Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

7 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

#ttr fonbtm Comsptiittit I


#ttr fonbtm Comsptiittit I rWe deem it right to state that we do not at all times identify Burselyes with our correspondent's opinions.] In a few days Ministers and their supporters on the one hand, and the Opposition and their supporters on the other, will be engaged in the pleasant occupations incident to a first-class banquet. I presume private copies of the Queen's Speech will then be handed about n confidence at all events the contents of that speech will be pretty generally known among the guests. Meanwhile there can be no harm in guessing at some f the topics which will be referred to in the royal oration. We may reasonably suppose that Her Majesty will speak in the old familiar language about her amicable relations with foreign pawers that she will express her regret at the outbreak in Jamaica, her satisfaction at tranquillity being restored, and her hope that all difficulties will be removed by the com- mission which has been sent out; that she will use somewhat similar language, mutatis mutandis, with regard to Ireland; that she will have words of sorrow- ful regret for the assassination of President Lincoln and the deaths of King Leopold and Lord Palmers- ton that she will also regret the ravages of the cattle- plague, and that she will refer to an approachm? measure to improve the representation of the peop e n the Commons House of Parliament. It is not likely that the last topic will be referred to in enthusi. astic terms in fact there never is any ent usiasm in a royal speech, but whenever the subject comes to be discussed in Parliament there will be plenty of en- thusiasm there. Jamaica and Reform will be the two leading topics of the session, and on both subjects there will necessarily be the expression of a great deal of party feeling. From all I can read and hear the fate of the Reform Bill will be rejection, and then will come a dissolution. It will be a long time before we know what sort of a budget Mr. Gladstone will bring forward, but that does not prevent people indulging in guesses at its probable provisions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, with great consideration for the large class of people who are interested in the wine trade, has already an- nounced that he intends to assimilate the duty on wine in bottle to that on wine in wood, making it Is. a gallon and abolishing the alcholic test. If this pro- position be carried we shall have cheap wine with a vengeance, for not only will the duty be less, but the trade will be extended and competition will do its work. But shall we have port and sherry Already it is said that at least twice as much port is sold in this eountry as is imported into it, and the adultera- tion of sherry is nearly as bad. When the alcholic test is abolished, would it not be well to substitute a test of another kind, a test of genuineness ? The adulteration of port wine is a great public wrong, beyond that chicanery which is common in respect to other things, inasmuch as real port wine is undoubt- edly a most valuable restorative medicine. But what else will Mr. Gladstone do ? It is said that he will knock off a number of remaining Customs' duties, alter the harbour dues, marine insurances, the hack- ney carriage dues, &c.—all or any of which modifica- tions would be in accordance with his general policy. Two distinct interests will also make their claims urgently known, and Mr. Gladstone has doubtless already prepared himself for an assault on the malt tax, and an agitation for a further reduction of the fire insurance duty. The Gazette, among the notices of partnerships dissolved, contains an item of general interest. It is "William Henry Goschen, Louisa Wallroth, George Joachim Goschen, M.P., William Edward Quentali, Charles Hermann Goschen, and Charles Brauas, JLustinfriars, merchants; so far as regards George Joachim Goschen." Mr. Goschen, who has just been elected to the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, is now a member of the Privy Council, neither of which he could be till thif dissolution of partnership was officially announced. He has abandoned a splendid commercial career, and has now committed himself entirely to political life. The Post Office report has been very cheeringly received as giving evidence of the progress of the postal system and of the internal trade of the country, and it is very natural to expect that when the revenue returns for the next quarter come to be made up, the result will, pecuniarily, be a very satisfactory one. As usual, a goodly sum will be handed over to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is pleasant as far as it goes, but when it is considered that this money is procured at the expense of the men employed on the monster establishment, the reflection is not a pleasant one. For about a year the postmen generally, and the letter-carriers especially, have been asking for an increase of pay. I have been looking over the scale of payment which the London men receive, and I must say that, reckoning the dearness of provisions and of rent, and the advance which working men in so many other trades have obtained, an increase would be only fair; while I have reason to believe that in the coun- try the rate of pay is still worse. The Postmaster- General a short time since informed the men that he could not accede to their request, and so the matter stands at present. But it will not rest here. The men have right on their side, and they have the great mass of the commercial community with them, and it is scarcely likely that a* unjustly low scale of pay- ment can be continued. Some time ago a Sporting paper said that two gallant members of a West End Military Club had entered into an agreement to fight for 1,000?. a-side, and that 20M. had been deposited. I can scarcely beliave that even this much was actually true, but that two gentlemen would enter a prize-ring, lower themselves to the level of the ruffians and blackguards who form so large a proportion of the pugilistic fraternity,-this I will not believe. In fact it is impossible, for the very fact of their fighting for money would prove that they were not gentlemen. The ring" happily is for ever lowered in public estimation. All the talk in the world about British pluck and bravery—all the swagger about bull-dog courage and endurance, now goes for very little with the great mass of the public, and the supporters of pugilism are compelled to confine the sounding of its praises to congenial circles. I know not whether the fight alluded to is likely to come off, but if it is to be allowed is will be a disgrace to our magistracy and police, and it would be well to an- nounce publicly that the laws which are presumed to regulate such matters are in future to be considered a dead letter. I believe that arrangements for a contest for the championship are still being made, although one of the combatants is under recognisances to keep the peace. Surely this fact ought to make the police more than ever on the alert. I hear on such good authority that Mr. A. was the author of the Pall Mall" easual" sketches, that it was not A. but B., and that it was neither, but C. wrote them, that I confess my conviction that it was Mr. James Greenwood (of the Pall Mall and Corn- hill), that conviction not being founded on abstract knowledge is somewhat weakened, though I still main- tain the opinion. There is one little fact connected with the authorship which appears to be overlooked, and that is, legally speaking, the Tisit of an amateur casual was a fraud. You will have noticed, perhaps, that an army accoutrement maker, a tradesman in a good way of business, has been playing the amateur casual, but he did not do it well. He merely entered a workhouse, ate some bread and tasted some skilly, and then—naturally enough—got frightened and dis- gusted, and.wanted to make his escape. But Bumble- dom was not to be done in this way, and the amateur casual was given into custody, and brought before the police magistrates, who told him that he had ren- dered himself liable to a month's imprisonment and hard labour. Of course the Pall Mall gentleman did the same, and hence, perhaps, his desire to keep the matter secret, though the Lambeth Workhouse au- thorities would never have the courage to put the law in force against him. A case has just been brought before one of our police magistrates, which is of considerable importance to the public generally. Not to enter into details it will be sufficient to say that a gentleman has been summoned by the Nor:h London Railway Company for not getting out at the station marked on his ticket, and travelling to another a little further on, although the fare was the same. In this particular case no doubt the defendant was wrong, although he ad merely done what he was summoned for in the conviction that he was right, and in order to try the question. But it is time that railway companies were ade to study the interests of the public in this matter, nstead of having if, in the most unfair way, wholly in their favour. Take a case. Call the stations A, B, C, &c. A gentleman gets in at E, intending to go to G, but after the train has started (owing to something subsequently occurring) he changes his mind, and goes on to H. Getting out at H, he offers to pay the difference, but the company actually demand the fare from A. Some companies, at all events, do this, and you may read as much on those awful-looking boards containing the by-laws that you sometimes read while waiting for a train. It is curious, by the way, to notice that all these by-laws are made against the passengers. Read them, and you will not find a single phrase but what is directed against the public. And while on the railway, so far as my pen is concerned, let me say a word about that system of posting up people's names along the line. This is not only punish- ing a person twice, but scores and hundreds of times for the same offence. It is not difficult to imagine that a very respectable and honourable man, a good citizen, good father and h usband—in fact an irreproachable British tax-payer, whose tottlbstone in due time will praise him without falsehood-may onoe in his lifetime be "overtaken in a fault." Smith may, have been I dining with Brown, Jones and Robinson (also respect- able tax-paying Britons), and Smith may in a moment of jollity, on being requested to put out his cigar, have irreverently knocked the porter's hat off. Thereupon Smith is inr for martyrdom. He appears at the police court and pays his price like a Briton, his friends only laughing, and even his children thinking not a bit worse of their pa whom they consider to have been, in the right. Here the matter ought to end. SmithV was undoubtedly wrong, and he has suffered quite enough punishment in the annoyance, to say nothing of the fine, resulting from it. But it is too bad that Smith, who has a nice little villa near one of the stations, should have his name posted all along the line, as having been fined 40s. for assaulting a railway servant in the discharge of his duty. If the railway company are legally right in doing this, they are morally and socially wrong. They fo get the Shakspearian maxim, that it is noble to have a giant's strength, but that it is tyrannous to, use it as a giant. The idea is that these detestably, shabby and revenge- ful bills will act as a warning toothers." But the warning would be just as strong were the name sup- pressed and initials only given, with all oth-r par- ticulars in full. But it would be far better to abandon the system altogether. Mm-


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