(I HAVE brought together in these last pages a few notes, which were not properly to be incorporated with the text, and which, at the bottom of pages, checked the reader’s attention to the main argument. They contain, however, several statements to which I wish to be able to refer, or have already referred, in other of my books, so that I think right to preserve them.)

THE greatest of all economists are those most opposed to the doctrine of “laissez faire,”2 namely, the fortifying virtues, which the wisest men of all time have arranged under the general heads of Prudence, or Discretion (the spirit which discerns and adopts rightly); Justice (the spirit which rules and divides rightly); Fortitude (the spirit which persists and endures rightly); and Temperance (the spirit which stops and refuses rightly). These cardinal and sentinel virtues are not only the means of protecting and prolonging life itself, but they are the chief guards, or sources, of the material means of life, and the governing powers and princes of economy. Thus, precisely according to the number of just men in a nation, is their power of avoiding either intestine or foreign war. All disputes may be peaceably settled, if a sufficient number of persons have been trained to submit to the principles of justice, while the necessity for war is in direct ratio to the number of unjust persons who are incapable of determining a quarrel but by violence. Whether the injustice take the form of the desire of dominion, or of refusal to submit to it, or of lust of territory, or lust of money, or of mere irregular passion and wanton will, the result is [285/286] economically the same;—loss of the quantity of power and life consumed in repressing the injustice added to the material and moral destruction caused by the fact of war. The early civil wars of England, and the existing3 war in America, are curious examples—these under monarchical, this under republican, institutions—of the results on large masses of nations of the want of education in principles of justice.

[Here the original essay adds:— “This latter war, especially, may perhaps at last serve for some visible, or if that be impossible (for the Greeks told us that Plutus was blind, as Dante that he was speechless), some feelable proof that true political economy is an ethical, and by no means a commercial business. The Americans imagined themselves to know somewhat of money-making; bowed low before their Dollar, expecting Divine help from it; more than potent—even omnipotent. Yet all the while this apparently tangible was indeed an imaginary Deity;—and had they shown the substance of him to any true economist, or even true mineralogist, they would have been told, long years ago,—‘Alas, gentlemen, this that you are gaining is not gold—not a particle of it. It is yellow, and glittering, and like enough to the real metal,—but see—it is brittle, cat-gold, “iron firestone.” Out of this, heap it as high as you will, you will get so much steel and brimstone—nothing else; and in a year or two, when (had you known but a little of right economy) you might have had quiet roof-trees over your heads, and a fair account at your banker’s, you shall have instead to sleep a-field, under red tapestries, costliest, yet comfortless; and at your banker’s find deficit at compound interest. (end of material removed from first version)]”

But the mere dread of distrust resulting from the want of the inner virtues of Faith and Charity prove often no less costly than war itself. The fear which France and England have of each other costs each nation about fifteen millions sterling annually, besides various paralyses of commerce;4 that sum being spent in the manufacture of means of destruction instead of means of production. There is no more reason in the nature of things that France and England should be hostile to each other than that England and Scotland should be, or Lancashire and Yorkshire; and the reciprocal terrors of the opposite sides of the English Channel are neither more necessary, more economical, nor more virtuous, than the old riding and reiving on the opposite flanks of the Cheviots, or than England’s own weaving for herself of crowns of thorn, from the stems of her Red and White Roses.

Notes by Editors of the Library Edition

1. This Appendix was in the original essay a footnote to § 8: see above, p. 150. The note there began thus:— “It may be observed, in anticipation of some of our future results, that while some conditions of the affections are aimed at by the economist as final, others are necessary to him as his own instruments: as he obtains them in greater or less degree his own farther work becomes more or less possible. Such, for instance, are the fortifying virtues, . . .” In line 3, “with more or less distinctness,” was inserted before “arranged” ; and at the end of line 6 the note continued: “. . . rightly); or in shorter terms still, the virtues which teach how to consist, assist, persist, and desist.” In the next line the note has “outermost” for “cardinal and sentinel.” In line 10 it adds, after “Thus,” “(reserving detailed statements for the sequel)” : for the statements in question, see pp. 251 seq.]

2. For Ruskin’s objections to this doctrine, see 16.26.]

3. For the blind Plutus, see above, p. 210; and for the speechless Pluto Dante, Unto this Last, §74n. The “omnipotence” of the dollar is in reference to the expression, “Almighty Dollar,” first used by Washington Irving in his Wolfert’s Roost, Creole Village, p. 40 (1837): “The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land.” “Cat-gold” (German katzengold) is a yellowish variety of mica; “firestone,” a popular term for iron pyrites. For further references to the American War, see below, pp. 474 seq.]

4.Compare Unto this Last, § 76 n. (above, p. 104 n.).

Last modified 11 March 2019