THE COMING ELECTION.
[To THE EDITOR OP THE useiterevonm am a diligent reader of the Spectator and an ardent Free-trader. I am not only conscientiously opposed to Mr. Chamberlain's scheme of Protection, but I also consider Mr. Balfour's scheme of Retaliation unsuited to England, and likely if carried out to be a disastrous failure. As to the danger of Home-rule I am willing to suspend my opinion. But there are other items in the Liberal programme to which, from my careful reading of the Spectator for the last twenty years, I presume you are opposed :-
(1) The reduction of our military and naval forces.
(2) The relaxing of the stringency of the Poor Law.
(3) The alteration of the law of combination in the manner proposed by the Trade-Unions, whereby there would be no remedy for wrongs inflicted by them.
(4) The taxation and rating of land and ground values.
(5) The promise to find employment for all who ask it. As you observe, the demand means employment of the kind liked by the applicants, and at a remuneration to be fixed by them.
(6) The education policy of the present Government, whereby I think sectarian animosities will be increased, and a very unfair predominance would be given to the political Nonconformist, and whereby the cause of education would suffer.
The question to my mind occurs,—Great as would be the damage done by Protection, is it as great as would be the damage done by
(1) The reduction of our power of self-protection.
(2) The pauperisation that would result from relaxing the Poor Laws.
(3) The granting of further powers to the Trade-Unions,- already too powerful.
(4) The further "impoverishing" of landowners and the widows and orphans, whose maintenance under our trust laws so much depends on ground-rents.
(5) The making of any other standard of employment than that a man should receive only the value of his work.
(6) The handing over of the education of the country to persons who will use their powers, not for the education of the children, but to advance their religious or political fads.
[We have dealt with our correspondent's letter elsewhere.— ED. Spectator.]