THE SIN OF PUBLIC CORRUPTION.
[To THE EDITOR or THE " SPECTATOR."]
Ssa,—In your issue of October 28th there is an interesting article on this subject. The last sentence expresses the hope that " the country can trust to its leading politicians " to give their support to every necessary step " to purify our public services." In my opinion the essential preliminary is that the Government should • set an example, in its dealings with individuals, of that rectitude which you admit that many individuals display towards each other. The great reason why individuals do not act honestly towards the Government or Corporations is because they them- selves so often suffer from acts on the part of these authorities which would be considered dishonest and mean if the transactions were between individuals. The warrant giving the terms of service for officers joining the Army contains a clause by which the Government retains the power to vary the terms as it pleases. This power has often been exercised to the detriment of officers. (I refer to ante-bellum conditions. They may still exist.) Officials under local authorities may have their terms of service altered to their detriment and in spite of their contract, with no possibility of redress. The only alternatives are either to submit or to resign and start life afresh, perhaps after long years of service. Again, in the matter of Income Tax, Govenment systematically acts unjustly towards husband and wife. For Income Tax purposes their income is one, thus depriving them of the benefit of rebate or lower rates of taxation. If husband and wife are both earning, they must pay more than if they were brother and sister. On the other hand, when one of them dies, Death Duty has to be paid by the survivor as though they wero two persons. One could multiply instances of Government " scraps of paper," and it is the irritation caused by Government dishonesty which is at the bottom of the desire to " get a bit of one's own back " when oppor- tunity offers. The man who has been done out of a job at Pimlico for which he is eminently suitable, through the corrupt influence of Members at Westminster, will feel that he is entitled to retaliate. This is his only means of hitting back at Government. It has " neither body to be kicked nor soul to be damned," nor can he refuse to have further dealings with it as he can in the case of an individual. Two wrongs do not make a right, but blame should be apportioned where it is due.—I am, Sir, &c.,