Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Mary Paley Marshall
285 was a simple, 75-page work for children. The setting was a school in a country village, taught by a popular master, Mr B., who undertook to teach political economy to a group of six eager young boys. The topics of labour, proﬁts, capital, wages, machinery, price, trade, money and banks are treated in 13 lessons. Perhaps because the book was targeted at children, it seems too simpliﬁed and self-serving. While some of the books Marcet wrote for children were clever and imaginative, this work did not so qualify; in it Marcet appears to have lost touch with what people believed about economic questions at mid-century. By the end of her life, Jane Marcet had published 30 books on a variety of subjects – an almost unbelievable accomplishment for her day. She had maintained a strong interest in the scientiﬁc and intellectual concerns of her time and she had succeeded in communicating knowledge at an introductory level to her readers. She was the perfect popularizer. Her work may be judged in retrospect to have been too optimistic. Yet, she was a pioneer of economic education and perfection is rarely achieved by the pathbreakers. Marcet died at the age of 89 in the London home of her daughter and son-in-law. She could look back with satisfaction to a half-century of writing and to an improvement in the circumstances of the people and the nation that she loved. BETTE POLKINGHORN Bibliography Selected writings by Jane Haldimand Marcet (1816), Conversations on...
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