WHEN Lord Beaconsfield called the Turf a vast engine of national demoralization, he uttered a broad general truth; but, unfortunately, he did not go into particulars, and his vague grandiloquence has inspired a large number of ferocious imitators, who know as little about the essentials of the matter as Lord Beaconsfield did. These imitators abuse the wrong things and the wrong people; they mix up causes and effects; they are acrid where they should be tolerant; they know nothing about the real evils; and they do no good, for the simple reason that racing blackguards never read anything, while cultured gentlemen who happen to go racing smile quietly at the blundering of amateur moralists; Sir Wilfrid Lawson is a good man and a clever man; but to see the kind of display he makes when he gets up to talk about the Turf is very saddening. He can give you an accurate statement concerning the evils of drink, but as soon as he touches racing his innocence becomes wofully apparent, and the biggest scoundrel that ever entered the Bing can afford to make game of the harmless, well-meaning critic. The subject is an intricate one, and you cannot settle it right off by talking of “pampered nobles who pander to the worst vices of the multitude;” and you go equally wrong if you begin to shriek whenever that inevitable larcenous shopboy whimpers in the dock about the temptations of betting. We are poisoned by generalities; our reformers, who use press and platform to enlighten us, resemble a doctor who should stop by a patient’s bedside and deliver an oration on bad health in the abstract when he ought to be finding out his man’s particular ailment. Let us clear the ground a little bit, until we can see something definite. I am going to talk plainly about things that I know and I want to nut all sentimental rubbish out of the road.