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THE ISLANDS OP TRISTAN DA CTTITHA. There are a large number of people who regard as flat blasphemy a suggestion that Britain should abandon any portion of her dominions, but, except for this sentimental objection, there would appear to be noth- ing very alarming in the rumour that the islands of Tristan da Cunha are to be relinquished as part of the British Empire. It may safely be assumed that the inhabi- tants are attached to their home, because we know from other examples* that the more bleak and desolate the country in which people are born the more loth they are to leave it, and the more they long to return if they happen to be away from it. There was a striking illustration of that fact a few years ago when some Lap- landers visited Loudon. Their home was in the neighbourhood of the Arctic Circle, in a country containing vast areas of deso- late tundra and dreary swamps, where their condition wss such as would be regarded by the vast majority of Europeans as al- together miserable. They came to London at the height of one of the most beautiful summers, and every effort was made to promote their happiness; yet they yearned day and night for their native land, and could not be prevailed upon to settle in Britain for all the wealth of the Indies. The situatiion of our fellow subjects in Tristan da Cunha is more cheerful than that of these Laplanders mainly because the islanders have quite a tolerable climate, but they are shut out from all communica- tion with the rest of the world, and the recent report that they are short of pro. visions tends to shew how limited are their resources. It is suggested, as an argument against abandonment, that the islands would be useful as a coaling station in the event of a maritime war, hut a reference to the map suggests the reflection that it is very improbable any of our ships would find themselves in that latitude.

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