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FROM THE LONDON CORRESPONDENT OF THE «MERLIN." CITY, THURSDAY EVENING. Prospects of an amicable arrangement for the management of the affairs of the Eastern Counties Railway, are, we are glad to say, improving; it being generally understood that the names choseo by the committee of selection will be forma'ly adopte i as a Board of Directors, by the shareholders assembling on Friday next, although opposition is not yet eutirely withdrawn. The affairs ol this untoitunate concern, which have engaged so much attention, will, it is to be hoped, be administered with strict re- ference to commercial principles, and the rules of probity,for the future. Considering the extent to which railway investments have been gone into, not only by the commercial classes, but by "gentle and throughout the country, and the present deterio- rated market value of railway securities, every well-directed effort towards a correct' analysis of the true position of these undertakings, must be regarded with interest at this moment. We have, therefore, much pleasure in diiectine; attention to a pamphlet just placed in our hands, entitled, A letter to the Right Hon.H.Laboucheie.M.P.. on railways, their accounts and difidends; their progress, position, and future prospects," byC. Locock Webb. The author is evidently up to the mark npon the subject of which he treats, and his letter is altogether sug. gestive; he helps to clear a-ay a good deal of the doubt and distrust which embarrass many a good and solvent undertaking; and the remedies proposed for existing evils in the account de- partment, are free from all mystification. Here is a good hint, which we hope will be acted upon in more cases than one:— The coming August meetings present a good opportunity for commencing an improvement in the system of accounts; let every railway company then lay before its proprietors the fullest statement, admitting the defalcation of the past, it any let by- cones be buried in oblivion and in future we may expect accu. racy, if my proposal be carried out. Hut it will be asked, what security have the shareholders and the pubticthat these state. ments will be correctly laid before them ? And it is this instead of having permanent auditors, (for under the present system it amounts to this,) w iih a very inadequate stipend, whose duties are considered more honorary than :ea!, let a committee of three sharehotdets be elected at every meeting, to audit the accouotl for the ensuing hail year, with a remuneration ccmmensurate with their proper duties let this committee be empowered to call for all papets, returns, documents, books, and accounts, all contracts, and, in fire, fJr every thing they may consider desira- ble to elocidate the balance-sheet, the capital account, the loans, the traffic account, the maintenance account, the cost of working the way, and the reserve fund, upon which they shall be required to make their report, either by confirmation of the directors' statement, or by a separate or distinct report, to be printel with the directors' report, and submitted to the shareholders one month before every general meeting. The committee en one audit, not being competent for re-election. Thus we should have a full and efficient cbeck on the directors, and an ample assu- rance to the public for the correctness of the accounts." The statistical matter, and tiie able resume,ol rail way progress presented by Mr. ebo, in a readable shape, do much credit to his perseverance and intelligent and practical acquaintance with the topic he undertakes Lo illustrate. We feel assumed th«;t -II who are in any way connected with railways, (and who is not ?) will derive satisfactory infoi niation from the perusal of this brochure. Dot, as we shaii h« nothing, if noi critical," ia ou- present vocation, we observe that the point of observation taken by the writer, is a favourable one throughout, IInl therefore his advocacy will be deemed ex parte by some persons. On the whole however, it is fairly conducted, and objections are satis- fa c tot iiv amweled. Our space adn-it, of only one more extract I submit that it is of the rreatest importance that a gystum which has effected an unparalleled seivtce'o the commonwealth, and from the loss of which every interest in the country would suffer, and consequently the prosperity of the country itself, should be maintained and encouraged. It may be said that I go much farther, in assuming the general destruction of railways, than the circumstances of the case warrant, or than need be ap- prehended. But when we see exorbitant interest has to be ofn-ied I y way of prcftr-):ce stock or loans, and that norwith standing these inducements, some of the best lines cannot be tonple ed for want of funds; it cr-atez; a se. lou s apprehension that a very cor.gidt-rab^ amount of capital expended in the psr- Hal construction of railways, will be lost, and the districts which are now devoid of railway communication will, for some time to come, at least, labour under the disadvantage of having the oid means of transit only, and thus, to a certain extent, the evil will txst, inore especially in the agricultural districts. ,u .iol! report of the Commissioners of Railways, we learn that bS,000 persons were employed o.. the vauous"lln« in the United kingdom, in May, 1S-17, in. re than in May 1848 and 1 confidently state. th«t at .he present time the number employed K diminished to a still greater deciee. Thev say. ii is evident that a great change has taken place in pubiic opinion, with respect to the value of railway investments. JJjring 1848. the p iceof public securities increased about four per cent., while the average price of investments in four of the principal railway csnipanies di c in-rd about twenty percent. I he following appear to have been the prices oi £ I(,'J paid-up stock on shares in the London and North Western, the South Western, the Great Western, and the Midland RaiUvayCotnpanies, at the commence- inent of July, 1847; of January and Ju'v, and at the end of Dec.. IS48 and on the 20th of April, in the present year. The dtclirie which they exhibit appears to indicate that there may be much difficulty ia obtaining capital (or many of the proposed Lnes JulvS, Jan. 1, Juht.Dec.30,A"tO! r IS'.r. 1848. 1848. 1818, I&49. London and North Western 184 150 120 124 133 London and Scuih Western 134 W2 92 80 76 Great Western. J46 112 Po 91 95 Midlands 130 109 ]00 S5 76 Average l-)8a 95 95 Consols 89 85} 84 Shi 92 There has been a meeting of railway magnates this week, to oppose Lord Monteagle's bill for the appointment of a public auditor it seems to us strange, that after all that has trans- pired, any objection should be raised to complete supervision; but somehow or other, all the railway people are in arms against the intervention of an unconnected party to inspect their accounts. To say the least, such an opposition places the railway managers, prima f icie, in an invidious position and shareholders and the public should pause before they lend sup- port to an organisation now attempted to be set on foot. in direct contravention of the recommendation of the select com- mittee, appointed to inquire into these matters. The Daily Kews disapproves of Lord Monteagle's bill; the Times lauds it highly. The cholera has seized upon the atmosphere of London with greater power, twe imagine, within the last twenty-four hours, than for some time past, pending intolerably hot weather, and no rain to flush the sewers. We hear most of the malady in the precincts of Blackfriars; but among men of note we have the death of Mr. Justice Coltman, and within our mercantile acquaintance two very sudden and severe cases have terminated fatally both parties Were in the prime of life. As succe#Bors to the learned judge, we hear named Mr. Watson, Q.C., and Mr. Sergeant Talfourd. The week has beep dull in the corn markets, owing to fine weather; but the aspect of thetn.de is, in spite of splendid prospects, upward for wheats we have had no rain in London for several weeks, although in Lincoln, Cambridge, and Devon we hear of repeated wet days. I In. the Iron trade thert; U no change to note Scotch pigs letain their value better than of late, 44s. to 44s. 6d. has been paid. There is a contract for 850 tons of chairs for the Rovston and Hitchin railway advertised, which will excite much 'com- petition. The water pipes of the City of Oxford, alluded to last week, were taken by Cochrane and Co., of Dudley, we hear, at £5 Is 6d. per ton, delivered in the streets of Oxford. Fiom the Midland districts we have the report of the meetings held yesterday, which give rather discouraging accounts of the state of the trade.



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