George Unwin THE AIMS OF ECONOMIC HISTORY (Edinburgh, 1908)
IF there is any place in the United Kingdom where a lecturer on Economic History might feel it to be necessary to apologize for his subject, that place should certainly not be Edinburgh. A great man whose mortal remains lie in the Canongate churchyard may be claimed by the economic historian, no less than by the economic theorist, as the founder of his science. Adam Smith was the first great economic historian, and I do not scruple to add that to my mind he is still the greatest. There is scarcely a page of The Wealth of Nations where history and theory are sundered from each other; and, though a century, more devoted to historical research than any previous age, has intervened since his death, we must still turn to the pages of Adam Smith for that broad and lucid handling, full of constructive insight, which makes the essential outline of European economic development emerge through a bewildering mass of unintelligible detail.