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-1.1% Vur fffnkn Currfsponkiu.…


-1.1% Vur fffnkn Currfsponkiu. j f7-7: flfem it ngfct to state tlint we do Hot at all times "enklfy ourselves with our Correspondent's opinions.] Now that we have entered the month of June we mav be said to bo looking the Jubilee fairlv in the face. Preparation fur the various celebrations is going rapidly forward, not only in London but in every town—it may almost be said every village—in the kingdom: and in another fortnight all will be on the tip-toe of expectation for the ceremonies which will render l,-o7 a memorable year in the history of the Empire. Westminster Abbey for some weeks i has been given over to carpenters and up- holsterers. and the grand old fane will witness such a gathering of notabilities, not only English but foreign, as havo seldom been brought together under a single roof. Along the route by which the Queen will proceed from Buck- ingham Palace to the Abbey seats in the windows are already being let at a high figmc, and stands are projected in some places for the better accommodation of those who will desire to witness a pageant which, once seen, can never bn forgotten. Contracts, also, are being entered into for the decoration and illumination of the principal West-End thorough- fares and busy committeemen are sketching cut the arrangements for entertaining five-and- twenty thousand London school children at tea in Hyde-park. All this pressure will become greater as the fortnight between this and the day officially fixed for the celebration wears away; and a worthy display of enthusiastic loyalty will be the result. That result, moreover, will be far from merely temporary. The Imperial Institute, which for a long time lingered in its progress in publio sup- port, is now an assured success and the Church House, which will be the Church of England's permanent memorial of the interesting event of this year, promises soon to have the same said of it. The Women's Jubilee Gift to the Queen was long ago known to be a triumph, and her Majesty's disposal of it will command general approval. As is well known, a portion-a com- paratively small portion—of the fund will be de- voted to the orection in the park at Windsor of a replica of the statue of the late Prince Consort, executed by Baron Marochetti for Glasgow, which her Majesty is understood to have stated to be the bset in all respects she has seen. By far the greater portion of the subscriptions will, however, be used by the Queen to endow some institution especially designed for the aid or com- fort of her own sex; and she has invited the committee to suggest three such institutions to her in order that she may choose one of them for this purpose. All will feel that not even the most querulous could object to such a disposition of the funds. They were raised for the Queen to do exactly as she liked with, and no subscriber, and above all no one who was not a subscriber, would have had a right, this being the condition of the gift, to adversely criticise any method her Majesty might have adopted for using it. But the method actually resolved upon is so admirable that adverse criticism is silenced, and the women's gift will be universally felt to have been put to admirable use. Much of tho criticisms which is so freely lavished upon those in high places comes from people who do not comprehend the disagreeable conditions under which the work of the eminent is often done. Only those in the innermost circle of all, for instance, can tell what strain of work falls upon royalty; but a far wider circle has now been made aware of the strain which falls upon those who conduct the parliamentary business of our country. "All-night sittings of the House of Commons may be stirring and even exciting to read of, but what is sport to the many may prove death to the few. One rather gloomy medical critic of the present condition of things in the House of Commons has given the opinion, that unless there be an entire change of tactics shortly there will be a hideous roll of mental and physical wrecks to chronicle. The year is already telling very seriously on many valuable lives, and before long the mischief in progress will make itself manifest." This is, perhaps, an unduly despondentview to take of the situation, but no one who frequents the House of Commons can doubt that there is something to justify it. It is a habit of man to think the evils of the present the most grievous tho^world has ever seen but there cannot be a doubt that hardly in the history of the House of Commons has such a continuous and worrying strain been placed upon members of all shades of opinion as within tho past few months. These are days in which the com- memorations of centenaries, and bi cen- tenaries, and ter centenaries flourish, and hardly any prominent person in history can escape the process. Among those to be thus honoured by popular recollection is Mary. Queen of Scots, and next month will be opened at Peterborough an historical exhibition of portraits, rings, missals, aad other objects of interest connected v. ith that unhappy Monarch. It is necessary to remember that Peterborough Cathedral was the scene of Mary's funeral, in order to see why the Northamptonshire city should concern itself in this particular matter; and as the exhibition has the patronage of the Queen, and has the Dean of Peterborough as the president of an influential committee, there should be little doubt of the success of what can scarcely help being an interesting historical collection. Whatever may have been the faults of the Scottish Queen, her unhappy fate has secured eloquent defenders for her in every age sinco the tragedy at Fotheringhay; and although historical judg- ments will differ concerning her until the end of time, there is no second opinion that she will always be an interesting figure in the chronicles of Britain. Our Antipodean Colonies have some peculiar troubles, the cause of which was apparently small, but the effects astoundingly great. Portions of New Zealand, for example, are overrun with a species of dock, the original seeds of which were sold by some swindling speculator to the settlers under the pretence that they were the seeds of the tobacco plant; and now the weed has so far spread as to be practically ineradicable. The rabbit pest of Australia is more generally known, but as each year's figures concerning it come to hand, astonishment deepens at the widespread nature of its ravages. From a statement recently made before the Legislative Council of New South Wales, it appears that from the passing of the Rabbit Nuisance Act m 1883 to end of last year over £ -iJ0,000 was paid for the extermination of rabbits in that colony, while a number of claims for subsidy for rabbits killed during the last quarter of 188G ivere still undealt with. During the same period nearly 8,000,000 rabbits had been destroyed, besides vast numbers slain by natural enemies, poisons, and other means, of which no estimate could be made. It must be almost disheartening to the people of New South Wales to learn that, despite all this, the area of infested country was increasing, and the ad- visability of further legislation was being con- sidered by the Government. The rabbit is evidently a very innocent animal in its place in England, but when taken to the Colonies it is a nuisance, the destructive powers of which can scarcely be calculated. Some hop3 may be entertained that there will speedily be a large demand for English iron and steel, consequent upon the decision by the Chinese authorities to commence the construc- tion of a railway system. For China is a country of magnificent distances, and if once the railway gytem begins to spread, an enormous amount of iron and steel will be required. It is true that several years ago the Woosung Railway was laid and that, so strongly were the Chinese prejudiced against it, for superstitious and social reasons that the rails had speedily all to be taken up again; but a brighter fate is anticipated for the lines which are about to be commenced. The Empress, who, from all accounts of her, is one of the most statesman- like women who ever sat on a throne, has approved a memorial advising that a railway shall at once be constructed from Kaiping to Takoo, the port of Tienkin, to be fol- lowed by a line from Takoo to Tienkin itself. The main object, according to the Emperor's advisers, is to provide for the easy conveyance of troops and artillery, but a secondary is to benefit trade, and, probably, in the long run the latter will be found to have been the most profitable result. The matter is important to England not only as promising a probable extension of trade, but as in no small degree affecting us in our capacity as country-owners in the East. For when China definitely emerges from her long sleep of centuries no one can place bounds to her power. A keener interest is displayed in England in a French ministerial crisis, such as that we have recently seen, than in a similar political detail in any other country. And yet such events recur so frequently that one might have imagined that any but those immediately concerned would ere this have grown tired of reading about them. The new Ministry is the twenty-second since the fall of the Empire, and as it is not seventeen years since that event occurred, the average life of each has been but small. We may fairly con- gratulate ourselves that is this matter, at least, they do not manage things better in France; and though the two last Ministries, the first of Lord Salisbury and the second of Mr. Glad- stone, each lasted less than a year, there is no immediate prospect of England following the French example. But it is interesting to note that in our own history, an un- usually long-lived Administration has been followed by a series of short ones. The three most prolonged Premierships in Eng- land have been those of Walpole, twenty-one years, the younger Pitt eighteen years, and Lord Liverpool fifteen years. After the first had fallen, there were eight Administrations in fifteen years; after the second, six in thirteen years; and after the third, seven in eight years. It is, therefore, evident that, as in England so in France-when once a system dependent upon one man is broken up, a long time is required for its various elements to re-crystalise. A. F, R,





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