24 APRIL 1880, Page 13



[TO THE EDITOE OF THE " SPECTATOR.") Sin,—You are quite within the mark when you say that more than sixty " friends " of the Farmers' Alliance have been returned, because considerably more than that number who have been returned adopted our objects more or less completely in their addresses and platform speeches. There were sixty- three members of the Alliance, who were candidates, and forty-

two of them are now Members of Parliament. Of course, these were not nearly all actually brought forward by the Alliance, as most of them were in the last Parliament ; but many of them, and especially the new men, owed their election in great measure to their advocacy of the agricultural reforms tabulated by the Alliance.

The experience of your correspondent " Lex," who has not found " that farmers who were previously Conservative have changed their politics," is different from that of many other men who have taken an active part in the Election. I know that numbers of farmers who had been Conservatives previously voted —or promised to vote—for Liberals this time. This was not because the candidates were Liberals, but because they were agricultural reformers.

Some time ago, you were good enough to speak favourably of the advice which I ventured to offer to the Liberal party, in a paper published in the Fortnightly Review. The policy then recommended—not for the first time by you—has been adopted, and with very marked success. I am not vain enough to suppose that my arguments had very much effect ; but yours, as those of a recognised leader of Liberals in the Press, no doubt had great weight. The Farmers' Alliance, too, has brought questions of agricultural reform so prominently before the country, that candidates who endorsed these objects gained. popularity by so doing.

You speak of the " Liberal Farmers' Alliance." The Alliance is independent of party politics. The Liberals have come to it, but it has not gone to them. The Alliance applied a test. The Liberals as a body have satisfied its conditions, while the Con- servatives, with few exceptions, have failed to come up to the required standard. On account of this result, the leaders of the Alliance are accused of having perpetrated a political trick. They have done nothing of the kind. Their objects were not party objects, and if one party has gained and the other lost by. the work of the Alliance, it is simply because one is more iu favour of genuine agricultural reform than the other.—I am,

Sir, 8.7.c., WILLIAM E. BEAR. Farmers' Alliance Offices, 265 Strand, MC., April 17th.