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I CURRENT TOPICS. THE SICK AXD WOUNDED. The debate in the House of Commons on the hospital equipment in South Africa, will not remove the impression that there has been inadequate provision made for the sick and wound- ed. Up to quite recently, there was a general belief in this country that the medical arnuigments were ample, and as near perfect as they could be. The testimony of such authorities as toiir William MacCormac, and Mr. Treves, confirmed this belief. and whatever other shortcomings there were, everyone was pleased to think that the sick and wounded would want for nothing that care and foresight could provide for them. The revelations made by Mr. Burdett Coutts, upon his own personal knowledge, therefore came upon the public like a bombshell. Mr. Wyndham was unfortunately unable to refute the general truth of these tales of suffering, but contended that ample provision of medical men, nurses, and stores, had been made by the home authorities, and that what was amiss was caused by the rapid marches, and the difficulties of transport. There is, of course, every allowance to be made for these immense difficulties, but after they had been overcome to a great extent, Mr. Burdett Coutts contends that the same terrible conditions of hospital neglect existed for weeks and weeks afterwards. There is clearly a case for further inquiry, and for instant measures to ensure proper treatment in the future for the sick and wounded. AX AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL YEOMANRY. I Lord Brassey has rendered many services to Britain during the time that he has held the office of Governor of Victoria, aud not the least of them is to be found in the careful observations which he has made of the possibilities of Australia for pur- poses of Imperial defence. One of his ambitions is the creation of an Australian reserve for the Navy, and on this subject he remarks that there are 30,000 men admirably qualified for such service In the event of crews of the ltoyal Navy being summoned home, say for defence of the shores of Britain, these men would take their place. Lord Brassey advocates further the organization of an Australian Imperial Yeomanry, for which he has found splendid material among the riders of the Australian Bush. These men who are perfectly at home in the saddle and are first ra'e shots, are ó6 of the same up-bringing as the Australian horsemen who have been fighting in South Africa and proving themselves a valuable addition to the regular forces of the Empire. For an animal ex- petiditure of C100,000, Lord Brassey thinks it would be possible to retain a force of five thousand men, who would be prepared in gaso of need to serve in any part of the world, DOMINION DAY, I The first of July is Dominion Day, which is always kept as a public holiday in Canada. It is also celebrated in L mdon by a Canadiau dinner, to which more than usual interest attached this week, in view of the striking manner in which the Dominion has come forward in the common interests of the Empire. Canada is happily engaging in an unexampled period of progressive prospericy. When the Dominion was constituted in 181;7 it consisted of the four provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Bruns- wick. It was not until 1S80 that all British possessions in North America, other that New- foundland, were iucluded in the Dominion. In the same way we may hope that the new Australian Common wealth will eventually include all Australasia. During tbe laafc 30 years, the popu- lation of Canada has increased from some three- and-a-half to about five-and-a-half millions. There is however plenty of room for more, as may be judged from the fact that the Dominion is twenty seven times as large as the United Kingdom, aud not far short of the total area of Europe. IMPERIAL TRADE. I The unanimous passage, by the Congress of Chambers of Commerce, of a resolution on the subject of Imperial trade, is an event of some importance, seeing that it embodied a direct request to the Government for investigation of the subject by a Royal Commission. The intro- duction of the question elicited many speeches, one of the most notable of which was that of Mr. Ritchie, who favoured some modifica- tion of the doctrines and practice of the strict Manchester Free Trade school. The resolution which was finally adopted was the result of a com- promise and requested the Government to appoint a Royal Commission composed of representatives of Great Britain, her Colonies, and India, to con- sider the possibilities of increasing and strength- ening the trade relations between the different portions of the Empire. ASHANTI KEHELLION. The rebellion in Ashanti is one of those things which serve to impress upon us the responsibilities of empire and at the same time it affords confirm- ation of the view that. it is necessary to increase considerably the strength of ouc standing army. It should be remembered, however, that apart from the question of trade, Britain is rendering con- spicuous service to the cause of civilisation by bringing countries like Ashanti under the rule of the Queen. We shall be able to tame the fierce barbarians of the class which has given so much trouble at Coomassie, but a more important consideration is the freedom from tyranny and cruelty which we extend to many thousands of people who have been under the iron heel of men whose only standard of right ilt might. For a multitude of weak and defenceless people, Ashanti and the neighbouring country will become in the course of the next few years a paradise ill comparison with what it has beeu. CIIINESE Arl,,Alttq. I The situation in China has bt!en greatly relieved by the return of Admiral Seymour to Tientsin, and the now assured safety of that important place. The losses incurred by his force of about 2,000 men, are undoubtedly serious, amounting as they do to tt2 killed, and over 200 wounded. These losses however are not so severe as was at one time com- monly reported, and the detailed account of the Admiral's advance from Tientsin shows that his small force was constantly in dauger of being overwhelmed. The Chinese appear to have fought better than moot people would have given them credit for, and were, consequently, mowed down hy hundreds, but even this counts for little against overwhelm- ing odds. In the light of after events, Admiral I I Seymour's advance upon Pekin seems to have been more hasty and impulsive than wise, in view of the alarming state of affairs in the: district, but it was of course undertaken in face of the urgent necessity for affording help to the foreign Ministers aud Europeans iu Pekin. The result will no doubt be pointed out as a British failure, and, after the present flare up, the real struggle in China well consist of diplomatic rather than of military operations. THE COMPANIES lIILL. The Companies Bill, which has been referred to the Grand Committee on Trade, embodies some useful reforms, but it is to be feared that Mr. Butcher takes too paugtiine a view of the measure when he says that it will strangle dishonest com- panies in their inception. What the Bill will do if passed in its present form is to prevent persons from acting as Directors without taking shares in the Company, to compel the publishers of a prospectus to disclose the payment of "promotion money" and the consideration therefor, and to prohibit Directors from proceeding to allotment before three-fourths of the capital has been pro- vided in cash. These points are important, and would afford welcome protection to the public, but there are still many others with regard to which legislation would be useful. SCHIMSS FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE. I One of the results of the Boer war, as might have been expected, has been the preparation by individuals of several schemes for national defence. Major General Sir F. Maurice has published the details of his plan for a cycle defence of the coun- try, and hopes to experiment on a large scale next Bank Holiday with some operations between London and the South Coast, which will no doubt excite very considerable interest. Again Dr. Warre, the head master of Eton, h secured a large measure of public attention for a scheme which he lias prepared for enrolling voluntary cadet corps, iu connection with the secondary schools. Something has been done already in this direction, as, for example, at Dr. Warre's own School, but he thinks that the enrollment of cadet corps is capable of great extension, and that the thoroughness of the training might be increased to such an extent that the country would be able, in case of need, to draw from the educated youth of Britain a free supply of men qualified to hold com- missions as officei-A. Dr. Warre's lecture will no doubt have the effect of strengthening the hand of Lord Meath, and those who are acting with him in endeavouring to induce the War Office to modify their unsympathetic attitude towards cadet 1 corps.


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