Изображения страниц

hood, levying a black mail on the poor people to with the line of rivers and watercourses ; in towns pay for that green-coated army of occupation? is it prevails most in the dampest and poorest neighit Mike that is that wicked fool ?” Mike rushes borhoods ; humid and impure air are its great in, terror-stricken. “Oh! is it you, Mike?" No, predisposing causes, low diet and other depressing no; he is not the guilty fool. Some one bangs influences probably aiding the predisposition. The at the door. “It is 1, Mike,” says a hoarse voice ; great preventives, of a broad and general nature,

open the door: they are after me !" But Mike are ventilation and cleansing. Cleanly people, as listens without stirring ; an oath, a rush of feet, a the Dutch, or the Gallicians in comparison with silence— Pat Braghnan has gone. Two policemen the Sclavonians, enjoy a marked immunity. For run up: Mike opens his door; he proves that thorough prevention the metropolis would need a Braghnan is not there ; the policemen, however, thorough reconstruction of its drainage ; but withturn out the protesting Mike ; the whole country out waiting for any plans so tedious, the commisis astir ; Braghnan is hunted from cabin to cabin, sioners suggest immediate stops to improve existing through bush and brake ; he is found skulking in arrangements, to cleanse out sewers, and augment a ditch ; and Mike is set free, rejoicing, perhaps the draught of water. They do not recommend for the first time in his life, in the practical immu- any renewed use of cholera hospitals, but suggest nity of innocence. It is those in the cabin that the much more effective measure of providing efnow listen with fear to the sound of the gun— fectual medical attendance at the houses of patients. they have ceased to be the privileged class : they The very destitute can be taken to the fever-wards long for the time when those hated but feared po- of the union work-houses. The non-contagion, lice shall be taken away, and groan at the sound which is established on very strong evidence, is of every gun that renews the lease of those de- most important for its moral consequences : on the tested lodgers ; they begin to hate and despise the former visitation of the cholera, the abandonment fools that help to keep them there by this senseless of the sick was common, fear of infection being playing with deadly weapons, and set down the the motive. The admitted absence of contagion odious police-tax-not to be evaded by cajolery- greatly facilitates the treatment of the sick in every as a debt against such lawless neighbors. It is in way. It will be desirable, as no doubt it will be the cabin that terror, and tribulation, and a sicken- provided, to give the medical officers authority to ing, longing wish for order in the neighborhood, enforce the needful sanatory regulations on all now abide. The strong iron hand of the law is places that come within their observation. It is on the whole people : the criminal community has to be observed that the regulations and improvestruggled in vain ; it knows its master, and ments here indicated will not be useless, evex crouches down, trembling, subdued, and quiet. should the cholera disappoint the general fear and

No shots are heard. Perfect peace reigns all spare this land : the same plans will be of the round. The green-coated men, are collected ; they greatest and most direct utility in counteracting are marched away, and seen no more. The sub- fever and other general ailments induced by bad dued district is once more free. No one listens in atmosphere.--Spectator. fear. If the landlord and his children no longer shrink at the sight of the armed ragamuffin, the WELLINGTON ON THE DEFENCELESS STATE OF laborer and his wife no longer cower at the sight

THE BRITISH FRONTIER. of the armed policeman. Crime has been paid for, bitterly, in tribulation, in the hard coin of the po

Is it certain that this country will never again lice-tax ; in confessed vanquishment—the hardest be engaged in war ? The question is one which, of all possible penalties. Without a present police for many reasons, demands an explicit and positive or the instant terror of penalty, the spirit of law answer. If it cannot be answered in the negative, abides in the place. Such is the change which it is then a truism that every additional month of may be realized in the lawless district, after Sir peace brings us nearer to war. Is it certain that George Grey's bill shall have been effectually our own country will not be attacked—that war carried out. —Spectator, 4 Dec.

will not be brought upon our own territory ? Many reasons forbid a certain negative. Our country is rich, and very vulnerable. An old warning on

the defenceless state of our coasts, from the highest The First Report of the Sanatory Commission- military authority in Europe, has just been revived. ers, published 2 Dec., relates more especially to the The existence of a letter from the Duke of Welmeasures for the prevention of Asiatic cholera, a lington to Sir John Burgoyne, entering very fully subject which was referred to the commission for into the subject, has been hinted at before; but its earliest attention ; but the measures suggested that letter has this week been publicly described necessarily have a larger scope. The official re- by a well-known correspondent of the Morning port will not supersede further scientific inquiry Chronicle, whose communications are signed “ P.” into the nature of the disease and the mode of its We extract the descriptive passagepropagation ; but for immediate practical purposes, - His theme is the condition of this country as the document seems to establish the following data regards invasion ; and his statements may make the as the basis of practical and practicable measures stoutest heart tremble. He enters into every deCholera is not contagious : its progress cujucides tail; he names, from personal observation, the most



[ocr errors]

in any

likely places for debarkation ; he proves the ease is not the most national view of the subject : we with which it might be effected; he displays the might point to the enormous waste and destruction nullity of our means of defence. We have no mi- of our substantial wealth, to the utter overturn of litia, very few and very distant regulars from all existing arrangements, to the want and misery 9,000 to 10,000 alone available at home-little artillery, no arms in store. He says, with infinite which must remain in the track of an invading pathos, 'I am now bordering on seventy-seven years army; we might point to the chance that an inof age, passed in honor. I hope the Almighty may vading force from the continent would be swelled proted ine from being a witness of the tragedy I can- by recruits from the other side—from Ireland—by not persuade my contemporaries to avert.

practical repealers : but these views of the subject “He afterwards proceeds to demand means, the

must already have been before our statesınen ; and, most moderate ; and with them he undertakes to

His terms are 150,000 militia, and it seems, they have been unavailing to incite acsoine 10,000 or 12,000 additional soldiers of the tion. Possibly the personal view may move us line."

to more purpose.

We should not be vanquished We have followed a corrected version of the in the English heart, the heart is in the blow; bu*

-we should repel the invader—the spirit is still text, which is more emphatic in its phrase ; but from the original version is to be collected the ad-suffered to come in among the people, the worst

a people are not an army, and when an army is ditional fact that the duke had submitted his plan things happen before that army is expelled again. of defence “ to three ministers,” (premiers, we pre- Now the fact is indisputable, that an army may sume,] “ in vain.”

enter England, and march to its centre, unchecked Why in vain? Not because any ministry can be content with the state of the national defences, retaliate easily or effectually: if France, for in

by any efficient antagonist. We could not even but because they have not had the zeal to undertake stance, were our assailant, Paris is cased with the trouble of arranging with parliament the matter forts, and all France is in military “ attention." of cost ; perhaps also because they have not been able to picture to themselves what the duke means since the last civil war : it will not happen again

This has not yet happened—nothing like it by " the tragedy”—taught to him, however, by till next time. no exercise of fancy, but by horrible experience if we took steps to render it impossible : but we

It never would happen, indeed, of the reality in other lands. But are we all so bare of that intellectual func- heart for the subject. There is not one,

have not taken the steps-our ministers have not tion that we cannot construe the words? Because our generation has not witnessed an invasion of settle it. Yes, there is one—the venerable cap

party, that will take up this home question, and English homes, are we quite incapable of conceiv

tain; but he is as unheeded as Laocooning such an event? Do we not know what it implies ? An accident, a word, a squabble between

“ Heu! si fata deûm, si mens non læva fuisset, sailors or fishermen, might precipitate war; a dip

Trojaque nunc stares Priamique arx alta malomatic technicality might dictate a

" demonstration." If a host of pulse-fed Russians or French A brutish disregard of the future awaits on the troops were poured into Sussex or Kent, would self-satisfied spirit of our day, which can deal with the devastation of our corn-fields, the waste of our no ideas but such as have tangible objects to sugorchards and hop-grounds, be the worst that we gest them-money gains, or sensual gratifications. should have to deplore? Would the plunder of We abdicate part of our faculties, and lay them “ the city” itself be the thing that we should at the feet of the narrow-minded and dull, content dread? We should scarcely think of it, in com- to think no further than they can think, to imagine parison. Statesinen might, military officers might nothing but what they can know, to foresee noth-it would be their business; but we, the people ing but what they can understand on gross palpaof England, should be thinking of something more ble proof. We are paying the penalty of this stirring than that. Military officers might gain a blindness in past times. For temporary objects victory, and the bells might ring after it. But that we now despise, we expended enormous sums what might happen in the interval ? Do not some in war, regardless of the cost to ourselves; and of us know what it is for a people to have an alien we are still paying, every year, many millions for soldiery turned loose among its homes? Do we our improvidence. We are now going to incur not know what it might be for the men of a house the converse penalty, incurring the risk of ruinous hold to stand armed within the door, the women war to save a small present outlay. We have sent to inner rooms and hiding-places—to have the always refused to deal with the future of Ireland, door forced in—the men to be vanquished—the and the penalty is that we have never done dealing women discovered ? Do not men prefer to be with an interminable and sanguinary past. It is trampled down and die before they know what true again that this penalty is not identical with happens in such adventures ? Are we to remain that which we shall incur by neglecting the future content, knowing that these things may be, in to which the white-haired veteran so eloquently Brighton or Hastings, in Canterbury or Horsham, warns us. It seems that we must know the ac nay, in London-in Camberwell or Islington, in tual horrors and devastation of war before we caj Belgrave Square or Sussex Gardens ? There is associate the idea of invasion with the latest meindeed no security against such a visitation. This tropolitan improvements, or think it necessary to






provide any more certain bulwark than a new po- | has always followed as a necessary consequence of lice! This dulness to the warning, we say, is commercial energy, and is by no means susceptinot courage, nor “ practical" sense, but besotted ble of arbitrary or unlimited extension at the hands brutishness. - Spectator, 4 Dec

of central authority. Real wealth will be no more

augmented by an extension of currency than the

From the Spectator. aggregate bulk of goods in the market would be RESULTS OF THE BANKING DEBATE.

increased by the extension of any other instrument

used in commerce-an extension of hogsheads, of Grievous would be the disappointment if one

canvass for bales, or of steel pens. Nor will the were to seek the conclusions of last week's debate on banking and distress in the express declaration there be the goods to be exchanged, and people

interchange depend on any particular medium : if of opinions. There was in notable instances, even want them, they will be exchanged by some individually, no opinion ; and collectively there

means, bad or good. It is, no doubt, most imporwas such a conflict of opinion, that each was neutralized by the rest, as all colors combined make sufficient both in amount and in the qualities

tant to have a sufficient medium of exchangeup one blank. But out of the effervescent heap necessary for such a medium-portability, verificaof opposite notions some results of tolerable dis

tion, and unvarying uniformity of standards tinctness may be collected.

that the endless variety of values may be referred Endless, for example, is the diversity on the

to one common measure. Of all currencies yet subject of “ currency :" relaxation and restriction; devised, from cowrie shells and assignats to bulextension and contraction, bank charter act and locks or diamonds, none has so completely satisfied repeal of it, paper and gold, convertibility, incon- the requirements of a commercial medium as gold vertibility, modified convertibility, unlimited issues coin. It is not so portable as some others; and convertible, limited issues convertible

, unlimited in that respect, representative paper, strictly coninconvertible, limited inconvertible, part convertible, vertible into gold coin, may be considered as an part inconvertible, fewer banks, more banks, auxiliary that imparts to our currency -bsolute Scotch system, Irish system - Enough; the

perfection—the convenience of the cheapest and brain whirls with the confusion of counsel. All this would be very unsatisfactory, but that in the

most portable currency in the world, with the seeming chaos there is a principle of gravitation, standard. It is the duty of the executive govern

sterling qualities of a defined, verified, and uniform and common sense evidently tends towards one ment to see that the general convenience of all be common instinctive negative conclusion—that the

consulted—that arrangements dependent on comquestion of "currency” has had very little to do with the matter ; that currency is best when sim- maintained; but it is no part of executive duty to

mon observance be simplified, facilitated, and plest and most tangible ; and that practically the increase individual wealth. It is the duty of the principle of the law regulating our currency is tol

executive to provide the best form of currency, erably correct, requiring less to be altered than to because that can be best performed by the central be more strictly applied. Through an utter con

authority ; but it is no part of the duty of the fusion of the terms “ money, capital," rency,” “ circulation,” and the like, there is evi- which is the product of individual industry and

executive to provide capital, “ accumulated labor," dently a feeling that money is not always capital, enterprise. It is not the duty of the state, thereand that currency is still less so. persons who clamored for more notes, felt

, and fore, any more than it is its faculty, to provide confessed, that notes were not the thing which capital for merchants in time of crisis, by relaxa

tion, extension, the loan of credit, or any other they lacked, when they told Sir Charles Wood, “ If we know that we can get bank-notes, we shall

means; but only to maintain the currency invionot want them.” This paradox is not the non

late against attempts to tamper with it, by banksense which it would seem. It evinces the

* For distinctness, it may be noted that the substance instinctive sense of the real case. With active gold used in the formation of coin is “capital,” as any industry, with goods abundant courting exchange other goods are capital ; and that in regard to its gross —that is, with the productive power and the mate-is capital ; yet that in its operation as a medium of rial products for trade—it is obvious that commer- exchange, money is not capital, but it may indifferently cial inen would fall upon some convenient mode of time, or any other term of value. In the economical

represent any purchasable commodity-labor, capital, facilitating barter by a representative medium of sense, gold is capital only while it is the material in some exchange ; but it is evident that the medium of process of production ; as a medium of transfer, it is only

ihe representative of capital, carrying with it a substantial exchange, as such, is not a constituent part of the guarantee in its own intrinsic value. An addition to the wealth. Adding to the medium adds nothing to gold in a country, therefore, in respect of its currency, is the material wealth. It is not a material, but a which imparts the guarantee to the currency; but in the

only of importance in so far as it supplies the solid liasis inere mode : the substance selected as the tangible sense of currency, no extension of gold can add to the form for that medium is only a tool, an instru- wealth or capital of a nation : it will only atiect nominal ment. With its extension or contraction the sub-coin and all other articles whatsoever; not real“ price,''

"price"-that is, the nominal ratio of value between the stantial wealth will not be augmented or diminished, that is, the mean ratio of exchangeable value between except indirectly: it may be increased by the each article and all other articles; which is determined

by the higgling of the market, and only nominated by the tucility of interchange ; a sonrce of increase which currency.



are NOW

rupt traders as well as common forgers and view which are they that retain that faculty. “smashers.” It is the instinctive sense of these The more they are multiplied the greater will be facts which makes both houses of parliament enter the chance that an undue portion of industry will into an “ inquiry” as wide as the chaos of notions be diverted from employments that produce food or is confused, with the evident foregone conclusion food-purchasing goods. Active industry in any that the main subject of inquiry, the law securing paid labor begets an appearance of prosperity a strictly convertible standard, must be maintained which may mislead if that enterprise be not availwith closer rather than less strictness.

ably productive. It increases the diversion of Another main branch of the great investigation industry, betrays the workers who are so “pros so laxly conducted by the honorable and right hon- pering” into habits wasteful of those necessaries orable assemblies, is the effect of the railway which they do not replace, and fosters the growth expenditure. The general tendency is to make a of a population not employed availably for the dead set at railways. Sir Charles Wood charges immediate purposes of subsistence. This is one them with abstracting a vast amount of capital reason why we see such shoals of people of the from the “floating" state to make it “ fixed;" angentry class competing for employments impossible accusation so abstract in form that it scarcely sat- of attainment. But the more gigantic the operaisfies the popular mind. One set of economists go tion, the more disastrous will the error become to such an extreme that they almost reckon rail- before it be found out. This is no fanciful theory, ways among the cardinal vices-crimes which are but is merely an historical statement of the facts mala in se, and the investment of capital as sheer experienced in the railway fervor. Whether that

This indiscriminate vituperation begets a activity was excessive or not in regard to the ordireaction ; and others, with Sir Robert Peel, make nary aggregate amount of speculative investment, light of the railway drain. Sir Robert observes or the true ultimate demand for railway accommothat there always has been exaggerated specula- dation, is not the question that determines its mistion ; some kinds might have been worse than chievous effects in the view that we railways—as speculation in wasteful foreign enter- unfolding. It is said, and perhaps with truth, prises ; railways will ultimately be reproductive- that railways abstracted no labor from our own there they remain for the money, and they will be soil. England had a sufficient harvest.

But instruments in augmenting our wealth ; so that other parts of the united kingdom had not. It although the draught of that capital happened, by became necessary to send for food from abroad; the coincidence of other demands, to be inoppor- and there was a lack of food-purchasing goods. tune, it is in itself meritorious rather than other- No doubt, the price of cotton was unusually, not

Such we take to be the pith of some to say artificially, raised; no doubt, the demand volumes spoken and written on the point. Per- for corn was sudden ; but it is the fact, that, conhaps it is an answer to the vulgar class of censure currently with those checks on the production of on railway speculators; but it does not touch the exportable goods, our manufactures were also real difficulty—which lies, we think, in a point stinted by the diversion of capital to railway enterthat economists have not kept steadfastly enough prise. Industry had been diverted from the proin view. The primary end of all industry is to duction of food-purchasing goods to the production supply the workers and their dependents with the of works not available for that purpose. Railways necessaries of life. The division of employments may at some future time increase our facilities of greatly increases the productive power of human production ; but " while the grass is growing," industry. But although employments may be &c. We had neglected the rule of keeping a divided, a certain portion of them ought to be sufficient portion of our industry employed on the devoted, immediately or mediately, to the produc- production of food or food-purchasing goods. tion of necessaries-food, raiment, and lodging ; The legislature cannot plead exemption from blame above all food. However removed the individual in this matter, since its encouragement of railway worker may be from the plough, the first object speculation—its creation of the speculating bodies of his labor is to secure to him his portion of food ; with peculiar and gigantic powers—was a direct and however multiplied the processes of exchange and active diversion of industry into this questionbetween him and the tiller of the earth, all those able channel. exchanges constitute the channel by which his A third section is the drain of bullion for corn. labor is vicariously applied to the soil, and the From what has gone before, we see how the diverproduct, food, is conveyed back to him. Multiplied, sion of capital to purchase corn was swelled to the therefore, as employments may be, a certain pro- enormous amount of 33,000,000). ; while orders portion of them ought to be devoted, within a for food-purchasing goods could not be executed given time, either to the production of food, or to ' for want of capital," so that it was necessary 10 the production of articles readily exchangeable for make up the amount needed with bullion. Wantfood sufficient to make up the supply within that ing goods, we were obliged to lay violent hands on given time. Now, in the minute division of our currency—to pledge our great tool of trade. employments and the multiplication of intermediate The railway expenditure, therefore, was not only exchanges, that channel has a chance of being concurrent with the corn drain, but helped to greatly confused-possibly broken off. In the swell it. And, sending away our instrument of crowd of employments, it is not possible to keep in trade, we crippled our means of producing goods


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

to pay the debt incurred ; so that every sovereign explain thus. The dominant and legitimate thus sent out of the country constituted a double motive in trade is self-interest : it may be more or

The deficiency, said some, might have been less liberally construed, more or less intelligently ; supplied with paper : but the apparent ease which but such it is. According to Sir Robert Peel's that would have imparted would have removed the admission, the main object of the act of 1844 was great check on the export of gold, and would thus left to rest, in part at least, on“ moral obligation;" have helped the operation of adverse exchanges ; a motive which is the dominant one in many relaand a drain of gold to any greater extent would tions of life—which may be relied on, to a certain have endangered the practical convertibility of our extent, in intercourse between statesmen, in diplocoin : the issue of paper to supply the place of the macy, in ecclesiastical affairs ; but it is not the exported gold, therefore, would only have substi- primary and dominant motive in commercial opercuted for present “ tightness" the risk of speedy ations, and therefore, not being the strongest public insolvency; and that insolvency, by destroy- motive in such affairs, it was not the one to be ing the convertibility of all paper, and so depreciat- relied on. Either it should have been ascertained ing its exchangeable value, would have brought on that the self-interest of the bank would make it that real contraction of currency which exists when work always for the public interest, or self-interest its worthlessness is disguised in the abundance of should have been forced into the service by comits material. We saw instances of that in France, pulsory enactment. Sir Robert Peel admits that, and in the United States after the war of Indepen- for its main object, the act of 1844 rested on dence, when depreciation had almost destroyed the “moral obligation ;” the bank, being a trading worth of the currency, so that there was actually community, has acted as traders act, and with the an absence of currency hidden under heaps of motives of traders—either to secure a profit by some assignats.

stroke of trade, or to oblige a customer" by The fourth great branch of the discussion relates winking at some trading laxity ; but if the directo the conduct of the Bank of England. Amid all tors have neglected to secure to the country those the conflict of judgments, a pretty general inclina- benefits which are to be expected from sound tion to blame the managers of the bank is visible ; statesmanship or sound executive administration in a few feebly defending them. Lord John Russell financial affairs, we must say that the bank is less and Sir Charles Wood cannot exonerate them. to blame than the statesmen who left their own Sir Robert Peel expected better of them. Some function to the voluntary performance of traders ; doubt whether the existence of such an institution those traders having already shown, on every critis desirable. Violent people exclaim, “ The bank ical occasion, that they were traders, not statesmen has done it all!” We do not perceive the sense —not even traders of perfect intelligence or the or fairness of these diatribes. Let us be just as

most expanded views. Of course, it remains for well as severe. Has the bank broken its constit- real statesmen to supply this defect in the act of uent law ? No-not even in the way it was 1844. advised to do by her majesty's ministers. What That act, then, though most usefully regulating has it done? It has disappointed an expectation the currency in particular respects—though supentertained of it by the author of the latest bank plying better guarantees for the essential qualities charıer act. Sir Robert Peel says that “the of a currency than any previous law—is admitted object of the bill of 1844 was to impress, if not a to be inoperative in one great cardinal function. legal, a moral obligation upon the bank, to prevent We are without an efficient exemplar and guide in the necessity of stringent measures by taking the direction and control of commercial enterprise. timely precautions ;” and “that object was not in the absence of that guide, we have miscalcucarried out.” Very true. The bank has not lated our investments, and have locked up an acted uniformly in the spirit of the bank charter undue portion of our available capital. That presact; and the act induced no material change in ent loss, and the continued absence of an effective that part of the management which was left to the guide until the hiatus of the act of 1844 be filled discretion of the directors. As early as the up, will suggest the safest course for the commuautumn of 1814, the bank used its vast resources, nity-retrenchment in speculation and expenditure augmented by the public deposits, to stimulate of every kind. speculation, by reducing its discount from 4 to 2 1-2 per cent; a spur to gambling, which, doubt

From the Spectator. less, had great influence on what followed. And

COMMON SENSE OF THE WEST INDIAN CASE. at every subsequent stage, unchecked by any “ moral obligation” implied in the bank charter The case of the West Indies is again earnestly act, the bank has regulated its discounts chiefly by mooted in the press, and will soon come before its own interests, either in respect of credit, profit, parliament; for, like the ghost of a murdered man, or safety, down to the very last reduction to 6 per it will continue to haunt the legislature until it be cent. But how is it that the bank is able to adopt laid by the performance of justice. Lord George a course assumed to be so injurious to the public? Bentinck is to move for a committee of inquiry into Because, as the ostensible author of the act of the present condition and prospects of the West 1844 confesses, an erroneous principle lay at the Indies, with a view to relief. Mr. Hope has given bottom of that arrangement. The error we would notice of an additional motion to follow Lord

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »