Puslapio vaizdai

whom I have read on the subject of French law-Pardessus, Bavard Veyrières, and Monsieur Troplong, who is now a member of the Court of Cassation, and has written two volumes on the subject of partnership; they all agree that it is most desirable, and that it acts as a great encouragement to industry.

"Do you think that such a law of limited liability, if it were fenced round with the safeguards that have been spoken of, and which, although they do not prevail altogether in France, do prevail in the United States, and several states of the Continent, would be likely to open fresh and useful investments for the small capital of the middle classes?-I think one of its great recommendations is, that it will afford a safe and desirable mode of investment of small sums.

"Do you not think that some such opportunity for the investment of limited liability would be useful to the middle classes in local enterprises of various kinds, which are called forth by the increase of population in towns, and so on?-I have no doubt that is one way in which its capital would be very usefully employed.

"Such, for instance, as waterworks, gasworks, and public enterprises, promising to pay moderate profits; such as lodging-houses, washing-houses, and others, that persons have been desirous of having such means of investment, but have been deterred by the unlimited liability which at present exists?—I have no doubt at all that is one way in which the institution would show its utility. I have been reading very carefully Livingstone's Code of Louisiana, and I have observed that he does not think any limitation is at all necessary; he is one of the greatest jurists that ever lived.

"Do you not think that some of the wild speculations in railways and other things arose in a great measure from no safe investment being open to parties of the middle class, and that they were speculations in which they were obliged to invest their savings because no others were open to them?-I have no doubt at all that if, for instance, such partnerships as I have mentioned were more common, railway speculation among the middle classes would not have been carried to the extravagant extent to which it was carried."

Mr. Howell, in his evidence, says:

"In consequence of communications with other gentlemen interested in commercial matters, has the question referable to the policy of introducing limited liability, or what are called partnerships en commandite, been one matter which has engaged your attention ?--Yes?

"In consequence of that division of opinion, were queries circulated by your committee, and sent to different places abroad, from whence they thought valuable information might be elicited?—Yes.

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"Have you turned to those particularly from the commercial States of America-for instance, from New York and from Boston?-Yes.

"Do you think that the answers which have been given have made any difference in the opinion of those for whose benefit they were sent ?-Undoubtedly.

"What effect has it worked upon the minds of those gentlemen to whom they were sent?-Upon several it has changed their views of the subject, and they are now favourable to that principle of limited liability in partner-> ships which, at first, they conceived to be wrong; but I would rather that gentlemen should express their own opinions than that I should endeavour to express them. I will express my own opinion, but I hardly like to presume to express theirs.

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'Hope and Co. write:-It cannot be said that the failures of commandite partnerships are more frequent than others, and they are not worse; the amount of the capital employed must be published.' Messrs. Sichel and Co. write: Commandite partnerships are proved by experience to be advantageous to the community, but are subject to all the vicissitudes of commerce.' Messrs. J Mendelsohn, of Berlin, write: These partnerships appear to be useful. There is no reason why the law should prevent a person taking a share in the gain and loss of business, instead of merely lending his capital.' Mr. } J. Brown, of Boston, writes: The commercial effect of these partnerships has been beneficial; great activity is hereby given to trade; failures are not more frequent or more disastrous than in other partnerships, nor have they been abused in periods of excitement; and under the laws creating them they are not liable to more abuse i than other forms of partnership.'

"Do you consider that the establishment of the law en commandite in this country, guarded by restrictions against fraud, such as perhaps our sagacity might enable us to add with those which have been found practically useful in America, would work well for the benefit of the middle classes in this country ?-Most undoubtedly; it is in my opinion the greatest boon within the power of the Legis. lature to confer upon the industrious classes.

"Do you think it would open a fair ground for investments of sums of a medium nature, which now it is diffi cult to invest ?-Certainly.

"Do you think that persons of moderate capital, living either in country towns or commercial districts, would feel glad to have an opportunity of investing, under the management of persons selected by themselves for their honesty and for their skill, moderate sums in manufacturing, or commercial, or other enterprises?—I do think so.

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Do you think that to persons of energy, industry, and talent, but who have not capital at disposal, in many instances persons of capital cognizant of those qualities would be willing to give encouragement and asssistance? Undoubtedly.

"By affording to them the means of capital, lent to carry out those plans which they may have put before them?-Certainly.

"On the whole your opinion, after having looked at the subject with a good deal of attention, is, that it would be beneficial?-Decidedly.

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"In that work there is given, in the first page or two, an introduction, stating the mode in which the inquiry was carried on, signed, by order of the Committee,' by W. Hawes, Chairman,' and countersigned by the Secretary. Then there is stated a list of the cities and towns from which information has been obtained, and the names of the firms, and others who have kindly afforded it.' It comprises Paris, Rouen, Lyons, Marseilles, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Besançon, Cambria, Antwerp, Brussels, Aixla-Chapelle, Basle, Berlin, Leipsic, Amsterdam, Rotter- Mr. Commissioner Fane, in his evidence, states:dam, Hamburgh, Bremen, Trieste, Cadiz, Madrid, "Do not you think that such a law would enable Oporto, Milan, Venice, Turin, Naples, Stockholm, Got-parties of moderate capital, combined together, to carry tenburg, Russian Finland, New York, Boston, Baltimore, out enterprises which separately they cannot do?-Cer-1® and Philadelphia ?-Precisely. tainly.

"Is not the American evidence, in the great commercial cities of New York and Boston, favourable to it?— 15 Highly so; and the testimony deserves special attention. The general opinion is, that they are as safe as other.9 partnerships. There is very little distinction drawn as to their relative safety."

"The answers in favour of it appear to be from Holland, and from the commercial States of America?-The answers, I conceive, are generally favourable?


Do you not think that it would enable parties desirous to run a certain amount of risk, but not desirous to go to the risk of their whole fortune, to advance moderate is

sums for the aid of enterprising men of good character?— I have no doubt of it. I am myself convinced that there would not have been such masses of money sent to South America immediately after the war was over if persons could have invested their money in enterprises in England without incurring a risk of (to use Lord Eldon's phrase) losing every shilling and every acre that they had in the world; saving persons who had got something to dispose of, which was the result of their acumulations, and which they had no immediate means of investing in any enterprise under their own eye, did not know what to do with their money, for the law of England said, that they should not risk a portion of their fortune without risking every farthing they had in the world; and, in order to invest their money at what they considered an advantage, they were not unwilling to throw it away in South America, because they did not dare to risk it in England, and I really believe that the millions that were sent to foreign states about that time were merely sent because there was such a desire in this country for investing money in speculations; and the law of this country did not permit a man to invest a small portion without risking the whole.

"You have stated that there has been a considerable
number of partnerships of this nature lately in the large
towns?-Yes, in the large towns.

"Does it appear to work well?-My own opinion is
that it does work well; and that the number of failures
(I can hardly use the word " bankruptcies" because it
has a technical meaning) under that law is much less
than among those who are doing business in the ordinary
way. This opinion also is one gathered from hearsay.
"Are the shares in such undertakings held by persons
of moderate means?-They may be held by those persons.
"Do many of your skilled tradesmen hold shares in
such things?-In those sort of corporations, in banks, and
in railways, the subscriptions are opened at some place
for anybody to subscribe, and very frequently three or
four shares are taken up by a person at 100 dollars a share
(that is, 201.,) so that they are quite within the reach of

"Do the more industrious of the working classes, who
have got up a little capital, frequently invest their capital
in shares of this nature ?—I should say they did; but you
will remember that the state of society is different in
America from what it is here.

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We are all working people there, and it is impossible for
a gentleman who has not been there to comprehend the
state of society. The differences in condition are much
less marked than in Europe; there is less accumulated
capital, and labour becomes capital more rapidly than in
an older country.

"With reference, for instance, to waterworks, gas- Do you think that the humbler classes having shares works, bridges, highways, ferries, and, now lately, in the works which go on in these various towns which lodging-houses and wash-houses, and any other public you have spoken of, gives them contentment?-I can enterprises connected with the accommodation and im-hardly conceive of any other state of things in America. provement of our great towns springing up around us, do you not think that if there had been facility for obtaining limited liability, there would have been investments by the middle classes in such undertakings, very usefully made?—I certainly believe so; I think that limited liability would have produced as bold enterprises in the cases to which you have alluded as limited liability has produced in the case of railways; clubs I might mention as another instance, for in clubs there is limited liability; every member contributes a small portion, and he risks nothing more; the consequence is, that we live in palaces.

"Do not you think that, generally speaking, people might be left to manage their own affairs, and that they are usually prudent enough to see whether they are proerly managed or not?-Certainly. I do not think the Government is to act as a nurse or a guardian.

'You stated that you are of opinion that the law of unlimited liability prevents ingenuity and ability, as discovered by the humbler classes in various ways, being carried out successfully?--I think so.

"And that it therefore acts unjustly and unfairly towards those classes?—I think so.'

Mr. Bancroft Davis, Secretary to the American Legation, gave the following evidence:

"Do you not think that, in countries in which the law of limited liability does prevail, people of the humbler classes have a better chance of bringing forward ingenious inventions than in a country where such a law does not prevail?--I do.

"In point of fact, the superior portion of the working classes who have accumulated a little capital do take shares in the various enterprises which are carried on in the towns around them? They do; if there is any one thing that distinguishes the people in New England, it is that nobody is contented with his present condition, and that will account for a good many things which I cannot account for otherwise. Everybody is struggling for something better.

Do not you consider that such a feeling is a stimulus to enterprise and activity?-Certainly.

And that it is beneficial to the classes amongst whom
he lives, much more than a man sitting down in apathy
and doing nothing?—I certainly do; I have been brought
up amongst it."

I fear the reading evidence, though short in itself, is
tedious, or I could greatly multiply citations to the same
effect, and could add much more from other sources.
I will, before I read the Report, only add, that in the
appendix, p. 159, will be found the following queries:

It has been proposed to limit the liability of partners
to the amount of their respective subscriptions in certain
companies or partnerships duly registered.

"It has been thought by some persons that such a measure, properly guarded by regulations to prevent fraud and rash speculation, may assist useful investments for the combination of capital of the middle classes, and aid useful local enterprises.

"And that, therefore, in the United States, for instance, where such a law prevails in the northern parts, the working classes of inventive minds have a better chance of advancing and improving their condition than they have in a country where it does not prevail ?—Yes. "It is proposed that this measure should not extend to The upshot of your evidence relative to these diffi-banking, insurance, or other employments for capital of a culties attending the decision of disputes between partners appears to be, that it amounts to an absolute denial of equity and justice to persons of that class who may wish to associate together for such purposes ?-It is so, certainly. It leaves them all at the mercy of each other.

very speculative nature.

"Such partnerships of limited liability, under certain rules, are established in France, Germany, Holland, and the United States of America.

"Šo that, putting aside the question of limited liability,
the difficulty of settling disputes between partners by going
to the Court of Chancery, is such as almost to deter any
Bane man from ever thinking of entering into partner-suggestions as you may think useful."
ship? That is so as to large partnerships-partnerships
of many.

should be introduced here.
“It is desired by some parties that such partnerships

"Your opinion is requested on this subject, with such

Is not that injustice to the middle and humble classes ?-I say, great injustice."

The replies to these queries, with the exception of those from Lord Brougham and Mr. B. Ker, were generally favourable to limited liability. Of these I shall, however, mention only three English testimonies.


1st.-Mr. Stuart Mill, whose name stands high, and
whose works are quoted at home and abroad, the
Adam Smith of this day, leading statesmen and law-
yers to improvement by reason.
2nd.-Mr. Babbage, whose name is known and honoured
wherever science and scientific discoveries are prized.
3rd.-Mr. G. R. Porter, a lost lamented friend, secretary
to the Board of Trade, well known to all, learned in
commercial statistics, and author of the "Progress of the

and all these were strong in favour of limited liability.
Some able foreigners, and other persons acquainted with
the working of the law abroad, speak to the same point.
A letter from the Bengal Chamber of Commerce to the
chairman, strongly advocates the alteration of the law of
unlimited liability. I venture to read some extracts:-
"Understanding that the law relating to the co-part-
nerships is likely to be brought before Parliament during
the present Session, and this Chamber being of opinion
that partnerships with limited responsibility would prove
of the greatest importance to this country, I am desired
to communicate the sentiments of the Bengal Chamber of
Commerce regarding the same; and the Chamber will be
glad if you can make them known in the proper quarter,
and trusts it may calculate upon your influence in bringing
about the desired change.

Now it is equally clear that the redundant riches of this magnificent country must remain as hitherto undeveloped, and a large amount of funds, but in many hands, kept unemployed, without the aid of such associations; because no individuals can command a sufficient amount of capital for the purpose, or would be likely to direct it to such ends if they could.

"All experience proves that it is to associations alone that we can look for undertakings of magnitude connected with public interest and utility; as witness the canals, railroads, &c., of England, to which she is indebted for so much of her prosperity; to say nothing of France, Holland, Belgium, and the United States of America, in all of which countries this limited responsibility partnership which we advocate exists. In Holland, a large portion of the land in the country has been reclaimed or gained from the sea, through the operations of societies with limited responsibilities. So, again, in the United States and Belgium. But it is not necessary to multiply instances to prove their advantage, since every one in the present day must have sufficient evidence of it before his eyes.

As regards this country, it is impossible to estimate the good they might produce. We might have land companies; agricultural companies, embracing of course cotton; carriage companies, roads and railroads, and steam navigation companies, &c., &c.; all of which are required in order to extend the production, as well as the consumption capabilities of the country.

The chamber is not prepared to say how this limited partnership law may be carried out, or whether the French system of partnerships 'en commandite' would be the best adapted for the purpose. This will, no doubt, be fully discussed in Parliament when the measure is brought forward; the immediate object of the Chamber is to draw your attention, and to enlist your influence and assistance in its favour.

"We are quite satisfied that many native and European capitalists, as well as retired Indians, would very willingly invest portions of their means in projects of which they approved, were they relieved of all liability beyond the amount of the sum so invested, but who would have nothing to do with them if their responsibility were unlimited."

"The Committee of last Session, on Investments of the middle and working classes, partially investigated the question now referred to your Committee, but gave no opinion upon it. Their Report contained two recommen, dations of great consequence to large classes:

"1st. That Charters of Limited Liability, for useful undertakings, should be granted by the Crown with due, caution, but at a far more reasonable cost.

2ndly. That where several industrious men work together, with a small capital, the law should provide a remedy against fraud on the part of any dishonest partner,, and a summary mode of enforcing the rules agreed to for mutual government.

"In entering more closely on the consideration of the subject referred to them, your Committee would adopt a few lines from a former Report, and say

"That the great change in the social position of multitudes, arising from the growth of large towns and crowded districts, renders it more necessary that corresponding changes in the law should take place, both to improve their condition and contentment, and to give additional facilities to investments of the capita! which their industry, and enterprize is constantly creating and augmenting.'

"Your Committee would also add, in the words of their predecessors, That they doubt not ultimate benefit will ensue from any measures which the Legislature may be enabled to devise for simplifying the operation of the law and unfettering the energies of trade.


"Your Committee also desire to record their conviction, that if it be desired to promote association among the humbler classes for objects of mutual benefit, no measure will tend more directly to this end than one which will give a cheap and ready means of settling disputes of the partners, and enforcing the rules agreed to for mutual, government.

"Your Committee beg to state that in addittion to the" augmentation in the amount of personal property, is to be remarked its great division among large classes of the. community, in the middle (or even the humbler) ranks of life, as is shown by the returns of amounts of public stock held by each person, and other sources of information. Your Committee would observe that the course of modern legislation (the wisdom of which appears, in this, particular, generally allowed) seems to have been gradually to remove restrictions on the power which every one has in the disposal of his property, and to remove those fetters on commercial freedom which long prevailed in this country.

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Your Committee now proceed to consider whether any suggestions of a like nature ought to be made in reference to the laws of partnership, and especially the unlimited liability of partners, as it exists at present in this country.

"By the existing law, no person can advance any capital to any undertaking, public or private, in the profits of which he is to participate, nor become partner or shareholder in any enterprise or profit, without becoming liable to the whole amount of his fortune, as expressed by a great legal authority, to his last shilling and his last acre.

"Such general and unlimited liability can be restricted to any given sum or share only by Special Act of Parlia ment or Charter from the Crown; neither of which is obtained without much difficulty, expense, and delay, and in many cases cannot be obtained at all.

"It is contended, that, however advantageous the law of unlimited liability of partners may be, as applied to the principal commercial transactions of this country, carried on by the most part by firms of few partners, that yet it would be of great advantage to the community to allow limited liability to be extended with greater facility to the shareholders in many useful enterprises, often prore-mising at the same time public benefit and private profit, which are constantly called for by the increasing population and wants of our towns and populous districts; such as water works, gas works, roads, bridges, markets, piers, baths, wash-houses, workmen's lodging houses, reading

I now proceed to read the Report of 1851 :"The subject referred to your Committee is one of great and increasing interest. On account of its wide lations to large classes of society, your Committee have thought it incumbent to proceed with caution, and to weigh carefully the arguments and evidence adduced before them, urging alterations in the law.


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rooms, clubs, and various other investments of a like nature, chiefly confined to spots in the immediate vicinity of the subscribers. Large stores for the sale of provisions and other necessaries in populous districts, and supported by the combined capital of small shareholders, may be considered as belonging to the same kind of enterprises. "Your Committee think it would be a subject of regret if cautious persons, of moderate capital, and esteemed for their intelligence and probity in their several neighbourhoods, should be now deterred from taking part in such undertakings by the heavy risk of unlimited liability; yet such persons would in many instances be the best guides for their humbler and less experienced neighbours, and their names would afford security that the enterprise had been well considered, and was likely to be well conducted.

"Your Committee think that it would be desirable to remove any obstacles which may now prevent the middle and even the more thriving of the working classes from taking shares in such investments, under the sanction of, and conjointly with, their richer neighbours; as thereby their self-respect is upheld, their industry and intelligence encouraged, and an additional motive is given to them to preserve order, and respect the laws of property.

"Your Committee would therefore reccommend that under the supervision of a competent authority, rules should be laid down and published for the guidance of persons applying for such charters, with requisite precautions to prevent fraud; and on compliance with such rules, that charters should be granted. Security for compliance with such rules might be given and enforced at the quarter sessions, or before some other local tribunal of requisite authority.

"Your Committee now proceed to consider the propriety of permitting the introduction of partnerships, on the principle of limited liability.

"Your Committee have referred to the report and evidence given before the Commission on this subject in 1837, where opinions entitled to great weight, were almost equally divided; in the Appendix to that Report is the outline of a proposed law on the subject, by Mr. Baring, a name highly respected in all commercial circles of the world.

"In the Report on Joint Stock Companies in 1844, valuable information on matters closely connected with this subject will be found; and in the Report on Invest ments, of the last Session, evidence bearing on this en quiry is worthy of perusal.

"Your Committee, considering the extent and importance of the proposed alteration in the law, are unwilling to proceed in such a matter without the greatest caution. They find that the best authorities are divided on the subject, and that it would require great care to devise the checks and safeguards against fraud, necessary to accompany such a general relaxation or change in the law. It seems also the opinion of the best informed persons, that additional facilities are wanting to settle partnership disputes in accounts, and that some cheaper and simpler tribunal should be afforded than the costly and tedious process of application to the Court of Chancery.

"That the law of partnership, as at present existing, viewing its importance in reference to the commercial character and rapid increase of the population and property of the country, requires careful and immediate revision.

"They recommend, therefore, the appointment of a Commission, of adequate legal and commercial knowledge, to consider and prepare, not only a consolidation of the existing laws, but also to suggest such changes in the law as the altered condition of the country may require, especial attention being paid to the establishment of improved tribunals to decide claims by and against partners, in all partnership disputes, and also to the important and much controverted question of limited and unlimited liability of partners.

"Your Committee would express their conviction that

it is no less consistent with the spirit of recent legislation than conducive to the public advantage, and the promotion of legitimate trade, to relax any restraints which may now exist on the free action of individuals or appli cation of capital, due regard being paid to the importance of preventing the acquirement of undue or undeserved credit, or giving encouragement to ignorant or reckless speculation."

This is the Report adopted by the committee, but the draft drawn up by myself, as chairman, recommended "That the law of limited liability of partners as in usage abroad should, under due regulations, be adopted here, but not extended to Banking, Insurance, Mining, foreign trade, or other enterprise of a like speculative and uncertain nature."

I may also state that, in the Committee on Partnership in 1837, the opinions were divided as to the policy of limited liability. Against it were:-Lord Overstone, Messrs. Tooke, Larpent, Horsley Palmer, and Kirkman Finlay. For it were:-Lord Ashburton, long known as Mr. Baring-the first name in commercial matters-in the House of Commons; Mr. G. Norman; Hon. F. Baring; and Mr. Senior, the able political economist. In the Committee on the Joint Stock Act (third Report, 1844), there were examined thirty-eight witnesses, some as to frauds, many as to the necessity of improving the law, and some as to partnership. They were divided in opinion. Since the Committee in 1851 the question of limited liability has much advanced. It is supported by the press, by public opinion, and by several able works, including those by Lord Hobart; by Mr. Field, an able and experienced solicitor, published by Longman, 1854; by Mr. Woodford Brookes, Barrister, 1854; and by Mr. C. Buxton, in his treatise entitled the "Pros and Cons of Partnership," Spottiswoode, 1854-an able and concise work on this subject.

The Committee of 1851 recommended a commission on the subject. This was issued by the present Government, consisting chiefly of eminent lawyers, with a few great merchants, but containing no statesmen or representatives of the industrial classes. I asked to be an unpaid member of this commission, but it was not thought fit to grant my urgent request.

The Commissioners have not yet published their Report, but I have seen a copy of it, and it is such as might be expected, hostile to limited liability, though in favour of charters at a cheaper rate. There was, it is believed, a difference of opinion and divisions in it on some important points. Still it is a step in advance, for charters are recommended for many combined undertakings on easier terms than before.

I believe the commissioners were altogether opposed to the principles of limited liability, unanimous in favour of cheaper charters being granted, and divided on a proposition of a friend of mine, which may be considered a kind of compromise between limited and unlimited liability, by which loans might be granted to persons for carrying on commercial enterprises, such loans to bear interest varying with the profits, and to be postponed to the claims of their creditors with limited liability. The commissioners say that, with a view to obtaining well considered opinions on the subject, they framed a series of questions, which they thought calculated to elicit information, and caused them to be widely circulated both at home and abroad. The result was, that they had been much embarrased by the great contrariety of opinions entertained by those who favoured them with answers. Gentlemen of great experience and talent had arrived at conclusions diametrically opposite, and in supporting their conclusions had displayed reasoning power of the highest order. It was indeed difficult to say on which side the weight of authority in this country preponderated. The opinions received from foreign countries preponderated in favour of limited liability, but many of their foreign correspondents, while bearing testimony to the beneficial operation of the law as to partnerships with limited

liability in their countries, suggested that it might, never-evidence, names of important witnesses, and marshalled a theless, well be that the circumstances of the trading in- little before you the weight of authority of great names, terests in the United Kingdom might give it a very of benevolent and thinking men. There are those, howdifferent operation here. The Commissioners next pro- ever, in this great community-many, doubtless, in this ceeded to say that, having considered the question assemblage-and those the thinkers, and eventually the whether the proposed alteration of the law with leaders of society, who, whilst they respect (reasonably regard to limited partnership liability would operate bene-respect) authority, and pay due, but not devoted, deferficially on the general trading interest of the country, had ence to great names, look still more anxiously than to come to the conclusion that it would not. They had not names and authority, to facts and reasons to support any been able to discover any evidence of the want of a suffi- proposition. To them I now turn myself, and hope they cient amount of capital for the requirements of trade, and will forgive me if I change from reading a paper to the annually increasing wealth of the country, and the address them from a few notes which I hold in my difficulty of finding profitable investments for it seemed hand, in a way which may relieve the monotony of a to them sufficient guarantee that an adequate amount mere lecture, and perhaps elicit some results useful to would always be devoted to any mercantile enterprise us all. holding out a reasonable prospect of gain, without any The greatness, the wealth, and the comfort of the people forced action upon capital to determine its direction. of any country depend, as it appears to me, upon three Now I do not want any such forced action, but what I do main causes:-First, the natural advantages of the counwant is this, that greater facilities shall be given for the try; secondly, its acquired advantages; and thirdly, its profitable investment of the wealth which the Com-social regulations. With regard to the natural advantages missioners admit is annually increasing, whilst there is a of this country, we have first our insulated situation, giving difficulty of profitably investing it. They further say, us for centuries past safety-giving us every advantage with regard to limited liability, that it cannot be doubted that can be had by our wide extended coasts for the comthat instances occur where men of probity and talent merce of the world-and giving us great and important would derive benefit from such a system, but they are of natural advantages. Secondly, we have a climate more opinion that such benefit has been greatly overrated. equable, perhaps, than that of any other country in Europe, Well, as I have stated, the Commissioners recommend that of which one of our monarchs remarked, that there are further facilities should be given for obtaining charters, more hours in the day in which a man may enjoy himself but on the whole subject of partnership they say that, out of doors in this country than in any other country in although the details of our mercantile laws are inhar. monious and imperfect, they "deem it unwise to interfere Europe. But is that all? It gives us a constant industry; it gives the means of working from early morn till night with principles which in their judgment have proved during the whole year. These are some of our natural beneficial to the general industry of the country." Having stated the general result of committees and advantages. It allows out-of-door work to go on continuworks on the subject, showing the great preponderance of ally. What have we besides? We have vast mineral authority and names now in favour of limited liability being wealth, greater than the gold of California or Australia— permitted, under proper rules to prevent fraud, I must tell mines of iron and coal-short words, but having a wide you that there are eminent names on the other side. and extended meaning. Iron means arms and ploughThey are chiefly eminent lawyers, great bankers, great shares, tools and engines, bridges and aqueducts. It means capitalists, governors of the Bank-in short, either timid those vast bridges that span the Menai Straits, one of men, unwilling to move at all, or millionaires, or the which now stands the monument of the genius of one who representatives of the class of capitalists who are anchored is an ornament to this or any other country-I mean Mr. and bound down to their present moorings by the weight Stephenson-and it means, moreover, railways, which are of wealth they stand on. I would not say this invi- now the highways for the whole world. These are some diously; doubtless they speak honestly, but it is almost of our natural advantages. But have we not more? In impossible for those benefitting by a monopoly not to be that short word "coal," besides the fire which gives com(unknown to themselves) swayed by prejudice towards fort in our dwellings, it is the foundation of our great that which augments their wealth and power under the hardware manufactures; it moves by steam all our factoexisting law. Hostile to all safe combinations and invest- ries; it gives employment to myriads of women and ment of limited capitals, millions of small and moderate children-the tender sex and the tenderest age; it moves sums are swept by force of circumstances, at low interest, all our trains; it moves half our vessels. Coal and iron into the hands or tills of these bankers or capitalists. By together mean a moving power equal to millions of pairs of the same means the public funds, the only possible invest- hands, requiring neither clothing nor food to maintain them. ment open to many, are kept at an unnaturally high price. The coal which is obtained in Great Britain alone amounts I would contrast with those against the relaxation of to thirty-seven millions of tons annually, whilst the prothe law, those for it, and ask you to remark that among duce of all Europe amounts to only seventeen millions of them you will find men of high statesmanlike views, tons-not half what is raised in this island. Now, what desirous to give security to property, facilitating its are our acquired advantages? They are still greater than peaceful acquisition by industrious multitudes, men who our natural advantages. First of all, after a century of would encourage enterprise and ingenuity, by allowing struggle, we get our religious freedom by the Reformation them to be duly rewarded. Above all, you will find of 1530, and after a century of contest we had our civil among them those who earnestly desire to improve the freedom established by the Revolution of 1688. This social condition of the middle and working classes-who country has afforded an asylum to foreigners from intolerwish to give them the true means to help themselves by ance and bigotry in other countries, which has been repaid forethought, frugality, skill, industry, and conduct-to by a hundred inventions and discoveries. Our freedom create and preserve wealth in which they are permitted was won, as Burke says, by our ancestors, owing to their to participate, according to certain just and equitable spirit in the hour of contest, and their tenderness in the rules. triumph of victory. Freedom is the mother of many blessings-of order and security, of industry, and enterprise, of wealth and plenty. Now, let us look for a moment at the effects of these natural and acquired advantages combined with the forty years' peace we have till recently enjoyed. Look at the changes they have produced, calling for corresponding alterations in the laws and corresponding facilities in our commercial transactions But I have spoken of our social regulations as the

Thus, gradually and peacefully, might the broad dark line which separates the opulent from the humble be softened, and improve, to the increased safety of one class, the augmented contentment of the other, and the ultimate and enduring benefit of both.

I have now ended an outline of what has lately taken place respecting the great question of partnership. I have given the reports of committees, extracts from the

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