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LONDON CORRESPONDENCE.

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LONDON CORRESPONDENCE. DURING the last week of March the poli- t tical atmosphere might be regarded as olosely reflecting the disturbed state of the natural atmosphere. The cold, wild winds, aooompanied by oooaaional blinding outbursts of snow and hail, had their counterpart in the excited, sometimes blustering, discussions respecting the imminence of war whioh followed the announcement of Lord Derby's resignation. There seemed to be an impression at first that the sequel of this event — which caused surprise by its suddenness, though it was not quite unex- pected—might be a declaration of war against Russia wLhin the course of a few days; but the real cause of the Foreign Secretary's split with the Cabinet was the resolution they had oome to about calling out the Reserves—a mea- sure which he considered an unnecessary menace when be believed there was still a^ possibility of the difficulties of the situation, in re the Ireaty of Peace and the Congress, being settled by diplo- matic mains. Lord Derby, in leaving the Cabinet, probably revolved in his mind the words of (Enone when sue said— I will rise and go Down into Troy, and ere the stars come forth i Talk with the wild Cassandra, for she says A are dances before her, and a Found Bings ever in her ears of armed men. » What this may be I know not, but I know That, whereso'er I am by night and day, All earth and air seem only burning fire." Lord Derby's retirement from the Foreign Office, at one of the most critical epochs in modern history, necessitates other changes in the Cabinet, whiah previously underwent derangement when Lord Carnarvon resigned. On that occasion bir Miohael Hicks Beach was transferred from the Irish to the Colonial Secretaryship, and it is now reported that he will be the successor at the India Office of the Marquis of Salisbury, who is understood to have been selected as the new Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. There was a general ap. roval of the appointment, on feie part both of Conservatives and Liberals, when Lord Salisbury was sent to represent England at the Constantinople Conference; but it is not every man who can expect to gain at once the confidence of the country when he < succeeds at the Foreign Office a statesman so experienced, collected, unimpassioned, and persevering as Lord Derby. Another change, in connection with the Colonial Secretaryship, at a time when we have atiil a Kaffir war on band, cm only be regarded wish regret as likely to interfere with the ener- getic prosecution of the measures that are urgently needed to bring about the pacification of South Africa. There are complaints made from time to time that some of the most important national institu- tions in the metropolis do not fulfil the require- ments of the publio as regards the days and hours when they are kept open. Much improvement in this respect is greatly needed as respects the British Mu eum, and the same may be said of the National Gallery. The art treasures in Trafalgar square are closed for two daya each week, aúd in the summer months, when there ia long daylight, admission ceases after six o'clock. Between six and eight o'clock on summer evenings is the very time that would be most suitable for thousands, who are engaged in their various callings during the day, visiting the Galleries and enjoying the splendid collection of pictures they contain. The expense of some extra attendants is the chief obataole in the way of the Galleries being thrown open in the evenings; but this is not a sufficient reason, considering the cost to the nation of the oolleotion, for making prisoners of the piotures, and causing them to resemble the illustrious in- mates of the Tower in former times. For the purpose of relieving the ever-increasing traffio between the north and south sides of the Taames below London-bridge, Sir Joseph Bazal- gette has brought: forward the bold scheme of building a high-level bridge below the Tower. The oarrying out of this project, which lies within the possibilities of modern engineering, would cost an enormous sum of money; and the alter- native proposal is to widen the existing London- bridge, which oould be done at a compara- tively moderate outlay. The expectations of relieving traffic that were raised by tbe owrying out; of the Thames Steam Ferry at R >thernithe have not in the meantime been fulfilled, as an accident to the machinery has entirely sui- Dinded the transport of laden waggons with their II )rSe8 across the river. Sir J. Bazalgette, who is engineer to the Metro- politan Board, his suggested a high-level bridge, because it was found that atthe posttionhe selected —Little Tower-hill between the Tower and St. Katharine's Wharf—about twenty-four masted vessels pass either way per day. In those circumstances it was felt that a low-level bridge would involve an ow'ruc- tion to navigation even if it were pro- vided with an opening span. Ira this view Sir J. Bazalgette is supported by the opinion of Mr. Leach, the engineer to the Thames Con- servancy. What the former recommends is a trused-girder bridge of steel in one apan of 850 feet, in an arched form, built so as to give a clear headway of 65 feet above Trinity high-water marK, whioh would enable the highest masted vessels to pass under it by lowering their top- maata. If carried out, this grand scheme would possess the distinction of being the largest arohed bridge in the world. Simultaneously with this bridge movement the Court of Aldermen have been dhcuuing-not for the first nor the fiftieth time certainly— the necessity of widening the riverside streets where the congestion of traffic is a matter of daily oosurrenoe. Notwithstanding the vast growth of business in the metropolis the streets in that quarter—Gresham-street for example—remain pretty muab as they were immediately after the Great Fire, and, though dignified with the name of thoroughfares, are mere lanes, often tortuoua and sometimes steep. The horses must be glad of the frequent blocks, as it gives them a rest when pulling the heavily-laden waggons along the dingy and greasy defiles. If the Aldermen were as energetic as the Midland Railway Com- pany, who are making a clean eweep of whole acres of streetaitt order to carry out extensions in St. Pancras Railway Station, which is already a splendid structure, they would talk less and "boggte" less than they do at the question of expense. Costs should not stand in the way of a great Corporation when the widening of streets has been rendered absolutely necessary by the growth of traffio. The question of a site for the proposed Agri- cultural Exhibition of next year still remains un- settled. The precise grounds on whioh the utter impracticability of Hyde-park was affirmed have not been made public, and one agricultural journal is at a loss to comprehend what they can be, remembering that the Great Exhibition of 1851 was held there. The R^gent's-park is sug- gested as the next best place, one of the recom- mendations of this site being the benefit that would accrue to the Zoological-gardens. It is supposed that visitors to the exhibition wou!d make a point of seeing the carnivora in their new and spacious cages. No doubt the near proximity of the gardens to the show would help to give them an increase of the patronage of which they stand so much in need. D. G.

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