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sheets, a penny for a cake of soap, and was as comfortable as if he lived in a hotel of the class that he could afford to patronise. He did not take his meals in the Rowton House, as the environment of that common eating-room was the least attractive feature in the whole establishment.

When I, myself, went to bed I found that my own experience bore out all that my Australian friend had said. If one could forget the bureaucratic bearing of the officials in the Rowton Houses there could be nothing disagreeable in taking advantage of their higher rate accommodation. You receive a comfortable little cubicle with a gas-jet, a chest of drawers with a looking-glass, a wash - stand and towel, a spring-bed and blankets. In short, the accommodation provided for one shilling is as good as, and in many cases better than, the accommodation available in ordinary South African hotels or Indian dak bungalows. The only drawback is, as I have said before, the bureaucratic atmosphere pervading it all, the iron sliding-gate that closes behind you as you pass up the stairs to bed, the printed list of rules that hangs upon your door, and the bell that warns you to be out of your room at a given hour in the morning.

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Having slept as well and comfortably as if I had been in my own home, I rose early in order to be amongst the first arrivals at the Labour Exchange. The Exchange at which I had determined to try


my luck had been opened for some days, therefore there was nothing of that exuberance of novelty that had attracted so many on the opening day. I was not the first; and I joined a queue of shabby and hopeless-looking labourers that was being marshalled by two young and over-officious constables. I had a three-quarter of an hour's wait outside the dismal green shutters before the section of the queue to which I belonged was admitted. The man I stood next to was a day - labourer. asked me if I had heard of anybody who had got employment from a bureau. The question was taken up by the next in the turn, who said that he had heard tell that they wanted twenty men in Wales, and that was why he had come to-day to make inquiries. A man who was on the pavement, and had nothing to do with our queue, having overheard the question, remarked, "Don't let them kid you that they are going to give you any work. All they want is to count the number of unemployed to make a Parliamentary return." My labourer, who had a worse tale to unfold than any I had heard on the previous day, said that he simply came as a last chance before the workhouse. He added mournfully, as we shuffled into the Exchange, "Onot you sets foot in the workhus you're finished." Inside the Exchange we were passed before a spruce little bureauorat behind a pigeon-hole grating. He was much the

same class of man as the official in the receipt of custom at Rowton House. His business began and ended in that of a registering agent. I left the bureau, knowing that I was no nearer employment than if I had not been there at all, and holding in my hand a card by which I was to inform the office of any change of address.

Being an educated man, I knew what most of my disconsolate associates could not realise, that a Labour Exchange was not Я machine to supply Government labour for the man who claimed a right to work, but only an organisation that hoped to bring employer and employee more generally into touch. Labour Exchanges of themselves have done nothing, and can do nothing, to solve this immense problem that is pressing for immediate solution. No machinery is of any value unless it can produce the demand. At the present moment such demand as exists is, in London, swamped in a ratio of almost five to one. This much, however, is certain, that the Socialistic measures proposed in the suspended Budget can do nothing but increase the unemployment in this country. In his endeav

our to place the burden upon the rich, Mr Lloyd-George can only succeed in increasing unemployment, since it is the money of the rich that is at the base of all employment. Hunt capital out of this country, and you create a state of poverty that must prove an insupportable burden to the middle classes. The rich can look after themselves, but the middle classes remain for ever the prey of Socialistic legislation. It is beyond the scope of this paper to offer any argument for the solution of this problem. The only object of my quest was to satisfy myself that it existed. But of one point I am positive, that if only some of the educated who voted for the Liberal cause at the last election could have been with me for those two days, could have seen what I saw, could have heard what I heard, they would have agreed with me that in our present fiscal situation it was hardly possible for the condition of the working man to be worse, and therefore we have a right that legislation should change our fiscal conditions, and place some impost upon the foreign competition that is grinding the heart of the nation into pulp.


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IN the electoral contest which is just finished, we have heard a great deal, from one side at least, concerning Liberty. The Radicals, with characteristic recklessness, have proclaimed themselves the sole bestowers and guardians of this priceless boon. They have offered it in exchange for votes, freely and with both hands. Support us, they have cried, and we will give you Liberty. Send back our opponents, they have said in a voice of solemn warning, and you will bow your necks beneath the yoke of slavery. Thundered from a platform by a raucous throat, the word Liberty has a power to thrill such as few words possess. And its power to thrill is vastly increased by the fact that very few free and independent voters have the vaguest perception of its meaning.

If you were to interpret literally the perfervid speeches of Radical politicans, you might believe that the citizens of England were all loaded with chains and confined in damp, dull, and blind dungeons. But you may not thus interpret the speeches of angry men, eager to strike a blow in the cause of Liberty. For them Liberty is either synonymous with the

franchise or is a pedantic abstraction. A free government, in their eyes, is a government controlled tyrannically by a majority. Because they are not permitted to vote, the militant champions of women's suffrage are accustomed to describe themselves melodramatically as slaves, though no privilege of law or life be denied them. If they are slaves, they share their fetters with those Scottish Peers who are not elected to sit in the House of Lords, and with the great horde of men who are deprived of a vote by change of residence. But, indeed, it requires little thought to understand that freedom and democracy have not even an accidental relationship one to the other. The angry demagogues who have run up and down the country denouncing the action of the House of Peers as an infringement upon Liberty are the apostles, not of freedom, as they would have us believe, but of autocracy. They demand that their rule shall be absolute and unrestrained. They clamour for a single chamber, and for the abolition of all constitutional checks. They refuse to hear the voice of the past.


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study of history opens not their eyes. Even if they knew or remembered the fate of Athens, it would not persuade them to wiser counsels. And the warning is so clear, that it should elude none with a spark of patriotism in his heart. Lord Acton, who was no Tory, and whose foiled ambition it was to write the history of Freedom, thus summed up the failure of ancient democracy. "The repentance of the Athenians," he wrote, came too late. But the lesson of their experience endures for all time, for it teaches that government by the whole people, being the government of the most numerous and most powerful class, is an evil of the same nature as unmixed monarchy, and requires, for nearly the same reasons, institutions that shall protect it against itself, and shall uphold the permanent reign of law against arbitrary revolutions of opinion." Had Lord Acton lived to-day, he would have recognised that he took too sanguine a view of the future. The lesson of Athenian experience does not seem to have endured. A large party in the State, driven on the downward path by the friends of riot and revolution, olamour aloud for the untrammelled democracy, which ruined in a few years the most brilliant State which the world has ever seen. And they make this demand with foolish insistence in the name of Liberty.

And thus we arrive at one practical definition of this illused word. It is right of the majority to ill-treat the minority. If a hundred men show

one preference, and ninety-nine another, the hundred are tyrants, the ninety-nine are slaves, and the result is Liberty, as understood by the Radioals of to-day. When a Radical wins at the polls, he declares that the voice of the people is the voice of God. When he loses, he asserts, insolently, that it is the "drinking-holes" of a working-class suburb which speak. This, of course, is but the expression of a baffled rage, rage, and the Radical speedily resumes the attitude of sycophancy which he commonly holds before the people. The will of the people, he repeats, is sacred, and shall prevail. How can it be sacred when it changes with the breeze? The experience of the last few years has proved clearly that the will of the people is neither intelligent nor continuous. It is thought which makes it, but accident. The reversal of the results of the by-elections is the best proof that this "sacred will" proceeds from nothing, and means nothing. Yet it is on this "sacred will" that is established the fiercest tyranny which ever drove a nation of free men to its ruin. Nor is the prospect rendered brighter by the fact that the outrage upon Liberty is committed in the name of Liberty itself.


An accidental majority, then, is attempting to make itself the supreme despot of the Empire. The instrument of its despotism is the House of Commons. That assembly, once free, is degenerating into a machine for registering the tyrant's decrees. It permits no liberty

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of thought or action. It asks people want it, we do not
not men, but automata. Al- believe. That its want should,
most every quality is accept- in any case, be satisfied is
able within its walls save an intolerable assumption.
originality and independence. Shall we level to the ground
The leaders of the Radical Westminster Abbey or St
party, who always do lip- Paul's Cathedral because the
service to freedom, have set people declares by a bare
up for themselves an ideal of majority its love of destruc-
slavery. Behind the Govern- tion? Yet it is easier to re-
ment bench "the gang is still construct a levelled building
assembled, and there the thong than to restore an ancient
of the whip still sounds." These institution which pique and
same leaders have adopted for cupidity have abolished. Nor
their own the motto of Louis shall we best guard the citadel
XIV.: L'état c'est moi. "Min- of Liberty by giving way to the
orities must suffer" is one of shifting caprice of the people's
their pleasantest obiter dicta. representatives. Liberty should
The enslavement of the House be above and beyond the pol-
of Commons is, in effect, but itics of party, and, as upon
a step in the enslavement of its preservation depends the
the country. If the Radicals future power and happiness of
can only cling to power and England, it is worth while to
rid themselves of the restraint consider what it is and what
imposed by the Lords, there is are its limits. There are many
not one class in the community definitions near to our hand
which will not feel the iron which differ one from another
in word alone. By Liberty
Lord Acton means
"the assur-
ance that every man shall be
protected in doing what he
believes his duty against the
influence of authority and
majorities, custom and opin-
ion." Lord Hugh Cecil, in
a luminous address delivered
lately at Edinburgh, arrives
at the same goal. "Liberty
consists," says he, "in being
able to obey your own will
and conscience rather than the
will and conscience of others."
A very little reflection will
convince the impartial reader
how fiercely the Radicals of
to-day oppose Liberty as thus
defined, an opposition which
is the more remarkable, as the
Radicals of fifty years ago car-
ried individual Liberty to the

hand of tyranny. The pro-
perty of the rich will be "re-
sumed," to use the word of
the Tudor kings. There will
be forced benevolences and
secret inquisitions. Certain
classes, obnoxious to the "peo-
ple," will be. singled out for
injustice and oppression. The
enterprise of the country will
be checked, and ultimately
ruined, by iniquitous taxation,
and a host of petty, vexatious
officials, the invariable con-
comitants of despotism, will
at once deplete the exchequer
and render the lives of peace-
ful citizens intolerable.

The only excuse ever brought
forward for the attack upon
Liberty led by Messrs Asquith
and Lloyd-George, is that the
people want it. That the

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