[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."]
Sfa..—Your correspondent, "A Liberal Land Agent," replies to Mr. Chamberlain's statement that fifty millions sterling have been paid to landowners by way of bonus for expropriations, and shows, to his own satisfaction, that £9,000,000 is the correct sum. In doing so, he makes two mistakes inexcusable in one claiming "a large experience in the expropriation of land for railways." 1. He assumes that the usual " bonus " for compulsory sale is the only addition to the fair market value which Railway Companies pay. But "any one with the slightest practical acquaintance with the subject knows" that the assumed value in such cases is always something more than the real value. In reality, the bonus paid by a Railway Company is at least doable the 25 or 30 per cent, ostensibly given for compulsory sale. 2. "A Liberal Land Agent" takes £100 an acre as the average price of all laud bought by Railway Companies, excluding large towns. But why exclude large towns ? Is it not in the neighbourhood of cities and large towns that the most extensive purchases have to be made for railway purposes ? I have bought land for railway purposes at the rate of £240,000 per acre, and in London far higher prices have been paid. A very common price for suburban land is 24,000 per acre. In these instances, no doubt, the usual addi- tion for compulsory sal3 is 10 per cent. ; but that is added to an artificially enhanced price, so that the real addition is seldom, if ever, less than 20 per cent. to the real value.
If a fair proportion of dear land is included in the calculation, and the real, not the nominal, addition to the true value is taken, it will be found that Mr. Chamberlain's 250,000,000 is greatly nearer the truth than "A Liberal Land Agent's" £9,000,000.-