LORD ROSEBERY AND ABSTENTION.
[To vax EDFf OR OF THZ "SPECTATOR']
Sia,—It may perhaps be of some interest to your readers to be reminded of the following passage which occurs in an address delivered at New York in 1888 by Mr. James Russell Lowell. Speaking of the dangers of American politics at that time, he remarks :—
" It is for the interest of the beat men in both parties that there should be a neutral body, not large enough to form a party by itself, nay, which would lose its power for good, if it attempted to form such a party, and yet large enough to moderate between both, and to make both more cautious in their choice of candidates and in their connivance with evil practices. If the politicians must look after the parties, there should be somebody to look after the politicians, somebody to ask disagreeable questions and to utter uncomfortable truths; somebody to make sure, if pos- sible, before election, not only what, but whom, the candidate, if elected, is going to represent."
It is doubtless better, as a general rule, to take sides and vote with a party, but occasions may sometimes arise when a man may serve his country in a more real way by standing aloof. Perhaps such an occasion has now arisen.—I am, 9 Cook Street, Liverpool.