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case, the fully developed stock-dealing of the last decade of the seventeenth century, with Houghton's price-lists and his nicknames for companies with long-winded titles [p. 329], obviously presupposes a good many years of perfectly negotiable securities.
Dr. Scott deals rather briefly in his first chapter with "the various lines of economic development which converge in the first English joint-stock companies,” but he says all that need be said. Without losing himself in the antiquities of the commenda, the societas, and the Bank of St. George, he points out the scanty evidence for direct influence from the continent in the early sixteenth century. After reading his earlier volumes, especially the history of the German speculators in the Mines Royal, one had wondered what weight he would assign to the transferable shares in German mining enterprises that were well-known in the fifteenth century. He does not develop the point, though he refers to it. No doubt he is right to follow in the main more obvious lines of growth. All the machinery of government and the corporate life are to be found in the later guilds or in the Merchant Adventurers. When the Merchant Guild of Dublin in 1452 appoints buyers and then shares out their purchases among the members, or when the Newcastle Adventurers, in 1599, also make a corporate purchase, we are brought very near to jointstock action. “When such bargains became the rule ... the regulated company would be turned into a joint-stock company” [p. 12]. Moreover, the early joint-stock companies often paid dividends in goods, a further link with the older corporate purchases and sharings; while freemen of the Newcastle Merchant Adventurers, at any rate, “in small bodies entered into partnership” [p. 11]. Given a permanent partnership of all the members in a fairly small society, such as were the earlier joint-stock enterprises, and the transformation is complete. “The Russia Company came into existence with a complete internal organisation, which in the main was transferred from the previously existing type of corporation. No provision was made in the charter for any of the functions that would arise out of this company being formed on a joint-stock basis” (p. 21].
The growth of "joint-stock characteristics” can be traced gradually over a period of a century and a half. In the sixteenth century, and far down the seventeenth, the "share was a fixed fraction of the enterprise, varying in monetary amount as the business varied; not, as to-day, a thing with a fixed denomination, of which less or more may be issued according to the business situation (pp. 44-5]. Hence the difficulty of getting calls paid
up, for the shareholder never knew his maximum liability. Hence also the subdivision of shares into "halves, quarters, and even eighths,” in the Mines Royal as early as 1571 [p. 45]. A little later we do, no doubt, get the Frobisher expeditions, in connection with which it was resolved that £100 was to be reckoned "one single part or share in stok of the company”; but Dr. Scott only places the landmark which indicates the beginning of the modern conception of a share at “the doubling of the capital, reckoned as paid up, by the East India Company in 1682 ” [p. 304]. "As long as the capital was divided into 'portions,' or shares, any appreciation of the property was reflected mainly in the dividend”; the “watering” of 1682 involves a new conception.
Subsidiary companies, which seem so very modern, appear already in the Mineral and Battery Works in 1571 (pp. 58–9. See also Vol. II.]. The term director first appears in a charter, that of the Africa Company, in 1618; but the concern had at its head, like the older regulated companies, a Governor and a DeputyGovernor. The twelve directors were the Governor's Council [p. 151]. The first traces of limited liability occur in the Fishery Society in 1634. There had been a deficit and it was resolved that capital subscribed from that time forward should be exempt from liability for this deficit [p. 228]. Then, in 1662, limitations of liability are granted to the East India, Africa, and Royal Fishery Companies by Act of Parliament [p. 270]. Adam Smith, by the way, was wrong in supposing that all chartered undertakings enjoyed this privilege [p. 447].
At the time when it doubled its nominal capital the East India Company had for many years indulged in borrowings, which Dr. Scott calls “a species of striving towards the modern debentures” [p. 304]. Indeed, companies had borrowed on registered bonds from a very early date. By the end of the seventeenth century we have bonds of a different sort, "which were in effect preference shares," in the Mine Adventurers' Company [p. 365].
The problems in economic history, other than those strictly connected with joint-stock, on which Dr. Scott throws fresh light, or in relation to which his opinion merits careful consideration, are almost innumerable. There is the account of Elizabeth's maximum interest law, which financial difficulties forced her to break in propriâ personâ, just as Charles II. broke the law a century later. There is an interesting calculation by which we can determine the average cost of certain Elizabethan naval expeditions per ton or per man, and so can estimate the capital employed in cases where we have no precise financial statistics
[p. 77]. The monopolies agitations under Elizabeth, James, and Charles are fully discussed. Parliament comes rather badly out of these discussions; as do the "Free Traders” and ostensibly disinterested interlopers of the seventeenth century out of a long series of references. Almost invariably the agitator against monopoly in one sphere seeks monopoly for himself in another; possibly even in the sphere of his denunciation. In the matter of the Navigation Laws, Dr. Scott confirms and strengthens Dr. Cunningham's adverse verdict on their working so far as the seventeenth century is concerned. So one might go on. The book is inexhaustible in its wealth of fact. It is not, perhaps, just what one would call a work of art; but though one might easily carp at this bit of construction or that turn of phrase, and though one might disagree with many obiter dicta in a work which takes so wide a sweep, it is amazingly difficult to dissent from the author's carefully weighed judgments on the essentials. He knows his companies as a trained and cautious investor knows the concerns in which his own capital lies. On the strength of his knowledge it seems easy to fix the proper times for buying Frobishers or selling Battery Works. And he has wrung out that knowledge from his authorities with a magnificent scholar's patience.
J. H. CLAPHAM
The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century. By R. H.
TAWNEY. With six maps in colour. (London : Longmans. 1912. Pp. xii + 464. 9s. net.)
HERE we have a substantial, most useful, and altogether notable book; the work of a man alert, full of ideas, touched with emotion, yet restrained by the scientific conscience. It is dedicated to the president and secretary of the Workers' Educational Association, and in his Preface the author tells us he has learnt much from “the friendly smitings of weavers, potters, miners, and engineers" in the classes he has conducted in connection with that body during the last four years. Probably, if he had had nothing to do with “the W.E.A.," Mr. Tawney would have written a book very much like this. But I think we can discern now in his work an intensity of sympathy with “the under dog, and at the same time a sense of the limitations of class-outlook such as only intimate intercourse with workpeople could have given him. If in any degree this book can be called an outcome of the W.E.A., then for the scholar, at any rate, the W.E.A. is
beginning to be justified by its fruit. And this is a welcome conclusion. No one who has watched the W.E.A. closely can fail to have suspected one grave danger : the danger lest the lecturer on economic topics (naturally the most attractive) should be biassed unconsciously towards popular conclusions. I must confess I have felt the temptation myself when addressing workingclass audiences : just as I have felt it, in a different direction, in addressing audiences of employers. One's points can be made so much more effectively, the glint of approval can be brought so much more readily into the eyes of one's auditors, if one lets oneself go and omits qualifications. It is reassuring to be presented with a book like this, which has come out of a W.E.A. atmosphere, tingling with feeling, it is true, and yet on the whole so balanced and fair-minded.
In approaching the subject Mr. Tawney has enjoyed advantages not at our disposal, who came to it more than twenty years ago. To build on we had then little more than Rogers and Nasse, together with the mediæval Extents and the like in the Rolls and Camden series, on which Seebohm had recently thrown so powerful a light, a few passages of More and Latimer, and the writings of Coke. But since the Vinogradoff has made clear the legal disabilities of mediæval villenage; Maitland, following Meitzen, has brought out the diversity of local conditions ; Page has brought exactitude into our knowledge of Commutation; Leadam has published and Gay has worked over the Enclosure returns; and, most effective perhaps of all, Savine has revealed the proceedings of the courts in the matter of copyhold and customary tenure. And, by the way, our author does not, perhaps, use quite the right word when he speaks of a writer of 1892 as
overlooking” these law cases, as if he might have been expected to know about them. He would reply, as Dr. Johnson did when he was asked how he came to make a mistake in his Dictionary : "Ignorance, sir ; pure ignorance !” But then everybody else was equally ignorant in 1892. Mr. Leadam, it is true, called attention in that very year to the sixteenth-century Common Law cases ; but his interpretation of them was open to grave objection, and has, in fact, been subsequently disposed of by Mr. Savine. It was the articles of the latter scholar in 1902 and 1904 which first put the matter in the right perspective by bringing out the significance of the earlier Chancery proceedings; and these were only made available to him by the then recent publication of the Calendar. No sensible man who kept his eyes open could write just in the same way after 1904 as was natural enough before.
Whatever his advantages, Mr. Tawney has made good use of them. He has immersed himself in the literature of the subject; he has utilised the fresh material printed in the Victoria County histories; he has himself collected a large number of transcripts from the Record Office, and has subjected them to a painstaking statistical analysis. The result is a work which, for the first time, covers the whole field. It is all run into an argumentative mould, so that no one can go to sleep over it; it is enlivened by forciblyexpressed generalisations, and by. patches of rhetoric warmly purple; but at the end one has the feeling that the object has been attained : we feel that we now really know the agricultural life of the sixteenth century in its fulness and complexity.
To go through all the main topics of Mr. Tawney's book, desirable as it would be, is more than can be undertaken on the present occasion. I must content myself with mentioning what seem to me his chief personal contributions to the story. The first is his account of the way in which, in the Midlands and the South, the old symmetry of the yardlands had already, long before the Enclosures, been broken in upon by exchanges and purchases among the customary tenants. Another is the evidence he adduces of the grant both of pieces of the waste and, still more significant, of pieces of the demesne to customary tenants : facts which have no little bearing on the legal character and economic effect of the subsequent enclosures. A third is the proof of the conservatism of Northumberland, and its explanation in the military importance of the tenantry; to which, as Mr. Tawney acutely points out, the military motives for preserving the peasantry which actuated the Tudor Government are closely analogous, on a larger scale. And coming to the results of the enclosures, a point novel, I think, to modern discussion is made by Mr. Tawney when he calls attention to the crowding of workless cotters into the remaining “open fielden towns.” Especially interesting, too, is Mr. Tawney's treatment of the question of the effect of governmental intervention by means of legislation, commissions, and such prerogative tribunals as the Star Chamber and the Court of Requests. With his conclusion that this intervention “mitigated the hardships of the movement to the rural classes,” and “imposed a brake which somewhat eased the shock," he gives us good reason for acquiescing : I should be inclined myself to venture further, and to say that while governmental intervention did not prevent a good deal of enclosure from taking place, there would have been very much more enclosure had there been no intervention. I am glad to see, also, that Mr. Tawney recognises some merit in the