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THE COTOT. -

POLITICAL GOSSIP. --

loXTERATURB AMD THE ARTS.…

SPORTS AND PASTIMES. -—♦—

HINTS UPON GARDENING. -------

TOPICS OF THE WEEK. --+-

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TOPICS OF THE WEEK. --+- BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY.—What has come over the leading journal of Europe P Can it no longer afford to pay some persoa competent to exercise ordi- nary supervision of its columns. Its self-contradictions of late have been of the most glaring character. In its yesterday's issue there was a leading article abusing the Austrian Government for "the indefinite adjournment of the Anglo-Austrian commercial in- quiry," while its Parliamentary report contains the official statement of Mr. Layard that there was no truth whatever in the rumour," and that, on the, con- trary, there was every probability of a successful ter- mination to the inquiry. This is pretty well; but there is more and better behind. Renter is res- ponsible for a marvellous story respecting a great de- feat of the Russians in Kliokan, which was copied into the Times, and seyeralother papers. So far it can only be said that the Times is just as liable to be gulled as its neighbours. But on the following day our con- temporary contained an article proving to demonstra- tion that the story was a hoax from beginning to end. The Times shewed its appreciation of this communica- tion by printing it in its largest type. What must have been the astonishment of its readers, then, to find on the following day a leading article quietly as- suming the truth of the whole story-sceptical only as to the extent of the defeat—and profoundly speculat- ing upon the consequences of the check which, at any rate, the Russians must have sustained. Is this the Times' plan of presenting its readers with both sides of a story, or is it a journalistic imitation of the con- juror's celebrated feat of swallowing himself, or is it simply a piece of reckless blundering and carelessness on the part of men who assume to be the leaders of public thought ?--Telegraph. RAILWAY illAN AGE MEINT.-A succession of railway accidents, as they are usually but inaccurately termed, has occurred, which are calculated to appal the heart of the most courageous railway traveller. Such is the excitement and alarm caused by the fatal collision near Keynsham, and the fearful loss of life at Rednal and Staplehurst, that already partial legislation is pro- posed. Under the inlfuence of the general feeling of panic that has not been unnaturally created, Lord St. Leonards has laid upon the table of the House of Lords a bill declaring it to be illegal for railway com- panies to put their passengers under look and key. The danger of the practice of making passengers prisoners for the journey has often been shown, and at Keynsham the fatality would probably have been greater but for the fortunate possession by a com- meroial traveller ofákey that enabled him to re- lease several of his fellow-pass e gers from a perilous position. The subject, however, ought to be dealt w' 0 with as a, whole, and by the Government of the day. It is difficult to rouse Mr. Milner Gibson from his apathy upon this or any other subject, but we do trust that, short though the time of the present session is, some earnest wilt ba given by the Government which wiU operate sufflciently upon railway companies to induce them to hasten the adoption of some general plan to enable passengers to communicate with the guard and with each other in the event of danger impending over them. It is also a question whether pail way companies should not £ ie pre ^pntedfromriinpirig excursion trains at reduced fares. It will no doubt be urged that such excursion trains are a .great boon to "the working man," for. it.'is'the fashion'now-a-day^whenever any subject is sonsidered, to connect it in some way with the irrepressible working man; he is always brought to the surface: to do duty in support of a state 0 of things that is not, perhaps, otherwise defensible. Bat we doubt very much whether the per-centage of the workiag classes who iravel by these trains is a very high one; and as excursion trains are among the most prolific causes of accident, it is for the general interest I that they should be, if not absolutely prohibited placed under some special restrictions. One observation specially arises out of the late fatal occurrences at Rednal and Staplehurst, and that is the contrast presented by the conduct of the officials of the two companies. The authorities of the Great Western Railway Company, whose magnificent line, by the way, is very badly managed, did hardly any- thing whatever to allay public anxiety as to the extent and causes of the calamity on their line; while Mr. Eborall, the manager of the South-Eastern Railway Company, with a promptitude that deserves acknow- ledgment, gave the fullest information in his power through the press to the public. Such frankness ought to be imitated by railway officials generally, in pre- ference to a reticence which is open to the observation that they are more intent upon screening delinquents and saving the shareholders' pockets than performing ohe sad duty they owe the public under such melan- choly circumstances.-The Press. TREATMENT OF SOUTHERN PBISONEBS. We can- not quote European precedents for political leniency, or pretend that some kind of political -ouiaishment- complete and searching in proportion to the political influence of the offenders-is not essential. But while admitting that European precedents are all against the policy of excessive leniency—and that the humani- ties of the case require at least the annihilation of the political influence of the chiefs of the secession party, we must express our earnest hope that the American Government may see fit in this matter to set an example to us, instead of following the bad example we have set them, and to limit the punishment of purely political crimes to purely political disqualifica- tions. If there be anything trustworthy in the alleged evidence implicating Mr. Davis and Mr. Benjamin in the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, or even in the firing of the principal Northern cities-let them be tried for these crimes and punished, if fairly found guilty, by the penalty prescribed in the criminal law. But let the American Government vindicate at once its power and its clemency, hitherto so signally shown throughout this war, by confining its punishments to such as may be clearly essential to prevent a repeti- tion of the offence, and displaying the full magnanimity of conscious strength. Mr. Davis is not in the position of an hereditary prince whose children may set up a claim to the sceptre he has lost. The seeming power bestowed upon him would have lapsed in two years from this date, and, so far as his political crimes are concerned, a close imprisonment for two years and perpetual exile afterwards would sufficiently guarantee the South against any exercise of his bane- ful influence. As for General Lee, we trust it is not true that he is likely to be tried. It may be a perfectly accurate interpretation of the law to say that the terms of his surrender secured him only against mili- tary tribunals. But it will be as fatal a mistake for the American Government to seem to break an honourable understanding, as to do so, and no doubt there are thousands who will have supposed that General Lee in accepting the terms proffered him by Gen Grant, secured his own and his officers' freedom ) on the faith of the Government at Washington. To in- terpret all such honourable understandings against themselves, will be the true policy for Mr. Johnson's Cabinet. It is because we feel a jealousy for the Ame- rican Government, because we hope to see a war be- gun on stainless principles, with fewer incidents of cruelty and rage on the part ef the victors than any war in history can show, ended by a policy as much more generous than victors' ordinary policy as their purpose has been purer than the purposes of ordi- nary victors it is because we hope to see a genuinely popular Government leading the way in magnanimity and lenity, as it has already led the way in fortitude and courage-that we entreat the American people to do all in their power to terminate this at once glorious and miserable conflict, with a policy so generous that it may be the admiration even of their foes. This has truly been called in one respect "a war to interpret the Constitution." Let them interpret it with no weak or hesitating voice— no shrinking from needful severity-but still interpret it as a Constitution which shall not only ensure for ever freedom to the negro, but give, in the immediate present, as much freedom as can be bestowed without tempting to fresh acts of oppression, to those who have been fighting for the cause of the oppressor, and fighting for it in vain.-Spectator.

RAVEN SUPERSTITIONS.

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