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In some places, indeed, water is scarce, and then people are glad to buy it. But water is not more useful in those places where people are glad to buy it, than it is here, where, by the bounty of Providence, it is plentiful.
the scarcity that gives it value; and where iron is scarce, there it is of great value.
Scarcity alone, however, would not make a thing valuable, if there were no reason why any one should desire to possess it. There are some kinds of stones which are scarce, but of no value, because they have neither use nor beauty. You would not give anything in exchange for such a stone; not because you can easily get it, but because you have no wish for it. But a stone which is scarce and very beautiful may be of great value, though it is of no use but to make an ornament for the person. Such are diamonds and rubies, and many others. Many people will work hard to earn money enough to buy, not only food and necessary clothing, but also lace and jewels, and other articles of finery. And they desire these things the more, because, besides being beautiful to the eye, they are reckoned a sign of wealth in the person who wears them. A bunch of wild flowers will often be a prettier ornament than a fine riband or a jewel: but a woman likes better to wear these last, to show that she can afford the cost of them, whereas the wild flowers may be had for picking.
You understand now, I hope, that whatever is of value must not only be desirable, for its use or beauty, or some pleasure it affords, but also scarce; that is, so limited in supply that it is not to be had for nothing. And of things which are desirable, those are the most valuable which are the most limited in supply; that is, the hardest to be got. This is the reason why silver and gold are of more value than iron. If they had been of no use or beauty at all, no one would have ever desired them; but being desirable, they are of greater value than iron, because they are so much scarcer and harder to be got. They are found in but few places, and in small quantities. Gold, in particular, is obtained chiefly in the form of dust, by laborious washing
of the sand of certain streams. It costs only as much, in labour and other expenses, to obtain about fifteen pounds of silver, as to obtain one pound of gold; and this is the cause that one pound of gold will exchange for about fifteen pounds of silver.
But besides being desirable and being scarce, there is one point more required for a thing to have value. It must be something that you can part with to another person. For instance, health is very desirable, and is what every one cannot obtain; and hence, we sometimes do speak of health as being of value, but this is not the strict use of the word value; for no one can give his health to another in exchange for something else. Many a rich man would be glad to give a thousand pounds, or perhaps ten thousand pounds, in exchange for the healthy constitution and strong limbs of a poor labourer, and perhaps the labourer would be glad to make such a bargain: but though he might cut off his limbs, he could not make them another man's. He might throw away his health (as many do) by intemperance, but he cannot transfer it; that is, part with it to another person.
When anything that is desirable is to be had by labour, and is not to be had without labour, of course we find men labouring to obtain it; and things that are of very great value will usually be found to have cost very great labour. This has led some persons to suppose that it is the labour which has been bestowed on anything that gives its value. But this is quite a mistake. It is not the labour which anything has cost that causes it to sell for a high price; but, on the contrary, it is its selling for a high price that causes men to labour in procuring it. For instance, fishermen go out to sea, and toil hard in the wet and cold to fish, because they can get a good price for them: but if a fisherman should work hard all night, and catch but one small fish, while another had, perhaps, caught a thousand, by falling in with a shoal, the first would not be able to sell his one fish for the same price as the other man's thousand, though it would have cost him the same labour. It has now and then happened that a salmon or a sturgeon has leaped into
a boat by chance; but though this has cost no labour, it is not for that reason the less valuable. And if a man, in eating an oyster, should chance to meet with a fine pearl, it would not sell for less than if he had been diving for it the whole day.
It is not, therefore, labour that makes things valuable, but their being valuable that makes them worth labouring for. And God having judged in his wisdom that it is not good for man to be idle, has so appointed things by his providence, that few of the things that are most desirable can be obtained without labour. It is ordained for man to eat bread in the sweat of his face; and almost all the necessaries, comforts, and luxuries of life, are obtained by labour. ARCHBISHOP WHATELY.
SOLILOQUY ON SLEEP (HENRY IV.).
How many thousands of my poorest súbjects!
And húshed with buzzing night-flies to thy slúmber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly státe,
And lulled with sounds of sweetest mèlody?
Wilt thou, upon the hígh and giddy màst,
Who take the ruffian billows by the tóp,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them!
Can'st thou, O pàrtial sleep, give thy repósel
Deny it to a kíng? Then, happy lów, lie down!
[THE RIGHT HON. T. B. MACAULAY was born in 1800, and died in 1860. He is distinguished as an historian, an orator, and a poet. For many years he represented the city of Edinburgh in the House of Commons, and held several important offices in the Privy Council. His speeches in Parliament were generally marked with fervid eloquence, and his ballads, the "Lays of Rome," are characterised by fervour and graphic simplicity. His History of England, which has so exalted his reputation, exhibits, in its pictorial passages, all the qualities of epic description.]
CROMWELL passed his youth' and the prime of his mánhood! in a civil situation. He never looked on wár till he was more than forty years of age. He had first to form himself, and then to form his troops. Out of raw lèvies' he created an ármy, the bravest and the best disciplined, the most orderly in peace, and the most terrible in wár, that Europe had seen. He called this body into existence. He led it to cònquest. He never fought a battle' without gàining it. He never gained a battle' without annihilating the force opposed to him. Yet his víctories! were not the highest glory of his military system. The respect! which his troops paid to property, their attachment to the laws and religion of their country, their submission to the civil pòwer, their tèmperance, their intelligence, their índustry, are without parallel. It was after the Restoration, that the spirit which their great leader had infúsed into them! was most signally displayed. At the command of the established government-an established government which had no means of enforcing obedience-fifty thousand sòldiers whose backs! no enemy had ever seen, either in domèstic or in continental laid down their árms, and retired into the mass of
the people, thenceforward to be distinguished only by superior diligence, sobrìety, and regularity in the pursuits of péace, from the other members of the commúnity! which they had saved. Crómwell' was emphatically a màn. He possessed, in an eminent degrée, that masculine and fullgrown robustness of mind, that equally diffused intellectual health, which, if our national partiàlity does not mislead us, has peculiarly characterised the great 'men of England. Never was any ruler' so conspicuously bòrn for sovereignty. The cup which has intoxicated almost all others sobered hìm. His spírit, restless from its own bùoyancy in a lówer sphere, reposed in majestic placídity as soon as it had reached the lével congènial to it. He had nothing in còmmon with that large class of mén! who distínguish themselves in subordinate posts, and whose incapacity becomes óbvious! as soon as the public voicel summons them to take the lead. Ràpidly as his fortunes grew, his mind' expanded more rapidly still. Insignificant as a private cítizen, he was a gréat gèneral; he was a still greater prìnce. By the conféssion even of his enemies, he exhibited in his demeanour the simple and natural nòbleness of a mánꞌ neither ashamed of his órigin, nor vain of his elevation, of a mán' who had found his proper place in socíety, and who felt secúrel that he was competent to fill it. Easy, even to familiàrity, where his own dígnity was concerned, he was punctílious' only for his country. His ówn character! he left to take care of itsèlf; he left it to be defended by his victories in wár, and his reforms in peace. But he was a jealous and implacable guardian of the public honour. He suffered a crazy Quaker to insult him in the gallery of Whitehall, and revènged himself only by líberating him' and giving him a dinner. But he was prepared to risk the chances of wár' to avenge the blood of a private Englishman.
No sovereign ever carried to the thróne' so large a portion of the best qualities of the middling orders, so strong a sympathy with the feelings and interests of his people. He was sometimes driven to árbitrary measures; but he had a hìgh, stóut, hónest, English heart. Hence it wás!