NATIONAL LIBER A T.TSM.
[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—H must be a matter of sincere regret to all sane and
patriotio Liberals to read the retrograde articles and advice given to National Liberals last week in the columns of the Spectator, which we have always looked to for sound and reasonable support for so many years, and especially for the principles which have been upheld by Liberal Unionists, whc now are an essential portion of the National Liberal Party in the country, and are the strongest supporters of the present Prime Minister and his Liberal and Liberal-Conserva- tive colleagues. The advice to them and other Coalitionist ' Liberals not only to desert their eminent leader and great
statesman, Mr. Lloyd George, but to join the disunited Conser- vative rank and file who are wavering in their allegiance to their own statesmen, and inclined to join their Tory tail of the impossible Die-hards, seems hard to believe in the Spectator, and I hope will not be followed by any of those who believe in real Liberal principles, which have largely per- meated Conservative statesmen. We should rather have ex- pected to read in the Spectator practical and reasonable advice to the very large number of new and unpledged -Liberals in thd constituencies to rally round the National Liberal leaders and the Liberal-Conservative statesmen in the present Cabinet and prevent the retrograde secession to the unpatriotic clamour of the limited number of the extreme Tory section of the Conservative Party.
It is curious how so large a portion of the metropolitan Press has been misled by society, club and drawing-room chatter in London political circles, which finds but limited support in the Midlands and Northern counties or in the important provincial Press generally. Liberalism is a fact, and progressive in accordance with the requirements and necessities of the times in which we live, and it has been fully recognized by the present Coalition Cabinet. The word Unionist is unmeaning and quite out of date now, and what is Conservatism now except a name, unless Conservatism is a reactionary policy with remnants of the Protectionist and class Toryism, as it was eighty years ago when, as now, the " rank and file" of the Party broke away from Sir R. Peel and their other statesmen to remain in the political wilderness until rescued by the intelligent opportunism of .Mr. Benjamin Disraeli, who was no Tory, but a great and patriotic political leader.
In my opinion the Prime Minister has acted wisely and patriotically on his second thoughts in leaving the respon- sibility of breaking up the present Cabinet to the Conservative " rank and file" after the strong expressions of loyalty to himself and the Coalition by all his. Liberal and Conservative colleagues, but in order to convince foreign countries, after all the abuse and mis-statements in the Press, it is necessary that the Washington precedent should be repeated in the House of Commons, though personally he might well consider the genuine testimony of such high-minded statesmen as Sir A. Balfour, Mr. Chamberlain, Lord Derby, and other colleagues quite sufficient to confirm his prestige as fully representing patriotic public opinion in this country.—I am, Sir, &c.,