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-I PONTYPOOL. I

PONTNEWYDD.I

;::I CURRENT TOPICS.

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;I CURRENT TOPICS. I THE LABOURS OF ROYALTY. I There are a good wany people who would like to take their chance of that uneasiness which is said to affect the head that wears a crown. particularly in Britain, where a constitutional monarch is assured of the loyalty and devotion of his subjects. But whatever may be the case with the monarch's head, it is evident that the hand of a sovereign ruler must occasionally become very tired. It is said, for instance, that the President of the United States on a recent, occasion under- went the ordeal of shaking hands with five thousand people and—not to speak of the experiences of the Duke of Cornwall and York in Australia—there appears to be every likelihood that King Edwaid will be provided with more than sufficient manual exercise if he undertakes to continue the task of which he kindly undertook a portion this week, when he presented three thousand medals to the troops. MR. CARNEGIE'S PESSIMISTIC VIEWS. I Mr. Andrew Carnegie's article in The Nineteenth Century" presents rather a doleful picture of the position and prospects of British industries and commerce. The primacy of Britain, he tells us, is lost in all except sea-going ships, and the danger signal is up with regard to British credit. Mr. Carnegie does not appear to Ibiok much of the value of our foreign trade, and he tells us that conquering new territory for markets abroad, is simply "chasing rainbows," which seems to be an equivalent for the unprofitable occupation of ploughing the sands." This is not a case of learning from the enemy, because Mr. Carnegie's sympathies must be very largely British, and, while we allow a liberal discount on the pessimistic tone of his article, and remember that he has long resi 'ed in a country whose fiscal policy is totally different from our own, at the same time it is desirable that his warnings should not pass altogether unheeded. We do not believe that British character has lost its old strength and vitality, but there are, no doubt, some respects in which we could improve our methods, and perhaps one of them is to be found in the direction of a consolidation of the resources of the Empire, both for purposes of defence and with regard to trade. USEFUL BIRDS. J France has approached the various Governments of Europe, with a view to affording international protection to birds that are useful to agriculturists. The vexed question as to what birds are useful, and what are harmful, has never yet seemed possible of solution. Some years ago, an indiscriminate attack was rn4de upon all birds in France, but the destructiveness of insects so enormously increased that a committee was appointed to investigate into the subject. The result was the decision that though birds could do without men, men could not do without birds." There has, however, always been a great diversity of opinion with regard to the usefulness, or otherwise, of certain birds. The rooks for instance are regarded in many parts of this country as enemies, and some farmers lay down poison for them, but in Germany the habits of the rooks have been made the subject of a searching inquiry, and the verdict of the agricultural authorities is altogether in their favour. Whether by international co-operation or otherwise, farmers will welcome any efforts to arrive at the real truth of these matters, but the use, for dress or ornamental purposes, of skins or feathers of birds, that are declared to be useful to agriculturists, should be strictly prohibited in all countries. LORD ROSEBERY AS AN AUTHOR. [ Lord Rosebery was Foreign Secretary before be was 40, and Prime Minister at 47. What he may be in the future it might not be easy to say, although it would not be a very bold thing to say that the majority of people expect to see him again at the head of the Government. But in any event, his fame is established by his books, the delightful little work 011 Pitt, which is worthy to rank among the supreme literature of the world, and the valuable contribution to the Napoleonic literature, wherein he describes the life of the Emperor from his surrender to the British until the memoiable evening at St. Helena, when that splendid prodigy yielded his last breath. A great storm was raging outside, which shook the frail huts of the soldiers as with an earthquake, tore up the trees, which the Emperor had plauted, and uprooted the willow under which he was accustomed to repose." Everybody who has read either or both of these books, must long for more from the same pen, and it is good news—if it be true—that Lord Roseberv will publish next year a larger work on the life of Napoleon. Of all the writers who have devoted themselves to this fascinating subject, not one is more admirably qualified to produce a com- prehensive work which would be acceptable to the British public. ASSOCIATED CHAMBERS OF AGRICULTURE. I ihere is a good deal of force in the contention submitted this week to the Foreign Office, by a J deputation from the Associated Chambers of Commerce, that, in the settlement following the recent hostilities in China, reparation should be sought in increased facilities for trade, rather than in a money indemnity. It is very easy to impose a money indemnity upon China, but it is not precisely the same thing as receiving the money. facilities for trade would be of advantage, not only to the European nations, but to China, whereas the payment of a large fine might result in renewed complications, as for example those which might arise from a secret treaty between China and some other Power, the latter providing the money wherewith to pay the indemuity, and China granting in return concessions which might be inimical to the interests of other States. ° FOREIGN HORSES PURCHASED. Jn reading reports on the debate on the Army j Estimates, one cannot fail to be struck by the very large number of horses that have been purchased U1 Austra.ia, Hungary, and the United States. It was stated by Mr. Brodrick that the horses purchased in Britain were the best, and those obtained from Canada appear to have been perfectly satisfactory. One can only suppose that there were not enough horses at home and in our Colonies to meet the demand, and, if it is so, the subject calls for some consideration from the Government. If we happened to be at war with a great Power we should not be able to count apon a foreign supply, although it is evident from our I experience m South Africa, that we might be in urgent need of a large number of horses.

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