21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 35



SIR,—Would the Spectator give a hearing to the case of the gypsies under the Children Bill ? Their position, if the Bill passes in its present shape, will be exceedingly hard. The Children Bill, which has passed the Commons and the Committee stage of the Lords, and will be read for the third time on Tuesday next, the 24th inst., offers the gypsies the alternative between an impossibility, viz., becoming suddenly sedentary—impossible from centuries of heredity and instinct, as well as the necessities of their trades—and an outrage, viz., the removal of their children to industrial schools to receive what these unimaginative politicians call "education." In the opinion of many of those who know them well, the gypsies will not submit tamely. Appeals have been made in vain to those who are promoting the Bill to limit its applica- tion to the cold months, say November 1st to March 31st, when gypsies are settled in winter quarters. The children could then be taught in ordinary schools without violating

family life and affection.—I am, Sir, &c., Z.

[We are no enemies of education, but we cannot believe it to be just to harry the last people left in this country who are not afraid of living an open-air life. Why should not the gypsy children be half-timers in a new sense P—ED. Spectator.]