T. E. Cliffe (Thomas Edward Cliffe) Leslie.

Essays in political economy online

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>-d Xi>'EiE£yTH CEyxuEiES, . . 269

XX. The Xetv Gold Mixes a>-d Peicxs i>- Eceope nr 1865, . 301

XXI. Prices in GERiiA^rr vs 1872, 332

XXII. Peices nr Exglaxd en* 1873, 356

XXIII. The Motemexis of AGEicrLirEAX Wages en* Eueope, . 364

xxiv. The lycEDEXCE of Ihpekial a>'d Local Taxation o>* the

■WoKEES^G Classes, 384

XXV. Bettish Colitmbia in 1862, 409



Tho3£as Edwjjri* Clujz Lzslte, one of tlie ablest and most original
English economists of the present eentuiy, was born in the county
of Wexford, in (as is believed) the year 1827. He was the
second son of the Eev. Edward Leslie, Prebendary of Dromore,
and Eector of Annahilt, in the county of Down- TTi-; family was of
Scotch descent, but had been connected with Ireland since the reign
of Charles I, Amongst his ancestors were that accomplished and
energetic prelate, John LesKe, bishop first of Eaphoe and afterwards
of Clogher, who, when holding the former See, ofiered so stubborn a
resistance to the Cromwellian forces, and the bishop's son, Charles,
the well-known non-juror. Cliffe Leslie receiTcd his elementary edu-
cation from his father, who resided in England, though, holding
Church preferment, as well as possessing some landed property, in
Ireland. By him he was taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at an
unusually early age. He was afterwards for a short time under the
care of a clergyman at Clapham, and was then sent to King "William's
College, in the Isle of Man, where he remained until, in 1842, being then
only fifteen years of age, he entered Trinity College, Dublin.f He was
a distinguished student there, obtaining, besides other honours, a Classi-
cal Scholarship in 1845, and a Senior Moderatorship (Gold Medal) in
Mental and Moral Philosophy at his Degree Examination in 1846.
He bec-ame a law student at Lincoln's Inn. was for two years a pupil
at a conveyancer's chambers iz: L:::! z. izi was c^ed to the English
Bar. But his attention was soon turned from the pursuit of legal

tit is noteworthy :L .: „„ ^._ : ! . ^ :: 1 „; rz: (an&ar

of ilfitfeiyy, ISeiJ, and L.._ . :: _ T-tHk

Ml JfrfaZHeCWjTWKy, 18-53), :l L ::.-:.

X Biographical Notice of the Author.

practice, for which he never seems to have had much inclination, by
his appointment, in 1853, to the Professorship of Jurisprudence and
Political Economy in Queen's College, Belfast * The duties of this
Chair requiring only short visits to Ireland in certain Terms of each
year, he continued to reside and prosecute his studies in London, and
became a frequent writer on economic and social questions in the
principal Reviews and other periodicals-! In 1870 he collected a
number of his Essays, adding several new ones, into a volume, entitled,
'Land Systems and Industrial Economy of Ireland, England, and
Continental Countries.' J. S. Mill gave a full account of the contents
of this work in a Paper in the ' Fortnightly Review,' in which he
pronounced Leslie to be ' one of the besc living writers on applied
political economy.' Mill had sought his acquaintance on reading his
first article in ' Macmillan's Magazine.' He admired his talents, and
took pleasure in his society, and treated him with a respect and kind-
ness which Leslie always gratefully acknowledged.

In the frequent visits which Leslie made to the Continent,
especially to Belgium and some of the less known districts of France
and Germany, he occupied himself much in economic and social obser-
vation, studying the effects of the institutions and system of life, which
prevailed in each region, on the material and moral condition of its
inhabitants. In this way he gained an extensive and accurate
acquaintance with Continental rural economy, of which he made
excellent use in studying parallel phenomena at home. The accounts
he gave of the results of his observations were among his happiest
efforts. ' No one,' said Mill, ' was able to write narratives of foreign

* In the Preface to the former edition of this work Mr. Leslie has clearly
explained the way in which Ms economic doctrine was formed: — "Whereas
Mr. Mill, in his youth, attended the lectures of Mr. Austin, the author had the
good fortune to attend those of Sir Henry Maine at the Middle Temple, and to learn
first from them the historical method of investigation, followed with such brilliant
success in Ancient Law, Village Communities in the East and West, and the
Lectures on the Early History of Lnstitutions. Holding a Professorship of both
Jurisprudence and Political Economy, he was led to apply that method to the
examination of economic questions, and to look at the present economic structure
and state of society from Sir Henry Maine's point of view, as the result of a long
evolution. Further investigation has convinced him that the English economist
of the future must study in the schools of both Mr. Stubbs and Sir Henry Maine,
as well as in that of Mr. Mill."

tin 1869 he was appointed Examiner in Political Economy to the University
of London, which post he held for five years.

Biographical Notice of the Author. xi

visits at once so instructive and so interesting.' In these excur-
sions he made the acquaiutance of several distinguished persons,
amongst others of M. Leonce de Lavergne and M. Emile de Laveleye.
To the memory of the former of these he afterwards paid a graceful
tribute in a biographical sketch (Essay xii. in the present volume),
and to the close of his life there existed between himself and M. de
Laveleye relations of mutual esteem and cordial intimacy.

Twa essays of Leslie's appeared in volumes published under the
auspices of the Cobden Club, one on the 'Land System of France,'
containing an earnest defence of la petite culture^ and still more
of la petite propriete ; the other on 'Financial Reform' (1871), in
which he exhibited in detail the impediments to production and
commerce arising from indirect taxation. Many other articles
were contributed by him to Reviews, including several discussions
of the history of prices and the movements of wages in Europe,
and a sketch of life in Auvergne in his best manner; the most
important of them, however, related to the philosophical method
of political economy, notably a memorable one which appeared in the
Dublin University periodical ' Hermathena.' In 1879 the Provost
and Senior Fellows of Trinity College published for him a volume in
which a number of these articles were collected, under the title of
* Essays in Political and Moral Philosophy.' These and some later
essays, which ought one day to be united with them,* together with
the earlier volume on ' Land Systems,' form the essential contribution
of Leslie to our economic literature. He had long contemplated, and
had in part written, a work on English economic and legal history,
which would have been his magnum opus — a more substantial fruit of
his genius and his labours than anything he has left us. But the manu-
script of this treatise, after much pains had already been spent on it,
was unaccountably lost at Nancy in 1872; and though he hoped to be
able speedily to reproduce the missing portion and finish the work, it
is feared that but a small part of it, if any, has been left in a state fit
for publication.! "What the nature of it would have been may be
gathered from an Essay on the ' History and Future of Interest and
Profit' (Essay xvin. in the present volume), which is believed to have
been in substance an extract from it.

* The later Essays, here spokeu of, are included in the present volume,
t The fear expressed above has since been confirmed ; no part of the work was
left in such a state as would admit of its publication.


Biographical Notice of the Author.

That he was able to do so much may well be a subject of wonder,
when it is known that his labours had long been impeded by a painful
and depressing malady, from which he suffered severely at intervals,
whilst he never felt secure from its recurring attacks. To this disease
he in the end succumbed at Belfast, whither he had gone to discharge
his professorial duties, on the 27th of January, 1882, in the fifty-fifth
year of his age.

J. K. I.




The Love of Money has always been in more or less disrepute
with moralists. They have almost universally assigned to it
nearly the lowest place in the scale of human affections. We
say of human affections, for it is one which distinguishes man
from all other animals, however intelligent. ' You call me
dog,' said Shylock to the Christian merchant ; * hath a dog
money ? ' Phrenologists have indeed laid down that all the
propensities — comhativeness, destructiveness, philoprogenitive-
ness, alimentiveness, love of life, &c. — are ' common to man
with the lower animals ; ' but we are suprised that they have
not discovered a peculiar protuberance on the outside of the
human head corresponding with a peculiar propensity for money
inside it. It is the more to be regretted that they have not
ascertained the locality of this organ, since a claim has been set
up on behalf of the lower animals to a close relationship to the
human family. If a bump of philargyriveness or philonomis-
mativeness could be shown on the human head, a conspicuous
absence of this manifestation on the cranium of the former
would enable us to disprove the connection, to the satisfaction
at least of believers in phrenology. It would not, however,
enable us, without further inquiry, to determine whether
the love of money, which distinguishes us from the brutes,

* This Essay was published in November, 1862, in a periodical which has
ceased to exist.


2 The Love of Money.

places us above or below them in moral character. To satisfy
ourselves on this point, we must begin by inquiring what
this thing * Money,' of which men, and men only, are so fond,
consists of. Sir Kobert Peel's celebrated question—' What
is the meaning of that word, a Pound, with which we are all
familiar ?' — was answered by himself in terms to the effect that
a pound of money is a fixed quantity of gold or silver. But
this answer, though highly appropriate to a discussion on the
currency, is irrelevant to our present inquiry, whether money is
a good or an evil ; and whether the love of it is a good or a bad
quality in mankind. Sir Eobert Peel very justly ridiculed the
definition given by one writer on the currency of a pound,
as ' a sense of value in reference to currency as compared with
commodities.' Yet in practical life this is really something like
what men generally mean and want by money. They mean so
much goods ; so much of the commodities for sale in the market
of the world. A pound to a ' navvy,' for instance, is so much
beer and tobacco ; to his 'mother it is so much tea and sugar.
But these two cases are sufficient to show the extreme difficulty
of pronouncing any moral judgment whatever upon the love of
money, considered as a general human propensity ; for the love
of tea and sugar is universally admitted to be in itself an innocent
affection, while the love of beer and tobacco is often condemned
as combining two most pernicious desires. The love of money
is really only a phrase for the love of a vast number of different
things, which may be good, bad, or indifferent, regarded from a
moral, religious, cesthetical, political, or medical point of view,
but which are alike in one respect — namely, that they are all to
be had for money, and are not to be had without it. As Solomon
said, ' A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry ;
but money answereth all things.' The love of money is that
universal desire for wealth from which political economists have
deduced a theory of commercial values, along with several
important truths respecting the conditions of industrial energy
and prosperity. Everybody wishes for some kind of wealth, and
money is convertible into every other kind ; and therefore every-
body loves money for some purpose or other, from which we get

The Love of Money. 3

the laws of competition, prices, wages, profits, and rent. Yet
this general principle of pecuniary interest or love of riches by
no means explains all the phenomena of the economic world.
For it is, as we have said already, only a single expression for
a great variety of wants, wishes, and tastes, which are not always
the same from age to age, or from country to country, nor felt
alike by every individual in any one age or country, and which,
moreover, lead to very different consequences as regards the
nature, amount, and distribution of wealth, and as regards the
material as well as the moral welfare of human society.

That disease of language which metaphysicians call the
realism of the schools still infests many of the terms and phrases
which philosophy must employ. A host of different things are
alike in some one respect, and a common name is given to them
in reference to the single equality or circmustance which they
have in common. It is simply a name for their common feature,
but it puts their numerous differences out of sight and out of
mind, and they come to be thought of in a lump as one sort of
thing. Those moralists, accordingly, who feel themselves the
better for heartily denouncing the general principle of the love
of money or pursuit of wealth with which political economy sets
out, confound, in their horror of a mere abstraction, the love of
health, cleanliness, decency, and knowledge, with sensuality,
avarice, and vanity. And perhaps political economists have not
escaped a bias from their own phraseology, and are apt to imagine
in their scientific discussions a much fuller explanation of th(3
complete phenomena of wealth, and a much closer approximation
to the complete philosophy of the subject, than lies within their
province as commonly circumscribed by themselves at present.

It is obvious that the love of money includes a demand for
various things, the production of which variously affects both
the material interests of the consumers and the quality and dis-
tribution of the revenue of the whole community. It includes
a love of pictures, toys, jewellery, plate, furniture, clothing,
opium, soap, bibles, brandy, and, in short, everything in the
International Exhibition, and many things not exhibited there.
It includes a love of eating and drinking, both in moderation


4 The Love of Money.

and in excess; of literature and science; of architecture; of
the fine arts; of indolence and ease, and of business and sport;
of foreign travel, and of a country house ; of music ; of charity,
sensuality, cruelty, and power ; of horses and dogs. It expresses
sometimes a desire for the comforts of an old bachelor, and some-
times an inclination for matrimony ; and when it takes the latter
direction, it means with one young lady love in a cottage, and
with another a palace without love ; in one man it is fortune-
hunting — in another, a disinterested attachment to Miss Aurora
Penniless. The disciples of Malthus know how to discriminate
between the economic consequences of these diverse matrimonial
tendencies, and the important differences of their influence on
the price of beef. Napoleon III. seems to behold in money the
sinews of war ; his friend Mr. Cobden connects it with commerce
and peace. The poor man's love of money is a different feeling
from the rich man's, and, accordingly, the writer of this essay
never throbs with the emotions which must animate the breasts
of Baron Rothschild and Lord Overstone. The American
Southerner worships in the almighty dollar the giver of African
slaves; the negro slave of Brazil adores it chiefly as the
purchaser of liberty. The wealth which is coveted by men in
the East is not that which is most prized by the men of the
"West. An Indian Eajah's chief wealth is a plurality of wives,
personal attendants and elephants, and a load of gold trappings
on both his elephant's body and his own — all which, not exclusive
of the wives, would be more than an English duke or prince could
bear. An old writer gives an account of a religious ceremony
which he witnessed in Turkey, at which Prince Mustapha — a
boy of eleven years old — 'was so overloaded with jewels, both
himself and his horse, that one might say he carried the value
of an empire about him.' That is to say, the wealth which, in
the hands of English capitalists, would have made a whole
territory prosperous, and been distributed in wages through
many hundred families, was concentrated upon making one
small Turkish child vain and uncomfortable. And the oriental
lust for jewels not only has effects upon the economic condition
of the world which merit the attention of the political economist,

The Love of 3Ioney. 5

l)ut it has also, in a great measure, sprung from the absence, for
many ages, of the conditions essential to general prosperity, and
the accumulation of wealth in really useful forms. Wherever
insecurity has long prevailed, a spirit of hoarding must exist,
with a desire for that sort of wealth which contains much value
in a durable and portable form, and which is easily hidden,
•easily removed, and none the worse for being buried for months
or years in the ground. It is probable, therefore, that the love
of gold chains and jewels for which the European Jew is remark-
able has a European as well as an Asiatic origin, being inherited
from his persecuted, plundered, and usurious ancestors in the
middle ages, who found it necessary to pack their wealth into
the smallest possible compass.

The existence of security, banks, and paper currency, have
long exterminated from England that curious animal the
genuine miser, with his treasure in a strong box, doing no good
to anyone. Dr. Johnson, talking of misers to Boswell, said,
■' A man who keeps his money has, in reality, more use of it
than he can have by spending it. Why, sir, Lowther, by
keeping his money, had the command of the county, which his
family has lost by spending it.' But an English millionaire
does not keep his money to himself, as the ancient miser,
whether he spends it or not. If he saves it, instead of locking
it up or carrying it about on his body, he puts it in a bank, and
the banker's customers make use of the wealth he does not
himself consume,

But when we say that the form of the love of money which
displays itself in a love of dress, ornaments, and jewels, is almost
confined to the men of Eastern countries, we must be understood
as speaking of men in the narrowest sense, and as making no
-allusion in that comparison to the ladies of the two hemispheres.
Women have everywhere their own peculiar notions of the
value of money ; and a world of either men alone or of women
-alone would contain a very different assortment of articles of
wealth from that in the great mundane shop for both sexes
which exists. With most species of animals, the male is more
.gorgeously dressed than the female ; but so it seems to be with

6 The Love of Money.

the human species generally, only in its less civilized forms.
For we may perceive, with the growth of European civiliza-
tion, a marked decline in the taste of men for the display of
wealth on the body. A mediaeval baron was much more expen-
sively got up than his wife or daughter. Even in the last
century the toilette of a gentleman was nearly as elaborate and
splendid as that of a lady. Now, a gentleman thinks he makes
a smart appearance with a flower in his button-hole, at an
assembly at which the ladies are blazing with diamonds. It
might be an instructive inquiry how far this difference in the
desire for wealth is traceable to a radical difference in the
natural mental constitutions of the sexes, and how far to
restraints which confine the ambition of women in general to
paltry objects, leading them to waste their time in hunting
husbands, while men hunt seats in parliament, and foxes.
Addison remarks, in the ' Spectator,' that ' One may observe that
women in all ages have taken more pains than men to adorn
the outside of their heads.' Perhaps one reason for this is, tliat
men have in all ages prevented them from taking so much pains
to adorn the inside. While we are on the subject of dress as
one of the equivalents of money, and one of the objects of its
pursuit, we may make a remark upon that singular revolution
of the human mind through which it has come to be thought,
by all men of a certain rank, in the Western world, becoming
to attire themselves every evening in black from head to foot,
as if for a funeral ; and by most men, of all ranks, in that
civilized region, becoming to clothe themselves in the dingiest
hues all day long. The male apparel which is the last product
of civilization appears to display a remarkable mixture of good
sense and bad taste. The mistake made by the ladies of our
time seems to be that of aiming at show and accomplishing
waste ; while the mistake of the gentlemen is that of aiming at
plainness and accomplishing gloom.

Many other illustrations might be given of the curious turns
taken by the fancy for clothing, as one of the uses of money.
In the north of Ireland, for example, it is common to see a girl
ou the road with a smart bonnet, an extensive petticoat, and a gay

The Love of Money. 7

parasol carried in the usual manner, but with a pair of shoes

Online LibraryT. E. Cliffe (Thomas Edward Cliffe) LeslieEssays in political economy → online text (page 1 of 41)