22 JANUARY 1921, Page 12


SIR,—Your article on " Economy and Revolution" is most opportune and deserves the widest publicity. Rates and taxes

tin the country have already reached such a magnitude as to be absolutely overwhelming, and it is plainly evident that the existing state of financial prodigality threatens the very foundations of our national well-being. I do suggest, however, that your criticism of one department of the Ministry of Transport is captious and irresponsible. You are behaving far from well to the Director-General of Roads—who was formerly the Chief Engineer of the late Road Board—in criti- cizing his salary and in attempting to create the disagreeable impression that he has very little to do. It is trifling with national interests to say that you do not know what services the Roads Department branch of the Ministry of Transport renders the country. Do you suggest that it would be in the interests of national economy to allow the roads of the country to remain unclassified, and to permit County Councils and the various highway authorities to spend millions of State money on any schemes they please without State control? The least excusable of your criticisms is that relating to the salary of the Director-General of Roads. It is only necessary to point out that his salary is less than that being paid to the engineers of the Water Board, London County Council, and some of our provincial cities, to show that your opinion is founded upon a false estimate of the true position. You have frequently stated in the Spectator that our great highways are the "nerves and sinews of the land," and I venture to make the respectful suggestion that your well-known hostility to the Minister of Transport is no justification for this unfounded criticism upon such a useful and highly distinguished public servant as Sir Henry Maybury is universally recognized to be.

[Sir Henry Maybury's ability and public services are well known, and we had no thought of disparaging the one or the other. But we want to see all abilities applied to the best pur- pose; and though they may be well applied through the Min- istry of Transport we feel very doubtful about it, being unable so far to recognize any advantages from the creation of the Ministry. What we do see is a new salary list.—ED. Spectator.]