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\ WEEKLY NO T E S . ..-....---'-../'.


WEEKLY NO T E S The opening of the Great Central Railway this week provides another link between Lon- don and the North. The new line which is an extension of the old Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway, has been constructed in less than five years, and it is probably the last of the great Trunk Railways, communicating with the North, which will have a London terminus. When the Queeu came to the Throne there was no railway with a Met ropolitan terminus. The Great Western was the first with its station at Paddington, but this was not opened until 1838, and there are officials still living who had charge of the arrangements for the Queen's first railway journey between Paddington and Windsor. fhen followed the London and Birmingham, now the North Western, and the Midland Rail- way was the last to extend its operations to London In 1868. Now the Great Central makes a further addition to the already excellent sygfcems provided by the London and North Western, the Great Northern, and the Midland Railways. There will consequently be no lack of competition, and this always tells for the public benefit. It is precisely this stimulating effect which is so badly needed on the Southern lines from the Metropolis. Possibly the Great Central may some day continue its system to the coast so as to tap the traffic between the North and the Continent, and in that case it would render a valuable service to the South east counties of England. Speaking generally there is not much scope within the narrow limits of these islands, for fresh enterprise with regard to main line routes, but on many rail. ways, and especially in the South, there is ample room for improved rolling stock, and cheaper and better services. —e— The addition of nearly three millions to the Navy Estimates for 1899-1900 makes the financial outlook even more formidable than was anticipated. The demands of the four great spending departments for the coming year are now published, and from these figures it is certain that the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer will require an additional revenue of between five and six millions. It is scarcely possible that so large a sum can be met without suspending some of the annual payments towards the reduction of the National Debt. It is not a sound policy according to the purists of finance, but it is argued that the gradual dis- appearance of consols is a serious inconvenience to bankers and others, seeing the large amount of investments which are required to be placed in Government securities. Since the year 1817 the debt, then standing at 886 millions has been reduced to 634 millions. In the meantime there have been interim additions of 366 millions, so that the total amount paid off is nearly 620 millions in the course of 81 years. In point of size our National Debt now ranks third in the world, France coming first with a burden of 1,088 millions, Russia being second with 643 millions. After this country the next in order are Italy with 516 millions, Spain 369, the United States, 363, Austria, 348, and Russia, 318, the figures representing millions sterling. Everyone of these shows an increase in the last decade, with the exception of this country which has paid off more in the last ten years, than in any former period. —o— The Budget of 122 millions now in prospect reminds one of the really immense cost of gov. erning the world. The British Empire costs more to manage than any other nation, the total annual amovtnt required being not less than 270 millions. The Germans come next with an expenditure of all the various States of about 220 millions. This appears to be a large sum, but no other Government in the world is carried on so economically, or does so much for the people as is the case in Germany. France has requirements reaching to about 140 millions in the year, but her monster debt is largely responsible for the costliness of her Government. In France there is a bewildering variety of taxes upon almost everything. The expenditure in Russia is less readily ascertain able but it is probably not less than 150 millions. If we take the six great European Powers, the United Kingdom, France, Ger- many, Austria, Italy, and Russia, they show an expenditure of about £ 800,000,000, and if we add in all the smaller States, they bring up the total to over 900 millions. The expenditure in the United States is close upon 100 millions. Asia does not readily lend itself to statistics, but if we take in that Continent and the rest of the world, we have, according to the most reliable figures, a grand total of between 1,300 and 1,400 millions as the cost of governing our terrestrial sphere. This after all is less than a pound a year for every individual, but this takes no account of the demands of local bodies. Some nations of course cost more to govern than others. The European coats f,2 5s. Od. a year for every individual, while the American can manage on 91 9s. Od., and for the dark and yellow races it is probably not more than 3s. or 4s. per head.

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