Lloyd's Loan

Thomas Lloyd’s dramatic and melancholic memorial at Leeds Minster shows various characters mourning the dead man’s departure. Two young military men flank the inscription, grieving for their Lieutenant Colonel’s loss. Lloyd lived at Horsforth Hall, dying in 1828. His many achievements, listed on the monument, includes ‘the protection of property’ which was ‘endangered by the spread of antisocial and revolutionary principles’, a reference, I think, to the French revolutionaries.

Private property is an interesting litmus test for one’s own political persuasion. The stauncher the socialist, the more private property is the source of all social woes. The rich acquire and retain wealth at the expense of the poor, with whom they will not share it.

To the liberal, it is a sure way of preserving one’s liberties and freedoms against a overly powerful state. So long as my house is mine and not the government’s, it cannot tell me what to do or think while I occupy it.

For the conservative, property is the bulwark and defence against chaos, disorder and violent, sudden change. It is a link with the past's stability; a slow and steady transferral of power and wealth between the generations. 

The Bible appears to support the notion of private property, forbidding envy as well as theft. Yet it also makes it clear that what we consider our property is but on loan; we shall each be called to account for how we used it, with it passing into another’s hands after our alloted time. In ancient Israel, the land was essentially leased for a number of years until the jubilee restored it to its ancestral proprietor. Whatever your views on property, and whether Lt Colonel Lloyd was right to cherish it so much, remember that what you own you really borrow, and what you inherit you only lease.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36