22 AUGUST 1885, Page 2

Mr. Jesse Collings, whose long letter on the West Lavington

case we publish in another column, says very inappropriately, in a letter to the Times of last Monday on the Housing of the Poor :—" Mr. Bryce, during the debate, appealed to the prin- ciples of Christianity against the so-called Socialism of modern times. He could hardly have been more unfortunate in his argument. Happily for the success of their mission, the first apostles had no political economists among them,—or rather they had but one, and he, we are told, hung himself." Where- upon a writer in the Times of Tuesday replies very aptly :— " The fact is, Mr. Collings's exceptional apostle was arguing for a dole to the poor, just like Mr. Collings,—` Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor ? This he said not that he cared for the poor.' " Mr. Jesse Collings, however, does care for the poor ; of that we are well assured. And we heartily wish he would study carefully the history of the old Poor-law, and of the frightful injury done to the poor by the laxity of that law. Mr. Jesse Collings is mis- taken in thinking that political economy as such enjoins any course of conduct. It simply traces the effect of self-interest on human conduct, and leaves to ethics to decide what course should be taken. But with a little more mastery of political economy, Mr. Collings would be twice as effective a friend of the poor as he now is.