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NON-SUCCESS OF THE LIMITED LIABILITY PRINCIPLE.' The collapse of numerous companies formed on this principle, the losses sustained and the sore disappointments experienced by many embarked in them, would be an unmixed mistortune, but that the check given to the system has probably been the saving from extinction of many an indus- trious tradesman, with small capital and mainly dependent on his own and his family's exertions to earn a decent livelihood for himself and his household. Week after week we now hear of the miscarriage of some L. L. concern and the mur- murs of shareholders who through credulity or want of caution embarked in them but eighteen or twenty months ago this then all-popular plan threatened to swallow up the small industries of the country and obliterate, so to speak, all person- ality in business. There were then limited com- panies for supplying everything from food and- raiment up to pulpit discourses and editorial dis. quisitions, for there really were associations pro- jected to write sermons md leading articles at so much the dozen. Had the system gone on and not Qike an overblown bubble) burst as soon as it did,'there would have been monster shops fir nil kinds of wares (limited) in every street, and the fashion would have swept before it everything like mere personal enterprise, while ordinary tradesmen would have had no alternative but to throw their little capitals into those yawning concerns, or at- tempt a hopeless competition with managers wielding other people's money, and thinking they were only too successful if they made a return of 1 4 or 5 per cent, to the investor. We confess we are amongst those who do not desire, as Tennyson says, "to see the individual wither" socially or commercially and "the world" as represented by companies he more and more." We think, however, the danger is past and gone, and the citizen, -whether he be shopkeeper or manufacturer, seller or maker—who saw, at one time, with seemingly only, too well-founded a, fear, Jhis absorbing, monopolising system threaten the means of Kvelihotvfc "h¡. and hisYather before hirq, had to depend upon, and his son, would have to look forward tfi,-kitay now breathe l'l'\ore freely, and contemplate the future with less anxiety; for we think the Limited Liability prin- ciple has been weighed as an agent of commercial .1 1" found so £ f ievously wanting. plied to such multifarious cases and conditions, it had its advantages but it was forced ad absurdum, and carried to so ridiculous a pitch, that it has been brought into irremediate discredit; while people have been taught, at no small cost, this lesson, that when a master's eye is over a business, and he attends to it himself, he can always do it more economically and more safely than a company can. The Limited Liability principle was far better and more convenient for the public, who had to credit such associations, than for parties putting the'r money into them and the former have had very often paid to them every penny, when the latter lost every penny. One of the provisions of the Act empowers any person wishing to know how a company stands to go to its offices and, for the payment of a shilling, to have a list of the shareholders. If the whole of the capital is pai 1 up, then the creditor is warned not to tru t the concern for however good and solvent the pro- prietors, if all the calls are made he has no iui tlier security to look to but if all the calls are not made, and the names are trustworthy, he knows he may supply his goods with confidence, kn wing that he hag the uttermost shilling of the stil un- paid calls to rely Up H). Thus the unhappy share- holders in Shackleford, Ford, and Company (Limited), while probably still paying c lis in addition to those already lost, will have the mourn- ful satisfaction, whatever they may sink in the concern, of seeing the creditors come swimmingly out in the long-run. But, as burnt child-en dread the fire, and hundreds and thousands h ive been severely scotched by the system, we thi n k it wid be many years before the Limited Liability prin- ciple receives sufficient encouragement to be again able to threaten with annihilation the whole class of small and moderate tradesmen.







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