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TOPICS OF THE DAY. A morning paper "doubts if the Princess Beatrice would listen to any suitor for her hand if, in surrendering it, she must neces- sarily abandon regular association with her mother. So far as Ifrince Henry of Batten- burg is concerned, there is happily no ob- stacle of the kind in existence. He can make his home where he pleases." In fact, to use a homely English phrase, he is of no fixed residence. The Prince of Wales got a good deal of credit a few weeks ago for declining to appeal to Parliament just yet for an allowance for his eldest son. It was not known then that Parliament will be asked next session to give Princess Beatrice an annuity of -£6,000 a year. Two applications of that sort in a single session might have led to some very plain speaking, and a division list that would not have been a pleasant study for royalty. In the January number of To-day there is a manifesto to the working classes, issued by the Social Democratic Federation, and signed by Edward Aveling, Eleanor AVeling, Robert Banner, E. Belfort Bax, John Burns, Herbert Burrows, H. H. Champion, R. P. B. Frost, Amie Hicks, H. M. Hyndman, J. Lane, J. L. Mahon, S. Mainwaring, William Morris, J. F. Murray, H. Quelch, and J. E. Williams. The policy of the Federa- tion is thus stated The business of such organisations as the Social Democratic Federation is not to create re- volution, for that is impossible, but to help to regulate and thereby hasten it and this has to be accomplished by a threefold method. First, by showing sympathy with all popular revolutionary movements, BY spreading and deepening the vague discon- tent which is now simmering all through civilised countries. Secondly, by turning that discontent into an assured hope by teaching the people what are the real causes of their misery. Thirdly, by organising the workers into bodies with the definite single aim of realising Socialism or the freedom of labour." In one of the phrases here used lies the whole explanation of the strength of the Socialist movement. The Federation advo- cates "spreading and deepening the vague discontent which is now simmering through civilised countries." The Socialist leaders, by the vastness and the vagueness of their hopes and promises, appeal to the misery of the world, and there is much misery. The quack who prescribes a universal specific for every disorder is certainly not a sound prac- titioner but he may gather around him crowd of patients by the comprehensiveness of hisjappeal. According to the Pall Mall Gazette, Lord Srby formally declared some time ago that, Niice annexed the New Hebrides, Eng- ^nd regard it as "an unfriendly act'. "t' as >. matter of fact, Lord Derby was a uduig tv^-dW Guinea, and to New Guinea only, when used these words. At present an agreement between the two countries rV-T 8 "^auce or England annexing the W Hebrides but this agreement can be cancelled by muta* COMWlt. Whether it would oe ™> to do ,o, kss France Wnds herself not to use these v, ds as convict settlements, is another ^eV jt is rumoured that the Samoan s00n become German territory. Weh, i. not ? There is already a considerable rjgnnan terinan settlement in these islands. England -ould have annexed them long ago if there ia(j been half as many Englishmen in them. The Church of England of late years has borrowed not a little from Rome on the one hand and from Dissenting bodies on the other; and Watch Night, which used to be a peculiarly Methodist institution, has now been introduced into not a few churches of the establishment. We have not a word to say against a custom which forcibly reminds men of the march of time and the brevity of human life, so long as those who wish to observe it do not force their ob- servances upon other people. I The death is announced of Mr W. H. Pottle, a veteran reformer, who took an I active part in the Reform movement of 1367. More recently he acted as lion. sec. of the association, which succeeded in throwing open to the public several acres of enclosed ground in Regent's-park, and for the part he took in this movement he was not very long ago presented with a testimonial. The Publishers' Circitlar gives an analytical table of books published in 1884, which shows that 4,832 new books were published last year, and 1,541 new editions. Theology stands at the head with 724 volumes, more than one-sixth juvenile works and tales stand second with 603, about one-eighth and educational, classical, and philological books take the third place with 543, or about one. ninth of the total number. Of novels, &c., 408 were published. There has been a new version of the "Corsican Brothers" in Paris. M. Georges Lefevre said something nasty about Corsi- cans. Several Corsicans waited upon him, but he gave satisfactory explanations. The Corsican Deputy, M. Arene, however, Lefevre said he would kick. Arfene with Bonparte, a friend, called upon Lefevre, and boxed his ears. Lefevre bit Arene, and gave him into custody. Bonparte dis- charged a revolver in his own pocket and was also arrested. Grand finale-Arbne fined 200f., and Bonparte lOOf. There is a great deal of quiet dignity in all this. "There is no need," says the Times yes- terday, in a really modest review of itself, that we should now attempt in any way to recall the nature of the long relations of the limes with the public and its persistent influence upon public affairs." Perhaps, however, at this present juncture there is a shrewd discretion in saying nothing about the influence of the Times upon public affairs." It is not a year since the Times, doubtful upon many matters, was at least cock-sure that Ireland would not be included in the Franchise Bill. In another matter the Times is distinctly too modest. We have always," it claims, acted upon the principle of keeping our- selves thoroughly independent of Govern- ment favour and party influence, and shall continue to maintain that principle to the last. The Times is more-it is independent of itself, independent of consistency, inde- pendent of its own words and policies and the only principle it has to maintain is the principle which regulates the turning of a weather-cock as the wind blows. The function of the Times to reflect the opinion of the hour may be a creditable one, but there should be no virtuous boasting about such a work.

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-' The Nile Expedition.