tucker, J., Seventeen Sermons, 1776, pp. 142, 144. See also idem, Letter to Edmund Burke, p. 23.

51As eloquently expressed in one of his sermons, the most fundamental aspect of a community was religion, and human nature based on it, upon which a civil government was built. Morality taught by religion could apply to the commercial arts, and promote 'Industry, Frugality, honest Labour, and useful Employment'.93 By embracing 'the Freedom of Commerce', all men’s industriousness could be encouraged in 'such Ways as will serve himself and the Public together'. This was also dependent on 'sound Religion': lasting prosperity could not be achieved under a commercial system 'subversive of Religion and Virtue, and detrimental to the great Ends of Government'.94

  • 95 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages, 1753, pp. 23-36.
  • 96 Tucker, J., Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Britain and (...)

52In Tucker’s view, the British post-1688-9 constitution was far superior to France’s tyranny, even though property rights were secured in France as well; Roman Catholicism and the aristocracy prevented French merchants from free trade.95 However, Tucker’s skepticism towards ancient constitutionalism did not lead him to advocating for any radical reformation of the constitution, as he believed that it would plunge Britain and its empire into a crisis. According to his Burkean views, even though many people in the Empire were not granted the right to vote, their interests were 'virtually' represented.96

Restructuring the Empire for What?

  • 97 Bourke, Richard, Empire and Revolution: Political Life of Edmund Burke (Princeton : Princeton Unive (...)

53Tucker’s political thought, including his ideas on Empire, was part of his project of advancing, (to apply Richard Bourke’s phrase), 'the spirit of liberty', while restraining 'the spirit of conquest'.97 In this respect, he had much in common with his adversaries, including Burke, Price and Priestley. A question, however, may be to what extent such a project would have been concerned with material benefits, justice, and/or religion.

54This article attempted to highlight Smith’s and Tucker’s 'utilitarian' stances and their attention to social wellbeing, but other elements of their critiques of the Empire, such as morality and religion, should not be neglected. Apparently, it is a mistake to treat all these factors as separate from one another. For the thinkers, doing justice or being moral frequently meant bringing social benefits to people in general, and at least, for Tucker, doing something religiously right would provide a basis for social prosperity. At the same time, however, the relationship among them varied from issue to issue in subjects related to imperial affairs.

55For Smith and Tucker, the American affairs during the late 1760s onwards were more concerned around the problem of social welfare than with pure justice. However, their analyses and conclusions differed. Smith 'preferred' an incorporating union, but he also saw Britain’s separation from the colonies as desirable, whereas Tucker, after the mid-1760s, regarded the latter as the only possible solution to the problem.

  • 98 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 107.

56Tucker and Smith were closer to each other in their analyses of Ireland; both believed that an incorporating union would contribute to the increase of welfare for all the parties. Only Smith, however, explicitly maintained that the union would emancipate Irish people from the factional oppression. It is hard to believe, however, that Tucker had been uncritical of the long-standing factionalism in Ireland, even though he mainly commented on the concept of the Irish 'patriot' and the 'republican' campaigns. As acute critics of political liberty, all were also concerned with the problems of justice, and economic benefits from the East India affairs. As he said in 1755, 'it might really be expected, that all the Indian Nations would unite, and rise as one Man […] in order to expel these bloody Tyrants and Usurpers'.98

  • 99 Tucker, Josiah, Instructions for Travellers (Gloucester, 1757), p. 36.

57A proposal that both Smith and Tucker made was to establish a free, or freer, system of commerce, which would be effective in resolving Britain’s financial problems. In Tucker’s opinion, taxation had begun to be understood properly in Britain only recently during the Walpole’s era (c. 1721-1742), and the taxation system from that period was superior to those of most other nations in terms of its 'universal distribution and impartiality of the Taxes'.99 In 1755, he emphasised the significance of a liberal government and free commerce as a solution to Britain’s cumulative debt:

  • 100 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 134.

The Government and Administration, which, God be praised, no longer proceeds upon the old Maxims of Tyranny and Prerogative, but considers itself as the equal Protector of, and equally related to all its Subjects, would soon find the Effects of its Paternal Care in the growing Industry of the People. The wheels of Government would smoothly on; because the great Subject of repining would be taken away: And it would be neither the Interest, nor Inclination of the great Body of the People to complain of an open Trade, or to wish for any Change in their Commercial system […] Moreover, the Amount of Taxes would be every Day increasing, because the Numbers of the People would increase, and their Abilities to consume taxable Commodities would increase likewise: Consequently the Produce of the Sinking Fund would rise; the National Debt would lessen, and Money, when wanted, might be borrowed at almost any Interest.100

  • 101 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 97.
  • 102 Tucker, J., Reflections on the Present Matters in Dispute between Great Britain and Ireland, p. 39.

58He also believed that government revenue would increase if to open commerce with India and China.101 However, after 1755, the British finances became even worse, and as late as 1785, he still petitioned for free trade, asking: 'would it tend to the accumulation, or diminution of the burden of the present enormous national debt?'102 His answer was surely the same as in 1755.

  • 103 Correspondence of Adam Smith, p. 382.

59Tucker was also aware that prolific intellectuals of the age, including Hume, Smith, Price and Priestley had expressed their great concerns with that problem. Like Smith, he believed that the colonists’ tax payments to Britain were likely constitutional and maintained that American independence would emancipate Britain 'from the great ordinary expense of the military establishment'.103 Smith and Tucker were also alike in insisting that Britain’s taxation system should be extended to Ireland, and this was part of their argument for an incorporating union between the two nations. Both Tucker and Smith argued for free trade and creating the union, in which they were also convinced of the 'rich' England’s superiority over the 'poor' Ireland and that it would remain so in the near future.

  • 104 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Trade, 1749, p. 36.

60However, equally significant was the fact that they all adopted 'gradualism' in their proposals for the reform. 'After such an Union of the Two Kingdoms', he wrote in 1749, 'to lay the English taxes gradually upon Ireland, and to ease the English of the worse of theirs by the same Gradation'.104 In the 'Appendix' of the same work, Tucker expressed a more generalised view:

  • 105 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Trade, 1749, pp. 58-9.

THE foregoing Proposals were endeavoured to be drawn up in such a Manner as pointed out, how the desired Alterations in our Systems of Commerce, and of collecting the Publick Revenue might be brought about as gradually as possible. And no greater Deviations were attempted to be made from the present State of these Affairs, than seemed absolutely necessary; least too precipitate a Shock might prejudice Mankind against Conviction. I did not therefore propose some of the above-mentioned Alterations, as what appeared to me the very best, which could be devised; but the best in our present Circumstances, and the likeliest to succeed. For I am convinced, That what I am now going to offer, is in itself a much more effectual Remedy, if our Constitution is strong enough to admit the Application of it.105

61In his work on poverty, published in 1760, he linked to his 'gradualism' to an analysis of human nature:

  • 106 Tucker, Josiah, The Manifold Causes of the Increase of the Poor Distinctly Set forth; together with (...)

The Remedies ought to go to the Root of the Evils here complained of; but they should not proceed with too much Violence, and Precipitance: Nor should their whole Tendency appear at once; except to the judicious few. For the Mass of Mankind are every-where more attached to old Customs than to the Truth and Reason, or the Usefulness of Things. And therefore their deep-rooted Prejudices must be undermined by very great Degrees, instead of being buttered down by Force and Fury, especially in Such a Constitution as ours.106

62As seen above, Smith, in Wealth of Nations, displayed a similar principle for policies, although unlike Tucker, drawing attention to the case of international trade. On a textual level, however, an apparent difference between Smith and Tucker can be seen in their attitudes towards Christianity. In Tucker’s view, Christian, more precisely, Protestant ethics would be perfectly compatible with political and economic liberties. That vision of the world reflected his own ideals, but it was also practically oriented (at least in his own view).

  • 107 Tucker, Josiah, Reflections on the Expediency of a Law for the Naturalization of Foreign Protestant (...)
  • 108 Tucker, Josiah, A Letter to a Friend concerning Naturalizations (London, 1753); idem, A Second Lett (...)

63Tucker’s involvement in the 'naturalization' and immigration debates during the early phase of his career was interesting. Referring to Sir Josiah Child, Tucker claimed that emigration to the colonies could be problematic only when Britain did not welcome immigrants. In his view, as long as Britain’s spirit of the industry remained vigorous and the country brought in industrious foreigners, the migration to the colonies would not lead Britain to depopulation.107 According to him, a pro-immigration policy would maintain Britain’s competitiveness as industrious manufacturers would otherwise move to rival countries like France. He also believed that such a policy would make Britain adhere to Christian morality.108

  • 109 Price, Richard, Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the (...)
  • 110 Price, Richard, Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and the Means of Making (...)

64For Tucker, population was key in considering the public welfare, and like Richard Price and others, he believed that other phenomena, including wealth, profligacy, heavy taxation and sheer tyranny, would lead to depopulation.109 Both Tucker and Price held that the spirit of industry would die out whenever any of those things were introduced to a culture. However, Tucker consciously distinguished himself from Price and Priestley in terms of political theories, and he also saw their views on the American Revolution, a great sign of humankind’s progress, as fallacious.110 In that respect, Tucker was surely closer to Smith and Burke, but still different in his unique application of Christian morality to politics of the age.

  • 111 On this, see Oslington, Paul ed., Adam Smith as Theologian (London : Routledge, 2011).
  • 112 Smith, A., Theory of Moral Sentiments, I.ii.4, II. Iii.3.2, pp. 36, 105-6 quoted by Hill, Lisa, 'Th (...)

65His views on religious morality, political institutions, and international commerce were so coherent that they helped us to distinguish him from Smith, or even Burke. Indeed, scholars still debated the religious nature of Smith’s moral and social theories,111 and it is not difficult to trace some overlap between their religious sentiments. For instance, Smith, in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, introduced an aspect of the ancient Stoics’ religious notion that 'the world was governed by the all-ruling providence of a wise, powerful and good God, [and] every single event ought to be regarded as making a necessary part of the plan of the universe'. Even 'the vices and follies of mankind, therefore, [are] made as necessary a part of this plan'. After all, however, the divine providence 'intended to promote happiness and to guard against misery'.112 While Tucker’s religious thought could easily agree with these remarks, at least, it is evident that Smith’s expression was less overtly religious than Tucker’s. More importantly, their theories of moral judgement were clearly different. That is to say, where Tucker placed the Christian (Protestant) ethics, Smith introduced his idea of an 'impartial spectator'. Regardless of the extent to which Smith's 'impartial spectator' entailed religious connotations, Tucker did not develop any equivalent moral theory as Smith did.

  • 113 On this, for instance, see Fitzpatrick, Martin, 'Joseph Priestley, Political Philosopher', in Josep (...)
  • 114 Priestley, Joseph, Letters to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (third edition; Birmingham, 1791), (...)

66Obviously, Tucker’s appeal to Christian ethics was only one of its applications to the international politics of the age. In 1791, Priestley wrote that 'the prevailing spirit of commerce, aided by Christianity, and true philosophy, cannot fail to effect in time. But it can never take place while mankind are governed in the wretched manner in which they now are'. In Priestley’s view, the American and French Revolutions attempted to eliminate such a 'wretched manner' of government, and also marked the beginnings of the end of European empires.113 'Together with the general prevalence of the true principles of civil government', as Priestley foresaw the future state of world politics, 'we may expect to see the extinction of all national prejudice and enmity, and the establishment of universal peace and good will among all nations'. In other words, 'No part of America, Africa, or Asia, will be held in subjection, to any part of Europe, and all the intercourse that will be kept up among them, will be for their mutual advantage'.114

  • 115 For Priestley as a utilitarian, for instance, Canovan, Margaret, 'The Un-Benthamite Utilitarianism (...)
  • 116 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, p. 626-7., IV.vii.c.80, pp. 626-7.

67If here we find a type of 'utilitarianism', it partly derived from his religious faith.115 Also, the above passage may well be compared to Smith’s more secularised vision of the future: 'Hereafter, perhaps, the natives of those countries may grow stronger, or those of Europe may grow weaker, and the inhabitants of all the different quarters of the world may arrive at that equality of courage and force which, by inspiring mutual fear, can alone overawe the injustice of independent nations into some sort of respect for the rights of one another.' Unlike Priestley, Smith did not draw attention to political right principles, but to the balance of power brought about by global exchanges, both intellectual and material. That is to say, 'nothing seems more likely to establish this equality of force than that mutual communication of knowledge and of all sorts of improvements which an extensive commerce from all countries to all countries naturally, or rather necessarily, carries along with it.'116

68Tucker did not prophesy anything similar, but rather, he shared Priestley’s (and perhaps Smith’s) wishes for world peace. For both Priestley and Tucker, religious truth would generate both justice and utility, but they were divided over the question of how political rights were involved in this triangle of ideas. The ideological differences of these thinkers suggest that not just any one of these ideas (utility, justice and religious faith), but their interrelationships were significant in order to reveal the arguments against Empire of the age. The Enlightenment critique of Empire was the matter of justice, but it was also linked closely to a variety of utilitarian and religious visions, or to those of all these viewpoints combined. The complexity and variations of these visions clearly deserve further exploration.

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Notes

1 A representative figure of this current, David Armitage, who moved from Cambridge in Britain to the United States, where the study of intellectual history is now entwined with political theory and global history, published seminal work which has rendered this dichotomous question almost invalid, as the ideologies behind the British Empire had already arisen in early-modern Great Britain before the narrowly-defined Age of Enlightenment. See Armitage, David, The ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000).

2 Muthu, Sankar, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton, N.J.  : Princeton University Press, 2003); Muthu, Sankar (ed.), Empire and Modern Political Thought (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 5-6.

3 Pitts, Jennifer, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2005).

4 Before the nineteenth century, Europeans already regarded native Americans (and Africans) as obviously inferior to themselves, with several (later Aristotelian or Protestant) jurists discussing the possibility and limit of the law of nations and cosmopolitan law. In regard to the peoples of the Orient, East India, and Asia, however, most European literati sufficiently understood how significant the contribution of Asian culture had been to the development of their own civilisation. Before the 'turn to Empire' (in Pitts' words), the Western imperial project tended to focus on constructing 'settlers’ colonies' in the New World, seldom accompanied by the indiscriminate arrogance toward the 'non-West' as a whole. Around the turn to the nineteenth century, however, the Western ambition toward Asia was no longer merely commercial, but also colonialistic, expanding 'dependencies' that had huge native populations with whom the Western immigrants had to co-exist. For this issue, (in addition to the Introduction of this special issue), see Baji, Tomohito, The International Thought of Alfred Zimmern: Classicism, Zionism and the Shadow of Commonwealth (Cham : Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), pp. 211-221.

5 Williams, David, 'Adam Smith and Colonialism', Journal of International Political Theory, 10 (2014), pp. 283-301; Ulas Ince, Onur, 'Adam Smith, Settler Colonialism, and Limits of Liberal Anti-imperialism', The Journal of Politics, 83:3 (2021), pp. 1080-1096. See also Travers, Robert, 'British India as a Problem in Political Economy: Comparing James Steuart and Adam Smith', in Lineages of Empire: The Historical Roots of British Imperial Thought (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 137-161.

6 Campbell, T.D. and I.S. Ross, 'The Utilitarianism of Adam Smith's Policy Advice', Journal of the History of Ideas, 42:1 (1981), pp. 73-92 (at 77, 79). See also Levy, D., 'The partial spectator in the Wealth of Nations: A robust utilitarianism', the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2:2 (1995), pp. 299-326; Schneewind, J.B., The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 391; Rosen, F., 'The idea of utility in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments', History of European Ideas, 26 (2000), pp. 79-103; Rosen, Frederick, Classical Utilitarianism From Hume to Mill (London : Routledge, 2003). For a different view of Smith’s argumentation, see Witztum, Amos and Jeffrey T. Young, 'Utilitarianism and the Role of Utility in Adam Smith', The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 20:4 (2013), pp. 572-602; Raphael, D. D., 'Hume and Adam Smith on justice and utility', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 73 (1972) pp. 87-103. For one of the present authors’ opposition to such an interpretation, see Ueno, Hiroki, 'Does Adam Smith’s Moral Theory Truly Diverge from Humean Utilitarianism?' in Schefczyk, Michael and Schmidt-Petri, Christoph (eds), Utility, Progress, and Technology: Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (Karlsruhe : KIT Scientific Publishing, 2021), pp. 305-313. While critical of Witztum and Young’s, Ueno shares their criticism of John Rawls’ interpretation of Adam Smith’s concept of impartial spectator. See, Rawls, J., A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, Mass : Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 27.

7 Utilitarianism may be the moral theory that has been most consistently misunderstood, particularly in non-Western countries (see, Arie, Daisuke, 'Lost in Translation? How Japan’s Intellectuals Translated Utilitarian Writings in the Early Stage of Her Modernization', Revue d’études benthamiennes, 23 (2019)). It goes without saying that, far from an amoral egoistic position focusing solely on practical usefulness, utilitarianism posits a public and rather altruistic criterion for moral judgement, justifying hedonistic individualism and the pursuit of self-interest under the condition that such collective actions as a whole consequently produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (frequently without intent). While this definition is framed in terms of ethical or political normative theory, it should be underlined that, in the contextualist studies of intellectual history, utilitarian ideas and ideologies were either unconsciously or preconsciously employed as a 'paradigmatic' language by many authors including those, discussed in the present article, without being systematically expressed or theorised. For the purpose of the following argument here, it should also be noted that, theoretically speaking, utilitarian moral theory has its own view of justice related to common good, while the nature of their framing is of a distinct quality from the so-called Lockean or deontological conception of justice and right. The latter’s fundamental characteristic lies in its categorical and unconditional morality that is justified separately from happiness or good as consequences of action.

8 J. G. A. Pocock alludes only briefly to the common utilitarian ground to Smith and Tucker (and Hume): 'The key to Tucker’s mind must be found in the unity he effected between the need for economic freedom and that for submission to civil authority. The first of these principles convinced him (with David Hume) that those who made war for commercial empire were wicked madmen, and (with Adam Smith) that to maintain empire in order to regulate colonial economies was costly futility' (Pocock, J. G. A., 'Josiah Tucker on Burke, Locke, and Price: A study in the varieties of eighteenth-century conservatism' in his Virtue, Commerce, and History: Essays on Political thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1985) p. 161).

9 To quickly mention the order of our argument, which addresses Smith first and then Tucker: one may draw attention to the fact that Tucker, as the paper shall later discuss in detail, expressed his criticism of mercantilism by suggesting the reasonableness of the separation plan, long before Smith did. With this fact suggesting the considerable possibility that Tucker himself even influenced Smith (possibly via Hume) and not vise-versa on the issues, however, we shall begin with the long-discussed Smith before Tucker in order to set up a basic framework for clarifying their similarities and differences.

10 Several alternatives to be compared with Tucker are surely present in the Scottish Enlightenment in relation to our subject, and the combination selected here is not intended to be exclusive. For example, Adam Ferguson is another fascinating case worthy of investigation, due to his life-long commitment to the imperial project being much more explicit (which will be tackled by Craig Smith’s contribution in our special issue, entitled 'Adam Ferguson on Trade and Empire'), while Hume was likely to be less attracted by the colonists’ causes in North America than Smith, due to his political stance being even more similar to Tucker’s. Generally speaking, Smith simply presents a more natural choice than other Scots here for comparison with Tucker, based on the situation with previous literature.

11 For recent arguments from the international relations theory, see van de Harr, Edwin, 'Adam Smith on Empire and International Relations', in The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, eds. Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli and Craig Smith (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013). In this special issue, Shinji Nohara’s article 'Adam Smith’s colonial thought on South Africa' is expanding the scope beyond North America in a search for the correlation between Smith and colonialism.

12 Ross, Ian Simpson, The Life of Adam Smith, Second Edition (Oxford : Oxford University Press, [1995] 2010), pp. 284-285 and chapter 17; cf. Phillipson, Nicholas, Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (New Haven : Yale University Press, 2010 [Penguin Books, 2011]), pp. 211-213.

13 Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, eds. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1976), Book VI, chapter 7.

14 Pocock, J. G. A., 'Hume and the American Revolution: The dying thoughts of a North Briton' in his Virtue, Commerce, and History (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 139.

15 While Hume’s advocacy of American independence tends to chiefly be framed in terms of criticism of the instability of London domestic politics, Smith also roughly shares Hume’s critical viewpoint regarding factionalism (although Hume’s tone in his private correspondence is far more aggressive). See Pocock, J., 'American Revolution', pp. 137-138: 'When empire was a popular cause it meant the expansion of liberty and faction at the expense of reason and authority. Hume wanted to see the Americans independent not because he thought the London radicals right but because he thought them foolish and wicked, like their evil angel Pitt [i.e. William Pitt], and wanted to see them deprived of their rallying cry. There are some remarkably splenetic passages in the letters, in which Hume hopes to see Americans in revolt, London depopulated, and authority restored to the nobility and gentry of both kingdoms. Empire breeds faction, and faction fanaticism'.

16 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.60, p. 589

17 Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire; Muthu, Sankar, 'Adam Smith’s Critique of International Trading Companies: Theorizing “Globalization” in the Age of Enlightenment', Political Theory, 36 (2008), pp. 185-212.

18 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.58-59, p. 588.

19 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.a.17, p. 562. He described it as similar to 'the absurd idea of the philosopher’s stone'. Cf. IV.vii.a.18-19.

20 While Smith’s distinction between the laws of justice and conveniencies is at the centre of his framing natural jurisprudence and 'polis' (from which political economy is derived), this does not denote that his interest finally moved to the economic analysis to come to make light of the morality of justice. On the contrary, his inquiry in the Wealth of Nations should be understood as attempting to demonstrate that what is right (or at least permissible) in terms of the sense of justice normally corresponds to what is best for the improvement of human welfare in 'the system of natural liberty', suggesting a conception of justice founded upon the utilitarian basis. In the Wealth of Nations, Smith sometimes employs the language of natural rights when discussing whether the legal institutions at issue are beneficial or harmful to most of the people. See, for instance, Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.44, p. 582. On the same page, Smith also mentions the mercantilist prohibitions as 'impertinent badges of slavery […] in their present state of improvement', which is reminiscent of his renowned criticism of modern slavery on the grounds of both natural rights and utilitarian logic. This point will be mentioned later in this section.

21 Skinner, Andrew, 'Adam Smith : the demise of the colonial relationship with America', Cahier d’économie politique, no. 27/28, Libéralisme à l'épreuve (Paris : L’Harmattan, 1996), pp. 122-124.

22 Skinner, A., 'Demise', p. 114; Stevens, D, 'Adam Smith and the Colonial Disturbances', in Essays on Adam Smith, eds. Andrew S. Skinner and Thomas Wilson (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1975), pp. 202-217.

23 For the details, see Ueno, Hiroki, 'Educating a Young Aristocrat during Grand Tour', Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 21 (2023), pp. 75-96, section 5. Cf. Winch, Donald, 'The science of the legislator: The enlightenment heritage' in The State and Social Investigation in Britain and the United States, eds. M.J. Lancey and M.O. Furner (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 63-94.

24 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.60, p. 612; cf. IV.vii.b.49, p. 584.

25 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.62, p. 613.

26 Smith, Craig, Adam Smith (Cambridge : Polity Press, 2020), pp. 137-138.

27 According to Smith, although the American colonies appeared to be free from heavy direct taxes, the monopoly imposed by the mercantilists substantially means 'a very grievous tax upon the colonies' (Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.67, p. 618).

28 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.67, p. 618.

29 Smith discusses that free trade within the imperial territory is beneficial to the general wealth of the nation by restraining the profits of commercial capitals through competition between them. See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.24, pp. 576-577.

30 Keane, J., Tom Paine: A Political Life (London : Bloomsbury, 1995), pp. 257-8.

31 Smith, C., Adam Smith, p. 153.

32 Dickinson, Harry T., 'The Failure of Conciliation: Britain and the American Colonies 1763-1783', The Kyoto Economic Review, 79(2) (2010), pp. 9-10, cf. pp. 4-6; cf. Dickinson, Harry T., Liberty and Property: Political Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London and New York : Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1977), chapter 6. Smith himself clearly disagreed with the colonists’ criticism of the idea of virtual representation in the Wealth of Nations. See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.79, p. 625.

33 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.67, pp. 617-618.

34 See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.69-70, pp. 619-620. Cf. Dickinson, H. T., 'Failure of Conciliation', pp. 9-10.

35 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.77, p. 624.

36 Smith understands considerable differences between their logic and his own vision of restructuring the imperial taxation system. See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.74-75, p. 622.

37 Pocock, J. G. A., The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 105-106, 145-148, 171-173, 194-205, 220-226, 234-235.

38 In the consolidation plan, Smith highly recommends the incorporation union modelled out of the new Anglo-Scottish relation since 1707 and, as shall be addressed later, this is also applied to his resolution to the Irish question.

39 For qualification, it should be mentioned that there were several plans suggested by the American side that searched for the possibility of establishing a more integrated legislative body covering the whole empire, such as Benjamin Franklin’s 'Albany Plan' of 1754 and Joseph Galloway’s plan for a 'grand legislative union' (1774). According to Andrew Skinner, Smith’s consolidation plan was broadly in line with these visions (Skinner, A., 'Demise', pp. 124-125).

40 Smith, Adam, Correspondence of Adam Smith, eds. Ernest Campbell Mossner and Ian Simpson Ross (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 377-385.

41 According to J. G. A. Pocock, this utilitarian view of American independence is shared with both Tucker and Hume as well: the need for submission to civil authority 'persuaded Tucker (with both Hume and Smith) that if the Americans would not submit to the authority of Parliament they should become separate and independent states - not indeed because they possessed any of the rights they were claiming, which would soon lead them to declare their independence, but because they were a set of dangerous anarchs with whom Britain, for both commercial and civil reasons, should have as little as possible to do. Neither Hume nor Smith was far from sharing the belief that independence was desirable, not as an American right but as a British convenience, and Hume agreed with Tucker that it would spike the guns of the potentially revolutionary agitators in London and Middlesex; but the dean of Gloucester proclaimed at the top of his voice what Smith knew was not politically practical to say before public opinion was ready for it' (Pocock, J. G. A., 'Tucker on Burke, Locke, and Price', pp. 161-2).

42 Pocock, J., 'American Revolution', p. 138: 'Like Adam Smith in Scotland and Josiah Tucker in England, Hume desired American independence for the strictly Tory reason - Tory, that is, as that word would be used in the generation following his own - that empire had come to be a radical burden on the structure of British politics. The Whig regime had been among other things a balance between the forces of landed oligarchy, making for stability, and London commerce, making for empire. Faced with a choice between the two, the conservative mind would sacrifice empire to stability without hesitation - especially if it meant jettisoning Pitt’s and Wilkes’s radical Londoners along the way'.

43 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.

44 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.

45 On the relationship between justice and utility in Adam Smith, see also Ueno, H., 'Does Adam Smith’s Moral Theory Truly Diverge from Humean Utilitarianism?'.

46 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.66, p. 617.

47 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.44, p. 606.

48 Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, eds. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie (Oxford : Oxford University Press [Clarendon Press], 1976) VI.ii.2.18, p. 233. An excellent elucidation on the matter of Smith and Physiocrats can be found in Hont, Istvan, 'Adam Smith and the Political Economy of the “Unnatural and Retrograde” Order', in idem, Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, Mss and London : Harvard University Press, 2005).

49 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.44, p. 606.

50 For example, see Dickinson, H. T., 'Failure of Conciliation'.

51 This expression is derived from the title of the following collection of essays: Robertson, John (ed.), A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the British Union of 1707 (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1995). See also Armitage, D., The Ideological Origins.

52 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, V.iii.89, p. 944.

53 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, V.iii.89, p. 944.

54 Phillipson, N., Adam Smith, pp. 235-236.

55 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.90-91, p. 631; cf. IV.vii.b.22-24, pp. 575-577:'Monopolies of this kind are properly established against the very nation which erects them. The greater part of that nation are thereby not only excluded from a trade to which it might be convenient for them to turn some part of their stock, but are obliged to buy the goods which that trade deals in, somewhat dearer than if it was open and free to all their countrymen'.

56 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.c.102-104, pp. 637-638: 'Nothing, however, can be more directly contrary to the real interest of those companies, considered as the sovereigns of the countries which they have conquered, than this destructive plan. In almost all countries the revenue of the sovereign is drawn from that of the people. The greater the revenue of the people, therefore, the greater the annual produce of their land and labour, the more they can afford to the sovereign. It is his interest, therefore, to increase as much as possible that annual produce. […]. But a company of merchants are, it seems, incapable of considering themselves as sovereigns, even after they have become such'.

57 Cooperative aspects of the principles of public utility and natural justice in Smith should be underlined from this article’s point of view. What is characteristic of his critique of slavery lies in synthesising the two. Not every natural lawyer (even including John Locke) is against slavery, and Gershom Carmichael, the predecessor to Smith as the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow, was rather an exception who categorically declined the right of possessing slaves because of its violation of basic natural rights. To this modern moral judgement did Smith add another powerful argument against slavery, which is a utilitarian critique: 'Smith’s emphasis is on the fact that slavery was economically unproductive; the judgment of the 'badness' of slavery is immediately illustrated by the fact that a free man works better than a slave' (Berry, Christopher, The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2013), p. 125). See Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, III.ii.9, p. 387. While his utilitarian perspective on slavery does not exclude the language of natural rights at all, Smith’s stance diverges from the Kantian deontologist ethics according to which the natural rights should be defended regardless of whether slavery is in reality harmful to public welfare or not. Smith’s political economy instead attempts to demonstrate how and under what condition anything wrong from the natural sense of justice is at the same time contrary to public welfare as well.

58 For an overview of Tucker’s engagement with the American affairs, see Shelton, George, Dean Tucker and the Eighteenth Century Economics and Political Thought (New York: Macmillan, 1981), chap. 8; Rashid,Salim, '“He Startled … As If He Saw a Spectre”: Tucker’s Proposal for American Independence ', Journal of the History of Ideas, 43: 3 (1982), pp. 439-460.

59 For Tucker's Christian morality, see Price, Peter Xavier, 'Liberty, Poverty and Charity in the Political Economy of Josiah Tucker and Joseph Butler', Modern Intellectual History, 16 (2019), pp. 741-770; Young, B.W., 'Christianity, Commerce and the Canon: Josiah Tucker and Richard Woodward on Political Economy', History of European Ideas, 22 (1996), pp. 385-400.

60 On this, see especially, Price, P., 'Liberty, Poverty and Charity in the Political Economy of Josiah Tucker and Joseph Butler'.

61 Tucker, Josiah, A Brief Essays on the Advantages and Disadvantages which respectively attend France and Great Britain, with regard to Trade (London, 1753), pp. 95-96. The first and shorter edition was published in 1749 under the same title. See also Kobayashi, Noboru, Keizaigakushi Chosakushū 4 (Igirisu Jūshōshugi Kenkyū, 2) [Collected Works of the History of Economic Thought 4 (Studies on British Mercantilism 2)] (Tokyo : Miraisha, 1977) [in Japanese], pp. 99-100.

62 On this see, for example, Kobayashi, N., Collected Works of the History of Economic Thought 4, pp. 40-41.

63 Tucker, Josiah, A Series of Answers to Certain Popular Objections, against Separating from the Rebellious Colonies (Gloucester, 1776), p. xiii.

64 Tucker, Josiah, A Letter to Edmund Burke (Gloucester, 1775).

65 Maseres, Francis, Considerations on the Expediency of Admitting Representatives from the American Colonies in the British House of Commons (London, 1770).

66 Tucker, Josiah, Four Tracts, Political and Commercial Subjects (Gloucester, 1774), pp. 164-202. On this, see also Rashid, S., 'Tucker’s Proposal for American Independence', pp. 445-447.

67 Correspondence of Adam Smith, 380-1 ; Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 196-201 (quotation at 197).

68 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 201-2.

69 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 172-196.

70 Tucker, Josiah, Tract V : The Respective Pleas and Arguments of the Mother Country, and of the Colonies, Distinctly Set Forth (Gloucester, 1775), p. 9.

71 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 203, 210-212.

72 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 218-220.

73 Tucker, Josiah, An Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Britain and Ireland (Gloucester, 1775), p. 42; Tucker, Series of Answers, 1776, p. 75. The distance between mother countries and colonies are significant as he wrote to Dr. Birch in 1755: 'In regard to the Commercial: if a Colony is so far distant, as it the Mother Country can reap no Benefit from it'. As for the French colonies in Canada, he wrote in the same letter: 'their settlements in Canada are a dead expence & a continual Drain to them; that they never did, & never can answer any of those important Ends of Commerce for which Colonies ought to be settled'. See British Library Add MS 4326, fol. 64.

74 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, tract I (esp., p. 28).

75 Tucker, J., Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Britain and Ireland, p. 44.

76 Tucker, J., Tract V, pp. 16-21.

77 Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country” Debate in the Scottish Enlightenment', in idem, Jealousy of Trade, pp. 267-322.

78 Josiah Tucker to Lord Kames (26 December 1763), quoted in Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country” Debate in the Scottish Enlightenment', in idem, Jealousy of Trade, p. 295.

79 Tucker, Josiah, The Elements of Commerce, and Theory of Taxes (n.p. ([Bristol?]), 1755), p. 88.

80 Hont, I., 'The “Rich Country-Poor Country” Debate in the Scottish Enlightenment', in idem, Jealousy of Trade, p. 294.

81 On this, see Kobayashi, N., Collected Works of the History of Economic Thought 4, p. 99.

82 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, p. 124.

83 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, IV.vii.b.44, p. 582. See also Smith, Adam, Lectures on Jurisprudence, eds. D. D. Raphael and P. G. Stein (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 8 (24 December 1762).

84 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, passim; idem, Reflections on the Expediency of Opening the Trade to Turkey (London, 1753), p. 4.

85 Tucker, J., Reflections on the Expediency of Opening the Trade to Turkey, pp. 6-20.

86 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Taxes, pp. 120-123.

87 Tucker, J., Four Tracts, pp. 213-215: 'And this Country in particular would have found the happy Effects of them to a much greater Degree than it now doth, were they not counter-acted by our Luxury, our Gambling, our frequent ruinous and expensive Wars, our Colony-Drains, and by that ill-gotten, and ill-spent Wealth, which was obtained by robbing, plundering, and starving the poor defenceless Natives of the East-Indies' (at 215 note). In the summer of 1755, Tucker already insisted: 'In short I can see no Cause for engaging in a War to get an Extent of Territory in American beyond the allegaheny Mountains.: The greatest misfortune, that can befall a State into have a Country without inhabitants: And if we could drive the French out of all N. America, it would be the most fatal step we could take.' (Tucker to Dr. Birch (1 August 1755), British Library Add MS 4326).

88 Tucker, Josiah, Reflections on the Present Matters in Dispute between Great Britain and Ireland (Dublin, 1785), p. 18.

89 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages, 1753, p. ii ('Introduction').

90 Tucker, Josiah, Cui Bono?: Or, an Inquiry, what Benefits Can Arise Either to the English Or the Americans (Gloucester, 1782), pp. 34, 46 (quotation at 46).

91 Tucker, Josiah, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London, 1781), pp. 183-184; idem, Letter to Edmund Burke, p. 23.

92 Tucker, Letter to Edmund Burke, p. 23: 'Nay, I think it is demonstrable, that domestic pr predial Slavery would be found, on a fair Calculation, to be the most onerous and expensive Mode of cultivating Land, and of raising Produce, that could be devised'.

93 Tuker, Josiah, Seventeen Sermons on some of the Most Important Points on Natural and Revealed Religion (Gloucester, 1776), pp. 138, 141.

94 Tucker, J., Seventeen Sermons, 1776, pp. 142, 144. See also idem, Letter to Edmund Burke, p. 23.

95 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages, 1753, pp. 23-36.

96 Tucker, J., Humble Address and Earnest Appeal to Those Respectable Personages in Great Britain and Ireland, p. 91.

97 Bourke, Richard, Empire and Revolution: Political Life of Edmund Burke (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2015), pp. 15-16.

98 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 107.

99 Tucker, Josiah, Instructions for Travellers (Gloucester, 1757), p. 36.

100 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 134.

101 Tucker, J., Elements of Commerce and Theory of Tax, p. 97.

102 Tucker, J., Reflections on the Present Matters in Dispute between Great Britain and Ireland, p. 39.

103 Correspondence of Adam Smith, p. 382.

104 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Trade, 1749, p. 36.

105 Tucker, J., A Brief Essay on Trade, 1749, pp. 58-9.

106 Tucker, Josiah, The Manifold Causes of the Increase of the Poor Distinctly Set forth; together with a Set of Proposals for Removing and Preventing some of the Principal Evils, and for Lessening Others (s.n., 1760), p. 8.

107 Tucker, Josiah, Reflections on the Expediency of a Law for the Naturalization of Foreign Protestants, p. 36 [second pagination] (London, 1751).

108 Tucker, Josiah, A Letter to a Friend concerning Naturalizations (London, 1753); idem, A Second Letter to a Friend concerning Naturalizations (London, 1753).

109 Price, Richard, Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America (London, 1776), pp. 101-102.

110 Price, Richard, Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and the Means of Making it a Benefit to the World (London, 1784), pp. 6-7.

111 On this, see Oslington, Paul ed., Adam Smith as Theologian (London : Routledge, 2011).

112 Smith, A., Theory of Moral Sentiments, I.ii.4, II. Iii.3.2, pp. 36, 105-6 quoted by Hill, Lisa, 'The Hidden Theology of Adam Smith', European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 8:1 (2001), pp. 1-29 (at 11, 16).

113 On this, for instance, see Fitzpatrick, Martin, 'Joseph Priestley, Political Philosopher', in Joseph Priestley, Scientist, Philosopher, and Theologian, eds. Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 113-143.

114 Priestley, Joseph, Letters to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (third edition; Birmingham, 1791), pp. 71, 69.

115 For Priestley as a utilitarian, for instance, Canovan, Margaret, 'The Un-Benthamite Utilitarianism of Joseph Priestley', Journal of the History of Ideas, 45: 3 (1984), pp. 435-450; Matsumoto, Akihito, 'Happiness and Religion: Joseph Priestley’s “Theological Utilitarianism”', The Kyoto Economic Review, 79: 2 (2010), pp. 55-66.

116 Smith, A., Wealth of Nations, p. 626-7., IV.vii.c.80, pp. 626-7.

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Hiroki Ueno et Sora Sato, « Adam Smith and Josiah Tucker on Restructuring Empire »Revue d’études benthamiennes [En ligne], 24 | 2023, mis en ligne le 30 août 2023, consulté le 24 juin 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudes-benthamiennes/10938 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudes-benthamiennes.10938

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Keio University, Japan

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Keio University, Japan

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