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At this time he used to go abroad almost every long vacation. Mrs. Marshall writes :
“He took with him £60 1 and a knapsack, and spent most. of the time walking in the high Alps. This walking, summer after summer, turned him from a weak into a strong man. He left Cambridge early in June jaded and overworked and returned in October brown and strong and upright. Carrying the knapsack pulled him upright, and until he was over eighty he remained so. He even then exerted himself almost painfully to hold himself straight. When walking in the Alps his practice was to get up at six and to be well on his way before eight. He would walk with knapsack on his back for two or three hours. He would then sit down, sometimes on a glacier, and have a long pull at some book—Goethe or Hegel or Kant or Herbert Spencer—and then walk on to his next haltingplace for the night. This was in his philosophic stage. Later on he worked out his theories of Domestic and Foreign Trade in these walks. A large box of books, etc., was sent on from one stage to another, but he would go for a week or more just with a knapsack. He would wash his shirt by holding it in a fast-running stream and dry it by carrying it on his alpenstock over his shoulder. He did most of his hardest thinking in these solitary Alpine walks.
“These Wanderjahre gave him a love for the Alps which he always retained, and even in 1920 (for the last time) we went to the South Tyrol, where he sat and worked in the high air.
“ Alfred always did his best work in the open air. When he became Fellow of St. John's he did his chief thinking between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. He had a monopoly of the Wilderness in the daytime and of the New Court Cloisters at night. At Palermo in the early eighties he worked on the roof of a quiet hotel, using the cover of the bath as an awning. At Oxford he made a 'Den' in the garden in which he wrote. At Cambridge he worked in the balcony, and later in a large revolving shelter, fitted up as a study, called 'The Ark,' and in the Tyrol he arranged a heap of stones, a camp stool and an air cushion into what he called a 'throne,' and in later years we always carried a tent shelter with us, in which he spent the day.” In 1875 Marshall visited the United States for four months.
1 He used to reckon that his necessary expenditure as a bachelor Fellow amounted to £300 a year, including £60 for vacation travel.
He toured the whole of the East, and travelled as far as San Francisco. At Harvard and Yale he had long talks with the academic economists, and he had many introductions everywhere to leading citizens. But his chief purpose was the “study of the Problem of Protection in a New Country." About this he inquired on all hands, and towards the end of his trip was able to write in a letter home : “In Philadelphia I spent many hours in conversation with the leading protectionists. And now I think, as soon as I have read some books they have recommended me to read, I shall really know the whole of their case; and I do not believe there is or ever has been another Englishman who could say the same.”
On his return to England he read a paper at the Cambridge Moral Science Club on American Industry, Nov. 17, 1875, and later on he lectured at Bristol, in 1878, on “The Economic Condition of America.” The American trip made on him a great impression, which coloured all his future work. He used to say that it was not so much what he actually learnt, as that he got to know what things he wanted to learn; that he was taught to see things in proportion; and that he was enabled to expect the coming supremacy of the United States, to know its causes and the directions it would take.
Meanwhile he had been helping Fawcett, who was Professor, and Henry Sidgwick, to establish Political Economy as a serious study in the University of Cambridge. Two of his earliest pupils, H. S. Foxwell and, later on, my father, John Neville Keynes, who took the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1875, joined these three as lecturers on Political Economy in the University.
In 1876 Alfred Marshall became engaged to Miss Mary Paley, a great-granddaughter of the famous Archdeacon. Miss Paley was a former pupil of his and was a lecturer in Economics at Newnham.1 His first book, Economics of Industry, published in 1879, was written in collaboration with her; indeed it had been, at the start, her book and not his, having been undertaken by her at the request of a group of Cambridge University Extension lecturers. They were married in 1877. During forty-seven years of married life his dependence upon her devotion was complete. Her life was given to him and to his work with a
1 Miss Paley was one of the small band of five pioneers who, before the foundation of Newnham College, came into residence under Miss Clough in 1871 at 74 Regent Street, which had been taken and furnished for the purpose by Henry Sidgwick. She and Miss Bulley, taking the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1874 as Students of the “ Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women in Cambridge,” were the first of the group to take honours at Cambridge.
degree of unselfishness and understanding that makes it difficult for friends and old pupils to think of them separately or to withhold from her shining gifts of character a big share in what his intellect accomplished.
Marriage, by involving the loss of his Fellowship, meant leaving Cambridge for a time, and Marshall went to Bristol as the first Principal of University College, and as Professor of Political Economy. “Just at that time,” Marshall has recorded, “ Balliol and New Colleges at Oxford were setting up at Bristol the first ‘University College': that is, a College designed to bring higher educational opportunities within the reach of the inhabitants of a large city, which had no University of its own. I was elected its first Principal: my wife lectured on Political Economy to a class consisting chiefly of ladies in the morning, and I lectured in the evening to a class composed chiefly of young business men.” Apart from his regular classes he gave a number of public evening lectures (references to some of which will be found in the Bibliographical Note below 2), including a series on Henry George's Progress and Poverty. The work of the Marshalls at Bristol was much appreciated there, and the town kept up an interest in his career long after he had left it. But the administrative work, especially the business of begging money, which in view of the meagre endowments of the college was one of the main duties of the Principal, proved irksome and uncongenial. Soon after his marriage his health and nerves began to break down, chiefly as a result of stone in the kidney. He was anxious to resign the position of Principal, but there was no convenient opportunity until 1881, when the appointment of Professor Ramsay to the Department of Chemistry provided a suitable successor. He went with his wife to Italy for nearly a year, working quietly on the roof of a small hotel at Palermo for five months and then moving to Florence and to Venice. He came back to Bristol, where he was still Professor of Political Economy, in 1882 with his health much restored ; but he remained for the rest of his life somewhat hypochondriacal and inclined to consider himself on the verge of invalidism. In fact, his constitution was extremely tough and he remained in harness as a writer up to a very advanced age. But his nervous equilibrium was easily upset by unusual exertion or excitement or by controversy and difference of opinion; his power of continuous concentration on difficult mental work was inferior to his wishes; and he became dependent on a routine of life adapted even to his whims and fancies. In truth he was haunted by a feeling that his physical strength and power of continuous concentration were inferior to the fields of work which he saw stretching ahead, and to the actual constructions he had conceived but not yet given to the world. By 1877, when he was thirty-five years of age, he had worked out within him the foundations of little less than a new science, of great consequence to mankind; and a collapse of health and strength during the five years following, when he should have been giving all this to the world, partly broke his courage, though not his determination.
1 For a week or two Marshall entertained the idea of becoming a candidate for the Esquire Bedellship at Cambridge, as a help towards keeping himself. But “the more I look at the poker,” he finally concluded, “ the less I like it." He was actually, for a short time, Steward of St. John's.
• The lecture on “ Water as an Element of National Wealth " is particularly interesting.
Amongst the Governors of University College, Bristol, were Dr. Jowett, the Master of Balliol, and Professor Henry Smith, and these two were accustomed to stay with the Marshalls on their periodic visits to Bristol. Jowett's interest in Economics was always lively. While Tutor of Balliol he had given courses of set lectures on Political Economy, and he continued to direct individual undergraduates in the subject up to the end of his life.1 Jowett's interest and belief in Alfred Marshall were keenly aroused by the long evening talks which followed the meetings of the Governing Body; and, on the premature death of Arnold Toynbee in 1883, he invited Marshall to take his place as Fellow of Balliol and Lecturer in Political Economy to the selected candidates for the Indian Civil Service.2
Marshall's Oxford career was brief but successful. He attracted able pupils, and his public lectures were attended by larger and more enthusiastic classes than at any other period of his life. He encountered with credit, on different occasions, Henry George and Hyndman in public debate, and was taking a prominent position in the University. In November 1884, however, Fawcett died, and in January 1885 Marshall returned to Cambridge as Professor of Political Economy.
1 In the charming little obituary of Jowett which Marshall contributed to the ECONOMIC JOURNAL (Vol. III., p. 745), he wrote : “He took part in most of the questions which agitate modern economists ; but his own masters were Plato and Ricardo. Everything that they said, and all that rose directly out of what they said, had a special interest for him. ... In pure economics his favourite subject was the Currency, and he took a keen interest in the recent controversy on it. His views were generally conservative; and he was never converted to bimetallism. But he was ready to follow wherever Ricardo had pointed the way; and in a letter written not long ago he raised the question whether the world would not outgrow the use of gold as its standard of value, and adopt one of those artificial standards which vex the soul of Mr. Giffen.”
2 Jowett always remained very fond of Alfred Marshall, and, after the Marshalls left Oxford, it was with them that he generally stayed on his visits to Cambridge.
Marshall's serious study of Economic Theory began in 1867 ; his characteristic doctrines were far developed by 1875; and by 1883 they were taking their final form. Nevertheless no part of his work was given to the world at large in adequate shape until 1890 (Principles of Economics), and that part of the subject, at which he had worked earliest and which was most complete by 1875, was not treated in a published book until nearly fifty years later, in 1923 (Money, Credit and Commerce). Meanwhile he had not kept his ideas to himself, but had shared them without reserve in lecture and in talk with friends and pupils. They leaked out to wider circles in privately printed pamphlets and through the writings of his pupils, and were extracted in crossexamination by Royal Commissions. Inevitably when the books themselves appeared, they lacked the novelty and path-breaking powers which would have been acclaimed in them a generation earlier, and those economists all over the world who know Marshall only by his published work may find it difficult to understand the extraordinary position claimed for him by his English contemporaries and successors. It is proper, therefore, that I should make an attempt, necessarily imperfect from lack of full data, to trace the progress of his ideas; and then to set forth the reasons or the excuses for the unhappy delay in their publication.
Marshall's serious study of Economics began in 1867. To fix our ideas of date : Mill's Political Economy 1 had appeared in 1848; the seventh edition, in 1871, was the last to receive Mill's own corrections; and Mill died in 1873. Das Kapital of Marx appeared in 1868; Jevons' Theory of Political Economy 2
1 What a contrast to Marshall's Principles the drafting of this famous book presents ! Mill's Political Economy was commenced in the autumn of 1845 and was ready for the press before the end of 1847. In this period of little more than two years the work was laid aside for six months while Mill was writing articles in the Morning Chronicle (sometimes as many as five a week) on the Irish Peasant problem. At the same time Mill was occupied all day in the India Office. (See Mill's Autobiography.)
? Jevons' Serious Fall in the Value of Gold ascertained, and its Social Effects set forth, had appeared in 1863 and his Variation of Prices in 1865, from which two papers the modern method of Index Numbers takes its rise. His main papers on the Periodicity of Commercial Crises were later (1875–1879).
No. 135.-VOL. XXXIV.