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yet imposed should have some effect in checking the growth of these Companies, it is possible that an equivalent advantage might arise from the consequent stimulus which would be given to Governing Bodies. What may, therefore, be suggested as principles to govern future legislation are the following. They are already embodied in the Tramways Act of last Session, and, though it is too early to say how that Act will work, there is no reason yet to believe that it will be unsuccessful :
1. Give to all Local Authorities the utmost possible facilities for undertaking these works. Let every village or district have the means of establishing Gas and Water works, and paying for them, if necessary, out of the rates.
2. Let Counties, or Highway, or other Districts have the power of making Tramways and Railways.
3. Where any of these works are to be made by a Company, give them a liberal scale of immediate charges; but take power to revise their charges at certain intervals; take power also to test the article they supply; and compel them, where they monopolize a district, to supply all consumers within the district on certain terms. .
4. Give to the Government, or to the Municipal or other Local Authority, power after a given period—which will vary according to the capital expended and other circumstances-to purchase the undertaking, at the then value of the works themselves and the plant, without payment for profits or goodwill. The effect of such a provision would probably be to make promoters ask for high prices and large profits in the meantime, so as to allow of their forming a reserve or sinking fund; but at the end of the period the Town or District would get the full benefit of the works, without the ruinous struggle as to terms which now goes on whenever a Municipality wishes to purchase an undertaking of this kind.
A further suggestion has been made in the extract from Mr. Mill, quoted above, which seems to deserve consideration. It is to the effect that these monopolies might be leased out by Government for a term by competition to a company or other contractor. Such a lease might assume various aspects. The governing body might construct the work themselves, and then lease the working of the undertaking for a given number of years to a private company; or they might merely lease the power to construct the works and the monopoly upon certain terms, leaving it to the lessee to execute the work and hand it over in good condition to the governing body on the conclusion of the lease. Again, the competition might either take the form of a competition in rent, the conditions and the price to be
charged charged to the public being fixed; and in this case the price must be such as to admit of both profit to the contractor and rent. Or the rent to the governing body being fixed or being nil, the object of the competition might be to determine the lowest price at which any solvent and responsible contractor would supply the article or convenience in question to the public.
In all these cases there would be considerable difficulty in framing the conditions; and in the relations both during the lease and at the end of it between the governing body and the contractor. But a scheme of this description would give to the public, either in the shape of rent or of reduction of charge, the ultimate profit to be made out of the monopoly. It is to be regretted that no experiment of this kind has yet been tried in this country.
The above considerations are economical. There is one other consideration of great importance, but of importance in a political rather than in an economical point of view, viz., the effect which would be produced on the political morals of the country, of a town, or of a district, if the patronage and other opportunities for jobbing involved in the management of large public works were placed in the hands of its governing body. That some evils might thus arise we cannot deny; for no one who has watched local administrative bodies is likely to believe that they are universally proof against temptations of this kind. But most, if not all, of the services in question will be rendered to the public, and in public, and every defect in the service will be promptly noticed and complained of. There is nothing like plenty of work and full publicity for preventing jobbery and keeping administration sound and pure. On the other hand, also, there is a serious political evil to be apprehended from the growing influence of the great Joint-Stock Company interest in Parliament and in local governing Boards. This evil is, if report speaks truth, a very serious one in America. In this country it is as yet not much felt, except in the combined resistance which the Companies make to any alteration of the law which affects themselves. But the success and ability with which they can do this is, considering the ever-widening sphere of their operations, a great evil in itself, and if they should ever turn their powerful organization to a political purpose, it would become a national calamity.
There is one other point to be considered. If Municipal bodies become to any large extent owners of profitable undertakings, the question will arise, whether, when a given undertaking produces profits, they should be bound to apply all the surplus for the benefit of those who use the particular article or
convenience by reducing the price charged for its use; or whether they should be enabled to apply the surplus towards other public objects. Against the latter course it may be said that it will give local bodies opportunities to job, and that it will be taxing one class for the benefit of the other. This would, for instance, be the case if the gas-works of a district were in the hands of a governing body, representing all the householders in the district, and if only a small proportion of those householders use gas; and in such a case it would probably be wise to impose some restriction on the charges and surplus profits to be made by the governing body, or to give those who really use the gas some special power in the management. On the other hand, it may be assumed that in general the ratepayers, as one aggregate class, will be benefitted by all such works as those contemplated; and that it is the mere prudery of finance to require lighting to pay for lighting, and water for water. Looking to the numerous essential wants which demand ever and ever heavier rates, and which will not directly repay themselves—to Education, Health, Drainage, and even Water—there seems to be little reason why, if a Town Council can get a moderate surplus out of Gas or Tramways, they should not apply this surplus to their other pressing needs. The State does so in the case of the Post-office and of Telegraphs, and Manchester has thus used its income from Gas with the best possible effect.
In this way the undertakings we have been discussing might be made to render material assistance to Local Government; and whether they do so or not, the importance of the subject discussed in the above pages is especially great at the present moment when the subject of Local Government and Local Rating is occupying so much attention. It is obvious that a very large part of what are generally considered the functions of Government are in the hands of Joint-Stock Companies, and that no scheme for remodelling these functions can possibly be complete which omits to notice this fact, or fails to regulate for the future the relations between these undertakings and the local governing bodies.
Mr. Goschen's scheme, probably intentionally, leaves these questions untouched, nor does the Report of the Sanitary Commission make any attempt to grapple with them. Possibly, as a matter of policy in carrying a measure for the reform of Local Government, this may be right; but it will certainly be necessary, before these questions can be dealt with as a whole, to consider what are the limits of public and private enterprise in these matters, and under what conditions the latter should be placed.
In conclusion, it is to be observed that the experience referred
to in this article is confessedly limited to this country. To obtain in any trustworthy form and to digest the experience of other countries would involve a very serious amount of labour and of discrimination, and the result would far exceed the limits of an article. That this should be the case is perhaps the less to be regretted, since the differences in the circumstances of different countries, dissimilarity in institutions, in habits, and in national character—in the amount of capital seeking investment, in the energy which seeks for new fields of enterprise, and in the skill and labour necessary to conduct new enterprises to a successful result—are so great, that, difficult as it is to come to any sweeping general conclusions from our own national experience, it would still be more difficult, if not impossible, to deduce or establish anything like universal rules from the general practice of civilized nations.
ART. VII.-The Dialogues of Plato translated into English, with
Analysis and Introductions. By B. Jowett, M. A., Master of Balliol College, Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford. 4 vols. Oxford. 1871. THE publication within a short interval of two such works as
1 Mr. Grote's · Plato' and Mr. Jowett's translation seems to point to a phase of no slight importance in the general revival of English philology which has marked the last twenty or thirty years. The verbal scholarship of the last century, brilliant as it undoubtedly was, and important as its results became as the basis of future attainment, was too limited in its scope and too isolated from other departments of knowledge to maintain its hold on education. A period of barrenness and lethargy followed, from which Arnold was one of the first to deliver classical studies. The earlier work of the great historian whom we have recently lost has been, perhaps, the main instrument in sustaining and extending the movement. Along with the value which it had for scholars as a series of investigations in the field of ancient history, it possessed a freshness and keenness of political insight, and a sense of the reality and permanence of historical problems, which engaged the interest of a much larger class of readers. The idea of extending the range of popular reading to Platonic philosophy—to the speculations, namely, which exhibit the spirit of antiquity in its most abstract formmay be said to have been first carried out by Dr. Whewell in his Platonic Dialogues.'* The two similar experiments since * Reviewed in the Quarterly' of October, 1862.
made, on a larger scale and by far more complete and exhaustive methods, are evidence of an awakening of interest amounting almost to a new intellectual movement in the educated classes of the country. Other considerations put the importance of such books in a still stronger light. There is much in the progress of civilisation which tends to give increased value and significance to the history of thought. The separate national life which is fed by the recollection of the past struggles and triumphs of a nation has been slowly but constantly giving way before the sense of mutual obligation and dependence, extending to all alike. As a consequence of this process, the sympathy and veneration of men will be increasingly directed towards those elements in the traditions of the past which are most cosmopolitan; and thus it will become, more and more, the office of literature to represent and interpret that comparatively hidden view of thought and knowledge in which the highest minds have had a part without distinction of race or nation.
The work before us is eminently fitted to aid and direct the movement which we have ventured to anticipate. It has been the noble task of Mr. Jowett's life, like Socrates, to bring philosophy into the market-place,' to awaken the spirit of research in active and growing minds, and to gain for knowledge and the faith in knowledge their true place in human affairs. He has now sought to carry this work into a wider field; and he has aptly chosen as his subject the philosophers in whom the Socratic faith bore its worthy and lifelong fruits; who was raised by means of it above the narrow completeness of Athenian culture, beyond the limited horizon of Greek society ; who created those ideals which are still the ideals of history and of science, but were then, in Mr. Jowett's words, the vacant forms of light on which he sought to fix the eyes of mankind.'
The translation demands more than a passing notice, not merely for its high intrinsic excellence as a work of literary art, but also for the less obvious merit which it has as being, in great measure, a new experiment. The problem, it need not be said, is of the highest order of difficulty. A complex Greek period, such as Plato is accustomed to write, is incapable, as a rule, of being rendered without a sacrifice either of the general effect or of the grammatical form. The separate clauses may often be exactly reproduced while the relation between them is expressed in a manner which belongs essentially to the idiom of the Greek language. A mere
scholarly rendering,' in such a case, is no more a true copy of the original than a heap of Ionic columns is an Ionic temple. On the other hand, all modern languages, through long familiarity Vol. 131.-No. 262.