Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

T. R. Malthus’s Lectures on Political Economy at Haileybury College Reexamined

Arai Tomoyuki, Shimonoseki City University

This study aims to clarify Thomas Robert Malthus’ view of education, focusing on his lectures on political economy at the East India College in Haileybury (Hertfordshire in England). In 1806, Malthus was appointed as the professor of history and political economy at the college. However, it is not well known that he was a professor for 29 years (1806-1834) in this college. This is because there are few details about his lectures, as they have not survived the ravages of time. It is generally considered that Malthus’ economic teaching was based on his notes on Smith’s Wealth of Nations and that Malthus required his students to be familiar with Smith. Malthus apparently believed that a thorough grounding in economic matters through the study of Adam Smith’s economic thoughts was an essential part of political economy education. There is no doubt that Malthus was concerned that his students should know the Wealth of Nations in detail, as seen in Jonathan Duncan Inverarity’s manuscript, which was, found by John Pullen, about Malthus’ examination paper. It also seems that Malthus’ lectures on political economy were more or less designed for the business of finance or international trade between Britain and India and to address the Indian economic problem, as he was concerned about the problem of rent in India. In this presentation, I attempt to explore why Malthus should have devoted much attention to Indian economic matters. The key to solving this question is in considering his views on the college’s curriculum on political economy. In my view, Malthus was obliged to give lectures on commerce and finance between Britain and India under the College Committee’s orders, as the scope of the lectures was created before the establishment of the college. Moreover, there are reasons to believe that Malthus was loyal to the college. In this background, under the financial costs of war and rising doubts in India, it can be said that these studies suiting the purposes of both countries were a regular focus of Malthus’ lectures. These facts show that Malthus was preoccupied with Indian affairs and strongly agreed with Wellesley’s assertion of the need to study political and commercial relations in British India. Finally, I will highlight the historical significance of Malthus’ lectures on political economy.


Keywords: T. R. Malthus, the East India Company, Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, the Inverarity Notes, taxation, Grenville, Wellesley, India

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