UNIONIST FREE-TRADERS AND THE PRESEN • T GOVERNMENT.
rio Tee EDITOR OF THR " Serativroa.") SIR,—Although I find myself in agreement with nearly all the political articles in the Spectator, I confess I cannot follow you when you advise Unionist Free-traders to endeavour to bring back a Protectionist Government into power as a less evil than allowing the present Cabinet to remain in office (Spectator, January 2nd). As a convinced Unionist and anti-Socialist, the only men in the present Parliament who (as far as can be judged from their speeches) represent my ideas are the small group ably led by Lord Robert Cecil, and also Mr. Harold Cox. Now I am told in Monday's Morning Post that the former group of Unionist Free-traders are to be annihilated at the General Election, even if Radical-Socialists are elected in their places owing to a three-cornered fight; and I quite fail to see what security: you have that a Government formed by the "Confederates will be less Socialistic in their legislation than the present Ministry. One thing appears to. me to be obvious,—they will be anxious to spend the money they will raise by a tariff The Tariff party in the United States are the strongest Supporters of their iniquitous system of pensions, as if these Were withdrawn or greatly reduced the raison d'gtre of such an enormous revenue from Customs would be greatly weakened. Again, they will be anxious to bring the Labour Party round to their views, and one of the Tariff Reform candidates for Manchester is already telling the electors that Tariff Reform will enable old-age pensions to be given at sixty. Further, you said in last week's Spectator that the Irish Members were Protectionists at heart, in whiob opinion I quite agree; and we have already seen an avowed Home-ruler receive a blessing from Birmingham simply because he was a Protectionist. As a Conservative, I objected ar more strongly to the Trade Disputes Bill, the Old-Age Pensions Bill, and the Miners' Eight Hours Bill, all of which the Lords passed, than to the Education and Licensing Bills, which they threw out ; and I firmly believe they only passed the first three for fear of damaging the cause of Protection. In conclusion, I have made up my mind to vote for no party who prefer a Socialist in the House of Commons. to Lord Robert Cecil.—I am,
Sir, &c., LANCASHIRE COTTON SPINNER.
[We may refer our correspondent to what we have written this week on "The New Split in. the Unionist Party." We agree that many of the Tariff Reformers are quite as fully prepared to advocate Socialistic measures of an injurious kind as are the Liberals. At the base, Socialism and Pro- tection, as Bastiat pointed out sixty years ago, are one. Never- theless, at the present time it is more necessary to oppose the Socialism of the Liberals than that of their opponents. The reason is plain. While the Socialism of the former is active, that of the latter is only latent. It is more important to arrest a burglar at work than one who is merely contemplating an attack on the safe.—En. Spectator.]