<<"I shall make enquiries as to whether there is any provision for carrying
overseas mails to the boats; this strike threatens at the moment to be a
serious affair, and we are in the dark as to its real cause and its
probable course. May own views are Liberal and strongly opposed to the
Government in almost everything; but I cannot regard this present
expression of labour discontent without gtave apprehension and distrust. .
.. . . " Letters, p. 336.>>
I am sure many of you have already noted this, but I'll remind all that
"liberal" had a very different political meaning in Eliot's day than it does
today. (Note the opposition to government, hardly the hallmark of modern
liberalism.) The 19th C. liberals were in many respects the party of free
and unregulated markets; thus, during the Potato Famine, the Irish regarded
the liberal govt. as far less helpful than the conservative (which was more
willing to disrupt markets to reach its ends.)
While later in life Eliot did say some things suggesting more of a modern
liberal attitude, that was in the 50's and 60's, and still rather limited. I
wouldn't sign him up for the Dukakis campaign on the basis of his
self-description noted above.
BTW, just back from a delightful week in Canada. Thousand Islands, Montreal,
Laurentian mountains. In the mountains, there you feel free. My soul is
refreshed! September is the cruelest month.