Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page


---------EPITOME OF NEWS.…



OUR LONDON LETTER. [Irom Our Special Correspondent.} Personal matters always excite a tre- akondous amount of interest in the House of Commons, and while it is often impossible to e-t a good attendance for the discussion of some important if dull affair of State, a per- sonal affair in which a Minister or a high official is concerned always commands a good house and the keenest attention. Nothing m recent sessions has caused so much commo- tion as what are now called the Bacon letters, being letters which ought to have been confidential and which were written by Captain Bacon to Sir John Fisher at the Admiralty. Everybody knows now that some of these letters were printed for con- venience of reference, and that, unfortu- nately, they contained remarks about a member of Parliament which had better have been left unprinted. That fact, and the circulation of two or three copies of the letters is the cause of all the trouble, and of all the questions and excitement in the House of Commons. Though the questions are fired off At Mr. McKenna, the First Lord of the Admiralty, it is pretty well-known that the attack is not being directed against him at all. Indeed, i: has had nothing to do with the whole thing, for the letters were written three years ago, before he was appointed to the Admiralty. The real object of attack is the First Sea Lord, Sir John Fisher. It is a pity that any copies of the letters should have found their way outside the Admiralty, but pity 'tis, 'tis true, and a nice fuss they have caused. Mr. McKenna defended Sir John Fisher with warmth, declaring that tke attack was doing great injustice to a great Sea Lord, who has had the unreserved confi- dence of four First Lords of the Admiralty. He appealed to the House not to be misled I into censuring in the slightest degree a man who had given the very best service to the public that any man could give. The appeal and explanation apparently had their effect, for no resolution on the matter was put for- ward. The very thin stuff of which moat scare stories are composed is shown once again by the truth about that remarkable state- ment concerning a cellar full of rifles near Charing-cross, which no doubt caused some worthy people considerable alarm. It appears that the arms do exist after all, and that they are stored in the sub-basement of a bank near the Law Courts. So far the story is true. But to proceed. The arms—modern rifles—were bought from our own Govern- ment, and it is stated that Lord Roberts himself is not unaware of the matter. Dread- ful, isn't it? Only the further announcement is made that the weapons, instead of being stored there until the army of German waiters is ready to rise and capture London, are really the property of the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs, and that they are going to be converted into miniature rifles to be used by young men in learning to defend "an Englishman's home." And so we breathe again. I Londoners will have an opportunity this season of seeing something of Britain's naval 1 strength, for the vessels taking part in the North Sea operations next month will after- wards anchor in the Thames. Some will be at Southend, and others will take berths higher up, the line extending right away up to the Houses of Parliament. It will be an imposing display of our sea-fighting power, such as has certainly never been seen in London, and there can be no doubt that the decision of the Admiralty will be very popular. London pays a good deal towards the. maintenance of the Navy, and it is right that she should see something of the ships. True, the old Buz- zard is always with us, but she is about as like an up-to-date fighting ship as a Thames tug is like the Mauretania. If the fortune of the late Mr. Charles Morrison is anything like the amount at which it has been estimated, the share of the Exchequer in death duties will be greater than Mr. Lloyd George's estimate of a year's yield from this source. Various guesses have been made as to the wealth of this re- markable man, ranging from about five millions up to fifteen millions. If the world does not know its greatest men it rather plumed itself upon knowing all its richest, yet Mr. Morrison, reckoned, by a few who knew him intimately, to be the richest man in this rich city, was absolutely unknown outside a small circle. Quietly, unostenta- tiously, ever since the last century was fairly young, he went on making money. He has I seen many men rise from obscurity to fame, from poverty to affluence, and he must have seen many of them sink back again. He went on, one supposes, getting richer and more rich, making little noise in the world, going to the City in the morning, Working, eating his modest lunch, working again, and going back to his home and his books. A life less exciting and eventful than that of a City clerk on a couple of pounds a week. Are there any more like him, one wonders, left in this great city? It is a hard world for the taxi-cab driver as well as for the hansom cabby. The latter is rapidly losing his living altogether, and the former is being taught that he is not to look upon his fares as lawful prey to be dealt with as he wills. The taximeter put a stop once for all to the haphazard payments in vogue when the hansom had the streets to itself, when the cabman charged pretty much what he chose, and used language more for- cible than polite if he did not get what he Asked. But even the taximeter may err, as lfcbs been proved. Recent regulations, how- ever, have done something to correct the ten- dency. But though the horse-cab is going, the tricks of cabmen go on for ever. It is an goingi dency. But though the horse-cab is going, the tricks of cabmen go on for ever. It is an old dodge to drive a passenger, ignorant of 1 Hi Beilhbourhood, over half the town wk" 4te place he wants is just round the qorn-ar. A taxi-cab driver who sued & fzr-a IV rfrhet day for twopence found out that the law ex- pects him to drive to the desired pLy tiie shortest route. If he does not do so, i Ãis passenger knows it, he does the extra tJ, St*" nothing. There is talk of an increase in the number common law judges. We are a litigious J ,f--Ie, and the judges at prEsent. on the bench fere unable, to keep up with their work. The judicial profession appears to be about the o--ly one just now in which there are no un- employed. This in spite of the fact, as stated by the Attorney-General the other day, that the judges work overtime, or, at least, do a great deal of judicial work out of judicial hours. Notwithstanding all their efforts a huge number of oases are still await- ing hearing, and unless at least three new judges are appointed the number will go on growing. This would mean, of course, a heavy addition to the already large salary list. It has been suggested that salaries should be lowered, but many eminent bar- risters even under present conditions make large pecuniary sacrifices on leaving the Bar for the Bench, and the best of them would decline to become judges if the suggestion were carried out. A. E. M.


. ! I-


[No title]






[No title]