"A VOLUNTARY FUND FOR OUR PRESENT DISTRESS"
[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—I think the suggestion of your correspondent "M. C. M." in your issue of May 2nd for a spontaneous and really voluntary National Levy is a splendid idea. I for one should be only too glad to contribute generously, according to my means, to such a fund. I have often thought that I would like to send the Government a cheque if I were sufficiently wealthy to be able to make some impression upon the revenue. But the thought that anything that I could contribute would be less than a drop in the ocean of necessity, and that I could probably put the money to better uses myself than an habitually somewhat spendthrift Government would do, has always deterred me. However, if the thing could be organized on a really nation-wide footing as out- lined by your correspondent, that would be a very different pair of shoes. England is in peril now, perhaps as great as she was in 1914 ; and there is need for one big patriotic effort now as then to pull the ship of State into calm water. What better support could we give to our national Premier in these difficult times than this proposed voluntary, united act of self-denial for the common good ? But it must be conceived and carried out on a heroic scale. I myself have an income of about £1,200 a year and would be prepared to give £1,000 to such a fund if one thousand others would come forward with a like amount. Millionaires and big financiers might be expected to contribute their hundreds of thousands. Perhaps one hundred thousand persons with incomes smaller than mine would give sums varying from £50 to £100, not to speak of lesser contributions from working people and even from dole recipients as proposed by "M. C. M."
If the idea really caught on might not a sum of anything from ten to twenty millions be collected which would relieve the taxpayer and so help to oil the wheels of industry and set old England on her feet again ?
The Dominions should certainly be given a chance to help. My experience, after having lived for many years in South Africa, is that Englishmen beyond the seas have the sense of patriotism very strongly developed.—I am, Sir, &c.,