Some years ago in London there was a toll bar on a bridge across the
Thames, and all the working people who lived on the south side of the river
had to pay a daily toll of one penny for going and returning from their
work. The spectacle of these poor people thus mulcted of so large a proportion
of their earnings offended the public conscience, and agitation was set
on foot, municipal authorities were roused, and at the cost of the taxpayers,
the bridge was freed and the toll removed.
All those people who used the bridge were saved sixpence a week, but
within a very short time rents on the south side of the river were found
to have risen about sixpence a week, or the amount of the toll which had
And a friend of mine was telling me the other day that, in
the parish of Southwark, about 350 pounds a year was given away in doles
of bread by charitable people in connection with one of the churches.
As a consequence of this charity, the competition for small
houses and single-room tenements is so great that rents are considerably
higher in the parish!
All goes back to the land,
and the land owner is able to absorb to himself a share of almost every public
and every private benefit, however important or however pitiful those benefits