Зображення сторінки

with meetings of the Social Discussion Society, which the visitor would address. In this way he came to know most of the leading co-operators and Trade Unionists of the past generation. In truth he sympathised with the Labour Movement and with Socialism (just as J. S. Mill had) in every way, except intellectually.1

Marshall was now settled in an environment and in habits which were not to be changed, and we must record in rapid survey the outward events of his life from 1885 to the resignation of his professorship in 1908.

From 1885 to 1890 he was mainly occupied, as we have seen, with the Principles. But the bibliographical note, below, records other activities, particularly his paper before the Industrial Remuneration Conference in 1885, his evidence before the Gold and Silver Commission in 1887-8, and his Presidential Address before the Co-operative Congress in 1889. In the summer of 1890 he delivered his interesting Presidential Address on “Some Aspects of Competition " to the Economic Section of the British Association at Leeds. He was also much occupied with his lectures, and these five years were the most active and productive of his life.

He gave two lectures a week in a general course, and one lecture a week on special theoretical difficulties; but he lectured, as a rule, in only two terms out of three, making about forty-five lectures in the year. Two afternoons a week, from four to seven, Professor Marshall, it was announced, “ will be at home to give advice and assistance to any members of the University who may call on him, whether they are attending his lectures or not.” In the late 'eighties the attendance at his general courses would vary between forty and seventy, and at his special courses half that number. But his methods choked off-more or less deliberately—the less serious students, and as the academic year progressed the attendance would fall to the lower figure.

1 In the Preface to Industry and Trade he wrote :--“For more than a decade, I remained under the conviction that the suggestions, which are associated with the word ' socialism,' were the most important subject of study, if not in the world, yet at all events for me. But the writings of socialists generally repelled me, almost as much as they attracted me; because they seemed far out of touch with realities : and, partly for that reason, I decided to say little on the matter, till I had thought much longer. Now, when old age indicates that my time for thought and speech is nearly ended, I see on all sides marvellous developments of working. class faculty : and, partly in consequence, a broader and firmer foundation for socialistic schemes than when Mill wrote. But no socialistic scheme, yet advanced, seems to make adequate provision for the maintenance of high enterprise and individual strength of character; nor to promise a sufficiently rapid increase in the business plant and other material implements of production. ... It has seemed to me that those have made most real progress towards the distant goal of ideally perfect social organisation, who have concentrated their energies on some particular difficulties in the way, and not spent strength on endeavouring to rush past them."

It was not Marshall's practice to write out his lectures. “He rarely used notes,” Mrs. Marshall writes, except for lectures on Economic History. He sometimes made a few notes before he went to lecture, and thought over them on his way to the class. He said that the reason why he had so many pupils who thought for themselves was that he never cared to present the subject in an orderly and systematic form or to give information. What he cared to do in lectures was to make the students think with him. He gave questions once a week on a part of the subject which he had not lectured over, and then answered the questions in class. He took immense pains in looking over the answers, and used red ink on them freely."1 I think that the informality of his lectures may have increased as time went on. Certainly in 1906, when I attended them, it was impossible to bring away coherent notes. But the above was always his general method. His lectures were not, like Sidgwick's, books in the making. This practice may have contributed, incidentally, to the retardation of his published work. But the sharp distinction which he favoured between instruction by book and oral instruction by lecture was, as he developed it, extraordinarily stimulating for the better men and where the class was not too large. It is a difficult method to employ where the class exceeds forty at the most (my memory of the size of his class when I attended it is of nearer twenty than forty), and it is not suited to students who have no real aptitude or inclination for economics (in whose interest the curricula of the vast Economic Schools of to-day are mainly designed). The following titles of successive courses, soon after he arrived in Cambridge, indicate the ground which he purported to cover : 1885–6. October Term: Foreign Trade and Money. Easter : Speculation, Taxation, etc. (Mill,

IV and V).
1886–7. October : Production and Value.

: Distribution. After the publication of the Principles in 1890, his first task was to prepare the abridgment, entitled Economics of Industry, a

1 I have papers which I wrote for him on which his red-ink comments and criticisms occupy almost as much space as my answers.

This book was frequently reprinted, and revised editions were prepared in 1896 and 1899; 81,000 copies of it have been sold up to date. No. 135.—VOL. XXXIV.


which appeared early in 1892. He also spent much time on the successive revisions of the Principles, the most important changes being introduced in the third edition, published in 1895, and the fifth edition in 1907. It is doubtful whether the degree of improvement effected corresponded to the labour involved. These revisions were a great obstacle to his getting on with what was originally intended to be Volume II. of the Principles.

The main interruption, however, came from his membership of the Royal Commission on Labour, 1891-1894. He welcomed greatly this opportunity of getting into close touch with the raw material of his subject, and he played a big part in the drafting of the Final Report. The parts dealing with Trade Unions, Minimum Wage, and Irregularity of Employment were especially his work.

Meanwhile he was at work on the continuation of the Principles. “But he wasted a great deal of time,” Mrs. Marshall writes, “ because he changed his method of treatment so often. In 1894 he began a historical treatment, which he called later on a White Elephant, because it was on such a large scale that it would have taken many volumes to complete. Later on he used fragments of the White Elephant in the descriptive parts of Industry and Trade."

Marshall's work on the Labour Commission was only one of a series of services to Governmental inquiries. In 1893 he gave evidence before the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor, in which he proposed to associate Charity Organisation Committees with the administration of the Poor Law. Early in 1899 he gave carefully prepared evidence before the Indian Currency Committee. His evidence on monetary theory was in part a repetition of what he had said to the Gold and Silver Commission eleven years earlier, but he himself considered that the new version was an improvement and constituted his best account of the theory of money. The parts dealing with specifically Indian problems were supported by many statistical diagrams. His interest in the economic and currency problems of India had been first aroused during the time at Oxford when it was his duty to lecture to Indian Civil Service Probationers. He was pleased with his detailed realistic inquiries into Indian problems, and the great rolls of Indian charts, not all of which were published, were always at hand as part of the furniture of his study.

1 The concluding chapter on " Trade Unions " goes outside the field of the Principles and incorporates some material from the earlier Economics of Industry.

. He had many devoted Indian (and also Japanese) pupils.

Later in the same year, 1899, he prepared Memoranda on the Classification and Incidence of Imperial and Local Taxes for the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. In 1903, at the height of the Tariff Reform controversy, he wrote, at the request of the Treasury, his admirable Memorandum on “ The Fiscal Policy of International Trade.” This was printed in 1908 as a Parliamentary paper, at the instance of Mr. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, “substantially as it was written originally.” The delay of a critical five years in the date of publication was characteristically explained by Marshall as follows: “Some large corrections of, and additions to, this Memorandum were lost in the post abroad 1 in August 1903; and when I re-read the uncorrected proofs of it in the autumn, I was so dissatisfied with it that I did not avail myself of the permission kindly given to me to publish it independently. The haste with which it was written and its brevity are partly responsible for its lack of arrangement, and for its frequent expression almost dogmatically of private opinion, where careful argument would be more in place. It offends against my rule to avoid controversial matters; and, instead of endeavouring to probe to the causes of causes, as a student's work should, it is concerned mainly with proximate causes and their effects. I elected, therefore, to remain silent on the fiscal issue until I could incorporate what I had to say about it in a more careful and fuller discussion; and I am now engaged on that task. But it proceeds slowly; and time flies.”

Marshall's growing inhibitions are exposed in these sentences. The difficulties of bringing him to the point of delivering up his mind's possessions were getting almost insuperable. In 1908 he resigned his Professorship, in the hope that release from the heavy duties of lecturing and teaching might expedite matters.


During his twenty-three years as Professor, he took part in three important movements, which deserve separate mentionthe foundation of the British Economic Association (now the Royal Economic Society), the Women's Degrees Controversy at Cambridge, and the establishment of the Cambridge Economics Tripos.

1. The circular entitled “ Proposal to Form an English

1 They were stolen by a local post-mistress in the Tyrol for the sake of the stamps on the envelope.

Economic Association,” which was the first public step towards the establishment of our own body, was issued on Oct. 24, 1890, over the sole signature of Alfred Marshall, though, of course, with the co-operation of others. It invited all lecturers on Economics in any University or public College in the United Kingdom, the members of the Councils of the London, Dublin and Manchester Statistical Societies, and the members of the London Political Economy Club, together with a few other persons, including members of the Committee of Section F of the British Association, to attend a private meeting at University College, London, on Nov. 20, 1890, under the Chairmanship of Lord Goschen, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, “ to discuss proposals for the foundation of an Economic Society or Association, and, in conjunction therewith, of an Economic journal.” This initial circular letter lays down the general lines which we have actually pursued during the thirty-four years of our existence. The only vocal dissentient to the proceedings was Mr. G. Bernard Shaw, who, whilst approving everything else, suggested, “ with all respect to Mr. Goschen, that the head of the Association should not be a gentleman who was identified with any political party in the State." It is interesting to record that of the original members of our Council, elected thirty-four years ago, the following still

1 Marshall signed, I think, primarily in his capacity as President of the Economics Section of the British Association for 1890, at that year's meeting of which the need for the establishment of an Economic journal had been strongly urged.

· The chief difference of opinion, discovered at the outset, regarding the Society's scope, was indicated as follows : “Almost the only question on which a difference of opinion has so far shown itse is whether or not the Associati should be open to all those who are sufficiently interested in Economics to be willing to subscribe to its funds. . . . There are some who think that the general lines to be followed should be those of an English • learned Society,' while others would prefer those of the American Economic Association, which holds meetings only at rare intervals, and the membership of which does not profess to confer any sort of diploma.” At the meeting a resolution was carried unanimously, proposed by Mr. Courtney and supported by Professor Sidgwick and Professor Edgeworth, “ that any person who desires to further the aims of the Association, and is approved by the Council, be admitted to membership.” The wording of our constitution shows some traces of compromise between the two ideas, but in practice the precedent of the American Economic Association has always been followed.

• Mr. Bernard Shaw was active in the economic world in those days. In 1888 Sidgwick, who was President of the Economics Section of the British Association in that year, wrote: “The Committee had invited a live Socialist, red-hot ‘from the streets,' as he told us, who sketched in a really brilliant address the rapid series of steps by which modern society is to pass peacefully into social democracy. ... There was a peroration rhetorically effective as well as daring. . . . Altogether a noteworthy performance—the man's name is Bernard Shaw. Myers says he has written books worth reading." (Henry Sidgwick : a Memoir, p. 497.)

« НазадПродовжити »