13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 14


ITO THE EDITOR OF THE 'SPECTATOR."] SIE,—I enclose you a letter from Sir Robert Giffen which will, I think, be of interest to the public, and hope you will find room for it in your columns.—I am, Sir, &c.,

" Haywards Heath, January 18th, 1904.

DEAR Sin,—I am honoured by the request of your Committee that I should become one of the Vice-Presidents of the Free- Trade League, and it is with much pleasure that I give my consent. May you have all success. If I have a fair opportunity to give you active assistance I shall gladly do so. In joining this League I should like to say that one of my strongest reasons is the necessity of free-trade to any wise scheme of Imperial con- solidation. Unless our colonial friends can be made to see that free-trade is essential to the United Kingdom, meaning by the term free-trade above all free imports, it is to be feared that any scheme of commercial union with them is impossible. It is their hankering after protection which is at this moment the main obstacle to a federation of the Empire, and Mr. Chamberlain's great mistake has been to accept the contrary opinion, that our free-trade policy is the obstacle. In any case the policy of pro- tection is now being preached for the United Kingdom on its merits, with but little enough reference to the question of Im- perial consolidation ; and to all such preaching the strongest possible free-trade propaganda should be offered.—I am, dear Sir,

T. W. Knaacx, Esq."