Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page

4&nr ftoiiton CcrrrfsponbEitt.


4&nr ftoiiton CcrrrfsponbEitt. Wl deem it right to state that we do not at all times identif) ,aneftes with our correspondent's opinions.] Perhaps the most importantdebateyet brought before the House of Commons, was that of Friday night, upon the subject of the Belfast riots. It was listened to too by a very distinguished auditor, for this was the first occasion upon which the Prince of Wales entered the House as a mere spectator. Sir H. Cairns, who intro- duced the subject, is known to be one of the most lucid and logical speakers on his side of the House, and in his remarks on Friday night, he reminded me of that old man eloquent," Lord Lyndhurst, both in the matter of his speech, and in the manner in which he delivered it. He is tall, rather thin-faced, and sallow, and of slight build, but upon his countenance there is the impress of thought which years of legal study have induced. He was very well answered by Sir Robert Peel, whose happy insouciance was never employed to better advantage than when ridiculing the ludicrous appearance of an Irish party processioD. His remark concerning the common Irish phrase, "a broth of a boy," when applied to a middle-aged man, waa especially relished by the House, which aJivays composes itself for something good when tie Chief Secretary rises. Mr. Whiteside, who evidently intended to speak earlier in the evening, had a conference with the initiator of the debate before he brought his ac- knowledged eloquence to bear upon the somewhat loose sarcasms of Sir Robert Peel. The debate after all ended in nothing, for no steps can be taken in the mat- ter before the report of the commission is received. The debate on the Public House Closing Bill, opened by Mr. Cox, simply brought out the fact that Sir George Grey is not willing to alter the provisions of the bill for the mere benefit of newspaper men and market gardeners. Seeing that some of the London daily papers are rapidly making fortunes for their pro- prietors, I hope that the latter may 00 induced by the remark of an hon. member, to follow the example of the Times in providing night accommodation for sup- plying refreshment to their staff. The Act has been adopted in many cases in provincial towns, and I think it will require stronger arguments than were put forward by the member for Finsbury to demonstrate the necessity or desirability of altering its provisions. Mr. Darby Griffith sticks to his idea of a threepenny postage stamp for the internal postage of the country, and the announcement of the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer that the postal authorities are maturing a plan to meet Mr. Griffith's views is of importance to the country generally. If we have rates of under half- ounce Id., between half-ounce and one ounce 2d., it is difficult to see why we should not have, on the same principle, a threepenny stamp. I see that a writer in the Court Journal makes the announcement that Mr. A. Layard has not shown up" in the House this session. This, however, is a mistake. He was one of the first to enter the House on the opening day, and has attended almost regularly ever since. The hon. geatleman looks remarkably well, and seems to have been employing his leisure in more healthy pursuits than the antiquarian researches satrically attributed to "the member for Nineveh." The Lord Chancellor has, I see, conferred the office of "reading clerk and clerk of committees upon his second son, the Hon. Slingsby Bethell. Forthwith there is a cry of "nepotism (a very curious word, by the by, in this case); but why, may I aak, should not the Lord Chancellor or any one else do a good turn for his son if it be in his power to do so ? Nay, more, it is our duty to do a good service to our own. If a man high in office is expected to serve his country, surely he may also serve his own son, always provided that his son is fit for the position in which the patron places him. Weare to have, it seems, a royal commission to inquire into the economical facts'' connected with railways. If this commission be properly conducted it will almost of necessity result in great reforms, not before they are needed. Meanwhile the North- western directors are making experiments with a new system of communication between passengers and guard—a tube worked on the pneumatic principle. This bids fair to be a great advance on the windows in the South-Western Carriages, which, while they destroy all privacy, are practically useless. Though rather late in the day I cannot resist re- ference to that grand and encouraging speech which the Emperor of the French recently delivered. It is spe- cially remarkable for the liberal spirit which pervades jt, and which now appears to be the foundation of the external and internal policy of France, the treatment o! the press perhaps alone excepted. The Emperor has de- clared himself clearly on the relations of two great nations, who respect each other—France and Italy. The political and military policy which initiated the trans- ference of the capital of the latter country from Turin to Florence now stands out boldly, and there is no longer any ground for fearing the consequences of the convention with regard to the pontifical territory. In due time the French troops will return to France, while the Italian government engages to protect the frontiers of the Roman States; and in this fact we may hope for the full reconciliation of Italy withCatholicism. Questions of internal policy, however, occupy the greater portion of the speech. The new guarantees which Napoleon offers for individual liberty, in con- nection with the laws of arrest and imprisonment; the greater freedom in forming and carrying on associations for ameliorating the condition of the working classes the evident desire for popular instruction; the removal of impediments to commercial activity and progress— all these matters are re-assuring, and when we find that the leading idea of the Emperor seems to be rather progress at home than conquest abroad, it is not at all surprising that the speech has been well received here, and that imperial policy is gradually ceasing to be the bugbear it has so long been. I have referred to the French press as an exception to the liberal policy of the Emperor. I have several French journals before me as I write, and it is impossible not to be struck with the difference between them and our own papers. I never knew a Frenchman who could read English who did not prefer an English paper. They are in fact totally different. A French news- paper must be called so on the principle of lucus a now lucendo. There is no news in it. And as to political comments, why the lucubrations of a French journalist reminds me of a hornpipe in fetters. But an English- man may well be proud of his press. I see by the Newspaper Press Directory that there are now 1,271 journals published in the United Kingdom. Of these a very large proportion come under the denomination of the cheap press, and the cheap press is the glory of < ur land. Within the last year or two it has made immense strides, not in number only, but in character and importance. Where do we find that "ribald press which it was confidently predicted we should have when the stamp duty was removed, and again, when the paper duty came off ? The middle and working classes of this country owe an immense debt of gratitude to the cheap press, and it is a remarkable fact that this press and the country generally have advanced pari passu. Mr. German Reed, Mrs. German Reed, and the inimitable John Parry, are having another opera di camera arranged for them; These entertainments afford charming amusement for a winter's evening, and they are much frequented by persons who have conscientious scruples with regard to the theatre, though I confess the distinction is rather fine-drawn. Un my last visit to the Gallery of Illustration, I noticed one rather disagreeable fact—that the trio are all older than they were some time ago. Not much of a discovery, perhaps, but it may be worth mentioning, inasmuch, aa one of the three persons named, has not discovered the same fact. However, let us not be too critical, in memory of the many happy hours' amuse- ment that this accomplished trio have given to the public. Mr. Sims Reeve?, I regret to see is still indisposed, or in plainer English, unable to appear, owing to the accident to his eye. What large sums of money has this gentleman lost through illnesses, of a more or less serious character. The finest male singer in the world (scion moi) his organ," as musical critics call the voice, is of the most delicate character, and he is so careful of it, that perhaps he ocoaBionally declines to sine when not the slightest ) disorganization cotdd be perceived. Have you ] observed what an enormous sum has been asked by the director, or manager, or impresario, or whatever 1 else h. calls himself, of Miss Adelina Patti for one 1 night's singing at Bordeaux?— £ 400! It is true this was to include travelling expenses to and from Paris; but what an immense sum for a song or two ? Our ancestors seemed to consider a song almost the synonym for "nothing," and we often hear even now of a thing going for a mere song, while the highest price that our forefathers put upon a song was the price of a supper, "no song no supper;" but we have changed all that, and a few songs will now build a new wing to an hospital, relieve the distress of scores of poor families, or go a long way towards buying a 1 mug villa on the banks of some charming Italian lake. J Great Britain seems peculiarly the land of practical jokes, and the roughs" never stand out so boldly In any country as our own; but who can admire the ( rough blackguardism that we have recently had in London, Liverpool, and Glasgow—and, doubtless, in other places,—during the time that the snow lay on the ground ? That London roughs should mercilessly pelt respectable persons is nothing more than we can expect,—the metropolis always does take the lead in blackguardism but that the pupils at a University should, in a cowardly way, pelt the police, is utterly < disgraceful. <


¡li5ttllantøus |nfeIlig £…