Justi, Johann Heinrich Gottlob von

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Justi, Johann Heinrich Gottlob von

(b. Brücken, Thuringia, Germany, 25 December 1720; d. Küstrin, Germany, 21 July 1771)

political economy, mining.

The son of a tax assessor, Justi spent his earliest years, concerning which we have only dubious information, in modest circumstances. His career can be followed with some certainty from the commencement of his legal studies at the University of Wittenberg. He interrupted these studies after a short time to enter the Prussian military service, and he participated in the first Silesian War in 1741–1742. At the end of the war he continued his education in Jena and Leipzig. In 1747 he received a prize from the Prussian Academy of Sciences for his work on monads, and following the conclusion of his studies in 1747he took the post of estates manager for the duchess of Sachsen-Eisenach at Sangerhausen.

Justi married twice and had several sons and daughters from each marriage.

In 1751 Justi accepted a professorship of cameralistics at the newly established Theresian Academy (Theresianum) in Vienna, where he gave lectures on financial and fiscal science and where he also occupied the chair of German eloquence and rhetoric. Along with this teaching activity, he was entrusted in Vienna with administrative tasks because of his extensive knowledge of government and finance, and he was appointed imperial counselor of finances and mines (K. K. Finanz-und Bergrat). Justi’s good fortune did not last, however; as a result of failures in mining ventures, he lost the respect and trust of his superiors and in 1754 resigned from the Austrian civil service. From that time on he wrote his name as von Justi, asserting that Emperor Francis I had ennobled him.

Thereafter Justi led an unsettled life which took him to Leipzig, Erfurt, and Göttingen, He did not remain long in Göttingen, even though in 1755 he was given the position of mining counselor and chief of police (Polizeidirektor) there, with the prerogative of delivering lectures at the university. In 1757 he again left the electorate of Brunswick, brought his family to Altona, and went himself to Copenhagen, where he obtained a commission from Count Bernstorff to inspect the Jutland heath region and to submit proposals for its cultivation.

After completing this assignment and rejecting a highly paid position as Norwegian superintendent of mines, Justi left Denmark in 1758 for Berlin on the advice of the Prussian state official Hecht—in order to seek employment in the state administration. The government held out hope of an appointment as soon as the Seven Years’ War ended. In the subsequent period of involuntary leisure (1758–1766), Justi displayed an uncommonly varied literary activity. He worked on two prize questions posed by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich and won both prizes in 1761. In recognition of these extraordinary and important achievements, he was offered the position of president of that scientific society. Justi refused, on personal grounds, whereupon in 1762 the Academy elected him an honorary member.

By 1766 Frederick the Great, honoring his promise of an appointment, made Justi superintendent of mines and inspector general of the state mines as well as of glass and steel works in Prussia. Unfortunately, excessive writing had so weakened Justi’s eyes that he could only do his work with the help of an assistant appointed by the king. A short time later Justi became completely blind. A growing sense of grief and distrust at his fate led him to be headstrong and injudicious in certain actions and brought him into discredit for supposedly squandering state funds. In 1768 he was dismissed from his position on this charge, although it had not been proved. In order to exonerate himself and win his reinstatement, Justi called for an investigatory commission and voluntarily entered state custody at Küstrin. He died there of a stroke on 21 July 1771 before the end of the trial.

Justi was respected for his extraordinary abilities and diligence, which were evident in both his scientific and his literary work. He wrote as effortlessly as he grasped things mentally. Although his style lacks polish, it has something original and naїve, and Justi’s friends compared him in character and style to Buffon.

Justi’s scientific importance undoubtedly lies—as his numerous publications show—in the field of political science. Blessed with a rich knowledge of the real conditions of public life and public administration, he independently brought a new direction to this field. In other areas such as mineralogy and mining, however, he was reproached for his ignorance. The first German systematist of the political sciences, including police science, financial science, and industrial organization, Justi originally based his political economics on mercantilism. Later the influence on him of Montesquieu and the Encyclopedists became noticeable, and Justi came to represent more the newly founded physiocratic doctrines than the previously reigning mercantilist viewpoint.


I. Original Works. Justi’s works include Von den römischen Feldzügen in Deutschland (Copenhangen, 1748); Das entdeckte Geheimnis der neuen sächsichen Farben… (Vienna, 1750); Von der Abtretung des Reichslehns im Frieden mit auswärtigen Mächten (Vienna, 1751); Gutachten von dem vernünftigen Zusammenhange und praktischen Vortrage aller ökonomischen und Kameralwissenschaften… (Leipzig, 1754); Neue Wahrheiten zum Vorteil der Naturkunde und des gesellschaftilichen Lebens der Menschen, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1754–1758); Abhandlung con den Mitteln, die Erkenntnis in den ökonomischen und Kameralwissenschaften dem gemeinen Wesen recht nützlich zu machen (Göttingen, 1755); Entdeckte Ursachen des verderbten Münzwesens in Deutschland (Leipzig, 1755); Staatswirtschaft, order systematische Abhandlung aller ökonomischen und Kameralwissenschafter… (Leipzig, 1755; 2nd ed., 1758); Grundsätze der Polizeiwissenschaft in einem vernünftigen… (Göttingen, 1756; 2nd ed., 1759; 3rd ed., 1782); Der handelnde Adel, welchem der kriegerische Adel entgegengesetzt wird (Göttingen, 1756); Göttingische Polizeiamtsnachrichten… (Göttingen, 1757); Grundriss des gesamten Mineralreiches worinnen alle Fossilien in einem, ihren wesentlichen beschaffenheiten gemässen, Zusammenhange vorgestellt und beschrieben werden (Göttingen, 1757); Rechtliche Abhandlung von denEhen, die ungültig und nichtig sind (Leipzig, 1757); Anweisung zueiner guten deutschen Schiriftstller, (Leipzig, 1758); Die Chimaäre des Gleichgewichts von Europa… (Altona, 1758); Die chimäre des Gleichgewichts der Handlung und Schiffahrt (Altona, 1759); Die Folgen der wahren und falschen Staatskunst in der Geschichte des Psammitichus, Königs von Egypten and der damaligen Zeiten, 2 pts. (Frankfurt am Main, 1759–1760); and Der Grundriss einer guten Regierung (Frankfurt am Main, 1759).

In the 1760’s Justi published Abhandlung von der Macht, Glückseligkeit und Kredit eines Staates (Ulm, 1760); Historisch-juristische Schriften, 2 vols. (Frankfurt am Main, 1760); Die Natur und das Wesen der Staaten als die Grundwissenschaft der Staatskunst, der Polizei und aller Regierungswissenschaften… (Berlin, 1760; 2nd ed., Mietau-Leipzing, 1771); Von der Vollkonnntenheit der Landwirtschaft (Ulm, 1760); Abhandlung von der Volkommenheit der Landwirtschaft und der höchsten Kultur der Länder (Ulm, 1761); Fortgestzte bemühungen zum Vorteil der naturkunde und des gesellschaftlichen Lebens des Menschen (Berlin-stettin, 1759–1761); Moralische und philosophische Schriftren, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1760–1761); Oekonomische Schriften über die wichtigsten Gegenstände der Stadt-und Landwirt-schaft, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1760–1760; 2nd ed., 1766–1767); Vollständige Abhandhung von den Manufakturen und Fabriken, 2 vols. (Copenhagen, 1758–1761), 2nd ed., J. Beckmann, ed. (Berlin, 1780), 3rd ed., Beckmann, ed. (Berlin, 1788); Abhandlung von den steuern und Abgaben (Königsberg, 1762); Von dem Manufaktur-und Fabrikreglement (Berlin, 1762); Vergleich der europäischen Regirung mit der asiatischen (Berlin, 1762); La chimère de l’équilibre du commerce et de la navigation (Copenhagen, 1763); Gesammelte politische und Finanzschriften über wichtige Gegenstände der Staatskunst, Kriegswissenschaft und des Kameral- und Finanzwesens, 3 pts. (Copenhagen, 1761–1764); Die Kunst, Silber zu raffinieren (Königsberg, 1765); Scherzhafte und satyrische Schriften, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1765); System des Finanzwesens nach vernünftigen… (Halle, 1766); Gesammelte chymische Schriften…, 3 vols. (Berlin-Leipzig, 1760–1771).

Works of the 1770’s are Geschichte des Erdkörpers… (Berlin, 1771); and Gekrönte Abhandlung über die Frage… (leipzig, 1776). Justi was editor of Deutsche Memoires, order sammlung verschiedener Anmerkungen, die Staatsklugheit und das Kriegswesen betreffend, 3 vols. (Vienna, 1750). He also translated the first four vols. of the encyclopedia Description dews arts et métiers, Diderot and d’Alembert, eds., under the title Schauplatz der künste und Handwerke… (Berlin, 1762–1765).

II. Secondary Literature. See the following articles and works: D. M., “Précis historique sur la vie de Mr. Justi,” in Journal des Sçavans combiné avec les meilleurs journaux anglois (Amsterdam, Sept. 1777), p. 460; Johann Beckmann, in Physikalisch ökonomische Bibliothek, 10 (1779), 458; J. S. Putter, Akademische Gelehrtengeschiechtevon der Universität Götingen (Göttingen, 1765–1788), I, 113; II, 68; J. D. A. Hock, in Magazin der Staatswirtschaft und Statistik, 1 (1797), 29 ff.; C. G. Salzmann, Denkwürdigkeiten aus dem Leben ausgezeichneter Deutschen des 18. Jahrhunderts (Schnepfenthal, 1802), pp. 681 ff.; J, Becjmann, vorrat kleiner Anmerkungen III (Göttingen, 1860); J. D. Meusel, Lexikon der von 1750–1800 verstorbenen deutschen Schrifsteler, VI (Leipzig, 1853), Wissenschafen und künste, 2nd ed., pt. 30 (Leipzig 1853), pp. 15–16; J. Kautz, Theorie und geschichte der National-ökonomik, II (Vienna, 1860), 292–293; W. roscher, “J. H. G. Justi,” in Archiv für sächsische Geschichte6 (1867), 76 ff.; K. Walcker, Schutzzölle, laissez-faire und Freihandel (Leipzig, 1880), pp. 568–569; “Johann heinrich Gottlob von Justi,” in Allgemeine deutsche Biographie XIV (Leipzig, 1881), 747–753; G. Marchet, Studien über die Entwicklug der verwaltungslehre in Deuschalnd (Munich-Leipzig, 1885); G. Deutsch, “Justi und Sonnefels,” in Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenchaft, 44 (1888), 135 ff.; “J. H. G. von Justi,” ibid., 45 (1889), 554 ff.; and “Johann Gottlob von Just, der erste Lehrer der Kameralwissenschaft in Oesterreich,” in oesterreichisch-ungarische Revue (Jan. 1890); J. K. Ingram, “Justi,” in Palgrave, Dictionary of Political Economy, II (London, 1896), 499; Festschrift zur Feier des 150 jährigen Bestehens der K. Gelehrtengeschiche Göttingens (Berlin, 1901), pp. 495 ff.; F. Frensdorff, “J. H. G. von Justi,” in Nachrichten der kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, phil.-hist. Kl., no. 4 (1903); W. Stieda, “Die Nationalökonomie als Universitätswissenschaft,” in Abhandlungen der K. Sächsischen Gesellshaft der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist Kl., 25 (1906), no. 2; A. Jaeger, vergleichende Darstellung der Ansichten von R. price und J. H. G. von Justi über die Staatsschuldentilgung (Diessen, 1910), phil. diss. (Erlangen, 1910); C. Meitzel, “Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi,” in Handwöterbuch der Staatwissenschaften, 4th ed., V (Jena, 1923), 535–536; A. Tautscher, “Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi,” in Handwöterbuch der sozialwissenschaften, V (stuttgart-Tübingen-Göttingen, 1956), 452–454; J. Remer, Johann Heinrich Gottloob von Justi. Ein deutscher volkswirt des 18. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 1938); M. Koch, Geschichte und Entwicklung des bergmännischen Schrifttums (clausthal-Zellerfeld, 1960), diss.; and Walter Serlo, Männer des Bergbaus (Bwelin, 1937), pp. 81–82.

M. Koch