In a recent speech LORD ROSEBERY charged the people of this country with possessing, to an inordinate extent, the fatal gift of complacency, and he observed that the nation which is not progressive is retrogressive. “Rest and be thankful,” said LORD ROSEBERY, is a motto which spells decay, and those who have any experience of the methods of the manufacturers of the country will admit that this seemingly severe impeachment is by no means unfounded or uncalled‐for. Industries, of which at one time the English were masters, are now gradually falling into other hands. The workers of other lands are successfully competing with our own, and yet, in spite of this condition of our mercantile affairs, the spirit of complacency is rampant. The sons are content to continue in the footsteps of the fathers, oblivious of the fact that time and seasons do not stand still and that they may be overwhelmed by the advancing flood of competition. The trade conservatism which was in the past opposed to the introduction of the steam‐engine, the power‐loom, and other mechanical appliances, is still responsible for the extreme slowness with which English firms appreciate the necessity for such innovations in the conduct of their business as would place them in a position to hold their own in the markets of the world. In respect to the protection of pure food production Great Britain and the British manufacturers are still a long way behind. Although the Sale of Food and Drugs Act of 1875 was one of the first Acts passed in any country to prevent the sale of adulterated food and drink, its machinery is cumbrous, and the subsequent Amendment Acts have not added materially to its efficiency; with the result that the Adulteration Acts do not compare favourably with those of many other countries. The spirit of complacency in regard to food products has affected alike the producer and the distributor, and the result is that in many instances there is no adequate inducement to produce anything but a mediocre article—such an article, in fact, as only escapes condemnation because of the faulty construction of the machinery of the law.
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