Imagens das páginas

siderable that, at the end of his life, he was better off than he had ever been; and he used to say, when Macmillan's annual cheque arrived, that he hardly knew what to do with the money. He has left his Economic library to the University of Cambridge, and most of his estate and any future receipts from his copyrights are also to fall ultimately to the University for the encouragement of the study of Economics.

Freed from the labour of lecturing and from the responsibility for pupils,1 he was now able to spend what time and strength were left him in a final effort to gather in the harvest of his prime. Eighteen years had passed since the publication of the Principles, and masses of material had accumulated for consolidation and compression into books. He had frequently changed his plans about the scope and content of his later volumes, and the amount of material to be handled exceeded his powers of co-ordination. In the preface to the fifth edition of the Principles (1907) he explains that in 1895 he had decided to arrange his material in three volumes: I. Modern Conditions of Industry and Trade; II. Credit and Employment; III. The Economic Functions of Government. By 1907 four volumes were becoming necessary. So he decided to concentrate upon two of them, namely: I. National Industry and Trade; and II. Money, Credit and Employment. This was the final plan, except that, as time went on, Employment was squeezed out of the second of these volumes in favour of International Trade or Commerce. Even so, twelve more years passed by, before, in his seventyseventh year, Industry and Trade was published.

[ocr errors]

During this period the interruptions to the main matter in hand were inconsiderable. He wrote occasional letters to The Times-on Mr. Lloyd George's Budget (1909), in controversy with Professor Karl Pearson on "Alcoholism and Efficiency (1910), on "A Fight to a Finish" and "Civilians in Warfare on the outbreak of war (1914), and on Premium Bonds (1919). He wrote to the Economist in 1916 urging increased taxation to defray the expenses of the war; and in 1917 he contributed a chapter on "National Taxation after the War" to After-War Problems, a volume edited by Mr. W. H. Dawson.

Marshall's letters to The Times on the outbreak of war are of some interest. When he was asked, before war was actually declared, to sign a statement that we ought not to go to war

1 He still continued, up to the time of the war, to see students in the afternoons-though perhaps former pupils (by that time young dons) more than new


because we had no interest in the coming struggle, he replied: "I think the question of peace or war must turn on national duty as much as on our interest. I hold that we ought to mobilise instantly, and announce that we shall declare war if the Germans invade Belgium; and everybody knows they will." For many years he had taken seriously Pan-Germanic ambitions; and he headed his letter "A Fight to a Finish." Thus he took up a definitely anti-pacifist attitude, and did not fluctuate from this as time went on. But he was much opposed to the inflaming of national passions. He remembered that he had "known and loved Germany," and that they were "a people exceptionally conscientious and upright." He held, therefore, that "it is our interest as well as our duty to respect them and make clear that we desire their friendship, but yet to fight them with all our might." And he expressed "an anxiety lest popular lectures should inflame passions which will do little or nothing towards securing victory, but may very greatly increase the slaughter on both sides, which must be paid as the price of resisting Germany's aggressive tendencies." These sentiments brought down on him the wrath of the more savage patriots.

At last, in 1919, Industry and Trade appeared, a great effort of will and determination on the part of one who had long passed age when most men rest from their labours.


It is altogether a different sort of book from the Principles. The most part of it is descriptive. A full third is historical and summarises the results of his long labours in that field. The co-ordination of the parts into a single volume is rather artificial. The difficulties of such co-ordination, which had beset him for so many years, are not really overcome. The book is not so much a structural unity, as an opportunity for bringing together a number of partly related matters about which Marshall had something of value to say to the world. This is particularly the case with its sixteen Appendices, which are his device for bringing to birth a number of individual monographs or articles. Several of these had been written a great number of years before the book was issued. They were quite well suited to separate publication, and it must be judged a fault in him that they were hoarded as they were.

1 "Those," he wrote to The Times on August 22, 1914, "who know and love Germany, even while revolted at the hectoring militarism which is more common there than here, should insist that we have no cause to scorn them, though we have good cause to fight them. . . . As a people I believe them to be exceptionally conscientious and upright, sensitive to the calls of duty, tender in their family affections, true and trusty in friendship. Therefore they are strong and to be feared, but not to be vilified."

The three books into which the volume is divided would, like the Appendices, have suffered very little if they had been published separately. Book I., entitled Some Origins of Present Problems of Industry and Trade, is a history of the claims to industrial leadership of England, France, Germany and the United States mainly during the second half of the nineteenth century. Book II., on Dominant Tendencies of Business Organisation, whilst not definitely historical, is also in the main an account of the evolution of the forms of Business Organisation during the second half of the nineteenth century. Book I. is an account of the economic evolution of that period considered nationally; Book II. is an account of it considered technically. Book III., on Monopolistic Tendencies: their Relations to Public Well-being, deals in more detail with the special problems which arose in regard to Transport and to Trusts, Cartels and Combinations during the same period.

Thus such unity as the book possesses derives from its being an account of the forms of individualistic capitalism as this had established itself in Western Europe at about the year 1900, of how they came to pass, and of how far they served the public interest. The volume as a whole also serves to illustrate what Marshall was always concerned to emphasise, namely the transitory and changing character of the forms of business organisation and of the shapes in which economic activities embody themselves. He calls particular attention to the precarious and impermanent nature of the foundations on which England's industrial leadership had been built up.

The chief value of the book lies, however, in something less definite and more diffused than its central themes. It represents the fruits of Marshall's learning and ripe wisdom on a host of different matters. The book is a mine rather than a railway -like the Principles, a thing to quarry in and search for buried treasure. Like the Principles, again, it appears to be an easy book; yet it is more likely, I believe, to be useful to one who knows something already than to a beginner. It contains the suggestions, the starting points for many investigations. There is no better book for suggesting lines of original inquiry to a reader so disposed. But for the ignorant the broad generalisations of the book are too quiet, smooth, urbane, undogmatic, to catch him.

Industry and Trade was a remarkable success with the public. A second edition was called for immediately, and, by the end of 1923, 12,000 copies had been printed. The fact that it was reaching wide circles of readers and met with no damaging

criticisms was a cause of great encouragement and consolation to the aged author, who could feel that, after all, he had not been prevented by time, the enemy, from delivering his words to the world.

But, all the same, time's winged chariot was hurrying near. Old age," as he wrote in the Preface to Industry and Trade, "indicates that my time for thought and speech is nearly ended." The composition of great Treatises is not, like that of great pictures, a work which can be continued into extreme old age. Much of his complete scheme of ordered knowledge would never be delivered. Yet his determination and his courage proved just equal to the publication of one more volume.

His powers of concentration and of memory were now beginning to fail somewhat rapidly. More and more he had to live for the book alone and to save for that every scrap of his strength. Talk with visitors tired him too much and interfered too seriously with his power of work. More and more Mrs. Marshall had to keep them away from him, and he lived alone with her, struggling with Time. He would rest much, listening to his favourite melodies on the auto-piano, which was a great solace to him during the last ten years of his life, or hearing Mrs. Marshall read over again a familiar novel. Each night he walked alone in the dark along the Madingley Road. On his seventy-eighth birthday he said that he did not much want a future life. When Mrs. Marshall asked him whether he would not like to return to this world at intervals of (say) a hundred years, to see what was happening, he replied that he should like it from pure curiosity. "My own thoughts," he went on, "turn more and more on the millions of worlds which may have reached a high state of morality before ours became habitable, and the other millions of worlds that may have a similar development after our sun has become cool and our world uninhabitable." 1 His greatest difficulty, he said, about believing in a future life was that he did not know at what stage of existence it could begin. One could hardly believe that apes had a future life or even the early stages of tree-dwelling human beings. Then at what stage could such an immense change as a future life begin?

Weaknesses of digestion, which had troubled him all his life, increased in later years. In September, 1921, in his eightieth year, he made the following notes:-"Tendency of work to bring on feeling of pressure in the head, accompanied by weariness, is increasing; and it troubles me. I must work on, so far as strength permits, for about two full years (or say four years of half-time) if that is allowed to me after that, I can say 'Nunc dimittis.' 1 Cf. the remarkable footnote to p. 101 of Money, Credit and Commerce.

I care little for length of life for its own sake. I want only so to arrange my work as to increase my chance of saying those things which I think of chief importance."

In August, 1922, soon after his eightieth birthday, Money, Credit and Commerce was finished, and it was published in the following year, 1923. The scope of the volume differed from his design, in that it did not include "a study of the influences on the conditions of man's life and work which are exerted by the resources available for employment." But he managed to bring within the covers of a book his chief contributions to the theories of Money and of Foreign Trade. The book is mainly pieced together from earlier fragments, some of them written fifty years before, as has been recorded above, where also the nature of his main contributions to these subjects have been summarised. It shows the marks of old age in a way which Industry and Trade did not. But it contains a quantity of materials and ideas, and collects together passages which are otherwise inaccessible to the student or difficult of access. "If much of it might have been written in the 'eighties of last century," Professor Edgeworth wrote of it in the ECONOMIC JOURNAL, "much of it will be read in the 'eighties of this century."

Although old age presses on me," he wrote in the Preface to Money, Credit and Commerce, "I am not without hopes that some of the notions which I have formed as to the possibilities of social advance may yet be published." Up to his last illness, in spite of loss of memory and great feebleness of body, he struggled to piece together one more volume. It was to have been called Progress: its Economic Conditions. But the task was too great. In a way his faculties were still strong. In writing a short letter he was still himself. One day in his eighty-second year he said that he was going to look at Plato's Republic, for he would like to try and write about the kind of Republic that Plato would wish for, had he lived now. But though, as of old, he would sit and write, no advance was possible.

In these last days, with deep-set and shining eyes, wisps of white hair, and black cap on his head, he bore, more than ever, the aspect of a Sage or Prophet. At length his strength ebbed from him. But he would wake each morning, forgetful of his condition and thinking to begin his day's work as usual. On July 13, 1924, a fortnight before his eighty-second birthday, he passed away into rest. J. M. KEYNES

Note. There are several allusions in the above to a Bibliographical Note.” It has proved necessary, however, to postpone the publication of this until the December JOURNAL.

« AnteriorContinuar »