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FAILURE OF GOVERNMENTAL PROJECTS.

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who provided these delusive sureties, that it was possible to build walls without bonding the two surfaces together, so that the inner layer might be removed after the surveyor's approval. Nor did they foresee, that, in dictating a larger quantity of bricks than experience proved absolutely needful, they were simply insuring a slow deterioration of quality to an equivalent extent.* The government guarantee for safe passenger ships answers no better than its guarantee for safe houses. Though the burning of the Amazon arose either from bad construction or bad stowage, she had received the Admiralty certificate before sailing. Notwithstanding official approval, the Adelaide was found, on her first voyage, to steer ill, to have useless pumps, ports that let floods of water into the cabins, and coals so near the furnaces that they twice caught fire. The W. S. Lindsay, which turned out unfit for sailing, had yet been passed by the government agent; and, but for the owner, might have gone to sea at a great risk of life. The Melbourne-originally a State-built ship-which took twenty-four days to reach Lisbon, and then needed to be docked to undergo a thorough repair, had been duly inspected. And lastly, the notorious Australian, before her third futile attempt to proceed on her voyage, had, her owners tell us, received “the full approbation of the government inspector." Neither does the like supervision give security to land-travelling. The iron bridge at Chester, which, breaking, precipitated a train into the Dee, had passed under the official eye. Inspection did not prevent a column on the South-eastern from being so placed as to kill a man who put his head out of the carriage win

* The Builder remarks, that “the removal of the brick-duties has not yet produced that improvement in the make of bricks which we ought to find, ..... but as bad bricks can be obtained for less than good bricks, so long as houses built of the former will sell as readily as if the better had been used, no improvement is to be expected."

dow. The locomotive that burst at Brighton lately, did so notwithstanding a State approval given but ten days previously. And—to look at the facts in the gross—this system of supervision has not prevented the gradual increase of railway accidents; which, be it remembered, has arisen since the system was commenced.

“Well, let the State fail. It can but do its best. If it succeed, so much the better: if it do not, where is the harm ? Surely it is wiser to act, and take the chance of success, than to do nothing." To this plea the rejoinder is, that unfortunately the results of legislative intervention are not only negatively bad, but often positively so. Acts of Parliament do not simply fail; they frequently make worse. The familiar truth that persecution aids rather than hinders proscribed doctrines—a truth lately afresh illustrated by the forbidden work of Gervinus—is a part of the general truth that legislation often does indirectly, the reverse of that which it directly aims to do. Thus has it been with the Metropolitan Buildings' Act. As was lately agreed unanimously by the delegates from all the parishes in London, and as was stated by them to Sir William Molesworth, this act“ has encouraged bad building, and has been the means of covering the suburbs of the metropolis with thousands of wretched hovels, which are a disgrace to a civilized country.”

Thus also has it been in provincial towns. The Nottingham Inclosure Act of 1845, by prescribing the structure of the houses to be built, and the extent of yard or garden to be allotted to each, has rendered it impossible to build working-class dwellings at such moderate rents as to compete with existing ones; it is estimated that, as a consequence of this, 10,000 of the population are debarred from the new homes they would otherwise have, and are forced to live crowded together in miserable places, unfit for human habitation; and so, in its anxiety to insure

STATE ACTION WORSE THAN NO ACTION.

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Thus,

healthy accommodation for artisans, the law has entailed on them still worse accommodation than before. too, has it been with the Passengers' Act. The terrible fevers which arose in the Australian emigrant ships a few months since, causing in the Bourneuf 83 deaths, in the Wanota 39 deaths, in the Marco Polo 53 deaths, and in the Ticonderoga 104 deaths, arose in vessels sent out by the government; and arose in consequence of the close packing which the Passengers' Act authorizes.*

Thus moreover has it been with the safeguards provided by the Mercantile Marine Act. The examinations devised for insuring the efficiency of captains, have had the effect of certifying the superficially-clever and unpractised men, and, as we are told by a shipowner, rejecting many of the long-tried and most trustworthy: the general result being that the ratio of shipwrecks has increased. Thus also has it happened with Boards of Health, which have, in sundry cases, exacerbated the evils to be removed; as, for instance, at Croydon, where, according to the official report, the measures of the sanitary authorities produced an epidemic, which attacked 1,600 people, and killed 70. Thus again has it been with the Joint Stock Companies Registration Act. As was shown by Mr. James Wilson, in his late motion for a select committee on lifeassurance associations, this measure, passed in 1844 to guard the public against bubble schemes, actually facili. tated the rascalities of 1845 and subsequent years. The legislative sanction, devised as a guarantee of genuineness, and supposed by the people to be such, clever adventurers have without difficulty obtained for the most worthless projects; having obtained it, an amount of public confidence has followed which they could never otherwise

Against which close packing, by the way, a private mercantile body, the Liverpool Shipowners' Association--unavailingly protested when the Act was before Parliament.

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have gained; and in this way literally hundreds of sham enterprises, that would not else have seen the light, have been fostered into being; and thousands of families have been ruined who would never have been so but for legislative efforts to make them more secure.

Moreover, when these topical remedies applied by statesmen do not exacerbate the evils they were meant to cure, they constantly—we believe invariably-induce collateral evils; and these often graver than the original

It is the vice of this empirical school of politicians that they never look beyond proximate causes and immediate effects. In common with the uneducated masses they habitually regard each phenomenon as involving but one antecedent and one consequent. They do not bear in mind that each phenomenon is a link in an infinite seriesis the result of myriads of preceding phenomena, and will have a share in producing myriads of succeeding ones. Hence they overlook the fact, that, in disturbing any natural chain of sequences, they are not only modifying the result next in succession, but all the future results into which this will enter as a part cause.

The serial genesis of phenomena, and the interaction of each series upon every other series, produces a complexity utterly beyond human grasp. Even in the simplest cases this is so. A servant who mends the fire sees but few effects from the burning of a lump of coal. The man of science, however, knows that there are very many effects. He knows that the combustion establishes numerous atmospheric currents, and through them moves thousands of cubic feet of air inside the house and out. He knows that the heat diffused causes expansions and subsequent contractions of all bodies within its range. He knows that the persons warmed are affected in their rate of respiration and their waste of tissue; and that these physiological changes must have various secondary results. He knows that,

COMPLEX AND INCALCULABLE EFFECTS.

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could he trace to their ramified consequences all the forces disengaged, mechanical, chemical, thermal, electric—could he enumerate all the subsequent effects of the evaporation caused, the gases generated, the light evolved, the heat radiated; a volume would scarcely suffice to enter them.

If now from a simple inorganic change such complex results arise, how infinitely multiplied, how utterly incalculable must be the ultimate consequences of any

force brought to bear upon society. Wonderfully constructed as it is—mutually dependent as are its members for the satisfaction of their wants—affected as each unit of it is by his fellows, not only as to his safety and prosperity, but in his health, his temper, his culture; the social .organism cannot be dealt with in any one part, without all other parts being influenced in ways that cannot be foreseen, You put a duty on paper, and by-and-by find that, through the medium of the jacquard-cards employed, you have inadvertently taxed figured silk, sometimes to the extent of several shillings per piece. On removing the impost from bricks, you discover that its existence had increased the dangers of mining, by preventing shafts from being lined and workings from being tunnelled. By the excise on soap, you have, it turns out, greatly encouraged the use of caustic washing-powders; and so have unintentionally entailed an immense destruction of clothes. In every case you perceive, on careful inquiry, that besides acting upon that which you sought to act upon, you have

, acted upon many other things, and each of these again on many others; and so have propagated a multitude of changes more or less appreciable in all directions.

We need feel no surprise, then, that in their efforts to cure specific evils, legislators have continually caused collateral evils they never looked for. No Carlyle's wisest man, nor any body of such, could avoid causing them. Though their production is explicable enough after

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