8 AUGUST 1885, Page 1

Mr. Chamberlain made a speech at Hull on Wednesday, in

which he declared himself entirely unrepentant for the speeches which gave so much offence in the spring. None the less, the tone was certainly softened, and he did his best to put his doctrine of taxation and his doctrine of the duties of property in a form as little offensive as was consistent with the substantive drift of both. Mr. Chamberlain professed that he did not attri- bute too much efficacy to legislation in reforming the evils of mankind ; but the whole drift of his speech was to magnify the efficacy of legislation in attenuating at any rate the great in- equalities of the human lot His ideal is, he says, that every honest and industrious man should have access to some source of self-improvement and enjoyment, and should be able to save up something for his old age. Certainly that is no unreasonable ideal; but we doubt very much whether any conceivable legis- lation can fulfil it in an old and thickly-peopled country, with- out having recourse to that expedient of emigration which is so unpopular in Ireland. It is an ideal which is reached in the Channel Islands and in certain favoured portions of England ; but it is only reached there by steadily providing against the crowding of increasing populations into the same narrow area. Mr. Chamberlain over-rates greatly what legislation can do, if he thinks that it can do more than see fair play between the poor and the rich ; that, doubtless, it can do, and as yet does not do nearly as efficiently as it might.