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Two thousand and sixty-two copies of this editionof
which two thousand are for sale in England and
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Edinburgh, and the type has been distributed.



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PART I . UNTO THI S LAS T ( 18 60 ) :
P RE F ACE ( 1 86 2 ) 1 7
TEXT 2 5

PART I I . MUNERA PULVE RI S ( 18 62 , 186 3) :
P RE F ACE ( 1 87 2 ) 1 31
1 47

P RE F ACE 3 13
3 15

I. LETTERS ON MUNERA PULVERIS (1863, 1875, 1877):

9, 1875)
4 86


2. (OCTOBER 31, 1864) 5 00
. 3 (NOVEMBER 3, 1864) 5 02
(NOVEMBER 10, 1873)
5 03
(NOVEMBER 15, 1873)
5 04

3. (APRIL 25) 5 09
4. (MAY 2) 5 10
5. (MAY 9) 5 14
6. (MAY 22) 5 16



5 29
5 30



5 41


5 56



xxxvi i
Short extracts from collections of Ruskins letters (such as those to Profe ssor
Norton and Mr. William Ward) which appear in extenso in a later volume are not
included in these lists.

l i
xl i x, l
xl i i i , xl i v

) l i v
xxxi i
The daily letter which Ruskin sent to his parents, whenever he was away from
home, was, as a rule, addressed to his father. This, however, is a birthday letter to his

(MORNEX, MARCH 29) 2 32 , 292
2 47 , 251 , 272 , 27 4
BACK AT MORNEX (MAY 11, 12, AND 13) l xxi , l xxi i
xxxvi i
l xi i n .
ECONOMY (1862)
2 71
3 24
l xi x
SEPTEMBER 8, 1863)
l xxi i i

l xxvi
3 33
30 AND JUNE 1, 1867)
4 81 , 48 2
TO ERSKINE ON THE SAME (AUGUST 4, 1862) xxxi i i
TO A CORRESPONDENT (MAY 22, 1867) 4 81
TO THE TIMES (JUNE 7, 1867) 4 81
(SEPTEMBER 20, 1869)
3 26
AT MORNEX (18621863) l i x
BY EDWARD BURNE-JONES (1856) l i i i
BY W. J. STILLMAN (1860) xxi xxi v
BY LADY BURNE-JONES (1862) l i i , l i i i
BY MR. GEORGE ALLEN (18621863) l xi , l xvi i i , l xxi i i , 2 75
TIDE (MARCH 12 AND 14, 1874)
3 44
THE RE-ISSUE OF UNTO THIS LAST (1875, 1877) xxxi i
l xxxi i i

(From Drawings by the Author)
HI S OWN PORTRAI T, 1861 ( Chromol i t hograph) Front i spi ece
To f ace page xl i v
xl vi
I I I . RUSKI N S HOUSE AT MORNEX, 18621863 ( From a
phot ograph)

l vi

l x
l xi i
BREZON ( 1862 or 1863) ( Chromo- l i t hograph)

l xxi i
VI I . LAUFFENBOURG ( 1863) l xxvi


Bet ween pages 74, 75

Bet ween pages

234, 235


Note.The drawing from which the frontispiece is made was reproduced by
chromo-lithography as frontispiece to vol. i. of The Life and Work of John Ruskin, by
W. G. Collingwood, 1893. The drawing of Lucerne (Plate I.) was reproduced, by
autotype process, in the large-paper edition of E. T. Cooks Studies in Ruskin (Plate
3), 1890. The drawing of the Mountains of Annecy

(Plate VI.) was reproduced by chromo-lithography in Studies in Both Arts (Plate X.),
1895. The other drawings have not hitherto been reproduced.
The Portrait was shown at the Ruskin Exhibition at the Royal Society of Painters
in Water-Colours, 1901 (No. 404), and at the Manchester Exhibition, 1904 (No. 363).
The View from the Base of the Brezon was No. 366 in the Manchester Exhibition.
The View from Mornex was No. 222 i n the Exhibition at the Water-Colour Society.
The Mountains of Annecy was No. 303 in that Exhibition; No. 104 at Manchester;
and No. 76 D at the Coniston Exhibition, 1900 (where it was sold for the benefit of the
Coniston Institute for 25 guineas). Lauf fenbourg was No. 376 in the Exhibition at
the Water-Colour Society; it was bought at the sale of Sir John Simons collection in
1905 for the Birmingham Art Gallery (26 guineas).

(In the chronological order, Vol. XVII. follows Vol. VII.)
IN this volume are collected those of Ruskins writings which were
devoted exclusively to Political Economy. They range from the year
1860 to 1867. The Political Economy of Art, belonging to an earlier
date (1857), has already been given in Volume XVI. The miscellany
which he called Fors Clavigera is also concerned in large measure
with Political Economy, but this belongs to a later date (1871
onwards), and treats moreover de omnibus rebus, et quibusdam aliis.
The pieces here collected are:
(I.) Unto this Last. The volume, so entitled and published in 1862,
consists of four essays which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine for
August, September, October, and November 1860.
(II.) Munera Pulveris. This work, though not published as a book
until 1872, was written ten years earlier, and originally appeared in
Frasers Magazine for June, September, and December 1862, and
April 1863.
(III.) Time and Tide. This book was published in 1867, being a
collection of letters which had appeared in newspapers earlier in that
year. Time and Tide thus belongs to a later period than the other books,
and its inclusion here puts it somewhat out of its chronological order;
for in the next volume we shall be concerned with Ruskins
productions in 18641866. But the inclusion of the third treatise on
Political Economy, in the same volume with Unto this Last and
Munera Pulveris, is required by the subject-matter.
The three books were written in the same temper; they deal, from
different points of approach, with the same topics; and, as we shall see
more fully hereafter, they form progressive parts of a comprehensive
scheme. Unto this Last delivered Ruskins first general attack on the
Political Economy current at the time; Munera Pulveris set forth in
outline the scheme of his alternative system; in Time and Tide he
turned from the science to the art of economics, and threw out
suggestions for an Ideal Commonwealth in conformity with the

enunciated in the earlier treatises. There was to be a fourth stage in
Ruskins progress as a Political Economist; he was to pass from theory
to practice and to initiate various schemes towards the realisation here
on earth of his Community which was in heaven. The story of this
attempt belongs to the period of Fors Clavigera. In the meanwhile,
Ruskin had been very busy in following up Unto this Last and Munera
Pulveris with letters to the newspapers, defending and illustrating his
views, and meeting his critics. These arrows of the chace are
collected in the Appendix to this volume.
In this Introduction we shall first carry the story of Ruskins life
and work down to March 1864, when the death of his father changed,
for a time, the course of his career. We shall follow the pursuits and
studies which accompanied his economic writings; trace, by aid of his
letters and diaries, the temper of mind in which those writings were
conceived; and narrate the fortunes of the books themselves. You can
in truth understand a mans word, says Ruskin, only by
understanding his temper.
We shall then, in a second part, give a
connected accountwhich in accordance with the general scheme of
this edition will be expository rather than critical of the whole body
of Ruskins economic work. It has had a considerable effect on the
thought of the age; but his teaching is discursive in method, and is
scattered through many different books and papers. Ive no more to
say, I believe, now on any subject, wrote Ruskin in later years, if I
knew all I had said and could index it.
The collection of his principal
economic writings for the first time in a single volume gives an
opportunity for an attempt to bring them into relation with one
The completion of Modern Painters left the author exhausted, and
suffering in some measure from the effects of reaction after a long
spell of concentration upon a particular task. I am more tired out, he
wrote to his friend Dr. John Brown (Lausanne, August 6, 1860), than
the bulk of that last volume would apparently justify, but not half the
work I did is in it. I cut away half of what I had written, as I threw it
into the final form, thinking the book would be too
Lectures on Art, 68.
A letter to Mr. George Allen, of March 27, 1877.

and half or nearly half of the drawings were left unfinished, the
engraver not having time to do them. There are only three etchings of
mine in the book, but I did seven, of which one was spoiled in biting,
three in mezzotinting, so that I was fairly knocked up when I got the
last sheet corrected. The sheets were passed in May, and leaving his
father to see the work finally through the press, the author set out for
Chamouni. My father well pleased, he says, with the last chapter
and the engraved drawings from Nuremberg and Rheinfelden. On the
strength of this piece of filial duty I am cruel enough to go away to St.
Martins again, by myself, to meditate on what is to be done next.
Thence I go up to Chamouniwhere a new epoch of life and death
Elsewhere he marks this epoch of transition yet more
trenchantly. I got the bound volume of Modern Painters in the valley
of St. Martinss in that summer of 1860, and in the valley of Chamouni
I gave up my art-work and wrote this little bookthe beginning of the
days of reprobation.
This little book was Unto this Last, written,
as he elsewhere says, at the old Union inn.

Of Ruskins sojourn abroad in this year there is no detailed
He kept no diary, for this was doubtless written in the form of
the usual daily letter to his father, but the letters of 1860 have not been
preserved. His companion throughout this time was an American, Mr.
W. J. Stillmanthen a young artist, whose acquaintance he had made
nine or ten years before, and of whose studies of landscape he hoped
great things. Mr. Stillman, who was Ruskins guest, says that more
princely hospitality than his no man ever received, or more kindly
companionship. They spent much time in sketching together, Ruskin
sometimes sitting over his pupil and directing his work so closely that,
as another pupil said, he wanted me to hold the brush while he
Every day, says Mr. Stillman, we climbed some
secondary peak, five or six thousand feet, and in the evenings we
discussed art or played chess, mainly in

One of the chapters thus thrown out was no doubt the discussion of Sir Joshua
and Holbein, which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine for March 1860 (see a later
volume of this edition).
Prterita, iii. 12.
Readings in Modern Painters (see a later volume of this edition).
See Vol. XIII. p. 497.
He left Dover on May 22 and went to Geneva (May 28). There he stayed for some
days; afterwards going by Bonneville (June 15) to St. Martin and Chamouni. He
returned by Lausanne (August 6), Freiburg, Neuchtel, Ble, Lauffenburg, and
Geneva; being back at Denmark Hill early in September.
Mr. Rowse: see W. J. Stillmans Autobiography of a Journalist , vol. i. p. 264.

rehearsing problems, until midnight. Ruskin enjoyed his friends
companionship; but there were incompatibilities of temperament:

I have had great pleasure, and great advantage also, in Stillmans
society this last two months. We are, indeed, neither of us in a
particularly cheerful humour, and very often, I think, succeed in
making each other reciprocally miserable to an amazing extent; but
we do each other more good than harm,at least he does me, for he
knows much just of the part of the world of which I know nothing. He
is a very noble fellowif only he could see a crow without wanting to
shoot it to pieces.

It must also have detracted somewhat from Ruskins pleasure in his
friend that he was disappointed in the high Alps. Other sources of
friction appear in Mr. Stillmans account of the summer:

He met me with a carriage at Culoz, to give and enjoy my first
impressions of the distant Alps, and for the ten days we stopped at
Geneva I stayed with him at the Htel des Bergues. We climbed the
Salve, and I saw what gave me more pleasure, I confess, t han the
distant view of Mont Blanc, which he expected me to be enthusiastic
overthe soldanella and the gentians. The great accidents of
natureNiagara and the high Alpsthough they awe me, have always
left me cold. . . Our first sketching excursion was to the Perte du
Rhone, and, while Ruskin was drawing some mountain forms beyond
the river, he asked me to draw some huts near by. . . . When Ruskin
came back, I had made a careless and slipshod five minutes sketch not
worth the paper it was on, as to me were not the originals. Ruskin was
angry, and he had a right to be; for at least I should have found it
enough that he wanted it done, to make me do my best on it, but I did
not think of it in that light. We drove back towards Geneva in
silencehe moody, and I sullenand half-way there he broke out,
saying that the fact that he wanted the drawing done ought to have
been enough to make me do it. I replied that I could see no interest in
the subject, which to me only suggested fever and discomfort, and
wretched habitations for human beings. We relapsed into silence, and
for another mile nothing was said, when Ruskin broke out with, You
were right, Stillman, about those cottages; your way of looking at
them was nobler than mine, and now, for the first time in my life, I
understand how anybody can live in America. . . .
I was disappointed in the high Alps, they left me cold, and after
visiting the points of view Turner had taken drawings from, we went
up to the Montanvert, where Ruskin wished me to paint for him a
wreath of Alpine roses. We found the rose growing luxuriantly against
a huge
Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 99.

granite boulder, a pretty natural composition, and I set to work on it
with great satisfaction, for botani cal painting always interested me.
Ruskin sat and watched me work, and expressed his surprise at my
facility of execution of details and texture, saying that, of the painters
he knew, only Millais had so great a facility of execution . . . From
Paris, in the ensuing winter, I sent it to Ruskin, the distance being
made of the actual view down the valley of Chamonix, and he wrote
me a bitter condemnation of it as a disappointment; for he said that he
had expected to see the Alpine roses overhanging an awful chasm,
etc. (an expectation he should have given expression to earlier), and
found it very commonplace and uninteresting. So it was, and I burnt
it. . . .
I finally found a subject which interested me in a view of the foot
of the Mer de Glace from the opposite side of the river, looking up the
glacier, with the bridge under the Brevent, and a cottage in the
foreground, and set to work on it energetically. Ruskin used to sit
behind me and comment on my work. My methods of painting were my
own . . . and I had a way of painting scud clouds, such as always hang
around the Alpine peaks, by brushing the sky in thinly with the
sky-blue, and then working into that, with the brush, the melting
clouds, producing the grey I wanted on the canvas. It imitated the
effect of nature logically, as the pigment imitated the mingling of the
vapour with the blue sky; but Ruskin said this was incorrect, and that
the colours must be laid like mosaic, side by side, in the true tint.
Another discouragement! I used to lay in the whole subject, beginning
with the sky, rapidly and broadly, and, when it was dry, returning to
the foreground and finishing towards the distance; and Ruskin was
delighted with the foreground painting, insisting on my doing nothing
further to it. In the distance was the Montanvert and the Aiguille du
Dru; but where the lines of the glacier and the slopes of the mountain
at the right met, five nearly straight lines converged at a point far from
the centre, and I did not see how to get rid of them without violati ng
the topography. I pointed it out to Ruskin, and he immediately
exclaimed: Oh, nothing can be done with a subject like that, with five
lines radiating from an unimportant point! I will not stay here to see
you finish that study. And the next day we packed up and left for

Mr. Stillman has another characteristic reminiscence of Ruskin.
On Sundays no work was done, and once they fell into a discussion of
Sabbatarianism. Mr. Stillman pointed out the critical objections to the
identification of the weekly rest with the first day of the week.
The Autobiography of a Journalist , by W. J. Stillman, 1901, vol. i. pp. 260264,
267, 268. Some of his reminiscences of Ruskin had previously appeared in the Century
Magazine, January 1888.

To this demonstration, he says, Ruskin, always deferent to the
literal interpretation of the Gospel, could not make a defence; the
creed had so bound him to the letter that the least enlargement of the
structure broke it, and he rejected the whole traditionnot only the
Sunday Sabbath, but the authority of the ecclesiastical interpretation
of the texts. He said, If they have deceived me in this, they have
probably deceived me in all, and he came to the conclusion of
rejecting all.
Mr. Stillman perhaps exaggerates the effect which this
one demonstration had upon the course of his friends thoughts; but
the reminiscence agrees with the sceptical mood into which, as we
shall presently see, Ruskin was now entering.
In writing to a friend, he described himself during these weeks at
Chamouni as drawing Alpine roses, or rather Alpine rose leaves.

But his real occupation was the thinking out of the papers which he
entitled Unto this Last. His absorption in economic inquiries was, as
we have already shown,
not so much a change, as a development. His
sthetic criticism had from the first been coloured throughout by
moral considerations. Yes, said his father, after one of Ruskins
lectures on art, he should have been a bishop. Again, his study of art,
and especially of architecture, had convinced him that art is the
expression of national life and character. He who would raise the
flower must cultivate the proper soil out of which alone it could grow
in health and perfection. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever, said the
poet; yes, replied Ruskin, but a joy which is to be for ever, must also
be a joy for all.
His love of beauty, his study of art, had thus brought
him up full front to an examination of the principles of national
well-being. His exquisite sensibility to impressions of beauty in the
world of nature thus became also

a nerve oer which do creep
The else unfelt oppressions of mankind.

It is the vainest of affectations, he afterwards wrote, to try and put
beauty into shadows, while all real things that cast them are in
deformity and pain.
We have heard him, at the end of the last volume
of Modern Painters, debating with himself how far he could honestly
or with any inward satisfaction pursue the cultivation of the
The Autobiography of a Journalist, by W. J. Stillman, 1901, vol. i. pp. 265267.
Letter to Dr. John Brown, August 6, 1860.
Vol. XVI. p. xxii.
See Aratra Pentelici , 17.
See Ruskins prefatory remarks to the Catalogue of the Educational Series.

beautiful in art, without first endeavouring to realise the good and
beautiful in the world of social and political life. It was with such
thoughts surging in his brain and such feelings burning in his heart that
he had gone, in this summer of 1860, to the mountains; and there,
under the same cloudless peace of the snows of Chamouni
that had
inspired and sanctified his earlier essays in art, he now turned his mind
to theories of national wealth and social justice. Into these essays
Ruskin put the results of much long and earnest thought,
and to them
he brought all the resources of a now matured and chastened style.
Every word of Unto this Last was written out twice, he tells us,
in great part of the book, three times. In one of his Oxford lectures
he compared passages in it with others from the earlier volumes of
Modern Painters, as a lesson in style.
The language of Unto this
Last, he wrote to his father (Geneva, August 12, 1862), is as much
superior to that of the first volume of Modern Painters as that of
Tacitus to that of the Continental Annual; and elsewhere he speaks of
it as the only book, properly to be called a book, that I have yet
written, the one that will stand (if anything stand) surest and longest of
all work of mine.

The authors judgment of the style in this book has been endorsed
by a recent critic, who has made a special study of Ruskin as a master
of prose. As a matter of form, says Mr. Frederic Harrison, I would
point to Unto this Last as a work containing almost all that is noble in
Ruskins written prose, with hardly any, or very few, of his excesses
and mannerisms. It is true that we have a single sentence of 242 words
and 52 intermediate stops
before we come to the pause. But this is
occasional; and the book as a whole is a masterpiece of pure, incisive,
imaginative, lucid English. If one had to plead the cause of Ruskin
before the Supreme Court in the Republic of Letters, one would rely on
that book as a type of clearness, wit, eloquence, versatility, passion.

Epilogue to Modern Painters (Vol. VII. p. 464).
In the previous year he had made a start upon an essay on the elements of
political economy; a few pages of it occur in his diary of 1859Beginning of
Political Economy he called them in reading the pages many years later. He begins
with the case of a ships company cast away on a desert island, and works out their
proceedings. This is a method of approaching the subject which occurs in this volume
more than once (see pp. 48, 372).
Fors Clavigera, Letter 48 (Notes and Correspondence).
See Readings in Modern Painters in a later volume of this edition.
Sesame and Lilies, 47 (a lecture delivered in 1864).
See 74; below, pp. 99100.
Ruskin as Master of Prose, Nineteenth Century, October 1895, p. 574;
reprinted in Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill and other Literary Estimates, 1899, p. 74. The

By the end of June Ruskin had his first essay, or perhaps more,
ready for the printer, and he sent it to the new magazinethe
Cornhillwhich his publisher, Mr. George Smith, had launched on
January 1, 1860, under the editorship of Thackeray. Ruskin sent the
paper to Mr. Smith Williams, the literary adviser of the firm; warning
him that editorial notes of reprobation might be necessary, but
desiring to get it into print, somehow.
A copy was sent at the same
time by Ruskin to his father, who, though not too well pleased at this
new venture, loyally supported his son. When others attacked him, the
fathers combative instincts were aroused; yet he was not altogether
happy in the fight, and a little rift in the harmonious relations which
had hitherto existed between father and son now begins to make itself
felt. The following notes from the father to Mrs. John Simon disclose
his state of mind:

7 BILLITER STREET, 21st July, 1860.

I addressed just now the August Cornhill Magazinenot out, but
obtained by favourto Mr. Simon, and Mr. Smith assured me his own
man should have it at 44 before 5 oclock.
John was obliged to put J. R., as the Editor woul d not be
answerable for opinions so opposed to Malthus and the Times and the
City of

same position is accorded to Unto this Last by another critic: The volume marks the
perfection, for practical purposes, of his style. It has shed the flamboyance and
prolixity of his youth; it has not lapsed into the involved garrulityoften delightful,
indeed, but at best lacking the gravity of really great art which alternately charms
and irritates in his later essays. Here it is in his hands like the sword of an expert
swordsman: keen, rapid, and lustrous, flashing with swift easy turns through
impassioned pleading, succinct exposition, searching irony and fanciful irony. (J. W.
Mackail in Chamberss Cyclopdia of English Literature, vol. iii., 1903, p. 571.)
The covering letter has been printed in the privately-issued Letters on Art and
Literature, by John Ruskin, edited by Thomas J. Wise, 1894, pp. 78, 79:
(July 1st, 1860.)
DEAR MR. WILLIAMS,I send you some Political Economy, which, if
you can venture to use in any way for the Cornhill, stigmatizing it by any
notes of reprobation which you may think necessary, I shall be very glad. All
I care about is to get it into print, somehow. Please, if you use it, put it on
slips, and send it to me to Htel de lUnivers, Chamonix, Faucigny, France. I
shall send it back by the next post but one, and shall not need another revise.
Send proof of slips also to my father.
I am afraid you have had a great deal of trouble about that book of mine.
I wish the binders had had a lit tle more,but things must be as they may. I am
very glad to be at last unbound myself, so perhaps the book will be.
Kindest regards to Mr. Smith. Ever faithfully and affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.

For Mr. W. Smith Williams, see Vol. VIII. p. 275 n. That book of mine is the fifth
volume of Modern Painters.

Manchester. Please tell Mr. Simon I begged of John to spare his brain
and write nothing for a year or two, but he said it only amused him and
gave no thought, as it was a subj ect long thought of. I had two reasons
to wish him not to write, for I fear his Political Economy was at fault;
but I am charmed with the paper, and it can do no harm. The Times
says Dr. Guthrie and my son are in Political Economy mere innocents,
and I suppose we shall have the slaughter of the innocents, but I am
glad to see such Political Economy. The tone is high, and our tone in
the city is much too low.

21st August, 1860.

The August and September numbers of Cornhill Magazine have
articles of Johns on Political Economy, which have brought a shower
of abuse on him from the Saturday Review and Scotsman. They are not
bad, for all that, and it is rather amusing to see the commotion they
make; perhaps I should have preferred his not meddling with Political
Economy for a while! They will mistake him for a Socialist or Louis
Blanc or Mr. Owen of Lanark.

DENMARK HILL, 25th October, 1860.

I sent you the Cornhill Magazine, finding Johns paper liked by
Mr. Simon. Early in July, John sent me from abroad his first paper,
kindly saying I might suppress it if the publishing it would annoy me.
I sent to Smith & Co., saying I thought them twelve of the most
important pages I had ever read.
Immediately on seeing them in print , Dr. John Brown of
Edinburgh, a good writer and able reviewer, wrote to me, wondering I
had published the article, and saying the Scotsman had fallen on this
unlucky paper. I replied I meant to publish any more that might come,
let Scotch or English reviews say what they might; and I am glad these
speculations have gone out, though I confess to have suffered more
uneasiness about his newspaper letters on Politics and his papers on
Political Economy than about all his books. These Political and
Political Economical papers throw up a coarser and more disagreeable
dust about one. The wrath of the Manchester School will be delivered
in worse terms than the anger of certain Schools of Painting.

These shrewd apprehensions were abundantly fulfilled. The
publication of the papers in the Cornhill Magazine raised a storm of
indignant protest; even a theological heresy-hunt could not have been
more fast and furious. The essays were declared to be one of the

most melancholy spectacles, intellectually speaking, that we have ever
The series of papers in the Cornhill Magazine, wrote
another critic,
throughout which Mr. Ruskin laboured hard to
destroy his reputation, were to our mind almost painful. It is no
pleasure to see genius mistaking its power, and rendering itself
ridiculous. The papers were described by the Saturday Review as
eruptions of windy hysterics, absolute nonsense, utter
imbecility, intolerable twaddle; the author was a perfect paragon
of blubbering; his whines and snivels were contemptible; the world
was not going to be preached to death by a mad governess; after
which quiet and measured criticisms the Reviewer proceeded, with an
amusing lack of humour, to declare that it was an act of
condescension, on his part, to argue at all with a man who can only
write in a scream. The last passage of the book in particular which
the author himself regarded as the best he had ever writtenfilled the
Saturday Reviewer with indignant disgust. Even more repulsive, he
said, is the way in which Mr. Ruskin writes of the relations of the rich
and poor. It was incredible that anybody should listen to such
appeals, except that people like for some reason to see a man degrade
himself. Ruskin himself was not a man to be brow-beaten by such
bludgeoning; but the attack was carried, in newspapers all over the
country, into a more vulnerable quarter. What did Thackeray mean by
committing himself to such nonsense?
What was Mr. Smith thinking
of when he admitted into a magazine, which had still to establish itself
in popular favour, such loud attacks on the popular creed? The blow
went home; and after three of the essays had been published, the
conductors of the Cornhill Magazine bowed before the storm. Ruskin
afterwards told the story in the Preface to Munera Pulveris (see below,
p. 143), where he describes how the editors sentence of
excommunication was conveyed with great discomfort to himself,
and many apologies to me. Though the editor was the vehicle of
communication, it appears from the Memoir of Mr. George Smith
the edict was the publishers. Ruskins papers were seen, we are
told, to be too deeply tainted with socialistic hereby to conciliate
subscribers, and Mr. Smith decided to stop so
Literary Gazette, November 3, 1860.
H. H. Lancaster, at p. 299 of the book cited in Vol. VII. p. lxvi. n.
See, for instance, the Manchester Examiner and Times, October 2, 1860: For
some inscrutable reason, which must be inscrutably satisfactory to his publishers, Mr.
Thackeray has allowed, etc., etc.; and the Scotsman, August 9: If Mr. Thackeray had
not failed to feel ashamed to print such frenzies, etc., etc.
See the Dictionary of National Biography, Supplementary Volume I. p. xxvii.

dangerous a contributor.
The intimation was conveyed to Ruskin after
the appearance of the third paper (Qui Judicatis Terram): the
Magazine must only admit one Economical Essay more, which,
accordingly, he made (by permission) longer than the rest.
He gave it
a concluding passage, but the reader should remember that the book
remains a fragment. Thus in one place he promises a fuller discussion
of definitions given only in extremest brevity, and gives the titles of
three intended chaptersThirty Pieces (on Price), Demeter (on
Production), and The Law of the House (on Economy).

To a modern reader, who turns to Ruskins essays at a time when
they have done their work, the excited hostility and violent
apprehension caused by their original publication may seem barely
intelligible. The heresies have become in part accepted doctrine, and
in the remainder the familiar gospel of economic and political schools;
if they were socialistic, did not a distinguished statesman declare,
with regard to the tendency of modern legislation, that we are all
socialists now? But we must judge the matter historically, and put
ourselves back to the state of public opinion in 1860, if we would
either do justice to Ruskins editor or appreciate correctly the
importance of his own work. The old Political Economy was then at
the height of its power. It was the established creed, and any man who
assailed it was a heretic who could expect no mercy from its ministers.
In the present year (1905), if we consider the hostility which Mr.
Chamberlains economic heresies have excited, we shall be better
able to understand the storm which raged round Ruskin in 1860;
though, to avoid misapprehension, it should be added that on the
particular issue of Protection versus Free Trade, Ruskin was a
pronounced Free Trader.
In 1860, moreover, the old Political
Economy was something more than a creedit was an accepted
policy. Its abstractions were taken as rules of conduct. It governed not
merely the tariff, but served as a standard for statecraft in other
directions. The policy of laisser faire was still the accepted rule, and
Ruskin was a heretic no less in advocating practical extensions of
State interference than in attacking
Ruskins friendly relations with Mr. Smith continued for many years, and a letter
to Thackeray of December 21, 1860, shows no sign of vexation with his friend (see the
letter reprinted in a later volume of this edition from Mrs. Richmond Ritchies
Records of Tennyson, Ruskin, and Browning, 1892, p. 126).
Ruskin had some fears whether it would not prove too strong. Im so glad, he
wrote to Mr. William Ward on October 1, 1860, you like those economy papers. The
next will be a smasher,Im only afraid they wont put it in. If they dont, Ill print it
See 59 n.; and compare 77, 84 n. (pp. 81, 104, 113).
See below, p. 72 n.

the theoretical basis of economic doctrine.
The perusal of old
speeches can only be recommended to those whom Lord Rosebery has
called devotees of blue-books and cracknel biscuits; but if a reader
will turn to the essay which Matthew Arnold entitled A French Eton,
he will find himself among the ideas which an advocate of State action
had still to combat in 1864, and by this pleasant exercise will put
himself in a position to understand the wrath which Ruskins earlier
essay aroused among the devotees of the established creed. That creed
was indeed beginning to be undermined by other agencies; but Ruskin
had not followed the rise of the historical or realisti c school of
economics in Germany. He even professed, in a rash (and not entirely
accurate) avowal of which his critics were not slow to take advantage,

not to have read the authors whom he was attacking. His assault was
entirely independent; and it was as trenchant as it was audacious.
Herein was an additional source of aggravation. He was an intruder;
let the cobbler stick to his last,
and the author of Modern Painters to
his art-criticism. What should an artist and a man of letters know of the
mysteries of economics? This is a question which, in one form or
another, fills a large part of the replies to Ruskins essays. Yet there is
no reason why the exercise of singularly acute powers of analysis in
one direction should disqualify a man for their exerci se in another,
and, moreover, Ruskin had special qualifications for the new task into
which he had now thrown himself. There is perhaps no branch of
inquiry which more than Political Economy demands great care and
skill in the exact use of languagenone in which there are more
ambiguities and shibboleths to scatter confusion or excite prejudice.
Ruskin, though among the most copious and eloquent of writers, was
never intoxicated by the exuberance of his language; no English
writer has ever used words with greater exactness and precision, and
this habit was a valuable equipment for sword-exercise among the
masked words
of Political Economy. It should be remembered, too,
that though Ruskins main interests in the earlier portion of his life had
been with art, he was familiar from his youth up with the ideas and
practice of the mercantile world as they were to be observed in a city
merchants house.
And, again, Ruskin claimed with justice
On this subject compare what has already been said in the Introduction to The
Political Economy of Art, Vol. XVI. pp. xxiv., xxv.
See Vol. XVI. pp. 10, 406 n.
Let him make but a very slight change in the title of his papers and it will suit
them admirably; let him alter Unto this Last into Beyond the Last. We never knew
a more signal violation of the good old rule, Ne sutor ultra crepidam (Frasers
Magazine, November 1860, p. 659).
See Sesame and Lilies, 16 (Vol. XVIII. p. 66.
See Ruskins letter to Dr. John Brown cited below, p. xxxiv.

that his first-hand knowledge of arts and crafts gave him a real insight
into the finer qualities of work,
and a considerable advantage over
many of the armchair economists; to which it may be added that he had
used his opportunities of foreign travel to investigate closely the
conditions of agriculture and national life.

Ruskin, therefore, was by no means so ill equipped as his critics
chose to assume, for the warfare which he carried into the camp of the
established school of economics. But it is a tradition of criticism that
one author should have one subject, and the intrusion of an artcritic
into an alien field remained to the end one of the popular counts in the
indictment against him. Yet, even in the first fury of reprobation, there
were some who feared, while they affected to despise. He is not worth
our powder and shot, wrote one of the organs of the established school;
yet, if we do not crush him, his wild words will touch the springs of
action in some hearts, and ere we are aware a moral floodgate may fly
open and drown us all.
Only the pen of Ruskin himself could do
justice to the horror thus naively expressed lest an incursion of moral
ideas should drown the whole scheme of the orthodox religion i n
economics. The fear was to be justified in good time. An estimate of
the contribution made by Ruskin to the moralisation of Political
Economy belongs to the second part of the Introduction; but the
history of the little book, Unto this Last, with which we are here
concerned, is itself eloquent on the subject. The essays in the Cornhill
Magazine came to an abrupt termination, as we have seen, in
November 1860. In June 1862 Ruskin collected them into a volume,
with an additional preface. The edition consist ed of 1000 copies, and
ten years later it was still not exhausted. Ruskin preserved a curious
correspondence which he had with Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. in
1873, when he finally transferred the publication of his books to Mr.
George Allen. Among this correspondence is a List of Mr. Ruskins
Works of which Smith, Elder and Co.
See Munera Pulveris, Preface, 1, and compare note 2 on p. 78, below. My real
forte, he wrote in Fors Clavigera (Letter 19), is really not description, but political
There are some acute remarks in this sense in Mr. J. A. Hobsons John Ruskin,
Social Reformer: He had spent most of his laborious life in patient detailed
observation of nature and the works of men. Both from contemporary observation and
from study of history the actual processes by which large classes of goods were
produced and consumed were familiar to him. How many of the teachers of Political
Economy who have been so scornful of Mr. Ruskins claims possessed a tithe of this
practical knowledge? How many of them had studied the growth of the different arts
and handicrafts in the history of nature as he had studied them? (p. 58, ed. 1898).
From a leading article in the Manchester Examiner and Times, October 2, 1860.

have copies on hand, with the estimated time for the sale of the stock
on hand. Of Unto this Last, 102 copies remained, and the publishers
estimated that two years would be required to dispose of them. A few
years later, Ruskin re-issued the book on his own account,
and the
rate of sale during the last quarter of a century has been 2000 per
annum. Ruskin was told of a working man who, being too poor to buy
the book, had copied it out word for word.
Subsequently a selection of
extracts, sold at a penny,
has also circulated widely among the
working classes, and the book has been translated also into French,
German, and Italian. The floodgate has flown open.
Ruskin had faith in the ultimate vindication of his essays; but at the
time the stoppage of them in the Cornhill and the violent reprobation
which they encountered caused him much disappointment and
bitterness of spirit. The book not only sold very slowly itself, but its
heresies checked the sale of his other books also. It will sell, some
day, yet, youll see, he wrote to his father (Mornex, October 20,
1862); but is there absolutely no sale yet? It is enough to make one
turn knave and try to make money by bad writing. There is a certain
doubtfulness of oneself, he writes again (November 3), which is
difficult to bear when one thing fails after anotherthe sale of my
books entirely stopped; but it is to be remembered, he adds, that I
have never yet set myself to make money.
If I were to prepare a good
lecture on Alps or plants, and give it over and over again and again
with rich illustrations, I should soon bring people. Or I could write a
book on Switzerland, which people would buy, but Im too proud.
One word of encouragement, indeed, he received, and it was from the
man whose good opinion he most valued. He seems to have sent an
advance copy of the last essay to Carlyle, whose reply has been
placed on record:

CHELSEA, October 29, 1860.

DEAR RUSKIN,You go down through those unfortunate
dismal-science people like a treble-X of Senna, Glauber, and Aloes;
like a fit of British cholera, threatening to be fatal ! I have read your
paper with exhilaration, exultation, often with laughter, with
bravissimo! Such a thing flung
With regard to the re-issue of the book in 1877, Ruskin wrote to Mr. Allen
(January 27, 1877):
I cant mend it as far as it goes; but wonder at the feebly delicate From an
earlier letter to his publisher (February 19, 1875) it appears that Ruskin had
contemplated a cheap reprint of the book for penny circulation.
Fors Clavigera, Letter 48 (Notes and Correspondence).
The Rights of Labour according to John Ruskin: see Bibliographical Note, p.
As he says in the Preface to the last volume of Modern Painters (Vol. VII. p. 10).

suddenly into half a million dull British heads on the same day, will do
a great deal of good. I marvel in parts at the lynx-eyed sharpness of
your logic, at the pincer-grip (red-hot pincers) you take of certain
bloated cheeks and blown-up bellies. More power to your elbow
(though it is cruel in the extreme). If you dispose, stand to that kind of
work for the next seven years, and work out then a result like what you
have done in painting. Yes, there were a something to donot easily
measurable in importance to these sunk ages. Meantime my joy is
great to find myself henceforth in a minority of two, at any rate. The
Dismal-Science people will object that their science expressly
abstracts itself from moralities, from etc., etc.; but what you say and
show is incontrovertibly truethat no science, worthy of men (and
not worthier of dogs or of devils), has a right to call itself political
economy, or can exist at all, except mainly as a fetid nuisance and a
public poison, on other terms than those you shadow out to it for the
first time. On third last page, and never till then, I pause slightly, not
too sorrowfully, and appeal to the times coming (Noble is the spirit
there, too, my friend; but alas, it is not Philanthropismus that will do
there; it is Rhadamanthismus I sorrowfully see) which are yet at a
great distance! Go on and prosper.
I am, yours always (sleeping a little better, and hoping an evening
soon), T.

Carlyle was equally enthusiastic when the essays were collected two
years later into a book. Writing to his friend Thomas Erskine, of
Linlathen, (August 4, 1862), he said:

Here is a very bright little book of Ruskins, which, if you have
not already made acquaintance with it, is extremely well worth
reading. Two years ago, when the essays came out in the fashionable
magazines, there rose a shriek of anathema from all newspaper and
publishing persons. But I am happy to say that the subject is to be
taken up again and heartily gone into by the valiant Ruskin, who, I
hope, will reduce it to a dogs likenessits real physiognomy for a
long time past to the unenchanted eyeand peremptorily bid it to quit
this inflicted earth, as R. has done to several things before now. He
seems to me to have the best talent for preaching of all men now alive.
He has entirely blown up the world that used to call itself of Art, and
left it in an impossible posture, uncertain whether on its feet at all or
on its head, and conscious that there will be no continuing on the
bygone terms. If he could do as much for Political Economy (as I
hope), it would be the greatest benefit
This letter was first published in the English Illustrated Magazine for November
1891. The third last page refers to the third page from the end of the last article in
the Cornhill (now 8185), where Ruskin turns to the future and makes his plea of

achieved by preaching for generations past; the chasing off of one of
the brutallest nightmares that ever sate on the bosom of slumberous
mankind, kept the soul of them squeezed down into an invisible state,
as if they had no soul, but only a belly and beaver faculty in these last
sad ages, and were about arriving we know where in consequence. I
have read nothing that pleased me better for many a year than these
new Ruskiniana.

But other friends, whose opinion also Ruskin valued, were coldly
critical. Dr. John Brown, as we have seen,
remonstrated with
Ruskins father for allowing such doctrine to see the light. Ruskin,
writing from Lausanne (August 6, 1860), addressed to his friend a plea
for suspension of judgment:

You will perhaps like the political Economy better as it goes on;
meantime, you must remember that having passed all my life in pretty
close connection with the mercantile world, and hearing these
subjects often discussed by men of business at my fathers table, I am
likely to know pretty well what I am about, even in this
out-of-the-way subject, as it seems; so you must just wait patiently to
see the end of it.

The later papers somewhat modified Dr. John Browns first criticisms,
and Ruskin wrote again with more confidence (November 11,

The value of these papers on economy is in their having, for the
first time since money was set up for the English Dagon, declared that
there never was nor will be any vitality nor Godship in him, and that
the value of any ship of the line is by no means according to the price
you have given for your guns, but to the price you have given for your
Captain. For the first time, I say, this is declared in purely accurate
scientific termsCarlyle having led the way, as he does in all noble
insight in this generation.

Another friend who was out of sympathy with Ruskins essays was his
old tutor, the Rev. W.L. Brown, of Wendlebury. To him Ruskin wrote
at the end of 1860:

Do you know, I think you a little enjoy arguingfor the
arguments sakeis it not so? Had it been otherwise, would you have
written that argument about the oxen? Of course, if we assume the
right of one man over another to be that which a man has over an ox
(namely, to kill him if he wishes to eat him), all
From Carlyles Life in London, by J. A. Froude, vol. ii. p. 252. Erskines reply
may be read in W. G. Collingwoods Life of John Ruskin, 1900, p. 203.
Above, p. xxvii.

other laws of labour and payment of labour must be modified by that
right. But the law between man and man is another law than that
between man and ox.
Again, though I am glad to have your clergymans view of the
blessings of the poor, I do not admit it as one bearing on Political
Economy. If it is indeed best to be poor, let us all be poor; if best to be
rich, try to be rich as many as can.
But you will find that my assertion to the rich man is precisely
thisthat he does not know what he is seeking for, but is eating and
drinking his own damnation, and that what he calls Political Economy
is the foulest form of Not discerning the Lords Body.

Kind letter received this morning; again best thanks. All good
wishes to you for many happy years.
You will, on thinking steadily over the matter, find that my
definition is not wider than the Political Economists. Theirs is as
wide as mine. Only it is false. They mean by wealthmoney or
moneys worth, and they say moneys worth is determinable
irrespectively of moral faculties. I sayyour moneys worth depends
wholly upon your own head and heartcods head or mans head, as
it happens to be. You buy a horse for a hundred guineas. If you can
ride him, he is worth your guineas
may be worth immeasurably
more than one hundred guineas. If you cant ride him, he may be
wortha broken neck to you. You have paid your hundred guineas
for an executioner on four legs. That is not an imaginative or
theoretical way of putting it. It is pure, simple, mercantile fact. So the
poor beasts and wretches who fancy themselves rich in this precious
city of ours go on working hard all their days in order to obtain on
their death-beds the power of sayingin a palsied
manner100,000, etc., shall belong to A. or B. Fancy it put to a man
in his youth, Will you work hard all your dayslose your soul and
your body togetherfor the power, on your death-bed, of
adjudicating on a property you never had a farthing of?
For this is
the fact: All the supposed pleasures of money-wealthare pleasures
of imagination. The fact is, they work hardfor another man to
spend, and refuse themselves even the pleasure of this mans thanks.
They give away all they have. But they take care to get nothing but
Gods damnation and mans abuse in return. This is the clear,
incontrovertible fact about them. I get so wild with contempt and
anger when I think of these things that I cant write.
1 Corinthians xi. 29.
Compare Munera Pulveris, 35 (below, p. 167).
And here, ibid., 37 (p. 169).

Such was the mood in which Ruskin passed the winter of
18601861. He had returned from Switzerland in September, and he
sought relief from more exciting and disturbing thoughts in the quiet
practice of drawing. He spent a good deal of time in drawing from the
figure, and noticed in letters of a subsequent date that this practice
seemed to have intensified his perceptions of natural beauty
remark which is of interest, because Ruskin is often accused of
insensibility to beauty in the human figure, and of ignoring the value
of the exercise of drawing from it.
In the spring he had some lecturing engagements to perform. On
April 2 he gave a discourse at the St. Georges Mission;
on April 19
he delivered at the Royal Institution the lecture on Tree Twigs . This
lecture was, as we have already seen,
generally accounted a failure,
and Ruskin felt it to be such himself. He was suffering already from
some nervous depression, and the sense of failure in this public
appearance increased his nervousness.
He felt that it was time to take
complete rest, and in the middle of June he went to Boulogne, where
he stayed for seven weeks. Before going abroad Ruskin had performed
an act of self-denial which signified to himself the consecration of his
energies to other than artistic pursuits. He stripped himself of many of
his treasured drawings by Turner, and presented them to the
Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Some particulars of these gifts
have already been given;
it may here be added that, in a letter to
Acland, Ruskin states the cost-price to him of fifty-two
I cannot imagine how it is, he writes from Lucerne (October 16, 1861), that I
feel, or see, everything so much more beautiful than even when I was in Switzerland
only last year. I suppose, though it did not seem much, the work on the figure which I
had last winter was very good exercise for me; but, be that how it may, all the scenes
to-dayold ones enoughCoppet, Nijon, Yverdun, Granson, Neuchtel, Bienne,
Soleure, Morgenthalseemed lovelier than I ever knew them, and I wanted to draw
more things than ever before. So, again, he writes in 1863 (Baden, November 3): I
am drawing as hard as I can at Lauffenbourg, and getting precious details of all sorts;
it is the most wonderful place I ever saw. In 1858, when I was there before
(by-the-bye, I was there in 60, too), I had not gone through all my Turin and Venetian
figure work at Dresden, and my eye was not nearly so subtle as it is now; so that all is
far more beautiful to me.
Of this discourse there was no report.
Vol. VII. p. lix.
Writing to his father from Boulogne (August 6, 1861), Ruskin says that he will
get good exercise till late in season, and then I think I shall be able to prepare two or
perhaps three very interesting lectures for the Royal Institution (whereat the failure
keeps gnawing me, and will, till I efface it). I should be all right there, even with the
degree of nerve I have recovered already.
See Vol. XIII. pp. liii., 556558.

of the drawings presented to Oxford as 2331. Ultimately he gave
eighty-three to Oxford,
and the whole cost was 3000. The notice of
the motion of acceptance and thanks in Convocation describes
Ruskins motive in making the gift: Whereas John Ruskin, M.A.,
honorary student of Christ Church, having, with great care and at great
expense, formed a choice and valuable collection of drawings, by the
late J. M. W. Turner, R.A., and believing that such works, being made
accessible to students, may produce very beneficial results, desir es to
present the greater part of this collection as a free gift to the
Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford, to be
placed in the custody of the Curators of the University Galleries, etc.,
This was a period of complete rest, or of such approach to it as was
possible to Ruskin. The present healthy feature of my character at
present, he wrote later in the year (Bonneville, October 9), is intense
indolence. He sat or walked on the sands and rocks; he made friends
with the fisher-folk; went out mackerel fishing, and learned to sail a
French lugger, and a good pilot at last left me alone on deck at the
helm in mid-channel, with all sails set, and steady breeze.
This coast
was a favourite sketching ground of Turners, especial ly in his later
and Ruskin found the sketching superb, better than on the lake
of Geneva.
Then, too, the shells fascinated him:

I was out a long while yesterday on the beach, he writes (June
29), and carried a heavy block of stone five miles homeone mass
of casts of shells in clear carbonate of lime, all their hinges and
delicatest spirals preservedshells of which the fish lived long before
Mont Blanc existed, and while the crest of the Aiguille de Varens was
soft mud at the bottom of deep sea; yet the ripple mark of the
sandstone that encompasses them is as fresh as that within fifty yards
of it, left by the now retiring tide, and the modern living whelk and
mussel hide in the hollows of shells dead these thirty thousand years.

He did a little work indoors alsowriting out Greek verbs, he says,
and wrestling with German sentences. But what interested him most
was the refinement and intelligence of the French sailors. They talk
when they should not, but they talk like Rochefoucauld.
Not including those given at later dates to the Ruskin Drawing School.
Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 119.
See, for instance, the sketch-book of 1845, now at Oxford: Vol. XIII. p. 568.
Letter to his father, June 22.
Letter to his father June 16. When Ruskin returned to Boulogne later in the year,
he found his pilot-friend much interested in the review of Modern Painters in the
Revue des Deux Mondes!

sea air and the comparative rest did him good, and in August he
returned to England for a round of visitson the Wye, in Ireland (with
his friends, the La Touches), and at Oxford and the neighbourhood.
the middle of September he was for a week with his parents at
Denmark Hill, but he then set out once more for a long sojourn, abroad
and alone.
From the middle of 1861 to the end of 1863 he remained, with a
few short visits home, and exile and a recluse.
His letters, alike to his
father and to his friends, reflect during the whole of this period a mood
of deep melancholy and gloom. The foundations of his religious faith
had been shaken; the tenements which had held the hopes and beliefs
of his youth and early manhood had proved too narrow; he was
stretching forth to a wider, and, as he felt, a nobl er conception of
human life and destiny, but the transition was through much travail of
soul. It is a difficult thing, he wrote to his father (Bonneville,
Sunday, September 29, 1861), to live without hope of another world,
when one has been used to it for forty years. But by how much the
more difficult, by so much it makes one braver and stronger; it is a
grand thing to feel what a lie that is of Youngs, when he says that a
man who has no eternal hopes must necessarily be a knave.
. The
Honesty, which without hope of reward would be Dishonest, is not
Honesty. And so, again, to Professor Norton: It may be much nobler
to hope for the advance of the human race only than for ones own and
their immortality; much less selfish to look upon ones self merely as
a leaf on a tree than as an independent spirit, but it is much less
pleasant. I dont say I have come to thisbut all my work bears in that
And so, once more, to his father:

(PARIS, November 9, 1862.)All your extracts from Robertson
are admirable; and so far from its being difficult or strange for a man
to hold his morality when he has lost what is called in modern
language religion, I believe that all true nobleness and worthiness
His movements at this time were: Chepstow (August 21), Llangollen (August
22), Holyhead (August 24), Harristown (August 29), Chepstow (September 7),
Woodstock (September 11), Oxford (September 12), Beckley (September 13). There
is a reminiscence of his stay at Holyhead in Sesame and Lilies, 84 (Vol. XVIII. p.
This absence abroad caused him to give up his regular classes at the Working
Mens College, but he still lectured there from time to time.
See Night Thoughts, vii. (The Infidel Reclaimed) 1181, 1182:

Who tells me he denies his soul immort al,
Whateer his boast, has told me, hes a knave.

Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 98; from Neuchtel, July 12, 1860.

only comes out when people cease to think of another world.
relations of God to us have been entirely broken and obscured by
human lies; it is impossible at present to recover or ascertain them, on
our side, and we must walk in the darkness, till better days come.

This spiritual unsettlement was accompanied, we must remember, by
some physical weakness. His domestic letters at this period tell of
much nervous exhaustion, and of the various ills of dyspepsia and
depression to which men of letters are heirs in such abundant measure.
His doctors, he says, told him that all he needed was rest, but it was not
in Ruskins eager and highly-strung nature to apply their remedy in
any continuous treatment. Something must be allowed, too, in
understanding his present mood, to the uncertainty of aim which had
come over him. Hitherto he had at each turn felt an imperious call to
some immediate work; now, having finished Modern Painters, and his
Economical essays having been cut short for him, he felt somewhat at
a loose end. It seems to me, wrote his father (August 3, 1861), whose
shrewdness was seldom at fault, to be as much a want of purpose as a
want of Health. He has done a great deal, but thinks he has done little,
and all to little purpose. He was somewhat wearied with work, and I
think is just beginning to get wearied with want of work and with not
exactly knowing what to turn to next.
Ruskin felt this himself. I
find it wonderfully difficult, he wrote to Acland, to know what to do
with myself. If only a little round-headed cherub would tumble down
through the clouds and tree-branches every morning to everybody with
an express order to do so and so tied under his wing, one would be
more comfortable.
But neither Ruskins father nor his friends could
fully understand the inmost causes of his mood. His was the soul of a
Prophet consumed with wrath against a wayward and perverse
generation; but his, also, the heart of a lover of his fellow-men, filled
with pity for the miseries and follies of mankind. His intercourse in
recent years with Carlyle had stimulated what the older man called his
divine rage against falsity; but if in Carlyle there were elements of
grim and rugged strength denied to his disciple, the ethereal Ruskin

had on the other hand sensibilities and emotions which were foreign to
his master.
Compare Crown of Wild Olive, 13.
Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 115.
This letter, which is undated, but must belong to 1860 or 1861, has been
communicated to the editors by Vice-Admiral Sir William Dyke Acland.
Carlyles phrase: see Vol. XIV. p. 497 n.

Ruskins mother deplored the growing gloom of her son. My mother
asks me, he wrote (Bonneville, October 10, 1861), if I remember
Marmontels tale of the Misanthrope. Yes, very well; but I am no
Misanthrope, only a disappointed Philanthropist a much more
difficult kind of person to deal with. His father talked lightly of the
liver as the cause of all evil, and rallied his sonsurrounded as he was
with so many good things, and possessed of so many shining
talentsfor torturing himself in vain. I am depressed, r eplied
Ruskin (Mornex, January 28, 1863), only for great and true causes,
for the sufferings and deaths of thousands, the follies and miseries of
millions, the perishing of the greatest works and deeds of human
intellect. Peace he sometimes found, but it was only by closing his
ears, and then the sounds of human misery soon pierced their way
through. The peace in which I am at present, he wrote from Mornex
(March 10, 1863) to Professor Norton, is only as if I had buried
myself in a tuft of grass on a battlefield wet with blood, for the cry of
the earth about me is in my ears continually if I did not lay my head to
the very ground. The folly and horror of humanity enlarge to my eyes
But a long letter to his father, written a little later from the
same place, gives the best account of Ruskins mood:

MORNEX, May 16, 1863.

I have your two kind letters of the 12th (with the money, best
thanks), which I like very much. The long argumentative one is very
nice, and I shall keep it, thinking it one of your truly admirable letters
and entirely well reasoned throughout, and most wonderful as a piece
of bye-work, with all the rest of your business on your hands. It is
entirely well reasoned, I say, though misapplied, because you cannot
at present conceive the state of my mind. If written to a discontented
and foolish youth, the letter would be perfect; written to a man who is
at one in every point and tone of thought with Dante and Virgil, and
who is discontented precisely as they areand, in a lower degree, as
Jeremiah and Elijah werethe letter has nothing to do with his mind
or work. There is no more chaos in my mind than there was in
Hesiods or Virgils, but you will find neither of them were happy
men. The happiest life in the world is probably a caterpillars or a
ducks; they have no imaginations, no fears, and no regrets; and
their desires being merely of eatable dirt, are easily and constantly
satisfied. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness
perhaps some day be
Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 139. Compare Time and
Tide, 112 (below, p. 411).
Matthew v. 6.

filled; but their larder is ill supplied for the present, and an eagle or a
dog have anxiety, effort, and sorrow, just in proportion to their power
and sagacity. When Mrs. La Touche came to London, her little terrier,
Sprite, very nearly died in Ireland of pure griefrefusing absolutely
to eat for several days. He was not bilious, and her ducks remained in
perfect peace of mind. I never change my views with my temper:
to-day I am peculiarly well and in good spirits. I am working at my
best diagram and getting on with it; the window is open; Mont Blanc
gleams softly through the leaves of the Virginian creeper outside; the
linnets are singing in the gardena Ienvie Iun de lautre ( lamour
would be better said than Ienvie perhaps); my roses are in blossom,
and I have had a perfect nights sleep, and have my full power of mind
this morningmy hand is shaky because I am able to wr ite fast and
think fast (when I am ill, I write slowly and steadily); and yet, with all
this, every view and thought is absolutely unchanged; I regret as
poignantly all that I ever regret, and desire as vainly all that I ever
desire; the only difference is that I am able to turn my mind vigorously
away from what troubles it, and fix it on its employments. You never
have been able to understand my feeling about Turners. I so little
desire their possession that I would give every one I have to the
National Gallery tomorrow, if I thought they would be safe there. I
desire their safety, as I desire that of Chartres Cathedral. I dont want
to buy the Cathedral; but I want to be able to see it and to know it is
safe. Cannot you fancy what it is to menow that Windus Collection

is all scatterednever to be able to refer to a single drawing out of my
own possession of the Yorkshire, the Southern Coast, the Scottish
Series, and the Englandshaving only one in forty or so of eachand
to know that all the rest are to be hawked up and down, faded and
destroyed, and that I might, if I had not been self-denying, have had
every one now safe and sound, in my own possession, and the
magnificent position and power they would have given me in society,
and the power of placing and giving them where they would have been
But this regret is all nothingcompared to the sense of
indignation which burns me continually, for all that men are doing and
suffering, and this I can only escape by keeping out of sight of it. Thi s
grief is no more biliousness than the Lamentations of Jeremiah were
biliousness, or, as I said,
Virgils Res Roman perituraque regna. It
is just because I am so clear-sighted, so just, and in many
To which, it will be remembered, Ruskin had easy access: see Vol. III. pp.
234235 n.
He refers to his mention of Virgil above, and here cites one of the passages of
which he was thinking; see Georgics, ii. 498.

respects so unselfish, that I suffer in this way. There are not two men
in the Parliament of England who would not be more angry if the
Emperor of Russia stopped their partridge-shooting than if he
murdered every soul in his dominions.
These men are far happier
than I. But they are neither better nor wiser. Depend upon it, though
crime and folly bring grief, Wisdom and Knowledge bring it also. In
much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge
increaseth sorrow.
There has been one man upon the earth of whom
we believe, or profess to believe, that he knew all things, and did no
sin. Of him it is recorded that he sorrowed constantly, fasted often,
wept, and agonised. But it is only once said that he rejoiced,
and all
his followers, if they are true ones, find the Cross no light burden,
though the Yoke is;
they find rest and resurrection, but the rest must
be found on Golgotha.

There were heights and depths in Ruskins nature where his father,
shrewd and sympathetic as he was within the limits of his reach, could
not follow; and a growing sense of estrangement from t he parents, who
throughout his life had been also his companions, was a factor which
added perhaps the bitterest element to the sons gloom in the period
now under review. But Ruskin, like most men of deep character, had
two soul-sides, and he did not wear his heart upon his sleeve. To many
friends and companions, and in congenial society, he was still as gay
as ever. I never saw him, wrote his father to Professor Norton, less
than cheerful in society, and when Carlyle comes to see him, and with
some ladies, and a few favourite children, his spirits are exuberant.

He spent many happy and merry days during these years at Miss Bells
school at Winnington, but an account of his visits there is reserved for
the Introduction to the volume (XVIII.) containing The Ethics of the


With thoughts and feelings within him, such as the letter to his
father reveals, Ruskin set out in September 1861 for Switzerland.
hills had not lost their power over him, his energy returned, and
A reference to Poland: compare Sesame and Lilies, 29 (Vol. XVIII. p. 81).
Ecclesiastes i. 18.
Luke x. 21.
See Matthew xi. 29, 30.
Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 115.
His itinerary was as follows: Folkestone (September 18), Boulogne (September
19), Paris (September 20), Geneva (September 21), Bonneville (September 22 to
October 14), Geneva (October 15), Lucerne (October 16 to November 25), Altdorf
(November 2529), Lucerne (November 30 to December 27), Bale (December 27),

his home letters contain many passages which speak of quiet

BONNEVILLE, September 22, 1861.Everything looks to me
nobler than it ever did before. I walked the last half of the way to
Bonneville, so glad to get to the hills again, and I have had a walk
before breakfast this morning. The beauty of the hills is unspeakable.
Their meadows and pines are still green, faint purple lines of autumn
mingled here and there; the vines yet luxurious in leaf, and loaded
with purple clusters; autumn flowers upon the rocks; the apples,
amber, white, and ruby, more beautiful almost than the blossom; the
air soft, and like balm for sweetness; the clouds dewy and broken in
loveliest swathes and wreaths about the rock-crests.

Switzerland in the autumn delighted him, and the fall of the leaf

fitted in perhaps with his mood:

LUCERNE, November 4.. . . I got to the foot of the great crag on
the other side of the cross of the lake at B [sketch map]; it is entirely
covered to a height of 2000 feet with young oak, beech, and
pineand it is just now half rainbow, half kaleidoscope, and wholly
Aladdins palace; perhaps more like one of the painted windows at
Chartres, magnified a thousand times, than anything else. I say a
thousand times (in height it would be only eighty or a hundred
timesin space, millions of times).
LUCERNE, November 12.. . . You had all much better come to
Lucerne. I had never before seen autumn. Yesterday I had such a ruby
sunset on Alps as I have not seen these ten years: the day was entirely
cloudless, the afternoon all purple and gold. The groves of tall
beeches, straight-trunked, 8090100 feet high, are now all in thin
gold and purplethe sun shining on them was nothing, but the sun
shining through them, sprinklings of gold over blue, with background
of deep blue mountain, is like the most gorgeous things of Tintoret.
LUCERNE, November 20, Evening.. . . Such a walk as I had
to-day ought to make one strong. Anything so lovely I think I have
never seennot even the apple-blossoms in spring could compare
with the low long sunlight on the pinesthe frost clouds on Mont
Pilatethe strange tints of amber and purple on the beech woods.
Then the walking is so entirely pleasant; one gets too hot

Paris (December 28), Boulogne (December 30), Denmark Hi ll (December 31). He had
his servant Crawley with him, and for most of the time Couttet also. His friends Mr.
and Mrs. John Simon Joined him for a time at Bonneville.
For his dislike of the autumn in later years, see Vol. VII. p. xxvii.

in the summer; but the hard ground and calm air, just two or three
degrees under freezing, giving the brace of frost without its bitterness,
were delicious.
LUCERNE, November 22.. . . Yesterday was cloudless frost. I
walked far on the road to Sempach, among soft hills and woods; a
divine calm in the air, like that of early summer morning, hoarfrost
instead of dewintense blue sky, cloudless Alps, and Pilate, in clear
long chain round the horizon. More lovely than summer, far.
ALTORF, November 25.. . . As for anybodys coming to
Switzerland except in November, it is the merest nonsense. Yesterday
afternoon wasnot cloudless, but resplendent with golden clouds;
and the Rigiwhat with its green pines, its naturally russet rock, and
its grey and purple masses of stripped beech wood, with their red
fallen leaves all staining the ground beneathwas just like a great
violet and rosy agate, studded with emeralds. We got to Fluelen at
five, and I walked here by the clear beginnings of starlightout again
this morning at eight in sharp frost, but perfect calmthe main beauty
of the thing being that the highest peaks are in crystal clearness, while
frost mist hangs about the lower promontories, and the streams being
all low, there are no marshes, so that one can get about everywhere.
ALTORF, November 29.. . . It rained all yesterdaysteadily: all
yesterday evening steadilier; at ten oclock, when I said good-night to
the sky, as if the windows of heaven had been opened. I woke at
half-past five; the stars were all like beacon fires, so large, only more
dazzling; presently up came the moon over the ridge of peaks beyond
the village where Tell was born. I couldnt think what was the matter
with her, for I knew she ought to be crescent-shaped, and she came up
in a long and broad bar of vague light, like a cloud. I thought I must be
dreaming, for it could not be halothe stars were too clear. Presently,
as I was still in wonderment, out flashed the point of her crescent; the
vague light had been all from her dark side. And nowhalf-past nine,
morningthere are no words for her radianceall the high crests
have new-fallen snow, but the rain has washed it all away from the
russet meadows. Ive seen much, but nothing ever like thisthe
intense clearness, calm, and divine purity, with the sadness of the.

The mountains look like the gates of the city of Godevery several
gate was of one pearl, and their foundations all of the Eleventh

A word is here missing in the original.
Revelation xxi, 21.

Such was the silver and gold whose intrinsic value Ruskin was at this
time considering and possessing.
He was a pioneer, it will be seen, in the new form of enjoyment
which of late years has become popular with many English people, and
has given Switzerland a winter season:

December 15.There was no rowing to be done, for fear of
getting run down by the steamer; and no drawing, for nothing could be
seen. I . . . went out in spite of itclimbed the nearest spur of Pilate,
and behold, the fog was only a lake of fog, a thousand feet deep. Dead
level, white, unbroken, over a hundred square leagues; above,
summer, and the Alps. Not a shadow, nor a breath of air. Purest and
entire sunlight, and all the Alps one mighty peaked shore of the great
Cloud Sea. It was worth a weeks darkness to see it.
Christmas morning.It is darkish to-day, but yesterday was a
clear, cloudless frost again, and I have made up my mind that the
finest things one can see in summer are nothing, compared to winter
scenery among the Alps when the weather is fine. Pilate looked as if it
was entirely constructed of frosted silver, like Geneva filigree
worklighted by golden sunshine with long purple shadows; and the
entire chain of the Alps rosy beyond. I spent an hour pleasantly
enough throwing stones with Couttet, at the great icicles in the ravine.
It had all the delight of being allowed to throw stones in the vastest
glass and china shop that was ever established, and was very typical
to my mind of my work in general.

Ruskin during his stay upon the Lake of Lucerne did much
drawing, and two of his sketches of the time are here given (Plates I.
and II.). He wrote during this year (1861) little or nothing; but he read

At Lucerne, he writes (October 23), I have got quite into regular
days. Morning I get up a little before sevenbreakfast at eight,
reading Livy; write my letters; read on at Livy till Ive had enough; go
out and draw till about one or two, taking care not to tire myselfthen
row, quietly, with little pauses and landings and sketches till five;
dress for dinner at six, read Xenophon in eveningthe papers at tea,
at eight.

The nature of his studies and bent of his thoughts appear in

the jottings which he sent to his father from the books he was

BONNEVILLE, October 6.I was pleased with the following
passage in Xenophon to-day.
Socrates is endeavouring to persuade a
man of sense and power, who has always avoided public life, to speak
in the public assembly. His friend answers that he is ashamed and
afraid. What! (answers Socrates), in your own house you are
neither ashamed before the wise, nor timid before the powerful (you
have no reason to be). Are you then ashamed to speak before the most
foolish, and the most weak? Of whom are you afraid? Of the
leather-cutters? or the brassfounders? or the husbandmen? or the
shopkeepers? or of those fellows in the exchange who are always
thinking how they may buy cheapest and sell dearest? What is the
use, either of our classical education or our Christianity, if we are at
this moment far behind the wisdom which good men had thus
reached, 400 years before Christ?
(BONNEVILLE, October 12.). . . I am busy with Livy, whom I
have great pleasure in now. He is the Roman Homer, not Virgil. One
must take the history as a poem, but it is a grand one. The philosophy
of it is less occult than Homers and more practically useful for all
(LUCERNE, October 23.)It is very notable that the first great
step of Rome towards her established power should have been by
checking a monopoly, and delivering the poor from taxes. Salis
vendendi arbitrium, quia impenso pretio venibat, [in publicum omni
sumptu] ademtum privatis; portoriisque (export and import duties) et
tributo plebes liberata, ut divites conferrent, qui oneri ferendo essent
(who were able to bear the burden. Confero in sense of contribute);
pauperes satis stipendii pendere, si liberos educent (no charity
schools). Lib ii. Chap. 9.
(LUCERNE, October 29.). . . How all the great thinkers and
great nations agree in the praise of poverty! What is the use of people
giving boys Latin books to read at our schools, when they dare not
press home one of these lessons? The great Valerius
Publicolaconfessed master of every power and art of peace and
warfour times consulvictorious in every war he undertookthe
deliverer (together with Brutus) of Rome from the Tarquins, and so
(because of having avenged Lucretia) publicly mourned for at his
death by the Roman nationsyet left not money enough to pay his
funeral expenses. De publico est elatus, says Livy, quietlyThey
Memorabilia, iii. 7, 5, 6.

him forth at public costgloria ingenti, copiis familiaribus adeo
exiguis, ut funeri sumtus deesset. It is well, by the way, in our
English word elate to remember its brotherhood with that other sad
sense of elatusBehold a dead man was carried out.

I strongly suspect that in a well-organised state, the possession of
wealth ought to incapacitate for public offices.
LUCERNE, November 5.. . . It is entirely beautiful here to-day.
You would be in raptures with distant chain of Alps in misty light. I sit
quietly reading Latin grammar, thankful for the bright lightthe pure
air and the peace, otherwise very unsentimental about the scenery,
more so about Livys sentence. Here are four of his heathen words,
which, observed and acted on, would have prevented all the horrors of
the Papacy, all the perversions and miseries of false Christianity:

Doctos deinde nullam scelere religionem exsolvi in Sacrum
Montem secessisseTaught that no religious obligation could be
discharged by a deed of Sin, they retired to the Sacred Mountain.

It is in the 33rd chapter
of the second book. The army was in a
state of violent discontent because the senate had broken its word
about laws for debt. The consuls ordered it to remain outside the city.
The soldiers had sworn obedience to the consuls; and did not want to
violate their oath, but were furious at being kept out of Rome; their
first thought was to kill the consuls to whom they had sworn, but
doctos, etc., they retired to the Mons Sacer.
LUCERNE, November 17.. . . Here is a grand sentence of Livy
for you, rich in language as in meaning, and alliterative far more than
my verses. One of the consuls, Manlius, being killed in the victory
over the Veientes, and the brother of the other consul, Fabiusthe
latter (Marcus Fabius), being offered a triumph, thus refuses: If the
army can triumph without its captain for its great work done in battle,
he would allow it gladly; but for his own part, his family being in
shadow of death by his brothers loss, and the republic itself half
orphaned by the loss of one of its consuls, he would accept no laurel
so defiled with private and public mourning. It is the last piece of the
sentence which is so fine:
Se, familia funesta Q. Fabii fratris morte,
republica ex parte orba, consule altero
Luke vii. 12. See the Preface to Unto this Last, 6 (below, p. 23), where Ruskin
cites this same passage from Livy (ii. 16). The true reading is, however, De publico
est datus (not elatus). The latter word is printed in some old editions, but there is
no MS. authority for it.
Really the 32nd.
Book ii. ch. xlvii.

omisso, publico privatoque deformem luctu lauream non
accepturum. For my taste, Livy has overdone his Fs a little at first,
and in the very finest and most pathetic things, so studied an
arrangement of words would be destructive, but this is very fine.
When a sentence is so full of matter, the sound of the words may be
fitly enjoyed; but if you get into the habit of liking the mere ring of
words with no meaning, it is like living on chalk sugar-plums, and
spoils the minds digestion as they do the stomachs.
ALTDORF, November 25.. . . I find Horace and I are
marvelously of a mind just now in all particulars.. . . I dont know
anything so magnificent in its way as Horaces calm and temperate,
yet resolute, sadness. What weak nonsense the modern talk about
death is, compared to his

Quum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos
Fecerit arbitria
Non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te
Restituet Pietas.

Grand word that of eternal judgmentclear to all mensplendida
arbitriaas of the sun. There is nothing hid that shall not be

ALTDORF, November 28, 1861.. . .I was out in slippers and
without greatcoat this morning before breakfast, watching the soft
clouds among the snowy peaks, and breathing softer air. I leave the
place because it is not bracing enough! It is now (12) raining; always
softly, like our April rain. The trees have nearly lost their leaves here,
however; a few still glow among the pines. Horace says they shed
their leaves in honour of the FaunSpargit agrestes tibi silva
frondesit is a sweet winter song in which that line comes.

LUCERNE, December 20.. . . It is strange how the value of the
writings of the ancients is practically lost to us because we only read
the easy bits, and never the stern deductions. Every one has on his lips
the Pallida Mors quo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas Regumque
turres. But how many of our rich, or great, remember or obey the
following lineO beate Sesti, Vit summa brevis spem nos vetat
inchoare longam.

His reading of the classics during this autumn at Lucerne, as
Odes, iv. 7, 2124, quoted in Val d Arno, 221.
Matthew x. 26.
Odes, iii. 18, 14 (hence the title of Ruskins selections from Modern
PaintersFrondes Agrestes).
Horace: Odes, i. 4, 1315.

afterwards at Mornex, was very minute and careful. As I read my
Greek or Latin book, he explained (October 30), I simply draw a
firm ruled ink line down beside the text; wherever that line extends,
the book is mastered for ever, or if a word or passage is not, it is
written out in my note-book as a difficulty, and can be referred to in a
moment. I dont care how little is done every day, but it is pleasant to
see the lines advancing, and to feel that this at least has been read.
Ruskin read his authors in this way, not only for their subject -matter,
but also for their use of language. The study of words had great
fascination for him, and it is one of the conspicuous features in his
next book, Munera Pulveris. In one of the notes added to those essays
ten years later, he refers to the interest I found in the careful study of
the leading words in noble languages ( 100 n.). His note-books and
diaries, belonging to this period, are full of this study. He had a series
of note-booksfor Latin Verbs, Latin Nouns, Greek Verbs,
Greek Nouns, Myths, Natural History, Geography, Topics
(Price, Commerce, Production, Government, Poverty, Luxury, etc.),
Grammar, and so forth; and in these he entered up passages, notes,
and queries from the authors he was studyingespecially Xenophon,
Plato, Homer, Livy, and Horace. With similar thoroughnessthough
with less pertinacity, it would seemhe attacked in German Studers
Geologie der Schweiz and Goethes Faust.
The studies in the classics were in large measure addressed
directly to his intention of resuming and completing his essays on
Political Economy. For the present, however, he had no immediate
thought of publication. He wished to establish his principles firmly on
the foundations laid by wise men of old, and he was as yet undecided
with regard to the form into which his work should be cast. He
discussed such points with his father, who, we may surmise, devoutly
hoped by this time that his son would return to subjects and styles
more likely to conduce to immediate fame:

LUCERNE, November 5.I fully intend finishing Political
Economy, but otherwise than as I began it. I have first to read
Xenophons Economist and Platos Republic carefully, and to master
the economy of Athens. I could not now write in the emotional way I
did then. I am so disquieted by none of the clergymen coming forward
to help me anywhere that I shall quote no more Bible for them. I am
not going to cast more pearls before swine. I will do the work sternly
and unanswerably, in shortest possible language. I think the insolence
of these Saturday Review scamps in talking to Smith as if they would
let me do this or that passes all I

ever met; and Im not going to let them have any more fine
language to call me a mad governess for.
They shall have such
language as is fit for them, and for the public.
LUCERNE, November 15.. . . There is plenty time to talk over
probable style of Political Economy. I do not allow reviewers to
disturb me; but I cannot write when I have no audience. Those papers
on Political Economy fairly tried 80,000 British public with my best
work; they couldnt taste it; and I can give them no more. I could as
soon be eloquent in a room full of logs and brickbats. Perhaps before I
write any more I may in some way again change, but I believe the
temper in which I wrote those papers to be past, and as utterly and for
ever as that in which I wrote the 2nd vol. of Modern Painters. There is
also little use and much harm in quoting Bible now; it puts religious
people in a rage to have anything they dont like hammered into them
with a text, and the active men of the world merely think you a
hypocrite or a fool. But, as I said, theres plenty of time to talk over
these things.

But Fors willed it otherwise. Towards the end of 1861, Froude,
who was then editor of Frasers Magazine, and who through Carlyle
had become a friend also of Ruskin, wrote to the latter saying that he
believed there was something in my theories, and would risk the
admission of what I chose to write on this dangerous subject.
felt that the opportunity should not be lost, and the next year saw the
resumption of his economical work. He decided to republish, in
collected form, the essays from the Cornhill Magazine, in order that
they might be accessible in connexion with the sequel to them which
he had now begun to plan for Frasers.
During Ruskins absence on the Continent in 1861, Messrs. Smith,
Elder & Co. published a volume of Selections from the Writings of
John Ruskin. It was prefaced by the following Advertisement:

The Publishers beg to state that this volume has originated in
suggestions, from numerous quarters, that a book of the kind would be
acceptable to a large circle of readers, to whom, from various and
obvious causes, the principal works whence it is derived are not easily
The Publishers think it right to add that Mr. Ruskin, though
tacitly consenting to this publication, has taken no part in making the
selections, and is in no way responsible for the appearance of the
See above, p. xxviii.
Preface to Munera Pulveris, 20; see below, p. 143.

The volume originated in the suggestion of Mr. Smith Williams, and
he, with W. H. Harrison, was responsible for its preparation. Ruskin
refers occasionally to the volume in letters to his father, and these
sufficiently show his attitude to the affair:

BONNEVILLE, September 28.I think page 220, vol. 4th, a very
valuable passage if it can be got in.
You and Mr. Smith must settle
about what I am to have. Harrison and Williams have done all the
work, but, as you say, I ought to have compensation for the loss of sale
of the other volumes. But I have no idea what it should be.
LUCERNE, October 22.I had late last night your letter
containing . . . nice little preface to extracts: nothing can possibly be
LUCERNE, November 9.Dont send the book of extracts to
anybody, that you can help. Above alldont send it here. It is a form
of mince-pie which I have no fancy for. My crest is all very well as
long as it means Pork,
but I dont love being made into sausages.
LUCERNE, December 5.I have your nice and kind letter of 1st
December, enclosing Carlyles, most interesting and kind also
(herewith returned). As he says the extracts are right, I have not a
word more to say against them. It is the books which must be wrong.

The following note from Ruskins father to his friend Mr. John Simon
is also worth giving:

DENMARK HILL, 11th November, 1861.

You saw what Mr. Harrison calls our volume, and I dont wonder
that you do not like it. The sweets are brought together in cloying
abundance, and the descriptions thickened into monotony. It is rather
a vulgar shop affair, with a too handsome, very questionable, likeness.
Mr. Williams is, however, pleased with his work, and the House has
called for such a book for years. They had prepared a puffing preface
which I have cut down to nonentity, the only escape. The best of the
book seems to be the delight it gives Mr. Harrison, who talks as if he
were the Beaumont and my Son the Fletcher of these volumes,
although so
The passage in Modern Painters describing the results upon mountain form
obtained by the slightest direction in the infant streamlets as a type of the
formation of human characters by habit (Vol. VI. p. 220). But it was not got in. It is,
however, 35 in the First Series of Selections issued in 1893.
It was a boars head: see Prterita, ii. ch. viii. 160, 161.

faithful is he in all his readings and revisings that I never saw (and I
have watched closely) a single word of my Sons text taken out and
another substituted.
The volume, which first appeared in November 1861, enjoyed
considerable popularity, and was frequently re-issued during
following years. It assisted not a little to spread the authors fame; yet
not in the way he desired. The dissemination of these elegant
extracts, with their sweets brought together in cloying abundance
helped to encourage the idea, which Ruskin greatly
especially in these years when he was concentrating
himself upon economical discussionthat he was a fine writer, a
pretty word painter, and nothing more.

MUNERA PULVERIS (1862, 1863)

Ruskin reached home on the last day of 1861, and for the next four
months he was at home. Among other work, he went again through the
Turner sketches at the National Gallery, removing the mildew
adding a good many identifications. He also prepared Unto this Last
for publication, and wrote the preface for it. This was dated May 10,
1862, and leaving his friend, Mr. John Simon, to make final
arrangements for the publication of the book, he started in the middle
of May for Switzerland and Italy.
His companions on this occasion
were Burne-Jones and his wife. He did everything, writes Lady
Burne-Jones, en prince, and had invited us as his guests for the whole
time, but again in his courtesy agreed to ease our mind by promi sing to
accept the studies that Edward should make while in Italy, and all was
arranged and done by him as kindly and thoughtfully as if we had
indeed been really his children, as he called us. Burne-Jones had
made Ruskins acquaintance in 1856, when he was living with William
Morris in Red Lion Square. Just come back from being with our hero
four hours, wrote the young artist after his first visit; so happy
weve been: he is so kind to us, calls us his
See, for instance, Sesame and Lilies, 97 (Vol. XVIII. p. 146).
Reviews of the volume of Selections appeared in the Literary Gazette, January
18, 1862, and in the Eclectic Review, March 1864, vol. 6, N.S., pp. 262276. Further
bibliographical particulars will be found in a later volume of this edit ion.
See Vol. XIII. p. xliv.
The itinerary was as follows: Boulogne (May 15), Paris (May 16), Dijon (May
20), Ble (May 21), Lucerne (May 22), Fluelen (May 27), Hospenthal (May 29),
Bellinzona (May 30), Lugano (May 31), Milan (June 1), Parma (June 7), Milan (June
10), Baveno (August 3), Geneva (August 6), Mornex (August 16), Bonneville
(September 23), St. Martin (September 25), Mornex (September 26), Geneva
(November 7), Paris (November 8).

dear boys, and makes us feel like such old, old friends. To-night he
comes down to our rooms to carry off my drawing and show it to lots
of people; to-morrow night he comes again, and every Thursday night
the sameisnt that like a dream? think of knowing Ruskin like an
equal and being called his dear boys. Oh! he is so good and
kindbetter than his books, which are the best books in the world.

This admiration quickly ripened into an affection which the elder man
as warmly reciprocated. Ruskin, as he wrote to his father, felt greatly
favoured in the company of a man like Jones, whose life is as pure as
an archangels, whose genius is as strange and high as that of Albert
Drer or Hans Memling, who loves me with a love as of a brother
andfar moreof a devoted friend, whose knowledge of history and
of poetry is as rich and varied, nay, far more rich and varied, and
incomparably more scholarly than Walter Scotts was at his age.

Like me, like my wife is a rule that does not always hold among
friends; and Ruskin admits that as a rule he did not li ke his friends
wives, but he made an exception, he says, for Georgie. He did
everything to make his children enjoy their holiday; he was a
charming companion, and he must have enjoyed some of the pleasure
which he gave in showing them scenes and pictures which he had
known and loved during so many years. But the mood of oppression
could not wholly be concealed. On the shore at Boulogne, writes Lady
Burne-Jones, a mood of melancholy came over him and he left us,
striding away by himself towards the sea; his solitary figure looked the
very emblem of loneliness as he went, and we never forgot it.
went by Lucerne and leisurely over the St. Gothard. At Lucerne he
fell in with Sir John Nasmyth, who was travelling with his wife and
daughter. In subsequent years Ruskin often corresponded with them.
The travellers next went to Milan. There Mr. and Mrs. Burne-Jones
left him; they went to Verona, Padua, and Venice, while he stayed for
some weeks, first to write his first paper for Frasers Magazine
(published in the June number), and then to copy and study Luini. This
was one of the principal objects of Ruskins expedition, as he had
undertaken to report upon Luinis frecoes to the committee of the
Arundel Society. He made a very careful copy in water -colour of the
St. Catherine with her wheel, one of the figures in the frescoes which
cover the screen or eastern wall of the Church of San Maurizio at
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, 1904, vol. i. p. 147.
Letter from Geneva, August 12, 1862.
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. p. 241.

This occupied him during several weeks. The copy now hangs in his
Drawing School at Oxford, and is reproduced in a later volume of this
edition, where also his own account of it extracted from letters
written to his father at the timewill be found. To complete his study
of Luini he visited Saronno, which contains some other of the painters
finest work. Ruskin, as has already been remarked,
never wrote so
much about Luini as might have been expected from the long study he
gave to this master, and from the deep admiration he felt for his work;
but in the Queen of the Air, 157, references will be found which are
reminiscent of this summers work in San Maurizio and at Saronno.
Ruskins devotion to the art of Italy received public recognition at
this time; he was made an Honorary Member of the Florentine
Academy. A little earlier, he had been similarly elected to the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (the oldest artistic body in the
United States).
Having finished his work on Luini, Ruskin made his way to
Geneva and looked about for quarters in which to spend the winter,
and to find peace and quiet for his further contributions to Frasers
He found what he wanted at the village of Mornex, a few
miles from Geneva, on the slopes of the Saleve. He first took rooms in
the Villa Goullierr, his landlady being the widow of the Professor of
History in the University of Geneva. I am established, he wrote to
his father (August 16), in a little parlour with a look out only on some
pines and convolvulus blossoms, and the green slope of the Saleve like
a bit of Malvern hills above; on the other side I can see the top of the
Mole and of Mont Blanc, but little more. I have green chairs, a deal
floor, and peace, and my books all about me, and your kind letter,
which I am very grateful for. To his mother he wrote a fuller account
of his hermitage:

MORNEX, 31st August [1862].

MY DEAREST MOTHER,this ought to arrive on the evening
before your birthday [Sept. 2]: it is not possible to reach you in the
morning, not even by telegraph, as I once did from Mont Cenis,
for(and may Heaven be devoutly thanked therefore)there are yet
on Mont Saleve neither rails nor wires.
However, arriving in the evening, it will be in time to wish
See Vol. IV. p. 355 n.
The second paper must have been written at Milan or at Geneva, for it appeared
in the September number, and Ruskin was not established at Mornex until the middle
of August.

you many returns of the morning, which you know I do: nor do I see
reason why they should be less happy than they have beenwith your
feelings; nor am I without hope that if I get a house to please me here,
a proper degree of feminine and maternal solicitude and curiosity may
even, next year, prevail upon you to submit to the degree of vehicular
and porterage arrangement which wouldwith patienceand
without painbring you as far as Savoy, and enable you to bring and
give me some of the good skill you have always had in inventing
house arrangements.
For the present I am making no discoveries: the place I have got to
is at the end of all carriage roads, and I am not yet strong enough to get
farther, on foot, than a five or six miles circle, within which is
assuredly no house to my mind. I cast, at first, somewhat longing eyes
on a true Savoyard cheaunotable for its lovely garden and
orchardand its unspoiled, unrestored, arched gateway between two
round turrets, and Gothic-windowed keep.
But on examination of the
interior, finding the wallsthough six feet thickrent to the
foundation, and as cold as rocks, and the floors all sodden through
with walnut oil and rotten-apple juiceheaps of the farm stores
having been left to decay in the ci-devant drawing roomI gave up
all medival ideas, for which the long-legged black pigs (who lived
like gentlemen at ease in the passage), and the bats and spiders who
divided between them the corners of the turret-stair, have reasonif
they knew itto be thankful.
The worst of it is that I never had the gift, nor have I now the
energy, to make anything of a place; so that I shall have to put up with
almost anything I can find that is healthily habitable, in a good
situation. Meantime, the air here being delicious, and the rooms good
enough for use and comfort, I am not troubling myself much, but
trying to put myself into better health and humour; in which I have
already a little succeeded.
I felt more comfort and freshness of spirit in my evenings walk
on the rocky road yesterday (after having carefully examined all the
tuckings up of the lip of the wild snapdragon) than I have done for this
year back. I hope your blue pimpernels will arrive in comfort; they
will probably sleep all the way in the railroad, but I cannot flatter you
with the hope that they will express any degree of contentment with
Denmark Hillor even Norwoodair. I would have sent a box of
earth with them, but the red pimpernel grows so frankly by our
roadsides, that I have no doubt any light clayeygravel soil of the
Norwood hill will do for them. They grow here only in the cornfields
among the stubble, and mixed with their crops
Shown in Plate IV.; see the note on it, below, p. cxv.

of clover, saintfoin, etc., but I suspect these blue ones will object with
all their might to smoke, and to wet weather. Most of the Saleve
flowers, however, have a sort of English domesticity about them,
except only onenow, alas, in fruitnot in flowerthe infinitely
delicate, small-leaved, small-blossomed Rosa Alpina, its leaf about
this size only [sketch of leaf spray], which covers the rocks in thickets,
as thick as our brambles; the common dogrose mixed with it in
quantities. There are no rhododendrons on the Saleve, and gentians on
the summit only (gentians of the right sort, I mean): the four-leaved
autumn gentian is common enough, and the autumn crocuses are just
coming into bloom in the meadows. On the other side of the ravine the
chestnut wood, and mixed pine, among the granite blocks of the old
glaciers covered with moss, is a delicious place for the heat of the day.
My Father would be quite wild at the view from the garden
terracebut he would be disgusted at the shut-in feeling of the house,
which is in fact as much shut in as our old Herne Hill one; only to get
the view I have but to go as far down the garden as to our old
mulberry tree. By the way, theres a magnificent mulberry tree, as
big as a common walnut, covered with black and red fruit on the other
side of the road. Couttet and Allen are very anxious to do all they can
now that Crawley is away; and I dont think I shall manage very badly
without himfor the present, but that is because he has drilled
everybody first into my ways. He is very anxious to get me well and
do all he can (which is a great deal), and people like him usually, I
find, though the servants at home quarrel with him, but that is partly
the fault of his own temper.
I intended this letter to be beautifully written, but I see it is quite
irregular and bad, so I hope my father will be at home to read it to you.
I am going to walk down to Geneva with it myself, to make sure of the
shortest post, and with dearest love to my Father, am ever, my dearest
Your most affectionate son,

Presently, however, he found the rooms too cramped, and the view did
not satisfy him. His establishment was extensive. He had with him his
servant Crawley, and Couttet, the guide; and he was subsequently
joined by Mr. and Mrs. Allen and their children. So he took another
small cottage a little lower down the hilla cottage orne in
A part of this letter has appeared in W. G. Collingwoods Life of John Ruskin (p.
199 of the edition of 1900).

which the Empress of Russia had once stayed. His new arrangements
were described in a letter to his father:

MORNEX, September 17, 1862.I think for the next three months
(of course not counting my home visit fixed for November) I have
now got myself settled satisfactorily. I had no view from my
sitting-room or bedroomonly from the garden; so I have takenfor
10 napoleons a monththe Empress of Russias cottage as well,
which has not only a perfect view, but a little garden, more to my
mind than this one. I have slept in my new house two nights, and
passed the days in the garden, and am much pleased. The bedroom
window opens on a wooden gallery about six or seven feet above the
garden; beneath, there is a bed of white convolvulus rising in three
spires, as high as the cottage, on hop-poles; then the garden slopes
south-east, steeply; having an ever-running spring about four yards
from the door, falling out of upright wooden pipes into stone basin,
forming a lovely clear pool. Beds of crimson and blue convolvulus,
marigold, nasturtium, and chrysanthemum, with intermediate cabbage
and artichoke, occupy the most of the little space, all afire; surrounded
by a rough mossy low stone wall, about a foot and a half high at the
bottom of garden; whence the ground slopes precipitously, part grass,
part vines, to a ravine about four hundred feet deep; the torrent at the
bottom seen for about two miles upamong its granite blocks
(something like view from Lynton in Devonshire); but on the other
side of the ravine extends the lovely plain of La Roche, to the foot of
the Brezon, above which I have the Mont du Reposoir, and then the
Aiguille de Varens; then Mont Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses and the
Aiguille Verte; and lastly the Mle on the left, where my own
pear-trees come into the panorama and guide back to the marigolds. I
keep, however, my old rooms here, for the rooms in my new
housedelicious in the morning and eveninghave too much sun in
the middle of the day; here I have shade and larger space. The two
houses are just about a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards apart. I
sleep at the Empresss(Crawley and Allen above me, Couttet here);
dress chiefly outside in my balcony, the air being as soft as in Italy;
then walk over here, after a turn round the garden; find breakfast laid
by Franceline, and my little table beside it with Horace and
Xenophon. Read till eleven; walk or garden till half-past one. Dine
here, where I have a nice little dining-room; back into garden, tea
among my convolvuluses therewith sunset on the Alps opposite;
bed at nine or half-past.

The larger of the two houses had a pavilion in the garden, here
shown in the illustration (Plate III.); the pavilion, as also the
terrace-walk, commanded the view which is shown in Ruskins
drawing (Plate V.). The Empress of Russias cottage, a humble
building with a wooden balcony, may still be seen at Mornex.
Such was the hermitage which now became Ruskins home, and
which saw the travail of his soul, while he was writing the greater part
of Munera Pulveris. The larger of Ruskins two houses has since
become an inn, but the sojourn there of the great English writer, who,
whilst treading a via dolorosa, placed a posy before every shrine of
beauty and gentleness and love,
has not been forgotten.
years later Ruskin revisited the place, and wrote an account of it to Mr.
Allen (September 8, 1882):

I drove to the foot of the Grande Gorge before taking the Pas, and
let the sun come round on it. I walked up nearly as well as ever, and
got lovely views to the right towards Annecy as soon as I passed
Monnetier. When I came in sight of Mornex I saw they had
new-roofed my old house, and (having Mr. Collingwood and Baxter
with me) was rather taken aback at finding it a flourishing hotel! I
took them in and walked along the terrace to the old Pavillon without
saying anything. The view was lovelier to me than ever, but there
were people on the terrace having forenoon beer! I went into the house
and sat down in the salle--manger under my old room. The waitress,
after taking order for bread and cheese, stared at being asked for news
of the Chevaliers;
but the landlord, though young, knew of them, and
after being asked a few probing questions, asked in his turn,
Seriez-vous M. Ruskin?
To my surprise and considerable complacency I found that
English people often came up to see where I lived, and that the
landlord even knew that I always slept in the Pavillon! I asked leave to
see the old room. It was turned into a bedroom, but otherwise it and its
galleries unchanged.
Then I got news of Franceline. She was living with her
Preface by the Right Hon. George Wyndham to the privately-printed Letters to
M. G. and H. G. by John Ruskin, 1903, p. xvii. These letters are reprinted in a later
volume of this edition.
A board on the front of the house bears this legend: Hotel et Pension des
Glycines. A. Corajod. Sejour de Wagner and Ruskin. Richard Wagner spent some
weeks in the house a few years after Ruskins visit. Robert Brownings summer on the
lower slopes of the Salve is recorded in his poem La Saisiaz.
The Chevaliers were the people in the village who used to send in Ruskins

husband in her fathers house. I went up by myself, and she came
running outhad seen me go down, and known me at once. She isnt
improved by the twenty years progress, but was very glad to see
meshowed me her four daughtersgave me some excellent tea and
currant preserve and a bunch of white roses; listened attentively while
I described Sunnyside and its business to herand heard with
reverence of my Oxford Professorship.
She sent you all manner of regards.
After saying good-bye, with some promise of coming again, I
walked down to Etrembieres, and drove home here from the pont; and
had a lovely walk and study of the Rhone, and made a sketch of it and
the old town at sunset.

Reminiscences of Ruskin still linger about the house. Only last
year (1904) a well-known French critic, M. Augustin Filon, having
gone to the mountains for rest and peace, found that he had hir ed the
very rooms occupied by Ruskin, that he was writing in Ruskins chair,
by Ruskins window. The villagers still had memories of their old
friend. A thin-faced, reddish-whiskered Englishman, they said,
neither old nor young. they did not know him as a writer of books.
They must have thought him an accentric person (being English). They
used to see him messing (tripotant) about his little kitchen, digging,
delving in his garden, mixing mortar, trundling his wheelbarrow,
pottering about all over the place, never idle. In that far-off period
Ruskin, reflects M. Filon, was practising his philosophy of the union
between brain work and hand work, the philosophy which in after time
he taught his Oxford students when he turned them into navvies to
show them that a well-made road was a work of art. And M. Filon
goes on: It was Ruskin who put up the bell by which I call for my
dinner; and who paved the courtyard. Every single stone of it was
carried on the back of a diminutive donkey, Ruskin having devised t his
whimsical method of transport as a means of disguising his act of
charity to the donkeys owner, a very poor woman.

In November 1862 Ruskin returned to England for a short time in
order to see his parents and to give an address to the Working Mens
This letter has been printed in the Strand Magazine, December 1902.
From the Gaulois of September 18, 1904, an article entitled La Maison de
Ruskin a Mornex. M. Filons sketch is most sympathetic, but he claims too much for
the house in saying that Ruskin there composed the greater part of the pages
published between 1855 and 1865. The recollections of the villagers are perfectly
correct; Ruskin describes the old woman with the donkey in letters to his father; but it
was Mr. Allen who did most of the paving.

By Christmas, however, he was back again at Mornex.
peace of the place, the beauty of the surrounding country, and its rich
geological interest restored him to much of his old power of
enjoyment. He had days, as he wrote to his father, when his very
happiness frightened him:

October 25.. . . I have been up and along the ridge of the Saleve
right to its southern brow to-day. There is no giving you any
conception of the loveliness of its golden mossy turf, with the gentians
set at intervals of a square yard or soone at every second step; nor of
the glades of grass fresh with frosty dew, under ranks of Spanish
chestnut and pine.
October 26.There have been such divine things, all day long,
between autumn leafage, flying sunshine, and floating cloud, that
theres no talking of it. The grass is so intensely greenwith the dew
and the pure air togetherthat in the morning it is like glowworms
fire in vast masses. I enjoy immensely sauntering on the old road to
Chamouni, and looking at the mists flying over the hills I knew in
youthpast which my life has flown, like a cloud.
October 27.I have had so good a day, to-day, that it almost
frightens me, lest I should be fey or lest something should be going
to happen. I have been literally in high spiritsthe first time this six
or seven years. I was walking on the old, old road from Geneva to
Chamouni, down the steep hill to the bridge and up again, and towards
BonnevilleMont Blanc so clear, and all the near mountains so
purple and pure, and the sunshine so dazzling, and air crystal with
slight bracing North wind; and I had found out quantities of things in a
heap, in Homer and Theognis in the morning, and found more in my
head as I walked; and came to old things by the roadside that Ive
known these twenty years, and it was so like a dream. Then when I
came home I had your pleasant letter, and a nice one from Froude, and
nice one from Allengiving good account of College,and sate
after dinner on my sofa quietly, watching the sunshine fade softly on
the aiguilles of Chamouni and the Reposoir. And it is so strange to me
to feel happy that it frightens me.

Ruskin liked the place so well that the idea of fixing his tent
permanently among the mountains grew upon him. He had a friendly
Of this address (delivered on Saturday, November 29) there is no adequate
report; but Ruskin refers to it, as having been on the subject of Reform, in Time and
Tide, 9 (see below, p. 324).
The following dates show his movements during the winter and spring of
18621863: Geneva (December 20), Mornex (December 24), Annecy (April 8),
Talloires (April 13), Annecy (May 10), Mornex (May 11), Chamouni (May 25),
Mornex (May 26), Boulogne (May 30).

neighbour at Mornex in an old Genevese doctor
seventy-five years
old and still hale and hearty. He is going to walk up the Saleve with
me to-morrow, writes Ruskin to his father (September 9, 1862),
saying with perfect coolness that he will wait for me when I am out of
breath, which, I doubt not, he will in very truth have to do. He is going
to show me from the top the various districts of this part of
Savoywhere it is damp, or drybleak or shelteredclay or rock in
soil, etc., and to tell me the qualities of the hill plants. He says I ought
to live for at least three months of the year in the gentian zone. On his
mountain rambles Ruskin was the most delightful and stimulating of
companions. He often took Mr. Allen with him at this time. He had an
eye for everything, says Mr. Allen in reminiscences of days at
Mornex; clouds and stones, hills and flowers all interested him in the
same intense way; and his printed passages of adoration in presence of
the sublimity of nature were the expression of his inmost feelings and
in accord with his own practice. I seem to hear him now breaking forth
into a rhapsody of delight as we came unexpectedly, during a walk up
the Brezon, upon a sloping bank of the star -gentian. He was full, too,
of sympathy with the life of the people. I can see him now kneeling
down, as he knelt on Easter Sunday, 1863, to pray with a peasant
woman at a wayside chapel. When I first reach the Alps, he said to
me once, I always pray.
The Brezon, a mountain rich both in
botanical and in mineralogical interest, was a constant delight to
Ruskin. There is a spot a little below the summit which was the
destination of many a ramble, and which he used to call the lunch
bed. Mr. Allen remembers Ruskins pleasure on one occasion in
counting no fewer than nine Alpine vultures during one ascent. The
erratic blocks, too, greatly interested him; one of great size, stranded
near La Roche,containing 15,000 cubic feet of gneiss from the Mont
Blanc rangehe desired to purchase; he was agreeably surprised to
find that a citizen of Geneva had already bought it, so that its
preservation might be guaranteed. On other days Ruskin would walk
or drive in the valley. A frequent walk on geological days was to the
Gorge des Evaux;
another favourite spot was near Bonneville, where
at a particular hour there was a peculiarly beautiful glint of sunshine to
be seen on the cascades: great would be his vexation i f he arrived too
Dr. L. A. Gosse, mentioned by Ruskin in a letter to the Times (October 24, 1862)
on Oak Silkworms (reprinted in Arrows of the Chace, 1880, vol. ii. p. 232, and in a
later volume of this edition).
Ruskin and his Books: an Interview with his Publisher, Strand Magazine,
December 1902, pp. 712713.
See W. G. Collingwoods Limestone Alps of Savoy, 1884, pp. 83, 86, 97.

or the clouds were envious. The gloom which overshadows many of
Ruskins letters and the bitterness which colours his writings at this
time were not unmixed. He said of himself that, for thinking of the
sunset, he could never thoroughly enjoy the sunrise; but if the sorrows
of his sensitive soul were deeper than other mens, so also was the
sunshine of his unclouded hours more intense.
Ruskin during his sojourn at Mornex reverted with some
enthusiasm to a scheme he had long had in his mind for the
reproduction of drawings by Turner. We have referred above to the
uncertainty of aim which perplexed hi m during these years
(18601863). Ultimately he devoted his main thoughts to economics,
but he often felt equally drawn to the continuation of his artistic work.
It is curious that a biographical notice of him, which appeared in 1861
and which he himself revised, ended with these words: Mr. Ruskin is
reported on good authority to have abandoned his other studies, in
order to devote his future labours exclusively to the work of Turner
and the Venetians. What Ruskin said to the biographer was to the
illustration of the works of Turner and the Venetians.
And similarly
to another correspondent Ruskin wrote (Denmark Hill, February 25,
1861): touching my plans, they are all simplified into one, quiet and
long:to draw as well as I can without complaining or shrinking,
because that is ill, for ten years at least, if I live so long; in hopes of
doing, or directing some few serviceable engraved copies from Turner
and Titian.
This intention, in the case of Turner, had long been
present to him,

The notice appeared in A Dictionary of Contemporary Biography: a Handbook of
the Peerage of Rank, Worth, and Intellect . London and Glasgow: Richard Griffin &
Company, 1861. The publisher had submitted to Ruskin a proof of the intended notice,
which had presumably stated his presumed intention to abandon art for economics.
Ruskin replied as follows:

SIR,There is hardly anything in the enclosed statement to correct, for it
seems to me wholly to consist of statements of opinion. There is one
professed fact at the end of it which is precisely and accurately the reverse of
truth. If for the underlined sentence you like to substitute the following, you
will find it eventually more to the credit of your book: Mr. Ruskin is reported
on good authority to have abandoned the st udy of art in other directions, in
order to devote his future labours exclusively to the illustration of the works
of Turner and the Venetians.
But you cant make much of the notice, do what you will, for it is written
by some one who knows nothing whatever about me or my books, and is a bad
English writer besides. Flourish the weapon of invective, for instance, is a
common penny-a-liner metaphor. Very truly yours,

The whole notice must have been revised in consequence of this letter, for the
weapon of invective, etc., does not appear.
Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 105.
See Vol. VI. p. 4; Vol. VII. p. 8 and n.; and Vol. XIII. p. lix.

and at Mornex he began to carry it out. Mr. Allen was sent for to join
him, and was to bring a printing-press in order that they might print the
plates which Mr. Allen was to engrave from Ruskins tracings of
Turners drawings. The work did not make great progress, but two of
the engravings thus made at Mornex are given (reduced) in this edition
(Vol. XIII., Plates xxiv. and xxvi.).
But Ruskins main work at Mornex was done in complete solitude.
This consisted of the third and fourth essays for Frasers Magazine,
now chapters iii. to vi. of Munera Pulveris.
Ruskin regretted their
affected concentration of languagethe result, he said, of thinking
too long over particular passages, in many and many a solitary walk
towards the mountains of Bonneville or Annecy.
In revising the
essays for publication in book-form he found it impossible to break up
the concentration, and the work remains one of the most difficult of his
treatises. It was intended, he says, only for earnest readers; but
reviewers are not always, or perhaps often, in that category, and the
curtness of expression in the essays proved a stumbling-block to
many. It should be remembered that the essays as they stand were
written only as an introduction to an intended treatise on a larger scale;
as a mere dictionary for reference, in Ruskins words (p. 145). But
there is another peculiarity of the work which helps to explain its
failure to catch the popular ear at the time, and which to this day makes
it less read than Unto this Last. It is, in some ways, a more important
part of Ruskins economical writings;
it is also very closely reasoned,
and it follows throughout a clear plan. But there is mixed with it so
much of excursus into classical fields, so much of verbal and literary
argument, that readers fail to keep hold of the main thread. Ruskin, as
we have seen, was occupying himself at the time with a minute study
of many Greek and Latin authors, and Dante was his constant
companion. All of them were impressed into the service of his
economical theories.
There is a letter to his father written from Mornex which well
illustrates the manner in which Ruskin made everything that he was
reading work together; it also illustrates a particular passage in
Munera Pulveris:

October 23.I have been reading the Odyssey to-night with
much delight, and more wonder. Everything now has become a
References to his walks and talks at Mornex occur in 147, 148 n., 150, 151.
Preface to Munera Pulveris, 22; see below, p. 145.
See what Ruskin says in the letter on p. 487, below.
87 (below, p. 208). Compare the letter given at pp. 224225 n. (everything
becomes endless when one works it out).

mystery to methe more I learn, the more the mystery deepens and
gathers. This which I used to think a poets fairy tale, I perceive to be
a great enigmathe Apocalypse, in a sort, of the Greeks. Peoples
ineffable carelessness usually mixes up the gentle, industrious, kind
Calypso with the enchantress Circe. She is the Patmos spirit of the
Greeks (Calypse, Apo-Calypse), the goddess of wild nature. But what
it all means, or meant, heaven only knows. I see we are all astray
about everythingthe best wisdom of the world has been spoken in
these strange enigmasDantes, Homers, Hesiods, Virgils,
Spensersand no one listens, and God appoints all His best
creatures to speak in this way: that hearing they may hear, and not
but why God will always have it so, and never lets any
wise or great man speak plainlyEzekiel, Daniel, St. John being utter
torment to anybody who tries to understand them, and Homer scarcely
more intelligibletheres no guessing.

Ruskins reading of these enigmas is full of flashes of insight and
abounds in happy illustrations; but it sometimes led him into fanciful
analogies, dubious etymologies, and strained interpretations.

Matthew Arnold selected a passage from the essays in Frasers
Magazinethat in which Ruskin analyses the meaning of
Shakespeares namesto illustrate what he called the note of
provinciality; by which he meant an absence of moderation and
proportionan excessive indulgence in literary whimsin Ruskins
criticism. Ruskins infinite ingenuity in discovering hidden meanings
in ancient legends, and his determination to make all things in
classical and medival poetry and mythologywork together for the
enforcement of his principles, recall the syncretism of the first
centuries after Christ, when Greek philosophy sought to harmonise all
creeds and assimilate all legends and all worships.

A result of his thus giving the reins to his fancy is, in Munera
Pulveris, a subtle and full-charged allusiveness, which makes the book
somewhat difficult to read closely, and which calls, in this edition, for
frequent annotation. Some of the explanatory notes are drawn, i t will
be seen, from the authors letters to his father, who had complained
that he found the essays dry.
The allusive note in the essays in Frasers Magazine is struck in
the titleMunera Pulveriswhich Ruskin afterwards gave to them.
This title is one of the most obscure in his series, and even learned
Matthew xiii. 14.
For some characteristic passages in this sort, see 100, 101, 109 n., 110 n., 125
For the importance which Ruskin attached to his readings of the mythology of
Greece and the legends of Rome, and which he indicated in the titles of his later
books, see Fors Clavigera, Letter 67.

commentators dismiss it with the bald remark that it is cryptic.
It has
been suggested that the title may be taken in disconnection from its
context in Horace, and has no ulterior meaning.
But Ruskin
expressly cites the passage from Horace as the motto of his book (p.
147), and if the title had no ulterior meaning it would be very unlike
Ruskin. I am not fantastic, he wrot e, in my titles, as is often said;
but try shortly to mark my chief purpose in the book by them.
desire to disconnect the quotation from the context is, however, very
intelligible, for the Ode in question (i. 28) is one of the most vexed
passages in Horace. Who is speaking, and who is being addressed; how
many speakers there are; the scene of the Ode, the nature, the division
of its parts, its purpose, are all points on which there are almost as
many opinions as commentators. And on the solution of such
questions, the translation of the lines quoted by Ruskin must depend.
He does not himself give any translation; and it would be possible,
with the necessary supply of ingenuity, to devise as many meanings
for Ruskins title as there are versions of the lines from which it is
taken. This exercise, however, is hardly necessary; for there are
sufficient clues in Ruskins other works, and even in this book itself,
to show what he had in his mind. The most important passage occurs in
the Cestus of Aglaia, 34. He is there speaking of the wasted labour
and ill-directed ingenuity in too much of the art of the day; and
apostrophising some patient toiler in that sort, he exclaims:

Over that genius of yours, low laid by the Matin shore, if it
expired so, the lament for Archytas would have to be sung
again:pulveris exiguimunera.

It is thus clear that Ruskin read the first lines of the Ode as a lament
over Archytas dead and buried, and not as meaning that Archytas lacks
the gift of a little sand that would give rest to his shade.
A literal
translation of the lines, as Ruskin took them,
Munera Pulveris is the title taken from the line of Horacethe cryptic allusion
of which so few readers understandso says Mr. Frederic Harrison (John Ruskin,
1902, p. 102), and he does not explain the secret. Other writers do not allude to the
title. A probable explanation was given in an article in Good Words, July 1893 (Mr.
Ruskins Titles, by Mrs. E. T. Cook).
W. S. Kennedy in the New York Critic and Good Literature, June 21, 1884.
See Ariadne Florentina, 27.
This latter is the version adopted by Sir Theodore Martin:
Thee, O Archytas, who hast scanned
The wonders of the world by sea and land,
The lack of some few grains
Of scattered dust detains
A shivering phantom here upon Matinums strand.

would be: Once thou measuredst the sea and earth and the countless
sand; now, Archytas, art thou contained in the small gifts of a little
dust by the Matin shore.
The closing words of Ruskins treatise
confirm the interpretation suggested by the Cestus of Aglaia. The
conclusion of the whole matter is the choice between the wealth which
makes for life, and the phantom of wealth which makes for death; and
it is in an alternative of epitaphs that Ruskin puts this choice between
his readers:

There is no other choice; you must either take dust for deity,
spectre for possession, fettered dream for life . . . or else, having the
sun of justice to shine on you, and the sincere substance of good in
your possession, and the pure law and liberty of life within you, leave
men to write this legend over your grave:
He hath dispersed abroad. He hath given to the poor. His
righteousness remaineth for ever.

So, again, in 79 of Munera (p. 201) we read that when men exchange
speculation for toil, their riches change only from the slime of
Avernus to the sand of Phlegethon. And so, once more, in The Crown
of Wild Olive ( 16), Ruskin speaks of men gathering dust for
treasure, and dying rich in that. The object then, of Ruskins treatise
was to attack the conception of wealth, current in the ordinary
political economy, which, in the emphasis laid upon merely material
possessions and upon accumulation as distinct from distribution,
took dust for deity. (The word in the quotation above has been here
italicised in order to emphasise the clue.) The latter end of such wealth
is dust also; and this, no doubt, is what Ruskin meant when he placed
the lines from Horace at the head of his bookthence choosing for its
title the words munera pulveris, Gifts of the Dust. There is another
kind of gift which Ruskin sought to press upon his readers, another
order of riches in which, according to his science of political economy,
the well-being of states, as of individuals, alone consists. There is no
wealth but life
and there are riches untormenting and divine:
serviceable for the life that now is; nor, it may be, without promise of
that which is to come.
The reward for
Or, in Coningtons version:
The sea, the earth, the innumerable sand,
Archytas, thou couldst measure; now, alas!
A little dust on Matine shore has spannd
That soaring spirit.

Compare below, p. 259 n.
Unto this Last, 77 (p. 105).
Crown of Wild Olive, 16.

the gathering of that kind of riches is The Crown of Wild Olive; but
the title of the present book expresses, in scornful phrase, the fallacy
which it is meant to expose, not the theorem which it is meant to
enforce. The science of Political Economy, he says, has been hitherto
the weighing of clouds and the portioning out of shadowstasks
like those of Archytas. And woe to us, he adds, if we take the dust
for reality, for so all procession is to the tomb.

Probably, however, Ruskin had many other ult erior meanings. The
title which he gave to his Letters to WorkmenFors
Clavigerasufficiently shows how fond he was of adopting
many-sided titles. Archytas, it should be remembered, was a
philosophera professor, it may be, of some dismal science; a man
given to counting the sanda proverbial expression with the Greeks
and Romans for wasted trouble. It is therefore probable enough that
Ruskin intended partly, by this initial motto for his book, to
apostrophise the professors of the pseudo-science, as he called it.
Again, he often reverted in mind to this economic doctrine and
practice as mere gathering of dust. Thus, in the first edition of Sesame
and Lilies he wrote, the treasuries of the true kings are the streets of
their cities; and the dust which others gather is for them a crystalline
pavement for evermore.
Measuring the sand had, too, another
signification to him, and one directly connected with false methods of
State economy. So in a passage in the original essays Ruskin speaks of
men enlarging their lust of wealth through ignorance of its use,
making their harlot of the dust, and setting Earth the Mother at the
mercy of Earth the Destroyer, so that she has to seek in hell the
children she left playing in the meadows (p. 201 n.). See, also, the
passages in Proserpina
where he speaks of the power of the Earth
Mother, as Mother and as Judge; watching and rewarding the
conditions which induce adversity and prosperity in the kingdoms of
menthe three kinds of Desertof Reed, Sand, and
Rockexhaustively including the states of the earth neglected by
man. These passages, he tells us, contain the summary of the aims
kept in view throughout Munera Pulveris. When this thought was
uppermost in his mind, he would perhaps have taken another of the
meanings of munera and translated his title Functions of the Dust
(see 9).

It has seemed worth while to enter somewhat fully here into the
Munera Pulveris, 34, 35 (pp. 165167).
See Vol. XVIII. p. 105 n.
In i. ch. vii., and ii. ch. iv.
Compare the passage at the end of 48.

possible meanings of Ruskins phrase, because the choice of such
cryptic titles was very characteristic of the later workings of his
We have seen instances of it already in the fifth volume of
Modern Painters. When he called one of his plates in that volume
Venga Medusa and another The Locks of Typhon, reminiscences
of Aristophanes and Dante and Hesiod and Turner all crowded into his
mind at once; the title had facets as many as his mingling thoughts.
This habit of writing in parablesof turning an idea, or a word, or a
phrase over and over, and making it flash out, for those who had eyes
to see, a different shade of light at each turnbecame more and more
frequent with Ruskin, especially in books or passages written in what
he calls his third mannerthe manner of saying all that comes into
my head for my own pleasure.

It may be added that the title Munera Pulveristhough not printed
before 1872was in Ruskins mind much earlier. The passage in
Horace was incidentally quoted in the original essays in Frasers
Magazine (see 134 n.); and in Time and Tide (1867) he refers to the
essays, not then republished, under the title Munera Pulveris (see
115, 155, 167).

The long interval which el apsed between the appearance of the
essays in Frasers Magazine and their publication as a book was due to
a rebuff of the same kind as that which had cut short the earlier essays
in the Cornhill. The fourth paper was sent to Frasers Magazine from
Mornex in March 1863, and duly appeared in the number for April.
The present paper, wrote Ruskin at the end of it, completes the
definitions necessary for future service. The next in order will be the
first chapter of the body of the work.
But the next in order was never
to come. Froude, the editor of the Magazine, had not wholly lost
courage, but the Publisher indignantly interfered; and the readers of
Fraser, says Ruskin, as those of the Cornhill, were protected for that
time from further disturbance on my part.
This second veto was a
bitter vexation to Ruskin. Mr. Allen well remembers the day on which
Ruskin heard the news; he paced his terrace-walk for hours like a
caged lion, and deep gloom gathered upon him. Froude, it is clear, had
not lost faith in his contributor; for,
See, for instance, the title given to Letter xi. in Time and Tide (below, p. 368 n.).
Queen of the Air, 134.
See below, p. 290 n.
See the Preface to Munera Pulveris, 20; below, p. 143.

a few months later, when Ruskins views had called forth a reply in
Macmillans Magazine (by Professor Cairnes), Froude invited Ruskin
to write a rejoinder. This supplementary paper in the form of a
dialogue on Goldwas duly sent to Froude, but it was not printed.
Probably it was Ruskins father who stopped it; he was particularly
sensitive, as a City merchant, to his sons heresies on questions of
currency; and Ruskin had promised his father to publish no more
letters without letting you see them.
Many years later this
suppressed chapter came to light, Ruskins servant and amanuensis
Crawley having been in possession of a copy of it. It is now included in
the Appendix to this volume (pp. 491498).
It should be stated, as explaining the stoppage of Munera Pulveris
in Frasers Magazine, that the papers excited the same violent
hostility and reprobation that were called forth by Unto this Last.
Indeed, the outcry was now at its height, for reviews of Unto this Last,
in its collected form, were appearing. The contemptuous tone of the
writers in the press, and the remonstrances of private friends, hurt
Ruskins father not a little, and a strain of vexation in the sons letters
at this time was caused by paternal entreaties for alterations or
suppressions. Ruskin in reply (Mornex, August 19, 1862) begged his
father to mind critiques as little as possible; read, of me, what you can
enjoy, put by the rest, and leave my reputation in my own hands, and
in Godsin whose management of the matter you and mama should
trust more happily and peacefully than I canfor you believe that He
brings all right for everything and everybody; and I, that He appoints
noble laws, and blesses those who obey them, and destroys them who
do not. Now, as in the case of the papers in the Cornhill Magazine,
Ruskin had an enthusiastic supporter in Carlyle, who tried to reassure
Ruskins father. Writing to Ruskin on October 24, 1862, Froude

The world talks of the article in its usual way. I was at Carlyles
last night . . . He said that in writing to your father as to subject, he had
told him that when Solomons temple was building it was credibly
reported that at least 10,000 sparrows sitting on the trees round
declared that it was entirely wrong, quite contrary to received opinion,
hopelessly condemned by public opinion, etc. Nevertheless it got
finished, and the sparrows flew away and began to chirp in the same
note about something else.

From a letter of November 23, 1863.
Here reprinted from p. 203 of W. G. Collingwoods Life of John Ruskin (1900).

To Ruskin himself Carlyle had already written (June 30, 1862):

I have read, a month ago, your First in Fraser, and ever since
have had a wish to say to it and you, Euge, macta nova virtute. I
approved in every particular; calm, definite, clear; rising into the
sphere of Plato (our almost best), which in exchange for the sphere of
Macculloch, Mill and Co. is a mighty improvement! Since that, I have
seen the little green book, too; reprint of your Cornhill
operations,about 2/3 of which was read to me (known only from
what the contradiction of sinners had told me of it): in every part of
which I find a high and noble sort of truth, not one doctrine that I can
intrinsically dissent from, or count other than salutary in the extr eme,
and pressingly needed in England above all.

After the last paper in Fraser Carlyle wrote again. Ruskin accidentally
destroyed the letter, but he had copied out some sentences of it to send
home, and he remembered others. There is a felicity of utt erance in
it,said Carlyle, here and there, such as I remember in no other writer,
living or dead, and its all as true as gospel. What enlightened
public, he added, will make of it, I know not. to be visited with such
a dividing of joint and marrow! so quiet, so sudden, fatal as the sword
(here a proper name for sword I could not read) to the unhappy smith
who only knew he was killed by feeling the iron in his inside, and had
to shake himself before he fell in two. Euge! I tell you I know nothing
like it for felicity of expression; John Mill keeps not closer to his
dialectics, and he but with one gift, while here are so many; a man
who comes on etymologically, phantastically, prophetically (I am not
sure of this last wordcould not decipher it; if it is right, it means
eloquently, but is stronger) all at once. Glad I am that you are in for
a continuanceI care not now at what interval: I have lived to see it
said clearly that government(I forget the exact phrase following, but
it meant the assertion of authority generally over mob).

Cut short in mid-career, the essays entitled Munera Pulveris had to
bide their time. Just as the collection of the Cornhill essays into a
volume was due to the beginning of the Fraser essays (see above, p.
1.), so the republication of the Fraser essays was due to the beginning
of a fresh series. In 1871 Ruskins preoccupations were largely
political and economic; he had resumed the preaching of his social
gospel; and in connexion with Fors Clavigera he determined to
W. G. Collingwoods Life of John Ruskin (1900), p. 202. Carlyle forgot that he
had read one at least of the Cornhill papers and written to Ruskin about it two years
before (see above, p. xxxii.).
Ruskins letters to his father from Annecy, April 7 and 11, 1863.

include Munera Pulveris in the collected series of his works. It there
appearedfor the first time in collected formon January 1, 1872. In
this form the book was expensive, and the sale was slow. Fourteen
years later Ruskin wrote to his publisher that people seem ready for
a cheap edition. In 1886 such an edition was issued, and the book has
of late years found many readers.
But in 1863 Ruskin turned away, in disappointment for a while,
from economic writing; the continuation of his essays in Political
Economy was put aside, and he devoted himself to finishing his lecture
for the Royal Institution on the Forms of the Stratified Alps of Savoy.
He had by this time tired of his hermitage at Mornex, which indeed
was less peaceful than he had hoped. He could no longer endure, he
says, the rabid howling, on Sunday evenings, of the holiday-makers
who came out from Geneva to get drunk in the mountain-village.

Also he had thought in winter there would be storms, and lovely skies
and effects in the Alps; but there was not one, from Christmas to
Aprilnothing but crystalline clearness with cold wind, or black grey
with snow.
So, to complete his mountain studies, he left Mornex for
a while and went to the Lake of Annecystaying first at the Htel de
Genve, Annecy, and afterwards at Talloires on the east bank of the
lake, in the ancient Benedictine Abbey there, part of which had been
turned into an hotel. He found the stratification of the mountains
inconceivably wonderful and interesti ng, and enjoyed the coming of
the spring:

ANNECY, April 10.I have had a good day, to-day; feeling strong
in drawing and enjoying myself generally. I am glad to find it isnt my
fault when I grumble; and that provided the sky is blue, the air soft,
plenty of violets and hyacinths on the banks, the mountains beautiful,
the peasantry pretty, and the road good, I dont feel anything much to
complain of; so that nobody can say I dont know what I want.

One of his drawings of the mountains of Annecy is her e reproduced in
colours (Plate VI.). After a few weeks he returned to Mornex. You
cant think, he wrote (May 11), how pleased I am to get back to my
den . . . . (May 12): I have really been enjoying myself mightily this
evening; there has been a clear sunset on the Brezon with quiet air; and
Ive had tea in my garden house, with the lilacs in bloom outside, and
a red hawthorn, and pink chestnut; and the nightingales are in
Time and Tide, 47; see below, p. 356.
Letter to his father from Tallories, April 21, 1863.

full song (or were last night till I fell asleepfor I could hardly tell
them from the other birds this evening), and the view of the plain of
the Arve, now coming into the rich tufted loveliness I first saw it
inthirty years agois very precious to me. But Ruskin was too
sensitive to other impressions for unchequered enjoyment. The air is
very soft and sweet now, he wrote on the following day, but it is
cloudy and gloomy; the gloomiest part of it, however, is the contrast of
spring and its blossoming with the torpor and misery of the people;
nothing can be more dreadful than their suffering, from mere
ignorance and lethargy, no one caring for them.
At the end of May 1863 Ruskin again went to England, reaching
Denmark Hill on June 1. He had two public engagements to
fulfilone, the lecture on Geology which had occupied much of his
time and thoughts during the preceding months; a report of it is
reserved for the volume containing Deucalion. His other public
engagement was to give evidence before the Royal Commission on the
Royal Academy; this has been printed in a previous volume.
He then
went for a round of visits in the Northto Winnington, to Wallington,
to Lady Waterford at Ford Castle, and to his friend, and Turners, the
Rev. William Kingsley at Thirsk.
To Winnington, on this occasion,
Ruskin took with him Mr. and Mrs. Burne-Jones; and in the Memorials
of the painter we catch a glimpse of Ruskin taking his place
occasionally in a quadrille or a country dance. He looked very thin,
scarcely more than a black line, as he moved about amongst the white
girls in his evening dress.

In September 1863 he returned once more to the Alps.
His mind
was now set upon building a house for himself among the Savoy
mountains, and of making it his permanent home. He had already
during his residence at Mornex been prospecting. It was to be a
hill-top house. He had been one day for a solitary ramble up the
Brezon, above Bonneville, and was entranced with the flowers and the
view. There on the mountain summit was the place chosen for his
chlet. He entered upon the scheme with characteristic enthusiasm.
Vol. XIV. pp. 476 seq.
The following are the dates: Winnington (August 8), Newcastle (August 10),
Wallington (August 11), Coldstream (April 18, driving over to see Lady Waterford at
Ford Castle), Thirsk, with W. Kingsley (April 20), Wallington (August 23),
Winnington (August 25 and following days).
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. p. 264.
The following were his movements: Boulogne (September 8), Geneva
(September 10), Bonneville (September 11), Chamouni (September 12), St. Martin
(October 8), Geneva (October 10), Baden (October 13), Schaffhausen (November 2),
Baden (November 3), Ble (November 11), Paris (November 13).

The good people of Bonneville were delighted. They thought to see
Ruskin permanently established among them as an earthly providence;
and Mr. Allen, who was on one occasion sent to meet the village elders
on the spot and discuss the water supply, describes how he was
received with salvoes of artillery. The hardest days work I ever had
in my life, says Mr. Allen, was marking out the boundaries of Mr.
Ruskins intended purchase. He was resolved to buy the greater part
of the mountain. There was no water; he would construct a dam to
collect the snow. Dante Rossetti was to come out and design the
decorations of the chlet; Burne-Jones was to paint the walls. Alas!
this house beautiful among the mountains was to remain a chlet in
the air, but for a time the scheme was very near accomplishment. He
had two objects in view. First, as he explains in Prterita (ii 206
seq.), he wanted to make some practical effort to help the peasant ry,
whose fundamental nobleness of character he respected, and for whose
hard and often neglected lot he had so profound a pity. But also he had
more and more come to feel the homelessness of his own home. He
was no longer understood by his parents, nor could he enjoy their
sympathy. His religious heresies grieved his mother; his economic, his
father. The more he loved themand no parents ever had a more
affectionate and dutiful childthe more he felt the bitterness of the
estrangement. Already, early in 1861, he had written to Professor
Norton of the almost unendurable solitude in my own home, only
made more painful to me by parental love which did not and never
could help me, and which was cruelly hurtful without knowing it.

Hence Ruskin felt that he must have a home of his own; and for
reasons already stated, as well as for peace and seclusion, he decided
to find it among the Alps. He had told the plan to Burne-Jones, who
was distressed at Ruskins loneliness of spirit, and pleaded that, as an
alternative to exile, he should find some retreat in England: for this
home the painter would design a set of hangings with figures from
Chaucer, and the girls at Winnington would work them. Ruskins reply
to Burne-Jones and his wife was written just before he left England for

DENMARK HILL, 8th September, 1863.

My DEAREST CHILDREN,I am very deeply moved and
comforted by all your lettersas who would not be, unless he were
himself rock, instead of merely wishing to live among rocks. You
would make me entirely happy with your loves if I felt strong,
Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 106.

and as if I should have life and time to stay with you, but I have a great
feeling of its being too late. But do with me and for me as you
willthat will be best for me. All that I mean to doat the worstis
to buy this bit of rock land as I would a picture. You may like some
day, some of you, to climb to it, with childrens feet, among Alpine
roses; and Ive another notion of a thing the great cliff above may be
useful forsome dayor nightbut, for this time, have your own
way. I daresay love is very nice when it doesnt always mean leaving
peopleas it always does with me, somehow; and if you can find this
dream of yours with its walled garden, I dont think I should want to
leave it, when I got in. And for the tapestry, please begin that directly;
that at least I can live with; and let it be as you sayChaucers
legend. I should like that better than anyanyanything, and it is
very beautiful and kind and lovely of the twelve damosels to work it
for meand I would not have had any other if I had chosen. And it
will be very wonderful and helpful and holy to me. And let the little
maidens do birds and mice and funny things and little flowers,
underneath; and give them all now my love and wearying for them,
and take it, for you.
I hope it will make you very happy to be there, as far as any
outward thing can make you and Georgie happier than you always
are; but I like so much to think of you there, and I cant bear to think of
you in London. It is the only quite pleasant thing I have to think of in
all the world. So stay as long as you can, that I may have it to think

Mrs. Burne-Jones had also written to Ruskins father, who replied as

I am happy to think of my Son possessing so much of your and
Mr. Jones regard, and to hear of so many excellent people desiring to
keep him at home; my own earnest wishes are, and, since his visits to
Winnington, to Thirsk, and to Wallington, my hopes are, that my Son
may ultimately settle in England; but these hopes would not be
strengthened by his too suddenly changing his mind, throwing up his
Engagements, breaking his Appointments, or at all acting on the whim
of the moment. He so far proceeded towards a settlement in Savoy as
to have begun treating with a Commune about a purchase of Land. His
duty is, therefore, to go to Savoy and honourably withdraw from the
Affair, by paying for all Trouble occasioned, and I fully expect the
Savoyards will afford him some ground for declining a purchase by the
exorbitant prices they will ask for
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. pp. 266267.

their Land. As for the ground he has bought at Chamouni, it will be a
pleasure to him to keep it though he saw it not once in seven years. It
is the Building Plan near Bonneville that I should rejoice to see
resignedbut not suddenly abandoned for a momentary Indulgence
among the Delights of Winnington, but deliberately, and after some
goings and comings and Comparisons, between Weeks spent abroad,
and Weeks spent at home. He has made a short engagement to go to
Switzerland with the Rev. Osborne Gordon, which I hope he will keep,
and I shall endeavour to hope that his Engagements abroad may in
future be confined to a Tour with a friend, and that Home Influences
may in the end prevail. Tell Mr. Jones that I know enough of him not to
be jealous of any Influence he may have with my SonI cannot be
jealous of the Influence of Any one on this subject, because I do not
attempt to exercise anyI want my Son to find out for himself where
he is likely to be most happy, and am ready to acquiesce in any plan,
Swiss or English, that shall most thoroughly secure this end.
My Sons fellow Traveller now is the best he could possibly go
with. Being rather cynical in his views generally, and not over
enthusiastic upon Alps, he is not likely to much approve of the middle
heights of the Brezon for a Building Site.

The quiet humour and practical wisdom of this letter, and, discernible
beneath them, the affectionate tenderness for his son, are very
characteristic of the father whom Ruskin was soon to lose. The old
mans shrewdness was justified by the event. Ruskin went to Geneva
with his cynical tutor, who walked up to the proposed hermitage
and, with his usual sagacity, calculated the daily expense of getting
anything to eat, up those 4000 feet from the plain.
successfully accomplished the climb, and remembering that the return
journey would be of the same length, Gordon remarked drily, If you
ask your friends to dinner, it will be a nice walk home for them, at
night. Ruskin feared that if they came to call and found him not at
home, they would not come again; to which Gordon added, and I
dont think they would come again anyhow.
Perhaps these quiet
criticisms had their effect, but the determining factor was the conduct
of the Commune of Bonneville, who raised their price on Ruskin
exorbitantly. Unable to see why anybody should want to buy a waste
of barren rock, with pasturage only for a few goats in the summer,
they concluded that he had found a gold mine or a coal -bed in it
suspicion to which Ruskins frequent visits with his geological
hammer, and
Prterita, ii. 206.
Ruskins letter to his father from Bonneville, September 11, 1863.
Prterita, ii. 206.

Mr. Allen or Couttet carrying baskets for the collection of
mineralogical specimens, no doubt afforded additional ground. The
land at Chamouni, at the foot of the Tapia, had been duly bought; but
Ruskin never built upon it, and presently sold it, perceiving what ruin
was inevitable in the valley after it became a tourist rendezvous.
top of the Brezon he left on the Communes hands; and after spending
a few weeks at Chamouni busy mainly with geologyRuskin went
off to Northern Switzerland, to sketch at Baden and Lauffenbourg and
Schaffhausen, and returned to Mornex no more. His interest in
economical questions was unabated, and from various pl aces on his
travels he fired in arrows of the chace to the newspapers. Thus from
Chamouni on October 2 he wrote a letter to the Times on the Gold
Discoveries then being made in Australia (see below, p. 489); and this
in turn led to the Dialogue on Gold which has already been mentioned
(p. lxix.), and which begins with a reference to his visit to
Schaffhausen. His visit to Zurich at this same time is referred to in
Time and Tide.

In the middle of November he returned to England, and after a few
days with his parents he went Northmaking Winnington again his
headquarters, and paying visits to Manchester and to Lord Somers
Eastnor. At this time he had an idea of adding a little to his papers in
Frasers Magazine and publishing them in a volume. He explai ns the
scheme in a letter to Burne-Jones:

I want you to do me a set of simple line illustrations of mythology
and figurative creatures, to be engraved and to make a lovely book of
my four Political Economy papers in Fraser, with a bit Im just
adding. I want to print it beautifully, and make it a book everybody
must have. And I want a Ceres for it, and a Proserpine, and a Plutus,
and a Pluto, and a Circe, and an Helen, and a Tisiphone, and an
Avykn, and a Prudentia, and a Sapientia, and a Temperantia, and a
Fortitudo, and a JUSTITIA, and a CHARITAS, and a FIDES, and a
Charybdis, and a Scylla, and a Leucothea, and a Portia, and a
Miranda, and an Arhtn, and an Ophelia, and a Lady Poverty, and ever
so many people more, and Ill have them all engraved so beautifully,
you cant thinkand then Ill cut up my text into little bits, and put it
all about them, so that people must swallow at once, and it will do
them so much good. Please think of it directly.

Prterita, ii. 206.
In 45; see below, p. 355.
For whom, see Vol. I. pp. xxxv., 409, 463, and Vol. XV. p. xvii.
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. i. p. 271.

The letter is very characteristic of the mythological and fanciful strain
in Munera Pulveris, which we have already discussed. But this
scheme, as many another, was interrupted by the death of Ruskins
father, which took place on March 3, 1864. He was 78 years of age,
and Ruskin himself was 45; but the parting meant much more to
Ruskin than the death of a father in old age means to most sons in
middle life. It deprived him of his best friend and counsellor, and it
cast upon him duties and responsibilities from which he had hitherto
been shielded. His literary schemes were abandoned for a while, and
the publication of Munera Pulveris was not made till nine years later.
The epitaph which Ruskin wrote for his fathers tomb in Shirley
Churchyard, near Elmers End, Kent, may fitly find place in this
volume, which contains so many pages of passionate exhortations to
Truth, Honesty, and Affection:

Here rests from days well-sustained burden,
born in Edinburgh, May 18th, 1785.
He died in his home in London, March 3rd, 1864.
He was an entirely honest merchant,
and his memory is, to all who keep it, dear and helpful.
His son, whom he loved to the uttermost
and taught to speak truth, says this of him.


The death of his father left Ruskin a freer hand in striking at the
current doctrines of Political Economy, though for the time the
pressure of other duties prevented him from writing any elaborate
work on the subject. His essays in the Cornhill and Fraser brought him
a good deal of correspondence, and to sympathetic readers he wrote
letters of encouragement and counsel; some of which have been
preserved, and are given in Appendix I. But so long as his father lived,
Ruskin wrote under some constraint, or was even restrained from
writing at all. It was probably, as we have seen, the paternal edict that
suppressed the Dialogue on Gold (Appendix II.). But now that his
father was no longer at his side, Ruskin plunged with constant ardour
into the fray. The almost single-handed contest which he waged at this
time with the accepted religion in economics is one of the most

incidents in the history of such disputes, and his frequent letters to the
newspapers did a great deal to call attention to his views. In 1864 he
wrote a series of controversial letters on The Law of Supply and
Demand (Appendix III.); in 1865, another and a longer series on
Work and Wages (Appendix IV.). In the same year a popular
discussion in the Daily Telegraph on the eternal Servant Question
gave Ruskin an opening for pointing an economic moral (Appendix
V.). At later dates he similarly discussed in the newspapers the
nationalisation of railways (Appendix VI.). These discussions
introduced, to a wider circle than was as yet reached by his books, the
theories and principles which he had closely at heart.


Ruskins next contribution to economic discussions was also
made, in the first instance, through the daily press. This was the series
of letters subsequently collected in the volume entitled Time and Tide.
The story of his life during the intervening years belongs to the next
volume; but we must give here such particulars about the book as are
necessary to its better understanding. The letters were addressed to
Thomas Dixon, of Sunderland (18311880), a representative of the
highest type of working-man; an example, one may say, in real life of
the ideal working-man, to whom Ruskin addressed so many of his
writings, and of the type which he strove to influence and to create.
Dixon was a corkcutter by trade, a skilful workman, and a good
manager. His business throve, and a short time before his death he was
able to retire on the modest competence that sufficed for him. His main
business was supplying public-houses with corks, and he never liked
the trade.
For many years he was a chronic sufferer from asthma, but
he had the temper of a Stoic and the resources of a cultivated man, to
whom his mind is a kingdom. He had, writes a friend, the
ingenuous simplicity of a child and the tender sympathetic heart of a
woman. He was an unostentatious, practical philanthropist, and his
secret pecuniary benefactions were not only large in proportion to his
means, but, what was of far more permanent good service to humanity,
he never lost an opportunity of inducing the young persons who
frequented his shop or visited his house to become keen art students,
judicious book-buyers, and discriminative, earnest readers. Young
men and women, by dozens, owe to
See Appendix iv. to Time and Tide (below, p. 469).

him the first impulse they got to cultivate something higher than either
mere amusement or sordid money-making; and many, who were
already treading steadily in sundry walks of literature and art, were
indebted to him very materially for assistance he was able and ready to
give from out-of-the-way sources.
He took an active part in all local
efforts for the establishment of public reading-rooms, art galleries,
cooperative stores, and mechanics institutes. He used to correspond
with eminent men,
and those who made his acquaintance soon became
his friends. You know, wrote Max Miller to Mr. Brockie, that
Thomas Dixon was not a learned man, but I can assure you that his
letters, in spite of occasional mistakes in spelling, showed a clearer
insight into the true objects of all my wr itings, and conveyed to me
more useful criticisms than many a review in our best weekly,
monthly, or quarterly journals. How he found time to do all he did, and
to read all he read, and to think out all that he thought out for himself,
is still a riddle to me. Nothing gives me a stronger faith in the
intellectual vigour and moral strength of the English people than that
such a man as Thomas Dixon could have lived and passed away almost
unknown, except to his friends and fellow-citizens.
A working man of this kind was a man after Ruskins heart. He
gave to Dixon his warm friendship, and Dixon to him a wholehearted
admiration. Dixon had asked for copies of Ruskins writings on
Political Economy. The inquiry, coming from a man representative of
the highest type of the working classes, suggested to Ruskin to carry a
little further the work which had been suspended in 1863. He had
during the intervening years been seeing much of Carlyle, who was
constantly urging him to be diligent in hurling his arrows into t he
black void of anarchy around them. In 18651866 he had joined
Carlyle in the committee for the defence of Governor Eyre. The
American Civil War had also stirred him profoundly; and if he did
Sunderland Notables. By William Brockie. No. 16. Thomas Di xon,
CorkCutter, in the Sunderland Weekly Times and Echo, April 6, 1888. A briefer
biographical notice, also by Mr. Brockie, appeared in the Monthly Chronicle of North
Country Lore and Legend, for October 1889, vol. iii. pp. 447448. An interesting
chapter (xvii. in vol. ii.) is also devoted to Dixon in W. B. Scotts Autobiographical
Notes, and references to him occur in the various books about D. G. Rossetti issued by
Mr. W. M. Rossetti: he was well known to both the brothers.
He had a habit also of sending them presents, often of valuable books. I ought
to have mentioned, writes Carlyle to his brother (December 5, 1863),that a certain
cork-cutter at Sunderland, combining with a few other working men, sent me
yesterday a fair enough copy of Bewicks Birds, in honour of my 70th birthday
(New Carlyle Letters, vol. ii. p. 233). That such gifts were sometimes embarrassing to
their recipients is shown by a letter of Robert Browning (see W. M. Rossettis Rossetti
Papers, p. 179).

not take so pronouncedly the side of the South as was the case with
many notable Englishmen of the time (Mr. Gladstone, for instance),
yet the methods of the North were intensely abhorrent to him. Many
violent diatribes on this subject occur in his letters to Thomas Dixon.
But the condition of the time which most directly influenced these
letters was the agitation, then at its height, for Parliamentary Reform.
In June 1866 the Reform Bill had been defeated, Lord Russells
Government resigned, and Lord Derby became Prime Minister, with
Disraeli as leader in the House of Commons. The rejection of the Bill
caused great indignation among the masses of the people. Reform
Leagues and Reform Unions started up as if from the ground. A great
demonstration was organised to meet in Hyde Park; it was refused
admission, and the Park railings were torn down. Throughout the
autumn and the winter the agitation went on; and the Trade Unions, as
yet unrecognised by the law, organised meetings and demonstrations
in all the great industrial centres. The new Government read the signs
of the times, and, stealing the Whigs clothes, Disraeli introduced a
Reform Bill in February 1867. It was at this moment that Ruskin began
his letters to Dixon. To the working men, as to the professional
politicians, engaged in the exciting controversy of the day,
Parliamentary Reform seemed to open a direct path to the Promised
Land. Ruskin did not oppose Reform in itself, but he saw that it was no
panacea. Social justice was more important than elect oral
redistribution; the reform of the suffrage might be well, but reform
was needed also in the laws bearing upon honesty of work and honesty
of exchange; political reform generally might be valuable, but the
building up of the individual character was the thing yet more needful.
To change a bad law was desirable, but first let the working men see
that they could obey a good one.
Such were the ideas with which Ruskin began his letters to Thomas
Dixon, the corkcutter of Sunderland. They are shown in the ful l title
which he gave to the letters when he presently collected them into a
volumeTime and Tide by Weare and Tyne: Twenty-five Letters to a
Working Man of Sunderland on the Laws of Work. . It was the
unalterable laws of national and individual well -being that Ruskin
sought to enforcelaws which, whether men recognised them or not,
will assuredly make themselves felt in due course of time and tide.

Ruskin began the letters with the object of supplementing Munera
Pulveris (see pp. 315, 442); he was not in vigorous health at the time,
and he chose the vehicle of familiar correspondence as requiring
See Munera Pulveris, 96 (below, p. 218).

less concentration than a formal treatise, and as enabling him to write
as the spirit moved him. The chance which dictated the choice of
subjects often seemed to him strangely significant ( 164), and herein
we may find the origin of the later series of Letters to Workmen
which he entitled Fors Clavigera, and which, as he says, covered
ground originally intended for a second series of Time and Tide (p.
313). As the letters proceeded, Ruskin allowed himself to take up now
this subject and now that, just as fate or fancy carriedas
afterwards also in the Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great
Britain entitled Fors Clavigera. There was, however, in these letters
to Dixon not only a general purpose (as already partly indicated
above), but they all fitted into a general scheme, which was to sketch
in outline an Ideal Commonwealth.

A few pieces subsequent to Time and Tide are also included in this
volume. Ruskin was a member of the Social Science Association,
which in 1868 occupied itself with discussing the relations of Capital
and Laboura question which the growing power of Trade Unions
and the labour disturbances of the time had made very acute. Ruskins
speeches at meetings of the Association are given in Appendix VII. A
little later in the year he drew up for private circulation some Notes
on the General Principles of Employment for the Destitute and
Criminal Classes: these are printed in Appendix VII. The Notes
were written at Abbeville in September 1868. The letters on
Inundations, written in 1871 (Appendix IX.); and the discussions in
1873 with Professor W. B. Hodgson on Demand and Supply
(Appendix III. 4, 5) and with W. R. Greg on the Economics of Luxury
(Appendices X. and XI.) are also here included, as illustrating or
supplementing passages in Ruskins other economic writings.


Ruskin never put his economical work, either on its critical or on
its constructive side, into connected form. He wrote by snatches; he
wrote allusively; and he wrote in fierce indignation. The particulars
set forth in the preceding pages of this Introduction sufficiently
explain the broken character of his economic writings. We have seen,
too, how freely he gave the rein to his fancy in following up any clue
in literature or mythology which seemed suggestive of his
conclusions. One
xvii. f

can sympathise with the City man who i s said to have given up
Ruskins articles in despair, on finding that, according to this new
counsellor, the principles of sound economics required a familiarity
with Scylla, Charybdis, Circe, the Gran Nemico of Dante, and
Spensers Plutus.
Ruskin himself was aware, in half-mocking
humility, of the extent to which his writing fell short (if such be the
case) of the calm and orderly style of other economists. I really am
getting practical, he wrote to Professor Norton, and Im thinking of
writing Hamlets soliloquy into Norton-and-Mill-esque: The question
which under these circumstances must present itself to the intelligent
mind, is whether to exist, or not to exist, etc.
But that, as we all
know, was not Ruskins way; and least of all when he wr ote under
stress of strong emotion. His friends counselled him to be cheerful, to
keep calm, to moderate the force of his expressions. Those
expressions, he replied, may do me harm, or do me good; what is
that to me? They are the only true, right, or possible expressions. The
Science of Political Economy is a Lie,wholly and to the very root (as
hither to taught). It is also the Damnedest, that is to say, the most
utterly and to the lowest pit condemned of God and his Angels that
the Devil, or Betrayer of Men, has yet invented, except his (the
Devils) theory of Sanctification. To this science, and to this alone
(the professed and organised pursuit of Money) is owing All the evil of
modern days. I say All. The Monastic theory is at an end. It is now the
Money theory which corrupts the Church, corrupts the household life,
destroys honour, beauty, and life throughout the universe. It is the
Death incarnate of Modernism, and the so-called science of its pursuit
is the most cretinous, speechless, paralysing plague that has yet
touched the brains of mankind.
Ruskin goes on to say that he thus
wrote coolly and deliberately; but he wrote in what Carlyle called
divine rage, and the heat sometimes blinds the reader to the
substance of the argument. For these various reasons it seems
desirable in this volumewherein for the first time Ruskins principal
writings on economics are brought together to explain the logical
order of the several pieces, to set forth in outline the successive
arguments, and to state the nature and extent of his contributions to
economic thought and practice.
There was in Ruskins mind a scheme of economics more
comprehensive than any which he actually wrote.
It was threefold. He

Weekly Review, December 6, 1862.
Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 212.
Letter to Dr. John Brown, August 1862.
See Time and Tide, 155; below, p. 442.

sought to overthrow the basis of the accepted doctrine ( Unto this
Last); to outline a scheme of Social Economy which should take its
place (Munera Pulveris); and to show how its principles would work
out in laws, customs, and institutions (Time and Tide). To some extent,
the three books cover the same ground; the same topics, and
occasionally the same illustrations, occur in all of themthe
references to parallel passages, now given in footnotes to the text or in
the course of the following pages, are, it will be seen, numerous. But
looking at the books broadly, we may say that they correspond to the
threefold division just stated.
Ruskins attack on the accepted theory of Political Economy was a
double one, as stated by himself in a note of 1883 upon an exposition
of his doctrine, entitled A Disciple of Plato, by Professor William
Smart. At page 41 of this study, the writer said, Ruskin does not
object to Political Economy, so long as it is confessed Mercantile
Economy. Ruskins comment was as follows:

There is no word I want to add or change up to page 41; but, as
regards what follows, I would like to add that, while I admit there is
such a thing as mercantile economy, distinguished from social, I have
always said that neither Mill, Fawcett, nor Bastiat knew the
contemptible science they professed to teach.


This note may serve as an introduction to a short summary of the
contents of Unto this Last. In the Preface Ruskin states the main
objects of his treatise. They are (1) to give a definition of Wealth,
more precise than any to be found in the then accepted manuals; and
(2) to show that certain moral conditions, and especially honesty, are
necessary for its attainment. (The portion of the Preface dealing with
measures of practical reform will be noticed presently.)
In the First Essay Ruskin objects to the whole basis of the Science
of Political Economy. The Science (as then formulated) was founded
on an abstraction; it postulated an economic man, from whom the
social affections were eliminated. This proceeding, which
Note by Mr. Ruskin on p. 48 of A Disciple of Plato: a Critical St udy of John
Ruskin, by William Smart [now Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy in the
University of Glasgow]: Glasgow, Wilson & MCormick, 1883.

would be legitimate if the factors thus eliminated made only a
quantitative difference, is unscientific and nugatory, because those
factors make a qualitative difference ( 13).

See in illustration of this statement Munera Pulveris, 137 seq.,
where Ruskin shows that the relations of rich and poor depend, from
beginning to end, on moral conditions. See also a letter to E. S.
Dallas of August 18, 1859 (Letters from John Ruskin to Various
Correspondents, privately issued 1892, p. 21; reprinted in a later
volume of this edition).

The inability of the abstract science to deal with concr ete facts is
illustrated from the case of disputes between employers and workmen
( 47).

On this subject, see Ruskins letters to the Pall Mall Gazette on
Work and Wages, Appendix iv. (below, pp. 506 seq.); the
resolution proposed by him at a meeting of the Social Science
Association, Appendix vii. (below, p. 539); and a letter to E. S. Dallas
of September 4, 1859 (Letters upon Subjects of General Interest to
Various Correspondents, privately printed 1892, pp. 2629; reprinted
in a later volume of this edition).

The true basis of sound economic relations between them is shown
in the case of Domestic Service ( 810): unselfish treatment gives
the employer the best return.

See Ruskins letters to the Daily Telegraph on Servants, Appendix
v. (below, pp. 518 seq.), and the other passages collected in a note on
p. 28.

The same principle is illustrated in the case of a commander and
his men ( 11).
Applying similar considerations to the relations of manufacturers
and workmen, Ruskin lays down that the obj ects to be attained are (1)
regular wages, and (2) fixity of employment ( 12).
He proceeds (1) to give instances of other employment in which
wages are regular ( 13, 14).
Under the second head(2) fixity of employmenthe dwells on
the importance of steady conditions, and on the way in which
speculation interferes with them ( 15, 16
); and then passes to
appeal to the honour and public spirit of the manufacturers. Why is the
soldier held in superior honour to the manufacturer or the merchant?
Because the latter is seen to act in the main selfishly ( 1719). The
need is for soldiers, or captains, of Industry, whose code of honour
On the evils of speculation, compare Time and Tide, Letter xv. (p. 389).

would be (a) to keep their engagements, (b) to provide pure goods, (c)
to care for their men ( 2025). Hence this first essay is entitled The
Roots of Honour.

To the subject of adulteration Ruskin often returned; see the
passages collected below, p. 383 n.

In the Second Essay Ruskin continues his attack on the narrow
basis of the soi-disant Science of Political Economy. The science is
wrong, he has already shown, in isolating the individual man from the
social affections; it is also wrong, he now goes on to show, in isolating
the individual from society. He insists on a distinction between
Political Economy (the economy of a State) and Mercantile Economy
( 2629). The riches with which the latter is concerned mean the
establishment of the maximum inequality in favour of particul ar
persons ( 30).
Such inequalities of wealth are good or bad for the general
community according to (a) the methods by which they are acquired,
and (b) the purposes to which they are applied ( 31, 32).
This distinction is illustrated from various cases (of shipwrecked
sailors, etc.), in which it is shown that the establishment of the
mercantile wealth which consists in a claim upon labour, signifies a
political diminution of the real wealth which consists in substantial
possessions ( 3336).
Hence it is futile in any scheme of Political Economy to isolate the
accumulation of wealth from considerations of justice, and wealth
itself from the moral signs attached to it. These signs are, from the
point of view of the State, material attributes of riches. Hence the
essay is entitled The Veins of Wealth; the wealth of a State consisting
in healthy souls and bodies ( 3741).
The Third Essay begins with a passage on Scriptural exhortations
to justice in commercial dealings ( 4245), and assumes that the
science of Political Economy means the Science of getting rich by
just means ( 46).
What, then, is the law of justice respecting payment for labour?
Ruskin defines it as the payment of labour for labour in equal measure
( 47, 48)modified by the fact that the order for labour, given in
payment, is general, while the labour received is special ( 49). The
general order may in justice be less in amount, but the equity of
payment is wholly independent of any reference to the number of men
who are willing to do the work ( 48).
Injustice comes in with the so-called law of demand and supply.

When two men compete for work from one employer, the tendency of
that law is to underpay the workmen; when two employers compete for
one workman, its tendency is to overpay the workman ( 50).
The payment in all cases of just wages would tend to the more
equal distribution of property and diminish the power of wealth in
single hands ( 5153)a statement which leads Ruskin to explain
that he is not a socialist ( 54); his object is to declare that as the poor
have no right to the property of the rich, so neither have the rich any
right to that of the poor ( 5455). It is the rule of justice he wishes to
enforce; hence the title of the essay, Qui Judicatis Terram.
The Fourth Essay takes up the question, What is value? (for the
exchanges of labour were to be of equal value, 74). Ruskin notices
first a lack of consistency in the definitions given by Mill and Ricardo
( 5660): the examination of a passage in Mill leading him to point
out the unsatisfactory nature of any economic analysis which
measures utility only by capacity to satisfy a desire or serve a
purpose, and does not go on to inquire what kind of desire and what
kind of purpose ( 58).
Value, according to Ruskins definition, is that which avails
towards life; it is intrinsic and fixed ( 61).
Wealth is the possession of useful articles which we can use (
62); or the possession of the valuable by the valiant ( 63). Many
things popularly accounted wealth, and many persons accounted
wealthy, are in fact only forms of illth
( 64). In a community
regulated only by laws of demand and supply, the persons who
remain poor are the entirely foolish, the entirely wise, the idl e, the
reckless, the humble, the thoughtful, the dull, the imaginative, the
sensitive, the well-informed, the improvident, the irregularly and
impulsively wicked, the clumsy knave, the open thief, and the entirely
merciful, just, and godly person( 65).
Passing to the consideration of Price (or, exchange value), Ruskin
says that there can be no profit in exchange, but only acquisition (
66); and thence he derives the principles of just exchange ( 67, 68).
Price is the quantity of labour given by the person desiring a thing, in
order to obtain possession of it ( 69). Since price is thus measured in
terms of labour, cheapness of labour means dearness of the object
wrought for ( 70, 71).
Labour may be either positive (that which produces life) or
negative (that which produces death). The prosperity of a nation
Compare Fors Clavigera, Letters 46 and 70.

depends on the quantity of labour which it expends in obtaining and
employing means of life; wise consumption is the crown of production
( 72).

On this essential point in Ruskins doctrine compare Crown of
Wild Olive, 77.

So, in the case of Capital, the question for the economist is, What
substance good for life will it furnish? The final object of Political
Economy being to get good method, and great quantity, of
consumption ( 7375).
Mills assertion that a demand for commodities is not demand for
labour is thus shown by Ruskin to be a colossal error ( 76).
As consumption is the end and aim of production, so life i s the end
and aim of consumption: there is no wealth but life ( 77).
This is the pith of the book. The remaining sections glance slightly
at the over-population question ( 78); at the necessity for educating
the poor and instilling into all classes habits of contentment with
simple joys ( 7982). The advancement towards this true felicity
must be by individual, not public effort ( 83), and so Ruskin
concludes with a personal appeal ( 84, 85) to his readers to forward
the coming of the kingdom when Christs gift of bread, and bequest
of peace, shall be Unto this last as unto thee.
With regard to public effort Ruskin stated in his Preface the worst
of the political creed to which he wished his principles to lead. The
reforms advocated were:
1. National Schools for the young to be established at Government
cost and under Government discipline over the whole country.
2. Every child to be taught, further, some trade or calling.
3. In connexion with these technical classes, Government
workshops to be established, at which, without any attempt at
establishing a monopoly, good and exemplary work should be done,
and pure and true substance sold.
4. Any person out of employment to be set forthwith to work at the
nearest Government workshop.
5. Such work to be paid for at a fixed rate in each employment.
6. Those who would work if they could, to be taught. Those who
could work if they would, to be set to penal work.
7. For the old and destitute comfort and home to be provided.



The volume, whose contents we have thus briefly summarised, was
an introduction to Ruskins economic teaching. It was mainly
destructive, its primary object being to challenge the accepted science,
and was only incidentally constructive; t hat is to say, Ruskin only
indicated in passing and by inference the terms of an alternative
system. Carlyle, as we have seen, encouraged him to go on; and
Froude, thinking that there was something in it, invited him to
pursue the subject in Frasers Magazine. In this second collection of
essays Ruskin gives a series of definitions and a list of headings which
were to have served as a Preface to a more elaborate treatise
(Preface, 20). His object was now constructive, and only incidentally
destructive. In broad outline he defined in Munera Pulveris the terms
on which, as he conceived, a system of Political Economy should be
based, and stated the questions with which such a system ought to
Political Economy, he begins by stating, is a system of conduct
founded on the sciences and impossible except under certain
conditions of moral culture. It regulates the acts and habits of a
Society or State, with reference to its means of maintenance (
1)viz. (1) the support of its population in healthy and happy life; and
(2) the increase of its numbers so far as is consistent with its happiness
( 3). The material things which it is the object of political economy to
produce and use are those which sustain and nourish the body or the
soul, and no others ( 8).
The inquiry into such things divides itself under three heads,
according as it studies the phenomena ofI. Wealth; II. Money; or III.
Riches. Wealth is things in themselves valuable; Money,
documentary claims to such things; Riches, the relation of one
persons possessions to anothers ( 11).
WEALTH consists of things in themselves valuable. Value
signifies the life-giving power of a thing, which involves ( a) a thing
essentially useful, and (b) a capacity to use it ( 13, 14).

Here compare Unto this last, 62, 63; Munera Pulveris, Appendix iii.

Value in this sense must be closely distinguished from Cost, which
means the quantity of labour required to produce a thing; and Price,
which means the quantity of labour which the possessor of a thing
will take in exchange for it ( 12).

Valuable things are: (1) Land, considered (a) as a means of
producing food and mechanical power; and (b) as providing objects of
sight and thought.

The development of this chapter in Ruskins intended treatise
would have been of particular interest. If one were constructing such a
treatise out of his actually written passages, one would refer under (a)
to Time and Tide, 151, where he lays down the conditions of
land-tenure with regard to making the most of it, and to many similar
passages in Fors Clavigera; while under (b), one would go to almost
all his books for passages on the importance of national scenery as an
element of national wealth; see in the General Index the headings
Landscape and Scenery. Compare p. 545, below; and see also
Fors Clavigera, Letter 95; and consider the question which in one
form or another Ruskin so often puts: If the whole of England were
turned into a mine, would it be richer or poorer? See, for instance,
Sesame and Lilies, 83; Crown of Wild Olive, 123 n.; Queen of the
Air, 92; and Fors Clavigera, Letter 12.

(2) Houses, Furniture, and Instruments; (3) Food, Medicines,
Luxuries, Clothing; (4) Books; and (5) Works of Art.

Here, again, the discussion of these elements of national wealth is
widely scattered through Ruskins books. For typical passages, see
Cestus of Aglaia, 96, and Kings Treasuries in Sesame and Lilies.

The definition of wealth thus given (i.e., that it is in an intrinsic
value developed by a vital power) opposes three current views:
(1) That a thing becomes wealth by becoming an object of desire.
True wealth, however, is the constant object of a legitimate desire,
not the accidental object of a morbid one ( 3234).

On this point compare Queen of the Air, 125.

(2) A second popular view of wealth is that the worth of things
depends on the demand for them, instead of on the use of them. But all
exchangeableness of commodity depends on the sum of capacity for its
use; things which we cannot use may be a form of money, but they are
not wealth ( 31, 35, 36).

The idea that the value of a thing is what it will fetch in the market
is called by Ruskin in Fors Clavigera the Judasian fallacy (Letter
82). Compare also Letter 70.

(3) The third popular view of wealth, contradicted by Ruskins
definition, confuses Guardianship with Possession. But the things

which a man possesses but cannot use, he does not in the full sense
possess at all; he is merely a curator ( 37, 38).
From the definition of wealth, given in opposition to these three
views, it follows that the sum of wealth held by a nation depends
strictly on its intrinsic quality, and varies with the number and
character of its holders ( 3946). Hence the questions to be asked
are: (A) What is the National Store? (B) Who hold it?
(A) The first question resolves itself into three, thus:
(a) What is the nature of the national store? Everything depends on
whether the accumulation is of things that conduce to l ife, or to death
( 47, 48). There is also waste of toil in the production of unnecessary
luxuries ( 49); and this is not easily calculable, for it is not true that
labour is limited by capital: the amount of labour obtainable
depends on the amount of heart and head put into it ( 5053).
(b) What is the quantity of the store in relation to the population?
Of two nations who have equal store, the more numerous is the richer,
if the type of the inhabitant be as high; but the question remains what
degree or extent of poverty is counterbalanced by the degree or extent
of wealth ( 5457).

Ruskin says (1872) that of these large plans of inquiry he had
accomplished nothing ( 57 n., p. 181). But in various places he
glances at such questions. See, for instance, on the relations between
rich and poor, the paper on The Basis of Social Policy in A Joy for
Ever (Vol. XVI. pp. 161169); and therein especially 178181.
Also Sesame and Lilies, note to 30. And, on the question of
numbers, Queen of the Air, 120, 121 (utmost multitude of good
men on every given space of ground).

(c) What is the quantity of the store in relation to the currency?
MONEY, it will be remembered, has been defined as the documentary
expression of a legal claim. It is not merely a means of exchange, but
a token of right. It is not wealth, but a documentary claim to wealth; all
the money in the world might be destroyed, and the world be neither
richer nor poorer than it was before. If the wealth increases, but not the
money, the worth of the money increases; if the money increases, but
not the wealth, the worth of the money diminishes ( 2124). The
worth of a piece of money, which claims a given quantity of the
national store, depends on cost and price. Cost is the quantity of l abour
required to produce a thing. (Labour is that quantity of our work
which we die in.) Cost is thus an ascertainable physical quantity; but
price involves the human will, and is

dependent on the cost of a thing, its attainable quant ity at that cost, the
number and power of the persons who want it, and the estimate they
have formed of its desirableness ( 62). Cheapness is either a form
of the rage for badness in commodities or a measure of the extent of
distress ( 62 n.).

On this subject, compare Two Paths, 186; Fors Clavigera,
Letters 51 and 59; and Art of England, 125.

Ruskin works out the action of these factors ( 63, 64), and goes
on to point out that the real worth of the currency is founded on the
entire sum of the relative estimates formed by the population of its
possessions ( 65); and to distinguish between the truth and the
strength of a currency. it is strong or weak, in proportion to the degree
of estimate in which a nation holds the house, horse, or picture which
is claimed; it is true or false according to the security of the claim
which it gives, and the first necessity of all economical government is
to make the security absolute ( 67).
(B) Who are the holders of the store, and who the claimants?
In discussing this question, Ruskin begins with a clear statement of
his theory of Currency. The currency of any nation consists of every
document acknowledging debt which is transferable in the country (
69). National currency, in its perfect condition, is a form of
acknowledgment of debt, so regulated and divided, that any person
presenting a commodity of tried worth in the public market, shall, if he
please, receive in exchange for it a document giving him claim to the
return of its equivalent, (a) in any place ( 71), (b) at any time ( 72),
and (c) in any kind ( 73).

This idea is worked out in Fors Clavigera, Letter 58.

The fulfilment of these purposes requires that the basis of currency
should be indestructible and easily tested; and these qualities ar e
united in gold, with however some disadvantages ( 25, 74, 75); as
the sole basis of currency, it has the further disadvantage of instability
( 76). Therefore the currency should be based on several substances
of truer intrinsic value ( 77).
Passing to discuss the total currency, this represents the quantity of
debt in a country, and the store, the quantity of its possession. Most
property-holders are both currency-holders and store-holders. The
store-holder is the more useful member of society; for the
currency-holder is as a rule the idle accumulator, and what is vainly

is as a rule vainly spent ( 8186). These last sections are followed by
illustrations from literature and mythology ( 8794).

On the subject of money and currency generally, the reader should
compare the Dialogue on Gold and the letters in Appendix ii.
(below, pp. 488498); and also Queen of the Air, 122, 123. For
money as a token of right, see Fors Clavigera, Letter 44; for Ruskins
proposals to base currency on food instead of gold, see below, pp.
200, 488489; Fors Clavigera, Letter 58; and Sesame and Lilies, note
to 30.

The next chapter discusses Commerce. As currency conveys right
of choice out of many things in exchange for one, so Commer ce is the
agency by which the power of choice is obtained. It is a necessary
process ( 96); but the right condition of it is that the merchant should
receive pay (i.e., wages for labour or skill) but not profit ( i.e., gain
dependent on the state of the market). The greater part of such gain is
unjust, as also is usury (i.e., an exorbitant rate of interest) ( 98). The
inhumanity of mercenary commerce is then illustrated from
Shakespeare ( 100), and the law of grace in such dealings from other
authors ( 101103). From the point of view of the State, honesty is
the best policy, for what one member gains by fraud or undue
advantage, another loses ( 104).
Ruskin then passes (ch. v.) to examine PRINCIPLES OF
GOVERNMENT (or, economically considered, the machinery and scope
by which the State contributes to the accumulation, distribution, or
use, of wealth). The Government of a State consists in (1) customs, (2)
laws, (3) councils.
(1) Customs. The customs and manners of a sensitive and highly
trained race are always vital ( 107, and therefore conduce to its
wealth). Hence it is the business of the State to educate its people so
that such customs may be induced ( 106, 108).

It were superfluous to give full references here to passages where
Ruskin insists on education as a matter of State concern (see, e.g.,
Unto this Last, Preface, 6), and on education as an ethical process
(see Vol. VII. p. 429 n.; Vol. XI. p. 204 n.): these are constant themes
in his writings. Compare also Time and Tide, 13, 29.

The highest sensibility is inconsistent with foul or mechanical
employment ( 108, 109: see below, in the analysis of Time and Tide,
p. xcix., for Ruskins treatment of this question).
(2) Laws. These are of three kinds:
(a) Archic Law, dealing with acts; that of appointment and precept,
defining what is and is not to be done ( 111). Ruskin here

draws two distinctionsfirst, not everything which is enjoined need
be enforced by penalty; and secondly, educational laws should be
strict, in order that criminal ones may be gentle ( 112).

This is an idea which is constantly developed in Ruskins books.
See, in this volume, Appendix viii., pp. 541545; and on principles of
punishment, see Lectures on Art, 89, 90.

(b) Meristic Law, dealing with possessions; that of balance and
distribution, which defines what is and is not to be possessed. Here
Ruskins treatment is very brief. He advocates laws enforcing the due
conditions of possession; notices incidentally the proper
management of national museums; and hints at laws limiting the
accumulation of property ( 112).

The place of Museums in a system of Social Economy was a
principal subject in Ruskins lecture at the Royal Institution in 1867
(see Vol. XIX).

(c) Critic Law, dealing with injuries; that of discernment and
award, which defines what is and is not to be suffered. Here, again, the
treatment is very brief. Ruskin glances at the large cost of law, and the
sums grudgingly spent on research ( 116). He then distinguishes
between injuries of which a man is conscious, and those of which he is
unconscious; a man is injured alike (a) if he is hindered from doing
what he should, and (b) if he is not hindered from doing what he should
not ( 117, 118). Hence the worth and worthlessness of every man
should be ascertained ( 119); and reward and punishment become
help and hindrance ( 120).

With these passages on Critic Law, Letter xii. in Time and Tide
should be compared, the necessity of imperative law to the
prosperity of states. Compare also A Joy for Ever, 15. Here Ruskin
is in line with, and anticipated, the thought of the political thinkers
who developed the idea of positive freedom and advocated its
embodiment in legislation. Freedom of contract, freedom in all the
forms of doing what one will with ones own, is valuable only as a
means to an end. That end is what I call freedom in the positive sense;
in other words, the liberation of the powers of all men equally for the
contribution to a common good (Liberal Legislation and Freedom of
Contract: a lecture by Professor T. H. Green, Oxford, 1881).

(3) Government by Council. This is (a) visible, and (b)
invisiblethe latter being that exercised by all energetic and
intelligent men, in regulating the ways and forming the character of
the people, and this is the more important kind of government ( 122).
On this point, see below, in the analysis of Time and Tide, p. cii.

Visible Governments are either (a) monarchies, (b) oligarchies, or
(c) democracies. Forms of government are, however, only good or bad
so far as they attain, or miss, the government of the unwise and unkind
by the wise and kind ( 123126).

Compare Time and Tide, 158, and Fors Clavigera, Letters 1 and

All modern governments are costly (and this is why, as Ruskin
probably had in his mind, there is a cry for limiting the sphere of
government). But this is only because we set governments to
unproductive, instead of productive, work; governments should
manage the railways, thus (and otherwise) earning income for its
subjects ( 128, 129).

Here, again, see below, in the analysis of Time and Tide, p. cii.

Ruskin next glances at the kind of suffrage which would produce a
true government capable of true work. Votes should be proportioned
to intelligence and experience ( 129).

Compare the earlier letters intended for the Times, in Vol. XII. pp.
600 603.

Slavery is then touched upon. A condition of slavery is inherent in
human nature; some men are made for it ( 133135), and
compulsion is not in itself an evil ( 130). The purchase by money of
the right of compulsion is an evil; and this is not confined to negro
slavery ( 131)nor is the yet worse form, namely, the purchase of
body and soul ( 132).

For references to illustrative passages in this connexion, see the
footnote on p. 254, below.

In the sixth chapter Ruskin takes up the third branch of the subject
as mapped out at the beginning, namely, RICHESthat is, the
magnitude of the possessions of one person or society as compared
with those of other persons or societies. Such inequalities between
the shares of different persons are just and necessary, depending on
the various industry, capacity, good fortune, and desires of men ( 26).
But economists have to inquire into: (1) the advisable modes of
collection; (a) how far distribution enters into the matter: the first of
all inquiries respecting the wealth of any nation is not, how much it
has, but whether it is in the possession of persons who can use it (
27); and (b) how far the poverty takes away from the advantage of the
wealth ( 28). Secondly, economists have to inquire into

(2) the advisable methods of administrationunder the headings of
(a) selection, (b) direction, and (c) provision ( 29).
Taking up in chapter vi. the inquiries thus outlined, Ruskin
illustrates from simple instances the ways in which the inequalities
mentioned may arise and the extent to which they may be carried.
Entirely selfish action on the part of the provident creates maximum
inequality in his own favour; entirely unselfish, minimum inequality:
he enriches his neighbours instead, and has acted as their true Lord and
King ( 143). Every rich man is a Master; it is by his choice of the
work to which he puts the poor that his worthiness or unworthiness is
proved ( 142).
The key to the whole subject lies in the clear understanding of the
difference between selfish and unselfish expenditure ( 147). Three
things are to be considered in employing a man ( 152):
(i) You must employ him to produce useful things, and more
especially food, houses, clothes, and fuel ( 155). The way to produce
more food is to bring in fresh ground ( 156).

With this subject of the reclamation of waste lands, etc., Ruskin
dealt in his Notes on Employment (see below, Appendix viii., p.
545) and Letters on Inundations (Appendix ix., pp. 547552).

The way to produce house-room is to improve the dwellings of the
poor, before you try your hand at stately architecture ( 157).

This was a topic in Social Economy which Ruskin constantly
enforced by precept and illustrated by practice. See on the latter point
Time and Tide, 148; and for other passages, Sesame and Lilies,
135; and Lectures on Art, 122.

The way to get more clothes is to think more of better distr ibution at
home than of underselling abroad ( 158).

Compare Time and Tide, 110, and Sesame and Lilies, 130,

The way to get more fuel is to make coal -mines safer, and to promote
afforestation ( 159).

Compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 60.

(ii) You must set him to make that which will cause him to lead the
healthiest life.

Here, again, a chapter in Ruskins intended treatise on Political
Economy might be compiled from his other books; see especially ch.
vi. in vol. ii. of The Stones of Venice.

(iii) Of the things produced, it is a question of wisdom and
conscience how much you take, and how much you leave to others.
The natural law is to provide for old age, but otherwise to die poor (
152, 153).

See, under this head, p. ci., below, in the analysis of Time and Tide.

Such methods will not pay. No, not at first in currency, but in life
and in light ( 160); in the sincere substance of good, though not in
gifts of the dusthence the title of the book (on which see above,
pp. lxv.lxvii.).
The book, whose contents have thus been summarised, gives, it
will be seen, the headings under which Ruskin would have arranged a
systematic treatise on Political Economy, had he ever written one. It
states, as its principal object, the outline of his own system, and only
incidentally attacks the current doctrine. In the Preface which he
added in 1872 he summarises some of his points of attack:
1. He emphasises the importance of considering at every stage
intrinsic value ( 18), and, as correlative to this, intrinsic contrary
of value, the negative power having been left by former writers
entirely out of account, and the positive power left entirely undefined
( 9).
2. Political Economists, he says, basing their science upon popular
demand, connect demand and supply by heavenly balance. This, as a
statement of the way in which prices are regulated, is partly true; as a
statement of a process with which it is unwise to interfere, it is untrue
( 911).

On this subject see the Letters on the Law of Supply and Demand
in Appendix iii. (pp. 409 seq.); and compare Cestus of Aglaia, 103
(Vol. XIX.), Sesame and Lilies (Vol. XVIII. p. 35).

3. The law of Political Economists that wages are determined by
competition is neither true in fact, nor expedient in policy ( 12).
These three matters have already been touched upon in the
analysis, both of Unto this Last and of Munera Pulveris. And to them
should be added the further points of attack already indicated in Unto
this Last (see above, pp. lxxxiii., lxxxv.). But, continues Ruskin, the
current handbooks of Political Economy are defective, in that, even
within the limits of their scope, they fail to state clear principles.
4. Expenditure on Luxury. There is no explicit teaching on this
point ( 16). Mills treatment of it is inconclusive ( Unto this Last,

57); and, as Ruskin elsewhere says, it was sometimes alleged that
luxury was good for trade.

5. In this connexion we may here notice Ruskins criticism of
Mills theorem that a demand for commodities is not a demand for
labour (Unto this Last, 76, and Fors Clavigera, Letter 2)a
theorem which is used to support the expediency of unlimited saving,
and to reduce the economic importance of consumption.
6. Next, Ruskin asserts that the handbooks do not grapple with the
question of rent, or settle the just conditions of the possession of land
(Munera Pulveris, 17, a criticism of Fawcett; and Time and Tide,
156, 157, an attack on Mill; with which latter, however , compare ibid.,
157 n.).

This attack on Fawcett is carried further in Fors Clavigera, Letters
11, 14, 78.

7. Similarly, he asserts that they do not tackle the question of
National Debt (Munera Pulveris, 18; again a criticism of Fawcett).

On the ideas of National Debt and National Store, see Fors
Clavigera, Letters 1, 7, 14, 22, and 58.

In order to give a true summary of Ruskins attack on the current
Political Economy, it is necessary to add here two propositions of his,
of which one is only briefly touched upon in the present volume, while
the other belongs to a later stage of his thought. They are generally
accounted fallacies, even by those most sympathetic in other respects
to his economic standpoint, and the prominence which they assumed
in his later writings probably did much to prevent or delay political
economists from recognising the validity of his other criticisms.
8. Ruskin alleges that there can be no profit in exchange. At first
he limits this statement to a verbal distinction, admitt ing that while
there is no profit, there is advantage ( Unto this Last, 66); but
presently he describes the whole process as nugatory ( ibid., 67),
thus denying that exchange can benefit both parties and increase the
amount of wealtha position strangely inconsistent with his own
fundamental conception whereby wealth can be increased by placing
the right things in the right hands. In his later writings he is still more
emphatic in denying any profit to processes of trade: see Fors
Clavigera, Letters 45, 82, where he calls the view he is
See below, p. 423; and A Joy for Ever, 48 and note 5th (Vol. XVI. pp. 48, 123);
and Two Paths, 189 (Vol. XVI. p. 406).

attacking the heresy of the tablesthe heresy, that is, of the
9. Next, he attacks all interest as illegitimate. In this volume,
indeed, he attacks only the taking of an exorbitant rate of interest
(Munera Pulveris, 98
); but his later note, added to that passage,
points to the view elaborated in Fors Clavigera and elsewhere that the
taking of any interest at all is extortion, the process of lending capital
being essentially unproductive (Fors, Letters 1, 14, 18, etc.)


Of Time and Tide it is unnecessary to give here a summary of all
the contents. The author himself supplied headings to the Letters, and
the book was confessedly rambling.
In part it reinforces various
points in the earlier economic works; such references have already
been supplied in this Introduction, or will be found in footnotes to the
text. In part it throws out suggestions towards an Ideal
Commonwealth, founded in accordance with the principles of social
economy laid down in Unto this Last and Munera Pulveris. Of these
suggestions a brief resum may here be found useful.
Casting these suggestions into logical order, we may begin with
the birth of the individual citizen. Ruskin attached great importance to
good birthdistinguishing, however, race from name (see
Modern Painters, vol. v., Vol. VII. p. 345 n.). The first requirement of
the Ideal State is that its citizens should be well -born; hence Ruskin,
like his master, Plato, proposed in his republic to regulate marriage
( 123126). It is characteristic of the way in which one study
worked in with another in Ruskins mind, that his first ideas on this
subject were connected with an early Venetian custom (see Stones of
Venice, vol. iii., Vol. XI. pp. 138, 263). In his Ideal Commonwealth he
devised a marriage festival which should vie in picturesqueness with
that of The Brides of Venice.
The well-born children of Ruskins Utopia were in the second
place to be well taught. Education was to be the first duty of the State;
See also Home, and its Economies, 20 (p. 565, below). It may be noted that
incidentally Ruskin criticises, in an earlier book, the kind of borrowing which pays no
interest (Vol. VIII. p. 195).
See 18 (p. 333); but there was, for all that, a pattern in the threads ( 49, p. 359

it was to be compulsory and free; and its scope was to be both liberal
and technical.

See Time and Tide, 70, and the other passage there cited; also
Unto this Last, Preface, 6, and Munera Pulveris, 106, 107, and
indeed all Ruskins works of this period, passim.

Among the elements of education was to be decent and fine dress
(see 62).

On this subject, see, among many other passages, A Joy for Ever, 54 n.

The schools were also to teach music and dancing, for to Ruskin
(as again to Plato) to rejoice rightly was no small part of education (
41, 61).

On this subject, see Cestus of Aglaia, 27 seq., and Fors
Clavigera, Letters 5, 73, 82, and 95.

That drawing was to be universally taught, we have already seen
(Vol. XVI. p. xxix.).
Ruskins schools were, however, not only to educate, they were
also to sift. They were to be trial schools, finding out what each
child was fit for and setting him to it thus realising the ideal of la
carriere ouverte au talents.

See Time and Tide, 6; Unto this Last (below, p. 22); A Joy for
Ever, 132; and Fors Clavigera, Letter 86.

But how would time and money be found for the cultivation in after
years of the liberal pursuits and artistic tastes thus inculcated in
youth? The answer is to be found in the gradual realisation of the
economic conditions aimed at in Ruskins system. There would be an
Eight Hour Day, or less (Munera Pulveris, 142 n.). Wages would be
fixed, not by stress of competition, but by standards of justice; and
employers would be in no haste to get rich ( Unto this Last, 12 seq.,
23 seq.).
Yet, even so, a difficulty remains. Some employments are in their
nature base and servile; and how in an ideal community would the
dirty work be done? Ruskins answer to this question occupies many
scattered passages in the present volume. In the first place, he would
reduce the amount of mechanical toil by the abolition of senseless
luxuries (Time and Tide, 128, 129; Munera Pulveris, 109; and see
Modern Painters, vol. v., Vol. VII. p. 427). Next, a certain amount of
rough manual labour would be undertaken as a form of healthy work
and as a matter of public duty by the upper classes ( Munera Pulveris,

Of the remainder, criminals should be set to the most dangerous and
painful forms of it (ibid.). But even in an ideal community there will
always be a servile element, upon which must be imposed servile toil:
to this extent Ruskin recognises, like the Greeks, a slave basis of
civilisation (see p. 254 n.).
Ruskins treatment of the subject of machinery may here be noted,
as bearing on the question of servile employment. It is a mistake to
suppose that Ruskin was opposed to the use of machinery altogether. It
is in a book by him that is to be found what is perhaps the finest
panegyric of a machine that English literat ure has produced (see
Cestus of Aglaia, 33); and in this volume he looks forward to
conceivable uses of machinery on a colossal scale in accomplishing
mighty and useful works, hitherto unthought of ( Munera Pulveris,
17)works which in some sort have, since he wrote, been actually
accomplished. The basis of his objection to the wholesale use of
machinery is that he supposed, rightly or wrongly, that
machine-labour was in nearly every case servile as compared with
hand-labour. This view is first found i n The Stones of Venice, vol. ii.:
There might be more freedom in England, though her feudal lords
lightest words were worth mens lives, and though the blood of the
vexed husbandmen dropped in the furrows of her fields, than there is
while the animation of her multitudes is sent like fuel to feed the
factory smoke, and the strength of them is given daily to be wasted
into the fineness of a web, or racked into the exactness of a line (Vol.
X. p. 193). Ruskin held further that the use of steam to do what could
equally well be done by agency of wind and water was a double
wastea waste of natural force, and a waste of human life (see
General Statement . . . of St. Georges Guild, where it is noticeable
that Ruskin exempts electricity from condemnation; Lectures on Art,
123; and Fors Clavigera, Letter 44). Hence the restriction of the use of
machinery is one of the factors to which Ruskin looked, in his ideal
community, for reducing the amount of servile labour.
What, let us next inquire, are the honourable forms of employment,
and how are they to be organised? First, says Ruskin, come the Landed
Proprietors, from which class the Soldiers, Lawyers, and State
Functionaries are also to be drawn ( 151153). To Ruskins views
on the Land Question we shall have to return when we come to Fors
Clavigera. He was opposed to Land Nationalisation (Letter 89); but
the land was to be in the hands of those citizens who deserve to be
trusted with it according to their proved capacities ( 151); their
income was not to be derived from rent ( 151); and they were to be

required to keep great part in conditions of natural grace ( 152).
Here he is dealing with ideal conditions; in discussing practical
measures he insisted on Fixity of rents, and Security for tenants
improvements (Fors Clavigera, Letter 45; and see what he says in this
volume about Mills pamphlet on the Irish Land Question; below, p.
444 n.).
The second great order would be the Merchants. Here Ruskin
seems to make a distinction. The great organisersthe Captains of
Industrywould be free to make fortunes (Time and Tide,
5)subject, however, to the honourable discharge of their functions
(on which point see Unto this Last, 22 seq.); to the elimination of
great profits which would result from avoidance of speculation, etc.
(Time and Tide, 82 seq.); and to a general law of limitation of
incomes ( 8, 126). But retail trade would be freed from its element
of baseness by making the traders salaried officers of trade guilds (
Subordinate to the merchants, and gradually usurping the
functions of capitalist employers, would be the organised trade guilds.
Why, asks Ruskin, should not the workers themselves own the tools
requisite for production (capital)? (see Appendix vii., p. 539).
Co-operative industry would induce enormous social changes ( Time
and Tide, 3). Trade Guilds should be established to fix a standard of
quality in production ( 78), to sell warranted goods ( 79), and to
publish accounts of the trading ( 80). Here it wil l be seen Ruskin
assigns to voluntary associations a function which in Unto this Last
was to belong to the State (see Unto this Last, Preface, 6); but in
either case no monopoly was to be established (see ibid.; Time and
Tide, 79, 80).
The organisation of the Professional Classes is hardly touched
upon in Time and Tide. With regard to arts and crafts, however, see
132, and consult The Political Economy of Art (Vol. XVI.).
We may pass, therefore, to the Officers of Stateto be recruited,
as already stated, from the landed aristocracy. Ruskins hierarchy is
stated in 154, but it is not elaborated (compare also 159). One or
two essential features of the scheme should be noted. There are to be
State officers charged with the direction of public agency in matters
of public utility ( 154). Ruskins Utopia, it should be stated, was not
a Socialist State. In many respects, indeed, he agrees with the Social
but he is opposed, as we have already said, to the
nationalisation of land; and of property generally (see
Ruskins relations to Socialism are clearly traced and summarised in ch. viii. of
Mr. J. A. Hobsons John Ruskin, Social Reformer.

Appendix i., p. 487); his Guild system was to be voluntary; he insisted
upon individual effort as the mainspring of his system. But, on the
other hand, Ruskins system contemplates a great extension of State
activity. We have traced already in a previous volume his earlier views
on this subject (Vol. XVI. p. xxiv.); and in this volume it will be seen
that, in addition to State education, Trial Schools, and Old Age
Pensions, he advocates a great extension of public works ( Munera
Pulveris, 128); Free Libraries and Museums (Munera Pulveris,
115); an extension of the Postal service, since then carried out
(Munera Pulveris, 128); and a system of State Railways ( ibid.; and
see Appendix vi., pp. 533 seq.). The State officers charged with the
direction of public agency would therefore in Ruskins Ideal
Commonwealth be busily employed.
His next category of Public OfficersBishops, charged with
offices of supervision and aid, to family by family, and person by
person (Time and Tide, 154)would also have important functions.
The object of these is to preserve the due organisation of the
community by seeing that no member shall suffer from unknown
want or live in unrecognised crime (Time and Tide, 72). The
bishops office is to oversee the flock; to number it sheep by sheep; to
be ready always to give full account of it (Sesame and Lilies, 22;
and for a fuller working out of the scheme, see Time and Tide,
For forms of government Ruskin left it to fools to contest (
158). Nor did he attach supreme importance even to such State action
as he desired to see. The most efficient laws are those which men make
for themselves ( 9); the most essential of the reforms he advocated it
is in the power of all men quietly to promote, and finally to secure, by
the patient resolution of personal conduct ( 146). The description of
an ideal community in Time and Tide does not insist on particular
names or forms ( 158); it is a dream ( 155), embodying only a
general tendency ( 158).
Having now given some bare summary of the three books collected
in this volume, and brought their content s into connexion with one
another, we may pass in conclusion to inquire what is the relation of
Ruskins economic writings to the (1) thought, and (2) practice, of the
The former branch of the inquiry admits only of tentative
statement, for the reconstruction of the science of Political Economy
is still in progress. Ruskins was at any rate a potent voice in
popularising the need of such reconstruction. He had not merely

says Professor Ingram, against the egoistic spi rit of the prevalent
doctrine, but had pointed to some of its real weaknesses as a scientific
In order to appreciate the nature of Ruskins services in this
matter, it is necessary to carry our minds back to the condition of
economic thought in this country at the time when his essays were
written. The Political Economy then current, still rested almost
exclusively on an abstract basis; it assumed the existence of an
imaginary being, the economic man; abstracted, for its sole concern,
the acquisitive instincts; and, by an elaborate system of deductive
reasoning, evolved the laws of political economy. Strictly speaking,
these laws were only the expression of consequences which would
logically follow from the fundamental assumption just stated. But in
practice they were taken as laws in another sense, and were supposed
to give sanction to particular policies as conducive to the well -being of
States. Thus, in the course of a review of Unto this Last, a reviewer
described how the masters have the upper hand of the men, and
political economy, he went on to say, adds the information that to
deprive them of this advantage by legislation would diminish the
power of producing wealth.
So, again, the reader will find it
instructive to consider Ruskins criticisms in the light of the positions
assumed, and conclusions drawn, by W. R. Greg and other writers in
the press with whom he crossed swords.
The current Political
Economy, in short, was still in the abstract stage, and it was linked
with a conception of State-craft known as the Manchester School, or
the doctrine of laisser faire. At the time when Ruskin wrote, alike
the science and the practice of State-craft founded upon it were
beginning to be undermined; but the work of the historical school in
Germany was as yet but little known in this country, and Ruskins
amplification of Carlyles protest against the dismal science did
much to stimulate the revolt.
It was commonly saidas Ruskin notes in this volume (p.
)that he sought to substitute sentimentality for science. In
one sense only is this true. He did seek to substitute human feeling for
scientific abstraction. His object was to humanise the science of
Political Economy; to translate its abstractions into the concrete facts
of flesh and blood which stood behind them. To this end he directed all
the resources of his sympathetic imagination, his powers of acute
A History of Political Economy, by J. K. Ingram, 1888, p. 222.
Saturday Review, August 4, 1860.
See especially Appendices iv. and xi.
And compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 41.

observation, and the resources of his literary art. It was with a purpose
that he wrote, as we have said (p. lxxxi.), in burning indignation.
But essentially Ruskins attack on the current Political Economy
was scientific. The fundamental conceptions at the basis of his system
are two, and they are both in accord with scientific facts. The first is
that the organic unity of man as a conscious, rational being, with a
capacity for regarding his life as a whole and forming a plan for its
conduct, imposes a corresponding unity upon the science which is to
treat of human conduct.
The abstraction made by Mercantile
Economy is, he holds, neither convenient nor correct. In this respect
Ruskin was a pioneer in the work of reconstituting Political Economy
on a broader and a more real basis; a pioneer in the study of Social
The second conception at the base of Ruskins economic writings
is biological. Let us leave, says Professor Geddes, the inmates of
the academic cloister; walk out into the world, look about us, try to
express loaf and diamond from the objective side in terms of actual
fact, and we find that physical and physiological properties or values
can indeed indefinitely be assigned: the one is so much fuel, its
heat-giving power measurable in calorimeter, or in actual units of
work; the other a definite sensory stimulus, varying according to
Fechners law. This is precisely what our author means in such a
passage as the following, which, however absurd to the orthodox, is
now intelligible enough to us: Intrinsic value is the absolute power of
anything to support life, etc.
This, as we have seen, is as Ruskin
always insisted, the pith of his whole system, and the general
correspondence in principle and detail between biological principles
on the one hand, and Mr. Ruskins most unpractical teaching on the
other, is most remarkable.
It is interesting then to note, says the
same writer, that the shout of sentiment versus science, with which
Mr. Ruskin has been for so many years turned out of court, did after all
accurately enough describe the controversy;. . . the inductive logic
and statistics, the physics and chemistry, the biology and medicine,
the psychology and education were all essentially
J. A. Hobson, p. 75.
John Ruskin, Economist, by Patrick Geddes, F.R.S., 1884, p. 26. The passage
quoted is from Munera Pulveris, 13. Professor Geddes goes on to quote an Analysis
of the Principles of Economics (in t he Proceedings of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, 1884) from the biological point of view, and to remark that it might almost
seem to have been constructed on the somewhat simple principle of translating Mr.
Ibid., p. 35.

on the side of Mr. Ruskin; while on the other were too often sheer
blindness to the actual facts of human and social lifeorganism,
function, and environment alikeconcealed by illusory abstractions,
baseless assumptions, and feeble metaphors . . . and frozen into dismal
and repellent form by a theory of moral sentiments which assumed
moral temperature at its absolute zero.

The extent to which Ruskins doctrines have permeated (or, at any
rate, are in harmony with) the reconstruction of Political Economy
may perhaps best be shown by an extract from Professor Ingrams
History of the subject. He thus summarises the lines along which the
reconstruction must proceed:

Wealth having been conceived as what satisfies desires, the
definitely determinable qualities possessed by some objects of
supplying physical energy, and improving the physiological
constitution, are left out of account. Everything is gauged by the
standard of subjective notions and desires. All desires are viewed as
equally legitimate, and all that satisfies our desires as equally wealth.
Value being regarded as the result of a purely mental appreciation, the
social value of things in the sense of their objective utility, which is
often scientifically measurable, is passed over, and ratio of exchange
is exclusively considered. The truth is, that at the bottom of all
economic investigation must lie the idea of the destination of wealth
for the maintenance and evolution of a society. And, if we overlook
this, our economics will become a play of logic or a manual for the
market, rather than a contribution to social science; whilst wearing an
air of completeness, they will be in truth one-sided and superficial.
Economic science is something far larger than the Catallactics to
which some have wished to reduce it. . . .
Nor can we assume as universal premises, from which economic
truths can be deductively derived, the convenient formulas which have
been habitually employed, such as that all men desire wealth and
dislike exertion. These vague propositions, which profess to anticipate
and supersede social experience, and which necessarily introduce the
absolute where relativity should reign, must be put aside. The laws of
wealth (to reverse a phrase of Buckles) must be inferred from the
facts of wealth, not from the postulate of human selfishness. . . .
Economics must be constantly regarded as forming only one
department of the larger science of Sociology, in vital connexion with
its other departments, and with the moral synthesis which is the crown
of the whole intellectual system. We have already sufficiently
explained the philosophical grounds for the conclusion that the
economic phenomena of society cannot be isolated, except
provisionally, from the rest. . . . Especially
John Ruskin, Economist, p. 36.

must we keep in view the high moral issues to which the economic
movement is subservient, and in the absence of which it could never in
any great degree attract the interest or fix the attention either of
eminent thinkers or of right-minded men.. . .A doctrine of duty will
have to be substituted, fixing on positive grounds the nature of the
social cooperation of each class and each member of the community,
and the rules which must regulate its just and beneficial exercise.

The reader, who has perused the preceding pages of this Introduction,
will perceive that all this would serve as an abstract of the leading
ideas in Unto this Last and Munera Pulveris.
Ruskin pointed, then, the way in which a system of Social
Economics might be based upon a scientific foundation. Many of his
detailed criticisms have also had effect in modifying economic theory.
English economists of the present day, says a recent writer,
generally recognise the importance of the theory of consumption, and
that it is misleading to speak of wealth as a definite mass of material
objects, like the goods in a warehouse, that can be measured without
regard to the persons using them; and as a rule it is no longer affirmed
that the value of most things depends on their cost of production.

These amendments, as we have seen, were urged in the early sixties by
Ruskin. Mills doctrine, too, that a demand for commodities is not a
demand for labour is now withdrawn by leading economists;
it has
never been refuted so effectively as by Ruskin, whose biological
principle may here also be illustrated. A demand for commodities is a
demand for labour; it determines function, and therefore quality of

After many years Ruskins services in the reconstruction of
economic thought received notable recognition. Upon his recovery
from serious illness in 1885 he was presented with an Address, signed
by many of the foremost men of the day, and in the course of the
Address his economic work was thus mentioned:
Those of us who have made a special study of economic and
social questions
desire to convey to you their deep sense of the value
A History of Political Economy, 1888, pp. 241243.
Lessons from Ruskin, in the Economic Journal, March 1898, p. 28.
See, for instance, Professor J. S. Nicholsons Principles of Political Economy,
1893, vol. i. pp. 101103. Yet as late as 1874 Leslie Stephen cited Ruskins
repudiation of the dogma as an inexplicable perversity (see his review of Mr.
Ruskins Recent Writings, Frasers Magazine, June 1874).
John Ruskin, Economist, p. 37.
Among the professors and teachers of Political Economy who signed the address
were W. J. Ashley, C. H. Barstable, H. S. Foxwell, Emile de Laveleye, J. MacCunn, A.
L. Perry, J. E. Symes, and F. A. Walker.

of your work in these subjects, pre-eminently in its enforcement of the
That Political Economy can furnish sound laws of national life
and work only when it respects the dignity and moral destiny of man.
That the wise use of wealth, in developing a complete human life,
is of incomparably greater moment both to men and nations than its
production or accumulation, and can alone give these any vital
That honourable performance of duty is more truly just than rigid
enforcement of right; and that not in competition but in helpfulness,
not in self-assertion but in reverence, is to be found the power of life.

When we turn from economic theory to political practice Ruskin is
again seen to be a pioneer. To an inquirer who contrasts the central
tendencies of political thought with those which were most powerful
in the middle of the nineteenth century, four main differences will at
once present themselves. (1) The thoughts and efforts of reformers are
now devoted more to social than to purely political questions. (2) The
doctrine of laisser faire, alike in politics and in economics, has lost
much of its former hold. Reformers of to-day look rather to
co-operation organised by the State than to the free play of
competition for the improvement of the people. (3) The limits of State
interference have thus been largely extended. Not freedom from
external restraint, but free scope for self-development, is the ideal of
modern reformers. (4) The new conception of the State at home,
coupled with new conditions in the world at large, has led to ideas of
expansion and Imperialism, which are altogether at variance with
the doctrines in this respect of the old Manchester School. Of these
new tendencies, the first three have already been described in our
summary of the books by Ruskin collected in this volume.
On the
fourth point, the reader may refer to The Crown of Wild Olive, 159;
the Lectures on Art, 29; and A Knights Faith. Ruskin in these places
called on the youth of England to enter on truest foreign service,
founding new seats of authority, and centres of thought, in
uncultivated and unconquered lands. He spoke, in glowing words, of
the course of beneficent glory open to us; and, lest we forget,
reminded his hearers that the sons of sacred England must go forth
for her, not only conquering, and to conquer, but saving, and to save.
Passing, lastly, to the specific suggestions made by Ruskin in Unto
And for other remarks, on Ruskins attacks upon the doctrine of laisser faire, see
the Introduction to Vol. XVI. pp. xxiv. xxvi.

this Last (see above, p. lxxxvii.)suggestions which at the time
excited violent reprobation or contemptuous laughter we may note
that every one of the Seven Points in his unauthorised programme has
by this time either been put into operation (whole or partial), or is a
subject of discussion among practical politicians. Nos. 1 and
2elementary and technical educationneed not detain us. Proposal
No. 3for Government workshopsis still only a matter of
discussion. But we may notice the growing conception of the State as
Model Employer, and the modern extensions of Government warranty
and anti-adulteration laws as steps in the direction indicated by
Ruskin. The next proposal (No. 4)Government work for the
unemployedhas at least passed from the pages of political idealists
to discussion in Parliament. The occasional establishment of
Municipal Relief Works, the acceptance of a certain responsibility
involved in the foundation of a Labour Department and a Labour
Gazette, and the introduction of a Government Bill in the present
session (1905) for the establishment of Relief Committees with power
to levy rates for Farm Colonies: these things are all in line with
Ruskins doctrines. Under No. 5 (Fixed Wages) falls the growing
adoption, both by the central and by the municipal authorities, of the
principle of Fair Wages or of Trade-Union wages. Reversing the order
of the last two points, proposal No. 7 (Old Age Pensions, etc.) is
simply Mr. Chamberlains scheme for Old Age Pensions, plus various
proposals for a reformed Poor Law. Men of all parties have given
lip-service at least to Ruskins doctrine that the State should recognise
Soldiers of the Ploughshare as well as Soldiers of the Sword. But the
more such schemes are realised, the more will the necessity be felt for
penalising the loafer. This is Ruskins proposal No. 6. The law of
national health, he explains,is like that of a great lake or sea, in
perfect but slow circulation, letting the dregs continually fall to the
lowest place, and the clear water rise (Munera Pulveris, 109).
The definite political and social suggestions involved in other
parts of Ruskins economic writings are not so easily summarised as in
the case of Unto this Last. Some of the principal ones among them may
be arranged under the general heads of Rural and Urban. In the earlier
volumes of Fors Clavigera (18711874), he insisted strongly on the
necessity for Fair Rents, Fixity of Tenure, and Compensation for
Improvements. He gave the landlords until 1880 to set their houses in
order. In that year, he predicted, the landlords of the country would be
confronted not with a Chartist meeting at Kennington,

but a magna and maxima Chartist Ecclesia at Westminsterwherein,
he said, they would find a difference and to purpose.
The difference
was the Land Act of 1881. The reforms he advocated began, of course,
with Irelandthe corpus vile on which we make so many of our
political experiments, good, bad, and indifferent. The principles of the
Irish Land Act may never be applied in Great Britain; though, with his
eye upon Crofters Courts in Scotland and Land Commissions in
Wales, a prudent man would perhaps not prophesy very confidently.
But if such Government action is averted in England, will it not be
because English landlords have taken to heart such exhortations as
Ruskin delivered? With regard to another phase of the question,
Ruskin, as we have seen, was not a land nationaliser. He was a strong
advocate of private tenure. But property, he says, belongs to whom
The land to those who can use it. By whomsoever held to
be made the most of. The right action of a State respecting its land is
to secure it in various portions to those of its citizens who deserve to
be trusted with it, according to their respective desires and proved
These typical extracts from writings of thirty and forty
years ago are specially interesting in connexion with debates on Bills
of recent sessions, under which it is sought to invest local bodies with
compulsory powers of purchasing and hiring land, in order to dole it
out to those who can use it. No difference of opinion was professed
on the principle involved. The point on which discussion turned was
with regard to the amount which any one man would, could, or should
want, and to the conditions under which he would be likely to make the
most of it. Both parties agreed in giving access to the land to the
citizens, precisely as Ruskin says, according to their respective
desires and proved capacities. We have, however, as yet hardly
grasped another of Ruskins conceptions on the Land Questionthe
conception of beautiful landscape as one of the most essential
elements of national wealth. But all such movements as those for the
preservation of commons, the protection of footpaths, the limitation of
rural advertisements, and access to mountains are steps towards
satisfying a new economic want which the author of Modern Painters
has done as much as any other one man in our time to create.
Turning now from the country to the towns, we may cite a passage
which Ruskin wrote in 1883 when the bitter cry of Outcast
Fors Clavigera, Letter 45.
Ibid., Letter 70.
Time and Tide, 151.

London was heard in the land, and slumming became a recognised

I beg the readers alike, and the despisers, of my former pleadings
in this matter, to observe that all the recent agitation of the public
mind concerning the dwellings of the poor, is merely the sudden and
febrile (Heaven be thanked, though, for such fever!) recognition of the
things which I have been these twenty years trying to get recognized,
and reiterating description and lamentation ofeven to the actual
printing of my pages blood-redto try if I could catch the eye at least,
when I could not the ear or the heart.

(The reference in the penultimate words is to some passages in Sesame
and Lilies describing the dwellings of the poor, which Ruskinwho,
by the way, is one of the sponsors of sensational journalismhad
printed in red ink.) In a retrospect over the multifarious schemes and
efforts for the improvement of urban conditions, which have marked
the last thirty years, one of the names which stand out among thos e of
pioneers is the honoured name of Miss Octavia Hill. The root -ideas of
her work were two: first, the idea in connexion with slum property,
of personal responsibility; secondly, the idea of personal service, to
the poor. These ideas have had many and fruitful ramificationssome
of them suggested also by Ruskin. But, at any rate, it was Ruskin who
first had the inspiration of giving Miss Hill the opportunities for her
work as a social pioneer. Forty years ago he resolved to set his theories
on this subject into practical motion. Some freehold property, of small
tenements, he already possessed under his fathers will; some other
leasehold property of a similar description he subsequently bought for
the purpose. The whole of these properties he entrusted t o the
stewardship of Miss Hill. She was to earn for him a moderate and fixed
income; but, for the rest and above all, to improve the conditions of the
Many other practical experiments in social reform were made
by Ruskin, as we shall see in a lat er volumeexperiments in the
reclamation of land, in village industries, in farming, in model
tea-shops, in the purification of streams, in street -cleaning, in
road-making. But probably none of his experiments will have had so
permanent and so fruitful an influence towards the solution of modern
problems as the demonstration which
Fors Clavigera, Letter 93.
See Time and Tide, 148 (below, p. 437).

he enabled Miss Octavia Hill to give in model landlordism. Ruskin
was fond of preaching what has been called the slum crusade in his
lectures at Oxford, and the movement for University and College
Settlements owes not a little to his exhortations. My University
friends came to me, he said, at the end of my Inaugural Lectures,
with grave faces, to remonstrate against irrelevant and Utopian topics
being introduced.
They may have been irrelevant; they certainly
were not Utopian. And since political practice and economic theory
act and react upon one another, it is not surprising to find on the one
hand economists declaring that though the future Political Economy
may not build from him directly, yet it will be rather with Ruskins
earth than Ricardos straw that its bricks for building will be made;

and, on the other side, a distingui shed publicist recording his opinion
that Unto this Last is not only the most original and creative work of
John Ruskin, but the most original and creative work in pure literature
since Sartor Resartus. It put into a form more picturesque and
incisive than ever before the revolt from that cynical pedantry into
which the so-called Political Economy was tending to degenerate. The
brutal, ignorant, and inhuman language which was current about
capital and labour, workmen, and trades-unions is heard no longer.
The old plutocracy is a thing of the past. And no man has done more to
expose it than the author of Unto this Last.
The Political Economy
of to-day, said the late Regius Professor of Modern History at
Oxford, is the political economy of John Ruskin, and not the political
economy of John Bright or even of John Stuart Mill.
In closing this summary of Ruskins social and political work, I
ought perhaps to guard against a possible misconception. Neither in
the case of his practical suggestions nor in that of his economic
theories, need any patent rights or any exclusive credit be claimed for
Ruskin. In an old and complex society, the growth of new ideas and the
operation of fresh motive-forces require the combined efforts, from
many different directions, of many thinkers and many workers. Before
the fruit ripens upon the tree much digging and ditching is necessary:
the rain must fall and the sun shine; and the procession
Fors Clavigera, Letter 41.
Ruskin as a Political Economist, in the Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Boston, vol. ii. p. 445.
Ruskin as a Master of Prose, Nineteenth Century, October 1895, p. 574, and
Unto this Last, Nineteenth Century, December 1895, p. 972, both by Frederic
Harrison; reprinted in his Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill, and other Literary Estimates, 1898,
pp. 74, 101.

of times and seasons be fulfilled. Nothing is more ridiculous than the
scramble which sometimes sets in, on the part of competing claimants,
for the whole credit and the sole credit of the ri pe fruit of politics. No
such exclusive claim will anywhere be found in Ruskins writings.
What I have tried in the foregoing pages to show is that, in many
channels, his influence has contributed to shape and direct the
aspirations and efforts of his generation.

Ruskins economic writings have been the subject of numerous studies. Of these
the most important is John Ruskin, Social Reformer, by J. A. Hobson, 1898, 8vo, pp.
336. A short, but very suggestive, essay on the subject by Professor Patrick Gedde s,
F.R.S., was No. III. in The Round Table Series, entitled John Ruskin, Economist
(8vo, pp. 44, Edinburgh, 1884). Among other studies the following may be mentioned
(in order of publication):
John Ruskin, his Life and Work, by William Smart, M.A. (8vo, pp. 51, Glasgow,
1880; third edition, 1883).
A Disciple of Plato: a Critical Study of John Ruskin, by William Smart, M.A., with
a Note by Mr. Ruskin (pp. 48, Glasgow, 1883).
John Ruskin and Modern England, by G. W. Boag; an article in the Pioneer,
January 1887, pp. 18.
Ruskin as a Political Economist, by F. J. Stimson; an article in the Quarterly
Journal of Economics (published for Harvard University, Boston, 1888), vol. ii. pp.
Studies in Ruskin, by E. T. Cook, 1890 (second edition, 1891).
The New Political Economy: the Social Teaching of Carlyle, Ruskin, and H.
George, by Henry Rose, 1891 (Ruskin, pp. 74109).
Modern Humanists, by John M. Robertson, 1891 (Ruskin, pp. 184211).
English Social Reformers, by H. de B. Gibbins, M.A., 1892 (Ruskin, pp.
Mr. Ruskin in Relation to Modern Problems, by E. T. cook; an article in the
National Review, February 1894 (some passages from which have been embodied in
this Introduction).
Unto this Last, by Frederic Harrison; an article in the Nineteenth Century,
December 1895 (pp. 958974).
Lessons from Ruskin, by Charles S. Devas; an article in the Economic Journal,
March 1898 (pp. 2836).
John Ruskin, par Jacques Bardoux, Paris, 1900: La Bible de lEconomie
Politique, pp. 358460). A useful bibliography of La Litterature Ruskinienne is
appended to this volume, but is not free from mistakes).
Ruskin and the New Liberalism, by E. T. Cook; an article in the New Liberal
Review, February 1901.
Unto this Last: a paper read before the Ruskin Society by Lieutenant -Colonel
Henry Wilson; printed in the Liberty Review, April 1903, vol. 13, pp. 161175.
The Economic Basis of Ruskins Teaching, by the Very Rev. G. W. Kitchin,
D.D.; an article in Saint George, October 1904 (vol. vii. pp. 223243).
John Ruskin and Thoughts on Democracy, by Professor F. York Powell, 1905
(reprinted from St. George, vol. iii. pp. 5867.

It now remains to give, as in the earlier Introductions, some
particulars about Texts, Manuscripts, and Illustrations.
Unto this Last appeared originally, under that title, in the Cornhill
Magazine in 1860. When the papers were collected into a book in 1862
Ruskin added a preface, but made only one alteration in the text; and in
all subsequent editions the text remained unchanged (except in a few
trifling matters recorded in the Bibliographical Note here, p. 10). The
MS. of Essays III. and part of IV., formerly in Mr. Allens possession,
is now in America; it has been collated with the text for this edition.
The MS., however, only goes down to the beginning of 82, the
remainder being missing; and some preceding portions are not in the
authors own handwriting. An examination of the MS. fully bears out
what he says (see above, p. xxv.) about the labour taken in
composition. A page of it is here reproduced in facsimile (pp. 7475),
and this, if compared with the printed text, will serve as an illustration
of the amount of verbal alterations made throughout. The facsimile is
somewhat disfigured by the ruled lines, which are due to the paper
used by Ruskin, who, when abroad, often wrote in MS. account -books,
purchased there. In footnotes a few additional or alternative passages
have been given to show the kind of amendment and compression to
which the authors earlier drafts were subjected.
The text of Munera Pulveris, on the other hand, presents large and
numerous alterations. The essays, originally published in Frasers
Magazine in 18621863, were not corrected by the author in proof,
and when he collected them into a volume in 1872, the text was much
revised and in some places rearranged. Ruskin placed the notes added
by him in 1872 within square brackets [ ]; but as this sign has been
adopted throughout this edition to distinguish notes added by the
present editors, round brackets are substituted ( ). In cases of possible
ambiguity, explanatory footnotes are supplied. The text here given is
that last revised by the author, but the reader is also put in possession
of all that originally appeared in Frasers Magazine. The more
important or interesting alterations are given in footnotes below the
text; the others are collected in the Bibliographical Note. Such
alterations are, as will be seen, very numerous (pp. 121128); a
cursory glance will suffice to show generally how much care Ruskin
spent in revising the essays; while a studious reader, who takes the
trouble to look into the variations, will find many interesting literary
minuti to note.
The original manuscript of Munera Pulveris appears to have been

dispersed. Six sheets of it are in the possession of Mr. C. H. Barber, of
Manchester, by whose kindness one sheet is here given in facsimile
(pp. 234235); it contains some interesting variations. Another sheet
( 116 of the text) is in the possession of Mr. George Allen. No other
part of the MS. has been seen by the editors.
References are occasionally made in the editors footnotes to
Ruskins copy of Mills Principles of Political Economy (see pp. 78,
176). This is Ruskins working copy of the first edition of that work
(1848), and contains many notes, criticisms, and markings by him. It is
now in the possession of Mr. Thornton of St. Petersburg, by whom it
has kindly been placed at the editors disposal for reference.
The text of Time and Tide shows similarly extensive alterations,
and the collation in this case is more complicated. Ruskin sent his
letters to Thomas Dixon, with leave to publish them in the newspapers.
They appeared more or less simultaneously in the Leeds Mercury and
the Manchester Examiner and Times. Dixon or Ruskin must have had
two transcripts made. No original manuscript in Ruskins handwriting
is known to the editors; but a fair copy, in that of his servant Crawley,
is contained with other matter in a thick note-book. The book was in
Crawleys possession, and the editors have had access to it. This MS.
agrees with the text of the letters as published in the Leeds Mercury;
the text in the Manchester Examiner shows some errors and
differences, but as these were doubtless due to imperfect transcription,
the editors do not trouble the reader with a collation of them. The first
text, then, is that of the original letters as they appeared in the Leeds
Mercury in 1867. In collecting the letters for publication as a book late
in the year, Ruskin revised them largely and added several appendices;
this is a second text. Again, in 1872, when re-issuing the book among
his Collected Works, he revised, and in places rearranged, the text.
The text given in this edition is that of 1872, the one last revised by the
author; but, as in the case of Munera Pulveris, the reader is also put in
possession of all passages which occurred in earlier forms of the
letters. The more important or interesting of such passages, and of
alterations, are given in footnotes or in an Appendix (p. 474); the rest
are consigned to the Bibliographical Note (pp. 302308). Here, again,
the alterations are very numerous; the pages devoted to them show the
authors scrupulousness in revising, and reveal occasional felicities
( 42, 83).
The books collected in this volume were not illustrated by the
author. The frontispiece is a reproduction in colours of a drawing of
himself made by Ruskin in 1861. It is very sulky, he wrote in
sending it to his

father from Lucerne (November 12), but has some qualities about it
better than photograph. The drawing (which is here reproduced in the
size of the original) is in water-colour (touched with body-colour); it
is at Brantwood.
The other illustrations here given are, with one exception,
reproductions of drawings made by Ruskin during the years covered
by this Introduction. There is one of the sketches which he made at
Lucerne in the autumn of 1861 (Plate I.), and then a sketch at Altdorf
(Plate II.). The pencil drawing of Lucerne (6 x 10) is No. 117 in the
Educational Series of the Ruskin Drawing School at Oxford. The
drawing of Altdorf (14x20), is in wash and body-colour on grey
paper; it was in the collection of Sir John Simon, K.C.B., and is now in
the United States.
The picture of Ruskins house at Mornex (Plate III.) is from a
photograph taken for the purpose of this edition.
The view from the base of the Brezon (Plate IV.), and of the
prospect from his garden at Mornex (Plate V.), are from his own
drawings. The former drawing (13 x 20) is in pen and wash, with
body-colour, on blue paper. It is thus inscribed:

View from the base of the Brezon above Bonneville, looking
towards Geneva. The Jura, in the distance; Saleve, on the left.J.

It was given by Ruskin to Osborne Gordon, and is now in the
possession of his nephew, Mr. W. Pritchard Gordon, by whom it has
been kindly lent for reproduction here. The grand old keep, in the
foreground on the right, is described by Ruskin in his Note on Turners
drawing of Bonneville (Vol. XIII. p. 419), and, as he there mentions,
was pulled down some years ago. This was probably the true
Savoyard chteau on which he had cast longing eyes (see above, p.
lv.). The latter drawing (10 x 14), in water -colour, is in the
collection of Mrs. Cunliffe.
The water-colour drawing (4 x 11), here reproduced in colours,
of a view of the Mountains of Annecy (Plate VI.) is also in the
collection of Mrs. Cunliffe.
The sketch at Lauffenbourg (Plate VII.) is in water -colour on buff
paper (8 x 11). It is now in the Birmingham Art Gallery. It may be
the one mentioned in the Dialogue on Gold (p. 492), but more
probably belongs to an earlier date than 1863.
E. T. C.








[The right of Translation is reserved.]

[Bibliographical Note.The essays collected in Unto this Last originally appeared,
under the same title, and signed J. R., in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860, and, a
month later in each case, in Harpers New Monthly Magazine, New York:
I. in the Cornhill for August (vol. ii. pp. 155166) and in Harpers for September
(vol. xxi. pp. 535541).
II. in the Cornhill for September (vol. ii. pp. 278286) and in Harpers for October
(vol. xxi. pp. 685689).
III. in the Cornhill for October (vol. ii. pp. 407418) and in Harpers for
November (vol. xxi. pp. 816822).
IV. in the Cornhill for November (vol. ii. pp. 543564) and in Harpers for
December (vol. xxii. pp. 99110). The publication of the papers was then stopped (see
above, p. xxviii.), and two years later Ruskin collected them into a volume, which has
appeared in the following editions:

First Edition (1862).The title-page is as shown on the preceding leaf here.
Foolscap 8vo, pp. xx.+174. Quotations (here p. 13), p. v.; Preface (here pp. 17-23), pp.
vii.-xviii.; Contents (here p. 15), p. xix; Text, pp. 1174. The imprint (at foot of the
last page) is: London: Printed by Smith, Elder & Co., 15 Old Bailey, E.C. Each
essay has its own title as headline on every page; the headline throughout the preface
is similarly Preface. Issued on June 13, 1862, in green cloth and with ploughed
edges, lettered across the back: Unto | this | Last | Ruskin. Price 3s. 6d.
The only intentional change in the text of the first edition, as compared with the
Cornhill, is noted by Ruskin (see p. 17, below).

Second Edition (1877).Neither in this nor in any subsequent edition was there
any intentional change in the text of the essays (but see list of Vari Lectiones,
below); and in all editions (except the Special Edition) the pagination of the text
remained the same (see again Ruskins note, p. 17, below). The title-page of the
Second Edition is:
Unto this Last: | Four Essays | on the First Principles of | Political
Economy. | By John Ruskin. | Second Edition. | George Allen, |
Sunny-side, Orpington, Kent. | 1877. [The right of Translation is
Foolscap 8vo, pp. xxii.+174. Preface (with two additional notes: see here pp. 17, 20),
pp. ix.xxi. The headlines in this and in all later editions (except the Special
Edition) are as in the First Edition. The imprint (on the reverse of the title-page and at
foot of the last page) is: Printed by Hazell, Watson, and Viney, London and
Aylesbury. Issued on August 13,

1877, in dark-coloured roan, with the edges cut and gilt, and lettered across the back:
Ruskin. | Unto | this | Last. Price 3s. 6d. 2000 copies.

Third Edition (1882).On the title-page the number of the edition and the date
were changed, and the last line was changed to All rights reserved. There are no
other changes. Issued in July 1882 in plain mauve cloth, with a white paper back-label,
which reads: Ruskin. | Unto | this | Last. Price 3s. 2000 copies.

Fourth Edition (1884).The number and date were again changed on the
title-page; and this edition was printed at the Chiswick Press, the imprint (at both
places as before) reading: Chiswick Press:C. Whitting-ham and Co., Tooks Court,
Chancery Lane. A few of the earlier copies were issued in cloth, with paper label, as
in the Third Edition; the other copies either in chocolate-coloured or in dark green
cloth, lettered across the back: Ruskin | Unto | this | Last. Issued in January 1884.
Price 3s. 2000 copies.

Fifth Edition (1887).The number and date were altered on the title-page, and the
Contents were placed before instead of after the leaf containing the Scriptural Texts; in
all other respects this edition precisely resembles the Fourth (cloth boards). Issued in
September 1887. Price 3s. 1000 copies.

Sixth Edition (1888).The number and date were altered on the title-page; and the
edition was printed and electrotyped by Messrs. Hazell & Co., whose imprint appears
as in the Second and Third Editions. In all other respects the Sixth precisely resembles
the Fifth Edition. Issued in October 1888. Price 3s. 2000 copies.

Seventh and Eighth Editions (1890, 1892).These editions, issued respectively in
October 1890 (2000 copies) and April 1892 (2000), were again printed by Messrs.
Hazell & Co., being reprints of the Sixth. In these editions the publishers imprint was:
George Allen, | Sunnyside, Orpington, | and | 8, Bell Yard, Temple Bar, London.
Price 3s.

Ninth Edition (1893).This edition became the model for later issues, which have
been printed from the electrotype plates of it. The publishers imprint became after
1894: London| George Allen, 156, Charing Cross Road | and Sunnyside, Orpington,
Kent | [All rights reserved]. The Orpington address was omitted after 1900. The
paragraphs were numbered. An index (compiled by Mr. A. Wedderburn) was added
(pp. 175199), and this was included in all later editions. The imprint (at the foot of
the last page) was: Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co., Edinburgh & London.
Issued in July 1893. Price 3s. 3000 copies.

Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Editions (1895, 1896, 1898).Reprints of the Ninth,
the number of the edition being changed on the title-page, as also the date. Issued
respectively in April 1895 | (3500 copies), October 1896 (3340), and July 1898
(3000). Price 3s.

Re-issues were subsequently called Thousands; that issued in October 1899
(2000 copies) having on the title-page Thirtieth Thousand; that issued in June 1900
(2000), Thirty-third Thousand; and that issued in

August 1900 (5000), Thirty-eighth Thousand. On July 1, 1900, the price was
reduced from 3s. to 2s.
The thirty-first thousand was printed from the same plates but was made up in crown
octavo size, uniform with the other small editions of Ruskins books. In this form the
book was reprinted in August 1901 (43rd thousand), December 1902 (44th), and
December 1903 (49th). The price of this crown 8vo issue was 3s.

Popular Edition (1900).Of the issue of June 1900 some copies were put up in
greyish-blue paper covers at 1s. 6d. net. (The issue of June 1900 was all marked
Thirty-third Thousand on the title-page; but the 1000 covers required for the
Popular issue were marked thereon Thirty-second Thousand.)

Further re-issues in the ordinary form were made in June 1901, Forty-second
Thousand (4000 copies), and in December 1902, Forty-eighth Thousand (4000).
Some copies were bound in cloth (2s.); others in wrappers (1s. 6d.).

Pocket Edition (1904).Of the issue last named 2000 copies were used and
issued in December 1904 for the Pocket Edition, by printing new Titles and
Contents, and transferring the words Four Essays on the First Principles of Political
Economy to the half-title. These 2000 copies were issued in terra-cotta cloth at 2s.
6d., uniform with other volumes in the Pocket edition (for which see Vol. XV. p. 6).
Of the Pocket edition 3000 more copies were subsequently printed, thus completing
the 52nd thousand of the book. The title-page reads:
Unto this Last | By | John Ruskin | London: George Allen.
Special Edition (1902).This is an dition de Luxe, uniform in size with the
Kelmscott Nature of Gothic (see Vol. X. p. lxix.). The title-page reads:
Unto this Last | By John Ruskin.
Post octavo, pp. xii.+ 152. On the reverse of the title-page is the following note: Four
hundred copies of this edition have been printed on hand-made paper for England and
America, and eleven on vellum. Contents, p. iii., as follow:

I. The Roots of Honour 1
II. The Veins of Wealth 25
III. Qui Judicatis Terram 43
IV. Ad Valorem 63
Appendix 103
Index 125

Scriptural Texts, p. iv. Preface, pp. v.xii. The first page of the Preface has an
ornamental border (Borders and Initials drawn by Christopher Dean and processed).
There are similar ornamental borders (of a different design in each case) for the first
page of each essay. The initial letter is an ornamental one, printed in red; and so with
the initial letters of each paragraph throughout the book. There are no headlines. The
title of the book is printed in red at the top of the left-hand margin on each left-hand

the subject (Preface, The Roots of Honour, etc., Appendix and Index) are
similarly printed on the right-hand margins of the right-hand pages. The pages are
numbered at the bottom. The Appendix consists of all the authors footnotes,
numbered A to X, the p. to which they refer being added; correspondingly, in
the text there are marginal notes referring to Appendix. See Note A, and so forth. On
p. 152 is the following colophon, with the device drawn by Mr. Walter Crane, and
employed (since 1894) in most of Mr. Allens books and circulars, which appears (in a
reduced form) in all the volumes of this edition:
Here end the Four Essays on the First Principles of Political Economy,
named UNTO THIS LAST, by JOHN RUSKIN. Printed at the Ballantyne Press,
Edinburgh, and Published by George Allen, London, in the year 1902.
This dition de Luxe was issued on November 28, 1902. Bound in limp vellum with
silk ties. On the front cover, in the right-hand corner, is Ruskins seal, with motto (as
in this edition, but smaller), in gold. Price 2, 2s. net. Venetian type. The vellum
copies were issued at 10, 10s. each.

Unauthorised American Editions of Unto this Last have been numerous. There has
been no authorised edition in America.

French Translation (1902).The title-page of this is:
Unto this Last | Quatre Essais | Sur Les Premiers Principes | Dconomie
Politique | Par | John Ruskin | Il ny a de richesse que | la vie (Unto this
Last, iv. 77). | Introduction de H. J. Brunhes. Traduction de IAbb Em.
Peltier. | Paris | Gabriel Beauchesne & C
| diteurs | 83, rue de Rennes,
83| (Dpt Lyon, 3, Avenue de l Archvch).
Crown 8vo, pp. xxxvi.+238. A portrait of Ruskin precedes the title-page. The Editors
Introduction occupies pp. iii.-xxxvi. The translator has added a few explanatory notes
to the text. Issued in paper wrappers of a violet hue. Price 3 fr. 50 c.

German Translation (1902).This is the fifth volume in a translation of Ruskins
Ausgewhlte Werke in Vollstndiger bersetzung (see Vol. III. p. lxiii.). The
title-page is:
John Ruskin | Diesem Letzten | Vier Abhandlungen ber | die Ersten
Grundstze der | Volkswirtschaft | Aus dem Englischen von | Anna von
Przychowski | Verlegt bei Eugen Diederichs, Leipzig 1902.
Crown 8vo, pp. 196. An introduction by the editor (Wilhelm Schlermann) occupies
pp. 58; an index (not translated from Mr. Wedderburns), pp. 182196. Issued in red
cloth boards. Price 4 marks.
The greater part of Unto this Last is also translated in the following work:
Wie wir arbeiten | und wirthschaften mssen. | Eine Gedankenlese | aus
den Werken | des | John Ruskin. | Aus dem Englischen bersetzt und
zusammengestellt | von | Jakob Feis. | Strassburg, | J. H. Ed. Heitz | Heitz
und Mendel.

Crown 8vo, pp. 240. First published 1896; now in a second edition. An Introduction
by the translator occupies pp. 946. The greater part of Unto this Last follows (pp.
97165), the rest of the book being taken up with extracts from Fors Clavigera, etc.
Price 3 marks.

Italian Translation (1902).The title-page of this is:
Giovanni Ruskin | A Quest Ultimo | Sui Principii Fondamentali di |
Economia Politica | Traduzione | di | Francesco e Giacinto Chimenti |
Bari, 1902 | Stab. Tip. Filli Pausini Fu S.
Small 8vo, pp. x.+90. A note to the translation occupies pp. v.vii., and a short
biographical note on Ruskin, pp. ix. and x. Ruskins preface is omitted, and the text is
often curtailed or summarised. Issued, stitched, in grey paper wrappers.

(Being Extracts from Unto this Last)
The title of this pamphlet of 16 pages (issued stitched and without wrappers) is: The |
Rights of Labour | according to | John Ruskin. | Arranged by | Thomas Barclay. It was
not dated, but was issued in 1887 by C. Merrick, 34 Cauk Street, Leicester. Price One
Penny. On p. 2 is the following:


. . . Your pamphlet is the best abstract of all the most important pieces of
my teaching that has yet been done; and I am entirely grateful to you for
doing it, and glad to have your letter.
. . . . . . . .
The time is certainly drawing near for the workmen, who are
conscious of their own power and probity, to draw together into action.
They ought first in all Christian countries to abolish, not yet
WARwhich must yet be made sometimes in just causesbut the
Armaments for it, of which the real root cause is simply the gain of
manufacturers of instruments of death.
. . . . . . . .
Ever gratefully yours,
On p. 3 are introductory remarks. The remaining pages are occupied with extracts
(with occasional connecting remarks) from Unto this Last, under the following heads:
Ruskins Objects, His Scheme (Preface, 6), Principles First (ibid., 7), What
Political Economy Is ( 28, 61, 72), What Wealth Is ( 62, 64), Difference
between Riches and Wealth ( 27, 30), Proof ( 33, 34, 36), The Whole
Question one

of Justice ( 37, 38, 65), Capital ( 73), Injustice of the Present System ( 38,
49, 48, 43), Wages ( 13, 14, 52 n., 31 n.), How to get the Most Work out of a
Man ( 8, 10, 9, 24), The True Function of the Capitalist ( 21, 22, 25), The
Cause of Poverty ( 53, 79), Are There too Many of Us? ( 53, 78, 76 n.), and
Last Words ( 77, 85, 83). The compiler then concludes as follows:

What working man is there that will not reverence these far-seeing and noble
utterances of a great and good man devoted to the cause of the poor and
down-troddenshowing the truth and demanding justice. At all events, reader, unless
you have had a previous introduction, may we not count on having awakened an
interest in you to examine still further into the teachings of JOHN RUSKIN?

A Second Edition was issued by the same publisher; and in 1889 a Third Edition, by
William Reeves, 185 Fleet Street, E.C.

Vari Lectiones.The following is a list of the few variations, other than those
already described, between different editions:

Mottoes.The texts which in all the collected editions have appeared on a
separate page were not given in the Cornhill Magazine. The papers there began with
the heading Unto this Last, to which was appended as a footnote: I will give unto
this last, even as unto thee.Matt. xx. 14.
Heading of Essay I.The word Essay did not appear in the Cornhill Magazine.
And so with the headings of the other essays.
Essay III. 48, line 45, see p. 66 n.
Essay IV. 58, line 23, the reference to Mill has in all previous editions been
incorrectly given as I. i. 5. 59, line 6, the reference to Mill has in all previous editions
been wrongly given as III. i. 3. 60, authors footnote, last line, bought has been
misprinted brought in some of the later editions (e.g., the 33rd and 43rd thousands);
the misprint does not occur in the dition de Luxe. 74, authors note, line 8, the
Cornhill and ed. I read correctly L. 550 (line 550 of the Birds); all later editions read
I. 550. 84, third line from end, all editions hitherto have misprinted geg for meg,
and all editions (after the Cornhill) oneiar for oneiar (the line is omitted in the French
and Italian translations; it is misprinted in the German).

Reviews of the papers as they appeared in the Cornhill Magazine were very
numerous. Leading articles, middle articles, or other notices appeared, among other
places, in the Saturday Review, August 4, 1860 (J. R. on Political Economy, vol. 10,
pp. 136138), and November 10, 1860 (Mr. Ruskin again, vol. 10, pp. 582584: for
extracts from this article, see above, p. xxviii.); the Scotsman, August 9 (for notices of
this leading article, see below, pp. 69 n., 71 n.); the Critic, August 4; the Literary
Gazette, November 3; the Weekly Times, August 12; the Manchester Review, August
11 and 18; the Glasgow Citizen, August 11 (this was a defence of Ruskin, signed G.
G.); the London Review, August 11; the Morning Herald, September 5; the Dial,
September 7; Lincolnshire Herald, September 11; the Star, September 21 (a paper by
Major-General T. Perronet

Thompson), and November 5; the Manchester Examiner and Times, October 2; the
Renfrewshire Independent, October 20; Frasers Magazine, November 1860, vol. 62,
pp. 651659 (Political Economy in the Clouds); the Bradford Observer, November
29; Lloyds Weekly, at that time edited by Blanchard Jerrold, November 18 (an article
in defence of Ruskin, entitled Mr. Ruskin versus the Saturday Review).
Reviews of Unto this Last in book form appeared in the Guardian, August 27,
1862; the Weekly Review, August 9, 1862; the Westminster Review, October 1862,
N.S., vol. 22, pp. 530532, and the Morning Star, December 4, 1862 (a leading article,
noticing also Ruskins lecture at the Working Mens College on November 29, 1862:
see below, p. 325 n.).]




1. THE four following essays were published eighteen months
ago in the Cornhill Magazine, and were reprobated in a violent
manner, as far as I could hear, by most of the readers they met
Not a whit the less, I believe them to be the best, that is to
say, the truest, rightest-worded, and most serviceable things I
have ever written; and the last of them, having had especial pains
spent on it, is probably the best I shall ever write.
This, the reader may reply, it might be, yet not therefore
well written. Which, in no mock humility, admitting, I yet rest
satisfied with the work, though with nothing else that I have
done; and purposing shortly to follow out the subjects opened in
these papers, as I may find leisure,
I wish the introductory
statements to be within the reach of any one who may care to
refer to them. So I republish the essays as they appeared. One
word only is changed,
correcting the estimate of a weight; and
no word is added.*
2. Although, however, I find nothing to modify in these
* Note to Second Edition.An addition is made to the note in the Fourteenth page
of the preface of this book; which, being the most precious, in its essential contents, of
all that I have ever written, I reprint word for word and page for page, after that
addition, and make as accessible as I can, to all.

[See above, Introduction, p. xlix.]
[In 48, line 45 (of this edition: see p. 66), where thirteen ounces in the Cornhill
was corrected to seventeen ounces in the reprint.]
[In this edition the fourteenth page is p. 20; and the pagination throughout the
book is now necessarily changed. For particulars of the Second Edition, and of others
after it which made the book yet more accessible, see above, pp. 5 seq.]

papers, it is matter of regret to me that the most startling of all the
statements in them,that respecting the necessity of the
organization of labour, with fixed wages,should have found
its way into the first essay; it being quite one of the least
important, though by no means the least certain, of the positions
to be defended. The real gist of these papers, their central
meaning and aim, is to give, as I believe for the first time in plain
English,it has often been incidentally given in good Greek by
Plato and Xenophon, and good Latin by Cicero and Horace,
logical definition of WEALTH: such definition being absolutely
needed for a basis of economical science. The most reputed
essay on that subject which has appeared in modern times, after
opening with the statement that writers on political economy
profess to teach, or to investigate,* the nature of wealth, thus
follows up the declaration of its thesisEvery one has a notion,
sufficiently correct for common purposes, of what is meant by
wealth. . . . It is no part of the design of this treatise to aim at
metaphysical nicety of definition.
* Which? for where investigation is necessary, teaching is impossible.
Principles of Political Economy. By J. S. Mill. Preliminary remarks, p. 2.

[For another reference to Plato, Xenophon, and Cicero as the founders of his
science of Political Economy, see Munera Pulveris, 2 (p. 148). The passages in Plato
to which Ruskin refers as giving incidentally a definition of true Wealth are such as
Laws, v. 742743: Very rich and very good at the same time he cannot be, not, at least,
in the sense in which the many speak of riches, etc. (see also below, p. 277 n.); or
Republic, iii. 416 E. (quoted in Munera Pulveris, 89). For Xenophons implied
definition of wealth, see The Economist, ch. i. (translated in vol. i. of Bibliotheca
Pastorum, from which passage Ruskin takes his text of the possession of the valuable
by the valiant (see below, 64, p. 88). See also Ruskins Preface to Bibliotheca, where
he says ( 22) that Xenophons Economist contains a flawless definition of wealth, and
explanation of its dependence for efficiency on the merits and faculties of its possessor.
The passage in question is quoted in Munera Pulveris, Appendix iii. (below, p. 288),
where also Ruskin gives Horaces clear rendering of the substance of his own
economic doctrine. For a reference to Cicero, in a similar connexion, see Munera
Pulveris, 60 n. (below, p. 184); and one may refer to such passages as Contentum suis
rebus esse maxim sunt certissimaeque divitiae (Parad. Stoic. 6, 51).]
[For another criticism of this passage, see Munera Pulveris, Preface, 2; below, p.
132. Ruskins references are to the first edition (1848) of Mills book in two volumes.]

3. Metaphysical nicety, we assuredly do not need; but
physical nicety, and logical accuracy, with respect to a physical
subject, we as assuredly do.
Suppose the subject of inquiry, instead of being House-law
(Oikonomia), had been Star-law (Astronomia), and that,
ignoring distinction between stars fixed and wandering, as here
between wealth radiant and wealth reflective, the writer had
begun thus: Every one has a notion, sufficiently correct for
common purposes, of what is meant by stars. Metaphysical
nicety in the definition of a star is not the object of this
treatise;the essay so opened might yet have been far more
true in its final statements, and a thousand-fold more serviceable
to the navigator, than any treatise on wealth, which founds its
conclusions on the popular conception of wealth, can ever
become to the economist.

4. It was, therefore, the first object of these following papers
to give an accurate and stable definition of wealth. Their second
object was to show that the acquisition of wealth was finally
possible only under certain moral conditions of society, of which
quite the first was a belief in the existence, and even, for
practical purposes, in the attainability of honesty.
Without venturing to pronouncesince on such a matter
human judgment is by no means conclusivewhat is, or is not,
the noblest of Gods works, we may yet admit so much of Popes
as that an honest man is among His best works
presently visible, and, as things stand, a somewhat rare one; but
not an incredible or miraculous work; still less an abnormal one.
Honesty is not a disturbing force, which deranges the orbits of
economy; but a consistent and commanding force, by obedience
to whichand by no other obediencethose orbits can continue
clear of chaos.
5. It is true, I have sometimes heard Pope condemned for the
lowness, instead of the height, of his standard:Honesty is
indeed a respectable virtue; but how much
[Essay on Man, Epistle iv., line 247.]

higher may men attain! Shall nothing more be asked of us than
that we be honest?
For the present, good friends, nothing. It seems that in our
aspirations to be more than that, we have to some extent lost
sight of the propriety of being so much as that. What else we
may have lost faith in, there shall be here no question; but
assuredly we have lost faith in common honesty, and in the
working power of it. And this faith, with the facts on which it
may rest, it is quite our first business to recover and keep: not
only believing, but even by experience assuring ourselves, that
there are yet in the world men who can be restrained from fraud
otherwise than by the fear of losing employment;* nay, that it is
even accurately in proportion to the number of such men in any
State, that the said State does or can prolong its existence.
To these two points, then, the following essays are mainly
directed. The subject of the organization of labour is only
casually touched upon; because, if we once can get a sufficient
quantity of honesty in our captains, the organization
* The effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is not that of his
corporation, but of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which
restrains his frauds, and corrects his negligence. (Wealth of Nations, Book I. chap.
Note to Second Edition.The only addition I will make to the words of this book
shall be a very earnest request to any Christian reader to think within himsel f what an
entirely damned state of soul any human creature must have got into, who could read
with acceptance such a sentence as this: much more, write it; and to oppose to it, the
first commercial words of Venice, discovered by me in her first church:
Around this temple, let the Merchants law be just, his weights true, and his
contracts guileless.

If any of my present readers think that my language in this note is either
intemperate, or unbecoming, I will beg them to read with attention the Eighteenth
paragraph of Sesame and Lilies;
and to be assured that I never, myself, now use, in
writing, any word which is not, in my deliberate judgment, the fittest for the occasion.
Sunday, 18th March, 1877.

[The Church of S. Giacomo di Rialto: see St. Marks Rest, 37, 131, and Fors
Clavigera, Letter 76 (Venice, Sunday, 4th March, 1877).]
[In this edition, Vol. XVIII. pp. 6768.]
[The last sentenceIf any . . . occasionwas in fact added by Ruskin in a letter
to Mr. Allen, dated March 26.]

of labour is easy, and will develop itself without quarrel or
difficulty; but if we cannot get honesty in our captains, the
organization of labour is for evermore impossible.
6. The several conditions of its possibility I purpose to
examine at length in the sequel.
Yet, lest the reader should be
alarmed by the hints thrown out during the following
investigation of first principles, as if they were leading him into
unexpectedly dangerous ground, I will, for his better assurance,
state at once the worst of the political creed at which I wish him
to arrive.
(1.) First,that there should be training schools for youth
established, at Government cost,* and under Government
discipline, over the whole country;
that every child born in the
country should, at the parents wish, be permitted (and, in certain
cases, be under penalty required) to pass through them; and that,
in these schools, the child should (with other minor pieces of
knowledge hereafter to be considered) imperatively be taught,
with the best skill of teaching that the country could produce, the
following three things:
(a) The laws of health, and the exercises enjoined by them;
(b) Habits of gentleness and justice; and
(c) The calling by which he is to live.

(2.) Secondly,that, in connection with these training
* It will probably be inquired by near-sighted persons, out of what funds such
schools could be supported. The expedient modes of direct provision for them I will
examine hereafter; indirectly, they would be far more than self -supporting. The
economy in crime alone, (quite one of the most costly articles of luxury in the modern
European market,) which such schools would induce, would suffice to support them ten
times over. Their economy of labour would be pure gain, and that too large to be
presently calculable.

[The intended further treatise, already mentioned (in 1 above, p. 17) an
intention partly fulfilled in Munera Pulveris.]
[For Ruskins earlier plea for a universal system of State education, see A Joy for
Ever, 128, 132 (Vol. XVI. pp. 111, 115). And compare 79 (below, p. 106).]
[On these matters compare Time and Tide; for (a), 95; for (b), 60; for (c), 101
(below, pp. 397, 368, 400). With (b)the ethical function of educationcompare also
Vol. V. p. 70; Vol. VII. p. 429; Vol. XI. p. 204; and below, pp. 232 and 329.]

schools, there should be established, also entirely under
Government regulation, manufactories and workshops for the
production and sale of every necessary of life, and for the
exercise of every useful art. And that, interfering no whit with
private enterprise, nor setting any restraints or tax on private
trade, but leaving both to do their best, and beat the Government
if they could,there should, at these Government manufactories
and shops, be authoritatively good and exemplary work done,
and pure and true substance sold; so that a man could be sure, if
he chose to pay the Government price, that he got for his money
bread that was bread, ale that was ale, and work that was work.

(3.) Thirdly,that any man, or woman, or boy, or girl, out of
employment, should be at once received at the nearest
Government school, and set to such work as it appeared, on trial,
they were fit for, at a fixed rate of wages determinable every
year;that, being found incapable of work through ignorance,
they should be taught, or being found incapable of work through
sickness, should be tended; but that being found objecting to
work, they should be set, under compulsion of the strictest
nature, to the more painful and degrading forms of necessary
toil, especially to that in mines and other places of danger (such
danger being, however, diminished to the utmost by careful
regulation and discipline), and the due wages of such work be
retained, cost of compulsion first abstractedto be at the
workmans command, so soon as he has come to sounder mind
respecting the laws of employment.
(4.) Lastly,that for the old and destitute, comfort and home
should be provided; which provision, when misfortune had been
by the working of such a system sifted from guilt, would be
honourable instead of disgraceful to the receiver. For (I repeat
this passage out of my Political Economy of Art, to which the
reader is referred for farther detail
) a
[Here, again, compare A Joy for Ever, 43; and for the third point here enforced,
ibid., 129 (Vol. XVI. pp. 44, 112).]
[The authors original reference was to the first edition, Addenda, p. 195: see
now, Vol. XVI. p. 113. See also below, p. 74.]

labourer serves his country with his spade, just as a man in the
middle ranks of life serves it with sword, pen, or lancet. If the
service be less, and, therefore, the wages during health less, then
the reward when health is broken may be less, but not less
honourable; and it ought to be quite as natural and
straightforward 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.
To which statement, I will only add, for conclusion,
respecting the discipline and pay of life and death, that, for both
high and low, Livys last words touching Valerius Publicola, de
publico est elatus,* ought not to be a dishonourable close of
7. These things, then, I believe, and am about, as I find
power, to explain and illustrate in their various bearings;
following out also what belongs to them of collateral inquiry.
Here I state them only in brief, to prevent the reader casting
about in alarm for my ultimate meaning; yet requesting him, for
the present, to remember, that in a science dealing with so subtle
elements as those of human nature, it is only possible to answer
for the final truth of principles, not for the direct success of
plans: and that in the best of these last, what can be immediately
accomplished is always questionable, and what can be finally
accomplished, inconceivable.
10th May, 1862.
* P. Valerius, omnium consensu princeps belli pacisque artibus, anno post moritur;
gloria ingenti, copiis familiaribus adeo exiguis, ut funeri sumtus deesset: de publico est
elatus. Luxere matronae ut Brutum.Lib. ii. c. xvi.

[See the passage from Ruskins letter given in the Introduction, p. xlvii., and t he
note there added.]

1. AMONG the delusions which at different periods have
possessed themselves of the minds of large masses of the human
race, perhaps the most curiouscertainly the least
creditableis the modern soi-disant science of political
economy, based on the idea that an advantageous code of social
action may be determined irrespectively of the influence of
social affection.
Of course, as in the instances of alchemy, astrology,
withchcraft, and other such popular creeds, political economy
has a plausible idea at the root of it. The social affections, says
the economist, are accidental and disturbing elements in human
nature; but avarice and the desire of progress are constant
elements. Let us eliminate the inconstants, and, considering the
human being merely as a covetous machine, examine by what
laws of labour, purchase, and sale, the greatest accumulative
result in wealth is obtainable. Those laws once determined, it
will be for each individual afterwards to introduce as much of
the disturbing affectionate element as he chooses, and to
determine for himself the result on the new conditions
2. This would be a perfectly logical and successful method of
analysis, if the accidentals afterwards to be introduced were of
the same nature as the powers first examined. Supposing a body
in motion to be influenced by constant and inconstant forces, it is
usually the simplest way of examining its course to trace it first
under the persistent conditions,

and afterwards introduce the causes of variation. But the
disturbing elements in the social problem are not of the same
nature as the constant ones: they alter the essence of the creature
under examination the moment they are added; they operate, not
mathematically, but chemically, introducing conditions which
render all our previous knowledge unavailable. We made
learned experiments upon pure nitrogen, and have convinced
ourselves that it is a very manageable gas: but, behold! the thing
which we have practically to deal with is its chloride; and this,
the moment we touch it on our established principles, sends us
and our apparatus through the ceiling.
3. Observe, I neither impugn nor doubt the conclusion of the
science if its terms are accepted.
I am simply uninterested in
them, as I should be in those of a science of gymnastics which
assumed that men had no skeletons. It might be shown, on that
supposition, that it would be advantageous to roll the students up
into pellets, flatten them into cakes, or stretch them into cables;
and that when these results were effected, the re-insertion of the
skeleton would be attended with various inconveniences to their
constitution. The reasoning might be admirable, the conclusions
true, and the science deficient only in applicability. Modern
political economy stands on a precisely similar basis. Assuming,
not that the human being has no skeleton, but that it is all
skeleton, it founds an ossifiant theory of progress on this
negation of a soul; and having shown the utmost that may be
made of bones, and constructed a number of interesting
geometrical figures with deaths-head and humeri, successfully
proves the inconvenience of the reappearance of a soul among
these corpuscular structures. I do not deny the truth of this
theory: I simply deny its applicability to the present phase of the
4. This inapplicability has been curiously manifested during
the embarrassment caused by the late strikes of our
[Subsequently, however, Ruskin carried his attack to this further stage: see his
letter cited above, in the Introduction, p. lxxxiii.]

Here occurs one of the simplest cases, in a pertinent
and positive form, of the first vital problem which political
economy has to deal with (the relation between employer and
employed); and, at a severe crisis, when lives in multitudes and
wealth in masses are at stake, the political economists are
helplesspractically mute: no demonstrable solution of the
difficulty can be given by them, such as may convince or calm
the opposing parties. Obstinately the masters take one view of
the matter; obstinately the operatives another; and no political
science can set them at one.
5. It would be strange if it could, it being not by science of
any kind that men were ever intended to be set at one. Disputant
after disputant vainly strives to show that the interests of the
masters are, or are not, antagonistic to those of the men: none of
the pleaders ever seeming to remember that it does not
absolutely or always follow that the persons must be
antagonistic because their interests are. If there is only a crust of
bread in the house, and mother and children are starving, their
interests are not the same. If the mother eats it, the children want
it; if the children eat it, the mother must go hungry to her work.
Yet it does not necessarily follow that there will be
antagonism between them, that they will fight for the crust,
and that the mother, being strongest, will get it, and eat it.
Neither, in any other case, whatever the relations of the persons
may be, can it be assumed for certain that, because their interests
are diverse, they must necessarily regard each other with
hostility, and use violence or cunning to obtain the advantage.
6. Even if this were so, and it were as just as it is convenient
to consider men as actuated by no other moral influences than
those which affect rats or swine, the logical conditions of the
question are still indeterminable. It can never be shown
generally either that the interests of master
[The reference is more particularly to the builders strike in the autumn of 1859:
see (in a later volume of this edition) Ruskins letter of September 4, 1859, to E. S.

and labourer are alike, or that they are opposed; for, according to
circumstances, they may be either. It is, indeed, always the
interest of both that the work should be rightly done, and a just
price obtained for it; but, in the division of profits, the gain of the
one may or may not be the loss of the other. It is not the masters
interest to pay wages so low as to leave the men sickly and
depressed, nor the workmans interest to be paid high wages if
the smallness of the masters profit hinders him from enlarging
his business, or conducting it in a safe and liberal way. A stoker
ought not to desire high pay if the company is too poor to keep
the engine-wheels in repair.
7. And the varieties of circumstance which influence these
reciprocal interests are so endless, that all endeavour to deduce
rules of action from balance of expediency is in vain. And it is
meant to be in vain. For no human actions ever were intended by
the Maker of men to be guided by balances of expediency,
by balances of justice. He has therefore rendered all endeavours
to determine expediency futile for evermore. No man ever knew,
or can know, what will be the ultimate result to himself, or to
others, of any given line of conduct. But every man may know,
and most of us do know, what is a just and unjust act. And all of
us may know also, that the consequences of justice will be
ultimately the best possible, both to others and ourselves, though
we can neither say what is best, or how it is likely to come to
I have said balances of justice, meaning, in the term justice,
to include affection,such affection as one man owes to
another. All right relations between master and operative, and all
their best interests, ultimately depend on these.
8. We shall find the best and simplest illustration of the
relations of master and operative in the position of domestic

[Compare Seven Lamps, Vol. VIII. pp. 20, 23.]
[The relation of masters and servants is a subject to which Ruskin often recurred in
letters to the newspapers, as well illustrating his principles of political economy. See,
more especially, the letters to the Daily Telegraph of September 5

We will suppose that the master of a household desires only
to get as much work out of his servants as he can, at the rate of
wages he gives. He never allows them to be idle; feeds them as
poorly and lodges them as ill as they will endure, and in all
things pushes his requirements to the exact point beyond which
he cannot go without forcing the servant to leave him. In doing
this, there is no violation on his part of what is commonly called
justice. He agrees with the domestic for his whole time and
service, and takes them;the limits of hardship in treatment
being fixed by the practice of other masters in his
neighbourhood; that is to say, by the current rate of wages for
domestic labour. If the servant can get a better place, he is free to
take one, and the master can only tell what is the real market
value of his labour, by requiring as much as he will give.
This is the politico-economical view of the case, according
to the doctors of that science; who assert that by this procedure
the greatest average of work will be obtained from the servant,
and therefore the greatest benefit to the community, and through
the community, by reversion, to the servant himself.
That, however, is not so. It would be so if the servant were an
engine of which the motive power was steam, magnetism,
gravitation, or any other agent of calculable force. But he being,
on the contrary, an engine whose motive power is a Soul, the
force of this very peculiar agent, as an unknown quantity, enters
into all the political economists equations, without his
knowledge, and falsifies every one of their results. The largest
quantity of work will not be done by this curious engine for pay,
or under pressure, or by help of any kind of fuel which may be
supplied by the chaldron. It will be done only when the motive
force, that is to say, the will or spirit of the creature, is brought to

and 18, 1865 (below, pp. 518 seq.). He cited his own experience in support of his
contentions in a letter to the same journal of September 7; with which compare what he
says of Sir Walter Scotts servants (Fors Clavigera, Letter 32).]

its greatest strength by its own proper fuel: namely, by the
9. It may indeed happen, and does happen often, that if the
master is a man of sense and energy, a large quantity of material
work may be done under mechanical pressure, enforced by
strong will and guided by wise method; also it may happen, and
does happen often, that if the master is indolent and weak
(however good-natured), a very small quantity of work, and that
bad, may be produced by the servants undirected strength, and
contemptuous gratitude. But the universal law of the matter is
that, assuming any given quantity of energy and sense in master
and servant, the greatest material result obtainable by them will
be, not through antagonism to each other, but through affection
for each other; and that, if the master, instead of endeavouring to
get as much work as possible from the servant, seeks rather to
render his appointed and necessary work beneficial to him, and
to forward his interests in all just and wholesome ways, the real
amount of work ultimately done, or of good rendered, by the
person so cared for, will indeed be the greatest possible.
Observe, I say, of good rendered, for a servants work is
not necessarily or always the best thing he can give his master.
But good of all kinds, whether in material service, in protective
watchfulness of his masters interest and credit, or in joyful
readiness to seize unexpected and irregular occasions of help.
Nor is this one whit less generally true because indulgence
will be frequently abused, and kindness met with ingratitude.
For the servant who, gently treated, is ungrateful, treated
ungently, will be revengeful; and the man who is dishonest to a
liberal master will be injurious to an unjust one.
10. In any case, and with any person, this unselfish treatment
will produce the most effective return. Observe, I am here
considering the affections wholly as a motive power; not at all as
things in themselves desirable or noble, or in any other way
abstractedly good. I look at them simply

as an anomalous force, rendering every one of the ordinary
political economists calculations nugatory; while, even if he
desired to introduce this new element into his estimates, he has
no power of dealing with it; for the affections only become a true
motive power when they ignore every other motive and
condition of political economy. Treat the servant kindly, with
the idea of turning his gratitude to account, and you will get, as
you deserve, no gratitude, nor any value for your kindness; but
treat him kindly without any economical purpose, and all
economical purposes will be answered; in this, as in all other
matters, whosoever will save his life shall lose it, whoso loses it
shall find it.

11. The next clearest and simplest example of relation
* The difference between the two modes of treatment, and between their effective
material results, may be seen very accurately by a comparison of the relations of Esther
and Charlie in Bleak House with those of Miss Brass and the Marchioness in Master
Humphreys Clock.
The essential value and truth of Dickenss writings
have been unwisely lost sight
of by many thoughtful persons, merely because he presents his truth with some colour
of caricature. Unwisely, because Dickens caricature, though often gross, is never
mistaken. Allowing for his manner of telling them, the things he tells us are always
true. I wish that he could think it right to limit his brilliant exaggeration to works
written only for public amusement; and when he takes up a subject of high national
importance, such as that which he handled in Hard Times, that he would use severer and
more accurate analysis. The usefulness of that work (to my mind, in several respects the
greatest he has written) is with many persons seriously diminished because Mr.
Bounderby is a dramatic monster, instead of a characteristic example of a worldly
master; and Stephen Blackpool a dramatic perfection, instead of a characteristic
example of an honest workman. But let us not lose the use of Dickenss wit and insight,
because he chooses to speak in a circle of stage fire. He is entirely right in his main drift
and purpose in every book he has written; and all of them, but especially Hard Times,
should be studied with close and earnest care by persons interested in social que stions.
They will find much that is partial, and, because partial, apparently unjust; but if they
examine all the evidence on the other side, which Dickens seems to overlook, it will
appear, after all their trouble, that his view was the finally right one, grossly and
sharply told.

[Matthew x. 39.]
[For a general note on Ruskins references to Dickens, see Vol. XI. p. 173. The
subject of high national importance taken up in Hard Times (published in 1854 and
dedicated to Carlyle), was an attack on t hose who see figures and averages and nothing
elsethe representatives of the wickedest and most enormous vice of this time (see the
letter of Dickens quoted in Charles Knights Passages of a Working Life).]

between master and operative is that which exists between the
commander of a regiment and his men.
Supposing the officer only desires to apply the rules of
discipline so as, with least trouble to himself, to make the
regiment most effective, he will not be able, by any rules or
administration of rules, on this selfish principle, to develop the
full strength of his subordinates. If a man of sense and firmness,
he may, as in the former instance, produce a better result than
would be obtained by the irregular kindness of a weak officer;
but let the sense and firmness be the same in both cases, and
assuredly the officer who has the most direct personal relations
with his men, the most care for their interests, and the most value
for their lives, will develop their effective strength, through their
affection for his own person, and trust in his character, to a
degree wholly unattainable by other means. This law applies still
more stringently as the numbers concerned are larger: a charge
may often be successful, though the men dislike their officers; a
battle has rarely been won, unless they loved their general.
12. Passing from these simple examples to the more
complicated relations existing between a manufacturer and his
workmen, we are met first by certain curious difficulties,
resulting, apparently, from a harder and colder state of moral
elements. It is easy to imagine an enthusiastic affection existing
among soldiers for the colonel. Not so easy to imagine an
enthusiastic affection among cotton-spinners for the proprietor
of the mill. A body of men associated for purposes of robbery (as
a Highland clan in ancient times) shall be animated by perfect
affection, and every member of it be ready to lay down his life
for the life of his chief. But a band of men associated for
purposes of legal production and accumulation is usually
animated, it appears, by no such emotions, and none of them are
in any wise willing to give his life for the life of his chief. Not
only are we met by this apparent anomaly, in moral matters, but
by others connected with it, in administration of system.

For a servant or a soldier is engaged at a definite rate of wages,
for a definite period; but a workman at a rate of wages variable
according to the demand for labour, and with the risk of being at
any time thrown out of his situation by chances of trade. Now,
as, under these contingencies, no action of the affections can
take place, but only an explosive action of disaffections, two
points offer themselves for consideration in the matter.
The firstHow far the rate of wages may be so regulated as
not to vary with the demand for labour.
The secondHow far it is possible that bodies of workmen
may be engaged and maintained at such fixed rate of wages
(whatever the state of trade may be), without enlarging or
diminishing their number, so as to give them permanent interest
in the establishment with which they are connected, like that of
the domestic servants in an old family, or an esprit de corps, like
that of the soldiers in a crack regiment.
13. The first question is, I say, how far it may be possible to
fix the rate of wages, irrespectively of the demand for labour.
Perhaps one of the most curious facts in the history of human
error is the denial by the common political economist of the
possibility of thus regulating wages; while, for all the important,
and much of the unimportant, labour, on the earth, wages are
already so regulated.
We do not sell our prime-ministership by Dutch auction; nor,
on the decease of a bishop, whatever may be the general
advantages of simony, do we (yet) offer his diocese to the
clergyman who will take the episcopacy at the lowest contract.
We (with exquisite sagacity of political economy!) do indeed
sell commissions; but not openly, generalships: sick, we do not
inquire for a physician who takes less than a guinea; litigious, we
never think of reducing six-and-eightpence to
four-and-sixpence; caught in a shower, we do not canvass the
cabmen, to find one who values his driving at less than sixpence
a mile.

It is true that in all these cases there is, and in every
conceivable case there must be, ultimate reference to the
presumed difficulty of the work, or number of candidates for the
office. If it were thought that the labour necessary to make a
good physician would be gone through by a sufficient number of
students with the prospect of only half-guinea fees, public
consent would soon withdraw the unnecessary half-guinea. In
this ultimate sense, the price of labour is indeed always regulated
by the demand for it; but, so far as the practical and immediate
administration of the matter is regarded, the best labour always
has been, and is, as all labour ought to be, paid by an invariable
14. What! the reader perhaps answers amazedly: pay
good and bad workmen alike?
Certainly. The difference between one prelates sermons and
his successorsor between one physicians opinion and
anothers,is far greater, as respects the qualities of mind
involved, and far more important in result to you personally,
than the difference between good and bad laying of bricks
(though that is greater than most people suppose). Yet you pay
with equal fee, contentedly, the good and bad workmen upon
your soul, and the good and bad workmen upon your body;
much more may you pay, contentedly, with equal fees, the good
and bad workmen upon your house.
Nay, but I choose my physician, and (?) my clergyman, thus
indicating my sense of the quality of their work. By all means,
also, choose your bricklayer; that is the proper reward of the
good workman, to be chosen. The natural and right system
respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate, but
the good workman employed, and the bad workman
The false, un-natural, and destructive system is
when the bad workman is allowed to offer his work at half-price,
and either take the place of the good, or force him by his
competition to work for an inadequate sum.
[See the authors references to this passage, above (Preface, 2), p. 18, and bel ow,
31 n., p. 47.]

15. This equality of wages, then, being the first object
towards which we have to discover the directest available road,
the second is, as above stated, that of maintaining constant
numbers of workmen in employment, whatever may be the
accidental demand for the article they produce.
I believe the sudden and extensive inequalities of demand,
which necessarily arise in the mercantile operations of an active
nation, constitute the only essential difficulty which has to be
overcome in a just organization of labour.
The subject opens into too many branches to admit of being
investigated in a paper of this kind; but the following general
facts bearing on it may be noted.
The wages which enable any workman to live are necessarily
higher, if his work is liable to intermission, than if it is assured
and continuous; and however severe the struggle for work may
become, the general law will always hold, that men must get
more daily pay if, on the average, they can only calculate on
work three days a week than they would require if they were sure
of work six days a week. Supposing that a man cannot live on
less than a shilling a day, his seven shillings he must get, either
for three days violent work, or six days deliberate work. The
tendency of all modern mercantile operations is to throw both
wages and trade into the form of a lottery, and to make the
workmans pay depend on intermittent exertion, and the
principals profit on dexterously used chance.
16. In what partial degree, I repeat, this may be necessary in
consequence of the activities of modern trade, I do not here
investigate; contenting myself with the fact that in its fatallest
aspects it is assuredly unnecessary, and results merely from love
of gambling on the part of the masters, and from ignorance and
sensuality in the men. The masters cannot bear to let any
opportunity of gain escape them, and frantically rush at every
gap and breach in the walls of Fortune, raging to be rich, and
affronting, with impatient covetousness, every risk of ruin, while

men prefer three days of violent labour, and three days of
drunkenness, to six days of moderate work and wise rest. There
is no way in which a principal, who really desires to help his
workmen, may do it more effectually than by checking these
disorderly habits both in himself and them; keeping his own
business operations on a scale which will enable him to pursue
them securely, not yielding to temptations of precarious gain;
and at the same time, leading his workmen into regular habits of
labour and life, either by inducing them rather to take low wages,
in the form of a fixed salary, than high wages, subject to the
chance of their being thrown out of work; or, if this be
impossible, by discouraging the system of violent exertion for
nominally high day wages, and leading the men to take lower
pay for more regular labour.
In effecting any radical changes of this kind, doubtless there
would be great inconvenience and loss incurred by all the
originators of the movement. That which can be done with
perfect convenience and without loss, is not always the thing that
most needs to be done, or which we are most imperatively
required to do.
17. I have already alluded to the difference hitherto existing
between regiments of men associated for purposes of violence,
and for purposes of manufacture; in that the former appear
capable of self-sacrificethe latter, not; which singular fact is
the real reason of the general lowness of estimate in which the
profession of commerce is held, as compared with that of arms.
Philosophically, it does not, at first sight, appear reasonable
(many writers have endeavoured to prove it unreasonable) that a
peaceable and rational person, whose trade is buying and selling,
should be held in less honour than an unpeaceable and often
irrational person, whose trade is slaying. Nevertheless, the
consent of mankind has always, in spite of the philosophers,
given precedence to the soldier.
And this is right.
For the soldiers trade, verily and essentially, is not

slaying, but being slain.
This, without well knowing its own
meaning, the world honours it for. A bravos trade is slaying; but
the world has never respected bravos more than merchants: the
reason it honours the soldier is, because he holds his life at the
service of the State. Reckless he may befond of pleasure or of
adventureall kinds of bye-motives and mean impulses may
have determined the choice of his profession, and may affect (to
all appearance exclusively) his daily conduct in it; but our
estimate of him is based on this ultimate factof which we are
well assuredthat put him in a fortress breach, with all the
pleasures of the world behind him, and only death and his duty in
front of him, he will keep his face to the front; and he knows that
his choice may be put to him at any momentand has
beforehand taken his partvirtually takes such part
continuallydoes, in reality, die daily.

18. Not less is the respect we pay to the lawyer and
physician, founded ultimately on their self-sacrifice. Whatever
the learning or acuteness of a great lawyer, our chief respect for
him depends on our belief that, set in a judges seat, he will strive
to judge justly, come of it what may. Could we suppose that he
would take bribes, and use his acuteness and legal knowledge to
give plausibility to iniquitous decisions, no degree of intellect
would win for him our respect. Nothing will win it, short of our
tacit conviction, that in all important acts of his life justice is first
with him; his own interest, second.
In the case of a physician, the ground of the honour we
render him is clearer still. Whatever his science, we would
shrink from him in horror if we found him regard his patients
merely as subjects to experiment upon; much more, if we found
that, receiving bribes from persons interested in their deaths, he
was using his best skill to give poison in the mask of medicine.
[On this point, compare Munera Pulveris, 148 (p. 271); Time and Tide, 134 (p.
427); and Crown of Wild Olive, 122.]
[1 Corinthians xv. 31.]

Finally, the principle holds with utmost clearness as it
respects clergymen. No goodness of disposition will excuse
want of science in a physician, or of shrewdness in an advocate;
but a clergyman, even though his power of intellect be small, is
respected on the presumed ground of his unselfishness and
19. Now, there can be no question but that the tact, foresight,
decision, and other mental powers, required for the successful
management of a large mercantile concern, if not such as could
be compared with those of a great lawyer, general, or divine,
would at least match the general conditions of mind required in
the subordinate officers of a ship, or of a regiment, or in the
curate of a country parish. If, therefore, all the efficient members
of the so-called liberal professions are still, somehow, in public
estimate of honour, preferred before the head of a commercial
firm, the reason must lie deeper than in the measurement of their
several powers of mind.
And the essential reason for such preference will be found to
lie in the fact that the merchant is presumed to act always
selfishly. His work may be very necessary to the community; but
the motive of it is understood to be wholly personal. The
merchants first object in all his dealings must be (the public
believe) to get as much for himself, and leave as little to his
neighbour (or customer) as possible. Enforcing this upon him,
by political statute, as the necessary principle of his action;
recommending it to him on all occasions, and themselves
reciprocally adopting it, proclaiming vociferously, for law of the
universe, that a buyers function is to cheapen, and a sellers to
cheat,the public, nevertheless, involuntarily condemn the man
of commerce for his compliance with their own statement, and
stamp him for ever as belonging to an inferior grade of human
20. This they will find, eventually, they must give up doing.
They must not cease to condemn selfishness; but they will have
to discover a kind of commerce which is not

exclusively selfish. Or, rather, they will have to discover that
there never was, or can be, any other kind of commerce; that this
which they have called commerce was not commerce at all, but
cozening; and that a true merchant differs as much from a
merchant according to laws of modern political economy, as the
hero of the Excursion from Autolycus.
They will find that
commerce is an occupation which gentlemen will every day see
more need to engage in, rather than in the businesses of talking
to men, or slaying them; that, in true commerce, as in true
preaching, or true fighting, it is necessary to admit the idea of
occasional voluntary loss;that sixpences have to be lost, as
well as lives, under a sense of duty; that the market may have its
martyrdoms as well as the pulpit; and trade its heroisms as well
as war.
May havein the final issue, must haveand only has not
had yet, because men of heroic temper have always been
misguided in their youth into other fields; not recognizing what
is in our days, perhaps, the most important of all fields; so that,
while many a zealous person loses his life in trying to teach the
form of a gospel, very few will lose a hundred pounds in
showing the practice of one.
21. The fact is, that people never have had clearly explained
to them the true functions of a merchant with respect to other
people. I should like the reader to be very clear about this.
Five great intellectual professions, relating to daily
necessities of life, have hitherto existedthree exist necessarily,
in every civilized nation:
The Soldiers profession is to defend it.
The Pastors to teach it.
The Physicians to keep it in health.
The Lawyers to enforce justice in it.
The Merchants to provide for it.
[For references to the thief of Greek legend, see Queen of the Air, 28; and to
Shakespeares Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, Fors Clavigera, Letters 8 and 58.]

And the duty of all these men is, on due occasion, to die for it.

On due occasion, namely:
The Soldier, rather than leave his post in battle.
The Physician, rather than leave his post in plague.
The Pastor, rather than teach Falsehood.
The Lawyer, rather than countenance Injustice.
The Merchantwhat is his due occasion of death?
22. It is the main question for the merchant, as for all of us.
For, truly, the man who does not know when to die, does not
know how to live.
Observe, the merchants function (or manufacturers, for in
the broad sense in which it is here used the word must be
understood to include both) is to provide for the nation. It is no
more his function to get profit for himself out of that provision
than it is a clergymans function to get his stipend. This stipend
is a due and necessary adjunct, but not the object of his life, if he
be a true clergyman, any more than his fee (or honorarium) is the
object of life to a true physician. Neither is his fee the object of
life to a true merchant. All three, if true men, have a work to be
done irrespective of feeto be done even at any cost, or for
quite the contrary of fee; the pastors function being to teach, the
physicians to heal, and the merchants, as I have said, to
That is to say, he has to understand to their very root
the qualities of the thing he deals in, and the means of obtaining
or producing it; and he has to apply all his sagacity and energy to
the producing or obtaining it in perfect state, and distributing it
at the cheapest possible price where it is most needed.
And because the production or obtaining of any commodity
involves necessarily the agency of many lives and hands, the
merchant becomes in the course of his business
[Compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 86, where this passage is referred to.]
[Compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 84, where Ruskin refers to this statement of the
three necessary professions, and explains more fully the function of the pastor. See also
Munera Pulveris, 145 (below, p. 269); Two Paths, 135 (Vol. XVI. p. 370); and
Crown of Wild Olive, 32.]

the master and governor of large masses of men in a more direct,
though less confessed way, than a military officer or pastor; so
that on him falls, in great part, the responsibility for the kind of
life they lead: and it becomes his duty, not only to be always
considering how to produce what he sells, in the purest and
cheapest forms, but how to make the various employments
involved in the production, or transference of it, most beneficial
to the men employed.
23. And as into these two functions, requiring for their right
exercise the highest intelligence, as well as patience, kindness,
and tact, the merchant is bound to put all his energy, so for their
just discharge he is bound, as soldier or physician is bound, to
give up, if need be, his life, in such way as it may be demanded
of him. Two main points he has in his providing function to
maintain: first, his engagements (faithfulness to engagements
being the real root of all possibilities, in commerce); and,
secondly, the perfectness and purity of the thing provided; so
that, rather than fail in any engagement, or consent to any
deterioration, adulteration,
or unjust and exorbitant price of that
which he provides, he is bound to meet fearlessly any form of
distress, poverty, or labour, which may, through maintenance of
these points, come upon him.
24. Again: in his office as governor of the men employed by
him, the merchant or manufacturer is invested with a distinctly
paternal authority and responsibility. In most cases, a youth
entering a commercial establishment is withdrawn altogether
from home influence; his master must become his father, else he
has, for practical and constant help, no father at hand: in all cases
the masters authority, together with the general tone and
atmosphere of his business, and the character of the men with
whom the youth is compelled in the course of it to associate,
have more immediate and pressing weight than the home
influence, and will usually neutralize it either for good or evil; so
that the only means which the master has of doing justice
[See below, p. 383 n.]

to the men employed by him is to ask himself sternly whether he
is dealing with such subordinate as he would with his own son, if
compelled by circumstances to take such a position.
Supposing the captain of a frigate saw it right, or were by any
chance obliged, to place his own son in the position of a common
sailor: as he would then treat his son, he is bound always to treat
every one of the men under him. So, also, supposing the master
of a manufactory saw it right, or were by any chance obliged, to
place his own son in the position of an ordinary workman; as he
would then treat his son, he is bound always to treat every one of
his men. This is the only effective, true, or practical RULE which
can be given on this point of political economy.
And as the captain of a ship is bound to be the last man to
leave his ship in case of wreck, and to share his last crust with the
sailors in case of famine, so the manufacturer, in any commercial
crisis or distress, is bound to take the suffering of it with his men,
and even to take more of it for himself than he allows his men to
feel; as a father would in a famine, shipwreck, or battle, sacrifice
himself for his son.
25. All which sounds very strange: the only real strangeness
in the matter being, nevertheless, that it should so sound. For all
this is true, and that not partially nor theoretically, but
everlastingly and practically: all other doctrine than this
respecting matters political being false in premises, absurd in
deduction, and impossible in practice, consistently with any
progressive state of national life; all the life which we now
possess as a nation showing itself in the resolute denial and
scorn, by a few strong minds and faithful hearts, of the economic
principles taught to our multitudes, which principles, so far as
accepted, lead straight to national destruction. Respecting the
modes and forms of destruction to which they lead, and, on the
other hand, respecting the farther practical working of true
polity, I hope to reason farther in a following paper.

26. THE answer which would be made by any ordinary political
economist to the statements contained in the preceding paper, is
in few words as follows:
It is indeed true that certain advantages of a general nature
may be obtained by the development of social affections. But
political economists never professed, nor profess, to take
advantages of a general nature into consideration. Our science is
simply the science of getting rich. So far from being a fallacious
or visionary one, it is found by experience to be practically
effective. Persons who follow its precepts do actually become
rich, and persons who disobey them become poor. Every
capitalist of Europe has acquired his fortune by following the
known laws of our science, and increases his capital daily by an
adherence to them. It is vain to bring forward tricks of logic,
against the force of accomplished facts. Every man of business
knows by experience how money is made, and how it is lost.
Pardon me. Men of business do indeed know how they
themselves made their money, or how, on occasion, they lost it.
Playing a long-practised game, they are familiar with the
chances of its cards, and can rightly explain their losses and
gains. But they neither know who keeps the bank of the
gambling-house, nor what other games may be played with the
same cards, nor what other losses and gains, far away among the
dark streets, are essentially, though invisibly, dependent on
theirs in the lighted rooms. They have learned a few, and only a
few, of the laws of mercantile economy; but not one of those of
political economy.
27. Primarily, which is very notable and curious, I observe

that men of business rarely know the meaning of the word
rich. At least, if they know, they do not in their reasonings
allow for the fact, that it is a relative word, implying its opposite
poor as positively as the word north implies its opposite
south. Men nearly always speak and write as if riches were
absolute, and it were possible, by following certain scientific
precepts, for everybody to be rich. Whereas riches are a power
like that of electricity, acting only through inequalities or
negations of itself. The force of the guinea you have in your
pocket depends wholly on the default of a guinea in your
neighbours pocket. If he did not want it, it would be of no use to
you; the degree of power it possesses depends accurately upon
the need or desire he has for it,and the art of making yourself
rich, in the ordinary mercantile economists sense, is therefore
equally and necessarily the art of keeping your neighbour poor.
I would not contend in this matter (and rarely in any matter)
for the acceptance of terms. But I wish the reader clearly and
deeply to understand the difference between the two economies,
to which the terms Political and Mercantile might not
unadvisedly be attached.
28. Political economy (the economy of a State, or of citizens)
consists simply in the production, preservation, and
at fittest time and place, of useful or pleasurable
things. The farmer who cuts his hay at the right time; the
shipwright who drives his bolts well home in sound wood; the
builder who lays good bricks in well-tempered mortar; the
housewife who takes care of her furniture in the parlour, and
guards against all waste in her kitchen; and the singer who
rightly disciplines, and never overstrains her voice, are all
political economists in the true and final sense: adding
continually to the riches and well-being of the nation to which
they belong.
But mercantile economy, the economy of merces or of
[Compare The Political Economy of Art, where Ruskin divides his subject under
the heads Discovery, Application, Accumulation, and Distribution (Vol. XVI.
p. 29).]

pay, signifies the accumulation, in the hands of individuals, of
legal or moral claim upon, or power over, the labour of others;
every such claim implying precisely as much poverty or debt on
one side, as it implies riches or right on the other.
It does not, therefore, necessarily involve an addition to the
actual property, or well-being of the State in which it exists. But
since this commercial wealth, or power over labour, is nearly
always convertible at once into real property, while real property
is not always convertible at once into power over labour, the idea
of riches among active men in civilized nations generally refers
to commercial wealth; and in estimating their possessions, they
rather calculate the value of their horses and fields by the
number of guineas they could get for them, than the value of
their guineas by the number of horses and fields they could buy
with them.
29. There is, however, another reason for this habit of mind:
namely, that an accumulation of real property is of little use to its
owner, unless, together with it, he has commercial power over
labour. Thus, suppose any person to be put in possession of a
large estate of fruitful land, with rich beds of gold in its gravel;
countless herds of cattle in its pastures; houses, and gardens, and
storehouses full of useful stores: but suppose, after all, that he
could get no servants? In order that he may be able to have
servants, some one in his neighbourhood must be poor, and in
want of his goldor his corn. Assume that no one is in want of
either, and that no servants are to be had. He must, therefore,
bake his own bread, make his own clothes, plough his own
ground, and shepherd his own flocks. His gold will be as useful
to him as any other yellow pebbles on his estate. His stores must
rot, for he cannot consume them. He can eat no more than
another man could eat, and wear no more than another man
could wear. He must lead a life of severe and common labour to
procure even ordinary comforts; he will be ultimately unable to
keep either houses in repair, or fields in cultivation; and forced

content himself with a poor mans portion of cottage and garden,
in the midst of a desert of waste land, trampled by wild cattle,
and encumbered by ruins of palaces, which he will hardly mock
at himself by calling his own.
30. The most covetous of mankind would, with small
exultation, I presume, accept riches of this kind on these terms.
What is really desired, under the name of riches, is, essentially,
power over men; in its simplest sense, the power of obtaining for
our own advantage the labour of servant, tradesman, and artist;
in wider sense, authority of directing large masses of the nation
to various ends (good, trivial, or hurtful, according to the mind
of the rich person). And this power of wealth of course is greater
or less in direct proportion to the poverty of the men over whom
it is exercised, and in inverse proportion to the number of
persons who are as rich as ourselves, and who are ready to give
the same price for an article of which the supply is limited. If the
musician is poor, he will sing for small pay, as long as there is
only one person who can pay him; but if there be two or three, he
will sing for the one who offers him most. And thus the power of
the riches of the patron (always imperfect and doubtful, as we
shall see presently
even when most authoritative) depends first
on the poverty of the artist, and then on the limitation of the
number of equally wealthy persons, who also want seats at the
concert. So that, as above stated, the art of becoming rich, in
the common sense, is not absolutely nor finally the art of
accumulating much money for ourselves, but also of contriving
that our neighbours shall have less. In accurate terms, it is the
art of establishing the maximum inequality in our own favour.
31. Now, the establishment of such inequality cannot be
shown in the abstract to be either advantageous or
disadvantageous to the body of the nation. The rash and absurd
assumption that such inequalities are necessarily
[Below, 39, p. 54.]

advantageous, lies at the root of most of the popular fallacies on
the subject of political economy. For the eternal and inevitable
law in this matter is, that the beneficialness of the inequality
depends, first, on the methods by which it was accomplished;
and, secondly, on the purposes to which it is applied. Inequalities
of wealth, unjustly established, have assuredly injured the nation
in which they exist during their establishment; and, unjustly
directed, injure it yet more during their existence. But
inequalities of wealth, justly established, benefit the nation in the
course of their establishment; and, nobly used, aid it yet more by
their existence. That is to say, among every active and
well-governed people, the various strength of individuals, tested
by full exertion and specially applied to various need, issues in
unequal, but harmonious results, receiving reward or authority
according to its class and service;* while, in the inactive or
ill-governed nation, the gradations of decay and
* I have been naturally asked several times with respect to the sentence in the first
of these papers, the bad workmen unemployed,
But what are you to do with your
bad unemployed workmen? Well, it seems to me the question might have occurred to
you before. Your housemaids place is vacant you give twenty pounds a yeartwo
girls come for it, one neatly dressed, the other dirtily; one with good recommendations,
the other with none. You do not, under these circumstances, usually ask the dirty one if
she will come for fifteen pounds, or twelve; and, on her consenting, take her instead of
the well-recommended one. Still less do you try to beat both down by making them bid
against each other, till you can hire both, one at twelve pounds a year, and the other at
eight. You simply take the one fittest for the place, and send away the other, not
perhaps concerning yourself quite as much as you should with the question which you
now impatiently put to me,What is to become of her? For, all that I advise you to do,
is to deal with workmen as with servants; and verily the question is of weight: Your
bad workman, idler, and roguewhat are you to do with him?
We will consider of this presently:
remember that the administration of a complete
system of national commerce and industry cannot be explained in full detail within the
space of twelve pages. Meantime, consider whether, there being confessedly some
difficulty in dealing with rogues and idlers, it may not be advisable to produce as few of
them as possible. If you examine

[Above, 14, p. 34]
[See below, 79, pp. 106 seq.]

the victories of treason work out also their own rugged system of
subjection and success; and substitute, for the melodious
inequalities of concurrent power, the iniquitous dominances and
depressions of guilt and misfortune.
32. Thus the circulation of wealth in a nation resembles that
of the blood in the natural body. There is one quickness of the
current which comes of cheerful emotion or wholesome
exercise; and another which comes of shame or of fever. There is
a flush of the body which is full of warmth and life; and another
which will pass into putrefaction.
The analogy will hold down even to minute particulars. For
as diseased local determination of the blood involves depression
of the general health of the system, all morbid local action of
riches will be found ultimately to involve a weakening of the
resources of the body politic.
The mode in which this is produced may be at once
understood by examining one or two instances of the
development of wealth in the simplest possible circumstances.
33. Suppose two sailors cast away on an uninhabited coast,
and obliged to maintain themselves there by their own labour for
a series of years.
If they both kept their health, and worked steadily and in
amity with each other, they might build themselves a convenient
house, and in time come to possess a certain quantity of
cultivated land, together with various stores laid up for future
use. All these things would be real riches or property; and,
supposing the men both to have worked equally hard, they
would each have right to equal share or use of it. Their political
economy would consist merely in careful preservation and just
division of these possessions. Perhaps, however, after some time
one or other might be

into the history of rogues, you will find they are as truly manufactured articles as
anything else, and it is just because our present system of political economy gives so
large a stimulus to that manufacture that you may know it to be false one. We had better
seek for a system which will develop honest men, than for one which will deal cunningly
with vagabonds. Let us reform our schools, and we shall find little reform needed in our

dissatisfied with the results of their common farming; and they
might in consequence agree to divide the land they had brought
under the spade into equal shares, so that each might thence-
forward work in his own field, and live by it. Suppose that after
this arrangement had been made, one of them were to fall ill, and
be unable to work on his land at a critical timesay of sowing or
He would naturally ask the other to sow or reap for him.
Then his companion might say, with perfect justice, I will
do this additional work for you; but if I do it, you must promise
to do as much for me at another time. I will count how many
hours I spend on your ground, and you shall give me a written
promise to work for the same number of hours on mine,
whenever I need your help, and you are able to give it.
34. Suppose the disabled mans sickness to continue, and
that under various circumstances, for several years, requiring the
help of the other, he on each occasion gave a written pledge to
work, as soon as he was able, at his companions orders, for the
same number of hours which the other had given up to him.
What will the positions of the two men be when the invalid is
able to resume work?
Considered as a Polis, or state, they will be poorer than
they would have been otherwise: poorer by the withdrawal of
what the sick mans labour would have produced in the interval.
His friend may perhaps have toiled with an energy quickened by
the enlarged need, but in the end his own land and property must
have suffered by the withdrawal of so much of his time and
thought from them: and the united property of the two men will
be certainly less than it would have been if both had remained in
health and activity.
But the relations in which they stand to each other are also
widely altered. The sick man has not only pledged his labour for
some years, but will probably have exhausted his own share of
the accumulated stores, and will be in

consequence for some time dependent on the other for food,
which he can only pay or reward him for by yet more deeply
pledging his own labour.
Supposing the written promises to be held entirely valid
(among civilized nations their validity is secured by legal
measures*), the person who had hitherto worked for both might
now, if he chose, rest altogether, and pass his time in idleness,
not only forcing his companion to redeem all the engagements
he had already entered into, but exacting from him pledges for
further labour, to an arbitrary amount, for what food he had to
advance to him.
35. There might not, from first to last, be the least illegality
(in the ordinary sense of the word) in the arrangement; but if a
stranger arrived on the coast at this advanced epoch of their
political economy, he would find one man commercially Rich;
the other commercially Poor. He would see, perhaps, with no
small surprise, one passing his days in idleness; the other
labouring for both, and living sparely, in the hope of recovering
his independence at some distant period.
This is, of course, an example of one only out of many ways
in which inequality of possession may be established between
different persons, giving rise to the Mercantile forms of Riches
and Poverty. In the instance before us, one of
* The disputes which exist respecting the real nature of money arise more from the
disputants examining its functions on different sides, than from any real dissent in their
opinions. All money, properly so called, is an acknowledgment of debt; but as such, it
may either be considered to represent the labour and property of the creditor, or the
idleness and penury of the debtor. The intricacy of the question has been much
increased by the (hitherto necessary) use of marketable commodities, such as gold,
silver, salt, shells, etc., to give intrinsic value or security to currency; but the f inal and
best definition of money is that it is a documentary promise ratified and guaranteed by
the nation to give or find a certain quantity of labour on demand.
A mans labour for a
day is a better standard of value than a measure of any produce, because no produce
ever maintains a consistent rate of producibility.

[On this subject, see the fuller discussion in Munera Pulveris, 68 seq.; below,
pp. 194 seq.]

the men might from the first have deliberately chosen to be idle,
and to put his life in pawn for present ease; or he might have
mismanaged his land, and been compelled to have recourse to
his neighbour for food and help, pledging his future labour for it.
But what I want the reader to note especially is the fact, common
to a large number of typical cases of this kind, that the
establishment of the mercantile wealth which consists in a claim
upon labour, signifies a political diminution of the real wealth
which consists in substantial possessions.
36. Take another example, more consistent with the ordinary
course of affairs of trade. Suppose that three men, instead of two,
formed the little isolated republic, and found themselves obliged
to separate, in order to farm different pieces of land at some
distance from each other along the coast: each estate furnishing a
distinct kind of produce, and each more or less in need of the
material raised on the other. Suppose that the third man, in order
to save the time of all three, undertakes simply to superintend the
transference of commodities from one farm to the other; on
condition of receiving some sufficiently remunerative share of
every parcel of goods conveyed, or of some other parcel
received in exchange for it.
If this carrier or messenger always brings to each estate,
from the other, what is chiefly wanted, at the right time, the
operations of the two farmers will go on prosperously, and the
largest possible result in produce, or wealth, will be attained by
the little community. But suppose no intercourse between the
landowners is possible, except through the travelling agent; and
that, after a time, this agent, watching the course of each mans
agriculture, keeps back the articles with which he has been
entrusted until there comes a period of extreme necessity for
them, on one side or other, and then exacts in exchange for them
all that the distressed farmer can spare of other kinds of produce:
it is easy to see that by ingeniously watching his opportunities,
he might possess himself regularly of the greater

part of the superfluous produce of the two estates, and at last, in
some year of severest trial or scarcity, purchase both for himself
and maintain the former proprietors thenceforward as his
labourers or servants.
37. This would be a case of commercial wealth acquired on
the exactest principles of modern political economy. But more
distinctly even than in the former instance, it is manifest in this
that the wealth of the State, or of the three men considered as a
society, is collectively less than it would have been had the
merchant been content with juster profit. The operations of the
two agriculturists have been cramped to the utmost; and the
continual limitations of the supply of things they wanted at
critical times, together with the failure of courage consequent on
the prolongation of a struggle for mere existence, without any
sense of permanent gain, must have seriously diminished the
effective results of their labour; and the stores finally
accumulated in the merchants hands will not in any wise be of
equivalent value to those which, had his dealings been honest,
would have filled at once the granaries of the farmers and his
The whole question, therefore, respecting not only the
advantage, but even the quantity, of national wealth, resolves
itself finally into one of abstract justice. It is impossible to
conclude, of any given mass of acquired wealth, merely by the
fact of its existence, whether it signifies good or evil to the
nation in the midst of which it exists. Its real value depends on
the moral sign attached to it, just as sternly as that of a
mathematical quantity depends on the algebraical sign attached
to it. Any given accumulation of commercial wealth may be
indicative, on the one hand, of faithful industries, progressive
energies, and productive ingenuities: or, on the other, it may be
indicative of mortal luxury, merciless tyranny, ruinous chicane.
Some treasures are heavy with human tears, as an ill-stored
harvest with untimely rain; and some gold is brighter in sunshine
than it is in substance.

38. And these are not, observe, merely moral or pathetic
attributes of riches, which the seeker of riches may, if he
chooses, despise; they are, literally and sternly, material
attributes of riches, depreciating or exalting, incalculably, the
monetary signification of the sum in question. One mass of
money is the outcome of action which has created,another, of
action which has annihilated,ten times as much in the
gathering of it; such and such strong hands have been paralyzed,
as if they had been numbed by nightshade: so many strong mens
courage broken, so many productive operations hindered; this
and the other false direction given to labour, and lying image of
prosperity set up, on Dura plains
dug into seven-times-heated
furnaces. That which seems to be wealth may in verity be only
the gilded index of far-reaching ruin; a wreckers handful of coin
gleaned from the beach to which he has beguiled an argosy; a
camp-followers bundle of rags unwrapped from the breasts of
goodly soldiers dead; the purchase-pieces of potters fields,
wherein shall be buried together the citizen and the stranger.

And therefore, the idea that directions can be given for the
gaining of wealth, irrespectively of the consideration of its moral
sources, or that any general and technical law of purchase and
gain can be set down for national practice, is perhaps the most
insolently futile of all that ever beguiled men through their vices.
So far as I know, there is not in history record of anything so
disgraceful to the human intellect as the modern idea that the
commercial text, Buy in the cheapest market and sell in the
dearest, represents, or under any circumstances could represent,
an available principle of national economy. Buy in the cheapest
market?yes; but what made your market cheap? Charcoal may
be cheap among your roof timbers after a fire, and bricks may be
cheap in your streets after an earthquake; but fire
[Daniel iii. 1, of Nebuchadnezzars golden image: he set it up in the plain of Dura,
in the province of Babylon.]
[Matthew xxvii. 6,7.]

and earthquake may not therefore be national benefits. Sell in the
dearest?yes, truly; but what made your market dear? You sold
your bread well to-day: was it to a dying man who gave his last
coin for it, and will never need bread more; or to a rich man who
to-morrow will buy your farm over your head; or to a soldier on
his way to pillage the bank in which you have put your fortune?
None of these things you can know. One thing only you can
know: namely, whether this dealing of yours is a just and faithful
one, which is all you need concern yourself about respecting it;
sure thus to have done your own part in bringing about
ultimately in the world a state of things which will not issue in
pillage or in death. And thus every question concerning these
things merges itself ultimately in the great question of justice,
which, the ground being thus far cleared for it, I will enter upon
in the next paper, leaving only, in this, three final points for the
readers consideration.
39. It has been shown that the chief value and virtue of
money consists in its having power over human beings; that,
without this power, large material possessions are useless, and to
any person possessing such power, comparatively unnecessary.
But power over human beings is attainable by other means than
by money. As I said a few pages back,
the money power is
always imperfect and doubtful; there are many things which
cannot be reached with it, others which cannot be retained by it.
Many joys may be given to men which cannot be bought for
gold, and many fidelities found in them which cannot be
rewarded with it.
Trite enough,the reader thinks. Yes: but it is not so
trite,I wish it were,that in this moral power, quite
inscrutable and immeasurable though it be, there is a monetary
value value just as real as that represented by more ponderous
currencies. A mans hand may be full of invisible
[ 30, p. 46.]

gold, and the wave of it, or the grasp, shall do more than
anothers with a shower of bullion. This invisible gold, also,
does not necessarily diminish in spending. Political economists
will do well some day to take heed of it, though they cannot take
But farther. Since the essence of wealth consists in its
authority over men, if the apparent or nominal wealth fail in this
power, it fails in essence; in fact, ceases to be wealth at all. It
does not appear lately in England, that our authority over men is
absolute. The servants show some disposition to rush riotously
upstairs, under an impression that their wages are not regularly
We should augur ill of any gentlemans property to whom
this happened every other day in his drawing-room.
So, also, the power of our wealth seems limited as respects
the comfort of the servants, no less than their quietude. The
persons in the kitchen appear to be ill-dressed, squalid,
half-starved. One cannot help imagining that the riches of the
establishment must be of a very theoretical and documentary
40. Finally. Since the essence of wealth consists in power
over men, will it not follow that the nobler and the more in
number the persons are over whom it has power, the greater the
wealth? Perhaps it may even appear, after some consideration,
that the persons themselves are the wealththat these pieces of
gold with which we are in the habit of guiding them, are, in fact,
nothing more than a kind of Byzantine harness or trappings, very
glittering and beautiful in barbaric sight, wherewith we bridle
the creatures; but that if these same living creatures could be
guided without the fretting and jingling of the Byzants
in their
mouths and ears, they might themselves be more valuable than
their bridles. In fact, it may be discovered that the true veins of
wealth are purpleand not in Rock, but in
[See above, p. 27.]
[Byzants, or bezants, the gold coins struck at Byzantium, were common in England
till superseded by the noble, a coin of Edward III. (see Scotts Ivanhoe (vii.): Here,
Isaac, lend me a handful of byzants).]

Fleshperhaps even that the final outcome and consummation
of all wealth is in the producing as many as possible
full-breathed, bright-eyed, and happy-hearted human creatures.
Our modern wealth, I think, has rather a tendency the other
way;most political economists appearing to consider
multitudes of human creatures not conducive to wealth, or at
best conducive to it only by remaining in a dim-eyed and
narrow-chested state of being.
41. Nevertheless, it is open, I repeat, to serious question,
which I leave to the readers pondering,
whether, among
national manufactures, that of Souls of a good quality may not at
last turn out a quite leadingly lucrative one? Nay, in some
far-away and yet undreamt-of hour, I can even imagine that
England may cast all thoughts of possessive wealth back to the
barbaric nations among whom they first arose; and that, while
the sands of the Indus and adamant of Golconda may yet stiffen
the housings of the charger,
and flash from the turban of the
slave, she, as a Christian mother, may at last attain to the virtues
and the treasures of a Heathen one, and be able to lead forth her
Sons, saying,

These are My Jewels.

[See below, 77, p. 104, where the question is resumed.]
[Compare the Preface to the second edition of Modern Painters, vol. i. 14 (Vol.
III. p. 21 and n.).]
[For this story of Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, see Valerius Maximus, 4, 4 :
Cornelia, Gracchorum mater, cum Campana mat rona, apud illam hospita, ornamenta
sua pulcherrima illius sculi ostenderet, traxit eam sermone, donec a scola redirent
liberi, et hc inquit ornamenta sunt mea. For another reference to the story, see
Ethics of the Dust, 117. See on this passage generally Fors Clavigera, Letter 90, where
Ruskin says that the principles stated more or less eloquently in the close of this
chapter were scientifically and in sifted term explained and enforced in Munera


42. SOME centuries before the Christian era, a Jew merchant,
largely engaged in business on the Gold Coast, and reported to
have made one of the largest fortunes of his time (held also in
repute for much practical sagacity), left among his ledgers some
general maxims concerning wealth, which have been preserved,
strangely enough, even to our own days. They were held in
considerable respect by the most active traders of the Middle
Ages, especially by the Venetians, who even went so far in their
admiration as to place a statue of the old Jew on the angle of one
of their principal public buildings.
Of late years these writings
have fallen into disrepute, being opposed in every particular to
the spirit of modern commerce. Nevertheless I shall reproduce a
passage or two from them here, partly because they may interest
the reader by their novelty; and chiefly because they will show
him that it is possible for a very practical and acquisitive
tradesman to hold, through a not unsuccessful career, that
principle of distinction between well-gotten and ill-gotten
wealth, which, partially insisted on in my last paper, it must be
our work more completely to examine in this.
43. He says, for instance, in one place: The getting of
treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them
that seek death;
adding in another, with the same
[For this title, see below, 46.]
[For the sculpture of Solomon on the Judgment Angle of the Ducal Palace, see
Stones of Venice, vol. ii. (Vol. X. pp. 332, 359, 363).]
[The Bible references in 43, 44 are to Proverbs xxi. 6; x. 2; Psalms xlv. 13;
Proverbs xxii. 16; xxii. 22 (Rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress

meaning (he has a curious way of doubling his sayings):
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but justice delivers
from death. Both these passages are notable for their assertions
of death as the only real issue and sum of attainment by any
unjust scheme of wealth. If we read, instead of lying tongue,
lying label, title, pretence, or advertisement, we shall more
clearly perceive the bearing of the words on modern business.
The seeking of death is a grand expression of the true course of
mens toil in such business. We usually speak as if death pursued
us, and we fled from him; but that is only so in rare instances.
Ordinarily he masks himselfmakes himself
beautifulall-glorious; not like the Kings daughter,
all-glorious within, but outwardly: his clothing of wrought gold.
We pursue him frantically all our days, he flying or hiding from
us. Our crowning success at three-score and ten is utterly and
perfectly to seize, and hold him in his eternal integrityrobes,
ashes, and sting.
Again: the merchant says, He that oppresseth the poor to
increase his riches, shall surely come to want. And again, more
strongly: Rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress
the afflicted in the place of business. For God shall spoil the soul
of those that spoiled them.
This robbing the poor because he is poor, is especially the
mercantile form of theft, consisting in taking advantage of a
mans necessities in order to obtain his labour or property at a
reduced price. The ordinary highwaymans opposite form of
robberyof the rich, because he is richdoes not appear to
occur so often to the old merchants mind; probably because,
being less profitable and more dangerous than the robbery of the
poor, it is rarely practiced by persons of discretion.
44. But the two most remarkable passages in their deep
general significance are the following:
The rich and the poor have met. God is their maker.

the afflicted in the gate); xxii. 23; xxii. 2; xxix. 13; Wisdom of Solomon (Apocrypha),
v. 6 (the sun of righteousness rose not upon us); Malachi iv. 2 (sol justiti in the
Vulgate); Acts iii. 14 (the holy one and the just).]

The rich and the poor have met. God is their light.

They have met: more literally, have stood in each others
way (obviaverunt). That is to say, as long as the world lasts, the
action and counteraction of wealth and poverty, the meeting,
face to face, of rich and poor, is just as appointed and necessary a
law of that world as the flow of stream to sea, or the interchange
of power among the electric clouds:God is their maker. But,
also, this action may be either gentle and just, or convulsive and
destructive: it may be by rage of devouring flood, or by lapse of
serviceable wave;in blackness of thunderstroke, or continual
force of vital fire, soft, and shapeable into love-syllables from far
away. And which of these it shall be, depends on both rich and
poor knowing that God is their light; that in the mystery of
human life, there is no other light than this by which they can see
each others faces, and live;light, which is called in another of
the books among which the merchants maxims have been
preserved, the sun of justice,* of which it is promised that it
shall rise at last with healing (health-giving or helping, making
whole or
* More, accurately, Sun of Justness; but , instead of the harsh word Justness, the
old English Righteousness being commonly employed, has, by getting confused with
godliness, or attracting about it various vague and broken meanings, prevented most
persons from receiving the force of the passage in which it occurs. The word
righteousness properly refers to the justice of rule, or right, as distinguished from
equity, which refers to the justice of balance. More broadly, Righteousness is Kings
justice; and Equity Judges justice; the King guiding or ruling all, the Judge dividing or
discerning between opposites (therefore, the double question, Man, who made me a
rulerdikasthVor a dividermeristhVover you?
) Thus, with respect to the
Justice of Choice (selection, the feebler and passive justice), we have from lego, lex,
legal, loi, and loyal; and with respect to the Justice of Rule (direction, the stronger and
active justice), we have from rego, rex, regal, roi, and royal.

[In the second of these texts Ruskin translates the Vulgate instead of giving the
version in the English Bible. The verses in the Vulgate (Proverbs xxii. 2; xxix. 13) are
Dives et pauper obviaverunt sibi: utriusque operator est Dominus. Pauper et creditor
obviaverunt sibi: utriusque illuminator est Dominus.]
[Luke xii. 14.]
[For these etymologies, compare Munera Pulveris, 113 (below, p. 239), and
Crown of Wild Olive, 109.]

setting at one) in its wings. For truly this healing is only possible
by means of justice; no love, no faith, no hope will do it; men
will be unwisely fondvainly faithful,unless primarily they
are just; and the mistake of the best men through generation after
generation, has been that great one of thinking to help the poor
by almsgiving, and by preaching of patience or of hope, and by
every other means, emollient or consolatory, except the one
thing which God orders for them, justice. But this justice, with
its accompanying holiness or helpfulness, being even by the best
man denied in its trial time, is by the mass of men hated
wherever it appears: so that, when the choice was one day fairly
put to them, they denied the Helpful One
and the Just;* and
desired a murderer, sedition-raiser, and robber, to be granted to
them;the murderer instead of the Lord of Life, the
sedition-raiser instead of the Prince of Peace, and the robber
instead of the Just Judge of all the world.
45. I have just spoken of the flowing of streams to the sea as
a partial image of the action of wealth. In one respect it is not a
partial, but a perfect image. The popular economist thinks
himself wise in having discovered that wealth, or the forms of
property in general, must go where they are required; that where
demand is, supply must follow. He farther declares that this
course of demand and supply cannot be forbidden by human
laws. Precisely in the same sense, and with the same certainty,
the waters of the world go where they are required. Where the
land falls, the water flows. The course neither of clouds nor
rivers can be forbidden by human will. But the disposition and
administration of them can be altered by human forethought.
Whether the stream shall be a curse or a blessing, depends upon
mans labour, and administering intelligence. For
* In another place written with the same meaning, Just, and having salvation.

[For the use here of the word Helpful for Holy, see Modern Painters, vol. v.
(Vol. VII. p. 206); and Munera Pulveris, 101 n. (below, p. 225).]
[Zechariah ix. 9.]

centuries after centuries, great districts of the world, rich in soil,
and favoured in climate, have lain desert under the rage of their
own rivers; nor only desert, but plague-struck.
The stream
which, rightly directed, would have flowed in soft irrigation
from field to fieldwould have purified the air, given food to
man and beast, and carried their burdens for them on its
bosomnow overwhelms the plain and poisons the wind; its
breath pestilence, and its work famine. In like manner this
wealth goes where it is required. No human laws can
withstand its flow. They can only guide it: but this, the leading
trench and limiting mound can do so thoroughly, that it shall
become water of lifethe riches of the hand of wisdom;* or, on
the contrary, by leaving it to its own lawless flow, they may
make it, what it has been too often, the last and deadliest of
national plagues: water of Marah
the water which feeds the
roots of all evil.
The necessity of these laws of distribution or restraint is
curiously overlooked in the ordinary political economists
definition of his own science. He calls it, shortly, the science
of getting rich. But there are many sciences, as well as many
arts, of getting rich. Poisoning people of large estates, was one
employed largely in the Middle Ages; adulteration of food of
people of small estates, is one employed largely now. The
ancient and honourable Highland method of black mail; the
more modern and less honourable system of obtaining goods on
and the other
* Length of days in her right hand; i n her left, riches and honour.

[The subject of inundations, especially in Italy, was presently to occupy much of
Ruskins thought: see in a later volume his lecture on Verona and its Rivers (1870);
the letters to the Daily Telegraph on Roman Inundations (1871), below, pp. 547552;
Munera Pulveris, 147 (below, p. 270); Sesame and Lilies, 129; and Deucalion, ii. ch.
ii. 16.]
[Exodus xv. 23.]
[On the curse of credit, see Time and Tide, 75 and Appendix 6 (below, pp. 382,
472); and compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 26. See also Ruskins circular of 1871 with
regard to the sale of his books (given in the Bibliographical Note to Sesame and Lilies,
Vol. XVIII.).]
[Proverbs iii. 16. Compare A Joy for Ever, 120, where the same verse is quoted
(Vol. XVI. p. 103).]

variously improved methods of appropriationwhich, in major
and minor scales of industry, down to the most artistic
pocket-picking, we owe to recent genius,all come under the
general head of sciences, or arts, of getting rich.
46. So that it is clear the popular economist, in calling his
science the science par excellence of getting rich, must attach
some peculiar ideas of limitation to its character. I hope I do not
misrepresent him, by assuming that he means his science to be
the science of getting rich by legal or just means. In this
definition, is the word just, or legal, finally to stand? For it is
possible among certain nations, or under certain rulers, or by
help of certain advocates, that proceedings may be legal which
are by no means just. If, therefore, we leave at last only the word
just in that place of our definition, the insertion of this solitary
and small word will make a notable difference in the grammar of
our science. For then it will follow that in order to grow rich
scientifically, we must grow rich justly; and, therefore, know
what is just; so that our economy will no longer depend merely
on prudence, but on jurisprudenceand that of divine, not
human law. Which prudence is indeed of no mean order, holding
itself, as it were, high in the air of heaven, and gazing for ever on
the light of the sun of justice; hence the souls which have
excelled in it are represented by Dante as stars forming in heaven
for ever the figure of the eye of an eagle;
they having been in
life the discerners of light from darkness; or to the whole human
race, as the light of the body, which is the eye;
while those souls
which form the wings of the bird (giving power and dominion to
justice, healing in its wings) trace also in light the inscription
who judge the earth, give (not, observe, merely love, but)
diligent love to justice: the love which seeks diligently,
[The references here are to Paradiso, xviii.; the words which the souls trace in
heaven are from the Wisdom of Solomon, i. 1.]
[Matthew vi. 22.]

that is to say, choosingly, and by preference to all things else.
Which judging or doing judgment in the earth is, according to
their capacity and position, required not of judges only, nor of
rulers only, but of all men:* a truth sorrowfully lost sight of even
by those who are ready enough to apply to themselves passages
in which Christian men are spoken of as called to be saints
(i.e., to helpful or healing functions); and chosen to be kings

(i.e., to knowing or directing functions); the true meaning of
these titles having been long lost through the pretences of
unhelpful and unable persons to saintly and kingly character;
also through the once popular idea that both the sanctity and
royalty are to consist in wearing long robes and high crowns,
instead of in mercy and judgment; whereas all true sanctity is
saving power, as all true royalty is ruling power; and injustice is
part and parcel of the denial of such power, which makes men
as the creeping things, as the fishes of the sea, that have no ruler
over them.
47. Absolute justice is indeed no more attainable than
absolute truth; but the righteous man is distinguished from the
unrighteous by his desire and hope of justice, as the true man
from the false by his desire and hope of truth. And though
absolute justice be unattainable, as much justice
* I hear that several of our lawyers have been greatly amused by the st atement in
the first of these papers that a lawyers function was to do justice.
I did not intend it for
a jest; nevertheless it will be seen that in the above passage neither the determination
nor doing of justice are contemplated as functions wholly peculiar to the lawyer.
Possibly, the more our standing armies, whether of soldiers, pastors, or legislators (the
generic term pastor including all teachers, and the generic term lawyer including
makers as well as interpreters of law), can be superseded by the force of national
heroism, wisdom, and, honesty, the better it may be for the nation.
It being the privilege of the fishes, as it is of rats and wolves, to live by the laws
of demand and supply; but the distinction of humanity, to live by those of right.

[The Bible references here and in the following lines are to Romans i. 7; Revelation
i. 6 (made us kings); Psalms ci. 1; and Habakkuk i. 14.]
[See above, p. 39. For a later reference to this passage, significant of all my future
work, see Fors Clavigera, Letter 75.]

as we need for all practical use is attainable by all those who
make it their aim.
We have to examine, then, in the subject before us, what are
the laws of justice respecting payment of labourno small part,
these, of the foundations of all jurisprudence.
I reduced, in my last paper, the idea of money payment to its
simplest or radical terms.
In those terms its nature, and the
conditions of justice respecting it, can be best ascertained.
Money payment, as there stated, consists radically in a
promise to some person working for us, that for the time and
labour he spends in our service to-day we will give or procure
equivalent time and labour in his service at any future time when
he may demand it.*
If we promise to give him less labour than he has given us,
we under-pay him. If we promise to give him more labour than
he has given us, we over-pay him. In practice, according to the
laws of demand and supply, when two men are ready to do the
work, and only one man wants to have it done, the two men
underbid each other for it; and the one who gets it to do, is
under-paid. But when two men want the work done, and there is
only one man ready to do it, the two men who want it done
overbid each other, and the workman is over-paid.
48. I will examine these two points of injustice in succession;
but first I wish the reader to clearly understand
* It might appear at first that the market price of labour expressed such an
exchange: but this is a fallacy, for the market price is the momentary price of the kind
of labour required, but the just price is its equivalent of the productive labour of
mankind. This difference will be analyzed in its place.
It must be noted also that I
speak here only of the exchangeable value of labour, not of that of commodities. The
exchangeable value of a commodity is that of the labour required to produce it,
multiplied into the force of the demand for it. If the value of the labour=x and the force
of demand=y, the exchangeable value of the commodity is xy, in which if either x=0, or
y=0, xy=0.

[See above, 34 n., p. 50.]
[Touched upon in 70, but not fully analyzed.]

the central principle, lying between the two, of right or just
When we ask a service of any man, he may either give it us
freely, or demand payment for it. Respecting free gift of service,
there is no question at present, that being a matter of
affectionnot of traffic. But if he demand payment for it, and
we wish to treat him with absolute equity, it is evident that this
equity can only consist in giving time for time, strength for
strength, and skill for skill. If a man works an hour for us, and we
only promise to work half an hour for him in return, we obtain an
unjust advantage. If, on the contrary, we promise to work an
hour and a half for him in return, he has an unjust advantage. The
justice consists in absolute exchange; or, if there be any respect
to the stations of the parties, it will not be in favour of the
employer: there is certainly no equitable reason in a mans being
poor, that if he give me a pound of bread to-day, I should return
him less than a pound of bread to-morrow; or any equitable
reason in a mans being uneducated, that if he uses a certain
quantity of skill and knowledge in my service, I should use a less
quantity of skill and knowledge in his. Perhaps, ultimately, it
may appear desirable, or, to say the least, gracious, that I should
give in return somewhat more than I received. But at present, we
are concerned on the law of justice only, which is that of perfect
and accurate exchange;one circumstance only interfering with
the simplicity of this radical idea of just paymentthat
inasmuch as labour (rightly directed) is fruitful just as seed is,
the fruit (or interest, as it is called) of the labour first given, or
advanced, ought to be taken into account, and balanced by an
additional quantity of labour in the subsequent repayment.
Supposing the repayment to take place at the end of the year, or
of any other given time, this calculation could be approximately
made, but as money (that is to say, cash) payment involves no
reference to time (it being optional with the person paid to spend
what he receives at once or after

any number of years), we can only assume, generally, that some
slight advantage must in equity be allowed to the person who
advances the labour, so that the typical form of bargain will be:
If you give me an hour to-day, I will give you an hour and five
minutes on demand. If you give me a pound of bread to-day, I
will give you seventeen
ounces on demand, and so on. All that
is necessary for the reader to note is, that the amount returned is
at least in equity not to be less than the amount given.
The abstract idea, then, of just or due wages, as respects the
labourer, is that they will consist in a sum of money which will at
any time procure for him at least as much labour as he has given,
rather more than less. And this equity or justice of payment is,
observe, wholly independent of any reference to the number of
men who are willing to do the work. I want a horseshoe for my
horse. Twenty smiths, or twenty thousand smiths, may be ready
to forge it; their number does not in one atoms weight affect the
question of the equitable payment of the one who does forge it. It
costs him a quarter of an hour of his life, and so much skill and
strength of arm, to make that horseshoe for me. Then at some
future time I am bound in equity to give a quarter of an hour, and
some minutes more, of my life (or of some other persons at my
disposal), and also as much strength of arm and skill, and a little
more, in making or doing what the smith may have need of.
49. Such being the abstract theory of just remunerative
payment, its application is practically modified by the fact that
the order for labour, given in payment, is general, while the
labour received is special. The current coin or document is
practically an order on the nation for so much work of any kind;
and this universal applicability to immediate need renders it so
much more valuable than special labour can be, that an order for
a less quantity of this general toil will always be accepted as a
just equivalent for a greater quantity of special toil. Any given
craftsman will
[In the Cornhill Magazine, thirteen.]

always be willing to give an hour of his own work in order to
receive command over half an hour, or even much less, of
national work. This source of uncertainty, together with the
difficulty of determining the monetary value of skill,* render the
ascertainment (even approximate) of the proper wages of any
given labour in terms of a currency, matter of considerable
complexity. But they do not affect the principle of exchange.
The worth of the work may not be easily
* Under the term skill I mean to include the united force of experience, intellect,
and passion, in their operation on manual labour: and under the term passion to
include the entire range and agency of the moral feelings; from the simple patience and
gentleness of mind which will give continuity and fineness to the touch, or enable one
person to work without fatigue, and with good effect, twice as long as another, up to the
qualities of character which render science possible(the retardation of science by
envy is one of the most tremendous losses in the economy of the present century
to the incommunicable emotion and imagination which are the first and mightiest
sources of all value in art.
It is highly singular that political economists should not yet have perceived, if not
the moral, at least the passionate element, to be an inextricable quantity in every
calculation. I cannot conceive, for instance, how it was possible that Mr. Mill should
have followed the true clue so far as to write,No limit can be set to the
importanceeven in a purely productive and and material point of viewof mere
thought, without seeing that it was logically necessary to add also, and of mere
feeling. And this the more, because in his first definition of labour he includes in the
idea of it all feelings of a disagreeable kind connected with the employment of ones
thoughts in a particular occupation.
True; but why not also, feelings of an agreeable
kind? It can hardly be supposed that the feelings which retard labour are more
essentially a part of the labour than those which accelerate it. The first are paid for as
pain, the second as power. The workman is merely indemnified for the first; but the
second both produce a part of the exchangeable value of the work, and materially
increase its actual quantity.
Fritz is with us. He is worth fifty thousand men. Truly, a large addition to the
material force;consisting, however, be it observed, not more in operations carried on
in Fritzs head, than in operations carried on in his armies heart. No limit can be set to
the importance of mere thought. Perhaps not! Nay, suppose some day it should turn out
that mere thought was in itself a recommendable object of production, and that all
Material production was only a step towards this more precious Immaterial one?

[A constant theme with Ruskin; compare Two Paths, 139 (Vol. XVI. p. 374).]
[Mills first definition of labour is in the Principles of Political Economy, book
i. ch. i. 1. Ruskin in his copy of the book had written in the margin the criticism here
made upon the passage. The later quotation is from book i. ch.ii. 8.]

known; but it has a worth, just as fixed and real as the specific
gravity of a substance, though such specific gravity may not be
easily ascertainable when the substance is united with many
others. Nor is there so much difficulty or chance in determining
it, as in determining the ordinary maxima and minima of vulgar
political economy. There are few bargains in which the buyer
can ascertain with anything like precision that the seller would
have taken no less;or the seller acquire more than a
comfortable faith that the purchaser would have given no more.
This impossibility of precise knowledge prevents neither from
striving to attain the desired point of greatest vexation and injury
to the other, nor from accepting it for a scientific principle that
he is to buy for the least and sell for the most possible, though
what the real least or most may be he cannot tell. In like manner,
a just person lays it down for a scientific principle that he is to
pay a just price, and, without being able precisely to ascertain the
limits of such a price, will nevertheless strive to attain the closest
possible approximation to them. A practically serviceable
approximation he can obtain. It is easier to determine
scientifically what a man ought to have for his work, than what
his necessities will compel him to take for it. His necessities can
only be ascertained by empirical, but his due by analytical,
investigation. In the one case, you try your answer to the sum
like a puzzled schoolboytill you find one that fits; in the other,
you bring out your result within certain limits, by process of
50. Supposing, then, the just wages of any quantity of given
labour to have been ascertained, let us examine the first results of
just and unjust payment, when in favour of the purchaser or
employer: i.e., when two men are ready to do the work, and only
one wants to have it done.
The unjust purchaser forces the two to bid against each other
till he has reduced their demand to its lowest terms. Let us
assume that the lowest bidder offers to do the work at half its just

The purchaser employs him, and does not employ the other.
The first or apparent result is, therefore, that one of the two men
is left out of employ, or to starvation, just as definitely as by the
just procedure of giving fair price to the best workman. The
various writers who endeavoured to invalidate the positions of
my first paper
never saw this, and assumed that the unjust hirer
employed both. He employs both no more than the just hirer.
The only difference (in the outset) is that the just man pays
sufficiently, the unjust man insufficiently, for the labour of the
single person employed.
I say, in the outset; for this first or apparent difference is
not the actual difference. By the unjust procedure, half the
proper price of the work is left in the hands of the employer. This
enables him to hire another man at the same unjust rate, on some
other kind of work; and the final result is that he has two men
working for him at half-price, and two are out of employ.
51. By the just procedure, the whole price of the first piece of
work goes into the hands of the man who does it. No surplus
being left in the employers hands, he cannot hire another man
for another piece of labour. But by precisely so much as his
power is diminished, the hired workmans power is increased:
that is to say, by the additional half he has the power of using to
employ another man in his service. I will suppose, for the
moment, the least favourable, though quite probable, casethat,
though justly treated himself, he yet will act unjustly to his
subordinate; and hire at half-price if he can. The final result will
then be, that one man works for the employer, at just price; one
for the workman, at half-price; and two, as in the first case, are
still out of employ. These two, as I said before, are out of employ
in both cases. The difference between the just and unjust
procedure does not lie
[The assumption is made, for instance, by the writer of a long leading article in the
Scotsman of August 9, 1860.]

in the number of men hired, but in the price paid to them, and the
persons by whom it is paid. The essential difference, that which I
want the reader to see clearly, is, that in the unjust case, two men
work for one, the first hirer, In the just case, one man works for
the first hirer, one for the person hired, and so on, down or up
through the various grades of service; the influence being carried
forward by justice, and arrested by injustice. The universal and
constant action of justice in this matter is therefore to diminish
the power of wealth, in the hands of one individual, over masses
of men, and to distribute it through a chain of men. The actual
power exerted by the wealth is the same in both cases; but by
injustice it is put all into one mans hands, so that he directs at
once and with equal force the labour of a circle of men about
him; by the just procedure, he is permitted to touch the nearest
only, through whom, with diminished force, modified by new
minds, the energy of the wealth passes on to others, and so till it
exhausts itself.
52. The immediate operation of justice in this respect is
therefore to diminish the power of wealth, first, in acquisition of
luxury, and secondly, in exercise of moral influence. The
employer cannot concentrate so multitudinous labour on his own
interests, nor can he subdue so multitudinous mind to his own
will. But the secondary operation of justice is not less important.
The insufficient payment of the group of men working for one,
places each under a maximum of difficulty in rising above his
position. The tendency of the system is to check advancement.
But the sufficient or just payment, distributed through a
descending series of offices or grades of labour,* gives each
subordinated person fair
* I am sorry to lose time by answering, however curtly, the equivocations of the
writers who sought to obscure the instances given of regulated labour in the first of
these papers,
by confusing kinds, ranks, and quantities of labour with its qualities. I
never said that a colonel should have the same pay as a private, nor a bishop the same
pay as a curate. Neither

[A sample of this kind of criticism also may be found in the Scotsman of August 9,
1860, where the writer asks if Mr. Ruskin supposes that a curates wages are, or ought to
be, the same as a bishops, etc., etc.]

and sufficient means of rising in the social scale, if he chooses to
use them; and thus not only diminishes the immediate power of
wealth, but removes the worst disabilities of poverty.
53. It is on this vital problem that the entire destiny of the
labourer is ultimately dependent. Many minor interests may
sometimes appear to interfere with it, but all branch from it. For
instance, considerable agitation is often caused in the minds of
the lower classes when they discover the share which they
nominally, and to all appearance, actually, pay out of their wages
in taxation (I believe thirty-five or forty per cent.
). This sounds
very grievous; but in reality the labourer does not pay it, but his
employer. If the workman had not to pay it, his wages would be
less by just that sum; competition would still reduce them to the

did I say that more work ought to be paid as less work (so that the curate of a parish of
two thousand souls should have no more t han the curate of a parish of five hundred). But
I said that, so far as you employ it at all, bad work should be paid no less than good work;
as a bad clergyman yet takes his tithes, a bad physician takes his fee, and a bad lawyer
his costs. And this, as will be farther shown in the conclusion, I said, and say, partly
because the best work never was, nor ever will be, done for money at all;
but chiefly
because, the moment people know they have to pay the bad and good alike, they will try
to discern the one from the other, and not use the bad. A sagacious writer in the
asks me if I should like any common scribbler to be paid by Messrs. Smith,
Elder and Co. as their good authors are. I should, if they employed himbut would
seriously recommend them, for the scribblers sake as well as their own, not to employ
him. The quantity of its money which the country at present invests in scribbling is not,
in the outcome of it, economically spent; and even the highly ingenious person to whom
this question occurred, might perhaps have been more beneficially employed than in
printing it.

[The calculation refers, it should be noted, not to the share of their wages which
they pay in taxation, but to the share of the total taxation which is derived from their
wages. It has been calculated that an average working-class income is at the present time
taxed 6.9 per cent; an income of 200, 4.6; an income of 500, 7.0 (see the figures in
Liberalism, by Herbert Samuel, 1902, p. 190). The proportion of indirect taxation
(mostly paid by the working classes) to direct was at least 40 per cent.]
[See below, p. 515 n., where references are given to other statements of this
[In the leading article on August 9, 1860: Would Mr. Ruskin himself think it fair
were Messrs. Smith & Elder to pay no more per page to him, a man of genius and
reputation, than to the rawest scribbler that ever spoilt foolscap?]

rate at which life was possible. Similarly the lower orders
agitated for the repeal of the corn laws,* thinking they would be
better off if bread were cheaper; never perceiving that as soon as
bread was permanently cheaper, wages would permanently fall
in precisely that proportion. The corn laws were rightly repealed;
not, however, because they directly oppressed oppressed the
poor, but because they indirectly oppressed them in causing a
large quantity of their labour to be consumed unproductively. So
also unnecessary taxation
* I have to acknowledge an interesting communication on the subject of free trade
from Paisley (for a short letter from A Well -wisher at, my thanks are yet more
due). But the Scottish writer will, I fear, be disagreeably surprised to hear, that I am,
and always have been, an utterly fearless and unscrupulous free-trader. Seven years
ago, speaking of the various signs of infancy in the European mind ( Stones of Venice,
vol. iii., p. 168
), I wrote: The first principles of commerce were acknowledged by the
English parliament only a few months ago, in its free-trade measures, and are still so
little understood by the million, that no nation dares to abolish its custom-houses.
It will be observed that I do not admit even the idea of reciprocity. Let other nations,
if they like, keep their ports shut; every wise nation will t hrow its own open. It is not the
opening them, but a sudden, inconsiderate, and blunderingly experimental manner of
opening them, which does harm. If you have been protecting a manufacture for a long
series of years, you must not take the protection off in a moment, so as to throw every
one of its operatives at once out of employ, any more than you must take all its
wrappings off a feeble child at once in cold weather, though the cumber of them may
have been radically injuring its health. Little by little, you must restore it to freedom and
to air.
Most peoples minds are in curious confusion on the subject of free-trade, because
they suppose it to imply enlarged competition. On the contrary, free-trade puts an end to
all competition. Protection (among various) other mischievous functions) endeavours
to enable one country to compete with another in the production of an article at a
disadvantage. When trade is entirely free, no country can be competed with in articles
for the production of which it is naturally calculated; nor can it compete with any other,
in the production of articles for which it is not naturally calculated. Tuscany, for
instance, cannot compete with England in steel, nor England with Tuscany in oil. They
must exchange their steel and oil. Which exchange should be as frank and free as
honesty and the sea-winds can make it. Competition, indeed, arises at first, and sharply,
in order to prove which is strongest in any given manufacture possible to both; this point
once ascertained, competition is at an end.

[In this edition, Vol. XI. p. 198; and compare Vol. XII. pp. 596597.]

oppresses them, through destruction of capital; but the destiny of
the poor depends primarily always on this one question of
dueness of wages. Their distress (irrespectively of that caused by
sloth, minor error, or crime) arises on the grand scale from the
two reacting forces of competition and oppression. There is not
yet, nor will yet for ages be, any real over-population in the
world; but a local over-population, or, more accurately, a degree
of population locally unmanageable under existing
circumstances for want of fore-thought and sufficient
machinery, necessarily shows itself by pressure of competition;
and the taking advantage of this competition by the purchaser to
obtain their labour unjustly cheap, consummates at once their
suffering and his own; for in this (as I believe in every other kind
of slavery) the oppressor suffers at last more than the oppressed,
and those magnificent lines of Pope, even in all their force, fall
short of the truth:

Yet, to be just to these poor men of pelf,
Damned to the mines, an equal fate betides
The slave that digs it, and the slave that hides.

54. The collateral and reversionary operations of justice in
this matter I shall examine hereafter
(it being needful first to
define the nature of value); proceeding then to consider within
what practical terms a juster system may be established; and
ultimately the vexed question of the destinies of the unemployed
workmen.* Lest, however, the
* I should be glad if the reader would first clear the ground for himself so far as to
determine whether the difficulty lies in getting the work or getting the pay for i t. Does
he consider occupation itself to be an expensive luxury, difficult of attainment, of
which too little is to be found in the world? or is it rather that, while in the enjoyment
even of the most athletic delight,

[Moral Essays: Epistle iii., To Allen, Lord Bathurst, on the Use of Riches. Lines
107110. Ruskin quotes from the same epistle below, 65 (p. 89), and in Munera
Pulveris, 77 (p. 200).]
[A reference to the intended continuation of the papers. The MS. reads: I shall
examine in following papers (having already exceeded the due limits of this),
proceeding afterwards to consider the various means by which a system may be
established, and then the vexed question . . .]

reader should be alarmed at some of the issues to which our
investigations seem to be tending, as if in their bearing against
the power of wealth they had something in common with those
of socialism,
I wish him to know, in accurate terms, one or two
of the main points which I have in view.
Whether socialism has made more progress among the army
and navy (where payment is made on my principles), or among
the manufacturing operatives (who are paid on my opponents
principles), I leave it to those opponents to ascertain and declare.
Whatever their conclusion may be, I think it necessary to answer
for myself only this: that if there be any one point insisted on
throughout my works more frequently than another, that one
point is the impossibility of Equality.
My continual aim has
been to show the eternal superiority of some men to others,
sometimes even of one man to all others; and to show also the
advisability of appointing such persons or person to guide, to
lead, or on occasion even to compel and subdue, their inferiors
according to their own better knowledge and wiser will. My
principles of Political Economy were all involved

men must nevertheless be maintained, and this maintenance is not always forthcoming?
We must be clear on this head before going farther, as most people are loosely in the
habit of talking of the difficulty of finding employment. Is it employment that we want
to find, or support during employment? Is it idleness we wish to put an end to, or hunger?
We have to take up both questions in succession, only not both at the same time. No
doubt that work is a luxury, and a very great one. It is, indeed, at once a luxury and a
necessity; no man can retain either health of mind or body without it. So profoundly do
I feel this, that, as will be seen in the sequel,
one of the principal objects I would
recommend to benevolent and practical persons, is to induce rich people to seek for a
larger quantity of this luxury than they at present possess. Nevertheless, it appears by
experience that even this healthiest of pleasures may be indulged in to excess, and that
human beings are just as liable to surfeit of labour as to surfeit of meat; so that, as on the
one hand, it may be charitable to provide, for some people, lighter dinner, and more
work,for others, it may be equally expedient to provide li ghter work, and more dinner.

[Compare 79 n.; below, p. 107.]
[See, for instance, Vol. VIII. p. 167, and Vol. XI. p. 262.]
[A reference to the intended, but unwritten, continuation of the papers; see,
however, the lecture on Work in the Crown of Wild Olive (Vol. XVIII.), and compare
Munera Pulveris, 149 (below, p. 272).]

in a single phrase spoken three years ago at Manchester:
Soldiers of the Ploughshare as well as Soldiers of the Sword:

and they were all summed in a single sentence in the last volume
of Modern PaintersGovernment and co-operation are in all
things the Laws of Life; Anarchy and competition the Laws of

And with respect to the mode in which these general
principles affect the secure possession of property, so far am I
from invalidating such security, that the whole gist of these
papers will be found ultimately to aim at an extension in its
range; and whereas it has long been known and declared that the
poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be
known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of
the poor.
55. But that the working of the system which I have
undertaken to develop would in many ways shorten the apparent
and direct, though not the unseen and collateral, power, both of
wealth, as the Lady of Pleasure, and of capital as the Lord of
Toil, I do not deny: on the contrary, I affirm it in all joyfulness;
knowing that the attraction of riches is already too strong, as
their authority is already too weighty, for the reason of mankind.
I said in my last paper
that nothing in history had ever been so
disgraceful to human intellect as the acceptance among us of the
common doctrines of political economy as a science. I have
many grounds for saying this, but one of the chief may be given
in few words. I know no previous instance in history of a
nations establishing a systematic disobedience to the first
principles of its professed religion. The writings which we
(verbally) esteem as divine, not only denounce the love of
money as the source of all evil,
and as an
[A joy for Ever, 15 (Vol. XVI. p. 26); and see above (Preface, 6), p. 22.
[Part viii. ch. i. 6 (Vol. VII. p. 207).]
[Really in the first paper: see 1; above, p. 25.]
[I Timothy vi. 10; Matthew vi. 24. For other references by Ruskin, in a similar
sense, to the modern attitude towards the Bible, see Two Paths, 178 n. (Vol. XVI. p.
397); Vol. VI. p. 458; Time and Tide, 34 (below, p. 348); and Crown of Wild Olive,

idolatry abhorred of the Deity, but declare mammon service to
be the accurate and irreconcileable opposite of Gods service:
and, whenever they speak of riches absolute, and poverty
absolute, declare woe to the rich, and blessing to the poor.
Whereupon we forthwith investigate a science of becoming rich,
as the shortest road to national prosperity.

Tai Cristian danner IEtipe,
Quando si partiranno i due collegi,

[Paradiso, xix. 109. In Carys translation:
Christians like these the thiop shall condemn,
When that the two assemblages shall part,
One rich eternally, the other poor.
Dantes reference in the first line is to Matthew xii. 41 : The men of Nineveh shall rise
in judgment with this generation, and condemn it.]

56. IN the last paper we saw
that just payment of labour
consisted in a sum of money which would approximately obtain
equivalent labour at a future time: we have now to examine the
means of obtaining such equivalence. Which question involves
the definition of Value, Wealth, Price, and Produce.
None of these terms are yet defined so as to be understood by
the public.
But the last, Produce, which one might have thought
the clearest of all, is, in use, the most ambiguous; and the
examination of the kind of ambiguity attendant on its present
employment will best open the way to our work.
In his chapter on Capital,* Mr. J. S. Mill instances, as a
capitalist, a hardware manufacturer, who, having intended to
spend a certain portion of the proceeds of his business in buying
plate and jewels, changes his mind, and pays it as wages to
additional workpeople. The effect is stated by
* Book I. chap. iv. s. 1. To save space, my future references to Mr. Mills work will
be by numberals only, as in this instance, I. iv. 1. Ed. in 2 vols. 8vo, Parker, 1848.

[See 47, p. 64.]
[The MS. continues:
Most persons confuse the value of a thing with its price (which is as though
they should estimate the healing powers of a medicine by the charge of the
apothecary); confuse the wealth (or the possessions which constitute the
well-being of an individual) with riches (or the possessions which constitute
power over others); and, finally, confuse production, or profit, which is an
increase of the possessions of the world, with Acquisition or Gain, which is an
increase of the possessions of one person by the diminution of those of another.
This last word, production, indeed, which one might . . .]

Mr. Mill to be, that more food is appropriated to the
consumption of productive labourers.

57. Now I do not ask, though, had I written this paragraph, it
would surely have been asked of me, What is to become of the
silversmiths? If they are truly unproductive persons, we will
acquiesce in their extinction. And though in another part of the
same passage, the hardware merchant is supposed also to
dispense with a number of servants, whose food is thus set free
for productive purposes, I do not inquire what will be the effect,
painful or otherwise, upon the servants, of this emancipation of
their food. But I very seriously inquire why ironware is produce,
and silverware is not?
. That the merchant consumes the one,
and sells the other, certainly does not constitute the difference,
unless it can be shown (which, indeed, I perceive it to be
becoming daily more and more the aim of tradesmen to show)
that commodities are made to be sold, and not to be consumed.
The merchant is an agent of conveyance to the consumer in one
case, and is himself the consumer in the other:* but the labourers
are in either case equally productive, since they have produced
goods to the same value, if the hardware and the plate are both
* If Mr. Mill had wished to show the difference in result between consumption and
sale, he should have represented the hardware merchant as consuming his own goods
instead of selling them; similarly, the silver merchant as consuming his own goods
instead of selling them. Had he done this, he would have made his position clearer,
though less tenable; and perhaps this was the position he really intended to take, tacitly
involving his theory, elsewhere stated, and shown in the sequel of this paper to be
false,3 that demand for commodities is not demand for labour. But by the most diligent
scrutiny of the paragraph two under examination, I cannot determine whether it is a
fallacy pure and simple, or the half of one fallacy supported by the whole of a greater
one; so that I treat it here on the kinder assumption that it is one fallacy only.

[See below, 76, p. 102 and n.]
[In his copy of Mill, against the passage about buying plate and jewels, Ruskin
wrote in the margin: It is a very curious fact to see that no art is supposed to be involved
in producing plate, in the mind of so enlightened an economist as Mr. Mill.]
[See again, below, 76, p. 102.]

And what distinction separates them? It is indeed possible
that in the comparative estimate of the moralist, with which
Mr. Mill says political economy has nothing to do (III. i. 2), a
steel fork might appear a more substantial production than a
silver one: we may grant also that knives, no less than forks, are
good produce; and scythes and ploughshares serviceable
articles. But, how of bayonets? Supposing the hardware
merchant to effect large sales of these, by help of the setting
free of the food of his servants and his silversmith,is he still
employing productive labourers, or, in Mr. Mills words,
labourers who increase the stock of permanent means of
enjoyment (I. iii. 4)? Or if, instead of bayonets, he supply
bombs, will not the absolute and final enjoyment of even these
energetically productive articles (each of which costs ten
pounds*) be dependent on a proper choice of time and place for
their enfantement; choice, that is to say, depending on those
philosophical considerations with which political economy has
nothing to do?
58. I should have regretted the need of pointing out
inconsistency in any portion of Mr. Mills work, had not the
value of his work proceeded from its inconsistencies. He
deserves honour among economists by inadvertently
disclaiming the principles which he states, and tacitly
introducing the moral considerations with which he declares his
science has no connection. Many of his chapters are, therefore,
true and valuable; and the only conclusions of his which I have
to dispute are those which follow from his premises.
* I take Mr. Helps estimate in his essay on War.

Also, when the wrought silver vases of Spain were dashed to fragments by our
custom-house officers because bullion might be imported free of duty, but not brains,
was the axe that broke them productive?the artist who wrought them unproductive?
Or again. If the woodmans axe is productive, is the executioners? as also, if the hemp
of a cable be productive, does not the productiveness of hemp in a halter depend on its
moral more than on its material application?

[In Friends in Council, New Series, 1859.]

Thus, the idea which lies at the root of the passage we have
just been examining, namely, that labour applied to produce
luxuries will not support so many persons as labour applied to
produce useful articles, is entirely true; but the instance given
failsand in four directions of failure at oncebecause Mr.
Mill has not defined the real meaning of usefulness. The
definition which he has givencapacity to satisfy a desire, or
serve a purpose (III. i. 2)applies equally to the iron and
silver; while the true definitionwhich he has not given, but
which nevertheless underlies the false verbal definition in his
mind, and comes out once or twice by accident (as in the words
any support to life or strength in I. iii. 5)applies to some
articles of iron, but not to others, and to some articles of silver,
but not to others. It applies to ploughs, but not to bayonets; and
to forks, but not to filigree.*
59. The eliciting of the true definitions will give us the reply
to our first question, What is value? respecting which,
however, we must first hear the popular statements.
The word value, when used without adjunct, always
means, in political economy, value in exchange (Mill, III. i. 2).
So that, if two ships cannot exchange their rudders, their rudders
are, in politico-economic language, of no value to either.
But the subject of political economy is
wealth.(Preliminary remarks, page 1.)
And wealth consists of all useful and agreeable objects
which possess exchangeable value.(Preliminary remarks,
page 10.)
It appears, then, according to Mr. Mill, that usefulness and
agreeableness underlie the exchange value, and must be
ascertained to exist in the thing, before we can esteem it an
object of wealth.
Now, the economical usefulness of a thing depends not
* Filigree; that is to say, generally, ornament dependent on complexity, not on art.

merely on its own nature, but on the number of people who can
and will use it. A horse is useless, and therefore unsaleable, if no
one can ride,a sword, if no one can strike, and meat, if no one
can eat. Thus every material utility depends on its relative
human capacity.
Similarly: The agreeableness of a thing depends not merely
on its own likeableness, but on the number of people who can be
got to like it. The relative agreeableness, and therefore
saleableness, of a pot of the smallest ale, and of Adonis
painted by a running brook, depends virtually on the opinion of
Demos, in the shape of Christopher Sly.
That is to say, the
agreeableness of a thing depends on its relatively human
disposition.* Therefore, political economy, being a science of
wealth, must be a science respecting human capacities and
dispositions. But moral considerations have nothing to do with
political economy (III. i. 2). Therefore, moral considerations
have nothing to do with human capacities and dispositions.
60. I do not wholly like the look of this conclusion from Mr.
Mills statements:let us try Mr. Ricardos.

* These statements sound crude in their brevity; but will be found of the utmost
importance when they are developed. Thus, in the above instance, economists have
never perceived that disposition to buy is a wholly moral element in demand: that is to
say, when you give a man half a crown, it depends on his disposition whether he is rich
or poor with itwhether he will buy disease, ruin, and hatred, or buy health,
advancement, and domestic love. And thus the agreeableness or exchange value of
every offered commodity depends on production, not merely of the commodity, but of
buyers of it; therefore on the education of buyers, and on all the moral elements by
which their disposition to buy this, or that, is formed. I will illustrate and expand into
final consequences every one of these definitions in its place: at present they can only
be given with extremest brevity; for in order to put the subject at once in a connected
form before the reader, I have thrown into one, the opening definitions of four chapters:
namely, of that on Value (Ad Valorem); on Price (Thirty Pieces); on Production
(Demeter); and on Economy (The Law of the House).

[Taming of the Shrew: Induction, sc. ii.]
[Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. ]
[Again a reference to the intended continuation of the book. Compare 77, 84 n.]

Utility is not the measure of exchangeable value, though it
is absolutely essential to it.(Chap. I. sect. i.) Essential in what
degree, Mr. Ricardo? There may be greater and less degrees of
Meat, for instance, may be so good as to be fit for any
one to eat, or so bad as to be fit for no one to eat. What is the
exact degree of goodness which is essential to its
exchangeable value, but not the measure of it? How good must
the meat be, in order to possess any exchangeable value? and
how bad must it be(I wish this were a settled question in
London markets)in order to possess none?
There appears to be some hitch, I think, in the working even
of Mr. Ricardos principles; but let him take his own example.
Suppose that in the early stages of society the bows and arrows
of the hunter were of equal value with the implements of the
fisherman. Under such circumstances the value of the deer, the
produce of the hunters days labour, would be exactly (italics
mine) equal to the value of the fish, the product of the
fishermans days labour. The comparative value of the fish and
game would be entirely regulated by the quantity of labour
realized in each. (Ricardo, chap. iii. On Value.)
Indeed! Therefore, if the fisherman catches one sprat, and
the huntsman one deer, one sprat will be equal in value to one
deer; but if the fisherman catches no sprat and the huntsman two
deer, no sprat will be equal in value to two deer?
Nay; butMr. Ricardos supporters may sayhe means, on
an average;if the average product of a days work of fisher and
hunter be one fish and one deer, the one fish will always be equal
in value to the one deer.
[In his first draft Ruskin took a different illust ration, thus:
You may have a bad pen, which yet may serve; or a good one, which will
serve better; and a blunt penknife, which will mend it; or a sharp one, which will
mend it quicker. Now, what is the exact degree of utility which is essential to
exchangeable value, but not the measure of it? How sharp must the knife be, in
order to possess any exchangeable value? and how blunt must it be, in order to
possess none? There appears to be some hitch . . .]

Might I inquire the species of fish? Whale? or white-bait?*
It would be waste of time to pursue these fallacies farther; we
will seek for a true definition.
61. Much store has been set for centuries upon the use of our
English classical education. It were to be wished that our
well-educated merchants recalled to mind always this much of
their Latin schooling,that the nominative
* Perhaps it may be said, in farther support of Mr. Ricardo, that he meant, when
the utility is constant or given, the price varies as the quantity of labour. If he meant
this, he should have said it; but, had he meant it, he could have hardly missed the
necessary result, that utility would be one measure of price (which he expressly denies
it to be); and that, to prove saleableness, he had to prove a given quantity of utility, as
well as a given quantity of labour; to wit, in his own instance, that the deer and fish
would each feed the same number of men, for the same number of days, with equal
pleasure to their palates. The fact is, he did not know what he meant himself. The
general idea which he had derived from commercial experience, without being able to
analyze it, was that when the demand is constant, the price varies as the quantity of
labour required for production; or, using the formula I gave in last pa per
when y is
constant, xy varies as x. But demand never is nor can be ultimately constant, if x varies

[See above, 47 n., p. 64. In the MS. this note is different and longer, thus:
Without entering into any of the subtle conditions of price, I will expand
and apply in a single instance the formula I gave in my last paper (if x=the
quantity of labour required for production and y=force of demand, the
price=xy). I will take the instance, chosen by Mr. de Quincey in his Templars
letters, of Hat Making, carrying it, however, a little further.
Case I. Let the population of England be supposed constant, and suppose
that they positively require a certain number of hats every year, but that beavers
are in plenty one year and easily caught, the next year rare. The price of hats
will vary as the quantity of labour required to catch the beavers. y is invariable;
xy varies as x (Ricardos rule).
Case II. The demand for hats is complicated with a demand for pheasants
feathers in them, which demand, depending on the imaginations of young ladies
and their lovers, is liable to inconstancy, and the encouragement to poaching
co-relatively inconstant. x and y are both variable; xy doubly variablegreatest
at the west end of the town.
Case III. The demand for pheasants feathers expiring, English
manufacturers invest a fixed amount of capital in hat making. But a sudden
improvement taking place in the taste of the world, the Turks and Chinese
resolve to wear nothing but English-made hats. The monarchs of Europe are in
consequence reduced to wear hats only on state occasions, and keep their
hat-boxes in their treasuries. x is invariable; xy varies as y.
Case IV. Taste retrograding more rapidly than it had advanced, the world
resolves to go bareheaded. The hatters stocks in trade are employed for
scarecrows. y=0; xy=0.
Case V. The world having caught cold, and wanting something on its head
again, impoverished by its former enthusiasm for hats, and wanting

of valorem (a word already sufficiently familiar to them) is
valor; a word which, therefore, ought to be familiar to them.
Valor, from valere, to be well or strong (ugiainw);strong, in
life (if a man), or valiant; strong, for life (if a thing), or valuable.
To be valuable, therefore, is to avail towards life. A truly
valuable or availing thing is that which leads to life with its
whole strength. In proportion as it does not lead to life, or as its
strength is broken, it is less valuable; in proportion as it leads
away from life, it is unvaluable or malignant.

for, as price rises, consumers fall away; and as soon as there is a monopoly (and all
scarcity is a form of monopoly, so that every commodity is affected occasionally by
some colour of monopoly), y becomes the most influential condition of the price. Thus
the price of a painting depends less on its merit than on the interest taken in it by the
public; the price of singing less on the labour of the singer than the number of persons
who desire to hear him; and the price of gold less on the scarcity which affects it in
common with cerium or iridium, than on the sunlight colour and unalterable purity by
which it attracts the admiration and answers the trust of mankind.
It must be kept in mind, however, that I use the word demand in a somewhat
different sense from economists usually. They mean by it the quantity of a thing sold.
I mean by it the force of the buyers capable intention to buy. In good English, a
persons demand signifies, not what he gets, but what he asks for.
Economists also do not notice that objects are not valued by absolute bulk or weight,
but by such bulk and weight as is necessary to bring them into use. They say, for
instance, that water bears no price in the market. It is true that a cupful does not, but a
lake does; just as a handful of dust does not, but an acre does. And were it possible to
make even the possession of a cupful or handful permanent (i.e., to find a place for
them), the earth and sea would be bought up by handfuls and cupfuls.

something less expensive, weaves garlands of leaves, which cost nothing. x=0;
Case VI. Some imaginative person having demonstrated that the garlands
would look better with diamonds in them, of the size of the Koh-i-Noor, the
world immediately demands a supply of such; but, none being forth-coming,
goes without. x=infinity, xy=infinity, and nobody can pay it. Although,
however, this formula roughly expresses the radical phenomena of prices, in
pursuing the practical results into detail, xy
must be used instead of xy, powers
of y varying with different articles, but the factor y
being always much more
influential on the price than x. Thus Iridium is as rare as gold, and x is nearly
constant for it and for gold; but because the gold is beautiful, if the pric e of
Iridium be xy, that of gold will be xy
or xy
, or some such largely increased
sum. Economists also do not notice . . .
For the reference to De Quincey, see Dialogue the First in his Dialogues of Three
Templars on Political Economy (vol. iv. pp. 194 seq. in his Works, 1863).]

The value of a thing, therefore, is independent of opinion,
and of quantity. Think what you will of it, gain how much you
may of it, the value of the thing itself is neither greater nor less.
For ever it avails, or avails not; no estimate can raise, no disdain
repress, the power which it holds from the Maker of things and
of men.

The real science of political economy, which has yet to be
distinguished from the bastard science, as medicine from
witchcraft, and astronomy from astrology, is that which teaches
nations to desire and labour for the things that lead to life: and
which teaches them to scorn and destroy the things that lead to
destruction. And if, in a state of infancy, they supposed
indifferent things, such as excrescences of shell-fish, and pieces
of blue and red stone, to be valuable, and spent large measures of
the labour which ought to be employed for the extension and
ennobling of life, in diving or digging for them, and cutting them
into various shapes,or if, in the same state of infancy, they
imagine precious and beneficent things, such as air, light, and
cleanliness, to be valueless,or if, finally, they imagine the
conditions of their own existence, by which alone they can truly
possess or use anything, such, for instance, as peace, trust, and
love, to be prudently exchangeable, when the markets offer, for
gold, iron, or excrescences of shellsthe great and only science
of Political Economy teaches them, in all these cases, what is
vanity, and what substance; and how the service of Death, the
Lord of Waste, and of eternal emptiness, differs from the service
of Wisdom, the Lady of Saving, and of eternal fulness; she who
has said, I will cause those that love me to inherit SUBSTANCE;
and I will FILL their treasures.

The Lady of Saving, in a profounder sense than that of the
savings bank, though that is a good one: Madonna della
Lady of Health,which, though commonly
[Compare Munera Pulveris, 3234; below, pp. 164 seq.]
[Proverbs viii. 21.]
[On the name of the church, so called at Venice, see Stones of Venice, vol. ii. (Vol.
X. p. 443).]

spoken of as if separate from wealth, is indeed a part of wealth.
This word, wealth, it will be remembered, is the next we have
to define.
62. To be wealthy, says Mr. Mill, is to have a large stock
of useful articles.

I accept this definition. Only let us perfectly understand it.
My opponents often lament my not giving them enough logic: I
fear I must at present use a little more than they will like; but this
business of Political Economy is no light one, and we must allow
no loose terms in it.
We have, therefore, to ascertain in the above definition, first,
what is the meaning of having, or the nature of Possession.
Then what is the meaning of useful, or the nature of Utility.
And first of possession. At the crossing of the transepts of
Milan Cathedral has lain, for three hundred years, the embalmed
body of St. Carlo Borromeo. It holds a golden crosier, and has a
cross of emeralds on its breast. Admitting the crosier and
emeralds to be useful articles, is the body to be considered as
having them? Do they, in the politico-economical sense of
property, belong to it? If not, and if we may, therefore, conclude
generally that a dead body cannot possess property, what degree
and period of animation in the body will render possession
As thus: lately in a wreck of a Californian ship, one of the
passengers fastened a belt about him with two hundred pounds
of gold in it, with which he was found afterwards at the bottom.
Now, as he was sinkinghad he the gold? or had the gold him?*
And if, instead of sinking him in the sea by its weight, the
gold had struck him on the forehead, and thereby caused
* Compare GEORGE HERBERT, The Church Porch, Stanza 28.

[Principles of Political Economy, p. 8 of the Preliminary Remarks (ed. 1848).]
[ Wealth is the conjurers devil,
Whom when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.
Gold thou mayst safely touch; but if it stick
Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.]

incurable diseasesuppose palsy or insanity,would the gold
in that case have been more a possession than in the first?
Without pressing the inquiry up through instances of gradually
increasing vital power over the gold (which I will, however,
give, if they are asked for), I presume the reader will see that
possession, or having, is not an absolute, but a gradated,
power; and consists not only in the quantity or nature of the thing
possessed, but also (and in a greater degree) in its suitableness to
the person possessing it and in his vital power to use it.
And our definition of Wealth, expanded, becomes: The
possession of useful articles, which we can use. This is a very
serious change. For wealth, instead of depending merely on a
have, is thus seen to depend on a can. Gladiators death, on a
habet; but soldiers victory, and States salvation, on a quo
plurimum posset. (Liv. VII. 6.
) And what we reasoned of only
as accumulation of material, is seen to demand also
accumulation of capacity.
63. So much for our verb. Next for our adjective. What is the
meaning of useful?
The inquiry is closely connected with the last. For what is
capable of use in the hands of some persons, is capable, in the
hands of others, of the opposite of use, called commonly
from-use, or ab-use. And it depends on the person, much
more than on the article, whether its usefulness or ab-usefulness
will be the quality developed in it. Thus, wine, which the Greeks,
in their Bacchus, made rightly the type of all passion, and which,
when used, cheereth god and man
(that is to say, strengthens
both the divine life, or reasoning power, and the earthy, or carnal
power, of man); yet, when abused, becomes Dionusos,
[The reference is to the devotion of M. Curtius, who leapt into the chasm which had
appeared in the Roman Forum, and which no human power had availed to fill up. The
gods required the sacrifice of the best: quo plurimum populus Romanus posset, id enim
illi loco dicandum vates canebant, si rem publicam Romanam perpetuam esse vellent.]
[Judges ix. 13. On the use and abuse of wine, compare Time and Tide, 63 (below,
p. 371).]

hurtful especially to the divine part of man, or reason.
again, the body itself, being equally liable to use and to abuse,
and, when rightly disciplined, serviceable to the State, both for
war and labour;but when not disciplined, or abused, valueless
to the State, and capable only of continuing the private or single
existence of the individual (and that but feebly)the Greeks
called such a body an idiotic or private body, from their
word signifying a person employed in no way directly useful to
the State; whence finally, our idiot, meaning a person entirely
occupied with his own concerns.

Hence, it follows that if a thing is to be useful, it must be not
only of an availing nature, but in availing hands. Or, in accurate
terms, usefulness is value in the hands of the valiant; so that this
science of wealth being, as we have just seen, when regarded as
the science of Accumulation, accumulative of capacity as well as
of material,when regarded as the Science of Distribution, is
distribution not absolute, but discriminate; not of every thing to
every man, but of the right thing to the right man. A difficult
science, dependent on more than arithmetic.
64. Wealth, therefore, is THE POSSESSION OF THE VALUABLE
and in considering it as a power existing in a
nation, the two elements, the value of the thing, and the valour of
its possessor, must be estimated
[The actual meaning of the word Dionysus is, however, matter of uncertainty.
Zeus of Nysa (a supposed place) was the favourite derivation among the ancients. Of
modern guesses son of Zeus seems as good as any: see Preller-Robert, Griechische
Mythologie, i. 664 n. Ruskins derivation is not clear.]
[The derivation of the word, through its secondary sense in Greek of layman (as
opposed to professional), is thus traced by Trench: The idiot, or idiwthV, was
originally the private man, as contradistinguished from one clothed with office, and
taking his share in the management of public affairs. In this its primary use it is
occasionally employed in English; as when Jeremy Taylor says, Humility is a duty in
great ones, as well as in idiots. It came then to signify a rude, ignorant, unskilled,
intellectually unexercised person, a boor; this derived or secondary sense bearing
witness to a conviction woven deep into the Greek mind of the indispensableness of
public life, even to the right development of the intellect, a conviction which could
scarcely have uttered itself with greater clearness than it does in this secondary use of
idiot (On the Study of Words, p. 85, ed. 1867).]
[Compare Xenophons Economist, as cited below, p. 288.]

Whence it appears that many of the persons
commonly considered wealthy, are in reality no more wealthy
than the locks of their own strong boxes are, they being
inherently and eternally incapable of wealth; and operating for
the nation, in an economical point of view, either as pools of
dead water, and eddies in a stream (which, so long as the stream
flows, are useless, or serve only to drown people, but may
become of importance in a state of stagnation should the stream
dry); or else, as dams in a river, of which the ultimate service
depends not on the dam, but the miller; or else, as mere
accidental stays and impediments, acting not as wealth, but (for
we ought to have a correspondent term) as illth, causing
various devastation and trouble around them in all directions; or
lastly, act not at all, but are merely animated conditions of delay,
(no use being possible of anything they have until they are dead,)
in which last condition they are nevertheless often useful as
delays, and impedimenta, if a nation is apt to move too fast.
65. This being so, the difficulty of the true science of
Political Economy lies not merely in the need of developing
manly character to deal with material value, but in the fact, that
while the manly character and material value only form wealth
by their conjunction, they have nevertheless a mutually
destructive operation on each other. For the manly character is
apt to ignore, or even cast away, the material value:whence
that of Pope:

Sure, of qualities demanding praise,
More go to ruin fortunes, than to raise.

And on the other hand, the material value is apt to undermine the
manly character; so that it must be our work, in
[The MS. here appends the following footnote (with which compare p. 83 n.,
Here also, as in the case of price of commodities, the true Algebraical value
of wealth is a compound quantity; if the value of the possessions=x and wisdom
of possession=y, the wealth is xy and it=0, if either x or y=0.]
[Moral Essays: Epistle iii., lines 201, 202. Ruskin quotes from memory; the first
line in Pope is Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise. See above, 53.]

the issue, to examine what evidence there is of the effect of
wealth on the minds of its possessors; also, what kind of person
it is who usually sets himself to obtain wealth, and succeeds in
doing so; and whether the world owes more gratitude to rich or
to poor men, either for their moral influence upon it, or for chief
goods, discoveries, and practical advancements. I may, however,
anticipate future conclusions, so far as to state that in a
community regulated only by laws of demand and supply, but
protected from open violence, the persons who become rich are,
generally speaking, industrious, resolute, proud, covetous,
prompt, methodical, sensible, unimaginative, insensitive, and
ignorant. The persons who remain poor are the entirely foolish,
the entirely wise,* the idle, the reckless, the humble, the
thoughtful, the dull, the imaginative, the sensitive, the
well-informed, the improvident, the irregularly and impulsively
wicked, the clumsy knave, the open thief, and the entirely
merciful, just, and godly person.
66. Thus far, then, of wealth. Next, we have to ascertain the
nature of PRICE; that is to say, of exchange value, and its
expression by currencies.
Note first, of exchange, there can be no profit in it. It is only
in labour there can be profitthat is to say, a making in
advance, or making in favour of (from proficio). In exchange,
there is only advantage, i.e., a bringing of vantage or power to
the exchanging persons. Thus, one man, by sowing and reaping,
turns one measure of corn into two measures. That is Profit.
Another, by digging and forging, turns one spade into two
spades. That is Profit. But the man who has two measures of
corn wants sometimes to dig; and the man who has two spades
wants sometimes

* . Arist. Plut. 582.
It would but weaken the grand
words to lean on the preceding ones: ,
. !

[The preceding lines are 558 and 559. From a later line (586) Ruskin took the
motto for the title-page of The Crown of Wild Olive.]

to eat:They exchange the gained grain for the gained tool; and
both are the better for the exchange; but though there is much
advantage in the transaction, there is no profit. Nothing is
constructed or produced. Only that which had been before
constructed is given to the person by whom it can be used. If
labour is necessary to effect the exchange, that labour is in
reality involved in the production, and, like all other labour,
bears profit. Whatever number of men are concerned in the
manufacture, or in the conveyance, have share in the profit; but
neither the manufacture nor the conveyance are the exchange,
and in the exchange itself there is no profit.
There may, however, be acquisition, which is a very
different thing. If, in the exchange, one man is able to give what
cost him little labour for what has cost the other much, he
acquires a certain quantity of the produce of the others labour.
And precisely what he acquires, the other loses. In mercantile
language, the person who thus acquires is commonly said to
have made a profit; and I believe that many of our merchants
are seriously under the impression that it is possible for
everybody, somehow, to make a profit in this manner. Whereas,
by the unfortunate constitution of the world we live in, the laws
both of matter and motion have quite rigorously forbidden
universal acquisition of this kind. Profit, or material gain, is
attainable only by construction or by discovery; not by
exchange. Whenever material gain follows exchange, for every
plus there is a precisely equal minus.
Unhappily for the progress of the science of Political
Economy, the plus quantities, orif I may be allowed to coin an
awkward pluralthe pluses, make a very positive and venerable
appearance in the world, so that every one is eager to learn the
science which produces results so magnificent; whereas the
minuses have, on the other hand, a tendency to retire into back
streets, and other places of shade,or even to get themselves
wholly and finally put out of sight in graves: which renders the
algebra of this

science peculiar, and difficultly legible; a large number of its
negative signs being written by the account-keeper in a kind of
red ink, which starvation thins, and makes strangely pale, or
even quite invisible ink, for the present.
67. The Science of Exchange, or, as I hear it has been
proposed to call it, of Catallactics,
considered as one of gain,
is, therefore, simply nugatory; but considered as one of
acquisition, it is a very curious science, differing in its data and
basis from every other science known. Thus:If I can exchange
a needle with a savage for a diamond, my power of doing so
depends either on the savages ignorance of social arrangements
in Europe, or on his want of power to take advantage of them, by
selling the diamond to any one else for more needles. If, farther,
I make the bargain as completely advantageous to myself as
possible, by giving to the savage a needle with no eye in it
(reaching, thus a sufficiently satisfactory type of the perfect
operation of catallactic science), the advantage to me in the
entire transaction depends wholly upon the ignorance,
powerlessness, or heedlessness of the person dealt with. Do
away with these, and catallactic advantage becomes impossible.
So far, therefore, as the science of exchange relates to the
advantage of one of the exchanging persons only, it is founded
on the ignorance or incapacity of the opposite person. Where
these vanish, it also vanishes. It is therefore a science founded on
nescience, and an art founded on artlessness. But all other
sciences and arts, except this, have for their object the doing
away with their opposite nescience and artlessness. This science,
alone of sciences, must, by all available means, promulgate and
prolong its opposite nescience; otherwise the science itself is
impossible. It is, therefore, peculiarly and alone the science of
darkness; probably a bastard sciencenot by any means a
divina scientia, but one begotten of another father, that father
who, advising his children
[The term was first used by Whately in his Lectures on Political Economy (1831):
The name I should have preferred as the most descriptive, and on the whole least
objectionable, is that of Catallactics, or the Science of Exchange.]

to turn stones into bread, is himself employed in turning bread
into stones, and who, if you ask a fish of him (fish not being
producible on his estate), can but give you a serpent.

68. The general law, then, respecting just or economical
exchange, is simply this:There must be advantage on both
sides (or if only advantage on one, at least no disadvantage on
the other) to the persons exchanging; and just payment for his
time, intelligence, and labour, to any intermediate person
effecting the transaction (commonly called a merchant); and
whatever advantage there is on either side, and whatever pay is
given to the intermediate person, should be thoroughly known to
all concerned. All attempt at concealment implies some practice
of the opposite, or undivine science, founded on nescience.
Whence another saying of the Jew merchantsAs a nail
between the stone joints, so doth sin stick fast between buying
and selling.
Which peculiar riveting of stone and timber, in
mens dealings with each other, is again set forth in the house
which was to be destroyedtimber and stones togetherwhen
Zechariahs roll (more probably curved sword
) flew over it:
the curse that goeth forth over all the earth upon every one that
stealeth and holdeth himself guiltless,
instantly followed by
the vision of the Great Measure;the measure of the injustice
of them in all the earth (auth h adikia autwn en pash th gh),
with the weight of lead for its lid, and the woman, the spirit of
wickedness, within it;that is to say, Wickedness hidden by
dulness, and formalized, outwardly, into ponderously
established cruelty. It shall be set upon its own base in the land
of Babel.*
* Zech. v. 11. See note on the passage, at p. 148 [here p. 100].

[Matthew vii. 10.]
[Ecclesiasticus xxvii. 2.]
[Flying roll in the Authorised Version; volumen volans in the Vulgate; but
flying sickle (drepanon petomenon) in the Septuagint. Ruskin here uses the
Septuagint, as instead of injustice (adikia), our version has resemblance; so in verse
11, where the Septuagint has Babylon, our version has Shinar.]
[Zechariah v. 3 ff.]

69. I have hitherto carefully restricted myself, in speaking of
exchange, to the use of the term advantage; but that term
includes two ideas: the advantage, namely, of getting what we
need, and that of getting what we wish for. Three-fourths of the
demands existing in the world are romantic; founded on visions,
idealisms, hopes, and affections; and the regulation of the purse
is, in its essence, regulation of the imagination and the heart.
Hence, the right discussion of the nature of price is a very high
meta-physical and psychical problem; sometimes to be solved
only in a passionate manner, as by David in his counting the
price of the water of the well by the gate of Bethlehem;
but its
first conditions are the following:The price of anything is the
quantity of labour given by the person desiring it, in order to
obtain possession of it. This price depends on four variable
quantities. A. The quantity of wish the purchaser has for the
thing; opposed to a, the quantity of wish the seller has to keep it.
B. The quantity of labour the purchaser can afford, to obtain the
thing; opposed to b, the quantity of labour the seller can afford,
to keep it. These quantities are operative only in excess: i.e., the
quantity of wish (A) means the quantity of wish for this thing,
above wish for other things; and the quantity of work (B) means
the quantity which can be spared to get this thing from the
quantity needed to get other things.
Phenomena of price, therefore, are intensely complex,
curious, and interestingtoo complex, however, to be examined
yet; every one of them, when traced far enough, showing itself at
last as a part of the bargain of the Poor of the Flock (or flock of
), If ye think good, give ME my price, and if not,
forbearZech. xi. 12; but as the price of everything is to be
calculated finally in labour, it is necessary to define the nature of
that standard.
70. Labour is the contest of the life of man with an
[2 Samuel xxiii. 15, 16.]
[Zechariah xi. 7.]

opposite;the term life including his intellect, soul, and
physical power, contending with question, difficulty, trial, or
material force.

Labour is of a higher or lower order, as it includes more or
fewer of the elements of life: and labour of good quality, in any
kind, includes always as much intellect and feeling as will fully
and harmoniously regulate the physical force.
In speaking of the value and price of labour, it is necessary
always to understand labour of a given rank and quality, as we
should speak of gold or silver of a given standard. Bad (that is,
heartless, inexperienced, or senseless) labour cannot be valued;
it is like gold of uncertain alloy, or flawed iron.*
The quality and kind of labour being given, its value, like
that of all other valuable things, is invariable. But the quantity of
it which must be given for other things is variable: and in
estimating this variation, the price of other things must always
be counted by the quantity of labour; not the price of labour by
the quantity of other things.
71. Thus, if we want to plant an apple sapling in rocky
ground, it may take two hours work; in soft ground, perhaps
only half an hour. Grant the soil equally good for the tree in each
case. Then the value of the sapling planted by two hours work is
nowise greater than that of the sapling planted in half an hour.
One will bear no more fruit than the other. Also, one half-hour of
work is as valuable
* Labour which is entirely good of its kind, that is to say, effective, or efficient, the
Greeks called weighable, or axioV, translated usually worthy, and because thus
substantial and true, they called its price timh, the honourable estimate of it
(honorarium): this word being founded on their conception of true labour as a divine
thing, to be honoured with the kind of honour given to the gods; whereas the price of
false labour, or of that which led away from life, was to be, not honour, but vengeance;
for which they reserved another word,
attributing the exaction of such price to a
peculiar goddess, called Tisiphone, the requiter (or quittance-taker) of death; a
person versed in the highest branches of arithmetic, and punctual in her habits; with
whom accounts current have been opened also in modern days.

[Compare Munera Pulveris, 59 (below, pp. 182183).]
[Namely, tisiV. For other references to Tisiphone, as the goddess of retribution, see
below, 73 (p. 99), and Munera Pulveris, 130 (p. 255).]

as another half-hour; nevertheless, the one sapling has cost four
such pieces of work, the other only one. Now, the proper
statement of this fact is, not that the labour on the hard ground is
cheaper than on the soft; but that the tree is dearer. The exchange
value may, or may not, afterwards depend on this fact. If other
people have plenty of soft ground to plant in, they will take no
cognizance of our two hours labour in the price they will offer
for the plant on the rock. And if, through want of sufficient
botanical science, we have planted an upas-tree instead of an
apple, the exchange value will be a negative quantity; still less
proportionate to the labour expended.
What is commonly called cheapness of labour, signifies,
therefore, in reality, that many obstacles have to be overcome by
it; so that much labour is required to produce a small result. But
this should never be spoken of as cheapness of labour, but as
dearness of the object wrought for. It would be just as rational to
say that walking was cheap, because we had ten miles to walk
home to our dinner, as that labour was cheap, because we had to
work ten hours to earn it.
72. The last word which we have to define is Production.
I have hitherto spoken of all labour as profitable; because it
is impossible to consider under one head the quality or value of
labour, and its aim. But labour of the best quality may be various
in aim. It may be either constructive (gathering, from con and
struo), as agriculture; nugatory, as jewel-cutting; or destructive
(scattering, from de and struo), as war. It is not, however,
always easy to prove labour, apparently nugatory, to be actually
so;* generally, the formula holds good: he that gathereth not,

* The most accurately nugatory labour is, perhaps, that of which not enough is
given to answer a purpose effectually, and which, therefore, has all to be done over
again. Also, labour which fails of effect through

[Matthew xii. 30.]

thus, the jewellers art is probably very harmful in its ministering
to a clumsy and inelegant pride.
So that, finally, I believe nearly
all labour may be shortly divided into positive and negative
labour: positive, that which produces life; negative, that which
produces death; the most directly negative labour being murder,
and the most directly positive, the bearing and rearing of
children: so that in the precise degree in which murder is hateful,
on the negative side of idleness, in that exact degree
child-rearing is admirable, on the positive side of idleness. For
which reason, and because of the honour that there is in rearing*
children, while the wife is said to be as the vine (for cheering),
the children are as the olive branch,
for praise: nor for praise
only, but for peace (because large families can only be reared in
times of peace): though since, in their spreading and voyaging in
various directions, they distribute strength, they are, to the

non-co-operation. The cur of a little village near Bellinzona, to whom I had expressed
wonder that the peasants allowed the Ticino to flood their fields, told me that they
would not join to build an effectual embankment high up the valley, because everybody
said that would help his neighbours as much as himself. So every pr oprietor built a
bit of low embankment about his own field; and the Ticino, as soon as it had a mind,
swept away and swallowed all up together.

* Observe, I say, rearing, not begetting. The praise is in the seventh season, not
in sporhtoV, nor in futalia, but in opwra.
It is strange that men always praise
enthusiastically any person who, by a momentary exertion, saves a life; but praise very
hesitatingly a person who, by exertion and self-denial prolonged through years, creates
one. We give the crown ob civem servatum;why not ob civem natum? Born, I
mean, to the full, in soul as well as body. England has oak enough, I think, for both

[Compare Seven Lamps (Vol. VIII. p. 265); Lectures on Architecture and Painting
51 (Vol. XII. p. 73); Time and Tide, 131, 171 (below, pp. 425, 457); Ethics of the
Dust, 10; Crown of Wild Olive, 147; Aratra Pentelici, 17. For jewel cutting, when
directed to an artistic end, see Stones of Venice, vol. ii. (Vol. X. p. 198).]
[Psalms cxxviii. 3.]
[Ruskin recorded this incident in a letter to his father on July 10, 1858, from Isola
Bella, whither he had gone after a long stay at Bellinzona: see Introduction to Vol. VII.
p. xxxvi. He refers to it again in his letters on Roman Inundations (below, p. 551).]
[Ruskin refers to the series of seven seasons as distinguished by Galen, but changes
the orderear (the spring), qeroV (the summer), opwra (the dog-days, the season of
ripe fruit), fqinopwron (the autumn), sporhtoV (the seed time), ceimwn (the winter),
futalia (the planting time).]

home strength, as arrows in the hand of the giant
striking here
and there far away.
Labour being thus various in its result, the prosperity of any
nation is in exact proportion to the quantity of labour which it
spends in obtaining and employing means of life. Observe,I
say, obtaining and employing; that is to say, not merely wisely
producing, but wisely distributing and consuming. Economists
usually speak as if there were no good in consumption absolute.*
So far from this being so, consumption absolute is the end,
crown, and perfection of production; and wise consumption is a
far more difficult art than wise production. Twenty people can
gain money for one who can use it; and the vital question, for
individual and for nation, is, never how much do they make?
but to what purpose do they spend?
73. The reader may, perhaps, have been surprised at the
slight reference I have hitherto made to capital, and its
functions. It is here the place to define them.
Capital signifies head, or source, or root materialit is
material by which some derivative or secondary good is
produced. It is only capital proper (caput vivum, not caput
) when it is only thus producing something different
from itself. It is a root, which does not enter into vital function
till it produces something else than a root: namely, fruit. That
fruit will in time again produce roots; and so all living capital
issues in reproduction of capital; but capital which produces
nothing but capital is only root producing root; bulb issuing in
bulb, never in tulip; seed issuing in seed, never in bread. The
Political Economy of Europe has hitherto devoted itself wholly
to the multiplication, or (less even) the aggregation, of bulbs. It
never saw, nor conceived, such a thing as a tulip. Nay, boiled
bulbs they
* When Mr. Mill speaks of productive consumption, he only means consumption
which results in increase of capital or material wealth. See I. iii. 4, and I. iii. 5.

[Psalms cxxvii. 4.]
[Caput mortuum, the term used by the old chemists to designate the residuum of
chemicals when all their volatile matter had escaped.]

might have beenglass bulbsPrince Ruperts drops,

consummated in powder (well, if it were glass-powder and not
gunpowder), for any end or meaning the economists had in
defining the laws of aggregation. We will try and get a clearer
notion of them.
The best and simplest general type of capital is a well-made
ploughshare. Now, if that ploughshare did nothing but beget
other ploughshares, in a polypous manner,however the great
cluster of polypous plough might glitter in the sun, it would have
lost its function of capital. It becomes true capital only by
another kind of splendour,when it is seen splendescere
to grow bright in the furrow; rather with diminution of
its substance, than addition, by the noble friction. And the true
home question, to every capitalist and to every nation, is not,
how many ploughs have you? but, where are your furrows?
nothow quickly will this capital reproduce itself?but,
what will it do during reproduction? What substance will it
furnish, good for life? What work construct, protective of life? if
none, its own reproduction is uselessif worse than none,(for
capital may destroy life as well as support it), its own
reproduction is worse than useless; it is merely an advance from
Tisiphone, on mortgagenot a profit by any means.
74. Not a profit, as the ancients truly saw, and showed in the
type of Ixion;
for capital is the head, or fountain
[For this expression, see Vol. IV. p. 240 n.]
[Virgil, Georgics, i. 46: Vere novo . . . incipiat . . . sulco attritus splendescere
[Ruskin here moralises the legend of Ixion, who had promised hi s father-in-law,
Deioneus, a valuable present, but had not given it. Deioneus in consequence stole the
horses of Ixion, who thereuponthe first among the heroes to shed blood of kindred
craftily (Pindar, Pyth. ii. 32)invited his father-in-law to a banquet, and threw him
into a secret pit, filled with fire. Ixion was unable to obtain expiation from gods or men,
till at last Zeus received him in pity and purified him. Pindar, in the same ode, tells the
story of Ixions infatuation, and of his eternal punishment on the wheel. Ixion, says
the poet, writhing on his winged wheel, proclaims this message unto men, To him who
does thee service make fair recompense. From this passage, and from later lines in the
same odewhere the poet teaches the worthlessness of riches if not joined with the
happy gift of wisdomRuskin seems to have taken a clue for his own interpretation of
the story.]

head, of wealththe well-head of wealth, as the clouds are the
well-heads of rain: but when clouds are without water,
and only
beget clouds, they issue in wrath at last, instead of rain, and in
lightning instead of harvest; whence Ixion is said first to have
invited his guests to a banquet, and then made them fall into a pit
filled with fire; which is the type of the temptation of riches
issuing in imprisoned torment,torment in a pit, (as also
Demas silver mine,
) after which, to show the rage of riches
passing from lust of pleasure to lust of power, yet power not
truly understood, Ixion is said to have desired Juno, and instead,
embracing a cloud (or phantasm),
to have begotten the
Centaurs; the power of mere wealth being, in itself, as the
embrace of a shadow,comfortless, (so also Ephraim feedeth
on wind and followeth after the east wind;
or that which is
notProv. xxiii. 5; and again Dantes Geryon,
the type of
avaricious fraud, as he flies, gathers the air up with retractile
claws,Iaer a se raccolse,*) but in its offspring, a mingling
of the brutal with the human nature: human in sagacityusing
both intellect and arrow; but brutal in its body and hoof, for
consuming, and trampling
* So also in the vision of the women bearing the ephah, before quoted,
the wind
was in their wings, not wings of a stork, as in our version; but milvi, of a kite, in
the Vulgate, or perhaps more accurately still in the Septuagint, hoopoe, a bird
connected typically with the power of riches by many traditions, of which that of its
petition for a crest of gold is perhaps the most interesting. The Birds of Aristophanes,
in which

[See Jude 12; Ruskin quotes the words in Modern Painters, vol. v. (Vol. VII. p.
458), and in Sesame and Lilies, 23 (Vol. XVIII. p. 74).]
[In the Pilgrims Progress (part i.): a little Hill called Lucre, and in that Hill a
Silver-Mine, which some of them that had formerly gone that way, because of the rarity
of it, had turned aside to see; but going too near the brink of the pit, the ground being
deceitful under them, broke, and they were slain. . . . A little way off the road, over
against the Silver-Mine, stood Demas (gentleman-like) to call to Passengers to come and
see, etc.]
[Compare Queen of the Air, 29: the disappointed fury of Ixion (taking shadow
for power).]
[Hosea xii. 1.]
[Inferno, xvii. 105. The passage is quoted in extenso and further commented upon
in Modern Painters, vol. v. (Vol. VII. pp. 399, 400.]
[From Zechariah v. 3 seq.: see above, 68, p. 93.]

down. For which sin Ixion is at last bound upon a wheelfiery
and toothed, and rolling perpetually in the air;the type of
human labour when selfish and fruitless (kept far into the Middle
Ages in their wheel of fortune
); the wheel which has in it no
breath or spirit, but is whirled by chance only; whereas of all true
work the Ezekiel vision is true, that the Spirit of the living
creature is in the wheels, and where the angels go, the wheels go
by them;
but move no otherwise.
75. This being the real nature of capital, it follows that there
are two kinds of true production, always going on in an active
State: one of seed, and one of food; or production for the
Ground, and for the Mouth; both of which are by covetous
persons thought to be production only for the granary; whereas
the function of the granary is but intermediate and conservative,
fulfilled in distribution; else it ends in nothing but mildew, and
nourishment of rats and worms. And since production for the
Ground is only useful with future hope of harvest, all essential
production is for the Mouth; and is finally measured by the
mouth; hence, as I said above,
consumption is the crown of
production; and the wealth of a nation is only to be estimated by
what it consumes.
The want of any clear sight of this fact is the capital error,
issuing in rich interest and revenue of error among

its part is principal, are full of them; note especially the fortification of the air with
baked bricks, like Babylon, L. 550; and, again, compare the Plutus of Dante, who (to
show the influence of riches in destroying the reason) is the only one of the powers of the
Inferno who cannot speak intelligibly; and also the cowardliest; he is not merely quelled
or restrained, but literally collapses at a word; the sudden and helpless operation of
mercantile panic being all told in the brief metaphor, as the sails, swollen with the
wind, fall, when the mast breaks.

[See below, Munera Pulveris, 100 n. (p. 223).]
[Ezekiel i. 15 and following verses.]
[See 72, p. 98.]
[Inferno, vii. 13, 14, and preceding lines. The passage is further quot ed and
explained in Munera Pulveris, 58 n. (see below, p. 182).]

the political economists. Their minds are continually set on
money-gain, not on mouth-gain; and they fall into every sort of
net and snare, dazzled by the coin-glitter as birds by the fowlers
glass; or rather (for there is not much else like birds in them) they
are like children trying to jump on the heads of their own
shadows; the money-gain being only the shadow of the true gain,
which is humanity.
76. The final object of political economy, therefore, is to get
good method of consumption, and great quantity of
consumption: in other words, to use everything, and to use it
nobly; whether it be substance, service, or service perfecting
substance. The most curious error in Mr. Mills entire work,
(provided for him originally by Ricardo,
) is his endeavour to
distinguish between direct and indirect service, and consequent
assertion that a demand for commodities is not demand for
labour (I. v. 9, et seq.). He distinguishes between labourers
employed to lay out pleasure grounds, and to manufacture
velvet; declaring that it makes material difference to the
labouring classes in which of these two ways a capitalist spends
his money; because the employment of the gardeners is a
demand for labour, but the purchase of velvet is not.* Error
colossal, as well as strange. It will, indeed, make a difference to
the labourer whether we bid him swing
* The value of raw material, which has, indeed, to be deducted from the price of the
labour, is not contemplated in the passages referred to, Mr. Mill having fallen into the
mistake solely by pursuing the collateral results of the payment of wages to middlemen.
He saysThe consumer does not, with his own funds, pay the weaver for his days
work. Pardon me: the consumer of the velvet pays the weaver with his own funds as
much as he pays the gardener. He pays, probably, an intermediate ship-owner, velvet
merchant, and shopman; pays carriage money, shop rent, damage money, time money,
and care money; all these are above and beside the velvet price, (just as the wages of a
head gardener would be above the grass price); but the velvet is as much produced by
the consumers capital, though he does not pay for it till six months after production, as
the grass is produced by his

[Mill in the passage referred to mentions Ricardo as one of the few economists who
have kept the principle steadily in view. This proposition that a demand for
commodities is not a demand for labour is examined at greater length in Fors
Clavigera, Letter 2.]

his scythe in the spring winds, or drive the loom in pestilential
air; but, so far as his pocket is concerned, it makes to him
absolutely no difference whether we order him to make green
velvet, with seed and a scythe, or red velvet, with silk and
scissors. Neither does it anywise concern him whether, when the
velvet is made, we consume it by walking on it, or wearing it, so
long as our consumption of it is wholly selfish. But if our
consumption is to be in anywise unselfish, not only our mode of
consuming the articles we require interests him, but also the kind
of article we require with a view to consumption. As thus
for a moment to Mr. Mills great hardware theory*):
it matters, so far as the labourers immediate profit is concerned,
not an iron filing whether I employ him in growing a peach, or
forging a bombshell;
but my probable mode of consumption of
those articles matters seriously. Admit that it is to be in both
cases unselfish, and the difference, to him, is final, whether
when his child is ill, I walk into his cottage and give it the peach,
or drop the shell down his chimney, and blow his roof off.
The worst of it, for the peasant, is, that the capitalists
consumption of the peach is apt to be selfish, and of the shell,
distributive; but, in all cases, this is the broad and

capital, though he does not pay the man who rolled and mowed it on Monday, till
Saturday afternoon. I do not know if Mr. Mills conclusion, the capital cannot be
dispensed with, the purchasers can (p. 98), has yet been reduced to practice in the City
on any large scale.
* Which, observe, is the precise opposite of the one under examination. The
hardware theory required us to discharge our gardeners and engage manufacturers; the
velvet theory requires us to discharge our manufacturers and engage gardeners.
It is one very awful form of the operation of wealth in Europe that it is entirely
capitalists wealth which supports unjust wars.
Just wars do not need

[See above, 56, p. 77.]
[For a passing reference to this passage, see Fors Clavigera, Letter 51.]
[Compare Munera Pulveris, 19 (below, p. 142); and Sesame and Lilies, 47 (Vol.
XVIII. p. 103), where Ruskin repeated this note. In referring to it again in 1885, Ruskin
noted that he should have said, in accuracy, capitalists cash, not wealth: see his
Introduction to R. G. Sillars Usury, 4 (1885), reprinted in a later volume of this
edition. See also Ethics of the Dust, Note 6.]

general fact, that on due catallactic commercial principles,
somebodys roof must go off in fulfilment of the bombs destiny.
You may grow for your neighbour, at your liking, grapes or
grape-shot; he will also, catallactically, grow grapes or
grape-shot for you, and you will each reap what you have sown.

77. It is, therefore, the manner and issue of consumption
which are the real tests of production. Production does not
consist in things laboriously made, but in things serviceably
consumable; and the question for the nation is not how much
labour it employs, but how much life it produces. For as
consumption is the end and aim of production, so life is the end
and aim of consumption.
I left this question to the readers thought two months ago,

choosing rather that he should work it out for himself than have
it sharply stated to him. But now, the ground being sufficiently
broken (and the details into which the several questions, here
opened, must lead us, being too complex for discussion in the
pages of a periodical, so

so much money to support them; for most of the men who wage such, wage them gratis;

but for an unjust war, mens bodies and souls have both to be bought; and the best tools
of war for them besides; which makes such war costly t o the maximum; not to speak of
the cost of base fear, and angry suspicion, between nations which have not grace nor
honesty enough in all their multitudes to buy an hours peace of mind with: as, at
present, France and England,
purchasing of each other ten millions sterling worth of
consternation annually, (a remarkably light crop, half thorns and half aspen
leaves,sown, reaped, and granaried by the science of the modern political
economist, teaching covetousness instead of truth). And all unjust war being
supportable, if not by pillage of the enemy, only by loans from capitalists, these loans
are repaid by subsequent taxation of the people, who appear to have no will in the matter,
the capitalists will being the primary root of the war; but its real root is the
covetousness of the whole nation, rendering it incapable of faith, frankness, or justice,
and bringing about, therefore, in due time, his own separate loss and punishment to each

[Galatians vi. 7.]
[See above, 4041, pp. 5556.]
[The MS. adds: and often their weapons are inexpensivemany a just battle
having been won with sticks and rocks (as Morgarten and some of Hofers). For the
battle of Morgarten, in which the Swiss peasantry rolled down an avalanche of rocks and
trunks upon the enemy, see Vol. V. p. 415 n.; and for Hofer, Vol. II. p. 88 n.]
[Compare Munera Pulveris, Appendix i. (below, p. 286), Sesame and Lilies, 48
(Vol. XVIII. p. 104).]

that I must pursue them elsewhere
), I desire, in closing the
series of introductory papers, to leave this one great fact clearly
stated. THERE IS NO WEALTH BUT LIFE. Life, including all its
powers of love, of joy, and of admiration.
That country is the
richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy
human beings; that man is richest who, having perfected the
functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest
helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his
possessions, over the lives of others.
A strange political economy; the only one, nevertheless, that
ever was or can be: all political economy founded on
self-interest* being but the fulfilment of that which once brought
schism into the Policy of angels, and ruin into the Economy of

78. The greatest number of human beings noble and
happy. But is the nobleness consistent with the number? Yes,
not only consistent with it, but essential to it. The maximum of
life can only be reached by the maximum of virtue. In this
respect the law of human population differs wholly from that of
animal life. The multiplication of animals is checked only by
want of food, and by the hostility of races; the population of the
gnat is restrained by the hunger of the swallow, and that of the
swallow by the scarcity of gnats. Man, considered as an animal,
is indeed limited by the same laws: hunger, or plague, or war, are
the necessary and only restraints upon his increase,effectual
restraints hitherto,his principal study having been how most
swiftly to destroy himself, or ravage his dwelling-places,
* In all reasoning about prices, the proviso must be understood, supposing all
parties to take care of their own interest.Mill, III. i. 5.

[A reference to the compulsory closing of the present series of papers: see above,
p. xxviii.]
[Compare Modern Painters, vol. ii., where Ruskin quotes Wordsworths line, We
live by admiration, hope, and love (Vol. IV. p. 29 n.), and see the other passages noted
at Vol. XVI. p. 154.]
[And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of
you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not. . . . For if God spared not the
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell . . . (2 Peter ii. 3, 4).]

and his highest skill directed to give range to the famine, seed to
the plague, and sway to the sword. But, considered as other than
an animal, his increase is not limited by these laws. It is limited
only by the limits of his courage and his love. Both of these have
their bounds; and ought to have; his race has its bounds also; but
these have not yet been reached, nor will be reached for ages.
79. In all the ranges of human thought I know none so
melancholy as the speculations of political economists on the
population question. It is proposed to better the condition of the
labourer by giving him higher wages. Nay, says the
economist,if you raise his wages, he will either people down
to the same point of misery at which you found him, or drink
your wages away. He will. I know it. Who gave him this will?
Suppose it were your own son of whom you spoke, declaring to
me that you dared not take him into your firm, nor even give him
his just labourers wages, because if you did he would die of
drunkenness, and leave half a score of children to the parish.
Who gave your son these dispositions?I should enquire.
Has he them by inheritance or by education? By one or other
they must come; and as in him, so also in the poor. Either these
poor are of a race essentially different from ours, and
unredeemable (which, however often implied, I have heard none
yet openly say), or else by such care as we have ourselves
received, we may make them continent and sober as
ourselveswise and dispassionate as we aremodels arduous
of imitation. But, it is answered, they cannot receive
education. Why not? That is precisely the point at issue.
Charitable persons suppose the worst fault of the rich is to refuse
the people meat; and the people cry for their meat, kept back by
fraud, to the Lord of Multitudes.* Alas! it
* James v. 4. Observe, in these statements I am not taking up, nor countenancing
one whit, the common socialist idea of division of property:
division of property is its
destruction; and with it the destruction of all

[Compare 54; above, p. 74. See also Munera Pulveris, Preface, 21; below, p.

is not meat of which the refusal is cruelest, or to which the claim
is validest. The life is more than the meat.
The rich not only
refuse food to the poor; they refuse wisdom; they refuse virtue;
they refuse salvation. Ye sheep without shepherd,
it is not the
pasture that has been shut from you, but the Presence. Meat!
perhaps your right to that may be pleadable; but other rights have
to be pleaded first. Claim your crumbs from the table if you will;
but claim them as children, not as dogs; claim your right to be
fed, but claim more loudly your right to be holy, perfect, and
Strange words to be used of working people! What! holy;
without any long robes or anointing oils; these rough-jacketed,
rough-worded persons; set to nameless, dishonoured service?
Perfect!these, with dim eyes and cramped limbs, and slowly
wakening minds? Pure!these, with sensual desire and
grovelling thought; foul of body and coarse of soul? It may be
so; nevertheless, such as

hope, all industry, and all justice: it simply chaosa chaos towards which the believers
in modern political economy are fast tending, and from which I am striving to save them.
The rich man does not keep back meat from the poor by retaining his riches; but by
basely using them. Riches are a form of strength; and a strong man does not injure others
by keeping his strength, but by using it injuriously. The socialist, seeing a strong man
oppress a weak one, cries outBreak the strong mans arms; but I say, Teach him to
use them to better purpose. The fortitude and intelligence which acquire riches are
intended, by the Giver of both, not to scatter, nor to give away, but to employ those
riches in the service of mankind; in other words, in the redemption of the erring and aid
of the weakthat is to say, there is first to be the work to gain money; then the Sabbath
of use for itthe Sabbath, whose law is, not to lose life, but to save.
It is continually the
fault or the folly of the poor that they are poor, as i t is usually a childs fault if it falls
into a pond, and a cripples weakness that slips at a crossing; nevertheless, most
passers-by would pull the child out, or help up the cripple. Put it at the worst, that all the
poor of the world are but disobedient children, or careless cripples, and that all rich
people are wise and strong, and you will see at once that neither is the socialist right in
desiring to make everybody poor, powerless, and foolish as he is himself, nor the rich
man right in leaving the children in the mire.

[Matthew vi. 25.]
[Numbers xxvii. 17; Matthew ix. 36.]
[See Luke xiii. 14 seq.]

they are, they are the holiest, perfectest, purest persons the earth
can at present show. They may be what you have said; but if so,
they yet are holier than we who have left them thus.
But what can be done for them? Who can clothewho
teachwho restrain their multitudes? What end can there be for
them at last, but to consume one another?
I hope for another end, though not, indeed, from any of the
three remedies for over-population commonly suggested by
80. These three are, in briefColonization; Bringing in of
waste lands; or Discouragement of Marriage.

The first and second of these expedients merely evade or
delay the question. It will, indeed, be long before the world has
been all colonized, and its deserts all brought under cultivation.
But the radical question is, not how much habitable land is in the
world, but how many human beings ought to be maintained on a
given space of habitable land.
Observe, I say ought to be, not how many can be. Ricardo,
with his usual inaccuracy, defines what he calls the natural rate
of wages as that which will maintain the labourer.
him! yes; but how?the question was instantly thus asked of me
by a working girl, to whom I read the passage. I will amplify her
question for her. Maintain him, how? As, first, to what length
of life?
[For Ruskins references to Colonisation, see the letter on Railway Economy given
below, p. 534; also a letter to the Daily Telegraph of January 15, 1870 (reprinted in
Arrows of the Chace, 1880, vol. ii. p. 185, and in a later volume of this edition), where
he calls on English gentlemen to become Captains of Emigration; with which passage,
compare his exhortation in Lectures on Art, 29. On the bringing of waste lands under
cultivation, see Notes on the General Principles of Employment , etc., below, p. 545. On
the regulation of marriage, Time and Tide, 124; below, p. 420.]
[Principles of Political Economy, ch. v. (On Wages): The natural price of
labour is that price which is necessary to enable the labourers, one with another, to
subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution. Ricardo
adds, The power of the labourer to support himself, and the family which may be
necessary to keep up the number of labourers, does not depend on the quantity of money
which he may receive for wages, but on the quantity of food, necessaries, and
conveniences become essential to him from habit, which that money will purchase.]

Out of a given number of fed persons, how many are to be
oldhow many young? that is to say, will you arrange their
maintenance so as to kill them earlysay at thirty or thirty-five
on the average, including deaths of weakly or ill-fed
children?or so as to enable them to live out a natural life? You
will feed a greater number, in the first case,* by rapidity of
succession; probably a happier number in the second: which
does Mr. Ricardo mean to be their natural state, and to which
state belongs the natural rate of wages?
Again: A piece of land which will only support ten idle,
ignorant, and improvident persons, will support thirty or forty
intelligent and industrious ones. Which of these is their natural
state, and to which of them belongs the natural rate of wages?
Again: If a piece of land support forty persons in industrious
ignorance; and if, tired of this ignorance, they set apart ten of
their number to study the properties of cones, and the sizes of
stars; the labour of these ten being withdrawn from the ground,
must either tend to the increase of food in some transitional
manner, or the persons set apart for sidereal and conic purposes
must starve, or some one else starve instead of them. What is,
therefore, the natural rate of wages of the scientific persons, and
how does this rate relate to, or measure, their reverted or
transitional productiveness?
Again: If the ground maintains, at first, forty labourers in a
peaceable and pious state of mind, but they become in a few
years so quarrelsome and impious that they have to set apart
five, to meditate upon and settle their disputes;ten, armed to
the teeth with costly instruments, to enforce the decisions; and
five to remind everybody in an eloquent manner of the existence
of a God;what will be the result upon the general power of
production, and what is the
* The quantity of life is the same in both cases; but it is differently allotted.

natural rate of wages of the meditative, muscular, and oracular
81. Leaving these questions to be discussed, or waived, at
their pleasure, by Mr. Ricardos followers, I proceed to state the
main facts bearing on that probable future of the labouring
classes which has been partially glanced at by Mr. Mill. That
chapter and the preceding one
differ from the common writing
of political economists in admitting some value in the aspect of
nature, and expressing regret at the probability of the destruction
of natural scenery. But we may spare our anxieties on this head.
Men can neither drink steam, nor eat stone. The maximum of
population on a given space of land implies also the relative
maximum of edible vegetable, whether for men or cattle; it
implies a maximum of pure air, and of pure water. Therefore: a
maximum of wood, to transmute the air, and of sloping ground,
protected by herbage from the extreme heat of the sun, to feed
the streams. All England may, if it so chooses, become one
manufacturing town;
and Englishmen, sacrificing themselves to
the good of general humanity, may live diminished lives in the
midst of noise, of darkness, and of deadly exhalation. But the
world cannot become a factory nor a mine. No amount of
ingenuity will ever make iron digestible by the million, nor
substitute hydrogen for wine. Neither the avarice nor the rage of
men will ever feed them; and however the apple of Sodom and
the grape of Gomorrah may spread their table for a time with
dainties of ashes, and nectar of asps,so long as men live by
bread, the far away valleys must laugh as they are covered with
the gold of God, and the shouts of His happy multitudes ring
round the winepress and the well.

82. Nor need our more sentimental economists fear the too
wide spread of the formalities of a mechanical agriculture.
[Book iv. ch. vi. (Of the Stationary State). Ch. vii. (On the Probable Futurity of
the Labouring Classes).]
[Compare Time and Tide, 10 (below, p. 326); Lectures on Art, 123; Fors
Clavigera, Letter 35; and Vol. VII. p. 425.]
[Compare Time and Tide, 45 (below, p. 355).]

The presence of a wise population implies the search for felicity
as well as for food; nor can any population reach its maximum
but through that wisdom which rejoices
in the habitable parts
of the earth. The desert has its appointed place and work; the
eternal engine, whose beam is the earths axle, whose beat is its
year, and whose breath is its ocean, will still divide imperiously
to their desert kingdoms bound with unfurrowable rock, and
swept by unarrested sand, their powers of frost and fire: but the
zones and lands between, habitable, will be loveliest in
habitation. The desire of the heart is also the light of the eyes.

No scene is continually and untiringly loved, but one rich by
joyful human labour; smooth in field; fair in garden; full in
orchard; trim, sweet, and frequent in homestead; ringing with
voices of vivid existence. No air is sweet that is silent;
it is only
sweet when full of low currents of under soundtriplets of
birds, and murmur and chirp of insects, and deep-toned words of
men, and wayward trebles of childhood. As the art of life is
learned, it will be found at last that all lovely things are also
necessary;the wild flower by the wayside, as well as the
tended corn; and the wild birds and creatures of the forest, as
well as the tended cattle; because man doth not live by bread
but also by the desert manna; by every wondrous word
and unknowable work of God. Happy, in that he knew them not,
nor did his fathers know; and that round about him reaches yet
into the infinite, the amazement of his existence.
83. Note, finally, that all effectual advancement towards this
true felicity of the human race must be by individual, not public
effort. Certain general measures may aid, certain revised laws
guide, such advancement; but the measure and law which have
first to be determined are those of
[Proverbs viii. 31.]
[See Proverbs xv. 30.]
[Compare Ruskins letter from Zug given in Vol. VII. p. xxxi.]
[Deuteronomy viii. 3; Matthew iv. 4; and see Job xxxvii. 14.]

each mans home. We continually hear it recommended by
sagacious people to complaining neighbours (usually less well
placed in the world than themselves), that they should remain
content in the station in which Providence has placed them.

There are perhaps some circumstances of life in which
Providence has no intention that people should be content.
Nevertheless, the maxim is on the whole a good one; but it is
peculiarly for home use. That your neighbour should, or should
not, remain content with his position, is not your business; but it
is very much your business to remain content with your own.
What is chiefly needed in England at the present day is to show
the quantity of pleasure that may be obtained by a consistent,
well-administered competence, modest, confessed, and
We need examples of people who, leaving Heaven to
decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for
themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to
seeknot greater wealth, but simpler pleasure; not higher
fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions,
self-possession; and honouring themselves in the harmless pride
and calm pursuits of peace.
Of which lowly peace it is written that justice and peace
have kissed each other; and that the fruit of justice is sown in
peace of them that make peace;
not peace-makers in the
common understandingreconcilers of quarrels; (though that
function also follows on the greater one;) but peace-Creators;
Givers of Calm. Which you cannot give, unless you first gain;
not is this gain one which will follow assuredly on any course of
business, commonly so called. No form of gain is less probable,
business being (as is shown in the language of all
nationspwlein from pelw, prariV from peraw, venire,
vendre, and venal, from venio, etc.) essentially restlessand
probably contentious;having a raven-like mind to the motion
to and fro, as to the carrion
[For Ruskins views on this maxim of the Church Catechism, see below, p. 320 n.]
[Compare Modern Painters, vol. v. (Vol. VII. p. 426).]
[Psalms lxxxv. 10; James iii. 18.]

food; whereas the olive-feeding and bearing birds look for rest
for their feet;
thus it is said of Wisdom that she hath builded
her house, and hewn out her seven pillars;
and even when,
though apt to wait long at the doorposts, she has to leave her
house and go abroad, her paths are peace
84. For us, at all events, her work must begin at the entry of
the doors: all true economy is Law of the house. Strive to
make that law strict, simple, generous: waste nothing, and
grudge nothing. Care in nowise to make more of money, but care
to make much of it; remembering always the great, palpable,
inevitable factthe rule and root of all economythat what one
person has, another cannot have; and that every atom of
substance, of whatever kind, used or consumed, is so much
human life spent; which, if it issue in the saving present life, or
gaining more, is well spent, but if not is either so much life
prevented, or so much slain. In all buying, consider, first, what
condition of existence you cause in the producers of what you
buy; secondly, whether the sum you have paid is just to the
producer, and in due proportion, lodged in his hands;* thirdly, to
how much clear use, for food, knowledge, or joy, this that you
have bought can be put; and fourthly, to whom and in what way
it can be most speedily and serviceably distributed; in all
dealings whatsoever insisting on entire openness and stern
fulfilment; and in all doings, on perfection and loveliness of
accomplishment; especially on fineness and purity
* The proper offices of middlemen, namely, overseers (or authoritative workmen),
conveyancers (merchants, sailors, retail dealers, etc.), and order -takers (persons
employed to receive directions from the consumer), must, of course, be examined
before I can enter farther into the question of just payment of the first producer. But I
have not spoken of them in these introductory papers, because the evils attendant on the
abuse of such intermediate functions result not from any alleged principle of modern
political economy, but from private carelessness or iniquity.

[Genesis viii. 7.]
[Proverbs ix. 1.]
[Proverbs iii. 17words often quoted by Ruskin; see, for instance, A joy for Ever,
120 n. (Vol. XVI. p. 103; and Time and Tide, 60; below, p. 367).]

of all marketable commodity: watching at the same time for all
ways of gaining, or teaching, powers of simple pleasure; and of
showing oson en asfodelw meg oneiar
the sum of
enjoyment depending not on the quantity of things tasted, but on
the vivacity and patience of taste.
85. And if, on due and honest thought over these things, it
seems that the kind of existence to which men are now
summoned by every plea of pity and claim of right, may, for
some time at least, not be a luxurious one;consider whether,
even supposing it guiltless, luxury would be desired by any of
us, if we saw clearly at our sides the suffering which
accompanies it in the world. Luxury is indeed possible in the
futureinnocent and exquisite; luxury for all, and by the help of
all; but luxury at present can only be enjoyed by the ignorant; the
cruelest man living could not sit at his feast, unless he sat
Raise the veil boldly; face the light; and if, as yet, the
light of the eye can only be through tears, and the light of the
through sackcloth, go thou forth weeping, bearing
precious seed, until the time come, and the kingdom, when
Christs gift of bread, and bequest of peace, shall be Unto this
last as unto thee;
and when, for earths severed multitudes of
the wicked and the weary, there shall be holier reconciliation
than that of the narrow home, and calm economy, where the
Wicked ceasenot from trouble, but from troublingand the
Weary are at rest.

[Hesiod, Works and Days, 40, 41:
nhpioi, oude isasin osw pleon hmisu pantoV,
oud oson en malach te kai asfodelw meg oneiar.
Fools! they know not how much the half exceeds the whole, nor howgreat blessing lies
in mallow and asphodelherbs which grow wild in Greece, and were the food of the
very poor (Aristophanes, Plutus, 544).]
[Compare The Opening of the Crystal Palace, 18, where Ruskin thus lifts the veil
upon a London dinner-party (Vol. XII. p. 430).]
[Matthew vi. 22.]
[Matthew xx. 13.]
[Job iii. 17.]







[Bibliographical Note.The essays collected in Munera Pulveris originally
appearedunder the heading


Being a Sequel to Papers which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine.


in Frasers Magazine, 18621863: Chapter I. (of the work as now arranged), June
1862, vol. 66, pp. 784792; Chapter II., September 1862, vol. 66, pp. 265280;
Chapters III. and IV., December 1862, vol. 66, pp. 742756; and Chapters V. and VI.,
April 1863, vol. 67, pp. 441462. The publication of the papers was then suspended
(see above, p. lxviii.), and nine years later Ruskin collected them (with considerable
revision) into a volume, which has appeared in the following editions:

First Edition (1872).The title-page is as shown on the preceding leaf here.
Octavo, pp. xxvii.+186. The volume was the Second in the Works Series, and a
general title-page (unnumbered) preceded the particular one:
The | Works of John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christchurch, Oxford.
| Volume II. | Munera Pulveris. | [Rose] | London: Printed for the author
| By Smith, Elder & Co., 15, Waterloo Place; | and sold by | Mr. G. Allen,
Heathfield Cottage, Keston, Kent. | 1872.
Contents (here p. 129), p. iii.; Preface (here pp. 131146), pp. v.xxvii.; Text, pp.
1175; Appendices, pp. 177186. The imprint (in the centre of the leaf facing the last
page) is London: Printed by Smith, Elder and Co., Old Bailey, E.C. The headlines
are Preface (on both left and right hand pages) Chap. I. Definitions. (Economy.),
and so on as described below on p. 129 n.; and Appendices (on left and right hand
pages). This was the first book to bear Mr. Allens name on the title-page.
Issued on January 1, 1872, in purple calf, with gilt edges and tooled after an
ecclesiastical fashion; lettered across the back: Ruskin. | Works. | Vol. | II. | Munera |
Pulveris. Price 9s. 6d.; increased on January 1, 1874, to 18s. 1000 copies.
In this volume the original essays were considerably revised and rearranged; full
particulars are given below (see Vari Lectiones).

Second Edition (1880).This was a reprint of the First Edition; the only
differences are typographical. The general title-page is:
The | Works of John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christchurch, and
Honorary Fellow | of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. | Volume II. |
Munera Pulveris. | [Rose.] George Allen, | Sunnyside, Orpington. Kent. |

The particular title-page is also different, thus:

Munera Pulveris. | Six Essays | on the Elements of | Political Economy. |
By | John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christchurch, and Honorary
Fellow of Corpus | Christi College, Oxford. | Second Thousand. | George
Allen, | Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent. | 1880.

This edition has also a different imprint (in the same place as before): Chiswick
Press:Charles Whittingham and Co., Tooks Court, Chancery Lane.
Issued, again in Ruskin calf, price 18s. The price was reduced in 1893 to 15s. in
calf and 9s. 6d. in cloth; and again in 1900 to 14s. 6d. calf, 7s. 6d. cloth. This edition is
still current (1905).
In July 1882 some copies were put up in mottled-grey paper boards, with white
paper back-lable, which reads: Ruskin. | Works. | Vol. II. | Munera | Pulveris. These
were sold at 13s. (reduced in 1900 to 7s. 6d.). This edition was printed by mistake on
demy octavo paper instead of medium; but the book was put up in medium octavo
boards to range with the other volumes of the Works Series. (So also in the case of
The Eagles Nest.)
In April 1893 copies were put up in green cloth, lettered on the back. Price 13s.
(reduced in 1900 to 7s. 6d.). In this form also the Second Edition is still current.

Third, or Small Edition (1886).The title-page of this edition is:
Munera Pulveris. | Six Essays | on the Elements of Political Economy. |
By | John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christchurch, and Honorary
Fellow | of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. | New Edition. | George
Allen, | Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent. | 1886. | [ All rights reserved.]

Small crown 8vo, pp. xxxii.+218. Not being in the Works Series, this edition omits
the general title-page. Contents, p. v.; Preface, pp. vii.xxxii.; Text, pp. 1205;
Appendices, pp. 207218. The imprint (at the foot of the reverse of the title-page and
at the foot of the last page) is Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and
Aylesbury. The sub-titles of the chapters are omitted from the headlines. The text
remained unchanged (except for a few trifling and accidental alterations: see
Issued in August 1886 in chocolate and in dark green cloth; lettered across the
back: Ruskin | Munera | Pulveris. Price 5s. 3000 copies.

Fourth, or Second Small, Edition (1894).This was a reprint of the Third, but the
imprint was that of Messrs. Ballantyne, Hanson & Co., and the publishers was
George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington | and | 156, Charing Cross Road, London. It
included an index (by Mr. Wedderburn, pp. 220240), and the paragraphs of the
Preface were numbered. Issued in June 1894. Price 5s. 2000 copies.
This edition was electrotyped, and further issues of it were made (with changes
only on the title-page) in July 1898Third Small Edition(1000 copies); January
1899Ninth Thousand; and June 1904Tenth Thousand. The price was
reduced in January 1904 to 3s. 6d.

Pocket Edition (1904).Simultaneously with the issue last mentioned, 3000
copies were printed off (with new title-page) for the Pocket Edition, uniform with
other volumes (see Vol. XV. p. 6). The title-page is:
Munera Pulveris | By | John Ruskin | London: George All en.
On the reverse: June 1904 | All rights reserved. Issued in terra-cotta cloth at 2s. 6d.
net, and in limp leather at 3s. 6d. net. In October 1904, 2000 more copies were printed,
completing the fifteenth thousand of the work in the small form (17th thousand in all)
There have been the usual unauthorised American editions.
An authorised American (Brantwood) Edition was issued in 1891 by Charles E.
Merrill & Co., New York, with an introduction by Charles Eliot Norton, pp. vi.xiv.


Notices of the essays as they appeared in Frasers Magazine were published in the
Morning Star (a leading article), December 4; and the Weekly Review, December 6,
1862. At the time when they were collected into a volume (1872), Ruskins books
were not sent to the Press, and the volume was therefore not reviewed.


Vari Lectiones.There have, as already stated, been no intentional variations in
the text of any of the editions of Munera Pulveris in a collected form. Such few
variations as have crept in are noted in the following list. It is, however, mainly
occupied by variations between the book in its collected form and the original essays.
These are very numerous. The following list mentions them all (a few trifling
differences of spelling or punctuation alone excepted). The more important variations
are noted under the text; they are included in this list only by references to the pages.
The list compares the original essays with the present text; that is to say, the first
readings are those of the essays; the second, those in the text.
Title.Each of the essays had the general title, as shown at the beginning of this
Note. On the left-hand pages the headline throughout was Essays on Political
Economy; on the right-hand pages the headlines were as given here, in notes on pp.
147, 164, 194, 217, 231, 262. They were presumably supplied by the editor of the
Magazine (Froude).
Contents and Headlines: see p. 129 n.
The Notes added by the author in 1872 are here distinguished by being included in
round brackets; square brackets in earlier editions (see p. cxiii.).
Chapter i. 2. This paragraph was printed as a footnote, with the following
variations: line 1, in modern days for lately in England; line 3, the phenomena
for some accidental phenomena; lines 3, 4, modern and nor has it . . . these were
omitted; lines 7, 8, as long as it is allowed to pass for as long as its unscholarly and
undefined statements are . . .; line 11, either misunderstood or misapplied for
nearly useless to mankind; line 17, and as a misused word always is liable to
involve an obscured thought, and all careful thinkers, either on this or any other
subject are sure . . .

8, footnote, Appendix I. referred to in the note was printed at this place as a
9, line 20, see p. 151 n.
11, third line from end, this paper for this first chapter.
12, line 1, Section I.Wealth. Wealth, it has been said . . .; footnote, the
italics spoken of in the authors note of 1872 (p. 153) were here and there omitted in
the original essays.
14, last line, see p. 154 n.
15, line 5, and before medicine; line 9, We shall enter into separate inquiry
as to the conditions of value under each of these heads. The following sketch of the
entire subject may be useful for future reference.
16, lines 1, 2, A and B for first and secondly; A and B were
correspondingly inserted before Its value and The second element; lines 8, 9, the
words in order to give effectual value followed intrinsic value; line 13, see p. 155
n.; line 16, see p. 155 n.; line 25, forms for is; line 26, see p. 155 n.
17, lines 2 and 10, 13 and 29, A and B as above; line 14, see p. 156 n.; line
11, secondarily for secondly.
19, lines 2 and 4, again A and B.
21, Section II.Money; line 7, see p. 158 n.
22, line 1, real was omitted before worth; line 3, which it professes to
represent after labour.
23, line 10, . . . takes place exclusively in the new piece, according to the
inferiority of its credit.
25, line 1, Finally before the use; line 10, of currency for proper to
currency; line 11, worth of money in the market for market worth of bullion; last
line, see p. 160 n.
26, line 1, Section III.Riches; lines 16, 17, contrary only in the manner of
the terms warmth and cold, of which . . .
27, line 12, be for are; lines 18, 19, see p. 161 n.
28, lines 13, Since there are two modes in which inequality, which is indeed
the condition and constituent of riches, may be establishednamely . . .
29, line 7, A. Their power . . . and similarly with B and C in lines 14 and
20; in lines 20, 21, their redundance for the redundance of wealth.
31, line 1, last paper for first chapter; line 3, . . . definitions, so as to avoid
confusion in their use when we enter into the detail of our subject; line 13, wealth
consists in things exchangeable at rated prices for the worth of things depends on the
demand for them, instead of on the use of them.
32, line 13, yet before become; line 20, . . . in proportion. They are
separable by instinct and judgment, but not interchangeable; and in things . . .
33, line 1, the for any, and into which we have presently to enter after
wealth; line 8, will for may.
34, lines 1 and 2, So that, finally, wealth is not the accidental . . . but the
constant . . .; lines 2 and 3, only to omitted and there are no italics; footnote, the
Appendix II. here referred to was in the original printed as a footnote in this place;
lines 7 and 8, would be but

as the weighing; line 11, faithful omitted; line 12, she omitted; line 13, it for
that she.
35, line 24, great for true; line 29, grain for atom; lines 30 and 31, its
twin grain of governing capacity.
36, lines 2 and 3, that in estimating property which we cannot use as wealth,
because it is exchangeable, we in reality . . .
37, line 5, For a mans . . .; line 6, for himself omitted; line 7, to others
omitted; footnote, the Appendix III. here referred to was originally printed as a
footnote in this place; lines 3641, and whatever beautiful things you may obtain
possession of, and by servants, for whose maintenance you will be charged, and
whom you will have the trouble of superintending omitted; and they for the
accumulated property.
38, lines 68, no italics; line 9, there was a misprint here (p. 268 in the original
essay), which the author corrected (see below, p. 290 n.); line 14, see p. 169 n.; line 16,
probably for evil, and the omitted before contents; last line, service for
advantage; footnote, in previous editions the whole of this was enclosed in brackets,
thus denoting that none of it appeared in the original essay. This, however, is not the
case; the terminal bracket is now placed at the end of the matter added in 1872. In the
original note somewhat was inserted before dogged.
39, line 5, the for his, and our for the; line 17, a different rate and
manner of variation is.
40, line 1, real or imaginary, that is to say, after wealth; footnote, Appendix
IV. was here printed as a footnote; line 3, a for the; line 8, after other things
there was an asterisk, and the passage now in the textThe question of equivalence
. . . and so onwas printed as a footnote, namely being inserted (in our line 10)
before how; lines 19 and 20, the labourer speedily uses this general order, or, in
common . . .; and in following lines, order and it for order and them; line 29,
here however, in revising, Ruskin forgot to change order into orders, and the
correction is now made.
41, lines 47, But a Government may be far other than a conservative power. It
may be on the one hand constructive, on the other destructive. If a constructive, or
improving power, using . . .; line 12, see p. 172 n.
42, lines 4, 6, 8, (A), (B), and (C) inserted.
43, line 4, see p. 173 n.
50, line 12, see p. 177 n.; line 17, the collected editions all read combustible;
combustibles is now read, in accordance with the original essay.
51, line 1, above for in 49.
54, line 11, does not follow for cannot be assumed.
58, line 18, see p. 182 n.
59, line 4, see p. 183 n.; footnote, last line, all italicised.
60, footnote, see p. 184 n.
61, line 9, irrespectively of any questions of demand or supply for being
dependent much on application of money.
62, footnote, lines 1920, see p. 185 n. 62, line 4, price not italicised; line 21,
see p. 187 n.

63, line 9, their omitted before existence.
65, line 13, strong or weak not italicised.
66, line 15, quantity for need.
67, line 16, necessarily omitted; lines 18 and 19, and as an expression of
passion, plays a more and more important part in the nations . . .; line 21, again part
for power.
Chapter iii. 68, line 1, paper for chapter.
69, lines 1 and 2, no italics; lines 1523, see p. 195 n.
71, lines 1315, see p. 196 n.
76, line 23, so was placed before as to despise; see also p. 199 n.
77, authors second footnote, the words (consisting of herds and cattle) were
inserted in 1872; authors fourth footnote, stater for drachma, and sequin for
zecchin; daguerreotyping Venetian architecture for taking daguerreotypes at
Venice. Two of these corrections were made by Ruskin in his terminal note (see p.
290 n.).
78, lines 6 and 9, Incontroversible currencies, those of . . . interfere with its
79, lines 68, see p. 201 n.; line 10, pursue for visit, and see p. 201 n.; line
15, the quick in quicksand not italicised.
80, line 8, (whatever its credit power) inserted after document; line 9,
therefore omitted; line 10, being inserted after as; and and his subsequent will
to work, after issuer; last line, see p. 202 n.
81, authors footnote, line 8, gradated (the form commonly used by Ruskin)
for graduated.
82, authors footnote, line 2, still time for time still.
83, line 1, Finally for Farther.
84, lines 3 and 4, chiefly omitted, and depends for depend; lines 6 and 7,
see p. 206 n.; lines 16 and 17, vileness of nature and of use; lines 21 and 22,
competition for consequent dispute, of them omitted after accumulation, and
reckoning for estimate of them.
85, line 1, Now, the for The; lines 4 and 5, the more they tire of them and
want to change . . .; line 7, . . . currency; while the large . . .; lines 11 and 12,
vacancy in idea omitted; line 12, absoluteness for seclusion; last three lines,
measure superiorities in other things; but everybody can understand money and count
86, last line, see p. 208 n.
8794, see authors footnote, p. 208.
87, line 29, respecting for of; line 32, of for in.
88, line 7, none not italicised; lines 10 and 11, compare . . . turba omitted
(see Ruskins terminal note, p. 290 n.); line 17, soccorrien was misprinted
toccarriencorrected by Ruskin in his terminal note (see p. 290 n.); line 18, sight
has hitherto been misprinted light; line 33, see p. 210 n.
90, line 5, ploutou for ploutou; line 18, constant for divine.
91, lines 1216, . . . cave; to men she gives no rich feast, nothing but pure . . .
corn, milk, and wine, the three . . .; line 17, (see Appendix V.) omitted.
94, line 27, see p. 216 n.
Chapter iv. 95, line 3, and for so that.
97, line 4, or rob omitted; line 5, lake for sea, and

instead of etc., or over a mountain, though not across a lake, etc.; lines 9 and 10,
over a mountain but not over a ferry for fifty miles, but not in being carried five;
line 12, one not italicised, nor any italics in lines 14 and 15.
98, line 2, Now note that omitted; line 3, for in itself read as such; line 22,
a just one for just pay; line 36, in for on before rent and price; line 42, see
p. 220 n.
100, line 8, it harden for that hardens; lines 13 and 14, no italics; line 32, the
original essay (p. 754) and all editions hitherto have misprinted learning for
leaning, though Ruskin himself corrected it in Frasers Magazine (see below, p. 290
n.); fourth line from end, see p. 224 n.
101, authors footnote, the first linesAs Charis . . . Cherishwere in the
original essay printed as a separate footnote, appended to the word Labour in our
line 10 of 101; this was an error; the note was intended to be appended to the word
Charitas in 102, line 1Ruskin noted this error in the Magazine (see p. 290 n.,
below). 101, authors footnote, lines 68, see p. 225 n.; last line of footnote, cruel
people or omitted; 101, line 23, etc. after Phaxque; line 28, here the present
104 was appended as a footnote; line 31, deal with for employ themselves in.
102, authors footnote, a few misprints in accents in all previous editions have
now been corrected. In the original essay wnomakeai was misprinted
anagomenaicorrected by Ruskin in his terminal note (see p. 290 n.); this was
corrected in 1872, when also the English translation was added.
103, lines 9 and 10, not merely . . . mast were in error printed after the
quotation from George Herbert (in which passions in all previous editions is here
corrected to passions).
104, line 9, IS in Fraser and ed. 1; the capitals dropped out in the smaller
106, lines 14, It remains, in order to complete the series of our definitions, that
we examine the general conditions of government, and fix the sense in which we are to
use, in future, the terms applied to them; line 13, or accomplishment added after
completeness; line 18, practice, or added before ethical.
107, last three lines, see p. 223 n.
108, line 1, see p. 223 n.; line 5, and for or; line 6, surrounding omitted.
109, line 9, but omitted; authors footnote, line 14, see p. 235 n.; the references
in this note to Xenophons Economist have been wrongly given in all previous
editions: they are here corrected from i. 4 and i. 6 to iv. 3 and vi. 5; 109,
lines 1719, see p. 235 n.; last line, see p. 236 n.; in the authors footnote to the last
line the English translation was introduced in 1872.
111, line 1, A. Archic Law omitted.
112, last line but one, at that bridle rein for at the bridle.
113, last line, see p. 239 n.
114, line 1, B omitted.
115, line 16 to end, the wordsThese laws . . . subjectedwere in the
original essay printed as a footnote (the word and being added when they were
raised to the text); line 35, are schools for is a

school; line 36, treasuries not italicised; lines 39, 40, see p. 240 n.; line 43, While,
finally for Finally.
116, line 1, C omitted; line 3 to end, this passage was printed as a footnote;
line 13, funds devoted to disputation for exercise in oratory.
117, lines 1 and 2, Therefore, in order to true analysis of it, we . . . this word
injury; line 7, un not italicised; line 9, carelessness for indolence.
118, line 7, or before help; line 8, by omitted.
119, line 7 to end, see p. 242 n.; also De and Ef not italicised.
120, line 2, again no italics; line 4, old between great and wrathful; line
10, as straight and earnest for strong, and correspondingly in line 12, as for but
stronger still.
121, line 1, are for are part of; line 2, see p. 243 n.; lines 9 and 10, see p. 243
n.; line 13, see p. 244 n.; last five lines, . . . and governors; the modes of such
discernment forming the real constitution of the state, and not the titles . . . fulfil it.
And this brings us to the third division of our subject.
122, line 14, fights battles, or directs that they be fought for orders war or
peace; line 15, exponent for arbiter; last line, see p. 245 n.
124, authors second footnote, see p. 247 n. 124, line 28, see p. 247 n.; authors
third footnote, line 1, expressed the popular security wisely, saying for says; line
4, Yes, and when the four winds (your only pilots) steer competitively from the four
corners, wV d ot. . . akanqaV, perhaps the mariner may wish for keel and wheel
again; at the end of the section, in the quotation from Carlyle, a few typographical
alterations are here made in accordance with Carlyles text.
125, line 3, either to be for to be either; lines 6, 7, no italics.
126, line 9, Then for tyranny omitted, and correspondingly in line 11, of
tyranny for of it; line 11, nearly for closely; line 16, Tennant in all previous
editions is here corrected to Tennent.
127, line 3, costly not italicised.
128, line 3, no italics; line 8, I am prepared to admit; line 14, it would be for
would it not be; line 24, the averting of hostile liquid fire; line 25, see p. 252 n.;
line 29, parcels inserted before even; last lines, see p. 253 n.
129, line 1, thus omitted, and see p. 253 n.; line 19, inferring for implying;
line 26, the previous paper for 105.
130, lines 8, 9, or even . . . placed in it omitted; line 16, highly for very;
line 36, her brother for Apollo.
131, lines 2, 3, no italics.
132, lines 2, 3, no italics; lines 810, see p. 256 n.
133, line 2, no italics; in the latter portion of this section the original essay
omitted (Ariel in the pine), (in the cowslip-bell I lie), or (Calibans slavery and
freedom), and themselves after Ariel and Caliban, and or diminished at the
end, and in line 9, read clothes-stealing for drinking.
134, line 1, see p. 257 n.; line 3, the attack of Caliban on for Caliban
attacking. 134, authors second footnote, this in the original essay was a
continuation of the note analysing the Tempest, which is now

printed in the main text; for alterations in this second note, see p. 257 n. 134, lines
911, . . . spirits of freedom and mechanical labour. Prospero . . .; line 15, ravens
feather not italicised ; line 18, phantasms of God for divine phantasms; line 20,
all fondness and emptiness for fond and empty; line 22, true liberty for
generous and free-hearted service; lines 24 and 25, and 42, quotation marks have
been inserted in this edition; line 25, fearful for dreadful; line 29, see p. 259 n.;
line 35, power of liberty for vis viva; line 37, after not italicised.
135, line 2, somewhat before more length, and matter for subject of
Chapter vi. 136, line 2, we must study this relation in its simplest . . . 136,
authors footnote, line 2, innocent not italicised; I assume poverty . . . 136, lines
20 and 21, of your work and for it omitted, and see p. 263 n.
137, last two lines, no italics; nor were there any in 138, 139.
139, line 1, rare for rarely, and line 9, of the weaving after design (the
authors statement, p. 264 n., that he had not altered a syllable in the paragraph
requires this small amount of qualification).
140, lines 7 and 8, expressions for expression, of foolish convictions for
of foul and foolish convictions; lines 10 and 11, and malicious omitted; last line,
misconception for misrepresentation.
141, line 10, only for but; line 11, all not italicised; line 15, clothing, and
in for clothing,in; lines 16 and 17, and around his fields a wedge of wall against
flood omitted; line 19, many of for half, and peasantry for peasants; line 23,
not not italicised.
142, lines 2 and 3, not only omitted, and and for but.
143, line 2, the words At the end of a few years are put before We may
conceive; lines 3 and 4, no italics; last line but one, true for rational.
144, line 9, see p. 267 n.
145, lines 5 and 6, entirely recommendable; or even omitted; line 9, I only
wish for But I am determined that, and to for shall; line 10, and see omitted;
line 13, master for masters and you for we; line 15, may Heaven for God;
lines 33 and 36, no italics; last two lines, man for manly people, and child for
childish one.
146, lines 1 and 2, There may be thus, and, to a certain extent, there always is a
government . . .; lines 4 and 5, . . . it consists, observe, of two distinct
functionsthe collection . . .; line 8, or for and when it is dishonourable; lines
911, for for it consists . . . appropriation to.
147, lines 9 and 10, no italics; line 16, in Savoy omitted; line 29, there for in
Fraser, therefore in eds. 1 and 2; therefore, afterwards.
148, lines 8 and 9, . . . chance of bullet, for their prides sake,. . .
149, line 27, hour of year for season.
150, line 1, But for Going back to the matter in hand; line 8, with for
lighted by, small omitted, and in it after window; line 9, entered by omitted.
151, line 11, of the evening for in the evening; line 12, without nails after
the panels; line 14, fastening omitted; lines 14,

15, with useless precision omitted; lines 16, 17, fasten and with decent strength
omitted; line 18, He not italicised.
152, line 14, no italics.
153, lines 28, 29, it for he does, know omitted, and any evil for for
disease. 153, authors second footnote, in the last line 42 is a misprint in all
previous editions for 12.
154, line 7, promise anything for hope.
155, authors footnote, lines 3 and 4, in Fraser: Men are apt to watch rather the
exchanges in a state than its damages; but the exchanges are only of importance so far
as they bring about these last. A large . . . In eds. 13 as in the present text; in the later
editions IS was not printed in capitals. 155, footnote, line 11, fact for reality;
line 16, see p. 279 n.
158, quotation from Carlyle, see p. 280 n.
159, line 6, then for secondly; line 9, icewards and sunwards
transposed; line 10, you inserted after given; line 14, you have for it has; line
17, see p. 282 n.
160, line 6, see p. 282 n.
Appendices.Introductory passage added in 1872.
Appendix i.Line 13, . . . of justice. The necessity . . .; lines 22 and 23, . . . of
the results of the want of education of large masses of nations in principles of justice;
and see below, p. 286 n.; line 25, among nations, is for prove. For other, and more
extensive, alterations in this Appendix, see pp. 285, 286 nn.
Appendix ii.This Appendix appeared in the original essays as a footnote to 34
(at our line 3). Lines 9 and 10, see p. 287 n.; line 13, . . . for bitter, so betraying the
first of all Loyalties . . .; line 15, serving for serve, and dwelling for House;
line 16, see p. 287 n.; line 21, image-or likeness-breaking for image-breaking;
line 23, in resolution or persuasion for to do, or persuade to doing; last line, a
phantasm for an imagination.
Appendix iii.This appeared in the original essays as a footnote to 37 (at our
line 14). Lines 13, I reserve until the completion of these papers any support, by the
authority of other writers, of the statements made in them; indeed were such
authorities wisely sought for and shown, there would be . . .; line 8, seven for a
hundred; line 9, exclaimed for revolted; line 15, preceding inserted before
passages; end of the Appendix, see p. 288 n.
Appendix iv.This appeared in the original essays as a footnote to 40. Lines
2021, . . . purity of bodily ailment, as well as of religious conviction? Why, having
. . .; line 22, they may for may they; line 24, spiritual for theological; line 27,
inconvenient, for inapplicable; end of the Appendix, see p. 289 n.
Appendix v.For the place of this and the following Appendix in the original
essays, see p. 290 n. Lines 67, usual useful ingenuity for customary helpfulness;
lines 1213, . . . myths, respecting them all I have but this to say: Even . . .; line 18,
high for mute; line 20, see p. 291 n.; last line, no not italicised.
Appendix vi.Line 4, even for often much; line 18, in the day-time for at





[In all editions hitherto the Contents have been merely Chap. I. Definitions,
II. Store-keeping, and so on; but in eds. 1 and 2 Ruskin indicated the contents of the
various pages by additions to the headlines, thus: Chap. I. Definitions (Economy),
Chap. II. Store-Keeping (Of Good Things), and so on. In later edit ions (owing to the
re-setting of the text) these descriptive headlines were abandoned, and here also it has
been found impossible so to give them; but the above list preserves them in a different
form. The titles of the Appendices are, however, supplied by the editors, as no
descriptive headlines were given to them in eds. 1 and 2.]

ii. LEGAL 236


1.THE following pages contain, I believe, the first accurate
analysis of the laws of Political Economy which has been
published in England. Many treatises, within their scope,
correct, have appeared in contradiction of the views popularly
but no exhaustive examination of the subject was
possible to any person unacquainted with the value of the
products of the highest industries, commonly called the Fine
Arts; and no one acquainted with the nature of those industries
has, so far as I know, attempted, or even approached, the task.
So that, to the date (1863) when these Essays were
published, not only the chief conditions of the production of
wealth had remained unstated, but the nature of wealth itself had
never been defined. Every one has a notion, sufficiently correct
for common purposes, of what is meant by wealth, wrote Mr.
Mill, in the outset of his treatise;
and contentedly proceeded, as
if a chemist should proceed to investigate the laws of chemistry
without endeavouring to ascertain the nature of fire or water,
because every one had a notion of them, sufficiently correct for
common purposes.
2. But even that apparently indisputable statement was
untrue. There is not one person in ten thousand who has
[As Ruskin was almost certainly not familiar with the works of the German
Historical School of Economists, he probably was thinking here of such English
treatises as that of Richard Jones on Rent (1831), attacking Ricardo, and John Lalors
Money and Morals (1852). Perhaps he was thinking also of Carlyles various assaults on
the dismal science (see Ruskins letter to Dr. John Brown quoted above, p. xxxiv.).]
[See Unto this Last, Preface, 2; above, p. 18.]

a notion sufficiently correct, even for the commonest purposes,
of what is meant by wealth; still less of what wealth
everlastingly is, whether we mean it or not; which it is the
business of every student of economy to ascertain. We, indeed,
know (either by experience or in imagination) what it is to be
able to provide ourselves with luxurious food, and handsome
clothes; and if Mr. Mill had thought that wealth consisted only in
these, or in the means of obtaining these, it would have been
easy for him to have so defined it with perfect scientific
accuracy. But he knew better: he knew that some kinds of wealth
consisted in the possession, or power of obtaining, other things
than these; but, having, in the studies of his life, no clue to the
principles of essential value, he was compelled to take public
opinion as the ground of his science; and the public, of course,
willingly accepted the notion of a science founded on their
3. I had, on the contrary, a singular advantage, not only in the
greater extent of the field of investigation opened to me by my
daily pursuits, but in the severity of some lessons I accidentally
received in the course of them.
When, in the winter of 1851, I was collecting materials for
my work on Venetian architecture, three of the pictures of
Tintoret on the roof of the School of St. Roch were hanging
down in ragged fragments, mixed with lath and plaster, round
the apertures made by the fall of three Austrian heavy shot.
city of Venice was not, it appeared, rich enough to repair the
damage that winter; and buckets were set on the floor of the
upper room of the school to catch the rain, which not only fell
directly through the shot holes, but found its way, owing to the
generally pervious state of the roof, through many of the
canvases of Tintoret in other parts of the ceiling.
4. It was a lesson to me, as I have just said, no less
[For other references to this incident, see Vol. XII. p. 421, and Vol. XVI. p. 76 n.;
and for similar neglect in 1846, Vol. IV. pp. 40, 395, and Vol. X. p. 437.]

direct than severe; for I knew already at that time (though I have
not ventured to assert, until recently at Oxford,
) that the pictures
of Tintoret in Venice were accurately the most precious articles
of wealth in Europe, being the best existing productions of
human industry. Now at the time that three of them were thus
fluttering in moist rags from the roof they had adorned, the shops
of the Rue Rivoli at Paris were, in obedience to a
steadily-increasing public Demand, beginning to show a
steadily-increasing Supply of elaborately finished and coloured
lithographs, representing the modern dances of delight, among
which the cancan
has since taken a distinguished place.
5. The labour employed on the stone of one of these
lithographs is very much more than Tintoret was in the habit of
giving to a picture of average size. Considering labour as the
origin of value, therefore, the stone so highly wrought would be
of greater value than the picture; and since also it is capable of
producing a large number of immediately saleable or
exchangeable impressions, for which the demand is constant,
the city of Paris naturally supposed itself, and on all hitherto
believed or stated principles of political economy, was, infinitely
richer in the possession of a large number of these lithographic
stones, (not to speak of countless oil pictures and marble
carvings of similar character), than Venice in the possession of
those rags of mildewed canvas, flaunting in the south wind and
its salt rain. And, accordingly, Paris provided (without thought
of the expense) lofty arcades of shops, and rich recesses of
innumerable private apartments, for the protection of these
better treasures of hers from the weather.

6. Yet, all the while, Paris was not the richer for these
possessions. Intrinsically, the delightful lithographs were not
wealth, but polar contraries of wealth. She was, by
[In the lecture on The Relation between Michael Angelo and Tintoret, delivered
in 1871.]
[See below, Time and Tide, 48, p. 357.]
[For another reference to the Rue de Rivoli, see Vol. IX. p. 257.]

the exact quantity of labour she had given to produce these, sunk
below, instead of above, absolute Poverty. They not only were
false Richesthey were true Debt which had to be paid at
lastand the present aspect of the Rue Rivoli shows in what

And the faded stains of the Venetian ceiling, all the while,
were absolute and inestimable wealth. Useless to their
possessors as forgotten treasure in a buried city, they had in
them, nevertheless, the intrinsic and eternal nature of wealth;
and Venice, still possessing the ruins of them, was a rich city;
only, the Venetians had not a notion sufficiently correct even for
the very common purpose of inducing them to put slates on a
roof, of what was meant by wealth.
7. The vulgar economist would reply that his science had
nothing to do with the qualities of pictures, but with their
exchange-value only; and that his business was, exclusively, to
consider whether the remains of Tintoret were worth as many
ten-and-sixpences as the impressions which might be taken from
the lithographic stones.
But he would not venture, without reserve, to make such an
answer, if the example be taken in horses, instead of pictures.
The most dull economist would perceive and admit, that a
gentleman who had a fine stud of horses was absolutely richer
than one who had only ill-bred and broken-winded ones. He
would instinctively feel, though his pseudo-science had never
taught him, that the price paid for the animals, in either case, did
not alter the fact of their worth; that the good horse, though it
might have been bought by chance for a few guineas, was not
therefore less valuable, nor the owner of the galled jade any the
richer, because he had given a hundred for it.
8. So that the economist, in saying that his science takes no
account of the qualities of pictures, merely signifies that he
cannot conceive of any quality of essential badness
[The date was 1872, the reference thus being to the destruction caused by the

or goodness existing in pictures; and that he is incapable of
investigating the laws of wealth in such articles. Which is the
fact. But, being incapable of defining intrinsic value in pictures,
it follows that he must be equally helpless to define the nature of
intrinsic value in painted glass, or in painted pottery, or in
patterned stuffs, or in any other national produce requiring true
human ingenuity. Nay, though capable of conceiving the idea of
intrinsic value with respect to beasts of burden, no economist has
endeavoured to state the general principles of National
Economy, even with regard to the horse or the ass. And, in fine,
the modern political economists have been, without exception,
incapable of apprehending the nature of intrinsic value at all.

9. And the first specialty of the following treatise consists in
its giving at the outset, and maintaining as the foundation of all
subsequent reasoning, a definition of Intrinsic Value, and
Intrinsic Contrary-of-Value; the negative power having been left
by former writers entirely out of account, and the positive power
left entirely undefined.
But, secondly: the modern economist, ignoring intrinsic
value, and accepting the popular estimate of things as the only
ground of his science, has imagined himself to have ascertained
the constant laws regulating the relation of this popular demand
to its supply; or, at least, to have proved that demand and supply
were connected by heavenly balance, over which human
foresight had no power. I chanced, by singular coincidence,
lately to see this theory of the law of demand and supply brought
to as sharp practical issue in another great siege, as I had seen the
theories of intrinsic value brought, in the siege of Venice.

10. I had the honour of being on the committee under the
presidentship of the Lord Mayor of London, for the victualling
of Paris after her surrender.
It became, at one
[Compare the Crown of Wild Olive Introduction, 8.]
[See above, 3. Venice surrendered to the Austrians after a siege of fifteen months
on August 22, 1849.]
[January 1871; see Fors Clavigera, Letter 33 (Notes and Correspondence). For
other references to the siege of Paris, see Aratra Pentelici, 208; and here, 48, p. 175

period of our sittings, a question of vital importance at what
moment the law of demand and supply would come into
operation, and what the operation of it would exactly be: the
demand on this occasion, being very urgent indeed; that of
several millions of people within a few hours of utter starvation,
for any kind of food whatsoever. Nevertheless, it was admitted,
in the course of debate, to be probable that the divine principle of
demand and supply might find itself at the eleventh hour, and
some minutes over, in want of carts and horses; and we ventured
so far to interfere with the divine principle as to provide carts
and horses, with haste which proved, happily, in time for the
need; but not a moment in advance of it. It was farther
recognised by the committee that the divine principle of demand
and supply would commence its operations by charging the poor
of Paris twelve-pence for a pennys worth of whatever they
wanted; and would end its operations by offering them
twelve-pence worth for a penny, of whatever they didnt want.
Whereupon it was concluded by the committee that the tiny
knot, on this special occasion, was scarcely dignus vindice,

by the divine principle of demand and supply: and that we would
venture, for once, in a profane manner, to provide for the poor of
Paris what they wanted, when they wanted it. Which, to the
value of the sums entrusted to us, it will be remembered we
succeeded in doing.
11. But the fact is that the so-called Law, which was felt to
be false in this case of extreme exigence, is alike false in cases of
less exigence. It is false always, and everywhere. Nay, to such an
extent is its existence imaginary, that the vulgar economists are
not even agreed in their account of it; for some of them mean by
it, only that prices are regulated by the relation between demand
and supply, which is partly true; and others mean that the
relation itself is one with the process of which it is unwise to
interfere; a statement which is not only, as in
[Horace, Ars Poetica, 191 (dignus vindice nodus).]

the above instance, untrue; but accurately the reverse of the
truth: for all wise economy, political or domestic, consists in the
resolved maintenance of a given relation between supply and
demand, other than the instinctive, or (directly) natural, one.
12. Similarly, vulgar political economy asserts for a law
that wages are determined by competition.
Now I pay my servants exactly what wages I think necessary
to make them comfortable. The sum is not determined at all by
competition; but sometimes by my notions of their comfort and
deserving, and sometimes by theirs. If I were to become
penniless to-morrow, several of them would certainly still serve
me for nothing.
In both the real and supposed cases the so-called law of
vulgar political economy is absolutely set at defiance. But I
cannot set the law of gravitation at defiance, nor determine that
in my house I will not allow ice to melt, when the temperature is
above thirty-two degrees. A true law outside of my house will
remain a true one inside of it. It is not, therefore, a law of Nature
that wages are determined by competition. Still less is it a law of
State, or we should not now be disputing about it publicly, to the
loss of many millions of pounds to the country. The fact which
vulgar economists have been weak enough to imagine a law, is
only that, for the last twenty years a number of very senseless
persons have attempted to determine wages in that manner; and
have, in a measure, succeeded in occasionally doing so.
13. Both in definition of the elements of wealth, and in
statement of the laws which govern its distribution, modern
political economy has been thus absolutely incompetent, or
absolutely false. And the following treatise is not as it has been
asserted with dull pertinacity, an endeavour to put sentiment in
the place of science;
but it
[Compare 99 n.; below, p. 222. For a reply by Ruskin to the charge of
sentimentality, see Fors Clavigera, Letter 41; and for passages in which he
emphasises the intensely practical character of his mind, see ibid., Letter 37, and
Prterita, ii. 197.]

contains the exposure of what insolently pretended to be a
science; and the definition, hitherto unassailedand I do not
fear to assert, unassailableof the material elements with which
political economy has to deal, and the moral principles in which
it consists; being not itself a science, but a system of conduct
founded on the sciences, and impossible, except under certain
conditions of moral culture.
Which is only to say, that
industry, frugality, and discretion, the three foundations of
economy, are moral qualities, and cannot be attained without
moral discipline: a flat truism, the reader may think, thus stated,
yet a truism which is denied both vociferously, and in all
endeavour, by the entire populace of Europe; who are at present
hopeful of obtaining wealth by tricks of trade, without industry;
who, possessing wealth, have lost in the use of it even the
conception,how much more the habit?of frugality; and
who, in the choice of the elements of wealth, cannot so much as
losesince they have never hitherto at any time possessed,the
faculty of discretion.
14. Now if the teachers of the pseudo-science of economy
had ventured to state distinctly even the poor conclusions they
had reached on the subjects respecting which it is most
dangerous for a populace to be indiscreet, they would have soon
found, by the use made of them, which were true, and which
But on main and vital questions, no political economist has
hitherto ventured to state one guiding principle. I will instance
three subjects of universal importance. National Dress. National
Rent. National Debt.
Now if we are to look in any quarter for a systematic and
exhaustive statement of the principles of a given science, it must
certainly be from its Professor at Cambridge.
15. Take the last edition
of Professor Fawcetts Manual of
Political Economy, and forming, first, clearly in your
[See below, ch. i. 1; p. 147.]
[The third edition, published in 1869.]

mind these three following questions, see if you can find an
answer to them.
I. Does expenditure of capital on the production of luxurious
dress and furniture tend to make a nation rich or poor?
II. Does the payment, by the nation, of a tax on its land, or on
the produce of it, to a certain number of private persons, to be
expended by them as they please, tend to make the nation rich or
III. Does the payment, by the nation, for an indefinite period,
of interest on money borrowed from private persons, tend to
make the nation rich or poor?
These three questions are, all of them, perfectly simple, and
primarily vital. Determine these, and you have at once a basis for
national conduct in all important particulars. Leave them
undetermined, and there is no limit to the distress which may be
brought upon the people by the cunning of its knaves, and the
folly of its multitudes.
I will take the three in their order.
16. (I.) Dress. The general impression on the public mind at
this day is, that the luxury of the rich in dress and furniture is a
benefit to the poor. Probably not even the blindest of our
political economists would venture to assert this in so many
words. But where do they assert the contrary? During the entire
period of the reign of the late Emperor it was assumed in France,
as the first principle of fiscal government, that a large portion of
the funds received as rent from the provincial labourer should be
expended in the manufacture of ladies dresses in Paris. Where is
the political economist in France, or England, who ventured to
assert the conclusions of his science as adverse to this system?
As early as the year 1857 I had done my best to show the nature
of the error, and to give warning of its danger;* but not one of the
men who
* Political Economy of Art. (Smith and Elder, 1857, pp. 6576.

[See now Vol. XVI. pp. 4753.]

had the foolish ears of the people intent on their words, dared to
follow me in speaking what would have been an offence to the
powers of trade; and the powers of trade in Paris had their full
way for fourteen years more,with this result, to-day,as told
us in precise and curt terms by the Minister of Public
We have replaced glory by gold, work by speculation, faith and honour by
scepticism. To absolve or glorify immorality; to make much of loose women; to gratify
our eyes with luxury, our ears with the tales of orgies; to aid in the manuvres of public
robbers, or to applaud them; to laugh at morality, and only believe in success; to love
nothing but pleasure, adore nothing but force; to replace work with a fecundity of
fancies; to speak without thinking; to prefer noise to glory; to erect sneering into a
system, and lying into an institutionis this the spectacle that we have seen?is this
the society that we have been?

Of course, other causes, besides the desire of luxury in
furniture and dress, have been at work to produce such
consequences; but the most active cause of all has been the
passion for these; passion unrebuked by the clergy, and, for the
most part, provoked by economists, as advantageous to
commerce; nor need we think that such results have been arrived
at in France only; we are ourselves following rapidly on the
same road. France, in her old wars with us, never was so fatally
our enemy as she has been in the fellowship of fashion, and the
freedom of trade: nor, to my mind, is any fact recorded of
Assyrian or Roman luxury more ominous, or ghastly, than one
which came to my knowledge a few weeks ago, in England; a
respectable and well-to-do father and mother, in a quiet north
country town, being turned into the streets in their old age, at the
suit of their only daughters milliner.
17. (II.) Rent. The following account of the real nature of
rent is given, quite accurately, by Professor
* See report of speech
of M. Jules Simon, in Pall Mall Gazette of October 27th,

[At the annual meeting of the Institute of France.]

Fawcett, at page 112 of the last edition of his Political

Every country has probably been subjugated, and grants of vanquished territory
were the ordinary rewards which the conquering chief bestowed upon his more
distinguished followers . . . . Lands obtained by force had to be defended by force; and
before law had asserted her supremacy, and property was made secure, no baron was
able to retain his possessions, unless those who lived on his estates were prepared to
defend them. . . .* As property became secure, and landlords felt that the power of the
State would protect them in all the rights of property, every vestige of these f eudal
tenures was abolished, and the relation between landlord and tenant has thus become
purely commercial. A landlord offers his land to any one who is willing to take it; he is
anxious to receive the highest rent he can obtain. What are the principles which regulate
the rent which may thus be paid?

These principles the Professor goes on contentedly to
investigate, never appearing to contemplate for an instant the
possibility of the first principle in the whole businessthe
maintenance, by force, of the possession of land obtained by
force, being ever called in question by any human mind. It is,
nevertheless, the nearest task of our day to discover how far
original theft may be justly encountered by reactionary theft, or
whether reactionary theft be indeed theft at all; and farther, what,
excluding either original or corrective theft, are the just
conditions of the possession of land.
18. (III.) Debt. Long since, when, a mere boy, I used to sit
silently listening to the conversation of the London merchants
who, all of them good and sound men of business, were wont
occasionally to meet round my fathers dining-table, nothing
used to surprise me more than the conviction openly expressed
by some of the soundest and most cautious of them, that if there
were no National debt they would not know what to do with their
money, or where to place it
* The omitted sentences merely amplify the statement; they in no wise modify it.

[Book ii. ch. iii. ad init. Compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 22, where this passage is
referred to, and the subject of Rent and Land Tenure further discussed.]

safely. At the 399th page of his Manual,
you will find
Professor Fawcett giving exactly the same statement
In our own country, this certainty against risk of loss is provided by the public

and again, as on the question of rent, the Professor proceeds,
without appearing for an instant to be troubled by any misgiving
that there may be an essential difference between the effects on
national prosperity of a Government paying interest on money
which it spent in fireworks fifty years ago, and of a Government
paying interest on money to be employed to-day on productive
That difference, which the reader will find stated and
examined at length, in 127129 of this volume, it is the
business of economists, before approaching any other question
relating to government, fully to explain. And the paragraphs to
which I refer, contain, I believe, the only definite statement of it
hitherto made.
19. The practical result of the absence of any such statement
is, that capitalists, when they do not know what to do with their
money, persuade the peasants, in various countries, that the said
peasants want guns to shoot each other with. The peasants
accordingly borrow guns, out of the manufacture of which the
capitalists get a percentage, and men of science much
amusement and credit. Then the peasants shoot a certain number
of each other, until they get tired; and burn each others homes
down in various places. Then they put the guns back into towers,
arsenals, etc., in ornamental patterns; (and the victorious party
put also some ragged flags in churches). And then the capitalists
tax both, annually, ever afterwards, to pay interest on the loan of
the guns and gunpowder.
And that is what capitalists call
knowing what to do with their money; and what commercial
men in general call practical as opposed to sentimental
Political Economy.
[Book iii. ch. xii.]
[On this subject of capitalist-made war, compare Unto this Last, 76 n.; above, pp.

20. Eleven years ago, in the summer of 1860, perceiving then
fully, (as Carlyle had done long before), what distress was about
to come on the said populace of Europe through these errors of
their teachers, I began to do the best I might, to combat them, in
the series of papers for the Cornhill Magazine, since published
under the title of Unto this Last. The editor of the Magazine
my friend, and ventured the insertion of the three first essays; but
the outcry against them became then too strong for any editor to
endure, and he wrote to me, with great discomfort to himself,
and many apologies to me, that the Magazine must only admit
one Economical Essay more.
I made, with his permission, the last one longer than the rest,
and gave it blunt conclusion as well as I couldand so the book
now stands; but, as I had taken not a little pains with the Essays,
and knew that they contained better work than most of my
former writings, and more important truths than all of them put
together, this violent reprobation of them by the Cornhill public
set me still more gravely thinking; and, after turning the matter
hither and thither in my mind for two years more, I resolved to
make it the central work of my life to write an exhaustive treatise
on Political Economy. It would not have been begun, at that
time, however, had not the editor of Frasers Magazine
to me, saying that he believed there was something in my
theories, and would risk the admission of what I chose to write
on this dangerous subject; whereupon, cautiously, and at
intervals, during the winter of 186263, I sent him, and he
ventured to print, the preface of the intended work, divided into
four chapters. Then, though the Editor had not wholly lost
courage, the Publisher indignantly interfered; and the readers of
Fraser, as those of the Cornhill, were protected, for that time,
from farther disturbance on my part. Subsequently, loss of
health, family distress,
and various
[Thackeray: see above, Introduction, p. xxviii.]
[Froude: see above, Introduction, p. l.]
[The death of his father in March 1864.]

untoward chances, prevented my proceeding with the body of
the book;seven years have passed ineffectually; and I am now
fain to reprint the Preface by itself, under the title which I
intended for the whole.
21. Not discontentedly; being, at this time of life, resigned to
the sense of failure; and also, because the preface is complete in
itself as a body of definitions, which I now require for reference
in the course of my Letters to Workmen;
by which also, in time,
I trust less formally to accomplish the chief purpose of Munera
Pulveris practically summed in the two paragraphs 27 and 28:
namely, to examine the moral results and possible rectifications
of the laws of distribution of wealth, which have prevailed
hitherto without debate among men. Laws which ordinary
economists assume to be inviolable, and which ordinary
socialists imagine to be on the eve of total abrogation. But they
are both alike deceived. The laws which at present regulate the
possession of wealth are unjust, because the motives which
provoke to its attainment are impure; but no socialism can effect
their abrogation, unless it can abrogate also covetousness and
pride, which it is by no means yet in the way of doing. Nor can
the change be, in any case, to the extent that has been imagined.
Extremes of luxury may be forbidden, and agony of penury
relieved; but nature intends, and the utmost efforts of socialism
will not hinder the fulfilment of her intention, that a provident
person shall always be richer than a spendthrift; and an
ingenious one more comfortable than a fool. But, indeed, the
adjustment of the possession of the products of industry depends
more on their nature than their quantity, and on wise
determination therefore of the aims of industry. A nation which
desires true wealth, desires it moderately, and can therefore
distribute it with kindness, and possess it with pleasure; but one
which desires false wealth, desires it immoderately, and can
neither dispense it with justice, nor enjoy it in peace.
[The sub-title of Fors Clavigera is Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great

22. Therefore, needing, constantly in my present work, to
refer to the definitions of true and false wealth given in the
following Essays, I republish them with careful revisal. They
were written abroad; partly at Milan, partly during a winter
residence on the south-eastern slope of the Mont Salve, near
Geneva; and sent to London in as legible MS. as I could write;
but I never revised the press sheets, and have been obliged,
accordingly, now to amend the text here and there, or correct it
in unimportant particulars. Wherever any modification has
involved change in the sense, it is enclosed in square brackets;
and what few explanatory comments I have felt it necessary to
add, have been indicated in the same manner.
No explanatory
comments, I regret to perceive, will suffice to remedy the
mischief of my affected concentration of language, into the habit
of which I fell by thinking too long over particular passages, in
many and many a solitary walk towards the mountains of
Bonneville or Annecy. But I never intended the book for
anything else than a dictionary of reference, and that for earnest
readers; who will, I have good hope, if they find what they want
in it, forgive the affectedly curt expressions.
The Essays, as originally published, were, as I have just
stated, four in number. I have now, more conveniently, divided
the whole into six chapters; and (as I purpose throughout this
edition of my works) numbered the paragraphs.
I inscribed the first volume of this series
to the friend who
aided me in chief sorrow. Let me inscribe the second to the
friend and guide who has urged me to all chief labour, THOMAS
23. I would that some better means were in my power
[In order to prevent confusion in this edition (in which editors notes are enclosed
in square brackets), the authors footnotes of 1872 are here enclosed in round brackets.]
[The revised Works series. The first volumeSesame and Liliesissued in
1871, was dedicated (Preface, 19) to filh (Lady Mount Temple), for whom, and for
whose help in chief sorrow, see Prterita, ii. 39.]

of showing reverence to the man who alone, of all our masters of
literature, has written, without thought of himself, what he knew
it to be needful for the people of his time to hear, if the will to
hear were in them: whom, therefore, as the time draws near
when his task must be ended, Republican and Free-thoughted
England assaults with impatient reproach; and out of the abyss of
her cowardice in policy and dishonour in trade, sets the hacks of
her literature to speak evil, grateful to her ears, of the Solitary
Teacher who has asked her to be brave for the help of Man, and
just, for the love of God.

25th November, 1871.




1. As domestic economy regulates the acts and habits of a
household, Political Economy regulates those of a society or
State, with reference to the means of its maintenance.
Political economy is neither an art nor a science; but a
system of conduct and legislature, founded on the sciences,
directing the arts, and impossible, except under certain
conditions of moral culture.
2. The study which lately in England has been called
Political Economy is in reality nothing more than the
investigation of some accidental phenomena of modern
commercial operations, nor has it been true in its investigation
even of these. It has no connection whatever with political
economy, as understood and treated of by the great thinkers of
past ages; and as long as its unscholarly and undefined
statements are allowed to pass under the same name, every word
written on the subject by those thinkersand chiefly
[Horace: Odes, i. 28. For a translation and the meaning of the title, see above,
Introduction, pp. lxv. seq.]
[This chapter was the first essay in the Magazine. The headlines to it were:
Maintenance of Life.Work and its Reward.Value and Valuable Things.Money
and Riches.]

the words of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, and Baconmust be
nearly useless to mankind. The reader must not, therefore, be
surprised at the care and insistance with which I have retained
the literal and earliest sense of all important terms used in these
papers; for a word is usually well made at the time it is first
wanted; its youngest meaning has in it the full strength of its
youth; subsequent senses are commonly warped or weakened;
and as all careful thinkers are sure to have used their words
accurately, the first condition, in order to be able to avail
ourselves of their sayings at all, is firm definition of terms.
3. By the maintenance of a State is to be understood the
support of its population in healthy and happy life;
and the
increase of their numbers, so far as that increase is consistent
with their happiness. It is not the object of political economy to
increase the numbers of a nation at the cost of common health or
comfort; nor to increase indefinitely the comfort of individuals,
by sacrifice of surrounding lives, or possibilities of life.
4. The assumption which lies at the root of nearly all
erroneous reasoning on political economy,namely, that its
object is to accumulate money or exchangeable property,may
be shown in a few words to be without foundation. For no
economist would admit national economy to be legitimate which
proposed to itself only the building of a pyramid of gold. He
would declare the gold to be wasted, were it to remain in the
monumental form, and would say it ought to be employed. But
to what end? Either it must be used only to gain more gold, and
build a larger pyramid, or for some purpose other than the
gaining of gold. And this other purpose, however at first
apprehended, will be found to resolve itself finally into the
service of man;that is to say, the extension, defence, or
comfort of his life. The golden pyramid may perhaps be
providently built, perhaps improvidently; but the wisdom or
folly of
[See Unto this Last, 77, p. 105.]

the accumulation can only be determined by our having first
clearly stated the aim of all economy, namely, the extension of
If the accumulation of money, or of exchangeable property,
were a certain means of extending existence, it would be useless,
in discussing economical questions, to fix our attention upon the
more distant objectlifeinstead of the immediate
onemoney. But it is not so. Money may sometimes be
accumulated at the cost of life, or by limitations of it; that is to
say, either by hastening the deaths of men, or preventing their
births. It is therefore necessary to keep clearly in view the
ultimate object of economy; and to determine the expediency of
minor operations with reference to that ulterior end.
5. It has been just stated that the object of political economy
is the continuance not only of life, but of healthy and happy life.
But all true happiness is both a consequence and cause of life: it
is a sign of its vigour, and source of its continuance. All true
suffering is in like manner a consequence and cause of death. I
shall therefore, in future, use the word Life singly: but let it be
understood to include in its signification the happiness and
power of the entire human nature, body and soul.
6. That human nature, as its Creator made it, and maintains it
wherever His laws are observed, is entirely harmonious. No
physical error can be more profound, no moral error more
dangerous, than that involved in the monkish doctrine of the
opposition of body to soul. No soul can be perfect in an
imperfect body: no body perfect without perfect soul. Every
right action and true thought sets the seal of its beauty on person
and face;
every wrong action and foul thought its seal of
distortion; and the various aspects of humanity might be read as
plainly as a printed history, were it not that the impressions are
so complex that it
[So in The Art of England, 83: On all the beautiful features of men and women,
throughout the ages, are written the solemnities and majesty of the law they knew, etc.]

must always in some cases (and, in the present state of our
knowledge, in all cases) be impossible to decipher them
completely. Nevertheless, the face of a consistently just, and of a
consistently unjust person, may always be rightly distinguished
at a glance; and if the qualities are continued by descent through
a generation or two, there arises a complete distinction of race.
Both moral and physical qualities are communicated by
far more than they can be developed by education,
(though both may be destroyed by want of education); and there
is as yet no ascertained limit to the nobleness of person and mind
which the human creature may attain, by persevering observance
of the laws of God respecting its birth and training.
7. We must therefore yet farther define the aim of political
economy to be The multiplication of human life at the highest
standard. It might at first seem questionable whether we should
endeavour to maintain a small number of persons of the highest
type of beauty and intelligence, or a larger number of an inferior
class. But I shall be able to show in the sequel, that the way to
maintain the largest number is first to aim at the highest
standard. Determine the noblest type of man, and aim simply at
maintaining the largest possible number of persons of that class,
and it will be found that the largest possible number of every
healthy subordinate class must necessarily be produced also.
8. The perfect type of manhood, as just stated, involves the
perfections (whatever we may hereafter determine these to be)
of his body, affections, and intelligence. The material things,
therefore, which it is the object of political economy to produce
and use, (or accumulate for use,) are things which serve either to
sustain and comfort the body, or exercise rightly the affections
and form the intelligence.*
* See Appendix I. [p. 285].

[Compare Modern Painters, vol. v. (Vol. VII. p. 344 n.).]

Whatever truly serves either of these purposes is useful to
man, wholesome, healthful, helpful, or holy. By seeking such
things, man prolongs and increases his life upon the earth.
On the other hand, whatever does not serve either of these
purposes,much more whatever counteracts them,is in like
manner useless to man, unwholesome, unhelpful, or unholy; and
by seeking such things man shortens and diminishes his life
upon the earth.
9. And neither with respect to things useful or useless can
mans estimate of them alter their nature. Certain substances
being good for his food, and others noxious to him, what he
thinks or wishes respecting them can neither change, nor
prevent, their power. If he eats corn, he will live; if nightshade,
he will die. If he produce or make good and beautiful things,
they will Re-Create him; (note the solemnity and weight of the
word); if bad and ugly things, they will corrupt or break in
piecesthat is, in the exact degree of their power, Kill him. For
every hour of labour, however enthusiastic or well intended,
which he spends for that which is not bread,
so much possibility
of life is lost to him. His fancies, likings, beliefs, however
brilliant, eager, or obstinate, are of no avail if they are set on a
false object. Of all that he has laboured for, the eternal law of
heaven and earth measures out to him for reward, to the utmost
atom, that part which he ought to have laboured for, and
withdraws from him (or enforces on him, it may be) inexorably,
that part which he ought not to have laboured for
until, on his
summer threshing-floor, stands his heap of corn; little or much,
not according to his labour, but to his discretion. No
commercial arrangements, no painting of surfaces, nor
alloying of substances, will avail him a pennyweight. Nature
asks of him calmly
[Isaiah lv. 2: Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your
labour for that which satisfieth not?]
[The original essay here reads:
. . . laboured for. The dust and chaff are all, to the last speck, winnowed away,
and on his summer threshing-floor. . .]

and inevitably, What have you found, or formedthe right thing
or the wrong? By the right thing you shall live; by the wrong you
shall die.
10. To thoughtless persons it seems otherwise. The world
looks to them as if they could cozen it out of some ways and
means of life. But they cannot cozen IT: they can only cozen
their neighbours. The world is not to be cheated of a grain; not so
much as a breath of its air can be drawn surreptitiously. For
every piece of wise work done, so much life is granted; for every
piece of foolish work, nothing; for every piece of wicked work,
so much death is allotted. This is as sure as the courses of day
and night. But when the means of life are once produced, men,
by their various struggles and industries of accumulation or
exchange, may variously gather, waste, restrain, or distribute
them; necessitating, in proportion to the waste or restraint,
accurately, so much more death. The rate and range of additional
death are measured by the rate and range of waste; and are
inevitable;the only question (determined mostly by fraud in
peace, and force in war) is, Who is to die, and how?
11. Such being the everlasting law of human existence, the
essential work of the political economist is to determine what are
in reality useful or life-giving things, and by what degrees and
kinds of labour they are attainable and distributable. This
investigation divides itself under three great heads;the studies,
namely, of the phenomena, first, of WEALTH; secondly, of
MONEY; and thirdly, of RICHES.
These terms are often used as synonymous, but they signify
entirely different things. Wealth consists of things in
themselves valuable; Money, of documentary claims to the
possession of such things; and Riches is a relative term,
expressing the magnitude of the possessions of one person or
society as compared with those of other persons or societies.
The study of Wealth is a province of natural science:it
deals with the essential properties of things.

The study of Money is a province of commercial
science:it deals with conditions of engagement and exchange.
The study of Riches is a province of moral science:it deals
with the due relations of men to each other in regard of material
possessions; and with the just laws of their association for
purposes of labour.
I shall in this first chapter shortly sketch out the range of
subjects which will come before us as we follow these three
branches of inquiry.
12. And first of WEALTH, which, it has been said, consists of
things essentially valuable. We now, therefore, need a definition
of value.
Value signifies the strength, or availing of anything
towards the sustaining of life, and is always twofold; that is to
say, primarily, INTRINSIC, and secondarily, EFFECTUAL.
The reader must, by anticipation, be warned against
confusing value with cost, or with price. Value is the life-giving
power of anything; cost, the quantity of labour required to
produce it; price, the quantity of labour which its possessor will
take in exchange for it.* Cost and price are commercial
conditions, to be studied under the head of money.
13. Intrinsic value is the absolute power of anything to
support life. A sheaf of wheat of given quality and weight has in
it a measurable power of sustaining the substance of the body; a
cubic foot of pure air, a fixed power of sustaining its warmth;
and a cluster of flowers of given beauty a fixed power of
enlivening or animating the senses and heart.
It does not in the least affect the intrinsic value of the wheat,
the air, or the flowers, that men refuse or despise them. Used or
not, their own power is in them, and that particular power is in
nothing else.
* (Observe these definitions, they are of much importance, and connect with
them the sentences in italics on next page.

[See below, the letter on The Definition of Wealth: Appendix i. 3, p. 486.]

14. But in order that this value of theirs may become
effectual, a certain state is necessary in the recipient of it. The
digesting, breathing, and perceiving functions must be perfect in
the human creature before the food, air, or flowers can become
of their full value to it. The production of effectual value,
therefore, always involves two needs: first, the production of a
thing essentially useful; then the production of the capacity to
use it. Where the intrinsic value and acceptant capacity come
together there is Effectual value, or wealth; where there is either
no intrinsic value, or no acceptant capacity, there is no effectual
value; that is to say, no wealth.
A horse is no wealth to us if we
cannot ride, nor a picture if we cannot see, nor can any noble
thing be wealth, except to a noble person. As the aptness of the
user increases, the effectual value of the thing used increases;
and in its entirety can co-exist only with perfect skill of use, and
fitness of nature.

15. Valuable material things may be conveniently referred to
five heads:
(i.) Land, with its associated air, water, and organisms.
(ii.) Houses, furniture, and instruments.
(iii.) Stored or prepared food, medicine, and articles of
bodily luxury, including clothing.
(iv.) Books.
(v.) Works of art.
The conditions of value in these things are briefly as
16. (i.) Land. Its value is twofold; first, as producing
[Compare Unto this Last, 62 (above, p. 87).]
[The original essay reads or harmony of nature for and fitness of nature, and
then continues:
The effectual value of a given quantity of any commodity existing in the
world at any moment is therefore a mathematical function of the capacity
existing in the human race to enjoy it. Let its intrinsic value be represented by
x, and the recipient faculty by y; its effectual value is x y, in which the sum
varies as either co-efficient varies, is increased by eithers increase,* and
cancelled by eithers absence.

* With this somewhat strange and ungeometrical limitation, however, which, here
expressed for the moment in the briefest terms, we must afterwards trace in detail, that
x y may be indefinitely increased by the increase of y only; but not by the increase of x,
unless y increase also in a fixed proportion.]

food and mechanical power; secondly, as an object of sight and
thought, producing intellectual power.
Its value, as a means of producing food and mechanical
power, varies with its form (as mountain or plain), with its
substance (in soil or mineral contents), and with its climate. All
these conditions of intrinsic value must be known and complied
with by the men who have to deal with it, in order to give
effectual value; but at any given time and place, the intrinsic
value is fixed: such and such a piece of land, with its associated
lakes and seas, rightly treated in surface and substance, can
produce precisely so much food and power, and no more.

The second element of value in land being its beauty, united
with such conditions of space and form as are necessary for
exercise, and for fulness of animal life,
land of the highest value
in these respects will be that lying in temperate climates, and
boldly varied in form; removed from unhealthy or dangerous
influences (as of miasm or volcano); and capable of sustaining a
rich fauna and flora. Such land, carefully tended by the hand of
man, so far as to remove from it unsightlinesses and evidences of
decay, guarded from violence, and inhabited, under mans
affectionate protection, by every kind of living creature that can
occupy it in peace, is the most precious property that human
beings can possess.

[The original essay here adds:
Its surface treatment (agriculture) and substance treatment (practical
geology and chemistry) are the first roots of economical science. By surface
treatment, however, I mean more than agriculture as commonly understood; I
mean land and sea culture;dominion over both the fixed and the flowing
fields;perfect acquaintance with the laws of climate, and of vegetable and
animal growth in the given tracts of earth or ocean, and of their relations to
those of other districts; such relations regulating especially the producti on of
those articles of food which, being in each particular spot producible in the
highest perfection, will bring the best price in commercial exchanges.]
[Here the original essay reads:
. . . exercise, or pleasant to the eye, associated with vital organism. Land . . . is
that lying . . .]
[The original essay here adds:
The determination of the degree in which these two elements of value can be united
in land, or in which either element must, or should, in particular cases, be sacrificed to
the other, forms the most important branch of economical inquiry respecting preferences
of things.]

17. (ii.) Buildings, furniture, and instruments.
The value of buildings consists, first, in permanent strength,
with convenience of form, of size, and of position; so as to
render employment peaceful, social intercourse easy,
temperature and air healthy. The advisable or possible
magnitude of cities and mode of their distribution in squares,
streets, courts, etc.; the relative value of sites of land, and the
modes of structure which are healthiest and most permanent,
have to be studied under this head.
The value of buildings consists secondly in historical
association, and architectural beauty, of which we have to
examine the influence on manners and life.
The value of instruments consists, first, in their power of
shortening labour, or otherwise accomplishing
what human
strength unaided could not. The kinds of work which are
severally best accomplished by hand or by machine;the effect
of machinery in gathering and multiplying population, and its
influence on the minds and bodies of such population; together
with the conceivable uses of machinery on a colossal scale in
accomplishing mightly and useful works, hitherto unthought of,
such as the deepening of large river channels;changing the
surface of mountainous districts;irrigating tracts of desert in
the torrid zone;breaking up, and thus rendering capable of
quicker fusion, edges of ice in the northern and southern Arctic
seas, etc., so rendering parts of the earth habitable which hitherto
have been lifeless, are to be studied under this head.

The value of instruments is, secondarily, in their aid to
abstract sciences. The degree in which the multiplication of such
instruments should be encouraged, so as to make them, if large,
easy of access to numbers (as costly telescopes), or so cheap as
that they might, in a serviceable
[Here the original essay adds (as ships).]
[Compare Fors Clavigera, Letter 49, where this passage is referred to.]

form, become a common part of the furniture of households, is to
be considered under this head.*
18. (iii.) Food, medicine, and articles of luxury. Under this
head we shall have to examine the possible methods of obtaining
pure food in such security and equality of supply as to avoid both
waste and famine: then the economy of medicine and just range
of sanitary law: finally the economy of luxury, partly an sthetic
and partly an ethical question.
19. (iv.) Books. The value of these consists,
First, in their power of preserving and communicating the
knowledge of facts.
Secondly, in their power of exciting vital or noble emotion
and intellectual action. They have also their corresponding
negative powers of disguising and effacing the memory of facts,
and killing the noble emotions, or exciting base ones. Under
these two heads we have to consider the economical and
educational value, positive and negative, of literature;the
means of producing and educating good authors, and the means
and advisability of rendering good books generally accessible,
and directing the readers choice to them.
20. (v.) Works of art. The value of these is of the same nature
as that of books; but the laws of their production and possible
modes of distribution are very different, and require separate
21. II.MONEY. Under this head, we shall have to examine
the laws of currency and exchange; of which I will note here the
first separate principles.
Money has been inaccurately spoken of as merely a means of
exchange. But it is far more than this. It is a documentary
expression of legal claim. It is not wealth,
* (I cannot now recast these sentences, pedantic in their generalization, and
intended more for index than statement, but I must guard the reader from thinking that
I ever wish for cheapness by bad quality. A poor boy need not always learn
mathematics; but, if you set him to do so, have the farther kindness to give him good
compasses, not cheap ones, whose points bend like lead.)

but a documentary claim to wealth, being the sign
of the relative
quantities of it, or of the labour producing it, to which, at a given
time, persons, or societies, are entitled.
If all the money in the world, notes and gold, were destroyed
in an instant, it would leave the world neither richer nor poorer
than it was. But it would leave the individual inhabitants of it in
different relations.
Money is, therefore, correspondent in its nature to the
title-deed of an estate. Though the deed be burned, the estate still
exists, but the right to it has become disputable.
22. The real worth of money remains unchanged, as long as
the proportion of the quantity of existing money to the quantity
of existing wealth or available labour remains unchanged.
If the wealth increases, but not the money, the worth of the
money increases; if the money increases, but not the wealth, the
worth of the money diminishes.
23. Money, therefore, cannot be arbitrarily multiplied, any
more than title-deeds can. So long as the existing wealth or
available labour is not fully represented by the currency, the
currency may be increased without diminution of the assigned
worth of its pieces. But when the existing wealth, or available
labour, is once fully represented, every piece of money thrown
into circulation diminishes the worth of every other existing
piece, in the proportion it bears to the number of them, provided
the new piece be received with equal credit; if not, the
depreciation of worth takes place, according to the degree of its
24. When, however, new money, composed of some
substance of supposed intrinsic value (as of gold), is brought into
the market, or when new notes are issued which are
[The original essay here reads:
. . .a means of exchange. It is, on the contrary, an expression of right. It is not
wealth, but a documentary claim to wealth, being a sign* . . .
* Always, and necessarily, an imperfect sign; but capable of approximate
accuracy if rightly ordered.
In the footnote Always was misprinted Moneys the correction was made in an
Erratum note at the end of the second paper.]

supposed to be deserving of credit, the desire to obtain the
money will, under certain circumstances, stimulate industry: an
additional quantity of wealth is immediately produced, and if
this be in proportion to the new claims advanced, the value of the
existing currency is undepreciated. If the stimulus given be so
great as to produce more goods than are proportioned to the
additional coinage, the worth of the existing currency will be
Arbitrary control and issues of currency affect the
production of wealth, by acting on the hopes and fears of men,
and are, under certain circumstances, wise. But the issue of
additional currency to meet the exigencies of immediate
expense, is merely one of the disguised forms of borrowing or
taxing. It is, however, in the present low state of economical
knowledge, often possible for governments to venture on an
issue of currency, when they could not venture on an additional
loan or tax, because the real operation of such issue is not
understood by the people, and the pressure of it is irregularly
distributed, and with an unperceived gradation.
25. The use of substances of intrinsic value as the materials
of a currency, is a barbarism;a remnant of the conditions of
barter, which alone render commerce possible among savage
nations. It is, however, still necessary,
partly as a mechanical
check on arbitrary issues; partly as a means of exchanges with
foreign nations. In proportion to the extension of civilization,
and increase of trustworthiness in governments, it will cease. So
long as it exists, the phenomena of the cost and price of the
articles used for currency are mingled with those proper to
currency itself, in an almost inextricable manner: and the market
worth of bullion is affected by multitudinous accidental
circumstances, which have been traced, with more or less
success, by writers on commercial operations: but with these
variations the true political economist has no more to do than an
[See below, pp. 197 seq.]

fortifying a harbour of refuge against Atlantic tide, has to
concern himself with the cries or quarrels of children who dig
pools with their fingers for its streams
among the sand.
26.III.RICHES. According to the various industry,
capacity, good fortune, and desires of men, they obtain greater or
smaller share of, and claim upon, the wealth of the world.
The inequalities between these shares, always in some
degree just and necessary, may be either restrained by law or
circumstance within certain limits; or may increase indefinitely.
Where no moral or legal restraint is put upon the exercise of
the will and intellect of the stronger, shrewder, or more covetous
men, these differences become ultimately enormous. But as soon
as they become so distinct in their extremes as that, on one side,
there shall be manifest redundance of possession, and on the
other manifest pressure of need,the terms riches and
poverty are used to express the opposite states; being contrary
only as the terms warmth and cold are contraries, of which
neither implies an actual degree, but only a relation to other
degrees, of temperature.
27. Respecting riches, the economist has to inquire, first, into
the advisable modes of their collection; secondly, into the
advisable modes of their administration.
Respecting the collection of national riches, he has to
inquire, first, whether he is justified in calling the nation rich, if
the quantity of wealth it possesses relatively to the wealth of
other nations, be large; irrespectively of the manner of its
distribution. Or does the mode of distribution in any wise affect
the nature of the riches? Thus, if the king alone be richsuppose
Crsus or Mausolusare the Lydians or Carians therefore a
rich nation? Or if a few slave-masters are rich, and the nation is
[The original essay reads ebbing currents instead of streams.]

composed of slaves, is it to be called a rich nation? For if not,
and the ideas of a certain mode of distribution or operation in the
riches, and of a certain degree of freedom in the people, enter
into our idea of riches as attributed to a people, we shall have to
define the degree of fluency, or circulative character which is
essential to the nature of common wealth;
and the degree of
independence of action required in its possessors. Questions
which look as if they would take time in answering.*
28. And farther. Since the inequality, which is the condition
of riches, may be established in two opposite modesnamely,
by increase of possession on the one side, and by decrease of it
on the otherwe have to inquire, with respect to any given state
of riches, precisely in what manner the correlative poverty was
produced: that is to say, whether by being surpassed only, or
being depressed also; and if by being depressed, what are the
advantages, or the contrary, conceivable in the depression. For
instance, it being one of the commonest advantages of being rich
to entertain a number of servants, we have to inquire, on the one
side, what economical process produced the riches of the master;
and on the other, what economical process produced the poverty
of the persons who serve him; and what advantages each, on his
own side, derives from the result.
29. These being the main questions touching the collection
of riches, the next, or last, part of the inquiry is into their
Their possession involves three great economical powers
* (I regret the ironical manner in whi ch this passage, one of great importance in the
matter of it, was written. The gist of it is, that the first of all inquiries respecting the
wealth of any nation is not, how much it has; but whether it is in a form that can be used,
and in the possession of persons who can use it.)

[The original essay reads: essential to their vitality; and the degree . . . their

which require separate examination: namely, the powers of
selection, direction, and provision.
The power of SELECTION relates to things of which the
supply is limited (as the supply of best things is always). When it
becomes matter of question to whom such things are to belong,
the richest person has necessarily the first choice, unless some
arbitrary mode of distribution be otherwise determined upon.
The business of the economist is to show how this choice may be
a Wise one.
The power of DIRECTION arises out of the necessary relation
of rich men to poor, which ultimately, in one way or another,
involves the direction of, or authority over, the labour of the
poor; and this nearly as much over their mental as their bodily
labour. The business of the economist is to show how this
direction may be a Just one.
The power of PROVISION
is dependent upon the redundance
of wealth, which may of course by active persons be made
available in preparation for future work or future profit; in which
function riches have generally received the name of capital; that
is to say, of head-, or source-material. The business of the
economist is to show how this provision may be a Distant one.
30. The examination of these three functions of riches will
embrace every final problem of political economy;and, above,
or before, all, this curious and vital problem,whether, since
the wholesome action of riches in these three functions will
depend (it appears) on the Wisdom, Justice, and Farsightedness
of the holders; and it is by no means to be assumed that persons
primarily rich, must therefore be just and wise,it may not be
ultimately possible so, or somewhat so, to arrange matters, as
that persons primarily just and wise, should therefore be rich?
Such being the general plan of the inquiry before us, I
[The original essay inserts:
or, preparatory sight (for pro-accumulation is by no means necessarily
pro-vision), is dependent . . .]

shall not limit myself to any consecutive following of it, having
hardly any good hope of being able to complete so laborious a
work as it must prove to me; but from time to time, as I have
leisure, shall endeavour to carry forward this part or that, as may
be immediately possible; indicating always with accuracy the
place which the particular essay will or should take in the
completed system.

S T O R E - K E E P I N G

31. THE first chapter having consisted of little more than
definition of terms, I purpose, in this, to expand and illustrate the
given definitions.
The view which has here been taken of the nature of wealth,
namely, that it consists in an intrinsic value developed by a vital
power, is directly opposed to two nearly universal conceptions
of wealth. In the assertion that value is primarily intrinsic, it
opposes the idea that anything which is an object of desire to
numbers, and is limited in quantity, so as to have rated worth in
exchange, may be called, or virtually become, wealth. And in the
assertion that value is, secondarily, dependent upon power in the
possessor, it opposes the idea that the worth of things depends on
the demand for them, instead of on the use of them. Before going
farther, we will make these two positions clearer.
32. I. First. All wealth is intrinsic, and is not constituted by
the judgment of men.
This is easily seen in the case of things
affecting the body; we know, that no force of fantasy will make
stones nourishing, or poison innocent; but it is less apparent in
things affecting the mind. We are easilyperhaps
willinglymisled by the appearance of beneficial results
obtained by industries addressed wholly to the gratification of
fanciful desire; and apt to suppose that whatever is widely
coveted, dearly bought, and pleasurable in possession, must be
included in our definition of wealth.
[This chapter was the second essay in the Magazine. The headlines were: Nature
of Wealth.Variations of Value.The National Store.Nature of Labour.Value and
Price.The Currency.]
[Compare Unto this Last, 61; above, p. 84.]

It is the more difficult to quit ourselves of this error because
many things which are true wealth in moderate use, become
false wealth in immoderate; and many things are mixed of good
and evil,as mostly, books, and works of art,out of which
one person will get the good, and another the evil; so that it
seems as if there were no fixed good or evil in the things
themselves, but only in the view taken, and use made of them.
But that is not so. The evil and good are fixed; in essence,
and in proportion. And in things in which evil depends upon
excess, the point of excess, though indefinable, is fixed; and the
power of the thing is on the hither side for good, and on the
farther side for evil. And in all cases this power is inherent, not
dependent on opinion or choice. Our thoughts of things neither
make, nor mar their eternal force; norwhich is the most
serious point for future considerationcan they prevent the
effect of it (within certain limits) upon ourselves.
33. Therefore, the object of any special analysis of wealth
will be not so much to enumerate what is serviceable, as to
distinguish what is destructive; and to show that it is inevitably
destructive; that to receive pleasure from an evil thing is not to
escape from, or alter the evil of it, but to be altered by it; that is,
to suffer from it to the utmost, having our own nature, in that
degree, made evil also. And it may be shown farther, that,
through whatever length of time or subtleties of connexion the
harm is accomplished, (being also less or more according to the
fineness and worth of the humanity on which it is wrought,) still,
nothing but harm ever comes of a bad thing.
34. So that, in sum, the term wealth is never to be attached to
the accidental object of a morbid desire, but only to the constant
object of a legitimate one.* By the fury of
* (Remember carefully this statement, that Wealth consists only in the things which
the nature of humanity has rendered in all ages, and must render in all ages to come,
(that is what I meant by constant,) the objects of legitimate desire. And see Appendix
II.) [p. 287].

ignorance, and fitfulness of caprice, large interests may be
continually attached to things unserviceable or hurtful; if their
nature could be altered by our passions, the science of political
Economy would remain, what it has been hitherto among us, the
weighing of clouds, and the portioning out of shadows. But of
ignorance there is no science; and of caprice no law. Their
disturbing forces interfere with the operations of faithful
Economy, but have nothing in common with them: she, the calm
arbiter of national destiny, regards only essential power for good
in all that she accumulates, and alike disdains the wanderings*
of imagination, and the thirsts of disease.
35. II. Secondly. The assertion that wealth is not only
intrinsic, but dependent, in order to become effectual, on a given
degree of vital power in its possessor, is opposed to another
popular view of wealth;namely, that though it may always be
constituted by caprice, it is, when so constituted, a substantial
thing, of which given quantities may be counted as existing here,
or there, and exchangeable at rated prices.
In this view there are three errors. The first and chief is the
overlooking the fact that all exchangeableness of commodity, or
effective demand for it, depends on the sum of capacity for its
use existing, here or elsewhere. The book we cannot read, or
picture we take no delight in, may indeed be called part of our
wealth, in so far as we have power of exchanging either for
something we like better. But our power of effecting such
exchange, and yet more, of effecting it to advantage, depends
absolutely on the number of accessible persons who can
understand the book, or enjoy the painting, and who will dispute
the possession of them. Thus the actual worth of either, even to
us, depends no more on their essential goodness than on the
capacity existing somewhere for the perception of it; and it is
vain in any completed system of production to think of obtaining
* (The Wanderings, observe, not the Right goings, of Imagination. She is very far
from despising these.)

one without the other. So that, though the true political
economist knows that co-existence of capacity for use with
temporary possession cannot be always secured, the final fact,
on which he bases all action and administration, is that, in the
whole nation, or group of nations, he has to deal with, for every
atom of intrinsic value produced he must with exactest
chemistry produce its twin atom of acceptant digestion, or
understanding capacity; or, in the degree of his failure, he has no
wealth. Natures challenge to us is, in earnest, as the Assyrians
mock: I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on
thy part to set riders upon them.
Baviecas paces are brave, if
the Cid backs him;
but woe to us, if we take the dust of capacity,
wearing the armour of it, for capacity itself, for so all procession,
however goodly in the show of it, is to the tomb.
36. The second error in this popular view of wealth is, that in
giving the name of wealth to things which we cannot use, we in
reality confuse wealth with money. The land we have no skill to
cultivate, the book which is sealed to us, or dress which is
superfluous, may indeed be exchangeable, but as such are
nothing more than a cumbrous form of banknote, of doubtful or
slow convertibility. As long as we retain possession of them, we
merely keep our bank-notes in the shape of gravel or clay, or
book-leaves, or of embroidered tissue. Circumstances may,
perhaps, render such forms the safest, or a certain complacency
may attach to the exhibition of them; into both these advantages
we shall inquire afterwards;
I wish the reader only to observe
here, that exchangeable property which we cannot use is, to us
personally, merely one of the forms of money, not of wealth.
[2 Kings xviii. 23.]
[See Lockharts Spanish Ballads (Bavieca). Bavieca (=dolt), the Cids horse,
who survived his master for two years and a half, during which time no one was allowed
to mount him. The Cid transferred to the rough colt of his choice the name which his
godfather had given to him for choosing it.]
[Not specifically dealt with; but see ch. vi. (Mastership).]

37. The third error in the popular view is the confusion of
Guardianship with Possession; the real state of men of property
being, too commonly, that of curators, not possessors, of wealth.
A mans power over his property is, at the widest range of it,
fivefold; it is power of Use, for himself, Administration, to
others, Ostentation, Destruction, or Bequest; and possession is in
use only, which for each man is sternly limited; so that such
things, and so much of them as he can use, are, indeed, well for
him, or Wealth; and more of them, or any other things, are ill for
him, or Illth.*
Plunged to the lips in Orinoco,
he shall drink to
his thirst measure; more, at his peril: with a thousand oxen on his
lands, he shall eat to his hunger measure; more, at his peril. He
cannot live in two houses at once; a few bales of silk or wool will
suffice for the fabric of all the clothes he can ever wear, and a
few books will probably hold all the furniture good for his
Beyond these, in the best of us but narrow, capacities, we
have but the power of administering, or mal-administering,
wealth: (that is to say, distributing, lending, or increasing
it);of exhibiting it (as in magnificence of retinue or
furniture),of destroying, or, finally, of bequeathing it. And
with multitudes of rich men, administration degenerates into
curatorship; they merely hold their property in charge, as
Trustees, for the benefit of some person or persons to whom it is
to be delivered upon their death; and the position, explained in
clear terms, would hardly seem a covetable one. What would be
the probable feelings of a youth, on his entrance into life, to
* See Appendix III. [p. 287].

[See Unto this Last, 64 (above, p. 89), where Ruskin first coins the word illth;
and with this 37 generally, compare Aratra Pentelici, 63.]
[Ruskin, in selecting here the Orinoco among great river s, perhaps had in the back
of his mind the diet of dwellers by that river, as described by Humboldt in the passage
cited in Fors Clavigera, Letter 27.]
[On this point compare Sesame and Lilies, Preface of 1871, 4; The Study of
Architecture in our Schools, 17; The Cestus of Aglaia, 75; A Joy for Ever, 65 (Vol.
XVI. p. 59).]

whom the career hoped for him was proposed in terms such as
these: You must work unremittingly, and with your utmost
intelligence, during all your available years, you will thus
accumulate wealth to a large amount; but you must touch none
of it, beyond what is needful for your support. Whatever sums
you gain, beyond those required for your decent and moderate
maintenance, and whatever beautiful things you may obtain
possession of, shall be properly taken care of by servants, for
whose maintenance you will be charged, and whom you will
have the trouble of super-intending, and on your death-bed you
shall have the power of determining to whom the accumulated
property shall belong, or to what purposes be applied?
38. The labour of life, under such conditions, would
probably be neither zealous nor cheerful; yet the only difference
between this position and that of the ordinary capitalist is the
power which the latter supposes himself to possess, and which is
attributed to him by others, of spending his money at any
moment. This pleasure, taken in the imagination of power to
part with that with which we have no intention of parting, is one
of the most curious, though commonest forms of the Eidolon, or
Phantasm of Wealth. But the political economist has nothing to
do with this idealism, and looks only to the practical issue of
itnamely, that the holder of wealth, in such temper, may be
regarded simply as a mechanical means of collection; or as a
money-chest with a slit in it,
not only receptant but suctional,
set in the public thoroughfare;chest of which only Death has
the key, and evil Chance the distribution of the contents. In his
function of Lender (which, however, is one
[In the original essay the following note was here subjoined, the words in the
present textnot only receptant but suctionalbeing omitted:
The orifice being not merely of a recipient but of a suctional character.
Among the types of human virtue and vice presented grotesquely by the lower
animals, perhaps none is more curiously definite than that of avarice in the
Cephalopod, a creature which has a purse for a body; a hawks beak for a mouth;
suckers for feet and hands; and whose house is its own skeleton.
The cuttle-fish is the most familiar member of the class of the Cephalopoda.]

of administration, not use, as far as he is himself concerned), the
capitalist takes, indeed, a more interesting aspect; but even in
that function, his relations with the State are apt to degenerate
into a mechanism for the convenient contraction of debt;a
function the more mischievous, because a nation invariably
appeases its conscience with respect to an unjustifiable expense
by meeting it with borrowed funds, expresses its repentance of a
foolish piece of business by letting its tradesmen wait for their
money, and always leaves its descendants to pay for the work
which will be of the least advantage to them.*
39. Quit of these three sources of misconception, the reader
will have little farther difficulty in apprehending the real nature
of Effectual value. He may, however, at first not without
surprise, perceive the consequences involved in his acceptance
of the definition. For if the actual existence of wealth be
dependent on the power of its possessor, it follows that the sum
of wealth held by the nation, instead of being constant or
calculable, varies hourly, nay, momentarily, with the number
and character of its holders! and that in changing hands, it
changes in quantity. And farther, since the worth of the currency
is proportioned to the sum of material wealth which it represents,
if the sum of the wealth changes, the worth of the currency
changes. And thus both the sum of the property, and power of
the currency, of the State, vary momentarily as the character and
number of the holders. And not only so, but different rates and
kinds of variation are caused by the character of the holders of
different kinds of wealth. The transitions of value caused by the
character of the holders of land differ in mode from those caused
by character in holders of works of art; and these again from
those caused by character in holders of machinery or other
working capital. But we
* (I would beg the readers very close attention to these 37th and 38th paragraphs.
It would be well if a dogged conviction could be enforced on nations, as on individuals,
that, with few exceptions, what they cannot at present pay for, they should not at
present have.)

cannot examine these special phenomena of any kind of wealth
until we have a clear idea of the way in which true currency
expresses them; and of the resulting modes in which the cost and
price of any article are related to its value. To obtain this we
must approach the subject in its first elements.
40. Let us suppose a national store of wealth, composed of
material things either useful, or believed to be so, taken charge
of by the Government,* and that every workman, having
produced any article involving labour in its production, and for
which he has no immediate use, brings it to add to this store,
receiving from the Government, in exchange, an order either for
the return of the thing itself, or of its equivalent in other things,
such as he may choose out of the store, at any time when he
needs them. The question of equivalence itself (how much wine
a man is to receive in return for so much corn, or how much coal
in return for so much iron) is a quite separate one, which we will
examine presently.
For the time, let it be assumed that this
equivalence has been determined, and that the Government
order, in exchange for a fixed weight of any article (called,
suppose, a), is either for the return of that weight of the article
itself, or of another fixed weight of the article b, or another of the
article c, and so on.
Now, supposing that the labourer speedily and continually
presents these general orders, or, in common language, spends
the money, he has neither changed the circumstances of the
nation, nor his own, except in so far as he may have produced
useful and consumed useless articles, or vice vers. But if he
does not use, or uses in part only, the orders he receives, and lays
aside some portion of them; and thus every day bringing his
contribution to the national store, lays by some percentage of the
orders received in exchange for it, he increases the national
* See Appendix IV. [p. 289].

[See below, 58 seq.]

daily by as much as he does not use of the received orders, and to
the same amount accumulates a monetary claim on the
Government. It is, of course, always in his power, as it is his
legal right, to bring forward this accumulation of claim, and at
once to consume, destroy, or distribute, the sum of his wealth.
Supposing he never does so, but dies, leaving his claim to others,
he has enriched the State during his life by the quantity of wealth
over which that claim extends, or has, in other words, rendered
so much additional life possible in the State, of which additional
life he bequeaths the immediate possibility to those whom he
invests with his claim. Supposing him to cancel the claim, he
would distribute this possibility of life among the nation at large.
41. We hitherto consider the Government itself as simply a
conservative power, taking charge of the wealth entrusted to it.
But a Government may be more or less than a conservative
power. It may be either an improving, or destructive one.
If it be an improving power, using all the wealth entrusted to
it to the best advantage, the nation is enriched in root and branch
at once, and the Government is enabled, for every order
presented, to return a quantity of wealth greater than the order
was written for, according to the fructification obtained in the
This ability may be either concealed, in which case the
currency does not completely represent the wealth of the
country, or it may be manifested by the continual payment of the
excess of value on each order, in which case there is
(irrespectively, observe, of collateral results afterwards to be
examined) a perpetual rise in the worth of the currency, that is to
say, a fall in the price of all articles represented by it.
42. But if the Government be destructive, or a consuming
[The original essay here added a note:
The reader must be warned in advance that the conditions here supposed
have nothing to do with the interest of money commonly so called.]

power, it becomes unable to return the value received on the
presentation of the order.
This inability may either be concealed by meeting demands
to the full, until it issue in bankruptcy, or in some form of
national debt;or it may be concealed during oscillatory
movements between destructiveness and productiveness, which
result on the whole in stability;or it may be manifested by the
consistent return of less than value received on each presented
order, in which case there is a consistent fall in the worth of the
currency, or rise in the price of the things represented by it.
43. Now, if for this conception of a central Government, we
substitute that of a body of persons occupied in industrial
pursuits, of whom each adds in his private capacity to the
common store,
we at once obtain an approximation to the actual
condition of a civilized mercantile community, from which
approximation we might easily proceed into still completer
analysis. I purpose, however, to arrive at every result by the
gradual expansion of the simpler conception; but I wish the
reader to observe, in the meantime, that both the social
conditions thus supposed (and I will by anticipation say also, all
possible social conditions) agree in two great points; namely, in
the primal importance of the supposed national store or stock,
and in its destructibility or improveability by the holders of it.
44. I. Observe that in both conditions, that of central
Government-holding, and diffused private-holding, the quantity
of stock is of the same national moment. In the one case, indeed,
its amount may be known by examination of the persons to
whom it is confided; in the other it cannot be known but by
exposing the private affairs of every individual. But, known or
unknown, its significance is the
[The original essay here continues:
. . . the common store: so that the store itself, instead of remaining a public
property of ascertainable quantity, for the guardianship of which a body of
public men are responsible, becomes disseminated private property, each man
giving, in exchange for any article received from another, a general order for its
equivalent in whatever other article the claimant may desire (such general order
being payable by any number of the society in whose possession the demanded
article may be found), we at once . . .]

same under each condition. The riches of the nation consist in
the abundance, and their wealth depends on the nature, of this
45. II. In the second place, both conditions (and all other
possible ones) agree in the destructibility or improveability of
the store by its holders. Whether in private hands, or under
Government charge, the national store may be daily consumed,
or daily enlarged, by its possessors; and while the currency
remains apparently unaltered, the property it represents may
diminish or increase.
46. The first question, then, which we have to put under our
simple conception of central Government, namely, What store
has it? is one of equal importance, whatever may be the
constitution of the State; while the second questionnamely,
Who are the holders of the store? involves the discussion of
the constitution of the State itself.
The first inquiry resolves itself into three heads:
1. What is the nature of the store?
2. What is its quantity in relation to the population?
3. What is its quantity in relation to the currency?
The second inquiry into two:
1. Who are the Holders of the store, and in what proportions?
2. Who are the Claimants of the store (that is to say, the
holders of the currency), and in what proportions?
We will examine the range of the first three questions in the
present paper; of the two following, in the sequel.

47. I. QUESTION FIRST. What is the nature of the store? Has
the nation hitherto worked for and gathered the right thing or the
wrong? On that issue rest the possibilities of its life.
For example, let us imagine a society, of no great extent,
occupied in procuring and laying up store of corn, wine, wool,
silk, and other such preservable materials of food and clothing;
and that it has a currency representing them. Imagine farther,
that on days of festivity, the

society, discovering itself to derive satisfaction from
pyrotechnics, gradually turns its attention more and more to the
manufacture of gunpowder; so that an increasing number of
labourers, giving what time they can spare to this branch of
industry, bring increasing quantities of combustibles into the
store, and use the general orders received in exchange to obtain
such wine, wool, or corn, as they may have need of. The
currency remains the same, and represents precisely the same
amount of material in the store, and of labour spent in producing
it. But the corn and wine gradually vanish, and in their place, as
gradually, appear sulphur and saltpetre, till at last the labourers
who have consumed corn and supplied nitre, presenting on a
festal morning some of their currency to obtain materials for the
feast, discover that no amount of currency will command
anything Festive, except Fire. The supply of rockets is unlimited,
but that of food, limited, in a quite final manner; and the whole
currency in the hands of the society represents an infinite power
of detonation, but none of existence.
48. This statement, caricatured as it may seem, is only
exaggerated in assuming the persistence of the folly to
extremity, unchecked, as in reality it would be, by the gradual
rise in price of food. But it falls short of the actual facts of human
life in expression of the depth and intensity of the folly itself. For
a great part (the reader would not believe how great until he saw
the statistics in detail) of the most earnest and ingenious industry
of the world is spent in producing munitions of war; gathering,
that is to say, the materials, not of festive, but of consuming fire;
filling its stores with all power of the instruments of pain, and all
affluence of the ministries of death. It was no true Trionfo della
Morte* which men have seen and feared (sometimes
* (I little thought, what Trionfo della Morte would be, for this very cause, and in
literal fulfilment of the closing words of the 47th paragraph, over the fields and houses
of Europe, and over its fairest citywithin seven years from the day I wrote it.

[A reference again to the Franco-German war, the siege of Paris, and the
subsequent Communist rising: compare p. 135, above, and see Vol. XVI. p. 155 n.]

scarcely feared) so long; wherein he brought them rest from their
We see, and share, another and higher form of his
triumph now. Taskmaster, instead of Releaser, he rules the dust
of the arena no less than of the tomb; and, content once in the
grave whither man went, to make his works to cease and his
devices to vanish,
now, in the busy city and on the serviceable
sea, makes his work to increase, and his devices to multiply.
49. To this doubled loss, or negative power of labour, spent
in producing means of destruction, we have to add, in our
estimate of the consequences of human folly, whatever more
insidious waste of toil there is in production of unnecessary
luxury. Such and such an occupation (it is said) supports so
many labourers, because so many obtain wages in following it;
but it is never considered that unless there be a supporting power
in the product of the occupation, the wages given to one man are
merely withdrawn from another. We cannot say of any trade that
it maintains such and such a number of persons, unless we know
how and where the money, now spent in the purchase of its
produce, would have been spent, if that produce had not been
manufactured. The purchasing funds truly support a number of
people in making This; but (probably)
leave unsupported an
equal number who are making, or could have made That. The
manufacturers of small watches thrive at Geneva;it is
well;but where would the money spent on small watches have
gone, had there been no small watches to buy?
50. If the so frequently uttered aphorism of mercantile
Labour is limited by capital, were true, this
question would be a definite one. But it is untrue; and
[Revelation xiv. 13.]
[Ecclesiastes ix. 10.]
[See below, 51, p. 177.]
[As, for instance, by Mill, book i. ch. v. (Fundamental Propositions respecting
Capital), 1: The first of these propositions is, That industry is limited by capital. In
his copy of the book Ruskin wrote in the margin, at the head of this chapter, Industry
dependent on Will, not on Capital. Single head and heart may do all. Napoleonwith his
starving army.]

that widely. Out of a given quantity of funds for wages, more or
less labour is to be had, according to the quantity of will with
which we can inspire the workman; and the true limit of labour is
only in the limit of this moral stimulus of the will, and of the
bodily power. In an ultimate, but entirely unpractical sense,
labour is limited by capital, as it is by matterthat is to say,
where there is no material, there can be no work,but in the
practical sense, labour is limited only by the great original
of head, heart, and hand. Even in the most artificial
relations of commerce, labour is to capital as fire to fuel: out of
so much fuel, you can have only so much fire; but out of so much
fuel you shall have so much fire,not in proportion to the mass
of combustibles, but to the force of wind that fans and water that
quenches; and the appliance of both. And labour is furthered, as
conflagration is, not so much by added fuel, as by admitted air.*
51. For which reasons, I had to insert, in 49, the qualifying
probably; for it can never be said positively that the
purchase-money, or wages fund, of any trade is withdrawn from
some other trade. The object itself may be the stimulus of the
production of the money which buys it; that is to say, the work
by which the purchaser obtained the means of buying it, would
not have been done by him, unless he had wanted that particular
thing. And the production of any article not intrinsically (nor in
the process of manufacture) injurious, is useful, if the desire of it
causes productive labour in other directions.
52. In the national store, therefore, the presence of
* (The meaning of which is, that you may spend a great deal of money, and get very
little work for it, and that little bad; but having good air, or spirit, to put life into
it, with very little money, you may get a gr eat deal of work, and all good; which,
observe, is an arithmetical, not at all a poetical or visionary circumstance.)

[Here the original essay appended a footnote:
This aphorism, being hurried English for labour is limited by want of
capital, involves also awkward English in its denial, which cannot be helped.]

things intrinsically valueless does not imply an entirely
correlative absence of things valuable. We cannot be certain that
all the labour spent on vanity has been diverted from reality, and
that for every bad thing produced a precious thing has been lost.
In great measure, the vain things represent the results of roused
indolence; they have been carved, as toys, in extra time; and, if
they had not been made, nothing else would have been made.
Even to munitions of war this principle applies; they partly
represent the work of men who, if they had not made spears,
would never have made pruning-hooks,
and who are incapable
of any activities but those of contest.
53. Thus then, finally, the nature of the store has to be
considered under two main lights; the one, that of its immediate
and actual utility; the other, that of the past national character
which it signifies by its production, and future character which it
must develop by its use. And the issue of this investigation will
be to show us that
Economy does not depend merely on principles of demand
and supply, but primarily on what is demanded, and what is
supplied; which I will beg of you to observe, and take to heart.

54. II. QUESTION SECOND.What is the quantity of the store
in relation to the population?
It follows from what has been already stated that the accurate
form in which this question has to be put isWhat quantity of
each article composing the store exists in proportion to the real
need for it by the population? But we shall for the time assume,
in order to keep all our terms at the simplest, that the store is
wholly composed of useful articles, and accurately proportioned
to the several needs for them.
Now it cannot be assumed, because the store is large in
proportion to the number of the people, that the people
[See Isaiah ii. 4; Joel iii. 10; Micah iv. 3; often quoted by Ruskin: e.g., below, p.
463, and Vol. XVI. p. 411.]

must be in comfort; nor because it is small, that they must be in
distress. An active and economical race always produces more
than it requires, and lives (if it is permitted to do so) in
competence on the produce of its daily labour. The quantity of
its store, great or small, is therefore in many respects indifferent
to it, and cannot be inferred from its aspect. Similarly an inactive
and wasteful population, which cannot live by its daily labour,
but is dependent, partly or wholly, on consumption of its store,
may be (by various difficulties, hereafter to be examined, in
realizing or getting at such store) retained in a state of abject
distress, though its possessions may be immense. But the results
always involved in the magnitude of store are, the commercial
power of the nation, its security, and its mental character. its
commercial power, in that according to the quantity of its store
may be the extent of its dealings; its security, in that according to
the quantity of its store are its means of sudden exertion or
sustained endurance; and its character, in that certain conditions
of civilization cannot be attained without permanent and
continually accumulating store, of great intrinsic value, and of
peculiar nature.*
55. Now, seeing that these three advantages arise from
largeness of store in proportion to population, the question arises
immediately, Given the storeis the nation enriched by
diminution of its numbers? Are a successful national
speculation, and a pestilence, economically the same thing?
This is in part a sophistical question; such as it would be to
ask whether a man was richer when struck by disease which
must limit his life within a predicable period, than he was when
in health. He is enabled to enlarge his current expenses, and has
for all purposes a larger sum at his immediate disposal (for,
given the fortune, the shorter the life, the larger the annuity); yet
no man considers himself richer because he is condemned by his
* (More especially, works of great art.)

56. The logical reply is that, since Wealth is by definition
only the means of life, a nation cannot be enriched by its own
mortality. Or in shorter words, the life is more than the meat;

and existence itself, more wealth than the means of existence.
Whence, of two nations who have equal store, the more
numerous is to be considered the richer, provided the type of the
inhabitant be as high (for, though the relative bulk of their store
be less, its relative efficiency, or the amount of effectual wealth,
must be greater). But if the type of the population be deteriorated
by increase of its numbers, we have evidence of poverty in its
worst influence; and then, to determine whether the nation in its
total may still be justifiably esteemed rich, we must set or weigh,
the number of the poor against that of the rich.
To effect which piece of scale-work, it is of course necessary
to determine, first, who are poor and who are rich; nor this only,
but also how poor and how rich they are. Which will prove a
curious thermometrical investigation; for we shall have to do for
gold and for silver, what we have done for
quicksilver;determine, namely, their freezing-point, their
zero, their temperate and fever-heat points; finally, their
vaporescent point, at which riches, sometimes explosively, as
lately in America,
make to themselves wings:
correspondently, the number of degrees below zero at which
poverty, ceasing to brace with any wholesome cold, burns to the
* (The meaning of that, in plain English, is, that we must find out how far poverty
and riches are good or bad for people, and what is the difference between being
miserably poorso as, perhaps, to be driven to crime, or to pass life in sufferingand
being blessedly poor, in the sense meant in the Sermon on the Mount.
For I suppose the
people who believe that sermon,

[Matthew vi. 25.]
[See for the allusion here, A Joy for Ever, 151 (Vol. XVI. p. 137 and n..).]
[Proverbs xxiii. v.]
[Matthew v. 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven. Luke vi. 20, 24: Blessed by ye poor . . . But woe unto you that are rich! for ye
have received your consolation.]

57. For the performance of these operations, in the strictest
sense scientific, we will first look to the existing so-called
science of Political Economy; we will ask it to define for us
the comparatively and superlatively rich, and the comparatively
and superlatively poor; and on its own termsif any terms it can
pronounceexamine, in our prosperous England, how many
rich and how many poor people there are; and whether the
quantity and intensity of the poverty is indeed so overbalanced
by the quantity and intensity of wealth, that we may permit
ourselves a luxurious blindness to it, and call ourselves,
complacently, a rich country. And if we find no clear definition
in the existing science, we will endeavour for ourselves to fix the
true degrees of the scale, and to apply them.*

58. III. QUESTION THIRD. What is the quantity of the store in
relation to the currency?
We have seen
that the real worth of the currency, so far as
dependent on its relation to the magnitude of the store, may vary,
within certain limits, without affecting its worth in exchange.
The diminution or increase of the represented wealth may be
unperceived, and the currency may be taken either for more or
less than it is truly worth. Usually it is taken for much more; and
its power in exchange, or credit-power, is thus increased up to a
given strain upon its relation to existing wealth. This
credit-power is of chief importance in the thoughts, because
most sharply present to the experience, of a mercantile

do not think (if they ever honestly ask themselves what they do think), either that Luke
vi. 24 is a merely poetical exclamation, or that the Beatitude of Poverty has yet been
attained in St. Martins Lane and other back streets of London.)
* (Large plans!Eight years are gone, and nothing done yet. But I keep my purpose
of making one day this balance, or want of bal ance, visible, in those so seldom used
scales of Justice.)

[Above, 39, p. 170.]

community: but the conditions of its stability* and all other
relations of the currency to the material store are entirely simple
in principle, if not in action. Far other than simple are the
relations of the currency to the available labour which
it also
represents. For this relation is involved not only with that of the
magnitude of the store to the number, but with that of the
magnitude of the store to the mind, of the population. Its
proportion to their number, and the resulting worth of currency,
are calculable; but its proportion to their will for labour is not.
The worth of the piece of money which claims a given quantity
of the store is, in exchange, less or greater according to the
facility of obtaining the same quantity of the same thing without
having recourse to the store. In other words, it depends on the
immediate Cost and Price of the thing. We must now, therefore,
complete the definition of these terms.
59. All cost and price are counted in Labour. We must know
first, therefore, what is to be counted as Labour.
I have already
defined Labour to be the Contest of the
* These are nearly all briefly represented by the image used for the forc e of money
by Dante, of mast and sail:

Quali dal vento le gonfiate vele
Caggiono avvolte, poi ch lalber fiacca
Tal cadde a terra la fiera crudele.

The image may be followed out, like all of Dantes, into as close detail as the reader
chooses. Thus the stress of the sail must be proportioned to the strength of the mast, and
it is only in unforeseen danger that a skilful seaman ever carries all the canvas his spars
will bear; states of mercantile languor are like the flap of the sail in a calm; of mercantile
precaution, like taking in reefs; and mercantile ruin is instant on the breaking of the
(I mean by credit-power, the general impression on the national mind that a
sovereign, or any other coin, is worth so much bread and cheeseso much wineso
much horse and carriageor so much fine art: it may be really worth, when tried, less or
more than is thought: the thought of it is the credit -power.)

[The original essay here added by our definition (p. 790)the reference here
being to 22.]
[In Unto this Last, 70 (above, pp. 9495).]
[Inferno, vii. 13; compare Unto this Last, 74 n. (above, p. 101).]

life of man with an opposite.
Literally, it is the quantity of
Lapse, loss, or failure of human life, caused by any effort. It is
usually confused with effort itself, or the application of power
(opera); but there is much effort which is merely a mode of
recreation, or of pleasure. The most beautiful actions of the
human body, and the highest results of the human intelligence,
are conditions, or achievements, of quite unlaborious,nay, of
recreative,effort. But labour is the suffering in effort. It is the
negative quantity, or quantity of de-feat, which has to be counted
against every Feat, and of de-fect, which has to be counted
against every Fact, or Deed of men. In brief, it is that quantity
of our toil which we die in.
We might, therefore, priori, conjecture (as we shall
ultimately find), that it cannot be bought, nor sold. Everything
else is bought and sold for Labour, but Labour itself cannot be
bought nor sold for anything, being priceless.* The idea that it is
a commodity to be bought or sold, is the alpha and omega of
Politico-Economic fallacy.
60. This being the nature of labour, the Cost of anything is
the quantity of labour necessary to obtain it;the quantity for
which, or at which, it stands (constat). It is literally the
Constancy of the thing;you shall win itmove itcome at
it, for no less than this.
Cost is measured and measurable (using the accurate
* The object of Political Economy is not to buy, nor to sell labour, but to spare it.
Every attempt to buy or sell it is, in the outcome, ineffectual; so far as successful, it is
not sale, but Betrayal; and the purchase-money is a part of that thirty pieces which
bought, first the greatest of labours, and afterwards the burial -field of the Stranger;
this purchase-money, being in its very smallness or vileness the exactly measured
opposite of the vilis annona amicorum,
makes all men strangers to each other.

[The original essay here appended a footnote:
That is to say, its only price is its return. Compare Unto this Last, p. 80, and
what follows.
See now pp. 64 seq., above.]
[Matthew xxvi. 15; xxvii. 37.]
[Horace, Epistles, i. 12, 24: Vilis amicorum est annona, bonis ubi quid deest
(when good men lack, the price of friends is low).]

Latin terms) only in labor, not in opera.* It does not matter
how much work a thing needs to produce it; it matters only how
much distress. Generally the more the power it requires, the less
the distress; so that the noblest works of man cost less than the
True labour, or spending of life, is either of the body, in
fatigue or pain; of the temper or heart (as in perseverance of
search for things,patience in waiting for them,fortitude or
degradation in suffering for them, and the like), or of the
intellect. All these kinds of labour are supposed to be included in
the general term, and the quantity of labour is then expressed by
the time it lasts. So that a unit of labour is an hours work or a
days work, as we may determine.
61. Cost, like value, is both intrinsic and effectual. Intrinsic
cost is that of getting the thing in the right way; effectual cost is
that of getting the thing in the way we set about it. But intrinsic
cost cannot be made a subject of analytical investigation, being
only partially discoverable, and that by long experience.
Effectual cost is all that the political economist can deal with;
that is to say, the cost of the thing under existing circumstances,
and by known processes.
* Ciceros distinction,
sordidi qustus, quorum oper, non quorum artes
emuntur, admirable in principle, is inaccurate in expression, because Cicero did not
practically know how much operative dexterity is necessary in all the higher arts; but
the cost of this dexterity is incalculable. Be it great or small, the cost of the mere
perfectness of touch in a hammer-stroke of Donatellos, or a pencil -touch of
Correggios, is inestimable by any ordinary arithmetic.

(Old notes, these, more embarrassing, I now perceive, than elucidatory; but right,
and worth retaining.)
Only observe, as some labour is more destructive of life than other labour, the
hour or day of the more destructive toil is supposed to include proportionate rest.
Though men do not, or cannot, usually take such rest, except in death.

[De Officiis, i. 42, 150.]
[The original essay adds:
The best masters themselves usually estimate it at sums varying from t wo
to three or four shillings a day, with wine or soup extra.
Compare Vol. VII. p. 459, and Crown of Wild Olive, 41.]

Cost, being dependent much on application of method,
varies with the quantity of the thing wanted, and with the
number of persons who work for it. It is easy to get a little of
some things, but difficult to get much; it is impossible to get
some things with few hands, but easy to get them with many.
62. The cost and value of things, however difficult to
determine accurately, are thus both dependent on ascertainable
physical circumstances.*

* There is, therefore, observe, no such thing as cheapness (in the common use of
that term), without some error or injustice. A thing is said to be cheap, not because it is
common, but because it is supposed to be sold under its worth. Everything has its
proper and true worth at any given time, in relation to everything else; and at that worth
should be bought and sold. If sold under it, it is cheap to the buyer by exactly so much
as the seller loses, and no more. Putrid meat, at twopence a pound, is not cheaper than
wholesome meat at sevenpence a pound; it is probably much dearer; but if, by watching
your opportunity, you can get the wholesome meat for sixpence a pound, it is cheaper
to you by a penny, which you have gained, and the seller has lost. The present rage for
cheapness is either, therefore, simply and literally a rage for badness of all
commodities, or it is an attempt to find persons whose necessities will force them to let
you have more than you should for your money. It is quite easy to produce such
persons, and in large numbers; for the more distress there is in a nation, the more
cheapness of this sort you can obtain, and your boasted cheapness is thus merely a
measure of the extent of your national distress.
There is, indeed, a condition of apparent cheapness, which we have some right to be
triumphant in;
namely, the real reduction in cost of articles by right application of
labour. But in this case the article is only cheap with reference to its former price; the
so-called cheapness is only our expression for the sensation of contrast between its
former and existing prices. So soon as the new methods of producing the article are
established, it ceases to be esteemed either cheap or dear, at the new price, as at the old
one, and is felt to be cheap only when accident enables it to be purchased beneath this
new value. And it is no advantage to produce the article more easily, except as it enables
you to multiply your population. Cheapness of this kind is merely the discovery that
more men can be maintained on the same ground; and the question how many you will
maintain in proportion to your additional means, remains exactly in the same terms that
it did before.
A form of immediate cheapness results, however, in many cases, without

[For have some right to be triumphant in, the original essay reads confuse, in
practice and in reasoning, with the other.]

But their price is dependent on the human will.
Such and such a thing is demonstrably good for so much.
And it may demonstrably be had for so much.
But it remains questionable, and in all manner of ways
questionable, whether I choose to give so much.*
This choice is always a relative one. It is a choice to give a
price for this, rather than for that;a resolution to have the
thing, if getting it does not involve the loss of a better thing.
Price depends, therefore, not only on the cost of the commodity
itself, but on its relation to the cost of every other attainable
Farther. The power of choice is also a relative one. It
depends not merely on our own estimate of the thing, but on
everybody elses estimate;
therefore on the number and force of
the will of the concurrent buyers, and on the existing quantity of
the thing in proportion to that number and force.

distress, from the labour of a population where food is redundant, or where the labour by
which the food is produced leaves much idle time on their hands, which may be applied
to the production of cheap articles.
All such phenomena indicate to the political economist places where the labour is
unbalanced. In the first case, the just balance is to be effected by taking labourers from
the spot where pressure exists, and sending them to that where food is redundant. In the
second, the cheapness is a local accident, advantageous to the local purchaser,
disadvantageous to the local producer. It is one of the first duties of commerce to extend
the market, and thus give the local producer hi s full advantage.
Cheapness caused by natural accidents of harvest, weather, etc., is always
counterbalanced, in due time, by natural scarcity, similarly caused. it is the part of wise
government, and healthy commerce, so to provide in times and places of plenty for times
and places of dearth, as that there shall never be waste, nor famine.
Cheapness caused by gluts of the market is merely a disease of clumsy and wanton
* Price has been already defined (p. 153) to be the quantity of labour which t he
possessor of a thing is willing to take for it. It is best to consider the price to be that
fixed by the possessor, because the possessor has absolute power of refusing sale, while
the purchaser has no absolute power of compelling it; but the effectual or market price
is that at which their estimates coincide.

[See above, 35, p. 166.]

Hence the price of anything depends on four variables.

(1.) Its cost.
(2.) Its attainable quantity at that cost.
(3.) The number and power of the persons who want it.
(4.) The estimate they have formed of its desirableness.
Its value only affects its price so far as it is contemplated in
this estimate; perhaps, therefore, not at all.
63. Now, in order to show the manner in which price is
expressed in terms of a currency, we must assume these four
quantities to be known, and the estimate of desirableness,
commonly called the Demand, to be certain. We will take the
number of persons at the lowest. Let A and B be two labourers
who demand, that is to say, have resolved to labour for, two
articles, a and b. Their demand for these articles (if the reader
likes better, he may say their need) is to be conceived as
absolute, their existence depending on the getting these two
things. Suppose, for instance, that they are bread and fuel, in a
cold country, and let a represent the least quantity of bread, and
b the least quantity of fuel, which will support a mans life for a
day. let a be producible by an hours labour, but b only by two
hours labour.
Then the cost of a is one hour, and of b two (cost, by our
definition, being expressible in terms of time). If, therefore, each
man worked both for his corn and fuel, each would have to work
three hours a day. But they divide the labour for its greater ease.*
Then if A works
* This greater ease ought to be allowed for by a diminution in the times of the
divided work; but as the proportion of times would remain the same, I do not introduce
this unnecessary complexity into the calculation.

[The original essay here appended a footnote:
The two first of these variables are included in the x, and the two last in the
y, of the formula given at p.81 of Unto this Last, and the four are the radical
conditions which regulate the price of things on first producti on; in their price
in exchange, the third and fourth of these divide each into two others, forming
the four which are stated at p. 136 of Unto this Last.
The references are now to pp. 64 and 94, above.]

three hours, he produces 3 a, which is one a more than both the
men want. And if B works three hours, he produces only 1 b,
or half of b less than both want. But if A work three hours and B
six, A has 3 a, and B has 3 b, a maintenance in the right
proportion for both for a day and a half; so that each might take
half a days rest. But as B has worked double time, the whole of
this days rest belongs in equity to him. Therefore the just
exchange should be, A giving two a for one b, has one a and one
b;maintenance for a day. B giving one b for two a, has two a
and two b;maintenance for two days.
But B cannot rest on the second day, or A would be left
without the article which B produces. Nor is there any means of
making the exchange just, unless a third labourer is called in.
Then one workman, A, produces a, and two, B and C, produce
b:A, working three hours, has three a;B, three hours, 1
b;C, three hours, 1 b. B and C each give half of b for a, and
all have their equal daily maintenance for equal daily work.
To carry the example a single step farther, let three articles,
a, b, and c be needed.
Let a need one hours work, b two, and c four; then the days
work must be seven hours, and one man in a days work can
make 7 a, or 3 b, or 1 c.
Therefore one A works for a, producing 7 a; two Bs work
for b, producing 7 b; four Cs work for c, producing 7 c.
A has six a to spare, and gives two a for one b, and four a for
one c. Each B has 2 b to spare, and gives b for one a, and two
b for one c.
Each C has of c to spare, and gives c for one b, and of
c for one a.
And all have their days maintenance.
Generally, therefore, it follows that if the demand is
constant,* the relative prices of things are as their costs, or as the
quantities of labour involved in production.
* Compare Unto this Last, p. 115, et seq. [here p. 82].

64. Then, in order to express their prices in terms of a
currency, we have only to put the currency into the form of
orders for a certain quantity of any given article (with us it is in
the form of orders for gold), and all quantities of other articles
are priced by the relation they bear to the articles which the
currency claims.
But the worth of the currency itself is not in the slightest
degree founded more on the worth of the article which it either
claims or consists in (as gold) than on the worth of every other
article for which the gold is exchangeable. It is just as accurate to
say, so many pounds are worth an acre of land, as an acre of
land is worth so many pounds. The worth of gold, of land, of
houses, and of food, and of all other things, depends at any
moment on the existing quantities and relative demands for all
and each; and a change in the worth of, or demand for, any one,
involves an instantaneously correspondent change in the worth
of, and demand for, all the rest;a change as inevitable and as
accurately balanced (though often in its process as untraceable)
as the change in volume of the outflowing river from some vast
lake, caused by change in the volume of the inflowing streams,
though no eye can trace, nor instrument detect, motion, either on
its surface, or in the depth.
65. Thus, then, the real working power or worth of the
currency is founded on the entire sum of the relative estimates
formed by the population of its possessions; a change in this
estimate in any direction (and therefore every change in the
national character), instantly alters the value of money, in its
second great function of commanding labour. But we must
always carefully and sternly distinguish between this worth of
currency, dependent on the conceived or appreciated value of
what it represents, and the worth of it, dependent on the
existence of what it represents. A currency is true or false, in
proportion to the security with which it gives claim to the
possession of land, house, horse, or picture; but a currency

is strong or weak,* worth much or worth little, in proportion to
the degree of estimate in which the nation holds the house, horse,
or picture which is claimed. Thus the power of the English
currency has been, till of late, largely based on the national
estimate of horses and of wine: so that a man might always give
any price to furnish choicely his stable, or his cellar; and receive
public approval therefore: but if he gave the same sum to furnish
his library, he was called mad, or a biblio-maniac. And although
he might lose his fortune by his horses, and his health or life by
his cellar, and rarely lost either by his books, he was yet never
called a Hippo-maniac nor an Oino-maniac;
but only
Biblio-maniac, because the current worth of money was
understood to be legitimately founded on cattle and wine, but not
on literature. The prices lately given at sales for pictures and
MSS. indicate some tendency to change in the national character
in this respect, so that the worth of the currency may even come
in time to rest, in an acknowledged manner, somewhat on the
state and keeping of the Bedford missal, as well as on the health
of Caractacus or Blink Bonny;
and old pictures be considered
property, no less than old port. They might have been so before
now, but that it is more difficult to choose the one than the other.
66. Now, observe, all these sources of variation in the power
of the currency exist, wholly irrespective of the influences of
vice, indolence, and improvidence. We have hitherto supposed,
throughout the analysis, every professing labourer to labour
honestly, heartily, and in harmony
* (That is to say, the love of money is founded first on the intenseness of des ire for
given things; a youth will rob the till, now-a-days, for pantomime tickets and cigars;
the strength of the currency being irresistible to him, in consequence of his desire for
those luxuries.)

[Compare Sesame and Lilies, 32.]
[The Bedford Hours, generally known as the Bedford Missal, was written and
illuminated for the Duke of Bedford, and presented to Henry VI. in 1430. It was acquired
in 1852 for the Library of the British Museum (Add. MSS. 18,850). Caractacus, winner
of the Derby in 1862. Blink Bonny, winner of the Derby and the Thousand Guineas in

with his fellows. We have now to bring farther into the
calculation the effects of relative industry, honour, and
forethought; and thus to follow out the bearings of our second
inquiry: Who are the holders of the Store and Currency, and in
what proportions?
This, however, we must reserve for our next papernoticing
here only that, however distinct the several branches of the
subject are, radically, they are so interwoven in their issues that
we cannot rightly treat any one, till we have taken cognizance of
all. Thus the need of the currency in proportion to number of
population is materially influenced by the probable number of
the holders in proportion to the non-holders; and this again, by
the number of holders of goods, or wealth, in proportion, to the
non-holders of goods. For as, by definition, the currency is a
claim to goods which are not possessed, its quantity indicates the
number of claimants in proportion to the number of holders; and
the force and complexity of claim. For if the claims be not
complex, currency as a means of exchange may be very small in
quantity. A sells some corn to B, receiving a promise from B to
pay in cattle, which A then hands over to C, to get some wine. C
in due time claims the cattle from B; and B takes back his
promise. These exchanges have, or might have been, all effected
with a single coin or promise; and the proportion of the currency
to the store would in such circumstances indicate only the
circulating vitality of itthat is to say, the quantity and
convenient divisibility of that part of the store which the habits
of the nation keep in circulation. If a cattle breeder is content to
live with his household chiefly on meat and milk, and does not
want rich furniture, or jewels, or booksif a wine and corn
grower maintains himself and his men chiefly on grapes and
bread;if the wives and daughters of families weave and spin
the clothing of the household, and the nation, as a whole,
remains content with the produce of its own soil and the work of
its own hands, it has little occasion for circulating media. It
pledges and promises little and seldom; exchanges

only so far as exchange is necessary for life. The store belongs to
the people in whose hands it is found, and money is little needed
either as an expression of right, or practical means of division
and exchange.
67. But in proportion as the habits of the nation become
complex and fantastic (and they may be both, without therefore
being civilized), its circulating medium must increase in
proportion to its store. If every one wants a little of
everything,if food must be of many kinds, and dress of many
fashions,if multitudes live by work which, ministering to
fancy, has its pay measured by fancy, so that large prices will be
given by one person for what is valueless to another,if there
are great inequalities of knowledge, causing great inequalities of
estimate,and, finally, and worst of all, if the currency itself,
from its largeness, and the power which the possession of it
implies, becomes the sole object of desire with large numbers of
the nation, so that the holding of it is disputed among them as the
main object of life:in each and all of these cases, the currency
necessarily enlarges in proportion to the store; and as a means of
exchange and division, as a bond of right, and as an object of
passion, has a more and more important and malignant power
over the nations dealings, character, and life.
Against which power, when, as a bond of Right, it becomes
too conspicuous and too burdensome, the popular voice is apt to
be raised in a violent and irrational manner, leading to revolution
instead of remedy. Whereas all possibility of Economy depends
on the clear assertion and maintenance of this bond of right,
however burdensome. The first necessity of all economical
is to secure the unquestioned and unquestionable
working of the great law of Propertythat a man who works for
a thing shall be allowed to get it, keep it, and consume it, in
peace; and that he who does not eat his cake to-day, shall be
seen, without grudging, to have his cake to-morrow. This,
[For a reference to this passage, see below, p. 375 and n.]

I say, is the first point to be secured by social law; without this,
no political advance, nay, no political existence, is in any sort
possible. Whatever evil, luxury, iniquity, may seem to result
from it, this is nevertheless the first of all Equities; and to the
enforcement of this, by law and police-truncheon, the nation
must always primarily set its mindthat the cupboard door may
have a firm lock to it, and no mans dinner be carried off by the
mob, on its way home from the bakers.
Which, thus fearlessly
asserting, we shall endeavour in next paper to consider how far it
may be practicable for the mob itself, also, in due breadth of
dish, to have dinners to carry home.
[Compare Time and Tide, 68 (below, p. 375), where Ruskin refers to this


68. IT will be seen by reference to the last chapter that our
present task is to examine the relation of holders of store to
holders of currency; and of both to those who hold neither. In
order to do this, we must determine on which side we are to
place substances such as gold, commonly known as bases of
currency. By aid of previous definitions the reader will now be
able to understand closer statements than have yet been possible.
69. The currency of any country consists of every document
acknowledging debt, which is transferable in the country.*
This transferableness depends upon its intelligibility and
credit. Its intelligibility depends chiefly on the difficulty of
forging anything like it;its credit much on national character,
but ultimately always on the existence of substantial means of
meeting its demand.
As the degrees of transferableness are variable, (some
documents passing only in certain places, and others passing, if
at all, for less than their inscribed value,) both the mass,
* (Remember this definition: it is of great importance as opposed to the imperfect
ones usually given. When first these essays were published, I remember one of their
reviewers asking contemptuously, Is half -a-crown a document? it never having
before occurred to him that a document might be stamped as well as written, and
stamped on silver as well as on parchment.)
(I do not mean the demand of the holder of a five-pound note for five pounds, but
the demand of the holder of a pound for a pounds worth of something good.)

[This chapter was part of the third essay in the Magazine. The headlines to the
portion of the essay included in the present chapter were: The Currency. The
Currency-holders and the Store-holders.The Disease of Desire.]

and, so to speak, fluidity, of the currency, are variable. True or
perfect currency flows freely, like a pure stream; it becomes
sluggish or stagnant in proportion to the quantity of less
transferable matter which mixes with it, adding to its bulk, but
diminishing its purity. [Articles of commercial value, on which
bills are drawn, increase the currency indefinitely; and
substances of intrinsic value, if stamped or signed without
restriction so as to become acknowledgments of debt, increase it
indefinitely also. Every bit of gold found in Australia, so long as
it remains uncoined, is an article offered for sale like any other;
but as soon as it is coined into pounds, it diminishes the value of
every pound we have now in our pockets.]

70. Legally authorized or national currency, in its perfect
condition, is a form of public acknowledgment of debt, so
regulated and divided that any person presenting a commodity of
tried worth in the public market, shall, if he please, receive in
exchange for it a document giving him claim to the return of its
equivalent, (1) in any place, (2) at any time, and (3) in any kind.
When currency is quite healthy and vital, the persons
entrusted with its management are always able to give on
demand either,
A. The assigning document for the assigned quantity of
goods. Or,
B. The assigned quantity of goods for the assigning
[The square brackets here denote that the passage enclosed in them was inserted by
Ruskin in revising the original essay for republication in 1872. (By error, however, the
terminal bracket has hitherto been placed after indefinitely also instead of after our
pockets.) The essay reads thus:
. . . diminishing its purity. Substances of intrinsic value, such as gold,
mingle also with the currency, and increase, while they modify, its power; these
are carried by it as stones are carried by a torrent, sometimes momentarily
impeding, sometimes concentrating its force, but not affecting its purity. These
substances of intrinsic value may be also stamped or signed so as to become
acknowledgments of debt, and then become, so far as they operate
independently of their intrinsic value, part of the real currency.
Deferring consideration of minor forms of currency, consisting of
documents bearing private signature, we will examine the principles of legally
authorized or national currency. This in its perfect condition . . .]

If they cannot give document for goods, the national
exchange is at fault.
If they cannot give goods for document, the national credit is
at fault.
The nature and power of the document are therefore to be
examined under the three relations it bears to Place, Time, and
71. (1.) It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth in
any Place. Its use in this function is to save carriage, so that
parting with a bushel of corn in London, we may receive an
order for a bushel of corn at the Antipodes, or elsewhere. To be
perfect in this use, the substance of currency must be to the
maximum portable, credible, and intelligible. Its non-acceptance
or discredit results always from some form of ignorance or
dishonour: so far as such interruptions rise out of differences in
denomination, there is no ground for their continuance among
civilized nations. It may be convenient in one country to use
chiefly copper for coinage, in another silver, and in another
gold,reckoning accordingly in centimes, francs, or zecchins:
but that a franc should be different in weight and value from a
shilling, and a zwanziger
vary from both, is wanton loss of
commercial power.
72. (2.) It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth at
any Time. In this second use, currency is the exponent of
accumulation: it renders the laying-up of store at the command
of individuals unlimitedly possible;whereas, but for its
intervention, all gathering would be confined within certain
limits by the bulk of property, or by its decay, or the difficulty of
its guardianship. I will pull down my barns and build greater,

cannot be a daily saying; and all
[The original essays read:
. . . francs, or sequins: but that a French franc should be different in
weight and value from an English shilling, and an Austrian zwanziger vary in
weight and alloy from both . . .
The zecchino, or sequinstill current in Tuscany when Ruskin wrotewas of pure
gold, of the value of 2 scudi, or in all 8s. 10d. The zwanziger, or lira Austriaca,
equalled the Italian lira and 9 denari, and passed for 1 pauls (or about 10d.)]
[Luke xii. 18.]

material investment is enlargement of care. The national
currency transfers the guardianship of the store to many; and
preserves to the original producer the right of re-entering on its
possession at any future period.
73. (3.) It gives claim (practical, though not legal) to the
return of equivalent wealth in any Kind. It is a transferable right,
not merely to this or that, but to anything; and its power in this
function is proportioned to the range of choice. If you give a
child an apple or a toy, you give him a determinate pleasure, but
if you give him a penny, an indeterminate one, proportioned to
the range of selection offered by the shops in the village. The
power of the worlds currency is similarly in proportion to the
openness of the worlds fair, and, commonly, enhanced by the
brilliancy of external aspect, rather than solidity, of its wares.
74. We have said that the currency consists of orders for
equivalent goods. If equivalent, their quality must be
guaranteed. The kinds of goods chosen for specific claim must,
therefore, be capable of test, while, also, that a store may be kept
in hand to meet the call of the currency, smallness of bulk, with
great relative value, is desirable; and indestructibility, over at
least a certain period, essential.
Such indestructibility, and facility of being tested, are united
in gold; its intrinsic value is great, and its imaginary value
greater; so that, partly through indolence, partly through
necessity and want of organization, most nations have agreed to
take gold for the only basis of their currencies;with this grave
disadvantage, that its portability enabling the metal to become an
active part of the medium of exchange, the stream of the
currency itself becomes opaque with goldhalf currency and
half commodity, in unison of functions which partly neutralize,
partly enhance, each others force.

75. They partly neutralize, since in so far as the gold is
commodity, it is bad currency, because liable to sale; and
[Compare above, p. 195 n. For a passing reference to this subject, see fors
Clavigera, Letter 25, where the use of scarce metals is spoken of as often necessary
rather than in itself beneficent.]

in so far as it is currency, it is bad commodity, because its
exchange value interferes with its practical use. Especially its
employment in the higher branches of the arts becomes unsafe
on account of its liability to be melted down for exchange.
Again. They partly enhance, since in so far as the gold has
acknowledged intrinsic value, it is good currency, because
everywhere acceptable; and in so far as it has legal exchangeable
value, its worth as a commodity is increased. We want no gold in
the form of dust or crystal; but we seek for it coined, because in
that form it will pay baker and butcher. And this worth in
exchange not only absorbs a large quantity in that use,* but
greatly increases the effect on the imagination of the quantity
used in the arts. Thus, in brief, the force of the functions is
increased, but their precision blunted, by their unison.
76. These inconveniences, however, attach to gold as a basis
of currency on account of its portability and preciousness. But a
far greater inconvenience attaches to it as the only legal basis of
currency. Imagine gold to be only attainable in masses weighing
several pounds each, and its value, like that of malachite or
marble, proportioned to its largeness of bulk;it could not then
get itself confused with the currency in daily use, but it might
still remain as
* (Read, and think over, the following note very carefully.
The waste of labour in obtaining the gold, though it cannot be estimated by help of
any existing data, may be understood in its bearing on entire economy by supposing it
limited to transactions between two persons. If two farmers in Australia have been
exchanging corn and cattle with each other for years, keeping their accounts of
reciprocal debt in any simple way, the sum of the possessions of either would not be
diminished, though the part of it which was lent or borrowed were only reckoned by
marks on a stone, or notches on a tree; and the one counted himself accordingly, so
many scratches, or so many notches, better than the other. But it would soon be
seriously diminished if, discovering gold in their fi elds, each resolved only to accept
golden counters for a reckoning; and accordingly, whenever he wanted a sack of corn or
a cow, was obliged to go and wash sand for a week before he could get the means of
giving a receipt for them.

[And compare the letter in the Appendix to this volume, ii. 1 (p. 489).]

its basis; and this second inconvenience would still affect it,
namely, that its significance as an expression of debt varies, as
that of every other article would, with the popular estimate of its
desirableness, and with the quantity offered in the market. My
power of obtaining other goods for gold depends always on the
strength of public passion for gold, and on the limitation of its
quantity, so that when either of two things happensthat the
world esteems gold less, or finds it more easilymy right of
claim is in that degree effaced; and it has been even gravely
maintained that a discovery of a mountain of gold would cancel
the National Debt; in other words, that men may be paid for what
costs much in what costs nothing. Now, it is true that there is
little chance of sudden convulsion in this respect; the world will
not so rapidly increase in wisdom as to despise gold on a sudden;
and perhaps may [for a little time]
desire it more eagerly the
more easily it is obtained; nevertheless, the right of debt ought
not to rest on a basis of imagination; nor should the frame of a
national currency vibrate with every misers panic, and every
merchants imprudence.
77. There are two methods of avoiding this insecurity, which
would have been fallen upon long ago, if, instead of calculating
the conditions of the supply of gold, men had only considered
how the world might live and manage its affairs without gold at
all.* One is, to base the currency on substances of truer intrinsic
value; the other, to base it
* It is difficult to estimate the curious futility of discussions such as that which
lately occupied a section of the British Association,
on the absorption of gold, while
no one can produce even the simplest of the data necessary for the inquiry. To take the
first occurring one,What means have we of ascertaining the weight of gold employed
this year in the toilettes of the women of Europe (not to speak of Asia); and, supposing
it known, what means of conjecturing the weight by which, next year, their fancies, and
the changes of style among their jewellers, will diminish or increase it?

[Here, again, the square brackets denote that the words were inserted by Ruskin in
1872; he should similarly have enclosed on a sudden.]
[A reference to the meeting at Cambridge, in October 1862, at which Fawcett read
a paper On the Economic Effects of the recent Gold Discoveries.]

on several substances instead of one. If I can only claim gold, the
discovery of a golden mountain starves me; but if I can claim
bread, the discovery of a continent of cornfields need not trouble
me. If, however, I wish to exchange my bread for other things, a
good harvest will for the time limit my power in this respect; but
if I can claim either bread, iron, or silk at pleasure, the standard
of value has three feet instead of one, and will be proportionately
Thus, ultimately, the steadiness of currency depends upon
the breadth of its base; but the difficulty of organization
increasing with this breadth, the discovery of the condition at
once safest and most convenient* can only be by long analysis,
which must for the present be deferred. Gold or silver may
always be retained in limited use, as a luxury of coinage and
questionless standard, of one weight and alloy among all
nations, varying only in the die. The purity of coinage, when
metallic, is closely indicative of the honesty of the system of
revenue, and even of the general dignity of the State.
* See, in Popes epistle to Lord Bathurst, his sketch of the difficulties and uses of
a currency literally pecuniary(consisting of herds of cattle).

His Grace will gameto Whites a bull be led, etc.
Perhaps both; perhaps silver only. It may be found expedient ultimately to leave
gold free for use in the arts. As a means of reckoning, the standard might be, and in
some cases has already been, entirely ideal. See Mills Political Economy, book iii.
chap. vii. at beginning.
The purity of the drachma
and zecchin were not without significance of the state
of intellect, art, and policy, both in Athens and Venice;

[Compare, again, the letter in Appendix ii. 1 (p. 488).]
[The words in brackets were added in 1872. For other quotations from the same
poem, see Unto this Last, 53, 65 (above, pp. 73, 89).]
[Ruskin originally wrote stater, which in a terminal note to the essays in Frasers
Magazine he altered to drachmaremarking (see below, p. 290 n.) that though in a
passage in the Clouds, which best illustrates the point in question, Aristophanes
speaks of gold, the Attic silver was the true standard. There is a mention of the stater
in the Clouds (line 1041: plein h muriwn est axion stathrwn)and this is worth more
than 10,000 staters that a man, though choosing the worse arguments, should after all
winbut this does not seem to throw much light on the point in question. As Ruskin
may not have had an Aristophanes by him at the time, it seems probable that he was
really thinking of a passage in the Frogs (720), where reference is made to the gold
coinage issued at Athens just before the year 405. The poet there contrasts the old Attic
silver coinage, renowned for its purity, with this gold issue, so debased that he calls it no
better than brass. The standard coin was the silver stater (or tetradrachm); the ordinary
gold staters (=20 drachmas) were Persian coins current in Greece.]

78. Whatever the article or articles may be which the
national currency promises to pay, a premium on that article
indicates bankruptcy of the government in that proportion, the
division of its assets being restrained only by the remaining
confidence of the holders of notes in the return of prosperity to
the firm. Currencies of forced acceptance, or of unlimited issue,
are merely various modes of disguising taxation, and delaying its
pressure, until it is too late to interfere with the cause of pressure.
To do away with the possibility of such disguise would have
been among the first results of a true economical science, had
any such existed; but there have been too many motives for the
concealment, so long as it could by any artifices be maintained,
to permit hitherto even the founding of such a science.
79. And indeed, it is only through evil conduct, wilfully
persisted in, that there is any embarrassment, either in the theory
or working of currency. No exchequer is ever embarrassed, nor
is any financial question difficult of solution, when people keep
their practice honest, and their heads cool. But when
governments lose all office of pilotage, protection, or scrutiny;
and live only in magnificence of authorized larceny, and
polished mendicity;
or when the people, choosing Speculation
(the s usually redundant in the spelling) instead of Toil, visit no
dishonesty with chastisement, that each may with impunity take
his dishonest turn;
there are no tricks of financial terminology
that will save them; all signature and mintage do but magnify the
ruin they retard;

a fact first impressed upon me ten years, ago, when, in taking daguerreotypes at
Venice, I found no purchaseable gold pure enough to gild them with, except that of the
old Venetian zecchin.

[Here Ruskin pruned the original essay a little, which reads:
. . . protection, scrutiny, and witness; and live only in magnificence of
authorized larceny, effulgent mendacity, and polished mendicity. . . .]
[Here, again, Ruskin curtailed; the original essay reads:
. . . dishonest turn, and enlarge their lust of wealth through ignorance of its
use, making their harlot of the dust, and setting Earth the Mother at the mercy of
Earth the Destroyer, so that she has to seek in hell the children she left playing
in the meadows,there are no tricks . . .
For a note on this passage, see the Introduction; above, p. lxvii.]
[Ruskin refers to 1850. For his interest in daguerreotypes, see Vol. III. p. 210; Vol.
VIII. pp. 4, 13; and Vol. X. p. 356; also Prterita, ii. 141, 221.]

and even the riches that remain, stagnant or current, change only
from the slime of Avernus to the sand of
quicksand at the embouchure;land fluently
recommended by recent auctioneers as eligible for building
80. Finally, then, the power of true currency is fourfold.
(1.) Credit power. Its worth in exchange, dependent on
public opinion of the stability and honesty of the issuer.
(2.) Real worth. Supposing the gold, or whatever else the
currency expressly promises, to be required from the issuer, for
all his notes; and that the call cannot be met in full. Then the
actual worth of the document would be, and its actual worth at
any moment is, therefore, to be defined as, what the division of
the assets of the issuer would produce for it.
(3.) The exchange power of its base. Granting that we can get
five pounds in gold for our note, it remains a question how much
of other things we can get for five pounds in gold. The more of
other things exist, and the less gold, the greater this power.
(4.) The power over labour, exercised by the given quantity
of the base, or of the things to be got for it. The question in this
case is, how much work, and (question of questions!) whose
work, is to be had for the food which five pounds will buy. This
depends on the number of the population, on their gifts, and on
their dispositions, with which, down to their slightest humours,
and up to their strongest impulses, the power of the currency

81. Such being the main conditions of national currency, we
proceed to examine those of the total currency, under the broad
definition, transferable acknowledgment
[Ruskin writes with Virgil and Dante in his mind; thinking of the putrid and
stagnant waters of Lake Avernus (neid, vi.) and of Phlegethon, the river of Hell whose
waters of blood race quickly (ibid., 550): for Dantes Phlegethon, see Fors Clavigera,
Letter 23.]
[Here the original essay continues:
. . . . currency varies; and in this last of its rangesthe range of passion, price,
or praise (converso in pretium Deo), is at once least, and greatest.
See Horace, Odes, iii. 16, 8the ode which begins with an ironical rationalisation of the
legend of Dana: the way was smooth and plain when the god was turned into his price
in gold.]

of debt;* among the many forms of which there are in effect
only two, distinctly opposed; namely, the acknowledgments of
debts which will be paid, and of debts which will not.
Documents, whether in whole or part, of bad debt, being to those
of good debt as bad money to bullion, we put for the present
these forms of imposture aside (as in analysing a metal we
should wash it clear of dross), and then range, in their exact
quantities, the true currency of the country on one side, and the
store or property of the
* Under which term, observe, we include all documents of debt which,
being honest, might be transferable, though they practically are not
transferred; while we exclude all documents which are in reality worthless,
though in fact transferred, temporarily, as bad money is. The document of
honest debt, not transferred, is merely to paper currency as gold withdrawn
from circulation is to that of bullion.
Much confusion has crept into the
reasoning on this subject from the idea that the withdrawal from circulation is
a definable state, whereas it is a graduated state, and indefinable. The
sovereign in my pocket is withdrawn from circulation as long as I choose to
keep it there. It is no otherwise withdrawn if I bury it, nor even if I choose to
make it, and others, into a golden cup, and drink out of them; since a rise in the
price of the wine, or of other things, may at any time cause me to melt the cup
and throw it back into currency; and the bullion operates on the prices of the
things in the market as directly, though not as forcibly, while it is in the form
of a cup as it does in the form of a sovereign. No calculation can be founded on
my humour in either case. If I like to handle rouleaus, and therefore keep a
quantity of gold, to play with, in the form of jointed basaltic columns, it is all
one in its effect on the market as if I kept it in the form of twisted filigree, or,
steadily amicus lamn,
beat the narrow gold pieces into broad ones, and
dined off them. The probability is greater that I break the rouleau than that I
melt the plate; but the increased probability is not calculable. Thus, documents
are only withdrawn from the currency when cancelled, and bullion when it is so
effectually lost as that the probability of finding it is no greater than of finding
new gold in the mine.

[Here, also, see the letter in Appendix ii. 1 (p. 489).]
[The reference here is to Horace, Odes, ii. 2, 2:
Nullus argento color est avaris
Abdito terris, inimice lamn
Crispe Sallusti, nisi temperato
Splendeat usu
lamna being the unwrought bar into which the metal was first run. As silver has no
brightness while it is still in the earth, but shines with fair use, so money only acquires
its value by the purposes it is put tois the poets argument; Ruskin takes a man who,
on the contrary, is amicus lamn, and keeps his gold in the form of bullion.]

country on the other. We place gold, and all such substances, on
the side of documents, as far as they operate by signature;on
the side of store as far as they operate by value. Then the
currency represents the quantity of debt in the country, and the
store the quantity of its possession. The ownership of all the
property is divided between the holders of currency and holders
of store, and whatever the claiming value of the currency is at
any moment, that value is to be deducted from the riches of the

82. Farther, as true currency represents by definition debts
which will be paid, it represents either the debtors wealth, or his
ability and willingness; that is to say, either wealth existing in
his hands transferred to him by the creditor, or wealth which, as
he is at some time surely to return it, he is either increasing, or, if
diminishing, has the will and strength to reproduce. A sound
currency therefore, as by its increase it represents enlarging debt,
represents also enlarging means; but in this curious way, that a
certain quantity of it marks the deficiency of the
[Here the original essay proceeds:
. . . store-holders, the deduction being practically made in the payment of rent
for houses and lands, of interest on stock, and in other ways hereafter to be
examined. At present I wish only to note the broad relations of the two great
classesthe currency-holders and the store-holders.* Of course they are partly
united, most monied men having possessions of land or other goods; but they
are separate in their nature and functions. The currency-holders as a class
regulate the demand for labour, and the store-holders holders the laws of it; the
currency-holders determine what shall be produced, and the store-holders the
conditions of its production.
* They are (up to the amount of the currency) simply creditors and debtors the
commercial types of the two great sets of humanity which those words describe; for
debt, and credit are of course merely the mercantile forms of the words duty and
creed, which give the central ideas; only it is more accurate to say faith than creed,
because creed has been applied carelessly to mere forms of words. Duty properly
signifies whatever in substance or act one person owes to another, and faith the others
trust in his rendering it. The French devoir and foi are fuller and clearer words than
ours; for, faith being the passive of fact, foi comes straight through fides fr om fio; and
the French keep the group of words formed from the infinitivefieri, se fier, se
dfier, dfiance and the grand following dfi. Our English affiance, definance,
confidence, diffidence retain accurate meanings; but our faithful has become
obscure from being used for faithworthy, as well as full of faith. His names that sat
on him was called Faithful and True.
Trust is the passive of true saying, as faith is the passive of due doing; and the right
learning of these etymologies, which are in the strictest sense only to be learned by
heart, is of considerably more importance to the youth of a nation than its reading and
For a further note (in the original essay) on the etymology of faith, etc., see below, p.
290 n.; and compare Modern Painters, vol. v. (Vol. VII. pp. 326327). The Bible
quotation is from Revelation xix. 11.]

wealth of the country from what it would have been if that
currency had not existed.* In this respect it is like the detritus of
a mountain; assume that it lies at a fixed angle, and the more the
detritus, the larger must be the mountain; but it would have been
larger still, had there been none.
83. Farther, though, as above stated,
every man possessing
money has usually also some property beyond what is necessary
for his immediate wants, and men possessing property usually
also hold currency beyond what is necessary for their immediate
exchanges, it mainly determines the class to which they belong,
whether in their eyes the money is an adjunct of the property, or
the property of the money. In the first case the holders pleasure
is in his possessions, and in his money subordinately, as the
means of bettering or adding to them. In the second, his pleasure
is in his money, and in his possessions only as representing it. (In
the first case the money is as an atmosphere surrounding the
wealth, rising from it and raining back upon it; but in the second,
it is as a deluge, with the wealth floating, and for the most part
perishing in it.) The shortest distinction between the men is that
the one wishes always to buy, and the other to sell.
* For example, suppose an active peasant, having got his ground into good order
and built himself a comfortable house, finding time still on his hands, sees one of his
neighbours little able to work, and ill-lodged, and offers to build him also a house, and
to put his land in order, on condition of receiving for a given period rent for the
building and tithe of the fruits. The offer is accept ed, and a document given promissory
of rent and tithe. This note is money. It can only be good money if the man who has
incurred the debt so far recovers his strength as to be able to take advantage of the help
he has received, and meet the demand of the note; if he lets his house fall to ruin, and
his field to waste, his promissory note will soon be valueless: but the existence of the
note at all is a consequence of his not having worked so stoutly as the other. Let him
gain as much as to be able to pay back the entire debt; the note is cancelled, and we have
two rich store-holders and no currency.
(You need not trouble yourself to make out the sentence in parenthesis, unless
you like, but do not think it is mere metaphor. It states a fact which I could not have
stated so shortly, but by metaphor.)

[Stated in a passage in the original essays: see p. 204 n.]

84. Such being the great relations of the classes, their several
characters are of the highest importance to the nation; for on the
character of the store-holders chiefly depend the preservation,
display, and serviceableness of its wealth; on that of the
currency-holders, its distribution; on that of both, its

We shall, therefore, ultimately find it to be of incomparably
greater importance to the nation in whose hands the thing is put,
than how much of it is got; and that the character of the holders
may be conjectured by the quality of the store; for such and such
a man always asks for such and such a thing; nor only asks for it,
but if it can be bettered, betters it: so that possession and
possessor reciprocally act on each other, through the entire sum
of national possession. The base nation, asking for base things,
sinks daily to deeper vileness of nature and weakness in use;
while the noble nation, asking for noble things, rises daily into
diviner eminence in both; the tendency to degradation being
surely marked by ataxia; that is to say, (expanding the Greek
) by carelessness as to the hands in which things are
put, consequent dispute for the acquisition of them,
disorderliness in accumulation of them, inaccuracy in estimate
of them, and bluntness in conception as to the entire nature of
85. The currency-holders always increase in number and
influence in proportion to the bluntness of nature and clumsiness
of the store-holders; for the less use people can make of things,
the more they want of them, and the sooner weary of them, and
want to change them for something else; and all frequency of
change increases the quantity and power of currency. The large
currency-holder himself is
[Here the original essay reads:
. . . its reproduction.
The store-holders are either constructive, neutral, or destructive; and in
subsequent papers we shall wi th respect to every kind of wealth, examine the
relative power of the store-holder for its improvement or destruction; and we
shall then find it to be . . .]
[ataxia meaning originally want of military discipline, and then passing to mean
want of discipline in character (as in Platos Crito, 53 D.).]

essentially a person who never has been able to make up his
mind as to what he will have, and proceeds, therefore, in vague
collection and aggregation, with more and more infuriate
passion, urged by complacency in progress, vacancy in idea, and
pride of conquest.
While, however, there is this obscurity in the nature of
possession of currency, there is a charm in the seclusion of it,
which is to some people very enticing. In the enjoyment of real
property, others must partly share. The groom has some
enjoyment of the stud, and the gardener of the garden; but the
money is, or seems, shut up; it is wholly enviable. No one else
can have part in any complacencies arising from it.
The power of arithmetical comparison is also a great thing to
unimaginative people. They know always they are so much
better than they were, in money; so much better than others, in
money; but wit cannot be so compared, nor character. My
neighbour cannot be convinced that I am wiser than he is, but he
can, that I am worth so much more; and the universality of the
conviction is no less flattering than its clearness. Only a few can
understand,none measureand few will willingly adore,
superiorities in other things; but everybody can understand
money, everybody can count it, and most will worship it.
86. Now, these various temptations to accumulation would
be politically harmless if what was vainly accumulated had any
fair chance of being wisely spent. For as accumulation cannot go
on for ever, but must some day end in its reverseif this reverse
were indeed a beneficial distribution and use, as irrigation from
reservoir, the fever of gathering, though perilous to the gatherer,
might be serviceable to the community. But it constantly
happens (so constantly, that it may be stated as a political law
having few exceptions), that what is unreasonably gathered is
also unreasonably spent by the persons into whose hands it
finally falls. Very frequently it is spent in war, or else in a
stupefying luxury, twice hurtful, both in being indulged by the
rich and

witnessed by the poor. So that the mal tener and mal dare
are as
correlative as complementary colours; and the circulation of
wealth, which ought to be soft, steady, strong, far-sweeping, and
full of warmth, like the Gulf stream, being narrowed into an
eddy, and concentrated on a point, changes into the alternate
suction and surrender of Charybdis. Which is indeed, I doubt
not, the true meaning of that marvellous fable, infinite, as
Bacon said of it,
in matter of meditation.*

87. It is a strange habit of wise humanity to speak in enigmas
only, so that the highest truths and usefullest laws must be
hunted for through whole picture-galleries of dreams, which to
the vulgar seem dreams only.
Thus Homer, the Greek
tragedians, Plato, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Goethe,
have hidden all that is chiefly serviceable in their work, and in all
the various literature they absorbed and re-embodied, under
types which have rendered it quite useless to the multitude. What
is worse, the two primal declarers of moral discovery, Homer
and Plato, are partly at issue; for Platos logical power quenched
his imagination, and he became incapable of understanding the
purely imaginative element either in poetry or painting: he
therefore somewhat overrates the pure discipline of passionate
art in song and music, and misses that of meditative art. There is,
however, a deeper reason for his distrust of Homer. His
* (What follows, to the end of the chapter, was a note only, in the first printing; but
for after service, it is of more value than any other part of the book, so I have put it into
the main text.)

[Inferno, vii. 58, where Dante, in the fourth circle, finds one common doom
awaiting the prodigal and the avaricious: that ill they gave, and ill they kept, hath
deprived them of the beauteous world.]
[See ch. xxvii. in Bacons De Sapientia Veterum: quam nos breviter
perstringemus tametsi infinitam trahat contemplat ionemhis discussion of the fable of
[Here the original essay continued:
The disease of desire having especial relation to the great art of Exchange,
or Commerce, we must, in order to complete our code of first principles, shortly
state the nature and limits of that art.
It then continued as at 95 here.]
[On this subject, compare Vol. XI. pp. 178180; Cestus of Aglaia, 36, 48; Queen
of the Air, 17; and a letter given in the Introduction, above, p. lxiv.]

lines beginning Or puoi, figliuol, etc.: (but the usurers, who
made their money inactively, sit on the sand, equally without
rest, however. Di qua, di la, soccorrien, etc.) For it is not
avarice, but contention for riches, leading to this double misuse
of them, which, in Dantes sight, is the unredeemable sin. The
place of its punishment is guarded by Plutus, the great enemy,
and la fira crudele,
a spirit quite different from the Greek
Plutus, who, though old and blind, is not cruel, and is curable, so
as to become far-sighted. (ou tufloV all oxu blepwnPlatos
epithets in first book of the Laws.
) Still more does this
Dantesque type differ from the resplendent Plutus of Goethe in
the second part of Faust, who is the personified power of wealth
for good or evilnot the passion for wealth; and again from the
Plutus of Spenser, who is the passion of mere aggregation.

Dantes Plutus is specially and definitely the Spirit of
Contention and Competition, or Evil Commerce; because, as I
showed before, this kind of commerce makes all men
his speech is therefore unintelligible, and no single
soul of all those ruined by him has recognizable features.

On the other hand, the redeemable sins of avarice and
prodigality are, in Dantes sight, those which are without
deliberate or calculated operation. The lust, or lavishness, of
riches can be purged, so long as there has been no servile
consistency of dispute and competition for them. The sin is
spoken of as that of degradation by the love of earth; it is
[Inferno, vi., last line: Quivi trovammo Pluto il gran nemico (quoted also in Vol.
VII. p. 401); and Lectures on Landscape, 89.]
[631 C.: Of the lesser gods the first is health, the second beauty, the third strength
. . . and the fourth is wealth, not the blind god, but one who is keen of sight, and has
wisdom for a companion.]
[See The Faerie Queene, book ii. canto vii. 24 seq.. Compare Stones of Venice, vol.
ii. (Vol. X. p. 403).]
[See above, 59 n.; p. 183.]
[The original essay adds here:
(La sconoscente vita
Ad ogni conoscenza or li fa bruni.)
The reference is to the Inferno, vii. 5354 (La sconoscente vita, che i fe sozzi, Ad ogni
. . .: the ignoble life which made them sordid now makes t hem unto all discernment
dim). Ruskin quotes the passage again in Fors Clavigera, Letter 8; and for the
inarticulateness of Dantes Plutus, compare Unto this Last, 74 n.; above, p. 100.]

purified by deeper humiliationthe souls crawl on their bellies;
their chant is, my soul cleaveth unto the dust.
But the spirits
thus condemned are all recognizable, and even the worst
examples of the thirst for gold, which they are compelled to tell
the histories of during the night, are of men swept by the passion
of avarice into violent crime, but not sold to its steady work.
89. The precept given to each of these spirits for its
deliverance isTurn thine eyes to the lucre (lure)
which the
Eternal King rolls with the mighty wheels. Otherwise, the
wheels of the Greater Fortune, of which the constellation is
ascending when Dantes dream begins.
Compare George
Lift up thy head;
Take stars for money; stars, not to be told
By any art, yet to be purchased.

And Platos notable sentence in the third book of the
Polity:Tell them they have divine gold and silver in their
souls for ever; that they need no money stamped of
menneither may they otherwise than impiously mingle the
gathering of the divine with the mortal treasure, for through that
which the law of the multitude has coined, endless crimes have
been done and suffered; but in theirs is neither pollution nor

90. At the entrance of this place of punishment an evil spirit
is seen by Dante, quite other than the Gran Nemico. The great
enemy is obeyed knowingly and willingly; but the
spiritfeminineand called a Siren
is the Deceitfulness of
riches, apath ploutou of the Gospels,
winning obedience by
guile. This is the Idol of riches, made doubly phantasmal by
Dantes seeing her in a dream. She is lovely
[Psalms cxix. 25, quoted by Dante from the Vulgate: see Purgatorio, xix. 73.]
[Logoro (lure) in Dante; Ruskin appears to assume a connexion between the words
lure and lucre which can hardly be maintained.]
[Purgatorio, xix. 47.]
[The Church Porch, xxix. Ruskin quotes from memory; the first words are Raise
thy head.]
[Republic, iii. 416 E.]
[Purgatorio, xix. 19.]
[Matthew xiii. 22.]

to look upon, and enchants by her sweet singing, but her womb
is loathsome. Now, Dante does not call her one of the Sirens
carelessly, any more than he speaks of Charybdis carelessly; and
though he had got at the meaning of Homeric fable only through
Virgils obscure tradition of it,
the clue he has given us is quite
enough. Bacons interpretation, the Sirens, or pleasures,

which has become universal since his time, is opposed alike to
Platos meaning and Homers. The Sirens are not pleasures, but
Desires: in the Odyssey they are the phantoms of vain desire;

but in Platos Vision of Destiny, phantoms of divine desire;
singing each a different note on the circles of the distaff of
Necessity, but forming one harmony, to which the three great
Fates put words.
Dante, however, adopted the Homeric
conception of them,
which was that they were demons of the
Imagination, not carnal; (desire of the eyes; not lust of the
) therefore said to be daughters of the Muses.
Yet not of
the Muses, heavenly or historical, but of the Muse of pleasure;
and they are at first winged, because even vain hope excites and
helps when first formed; but afterwards, contending for the
possession of the imagination with the Muses themselves, they
are deprived of their wings.
91. And thus we are to distinguish the Siren power from
[In neid, v. 864 seq.]
[The title of ch. xxxi. in his De Sapientia Veterum.]
[Odyssey, xii. 4054, 153200. For an interesting discussion of the Myths of the
Sirens in art and literature, see Miss Jane Harrisons Myths of the Odyssey (1882), pp.
[Republic, x. 617 B.: The spindle turns on the knees of Necessity; and on the upper
surface of each circle is a Siren, who goes round with them, hymning a single sound and
note. The eight together form one harmony; and round about, at equal intervals, there is
another band, three in number, each sitting upon her throne: these are the Fates,
daughters of Necessity, who are clothed in white raiment and have garlands upon their
heads, Lachesis and Clotho and Atropos, who accompany with their voi ces the harmony
of the SirensLachesis singing of the past, Clotho of the present, Atropos of the future
(Jowetts version).]
[Probably, however, not consciously so; for Dante, as Ruskin has just said, seems
to have been ignorant of Homers account: see Paget Toynbees Dante Dictionary, under
[Ezekiel xxiv. 16; 1 John ii. 16.]
[Here Ruskin passes to versions of the legend later than Homer. Apollonius
Rhodius (iv. 894) makes the Sirens daughters of the Muse Terpsichore; and other writers
tell of a contest, on lyre and flute, between the Sirens and the Muses, in which the victors
fell upon the Sirens, plucked their feathers, and wore them in token of victory (Julian,
Epist. 41; Pausanias, ix. 34, 3).]

the power of Circe, who is no daughter of the Muses, but of the
strong elements, Sun and Sea;
her power is that of frank, and
full vital pleasure, which, if governed and watched, nourishes
men; but, unwatched, and having no moly, bitterness or delay,
mixed with it, turns men into beasts, but does not slay
them,leaves them, on the contrary, power of revival. She is
herself indeed an Enchantress;pure Animal life;
transformingor degradingbut always wonderful (she puts
the stores on board the ship invisibly, and is gone again, like a
); even the wild beasts rejoice and are softened around her
cave; the transforming poisons she gives to men are mixed with
no rich feast, but with pure and right nourishment,Pramnian
wine, cheese, and flour;
that is, wine, milk, and corn, the three
great sustainers of lifeit is their own fault if these make swine
of them; (see Appendix V.) and swine are chosen merely as the
type of consumption; as Platos uwn poliV, in the second book
of the Polity,
and perhaps chosen by Homer with a deeper
knowledge of the likeness in variety of nourishment, and internal
form of body.
Et quel est, sil vous plait, cet audacieux animal qui se
permet dtre bti au dedans comme une jolie petite fille?
Hlas! chre enfant, jai honte de le nommer, et il ne faudra
pas men vouloir. Cest . . . cest le cochon. Ce nest pas
prcisment flatteur pour vous; mais nous en sommes tout l, et
si cela vous contrarie par trop, il faut aller vous plaindre au bon
Dieu qui a voulu que les choses fussent arranges ainsi:
seulement le cochon, qui ne pense qu manger, a lestomac bien
plus vaste que nous et cest toujours une
consolation.(Histoire dune Bouche de Pain, Lettre ix.
92. But the deadly Sirens are in all things opposed to the
Circean power. They promise pleasure, but never give
[Odyssey, x. 138, 139. For the herb moly as a counter-charm, see ibid., 305.]
[Odyssey, x. 571574.]
[Odyssey, x. 235.]
[Republic, 372.]
[Jean Mac, Histoire dune Bouche de Pain: lettres une petite fille sur la vie de
lhomme et des animaux, 1861 (an English translation, by Mrs. A. Gatty, was published
in 1864).]

it. They nourish in no wise; but slay by slow death. And whereas
they corrupt the heart and the head, instead of merely betraying
the senses, there is no recovery from their power; they do not
tear nor scratch, like Scylla, but the men who have listened to
them are poisoned, and waste away. Note that the Sirens field is
covered, not merely with the bones, but with the skins,
of those
who have been consumed there. They address themselves, in the
part of the song which Homer gives, not to the passions of
Ulysses, but to his vanity, and the only man who ever came
within hearing of them, and escaped untempted, was Orpheus,
who silenced the vain imaginations by singing the praises of the

93. It is, then, one of these Sirens whom Dante takes as the
phantasm or deceitfulness of riches; but note further, that she
says it was her song that deceived Ulysses.
Look back to
Dantes account of Ulysses death, and we find it was not the
love of money, but pride of knowledge,
that betrayed him;
whence we get the clue to Dantes complete meaning: that the
souls whose love of wealth is pardonable have been first
deceived into pursuit of it by a dream of its higher uses, or by
ambition. His Siren is therefore the Philotim of Spenser,
daughter of Mammon

Whom all that folk with such contention
Do flock about, my deare, my daughter is
Honour and dignitie from her alone
Derived are.

[See Odyssey, xii. 46; and for the Sirens song, ibid., 184191. Ruskin quotes it in
the Eagles Nest, both in Greek ( 78) and in English ( 74).]
[See Apollodorus, i. 9, 25; and compare Apollonius Rhodius, iv. 905.]
[Purgatorio, xix. 22: I, from his course, Ulysses by my lay enchanted drew.]
[Inferno, xxvi. 9499:
Nor fondness for my son, nor reverence
Of my old father, nor return of love,
That should have crownd Penelope with joy,
Could overcome in me the zeal I had
To explore the world, and search the ways of life,
Mans evil and his virtue.
For other notes by Ruskin on Dantes account of the death of Ulysses the most
melancholy piece in all Dantesee Letters to Charles Eliot Norton, vol. i. p. 210
(reprinted in a later volume of this edition), and Eagles Nest, 75.]
[The Faerie Queene, ii. 7, 48.]

By comparing Spensers entire account of this Philotim
with Dantes of the Wealth-Siren, we shall get at the full
meaning of both poets; but that of Homer lies hidden much more
deeply. For his Sirens are indefinite; and they are desires of any
evil thing; power of wealth is not specially indicated by him,
until, escaping the harmonious danger of imagination, Ulysses
has to choose between two practical ways of life, indicated by
the two rocks of Scylla and Charybdis. The monsters that haunt
them are quite distinct from the rocks themselves, which, having
many other sub-ordinate significations, are in the main Labour
and Idleness, or getting and spending; each with its attendant
monster, or betraying demon. The rock of gaining has its summit
in the clouds, invisible, and not to be climbed; that of spending is
low, but marked by the cursed fig-tree, which has leaves, but no
We know the type elsewhere;
and there is a curious
lateral allusion to it by Dante when Jacopo di Sant Andrea, who
had ruined himself by profusion and committed suicide, scatters
the leaves of the bush of Lotto degli Agli, endeavouring to hide
himself among them.
We shall hereafter examine the type
here I will only give an approximate rendering of
Homers words, which have been obscured more by translation
than even by tradition.

94. They are overhanging rocks. The great waves of blue
water break round them; and the blessed Gods call them the
By one of them no winged thing can passnot even the
wild doves that bring ambrosia to their father Jovebut the
smooth rock seizes its sacrifice of them. (Not even ambrosia to
be had without Labour. The word is peculiaras a part of
anything is offered for sacrifice; especially
[For the fig-tree of Charybdis, see below, p. 290.]
[See Matthew xxi. 19; Mark xi. 13; and for the parable, Luke xiii. 6.]
[Inferno, xiii. 115 seq.]
[A reference to the intended, but unwritten, sequel: see, however, 152153,
below (p. 276), for some discussion of similar topics.]
[Odyssey, xii. 5964. Then Ruskin omits several lines, and continues with 7381,
8592, 101107.]

used of heave-offering.
) It reaches the wide heaven with its
top, and a dark-blue cloud rests on it, and never passes; neither
does the clear sky hold it, in summer nor in harvest. Nor can any
man climb itnot if he had twenty feet and hands, for it is as
smooth as though it were hewn.
And in the midst of it is a cave which is turned the way of
hell. And therein dwells Scylla, whining for prey; her cry,
indeed, is no louder than that of a newly-born whelp: but she
herself is an awful thingnor can any creature see her face and
be glad; no, though it were a god that rose against her. For she
had twelve feet, all fore-feet, and six necks, and terrible heads on
them; and each has three rows of teeth, full of black death.
But the opposite rock is lower than this, though but a
bow-shot distant; and upon it there is a great fig-tree, full of
leaves; and under it the terrible Charybdis sucks down the black
water. Thrice in the day she sucks it down, and thrice casts it up
again; be not thou there when she sucks down, for Neptune
himself could not save thee.
(Thus far went my rembling note, in Frasers Magazine.

The Editor sent me a compliment on itof which I was very
proud; what the Publisher thought of it, I am not informed;
I know that eventually he stopped the papers. I think a great deal
of it myself, now, and have put it all in large print accordingly,
and should like to write more; but will, on the contrary,
self-denyingly, and in gratitude to any reader who has got
through so much, end my chapter.)
[Homers word is afaireitai The word afairema is used in the Septuagint
(Numbers xv. 20, 21; xviii. 27; xxxi. 41) of heave-offerings (i.e., in the Levitical law
offerings which were heaved or elevated by the priest).]
[The original note went, however, a little further, adding: The reader will find the
meaning of these types gradually elicited as we proceed.]
[The editor was Froude; the publishers Parker, Son, and Brown; but a little later
the magazine was transferred to Messrs. Longman.]


95. As the currency conveys right of choice out of many things
in exchange for one, so Commerce is the agency by which the
power of choice is obtained; so that countries producing only
timber can obtain for their timber silk and gold; or, naturally
producing only jewels and frankincense, can obtain for them
cattle and corn. In this function, commerce is of more
importance to a country in proportion to the limitations of its
products, and the restlessness of its fancy;generally of greater
importance towards Northern latitudes.
96. Commerce is necessary, however, not only to exchange
local products, but local skill. Labour requiring the agency of
fire can only be given abundantly in cold countries; labour
requiring suppleness of body and sensitiveness of touch, only in
warm ones; labour involving accurate vivacity of thought only in
temperate ones; while peculiar imaginative actions are produced
by extremes of heat and cold, and of light and darkness. The
production of great art is limited to climates warm enough to
admit of repose in the open air, and cool enough to render such
repose delightful. Minor variations in modes of skill distinguish
every locality. The labour which at any place is easiest, is in that
place cheapest; and it becomes often desirable that products
raised in one country should be wrought in another. Hence have
arisen discussions on International values which will be one
day remembered as highly curious exercises of the human
[This chapter was the continuation of the third essay in the Magazine. The
headlines to the portion of the essay contained in the present chapter were: Labour and
its Conditions.Trader and Traditor.The Homeric Atlantis.]

mind. For it will be discovered, in due course of tide and time,

that international value is regulated just as interprovincial or
inter-parishional value is. Coals and hops are exchanged
between Northumberland and Kent on absolutely the same
principles as iron and wine between Lancashire and Spain. The
greater breadth of an arm of the sea increases the cost, but does
not modify the principle of exchange; and a bargain written in
two languages will have no other economical results than a
bargain written in one. The distances of nations are measured,
not by seas, but by ignorances; and their divisions determined,
not by dialects, but by enmities.*
97. Of course, a system of international values may always
be constructed if we assume a relation of moral law to physical
geography; as, for instance, that it is right to cheat or rob across a
river, though not across a road; or across a sea, though not across
a river, etc.;again, a system of such values may be constructed
by assuming similar relations of taxation to physical geography;
as, for instance, that an article should be taxed in crossing a river,
but not in crossing a road; or in being carried fifty miles, but not
in being carried five, etc.; such positions are indeed not easily
maintained when once put in logical form; but one law of
international value is maintainable in any form: namely, that the
farther your neighbour lives from you, and the less he
understands you, the more you are bound to be true in your
dealings with him; because your power
* (I have repeated the substance of this and the next paragraph so often

since, that I am ashamed and weary. The thing is too true, and too simple, it
seems, for anybody ever to believe. Meantime, the theories of international
values, as explained by Modern Political Economy, have brought about last
years pillage of France by Germany, and the affectionate relati ons now
existing in consequence between the inhabitants of the right and left banks of
the Rhine.)

[A foreshadowing of the title of Ruskins next book on economics: Time and Tide.]
[See, for instance, Vol. XI. pp. 198199.]