The first real interest in fiscal problems shown by English writers was displayed by the translation of Bodin's work into English, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Some chance reference to fiscal problems may be found in earlier writings, but they are of such a nature as to indicate that only a very casual interest was taken in such problems. A half century after the translation of Bodin's work, Sir William Petty produced the first English work (1662), a Treatise of Taxes and Contributions, that properly can be said to deal with the subject matter of Public Finance. His classifications of expenditures and revenues are interesting to modern students. They show the change in the relative importance of the various items which have been, and are, the objects of governmental expenditures.

The Wealth of Nations. - More than a century passed after the publication of Petty's treatise before another systematic study of fiscal problems was produced. This was in 1776, when Adam Smith published his Wealth of Nations, and thereby planted a new milestone in the progress of fiscal development. Before this, however, the continual increase of expenditures and indebtedness in England caused much debate, and many half-hearted suggestions were made for reform, yet nothing in the form of a systematic treatise appeared.

Adam Smith has received most mention as an economist. He has, indeed, been called the father of Political Economy, and his Wealth of Nations is looked upon as the first general treatise on this subject. It may just as truly be called the first great treatise on that phase of economics which we now define as Public Finance. The title of the work is indicative that the contents are of this nature. Nations at that time were becoming more and more concerned about the possible sources for the increased revenues which growing expenditures were constantly demanding. The mercantilistic school had been advocating the doctrine of restrictions upon trade, commerce, and industry, by which it was expected to bring more wealth, either directly or indirectly, into the coffers of the state.

It was against this artificial regulation that Adam Smith revolted. He purposed to show in his work that a nation could obtain a greater store of wealth, that it could have a greater source of revenue if the government would allow trade and industry to take their own course through a proper division of labor and capitalistic production. The function of the government, instead of attempting to regulate commerce and industry, was to supply facilities to aid in carrying on industry, commerce, and exchange, such as sound systems of currency, banks, and credit. This purpose explains his " inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations."

The worth of Smith's treatise was soon recognized, and it was almost immediately translated into a number of foreign languages, and in this way it was destined to influence the trend of fiscal thought for years to come. Fiscal subjects continued to call forth discussion and writing, yet English writers produced nothing after the Wealth of Nations until comparatively recent years which can in reality be called a systematic treatise on Public Finance. This recent treatise was written by C. F. Bas-table (Public Finance, 1903). It is still considered as an authority on the subject and can be read with profit by all who are interested in problems relating to revenues and expenditures.

Studies in the United States. - A systematic study of fiscal problems was not made in the United States during the earlier years of its development. The functions which the government performed were few, and entailed little expense. The citizens were prosperous, and the fiscal burdens were not seriously felt. As more public activities were undertaken, and as the burden of revenues became more pressing, inquiries began to be made by individuals and commissions as to possible changes and remedies. As a result, many sporadic reports appeared, yet no systematic study of fiscal problems was made until Henry C. Adams published The Science of Finance, in 1898. This continues to be the most important American work in the general field of Public Finance. Much work has been done since then, the most extensive of which has been by D. A. Wells and E. R. A. Seligman. Wells's book, The Theory and Practice of Taxation, appeared in 1900, the nature of which is indicated by the title. Seligman has written a number of volumes, the most important of which are

Progressive Taxation in Theory and Practice, published in 1908, Shifting and Incidence of Taxation, published in 1910, The Income Tax, published in 1914, and Essays in Taxation, published in 1915. Brief treatises of the field of Public Finance have been written by W. M. Daniels {The Elements of Public Finance, 1899), and by C. C. Plehn {Introduction to Public Finance, 1920). Mention should also be made of the work done by the various tax commissions and by the National Tax Association, the results of which are available in numerous reports and proceedings.