F. E. Maning’s Treastise on Political Economy and Golden Hair

Oh Maori sea nymphs! who, with yellow hair—yellow? egad—that’s odd enough, to say the least of it; however the Maori should come to give their sea nymphs or spirits yellow hair is curious. The Maori know nothing about yellow hair; their hair is black. About one in a hundred of them have a sort of dirty brown hair; but even if there should be now and then a native with yellow hair, how is it that they have come to give this colour to the sea-sprites in particular?— who also ‘dance on the sands, and yet no footstep seen’. Now I confess I am rather puzzled and struck by the coincidence. I don’t believe Shakespeare ever was in New Zealand; Jason might, being a seafaring- man, and if he should have called in for wood and water, and happened to have the golden fleece by any accident on board, and by any chance put it on for a wig, why the thing would be accounted for at once. The world is mad now-a-days about gold, so no one cares a fig about what is called ‘golden hair’; nuggets and dust have the preference; but this is a grand mistake. Gold is no use, or very little, except in so far as this—that through the foolishness of human beings, one can purchase the necessaries and conveniences of life with it. Now, this being the case, if I have a chest full of gold {which I have not), I am no richer for it in fact until I have given it away in exchange for necessaries, comforts, and luxuries, which are, properly speaking, riches or wealth; but it follows from this, that he who has given me this same riches or wealth for my gold, has become poor, and his only chance to set himself up again, is to get rid of the gold as fast as he can, in exchange for the same sort andquantity of things, if he can get them, which is always doubtful. But here lies the gist of the matter—how did I, in the first instance, become possessed of my gold?


If I bought it, and gave real wealth for it, beef, mutton, silk, tea, sugar, tobacco, ostrich feathers, leather breeches, andcrinoline,—why, then, all I have done in parting with my gold, is merely to get them back again, and I am, consequently, no richer by the transaction; but if I steal my gold, then I am aclear gainer of the whole lot of valuables above mentioned. So, upon the whole, I don’t see much use in getting gold honestly, and one must not steal it: digging it certainly is almost as good as stealing, if it is not too deep, which fully accounts for so many employing themselves in this way; but then the same amount of labour would raise no end of wheat and potatoes, beef and mutton: and all farmers, mathematicians, and algebraists will agree with me in this—that after any country is fully cultivated, all the gold in the world won’t force it to grow one extra turnip, and what more can any one desire? So now Adam Smith, McCulloch,* and all the rest of them may go and be hanged.

– F.E Manning, Old New Zealand

*’Past master of pretentious cretenism’, ‘the miserable prattle of the sycophantic MacCulloch.’ (Karl Marx)


One thought on “F. E. Maning’s Treastise on Political Economy and Golden Hair

  1. […] of file on vernacular political economy. I have posted a couple of examples of what I mean by that, here and […]

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