Note, p. 18.—"Fatherly authority."

121. This statement could not, of course, be heard without displeasure by a certain class of politicians; and in one of the notices of these lectures given in the Manchester journals at the time, endeavour was made to get quit of it by referring to the Divine authority, as the only Paternal power with respect to which men were truly styled "brethren." Of course it is so, and, equally of course, all human government is nothing else than the executive expression of this Divine authority. The moment government ceases to be the practical enforcement of Divine law, it is tyranny; and the meaning which I attach to the words "paternal government," is, in more extended terms, simply this—"The executive fulfilment, by formal human methods, of the will of the Father of mankind respecting His children." I could not give such a definition of Government as this in a popular lecture; and even in written form, it will necessarily suggest many objections, of which I must notice and answer the most probable.

Only, in order to avoid the recurrence of such tiresome phrases as "it may be answered in the second place," and "it will be objected in the third place," etc., I will ask the reader's leave to arrange the discussion in the form of simple dialogue, letting O. stand for objector, and R. for response.

122. O.—You define your paternal government to be the executive fulfilment, by formal human methods, of the Divine will. But, assuredly, that will cannot stand in need of aid or expression from human laws. It cannot fail of its fulfilment.

R. 122. In the final sense it cannot; and in that sense, men who are committing murder and stealing are fulfilling the will of God as much as the best and kindest people in the world. But in the limited and present sense, the only sense with which we have anything to do, God's will concerning man is fulfilled by some men, and thwarted by others. And those men who either persuade or enforce the doing of it, stand towards those who are rebellious against it exactly in the position of faithful children in a family, who, when the father is out of sight, either compel or persuade the rest to do as their father would have them, were he present; and in so far as they are expressing and maintaining, for the time, the paternal authority, they exercise, in the exact sense in which I mean the phrase to be understood, paternal government over the rest.

O.—But, if Providence has left a liberty to man in many things in order to prove him, why should human law abridge that liberty, and take upon itself to compel what the great Lawgiver does not compel?

123. R.—It is confessed, in the enactment of any law whatsoever, that human lawgivers have a right to do this. For, if you have no right to abridge any of the liberty which Providence has left to man, you have no right to punish any one for committing murder or robbery. You ought to leave them to the punishment of God and Nature. But if you think yourself under obligation to punish, as far as human laws can, the violation of the will of God by these great sins, you are certainly under the same obligation to punish, with proportionately less punishment, the violation of His will in less sins.

O.—No; you must not attempt to punish less sins by law, because you cannot properly define nor ascertain them. Everybody can determine whether murder has been committed or not, but you cannot determine how far people have been unjust or cruel in minor matters, and therefore cannot make or execute laws concerning minor matters.

R.—If I propose to you to punish faults which cannot be defined, or to execute laws which cannot be made equitable, reject the laws I propose. But do not generally object to the principle of law.

O.—Yes; I generally object to the principle of law as applied to minor things; because, if you could succeed (which you cannot) in regulating the entire conduct of men by law in little things as well as great, you would take away from human life all its probationary character, and render many virtues and pleasures impossible. You would reduce virtue to the movement of a machine, instead of the act of a spirit.

124. R.—You have just said, parenthetically, and I fully and willingly admit it, that it is impossible to regulate all minor matters by law. Is it not probable, therefore, that the degree in which it is possible to regulate them by it, is also the degree in which it is right to regulate them by it? Or what other means of judgment will you employ, to separate the things which ought to be formally regulated from the things which ought not? You admit that great sins should be legally repressed; but you say that small sins should not be legally repressed. How do you distinguish between great and small sins? and how do you intend to determine, or do you in practice of daily life determine, on what occasions you should compel people to do right, and on what occasions you should leave them the option of doing wrong?

O.—I think you cannot make any accurate or logical distinction in such matters; but that common sense and instinct have, in all civilised nations, indicated certain crimes of great social harmfulness, such as murder, theft, adultery, slander, and such like, which it is proper to repress legally; and that common sense and instinct indicate also the kind of crimes which it is proper for laws to let alone, such as miserliness, ill-natured speaking, and many of those commercial dishonesties which I have a notion you want your paternal government to interfere with.

R.—Pray do not alarm yourself about what my paternal government is likely to interfere with, but keep to the matter in hand. You say that "common sense and instinct" have, in all civilised nations, distinguished between the sins that ought to be legally dealt with and that ought not. Do you mean that the laws of all civilised nations are perfect?

O.—No; certainly not.

R.—Or that they are perfect at least in their discrimination of what crimes they should deal with, and what crimes they should let alone?

O.—No; not exactly.

R.—What do you mean, then?

125. O.—I mean that the general tendency is right in the laws of civilised nations; and that, in due course of time, natural sense and instinct point out the matters they should be brought to bear upon. And each question of legislation must be made a separate subject of inquiry as it presents itself: you cannot fix any general principles about what should be dealt with legally, and what should not.

R.—Supposing it to be so, do you think there are any points in which our English legislation is capable of amendment, as it bears on commercial and economical matters, in this present time?

O.—Of course I do.

R.—Well, then, let us discuss these together quietly; and if the points that I want amended seem to you incapable of amendment, or not in need of amendment, say so: but don't object, at starting, to the mere proposition of applying law to things which have not had law applied to them before. You have admitted the fitness of my expression, "paternal government": it only has been, and remains, a question between us, how far such government should extend. Perhaps you would like it only to regulate, among the children, the length of their lessons; and perhaps I should like it also to regulate the hardness of their cricket-balls: but cannot you wait quietly till you know what I want it to do, before quarrelling with the thing itself?

O.—No; I cannot wait quietly; in fact, I don't see any use in beginning such a discussion at all, because I am quite sure from the first, that you want to meddle with things that you have no business with, and to interfere with healthy liberty of action in all sorts of ways; and I know that you can't propose any laws that would be of real use.[15]

126. R.—If you indeed know that, you would be wrong to hear me any farther. But if you are only in painful doubt about me, which makes you unwilling to run the risk of wasting your time, I will tell you beforehand what I really do think about this same liberty of action, namely, that whenever we can make a perfectly equitable law about any matter, or even a law securing, on the whole, more just conduct than unjust, we ought to make that law; and that there will yet, on these conditions, always remain a number of matters respecting which legalism and formalism are impossible; enough, and more than enough, to exercise all human powers of individual judgment, and afford all kinds of scope to individual character. I think this; but of course it can only be proved by separate examination of the possibilities of formal restraint in each given field of action; and these two lectures are nothing more than a sketch of such a detailed examination in one field, namely, that of art. You will find, however, one or two other remarks on such possibilities in the next note.

Note 2nd, p. 21.—"Right to public support."

127. It did not appear to me desirable, in the course of the spoken lecture, to enter into details or offer suggestions on the questions of the regulation of labour and distribution of relief, as it would have been impossible to do so without touching on many disputed or disputable points, not easily handled before a general audience. But I must now supply what is wanting to make my general statement clear.

I believe, in the first place, that no Christian nation has any business to see one of its members in distress without helping him, though, perhaps, at the same time punishing him: help, of course—in nine cases out of ten—meaning guidance, much more than gift, and, therefore, interference with liberty. When a peasant mother sees one of her careless children fall into a ditch, her first proceeding is to pull him out; her second, to box his ears; her third, ordinarily, to lead him carefully a little way by the hand, or send him home for the rest of the day. The child usually cries, and very often would clearly prefer remaining in the ditch; and if he understood any of the terms of politics, would certainly express resentment at the interference with his individual liberty: but the mother has done her duty. Whereas the usual call of the mother nation to any of her children, under such circumstances, has lately been nothing more than the foxhunter's,—"Stay still there; I shall clear you." And if we always could clear them, their requests to be left in muddy independence might be sometimes allowed by kind people, or their cries for help disdained by unkind ones. But we can't clear them. The whole nation is, in fact, bound together, as men are by ropes on a glacier—if one falls, the rest must either lift him or drag him along with them[16] as dead weight, not without much increase of danger to themselves. And the law of right being manifestly in this—as, whether manifestly or not, it is always, the law of prudence—the only question is, how this wholesome help and interference are to be administered.

128. The first interference should be in education. In order that men may be able to support themselves when they are grown, their strength must be properly developed while they are young; and the State should always see to this—not allowing their health to be broken by too early labour, nor their powers to be wasted for want of knowledge. Some questions connected with this matter are noticed farther on under the head "trial schools": one point I must notice here, that I believe all youths, of whatever rank, ought to learn some manual trade thoroughly; for it is quite wonderful how much a man's views of life are cleared by the attainment of the capacity of doing any one thing well with his hands and arms. For a long time, what right life there was in the upper classes of Europe depended in no small degree on the necessity which each man was under of being able to fence; at this day, the most useful things which boys learn at public schools are, I believe, riding, rowing, and cricketing. But it would be far better that members of Parliament should be able to plough straight, and make a horseshoe, than only to feather oars neatly or point their toes prettily in stirrups. Then, in literary and scientific teaching, the great point of economy is to give the discipline of it through knowledge which will immediately bear on practical life. Our literary work has long been economically useless to us because too much concerned with dead languages; and our scientific work will yet, for some time, be a good deal lost, because scientific men are too fond or too vain of their systems, and waste the student's time in endeavouring to give him large views, and make him perceive interesting connections of facts; when there is not one student, no, nor one man, in a thousand, who can feel the beauty of a system, or even take it clearly into his head; but nearly all men can understand, and most will be interested in, the facts which bear on daily life. Botanists have discovered some wonderful connection between nettles and figs, which a cowboy who will never see a ripe fig in his life need not be at all troubled about; but it will be interesting to him to know what effect nettles have on hay, and what taste they will give to porridge; and it will give him nearly a new life if he can be got but once, in a spring time, to look well at the beautiful circlet of white nettle blossom, and work out with his schoolmaster the curves of its petals, and the way it is set on its central mast. So, the principle of chemical equivalents, beautiful as it is, matters far less to a peasant boy, and even to most sons of gentlemen, than their knowing how to find whether the water is wholesome in the back-kitchen cistern, or whether the seven-acre field wants sand or chalk.

129. Having, then, directed the studies of our youth so as to make them practically serviceable men at the time of their entrance into life, that entrance should always be ready for them in cases where their private circumstances present no opening. There ought to be government establishments for every trade, in which all youths who desired it should be received as apprentices on their leaving school; and men thrown out of work received at all times. At these government manufactories the discipline should be strict, and the wages steady, not varying at all in proportion to the demand for the article, but only in proportion to the price of food; the commodities produced being laid up in store to meet sudden demands, and sudden fluctuations in prices prevented:—that gradual and necessary fluctuation only being allowed which is properly consequent on larger or more limited supply of raw material and other natural causes. When there was a visible tendency to produce a glut of any commodity, that tendency should be checked by directing the youth at the government schools into other trades; and the yearly surplus of commodities should be the principal means of government provisions for the poor. That provision should be large, and not disgraceful to them. At present there are very strange notions in the public mind respecting the receiving of alms: most people are willing to take them in the form of a pension from government, but unwilling to take them in the form of a pension from their parishes. There may be some reason for this singular prejudice, in the fact of the government pension being usually given as a definite acknowledgment of some service done to the country;—but the parish pension is, or ought to be, given precisely on the same terms. A labourer serves his country with his spade, just as a man in the middle ranks of life serves it with his sword, pen, or lancet: if the service is less, and therefore the wages during health less, then the reward, when health is broken, may be less, but not, therefore, less honourable; and it ought to be quite as natural and straight-forward a matter for a labourer to take his pension from his parish, because he has deserved well of his parish, as for a man in higher rank to take his pension from his country, because he has deserved well of his country.

130. If there be any disgrace in coming to the parish, because it may imply improvidence in early life, much more is there disgrace in coming to the government: since improvidence is far less justifiable in a highly educated than in an imperfectly educated man; and far less justifiable in a high rank, where extravagance must have been luxury, than in a low rank, where it may only have been comfort. So that the real fact of the matter is, that people will take alms delightedly, consisting of a carriage and footmen, because those do not look like alms to the people in the street; but they will not take alms consisting only of bread and water and coals, because everybody would understand what those meant. Mind, I do not want any one to refuse the carriage who ought to have it; but neither do I want them to refuse the coals. I should indeed be sorry if any change in our views on these subjects involved the least lessening of self-dependence in the English mind: but the common shrinking of men from the acceptance of public charity is not self-dependence, but mere base and selfish pride. It is not that they are unwilling to live at their neighbours' expense, but that they are unwilling to confess they do: it is not dependence they wish to avoid, but gratitude. They will take places in which they know there is nothing to be done—they will borrow money they know they cannot repay—they will carry on a losing business with other people's capital—they will cheat the public in their shops, or sponge on their friends at their houses; but to say plainly they are poor men, who need the nation's help and go into an almshouse,—this they loftily repudiate, and virtuously prefer being thieves to being paupers.

131. I trust that these deceptive efforts of dishonest men to appear independent, and the agonizing efforts of unfortunate men to remain independent, may both be in some degree checked by a better administration and understanding of laws respecting the poor. But the ordinances for relief and the ordinances for labour must go together; otherwise distress caused by misfortune will always be confounded, as it is now, with distress caused by idleness, unthrift, and fraud. It is only when the State watches and guides the middle life of men, that it can, without disgrace to them, protect their old age, acknowledging in that protection that they have done their duty, or at least some portion of their duty, in better days.

I know well how strange, fanciful, or impracticable these suggestions will appear to most of the business men of this day; men who conceive the proper state of the world to be simply that of a vast and disorganized mob, scrambling each for what he can get, trampling down its children and old men in the mire, and doing what work it finds must be done with any irregular squad of labourers it can bribe or inveigle together, and afterwards scatter to starvation. A great deal may, indeed, be done in this way by a nation strong-elbowed and strong-hearted as we are—not easily frightened by pushing, nor discouraged by falls. But it is still not the right way of doing things, for people who call themselves Christians. Every so named soul of man claims from every other such soul, protection and education in childhood,—help or punishment in middle life,—reward or relief, if needed, in old age; all of these should be completely and unstintingly given; and they can only be given by the organization of such a system as I have described.

Note 3rd, p. 27.—"Trial Schools."

132. It may be seriously questioned by the reader how much of painting talent we really lose on our present system,[17] and how much we should gain by the proposed trial schools. For it might be thought that, as matters stand at present, we have more painters than we ought to have, having so many bad ones, and that all youths who had true painters' genius forced their way out of obscurity.

This is not so. It is difficult to analyse the characters of mind which cause youths to mistake their vocation, and to endeavour to become artists, when they have no true artist's gift. But the fact is, that multitudes of young men do this, and that by far the greater number of living artists are men who have mistaken their vocation. The peculiar circumstances of modern life, which exhibit art in almost every form to the sight of the youths in our great cities, have a natural tendency to fill their imaginations with borrowed ideas, and their minds with imperfect science; the mere dislike of mechanical employments, either felt to be irksome, or believed to be degrading, urges numbers of young men to become painters, in the same temper in which they would enlist or go to sea; others, the sons of engravers or artists, taught the business of the art by their parents, and having no gift for it themselves, follow it as the means of livelihood, in an ignoble patience; or, if ambitious, seek to attract regard, or distance rivalry, by fantastic, meretricious, or unprecedented applications of their mechanical skill; while finally, many men, earnest in feeling, and conscientious in principle, mistake their desire to be useful for a love of art, and their quickness of emotion for its capacity, and pass their lives in painting moral and instructive pictures, which might almost justify us in thinking nobody could be a painter but a rogue. On the other hand, I believe that much of the best artistical intellect is daily lost in other avocations. Generally, the temper which would make an admirable artist is humble and observant, capable of taking much interest in little things, and of entertaining itself pleasantly in the dullest circumstances. Suppose, added to these characters, a steady conscientiousness which seeks to do its duty wherever it may be placed, and the power, denied to few artistical minds, of ingenious invention in almost any practical department of human skill, and it can hardly be doubted that the very humility and conscientiousness which would have perfected the painter, have in many instances prevented his becoming one; and that in the quiet life of our steady craftsmen—sagacious manufacturers, and uncomplaining clerks—there may frequently be concealed more genius than ever is raised to the direction of our public works, or to be the mark of our public praises.

133. It is indeed probable, that intense disposition for art will conquer the most formidable obstacles, if the surrounding circumstances are such as at all to present the idea of such conquest to the mind; but we have no ground for concluding that Giotto would ever have been more than a shepherd, if Cimabue had not by chance found him drawing; or that among the shepherds of the Apennines there were no other Giottos, undiscovered by Cimabue. We are too much in the habit of considering happy accidents as what are called 'special Providences'; and thinking that when any great work needs to be done, the man who is to do it will certainly be pointed out by Providence, be he shepherd or seaboy; and prepared for his work by all kinds of minor providences, in the best possible way. Whereas all the analogies of God's operations in other matters prove the contrary of this; we find that "of thousand seeds, He often brings but one to bear," often not one; and the one seed which He appoints to bear is allowed to bear crude or perfect fruit according to the dealings of the husbandman with it. And there cannot be a doubt in the mind of any person accustomed to take broad and logical views of the world's history, that its events are ruled by Providence in precisely the same manner as its harvests; that the seeds of good and evil are broadcast among men, just as the seeds of thistles and fruits are; and that according to the force of our industry, and wisdom of our husbandry, the ground will bring forth to us figs or thistles. So that when it seems needed that a certain work should be done for the world, and no man is there to do it, we have no right to say that God did not wish it to be done; and therefore sent no men able to do it. The probability (if I wrote my own convictions, I should say certainty) is, that He sent many men, hundreds of men, able to do it; and that we have rejected them, or crushed them; by our previous folly of conduct or of institution, we have rendered it impossible to distinguish, or impossible to reach them; and when the need for them comes, and we suffer for the want of them, it is not that God refuses to send us deliverers, and specially appoints all our consequent sufferings; but that He has sent, and we have refused, the deliverers; and the pain is then wrought out by His eternal law, as surely as famine is wrought out by eternal law for a nation which will neither plough nor sow. No less are we in error in supposing, as we so frequently do, that if a man be found, he is sure to be in all respects fitted for the work to be done, as the key is to the lock: and that every accident which happened in the forging him, only adapted him more truly to the wards. It is pitiful to hear historians beguiling themselves and their readers, by tracing in the early history of great men the minor circumstances which fitted them for the work they did, without ever taking notice of the other circumstances which as assuredly unfitted them for it; so concluding that miraculous interposition prepared them in all points for everything, and that they did all that could have been desired or hoped for from them; whereas the certainty of the matter is that, throughout their lives, they were thwarted and corrupted by some things as certainly as they were helped and disciplined by others; and that, in the kindliest and most reverent view which can justly be taken of them, they were but poor mistaken creatures, struggling with a world more profoundly mistaken than they;—assuredly sinned against or sinning in thousands of ways, and bringing out at last a maimed result—not what they might or ought to have done, but all that could be done against the world's resistance, and in spite of their own sorrowful falsehood to themselves.

134. And this being so, it is the practical duty of a wise nation, first to withdraw, as far as may be, its youth from destructive influences;—then to try its material as far as possible, and to lose the use of none that is good. I do not mean by "withdrawing from destructive influences" the keeping of youths out of trials; but the keeping them out of the way of things purely and absolutely mischievous. I do not mean that we should shade our green corn in all heat, and shelter it in all frost, but only that we should dyke out the inundation from it, and drive the fowls away from it. Let your youth labour and suffer; but do not let it starve, nor steal, nor blaspheme.

135. It is not, of course, in my power here to enter into details of schemes of education; and it will be long before the results of experiments now in progress will give data for the solution of the most difficult questions connected with the subject, of which the principal one is the mode in which the chance of advancement in life is to be extended to all, and yet made compatible with contentment in the pursuit of lower avocations by those whose abilities do not qualify them for the higher. But the general principle of trial schools lies at the root of the matter—of schools, that is to say, in which the knowledge offered and discipline enforced shall be all a part of a great assay of the human soul, and in which the one shall be increased, the other directed, as the tried heart and brain will best bear, and no otherwise. One thing, however, I must say, that in this trial I believe all emulation to be a false motive, and all giving of prizes a false means. All that you can depend upon in a boy, as significative of true power, likely to issue in good fruit, is his will to work for the work's sake, not his desire to surpass his school-fellows; and the aim of the teaching you give him ought to be, to prove to him and strengthen in him his own separate gift, not to puff him into swollen rivalry with those who are everlastingly greater than he: still less ought you to hang favours and ribands about the neck of the creature who is the greatest, to make the rest envy him. Try to make them love him and follow him, not struggle with him.

136. There must, of course, be examination to ascertain and attest both progress and relative capacity; but our aim should be to make the students rather look upon it as a means of ascertaining their own true positions and powers in the world, than as an arena in which to carry away a present victory. I have not, perhaps, in the course of the lecture, insisted enough on the nature of relative capacity and individual character, as the roots of all real value in Art. We are too much in the habit, in these days, of acting as if Art worth a price in the market were a commodity which people could be generally taught to produce, and as if the education of the artist, not his capacity, gave the sterling value to his work. No impression can possibly be more absurd or false. Whatever people can teach each other to do, they will estimate, and ought to estimate, only as common industry; nothing will ever fetch a high price but precisely that which cannot be taught, and which nobody can do but the man from whom it is purchased. No state of society, nor stage of knowledge, ever does away with the natural pre-eminence of one man over another; and it is that pre-eminence, and that only, which will give work high value in the market, or which ought to do so. It is a bad sign of the judgment, and bad omen for the progress, of a nation, if it supposes itself to possess many artists of equal merit. Noble art is nothing less than the expression of a great soul; and great souls are not common things. If ever we confound their work with that of others, it is not through liberality, but through blindness.

Note 4th, p. 28.—"Public favour."

137. There is great difficulty in making any short or general statement of the difference between great and ignoble minds in their behaviour to the 'public.' It is by no means universally the case that a mean mind, as stated in the text, will bend itself to what you ask of it: on the contrary, there is one kind of mind, the meanest of all, which perpetually complains of the public, and contemplates and proclaims itself as a 'genius,' refuses all wholesome discipline or humble office, and ends in miserable and revengeful ruin; also, the greatest minds are marked by nothing more distinctly than an inconceivable humility, and acceptance of work or instruction in any form, and from any quarter. They will learn from everybody, and do anything that anybody asks of them, so long as it involves only toil, or what other men would think degradation. But the point of quarrel, nevertheless, assuredly rises some day between the public and them, respecting some matter, not of humiliation, but of Fact. Your great man always at last comes to see something the public don't see. This something he will assuredly persist in asserting, whether with tongue or pencil, to be as he sees it, not as they see it; and all the world in a heap on the other side, will not get him to say otherwise. Then, if the world objects to the saying, he may happen to get stoned or burnt for it, but that does not in the least matter to him; if the world has no particular objection to the saying, he may get leave to mutter it to himself till he dies, and be merely taken for an idiot; that also does not matter to him—mutter it he will, according to what he perceives to be fact, and not at all according to the roaring of the walls of Red Sea on the right hand or left of him. Hence the quarrel, sure at some time or other to be started between the public and him; while your mean man, though he will spit and scratch spiritedly at the public, while it does not attend to him, will bow to it for its clap in any direction, and say anything when he has got its ear, which he thinks will bring him another clap; and thus, as stated in the text, he and it go on smoothly together.

There are, however, times when the obstinacy of the mean man looks very like the obstinacy of the great one; but if you look closely into the matter, you will always see that the obstinacy of the first is in the pronunciation of "I;" and of the second, in the pronunciation of "It."

Note 5th, p. 56.—"Invention of new wants."

138. It would have been impossible for political economists long to have endured the error spoken of in the text,[18] had they not been confused by an idea, in part well founded, that the energies and refinements, as well as the riches of civilised life, arose from imaginary wants. It is quite true, that the savage who knows no needs but those of food, shelter, and sleep, and after he has snared his venison and patched the rents of his hut, passes the rest of his time in animal repose, is in a lower state than the man who labours incessantly that he may procure for himself the luxuries of civilisation; and true also, that the difference between one and another nation in progressive power depends in great part on vain desires; but these idle motives are merely to be considered as giving exercise to the national body and mind; they are not sources of wealth, except so far as they give the habits of industry and acquisitiveness. If a boy is clumsy and lazy, we shall do good if we can persuade him to carve cherry-stones and fly kites; and this use of his fingers and limbs may eventually be the cause of his becoming a wealthy and happy man; but we must not therefore argue that cherry-stones are valuable property, or that kite-flying is a profitable mode of passing time. In like manner, a nation always wastes its time and labour directly, when it invents a new want of a frivolous kind, and yet the invention of such a want may be the sign of a healthy activity, and the labour undergone to satisfy the new want may lead, indirectly, to useful discoveries or to noble arts; so that a nation is not to be discouraged in its fancies when it is either too weak or foolish to be moved to exertion by anything but fancies, or has attended to its serious business first. If a nation will not forge iron, but likes distilling lavender, by all means give it lavender to distil; only do not let its economists suppose that lavender is as profitable to it as oats, or that it helps poor people to live, any more than the schoolboy's kite provides him his dinner. Luxuries, whether national or personal, must be paid for by labour withdrawn from useful things; and no nation has a right to indulge in them until all its poor are comfortably housed and fed.

139. The enervating influence of luxury, and its tendencies to increase vice, are points which I keep entirely out of consideration in the present essay; but, so far as they bear on any question discussed, they merely furnish additional evidence on the side which I have taken. Thus, in the present case, I assume that the luxuries of civilized life are in possession harmless, and in acquirement serviceable as a motive for exertion; and even on those favourable terms, we arrive at the conclusion that the nation ought not to indulge in them except under severe limitations. Much less ought it to indulge in them if the temptation consequent on their possession, or fatality incident to their manufacture, more than counter-balances the good done by the effort to obtain them.

Note 6th, p. 74.—"Economy of literature."

140. I have been much impressed lately by one of the results of the quantity of our books; namely, the stern impossibility of getting anything understood, that required patience to understand. I observe always, in the case of my own writings, that if ever I state anything which has cost me any trouble to ascertain, and which, therefore, will probably require a minute or two of reflection from the reader before it can be accepted,—that statement will not only be misunderstood, but in all probability taken to mean something very nearly the reverse of what it does mean. Now, whatever faults there may be in my modes of expression, I know that the words I use will always be found, by Johnson's dictionary, to bear, first of all, the sense I use them in; and that the sentences, whether awkwardly turned or not, will, by the ordinary rules of grammar, bear no other interpretation than that I mean them to bear; so that the misunderstanding of them must result, ultimately, from the mere fact that their matter sometimes requires a little patience. And I see the same kind of misinterpretation put on the words of other writers, whenever they require the same kind of thought.

141. I was at first a little despondent about this; but, on the whole, I believe it will have a good effect upon our literature for some time to come; and then, perhaps, the public may recover its patience again. For certainly it is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his reader is sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or his reader will certainly misunderstand them. Generally, also, a downright fact may be told in a plain way; and we want downright facts at present more than anything else. And though I often hear moral people complaining of the bad effects of want of thought, for my part, it seems to me that one of the worst diseases to which the human creature is liable is its disease of thinking. If it would only just look[19] at a thing instead of thinking what it must be like, or do a thing instead of thinking it cannot be done, we should all get on far better.

Note 7th, p. 147.—"Pilots of the State."

142. While, however, undoubtedly, these responsibilities attach to every person possessed of wealth, it is necessary both to avoid any stringency of statement respecting the benevolent modes of spending money, and to admit and approve so much liberty of spending it for selfish pleasures as may distinctly make wealth a personal reward for toil, and secure in the minds of all men the right of property. For although, without doubt, the purest pleasures it can procure are not selfish, it is only as a means of personal gratification that it will be desired by a large majority of workers; and it would be no less false ethics than false policy to check their energy by any forms of public opinion which bore hardly against the wanton expenditure of honestly got wealth. It would be hard if a man who has passed the greater part of his life at the desk or counter could not at last innocently gratify a caprice; and all the best and most sacred ends of almsgiving would be at once disappointed, if the idea of a moral claim took the place of affectionate gratitude in the mind of the receiver.

143. Some distinction is made by us naturally in this respect between earned and inherited wealth; that which is inherited appearing to involve the most definite responsibilities, especially when consisting in revenues derived from the soil. The form of taxation which constitutes rental of lands places annually a certain portion of the national wealth in the hands of the nobles, or other proprietors of the soil, under conditions peculiarly calculated to induce them to give their best care to its efficient administration. The want of instruction in even the simplest principles of commerce and economy, which hitherto has disgraced our schools and universities, has indeed been the cause of ruin or total inutility of life to multitudes of our men of estate; but this deficiency in our public education cannot exist much longer, and it appears to be highly advantageous for the State that a certain number of persons distinguished by race should be permitted to set examples of wise expenditure, whether in the advancement of science, or in patronage of art and literature; only they must see to it that they take their right standing more firmly than they have done hitherto, for the position of a rich man in relation to those around him is, in our present real life, and is also contemplated generally by political economists as being, precisely the reverse of what it ought to be. A rich man ought to be continually examining how he may spend his money for the advantage of others: at present, others are continually plotting how they may beguile him into spending it apparently for his own. The aspect which he presents to the eyes of the world is generally that of a person holding a bag of money with a staunch grasp, and resolved to part with none of it unless he is forced, and all the people about him are plotting how they may force him: that is to say, how they may persuade him that he wants this thing or that; or how they may produce things that he will covet and buy. One man tries to persuade him that he wants perfumes; another that he wants jewellery; another that he wants sugarplums; another that he wants roses at Christmas. Anybody who can invent a new want for him is supposed to be a benefactor to society: and thus the energies of the poorer people about him are continually directed to the production of covetable, instead of serviceable, things; and the rich man has the general aspect of a fool, plotted against by the world. Whereas the real aspect which he ought to have is that of a person wiser than others, entrusted with the management of a larger quantity of capital, which he administers for the profit of all, directing each man to the labour which is most healthy for him, and most serviceable for the community.

Note 8th, p. 148.—"Silk and purple."

144. In various places throughout these lectures I have had to allude to the distinction between productive and unproductive labour, and between true and false wealth. I shall here endeavour, as clearly as I can, to explain the distinction I mean.

Property may be divided generally into two kinds; that which produces life, and that which produces the objects of life. That which produces or maintains life consists of food, in so far as it is nourishing; of furniture and clothing, in so far as they are protective or cherishing; of fuel; and of all land, instruments, or materials necessary to produce food, houses, clothes, and fuel. It is specially and rightly called useful property.

The property which produces the objects of life consists of all that gives pleasure or suggests and preserves thought: of food, furniture, and land, in so far as they are pleasing to the appetite or the eye; of luxurious dress, and all other kinds of luxuries; of books, pictures, and architecture. But the modes of connection of certain minor forms of property with human labour render it desirable to arrange them under more than these two heads. Property may therefore be conveniently considered as of five kinds.

145. (1) Property necessary to life, but not producible by labour, and therefore belonging of right, in a due measure, to every human being as soon as he is born, and morally inalienable. As for instance, his proper share of the atmosphere, without which he cannot breathe, and of water, which he needs to quench his thirst. As much land as he needs to feed from is also inalienable; but in well-regulated communities this quantity of land may often be represented by other possessions, or its need supplied by wages and privileges.

(2) Property necessary to life, but only producible by labour, and of which the possession is morally connected with labour, so that no person capable of doing the work necessary for its production has a right to it until he has done that work;—"he that will not work, neither should he eat." It consists of simple food, clothing, and habitation, with their seeds and materials, or instruments and machinery, and animals used for necessary draught or locomotion, etc. It is to be observed of this kind of property, that its increase cannot usually be carried beyond a certain point, because it depends not on labour only, but on things of which the supply is limited by nature. The possible accumulation of corn depends on the quantity of corn-growing land possessed or commercially accessible; and that of steel, similarly on the accessible quantity of coal and iron-stone. It follows from this natural limitation of supply that the accumulation of property of this kind in large masses at one point, or in one person's hands, commonly involves, more or less, the scarcity of it at another point and in other persons' hands; so that the accidents or energies which may enable one man to procure a great deal of it, may, and in all likelihood will, partially prevent other men procuring a sufficiency of it, however willing they may be to work for it; therefore, the modes of its accumulation and distribution need to be in some degree regulated by law and by national treaties, in order to secure justice to all men.

Another point requiring notice respecting this sort of property is, that no work can be wasted in producing it, provided only the kind of it produced be preservable and distributable, since for every grain of such commodities we produce we are rendering so much more life possible on earth.[20] But though we are sure, thus, that we are employing people well, we cannot be sure we might not have employed them better; for it is possible to direct labour to the production of life, until little or none is left for that of the objects of life, and thus to increase population at the expense of civilization, learning, and morality: on the other hand, it is just as possible—and the error is one to which the world is, on the whole, more liable—to direct labour to the objects of life till too little is left for life, and thus to increase luxury or learning at the expense of population. Right political economy holds its aim poised justly between the two extremes, desiring neither to crowd its dominions with a race of savages, nor to found courts and colleges in the midst of a desert.

146. (3) The third kind of property is that which conduces to bodily pleasures and conveniences, without directly tending to sustain life; perhaps sometimes indirectly tending to destroy it. All dainty (as distinguished from nourishing) food, and means of producing it; all scents not needed for health; substances valued only for their appearance and rarity (as gold and jewels); flowers of difficult culture; animals used for delight (as horses for racing), and such like, form property of this class; to which the term 'luxury,' or 'luxuries,' ought exclusively to belong.

Respecting which we have to note, first, that all such property is of doubtful advantage even to its possessor. Furniture tempting to indolence, sweet odours, and luscious food, are more or less injurious to health: while jewels, liveries, and other such common belongings of wealthy people, certainly convey no pleasure to their owners proportionate to their cost.

Farther, such property, for the most part, perishes in the using. Jewels form a great exception—but rich food, fine dresses, horses and carriages, are consumed by the owner's use. It ought much oftener to be brought to the notice of rich men what sums of interest of money they are paying towards the close of their lives, for luxuries consumed in the middle of them. It would be very interesting, for instance, to know the exact sum which the money spent in London for ices, at its desserts and balls, during the last twenty years, had it been saved and put out at compound interest, would at this moment have furnished for useful purposes.

Also, in most cases, the enjoyment of such property is wholly selfish, and limited to its possessor. Splendid dress and equipage, however, when so arranged as to produce real beauty of effect, may often be rather a generous than a selfish channel of expenditure. They will, however, necessarily in such cases involve some of the arts of design; and therefore take their place in a higher category than that of luxuries merely.

147. (4) The fourth kind of property is that which bestows intellectual or emotional pleasure, consisting of land set apart for purposes of delight more than for agriculture, of books, works of art, and objects of natural history.

It is, of course, impossible to fix an accurate limit between property of the last class and of this class, since things which are a mere luxury to one person are a means of intellectual occupation to another. Flowers in a London ball-room are a luxury; in a botanical garden, a delight of the intellect; and in their native fields, both; while the most noble works of art are continually made material of vulgar luxury or of criminal pride; but, when rightly used, property of this fourth class is the only kind which deserves the name of real property, it is the only kind which a man can truly be said to 'possess.' What a man eats, or drinks, or wears, so long as it is only what is needful for life, can no more be thought of as his possession than the air he breathes. The air is as needful to him as the food; but we do not talk of a man's wealth of air, and what food or clothing a man possesses more than he himself requires must be for others to use (and, to him, therefore, not a real property in itself, but only a means of obtaining some real property in exchange for it). Whereas the things that give intellectual or emotional enjoyment may be accumulated, and do not perish in using; but continually supply new pleasures and new powers of giving pleasures to others. And these, therefore, are the only things which can rightly be thought of as giving 'wealth' or 'well being.' Food conduces only to 'being,' but these to 'well being.' And there is not any broader general distinction between lower and higher orders of men than rests on their possession of this real property. The human race may be properly divided by zoologists into "men who have gardens, libraries, or works of art; and those who have none;" and the former class will include all noble persons, except only a few who make the world their garden or museum; while the people who have not, or, which is the same thing, do not care for gardens or libraries, but care for nothing but money or luxuries, will include none but ignoble persons: only it is necessary to understand that I mean by the term 'garden' as much the Carthusian's plot of ground fifteen feet square between his monastery buttresses, as I do the grounds of Chatsworth or Kew; and I mean by the term 'art' as much the old sailor's print of the Arethusa bearing up to engage the Belle Poule, as I do Raphael's "Disputa," and even rather more; for when abundant, beautiful possessions of this kind are almost always associated with vulgar luxury, and become then anything but indicative of noble character in their possessors. The ideal of human life is a union of Spartan simplicity of manners with Athenian sensibility and imagination; but in actual results, we are continually mistaking ignorance for simplicity, and sensuality for refinement.

148. (5) The fifth kind of property is representative property, consisting of documents or money, or rather documents only—for money itself is only a transferable document, current among societies of men, giving claim, at sight, to some definite benefit or advantage, most commonly to a certain share of real property existing in those societies. The money is only genuine when the property it gives claim to is real, or the advantages it gives claim to certain; otherwise, it is false money, and may be considered as much 'forged' when issued by a government, or a bank, as when by an individual. Thus, if a dozen of men, cast ashore on a desert island, pick up a number of stones, put a red spot on each stone, and pass a law that every stone marked with a red spot shall give claim to a peck of wheat;—so long as no wheat exists, or can exist, on the island, the stones are not money. But the moment as much wheat exists as shall render it possible for the society always to give a peck for every spotted stone, the spotted stones would become money, and might be exchanged by their possessors for whatever other commodities they chose, to the value of the peck of wheat which the stones represented. If more stones were issued than the quantity of wheat could answer the demand of, the value of the stone coinage would be depreciated, in proportion to its increase above the quantity needed to answer it.

149. Again, supposing a certain number of the men so cast ashore were set aside by lot, or any other convention, to do the rougher labour necessary for the whole society, they themselves being maintained by the daily allotment of a certain quantity of food, clothing, etc. Then, if it were agreed that the stones spotted with red should be signs of a Government order for the labour of these men; and that any person presenting a spotted stone at the office of the labourers, should be entitled to a man's work for a week or a day, the red stones would be money; and might—probably would—immediately pass current in the island for as much food, or clothing, or iron, or any other article, as a man's work for the period secured by the stone was worth. But if the Government issued so many spotted stones that it was impossible for the body of men they employed to comply with the orders,—as, suppose, if they only employed twelve men, and issued eighteen spotted stones daily, ordering a day's work each,—then the six extra stones would be forged or false money; and the effect of this forgery would be the depreciation of the value of the whole coinage by one-third, that being the period of shortcoming which would, on the average, necessarily ensue in the execution of each order. Much occasional work may be done in a state or society, by help of an issue of false money (or false promises) by way of stimulants; and the fruit of this work, if it comes into the promiser's hands, may sometimes enable the false promises at last to be fulfilled: hence the frequent issue of false money by governments and banks, and the not unfrequent escapes from the natural and proper consequences of such false issues, so as to cause a confused conception in most people's minds of what money really is. I am not sure whether some quantity of such false issue may not really be permissible in a nation, accurately proportioned to the minimum average produce of the labour it excites; but all such procedures are more or less unsound; and the notion of unlimited issue of currency is simply one of the absurdest and most monstrous that ever came into disjointed human wits.

150. The use of objects of real or supposed value for currency, as gold, jewellery, etc., is barbarous; and it always expresses either the measure of the distrust in the society of its own government, or the proportion of distrustful or barbarous nations with whom it has to deal. A metal not easily corroded or imitated, it is a desirable medium of currency for the sake of cleanliness and convenience, but, were it possible to prevent forgery, the more worthless the metal itself, the better. The use of worthless media, unrestrained by the use of valuable media, has always hitherto involved, and is therefore supposed to involve necessarily, unlimited, or at least improperly extended, issue; but we might as well suppose that a man must necessarily issue unlimited promises because his words cost nothing. Intercourse with foreign nations must, indeed, for ages yet to come, at the world's present rate of progress, be carried on by valuable currencies; but such transactions are nothing more than forms of barter. The gold used at present as a currency is not, in point of fact, currency at all, but the real property[21] which the currency gives claim to, stamped to measure its quantity, and mingling with the real currency occasionally by barter.

151. The evils necessarily resulting from the use of baseless currencies have been terribly illustrated while these sheets have been passing through the press; I have not had time to examine the various conditions of dishonest or absurd trading which have led to the late 'panic' in America and England; this only I know, that no merchant deserving the name ought to be more liable to 'panic' than a soldier should; for his name should never be on more paper than he can at any instant meet the call of, happen what will. I do not say this without feeling at the same time how difficult it is to mark, in existing commerce, the just limits between the spirit of enterprise and of speculation. Something of the same temper which makes the English soldier do always all that is possible, and attempt more than is possible, joins its influence with that of mere avarice in tempting the English merchant into risks which he cannot justify, and efforts which he cannot sustain; and the same passion for adventure which our travellers gratify every summer on perilous snow wreaths, and cloud-encompassed precipices, surrounds with a romantic fascination the glittering of a hollow investment, and gilds the clouds that curl round gulfs of ruin. Nay, a higher and a more serious feeling frequently mingles in the motley temptation; and men apply themselves to the task of growing rich, as to a labour of providential appointment, from which they cannot pause without culpability, nor retire without dishonour. Our large trading cities bear to me very nearly the aspect of monastic establishments in which the roar of the mill-wheel and the crane takes the place of other devotional music; and in which the worship of Mammon or Moloch is conducted with a tender reverence and an exact propriety; the merchant rising to his Mammon matins with the self-denial of an anchorite, and expiating the frivolities into which he may be beguiled in the course of the day by late attendance at Mammon vespers. But, with every allowance that can be made for these conscientious and romantic persons, the fact remains the same, that by far the greater number of the transactions which lead to these times of commercial embarrassment may be ranged simply under two great heads—gambling and stealing; and both of these in their most culpable form, namely, gambling with money which is not ours, and stealing from those who trust us. I have sometimes thought a day might come, when the nation would perceive that a well-educated man who steals a hundred thousand pounds, involving the entire means of subsistence of a hundred families, deserves, on the whole, as severe a punishment as an ill-educated man who steals a purse from a pocket, or a mug from a pantry.

152. But without hoping for this excess of clear-sightedness, we may at least labour for a system of greater honesty and kindness in the minor commerce of our daily life; since the great dishonesty of the great buyers and sellers is nothing more than the natural growth and outcome from the little dishonesty of the little buyers and sellers. Every person who tries to buy an article for less than its proper value, or who tries to sell it at more than its proper value—every consumer who keeps a tradesman waiting for his money, and every tradesman who bribes a consumer to extravagance by credit, is helping forward, according to his own measure of power, a system of baseless and dishonourable commerce, and forcing his country down into poverty and shame. And people of moderate means and average powers of mind would do far more real good by merely carrying out stern principles of justice and honesty in common matters of trade, than by the most ingenious schemes of extended philanthropy, or vociferous declarations of theological doctrine. There are three weighty matters of the law—justice, mercy, and truth; and of these the Teacher puts truth last, because that cannot be known but by a course of acts of justice and love. But men put, in all their efforts, truth first, because they mean by it their own opinions; and thus, while the world has many people who would suffer martyrdom in the cause of what they call truth, it has few who will suffer even a little inconvenience, in that of justice and mercy.