Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

hold office: Professor Bastable, Dr. Bonar, Professor Edgeworth, Professor Foxwell, Professor Nicholson, Mr. Price, and Sir H. Llewelyn Smith.

2. The controversy about admitting women to degrees, which tore Cambridge in two in 1896, found Marshall in the camp which was opposed to the women's claims. He had been in closest touch with Newnham since its foundation, through his wife and through the Sidgwicks. When he went to Bristol, he had been, in his own words,“ attracted thither chiefly by the fact that it was the first College in England to open its doors freely to women. A considerable proportion of his pupils had been women. In his first printed essay (on “ The Future of the Working Classes, in 1873), the opening passage is an eloquent claim, in sympathy with Mill, for the emancipation of women. All Mill's instances “ tend to show,” he says in that paper, “how our progress could be accelerated if we would unwrap the swaddling-clothes in which artificial customs have enfolded woman's mind and would give her free scope womanfully to discharge her duties to the world." Marshall's attitude, therefore, was a sad blow to his own little circle, and, being exploited by the other side, it played some part in the overwhelming defeat which the reformers eventually suffered. In his taking this course Marshall's intellect could find excellent reasons. Indeed the lengthy fly-sheet, which he circulated to members of the Senate, presents, in temperate and courteous terms, a brilliant and perhaps convincing case against the complete assimilation of women's education to that of men. Nevertheless, a congenital bias, which by a man's fifty-fourth year of life has gathered secret strength, may have played a bigger part in the conclusion than the obedient intellect.

3. Lastly there are Marshall's services in the foundation of the Cambridge School of Economics.

When Marshall came back to Cambridge in 1885, papers on Political Economy were included both in the Moral Sciences Tripos and in the History Tripos.1 The separate foundation of these two schools some twenty years earlier had worked a great revolution in liberalising the studies of the University. But, almost as soon as he was Professor, Marshall felt strongly that the time had come for a further step forward; and he particularly disliked the implication of the existing curriculum, that Economics was the sort of subject which could be satisfactorily undertaken as a subsidiary study. Immediately that he was back in Cambridge in 1885 he was in rebellion against the idea that his lectures must be adapted to the requirements of an examination of which Economics formed but a part. His Inaugural lecture constituted, in effect, a demand that Economics should have a new status; and it was so interpreted by Sidgwick. The following declaration from that lecture is of some historical importance as almost the first blow in the struggle for the independent status which Economics has now won almost everywhere :

1 At Marshall's lectures in the later 'eighties, apart from students from other departments and B. A.'s who might be attracted out of curiosity about the subject, there would be a dozen or less Moral Science students and two dozen or less History students.

2 Marshall summarised the history of the matter as follows in his plea for the Creation of a Curriculum in Economics (1902) :-“In foreign countries economics has always been closely associated with history or law, or political science, or some combination of these studies. The first (Cambridge) Moral Sciences Examination (1851-1860) included ethics, law, history, and economics; but not mental science or logic. In 1860, however, philosophy and logic were introduced and associated with ethics; while history and political philosophy, jurisprudence and political economy formed an alternative group. In 1867 provision was made elsewhere for law and history; and mental science and logic have since then struck the keynote of the Moral Sciences Tripos.”

“There is wanted wider and more scientific knowledge of facts : an organon stronger and more complete, more able to analyse and help in the solution of the economic problems of the age. To develop and apply the organon rightly is our most urgent need; and this requires all the faculties of a trained scientific mind. Eloquence and erudition have been lavishly spent in the service of Economics. They are good in their way; but what is most wanted now is the power of keeping the head cool and clear in tracing and analysing the combined action of many combined causes. Exceptional genius being left out of account, this power is rarely found save amongst those who have gone through a severe course of work in the more advanced sciences. Cambridge has more such men than any other University in the world. But, alas! few of them turn to the task. Partly this is because the only curriculum in which Economics has a very important part to play is that of the Moral Sciences Tripos. And many of those who are fitted for the highest and hardest economic work are not attracted by the metaphysical studies that lie at the threshold of that Tripos.”

This claim of Marshall's corresponded to the conception of the subject which dominated his own work. Marshall was the first great economist pur sang that there ever was; the first who devoted his life to building up the subject as a separate science, standing on its own foundations, with as high standards of scientific accuracy as the physical or the biological sciences. It was Marshall who finally saw to it that

1 For his contentions with Sidgwick about this (and for a characteristic specimen of Sidgwick's delightful and half-humorous reaction to criticism) see Henry Sidgwick : a Memoir, p. 394.

that “never again will a Mrs. Trimmer, a Mrs. Marcet, or a Miss Martineau earn a goodly reputation by throwing economic principles into the form of a catechism or of simple tales, by aid of which any intelligent governess might make clear to the children nestling around her where lies economic truth.” 1 But-much more than this—after his time Economics could never be again one of a number of subjects which a Moral Philosopher would take in his stride, one Moral Science out of several, as Mill, Jevons, and Sidgwick took it. He was the first to take up this professional, scientific attitude to the subject, as something above and outside current controversy, as far from politics as physiology from the general practitioner.

As time went on, Political Economy came to occupy, in Part II of the Moral Sciences Tripos, a position nearer to Marshall's ideal. But he was not satisfied until, in 1903, his victory was complete by the establishment of a separate School and Tripos in Economics and associated branches of Political Science.2

Thus in a formal sense Marshall was Founder of the Cambridge School of Economics. Far more so was he its Founder in those informal relations with many generations of pupils, which played so great a part in his life's work and in determining the course of their lives' work.

To his colleagues Marshall might sometimes seem tiresome and obstinate; to the outside world he might appear pontifical or unpractical; but to his pupils he was, and remained, a true sage and master, outside criticism, one who was their father in the spirit and who gave them such inspiration and comfort as they drew from no other source. Those eccentricities and individual ways, which might stand between him and the world, became, for them, part of what they loved. They built up sagas round him (of which Professor Fay is, perhaps, the chief repository), and were not content unless he were, without concession, his own unique self. The youth are not satisfied, unless their Socrates is a little odd.

It is difficult to describe on paper the effect he produced or his way of doing it. The pupil would come away with an extraordinary feeling that he was embarked on the most interesting and important voyage in the world. He would walk back along the Madingley Road, labouring under more books, which had been taken from the shelves for him as the interview went on, than he could well carry, convinced that here was a subject worthy of his life's study. Marshall's double nature, coming out informally and spontaneously, filled the pupil seated by him with a double illumination. The young man was presented with a standard of intellectual integrity, and with it a disinterestedness of purpose, which satisfied him intellectually and morally at the same time. The subject itself had seemed to grow under the hands of master and pupil, as they had talked. There were endless possibilities, not out of reach. “Everything was friendly and informal,” Mr. Sanger has written of these occasions (Nation, July 19, 1924), “there was no pretence that economic science was a settled affair-like grammar or algebra—which had to be learnt, not criticised; it was treated as a subject in the course of development. When once Alfred Marshall gave a copy of his famous book to a pupil, inscribed 'To —, in the hope that in due course he will render this treatise obsolete,' this was not a piece of mock modesty, but an insistence on his belief that economics was a growing science, that as yet nothing was to be considered as final.”

1 From his article “The Old Generation of Economists and the New," Quarterly Journal of Economics, Jan. 1897.

2 Sidgwick had been finally converted to the idea in 1900, shortly before his death. Marshall's ideals of economic education are set forth in his “ Plea for the Creation of a Curriculum in Economics” and his “ Introduction to the Tripos in Economics. ...'

It must not be supposed that Marshall was undiscriminating towards his pupils. He was highly critical and even sharptongued. He managed to be encouraging, whilst at the same time very much the reverse of flattering. Pupils, in after life, would send him their books with much trepidation as to what he would say or think. The following anecdote of his insight and quick observation when lecturing is told by Dr. Clapham : “You have two very interesting men from your College at my lecture," he said to a College Tutor. “When I come to a very stiff bit, A. B. says to himself, 'This is too hard for me : I won't try to grasp it.' C. D. tries to grasp it but fails,”—Marshall's voice running off on to a high note and his face breaking up into his smile. It was an exact estimate of the two men's intelligences and tempers.

It is through his pupils, even more than his writings, that Marshall is the father of Economic Science as it exists in England to-day. So long ago as 1888, Professor Foxwell was able to write : “Half the economic chairs in the United Kingdom are occupied by his pupils, and the share taken by them in general

« НазадПродовжити »