The Commission on the Housing of the Poor has issued
its Report, which amounts substantially to this. The received statements as to overcrowding in London are wholly true, and partially true as to other great cities. Such overcrowding is disgraceful to civilisation, dangerous to morals, and injurious to health. The Commission do not, however, propose any heroic remedies. They rather suggest that the existing laws would cure the evil if they were carried out, which they are not, partly because the agency for inspection is deficient, partly because the vestries are full of men interested in the abuses, owning houses let in rooms, and in close alliance with publicans. The Commissioners recommend that the sites occupied by the three great prisons of London should be given up to the relief of overcrowding, and are inclined to support a measure for compulsorily changing leaseholds into freeholds. It is evident from every line of the Report that, great as the evil is, nothing will be done to extinguish it until London has a powerful and energetic corporation of its own.
Lord Salisbury on Tuesday made a speech at Hackney which, if a Democracy had a memory, would effectually prevent his ever being at the head of any English Administration, so fall was it of insult to one of the Great Powers of Europe, as well as of unmeasured and unmeaning scorn for his opponents. He began by lamenting that Mr. Childers had not used the opportunity to tax the importation of foreign luxuries, and then went on to advocate patting the education-rate on all property within the rated district, real or personal. But he did not explain the main point,—how the value of the personal property belonging to the rated district is to be ascertained. If all the personal property of every resident is to be rated, the rate must become an Imperial tax, for the rating authorities themselves can have no means of knowing what the personal property of the residents is, and therefore can have no means of judging what rate it is necessary to impose for the purpose of raising any given sum.