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THE LAW OF CREDIT . Perhaps the question of credit and it 8 true responsibilities may be settled by considering how the liabilities are naturally divided ; and probably we shall find that the new law of limited liability is a step towards that division . Debts are of many kinds , some of them purely personal , others having very little relation to a particular person . l
A man may desire to borrow mouey simpy as a convenience , as he would borrow a spade or a pistol ; and in such cases the loan is properly a debt of honour , a personal allair entirely ; the neglect of payment constituting a personal offence , like ingratitude , but not properly cognisable by law . On the other hand , the borrower may make representations inducing the lender to supply the money upon grounds that are fallacious ; a case of imprudence , if the borrower speak in good faith—of fraud , if he intentionally deceive . In case of personal debt , it would appearthe offence lies , not in the inability to
, pay , but in the fraud . On the other hand , there are innumerable cases in which it is advantageous and desirable to obtain credit upon the strength of specific property . All sorts of " securities" represent such _ property ; and in respect to them the liability is necessarily limited to the amount they represent . It is a great advantage to commerce if specific amounts of capital can be placed at the disposal of third parties , without the owners of that capital becoming liable beyond the amount thus transferred . The law of
limited liability recognises this want m our commercial law , and satisfies it to a great extent . It does more—it indicates a thoroughly sound principle . All debt must he paid out of actual means . "Whatever the moral question may be , the responsibility can only be met by means ; and you have no solid foundation for credit , in a mercantile sense , except the property itself , accrued or accruing . This would imply that the liability for debt , irrespectively of fraud , should lie upon property ; and here we come to the true principle of division . The person is answerable for fraud—
property . Apply these principles distinctly , and we shall see that we gain a further advantage , if we can separate debts of honour , which arc purely in the nature of personal promises , and as liable to be broken as pic-crust , from rights of business , which ouirht always to be
based upon actual things or transactions . We shall do so in proportion as we extend the principle of definition with respect to liability , and as we can make each thing or transaction convey itn own basis along with its responsibility . Moat securities are an example , conveying the right to the property and the responsibility of the property in one
instrument . We should apply this division strictly if wo were to recognise no personal responsibility for debt ; except when fraud is distinctly made out ; and , at the same time , if wo were to require for every debt a distinct definition , not onl y of tho transaction in respect of which the liability was incurred , but of tho means by which it was to bo met . * This ir exactly applying the principle of tho Limited Liability Act , securing the debtor ngainst indefinito liability , and the creditor against indefinitencsu in respect of means . VVoro such tho actual state ot tho law—putting debts oi
* Throughout this paper tlio word personal \» uimmI in its ordinary nnd natural » enne , and not in ita te chnical senao na a law term .
honour out of the consideration—no man would trust another who could not present him with some kind of security for the means of ultimate payment . If we were dogmatising , we should hesitate to set down these ideas for consideration ; but we know well that some of the keenest minds in the country employ the intervals of thought devoted to the business of the day in considering this very question ; and these memoranda may at least aid in drawing forth further suggestions . Oao has already reached us , emanating from a mind as suggestive as it is noble in its sympathies : — " I have sometimes thought , " says our valued correspondent , " that the power of enforcing debts beyond a certain small amount might be confined to the Debtor's Banker , whose name should be publicly registered . The answer to a Debtor requiring credit would be , ' That is the division of labour of your Banker . Pay me ready money by a cheque on him , which I will tender before I deliver the goods . If lie , whose business it is to know your affairs and your trustworthiness , will not accept your cheque , it would be wrong in you to ask such a favour at other hands ; and if lie will accept it , the favour is not required , so that t / udcunqne via data , your proposal is inadmissible' " The development of Joint-Stock Banks , — if they conduct their affairs with prudence and avoid the temptations of fast times in trade , —promises already that something will be done to realise the suggestion , even before the expiry of that " century" to which our far-sighted friend consigns the fulfilment of his own suggestion .
HOW TO CREATE A MUTINY . Somebody has found out the way to mako the regimental drum as useful in rousing t * i the battle of sect as drum ecclesiastic '—tho pulpit . Ireland , it seems , is too tranquil , and somebody has issued an order , enforced bv M : ijor 1 ) r Koiaks de Molleynes , for rousing a little spirit in the Kerry militia . That bodv was stationed at Limerick . It
has boon the custom in the regiment , contrary to a general rule iii Ireland , for the band to play during the inarch to churchthe soldiers being Roman Catholics . It seems that it is tlu > rule in Ireland to permit the playing of the hand only when the soldiers proceed to the Protestant establishment ; a Protestant ascendancy still having sufficient influence in military quarters to compel that mark of disgrace and inferiority for Roman Catholic soldiers . The practice , however , has in some cases been waived , and tho Globe mentions an instance : —
" Tho commanding officer of a regiment in Ireland , in which all but a dozen were Roman Catholic soldiers , caused the regiment to be marched out of barracks on Sunday in a body , with the band playing . The regiment nuulo somewhat of a detour , dropped the Catholics near their chnpel , -while the Protestants marched on to church . We do not believe that tho Christian spirit of tho soldiers oi > either side would' be injured by that considerate administration j or that Protestantism would bo lowered in the eyes of the Irish people by the conduct of the commanding officer . Certain we are that it has had no crtect on tho loyalty of a regiment ; for it lias , like its Colonel , been distinguished for its gallantry in the Crimea . "
It is not stated that there are any Protestants at all in the Kerry militia j tho custom of band-playing wan -well established ; and it had been productive of no inconvenience . But thero are those who cannot tolerate tranquillity , who cannot bo content unless their own sectarian feelings are gratified by compelling others to bo uneasy if they are not converted ; nnd it ia for people of this kind that Ireland is too tranquil .
Bv a now order , then , condemning a papistical band to silence , they succooded not only in rousing tho men to mutiny , but in rousing Limerick to a diuordorly sympathy . The occasion is tho more suitable for these proceedings , sinco wo require ovory Boldiea * that wo
tablished by the head of the family . In Piedmont , on the other hand , constitutionalism , frank , Boldj progressive , is to Vict ' ob EMirAJfTTBB the breath of life . He dare not encourage- reaction if he would . The nation has known freedom and loved it . In this and in' many other circumstances lie the sources of natural discord between a Neapolitan and : a Piedmontese kingdom , between a national and a foreign dynasty , between a reigning hereditary Italian house and the government of a pretender who might , at any hour , witness the downfal of his family in ITrance , and resort , as did hia uncle , to the perilous friendship of Austria . Austria , at all events , if not ^ France , would profit by the inevitable hostility arising between the two states . ~ We may "be reminded , no doubt , that Naples , under the nightmare administration of King Bomba , presents already such an antagonism to Piedmont . But the Italian patriots reply , at once , " Bomba . is our enemy , not our candidate . " They conspire against him . In all human probability he "will be overthrown by them ; but why , if Italy be not utterly dead , incite foreigners to control her future ? Why perpetuate the old principle "which has already been the prolific source of sorrow and bloodshed ? Why consummate one revolution by creating the necessity for another ? Mueat , who is- a Erench prince , of the kindred of Louis Napoleon , would , if mounted on the throne of Naples , be a mere prefect of the [ French Empire—and Italy , instead of gaining an independent sovereign in place of the cashiered Bourbons , would still be under the reproach and the peril of an alien rule . Further , a country in the occupation of one foreign power , is always liable to be invaded by another . In the event of a war between Great Britain and Prance , it would be English policy , supposing a French dynasty established at Naples , to destroy and supersede it . Thus Italy , punished for the ambition of her usurpers , would remain a theatre of contention , fettered , unhappy , hopeless . And here it is particularly to be noticed that in the Muratist pamphlets there is a studious display of hostility to England . France is promised , if she will favour Mukat ' s designs , a strong ally in that future conflict which will avenge Waterloo and humble the English nation . So far , indeed , is this infamous suggestion developed , that the man who affects to offer a solution of the Italian difficulty hints at a collusion of Great Britain with Austria to sacrifice the cause of Italy . But , when the Bonapartist usurpation perishes in France , on whom would Mueat lean , if not on the Austrian Empire , as did his cowardly uncle , betraying by his act the independence of the Italian people ? It would seem to a clear mind that to bo at once the member of tho Bonapartist dynasty , and the ruler of an Italian state , would be a false position , by no means honourable , and impossible to maintain . The Spaniards expelled Joseph ; the Dutch expelled Louis ; the Neapolitans expelled Murat ; and what must Mttbat's nephew be , if under pretence of political heroism , he hazarded for Italy the terrors of a civil war ? We may understand the character of Muiiat by studying that of his friends . Is Saliceti , who recommends this " solution , " a man of the purest fame ? It is he who , once a triumvir of the Roman Republic , and a member of the Mazzini Committee in Jjonclon , advocates the candidature of Mujiat —Murat who , in tho French Constituent Assembly , voted three times for the piratical expedition to Borne , to bombard the republican city , to quench its aspirations in blood , to force tho inhabitants upon their knees
before an impotent-and malignant priesthood . Can SaIiICeti reconcile it to his patriotism that he , once a triumvir , should serve an assassin of Rome ?
986 T M E Xi E A P E B . [ No . 290 , Satujeday ,
Leader (1850-1860), Oct. 13, 1855, page 986, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2110/page/14/