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dealt in a somewhat curious manner with its sinking fund, and even in the Bill before Parliament sought to equalize the sinking fund as a burden upon the present and the future ratepayers in a way which was spoken of by one of the counsel as "a dodge.” That was, however, explained, although no doubt the way that the promoters treated the sinking fund to some extent limited the nature of the concession they were willing to make to the outlying districts of a differential and limited rating for a period of ten years. As to the debt of £1,576,000, which was the amount of the existing debt of Bolton, it appeared that of that sum £1,046,000 was represented by gas, water, and other works, which were productive of revenue, and which produced profits in excess of expenses, and that of the remainder, while £226,000 which had been expended on park, town hall, and cemetery might be regarded as unremunerative, £303,000 was chargeable only on the existing district of Bolton and on that of Rumworth. It appeared, too, that Astley Bridge was supplied with gas and water by Bolton. Upon these facts, after a very long and patient enquiry, a Committe of the House of Commons came to the conclusion that they would "extend the present municipal boundaries of the borough so as to include so much of the township of Halliwell as is within the Parliamentary limits.” They did not, however, include that portion of Astley Bridge which was within the same limits; and what is more extraordinary, left out those districts which had accepted the principle of the Bill and did not oppose it.
It is to be remembered that the mere convenience of a combined system of drainage is not a necessary foundation for sanctioning a scheme of combined local government. It is certain that separate places might, without any very great inconvenience, be combined for that one purpose, while they continued to regulate other sanitary matters by their own separate sanitary authorities. That was the intention or view with which the Clyde Conservancy Bill
was introduced last Session; an important and comprehensive measure, which was, we understand, withdrawn upon an understanding being come to with the Local Government Board that they would introduce a general measure which would meet the wishes of the Clyde Conservancy Board; and that is, in fact, what has been sanctioned by Parliament in the case of the West Kent Drainage. There a number of populous places, Bromley, Beckenham, and other places, which drain into the valley of the Cray, are combined under Act of Parliament into a drainage area. There union, for the purpose of disposing of sewage, exists, at the same time as nonunion for the other purposes of municipal government.
But although in these very important instances attempts upon the part of Corporations to extend their limits so as to include the districts of local board, or other governing bodies, against their will, were unsuccessful, it is not to be taken for granted that such extension is contrary to the policy of Parliament. Where the government of the subdistrict is efficient and good Parliament may hesitate, merely · because central government is likely to effect some saving in establishment charges, to transfer the jurisdiction from the small to the large hands. The mere fact that there is an arbitrary line is not quite a sufficient reason for extension. Jurisdictions must meet somewhere, and it will always be possible, as it was put in one case, for a man to have his right-hand pocket picked in one jurisdiction, and his left-hand pocket picked at the same time in another. The case of London and Westminster is in point. But where there is inefficient management in the sub-district, where it is too small to be able to manage itself efficiently, where the central district and the surrounding district are not two separate but one combined town, and there will be real benefit in the combination of their governments for sanitary purposes, Parliament will not regard the wishes of the small sub-district, which may wish to maintain its
municipal autonomy, so much as the interests of the community at large, as these were sought to be served by the Sanitary and Public Health Acts. That that is so is made evident by the fact that both in the case of Derby, and in the case of Blackburn, during the recent Session, such extension was sanctioned, notwithstanding very vigorous opposition. Still there are precedents on the other side. Thus the Newport (Monmouthshire) Improvement Bill, 1876, endeavoured to make the village of Maindee, which was within the Local Board District of Christchurch, a part of the Borough of Newport. The petitioners against the Bill said that they were able to do all that was necessary for their own district, and that they had already been at considerable expense in doing so. The promoters asserted that the expense they had been put to was not enough, that what had been done was insufficient to satisfy sanitary requirements, and that the rates were low in Maindee merely because the local authority had not done enough. They argued that the question was whether this suburb was not dependent on Newport, whether it had not been created by the town, whether their interests were not identical, and whether, if the rates were raised, as a result of annexation, the inhabitants of Maindee would not get a commensurate benefit for such increased payments as they might be called upon to make. The Committee of the House of Commons included Maindee within the limits of the extended Borough, but the Committee of the House of Lords struck it out of the Bill. However, in relation to that Bill we may point out that the Alexandra Docks which sought, in both Houses, to be left out of the extended area, were ultimately included within the Borough. The Committees seem to have been impressed by the arguments that the interests of the town and docks were closely connected, that the town authorities ought to have jurisdiction over the docks, not merely for the purpose of protecting by means of police, and the speedy justice afforded by a more accessible
magistracy than that afforded by the county, the property at the docks, but for the purpose of protecting such property from fire, and from the criminal population which is brought to a town by docks. The importance of making the docks subject to the municipal authority of the town seems to have been the reason for including them, notwithstanding their opposition, within the town limits. The docks became, in this way, liable to pay the whole of the borough, but only one-fourth of the district rates, levied by the municipal authorities. The case of the Brighton and Hove Extension Bill, 1876, may be shortly alluded to here. The Bill sought to include Hove within the limits of the authority of the Corporation of Brighton. It was rejected, and it is sometimes said that it was “ very much in consequence of the population which was proposed to be included." There were, however, other reasons which may account for the action of Parliament in that case. Hove had been placed under Improvement Commissioners only three years before this attempt upon the part of Brighton. At that time Parliament had decided that Hove should manage itself, and that it was able to govern itself. The effort made by Brighton would, if successful, have stultified the action of Parliament, when only three years before it had decided that Hove was strong enough to stand alone. The rejection of that Bill cannot, therefore, be regarded as an indication of the policy of Parliament in relation to Bills seeking to alter the conditions of municipal government. In many cases it is true such attempts have proved unsuccessful. The object of the Legislature, as we have pointed out, was not to aggregate power in the hands of the councils of boroughs, but to place the necessary authority in the hands of those who were best able to wield it. Certain powers are necessary to the safe and good government of a district and towns, and those powers should be bestowed which are requisite, under the circumstances, to the rural or urban character of the place which has to be governed, and these powers ought to be in the hands which are best able to administer them with efficiency and economy. It is to be feared that if the representative body from which the local authority is drawn be too small, efficiency may be sacrificed to economy, and the district will be governed too little. If, on the other hand, the representative body be too large and the authority of the central body too great, economy is apt to be sacrificed even if efficiency is attained, and the district will be too much governed. Government must neither be too local nor too central. It must be intimate with the wants of the district, and apply individual treatment to each different part at the same time; it must be comprehensive in its aims, and adequate in its remedies. We believe that these principles have been present to the mind of Parliament when it has been asked to deal with Bills introduced for the purpose of extending boroughs. Thus, to show that it has not favoured the too great sub-divisions of authorities we may refer to the Exeter City Extension Bill, in which St. Leonards, which claimed to be in a position to manage itself, was annexed to Exeter; and to show that it has not favoured the extension of the municipal authority of a central borough over neighbouring towns any of the cases which we have dwelt upon above, might be referred to. In these cases the consideration which is necessary to extension failed, or some other circumstances intervened to make the extension sought, at that time at least, inexpedient.
The conclusion which must, we think, be drawn from these cases, although there are one or two exceptional decisions which make the policy of Parliament seem vacillating, is that Parliament is neither in favour of nor averse to Borough Extension. It favours the extension of urban powers to small, outlying suburbs, but will not, except in cases where there is strong reason for so doing, substitute the central for the sub-central local authority. It favours natural, physical boundaries, instead of arti