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fortunately preserved at length in the following decree of 8th July, 1577 :
DECREE OF THE Most ILLUSTRIOUS LORDS, THE FIVE
OF THE MARIEGOLE * “ It is manifestly seen that Melons in this City have reached a price at which scarcely anybody is bold enough to buy them; a condition of things discontenting to everybody, and little according with the dignity of the persons whose duty it is to take such precautionary measures as may be needful,” (the Five, most Illustrious, to wit, “and although our Presessors † and other Magistrates, who from time to time have had special regard to this difficulty, have made many and divers provisional decrees, yet it is seen manifestly that they have always been vain, nor have ever brought forth the good effect which was desired; and the cause of this is seen expressly to be a great number of buyers-to-sell-again who find themselves in this city, and in whose presence it is impossible so quickly to make public anything relating to the import or export of food, but this worst sort of men pounce on it, I and buy it, before it is born; in this, using all the intelligences, cunnings, and frauds which it is possible to imagine; so that the people of this city cannot any more buy anything, for their living, of the proper Garden-master of it; but only from the buyers-to-sell-again, through whose hands such things will pass two or three times before they are sold, which notable disorder is not by any manner of means to be put up with. Wherefore, both for the universal benefit of all the City, and for the dignity of our Magistracy, the great and illustrious Lords, the Five Wise Men, and Foreseers upon the Mariegole, make it publicly known that henceforward there may be no one so presumptuous as to dare, whether as Fruiterer, Green-grocer, Buyer-to-sellagain, or under name of any other kind of person of what condition soever, to sell melons of any sort, whether in the shops or on the shore of our island of Rialto, beginning from the bridge of Rialto as far as the bridge of the Beccaria; and similarly in any part of the piazza of St. Mark, the Pescaria, or the Tera Nuova, ß under penalty to whosoever such
* A Mariegola, Madre-Regola, or Mother-Law, is the written code of the religious and secular laws either of a club of Venetian gentlemen, or a guild of Venetian tradesmen. With my old friend Mr. Edward Cheney's help, I shall let you hear something of these, in next Fors. 2
† Those who before us sat on this Seat of Judgment.
I Most illustrious, a little better grammar might here have been advisable ;-had indignation permitted !
§ These limitations referring to the Rialto market and piazza, leave the town greengrocers free to sell, they being under vowed discipline of the Mariegola of Greengrocers.
· [See p. 10 of Cheney's Remarks on the Illuminated Manuscripts of the Venetian Republic (for further particulars of which, see below, p. 64 n.). Compare also Letter 87, § 15 (p. 376). ]
• [See, again, p. 64; and for Ruskin's friendship with Edward Cheney, Vol. XXIV. Pp. xxxix., 187.)
person shall sell or cause to be sold contrary to the present order, of 120 ducats for each time; to lose the melons, and to be whipped round the Piazza of the Rialto, or of San Marco, wheresoever he has done contrary to the law;" but the Garden-masters and gardeners may sell where they like, and nobody shall hinder them.'
5th January, Morning. 13. I will give the rest of this decree in next Fors ;? but I must pause to-day, for you have enough before you to judge of the methods taken by the Duke and the statesmen of Venice for the ordering of her merchandize, and the aid of her poor.
I say, for the ordering of her merchandize; other mer. chandize than this she had ;-pure gold, and ductile crystal, and inlaid marble,-various as the flowers in mountain turf. But her first care was the food of the poor; she knew her first duty was to see that they had each day their daily bread. Their corn and pomegranate; crystal, not of flint, but life; manna, not of the desert, but the home—“Thou shalt let none of it stay until the morning.'
14. “ To see that they had their daily bread;” yes—but how to make such vision sure? My friends, there is yet one more thing, and the most practical of all, to be observed by you as to the management of your commissariat. Whatever laws you make about your bread—however wise and brave,-—you will not get it unless you pray for it. If you would not be fed with stones, by a Father Devil, you must ask for bread from your Father, God. In a word, you must understand the Lord's Prayer—and pray it ; knowing, and desiring, the Good you ask; knowing also, and abhorring, the Evil you ask to be delivered from. Knowing and obeying your Father who is in Heaven; knowing and wrestling with “ your Destroyer” who is come down to Earth; and praying and striving also, that
[For a reference to these “Mariegolas of Venice," see Proserpina (Vol. XXV. p. 386).]
(This, however, was one of the things for which Ruskio could not find time in the next Fors : see below, p. 55.]
(Exodus xii. 10.)
your Father's will may be done there,—not his; and your Father's kingdom come there, and not his.
And finally, therefore, in St. George's name, I tell you, you cannot know God, unless also you know His and your adversary, and have no fellowship with the works of that Living Darkness, and put upon you the armour of that Living Light.?
15. “ Phrases,—still phrases,” think you? My friends, the Evil Spirit indeed exists; and in so exact contrary power to God's, that as men go straight to God by believing in Him, they go straight to the Devil by disbelieving in Him. Do but fairly rise to fight him, and you will feel him fast enough, and have as much on your hands as you are good for. Act, then. Act-yourselves, waiting for
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to the last farthing in your own power.
Whatever the State does with its money, do you that with yours.
Bring order into your own accounts, whatever disorder there is in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's; then, when you have got the Devil well under foot in Sheffield, you may begin to stop him from persuading my Lords of the Admiralty that they want a new grant, etc., etc., to make his machines with; and from illuminating Parliament with new and ingenious suggestions concerning the liquor laws. For observe, as the outcome of all that is told you in this Fors, all taxes put by the rich on the meat or drink of the poor, are precise Devil's laws. That is why they are so loud in their talk of national prosperity, indicated by the Excise, because the fiend, who blinds them, sees that he can also blind you, through your lust for drink, into quietly allowing yourselves to pay fifty millions a year, that the rich may make their machines of blood with, and play at shedding blood. *
* See third article in Correspondence [p. 51), showing how the gain of our nobles becomes the gain of our usurers.
1 [Ephesians v. 11; Romans xiii. 12.]
But patience, my good fellows. Everything must be confirmed by the last, as founded on the first, of the three resolutions I asked of you in the beginning,—“ Be sure you can obey good laws before you seek to alter bad ones. No rattening, if you please;? no pulling down of park railings;' no rioting in the streets. It is the Devil who sets you on that sort of work. Your Father's Servant does not strive, nor cry, nor lift up His voice in the streets. But He will bring forth judgment unto victory; and, doing as He bids you do, you may pray as He bids you pray, sure of answer, because in His Father's gift are all order, strength, and honour, from age to age, for
16. Of the Eastern question, these four little myths contain all I am able yet to say:8–
[See Letter 2, § 22 (Vol. XXVII. p. 44). ] : [Au allusion with particular reference to Sheffield ; the practice of rattening (that is, abstracting tools and destroying machinery, etc.) having been specially common among the trade unionists of that town : see Murray's New English Dictionary, and Justin McCarthy's History of our Own Times, 1880, vol. iv. p. 156.]
[Compare Vol. XXVII. p. 493.] * Matthew xii. 19, 20.]
(Some sheets of MS.' at Brantwood show that Ruskin sent these “ four little myths" in a letter to the Times, thus :
“VENICE, December 27, 1876. “Sir,–1 observe in your columns a letter from Lord FitzWilliam, in which he speaks of the conveners of the late meeting on the Eastern Question as ignorant persons and enthusiasts. Will you permit four words, or, in their now despised Greek form, myths, to be spoken on the Eastern Question by one of the ignorant persons to English wisdom, and by one of these enthusiastic persons to English caution? . . [I.-IV. as in the text.] I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
J. RuskIN.” lu a second draft: "I am informed that recently in your columns there has appeared a letter from an English nobleman whom I have reason to respect, etc. The letter was not inserted. Lord FitzWilliam's letter was quoted in the Times of October 24 from the Sheffield Independent. It criticised Mr. Gladstone's language
calculated to influence the minds of the ill-informed.” In a letter in the Times of October 26 he referred to such persons as
men who have had their indignation naturally and justly aroused," but "many of whom probably have neither leisure nor opportunity for general historical reading.” For Ruskin as one of the conveners of the Conference on the Eastern Question, see Vol. XXIV. P. xxxviii. He refers to such taunts as Lord FitzWilliam's in Letter 87, § 4 (below, p. 365).)
I. St. George of England and Venice does not bear
his sword for his own interests ; nor in vain.
of her Knights in putting off his armour.
1 [See Mornings in Florence, $ 136 (Vol. XXIII. p. 428); and compare Letter 78, § 5 (below, p. 128). ]
2 (1 Samuel xvii. 40.] • (Psalm cxiv.)