April 25, 1936.

THE TABLET

A Weekly Newspaper and Review V o l . 167. No. 5007. L o n d o n , A p r i l 25, 1936

Registered at the General Post Office as a Newspaper.

S i x p e n c e

PRINCIPAL CONTENTS.

P age

WEEK B Y WEEK ... ................................ 513 PARIS LETTER ...................... ............ 523 CHRISTIAN PACIFISM .......................................... 5 1 6 THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD ............ 523 NEWS AND NOTES ................................ 517 MONASTIC GARDENS ............ ............ 524 FREE CHURCHMEN ................................ 519 MADAME A C A R IE ...................... ............ 527 THE CATHOLIC LAND MOVEMENT ... 520 THE NEW BOOKS ....................... ........... 529 ROME LETTER ................................ 522 TPIE CALENDAR ...................... ............ 540

P age

WEEK BY WEEK r F the House of Commons were to achieve col­

lective canonization and to be allotted a day in the Calendar, there is little question what the day would be. Budget Day is the feast of the Commons. On that day fundamentals are reached for, purses are fondled. The Lords may have no say, for the matter is too serious, and the Commons remember their origins and exult in that control of the public purse which is the main theme of constitutional history. This is what Parliament is really about. This year the opening of the Budget had a special meaning, because to-day the Chancellor and the Treasury are back in the old position of controlling the amount of the currency. That traditional prerogative of sovereignty could not be exercised under the old so-called automatic gold standard. Since 1931 English money has not been interchangeable for a fixed quantity of gold. If you take a £1 note, which is the Bank of England’s promise to pay £1 on demand, and offer it to the Bank, you can hope for nothing in exchange except an identical note. Our money is paper, and how much of it there shall be rests now with the Treasury. Mr. Chamberlain spoke modestly about the last few years, claiming some credit for his policy of keeping money cheap. The truth is that most men over sixty still feel lost and anxious without gold; in all their early impressionable years money was gold; their first earnings were in hard, bright half sovereigns and sovereigns, and the two big suspensions of the metallic currency, the war years, down to 1925, and the years since 1931, both carry the marks of temporary emergency. I t is quite otherwise with younger men. Men under forty have only an outsider’s feelings about gold. Their first money came to them in the war years as paper, and inconvertible paper seems quite natural. With each year that passes the currency is looked at dispassionately by a greater proportion of the population, and with each year more confidence is gained in working the new system, with all its great advantage that under it the amount of money need only vary with the volume of busi

N e w S e r i e s . Vol. CXXXV. No. 4406.

ness, and not with sudden extraneous drains. The day when the Bank rate was sharply raised, and loans were called in and withheld from the home market in order to attract or keep foreign balances, and prevent the withdrawal of gold, are now only experienced in France and Holland.

EXPANDING BUDGETS. This great achievement, the growing tradition of a managed currency, has to offset a great deal that is much less cheerful. Budgets in the neighbourhood of £800 million have definitely come to stay. Oldish men who remember Lord Randolph Churchill’s warning, not fifty years back, that we were heading for a £100 million Budget, may well hope that their descendants will not in their turn live to see so much change. In fact, the Budgets reached £100 millions under Sir William Harcourt, who used to mourn that economy was in his day a lost art. By the war of 1914 Budgets were £200 million. The change in the price level explains in part the vast figures of the later war-time Budgets, figures in the neighbourhood of £3,000 million, or four times the present level, and the higher prices compared with the pre-war years still accentuate the contrast unfairly. But the fact remains that all the ground gained by sinking funds and loan conversions since the end of the war has been lost again in new commitments. Interest charges to-day only account for some £224 millions, or little more than a quarter of the total. Safety, said Mr. Chamberlain, comes before comfort. The easy years, when all the Defence Departments were told to frame their estimates on the assumption that there would be no major war for the next ten years, are passed. We now have to make up for lost time.

TAXATION AS EDUCATION. The 3d. on the income tax is plainly a halfway stage to a 5s. tax next year. The tea duty of 2d. a lb. extra on both Empire and foreign tea is more likely to be final. Tea is to-day the national drink of the modern urbanized Englishman. Five cups are drunk every day per head of the population, compared with one cup of coffee. Cocoa, which