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made to counteract the measures employed to counteract the counteracting causes. Thus, it may be proposed to levy a customs' duty upon an article of import, for the purpose of raising its price in the country, and of stimulating its native production by the prevention of foreign competition. If the duty be fixed at a high rate, it may be expected to lead to smuggling; and, accordingly, provision may be made for guarding the frontier by sea and land, in order to prevent the contraband introduction of the article. At the same time, it may be anticipated that the operations of this preventive force may be resisted or eluded; that the persons employed in this service may be at one time overpowered by numbers, at another misled by false information; and that the counteraction of the influences counteracting the law may thus be defeated.

Other examples may be found in the criminal law: thus, if it is proposed to render a certain class of acts penal, the fear of the punishment, provided its infliction were tolerably certain, might be expected to repress the offence; but it is expected that it will be counteracted by intimidation of the witnesses—or of the jurors, if the trial be by jury. Accordingly, provision may be made for protecting the witnesses and jurors, by keeping them in a place of safe custody, by guarding their persons, by securing them a maintenance elsewhere when the trial is over. It may, however, be foreseen that these protective measures are likely to be only partially successful, and that the means employed to counteract the influences counteracting the operation of the law, may themselves be counteracted by other adverse influences. Again, when a fine is imposed upon the commission of a certain act, it may be anticipated that the penalty may be rendered nugatory, by subscriptions to pay the fine when inflicted by a legal sentence upon an offender. Such subscriptions may, accordingly, be rendered penal by a subsidiary enactment; but it may be apprehended that attempts will be made to evade this defensive prohibition by clandestine subscriptions, or by presents, made ostensibly for a different purpose.

Cases such as these are among the simplest which present themselves in estimating the probable effects of a proposed law.

In almost all legislation, some subsidiary enactments are requisite, to protect the main enactment against impediments which are likely to obstruct its course. Whenever these probable impediments can be foreseen, and are of such a nature that they can be guarded against by proper precautions, the law may be expected to produce its designed effect; its tendency and its actual result are likely to coincide. But (as we have already seen in a former chapter) the undesigned and unforeseen consequences of a law are often important, and are sufficient to outweigh its designed effects.(") Besides, it happens not unfrequently that events occur, wholly unexpected by the authors of the law, which impede or modify its operation in various manners. In such a case as this, the tendency of the law, and its actual result, differ; the effects which it would naturally produce, if it acted in an unresisting medium, have been stifled and repressed, or modified and compounded, by adverse and counteracting influences.

In order to show how the series of unforeseen events, springing out of a political cause, becomes complicated in practice, we will take an example from international relations:-Two states, A and B, enter into a treaty for the sake of mutual defence against the aggressions of a third state, C. The object of this alliance is mainly to deter C from invading either of the allied states: in case, however, of its failing to produce this effect, then to increase the defensive power of the state which may be attacked. After a time, however, all doubt as to the success of the treaty in restraining the ambition of the aggressive state is removed: Cinvades A, and thus counteracts the principal object of the treaty. B then proceeds to make military preparations, in order to assist A in repelling the attack. C, on the other hand, attempts to neutralize this opposition to its counteracting force, by creating jealousies between the two states, A and B; by sowing dissensions between the government and people in state B; or by bribing members of the legislature to vote against military preparations; or by persuading the government, with the

(17) Above, ch. xii. § 10.

offer of commercial or other advantages, to postpone or evade the fulfilment of its treaty-obligations; or by inducing a fourth state, D, to invade B. The state B may, in return, adopt various measures for frustrating these attempts of C to prevent it from assisting A: for example, it may suppress the insurrectionary movements excited with a view of diverting its troops, or it may negotiate separately with state D for a cessation of hostilities. These measures may be met by other counter-measures on the part of state C, until the position of the parties becomes as complicated as a game of chess. Now, upon a retrospect of the operation of the treaty, of the influences used to counteract it, of the influences used to counteract these influences, and so on in succession, and upon a comparison of the prospective views with the actual result, it will be readily perceived that, in anticipating the probable operation of a political cause, where large bodies of men and powerful conflicting interests are involved, we can only speak of its tendency, and can never venture to predict its actual effect. It happens perpetually, in political as in private life, that unforeseen obstacles to the best-calculated plans arise in practice; and that the tendency, or natural operation, of a cause is frustrated by events which no sagacity could have predicted, and no contrivance could have prevented.

In the preceding remarks, we have attempted to elucidate the prediction of future political events, considered as a hypothetical problem for the discovery of a specific effect. We shall, however, have occasion hereafter, in another part of this treatise, to investigate the general subject of political prediction, when we shall endeavour to trace more fully the conditions to which it is subject. (18)

(18) Below, ch. xxiv.




§ 1 F every phenomenon owes its existence to a certain set of conditions, which together constitute its cause, it

must cease to exist with the cessation of that cause. If the cause be withdrawn, the effect likewise must be at an end. This general meaning is expressed in the axiom, Cessante causâ, cessat effectus; or, 'Sublatâ causâ, tollitur effectus.'(')

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The axiom in question is universally true, provided it be correctly applied. If the cause of the present existence of any effect be removed, the effect will cease. In some instances, the present cause and the original cause are identical; in other words, the effect is due to the continued operation of the same But, in others, the operation of the original cause ceases, and a new cause succeeds in its place. Now, wherever such a change of causation has occurred, the axiom is only true if it be referred to the present and substituted cause: if it be understood to refer to the original and extinct cause, it is erroneous.


The distinction which has just been pointed out may be easily exemplified :-In many cases of causation, a continuallyrenewed action of the same cause is necessary for keeping up the effect. Such, for example, is light, which is constantly diffused from a luminous centre; and if that centre is extinguished, or

(1) See Mill's Logic, b. 3, ch. 5, § 6. There is a maxim similar to the maxim cessante causâ, cessat effectus,' which is fuller in its statement: Positâ conditione ponitur conditionatum, et sublato conditionato tollitur conditio.'-Krug, Phil. Lex. in 'Bedingtes.'

The first of these two clauses is universally true, if by conditio is meant the sum of the conditions necessary for the sequence of the effect. The meaning of the second is not clear: if the effect, or conditionatum, is removed, the conditioning circumstances or cause may remain. Perhaps conditionante is intended; if so, the maxim would be open to the same remark as the maxim just examined.

intercepted by an opaque body, the illumination ceases.


too, is heat the caloric diffused from a centre of heat is after a time lost, and, if not renewed, the temperature falls. So, when a body is set in motion in a resisting medium, the effect of the original cause of motion is after a time exhausted, and the body returns to a state of rest, unless fresh pressure be applied. Again, certain animals may be domesticated by man, and changes, both in their physical form and in their habits and intelligence, may thus be produced. But the domesticating influence must, in order to operate, be continuous: if the control of man is withdrawn, the domesticated species relapses into a state of wildness, and loses, both in its form and habits, all traces of its artificial modifications.

There are, again, in physics many instances of effects outlasting the causes to which they were first due, and, when once produced, acquiring an existence independent of their original antecedent. An example is afforded by the extensive class of causes which are included under the name of generation. The parent is the cause of the offspring; the seed, or other instrument of botanic reproduction, is the cause of the plant: but, when once the young animal or plant is produced, it acquires a life of its own, which is not extinguished by the death of its author. Many habits, again, in the animal economy of the human body, which were originally the result of volition, become after a time mechanical and involuntary. A further set of examples may found in the effects of the destructive forces of nature, such as hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, inundations, conflagrations, and the like. When these causes have ceased to operate, their effects by no means cease, but are felt in permanent devastation of the earth's surface and of the works of man. Again, the effects of disease or violence upon the body of men or animals do not cease with the cessation of the cause-organs may be permanently destroyed or impaired, although the cause of mischief has been withdrawn.


§ 2 Now in politics the latter, and not the former, is the common case. In political causation, it rarely happens that the

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