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their lesson, and understand at last that if the constitution, the Empire, and the social organisation of Great Britain are to be handed down to posterity uninjured, we must make the people their protectors. It is this conviction by which the Conservative and Unionist party is now animated. All other distinctions are obsolete, except that between a party which represents great national and popular interests, and that which is made up of cliques and coteries, each in pursuit of special objects of its own, and inspired by no common purpose, unless the gratification of some of the meanest passions of human nature may be called
principles. The more contented Conservatives have learned the people are, the more secure are the Crown, the Church, the aristocracy, and the whole social system under which we live: the more the working-classes become owners of property, the more will they respect its rights and the more they are protected from the tyranny of employers, the less will they relish the tyranny of Trades Unions. Will any one affirm that the Conservative majorities at the last three general elections, combined with the more Conservative tone of all sections of the labouring population, is not largely due to the attitude taken up by the Conservative and Unionist leaders? Why do the Liberals and Radicals find that the weapon from which they had hoped so much has lost its edge, and that to get up any popular agitation against the House of Lords is a hopeless task? Why cannot they find men of property and position to contest vacant seats? Is it not because of a general belief that the ascendancy of the united party which now supports Lord Salisbury is for the best interests of the country? Is it not in great measure because the people begin to see that Conservatism is on their own side, and that by supporting the institutions which they were once taught to revile they may gain all they desire more readily than by pulling them down? The party now led by Lord Salisbury has become really and truly a national party, and as such must of course take cognisance of what all classes in the nation want.
The chairman of Mr Morley's meeting at Brechin said they met "under a sense of re-established prestige abroad." That, at all events, said the Chancellor of the Exchequer, must be Lord Salisbury's doing; and that it would not have been done by the Liberals, we know on Mr Asquith's own testimony. Mr Chamberlain's weighty argument at Wolverhampton, to show that trade follows the flag, was a fitting pendant to Captain Sinclair's admission.
With regard to the work of next session, we must look to Mr Chamberlain's speech on the 8th of December last for the fullest account of it,-though we do not know whether it is exhaustive,-which has, of course, brought down the old accusation of socialism on his head. He is naturally most interested in that class of reforms with
which his own name is more immediately connected; and heads the list with a measure for enabling the working classes to become owners of the houses they live in. Secondary education is the next. London municipal reform is the third, and Mr Chamberlain couples with it the long-promised measure concerning Scottish private bill legislation. Some measure for the protection of workmen employed in dangerous trades completes the catalogue. With the question of old age pensions he all but undertakes that Government shall grapple before the end of this Parliament; and on this matter we may refer to some useful remarks of Mr Morley's in his speech at Montrose on the 19th of January. The Queen's speech will tell us, before another week is out, whether the lapse of two months has added to or taken away from this very substantial bill of fare.
As regards workmen's dwellings, Mr Chamberlain is quite right in saying that the contemplated measure is only the same in principle as those already passed both in Ireland and England to facilitate the acquisition of land. If there is nothing inconsistent with Conservatism in helping the tenant of a farm to become the proprietor, why should there be any in helping the occupier of a house to become the owner? Or if an Irish precedent is thought insufficient, we have Acts conferring on the English agricultural labourers exactly the same boon as we conferred on the Irish tenant. There may
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be some practical difficulties, or rather inconveniences, in the case of houses which do not affect land. When a man buys a small farm he means to live on it for the rest of his life. But he may wish, or be obliged, to change his residence, and might find a difficulty in getting his money back. But the working man himself has probably thought over this objection, and does not apparently seem to reguard it as a fatal one. But be this as it may, the proposed measure is only the further extension of a policy to which both parties have committed themselves, and Conservatives will be very ill advised if they offer any opposition to it now. We ourselves should not care to defend it merely on ground that it had precedents in its favour. For reasons already assigned, we regard such a measure not as the lesser of two evils, and therefore only a negative good, but as a positive good in itself, and one which should have created a precedent had none been in existence.
Of secondary education we can only speak in very general terms. The bills introduced last session by the Duke of Devonshire provided only the machinery by which the new system was to work; and whether the Government measure, to which we are now looking forward, will be restricted to the same object, or be carried any further, perhaps the President of the Council does not even know himself. Last year's bill was limited to the creation of a Board of Education, to be a department of Government
pity that Professor Jebb, speaking on this subject about a fortnight ago, did not say something to allay the anxiety on this subject which confessedly exists.
ranking with the Board of Trade and the Board of Agriculture. The Science and Art Department was to be fused with it, and "any power with respect to the control or management of property forming We take it, however, that the capital of any endowment, the London Municipal Bill will was to be exercised by the be the leading business of the Charity Commissioners with the session, and we do most sinconcurrence of the Board of cerely trust that whatever may Education." We believe it will be the fate of other measures be found that in this clause lies now upon the anvil, no dishalf the secret of the bill. It appointment is in store for us has been thought necessary to on this head. And by disapplace some check on the "schem- pointment we mean not only ing" propensities of the Charity the failure of the measure, but Commissioners. But what will the passage of a weak and inhave to be clearly understood effective one. London wants a is that no tampering is to be strong bill: one that shall not permitted with our old public do things by halves; but shall school system. We fully ac- put it wholly out of the power quit the Government of the of the overgrown and unwieldy slightest intention of doing any- body which now governs the thing to lessen the value of the metropolis either to continue a training which fosters a type system of taxation which has of character peculiar to Great made it little short of odious, or Britain, and in the opinion of to acquire an extended jurisdicsome of our wisest and greatest tion which will render it absomen has contributed largely to lutely dangerous. The ratethe foundation of the British payers of London have long empire, to our naval and mili- groaned under the exactions of tary glories, and to the founda- this most incompetent and extion of a political constitution travagant authority. But if which is without a parallel in its claws are left unclipped, and the world. But we know that a Radical Government come in, the best intentions on the part they will, maybe, groan still of the Legislature are not always louder. If ground values are able to check the indulgence of taxed, the householder will at pet crotchets and mischievous once find his rent raised and prejudices by subordinate offic- if voluntary schools are extinials, and sure we are that if guished, his school-rate will be pedantic or bureaucratic theo- at least doubled. To both of rists are allowed to meddle with these schemes the London these time-honoured institutions, County Council, in common we shall have an educational with their Radical allies in revolution such as the culti- Parliament, are known to be vated classes in this country favourable. Mr Asquith has will bitterly regret. It is a taken care of that. But even
without these aggravations, which, unless precautions are at once taken, are sure to come sooner or later, the Council has lost the confidence of the ratepayers, and a sweeping change has become necessary. In the outlying districts of London the number of empty houses is daily on the increase. Their former occupiers have been driven away from them by the rates and the neighbouring shopkeepers have lost a valuable class of customers. can the Council plead in extenuation that the money has been well spent. On the contrary, recent disclosures have brought to light a system of gross jobbery, which its authors have endeavoured to conceal by still grosser frauds. The old Municipal Corporations were abolished for no greater abuses; the Metropolitan Board of Works was abolished for less.
A speech made by the Duke of Devonshire on London government, just after the meeting of Parliament this time last year, will show that these remarks are no exaggeration. For all practical purposes the London County Council is the majority of the London County Council. A decisive Progressive majority was returned at the last election, in spite of the overwhelming strength of Conservatism in the London constituencies. It is useless, therefore, to look for any effectual resistance to the most disastrous and ruinous schemes within the Council itself and if we wish to see what might happen with a Progressive majority in the
Council and a Radical Government in office at the same time, we need only look to the evidence given before the Labour Commission, and the Duke of Devonshire's comments upon it. How would the working man be the better for becoming the owner of his own house if the following little plunder plot were ever to succeed. The Progressives, or the more active section of them, are quite willing to face the contingency of the rates rising to 20s. in the £. Nay, they would regard it with positive satisfaction. "Here," says the Duke,
"You have the socialistic policy openly avowed. There is no pretence of superior economy or of better work. There is no pretence to the saving of the ratepayers' money. It is not advocated on the ground that the work would be better done or more cheaply done. It is acknowledged that probably the work would be more costly. It is advocated with the full intention and with the full foreknowledge that its cost would be enhanced. That cost
would fall, without any benefit to the ratepayer, upon the owner; in other words, on working men-and there are many of them - who through building societies have acquired the freeholds of their own houses and cottages, and who now live in them rent free. Such a working man would, under Mr Sidney Webb's extent of the rent which his less propolicy, find himself rated to the full vident neighbour is now paying; and,
without the smallest benefit to the ratepayer, the working man who had by his own prudence and forethought acquired the freehold of his dwelling
would find himself no better off."
Thus, while it is the object of the Government to benefit the working man by helping him to become the owner of his dwelling-house, it is the
policy of the Council to render the boon of none effect by raising his rates to the level of the rent he would have paid had he remained a tenant. The socialism of the one scheme is to defeat the individualism of the other. If anybody wants to know what real "socialism" is, he need go no further. Here we have openly proclaimed as an article of the Progressive creed the virtual abolition of individual ownership.
All the Progressives on the Council may not be socialists. But socialism is the active energetic force which moves the whole body. The trades' unions are the wire-pullers; and "The ratepayers need hardly call to mind," says Lord Onslow, "how the officials of the Council, in order to please their masters, were forced to
cook the accounts and resort to arti
fice and fraud in order to cover up the disastrous failure which had attended the municipalisation of works and labour. The Progressive members, and more particularly those on the Labour Bench, were constantly down at the works listening to the complaints of the men, and providing ticket men to see that none but trades unionists were employed at the works."
And now what follows?
"You might," says the President of the Council,"before very long have had a great army of working men in the direct employment of the County Council, a special and a privileged class, exercising a great, perhaps an overwhelming, influence over the elections; and no one can be blind to the dangers that might have been created by such a state of things."
What his Grace says we might have had, we still may have, if we do not take all the better
But this is not all. The question has a constitutional side to it as well as an economic one, and one of even greater and graver importance. The County Council, pledged to a policy of communism, would have "a great army at their command, composed of a "special and privileged class" thoroughly organised, and under the control of men exercising an almost despotic authority over the labouring population. Radical Government would, sooner or later, place the London police at their disposal. And we beg our readers calmly to reflect on the position which they would then occupy. They would hold their sittings within a mile of the Houses of Parliament. They could bring ten thousand men together in any chose at an hour's notice. They part of the metropolis they could forbid the police to interfere; and a band of ruffians, in
overwhelming numerical strength, would be at liberty to occupy Palace Yard while Parliament was sitting, and threaten the life of every member who ventured to withstand their will.
This is no fanciful picture. The thing has happened before. Sir Robert Walpole and his friends had to fight their way out of the House of Commons with drawn swords. In June 1780 a furious mob was in possession of the lobbies till nine o'clock at night, and they only dispersed when they knew that the Life Guards were approaching. Many members of both Houses were seriously injured. Such a mob would be