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THE COURT. --+--







TOPICS OF THE WEEK. --+-- M. TillERS ON FRENCH POLICy.-M. Thiers has made a speech in the French Chambers, distinguished by all his former vivacity, energy, and acuteness. Conforming himself to the circumstances of his day, he disclaims alike for the Assembly in which he has a, seat the power of the Executive, or the responsibility of initiative legislation, but asserts it to be alike within the duty, functions, and exclusive prerogative of the elected representatives of the people to control, superintend, and direct the financial expenditure of the country. His speech consists of two parts: a complaint of the extravagant outlay in every depart- ment of the State; and an exposure of the deceptive system of supplementary Budgets, by which the true condition of the national exchequer is concealed from the public view. On the first of these questions M. Thiers alleges that the sums spent in the restoration of the Tuileries, the erection of opera-houses, the creation of boulevards, the improvement of Paris, the building and decoration of residences for provincial prefects, the maintenance of armies in Rome, Mexico, and Algeria, are far in excess of the necessities of the occasion, or of the resources of the country. On the second he proves that these five Budgets may be divided, after the fashion of the suggestion of "Pair" in the Critic, as the Budget ordinary, the Budget extraordinary, the Budget supplemental, the Budget rectificative, the Budget final; and that while the revenues*of the country are adequate to meet an outlay of two thousand million of francs, the actual outlay is brought up by the successive Budgets to an excess of two and three hundred million of francs. He advocates the evacuation of Mexico, the reduction of the army, greater economy in the internal fiscal regulations of the Treasury, by more care in the dotatio'n of railways, in the improve- ment of harbours, and in the administration of public works. His speech was received by his auditors with every sign of acquiescence and approval, and will pro- duce an impression alike on the Government and on the country, which subsequent explanations offered by M. O'Quin, the Government reporter of the com- mittee, will not materially modify or remove. It is a healthful-sign, full of good augury for the future of France, when one of her citizens, most illustrious by his political experience, and high station, comes for- ward uninfluenced by sentiments of fastion, or of hos- tility to the Imperial regime, and in a spirit of true patriotism lifts the voice of warning, and points out, without rancour or exacerbation, the means by which a too wasteful expenditure may be reduced to propor- tions consistent with the revenues. The prompt provision of the Lttdos Circenses et panem may be pardoned in the beginning of such a crisis as that which gave tha supreme Government to Napoleon III. If persisted in as a normal system, it will sure to bring with it its own fatal retribution. The voice of the warning oracle ought not to be uttered in vain.-Thc Press, METROPOLITAN WORKHOUSE HOSPITALS:.—The attention of the public having been directed to the treatment of the sick paupers in workhouse hospitals, particularly by the case of Daly at the Holborn and that of Gibson at the St. Giles's Workhouse, we are gratified to find that the Poor- Law Board are directing such inquiries to be made as will fully expose the defects of the present management, and suggest remedies for their removal. A report has just been printed for the House of Commons which shows the condition of these hospitals, particularly ia respect to the amount and nature of the accommodation, the aa.Ritary arrangements, the character of disorders admitted for treatment, and the kind of nursing pro- vided for their care. With respect to the amount of accommodation, we fiud that, of the male hospitals in the thirty-five Unions of the Metropolitan district frootwhich correct returns were made, ten were full, three were overflowing, and thirteen had spare beds not-exceeding ten in number; so that in twenty-six workhouses the hospitals may be said to be quite full. The female hospitals are somewhat less crowded in seven cases, however, they were quite full, in'one overflowing; and we have heard that it is the practice to make up beds upon the floor in order to supply the extra accommodation thus required. Two workhouses alone appear to be provided with a large number of spare beds, and when we find that there are besides the sick in hospital 6,549 aged and infirm per- sons who require constant medical care, we cannot help thinking that many of these would be better in hospital, provided there was room for them. In the next place, we observe that the kind of accommodation is extremely defective. There are 461 wards, of which the cubic contents are given and the number of beds. In more than three-fourths the space allotted to each bed does not exceed 600 cubic feet, whilst in thirty- three instances it is less than 400 cubic feet. The regulation of the Poor-Law Board provides that each sick bed shall be provided with 500 cubic feet of space, but this regulation is evaded in 185 instances, showing the great necessity of placing these hospitals under competent medical inspection; but it may be re- marked that the provision of the Poor-Law Board is mush too little. In the army every hospital bed must have 1,200 cubic feet of space; in the metropolitan charities, from 1,300 to 1,500 cubic feet is the very lowest estimate, whilst the wards of several contain 1,760 cubic feet, and one at least 2,000. There is no poison so subtle or depressing as the emanations from the sick, and no remedy so cheap or so effectual aH a large space and unlimited supply of fresh air. Cure is all but impossible, and canvalescence is always retarded in confined sick wards, and it is to be feared that the enormous amount of chronic disease which encumbers the workhouse hospitals must be greatly increased from this cause. There e at the .present time not less than 6,400 sick in the workhouse hospitals, of which not quite one-third are acute cases susceptible of cure. As the able-bodied inmates form a proportion of only 13 per cent, there is scarcely any of this class who can be spared from the household duties which the large proportion of aged, Infirm, and children necessarily entails. What, then, are the means provided for nursing tho sick? In 41 workhouses there are 71 paid nurses, but as 30 of them are employed at St. Pancras and Marylebone, there remain 41 nurses for 39 workhouses. IS hospi- tals have no paid nurses, and 16 have only one each. In two of these the persons so returned act in the capa- city of assistant-matrons, and have but little to do with the management of the sick, who are therefore committed to the care of paupers suffering from old age or infirmity of some kind. There are 859 pauper nurses; of 11 employed at one place 6 are over 70 years of age, and one only ia less than 50. Of 7 employed at another the majority are over 60, and they have charge of 83 beds, nearly all full, without any paid assistance whatever. Such a state of things surely cannot last in this civilised country. In Paris we cannot visit any quarter of the city without being struck with the palaces which have been converted into hospitals for the incurable and aged. We have so neglected a great duty. We have consigned the sick, aged, and infirm to work- -houses, which were intended as a test to prevent im- position upon the poor-rates. They are no longer in- habited by the idle and dissolute, but by those whose age or misfortunes should entitle them to better fare. We hear that the Workhouse Visiting Society, which has for a long time passed directed its attention to this important subject, has urged upon the Poor-Law Board the importance of placing those and similar hospitals under the inspection of competent medical men. Such inspectors are found necessary in the army .and navy hospitals, and in asylums for insane. This department of the public medical service is the only one not subject to medical control, and we cor- dially hope that the recommendation of the society will be speedily attended to.-Spect(J..tor.