a while supplemented his income by making such photographs for profit. Nevertheless, it remained true that painting absorbed his interest during his earlier career, and that in later life the one invention to which he gave assiduous attention was the telegraph. The plan for a dot and dash alphabet seems to have flashed across him during the voyage across the Atlantic on the Sully. It was years, however, before he turned to its detailed development, a consequence, as already noted, of the crushing disappointment of 1837. His enthusiasm for art seems to have ceased with extraordinary suddenness when the congressional committee in that year refused to give him the commission for painting the Rotunda panel. Thereafter for many years he labored with a pertinacity that was almost monomaniac on the elaboration of the telegraphic device.

Morse was an unusual person in every way. He had wide interests and an impressive and attractive personality, but also eccentricity and an unmanageable temper. He was almost always in hot water, carrying on vehement controversies with all sorts of people, and too often quarreling with his associates. Characteristics of this sort appear commonly enough in the make-up of persons who have the creative temperament. His son, who edits this biography with frankness as well as with filial devotion, admits that there was much to deplore in what was said and written by the father. Morse had strong religious faith of the orthodox sort, and believed himself an instrument in the hands of the Deity for achieving great results. It was no doubt a manifestation of this sort of religious faith that he had an extraordinary fear of the Roman Catholics, and honestly believed in the existence of a Roman Catholic plot for getting control of the United States. This same religious belief explains his attitude toward slavery. who read the Old Testament with the sort of faith that Morse had might easily believe that slavery was a social condition ordained by divine wisdom for certain communities, and not at all a sin; which in turn explains why he was lukewarm for the North during the civil war, and might be described as a copperhead. In perfecting the telegraph he felt, with un


questionable sincerity, that he was doing a great work for the glory of God. It gave him vast satisfaction that the first passage which was flashed across the wires was a phrase from the Old Testament: "What hath God wrought!" He wrote to his brother, "That sentence was divinely indited."

It is not at all inconsistent with a temperament of this sort that he should also have a keen eye for the main chance. It seems tolerably certain in his case that the instinct of contrivance did not operate spontaneously. It was stimulated, if not evoked, by the prospect of gain. Morse turned frankly from painting to inventing as a means of providing for his family and securing a competence or fortune. Those who believe that the instinct of contrivance would work out the same results in the absence of a patent system or other provision for reward will find little confirmation in his career. Probably a similar conclusion would be indicated by the careers of others who, like himself, belong not in the very first rank among inventors, but in the respectable second rank. An extremely small number of persons have the contriving instinct with great intensity. A very much larger number possess it in some degree, but are not irresistibly impelled by it. Whatever be the case with those of contriving genius, the inventors who have only high talent seem to need the spur of reward.





In view of the importance and authority of the Quarterly Journal, I cannot let pass without a reply the review of my Economic Synthesis by Professor Clive Day, published in the February issue. I would not lay stress on the unnecessarily aggressive temper of the review, nor show the inconsistencies between the opinions of my critic and those of the many scholars who have judged the book differently, or even the inconsistencies in his own opinions, the latter perhaps would be easier. In truth, there seems to be an inconsistency in writing so many pages, some of them no doubt suggestive, about a book which at the very outset is declared to be not worth reading.

I write these lines simply to protest with all my power against a literalness of exegesis which perhaps would be admissible as regards the Bible and the Koran, but which is quite out of place in discussing a work of science. Professor Day brings together all the pages in my book in which the word "subsistence" appears, and discovers that what I say in one place is not absolutely in accord with what I say in another. Why, instead of merely scanning minutely the words, like a glossarist of the Middle Ages, has he not considered the ideas? Had he done so, he would have seen that there is not a shadow of inconsistency in my exposition. What I say comes in substance to this. Subsistence is equal to the product of isolated labor, supplied with the necessary technical capital; whereas this same labor, as soon as it is associated, produces something in addition, which is revenue. Subsistence certainly is not luxury, not even comfort.


coincides essentially with the necessaries of the worker. But it has nevertheless to be understood, and I have taken care to repeat it many times, that these necessaries, which are rather moral than physical, by no means coincide with the minimum indispensable for life. They are not the same as starvation wages, which they may readily surpass. Hence there is no inconsistency on my part if I admit that the capitalist does his utmost to lower wages below the normal level fixed by subsistence, and that the laborer in turn endeavors to bring wages back to this level. This is the basis of the contest

between capital and labor. In the same way there is no inconsistency if I admit the possibility that the laborer may save a part of the wages or of the subsistence which he gets, even tho at the cost of severe privation.

I must also protest against the way in which my critic has stated some of my propositions. For example, according to him, I have said that "the quantity of incomes produced in a nation is determined by the quantity of capital productively employed, by the quantity and productivity of the land, by the quantity of public and private securities issued." Stated in this way, my proposition, I admit, would be an absurdity. But the passage referred to says nothing at all about the determination of total income; it bears exclusively on the classification of the different kinds of income, and says precisely this: "The quantity of the various consolidated and fluctuating incomes produced in each nation is determined by the quantity of capital productively employed," and so on (p. 154). This is an incontestable truth. Evidently for instance, the total volume of interest or dividends on public securities in a nation is the precise result of the amount of the public debt which has been issued.

Like every student of economic history, I know the various theories about the origin of the ancient agrarian community. I am well aware that the aristocratic theory of Kemble, Fustel de Coulanges, Seebohm, is in opposition to the democratic theory of Maurer, Vinogradoff, and others. I am well aware also that this controversy (which at bottom is a repetition of that carried on in the eighteenth century between

Boulainvilliers and Dubos) can be the occasion of much interesting discussion, as indeed I have indicated. But all this has nothing to do with the particular subject of my book, which is not concerned with any analysis of the political or legal aspects of the primitive community or with its free or servile origin. The book simply considers the technical and economic structure of the community, the processes of production and distribution as regards the productive agents and the product. Now, on this subject the theorizers of the two opposing schools are entirely in agreement. It suffices to compare the remarks of Seebohm (The English Village Community, 3d ed., London, 1884, pp. 123, 226, etc.) with those of Vinogradoff (The Growth of the Manor, London, 1905, pp. 165, 183; English Society in the Eleventh Century, London, 1908, pp. 216, etc.) on the organization of production and distribution in the English agrarian community. The comparison shows that these two authorities give an absolutely identical picture of the economic form, and that they represent it as a coercive association of labor organized by a central authority which endeavors to maintain substantially equal partition among the associates. This is all that I wish to bring


Professor Day makes the following criticism, "In Loria's mind there is no history, but only political economy stretching back over countless centuries of time." No less a person than Ricardo has been criticized in these identical words, and it might be considered a high honor for me to deserve it. But have I really deserved it? I think not. I have never believed that the economic phenomena analyzed by me are the whole of history, that they comprise the whole of humanity. Far from it; I should be the first to admit that these facts would present only one aspect, more or less fragmentary, in the general history of the species. Yet, admitting all this, one cannot doubt the enormous importance of these phenomena or their great historical significance. For example, it would certainly be absurd to believe that the efforts of the slaves and serfs to buy their liberty comprise the entire history of the periods in which these phenomena are found,

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