27 MARCH 1915, Page 11



[Tor am Elmo. or Tor .13roorArox..]

SIR,—The Jockey Club has declined to stop race meetings even for the present year. The Club has, I am convinced, committed a deplorable blunder. My conviction rests on the following reasons. They pretend to no novelty whatever, but then they have received no answer in the debate of the Jockey Club as reported in the Times of March 17th :-

(1) In this war the safety of England and the independence of England are at stake. Ranee are with Englishmen, I admit, something like a national amusement, but the English people have at the present crisis no taste whatever for national amusements.

(2) The country is filled with admiration, one might say with veneration, for the thousands and tens of thousands of young men prepared to lose their lives in her defence, but there are even at present few households in Great Britain and Ireland which have not suffered, or are not fearing to suffer, some terrible loss caused by the war. But it is the common anticipation that before the races are over, and quite possibly while some of the races are actually taking place, the deaths of brave soldiers and of brave officers will be multiplied by thousands. When England is filled with mourning will Englishmen or Englishwomen listen with pleasure to news about the result, say, of the Derby P The joy of betting and gaming, whether on a racecourse or on a gaming-table, does not exactly harmonize with the grief and the solemnity of a funeraL

(3) The deepest sympathy is due to Frenchmen and Belgians, and I must add that respect should be paid even to Germans when weeping over their dead. It is to many of us an intolerable thought that while foreigners are in millions lamenting the death of their children, the holding of races in England may spread throughout Europe the terrible delusion among our allies, no less than among our foes, that the thoughts of Englishmen are occupied with amusements which, turn the matter as you will, are after all little better than a popular and glorified form of gambling.

(4) The people of the United Kingdom do not, we are fold by Generals no less than by statesmen, recognize to the full the terrible seriousness of the just and necessary, though most awful, war in which our country is engaged. It is certain that nothing would impress ignorant men and women so strongly with the gravity of the present crisis as the public proclamation that no race ought to be held until either the war was ended or the victory of England and her allies was practically assured. But the Jockey Glob refuses to make the sacrifice which might at once bring home to every English- man the true position of affairs and thus secure the triumph