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CHAPTER X.: 1874–1876. - William Stanley Jevons, Letters and Journal 
Letters and Journal of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife (Harriet A. Jevons) (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886).
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ThePrinciples of Science, a treatise on logic and scientific method, was published at the beginning of February 1874. In this book, which had occupied years of thought and labour, Mr. Jevons had fully developed his logical system, of which he had given a preliminary account in the Substitution of Similars. The design of the book was to detect the general methods of inductive investigation, and to show that the “more elaborate and interesting processes of quantitative induction have their necessary foundation in the simpler science of formal logic.” The frontispiece was an engraving of his logical machine, which, as well as his logical abecedarium, he fully described in the course of the work. In the preface to the first edition Mr. Jevons says, “The study both of formal logic, and of the theory of probabilities, has led me to adopt the opinion that there is no such thing as a distinct method of induction as contrasted with deduction, but that induction is simply an inverse employment of deduction. … I endeavour to show that hypothetical anticipation of nature is an essential part of inductive inquiry, and that it is the Newtonian method of deductive reasoning, combined with elaborate experimental verification, which has led to all the great triumphs of deductive research.” In the chapters on “The use of Hypothesis,” on “Empirical Knowledge, Explanation and Prediction,” on “Accordance of Quantitative Theories and Experiments,” and on “The Character of an Experimentalist,” he illustrated what he said so fully, with examples drawn from various physical sciences, as to cause considerable surprise to those who were unaware how much he had studied physical science in his youth. The concluding chapter of the work consists of “Reflections on the Results and Limits of Scientific Method,” and in the preface to the first edition he thus refers to it:—
“In certain concluding remarks I have expressed the conviction, which the study of logic has by degrees forced upon my mind, that serious misconceptions are entertained by some scientific men as to the logical value of our knowledge of nature. We have heard much of what has been aptly called the Reign of Law, and the necessity and uniformity of natural forces has been not uncommonly interpreted as involving the non-existence of an intelligent and benevolent power, capable of interfering with the course of natural events. Fears have been expressed that the progress of scientific method must therefore result in dissipating the fondest beliefs of the human heart. Even the ‘Utility of Religion’ is seriously proposed as a subject of discussion. It seemed to be not out of place in a work on scientific method to allude to the ultimate results and limits of that method. I fear that I have very imperfectly succeeded in impressing my strong conviction that before a vigorous logical scrutiny the reign of law will prove to be an unverified hypothesis, the uniformity of nature an ambiguous expression, the certainty of our scientific inferences to a great extent a delusion. The value of science is of course very high, while the conclusions are kept well within the limits of the data on which they are founded, but it is pointed out that our experience is of the most limited character compared with what there is to learn, while our mental powers seem to fall infinitely short of the task of comprehending and explaining fully the nature of any one object I draw the conclusion that we must interpret the results of scientific method in an affirmative sense only. Ours must be a truly positive philosophy, not that false negative philosophy which, building on a few material facts, presumes to assert that it has compassed the bounds of existence, while it nevertheless ignores the most unquestionable phenomena of the human mind and feelings.”
To his sister Lucy.
Arles, 28th January 1874.
“You may perhaps have been surprised not to hear from me sooner, but when travelling I become lazy as regards everything else. You may also perhaps be surprised to find that we are yet some days' journey from Italy at our rate of progress.
“Since we left London we have slept at Dover, Calais, Paris, Lyons, Avignon, Nismes, and now are staying a night here in a large old-fashioned room, with a wood fire. The Mistral, or north wind, from which they suffer here, is blowing terribly hard—a cold dry wind with clouds of dust and a clear sky; but I think it agrees with me, as I have become remarkably strong, after being quite knocked up by a single day in London. We took our journey very easily at first, and stayed five days in Paris, at a comfortable hotel of no great size in the Rue St Honoré, called the Grand Hôtel de Normandie, which was almost exclusively English.
“I showed Harriet a few things in Paris, such as Père la Chaise, the museum of the Hôtel de Cluny, the Pantheon, Sainte Chapelle, etc. It is sad to see the buildings burnt down, especially the Tuileries, the interior of which we fortunately saw when last in Paris. Nearly all the buildings, however, are being gradually rebuilt, and even the Column in the Place Vendôme is rising again just as before.
“During the last few days we have been greatly pleased with our visits to the ancient towns of Avignon, Nismes, and to-day of Aries. I do not know whether you stayed at any of them on your way to Italy, but they are well worth seeing, both for the Roman antiquities and the mediaeval air which still remains about the first and third. I was greatly pleased by seeing the perfect walls of Avignon, and the vast Palace of the Popes is a terrible building, with the dungeons of the Inquisition, where 2100 persons were put to death during the French Revolution of 1791. While at Avignon we drove a short distance out of the town to see the tomb and house of J. S. Mill. We found the tomb a very plain marble structure, an oblong raised slab bearing the celebrated epitaph on his wife. His own epitaph, we were told, was to be shortly cut on the side. The tomb lies in a quiet nook of the cemetery, in an angle formed by some hedges of cypress, and it is surrounded by a railing enclosing a small garden, with a little walk, both of which bore signs of much care. There were flowers in bloom, and glasses to cover them, and a basket and trowel for gardening. It seems that Miss Taylor is now living at Avignon, and visits the tomb every day, and no doubt does the requisite gardening. The house was not half a mile off, in the flat and least wholesome and interesting part of the country near Avignon. It was a very plain little country house, a hundred yards off the road, with which it was connected by a strip of garden, with lopped trees. There was nothing attractive about it. The large old-fashioned hotel (Hôtel de l'Europe) at which we stayed two nights in Avignon was the one where Mrs. Mill died, and it seems that he carried away the furniture of the small room in which she died, and afterwards constantly frequented the house, coming there to chat with the landlady, Madame Pierrow. I daresay these details about Mill will interest you, though I cannot myself approve of such a morbid attachment to the dead.
“At Nismes we were much pleased with the grand Roman amphitheatre, nearly complete, and the Roman temple, which is quite so. To-day we have had again a great treat, in a series of antiquities, ranging downwards from the times of the emperors, including an amphitheatre even greater than that of Nismes, the remains of a Roman theatre, a cathedral one thousand years old, cloisters, of which the four sides have been built at four different ages, from the ninth to the sixteenth century, all sides being remarkable for the curious carvings or the beauty of their architecture. The most unique thing in the town, however, is the ancient cemetery, commenced by the Romans, and carried on by the Christians, from which thousands of stone coffins have been dug out, many of them richly carved, and full of various antiquities.
“We propose to go on to-morrow to Cannes or Nice, and to make our way without much farther delay to Florence and Rome. …
“Gladstone's recent move has somewhat astonished us, and I cannot approve of the immense proposed reduction of taxation. Both this and the sudden dissolution seem to me an extreme measure for securing Liberal support, and I shall not be surprised if he succeeds.
“I am now going down to examine some Roman catacombs said to exist under the hotel. By the bye, there are two columns and a corner of a Roman temple built into the front wall of our room.
“The catacombs were worth seeing, consisting of extensive arched vaults of undoubted Roman work, with a good supply of bones.”
To his sister Lucy.
Genoa, 5th February 1874.
“I received your letter at the post office here yesterday afternoon, and feel that the news about Herbert has quite cast a gloom over things. I was so pleased the month before with his cheerful letter and agreeable prospects; but now I fear there is something seriously wrong with him, though it may be any one of a hundred things, and it is useless trying to guess what it is. …
“Until this sad letter about Herbert came, our travels were proceeding most pleasantly. We spent three or four days most agreeably at Mentone, which is a charming place, and the weather was perfect. You will perhaps be surprised to hear that I visited the gambling house at Monaco, and tried my hand on a very small scale, winning about a pound. It makes one realise what an evil such a place is, and one cannot but regret the more that it is situated in one of the most lovely spots on earth, more beautiful even than Mentone. We have been one day in Genoa, and have seen a good deal of it; there is much that has interested me greatly, and the view of the place from the harbour is superb; but the architecture of the palaces and most of the churches, so far as I have seen them, is most disappointing. We shall see a little more of Genoa this afternoon, and then leave for Alessandria on the way to Florence. Our only address now will be care of Miss Smith, 93 Piazza di Spagna, Rome.
“The Hôtel de Genes, in which we are, is a very good one, made out of an old palace, with fine marble staircases. Our bedroom is a great lofty chamber with painted and vaulted roofs, and yet the charges seem moderate. At Mentone we were in a quiet but most agreeable hotel, called the Hôtel des Iles Britanniques. At Nice we were less fortunate, and only stayed one night, and possibly this has caused us to have an unfavourable opinion of the town compared with Mentone.”
To his sister Lucy.
93 PiazzadiSpagna, Rome, 20th February 1874.
“At last we are in Rome, having arrived here last night by the only train from Leghorn. …
“We spent one whole day and two nights in Leghorn, and of course visited the cemetery, which I found close to the railway station. After a few minutes' search I discovered my father's grave, and was glad to observe that it was in perfect preservation. The railing of which you spoke has, indeed, never been added, but I like the plain marble slab and the simple inscription. At the foot was a flourishing little shrub of laurustinus and at the head a rose tree, which was vigorous but rather straggling. I pruned it down a little into better shape, and I brought away a bud from the rose and a flower from the laurustinus, which Harriet thought you might like to have. … I felt glad to have seen my father's grave, and found it in perfectly good condition. The cemetery is a pleasant little one, and is well enclosed and kept. The rose and laurustinus will both live a long time, especially the former, and the latter hardly looked like an old shrub.
“We have got a capital room here, and we shall probably like Miss Smith's pension very well, though they were having some sort of horrid reception evening when we turned up cold and tired from our long railway journey. Harriet is a little overdone to-day, but I do not think it is more than a little fatigue. I am also not very lively, and our first day in Rome has not been enthusiastic. This morning we went down to the Forum, the Coliseum, and other parts of old Rome, for an hour or two, but this afternoon have done nothing.
“We had a very agreeable visit of three or four days to Florence, where we saw a great deal in the time; and finished up on Sunday by walking about five or six hours, including a beautiful walk out of town to Galileo's Tower and the Hill of San Miniato, from both of which places the views were lovely. This walk, however, knocked us both up for the first time in this tour.
“We were one day at Pisa, staying one night at the Grand Hotel Peverada facing the river, close to the principal bridge. I think it must have been either the one at which my father died or next to it. With the cathedral and surrounding building I was, as you may imagine, very much pleased. I ought to say that since I last wrote we had to change our tour to agree with circular tickets with much reduced prices which I had bought, and which obliged us to go from Genoa by Turin and Milan to Venice.
“We stayed at Venice three or four days at a very comfortable hotel near the Piazza, and looking over the end of the Grand Canal. We found ourselves there in the company of two princes, three princesses, and quite a number of counts and countesses; and I was much relieved at the end of the time to find the bill distinctly moderate, though one of the waiters informed me that a countess had expressed herself in strong terms of a contrary opinion. I was much pleased with Venice naturally, though sorry to come to the conclusion that it is doomed to sink into ruins by degrees. One-fourth of the inhabitants are paupers, and it is difficult to tell what the remainder live upon except for visitors. I had a pleasant look into some of the manuscripts of the fine old library of St. Mark's; I also visited the National Library of Florence, and am going to try to get into the Vatican Library here. …
“You will perhaps have seen by advertisements that the Principles of Science is published. I hear from Macmillan that the first sales were 170 in England, which with the American sale might make 200. This is not much towards selling an edition of 1250, and I am not sanguine about the success of the book in a pecuniary sense. I have requested Macmillan to send you a copy, and you ought to have received it before you get this.
“21st February … We have both of us been remarkably well and active, and the cold frosty weather we have hitherto had in Italy has suited me well, though it was rather too cold to be agreeable, and in Venice almost prevented us from indulging in gondolas. …”
To E. J. Broadfield, Esq.
Pension, Miss Smith, 93 PiazzadiSpagna, Rome, 22d February 1874.
“… We have had so far a glorious journey, and have visited a number of towns. We stayed successively at Paris, Lyons, Avignon, Nismes, Aries, Nice, Mentone, Genoa, Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Leghorn; and we have now the prospect of several weeks to spend in Rome and Naples before returning to Florence and Milan on our way homewards. Possibly we may also visit the Italian lakes. We were much pleased with the old French towns, and at Avignon we made a pilgrimage to the tomb and house of Mill.
“Rome, 3d March.—Excuse the long interval between the first and last parts of this letter. I am never inclined for writing whilst travelling, and since being here have been knocked up by too much exertion in sight-seeing. We are having, nevertheless, a very enjoyable time of it. The ancient sculpture pleases me exceedingly, and strikes me as the perfection of art. Both the Capitoline and the Vatican Museums are delightful; I cannot say the same of the frescoes and pictures. Having now seen what are considered to be the finest pictures in the world, I venture to come to the opinion, in which I suppose I am nearly alone, that the mediæval art was for the most part a delusion. I always supposed that Michael Angelo was a wonderful man; but having seen both his frescoes and his architecture I give him up. His sculpture is rather better, but does not for a moment compare with the antique sculpture. As to other artists, their interminable succession of Madonnas and martyrs undergoing all sorts of operations are wearisome when they are not revolting. My own opinion is that a great deal which is now thought so wonderfully beautiful will one or two centuries hence be classed with the architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as absurd and degraded; but it is hardly likely that we shall live to see the end of the delusion. No doubt you will say that over-much study of logic has blunted my sense of the beautiful, but I hope I have some perception of the beautiful in music; and with the ancient Greek and Roman art I am charmed.
“In architecture also I am often disappointed in Italy. While some of the earlier buildings, like the Campanile at Florence, are the most beautiful things I have ever seen, others are disgusting. The façade of St. Peter's, for instance, is to my mind a wretched production, and the whole building has little beyond size to recommend it. Some of the earlier churches are very beautiful; and I was much pleased with the ancient church of San Zeno at Verona. As regards Roman antiquities, we have already seen many of the principal, but more of course remain. They are now excavating the arena of the Coliseum, and are discovering brick and stone work under the whole of it—curious elliptical walls and passages in various directions. The antiquarians are already inventing explanations of them, but it must be a matter of some difficulty.
“We have of course been much surprised and disgusted with the course of politics in England. I do not wonder that Gladstone proposes to take up philology as his future occupation; but I do not think the English people will long tolerate the reign of Disraeli and the publicans. No doubt the Nonconformists and teetotallers have done their best to bring about the present state of things, and they will reap the natural result of their obstinacy. What I least like in the whole business is Gladstone's offer to make an enormous remission of taxation, which I am sure is against his own better judgment, and contrary to opinions he expressed some years ago in one or two private letters to myself.”
To his sister Lucy.
93 PIAZZAdiSpagna, Rome, 3d March 1874.
“… We are having, on the whole, a very pleasant time in Rome, though I have been much knocked up and unable to see half as much as I should like; but I am now coming round again. We have seen most of the important antiquities already, and some of the galleries. The sculpture galleries of the Vatican and Capitol are delightful places, and we are going again to the former this afternoon. The frescoes and pictures I do not generally care for, and often let Harriet go to them alone. I think there is a great deal of false art in them, and much that is wearisome and disgusting, but the sculpture is all variety, and generally most beautiful, and it is the only sculpture I ever cared for.
“It would be impossible to tell you about a quarter of what we have seen. We have only as yet been two drives outside the walls, once to the Basilica and catacombs of St. Agnese, which were very interesting, and once to some curious Roman tombs. There is now a sharp cold wind blowing, which renders much driving undesirable.”
Mr. Jevons visited the Vatican library with great pleasure, but as he continued to feel unwell, he shortened his stay in Rome, and the proposed excursion to Naples was given up. On the way north they stopped a day or two at Perugia, where he went to the public library and examined the old logical MSS. with much interest; and at Milan he spent all his available time in the Ambrosian library. At Bologna he saw Raphael's celebrated picture of St. Cecilia, of which he expressed an unqualified admiration both in subject and execution. It is to be regretted that there is no letter giving an account of his visit to Ravenna, which made an indelible impression upon his mind. Years afterwards he wrote in his article on the “Use and Abuse of Museums,” “Who that sees some of the reproductions of the mosaics of Ravenna hanging high up on the walls of the Museum at South Kensington, can acquire therefrom the faintest idea of the mysterious power of those long lines of figures in the Church of St. Apollinaris?” After a brief but delightful visit to the Italian lakes they went by way of the Mont Cenis tunnel to Paris.
To his brother Tom.
Withington, Manchester, 19th April 1874.
“Although I have a great many other letters requiring answers, I must defer them until I have written at least a short letter, although it is but to tell you what you must know, that I have been grievously distressed about poor Herbert's death. The fears I had entertained about the nature of his illness had been somewhat removed by his later letters, so that I was quite expecting to see him in England within a few weeks from this time, and I was planning how we could best arrange for his comfort and restoration. The letter therefore which I received in Paris from John was quite a shock, and joined to a rather disquieting report of Lucy's health led us to travel to Ludlow with much speed. …
“Of poor Herbert's end I have tried to take the most cheerful view, that it was probably not a very painful one, and that the sudden termination undoubtedly relieved him from much suffering. Judging from his letters, I cannot suppose that he had felt any very acute pain, which must have earlier convinced him of the hopeless nature of his illness.
“… I have been reading over with painful interest the letters which I had from him for years back, which are not many. I am inclined to find some comfort in the belief that the later years of his life, in spite of disappointments and misfortunes, were his happiest. … I do not think that he was ever really solitary and purely unhappy. I feel sure he was the most sociable of us all, possibly excepting Lucy, and his days were occupied between bank work during the morning and afternoon, and music, theatres, games of whist, billiards, etc., or occasional dances in the evening. No doubt, as he said in one letter, his life was a dull routine, but so it is for a great many people, and I have little doubt that the free and easy society which arises in new colonial towns may have suited him better than the slow heavy society of English towns.
“There is probably sufficient difference of age between us to prevent you from having as long a recollection of him as myself. My recollections, indeed, are not very vivid, in especial before 1850, when I lodged with him in London. Ever since that time I have felt constant sorrow for his state of health, and more or less anxiety as to what might come of it. … But there is one most pleasant feature in his recent letters. They all show with what courage and strength of mind he was bearing disappointments and misfortunes of various kinds, and at last encountering the certainty of a painful death. All his fickleness of mind seemed to have gone, and he stuck to his post until it was too late to see us again, though we may hope that he had no idea how suddenly his end would come. …”
To George H. Darwin, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester, 22d April 1874.
“For more than three months past I have been travelling on the Continent, Your letter of 12th February was forwarded to me, and I was very glad to find that you now allow the correctness, in a certain point of view, of my mode of representing the rate of interest. You will remember that I never denied the correctness of your own formula, which arises from the supposition of different conditions. The question really is, therefore, which conditions most accurately correspond to those of actual industry, and though I have still a prejudice in favour of my own, and like very much the simplicity of the result, I do not propose at present to attempt to decide the question, but shall preserve your solution for the time, if ever, when I approach the subject anew.
“Let me also now thank you for the copy of your paper in the Contemporary Review on Mill's views of capital. I read it, when received, with great interest, and agreed with it cordially. I hope we may see many contributions to the theory of economy from you, for I think I could count on the fingers of one hand those in England who really give any contributions of the sort.
“When I reached home a few days ago I was sorry to find that your circular concerning the marriages of cousins had been lying here quite unnoticed. I need hardly say that if I had been at home it would have been promptly returned. I now send it in the hope that it is not altogether too late. Although I am sufficiently acquainted with the genealogical details of a very great number of relatives, either of my own or my wife's, I cannot find that there has been more than one marriage of cousins, that included in the accompanying return from my wife. There has been no marriage at all of two persons with similar surnames, so far as I can ascertain. At first sight I did not perceive the purpose of the return and the method of inquiry, but I presume you intend to count up in newspapers, or other lists of marriages, the comparative number of marriages of similar names to whole number of marriages, and thus by a double ratio to obtain proportional frequency of cousins' marriages. It seems a happy device.”
To Professor Léon Walras, Lausanne.
Manchester, 12th May 1874.
“Pray accept my best thanks for your kindness in sending me a copy of your Memoir, and for the very courteous letter in which you draw my attention to it. When your letter came I had, indeed, already noticed in the Journal des Economistes your very remarkable theory. I felt the greater interest in the subject because my own speculations have led me in the same direction, now for the last twelve years or more. It is satisfactory to me to find that my theory of exchange, which, when published in England, was either neglected or criticised, is practically confirmed by your researches. I do not know whether you are acquainted with my writings on the subject All the chief points of my mathematical theory were clear to my own mind by the year 1862, when I drew up a brief account of it, which was read at the meeting of the British Association at Cambridge, as you will learn from the report of the meeting ('Reports of Sections,' p. 158). A very brief abstract was then alone inserted in the report, but the original paper was printed in the journal of the London Statistical Society in 1866, vol. xxix. p. 282. I beg to forward you, by book post, a copy of this paper. Finally, in 1871, I caused to be published by Messrs. Macmillan and Company an octavo volume called the Theory of Political Economy, in which is given a full explanation of the theory, with the aid of mathematical symbols. I shall be glad to learn whether you are yet acquainted with this work, since, if you are not, I shall be happy to present you with a copy. You will find, I think, that your theory substantially coincides with and confirms mine, although the symbols are differently chosen, and there are incidental variations. You will see that the whole theory rests on the notion (section 8 of your paper) that the utility of a commodity is not proportional to its quantity; what you call the rarity of a commodity appears to be exactly what I called the coefficient of utility at first, and afterwards the degree of utility, which, as I also explained, was really the differential coefficient of the utility considered as the function of the quantity of commodity. The theory of exchange is given in section 14 of my paper, and may be considered to be contained in one sentence. An equation may thus be established on either side between the utility gained and sacrificed at the ratio of exchange of the whole commodities, upon the last increments exchanged.
“Now, in my book of 1871, I show fully how this theory may be expressed in symbols. If there be two persons, A and B, of whom A holds the quantity a of one commodity, and B holds b of another, then I give the equation of exchange in the form in which x is the unknown quantity which A gives to B in exchange for y. It follows that is equivalent to your pa or pb, namely, the price current or ratio of exchange. Again, y1(a - x) means the degree of utility, of so much as he has handed over to B. Now these degrees of utility are exactly equivalent to your rarities, and your equation is identically the same in meaning with my own form of statement. Indeed, when the meaning of the terms is explained, your proposition ‘Les prix courants ou prix d'equilibre sont égaux aux rapports des raretés’ is seen to coincide precisely with my theory, except that you do not point out how many equations are requisite, or how many unknown quantities there are.
“The publication of your paper as it now stands is very satisfactory, in so far as it tends to confirm my belief in the correctness of the theory, but it might lead to misapprehensions as to the originality and priority of its publication. I shall therefore take it as a favour if you will kindly inform me whether you are sufficiently acquainted with my writings, or whether you would desire me to forward a copy of my Theory of Political Economy.
“With many thanks for your kindness in bringing the Memoir to my notice, and with much admiration for the clear manner in which you have treated the subject, believe me,” etc.
To his brother Tom.
Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester, 14th May 1874.
“I agree with you that it is not well to think much of the past, which is for us in many ways so melancholy. We have enough to think about and do in the present. You will, however, wish to hear the details of poor Herbert's death, which I have now received in a letter from Dr. Coughtrey, of which I enclose a copy. It is quite evident that he died almost instantaneously. …
“Thanks for the copy of the New York Tribune. I have received two other copies of the same from other people. I have also the Times and Post. I like the Tribune notice very well, and that in the Times is not bad. The reviews here are very slow in speaking, if they mean to speak at all. Having sent a copy to Gladstone, I have had a very pleasant and interesting letter on the theological part.
“… I have been rather troubled about my professorship and monetary arrangements, but shall probably continue, on condition of having no evening lectures this next session. I very nearly resigned. I am at present commencing in a very leisurely way my book for the International Scientific Series, upon the subject, Money, and the Mechanism of Exchange. As I look forward to an American demand, I must show some knowledge of the American markets and currency. There was a book I once presented to you, or lent, upon the New York Money Market. Can you post it back to me, or at all events give me the title, since it is essential to me, containing an account of the New York Clearing House? I am ordering Sumner's History of the American Currency, but if you can come across any other books relating to American money and banking, I should much like to have them or the titles. I should also be glad if you would explain to me the exact position of the American currency at the present moment, and the relation between the greenbacks and the. National Bank currency. Of course I have noticed and rejoiced over the veto of the Inflation Bill, which has saved America from a gigantic job and blunder.”
To Professor Léon Walras.
Owens College, Manchester, 30th May 1874.
“I have now been in possession, for two or three days, of part of the proofs of your work on the Theorie de la Richesse Sociale, which you have been so good as to send me, and I have already read a considerable portion of them with much admiration. Before attempting to form any final opinion as to whether there are important points of difference between our views or not, I should like to have more time to study and reflect upon your printed chapters, and also to see the remainder of the work. But I cannot delay expressing the pleasure with which I find that we have by independent paths reached conclusions which are nearly if not quite the same. I flatter myself with the hope that the unity of our results arises from the best cause, namely, that we have both reached the truth, which must be one. After receiving your very friendly letter of 23d May, and after seeing a full statement of your mode of arriving at the equations of exchange, I cannot for a moment entertain the least doubt of the entire independence of your own researches as regards my own.
“As to the question of priority of publication, it is of course of less importance than that of the truth of the theory itself. But I confess that I have always in my own mind attached much importance to this mathematical theory of economy, believing it to be the only basis upon which an ultimate reform of the science of political economy can be founded and a solution of many difficult problems effected. I cannot, therefore, help accepting your very kind offer to make known in the Journal des Economistes or otherwise the fact that I had already gone over part of the same ground as yourself, although in a different manner. I must add that I feel it to be most honourable in you, after seeing merely the brief sketch of my theory as printed in the Statistical Journal for 1866, to acknowledge at once my priority on some points; and I shall be glad to learn your opinion of the much fuller statement of my views contained in the Theory of Political Economy, of which I have lately posted you a copy.
“For my own part I shall have much pleasure in doing what I can to make known in England your own excellent statement of the theory of exchange, and to show my high estimation of your friendly conduct, I trust that the theory of exchange will thus become the origin of the exchange between us of many, friendly letters.”
To his sister Lucy.
122 Gower Street, London, W.C.
“We are settled in comfortable lodgings at the above address, and shall probably be here for a week longer. I think we shall have a good time of it, and I combine a little business with a good deal of pleasure. This evening I go to dine with the Political Economy Club for the first time since they made me an honorary member, but the subject is one about India, on which I do not see how I can have anything to say. To-morrow I am going to the annual visitation of the Greenwich Observatory, when one has a good opportunity of seeing the place. …
“The worst of coming to London is that it makes me wish to live here altogether, the libraries are so attractive. I have already been once to the Royal Academy, and like the show of pictures much on the whole, including the celebrated picture of Miss Thompson. I am probably going again this afternoon.
To his brother Tom.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 19th June 1874.
“Your agreeable letter of 14th June was received a few days since. I need hardly have said that it was agreeable, as yours are always so, and serve to cheer me.
“Thanks for sending the books. … I think you are quite right in deferring any remarks on American Currency until there is something fixed. It will be next year before the book is done, I feel sure. In the meantime there are many little points you might inquire into, quite useful in any case. I want to know—
“1. What is the nature of a certified cheque as used in New York?
“2. Are they much used, and are they used in other towns of United States?
“3. When a cheque is certified, is the banker justified or obliged to retain a sufficient deposit on the part of the drawer to provide for it; or is it merely a kind of general acceptance of a bill upon himself, that is, the banker?
“It might be very useful if you could get access to the banker's clearing house in New York, and send me a few notes as to how they do the business—especially whether they still make payments in coin or notes. If you could get copies of the paper forms employed, it would be very valuable.
“I have lately visited the London clearing house by the aid of Sir John Lubbock, and have been much interested both in that and the small Manchester one. I should also like to know whether any, and if so, what coins circulate in the States now?
“We spent nearly two weeks in London pleasantly for the most part. …
“I am going again into the subject of mortality, and the effect of the Irish population on mortality in English towns. The volume of the United States Census which you gave me has just supplied some data quite countenancing my theory. Thus in the States of higher mortality the proportion of Irish deaths to all deaths is 8 per cent. In the States of lower mortality the proportion of Irish deaths is only 2 per cent, a very striking difference, which quite accords with other facts. Applying the same kind of calculation to German deaths the proportions are 4.4 per cent and 3.0, showing little evidence of any connection.
“I hope your estimate of the Principles of Science may prove true in some degree. I have seen a letter from a scientific old lady, Miss Wedgwood, the niece of Charles Darwin, who seems greatly pleased with it. The reviews hang fire very much. I quite agree with you that the Saturday Reviewer failed to see the connection between the parts of the book altogether.
“I will consider what you urge about a tax on coal. It is much the same as the proposal of Sir Rowland Hill in a paper read to the London Statistical Society, December 1873, vol. xxxvi. p. 565. The paper was not favourably received, and it would be worth your while to read the discussion if you can meet with the journal. I do not feel quite sure about the matter, but must make up my mind, as I have proposed the point for discussion at the Political Economy Club, and suppose I shall have to argue it some time next session.
“I think I can detect a gradual improvement in my health. I still frequently knock myself up, but recover much more rapidly than before, which seems to me a good sign.
“At present I feel ovenvhelmed with things to do, and our frequent absences from home waste so much time. I have arranged with the college to continue for a session without evening work, leaving future arrangements unsettled.”
To his brother Tom.
Withington, Manchester, 29th June 1874.
“We sail for Norway on 3d July, and I must write a note to say good-bye before we go.
“I have been enjoying much some volumes of music I bought lately, being the trios, quartettes, and violin duets of Beethoven, arranged for the piano, and published in Litolf's edition of his works. You should buy them by all means, and after a little practice you will find them, as might be expected, full of delightful music, not more difficult than his pianoforte sonatas, and of a lighter character in general.
“As regards the book on money, I have now partially promised to have it done by Christmas, so that I should like to know something about American currency, say by October. I have noticed what is said in the papers of recent Bills in Congress. So far as I can make out, they are going to withdraw greenbacks, and leave National Bank currency almost unrestricted. Unless I misunderstand the matter, I can hardly imagine a worse solution. I should like to know why these banks should have the right of issue? What constitutes a national bank? Is there any limit to what they can issue? Unless there be some careful restriction, there will probably be a repetition of what happened in 1830–40. Does the profit of bank issues go in any way to Government? “
To M. J. d'Aulnis de Bourouill.
Christiania, 7th July 1874.
“I received your very agreeable letter one hour before leaving Manchester for a journey in Norway, and was therefore unable to answer it before arriving here. I sent by post from England a copy of the brief paper on the mathematical theory of political economy printed in the Statistical Journal in 1866, to which you referred in your letter. You will find, however, that it contains nothing but what is much more fully described in my book on the theory, and there are some parts of the paper, especially section 15, which I now regard as erroneous.
“Allow me to thank you very much for the kind expressions which your letter contains, and to say how gratified I am that you approve of my efforts to trace out a mathematical theory. It is quite true that what I have written on the subject has received little or no attention in England, and by those who have noticed it the theory has been generally rejected, or even ridiculed. This has not shaken my conviction of its substantial truth, though I have feared that it would take a long time to obtain for it any reception. Until the last few months I was not aware that any attention had been given to my book abroad, and you may therefore believe that I was gratified with what you tell me.
“As to the reviews in the English periodical journals, that in the Saturday Review of nth November 1871 is the most important, and indeed the only one requiring any attention. There was indeed a review in the Academy of 1st April 1872, but though more fair than that of the Saturday Review, it contained no criticism worthy of your notice. Mr. Cairnes, as you truly say, has failed to seize the idea of the theory, and his objections are consequently of no weight, though he is usually a most able economist. He has, indeed, stated, both in print and in private letters to myself, that his want of mathematical knowledge prevented him from reading a large part of the book, but that being so, I regret that he has thought proper to controvert the foundation of the theory on false grounds.
“With the remarks of Mr. Carey referred to by you, I am quite unacquainted.
“I am most happy to hear that you propose in a forthcoming work to illustrate the principles of political economy, and present them in a popular form, while preserving the scientific form, which is necessarily a mathematical form. I have felt great difficulty in conveying the fundamental ideas of the theory in at all a popular form, and I shall therefore look with much interest to the book, of which I feel the importance. I am sorry indeed that it will be printed in a language of which I can read nothing, but I may suggest that after completing the edition in Hollandaise you may undertake another edition either in French or English. I shall myself have much pleasure in making known, as much as I can, your opinions on this subject.
“I can only regard my own work as a bare and imperfect outline of some of the more important theorems of political economy, and there can be no doubt that a hundred points still of importance remain to be cleared up by yourself or others. The question of the variation of the curves of utility is one of evident importance, and I shall much wish to see how you treat it.
“As to the exchange of indivisible commodities, I feel myself quite unable at present to add anything to what I have said in the book. The conclusion which I adopted in one case, that the ratio of exchange was indeterminate, seemed unsatisfactory, but I could find no other answer to give. If you can suggest a better result, it will remove what may well be regarded as a difficulty in the way of the theory. I am not even yet sure that my statement of the theory is free from errors. Objections have been made even to the fundamental equations of exchange, but the fact that M. Walras has arrived at substantially the same equation makes it very probable that my statement was correct.
“While I am not aware that my views have been accepted by any well-known English economist, there are a certain number of younger mathematicians and economists who have entered into the subject, and treated it in a very different manner. Among these I may mention Mr. George Darwin, the son of the eminent naturalist; he is a very good mathematician and an acute economist, and his only important objection was to the expression for the rate of interest, f't/ft, but after proposing one or two more complicated expressions himself, he at last allowed that my expression was satisfactory and simple.
“In conclusion, I must say that I am very sorry that your letter should have remained so long unanswered, but the delay is due to the fact that I was just setting out on a journey when your letter came.”
To his sister Lucy.
Hamar, Mjösen Lake, Norway, 15th July 1874.
“It is time that I was writing to tell you of our safe arrival in Norway, and of our proceedings so far. We have just returned to-day from an expedition into the eastern part of Norway, among the pine forests, where we went principally for the sake of fishing in a fine river called the Rena. We reached this little town by railway to the south end of Mjösen, and then by steamboat up the lake. From here a narrow gauge railway runs for forty miles to the north-east, and then by a cariole drive of five hours we reached the station Losset, where we stayed.
“This station or inn was kept by a rich landed proprietor who owns the country for many miles round, but seems to be obliged by law to accommodate people. We were much amused at noticing the habits of this Nonvegian family, who had their sleeping and sitting rooms in one large house, but came three times a day to get their meals in the house at the side where we had a fine large bedroom. At about nine, two, and seven, a large farm bell was rung, and all the men and other people came home to meals, the family eating in one small room, the servants in another, and ourselves in a third. The family seemed to have nothing to do but sit in a porch all day talking, and occasionally going out shooting or fishing excursions.
“My own fishing was very unsuccessful; for though I went out several times I only caught one fine trout, of which we only ate half at dinner. I think, however, that it was not wholly my skill which was at fault, as other men who came fishing seemed to catch nothing, and it is probable that the large quantities of timber which happened to be floating down the river frightened the fish.
“The forests about Lösset were very pretty, but the trees seem to be nowhere large in Norway now.
“The rivers also had pleasant bits of scenery, but the mountains are quite of an inferior character to those on the west coast During one or two days we were much plagued by mosquitoes.
“We are going this afternoon by steamboat across the lake to Gjovik, one and three-quarter hour's steaming, and then westward by carioles on the road across the Fille Fjeld, intending to visit again parts of the Sogne and Hardanger Fiords.
“Our voyage from Hull was, on the whole, remarkably agreeable, the wind, though fresh, being eastern, so that the boat rolled slowly and easily. … We found on board four or five tourists or salmon fishers with whom we were acquainted on previous trips, including Professor Frankland, the chemist, Roscoe's predecessor at Owens College; Mitchell, one of the firm who make steel pens, a remarkably agreeable man; and Banks, a young doctor and medical lecturer in Liverpool. All the other passengers, some fifty in number, being inoffensive or agreeable, there was nothing to interfere with the pleasure of the voyage.”
To his sister Lucy.
Balholm, Sogne Fiord, 8th August 1874.
“I have written so little to you this summer that I must not let another post go without a letter. We have mismanaged our affairs this time, so that I have missed your first letter. … We are, however, having a good time of it in this grand and beautiful place. Balholm is a village on the west shore of one of the principal reaches of the great Sogne Fiord, and in the part which, perhaps, is finest in the whole one hundred and twenty miles which that fiord runs. As seen from our little inn, the fiord resembles a great lake, perhaps twenty miles long, and from seven to fifteen wide, surrounded on every side by steep and gloomy mountains. In no direction are these fjelde less than from 2000 to 3000 feet high, and the higher parts rise to 5000, and are covered with large patches of snow, half hidden in and confused with the clouds. Just behind Balholm runs up a small branch fiord, perhaps two miles long, called the Esse Fiord, which terminates abruptly among nearly perpendicular mountains of the most singular and picturesque forms. We had a beautiful row up there the day before yesterday.
“Our chief excursion, however, was that of yesterday, when we went up the Fjoerlands Fiord, another branch which runs fifteen or twenty miles among the mountains and snow-fields to the north, and terminates with glaciers. We started at six o'clock in the morning with three men to row, and reached the end of the fiord in five hours; then we had a walk of two hours up to one of the glaciers, waited an hour watching the avalanches fall over the rocks, walked back in two hours, Harriet being assisted by a very shaky little cart, and then rowed back in five hours, so that we had a rather long day. We were lucky in having it perfectly calm all the way, and free from sunshine, which is rather trying on the water. The men had made us kinds of couches of straw and rugs in the stern of the boat, so that we lay with tolerable comfort, and read and slept during the ten hours as pleased us at the moment. In this way a boat journey is very agreeable now and then; but of course you are liable at any time to wind, which destroys all your comfort, and may indefinitely prolong the journey.
“The glacier called the Sulphellen Brae was well worth seeing, as it has the peculiarity of being divided completely into two parts, one on the top of the mountains, and the other in the valley below. The ice falls down precipices several hundred feet high, breaking up into snow again, and making a peculiar thundering sound, which you may perhaps have heard in the avalanches at the Wengern Alp. We saw some ten or twelve small falls of ice while we were there, but there must be very much greater ones at intervals, though we were not fortunate enough to see one. To-day we are taking our ease, with nothing more than a little row in prospect; but we must to-morrow travel rather actively on our way to the Hardanger Fiord, where we wish to see the great Vöring Foss. It is one drawback of Norwegian travelling that the steamboats, upon which we depend almost entirely in these great fiords, go day and night without regard to comfort. The boat by which we go to-morrow is appointed to call here at 3 A.M., but as it is usually very late, it may come any time before five or six. We shall probably trust to the people waking us when the boat is in sight, but in any case it cuts up one's night's rest When we came down the fiord from Lœrdal it was worse, as the boat was appointed to leave at 1.30 A.M. After a few hours' sleep we got down to the pier at 2 A.M., and then had to wait three hours on the pier or boat before going off. This sort of thing would have distressed me greatly, as indeed it sometimes did, in previous years, but I am glad to say that I now feel the loss of sleep very little. Even the loss of one or two hours used to make me feel wretched.
“Before coming here we spent five days at Sande, a very pretty place, one stage from a branch of the Sogne Fiord, where we stayed ten days last year. The weather, however, was very rainy and bad, and the station somewhat solitary, as there were no other English travellers whatever. Indeed, from not being on the most common routes, or for other unknown reasons, we have hardly seen anything of our countrymen and women this year. In this little station inn we are among a large family of native ladies and girls, from the grandmother downwards in age. Though rather a bore, they are familiar, agreeable people, and we have been amused at seeing some of their customs, of which we had only heard previously.
“Our dinner the day before yesterday consisted of boiled salmon and potatoes as a first course, and a curious sort of pottage, made apparently of milk and small onions and turnips, as a second. The family had nothing to drink whatever except the pottage, and they displayed an indifference in the use of knives and forks and spoons which would be thought dreadful in England. Indeed, in all the steamboats, inns, and elsewhere, it is the proper thing to help yourself with your own knife and fork, and if you can only stick them into something you want, you need not stand upon ceremony. After dinner our Norwegian friends and ourselves all jump up at the same moment, and then it is proper to say, ‘Tak for Mad,' that is, ‘thanks for the meal.’ Properly this should be accompanied by each person shaking hands with each other person, but if strangers are present this is replaced by a little bowing and nodding. I cannot make out the origin of this curious custom. The shaking of hands leads people to think that it is the guests or the children thanking their hosts or parents for the meal, but I am inclined to think that it is a confusion between this and the saying of grace.
“Messrs. Wilson, the steamboat owners of Hull, have just put on a fine large new steamboat in place of a small disagreeable one in which we suffered last year. We have therefore written to take a cabin in this boat, the Angelo, for 28th August, and, if we get it, shall hope to be home by about 1st September.
To his sister Lucy.
Raalfhuus, Hallingdal, Norway, 20th August 1874.
“Since I last wrote we have heard that some of these wretched strikes in England had delayed the completion of the new steamer, so that her second passage would be one week later. We therefore altered our minds, and settled to leave by the Angelo on 4th September, and we have secured a private cabin, so that we hope to have a pleasant voyage, reaching England about 7th September.
“We have now almost completed our tour, except our contemplated visit to the celebrated Riukan Foss. This visit takes us into a new district of Norway, namely, Thelemark, and will occupy about a week.
“When I last wrote we were at Balholm, a beautiful place on the Sogne Fiord. We left by steamboat about 3.30 A.M. in the morning, much annoyed because the boat, which is often two or three hours late, would come punctually when we wanted to prolong our night's rest, and caused us to be hurriedly wakened, and hastened down to the landing-place. After steaming up two new branches of the great fiord, namely, Sogndal and Aarlands Fiords, both of which, especially the latter, were worth seeing, we went down the grand Nœro Fiord once again, and reached Gudvangen in the middle of the day.
“We were again annoyed to find that a large German party of six or eight also landed there, so that there was every probability of a scarcity of horses next morning. We therefore determined to drive at once to Vossevangen, on the way to the Hardanger, and we went on in the company of three English, one of whom, a Mr. Venn, turned out to be a London University man, remarkably well read in all branches of philosophy. We were rather favoured by the weather, and got over the thirty-two miles in eight hours. Although it was the third time of passing along the road we admired the scenery more than ever, but it is hopeless to try to give you any idea of it, when the photographs miserably fail.
“As we did not arrive till after ten at night we had a day of nineteen hours' travelling. After driving to Eide, on the Hardanger, the next day, our intention was to go by steamboat next morning at 5 A.M. to the Vöring Foss, but when called at 4 A.M. I collapsed, and decided to go to sleep again. Harriet was in consequence disappointed of her visit to the great foss, for which I was very sorry, but as it involves a fatiguing ride of many hours, it was perhaps prudent to give it up.
“After resting two days at Eide we took the steamboat at 5 A.M., and made the tour of the upper part of the Hardanger, seeing the Eidfiord and other parts which we had missed on a previous visit One of these places was Ulvik, which struck us as one of the loveliest spots on earth. Situated on the grassy slopes at the bay-like end of a short branch of the fiord, it is surrounded by pine-covered hills, which would be called mountains were it not for immense precipitous mountains which towered above them, so that there was a fine contrast between the bright green fields on the shore of the fiord, the pine region above it, and the rocks crowning the whole. Here occurred a rather amusing incident. As the steamboat came alongside the pier about 9 A.M. the inhabitants of the little village were assembled for the usual gossip, the steamboat arrival being the only excitement which distinguishes one day from another in these quiet places. Among the people were soon distinguished two young women of remarkable beauty, both in elaborate Hardanger costumes, one as a bride or married woman with her elaborate white cap and gilt belt; the other, who was still more pretty, as an unmarried woman with two very long plaits of hair hanging down. I observed that all the male passengers on the steamboat gradually collected at the head of the vessel where these girls could be best observed, and one German was seen to go ashore and inspect them closely with his eyeglass. I was much amused to find out some days afterwards that one of them was the daughter of the Mayor of Hull whom we were to have called upon in Bergen if we had gone there, she being a friend of our friends in Hull, and the mayor having very civilly called upon us in Hull. The other girl was one of her friends from Bergen with whom she happened to be making a little tour in the Hardanger, and they had dressed in the Hardanger costume as a little ‘lark.’
“We got back to Gudvangen on the Sogne Fiord just in time to secure the last vacant bedroom from our friend Schultz, the hotel-keeper.
“We have visited these places so often that we are quite on familiar terms with the people at the inns, and we have found this pleasant and advantageous, as they welcome us back and do the best they can. As the steamboat goes only once a week, very stupidly, there is usually an aggregation of tourists; but on this occasion there was an extraordinary number for Norwegian villagers to accommodate, probably not less than fifty, in two little inns.
“At Vossevangen we had left in the morning a dreadful large party of eight people, who had robbed us of some hours' sleep by their noise, and who were avoided by all the tourists in Norway on account of the noise and trouble they occasioned. Although I had made some remarks to him on the subject, the father of the party seemed to have no idea that it would take eight hours to drive four stages of eight miles each; and so they started in the afternoon, having heavy rain all the way, and the last and most beautiful stage in the dark, having to walk most of the way for safety sake. At 11.30 P.M., when just going to sleep, a great noise of knocking at doors and giggling of girls and shouting to the landlord announced their arrival in pouring rain. …
“On reaching Lœrdalsören at 6 P.M. it was our turn to get into trouble. In order to avoid a pressure of tourists and a disagreeable stopping-place, we had arranged with a man who had furnished us horses on two previous occasions to bring two horses down to the boat, so that we could at once drive up country to a comfortable station. The horses were duly there, but just as we were leaving we learnt for the first time that we could not go more than one stage with them. The Lœrdalsören hotels being then in all probability full, the odious party of eight having taken possession of the only one we could go to (the landlord of the other having previously cheated us), we were obliged to proceed. At the end of the first stage, at 7 P.M., there were many travellers and few horses, and no bedrooms. After bargaining and remonstrating for an hour, we finally succeeded in getting one horse at a rate considered quite extortionate here. We reached Husum, the next station, at 10 P.M., only to find every bed taken, and four Germans in possession of the only sitting-room. It was nearly dark, and the station-master declared there was no prospect of horses. Our own man would not hear of letting his horse go another hard stage that night, so that there seemed every prospect of sitting on the doorstep all night. After a time, however, we got possession of the sitting-room table, and secured a light supper, in which we were shortly joined by three other very pleasant English travellers in the same position as ourselves. Presently, however, it turned out that the landlord had horses if we would pay for them; and towards twelve o'clock we all five set out for a long dark drive in three small vehicles. It would not be easy to forget this drive, as for a considerable distance the road overhung a roaring torrent, with only a few upright stones to guard the edge. At one place the road, perhaps for a quarter of a mile in length, is cut out of the side of a precipice bounding one side of a tremendous but narrow gorge, with a river falling in cataracts a hundred feet below. It is altogether perhaps the wildest and grandest piece of road which we have ever seen in Norway; but as I had three times previously driven over it in the day-time I undertook to drive first, and the other horses followed.
“Kongsberg, 24th August.—We reached this little town last night after a tedious steamboat and railway journey from Gulsvik, at the head of the Kröderen lake. It is a slow little place, although it has a mint, which we went to see this morning.
“I was very glad to receive last night your letter of 5th August, fonvarded from Christiania, which the girl told us at this hotel that they had been offering to visitors for some time past.
“Please tell Grindal that when I caught a small trout one day, and put it back among some stones in the river, I saw an eel come from among the stones and seize the fish and drag it away. Then taking hold of the fish's tail I pulled both suddenly out of the water, but the eel soon wriggled back. The next day I wished his Aunt Harriet to see the eel also, so I put a small dead fish in at the same place. After a little time the eel came out again, tried the fish, found it was dead, and went in again.
“The letter which you fonvarded is interesting and important to me. My theory of political economy is making way very well on the Continent, and is likely to appear both in French and Dutch.”
To his sister Lucy.
Victoria Hotel, Hull, Monday, 7th September 1874.
“We arrived safely in Hull last night after a rather rough passage. … Had it been finer we should have had a very agreeable passage, the steamboat being a very fine one, and many of the passengers agreeable people. Among them was Mr. Hussey Vivian, M.P., who was my chief opponent in the Coal Question, and who moved the resolution for a royal commission; and I had an interesting discussion on the subject with him.
“We had an awful piece of work landing by steamboat in the dark, and it was almost two hours before we could get to this hotel and secure all our luggage.
“We felt much regret in leaving Nonvay for a long time, and our last few days were spent very agreeably in an inn some thirty miles from Christiania, in a charming spot upon the Tyri Fiord.”
To M. J. d'Aulnis de Bourouill.
Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester, 9th October 1874.
“I hope that you safely received my former letter, written from Norway, in reply to your letter of 29th June, and also the copy of a printed paper which I posted from Hull when on the point of leaving England.
“I have now returned from Norway, and am again engaged in my usual work. I am about to prepare a memoir, to be read at the Statistical Society of Manchester, upon the subject of the mathematical theory of political economy, and if the book which you are proposing to publish is sufficiently advanced, I should much like to draw the attention of the Society to it.
“You have stated that your dissertation would be ready in September, but I presume that some of those unavoidable causes of delay, which so often occur in publication, have hitherto prevented its appearance. I look forward with much pleasure to becoming acquainted with your improvements and additions to the theory.
“Since receiving your letter I have reflected much upon the point which you mentioned, namely, the exchange of indivisibles; but I cannot say that any mode of improving what I have said in the book has occurred to me, and I await your criticisms on the treatment of it with interest.
“While it is no doubt necessary to work out the theory with fulness and correctness by degrees, yet I think that we need still more at present to make known its simple principles, and show that the notions of value, utility, price, etc., may be made more precise, and may be explained thereby.
“I have now received a copy of the first part of M. Walras' treatise, and find that it has been very ingeniously thought out and written. He has, I think, discovered the true principles of the science with the greatest insight and ability, and I shall be truly sorry if he experiences any disappointment at not being quite the first in the field. But, as he remarks, his formulæ and general mode of treating the theory are complementary to mine, and both books serve remarkably to confirm and supplement each other. What I mainly regret about the form of M. Walras' book is, that it is in no way adapted to make the principles of the theory more popularly known: it seems almost worse in this respect than my own book. Therefore I feel sure that there is the greatest need of a book to illustrate and explain the new view of the science, and this, as I understand your letter, will be accomplished by your work. I hope, however, that your treatise will not appear only in Hollandaise, but will be translated into French, if not into English, so that it may have a wider range of readers.”
To Rev. John Venn.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 9th October 1874.
“I have been reading your review of the Principles of Science in the Academy with the greatest interest and gratification, and have to thank you warmly for the careful and impartial way in which you have treated my poor volumes. Passing over the points where you indicate more or less agreement, I should like to notice briefly the objections which you raise, not with the object of taking up your time in controversy, but simply to explain the difficulties under which I lay.
“Mill's so-called Inductive Methods were certainly given in my Elementary Lessons, but that work was only intended as a small introductory text-book, in which it was impossible to discuss the exact value and nature of doctrines commonly accepted. What Herschel and Mill treated as the special methods of induction are by me treated under the head of experiment. It seems to me, rightly or wrongly, that they are rather rules for observing or experimenting, so as to gain facts from which hypothetical reasoning may afterwards extract laws and principles. The process of induction proper is, on this view, what I have treated in chapters xxii. to xxvi. I quite agree with you, however, that much vagueness attaches to the name induction, and I think it very likely that I have not used the word always in exactly the same sense. My only excuse can be that even Mill seems to me to have used the word loosely—indeed, he wavers very much, and calls geometry, for instance, sometimes deductive and sometimes an inductive science. To the want of a psychological analysis of the basis of reasoning I plead guilty. On this point the Spectator raised almost exactly the same objection as yourself at the same time. No doubt to a considerable extent I have avoided the true difficulties of the subject, but this does not preclude me from attempting to remedy the defect at some future time, if I live long enough, and can feel that I see my way to a more settled state of opinion. My efforts have been directed principally to arranging in order the more formal and mechanical parts of logical method, which may be useful in itself, though only a preliminary task to a more profound discussion of the bases of knowledge. The main point on which I should venture to differ from your criticisms refers to the symbolic method and its usefulness. It is a matter which cannot be adequately discussed in writing, but I would remark that the principal question is whether or not the symbolic processes correctly represent the relations of classes of things and the course of our thoughts about them. If not, the symbols must be given up, or modified until they do. In short, I venture to look upon them as an essential mode of expressing a true system of logical forms, not meaning of course merely the general letters A, B, C, etc., but any corresponding use of words or signs for expressing the like general relations of terms.
“No doubt I have not adequately noticed Mill's objections to ‘Quantification,’ but I felt that to enter into discussion and criticism would add too much to the length of an already heavy and costly book.
“With regard to your example of possible confusion at bottom of third column, p. 382, it seems quite possible that a student might make the mistake suggested, but it would be by a breach of the rule of substitution, by substituting ‘consequence of gravity' for ‘consequence of gravitating matter,’ there being no warrant whatever for this substitution. Thus I do not see that the strict scientific generality of the principle of substitution is impeached, or indeed intended to be impeached. In the next column you have given a very nice example of a logical question, simple, yet perplexing, without some method of symbolic analysis.
“I have to thank you for pointing out oversights about Encke's comet. It is obvious now that I have committed a blunder in the Elementary Lessons, which no one had before pointed out The angular velocity of the comet is increasing, so that of course it returns each time a little sooner than it would without resistance. The resisting medium produces an effect which would, in the absence of solar attraction, produce retardation.
“This and some other requisite corrections, which you point out, shall receive the closest attention, if ever the time arrives when a second edition becomes possible.”
To M. le Professeur Bodio, Directeur-Général de la Statistique du Royaume, Roma.
The Owens College, Manchester, 12th November 1874.
“I have been informed by my correspondent, M. Léon Walras of Lausanne, that you take an interest in the mathematical treatment of the science of political economy, and that you are inclined to look favourably upon attempts to reform the science. I have, therefore, been encouraged to forward to you by book post, registered, a copy of my work on the Theory of Political Economy, published in 1871. This work was very unfavourably received in this country, and almost the only English economist of importance who noticed it, namely, Professor J. E. Cairnes, repudiated it altogether.
“Nevertheless I am quite convinced of the substantial truth and importance of the views put forward, and am much gratified to find that the profound and ingenious researches' of M. Walras, pursued as they have been in an independent manner, lead to the same conclusions.
“This remarkable coincidence of results emboldens me to bring the book to your knowledge, in the hope that it may receive the approval of yourself and of some of the other distinguished representatives of the science in Italy.”
To his sister Lucy.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 19th November 1874.
“… My books are beginning to pay at last. The little Lessons sells 2500 copies a year, and is now paying about £70 a year. Three other books pay about £3: 10S. between them. I think I am going to write more school or college books. I hear that my Theory of Political Economy is going to be translated into Italian. I am much oppressed with the too abundant exercises of my logic class. …”
In November 1874 Mr. Jevons read an important paper to the Manchester Statistical Society on “The Progress of the Mathematical Theory of Political Economy, with an Explanation of the Principles of the Theory.” He began by calling attention to the remarkable fact that M. Léon Walras had, at a later date than himself, but quite independently, and by a different course of reasoning, reached the chief result of the mathematical theory. As “this fundamental formula of the science of economy is far from being of an obvious character,” the coincidence could not possibly be due to chance; and therefore furnished a very strong proof of the truth of the theory. Though his own book had up till that time met with a discouraging reception from economists in England, he had the pleasure of knowing that the new theory had already received much attention on the Continent, “where the prejudice against the abstract and mathematical investigation of political economy seems to be much less than in England.”
To G. H. Darwin, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 24th November 1874.
“I shall be very happy to read anything you have written about the theory of political economy, though it would be more to satisfy my own curiosity than because I should be likely to suggest any alterations.
“It is very gratifying to hear that you are so clearly in favour of the mathematical treatment of the subject, as it would be difficult to meet with any who join mathematical and economical knowledge and ability in a manner better calculated to allow of forming a sound judgment than they are joined in you, as I am well assured.
“I much regret that Cairnes should have raised such absurd objections to the theory, proceeding entirely from misapprehension. His remarks may temporarily prejudice the theory, and it would be a great advantage if you would thoroughly refute them, without using too many mathematical symbols, so as to frighten readers away. I am more afraid of this with English readers than of Cairnes, and I think his objections may serve as a good opportunity for explaining the principles of utility.
“I do not know whether you have seen my paper on the subject, read to the Manchester Statistical Society, but in case you have not, I send a paper containing a copy of it.
“Walras' method may be rather intricate, but it is ingenious, and I think sound. There are also certainly some valuable novelties in his book, but I have not studied them very closely yet.
“P.S.—I “now have a Dutch treatise on the theory of political economy, by d'Aulnis de Bourouill of the Leyden University.”
To M. J. d'Aulnis de Bourouill.
Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester, 25th November 1874.
“I received the very welcome copy of your dissertation about two days ago, and write to say how much pleased I feel that you have thought it worth while to treat so fully of the mathematical theory of political economy.
“I regret very much that I am quite unable to read the book or follow the argument to any extent. Fortunately the Dutch and English languages are very closely akin, and the Norse is evidently closely related to both, so that I can here and there gather the meaning of a few sentences. I am intending to borrow a Dutch dictionary, which will enable me to go farther. However, the notes, diagrams, and other indications show me very often the nature of the discussion, independently of the statements in your last letter. Your work is written, I should think, in a manner well calculated to secure attention to the subject, and I wish that I could study the additions and improvements which you have made.
“I am particularly curious to know your theory about the exchange of indivisibles treated in the appendix. If you have now more leisure time, could you give me a slight sketch of your way of treating the subject?
“I feel what an advantage it must be to have a command of so many languages as your countrymen. Those whom I have met in travelling were often remarkable linguists.
“I have sent you a copy of a newspaper containing a report of a paper I read to the Manchester Statistical Society, and I will send you a formal copy when printed.
“I am desirous of offering for your acceptance a copy of my book on logic, the Principles of Science, but should like to know exactly to what address it should be sent, and whether you will be in Leyden to receive it.
“Is the work of M. Van Houten written in French? If so, and in fact in any case, I should like to have its exact title. I hope some time or other to form an historical sketch of opinions bearing on utility and value, and it would be necessary to introduce his views.
“Would it be too much trouble if I were to ask you to send me the exact addresses and names of a few of the most eminent economists of your country, to whom I might with advantage send copies of any papers referring to the theory of political economy?
“In asking you to explain your theory of exchange of divisibles, I did not overlook the brief explanations which you have already given, that it is the poorer purchasers which determine the price for the rich. But this can only apply where there are many articles of a similar character, and it will not, as far as I can see, overcome the difficulty alluded to in p. 122 of my book, of an isolated exchange of indivisible objects of value.
“In sending a copy of my book on logic, can it be delivered at Bois le Duc by railway, or will it not be better for me to send it to some address at Leyden? It will be too heavy to go by post.”
To G. H. Darwin, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 29th November 1874.
“I have read your article with much interest, and am glad to find that you almost perfectly agree with me. I have made a few marks upon the paper, but none of any consequence. All that I have to say about the form of the article is that it can hardly be called, as it stands, a review of Cairnes' book, but rather a defence of mine. If you publish it as a review of Cairnes' it would clearly be desirable to say something more, in fact much more, at the beginning about the excellences of other portions of his book. There can be no doubt of the value of Cairnes' discussions of many questions, though on the theory of value I think him so unfortunate.
“As regards the channel of publication, you know quite as well as I do what is best, and I should hardly like to make suggestions.
“I have been reading your article in the Contemporary with much interest, and am glad to find the puerile style of Max Müller's reasoning (as it has always struck me) so well shown, up. It is impossible not to admire his flow of learning, and his agreeable and instructive style. He has done an immense deal for linguistic study in England, but when he approaches theory or argument he makes the most extraordinary blunders.
“It is curious you think your handwriting bad. I think I have seldom or never read a more legible paper. It is almost as easy to read as type.
“When you have time, I wish you would consider the mathematical nature of the equations (Theory of Political Economy, pp. 99–101, etc.) I have a standing difference with my friend Barker, who says they are (or at any rate ought to be) different equations demanding integration, whereas I hold that, though deduced by the use of differentials, they are simple algebraic equations. The problem, as I regard it, is a statistical one, closely analogous to that of the lever as treated according to virtual velocities.
“I have to be in Cambridge at the end of the week for the Moral Science Tripos examination, and may perhaps have the pleasure of making your acquaintance.”
In the spring of 1874 Mr. Jevons had been asked to be one of the examiners at the Moral Science Tripos at Cambridge for the years 1874 and 1875, and he had much pleasure in agreeing to the request. This was the first visit he paid to Cambridge.
To his sister Lucy.
Bull Hotel, Cambridge, 6th December 1874.
“… We spent about two days in London, rather successfully, and came here on Saturday afternoon. We have not yet been out into the streets, but the town looks very interesting from the window. We have had a great many visitors already, and they seem to come at all hours. We have invitations already for most of the days we shall be here, and are not likely to be dull. The examination work is fortunately much lighter than I expected, as there are practically only thirteen men and two women candidates.”
To his sister Lucy.
Withington, 16th December 1874.
“Thanks for your letter received at Cambridge. We were so busily employed there that I had no time to answer. We only returned last night, having had perhaps the pleasantest visit to a place that I can remember. Not only were the college buildings and chapels very interesting, but the people were exceedingly kind, and we made a great number of new acquaintances, chiefly among the college tutors and lecturers, with two or three of the professors. I think we were at a breakfast or luncheon or dinner party almost every day, and sometimes two, and I was greatly pleased with dining in the college halls several times. Harriet, of course, could not accompany me there, but she went one evening to Trinity College Hall to see the dinner from the gallery. We were also greatly pleased with the college chapels, which we frequently attended.”
To W. Summers, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 16th December 1874.
“On returning home after a few days' absence I am pleased to receive your letter containing a copy of a letter which you addressed to the Examiner newspaper. I have read the latter with much interest, and am naturally gratified to find that you consider the remarks of the Examiner ill-considered and erroneous, to say the least. I fear it is impossible to criticise Mr. Mill's writings without incurring the danger of rousing animosity, but I hope and believe you are right in saying that I have said nothing from petulance or passion. Whatever I have said or shall say of Mr. Mill is due to a very long consideration of his works, and to a growing conviction that, however valuable they are in exciting thought and leading to the study of social subjects, they must not be imposed upon us as a new creed. We may profit by their excellences, and there is no fear on this point; but we may also suffer from their defects.”
To M. J. d'Aulnis de Bourouill.
Withington, Manchester, 23dDecember 1874.
“The Messrs. Macmillan inform me that they have forwarded a copy of my book on logic, The Principles of Science, addressed to Bois le Due. I directed that the cost of conveyance should be paid to the destination, and I hope that you will duly receive the book.
“I am much gratified to hear that M. Laud, the professor of logic at Leyden, approves of the work, which cost me far more labour than the Theory of Political Economy.
“Having recently seen Mr. George H. Darwin, a son of the well-known Charles Darwin, and a very clever mathematician and economist, he expressed a great desire to see your dissertation, as he can, in some degree, read your language. I have therefore lent him my copy for a time. I wish that there were more people in England able to read it
“I am informed by Professor Boccardo of Genoa that he proposes to translate my Theory into Italian. I shall in the course of two or three months draw up some little alterations and improvements, and I should be very glad to know whether you will point out the places which need alteration most.
“The paper for the Manchester Statistical Society is in course of being printed in the Transactions; and when finished I shall have the pleasure of sending you a copy.
“Please do not put yourself to any inconvenience concerning the note of the contents of your dissertation, which you kindly offered to send. It will be very interesting to me when you are able to write it, but I fear it is taxing you too much to expect it. Such a statement would, however, enable me to refer more fully to your work in England.”
To G. H. Darwin, Esq.
Portico Library, Manchester, 2d February 1875.
“At the earliest possible moment after reading your article in the Fortnightly, I write to say how warmly I thank you for so boldly taking up the cause of the Theory. Not only must your article give new courage to those already believing in the possibility of applying mathematical methods to economy, but it must go far towards silencing those who have hitherto ridiculed the notion, and opening the eyes of those who have been entirely blind. It seems to me just the kind of article likely to do most good in counteracting the ill-considered criticisms of Cairnes.
“I quite agree with you that Cairnes' own speculations on value are probably much more sound than his objections to other people's speculations, but I have of late been so much occupied in other reading that I have really not read his book properly, and look forward to the pleasure of studying it with care. I expect to find it confirmatory on the whole of the mathematical theory.
“The Dutchman seems to read the Fortnightly much more regularly than I do, and will be pleased to see that you favourably mention his book.
“I have posted a copy of my paper to Beckenham, not knowing whether you are there or at Trinity College.
“I hope to see before long your paper on production, a new theory of which will be a true novelty. I cannot say I have hitherto been able to conceive the line you take.”
To H. S. Foxwell, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 7th February 1875.
“I have, been very much interested in your letter concerning my paper. It has told me much, which I had no previous means of knowing, concerning the ideas current in philosophical subjects in Cambridge. I was not aware that Marshall had so long entertained notions of a quantitative theory of political economy, and think it a pity that he has so long delayed publishing something on the subject.
“It is, of course, open to you or him or others to object to the special way in which I have applied mathematics, and I should like to see other attempts in different directions, but what I contend is that my notion of utility is the correct one, and the only sound way of laying the foundation for a mathematical theory.
“In regard to what I have said of Mill, I must allow that I should not have expressed so strong an opinion had I been thinking only of his political economy. There is much that is erroneous in his Principles, and he never had an idea what capital was, but the book is not the maze of self-contradictions which his logic undoubtedly is. If you have not examined his logical theories very critically, you will hardly be aware that upon the principal points he usually holds from three to six inconsistent views all at the same time. It is to this I allude in reality, and in the course of a year or two I hope to make it apparent.
“I have not yet read enough of Cairnes' book to form any opinion about it as a whole, and though I cannot think much of the beginning, I did not suppose it was as shallow as you say.
“… To give you a slight clue to Mill's logical maze, I may mention that in regard to the nature of geometrical science he states in one place or other the following opinions:—
To M. Léon Walras, Lausanne.
14th February 1875.
“… I think that a considerable change of opinion is taking place in England. Various correspondents express their acquiescence, and some of the professors are beginning to bring the theory before their students. When I was in Cambridge two months ago I found that the subject was much better understood there than I had supposed, and I have little doubt about its gaining ground gradually. …
“I have no doubt whatever about the ultimate success of our efforts, but it will take some fighting; the disciples of J. S. Mill being bitterly opposed to any innovation upon his doctrine. I have already been very severely criticised for what I said about him by the London Examiner, which upholds his views, but I am going to criticise J. S. Mill without the least fear of the final result.”
To his sister Lucy.
Parsonage Road, Withington.
“… I am getting on very fairly on the whole, but incline to be rather ovenvorked, and sometimes have neuralgia in my neck, which comes on in my lectures, and makes me very nervous. The proofs of my new book on money are coming very fast, and I have two or three more books in my head. I suppose I shall write as long as I live, but how long that will be I cannot tell.
“… I am very sorry I have not more time for writing, but I have had a good deal of correspondence lately with other people that I am obliged to attend to somewhat; and with my book and lectures, I feel hardly able to find sufficient time and strength. But you must not suppose I am unwell, as on the whole I gradually become better, and Morgan told me the last time I saw him that I could now insure my life.”
The Easter holidays were spent with his sister at Ludlow, and whilst there he wrote the following letter:—
To E. J. Broadfield, Esq.
Gravel Hill House, Ludlow, 31st March 1875.
“You will be interested to hear that I yesterday sent Neild my resignation of the professorship. I have nothing particular to say about this step, except that I think it will be much better for me in the end, though of course it lessens my income to some extent. I have always felt that it was a considerable strain to meet a class and discuss questions of the difficulty and width, which I have professed to treat, for some time back. It is in fact an absurdity that one man should have the whole sphere of the logical, metaphysical, mental, moral, and economical sciences upon his hands, or rather upon his head.
“I intend to move to London as soon as I can conveniently get rid of my present house and find a new one there, but it may be a year before I can carry this out. There will be very great advantages, in a literary point of view, in being in London, and there is no fear of my being idle.
“We are enjoying here the first spring day. This is a beautiful place, both as regards the town and country. There are very pretty walks in all directions, and the Whit-cliff and Castle Hill are, I think, unrivalled in England for picturesqueness.
“There is one thing which will much trouble me in leaving Manchester, and that is not seeing you so often as I hitherto have done. But I may still hope to see you occasionally, and you must visit us in London every now and then.
“There is much which makes me very sorry to leave Owens College, but at times we must have the courage to make a change, however painful it seems at the moment, and I have thoroughly satisfied myself that I must now move.”
In spite of his firm resolve to give up his professorship, at the time he wrote this letter, the Council of Owens College expressed so much regret at losing his services, that he consented to withdraw his resignation for the present. His improved health enabled him to undertake more work than he had done for the previous three years, but it was the opinion of those who knew him best that it would not be wise to continue the duties of his professorship long. Although he was in future only to lecture one evening a week at college, his private work seemed continually on the increase; and writing was so much more congenial to him than lecturing, that he did not wish to limit it, as he must do if he continued his lectures and also paid due regard to his health.
To H. S. Foxwell, Esq.
36 Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester, 23d May 1875.
“The arrangement which you propose with respect to the examinations [at Cambridge] quite suits my inclinations. I should have, of my own accord, chosen logic and political economy. I will, therefore, consider the selection to be settled, unless I hear to the contrary. …
“I have thought a good deal about what you say with reference to Mill. It seems to me very undesirable that the world generally should look upon him as the soundest logician, when, as I feel pretty sure, his system as a whole is unsound. But I am too much engaged in other matters at present to write any criticism just now. I have heard several other men, connected with the London University, speak like you, as if the question of the moral sciences hung by a thread, so that they might be thrown over altogether in consequence of the least indiscretion. But I trust that the authorities of the universities are not quite so narrow-minded. Moreover, Mill's eccentric and in many ways, as I believe, really hurtful opinions do much to prejudice people against the sciences which he is supposed to represent. I shall hope, however, to have further opportunities of discussing such matters with you.”
During the first week of June he went to London for a day or two to attend a meeting of the Political Economy Club, at which he had been asked to open the discussion.
To his Wife.
Scientific Club, 7 Saville Row, 5th June 1875.
“The discussion went off very fairly last night I got on without any difficulty, and was quite fluent most of the time. I tried particularly to wind up so that the club should know when I had done, but failed entirely. When I left off there was a dead silence of several minutes, and Leslie, sitting next me, remarked that he thought I was going to begin again. The discussion was somewhat spirited, though tending to become conversational at times. The preponderance of opinion was strongly in my favour, though the chairman, old Edwin Chadwick, was much riled at my ideas, and answered them at much length and as strongly as he could.
“Sitting next me was a Mr. Horace White, a well-known American, who seemed to be editor or proprietor of the Chicago Tribune, and spoke of the Mr. Lloyd who writes as a young man in his office; opposite was another American guest whom I thought I knew the face of, and he turned out to be MacCulloch, the former treasurer of the United States, whose portrait is on the greenbacks. Another guest was Lord Fortescue, a pleasant man, but poor speaker. The debate was much interrupted by a great noise outside the window in the yard, and by Newmarch, who every now and then blew up the waiter and rushed about calling for the proprietor to stop the noise.
“This morning I got to the Academy soon after nine, when the rooms were quite cool and nearly empty, and had a long comfortable look at the pictures for nearly three hours. The greater number of the pictures strike me as being almost worse than ever, and there are very few really good ones. There is, however, one very wonderful one, the Assyrian Marriage Market, representing the sale of a number of young women, who are ranged in the front of the picture in order of beauty. The whole details and idea are perfectly worked out, somewhat in the manner of Holman Hunt, but I believe that the artist (A. Long) beats Hunt altogether. Miss Thompson's picture may have some signs of cleverness in it, but is very disagreeable, and not much worth looking at.
“This club is a convenient sort of place, and I am glad I joined it.
“I have spoken a little about the University College, London, professorship both to Robson, the secretary of the college, and to Courtney. It is quite evident that I have the refusal of it, and they much want me to apply.”
Mr. Jevons was very sorry that he did not know, before he withdrew his resignation at Owens College, that the professorship of political economy in University College, London, would become vacant in October. Having agreed to remain at Owens College for some time, he was uncertain what to do. The difficulty was finally overcome by the Council of University College appointing a temporary lecturer for the session 1875–76.
To his Wife.
Victoria Hotel, Euston Square, 6th June 1875.
“After writing to you yesterday I went down to Westminster Abbey, and found that there was going to be a special choral festival with a choir of 550 men. After waiting an hour and a half I heard some grand organ music. The organ has been moved and, I think, much improved since I last heard it, and strikes me as being now almost unsurpassed for sweetness and beauty as well as being powerful. Perhaps the size and form of the building add to the effect
“Afterwards I spent a few minutes inspecting my old corps, the Queen's Westminster, as they were assembling for a march out. It reminded me of former days, not so bright as these to me.
“I am going to the Temple Church for a short time this morning.”
During the long vacation Mr. Jevons spent a few weeks at Llandudno with his wife, and before the end of their stay he paid a brief visit to Ireland by himself.
To Ms Wife.
Machen's Hotel, 12 Dawson Street, Dublin, 5th August 1875.
“I have had a fine day, seeing nearly all that is most important in Dublin. My only fear is that I have been doing too much. What has pleased me most is the collection of Irish antiquities of the Royal Irish Academy, which is a few doors off in this street. It is an admirable collection, and the series of gold collars, fibulæ, head ornaments, and ring money is superb, not to mention the jewelled shrines and the celebrated Tara brooch, which is admirable. These collections and the manuscripts of the Brehon laws, the Annals of the Masters, etc., are worth coming to see.
“Trinity College was almost entirely shut up for the vacation, and the porter was rather grumpy till I told him I was a professor, when he relaxed and showed me the museum with the celebrated harp of some old king, and a fine collection of South Sea, Australian, and other weapons made by Captain Cook.
“Dublin is said to be more full of visitors, and more lively, than any one remembers. More than once I have been asked for information by strangers, and to-day had to tell a man the name of Stephen's Green. I was on the top of a tram car taking an excursion wherever it might lead, and found that he was doing just the same. I have been in and out of Stephen's Green so often that I am as familiar with it as if I were born and bred there. Sackville Street I know as well as Regent Street, and Merion Square better than Belgrave Square.
“The tram cars are most convenient and well conducted, and make me ashamed of Manchester. The car drivers are excellent fellows, infinitely better than London cabmen, and the best guides I ever met. One man apologised to me elaborately to-day because he could not speak as loudly and clearly as he thought he ought to do, in discoursing on the town, owing to a fall from his car. So far, I think, the Irish are a particularly pleasant people to travel among, as much so as Americans. I am much struck with the resemblance of Dublin to some of the older parts of London built at the end of the last century or the beginning of this. The suburbs also, which I have yet seen, remind me of London suburbs. It arises, I suppose, from much of Dublin having been built at that time; then it was an independent capital, and a very prosperous place.
“There will be a great show to-morrow in the form of a procession of 50,000 men, or more. This evening all the green articles of any sort which can be found are being rapidly sold out. I have felt inclined to stop and see it, but, on the whole, think it best to adhere to my intention of going on to-morrow morning in good time. I propose to stop at Kildare to see a round tower and some antiquities near the station, and then go on to Cashel, Tipperary, Limerick—I even hope to get to Galway.”
To his Wife.
Dobbyn's Hotel, Tipperary, 6th August 1875.
“I got here after a capital day about 8 P.M. Being a little tired with a long railway journey, fifteen miles jolting on an Irish car, and visits to two sets of ruins, I turned in to lie down for a little time. At nine o'clock a band of music and populace passed the hotel, and I got out to see what was up, and found the whole town illuminated with candles in endless number. Some small houses had as many as fifty, and they graduated from that down to one. The whole of the inhabitants seemed to be admiring the effect, marching about after bands of music, and watching tar barrels burn at the corner of the streets, but they were all very peaceable, and did not seem inclined to break the windows of the half-dozen houses which had no candles. … Numbers of people were coming into Dublin by train when I left, and the Dublin men were turning out with green scarfs.
“In three-quarters of an hour I was at Kildare, much amused on the way by the account of Dr. Kenealy's crushing overthrow in the House of Commons, which is the best ad hominem argument ever hit upon. At Kildare I was much interested in the round tower, which is very perfect and distinguished by the door being 14 feet above the ground, evidently for purposes of defence. The cathedral is very ruinous, but is going to be rebuilt to some extent. The Curragh Camp is within two or three miles of Kildare, and a grand review was in progress within sight of the town when I was there, but I did not feel inclined to stay and see what is pretty familiar to me.
“Going on by train at 11.30—post closes this moment.” The last week of August Mr. Jevons spent at Bath with Mrs. Elliott, a relative of his wife, for the purpose of attending the meeting of the British Association, which was held at Bristol. He read two papers there, the first being “On the Progress of the Coal Question,” and the second “On the Influence of the Sun-spot Period on the Price of Corn.”
To his Wife.
Bristol, 26th August 1875.
“You will be interested to hear that my paper is already read and discussed. I came over here by a 9.10 train which got to Bristol station shortly before 10, but the cabman wanted not less than three shillings up to the meeting room at Clifton, so I took an omnibus, which was so slow that I did not get up till 11 A.M. Then I found, somewhat to my dismay, that my paper had been set down next after the President's address, which was then being delivered. I had not the least expected this, and it was a mere chance that I had brought my diagram. However, I took a couple of sandwiches and a glass of sherry at the refreshment-room in case there should be much delay, and made my way to the section room, which is in a school-room close to the reception-room. Mr. Heywood's address was done not long afterwards. There was great difficulty in getting my diagram up, as the screen was small and inconvenient, and when it was up the lower part could not be seen. I think I read the paper very fairly, and soon lost all nervousness, and it did pretty well. The discussion was active, but was rather cut short by Mr. Heywood, who wanted to limit the number of speakers. However, several insisted on speaking, and one lady would ask a question, and there was a certain amount of liveliness, which was better than having it come to a flat end. I was sorry my diagram, which cost so much labour, was not better seen.”
To his Wife.
Bristol, 29th August 1875.
“I am probably going for a short drive this afternoon with my old college friend Hallett, who wrote lately to me, as you will remember; but I must first write my usual daily note. Thanks for your letter, which was very pleasing to me. I am glad you get on better, but am not quite sure whether I ought to be away from you.
“… I am writing in the section room, having just finished my second paper. I got into rather a mess about the reporting, as I found that the reporters had got my abstract and telegraphed it everywhere, though I did not purpose to read the paper fully. However, I gave a free statement of the purpose and nature of the paper, which seemed to excite considerable interest. I took great care to make it plain that I did not assert the truth of the connection.
“I may be deluded, but my impression is that my speaking is much improved. My nervousness seems to have disappeared to a great extent, and when I know the subject I seem to get on without difficulty. … I have seen a good many old friends, especially to-day, such as Whitaker, Clifton, Foster, Guthrie, and I have made some new acquaintances.”
To his Wife.
Bristol, 30th August 1875.
“… I brought Mrs. Elliott over this morning to the economic section, where several ladies, Mrs. Grey, Miss Carpenter, Miss Becker, etc., were to hold forth. I have no objection myself to women speaking in public, but it makes a good deal of bother at present, perhaps by being unusual. If this passes over in time, I think there will be no reason why they should not.
“… This morning Mrs. Elliott and I went to St. Mary's, Redcliffe, which I found to be a superb church inside and well worth seeing: yesterday I saw Bath Abbey Church very well, as, however, I think I told you yesterday.
“In the Daily News to-day I find the abstract of my sun-spot paper given in full as a 'singular paper,' but I do not think it much matters. I am thinking of going on with the subject and trying to get something out of it. … I spent most of the morning in Stewart's section of physics (which Stewart presides over), and entered into a little discussion.”
To his Wife.
Bristol, 31st August 1875.
“… I have been attending the economic section all day, half the day being occupied with a long discussion on trades unions, which was partly interesting and partly tedious. I made a rather long speech on the subject, and again this afternoon I spoke on the subject of competitive examinations.
“There is to be no economic section to-morrow, so I think I will spend most of the day in seeing something of Bristol and its manufactures, which I have hitherto been unable to do for the most part.
“I have booked myself for the excursion to Wells and Cheddar which was assigned to me, the Avebury one, I suppose, being previously full. This evening I shall attend the soirée—the first evening meeting I have been at. Tomorrow evening I shall go for a short time to a glee concert, a ticket for which has been presented to me, and afterwards to the soirée at Clifton College.
“Your letter received this morning is satisfactory, so that I shall stay over Thursday, and hope to get home in good time on Friday.”
In September 1875 Money and the Mechanism of Exchange was published as a volume of the International Scientific Series. Mr. Jevons in his preface thus describes the book: “In preparing this volume I have attempted to write a descriptive essay on the past and present monetary systems of the world, the materials employed to make money, the regulations under which the coins are struck and issued, the natural laws which govern their circulation, the several modes in which they may be replaced by the use of paper documents, and finally, the method in which the use of money is immensely economised by the cheque and clearing system now being extended and perfected.”
To H. S. Foxwell, Esq.
36 Parsonage Road, Withington, 3d October 1875.
“I am glad you like some parts of my book on money. Even if I could have got more into the allotted space, I do not know that I could have ventured to touch the subjects you mention.
“Have you seen Crumps' Theory of Stock Exchange Speculation? It is not altogether a good book, being written altogether from a business point of view, but it contains some useful hints.
“I have often speculated on the lowness of interest on money at call, but presume that it arises from the large quantity seeking employment, and the fact that it cannot be safely employed at a higher charge. Consols would certainly not allow of a higher rate, for if the money be invested say for a fortnight, the interest would be only or just per cent, which might any time be lost by a forced sale, not to speak of expenses. He who invests other people's money in consols, or indeed in most other funds, will, on the average, have to sell when the price is depressed. This subject was much discussed last session in connection with the National Debt Commissioners holding the funds of the savings banks, which is money at call.”
To E. J. Broadfield, Esq.
Withington, 6th October 1875.
“… Whether wisely or not I declared war against Mill's crotchets some years ago now, simply because I know them to be untrue, and I shall have to fight it out. I have little or no doubt about success, if only health and opportunities favour me; but you will see that in such matters one labours under disadvantages in not living, like most of the political economists and literary men, in London. You can hardly fail to see the need of my being there. It is more easy to imagine than describe. Take only the case of the Political Economy Club, of which I was made an honorary member a year or two ago. This dines and debates once a month privately, and includes every leading economist. Mill's opinions were all disseminated and discussed there many years ago, indeed he was a very prominent member. I have only been able to attend the club two or three times altogether; last May I opened one discussion, but it is clearly of great importance to have such an opportunity of discussing and urging my own opinions. There are several other societies, the Statistical, Social Science, Royal, etc., from which I am practically cut off.
“It is a very momentous change to me, and the necessity for deciding comes at a most inconvenient time, when I am occupied with other anxieties. The professorship in University College has now been left at my disposal practically for three months, which is a very civil thing of them to do; but you may now consider, I think, that I have finally decided to take it, and the only difficulty is in providing for the lectures at London during the present session.
“You will also see that my going to London is wholly unconnected with questions of salary at Owens College, though it is a serious matter giving up some hundreds a year, as I am going to do, at my time of life. However, I expect that the sacrifice need not be permanently a great one if I want the money.”
On the 8th October 1875 his first child was born, a son, who was named Herbert Stanley after his father and uncle.
To his sister Lucy.
36 Parsonage Road, Withington, 9th November 1875.
“I daresay you will be glad to hear a few things from me, especially as I am able to say that Harriet and Herbert Stanley are getting on well. … It is wonderful what interest one feels in the little fellow, though he has not yet shown any consciousness of his relation to me, except to cry when I touch him. … I have just received a letter from University College, stating that the Council propose to elect me professor, so that it is really settled, though the final ratification cannot be made until 4th December. I do not begin my work in London until next session in October 1876, and for the present a temporary lecturer will be appointed. I trust I shall never regret the important step I have taken. It involves a loss of something like £300 a year, though part of this may be made up by other appointments or gains in London.”
To H. S. Foxwell, Esq.
36 Parsonage Road, Withington, 16th November 1875.
“I quite concur in the proposal about the Girton students, understanding, of course, that there is no objection on the part of the University. I have sent a new question to Mr. West to be substituted for that on banking.
“I do not think the 'so-called Ricardian theory,' etc., much matters one way or the other, but am quite willing it should be altered to ‘Ricardian theory.’ I cannot recollect whether it was one of my questions or not. Certainly I cannot see that Ricardo has the slightest claim to the theory, as it was quite as well stated by Malthus, if not by Anderson long before. I am beginning to think very strongly that the true line of economic. science descends from Smith through Malthus to Senior, while another branch through Ricardo to Mill has put as much error into the science as they have truth.”
To H. S. Foxwell, Esq.
36 Parsonage Road, Withington, 20th November 1875.
“I return the revises without alteration. The question about rent was not mine, but I cannot remember whether or not I inserted the 'so-called.' I think you might as well speak of La Place's theory of gravitation as of Ricardo's theory of rent or Airy's undulatory theory of sight
“I was pleased to hear that it is definitely settled for you to lecture at London. It is not likely to do you any harm, but you must not be disgusted if you have not a very brilliant class. None of your predecessors, so far as I can learn, have ever been able to infuse much spirit into the class, but still the work must be done, and it is worth doing, and I suppose I shall do it after you for the rest of my life.”
To the December number of the Fortnightly Review Mr. Jevons contributed an article on “The Post Office Telegraphs and their Financial Results.” He also wrote during the winter an article on Boole for the Encyclopœdia Britannica, which appeared in vol. iv., and he was engaged in preparing his Primer of Logic for Macmillan's series of Science Primers.
To M. Luigi Bodio.
The Owens College, Manchester, 23d December 1875.
“Allow me to return you my sincere thanks for the copies of your statistical publications which I have duly received, including the admirable treatise on the ‘Casse di Resparmio,’ which I also received some time since. They will all be valuable and highly-esteemed additions to my library.
“I am much pleased to think that my book on The Theory of Economy is about to appear in Italian, and I cannot but be flattered by your remarks upon it.
“My address will be at Owens College, Manchester, until about August 1876, when I hope to remove to London, having been lately elected professor of political economy in the University College at London. I hope by this change to enjoy greater advantages and leisure for further economical studies.
“I beg you to accept the copies of pamphlets which I send by book post.
“Your treatise on savings banks seems to me a most admirable work, to which we have nothing corresponding in England. It gives data for comparing the providence and progress of nations nowhere else to be found. The differences shown to exist between North and South Italy are strangely marked, and seem to show that the regeneration of South Italy will be as difficult a task for the Italian Government as Ireland has been and is for the English Government.”
On the evening of the 23d December Mr. Jevons went to Ludlow and spent several days with his sister Mrs. Hutton, whose only son, a most promising boy of thirteen, had just died from diphtheria.
On the 24th he wrote from Ludlow to his brother Tom: “… No one could know Grindal without becoming exceedingly fond of him. A sweeter disposition no one ever had, and his quamtness and humour were very attractive.
“I left Harriet and the baby well at home. He is just beginning to smile and take notice of his father a little, but the pleasure I feel in him only makes me the more sad to think of Lucy's loss. We are getting to a time of life when joys and sorrows are much mingled.”