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WEEKLY NOTES. The Anglo Egyptian Convention amounts to something more than a Protectorate, but it can hardly be said to give precise definition to our position in the Soudan. Its chief impor- tance is the declaration that the Soudan in- cludes all the territory south of Wady Haifa, which was at any time subject to the Egyptian Government. In other respects, it simply gives formal expression to Lord Cromer's recent announcement at Khartoum. Nominally there is to be a joint British and Egyptian sovereign- ty, but supreme authority will be vested in the Governor General, who cannot be appointed or removed without the consent of the British Government. The administration of the re- covered territory will be distinct from that of Egypt proper, and there will be no Consular Jurisdiction, and no foreign Consuls will be allowed, except with the permission of the British authorities. The Soudan will now have its own fiscal system, but in matters of trade and residence the 'open door' policy will be adhered to, and no special privileges will be accorded to the subjects of any particular power or powers. The British and Egyptian flags will float side by side over (the Soudan, which is now formally declared to include the whole of the Bahr el Ghazal, as well as Darfar and Kordofan. But Egypt's share in the sovereignty over this territory seems to be recognised as merely a matter of courtesy, while the Sultan's supposed Suzerainty is not mentioned at all. Lord Kitchener will be the first Governor-General, who will be in supreme authority overall internal affairs, the British claim to the exercise of this power, beinJ based upon the' right of conquest,' andgthe military and financial sacrifices which this country has made for uhe recovery of the Soudan. —o— Mr. Cecil Rhodes is as usual only making a short stay in this country. He wants to be back at the Cape in March, and in the mean- time proposes to visit Egypt, possibly going as far as Khartoum. One of the objects of his visit to this country is to obtain Government assistance for the completion of the Trans-Con tinenfcal Railway, which is to eventually form a continuous line from Cairo to the Cape. The total distance is about 6,000 miles, but the Egyptian railway will soon be completed as far as Khartoum, thus covering a good stretch of the distance, while the South African line has its present terminus at Bulawayo. To connect these two places, Mr. Rhodes estimates that about 3,250 miles require to be bridged. The cost of this he calculates will not be less than ten millions sterling, and Mr. Rhodes wants the Government to guarantee the interest so that the money can be borrowed upon the most favourable terms. o- If the Trans-Continental Railway from Cairo to the cape is ever completed, the journey would occupy ten days at an average speed of twenty six miles an hour. Whether the line would serve any purpose for which the Govern- ment should incur the liability of a guarantee is not a little problematical. It is not like the Uganda Railway, which was undertaken with a definite and pressing object in view. Except that it is part and parcel of a long-cherished idea, there does not seem to be any particular demand for a through railway, and it is not easy to see how it can be made to pay. It could never become a serious competitor as a passenger route between Europe and South Africa, and its trade possibilities are also ham- pered by the fact that commerce with Central Africa will eventually find shorter routes to the coast. At present, the way is barred by the interposing German or Belgian territory on either side of Lake Tanganyika. Mr. Rhodes does not anticipate any difficulties on this score, but even so the railway seems a little superfluous in running side by side with the 400 miles of water carriage afforded by this great inland sea. An all British route does not necessarily mean a continuous railway, and it seems an altogether sanguine view that the Government will regard it of sufficient impor tance to justify a State guarantee, except per- haps over some portions of the line, with some strictly qualifying provisions attached to any such assistance. -0- Those about to emigrate to South Africa are warned of the excessive cost of living in that part of the world. Things are very different there, as compared with the low cost of the necessaries of life in this country; and at the cape single men with salaries of from E150 to £200 a year have ahard straggle to make both ends meet. Recent complaints from railway employees have led to a special inquiry into the subject, and evidence was taken from a number of witnesses employed in the Railway Department, and in the Public Works, Post Office, and Customs Department. This showed that the cost of bare board and lodging for a single man was from £7 to £ 8 per month in the chief centres, such as Cape Town, Port Eliza- beth, Kimberley, and East London. With the greatest care one person may manage to get along upon 9150 a year, but for a married man, with a family, f,3 or f,4 a week means terribly straitened [circumstances. In Cape Town, where it is almost a matter or necessity to live in the suburbs, which involves the expense of a daily railway journey, a house of thiee rooms, with a kitchen, commands not less than 94 per month. House room is not much cheaper in the other leading cities, but it is dear food which is the chief item in the cost of living. The fostering of this state of things by a Pro- tectionist policy checks immigration, and though it suits the farmers, it is the chief draw- back to the industrial development of South Africa. —o— France is just now giving special attention to the development of the submarine torpedo boat. While the Czar proposes that such things should be forbidden among the nations, the French are jubilant over the success they claim to have achieved with this new engine of destruction. There is, of course, nothing novel in the idea of submarine navigation. More than a cen- tury ago there were under-water vessels driven by hand power; and in the war of 1812, the Americans made an unsuccessful attack upon a British frigate by these means. In the last twenty years, however, several countriesjhave been endeavouring to perfect the idea by the aid of modern science, and France seems to have persevered sufficiently to bring practical results well within the possibility of accom- plishment. She has two types of submarine boats, one intended for Coast Defence, and the other for use in the open sea. It is, of course, one thing to build submergible, vessels, and another thing to make use of them in naval warfare. Their chief difficulty seems to be their 'blindness,' or inability to take observa- tions without coming to the surface. But there is no doubt that this drawback will be over- come; and so far, the experiments go to show that there is nothing insuperable in the problem of submarine navigation. The question is how, and in what way, they can be used in naval strategy. Our neighbours evidently think they have found a short cut to arrive upon equal terms with the British Navy, but in any case we may be sure that the introduction of sub. marine boats will speedily lead to inventions specially designed for their destruction. -0- Lord Cranborne dropped a hint the other day that the Volunteers must be prepared for changes and developments, which, though they might not be popular, would be designed for the better organisation of the force. Every- body knows that it is deficient in many essen- tials, but it is chiefly the fault of the War Office, which has always treated the Volunteers as the Cinderella of the military servies. The I Artillery, which has next to no field guns, never by any chance works with the infantry in divisional manoeuvres. The force has no cavalry, and the yeomanry is practically in- Capable, from lack of training, of doing cavalry work in the field. A certain number of per- functory company and battalion drills in a year, do not make men into soldiers. The fact is, the authorities have never given the force a chance to show the stuff that is in it; and as it is assuredly the aim of most volunteers to be worthy Ethe name of soldiers, there is no fear that the suggested improvements will be un- popular, provided they are framed on sensible and practical lines. —o— The Volunteer force will shortly complete the fortieth year of its existence. The preli- minary arrangements were made in the pre- vious year; but it was not until the 12th of May, 1859, that General Peel, then Secretary of War, issued the authority to the Lords Lieutenants of the Counties to allow the rais- ing of Volunteer Corps, which were then limited to a hundred rank and file. At first, the Volunteers were an object of ridicule to the Regulars, who expressed the opinion that they were playing at soldiers; but in the following year the formation of battalions was found desirable, and the limitation as to numbers was removed. When the first returns were made at the end of 1860, there was a total of 119,146 Volunteers enrolled, of whom 106,443 were declared to be efficient. Since then the movement has steadily grown in popularity with all classes, as has also the efficient percen- tage of its members. The most recent returns showed that we had an army of 231,798 citizen soldiers enrolled, of whom no less ohan 224,206, or 95.15 per cent were efficient. -0- .From all parts of the country there are com- plaints of the increase in the cost of labour and material in the building trades. Wageshave gone up to an unprecedented level, and it seems that less work is done per hour than used to be the case-an opposite effect to that which was prophesied on the shortening of the working day. Formerly, a good bricklayer would set from 800 to 1,000 bricks a day, and it now seems to be the rule of the trade to restrict the number to half. Just now the plasterers are indulging in a series of high handed practices, with considerable risk of bringing about a big lock out in the building trades. They have withdrawn their men from some workshops, because the foremen managers are not on the Union, while they have black listed other firms, and will apparently only allow one apprentice for every seven journeymen, so as to reduce competition. The fact seems to be that the men are suffering from too much prosperity and not satisfied with this, are putting forward all sorts of unreasonable demands. It is a short sighted policy, and it is this sort of thing thit is so completely altering the public view of trades unionism generally. If it is to be used to enforce tyrannical demands, then public sympathy is likely to drift over to the new Employers Federation, which such action has brought already into the field, and is likely to still further consolidate. It also ;has other results, as the architects are endeavouring to do without the plasterers, -and the bricklayer might consider that far more wonderful ^things have been invented and applied than ajbrick setting machine.





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