13 JANUARY 1866, Page 2

Mr. Gladstone has addressed a letter to Sir T. D.

Lloyd depre- cating a State insurance for cattle. He believes that as the consumer is sure to pay for the loss in the end in the increased price of meat, it would be unfair to tax him to pay also for the insurance, while the right of appeal to the public purse would produce endless carelessness, waste and fraud. The first argu- ment does not strike us as very forcible, inasmuch as the charge for insurance ought to be sufficient to cover the estimated per- centage of loss, but the argument from waste seems irresistible. If Government paid for dead cows, who would try to keep cows alive ? The inspection necessary to prevent neglect would cost as much as the insurance, and would even then be valueless, unless accompanied by an amount of interference with farm life which Englishmen would not endure. Compensation for cattle killed by official order is a different thing, though even that would be dan- gerous; but insurance to be successful must be established on mercantile principles, with a view to profit.