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per cent., would just do it nicely, and the very figures seemed to have been arranged by Providence to induce the devotion of these funds to those purposes ! What a charming argument, by-the-bye! Sir Charles wants a new hat; he knows that his next friend has a guinea in his pocket, and instantly demands it, alleging the unanswerable consideration that it is the very sum he wants, and that the twenty-one shillings seem to have been put by Providence into his friend's pocket that they might be devoted to this most obvious and necessary purpose. But passing this, and supposing that 'the country had set its • heart upon compulsion' in education, a completely gratuitous suggestion, and supposing further that in order to this end
the country' wants Disendowment,—the country' being, in truth, some fraction of the lower classes in towns,—which side is most likely to consider the wishes of the country,' Tories or Liberals? The Tory looks upon the Church of England as an institution which exists as much for the sake of the clergy as for the sake of the laity. He always has opposed, and always will oppose, anything beyond the most meagre instalment of reform. The Liberal looks upon the Church of England as an institution which exists for the benefit of the nation at large, which has been dealt with by Parliament, and may be so dealt with again. If he comes to the conclusion that it is more for the benefit of the nation than the reverse that the Church of England should exist, established and
months ago, delivered himself of the following extraordinary proposition, after having recommended that universal primary schools should be gratuitously provided for the people : With regard to the funds, endowed, he does so on the merits of the case, but with a full acknowledgment that if it is for the good of the nation that the funds of the Church of England should be applied for purposes of education or any other purposes, this might be done as it was done at the Reformation. To the Tory, disendowment is sacrilege. To the Liberal, disendowment is a mere transfer of public funds from one purpose to another. Thus, however much even Sir Charles Dilke and his extreme school may differ from moderate Liberals, it is more on a question of practice that they differ than on a question of principle. Whereas the difference between either of these parties and a Tory is a difference of principle of the most marked and distinctive kind.
there were quite sufficient funds available for this purpose, and they were the Church funds. (Loud cheers.) It was calculated that if the Church of England were disestablished and disendowed on the same terms as the Irish Church, with a liberal provision for existing interests, and for the maintenance of the fabric of the churches, there would be a surplus of 90,000,0001., which at 4 per cent, would yield " 3,000,0001, a-year. And that sum would just defray the cost of the
education of the three million of children of school age in this country. • (Cheers.) The very figures seemed to have been arranged by Provi
dence to induce them to devote those funds to this purpose.' So that the very persons who are most eager to disendow that great school of faith and morals, which is called the Church of England, are not less ready to erect established and endowed schools on the ruins of a disestablished and disendowed Church, and to appropriate to their own system of primary instruction the very endowment they would snatch from others. And this they call a wise arrangement of Providence ! We should be sorry to hold the Liberal party responsible for the extravagance and folly of Sir Charles Dilke.
This is not the place to discuss the extensive and vexed question of Popular Education, to which we have devoted another article in this number of our Journal. It is, no doubt, very much mixed up with the question of Church and State, and also with the question of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy-nay, more, with the question of Christianity and Positivism. This much, however, may be said, that it is to the Liberal party, in the first instance, that Popular Education owes its vast development, and although the efforts of the Parochial Clergy cannot be too fully acknowledged, yet it must be remembered that it was the British and Foreign School Society which set the example which the local organisation of the Church of England enabled the National Society to follow with far greater practical effect than is attainable under any Congregational system.
There is, probably, no bigotry so great as the bigotry of the Nonconformist, unless it be the bigotry of the Evangelical section of the Church of England in its modern development. But in spite of all this, it is hardly to be supposed that the Dissenters all over England would deliberately, at a general election, hand over the possession of Parliamentary power to those from whom they differ in almost all points, both of practice and theory, because they were out of sorts with those from whom they differ in hardly any point except a point of practice.
Free Labour and Free Land appear to be short phrases used to mean very much what the user wishes. In its most modest sense, ‘Free Labour' is probably used to express that state of things under which no artificial restrictions are put upon wages on the one hand, or upon the supply of labour on the other. The phrase would embody the principle that no employers should be allowed to combine so as to stop the free employment and circulation of workmen, nor any work
men so as to stop the natural supply of labour to meet the demands of any handicraft or manufacture. And in this sense, there is no · Moderate Liberal' who would not support the claims of Free Labour. When the phrase is taken in its extreme sense, it may be made to mean a confiscation of capital for the purpose of allowing existing labourers to start in a fresh race of accumulation. But we have yet to learn that the English workman is more inclined to rob his employer at the present time than he was fifty years ago, and we believe, in spite of the inflammatory language of such kidglove agitators as Mr. Frederick Harrison and Captain Marse, that such views do not enter into the heads, or receive the approval, of more than a very limited number of working men.*
Closely connected with the cry of Free Labour' is that of • Free Land. What does Mr. Bright say on this subject?
I have often explained in my speeches what is intended by the term “free land." It means the abolition of the law of primogeniture, and the limitation of the system of entails and settlements, so that " life interests' may be for the most part got rid of, and a real ownership substituted for them. It means also that it shall be as easy to buy or sell land as to buy and sell a ship, or, at least, as easy as it is in Australia and in many or in all the States of the American Union. It meang that no legal encuuragement shall be given to great estates and great farms, and that the natural forces of accumulation and dispersion shall have free play, as they have with regard to ships, and shares, and machinery, and stock-in-trade and money. It means, too, that while the lawyer shall be well paid for his work, unnecessary work shall not be made for him, involving an enormous tax on all transactions in connexion with the purchase and sale of lands and houses. A thorough reform in this matter would complete, with regard to land, the great work accomplished by the Anti-Corn Law League in 1846. It would give an endless renown to the Minister who made it, and would bless to an incalculable extent all classes connected with and dependent on honest industry.' It has been observed by a very competent authority that this letter shows with some precision the limits within which moderate land reformers intend to confine themselves, and also the confusion of mind in which the ablest of them still remain on the subject. The abolition of the law of primogeniture will not break up estates, for estates very seldom pass by the operation of that law. If entails and settlements of land are
* Captain Maxse, in a pamphlet entitled “The Causes of Social Revolt,' says of · The Bee-Hive,' the principal organ of the extreme party, 'I fear its readers are few. From this admission is it not fair to infer that those who espouse its doctrines are few also ?
to be limited, this must be made to apply to personal property as well; but surely Mr. Bright does not mean to deprive a landowner of the power of borrowing money on the security of the land just as a banker borrows on Consols or a merchant on produce. Anything which makes land a less manageable investment will have the effect, not of discouraging but of stimulating land-accumulation, and will prevent all those from buying land who can only afford a part of the price and borrow the remainder, while the capitalist will have his way and buy as he likes. But if Mr. Bright wants to diminish the expenses of land-transfer he will have all moderate Liberals with him, and not the less would they support the assimilation of the laws of devolution of realty and personalty, a measure which the Tories generally oppose.
It is, of course, well known that this view of . Free Land' is not the view of the extreme party. They propose that the unearned increment in the value of land should become the property of the State, giving the land-owner an option of sale. This is the programme of the Land Tenure Reform Association as explained by Mr. Mill. But there is no reason we know of to suppose that this is the view of the labouring class, as their sense of justice, which, we take leave to say, is a distinguishing attribute of that class, would immediately point out to them, what appears to have escaped the notice of this Association, that exactly on the same principle the unearned increment of all other property ought to be handed over to the State. Railway shares improve in value while their owner lives in idleness. Why should not the unearned increment go to pay the interest of the national debt? A picture, a piece of china, an old book, which fifty years ago were worth tens may now be worth hundreds, or thousands. Has not the State just as fair a claim to this increase of value as to the increase of value in land ? Why claim Belgrave Square of the Grosvenor trustees and leave them in possession of the Grosvenor Gallery? But still further. Wages rise, because their money value has increased : but that value has not been added to the wages by the exertions of the labourer, but by some extraneous cause. Why should the labourer retain this unearned increase ? Surely he ought to hand it over to the State, to be dealt with as the Land Tenure Reform Association would deal with Belgrave Square! We believe, therefore, that this programme, where it differs from the programme of the moderate Liberals, differs more in detail than in principle, and that where it differs in principle, it does not carry out the views of the labouring class, except of that small section of them which is bent, not on
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reform of existing institutions, but on their replacement by new ones.
If our readers agree with us in believing, in spite of the prophets, that the breach in the Liberal party is not so deep as a well nor so wide as a church door, perhaps they will also be inclined to think that the famous rover 'is not so near shipwreck as some have imagined. And if we look at the Glasgow utterances of last November, there is surely something to show that the man who has led his party longer, further, and into more scrnpes than anybody since the time of Lord Bolingbroke, is of the same opinion.
The circumstances of that speech were very remarkable. Mr. Disraeli, having gone down to Glasgow to be installed as Lord Rector of the University, appears in the first instance not to have intended to deliver a political harangue. But the temptation was too strong for him; so, after lecturing the students and the merchants on Wednesday, meeting the municipal authorities on Thursday, and, as may be supposed, fasting on Friday, he came forth like a giant refreshed on Saturday, to acknowledge to the Conservative working men, or rather to an assembly in which it was said there were some Conservative working men, that the Ministers are men of transcendent abilities, and that the country was at present in a state of great prosperity. So much we thank him for; but when he goes on to proclaim the unpopularity of the present Government, and ascribes it to their own fault, we must take some exception to his statements. He says they have harassed trades and worried professions; and he alleges the lucifermatch makers and the Scotch farmers as instances of one fact
—the officers of the Army and the members of the Civil Service as instances of the other. We could give the Glasgow Conservatives a much more serious instance of a harassed trade in that of the publicans,—but their orator was too wise to allude to them, knowing that though the Ministry got the blame, it was by the Tory ranks that the obnoxious clauses were proposed and carried. But after all, the match-tax was not passed, and farmers' carts are not taxed, though perhaps one chief objection to these proposals was their ill success. And let us ask: Is not all taxation harassing ?
So of the professions. Will Mr. Disraeli propose to revert to the purchase system in the Army? Does not he feel that it was indefensible, except on the ground that it existed ? And ought he not to be very grateful to a Ministry who had the boldness to attack abuses of this kind, even at the cost of their popularity ?