THE RATE-PAYERS AND THE ELECTIONS.
LTO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."
SIR,—I have read with great interest your article entitled "Liberal Reverses," and can cordially agree with a great deal of it ; but it seems to me that while you justly attribute the action of the electors to Mr. Chamberlain's rash and ill-considered proposals, you do not make that point clear enough. Mr. Chamberlain proposed, if I understand him rightly,—(1), the Disestablishment of the Church ; (2), Free Education; (3), a distribution of small holdings at less than market value to agricultural labourers.
About the first I can say nothing more than has already been said by abler men. With regard to the other two, it is obvious to the dullest that they would entail an enormous addition to the rates and taxes (besides pauperising the people), and this at a time when the nation is groaning under depressed trade and serious burdens.
The recent School Board elections showed that the rate- payers are in favour of retrenchment, and the Parliamentary elections seem to me to point the same lesson. Many otherwise sensible people profess astonishment that Mr. Gladstone has failed to soothe and reassure the people of England. He has succeeded better with the Scotch ; but behind Mr. Gladstone we clearly see Mr. Chamberlain, and our want of confidence is like that of a deer who detects the hunter behind the stalking-
horse.—I am, Sir, &c., A MODERATE MAN.