Numbers of worthy people are no doubt nursing themselves in the fond and foolish belief that when the Food Bill has received the Royal assent, and becomes law, the manufacture and sale of adulterated and sophisticated products will, to all intents and purposes, be suppressed, and that the Public Analyst and the Inspector will be able to report the existence of almost universal purity and virtue. This optimistic feeling will not be shared by the traders and manufacturers who have suffered from the effects of unfair and dishonest competition, nor by those whose knowledge and experience of the existing law enables them to gauge the probable value of the new one with some approach to accuracy. The measure has satisfied nobody, and can satisfy nobody but those whose nefarious practices it is intended to check, and who can fully appreciate the value, to them, of patchwork and superficial legislation. We have repeatedly pointed out that repressive legislation, however stringent and however well applied, can never give the public that which the public, in theory, should receive—namely, complete protection and adequate guarantee,—nor to the honest trader the full support and encouragement to which he is entitled. But, in spite of the defects and ineffectualities necessarily attaching to legislation of this nature, a strong Government could without much difficulty have produced a far more effective, and therefore more valuable law than that which, after so long an incubation, is to be added to the statute‐book.
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