IT will be seen by reference to the last paper that our present task is to examine the relation of holders of store to holders of currency; and of both to those who hold neither. In order to do this, we must determine on which side we are to place substances such as gold, commonly known as bases of currencv. By aid of previous definitions the reader will now be able to understand closer statements than have vet been possible.
The currency of any country consists of every document acknowledging debt which is transferable in the country. This transferableness depends upon its intelligibility and credit. Its intelligibility depends chiefly on the difficulty of forging anything like it;—its credit much on national character, but ultimately always on the existence of substantial means of meeting its demand.
As the degrees of transferableness are variable (some documents passing only in certain places, and others passing, if at all, for less than their inscribed value), both the mass and, so to speak, fluidity, of the currency, are variable. True or perfect currency flows freely, like a pure stream; it becomes sluggish or stagnant in proportion to the quantity of less transferable matter which mixes with it, adding to its bulk, but diminishing its purity. Substances of intrinsic value, such as gold, mingle also with the currency, and increase, while they modify, its power; these are carried by it as stones are carried by a torrent, sometimes momentarily impeding, sometimes concentrating its force, but not affecting its purity. These substances of intrinsic value may be also stamped or signed so as to become acknowledgments of debt, and then become, so far as they operate independently of their intrinsic value, part of the real currency.
Deferring consideration of minor forms of currency, consisting of documents bearing private signature, we will examine the principle of legally authorized or national currency.
This, in its perfect condition, is a form of public acknowledgment of debt, so regulated and divided that any person presenting a commodity of tried worth in the public market, shall, if he please, receive in exchange for it a document giving him claim for the return of its equivalent, (1) in any place, (2) at any time, and (3) in any kind.
When currency is quite healthy and vital, the persons entrusted with its management are always able to give on demand either—
A. The assigning document for the assigned quantity of goods. OR B. The assigned quantity of goods for the assigning document.
If they cannot give document for goods, the national exchange is at fault.
If they cannot give goods for document, the national credit is at fault.
The, nature and power of the document are therefore to be examined under the three relations which it bears to Place, Time, and Kind.
1. It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth in any Place. Its use in this function is to save carriage, so that parting with a bushel of corn in London, we may receive an order for a bushel of corn for the Antipodes, or elsewhere. To be perfect in this use, the substance of currency must be to the maximum portable, credible, and intelligible. Its non-acceptance or discredit results always from some form of ignorance or dishonour: so far as such interruptions rise out of differences in denomination, there is no ground for their continuance among civilized nations. It may be convenient in one country to use chiefly copper for coinage, in another silver, and in another gold,—reckoning accordingly in centimes, francs, or sequins; but that a French franc should be different in weight from an English shilling, and an Austrian zwanziger vary in weight and alloy from both, is wanton loss of commercial power.
2. It gives claim to the return of equivalent wealth at any Time. In this second use, currency is the exponent of accumulation: it renders the laying up of store at the command of individuals unlimitedly possible;—whereas, but for its intervention, all gathering would be confined within certain limits by the bulk of poverty, or by its decay, or the difficulty of its guardianship. "I will pull down my barns and build greater" cannot be a daily saying; and all material investment is enlargement of care. The national currency transfers the guardianship of the store to many; and preserves to the original producer the right of re-entering on its possession at any future period.
3. It gives claim (practical, though not legal) to the return of equivalent wealth in any Kind. It is a transferable right, not merely to this or that, but to anything; and its power in this function is proportioned to the range of choice. If you give a child an apple or a toy, you give him a determinate pleasure, but if you give him a penny, an indeterminate one, proportioned to the range of selection offered by the shops in the village. The power of the world's currency is similarly in proportion to the openness of the world's fair, and commonly enhanced by the brilliancy of external aspect, rather than solidity of its wares.
We have said that the currency consists of orders for equivalent goods. If equivalent, their quality must be guaranteed. The kinds of goods chosen for specific claim must, therefore, be capable of test, while, also, that a store may be kept in hand to meet the call of the currency, smallness of bulk, with great relative value, is desirable; and indestructibility, over at least a certain period, essential.
Such indestructibility and facility of being tested are united in gold; its intrinsic value is great, and its imaginary value is greater; so that, partly through indolence, partly through necessity and want of organization, most nations have agreed to take gold for the only basis of their currencies; —with this grave disadvantage, that its portability enabling the metal to become an active part of the medium of exchange, the stream of the currency itself becomes opaque with gold —half currency and half commodity, in unison of functions which partly neutralize, partly enhance each other's force.
They partly neutralize, since in so far as the gold is commodity, it is bad currency, because liable to sale; and in so far as it is currency, it is bad commodity, because its exchange value interferes with its practical use. Especially its employment in the higher branches of the arts becomes unsafe on account of its liability to be melted down for exchange.
Again. They partly enhance, since in so far as the gold has acknowledged intrinsic value, it is good currency, because everywhere acceptable; and in so far as it has legal exchangeable value, its worth as a commodity is increased. We want no gold in the form of dust or crystal; but we seek for it coined because in that form it will pay baker and butcher. And this worth in exchange not only absorbs a large quantity in that use, but greatly increases the effect on the imagination of the quantity used in the arts. Thus, in brief, the force of the functions is increased, but their precision blunted, by their unison.
These inconveniences, however, attach to gold as a basis of currency on account of its portability and preciousness. But a far greater inconvenience attaches to it as the only legal basis of currency. Imagine gold to be only attainable in masses weighing several pounds each, and its value, like that of a malachite or marble, proportioned to its largeness of bulk;—it could not then get itself confused with the currency in daily use, but it might still remain as its basis; and this second inconvenience would still affect it, namely, that its significance as an expression of debt, varies, as that of every other article would, with the popular estimate of its desirableness, and with the quantity offered in the market. My power of obtaining other goods for gold depends always on the strength of public passion for gold, and on the limitation of its quantity, so that when either of two things happen that the world esteems gold less, or finds it more easily, my right of claim is in that degree effaced; and it has been even gravely maintained that a discovery of a mountain of gold would cancel the National Debt; in other words, that men may be paid for what costs much in what costs nothing. Now, if it is true that there is little chance of sudden convulsion in this respect, the world will not rapidly increase in wisdom so as to despise despise gold, and perhaps may even desire it more eagerly the more easily it is obtained; nevertheless the right of debt ought not to rest on a basis of Imagination; nor should the frame of a national currency vibrate with every miser's panic and every merchant's imprudence.
There are two methods of avoiding this insecurity, which would have been fallen upon long ago if, instead of calculating the conditions of the supply of gold, men had only considered how the world might live and manage its affairs without gold at all. One is to base the currency on substances of truer intrinsic value; the other, to base it on several substances instead of one. If I can only claim gold, the discovery of a continent of cornfields need not trouble me. If, however, I wish to exchange my bread for other things, a good harvest will for the time limit my power in this respect; but if I can claim either bread, iron, or silk at pleasure, the standard of value has three feet instead of one, and will be proportionally firm. Thus, ultimately the steadiness of currency depends upon the breadth of its base; but the difficulty of organization increasing with this breadth, the discovery of the condition at once safest and most convenient can only be by long analysis which must for the present be deferred. Gold or silver may always be retained in limited use, as a luxury of coinage and questionless standard, of one weight and alloy among nations, varying only in the die. The purity of coinage when metallic, is closely indicative of the honesty of the system of revenue, and even of the general dignity of the State.
Whatever the article or articles may be which the national currency promises to pay, a premium on that article indicates bankruptcy of the Government in that proportion, the division of the assets being restrained only by the remaining confidence of the holders of notes in the return of prosperity to the firm. Incontrovertible currencies, those of forced acceptance, or of unlimited issue, are merely various modes of disguising taxation, and delaying its pressure, until it is too late to interfere with its causes. To do away with the possibility of such disguise would have been among the first results of a true economical science, had any such existed; but there have been too many motives for the concealment, so long as it could by any artifices be maintained, to permit hitherto even the founding of such a science.
And, indeed, it is only through evil conduct, wilfully persisted in, that there is any embarrassment either in the theory or the working of currency. No exchequer is ever embarrassed, nor is any financial question difficult of solution, when people keep their practice honest, and their heads cool. But when Governments lose all office of pilotage, protection, scrutiny, and witness; and live only in magnificence of proclaimed larceny, effulgent mendacity, and polished mendicity; or when the people choosing Speculation (the S usual redundant in the spelling) instead of Toil, pursue no dishonesty with chastisement, that each may with impunity take his dishonest turn; and enlarge their lust of wealth through ignorance of its use, making their harlot of the dust, and setting Earth, the Mother, at the mercy of Earth, the Destroyer, so that she has to seek in hell the children she left; playing in the meadows,—there are no tricks of financial terminology that will save them; all signature and mintage do but magnify the ruin they retard; and even the riches that remain, stagnant or current, change only from the slime of Avernus to the sand of Phlegethon;—quicksand at the embouchure;—land fluently recommended by recent auctioneers as "eligible for building leases."
Finally, then, the power of true currency is fourfold.
1. Credit power. Its worth in exchange, dependent on public opinion of the stability and honesty of the issuer.
2. Real worth. Supposing the gold, or whatever else the currency expressly promises, to be required from the issuer; for all his notes; and that the call cannot be met in full. Then the actual worth of the document (whatever its credit power) would be, and its actual worth at any moment is to be defined as being, what the division of the assets of the issuer, and his subsequent will work, would produce for it.
3. The exchange power of its base. Granting that we can get five pounds in gold for our note, it remains a question how much of other things we can get for five pounds in gold. The more of other things exist, and the less gold, the greater this power.
4. The power over labour, exercised by the given quantity of the base, or of the things to be got for it. The question in this case is, how much work, and (question of questions) whose work, is to be had for the food which five pounds will buy. This depends on the number of the population; on their gifts, and on their dispositions, with which, down to their slightest humours and up to their strongest impulses, the power of the currency varies; and in this last of its ranges, the range of passion, price, or praise (converso in pretium Deo,), is at once least, and greatest.
Such being the main conditions of national currency, we proceed to examine those of the total currency, under the broad definition, "transferable acknowledgment of debt"; among the many forms of which there are in effect only two, distinctly opposed; namely, the acknowledgments of debts which will be paid, and of debts which will not. Documents, whether in whole or part, of bad debt, being to those of good debt as bad money to bullion, we put for the present these forms of imposture aside (as in analysing a metal we should wash it clear of dross), and then range, in their exact quantities, the true currency of the country on one side, and the store or property of the country on the other. We place gold, and all such substances, on the side of documents, as far as they operate by signature;—on the side of store as far as they operate by value. Then the currency represents the quantity of debt in the country, and the store the quantity of its possession. The ownership of all the property is divided between the holders of currency and holders of store, and whatever the claiming value of the currency is at any moment., that value is to be deducted from the riches of the storeholders, the deduction being practically made in the payment of rent for houses and lands, of interest on stock, and in other ways to be hereafter examined.
At present I wish only to note the broad relations of the two great classes—the currency-holders and store-holders. Of course they are partly united, most monied men having possessions of land or other goods; but they are separate in their nature and functions. The currency-holders as a class regulate the demand for labour, and the store-holders the laws of it; the currency-holders determine what shall be produced, and the store-holders the conditions of its production. Farther, as true currency represents by definition debts which will be paid, it represents either the debtor's wealth, or his ability and willingness; that is to say, either wealth existing in his hands transferred to him by the creditor, or wealth which, as he is at some time surely to return it, be is either increasing, or, if diminishing, has the will and strength to reproduce. A sound currency, therefore, as by its increase it represents enlarging debt, represents also enlarging means; but in this curious way, that a certain quantity of it marks the deficiency of the wealth of the country from what it would nave been if that currency had not existed. In this respect it is like the detritus of a mountain; assume that it lies at a fixed angle, and the more the detritus, the larger must be the mountain; but it would have been larger still, had there been none.
Finally, though, as above stated, every man possessing money has usually also some property beyond what is necessary for his immediate wants, and men possessing property usually also hold currency beyond what is necessary for their immediate exchanges, it mainly determines the class to which they belong, whether in their eyes the money is an adjunct of the property, or the property of the money. In the first case, the holder's pleasure is in his possessions, and in his money subordinately, as the means of bettering or adding to them. In the second, his pleasure is in his money, and in his possessions only as representing it. In the first case, the money is as an atmosphere surrounding the wealth, rising from it and raining back upon it; but in the second, it is a deluge, with the wealth floating, and for the most part perishing in it. The shortest distinction between the men is that the one wishes always to buy and the other to sell.
Such being the great relations of the classes, their several characters are of the highest importance to the nation; for on the character of the store-holders depends the preservation, display, and serviceableness of its wealth;—on that of the currency-holders its nature, and in great part its distribution; and on both its production.
The store-holders are either constructive, or neutral, or destructive; and in subsequent papers we shall, with respect to every kind of wealth, examine the relative power of the store-holder for its improvement or destruction; and we shall then find it to be of incomparably greater importance to the nation in whose hands the thing is put, than how much of it is got; and that the character of the holders may be conjectured by the quality of the store, for such and such a thing; nor only asks for it, but if to be bettered, betters it: so that possession and possessor reciprocally act on each other through the entire sum of national possession. The base nation asking for base things sinks daily to deeper vileness of nature and of use; while the noble nation, asking for noble things, rises daily into diviner eminence in both; the tendency to degradation being surely marked by carelessness as to the hands in which things are put, competition for the acquisition of them, disorderliness in accumulation, inaccuracy in reckoning, and bluntness in conception as to the entire nature of possession.
Now, the currency-holders always increase in number and influence in proportion to the bluntness of nature and clumsiness of the store-holders; for the less use people can make of things the more they tire of them, and want to change them for something else, and all frequency of change increases the quantity and power of currency; while the large currency-holder himself is essentially a person who never has been able to make up his mind as to what he will have, and proceeds, therefore, in vague collection and aggregation, with more and more infuriate passion, urged by complacency in progress, and pride in conquest.
While, however, there is this obscurity in the nature of possession of currency, there is a charm in the absoluteness of it, which is to some people very enticing. In the enjoyment of real property others must partly share. The groom has some enjoyment of the stud, and the gardener of the garden; but the money is, or seems shut up; it is wholly enviable. No one else can have part in any complacencies arising from it.
The power of arithmetical comparison is also a great thing to unimaginative people. They know always they are so much better than they were, in money; so much better than others, in money; wit cannot be so compared, nor character. My neighbour cannot be convinced I am wiser than he is, but he can that I am worth so much more, and the universality of the conviction is no less flattering than its clearness. Only a few can understand, none measure, superiorities in other things; but everybody can understand money, and count it.
Now, these various temptations to accumulation would be politically harmless, if what was vainly accumulated had any fair chance of being wisely spent. For as accumulation cannot go on for ever, but must some day end in its reverse—if this reverse were indeed a beneficial distribution and use, as irrigation from reservoir, the fever of gathering, though perilous to the gatherer, might be serviceable to the community. But it constantly happens (so constantly, that it may be stated as a political law having few exceptions), that what is unreasonably gathered is also unreasonably spent by the persons into whose hands it finally falls. Very frequently it is spent in war, or else in stupefying luxury, twice hurtful, both in being indulged by the rich and witnessed by the poor. So that the mal tener and mal dare are as correlative as complementary colours; and the circulation of wealth, which ought to be soft, steady, strong, far-sweeping, and full of warmth, like the Gulf Stream, being narrowed into an eddy, and concentrated on a point, changes into the alternate suction and surrender of Charybdis. Which is, indeed, I doubt not, the true meaning of that marvellous fable, "infinite," as Bacon said of it, "in matter of meditation."
This disease of desire having especial relation to the great art of Exchange, or Commerce, we must, in order to complete our code of first principles, shortly state the nature and limits of that art.
As the currency conveys right of choice out of many things in exchange for one, so Commerce is the agency by which the power of choice is obtained; and countries producing only timber can obtain for their timber silk and gold; or, naturally producing only jewels and frankincense, can obtain for them cattle and corn. In this function commerce is of more importance to a country in proportion to the limitations of its products and the restlessness of its fancy; — generally of greater importance towards Northern latitudes.
Commerce is necessary, however, not only to exchange local products, but local skill. Labour requiring the agency of fire can only be given abundantly in cold countries; labour requiring suppleness of body and sensitiveness of touch only in warm ones; labour involving accurate vivacity of thought only in temperate ones; while peculiar imaginative actions are produced by extremes of heat and cold, and of light and darkness. The production of great art is limited to climates warm enough to admit of repose in the open air, and cool enough to render such repose delightful. Minor variations in modes of skill distinguish every locality. The labour which at any place is easiest, is in that place cheapest; and it becomes often desirable that products raised in one country should be wrought in another. Hence have arisen discussions on "International values", which will be one day remembered as highly curious exercises of the human mind. For it will be discovered, in due course of tide and time, that international value is regulated just as inter-provincial or inter-parishional value is. Coals and hops are exchanged between Northumberland and Kent on absolutely the same principles as iron and wine between Lancashire and Spain. The greater breadth of an arm of the sea increases the cost, but does not modify the principle of exchange; and a bargain written in two languages will have no other economical results than a bargain written in one. The distances of nations are measured not by seas, but by ignorances: and their divisions determined, not by dialects, but by enmities.
Of course, a system of international values may always be constructed if we assume a relation of moral law to physical geography; as, for instance, that it is right to cheat across a river, though not across a road; or across a lake, though not across a river; or over a mountain, though not across a lake, etc.:—again, a system of such values may be constructed by assuming similar relations of taxation to physical geography; as, for instance, that an article should be taxed in crossing a river, but not in crossing a road; or in being carried over a mountain, but not over a ferry, etc.: such positions are indeed not easily maintained when once put in logical form; but one law of international value is maintainable in any form; namely, that the farther your neighbour lives from you, and the less he understands you, the more you are bound to be true in your dealings with him; because your power over him is greater in proportion to his ignorance, and his remedy more difficult in proportion to his distance.
I have just said the breadth of sea increases the cost of exchange. Exchange or commerce, as such, is always costly; the sum of the value of the goods being diminished by the cost of their conveyance, and by the maintenance of the persons employed in it. So that it is only when there is advantage to both producers (in getting the one thing for the other), greater than the loss in conveyance, that the exchange is expedient. And it is only justly conducted when the porters kept by the producers (commonly called merchants) look only for pay, and not for profit. For in just commerce there are but three parties—the two persons or societies exchanging and the agent or agents of exchange: the value of the things to be. exchanged is known by both the exchangers, and each receives equivalent value, neither gaining nor losing (for whatever one gains the other loses). The intermediate agent is paid an equal and known percentage by both, partly, for labour in conveyance, partly for care, knowledge, and risk; every attempt at concealment of the amount of the pay indicates either effort on the part of the agent to obtain exorbitant percentage, or effort on the part of the exchangers to refuse him a just one. But for the most part it is the first, namely, the effort on the part of the merchant to obtain larger profit (so called) by buying cheap and selling dear. Some part, indeed, of this larger gain is deserved, and might be openly demanded, because it is the reward of the merchant's knowledge, and foresight of probable necessity; but the greater part of such gain is unjust; and unjust in this most fatal way, that it depends first on keeping the exchangers ignorant of the exchange value of the articles, and secondly, on taking advantage of the buyer's need and the seller's poverty. It is, therefore, one of the essential, and quite the most fatal, forms of usury; for usury means merely taking an exorbitant sum for the use of anything, and it is no matter whether the exorbitance is on loan or exchange, in rent or in price—the essence of the usury being that it is obtained by advantage of opportunity or necessity, and not as due reward for labour. All the great thinkers, therefore, have held it to be unnatural and impious, in so far as it feeds on the distress of others, or their folly. Nevertheless attempts to repress it by law (in other words, to regulate prices by law so far as their variations depend on iniquity, and not on nature) must for ever be ineffective; though Plato, Bacon, and the First Napoleon—all three of them men who knew somewhat more of humanity than the "British merchant" usually does—tried their hands at it, and have left some (probably) good moderative forms of law, which we will examine in their place. But the only final check upon it must be radical purifying of the national character, for being, as Bacon calls it, "concessum propter duritiem cordis", it is to be done away with by touching the heart only; not however, without medicinal law — as in the case of the other permission, "propter duritiem". But in this, more than in anything (though much in all, and though in this he would not himself allow of their application, for his own laws against usury are sharp enough), Plato's words are true in the fourth book of the "Polity", that neither drugs, nor charms, nor burnings, will touch a deep-lying political sore, any more than a deep bodily one; but only right and utter change of constitution; and that
"they do but lose their labour who think that by any tricks of law they can get the better of these mischiefs of intercourse, and see not that they hew at a Hydra".
And indeed this Hydra seems so unslayable, and sin sticks so fast between the joinings of the stones of buying and selling, that "to trade" in things, or literally "cross-give" them, has warped itself, by the instinct of nations, into their worst word for fraud; for, because in trade there cannot but be trust, and it seems also that there cannot but also be injury in answer to it, what is merely fraud between enemies becomes treacherv among friends: and "trader", "traditor", and "traitor" are but the same word. For which simplicity of anguage there is more reason than at first appears; for as in true commerce there is no "profit", so in true commerce there is no "sale". The idea of sale is that of an interchange between enemies respectively endeavouring to get the better of one another; but commerce is an exchange between friends; and there is no desire but that it should be just, any more than there would be between members of the same family. The moment there is a bargain over the pottage, the family relation is dissolved; — typically "the days of mourning for my father are at hand". Whereupon follows the resolve "then will I slay my brother."
This inhumanity of mercenary commerce is the more notable because it is a fulfillment of the law that the corruption of the best is the worst. For as, taking the body natural for symbol of the body politic, the governing and forming powers may be likened to the brain and the labouring to the limbs, the mercantile, presiding over circulation and communication of things in changed utilities is symbolized by the heart; which, if it harden, all is lost. And this is the ultimate lesson which the leader of English intellect meant for us (a lesson, indeed, not all his own, but part of the old wisdom of humanity), in the tale of the "Merchant of Venice"; in which the true and incorrupt merchant,—kind and free, beyond every other Shakespearean conception of men,—is opposed to the corrupted merchant, or usurer; the lesson being deepened by the expression of the strange hatred which the corrupted merchant bears to the pure one, mixed with intense scorn—
"This is the fool that lent out money gratis; look to him, jailor," (as to lunatic no less than criminal); the enmity, observe, having its symbolism literally carried out by being aimed straight at the heart, and finally foiled by a literal appeal to the great moral law that flesh and blood cannot be weighed, enforced by "Portia" ("Portion"), the type of divine Fortune, found, not in gold, nor in silver, but in lead, that is to say, in endurance and patience, not in splendour; and finally taught by her lips also, declaring, instead of the law and quality of "merces", the greater law and quality of mercy, which is not strained, but drops as the rain, blessing him that gives and him that takes. And observe that this "mercy" is not the mean "Misericordia", but the mighty "Gratia", answered by Gratitude (observe Shylock's leaning on the, to him detestable, word gratis, and compare the relation of Grace to Equity given in the second chapter of the second book of the "Memorabilia") that is to say, it is the gracious or loving, instead of the strained, or competing manner, of doing things, answered, not only with "merces" or pay, but with "merci", or thanks. And this is indeed the meaning of the great benediction, "Grace, mercy, and peace", for there can be no peace without grace (not even by help of rifled cannon), nor even without triplicity of graciousness, for the Greeks, who began with but one Grace, had to open their scheme into three before they had done.
With the usual tendency of long-repeated thought to take the surface for the deep, we have conceived their goddesses as if they only gave loveliness to gesture; whereas their true function is to give graciousness to deed, the other loveliness arising naturally out of that. In which function Charis becomes Charitas and has a name and praise even greater than that of Faith or truth, for these may be maintained sullenly and proudly; but Charis is in her countenance always gladdening (Aglaia), and in her service instant and humble; and the true wife of Vulcan, or Labour. And it is not until her sincerity of function is lost, and her mere beauty contemplated, instead of her patience, that she is born again of the foam flake, and becomes Aphrodite; then only capable of joining herself to War and to the enmities of men, instead of to Labour and their services. Therefore the fable of Mars and Venus is, chosen by Homer, picturing himself as Demodocus, to sing at the games in the Court of Alcinous. Phaeacia is the Homeric island of Atlantis; an image of noble and wise government, concealed, how slightly! merely by the change of a short vowel for a long one in the name of its queen; yet misunderstood by all later writers, even by Horace in his "pinguis, Phaeaxque", etc. That fable expresses the perpetual error of men, thinking that grace and dignity can only be reached by the soldier, and never by the artizan; so that commerce and the useful arts have had the honour and beauty taken away, and only the Fraud and Pain left to them, with the lucre. Which is, indeed, one great reason of the continual blundering about the offices of government with respect to commerce. The higher classes are ashamed to deal with it; and though ready enough to fight for (or occasionally against) the people,—to preach to them,—or judge them, will not break bread for them; the refined upper servant who has willingly looked after the burnishing of the armoury and ordering of the library, not liking to set foot into the larder.
Farther still. As Charis becomes Charitas on the one side, she becomes — better still — Chara, Joy, on the other; or rather this is her very mother's milk and the beauty of her childhood, for God brings no enduring Love, nor any other good, out of pain, nor out of contention; but out of joy and harmony. And in this sense, human and divine, music and gladness, and the measures of both, come into her name; and Cher becomes full-vowelled Cheer, and Cheerful; and Chara, companioned, opens into Choir and Choral.
And lastly. As Grace passes into Freedom of action, Charis becomes Eleutheria, or Liberality; a form of liberty quite curiously and intensely different from the thing usually understood by "Liberty" in modern language; indeed, much more like what some people would call slavery; for a Greek always understood, primarily, by liberty, deliverance from the law of his own passions (or from what the Christian writers call bondage of corruption), and this a complete liberty: not having to resist the passion, but making it fawn upon, and follow him—(this may be again partly the meaning of the fawning beasts about the Circean cave; so, again, George Herbert —
Correct thy passion's spite;
Then may the beasts draw thee to happy light)—
not being merely safe from the Siren, but also unbound from the mast. And it is only in such generosity that any man becomes capable of so governing others as to take true part in any system of national economy. Nor is there any other eternal distinction between the upper and lower classes than this form of liberty, Eleutheria, or benignity, in the one, and its opposite of slavery, Douleia, or malignity, in the other; the separation of these two orders of men, and the firm government of the lower by the higher, being the first conditions of possible wealth and economy in any state,—the Gods giving it no greater gift than the power to discern its freemen, and "malignum spernere vulgus".
The examination of this form of Charis must, therefore, lead us into the discussion of the principles of government in general, and especially of that of the poor by the rich, discovering how the Graciousness joined with the Greatness, or Love with Majestas, is the true Dei Gratia, or Divine Right, of every form and manner of King; i.e., specifically, of the thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, and powers of the earth;—of the thrones, stable, or "ruling", literally right-doing powers ("rex eris, recte si facies"): of the dominations, lordly, edifying, dominant, and harmonious powers; chiefly domestic, over the "built thing", domus, or house; and inherently twofold, Dominus and Domina; Lord and Lady: of the Princedoms, pre-eminent, incipient, creative, and demonstrative powers; thus poetic and mercantile, in the "princeps carmen deduxisse" and the merchant-prince: of the Virtues or Courages; militant, guiding, or Ducal powers; and finally of the Strengths and Forces pure; magistral powers, of the more over the less, and the forceful and free over the weak and servile elements of life.
Subject enough for the next paper involving "economical" principles of some importance, of which, for theme, here is a sentence, which I do not care to translate, for it would sound harsh in English, though, truly, it is one of the tenderest ever uttered by man; which may be meditated over, or rather through, in the meanwhile, by any one who will take the pains: —
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