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OUR LONDON LETTER. I j » 1

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OUR LONDON LETTER. I j » j [.From Our Special Corrtspondent.') j I Personal matters always excite a tre- j lnendous amount of interest in the House of I Commons, and while it is often impossible to get 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 i house and the keenest attention. Nothing if a j m recent sessions has caused so much commo- tion as what are now called the Bacon; | letters, being letters which ought to have b^en confidential and which, were written by j Captain Bacon to Sir John Fisher at the I Admiralty. Everybody knows now that some of these letters were printed for con. ¡ veniertee of reference, and that, unfortu- nately, they contained remarks about a member of Parliament which had better have been left, unprinted. That f act, and the circulation of two or three copies of the letters is the cause of all the trouble, and of: j 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 attachis not eing directed against him at all. Indeed, 4e 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 I 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 the 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 into censuring in the slightest degree a man 'who had given the very best service to the pjublic that any man could give. The appeal apel explanation apparently had their effect, for no resolution on the matter; was put for- ward. The very thin stuff of wllÏch. most scare stories are composed is shown once again by the truth about that remarkable state- ment concerning a cellar full of rifles near Gharuig-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 t rue. 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 ii made that the weapons, instead of being stored there until the army of German waiters is ready. tõ rise and capture London, are really the, property of the Society of Miniature Rule Clubs, an,d that they are gbiag to be converted into miniature rifles to ba used by young men in learning to defend "an Englishman's home." And so we breathe again. If the-fortune of the late ,> Mr. Charleh 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. Xiloyd' "Greoxge'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 pi timed itself upon knotting alt 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 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 wdrid, 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? .<. '.te. It is a hard world for the tixi-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 c arged, pretty much what he chose, and used language more for- cible than polite if he J.cHd riot. gt,hat he asked.- But even the taximeter as has 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 old dodge to drive a passenger, ignorant of the neighbourhood, over half the town when the place he wants is just round the corner. A taxi-cab driver who sued a fare the other day for twopence found out that the law ex- pects him to drive to the desired place by tn-e shortest "Toute. If he does not do so, and his hedcesthe extra bit for nothing. There is talk of an increase in the number of common law judges. Weare a litigious race, and the judges at present on the bench are unable to keep up with their work. The judicial profession appears to be about the only 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 cases 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 1 Z, for the Bench, and the best of them would 1 decline to become judges if the suggestion were carried out. A. E. M.

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