23 DECEMBER 1905, Page 3

Wednesday's papers announced a generous gift by Mr. George Herring

to the Salvation Army of £100,000 for the purpose of carrying out an experiment in home colonisation. To be accurate, the use of the money is given to General Booth, for the sum is to be repaid in twenty-five annual instalments to King Edward's Hospital Fund. The Salvation Army will supervise the experiment and provide for each settler five acres of land, suitable accommodation, stock and implements, and the cost of living until the land becomes productive. The settler will pay back the outlay in instalments calculated at five per cent. of his advances, and will receive the freehold when he is released from his liabilities. It is not proposed to put any casual family on the land, but to use the scheme to prevent the rural exodus and to attract back those who have migrated to cities and have some experience of farming. This is a wise provision, for we have little faith in any plan to create farmers out of those who have never been associated with the soil. Properly managed, we believe it may go far to create a valuable class of peasant proprietors. We trust, however, that the organisers will not make the mistake of overbuilding at the start. A settler on English land should be treated like a settler in the Colonies, and allowed to rough it in temporary homesteads till he is beginning to make profits.