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--.,Cbe (Buarbtan.


Cbe (Buarbtan. (IALON WRTH GALON." Solva, Thursday, FEB. 15, 1906. ç Many officers of Continental navies must have been amused by the British Admir- alty's attempt to surround with an air of mystery the building of the new battleship Dreadnought, launched on Saturday by the King at Portsmouth. In all proba- bility, plans of the Dreadnought were in the office of every naval department of Europe, yet the newspapers at home were forbidden to publish any definite descrip- tion of the vessel prior to the launch, and were compelled to hedge with we under- stand," "it will probably be found," and so on, a narrative which shewed that while pledged to declare that nothing was known, the writers were really in posses- sion of all the main facts. This affectation of secrecy is one of the results of the pas- sage of the Official Secrets Act. It was an excellent measure, and ought to have been passed long before, but Government officials have read into it an intention which was never in the mind of Parlia- ment, and many of them tremble like a leaf if a reporter only asks them the tima. The theory is that all this secrecy is to the advantage of the State, but in reality it has an effect which is precisely the re- verse. There are ways of obtaining infor- mation without knocking at the doors of the Admiralty or War Office, and these departments may be very sure that if there It any prohibited news worth having, the newspapers will have it in any event. If it were given to them by responsible officials, the papers would scrupulously re- spect any intiumtion that publication on a particular matter was not in the interest of the State, but as it is, no discretion is im. posed, and the Press, not having been in- formed of the reasons for secrecy, publishes the whole story which officialism has prac- tically challenged it to obtain if it can. Complaint is made that last year two German liners beat the remainder of the Trans-Atlantic Shipping Co., ineluding the British. If the figures quoted from a Berlin paper are exact, they are not very satisfactory to this country, but there seems to be still an opportunity for British Companies to increase their revenue by offering inducements to the second and third class traffic. It is frequently said by people who have crossed the Atlantic thal the companies lavish their attention upon the first class passengers, and that the remainder are a very minor considera- tion. This is an anomaly which certainly needs correction, and no doubt the first companies to adopt the more enlightened policy will be rewarded for their enter- prise. < There is much practical wisdom in the injunction that you should "never pro- phecy unless ye know," and the recent general election has confirmed its sagacity by surprising a good many people. Mr. Chamberlain is said to have predicted be- fore the elections that the Liberals would come in, and remain in office two years; but it has not been stated whether or not he has modified his opinion in the light of more recent events. Other members of Parliament have ventured upon predictions with regard to the situation which the elections have created, and among them Mr. Arnold-Forster, who declared at Thornton Heath that Tariff Reform was one of the certainties of the future. A good many people cherish a similar belief, but Mr Arnold-Forster went a good deal further, and predicted that Tariff Reform would be accomplished before very long by the help of the Trade Unions. The Liberals, meanwhile, have good reason to be contented with the present, and people who are in that position do not generally trouble themselves about prophesies. With the swing of the pendulum, it may be the Conservatives will come in again, and then it will be the turn of the Liberals to pro- phecy. There appears to be some reason to hope that that the Council of the Royal Agri- cultural Society, who have experienced more than their share of difficulties, may find themselves at the end of the year in the position of having a substantial bal- ance in hand. They have been guaranteed against loss in respect of the show at Derby; generous contributions to the prize fund have been made by the Derby local committee, and the various societies; the Council are hopeful that the appeal which which they are now making throughout the country will meet a liberal response, and there is a good sum to be realised from the sale on the Show ground at Park Royal. Of course the product of the sale is certainly not the same as a fresh access of income but in any event it will be an unaccustomed experience for the Council to find themselves with a balance. During the past few years the drain upon their fi- nances has been so severe as to exhaust the reserve fund. It is very necessary that that anxiety should be removed from the minds of the Council and a serious obstacle to the Society's progress will be with- drawn if sufficient donations are forth- coming to meet this particular need. General Booth's theory that crime is a disease can only be accepted with limita- tions but surely if ever there was a case to which the opinion applied it is that of Frances Melville, aged 74, described as an anxious looking woman, who was con- victed at the North London Sessions of stealing a pair of shoes from Whiteley's. It was stated by a detective that the wo- man was possessed of means, and had no occasion to steal, yet she had been convict- ed ten times of shop-lifting, and in the majority of cases bad been sent to gaol. The vast majority of people would say that the poor woman was insane-a victim of monomania-and that an asylum, not a prison, was the proper place for her, but such a possibility does not seem to have occurred to the judge, who passed the am- azing sentence of three years' penal ser- vitude. The case recalls that of a Jane Cakebread, who was convicted at London police courts of drunkenness on almost in- numerable occasions, and was generally sent to prison. At length a magistrate ac- cepted the offer of Lady Henry Somerset to see what she could do with the woman. What the magistrates had failed to discover Lady Henry Somerset perceived at once, namely, that Jane Cakebread was insane, and she was removed to an asylum, where she remained until her death.




Daugleddy Petty Sessions.

Letter to the Editor.

Family Notices


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