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WEEKLY NOTES.",",-.r,/',-/-\..J'./'-./"-./-"""'/""'./"'.J'-...r,r"-'_...'-'''''''''''''-''-------'''/


WEEKLY NOTES. "r, \J'J'r,r" Several Acts of Parliament come into force with the New Year. The most important is the Irish Local Government Act, establishing County Councils in Ireiand.5 There are also, among others, the Acts founded upon the Benefices Bill, the Prisons Bill, and the Ine- briates Bill. The latter cannot however come into operation for at least two or three months. In this instance it is required that the Home Office rules, which will govern the working of the Act, must first lie on the table in both Houses of Parliament before they can become effective in law. These special rules have been under the consideration of Committees acting for England and Wales, and for Scotland, and for Ireland, but it will be at least four weeks after the meeting of Parliament before they caa have the force of law. —o— The application of the Inebriates Act involves a new departure, and for the first time, in this country, it establishes the principle that habi- tual drunkenness is to be regarded like lunacy, and to be dealt with and controlled by the State. Four convictions for drunkenness within a year, will bring the offender within the category of habitual drunkards, and the Courts may then order the convicted person to be detained for a period, not exceeding three years—in an inebriate reformatory. So far as the management and discipline of these estab li-h ents has been determined, it appears that offenders will be treated like prisoners under- going sentence, and any attempt to escape will involve the usual consequences of prison- breaking. They will have to work so many hours a day, but they will have many privileges, such as the option of wearing their own clothes, the liberty to purchase luxuries, including to- bacco, and the use of reading and recieation rooms. Of course certain conditions attach to these privileges. The Government appears de- sirous of carrying out the Act under a system of certified reformatories, but it. is quite cer- tain that there will have to be State maniged establishments which will not be merely homes ot comfort and luxury for the absolutely worth- less and irreclaimable. —o— It is satisfactory to learn that British trade is improving in Egypt. According to a report just issued by the Foreign Office, the imports from this country were 9-500,000 more in 1897 than in the previous year. The chief item is for textile goods, and in cottons and woollens, this country still virtually commands the trade. It is in iron manufactures, and cheap hardware that Germany and Belgium are chiefly making headway in competition with British goods. In native products, Egypt is rapidly growing in wealth. The cultivation of cotton, sugar, and maize is being largely extended, and there is probably no country i11 the world, which, at the present time has a better prospect of agri- cultural prosperity. the flourishing condition of the country is proved by its expanding revenue, and the enormous increase of the population in the principal towns, that h-us taken place in the last ten or twelve years. All this time the Soudan has been going to ruin under the Mahdist tyranny, and it will be years before it can present a very profitable field for British enterprise. Hitherto what trade there was has been in the hands of the Greek, and it is of tliat box wallah' or pedlar character, which British traders are mostly disposed to leave to others. But in Egypt it is different, and here there is a market ready to hand which is capable of extensive development. The acting British Consul strongly recommends manufacturers in this country to join the British Chamber of Commerce, which was started at Alexandria about two years ago. He also urges that commercial representatives visiting Egypt should have a knowledge of French or Italian, or preferably of both these languages. —o— In his report on the Trade and Commerce of Egypt Mr. Alban, our acting Consul-General, regrets that British manufacturers will not take the trouble to give metrical weights and measures, and prices in francs in their busiaess dealings with that country. This is one of the stock complaints of our Consuls all over the world. At Buenos Ayres this neglect is said to be 'a great drawback to British trade.' At Amsterdam the Consul urges the necessity of adopting the metric system. At Bremen it is stated that the attempt to deal in piece goods by the yard simply courts failure. Similar accounts could be quoted indefinitely. It has been urged again and again that the adoption of the metric standards is necessary for the saving of time both in school, and in the coun ting house, and our Consuls abroad are prac- tically unanimous in emphasising its impor- tance to our foreign trade. The Select Com- mittee appointed in 1895, reported that the metric system should be legalised, and in two years rendered compulsory. Perhaps the most important argument in its favour is that similar recommendations have been made by the Com- mittee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, in the United States, where it is suggested that the metric system should be made compulsory on the first day of the new century in January 1901. -0- The French Naval Budget for 1899, shows a considerable increase over that of last year. It provides for the building of six submarine vessels, and is specially designed to increase the power of France in torpedo-boats, and fast cruisers. There is of course no mystery as against which Power these preparations are particularly directed. It is briefly that France must never again be caught in such a position of weakness as to be compelled to submit to the dictation of Perfidious Albion. It is a pity that the French people cannot get rid of this old and insane animosity, which really has no counterpart on this side of the Channel. Since the Norman Conquest there has been war* be tween England and France for no less than 262 years, and there is no one in this country who is not of opinion that this aniount-of fighting ought to suffice for all time to come. During the same period, there have been numerous wars with Spain, HollandMenmark, and other countries, but they have been nothing as compared to our struggles with France. Up to the reign of Elisabeth there were 15 Anglo-French wars, ranging over 200 years in duration, the longest being the '.lIun- dred Years War '—which with one brief inter- val raged without intermission from the reign of Edward III. to that of Edward IV. After that, there were three more wars with France before the commencement of the terribly war. like eighteenth century, which culminated in the Napoleonic wars. It was these last strug- gles which commenced in 1793, and weujt on until their final conclusion, in 1815, that sent up our National Debt from about 2401 Bullions to over 800 millions.




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