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multiplied forms, which, in the effort to meet every con tingency, open far more loopholes than they provide against-had it not shown its folly in the system of making every petty alteration by a new act, variously affecting innumerable preceding acts; or in its score of successive sets of Chancery rules, which so modify, and limit, and extend, and abolish, and alter each other, that not even Chancery lawyers know what the rules are—were we never astounded by such a fact as that, under the system of land registration in Ireland, 6,0001. have been spent in a “negative search” to establish the title of an estate —did we find in its doings no such terrible incongruity as the imprisonment of a hungry vagrant for stealing a turnip, while for the gigantic embezzlements of a railway director it inflicts no punishment;—had we, in short, proved its efficiency as judge and defender, instead of having found it treacherous, cruel, and anxiously to be shunned, there would be some encouragement to hope other benefits at its hands.
Or if, while failing in its judicial functions, the State had proved itself a capable agent in some other department—the military for example
there would have been some show of reason for extending its sphere of action. Suppose that it had rationally equipped its troops, instead of giving them cumbrous and ineffective muskets, barbarous grenadier caps, absurdly heavy knapsacks and cartouche-boxes, and clothing coloured so as admirably to help the enemy's marksmen-suppose that it organized well and economically, instead of salarying an immense superfluity of officers, creating sinecure colonelcies of 4,0001. a year, neglecting the meritorious, and promoting incapables—suppose that its soldiers were always well housed instead of being thrust into barracks that invalid hundreds, as at Aden, or that fall on their occupants, as at Loodianah, where ninety-five were thus killed-suppose
MILITARY AND NAVAL MISMANAGEMENT.
that, in actual war, it had shown due administrative abili. ty, instead of occasionally leaving its regiments to march barefoot, to dress in patches, to capture their own engineering tools, and to fight on empty stomachs, as during the Peninsular campaign ;-suppose all this, and the wish for more State-control might still have had some warrant.
Even though it had bungled in every thing else, yet had it in one case done well—had its naval management alone been efficient—the sanguine would have had a col. ourable excuse for expecting success in a new field. Grant that the reports about bad ships, ships that will not sail, ships that have to be lengthened, ships with unfit engines, ships that will not carry their guns, ships without stowage, and ships that have to be broken up, are all untrueassume those to be mere slanderers who say that the Megoera took double the time taken by a commercial steamer to reach the Cape; that during the same voyage the Hydra was three times on fire, and needed the pumps kept going day and night; that the Charlotte troop-ship set out with 75 days' provisions on board, and was three months in reaching her destination; that the Ilarpy, at an imminent risk of life, got home in 110 days from Riodisregard as calumnies the statements about septuage. narian admirals, dilettante ship building, and “cooked” dockyard accounts—set down the affair of the Goldner preserved meats as a myth, and consider Professor Barlow mistaken when he reported of the Admiralty compasses in store, that “at least one-half were mere lumber;"—let all these, we say, be held groundless charges, and there would remain for the advocates of much government some basis for their political air-castles, spite of military and judicial mismanagement.
As it is, however, they seem to have read backwards che parable of the talents. Not to the agent of proved efficiency do they consign further duties, but to the negli gent and blundering agent. Private enterprise has done much, and done it well. Private enterprise has cleared, drained, and fertilized the country, and built the towushas excavated mines, laid out roads, dug canals, and en banked railways-has invented, and brought to perfection, ploughs, looms, steam-engines, printing-presses, and machines innumerable—has built our ships, our vast manufactories, our docks—has established banks, insurance societies, and the newspaper press—has covered the sea with lines of steam-vessels, and the land with electric telegraphs. Private enterprise has brought agriculture, manufactures, and commerce to their present height, and is now developing them with increasing rapidity. Therefore, do not trust private enterprise. On the other hand, the State so fulfils its protective function as to ruin many, delude others, and frighten away those who most need succour; its national defences are so extravagantly and yet inefficiently administered, as to call forth almost daily complaint, expostulation, or ridicule; and as the nation's steward, it obtains from some of our vast public estates a minus revenue.
Therefore, trust the State. Slight the good and faithful servant, and promote the unprofitable one from one talent to ten.
Seriously, the case, while it may not, in some respects, warrant this parallel, is, in one respect, even stronger. For the new work is not of the same order as the old, but of a more difficult order. Badly as government discharges its true duties, any other duties committed to it are likely to be still worse discharged. To guard its subjects against aggression, either individual or national, is a straightfor ward and tolerably simple matter; to regulate, directly or indirectly, the personal actions of those subjects is an infi nitely complicated matter. It is one thing to secure to each man the unhindered power to pursue his own good; it is a
CLASSIFICATION OF STATE FUN( 'TIONS.
aidely different thing to pursue the good for him. To do the first efficiently, the State has merely to look on while its citizens act; to forbid unfairness; to adjudicate when called on; and to enforce restitution for injuries. To do the last efficiently, it must become an ubiquitous worker -must know each man's needs better than he knows them himself—must, in short, possess superhuman power and intelligence. Even, therefore, had the State done well in its proper sphere, no sufficient warrant would have ex., isted for extending that sphere; but seeing how ill it has discharged those simple offices which we cannot help consigning to it, small indeed is the probability of its discharging well offices of a more complicated nature.
Change the point of view however we may, and this conclusion still presents itself. If we define the primary State-duty to be, protecting each individual against others; then, all other State action comes under the definition of protecting each individual against himselfagainst his own stupidity, his own idleness, his own improvidence, rashness, or other defect—his own incapacity for doing something or other which should be done. There is no questioning this classification. For manifestly all the obstacles that lie between a man's desires and the satisfaction of them, are either obstacles arising from other men's counter desires, or obstacles arising from inability in himself. Such of these counter desires as are iust, have as much claim to satisfaction as his; and may not, therefore, be thwarted. Such of them as are unjust, it is the State's duty to hold in check. The only other possible sphere for it, therefore, is saving the individual trom the results of his own weakness, apathy, or foolishness—warding off the consequences of his nature; or, as we say-protecting him against himself. Making no comment, at present, on the policy of this, and confining our. selves solely to the practicability of it, let us inquire how the proposal looks when reduced to its simplest form, IIere are men endowed with instincts, and sentiments, and perceptions, all conspiring to sclf-preservation. Each of these faculties has some relationship, direct or indirect, to personal well-being. The due action of each brings its quantum of pleasure; the inaction, its more or less of pain. Those provided with these faculties in due proportions, prosper and multiply; those ill-provided, unceasingly tend to die out. And the general success of this scheme of human organization is seen in the fact, that under it the world has been peopled, and by it the complicated appliances and arrangements of civilized life have been developed.
It is complained, however, that there are certain directions in which this apparatus of motive works but imperfectly. While it is admitted that men are duly prompted by it to bodily sustenance, to the obtainment of clothing and shelter, to marriage and the care of offspring, and to the establishment of the more important industrial and commercial agencies; it is yet argued that there are many desiderata, as pure air, more knowledge, good water, safe travelling, and so forth, which it does not duly achieve. And these short-comings being assumed permanent, and not temporary, it is urged that some supplementary means must be employed. It is therefore proposed that out of the mass of men thus imperfectly endowed, a certain number, constituting the legislature, shall be instructed to secure these various objects. The legislators thus instructed (all characterized, on the average, by the same defects in this apparatus of motives as men in general), being unable personally to fulfil their tasks, must fulfil them by deputy --must appoint commissions, boards, councils, and staffs of officers; and must construct their agencies of this same defective humanity that acts so ill. Why now should this bystem of complex deputation succeed where the system