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wholly attributed to a combination among the factors. The famous picture in Manzoni's Promessi Sposi, echoed as it was this very year in Italy-during which there have been corn riots and orders from the authorities fixing the price of bread1-does not exhibit more stupidity and ignorance than the tone assumed by the orator and presupposed in his audience. For when the prytanes referred their case to the council. they were so enraged with them, that some of the public speakers declared that they ought to be handed over untried to the Eleven that they might put them to death. But as I considered it a very serious thing that the council should admit such a precedent, I stood up and said they should first be tried,' &c. This, indeed, seems fair in the speaker, but the whole tone of his speech appeals to the passions of the mob. It appears from the speech that these factors were not. allowed to purchase more than fifty phormi at a time, and they were not allowed to charge more than an obol profit upon a certain measure. The accused confesses that he bought in a larger quantity, but on the advice of the archons, who partly deny the imputation, and partly equivocate about it. The orator argues that even if the archons did advise it, it was illegal, that in any case the price ran up in such a way that the
I The Voce Libera of Genoa, in describing one of these disturbances at Sassari, says (impression of 24th June, 1874) 'Quel signor Sotto Prefetto ordinava indi immediamente l'arresto di tutti i spacciatori. Il pane nascosto dai rivenditori fu venduto al pubblico al prezzo della nuova tariffa ... I signori spacciatori posti poi in libertà, colla massima tranquillità vendono il pane secondo il prezzo fissato dal municipio.'
ordained profit had been exceeded, and for this he demands instant death as the penalty. In the case of other criminals,' he concludes, 'ye have to learn their offence from the accusers, but the wickedness of these men ye all know. If then ye condemn them ye will act justly, and make corn cheaper, but if not, dearer.
This harshness may be partially owing to the important fact that these factors were not citizens but aliens, and that they thought it worth while, like the Jews of the Middle Ages, to run such risks as these on account of their large profits; yet still the whole attitude of the accuser is thoroughly absurd, and the laws to which he refers intolerably medieval. On the other hand, however, the concentration of trade, or at least of most of the trade, in the hands of foreign residents and of freedmen, produced a peculiar feature in the protective laws which we are considering. For the aristocrats, or even the body of well-to-do citizens, despised trade, and looked down upon this sort of lucre. Consequently all the prohibitory trade-laws were for the protection of the whole state, that is of the whole body of citizens, and never for the protection of some privileged class of traders, or of some trade union powerful enough to influence the legislature. Thus the protective laws of Greece, so far as we know them, do not exhibit that odious feature so common in European history, and which forms far the worst feature in the past treatment of Ireland by England. All the other oppressions of the Irish were of no importance compared with the destruction of their trade for the benefit of
English producers. The traders in Greece were a despised and politically insignificant class, who were often plundered by the State, but never protected or favoured beyond some trifling immunities. There is evidence that Pericles knew better, and sought to induce them to settle at Athens; but he was of course far in advance of his time. We may accept what we know of Athens on this point as similar to the practice of other states, but probably more generous than many of them. In some of them trade was an actual disqualification for public life.
But the limitation of profits by law points to a still more decisive feature-the ignorance that money has, like any other thing, a changeable market value, and that interest for its use is no robbery and injustice, but a most useful principle in trade. Many of the Greeks held the now exploded notion, that all taking of interest partook of the nature of usury, and except in the case of wardships and trusts, when the law insisted upon money being usefully invested, they looked upon the man who lived by investments as a bad character, and his trade as a disreputable occupation. Even Aristotle, a most advanced thinker in some respects—even Aristotle shares this national blunder, and talks the most arrant nonsense in his Politics, about money being an essentially barren thing, which cannot produce any offspring or increase without violating nature. There is evidence that in practical life these foolish prejudices could not assert themselves. As the later Athenians began to consider trade an honourable road to riches, and aristocrats like Nicias were known as
careful trade-masters, so there were instances, as in the case of wards' property, where interest was acknowledged fair; but still we should note the persistence of the old stupid prejudice, not merely in ordinary minds, but in those of advanced thinkers.
The general absence of machinery made any large employment of hands in manufacture impossible, and the light Attic soil and limited territory made such things as the Roman latifundia equally so. There was considerable subdivision of labour, the various parts of a shoe, for example, being made by different classes of workmen, and so far as the population could produce with the help of manual slave labour there was in many parts of Greece a considerable export trade. But still anything like our wholesale modern manufactures they could not attain. In another direction too, the want of mechanical development was fatal. As they had no equivalent for our paper or token money, beyond transferable bonds, they had no such thing as a moneymarket, no such thing as state banks, in fact none of that surprising and, to ordinary men, inconceivable sort of trade-stock exchange business. The objection to interest already mentioned cooperated in this result, but I fancy the main cause was the want of current and universally accepted tokens. The Greeks were like the old arithmeticians trying to solve complicated questions as compared with our modern algebraists. Here the discovery of the use of universal symbols, easily handled, and so thoroughly accepted as to make us forget the reality in the background, has made a complete revolution in the way of handling and solving
problems, as well as in our power of unravelling intricacies and mastering complications. The modern stock-exchange stands to the old methods of trade in the same relation. The symbols in a share-list are as unlike the realities as the x and y of an equation, and I believe are often used without any conscious reference to reality by business men.
Here we have a modern development, not second to any of those which separate us from former centuries; it is really a new discovery. This is indeed fortunate in some respects for students of Greek literature. If the mysteries of such a system as our stock-exchange were argued in the Greek orations, the translation and comprehension of these documents would indeed be a most ungrateful labour. Fortunately the cases discussed in the Attic courts were of a far simpler kind. The charges of fraud, which are many, are of the vulgarest and simplest kind, depending upon violence, on false swearing, and upon evading judgment by legal devices. There is not a single case of any large or complicated swindling, such as is exhibited by the genius of modern English and American speculators. There is not even such ingenuity as was shown by Verres in his government of Sicily to be found among the clever Athenians. In this feature the Roman aristocracy seems far more advanced.
We have already discussed one reason of the poorness of Greek legal oratory-the nature of the tribunal; but it seems to me that the facts just stated must also be taken into account, as contributing to the same result. The smallness of the Greek states, so conducive