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THE OLD YEAR. THE year 1863 is now numbered with the past. In England it has been a year of peace, and with the exception of the temporary distress in the cotton trade it may be termed a year of prosperity. Politics, what in day's gone by was wont to be the staple commodity of jour- nalists, can hardly be said to have an existence. During the past Session all was politically as inactive as a carborate. Whatever action there was, was ecclesiastical. Tories despair- ing for want of a cry have worked that ofthe Church assaulted" with no little success; though being facitious and artificial it can be but tempoiary, its advantage to them has been that the Cabinet was either divided on Church questions, or afraid to throw itself upon the Liberal side of them, and hence T ories were al- ways in full force, Liberals half-hearted and courting defeat; and the Tories have conse- quently been victors in such battles as did occur Thev were not, however to have ic all their own way. Broad-Church theories are are gaining greater hold than ever on public attention; the immorality of the present sub- scription to what it is confessed no "ne wholly believes, has been forced into notice bv the commemoration of Bartholomew's-day; and the leading Broad Churchmen, both in and out of Parliament, are making themselves heard against the Act of Uniformity. Their present deficiency in numbers is compensated by 1 superior intelligence, and by the tendency of the bs intellect of the nation towards their views; hence they seem to give the polit cal Churchmen even more trouble than Dissenters ( themselves. Against us they can invoke the contempt and spite of (lominancy but the Broad Churchmen are a part of the dominant sect-a part which despises what it deems narrow-mindedness quite as much in Church- men as in Dissenters. We have had, in fact but one public event to distinguish this year-the marriage of the Prince of Wales. That was one, however, which united all parties, and in which the whole nation took unwonted interest. The young Prince was enthusiastically welcomed among us. and the occasion was made one of joy and rejoicing throughout the land. One of its incidents indeed, though due to the popu- lar ardour was painful, for it cost the sacrifice of life. But it ended in the politic il comedy of I a vain attempt to deprive the City of London of the management of its own police, and in the ludicrous farce of a stupid lord Mayor's lamentation over the unwillingness of the Premier to discredit the Baronetage bv adding Mr Alderman Rose to its numbers. One serious result the marriage has also had. for it cannot be doubted that all Englishmen feel a very d fT*rent interest in resisting German at- ] tacks on the independence of Denmark to what they would have done if the King of that country were not the father of our Princess of i Wales. Going to war for a sentiment. like going to war for an idea, mav be inexcusable; vet who of us in this country does not feel very I belligerent at the thought of the brave little nation, now constitutio-, ally governed 'jY the father of our Princess, being hacked to pieces to gratify the selfishness and vanity of Ger- mans who are content to be ruled by despots at horn The blessing cf a bountiful harvest is one now felt by all classes in the reasonable price of bread, and in the greater amount of general employment consequent on less money being needed for food. Two things indeed moderate this great advantage one the higher price of animal food. the other Palmerstonian extrav- I ao-ance in naval and military expenditure, more apparent than real; but this enabled him to I' venture a reduction of the most unequal, im- moral and oppressive of our taxes, and of that I also on the luxury most conducive to social comfort and morality, and most universally enjoyed, The trade of the nation has been greater than ever, more than compensating in the total for the stoppage of Lancashire fact. ories while the sad calamity there has been borne with far less suffering than was ex- pected, and a fair prospect is opened of gra- I dual return to an amount of employment sufficient to supersede the necessity of external aid, at least of the kind which last year was indispensable. Local suffering there must ever be, but general prosperity has been the characteristic of the year. In our own colonies, also, the sky i3 not un- clouded. We have no belief whatever in the splenetic prophecies of Southern sympathisers aespecting danger to Canada from Northern ill- will when the rebellion is suppressed. Coloni- sation, and military watching, of the South, will demand every spare man. But China and Japan, India and New Zealand, have each their war in which Kngland is implicated. The war against the Taepings, in which we are to serve under the orders of the nom nal Em- peror, though it is to cost us nothing (which is something, is one of very doubtful internati- onal morality). That in Japan has already led our officers into excesses which all Christendom condemns, but which Mr Layard and Lord Clarence Paget have justified by contradicting each other. while we may be sure Lords Palmer- ston and Russell will stand by their subordi- nates. A war with the Japanese barons will not however, be a war with cowards or barbari- ans. The raid of the hill tribes in India is pro- bably in no way our fault, and we are bound to protect those whom we choose to govern. Sir John Lawrence's name will probably go far to end that war,which is one of hopeful Christian as well as civil and military promise, for all India. In New Zealand, it is confessed that we are wholly in the wrong. Our representati ve Colonel Browne, took land from the natives which he had no right to take. Sir George Grey restored it. Then followed the inevitable mistake of a half savage people-they thought we yield to fear they combine therefore, to re- cover the independence which the voluntarily gave up for all allegiance to the Queen and we, like the Government at Washington, refuse to tolerate scession. An English wrong, followed by a Maori wrong, has committed us to, we fear a cruel war. The local events calling for notice are easily summarised. Beginning with the body cor- porate, the great work for the year calling for note is the progress made in the carrying out of the new system of sewerage. This is an improvement the sanitary benefits accruing from which, when all is completed, that is the private drainage, as well as the public portion of the work, will be far beyond anything ex- pected or conceived of. The work is now fast approaching completion, and has been carried out in a remarkably short space of time. On New Year's Day, 1863, there was no sign of its commencement—on New Year's Day, 18(54, it is all but completed, and we have every reason for believing that the work is well done. Another feature that will mark the past year as one to be remembered by the inhabitants of Wrexham, is the fact that the streets were cleared of a number of obstructions that have baen a disgrace to the town for a number of generations. We were always advocates for clearing the streets, and we rejoice that it has been accomplished. All we differ in is the mode in which it has been brought about. Had the Market Hall been purchased previous to the clea ing of the streets, a handsome income would have been realised therefrom, which would have gone a long way towards defraying the annual costs of our body cor- porate. The act itself (the clearing of the streets) was a good one-the mode in which it was carried out, compelling the Markst Hall Company to provide for what was driven from the streets, instead of the Corpo ation purchas- ing from them the Market Hall and providing such accommodation, is a deed that the town will always have to regret. The refusal to purchase the Market Hall is the most insane thing our Town Council has vet done, and every year that passes will convince the inhabi- tants more and more of the folly of it. Com- mercially. Wrexham may be said to be in a flourishing condition. We have scarcely felt any ill effect from the cotton famine. New buildings are sprin ring up in all directions, and are taken before they are finished. There are no empty shops. Employment is abundant and waIes good. Peace and plenty prevail on every hand. We have every reason, therefore, to look with satisfaction upon our material condition and the progress we have made dur- ing the past year. Changes, of course, there have been. The hand of death here, as well as else- where, has left many a blank amongst us. Several of our public men have been taken from amongst us during the past year. Foremost in the order of time, and uppermost in our mind, is the death of the late Mr. George Bayley. he first number of this journal for the year 1863 was brought out under his imme- diate superintendence, some of it was written by his hand. He little imagined that it was to be his last. The year has closed by one of our four aldermen being taken suddenly from amongst us. A lderman Evans died on Sunday last. and was buried yesterday—the first day of the New Year. It is worthy of note that he and Mr. George Bayley were antagonists in the municipal election of 1861—both were the recognised leaders of a party—both died the same year, and both died young men.