The Distribution of Livelihood. By Rossington Stanton. (Farwell, 6/-).

A certain Lord Spiritual, who was much given to the use of the personal pronoun, once took for his text, “The devil goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” and proceeded to elaborate, thus : “I propose, dear brethren, to treat of my subject under three heads ; firstly, who the devil, he was ; secondly, where the devil, he was going ; and lastly, what the devil, he was roaring about.”

I am irresistibly reminded of this story by a perusal of this book which has been sent us for notice. Who the author, he is ; where the author, he is going; and what the devil he is writing about are questions I might make long-shot answers at, but whether I should be able to come within miles of the mark, only Mr. Stanton could say. It is an amazing book, just how amazing let anyone who has 6/- to spare discover for himself. The price alone is amazing enough—six shillings for 125 small pages either suggests that the author has a very tall opinion of the value of his work, or that he doesn’t expect to sell more than a dozen or two and desires to cover the cost of production out of that limited sale. Probably, however, the purchaser having recovered (if by the intervention of the beneficent fates he ever does) from the torture of trying to get at the idea presumably underlying Mr. Stanton’s ponderous and unhappy style, will find that he has secured something of high value for his expenditure in the soporific influences the book generates. Any member of the Party suffering from acute insomnia may have the loan of it on easy terms, and if it does not do all that is claimed for it the money will be refunded—if it hasn’t been spent.

In fairness to the author I should mention that in a prefatory note he states that his essay is no more than a preliminary outline of several novel economic principles which it is his intention to elaborate when opportunity allows. He gives them to the world in their present form “in order to secure them from possible oblivion in the event of my unexpected decease.”

I can only add that if the decease should unhappily prevent the elaboration, I am afraid the
publication of the present volume will not secure the novel principles, whatever they are, from oblivion. Mr. Stanton haa effectually buried them. That, at any rate, is my serious opinion.


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