Imagens das páginas

students. Until a general survey of the field has been made, all study must be more or less unhistorical. An investigation of the agrarian system of the Anglo-Saxons, or of the English in the fourteenth century, or in the eighteenth, is not history. The origin and growth of industrial and agricultural systems, their decay, with its causes and results, the reaction of economic changes on the broader social development, the march of economic ideas, and their influence, these alone are to be considered as economic history in its highest sense. The parts can then be safely re-examined and restated and still retain their character as history, when once the whole has been completely, even if in some parts inadequately, or mistakenly told. The value of Professor Cunningham's work would therefore have been very great if it had been even of moderate erudition, whereas his learning is broad and deep, and much of this second volume is an absolutely new contribution to our knowledge of the subject. The limitations in carrying out such a large plan in the present state of progress in the subject are of course considerable. Many difficult problems had to be left unsolved, and many obscure places still unexplored. The Saxon period is given less space and attention than one would have expected, the treatment of the gilds is certainly very inadequate, the discussion of the agrarian changes of the Tudor period is even more so. Generally speaking Professor Cunningham's elucidation of commerce and economic doctrine is fuller and stronger than that of manufacturing industry, agriculture and land-holding. The Middle Ages is also better understood, in spite of its lack of material, than many movements in modern times.

Of course many of these fields are confessedly lying still practically unstudied, awaiting the investigation of future students. The knowledge and labor of no one man is able to clear them all up. It is a matter of satisfaction that the continued work of such men as Cunningham, Seebohm, Maitland, Ashley, Vinogradoff, Gross, Andrews and others, bids fair to do much toward filling in the details of the picture during the same generation as that in which its main outlines were sketched.

Yet our fundamental criticism of Professor Cunningham's work is not on the question of its adequacy, but on that of its method of arrangement. He says, "since the growth of industry and commerce is so directly dependent on the framework of society at any one time, it may be most convenient to take periods which are marked out by political and social, rather than by economic changes." He then proceeds, from the Norman conquest onward, to follow the outline of the salient points of English constitutional development. It seems to us that two serious evils result from this placing of political above

economic influences, first, a frequent confusion of cause and effect, and secondly, a false judgment of the economic importance of certain periods. It is possibly true that the constitutional organs of central government which were brought into force under the first Edward were influential in creating a "national economy," but the general character of the next period, 1377 to 1485, was on the author's own showing the result for the most part of purely economic causes and of their reaction on political conditions. Again, in the Tudor period, which were the controlling forces, the economic or the political? The whole force of the absolute government of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and the Protector was opposed to the enclosures and other changes in land-holding of that time, and yet almost without effect. The changes continued and ran their course. Indeed, it was the growing wealth of England, the rise of the middle class, and the separation of classes which made possible the Tudor despotism, and the new position which England was able to take in European affairs. Moreover, political and economic periods can seldom be made co-terminous without distortion of facts. The beginning of Elizabeth's reign was a distinct crisis in political history, but economically speaking, during the first half of that reign the changes of the preceding century were still proceeding, while its latter part was much more closely connected with the Stuart period that follows.

Again, this classification obscures the fact that some periods are of far greater economic importance than others. The changes of the Middle Ages were slow. With the exception of the turbulent fourteenth century, conditions remained remarkably stationary down to the middle of the fifteenth century. The century or more succeeding was a period of rapid fundamental change, until something like equilibrium was reached. Another long period of comparative stability then extended to the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Yet Professor Cunningham gives less than two hundred pages to the period of rapid economic change from 1397 to 1558, while he gives more than four hundred pages to the comparatively barren century and a half of Elizabeth and the Stuarts. The result is that individual experiments in manufacturing and commerce, local, temporary, and comparatively insignificant movements, in such a period as the latter, are treated as if of the same importance as the enclosures of the fifteenth and the nineteenth century, or the changes in the gilds of the sixteenth.

Economic conditions would seem to have passed through a development of their own, largely independent of, though of course not unconnected, with other national forces. Kept stable by the perpetuity of the manorial organization in the country, and that of the gilds in the towns, we have the strong corporate character of mediæval life.

With the decay of this organization in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, began the rapid growth of individualism, a tendency which was, so to speak, checked half way, and restrained for another century and a half by the strong state policy of Elizabeth and her successors. Then in the latter part of last century, with the introduction of the factory system and other new elements, began a new growth of individualism, reinforced now by the teachings of a powerful economic and political school, a movement which only in recent decades seems to be meeting a distinct reaction. Some such thread as this, to be found in the relation of economic phenomena themselves, will alone prove to be permanently satisfactory in tracing the development of English economic history. But after all, this is only a minor criticism to make of such a work. We do not understand that the author feels that the last word has been spoken on any part of his subject, and the continuity, the learning, the good judgment, and the fair-mindedness of the book will make it more and more necessary to readers and later writers as a basis and a model for their own work.

University of Pennsylvania.


History of Federal Government in Greece and Italy. By EDWARD A. FREEMAN. Edited by J. B. BURY. Second edition. Pp. xlviii, 692. London: Macmillan & Co., 1893.

The first and only volume of Freeman's "History of Federal Government" has long since established a permanent place for itself, so that an extended review, one commensurate with the priceless value of the work, need not be given to the present reprint, which includes, however, an additional chapter on Federalism in Italy and a fragment on Germany. The editor has made no change in the text, except to correct obvious errors; a revision of the references to authorities and an appendix of twenty pages are his main contributions. This single volume is complete in itself; the first two chapters are a masterful discussion of the general principles of Federalism, while the body of the work will probably always remain the standard history of the Greek confederations; in some matters of detail Freeman's conclusions have already been somewhat modified, and they will doubtless be still further affected in the future; but there is less likelihood that the work as a whole will suffer materially. Like Gibbon's "Roman Empire," Freeman's "Federal Government in Greece" seems assured an exceptionally permanent value. That Freeman was not a political prophet is evident; that he could not, in the preparation of his first two chapters, have had the example of a Federal monarchy, Germany, to add to the completeness of his survey,

is unfortunate. What is ever to be lamented is that he did not live to write the second portion of the work, for which, as for the first, he was so peculiarly qualified, the history of six hundred years of Swiss confederation.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

C. F. A. C.

La Beneficenza Romana dagli antichi tempi fino ad oggi: Studio storico critico dell' avvocato QUIRINO QUERINI. Opera insignita del primo premio nel concorso speciale all' Esposizione di Palermo. Pp. 500 with tables. Roma. 1892.

This work will prove to be of no little interest and value to foreign students interested in the general subject of public charity in Rome, for it contains the results of long and patient historical investigation of countless documents which the foreign student will not find easily accessible. The author has long occupied himself with historical studies in this field and has made several other contributions to its literature. His most recent work is, however, his best. It deals solely with Roman charities and is historical and critical and takes little direct part in the controversy that is waged in Italy around the Reform Law of 1890, regulating the public charities of the whole kingdom. Nor does the great question respecting the relation of the Catholic church to the public charities come in for as much treatment as we should like to see. Perhaps the author prefers to let the facts of the past speak for themselves to him who will interpret them. We believe, however, that the author's Catholic instincts and sympathies have led him to take for granted, or even to justify, a condition of affairs that is the outcome of the past, but which to one not accustomed to that mode of thinking is suggestive of grave problems which the present Italian government must solve in a radical and decided manner if it does not wish to give over all forms of charity into private hands.

Querini's work in the introductory part or "parte generale," discusses the forms of charity among primitive peoples and such questions as the origin of misery, and then makes a detailed examination of the laws, and the motives underlying them, that existed for the relief of poverty among the ancient Egyptians, the Israelites, Hindoos, Chinese, Persians and Greeks.

The first part of the book proper then commences with a discussion of charity among the ancient Romans. Here Querini finds that poverty increased rapidly in proportion as manual labor was held to be dishonorable, as agricultural pursuits declined and standing armies increased. He treats with much breadth of view and accurate

research, the corresponding growth of the multifarious social, political and legal institutions and customs for the prevention and amelioration of poverty. The laws of hospitality and those concerning the treatment of slaves were influenced by and in turn influenced the condition of the poor, but all positive legislation, such as the food laws, and in the times of the republic and the empire, the gratuitous distribution of food to certain classes, was prompted solely by fear and the desire on the part of the rulers to maintain an equilibrium among different classes and to prevent rebellion. The humane motive was of slow growth that gave rise to hospitals, to public medicinal aid, to care for the insane and for orphans. Indeed, it did not secure much hold on public legislation until Christianity had become the ruling power.

Part second is entitled " Christianity and the Middle Ages,” and deals with the growth of organized charity under their combined influence. It is but natural to expect the direct influence of the Christian Church upon all forms of public relief to be greatest during the middle ages, when she so completely guided and controlled temporal affairs as was the case in Rome.

Querini, with admirable clearness, wealth of illustration and warmth of interest, discusses such questions as the principles taught by the apostles, their application by the church, the cardinal doctrine of the universal brotherhood of man, the introduction of church collections, the funds of which were administered by seven deacons, who were to know and look after the poor connected with each church, the foundation of asylums for travelers (termed by Querini the principal form of charity in Italy, and especially in Rome, that may be said to be typically ecclesiastical) the growth of the Church's wealth and its use, the special gifts of emperors and sovereigns to church funds, the part played by the monks and by monastic orders in relieving the material wants of the poor, and, finally, the special gifts of the popes to charitable purposes from their private wealth and from jubilee festivities. Throughout the middle ages Roman charity is characterized by papal initiative and monastic co-operation, with the result that it attained great dimensions, but was often of doubtful expediency as to method, for in the end it engendered a feeling of reliance on the church for material aid.

Part third treats of the modern era, and goes into the history of the foundation of each separate institution and the policy of the successive popes with great detail and chronological precision, bringing it down to 1870. As an historical record this will prove valuable, but it is less important as a discussion of principles and tendencies. Too little space is devoted to the period since 1870, with the policy of which the author is less in sympathy, but within which time some of the most

« AnteriorContinuar »