[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In your issue of
September 5th, over the initials " A. S. B.," there appeared a letter containing the following passage :-
"That there has been, on the part of the mine owners, juggling with figures, intentional working of unprofitable seams, and payment of high salaries and directors' fees, to avoid disclosing profits, I feel certain from facts within my professional knowledge. ' Whether it can be proved before a Commission is another matter."
I was exceedingly surprised to see such a disgraceful attack upon the honesty and integrity of a class of British business men published anonymously in a journal such as the Spectator ; but I am even more astonished to learn that a reply addressed to you, Sir, by one well qualified to contro- vert the above statement has been refused the hospitality of your columns or the courtesy of a reply.
Perhaps you will at least allow me, speaking with full knowledge and authority as the President of the Mining Association of Great Britain, to inforin your readers that, even if colliery owners were prepared to falsify their accounts —a suggestion that I emphatically repudiate—those accounts
are subject to close examination and test audit by the accountants representing the miners as well as accountants representing the owners ? It would hardly require juggling
with figures to " avoid disclOsing profits " from " unprofit- able seams." Whatever may be the custom in your corres- pondent's profession I can assure you that coalowners do not intentionally work without profit.—I am, Sir, &c., General Buildings, Aldwych. EVAN WILL/ANIS.
[We never publish a letter which makes an accusation without being satisfied that the writer is a responsible person. We are not, of course, in any way responsible for his opinions. Heavily, restricted or censored correspondence in a news- paper would be practically useless. The letter to which Mr. Evan Williams refers as having been refused publication is the letter from Mr. Ritchie which appears above his own. It was printed immediately it was received last week, but owing to an emergency—which has been explained privately to Mr. Ritchie—the intention of publishing it last week could not be carried out. There could not, of course, be any rational motive for refusing to publish such very natural rejoinders as Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Williams make. —En. Spectator.]