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Mr. Justice VAI'GHAN WILLIAMS, at the Montgomeryshire Assizes on Saturday, re- ferred to the return of criminal statistics recently published, and, while defending the practice of inflicting short sentences, and declaring his intention to adhere to it as far as possible, admitted that it did not produce the desired effect in the case of habitual criminals. But neither, he contended, did long sentences, which he regarded as barbarous and clumsy." His view was that long sentences should be continued, as at present in the case of habitual criminals, but that more attention should be given during the term of imprisonment to the reformation and im- provement of these classes. We are here reminded of the late Lord COLERIDGE'S remarks ten years ago before a company of discharged prisoners, when he said there were few things more frequently borne in upon a judge's mind than the little good he could do the criminal by the sentence he imposed. These sentences often did nothing but unmixed harm, though he was sure that throughout the country the greatest pains had been taken to make our prisons as useful as possible in the way of being reformatories. But, as a matter of fact, they were not so. It is commonly supposed that ignorance is an important cause to crime, and after trying numerous and costly experiments in criminal procedure, from the most brutal and barbarous, to some which are compara- tively humane, without obtaining any appreciable improvement, we are now enthusiastically convinced that education is the magic wand which is to convert criminals into honest men, and are spending millions a year with that desirable object. But to make vicious and abandoned people happy it has generally been supposed necessary first to make them virtuous. But why not reverse this order ? Why not make them first happy and then virtuous ? If happiness and virtue be inseparable, the end will as certainly be attained by one method as the other, and it is, most un- doubtedly, much easier to contribute to the happiness and comfort of persons in a state of poverty and misery, than, by admonitions and punishments, to improve their morals. ♦ — Hie Machynlleth Urban District Council still fail to see the error of their ways, and the majority of the members are determined to make some terrible leap in the dark, although, in fairness to them, we must excuse them for the reason that they cannot see it, and we naturally feel for them in their lack of ability, in this direction. The result of their ungentle- manly proceedings a month or so ago was the amusing farce witnessed in the Board room on Tuesday, the title of which was no clerk no books no business! What prompted this scene was the dismissal-if it amounted to that—of the clerk, Mr DAVID EVANS, in order to make room for a Radical. We will treat this foolish act with the contempt it deserves, and pass on to the next business. But we cannot refrain from mentioning that having dismissed the clerk they had the audacity to ask him to carry out the duties of the office until they appointed his successor. To his credit, be it said, he kindly acceded to the request. But he did not attend the meeting on Tuesday, thinking that was the best course to pursue under the circumstances. The books, according to the standing orders, remain in his possession until another clerk is appointed, and consequently they were, on Tuesday, conspicuous by their absence. The result was that the minutes of the previous meeting were not confirmed, and after performing a ludicrous dialogue the Council rose without transacting any business, not even appointing a clerk or collector. As was only to be expected, there was only one application read on Tuesday for the appointment, and that came from the favourite nominee of the Radical members. Mr EVAthe late clerk, did not apply for the post, for the reason, we presume, that having declared the appointment to bean annual one, it was only too apparent that the}' were anxious to get rid of him, and so provide room for someone else. We must at once confess that how any professional man can take office under such circumstances is beyond our comprehension, and we should much like to know the opinion of the Incorporated Law Society upon such a proceeding. We were always under the impression that it is the chief aim of most solicitors to uphold the dignity of the profession. May this always be so. Having said that much we await the decision that will be arrived at on Monday next with interest, notwith- standing the truth of the old adage that coming events cast their shadows before." The appointment of collector has also been adjourned for three meetings, and this piece of bye-play will certainly land the Council in a difficulty, as most of the unpaid rates will soon be irrecoverable, if they are not already so. In order to arrive at an opinion on this matter it is necessary to state the facts. Briefly stated, according to our information, they are as follows: At the first meeting of the present Council there were three candidates for the post, viz., Mr D. DAVIES WILLIAMS, his son (a lad sixteen years of age), and another. While the appointment was in abeyance the first- named of the three candidates was returned as a Radical member on the Council, and therefore could not act if appointed. The appointment has still to be made, and we are inclined to assume that Mr WILLIAMS will again be the can- didate. May the time be a suitable one. Our j'eaders are fully capable of drawing the inference to be deducted from this course of action. One other amusing episode of the meeting on Tuesday was the appearance of the collector pro. tern, to have the accounts passed, in view of the Govern- ment audit, which is fixed for to-day. The Council could not do this, so that the auditor will have to listen to some plausible excuse. Truly this is a queer kettle of fish. +-

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NOTES BY THE WAY.

WELSHPOOL.

ILLNESS OF COL. HARRISON.

LLANDYSILIO.

. THE OAK