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With regard to elementary educa- | however cannot fairly be done, without tion, the exception to ordinary rules taking measures to ensure that such may, I conceive, justifiably be carried instruction shall be always accessible still further. There are certain primary to them, either gratuitously or at a elements and means of knowledge, trilling expense. which it is in the highest degree de- It may indeed be objected that the sirable that all human beings born into education of children is one of those the community should acquire during expenses which parents, even of the childhood. If their parents, or those labouring class, ought to defray; that on whom they depend, have the power it is desirable that they should feel it of obtaining for them this instruction, incumbent on them to provide by their and fail to do it, they commit a double own means for the fulfilment of their breach of duty: towards the children duties, and that by giving education at themselves, and towards the members the cost of others, just as much as by of the community generally, who are giving subsistence, the standard of all liable to suffer seriously from the necessary wages is proportionally lowconsequences of ignorance and want ofered, and the springs of exertion and education in their fellow-citizens. It self-restraint in so much relaxed. This is therefore an allowable exercise of the argument could, at best, be only valid powers of government, to impose on if the question were that of substiparents the legal obligation of giving tuting a public provision for what indielementary instruction to children. This viduals would otherwise do for them.
selves; if all parents in the labouring clasive respecting instruction for the mind. class recognised and practised the duty than it would be respecting medicine for the of giving instruction to their children body. No medicine will do the patient any
at their own expense. But inasmuch good if he cannot be induced to take it; but we are not bound to admit as a corollary
as parents do not practise this duty, from this, that the patient will select the and do not include education among right medicine without assistance. Is it not those necessary expenses which their probable that a recommendation, from any
wages must provide for, therefore the quarter which he respects, may induce him to accept a better medicine than he would general rate of wages is not high enough spontaneously have chosen ? This is, in respect to education, the very point in de- / be borne from some other source. And bate. Without doubt, instruction which is so far in advance of the people that they
this is not one of the cases in which cannot be induced to avail themselves of it, the tender of help perpetuates the state is to them of no more worth than if it did not exist. But between what they spontane
ey, spontane Instruction, when it is really such, does ously choose, and what they will refuse to accept when offered, there is a breadth of interval proportioned to their deference for l as enlarges the active faculties: in the recommender. Besides, a thing of which
whatever manner acquired, its effect on the public are bad judges, may require to be shown to them and pressed on their attention
the mind is favourable to the spirit of for a long time, and to prove its advantages
independence: and when, unless had by long experience, before they learn to gratuitously, it would not be had at all, appreciate it, yet they may learn at last;
help in this form has the opposite tenwhich they might never have done, if the thing had not been thus obtruded upon them
dency to that which in so many other in act, but only recommended in theory. cases makes it objectionable ; it is help Now, & pecuniary speculation cannot wait towards doing without help. years, or perhaps generations, for success; it must succeed rapidly, or not at all. Another
In England, and most European consideration which M. Dunoyer seems to countries, elementary instruction canhave overlooked, is, that institutions and not be paid for, at its full cost, from the modes of tuition which never could be made
common wages of unskilled labour, and sufficiently popular to repay, with a profit, the expenses incurred on them, may be in
would not if it could. The alternative valuable to the many by giving the highest therefore is not between government quality of education to the few, and keeping
and private speculation, but between a up the perpetual succession of superiorminds, by whom knowledge is advanced, and the
government provision and voluntary community urged forward in civilization, charity: between interference by go
vernment, and interference by associa- therefore, may, and in many cases tions of individuals, subscribing their ought to, establish schools and colown money for the purpose, like the leges, it must neither compel nor bribe two great School Societies. It is, of any person to come to them; nor ought course, not desirable that anything the power of individuals to set up rival should be done by funds derived from establishments, to depend in any degree compulsory taxation, which is already upon its authorization. It would be sufficiently well done by individual justified in requiring from all the people liberality. How far this is the case that they shall possess instruction in with school instruction, is, in each par certain things, but not in prescribing ticular instance, a question of fact. to them how or from whom they shall The education provided in this country obtain it. on the voluntary principle has of late been so much discussed, that it is need. | $ 9. In the matter of education, the less in this place to criticise it minutely, intervention of government is justiand I shall merely express my convic- fiable, because the case is not one in tion, that even in quantity it is, and is which the interest and judgment of the likely to remain, altogether insufficient, consumer are a sufficient security for while in quality, though with some the goodness of the commodity. Let slight tendency to improvement, it is us now consider another class of cases, never good except by some rare acci- where there is no person in the situadent, and generally so bad as to be tion of a consumer, and where the inlittle more than nominal. I hold it terest and judgment to be relied on are therefore the duty of the government those of the agent himself; as in the to supply the defect by giving pecu- conduct of any business in which he niary support to elementary schools, is exclusively interested, or in ensuch as to render them accessible to all tering into any contract or engagethe children of the poor, either freely, ment by which he himself is to be or for a payment too inconsiderable to bound. be sensibly felt.
The ground of the practical principle One thing must be strenuously in- of non-interference must here be, that sisted on; that the government must most persons take a juster and more claim no monopoly for its education, intelligent view of their own interest, either in the lower or in the higher and of the means of promoting it, than branches; must exert neither autho- can either be prescribed to them by a rity nor influence to induce the people general enactment of the legislature, or to resort to its teachers in preference pointed out in the particular case by a to others, and must confer no peculiar public functionary. The maxim is unadvantages on those who have been questionably sound as a general rule; instructed by them. Though the go but there is no difficulty in perceiving vernment teachers will probably be some very large and conspicuous exsuperior to the average of private in- ceptions to it. These may be classed structors, they will not embody all the under several heads. knowledge and sagacity to be found in First :-The individual who is preall instructors taken together, and it is sumed to be the best judge of his own desirable to leave open as many roads interests may be incapable of judging as possible to the desired end. It is or acting for himself; may be a lunatic, not endurable that a government should, an idiot, an infant: or though not either in law or in fact, have a complete wholly incapable, may be of immature control over the education of the people. years and judgment. In this case the To possess such a control, and actually foundation of the non-interference prinexert it, is to be despotic. A govern- ciple breaks down entirely. The perment which can mould the opinions son most interested is not the best and sentiments of the people from their judge of the matter, nor a competent youth upwards, can do with them what- judge at all. Insane persons are every- . ever it pleases. Though a government, I where regarded as proper objects of the P.E.
care of the state.* In the case of of children, the law is warranted, if it children and young persons, it is com- is able, in compelling to be done or formon to say, that though they cannot borne, and is generally bound to do so. judge for themselves, they have their To take an example from the peculiar parents or other relatives to judge for province of political economy; it is them. But this removes the question right that children, and young persons into a different category; making it no not yet arrived at maturity, should be longer a question whether the govern- protected, so far as the eye and hand ment should interfere with individuals of the state can reach, from being in the direction of their own conduct over-worked. Labouring for too many and interests, but whether it should hours in the day, or on work beyond leave absolutely in their power the their strength, should not be permitted conduct and interests of somebody else. to them, for if permitted it may always Parental power is as susceptible of be compelled." Freedom of contract, abuse as any other power, and is, as a in the case of children, is but another matter of fact, constantly abused. If word for freedom of coercion. Educalaws do not succeed in preventing tion also, the best which circumstances parents from brutally ill-treating, and admit of their receiving, is not a thing even from murdering their children, far which parents or relatives, from indifless ought it to be presumed that the ference, jealousy, or avarice, should interests of children will never be sa have it in their power to withhold. crificed, in more commonplace and less The reasons for legal intervention revolting ways, to the selfishness or the in favour of children, apply not less ignorance of their parents. Whatever strongly to the case of those unfortuit can be clearly seen that parents nate slaves and victims of the most ought to do or forbear for the interest brutal part of mankind, the lower * The practice of the English law with
animals. It is by the grossest misunrespect to insane persons, especially on the derstanding of the principles of liberty, all-important point of the ascertainment of | that the infliction of exemplary punishinsanity, most urgently demands reform.
ment on ruffianism practised towards At present no persons, whose property is worth coveting, and whose nearest relations these defenceless creatures, has been are unscrupulous, or on bad terms with treated as a meddling by government them, are secure against a commission of
with things beyond its province; an lunacy. At the instance of the persons who would profit by their being declared insane,
interference with domestic life. The a jury may be impanelled and an investiga domestic life of domestic tyrants is tion held at the expense of the property, in one of the things which it is the most which all their personal peculiarities, with all
imperative on the law to interfere the additions made by the lying gossip of low servants, are poured into the credulous ears
with ; and it is to be regretted that of twelve petty shopkeepers, ignorant of all metaphysical scruples respecting the ways of life except those of their own class,
nature and source of the authority of and regarding every trait of individuality in character or taste as eccentricity, and all
government, should induce many warm eccentricity as either insanity or wickedness. If this sapient tribunal gives the desired ver animals, to seek for a justification of dict, the property is handed over to perhaps
such laws in the incidental consethe last persons whom the rightful owner would have desired or suffered to possess it.
quences of the indulgence of ferocious Some recent instances of this kind of inves habits, to the interests of human tigation have been a scandal to the adminis
beings, rather than in the intrinsic tration of justice. Whatever other changes in this branch of law may be made, two at
merits of the case itself. What it least are imperative : first, that, as in other legal proceedings, the expenses should not possessed of the requisite physical bo borne by the person on trial, but by
strength, to prevent by force if attho promoters of the inquiry, subject to recovery of costs in case of success : and
tempted in his presence, it cannot be secondly, that the property of a person | less incumbent on society generally to declared insane, should in no case be made repress. The existing laws of England over to heirs while the proprietor is alive, but should be managed by & public officer
on the subject are chiefly defective in until his death or recovery.
| the trifling, often almost nominal,
maximum, to which the penalty even pendent industrial employment, instead in the worst cases is limited.
of closing, either entirely or partially, Among those members of the com- that which is already open to them. munity whose freedom of contract ought to be controlled by the legisla- ! § 10. A second exception to the ture for their own protection, on ac- doctrine that individuals are the best count (it is said) of their dependent judges of their own interest, is when position, it is frequently proposed to an individual attempts to decide irreinclude women: and in the existing vocably now, what will be best for his Factory Act, their labour, in common interest at some future and distant with that of young persons, has been time. The presumption in favour of placed under peculiar restrictions. | individual judgment is only legitimate, But the classing together, for this and where the judgment is grounded on other purposes, of women and children, actual, and especially on present, perappears to me both indefensible in sonal experience; not where it is principle and mischievous in practice. formed antecedently to experience, and Children below a certain age cannot | not suffered to be reversed even after judge or act for themselves; up to a experience has condemned it. When considerably greater age they are in persons have bound themselves by a evitably more or less disqualified for | contract, not simply to do some one doing so; but women are as capable as thing, but to continue doing somemen of appreciating and managing thing for ever or for a prolonged period, their own concerns, and the only hin- without any power of revoking the endrance to their doing so arises from | gagement, the presumption which their the injustice of their present social perseverance in that course of conduct position. So long as the law makes would otherwise raise in favour of its everything which the wife acquires, the being advantageous to them, does not property of the husband, while by com- exist; and any such presumption pelling her to live with him it forces which can be grounded on their having her to submit to almost any amount of voluntarily entered into the contract, moral and even physical tyranny perhaps at an early age, and without which he may choose to inflict, there any real knowledge of what they unis some ground for regarding every act dertook, is commonly next to null.' The done by her as done under coercion : practical maxim of leaving contracts but it is the great error of reformers free, is not applicable without great and philanthropists in our time, to limitations in case of engagements in nibble at the consequences of unjust perpetuity; and the law should be expower instead of redressing the injus- tremely jealous of such engagements; tice itself. If women had as absolute should refuse its sanction to them, a control as men have, over their own when the obligations they impose are persons and their own patrimony or such as the contracting party cannot acquisitions, there would be no plea be a competent judge of; if it ever does for limiting their hours of labouring sanction them, it should take every for themselves, in order that they might possible security for their being conhave time to labour for the husband, in | tracted with foresight and deliberation; what is called, by the advocates of re and in compensation for not permitstriction, his home. Women employed ting the parties themselves to revoke in factories are the only women in the their engagement, should grant them labouring rank of life whose position is a release from it, on a sufficient case not that of slaves and drudges; pre- being made out before an impartial cisely because they cannot easily be authority. These considerations are compelled to work and earn wages in eminently applicable to marriage, the factories against their will. For im- most important of all cases of engageproving the condition of women, it | ment for life. should, on the contrary, be an object to give them the readiest access to inde- & 11. The third exception which I shall notice, to the doctrine that go- | than those of management by jointvernment cannot manage the affairs of stock. individuals as well as the individuals. The true reasons in favour of leaving themselves, has reference to the great to voluntary associations all such things class of cases in which the individuals as they are competent to perform, can only manage the concern by dele- would exist in equal strength if it were gated agency, and in which the so-certain that the work itself would be called private management is, in point as well or better done by public officers. of fact, hardly better entitled to be These reasons have been already called management by the persons in pointed out: the mischief of overloadterested, than administration by a ing the chief functionaries of governpublic officer. Whatever, if left to ment with demands on their attention, spontaneous agency, can only be done and diverting them from duties which by joint-stock associations, will often they alone can discharge, to objects be as well, and sometimes better done, which can be sufficiently well attained as far as the actual work is concerned, without them; the danger of unnecesby the state. Government manage sarily swelling the direct power and ment is, indeed, proverbially jobbing, indirect influence of government, and careless, and ineffective, but so like-multiplying occasions of collision bewise has generally been joint-stock tween its agents and private citizens; management. The directors of a | and the inexpediency of concentrating joint-stock company, it is true, are in a dominant bureaucracy, all the always shareholders; but also the skill and experience in the managemembers of a government are invari- ment of large interests, and all the ably taxpayers; and in the case of power of organized action, existing in directors, no more than in that of go- the community; a practice which keeps vernments, is their proportional share the citizens in a relation to the governof the benefits of good management, ment like that of children to their equal to the interest they may possibly guardians, and is a main cause of the have in mismanagement, even without | inferior capacity for political life which reckoning the interest of their ease. has hitherto characterized the overIt may be objected, that the share-l governed countries of the Continent, holders, in their collective character, whether with or without the forms of exercise à certain control over the representative government.* directors, and have almost always full! But although, for these reasons, most power to remove them from office. things which are likely to be even Practically, however, the difficulty of tolerably done by voluntary associaexercising this power is found to be so tions, should, generally speaking, be great, that it is hardly ever exercised
* A parallel case may be found in the except in cases of such flagrantly un
distaste for politics, and absence of public skilful, or, at least, unsuccessful ma spirit, by which women, as a class, are chanagement, as would generally produce
racterized in the present state of society, and
which is often felt and complained of by the ejection from office of managers
political reformers, without, in general, appointed by the government. Against
making them willing to recognise, or de the very ineffectual security afforded sirous to remove, its cause. "It obviously by meetings of shareholders, and by
arises from their being taught, both by
institutions and by the whole of their educatheir individual inspection and en.
tion, to regard themselves as entirely apart quiries, may be placed the greater from politics. Wherever they have been
politicians, they have shown as great interest
in the subject, and as great aptitude for it, sion and comment, to be expected
according to the spirit of their time, as the in free countries with regard to
men with whom they were cotemporaries : affairs in which the general govern in that period of history (for example) in ment takes part. The defects, there
which Isabella of Castile and Elizabeth of
England were, not rare exceptions, but fore, of government management, do
merely brilliant examples of a spirit and not seem to be necessarily much | capacity very largely diffused among women greater, if necessarily greater at all, / of high station and cultivation in Europe,