UCL Department of Economics


Letter from Jean-Baptiste Say to Jeremy Bentham, 2 February 1824

[Source: UCL, Bentham Collection]

The final paragraph says1:

"Joseph Hume tells me that you are going to establish a Chair of Political Economy in London. Bravo! Teach where the true national interests lie, and those who set personal interests against them will not have it easy".

The appointment of John Ramsey McCulloch to the chair of Political Economy at UCL in 1828, supported by funds raised in memory of David Ricardo, established the first Department of Economics in England. Jeremy Bentham was a major intellectual influence on the founders of UCL and Joseph Hume was a member of its original council. Two years later Say himself was appointed to the first Chair of Political Economy in France at the College de France in Paris.

1Joseph Hume me mande que l'on va fonder une chaire d'Economie politique a Londres. Bravo! Que l'on enseigne ou sont les veritables interets nationaux, et ceux qui leur opposent  les interets particuliers, n'auront pas beau jeu.