Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

the evolution of industry has quickened the intelligence of the labourer, whose general and technical education is best in countries where this evolution is most highly developed. Many of the propositions to be found in the book on these subjects can be matched e.g. out of Prof. Marshall's Principles ; but the grounds on which they are stated are primarily medical rather than economic. There is very little in the book to change our ideas. There is much to bring them into fuller light and to strengthen them by the support of other than strictly economic arguments. A useful task, ably performed.

HENRY HIGGS

Le Marché Financier en 1897–1898. Par ARTHUR RAFFALOVICH.

(Paris : Guillaumin et Cie. Pp. 889.)

SINCE 1891 M. Raffalovich issues every year a full and substantial report on the financial state of the principal nations of the world, completed by an appendix giving the most interesting documents and statistics concerning the period under review. Each country is dealt with in a chapter by itself, but with appropriate references to what has occurred elsewhere.

The main characteristic of these reports is, that the author does not consider his task as being at an end when he has compiled tables of rates of exchange or statistical abstracts of imports and exports, but sticks to the principle that all these material facts are intimately connected with events and tides of public feeling belonging to the psychological and subjective order of phenomena, and ought to be studied under this light. M. Raffalovich's publication is thus not only useful to the practical man, but will also be serviceable to the future student of the causes and effects which underlie the financial questions of our time. For instance, in the chapter on France in the last volume published, we meet accounts of the parliamentary debates on the privilege of the Bank, the reorganisation of the Parisian Bourse, on the influence of speculation on the price of bread, on agricultural credit and warrants, &c. For Germany, we gather information on the reactionary tendencies prevailing in certain governmental spheres; on the state of relations between masters and working people ; on the development of all branches of industry connected with electricity; on the existing private local post offices; on the Westphalian coal trust, &c. . The whole collection of volumes thus forms a connected series of historical sketches proceeding year by year. Their clear and spirited style causes the reader to remember the meeting voting thanks to Macaulay “ for having written a history which working men can read and understand.” This compliment could not be indiscriminately applied to most books on finance.

E. CASTELOT

NOTES AND MEMORANDA

THE ECONOMIC LEGISLATION OF THE YEAR 1899. Much of the legislation of the past year has, in one way or another, important economic bearings. There is the same width of range, as. usual, in the subjects dealt with, from the testing of chain cables to epileptic children ; and it may perhaps save time to classify the Acts under heads, according as they affect, (1) municipal or local institutions ; (2) the larger areas of England, Scotland or Ireland ; (3) the United Kingdom as unit, or (4) the interests of the whole Empire.

I. In the sphere of municipal economics far and away the most important Act of the past year was the London Government Act (62 and 63 Vict., c. 14)., dividing London outside the City into 28 metropolitan boroughs. Up to last year the basis of London government was the Metropolis Management Act of 1855 : this dealt with the City of London and various parishes as set out in three Schedules, A, B and C : the parishes in Schedules A and B were given elective vestries, the majority of whose members were elected by the ratepayers, while a certain number sat ex officio: the numbers varied according to the size of the parishes, in some cases, e.g., Islington, the vestry numbering as many as 120. The vestries of the fifteen largest parishes (i.e., those in Schedule A) were incorporated, and were given large powers of government, and are known as “administrative ” vestries. Those in Schedule B were not incorporated, nor were they given any new powers, beside the ordinary powers of vestries, but they were grouped together in districts, for each of which a district Board, consisting of members elected by the various vestries, was set up. The district Boards had much the same powers as the administrative vestries. Over all was placed the Metropolitan Board of Works, which was abolished on the Local Government Act, 1888 (51 and 52 Vict., c. 41), coming into force. This Act made the whole area forming the “metropolis” under the 1855 Act an administrative county, and substituted the Council of the “county” for the Board of Works of the “metropolis.” The vestries, however, for the parishes in Schedule A, the vestries and district Boards for those in Schedule B, and the arrangements for the anomalous parishes

in Schedule C lasted on till 1899. The area of the City, whose government is very complicated, resting partly on statute, partly on ancient charters, was not seriously affected by the Act of 1855, and it is again practically untouched by the Act of 1899.

“The main object of the London Government Act, 1899, is to substitute for the numerous elective vestries and district Boards a smaller number of local authorities of greater dignity and with wider powers."

The Act comes into operation on 1st Nov. 1900, or so soon thereafter, not being more than six months later, as the Lord President of the Council may appoint, either generally or specially: and from then 28 “ Borough Councils" will be set up in each of the metropolitan boroughs, and will supersede the vestries and boards.

The Council will consist of a mayor, aldermen, and councillors : the latter are elected by those entitled to vote in London for either Parliament or the County Council, including women, provided they reside in the particular borough, or rather ward of the borough; and in addition some married women are entitled to vote. Women, however, will not be eligible for seats on the Council. The councillors, whose numbers must not exceed 60, hold office for three years, a third retiring yearly.

The aldermen are elected by the councillors from amongst themselves or from outside, to the extent of one-sixth of the number of the Council ; they will sit for six years, one-half retiring every three years. The term of office of the Mayor will be one year; he will be a justice of the peace of the county of London, and may be paid ; he need not be a member of the Council, though he must apparently reside in the borough,2 thus preventing the boroughs from spreading their nets to catch distinguished outsiders as Mayors.

As to the powers of the new bodies, they are of three kinds : (a) The transferred powers of the elective vestries, including the power of adopting the Baths and Washhouses, Burials, and Public Libraries Acts; (b) A few minor powers transferred from the London County Council, c.g., as to sky signs and obstructions in streets, under the Building Act; (c) Certain new powers expressly given by the Act. The Councils are empowered to buy land, to set in motion the Housing of the Working Classes Act, to make byelaws for the good order of the borough, and to promote Bills in Parliament. The Council are to be overseers of the poor ; and churchwardens, who are henceforth to be purely ecclesiastical authorities, are to cease to be ex officio overseers. All these provisions are, however, subject to being supplemented, and modified even, by schemes made by the Commissioners appointed by the Act. Not the least important feature of the new Act is that the local bodies, instead of, as in the past, auditing their own accounts, are to subject their accounts to an auditor appointed by the Local Government Board.

i See, for an excellent account of the Act, Jenkin, London Government Act, Knight and Co. 2 This is not free from doubt. See Jenkin, op. cit., p. 8.

Two other short Acts affect London-one extending the London Government Act of 1898 so as to include the Royal Holloway College at Egham; the other relates to London water, authorising and enforcing, what has recently become the custom of the water companies in times of drought, viz., that each should assist the others with water, so as to make good deficiencies in time of emergency; powers are given to the Local Government Board to compel this joint action. The only other enactment of importance in the sphere of municipal economics is 62 and 63 Vict., c. 10, which makes the tenure of office of parish councillors throughout England three years instead of one, as under the Act of 1894, the elections becoming, of course, triennial also.

II. Of seven important enactments dealing with the affairs of England or the sister kingdoms as a whole, it is significant that no less than five are devoted to education.

Power is given to the elementary education authority to make provision for the education of defective and epileptic children, not being imbecile, who are incapable of benefiting by the ordinary instruction, the child having been previously certified by a doctor approved by the Department. The school authorities may provide special classes in the schools, may board out children, so as to bring them together into one school, and may establish special schools, so as to secure the advantage of the best and most scientific methods of education.

The school authorities, in order to achieve the same end, viz., concentration, may also provide guides and conveyances. The expenses are to be borne in the usual way, with additional aid from parliamentary grants, and contributions from parents and Boards of guardians. The age limit of education for such children is to be 16 (62 and 63 Vict., c. 32).

Not the least important educational measure of the year was that which Mr. Robson so skilfully piloted through the House of Commons, raising the age limit of compulsory attendance in elementary schools from 11 to 12 years (c. 13).

The most important measure of the year, however, is that setting up the new Board of Education for England and Wales ; this is to consist of a President, and also of the Lord President of the Council (unless he happen to be the chosen President of the Board), the Principal Secretaries of State, the First Commissioner of the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Vice-President of the Council is to be also a member during Sir John Gorst's tenure of the office, but on his resignation the office is to be abolished.

The new Board is to replace the discredited Science and Art Department, and its main work is to be inspection of the secondary schools. The Act is but a skeleton, and everything will depend on the intelligence brought to bear on its working, and on the weight given to the opinions of the Consultative Committee of Experts. This Committee is a great feature of the Act. Two-thirds of their number are to be chosen so as to represent the views of the universities or other educational authorities, and their first work is to compile a register of teachers (62 and 63 Vict. c. 33).

62 and 3 Vict., c. 50, sets up a department of agriculture and technical instruction in Ireland, with the Chief Secretary as President, and a Vice-President as actual manager; to assist the departnient, a Council of Agriculture, an Agricultural Board, and a Board of Technical Instruction, are constituted, composed of members of County Councils and county boroughs. Moneys are to be provided from various sources, and to be expended on agricultural and technical instruction and for encouraging sea fisheries. Local authorities may also contribute funds by raising rates. Under this Act also, as under the English Act, there is to be a Consultative Committee of Education.

By cap. 30 the Acts as to inclosure of commons are amended and codified. District Councils and, by delegation, Parish Councils are given power to make schemes for the drainage and improvement of commons, and byelaws for regulating nuisances thereon. The Council may also acquire the fee simple or any estate in or rights over any common so regulated, by a scheme, but only on payment of proper compensation to any owner or person beneficially interested. All schemes are subject to the consent of the Board of Agriculture.

Three remaining Acts deal with clerical tithe in England, seats for shop assistants in England, and the procedure for private legislature in Scotļand. For the next two years during the continuance of the Act which gave relief to agricultural land in 1896, clerical owners of tithe are to be relieved of the burden of half their rates, by a grant from the Imperial Exchequer, which it is estimated will reach £87,000. In spite of some opposition from Mr. Debenham and other employers of female labour, the Shop Assistants Act (62 and 63 Victoria, c. 21) was passed, requiring that in every room of a shop where goods are actually retailed to the public, and where female assistants are employed, the employer shall provide seats in the not very magnificent proportion of one to every three assistants. By c. 47 the Scotch members have secured an arrangement to obviate the necessity for going to Westminster in every case where a private Bill is now required.

Public authorities and others promoting Bills may petition the Secretary for Scotland, who may, with the consent of the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, or of Ways and Means in the Commons, send the matter for enquiry before Commissioners, who shall hold an enquiry; if they approve, the Secretary of State may embody the petition in a provisional order, which is then to be reported on by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament, and thereon is to be placed in the same position as an ordinary private Bill which has passed the Committee stage.

It seems doubtful if this complicated measure will meet with much approval, or materially accelerate Scotch business.

« НазадПродовжити »