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r-THE COURT. t - I"

THE ARTS, LITERATURE, &6.

SHORTS AND PASTIMES. --

HINTS UPON" GARDJBSTING. .----

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TOPICS OF THE WEEK.

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TOPICS OF THE WEEK. I OIM NATIONAL BALANCE SHEET.—A diminution of taxation to the extent of < £ 5,400,000, divided be- tween direct and indirect imposts, can scarcely fail to j add to our prosperity if a prosperous year awaits us, or to mitigate the pressure of any adverse circum- stances which may be ia store for the country. It is too early yet to form any decided opinion how far the hoped-for recovery is already manifesting itself, though the returns for the last quarter seem to show a smaller loss than might have been expected from the large amount of taxation which has been remitted. A decrease since the Budget of less than £ 300,000 upon the customs receipts is not a very great price to pay for the repeal of import duties of X2,600,000 a year. So far as can be discerned, wealth is advancing with population at a constantJyaecelerating rate; and we may, without presumption, hope that the same condi- tions will produce similar results to thoso which have marked the progress of the country during the exist- ence of the late Parliament. In the ordinary course, expenditure no less than revenue has its normal rate of growth; and it would be idle to expect in future years the same reduction of expenditure which circum- stances have rendered possible since the year 1860. The ominous predictions of Mr. Gladstone as to the formidable development of the Civil Estimates have happily not yet been realised; and it is only fair to give to the Chancellor of the Exchequer credit for some part of the economy which has been practised during his tenure of office. The Army Estimates, too, are considerably below the scale of 1860, and a sum of X3,000,000 has been saved in the Naval expenditure, though we fear not without some corresponding loss of efficiency. Altogether, the national outlay has been reduced in the last five years by more than < £ 6,000,000. Such a feat, however creditable in itself, is seldom possible except under specially favourable circumstances, and its repetition is almost beyond hope. Still, in spite of £ 800,000,000 of debt, and with & full appreciation of the possible increase of future expenditure, it ia no exaggeration to say that England, once the most heavily-taxed countryinthe world, ia now less burdened, in pro- portion to her means, than almost any other civilised community. While all the States of the Old and New World have been adding to their debts and increasing their taxes, our progress in the opposite direction has been more rapid than in any previous period of the national history. Already Mr. Bright's counsel to the operatives of Glasgow to flee from the English tax- gatherer has proved an obsolete blunder; and, as long as we may be blessed with peace, there is no apparent reason to dread a reaction from the almost unbroken prosperity which has followed the recognition of the doctrines of free trade.—Satwday Review. PROBABLE RESISTS OF THE GENERAL ELECTION. —For it is most probable that the general election will increase the narrow majority in the old into a strong majority in the new Parliament. Setting shades of colour aside, it is likely that the members who will sit on the right will exceed considerably those who sit on the left of the Speaker. Indifference, cor- ruption, local jealousies, and local quarrels, changes in the proportions of influence," not to speak of the glorioua uncertainty of the poll, render it impossible to say exactly how the losses and gains of parties will be distributed. The want of anything more definite as a test than that contained in the words Liberal" and Tory," increases the difficulty of estimating the result with any degree of exactitude. But super- added to the general considerations we have set forth, there are the opinions which a shrewd and tolerably well-informed observer may arrive at about particular issues. First of all, it is likely that Tories will fill some twenty or four-and-t wenty seats lately occupied by Liberals. They may of course win more, but to the best of our judgment they will not gain more, but less. Some of these gains, if they are secured, will be the fruit of local changes and local dissatisfactions. Woodstock, of course, will return the duke's nominee. The tale of Wight, it is supposed, is given up to obstetric pursuits. Coventry is bent on avenging the French treaty. Portsmouth has some grievance about barracks. Maidstone, it is reported, is angry about some recent military changes. Thetford falls to a local banker who happens to be a Tory, and so on. The largest estimate of benefits derived by the Tories from these and other causes is about four-and-twenty seats. On the other hand, partly from local causes, no doubt, but mainly from conversion to Liberal views and satisfaction at Liberal legislation viewed broadly, it ia anticipated with much reason that the Liberals p will carry off from their opponents a seat in nine or ten English fonnties-no insignificant gain, if it can be realised—a seat in six or seven Irish counties, and a large number of seats in English and Irish boroughs. In a matter so problematical and uncertain as a sreneral election it would be absurd to be precise, but the upshot of the most careful calculation is that the Liberals may win fifty-two seats and lose twenty-four, and that, allowing for contingencies unforeseen, the probable general gain to the Liberal party on the whole election, a gain of men who will vote v. ith their party in moments of crisis, will be about thirty-five, which number added to the Liberal majority in the late Parliament will give the handsome majority of about fifty votes. -Spectator. THE LATE P ARLIAMENT.-Sic transit gloria mundi. Another in the long line of the illustrious Parliaments of England with its debates and divisions, its faults and its excellencies, its intrigues and legislation, its losses and its gains, its sins of omission andcommiasiun, its eminent leaders and its leas conspicuous rank and file, is nowmumbered with the past, and stands forever stereotyped in the record of the history of the nation. And what will be tho verdict of posterity on the general character of the Parliament just defunct? For what precise feature or characteristic will it stand distinguished from its predecessors ? No one, on this occasion, has been found ready to take the place of the lamented Lord Lyndhurst, nor to sketch, after his example, with masterly hand and lightning glance the pre-eminent events in the duration of the Assembly now dissolved. It is not our intention to give an epitome of the proceedings connected with the great Council of the nation during the last six eveatful years, nor to recall the recollection of the chief debates and most remarkable incidents by which it has been celebrated. We would simply endeavour to arrive at an approximate estimate and the true position which will be ascribed to this Parliament in future times. Its moat distinctive character has been the equality in the numbers of the representatives -taking their places on different sides of the House. On the one aide has been seated a Coalition Ministry, composed of the leaders of many of various phases of political opinion. Individuals differing widely among themselves have hushed np, their special idiosyncracies, and restrained in a spirit of self-sacrifice the promulgation of their favourite theories, in order to support the Ministry of Lord Palmerston. On the other side has been located only one party, connected by oneness of political faith, bound together to effect one and the same object, and almost equal in itself, by numbers and votes, to the whole aggregate schools opposed to it. This remark- able equality of parties in the House of Commons has issued in this great result—that the last six years are conspicuous for the absence of any violent changes in legislation. If the impartial historian would seek some one single phrase or title by which to express the main feature of the just-conoluded Parliament he would rightly describe it as the Do-little Parlia- ment or, to borrow a sentence which has risen in the xjourso of. it to the dignity of a proverb, as the "rest and be thankful" Parliament.-The Press.

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