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Observe then how this vicious policy complicates itself-how it acts and reacts, and multiplies its injuries. Not only does meddling legislation fail to cure the evils it aims at; not only does it make many evils worse; not only does it create new evils greater than the old; but while doing this it entails on men all the terrible oppressions, robberies, cruelties, ruin, that flow from the nonadministration of justice: and not only to the positive evils does it add this vast negative one, but this again, by fostering many social abuses that would not else exist, furnishes occasions for more meddlings which again act and react in the same way. And thus as ever, “ things bad begun make strong themselves by ill."

After assigning reasons thus fundamental, for condemning all State-action save that which universal experience has proved to be absolutely needful, it would seem superfluous to assign subordinate ones. Were it called for, we might, taking for text Mr. Lindsay's work on “Navigation and Mercantile Marine Law," say much upon the complexity to which this process of adding regulation to regulation-each necessitated by foregoing ones-ultimately leads: a complexity which, by the misunderstandings, delays, and disputes it entails, greatly hampers our social life. Something, too, might be added upon the perturbing effects of that “gross delusion,” as M. Guizot calls it, “a belief in the sovereign power of political machinery”—a delusion to which he partly ascribes, and, we believe, rightly so, the late revolution in France; and a delusion which is fostered by every new interference. But, passing over these, we would dwell for a short space upon the national enervation which this State-superintendence produces

an evil which, though secondary, is, so far from being subordinate, perhaps greater than any other.

The enthusiastic philanthropist, urgent for some act of parliament to remedy this evil or secure the other good, thinks it a very trivial and far-fetched objection that the people will be morally injured by doing things for them instead of leaving them to do things themselves. He vividly realizes the benefit he hopes to get achieved, which is a positive and readily imaginable thing: he does not realize the diffused, invisible, and slowly-accumulating effect wrought on the popular mind, and so does not believe in it; or, if he admits it, thinks it beneath consideration, Would he but remember, however, that all national character is gradually produced by the daily action of circumstances, of which each day's result seems so insignificant as not to be worth mentioning, he would see that what is trifling when viewed in its increments, may be formidable when viewed in its sum total. Or if he would go into the nursery, and watch how repeated actions—each of them apparently unimportant, create, in the end, a habit which will affect the whole future life; he would be reminded that, every influence brought to bear on human nature tells, and if continued, tells seriously. The thoughtless mother who hourly yields to the requests -“Mamma, tie my pinafore,” “Mamma, button my shoe,” and the like, cannot be persuaded that each of these concessions is detrimental; but the wiser spectator sees that if this policy be long pursued, and be extended to other things, it will end in hopeless dependence. The teacher of the old school who showed his pupil the way out of every difficulty, did not perceive that he was generating an attitude of mind greatly militating against success in life. The modern instructor, however, induces his pupil to solve his difficulties himself; believes that in so doing he is preparing him to meet the difficulties which, when he goes into the world, there will be no one to help him through; and finds confirmation for this belief in the fact



that a great proportion of the most successful men are self-made.

Well, is it not obvious that this relationship between discipline and success holds good nationally? Are not nations made of men; and are not men subject to the same laws of modification in their adult as in their early years ? Is it not true of the drunkard, that each carouse adds a thread to his bonds ? of the trader, that each acquisition strengthens the wish for acquisitions ? of the pauper, that the more you assist him the more he wants ? of the busy man, that the more he has to do the more he can do ? And does it not follow that if every individual is subject to this process of adaptation to conditions, a whole nation must be so—that just in proportion as its members are little helped by extraneous power they will become selfhelping, and in proportion as they are much helped they will become helpless ? What folly is it to ignore these results because they are not direct, and not immediately visible. Though slowly wrought out, they are inevitable. We can no more elude the laws of human development than we can elude the law of gravitation: and so long as they hold true must these effects occur.

If we are asked in what special directions this alleged helplessness, entailed by much State-superintendence, shows itself; we reply that it is seen in a retardation of all social growths requiring self-confidence in the people -in a timidity that fears all difficulties not before encountered—in a thoughtless contentment with things as they

Let any one, after duly watching the rapid evolution going on in England, where men have been comparatively little helped by governments—or better still, after contemplating the unparalleled progress of the United States, which is peopled by self-made men, and the recent descendants of self-made men;-let such an one, we say, go on to the Continent, and consider the relatively slow advance which things are there making; and the still slower advance they would make but for English enterprise. Let him go to Holland, and see that though the Dutch early showed themselves good mechanics, and have had abundant practice in hydraulics, Amsterdam has been without any


due supply of water until now that works are being established by an English company. Let him go to Berlin, and there be told that, to give that city a water-supply such as London has had for generations, the project of an English firm is about to be executed by English capital, under English superintendence. Let him go to Paris, where he will find a similar lack, and a like remedy now under consideration. Let him go to Vienna, and learn that it, in common with other continental cities, is lighted by an English gas-company. Let him go on the Rhone, on the Loire, on the Danube, and discover that Englishmen established steam navigation on those rivers. Let him inquire concerning the railways in Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, how many of them are English projects, how many have been largely helped by English capital, how many have been executed by English contractors, how many have had English engineers. Let him discover, too, as he will, that where railways have been government-made, as in Russia, the energy, the perseverance, and the practical talent developed in England and the United States have been called in to aid.

And then if these illustrations of the progressiveness of a self-dependent race, and the torpidity of paternallygoverned ones, do not suffice him, he may read Mr. Laing's successive volumes of European travel, and there study the contrast in detail. What, now, is the cause of this contrast? În the order of nature, a capacity for self-help must in every case have been brought into existence by the practice of self-help; and, other things equal, a lack of this capacity must in every case have arisen from the



lack of demand for it. Do not these two antecedents and their two consequents agree with the facts as presented in England and Europe ? Were not the inhabitants of the two, some centuries ago, much upon a par in point of enterprise ? Were not the English even behind, in their manufactures, in their colonization, and in their commerce ? Has not the immense relative change the English have undergone in this respect, been coincident with the great relative self-dependence they have been since habituated to? And is not this change proximately ascribable to this habitual self-dependence? Whoever doubts it, is asked to assign a more probable cause. Whoever admits it, must admit that the enervation of a people by perpetual Stateaids is not a trifling consideration, but the most weighty consideration. A general arrest of national growth he will see to be an evil greater than any special benefits can compensate for. And, indeed, when, after contemplating this great fact, the overspreading of the Earth by the AngloSaxons, he remarks the absence of any parallel phenomenon exhibited by a continental race—when he reflects how this difference must depend chiefly on difference of character, and how such difference of character has been mainly produced by difference of discipline; he will perceive that the policy pursued in this matter may have a large share in determining a nation's ultimate fate.

We are not sanguine, however, that argument will change the convictions of those who put their trust in legislation. With men of a certain order of thought the foregoing reasons will have weight. With men of another order of thought they will have little or none: nor would any accumulation of such reasons affect them. The truth that experience teaches, has its limits. The experiences that will teach, must be experiences that can be appreciated; and experiences exceeding a certain degree of com

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