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Between that grim cathedral of England From TIME AND TIDE and this, what an interval! There is a type of it in the very birds that haunt
Letter XV them; for, instead of the restless (440 THE NATURE OF THEFT BY UNJUST crowd, hoarse-voiced and sable-winged,
PROFITS. -CRIME CAN FINALLY BE drifting on the bleak upper air, the St.
ARRESTED ONLY BY EDUCATION Mark's porches are full of doves, that nestle among the marble foliage, and The first methods of polite robbery, by mingle the soft iridescence of their living dishonest manufacture, and by debt, of plumes, changing at every motion, with which we have been hitherto speaking, the tints, hardly less lovely, that have are easily enough to be dealt with and stood unchanged for seven hundred ended, when once men have a mind to years.
end them. But the third method of And what effect has this splendor (450 polite robbery, by dishonest acquisition, on those who pass beneath it? You may has many branches, and is involved walk from sunrise to sunset, to and fro, i among honest arts of acquisition, so that before the gateway of St. Mark's, and it is difficult to repress the one with- (10 you will not see an eye lifted to it, nor a out restraining the other. countenance brightened by it. Priest and Observe, first, large fortunes cannot layman, soldier and civilian, rich and honestly be made by the work of one poor, pass by it alike regardlessly. Up man's hands or head. If his work beneto the very recesses of the porches, the fits multitudes, and involves position of meanest tradesmen of the city push their high trust, it may be (I do not say that counters; nay, the foundations of its (460 it is) expedient to reward him with great pillars are themselves the seats-not wealth or estate; but fortune of this kind * of them that sell doves” for sacrifice, is freely given in gratitude for benefit, not but of the vendors of toys and carica- as repayment for labor. Also, men (20 tures. Round the whole square in front of peculiar genius in any art, if the public of the church there is almost a continuous can enjoy the product of their genius, line of cafés, where the idle Venetians may set it at almost any price they of the middle classes lounge, and read choose; but this, I will show you when I empty journals; in its centre the Austrian come to speak of art, is unlawful on their bands play during the time of vespers, part, and ruinous to their own powers. their martial music jarring with the [470 Genius must not be sold; the sale of it organ notes,—the march drowning the involves, in a transcendental, but permiserere, and the sullen crowd thicken- fectly true sense, the guilt both of simony ing round them,--a crowd, which, if it and prostitution. Your labor only (30 had its will, would stiletto every soldier may be sold; your soul must not. that pipes to it. And in the recesses of Now, by fair pay for fair labor, accordthe porches, all day long, knots of men ing to the rank of it, a man can obtain of the lowest classes, unemployed and means of comfortable, or if he needs it, listless, lie basking in the sun like lizards; refined life. But he cannot obtain large and unregarded children,-every heavy fortune. Such fortunes as are now the glance of their young eyes full of des- [480 prizes of commerce can be made only in peration and stony depravity, and their one of three ways: throats hoarse with cursing, -gamble, and 1. By obtaining command over the fight, and snarl, and sleep, hour after labor of multitudes of other men, and (40 hour, clashing their bruised centesimi taxing it for our own profit. upon the marble ledges of the church 2. By treasure-trove,-as of mines, porch. And the images of Christ and useful vegetable products, and the like, His angels look down upon it continu- in circumstances putting them under our ally.
own exclusive control.
3. By speculation (commercial gambling). The first two of these means of obtaining riches are, in some forms and mental arrangements of zigzag bricks, within certain limits, lawful, and advan- black and blue tiles, cast-iron foliage, tageous to the State. The third is 150 and the like; of which millions, as I said, entirely detrimental to it; for in all cases not a penny can ever return into the of profit derived from speculation, at shareholders' pockets, nor contribute to best, what one man gains another loses; public speed or safety on the line. It is and the net result to the State is zero all sunk forever in ornamental architec(pecuniarily), with the loss of time and ture, and (trust me for this!) all that
, ingenuity spent in the transaction; be- architecture is bad. As such, it had (110 sides the disadvantage involved in the incomparably better not have been built. discouragement of the losing party, and Its only result will be to corrupt what the corrupted moral natures of both. capacity of taste or right pleasure in such This is the result of speculation at its (60 work we have yet left to us! And conbest. At its worst, not only B. loses what sider a little, what other kind of result A. gains (having taken his fair risk of than that might have been attained if all such loss for his fair chance of gain), those millions had been spent usefully: but C. and D., who never had any chance say, in buying land for the people, or at all, are drawn in by B.'s fall, and the building good houses for them, or (if it final result is that A. sets up his carriage had been imperatively required to (120 on the collected sum which was once be spent decoratively) in laying out gara means of living to a dozen families. dens and parks for them, or buying
Nor is this all. For while real com- noble works of art for their permanent merce is founded on real necessities or (70 possession,-or, best of all, establishing uses, and limited by these, speculation, frequent public schools and libraries ! of which the object is merely gain, seeks Count what those lost millions would to excite imaginary necessities and popu- have so accomplished for you! But you lar desires, in order to gain its temporary left the affair to “supply and demand, ” profit from the supply of them. So that and the British public had not brains not only the persons who lend their enough to "demand" land, or lodg- (130
” money to it will be finally robbed, but ing, or books. It “demanded” cast-iron the work done with their money will be cockades and zigzag cornices, and is for the most part useless, and thus the "supplied" with them, to its beatitude
“ entire body of the public injured as (80 for evermore. well as the persons concerned in the Now, the theft we first spoke of, by transaction. Take, for instance, the falsity of workmanship or material, is, architectural decorations of railways indeed, so far worse than these thefts by throughout the kingdom,-representing dishonest acquisition, that there is no many millions of money for which no possible excuse for it on the ground of farthing of dividend can ever be forth- self-deception; while many specula- (140 coming. The public will not be induced tive thefts are committed by persons who to pay the smallest fraction of higher fare really mean to do no harm, but think the to Rochester, or Dover because the iron- system on the whole a fair one, and do work of the bridge which carries them (90 the best they can in it for themselves. over the Thames is covered with floral But in the real fact of the crime, when cockades, and the piers of it edged with consciously committed, in the numbers ornamental cornices. All that work is reached by its injury, in the degree of simply put there by the builders that suffering it causes to those whom it ruins, they may put the percentage upon it in the baseness of its calculated betrayal into their own pockets; and the rest of of implicit trust, in the yet more per- (150 the money being thrown into that floral fect vileness of the obtaining such trust form, there is an end of it, as far as the by misrepresentation, only that it may shareholders are concerned. Millions be betrayed, and in the impossibility that upon millions have thus been spent, (100 the crime should be at all committed,
, within the last venty years, on orna- except by persons of good position and
large knowledge of the world, what another fashion; sets them upon an (210 manner of theft is so wholly unpardon- hill, that their light may shine before able, so inhuman, so contrary to every men, and that all may see their good
, law and instinct which binds and ani- works, and glorify their Father in-the mates society?
(160 Opposite of Heaven. And then consider farther, how many I think your trade parliament will have of the carriages that glitter in our streets to put an end to this kind of business are driven, and how many of the stately somehow! But it cannot be done by houses that gleam among our English laws merely, where the interests and cirfields are inhabited, by this kind of thief! cumstances are so extended and complex.
I happened to be reading this morning Nay, even as regards lower and more (220 (29th March) some portions of the Lent defined crimes, the assigned punishment services, and I came to a pause over the is not to be thought of as a preventive familiar words, “And with Him they
“And with Him they means; but only as the seal of opinion crucified two thieves.” Have you (170 set by society on the fact. Crime cannot ever considered (I speak to you now as a be hindered by punishment; it will always professing Christian) why, in the accom- find some shape and outlet, unpunishable plishment of the "numbering among or unclosed. Crime can only be truly transgressors,” the transgressors chosen hindered by letting no man grow up a should have been especially thieves--not criminal—by taking away the will to murderers, nor, as far as we know, sinners commit sin; not by mere punishment (230
; by any gross violence?
Do you observe of its commission. Crime, small and how the sin of theft is again and again great, can only be truly stayed by educaindicated as the chiefly antagonistic one tion-not the education of the intellect to the law of Christ? “This he said, (180 only, which is, on some men, wasted, not that he cared for the poor, but be- and for others mischievous; but education cause he was a thief, and had the bag” of the heart, which is alike good and (of Judas). And again, though Barabbas
necessary for all. was a leader of sedition and a murderer besides—(that the popular election might be in all respects perfect)--yet St. John, THE RELATION OF ART TO in curt and conclusive account of him,
MORALS fastens again on the theft. “Then cried they all again saying, Not this man,
And now I pass to the arts with but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was (190 which I have special concern, .in which, a robber.” I believe myself the reason though the facts are exactly the same, I to be that theft is indeed, in its subtle shall have more difficulty in proving my forms, the most complete and excuseless assertion, because very few of us are as of human crimes. Sins of violence usually cognizant of the merit of painting as we have passion to excuse them: they may are of that of language; and I can only be the madness of moments; or they may show you whence that merit springs, after be apparently the only means of extrica- having thoroughly shown you in what it tion from calamity. In other cases, they consists. But, in the meantime, I (10 are the diseased habits of lower and have simply to tell you, that the manual brutified natures. But theft involv- (200 arts are as accurate exponents of ethical ing deliberative intellect, and absence of state, as other modes of expression; first, passion, is the purest type of wilful iniq. | with absolute precision, of that of the uity, in persons capable of doing right. workman; and then with precision, disWhich being so, it seems to be fast be- guised by many distorting influences, of coming the practice of modern society to that of the nation to which it belongs. crucify its Christ indeed, as willingly as And, first, they are a perfect exponent ever, in the persons of His poor; but by of the mind of the workman: but, being no means now to crucify its thieves be- so, remember, if the mind be great or (20 side Him! It elevates its thieves after complex, the art is not an easy book to read; for we must ourselves possess all through long life, not only without failure the mental characters of which we are to of power, but with visible increase of it, read the signs. No man can read the until the actually organic changes of old evidence of labor who is not himself
And then consider, so far as you laborious, for he does not know what know anything of physiology, what [80 the work cost: nor can he read the evi- sort of an ethical state of body and mind dence of true passion if he is not pas- that means!-ethic through ages past! sionate; nor of gentleness if he is not what fineness of race there must be to gentle: and the most subtle signs of (30 get it, what exquisite balance and symfault and weakness of character he can metry of the vital powers! And then, only judge by having had the same faults finally, determine for yourselves whether to fight with. I myself, for instance, a manhood like that is consistent with know impatient work, and tired work, any viciousness of soul, with any mean better than most critics, because I am anxiety, any gnawing lust, any wretchedmyself always impatient, and often tired: ness of spite or remorse, any conscious- 190 so also, the patient and indefatigable ness of rebellion against law of God or touch of a mighty master becomes more man, or any actual, though unconscious wonderful to me than to others. Yet, violation of even the least law to which wonderful in no mean measure it will [40 obedience is essential for the glory of be to you all, when I make it manifest;- life, and the pleasing of its Giver. and as soon as we begin our real work, It is, of course, true that many of the and you have learned what it is to draw strong masters had deep faults of characa true line, I shall be able to make mani- ter, but their faults always show in their fest to you,--and undisputably so, work. It is true that some could not that the day's work of a man like Man- govern their passions; if so, they died (100 tegna or Paul Veronese consists of an young, or they painted ill when old. But unfaltering, uninterrupted, succession of the greater part of our misapprehension movements of the hand more precise than in the whole matter is from our not havthose of the finest fencer: the pencil (50 ing well known who the great painters leaving one point and arriving at another, were, and taking delight in the petty skill not only with unerring precision at the that was bred in the fumes of the taverns extremity of the line, but with an unerring of the North, instead of theirs who and yet varied course sometimes over breathed empyreal air, sons of the mornspaces a foot or more in extent-yet a ing, under the woods of Assisi and the course so. determined everywhere that crags of Cadore.
(110 either of these men could, and Veronese It is true however also, as I have often does, draw a finished profile, or pointed out long ago, that the strong any other portion of the contour of the masters fall into two great divisions, one face, with one line, not afterwards (60 leading simple and natural lives, the changed. Try, first, to realize to your- other restrained in a Puritanism of the selves the muscular precision of that worship of beauty; and these two manners action, and the intellectual strain of it; of life you may recognize in a moment by for the movement of a fencer is perfect their work. Generally the naturalists in practised monotony; but the move- are the strongest; but there are two of ment of the hand of a great painter is the Puritans, whose work if I can suc- (120 at every instant governed by direct and ceed in making clearly understandable new intention. Then imagine that mus- to you during my three years here, it is cular firmness and subtlety, and the in- all I need care to do. But of these two stantaneously selective and ordinant 170 Puritans one I cannot name to you, and energy of the brain, sustained all day the other I at present will not. One I long, not only without fatigue, but with cannot, for no one knows his name, except a visible joy in the exertion, like that the baptismal one, Bernard, or “dear which an eagle seems to take in the wave little Bernard”—Bernardino, called from of his wings; and this all life long, and his birthplace, (Luino, on the Lago Mag
giore,) Bernard of Luino. The other (130 cannot perform; (and observe, by the
) is a Venetian, of whom many of you way, that a great deal of what is misprobably have never heard, and of whom, taken for conscientious motive is nothing through me, you shall not hear, until I but a very pestilent, because very subtle, have tried to get some picture by him over condition of vanity); whereas the great to England.
men always understand at once that the Observe then, this Puritanism in the first morality of a painter, as of every- (190
( worship of beauty, though sometimes body else, is to know his business, and so
; weak, is always honorable and amiable, earnest are they in this, that many, and the exact reverse of the false Puri- whose lives you would think, by the retanism, which consists in the dread or (140 sults of their work, had been passed in disdain of beauty. And in order to treat strong emotion, have in reality subdued my subject rightly, I ought to proceed themselves, though capable of the very from the skill of art to the choice of its strongest passions, into a calm as absolute subject, and show you how the moral as that of a deeply sheltered mountain temper of the workman is shown by his lake,
lake, which reflects every agitation of the seeking lovely forms and thoughts to clouds in the sky, and every change (200 express, as well as by the force of his hand of the shadows on the hills, but is itself in expression. But I need not now urge motionless. this part of the proof on you, because you Finally, you must remember that great are already, I believe, sufficiently (150 obscurity has been brought upon the conscious of the truth in this matter, and truth in this matter by the want of inalso I have already said enough of it in tegrity and simplicity in our modern life. my writings; whereas I have not at all I mean integrity in the Latin sense, wholesaid enough of the infallibleness of fine ness. Everything is broken up, and mintechnical work as a proof of every other gled in confusion, both in our habits and good power. And indeed it was long be- thoughts; besides being in great part (210
; fore I myself understood the true mean- imitative: so that you not only cannot ing of the pride of the greatest men in tell what a man is, but sometimes you their mere execution, shown for a per- cannot tell whether he is, at all!—whether manent lesson to us, in the stories (160 you have indeed to do with a spirit, or which, whether true or not, indicate with only with an echo. And thus the same absolute accuracy the general conviction inconsistencies appear now, between the of great artists;—the stories of the con- work of artists of merit and their pertest of Apelles and Protogenes in a line sonal characters, as those which you find only, (of which I can promise you, you continually disappointing expectation in shall know the meaning to some purpose the lives of men of modern literary (220 in a little while),—the story of the circle power;—the same conditions of society
— of Giotto, and especially, which you may having obscured or misdirected the best perhaps not have observed, the expression qualities of the imagination, both in our of Dürer in his inscription on the (170 literature and art. Thus there is no drawings sent him by Raphael. These serious question with any of us as to the figures, he says, "Raphael drew and personal character of Dante and Giotto, sent to Albert Dürer in Nürnberg, to of Shakespeare and Holbein; but we show him"-What? Not his invention, pause timidly in the attempt to analyze nor his beauty of expression, but “sein the moral laws of the art skill in recent Hand zu weisen," "to show him his poets, novelists, and painters. 230 hand.” And you will find, as you ex- Let me assure you once for all, that as amine farther, that all inferior artists are you grow older, if you enable yourselves continually trying to escape from the to distinguish by the truth of your own necessity of sound work, and either (180 lives, what is true in those of other men, indulging themselves in their delights in you will gradually perceive that all good subject, or pluming themselves on their has its origin in good, never in evil; that noble motives for attempting what they the fact of either literature or painting