21 NOVEMBER 1891, Page 17

The present French Government is evidently most anxious not to

quarrel with the extreme Liberals. It is treating the Labour demands with a deference which shows that, while it cannot yield to them, it is afraid to resist them strongly. In the debate on the miners' strike on Wednesday, M. de Freycinet said, indeed, that the Government could only em- ploy moral pressure on, the masters ; but then, he said he was willing to employ it and, moreover, to create an Arbitration Board which, when once constituted, is certain, under French modes of action, to make its decisions authoritative. In this very miners' strike, the State has agreed to arbitrate, and has pledged both parties to abide by its decision. The step from this to a State regulation of wages and hours is not a long one. The Government, moreover, is pledging itself up to the lips to introduce a system of guaranteed pen- sions for workmen, as promised by M. Constans, although his special scheme has been pronounced by actuaries to be unworkable. Obviously some large experiment in the way of a Poor-Law will be proposed shortly, and we shall be curious to see what the peasantry, whom it cannot benefit, will have to say to it.