16 FEBRUARY 1934, Page 6

The London Salvage Corps case, which has ended in four

years' penal servitude for Captain Miles, is more a psychological problem than anything else. It does, of course, coming after other City cases which will be easily enough recalled, touch questions of national honour at a moment when we may be tempted to be a little over-complacent about the Stavisky case in France. But what interests me at any rate is how a man with Captain Miles's wholly creditable past, with his assured position and comfortable income, could be capable of the transactions which carried him into the dock and from the dock to a convict prison. Actually the explana- tion is perfectly, ahnost tragically, simple. It is the old case of the clerk who bets on horses and has to get: money somehow to make ends meet. In Captain Miles's case it was not horses but what he called "this miserable Stock Exchange business "—speculations that he could not afford and that went wrong. The Stock Exchange is a valuable institution ; investment is the life blood of commerce ; and to draw clear lines between legitimate investment and illegitimate speculation is never easy. But on one point at any rate no degree of dogmatism can be excessive. The man who buys shares with money he has not got not only invites disaster but deserves it. *• *