18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 13


[To VIZ EDITOR OF TER espaarAvos...1 Sru,—The late Mr. Herbert Spencer in his "Man versus the State" asserts that since the reign of Henry II. up to a date about thirty years ago Parliament passed about eighteen thousand statutes, which statutes, be it remembered, passed the House of Lords, and of these about four-fifths had been re- pealed. In the face of this vast mass of ill-conceived, ill-framed, meddling, muddling legislation, how do the Radicals propose to prove their contention that the House of Lords blocks legislation introduced for the supposed good of the people ? It appears to me that we require an Index of all important statutes, which should include the object of their introduction, their effect in working, and the reason of their repeal. Such a compilation should prove invaluable as a reference for the comparison of proposed new legislation on similar lines, and should go some way to prevent the large amount of unneces- sary, useless, and mischievous legislation of which, according to the evidence, the Lerch have been equally as guilty as the Commons. The truth is that the sins of past legislators ought to have taught our present law-makers that no amount of legislation, however well intended, will of itself cure our present evils, society being a growth and not a manufacture. Not being a Member of the House of Lords, I hold no brief for that institution. At a time when we are endeavouring to banish commercial economy to another planet, it would be well if some of our vote-catching Members of Parliament could bear in mind that individuals possess rights with which it is outside the province of the State to interfere.—I am, Sir, &c.,