Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page

THE SEWAGE QUESTION.

-__-----_---EDUCATION IN FRANCE.

_-__-___--. JAPANESE MANNERS…

--------__-__------GARDENING…

----THE VACCINATION BILL.

---._-------------ABOLITION…

-----ACTION AGAINST A RAILWAY…

IMPRISONMENT FOR SMALL DEBTS.

News
Cite
Share

IMPRISONMENT FOR SMALL DEBTS. The State may justly apply to loans the maxim, Caveat emptor (remarks the Daily News). The creditor should not lend without security, unless he feels certain of the morality of his debtor. He has no justification in calling on the public to build and main- tain prisons only to enforce a morality which he was not compelled to put to such a test. Sensible of this weak point in the case, the advocates of imprison- ment for small debts say that it is only resorted to in the case of obstinacy combined with ability to pay, and that it is useful in enabling the poor to tide over seasons of distress by the power of obtaining a credit that must otherwise be refused. But there is some- thing self-contradictory in these allegations. If a man has the ability to pay a small debt, he must in general have some little property which could be distrained upon for payment. If he has not he must be living in lodgings, and existing from hand to mouth on his wages, and by going to prison his wages and his means of payment are stopped together; so that the remedy is solely applicable as a threat to induce such a man to lay aside something out of his wages rather than go to prison. But ought credit to have been originally given to a man of such character and position ? Would not the simpler legal remedy have been that which would have been applied at an earlier stage, by warning the creditor that if he trusted a man of such character he did it at his peril ? Nor can it justly be said that distress would be enhanced in hard times by contraction of credit to such characters. Having, ex hypothesi, no property, they must always be of very doubtful credit, for the bad security must be insured against by high interest, and this process is not the way to alleviate distress. It seems, on the whole, clear that we must at least make one rule for all classes of society. It will never do to maintain a power in terrorem over the m chanic from which we absolve the master. If we make up our minds that property and not the person should be the basis of credit and the means of payment, we must not apply to the poorer class a harsher treatment than we impose on the wealthier.

HEALTH AND DISEASE.

THE MANUFACTURE OF HUSBANDS.

ZOOLOGICAL GEOGRAPHY. --

- -------CONVICTS IN TASMANIA.

-,-------------__---THE MAGYAR…