22 AUGUST 1885, Page 26

There is much that is politically interesting in The Public

Letters of the Right Hon. John Bright, M.P., collected and edited by Mr. H. J. Leech (S. Low and Co.) ; and no student of progress in our time and country should overlook even the slightest observations of Mr. Bright on such questions as, for example, Emigration, Foreign Policy, the Income-tax, Vaccination, and Temperance. Yet there is a want of slippered ease about these productions. They read too much like speeches cut down, and somewhat spoiled in the cutting. Take, for example, what Mr. Bright says about the labour of postal employ6s on Sunday :—" It is a great pnblio service, an honourable labour, and it must be compensated for as other services are. There is not a word in the New Testament leaning to your views, so far as they are influenced by religions considerations. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Or take this :—" In my judg- ment, the value of a high character for strict honour and honesty in business can hardly be estimated too highly ; and it will often stand for more in the conscience, and even in the ledger, than all that can be gained by shabby and dishonest transactions." Here we have an admirable sentiment ; but does it not suggest a speech or a pamphlet, or even a lay sermon, rather than a letter. We should say that a selection from Mr. Bright's private letters would be delightful reading. He is the impersonation of conviction as applied to public life ; and men who seek to secure the dominance of conviction in that region, are generally tender. We all know, too, that Mr. Bright is not only tender, bat playfully humorous.