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PEACE PROSPECTS.

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PEACE PROSPECTS. As we go to press, the probabilities of an early conclusion of the South African war are eagerly discussed. Opinions differ mainly on the question of time, many people believing that it is now a matter of daY" only. One of the most hopeful signs was contained in a message which Mr. Seddon, the Premier of New Zealand, sent to his own Colony, informing it that he had had a satisfactory interview with Lord Milner and Lord Kitchener, and that he did not think a further New Zealand contingent was necessary. The publication of this intelligence in England on Monday buoyed up hope, for it is a foregone con- clusion that the projected terms of peace must be eminently satisfactory, if they com- mend themselves to such a man as Mr. Seddon, an Imperialist of Imperialists and a patriot of patriots. Throughout the war no Colony has for its size, contributed more heartily towards the successful prosecution of the campaign, and in this work Mr Seddon has always been in the forefront' sending off detachment after detach-1 ment with rousing speeches calcu- lated to keep the fire of loyalty and patriotism aflame. Mr. Seddon has again and again frankly stated that he will be content with no patched-up peace, and his message to the Colony is, therefore, of great significance. It is, however, to be regretted that, just when feeling in this country is becoming most sanguine, Reuter's agent at Pretoria should cable that the prevalent optimism throughout South Africa is hardly based on solid facts." The protraction of the conference, he argues, is not necessarily a hopeful sign, as it has been interpreted here. The delegates are reported to have abandoned all hopes of independence, but at the same time they are, Boer-like, trying to drive a hard bargain with the Government by wring- ing from them concessions upon minor, yet vital points. The singular feature of the business is that the obstinate minority are said to belong to the Orange River Colony, a community which had originally no quarrel with Great Britain, but simply threw in its lot with the Trans- vaal Boers, with the view of securing a Dutch Republic throughout South Africa. The erstwhile Orange Free Staters, it is true, have sacrificed everything for nothing. They waged war against us without the pretence of a grievance, and it may appear peculiarly odious and disappointing to them to have to cry "peccavi," after having ventured all and won nothing, when they had no necessity to enter into the quarrel at all. Still, their action at that critical period was entirely of their own choosing, they made, in Lord Salisbury's memorable words, a bold bid for empire," and now, having tried the fortunes of war and got less than they bar- gained for, they need not whine and com. plain of their hard luck. They went willingly, gleefully into the fight, they con- tributed largely to the success of the Boers in the early stages of the war, and it is impossible to entertain any sympathy for their present ruined position.

CHESTER CATHEDRAL.

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