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THE PROSPECT OF BAD TIMES. IT is peculiarly our misfortune that an uninter- rupted stream of prosperity is denied to the inhabi- tants of Merthyr. From the autumn of 1865, until the summer of 1836, the times have been very good-* ?«id 80 genewl fead widely spread was the prosperity; that even the poor who crouch at rich men's tables, and eat the crumbs, had so plentiful a feast that the public were not appealed to on their behalf. The months came and went, and the only cry in the iron works was, More men, more labourers." Workmen who had put by a few pounds, and were bent on emigrating, looked at the promising picture they had thought to leave, and decided to remaiitf yet a little longer; and from afar poured in a great host of strangers to fatten and grow pompous on the earnings of the clasb they affect to despise. ) We have but to look through the town to see its prosperous condition. There is scarcely a va- cant house to be seen, and lodgings we are assured are both rare and dear. Go amongst the houses of the working class, and a glance will show you that they are comfortable and the streets any night tell the same tale, though the sketch is drawn in harsher and blacker lines. So permanent appears this condition of things that the Board of Health has been of late more than usually open handed. The costly sewerage is in steady operation, and the neighbouring districts are now as well supplied with water as the inhabitants of the town. If the Board had all they talked about, ratepayers would now draw still longer vis- ages, and look at approaching prospects with gloomier brows. For the fiat has gone forth, and a reduction of wages seems to be amongst the un- avoidables. For some little time past the iron trade has been declining, and now that the storm of war has burst over the Continent, and man is essaying to rival the thunder and lightning of Heaven by his artillery, one great market for our produce is stopped up. So long as the Prussians, Austrians, and Italians only talked there was but little harm done. Ironmasters thought this blus- tering would soon come to an end, and the stream of trade flow the more rapidly from the temporary obstruction. But with the flash of steel and charge of armed men the hope has fled. Vulcan has now to forge bayonets and cast iron balls, and for many a long day it may be the destiny of the iron rail to lie unrequired, and the iron bar to rust. Prospects are indeed. bad. When ironmasters begin to stack iron instead of sending it off by rail and canal, a reduction is not far off. Aiid so with the beginning of August we may expect to hear of reduced wages but to what extent cannot yet be stated, from the very reasonable cause that the amount is not decided upon by the employers of labour. It may not be more than 10, and it may be as much as 20 per cent. This de- pends on the advance or further decline of the trade, and the whole hinges, we expect, on the attitude this country may take in the next few weeks. The coming Autumn may be a time of trial, and of suffering. We may re- quire all our courage and endurance. On the other hand it must not be disguised that, so far as England is concerned, the picture is brighter. The harvest prospects are good, the cattle plague has all but died away, and the great evil we dreaded so much, the cholera, still keeps aloof. So it will be wise to practice a little of true practical philo- sophy, and while preparing for the worst hope still for the best.