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ence policy—is the reaction attendant on the action of official mechanisms—is the atrophy corresponding to some artificial hypertrophy.

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One apparent difficulty accompanying the doctrine now contended for remains to be noticed. If sanitary administration by the State be wrong, because it implies a deduction from the citizen's property greater than is needful for maintaining his rights, then is sanitary administration by municipal authorities wrong also for the same reason.

Be it by general government or by local government, the levying of compulsory rates for drainage, and for paving and lighting, is inadmissible, as indirectly making legislative protection more costly than necessary, or, in other words, turning it into aggression (p. 123); and if so, it follows that neither the past, present, nor proposed methods of securing the health of towns are equitable.

This seems an awkward conclusion; nevertheless, as deducible from our general principle, we have no alternative but to accept it. How streets and courts are rightly to be kept in order remains to be considered. Respecting sewage there would be no difficulty. Houses might readily be drained on the same mercantile principle that they are now supplied with water. It is probable that in the hands of a private company, the resulting manure would not only pay the cost of collection, but would yield a considerable profit. But if not, the return on the invested capital would be made up by charges to those whose houses were drained: the alternative of having their connexions with the main sewer stopped, being as good a security for payment as the analogous ones possessed by water and gas companies.* Paving and lighting would properly fall to the management of house-owners. Were there no public provision for such conveniences, houseowners would quickly find it their interest to furnish them. Some speculative building society having set the example of improvement in this direction, competition would do the rest. Dwellings without proper footways before them, and with no lamps to show the tenants to their doors, would stand empty, when better accommodation was offered. And good paving and lighting having thus become essential, landlords would combine for the more economical supply of them.*

* At the time this was written (1850) I was not aware that a conclusive illustration existed. Six years afterwards I learnt from the surveyor of Cheltenham (then Mr. II. Dangerfield) that before that town was incorporated there had been formed a company by which the place was drained; and this company paid 7 per cent. on its capital !

To the objection that the perversity of individual landlords and the desire of some to take unfair advantage of the rest, would render such an arrangement impracticable, the reply is that in new suburban streets, not yet taken to by the authorities, such an arrangement is, to a considerable extent, already carried out, and would be much better carried out but for the consciousness that it is merely temporary. Moreover, no adverse inference could be drawn, were it even shown that


Only quite recently (in 1890) have I become aware of cases showing that, as above alleged, the lighting of towns might very well have been effected by voluntary agency in the absence of municipal administration, That the making and distribution of gas is practicable without the action of any local government is, indeed, a familiar fact; though had achievement of the convenience been postponed until town-councils undertook it at the cost of the ratepayers, it would doubtless have been supposed that it could have been achieved in no other way. But there is proof that not only is private enterprise capable of supplying the inhabitants of towns with gas for indoor consumption, but that it is also capable of establishing and maintaining out-door lighting. In 1862, Pewsey, a small place in Wiltshire of not quite 2,000 people, established a gas company. Its chief business has been to supply private houses and shops, but it has also lighted the streets: being paid for doing this by the voluntary subscriptions of the chief inhabitants. Such dificulties as have arisen have been due to the fact that in so small a place the subscribers living far outside of it, who derive little benefit from the lighting, bear a large ratio to those living within the place : difficulties which would not arise in a town of any size. Though the company pays but 2 per cent., yet the smallness of the dividend is obviously due to the large proportion which the cost of the plant and administration bears to the returns, where the business is so small.

for the present such an arrangement is impracticable. So, also, was personal freedom once. So once was representative government, and is still with many nations. As repeatedly pointed out, the practicability of recognizing men's rights is proportionate to the degree in which men have become moral. That an organization dictated by the law of equal freedom cannot yet be fully realized, is no proof of its imperfection : is proof only of our imperfection. And as, by diminishing this, the process of adaptation has already fitted us for institutions which were once too good for us, so will it go on to fit us for others that may be too good for us now.


So constantly have currency and government been associated—so universal has been the control exercised by lawgivers over monetary systems—so completely have men come to regard this control as a matter of course; that scarcely any one seems to inquire what would result were it abolished. Perhaps in no case is the necessity of State-superintendence so generally assumed; and in no case will the denial of that necessity cause so much surprise.

That laws interfering with currency cannot be enacted without a reversal of State-duty is obvious; for either to forbid the issue, or enforce the receipt, of certain notes or coin in return for other things, is to infringe the right of exchange—is to prevent men making exchanges which they otherwise would have made, or is to oblige them to make exchanges which they otherwise would not have made. If there be truth in our general principle, it must be impolitic as well as wrong to do this. Nor will those who infer as much be deceived; for it may be shown that such dictation is not only needless, but injurious.

The monetary arrangements of any community are ultimately dependent, like most of its other arrangements, on the morality of its members. Among a people altogether dishonest, every mercantile transaction must be effected in coin or goods; for promises to pay cannot circulate at all, where, by the hypothesis, there is no probability that they will be redeemed. Conversely, among perfectly honest people paper alone will form the circulating medium; seeing that as no one of such will give promises to pay more than his assets will cover, there can exist no hesitation to receive promises to pay in all cases; and metallic money will be needless, save in nominal amount to supply a measure of value. Manifestly therefore, during any intermediate state, in which men are neither altogether dishonest nor altogether honest, a mixed currency will exist; and the ratio of paper to coin will vary with the degree of trust individuals can place in one another. There seems no evading this conclusion. The greater the prevalence of fraud, the greater will be the number of transactions in which the seller will part with his goods only for an equivalent of intrinsic value; that is, the greater will be the number of transactions in which coin is required, and the more will the metallic currency preponderate. On the other hand, the more generally men find each other trustworthy, the more frequently will they take payment in notes, bills of exchange, and cheques; the fewer will be the cases in which gold and silver are called for, and the smaller will be the quantity of gold and silver in circulation.

Thus, self-regulating as is a currency when let alone, laws cannot improve its arrangements, although they may, and continually do, derange them. That the State should compel every one who has given promises to pay—be he merchant, private banker, or shareholder in a joint-stock bank—duly to discharge the responsibilities he has incurred, is very true. To do this, however, is merely to maintain men's rights—to administer justice; and therefore comes within the State's normal function. But to do more than this—to restrict issues, or forbid notes below a certain denomination, is no less injurious than inequitable. For limiting the paper in circulation to an amount smaller than it would otherwise reach, inevitably necessitates a corresponding increase of coin; and as coin is locked-up capital, on which the nation gets no interest, a needless increase of it is equiva

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