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.,.■————11■■■■■■■■■■ THE CENTRAL…


■————1 ■■ ■ ■■ ■■ ■ ■ THE CENTRAL WALES RAILWAY, On Monday last the Central Wales Railway was formally opened for passenger and goods traffic. 1 his line is in connection with the London and Korth Western system, and its opening is one of great commercial importance to the whole of the South Wales district, not only because the route to Liverpool, Manchester, and the North is there- by shortened by fifty-five miles as compared with that of the Great Western system, but also and chiefly because the line will open up new outlets for the precious < black diamonds of South Wales, which can now be forwarded to places from which hitherto they have been practically excluded, in Consequence of the circuitous route and the heavy cost ot transit. It is not at all unlikely that very large quantities of steam coal from the Sonth Wales basin will now find their way into the interior of the country, and to the large manufacturing dis- tricts of the north aoo it may even become a question for the railway authorities and the col- liery proprietors to solve whether the steam coal of the Aberdare and Mertbyr valleys may not be profitably sent to Liverpool for shipment. Pro- bably one of the greatest benefits which will result to the whole commercial community of South Wales from the opening of this new channel of communication will be the more effeetual breaking of the monopoly ot the Great Western Railway which has hitherto existed, to the detriment o commerce and the almost entire exclusion of the coal traffic from the npidiand and northern counties. It is a matter of serious complaint against the Great Western Company that they have not de. veloped the traffic -of South Wales as they ought to have done, nor have they met the enterprising spirit of the colliery proprietors and iron makers with corresponding facilities for traffic on their part. With a little wholesome competition by means of the new line opened on Monday last, better things may reasonably be hoped for. One of the first fruits of the competition is that the Great Western Company have just advertised a general reduction of fares between the whole of the South Wales district and the midland and northern counties. A reduction in the charges for the conveyance of coals and other minerals will probably soon follow.- Tile Colliery Guardian. THE MILITIA.-A return has been published "which states that the militia establishment of the United Kingdom and Ireland in the year 1867 was composed of 4,686 officers, 5,027 non-commis- sioned officers, and 124,622 privates; but the number in training on the day of inspection was only 64,731 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, the Irish contingent not having been called up for training last year. It seems, how- ever, that no less than 1.347 officers, 340 non- commissioned officers, and 26, 202 men were re quired to complete the establishment in England, Wales, iini Scotland, leaving Ireland out of the calculation. ANOTHER COAL PIT ON FlItE. -On Tuesday morning fire was discovered in one of the coal pits in the neighbourhood of Wishaw, Scotland, leased by Messrs Scott and Gilmour. It would appear that for some time past the pit, which is known as the Jjetherton,' has not been working, and to facilitate ventilation one of the workmen is left in charge, part of whose duty consisted in attending to the fires in the cube furnace at the bottom of the ventilating shaft. The fire originated in the cube-in what way is not yet known—and having ignited the nsidwall, which is constructed of wood, spread rapidly to the surface. A high gale was blowing at the time, and part of the gearing at the pit head soon became a total wreck. The whole of the woodwork of the engine house, pit-head frame, and other appurtenances have beeu wholly destroyed. The fire is still burning. RELIGIOUS FATHERS.—It is curious to trace the influences by which the English kings who have been canonized were once t, moved. r, While they were wavering, they would fain strike bargains with Heaven. If God will give a victory, the "waverer will turn Christian. The semi-pagan looks to the skies, and promises a newly-born daughter to the service of God, if the father may only be able to destroy his enemies. Northumbrian orthodox armies, suffering defeat, went back in dudgeon to the old faith. Redwald, King of the East Angles, thought to sit in safety on two stools. He built a church, at one end of which was an altar for the sacrifice of the mass, at the other an altar for sacri- fice to the old British idols. The good simple man was loth to fling away a chance, and he has, ac- cordingly, been shut out of the Calendar. Per- haps of all the Pagan Kings, Penda of Mercia was the most praiseworthy. He was a ferocious savage, as much as his orthodox contemporaries. Penda's utmost scorn and fury were expended on bis enemies who professed to be Christians, and lived as if they had no belief in their profession. Edwin, King of Deira, was at best one of the dal- liers. In a vision he had been promised greatness if be would become a Christian, and he said he would,' expecting fulfilment of the promise. Something was conceded to him, but he would make no step in advance. At length Pope Boni- face bought him by the dainty device of sending a silver mirror and an ivory comb to his Queen, Edilburn. The lady was convinced of the ex- cellence of a religion, the head of which so thoroughly understood woman, her wants, and her weaknesses and she compelled her husband to be of that way of thinking.-Saints and Sinners,. or, In Church and About It. By Dt. Doran,F.S.A. DEATH OF SIR JAMES BROOKE, K.C.B.-The death of Sir James Brooke, K.C.B., Rajah of Sara- wak, took place on Thursday, at his, residence, Burrator, Devon, after a lingering illness. The immediate cause of death was another stroke of paralysis, a seizure from which the Rajah bad al- ready suffered more than once. Sir James was the only surviving son of the late Mr Thomas Brooke, of Widcombe, an old civil service employe of the Hon. East India Company in Bengal. He was born in 1803, and was formerly in the military service of the company on the Bengal establish- ment, and was severely wounded at Rungpoor in the Burmese war, after which he returned to Engr land for the benefit of his health. Sir James sub- sequently visited China, and on his return from that country undertook an expedition at his own cost to Borneo, where he assisted the Malay Rajah, Muda Hassam, in suppressing the insurrection. He shortly afterwards became Rajah of Sarawak, and exerted himself in arresting piracy, facilitating European commerce, and introducing some degree of civilisation among the Dyak tribes, as well as Christianity among that barbarian community. He was appointed by her Majesty Governor and Commander in Chief of Labuan when that island was taken possession of by the British govern- ment in December, 1847. He held that office till February, 1856. Sir James was also commissioner and consul general to the Sultan and independent chiefs of Borneo. In recognition of his distin- guished services he was created in 1848 a Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the Bath, and in the previous year received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from the University of Oxford, ;>-



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