Letters in brief

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The Tolpuddle Martyrs were not "deported to Australia" for forming a trade union (Decca Aitkenhead, 21 July). They were sentenced to seven years' transportation for swearing illegal oaths as part of their initiation ceremony. After the repeal of the law against combinations in 1824-5, trade unions were not criminal organisations. In 1836 the men were pardoned, and brought back at public expense.

Jean Lindsay

Bangor, Gwynedd

l MAYBE we shall be bullied into saving for the future but this will not be equitable while, once we are in need of care, the government can demand that capital be spent before assistance is provided ("Like it or not, we'll all be savers soon", Business, 14 July). Small savers are pauperised by this. Interest should be taken into account in assessment of income but small amounts of capital left intact.

Mary C Watts

Kingston, Surrey

l JOHN Carlin's article "America the neurotic and vulnerable" (21 July) started with him revealing the ending to the filmIndependence Day which most people, including me, have yet to see. Please smack him with a big wet fish for me.

David Fine, London W1

l IN Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Alec D'Urberville, whom Tess murders, is her "lover" and Angel Clare her husband. ("Then and now", 21 July)

K L Lane, Ilford, Essex