T HE continuous history of Mercantilism, which is our leading theme, belongs to the centuries during which the rise and development of

modern nations and States have proceeded along with those of modern money and credit economies, and the factors which contributed to its establishment must be sought chiefly in the stages whereby mediaeval led up to and passed into modern civilization. But something of the informing spirit of Mercantilism, some of its characteristic ideas, and certain of the practical expedients in which it has found concrete expression are undoubtedly to be traced in the politico-economic life of the ancient world. Indeed, mercantilist or semi-mercantilist explanations have been offered for some of the most prqminent facts and phases of Greek and Roman history. These, however, have not altogether esc9-ped the danger of anachronism, in the shape of a tendency to put upon the evidence too modern an interpretation, and to :fill up the gaps, without due warrant, by suggestions from modern times. Moreover, after the break-up of the old order in the west, we are concerned, in the sphere of politico-economic tendencies and processes, rather with an evolution from new beginnings than with the progress of movements already far advanced, and as our main business is with

the fashion of economy which after many centuries resulted from that evolution, it is unnecessary to notice more than briefly such appearances of Mercantilism as are to be observed in the politico-economic systems of antiquity.