« ZurückWeiter »
evil. Nothing but the conviction on the part of the railway companies that they are financially wrong in forcing the slow heavy traffic on to the metals, will render possible the rehabilitation of the canal system, however fully all other persons may be convinced of the national importance of our internal navigation. · Finally, by prescribing to the railway companies forms of annual returns which would enable an independent inquirer at once to ascertain the profit or loss at which each of the three great branches of transport—those of passengers, goods, and minerals—is actually carried on, the Legislature would, at all events, cease to throw formidable obstacles in the way of ascertaining that important fact. Neither the officers of the companies, nor those of the Board of Trade, can be blamed for keeping to formulæ prescribed by Parliament. Had the companies not thus been shielded, the demands of the shareholders for independent audit might have procured for them this information, As it is, they are in total ignorance of the upshot of the whole policy of their directors as to the absorption of the proper traffic of the canals.
The time is fully ripe for the elucidation of this great national question. Of the decline of railway profits we have spoken. In the opening speech of the January session of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the President, as we have said, expressed his conviction that considerable addition to the carrying capabilities of railways would shortly become imperative.
This is, in fact, an intimation, from competent authority, that the duplication of the main trunk lines is in contemplation. If the shareholders agree to the proposition without being in full possession of accurate knowledge as to the economic conditions of the various kinds of traffic, they will have themselves to thank for the result.
On the other hand, revived attention is being turned to canals. In Germany inland navigation is becoming active. In Holland a great maritime canal is to form a portion of the works for reclaming the basin of the Zuyder-Zee. In Manchester a proposal is afoot for the conversion of the river Irwell into a maritime canal. The piercing of the Isthmus of Suez is a work that may hereafter have much influence in directing attention to water-borne communication. The question of steam towage, which has received comparatively little notice for the last forty years, is again coming to the fore. On the Elbe canals, a chain is laid at the bottom of the channel, and the tug propels itself, and the barges which it tows, by griping this chain. “On the Aire and Calder Navigation, steam power is
now employed for towage; the charge being 10£d.,per mile for a 100 ton barge for the 32 miles downward to Goole, and ls. 2d. per mile for the same towage upward, giving a mean cost of *125 penny per ton per mile. This rate of charge is only about 10 per cent, higher than that adopted in 1857; so that the Company have a practical experience of nearly twenty years of the use of a tariff with which it is evident that no land transport can fairly and honestly compete.
The question of relative speed by land and water conveyance is one on which we have not space now to enter. We learn from Mr. G. R. Stephenson's speech that a reduction of speed for mineral trains is in contemplation, in the event of the duplication of the trunk lines. It must be borne in mind with. regard to this, that a reduction of the actual speed to that of 5 miles an hour will not bring down the price of conveying a ton-mile gross to less than 33 of a penny, according to the data which we have cited. But the reduction of speed from 15 to 5 miles per hour would require a threefold increase of the plant employed in the traffic; so that the loss would enormously overbalance the gain. The accurate accordance of results drawn from the two distinct sources of French experience and English experiment, entitle us to consider our estimate of the cost per ton-mile as primâ facie established, and only liable to question on the production of those accounts which we seek. On the other hand, the cost of water carriage varies nearly as the cube of the velocity. The means of obtaining increase of speed on canals, apart from the economic question, mainly depends on two desiderata, namely, the obtaining a fulcrum from the earth direct, and not from the water, and the protection of the banks. As to the former, a patent was taken out some years ago in this country for a mode of canal traction in which the tug carried its own chain; the length of which, lying on the bottom under the vessel, was ample to give the hold on the ground required. The expense of the latter precaution would soon be amply covered by the returns of a moderate traffic. One great source of expense, the want of balance between the heavy traffic towards and away from the Metropolis, is alike in all modes of transport. Apart from this, the great cause of loss, the disproportionate amount of tare to net weight, is greater by land than by water; and the price per ton that must be allotted to provide and maintain lighters is but small in proportion to the cost and repairs of waggons for an equal load.
It is our earnest hope that one fruit of an investigation undertaken with no other view than that of affording a contri
bution to the knowledge possessed by the public on a highly important and little understood subject, may be such an indisputable demonstration of the actual cost of railway transport as shall leave no pretext for any further unfair competition with inland navigation. If the railway companies will first ascertain, and then prove to their shareholders, what rates of profit are remunerative, and will then charge such rates, and no others, to the public, the difficulty will solve itself. Public economy demands that the traffic of the country should flow in its natural course, whether that course be by land or by water. All artificial competition with the requirements of true economy must, sooner or later, occasion loss, or even disaster. We believe that the railway proprietary, and therefore the public, have suffered, and are likely to suffer yet more heavily, from a mistaken policy, based on unacquaintance with controlling facts. And we cheerfully submit, not only our arguments, but the data upon which they are based, to the verdict of scientific opinion, when fully and exactly informed as to the truth.
ART. IV.-A Life of the Earl of Mayo, Fourth Viceroy of
India. By W. W. HUNTER, B.A., LL.D., of Her Majesty's Bengal Civil Service. 2 vols. 8vo. 1875. To many it will appear that the time had hardly arrived for
the publication of a Life of the lamented Earl of Mayo. But four years have elapsed since he was cut off in the prime of life by a violent death which, however investing his memory with a halo of mystery and profound regret, is but a bare justification for a book of this description. For, if intended to be useful hereafter, a biography should be able to deal with men and things in a spirit of free criticism. The subject of the memoir should be made known to us by his own private letters and confidential despatches, by his opinions as recorded by himself, whether with regard to occult influence on passing events, to the instruments at his disposal, the men with whom he acted, or the opponents who crossed him. At this early date to write thus freely, or to trust the public with confidential matters, was clearly out of the question. It may perhaps be said with reason on the other hand, that the career of an Indian Viceroy, his position and his avocations, are such as to render his biographer to a certain degree independent of the intimate chronicles on which we lean for an interest in the Tecollections of men who have passed away from public life in England. Reasoning in this sense, it may be admitted that, notwithstanding the great difficulties incidental to his task, Mr. Hunter has given us a memoir which is read with interest, and affords much useful information. It is somewhat provoking to be told at a most interesting point that such and such despatches cannot be communicated to the public for many years, and on other occasions to have the names of men and provinces so entirely hidden as to rob the composition of definite meaning. On the whole, however, the picture presented to us of the late Lord Mayo is a fair and a noble one, and worthy of the much lamented original.
It is in the character of an Indian Administrator that we propose to consider the subject of Mr. Hunter's memoir. The Parliamentary career which led to his appointment in India had been useful. The performance of duty in the Irish Secretariat was laborious and well adapted to the difficult time, dark with conspiracy and disaffection, in which he administered the first government of the Duke of Abercorn in Ireland. As Lord Mayo himself said, his long training in Parliamentary business, his practice in the official duties of a Chief Secretary of a difficult government, and his two years' experience of the Cabinet had been the most excellent preparation for the great appointment placed at his disposal by Mr. Disraeli. The government of Ireland presents a wide range of various duties. It includes the distribution of military forces; the application of the resident magistracy and the constabulary to the preservation of the peace in a large sense, as distinguished from the ordinary police duty of London or other great cities; the management of different parties; the discussion of questions of education and public works; the relations of trade with England and other countries; the interests and the practice of agriculture; the consideration of the tenure of land, of the Church as an active and a consulting body, of the different persuasions and ecclesiastical rivalries; and finally the preparation of the Bills and the management in Parliament of the interests thus briefly touched on. What is divided in England among many departments, in Ireland comes primarily under the review of the Chief Secretary. He thus acquires, if he be so inclined, the habit of many-sidedness. In that sphere Lord Mayo learnt practically how far more important is the prevention of disorder and political crime than subsequent repression; that a retaliatory policy serves but to perpetuate evil passions and active hatred; that authority must be far-seeing, incessantly vigilant; but that it must ever be careful to decide with judicial calmness, with a leaning if possible to the misguided victims of a disloyal agitation, with clemency to the fallen, with a determination to redress grievances which may have been a justification of crime in the popular mind. In that office, too, and in Parliament, Lord Mayo learnt the importance of carrying the community with him, of inviting the co-operation of the latter when new burdens were to be imposed on it, of securing the assistance and the counsel of those most competent to afford aid and advice, and how to avail himself of the strength afforded by a wise publicity and the enlistment of popular confidence. This was surely an excellent school for his future career.
If, however, Lord Mayo gained much from the apprenticeship of Parliament and of office, he was subjected to strange personal annoyances, which could hardly fail to operate unfavourably on the subsequent career of any man less happily constituted than he was. Having been nominated by an expiring Ministry, the party which almost immediately afterwards assumed the Government was unanimous in the assault on him and the appointment. A storm of abuse was directed against both, and the distant public of India, which could gather its information alone from the English press, was almost stunned by the reiterated assertions of the unfitness of the nominee, and the danger consequently to be apprehended. It is no slight thing thus to impress a vast population regarding the capacity and ability of the public servant who for many years to come stands towards it in the relation of Queen, Lords, and Commons to the public of Great Britain. The personal trial to which Lord Mayo was thus exposed was indeed severe. His official training had been excellent. He had been chosen by those most competent to form an opinion of his merits. He was condemned by an excited public opinion. The new Cabinet deliberated as to whether the appointment should be upheld before he was sworn into his office.
Such were the advantages and the disadvantages with which Lord Mayo proceeded to India in 1869, and with great modesty but without fear as to the results aspired to a place in the roll of Indian statesmen and governors, not unworthy to be matched with the reputations of those who had travelled the same path before him.
The consideration of the responsibilities of a modern Viceroy, as compared with the demands of other times, may be an excuse for adverting to a custom which has prevailed in the conduct of the Edinburgh Review.' From time to time sketches of the careers of the distinguished men who have contributed most eminently to the building up or to the main