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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

13 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

09nt fonion Comspnimt


09nt fonion Comspnimt (We deem it right to state that we do not at all times iteatify ourselves with our Correspond¡,nt a opinions.] The early days of September are associated with memories widely different from those which cluster round the time of barley harvest in this country. They recall battles, sieges, and revolutions—events of tremendous import to more than one empire on the Continent of Europe. It was on Saturday the 3rd of September, 1S70, that the news spread with electrical rapidity throughout London of the surrender of the Euiperor Xapoleon and the entire French army at Sedan. Anything like the excitement which that intelligence produced had not been witnessed since the overthrew of the first N apúleon at Waterloo, more than half a century before. The battle which led to that capitulati 'n was one of the mod; sanguinary ever fought. Marshal MacMahon, at the Emperor's com- mand, had conducted the French forces to the Belgian frontier with a view of relieving Bazaine, whom the Germans had shut up in Metz, but the Prussian armies, numbering a quarter of a million of men, had contrived to surround MacMahon and to drive him into the little town of Sedan. Bringing up their artillery on the heights, they, on the 1st of September, poured down such a murderous fire upon the closely- packed rnifsts that the scene was one more of indiscrimi- nate massacre than of ordinary fighting. Dr. W. H. Russell describes it as the most terrible slaughter which he ever saw in the whole of his experi- ence. Men were mown down helplessly in com- panies, regiments, and battalions, and the evening closed upon the ruins of the French Empire. On the morning of the 2nd of September the capitulation was signed by General Wimpffen, Marshal MacMahon having been wounded. On the 3rd, as above stated, the news reached London, and on the 4th it became generally known in Paris. That fine autumnal Sunday will never be forgotten by those who were spectators of what passed in the French capital. The people assembled in a vast multitude in the Place de la Concorde, invaded the Corps Legislatif, which voted the dethronement of the Imperial dynasty, and then crossed the bridge to the Tuileries, from which the Empress fled. Only six weeks before, the Emperor had set out from that st itely palace with a promise to enter Berlin as a conqueror, and now he was a captive in the hands of his enemies, and his wife was a fugitive and an exile. A Government of National Defence was proclaimed, and the city prepared for that long siege which was then seen to be inevitable. Two days after the Revolution of Paris, the turret-ship Captain foundered in the Bay of Biscay, only thirteen out of 500 souls on board escaping to tell the sad story. There is another date in early September which is of interest from a national point of view. On the 8th of that month in the year 1855, the'allied armies of England and France, after eleven months' siege captured the re- doubtable fortress of Sebastopool, the chief bulwark of Russia in the Black Sea, and very soon afterwards razed its fortifications to the ground. Amongst the many ways of enjoying a holiday, one of the most agreeable seems to be that which is pur- sued by parties of anglers, who hire a specimen of naval architecture known as a punt. There are many who know the peaceful look of a Thames punt and its freight. The square-bottomed craft is moored on the stream, persons in the possession of leisure sit on kitchen chairs, and contemplate the floats at the end of their liae3. The cattle which wade knee- deep into the water, and group themselves beneath the willows do not speak more eloquently in the en- joyment of peace than d.) the anglers, in one of these constructions. High above the reach of the tide the river is free to all, opening up wide aerial prospects, and admitting fresh currents of atmosphere. Thus the stream is the recreation place of thousands who, but for the Thames would scarcely know what exercise and natural beauty meant. The bends in the river present the most beautiful and interesting panoramic view. It is picturesque whether it is flowing past farmsteads, or where in the midst of a vast population it mirrors great public buildings, and is studded with the dark red sails of lighters and heavy craft, or shoots under the bridges where the traffic of the capital throngs. The great work of English elementary education seems to be making satisfactory progress. According to the report of the Committee of Council, there are now more than three millions of children at school every day, and the standard of proficiency is being gradually raised by the greater energy arid completer methods now introduced into all the schools. The Education Act was passed in the Session of 1870, and in the six years ending December last, more than £::>00,000 had been granted for building purposes. The schools now in course of erection will accommodate over a quarter of a million additional children. The School Boards have borrowed nearly eight millions sterling for the purpose of providing suitable buildings. There are nearly 30,000 teachers, and although the supply is rather deficient at present, there is every prospect of its soon being an adequate one. At the end of year there were 3,323 certificated teachers, 30,626 pupil teajhen, and 2.921 assistants. Th* re- port also snows that 1,2u7 School Boards in England have received rates amounting to £ 2,695,These figures coHvlusively show tba-t the work of National educafi oil rMttv A ion hence there w u* Lib D6ither" hevrcrs 01 wood nor drr.wers of water in this cousuy Money has often been described us the sinews of war; yet it must be obvious that neither of the two nations now fighting it out on the plains of Bulgaria can have very much money to spare. Turkish credit collapsed two years ago, and credit upon the -•ck Exchanges of Europe does not stand high. Yet if a State is once at war, it never seems in the least hampered by want of money. From the course of the existing struggle, it would be little short of a miracle if it terminated this year. If, then, it is to be sus- pended during the winter months, it will involve an immense strain upon the resources of both com- batants, and it will be an object of interest with financiers to see how they will bear it. Meanwhile the efforts which the Turks have made to repel the invader have not only astonished that invader himself, but has surprised the whole of the civilized world. The Turks in Europe and in Asia cannot number a population of more than twelve millions, all told, and the Christians under their sway are not allowed to bear arms. Yet by making a levy en masse they have succeeded in putting into the field larger armies than those of the Czar, with the whole of his vast terri- tories to draw from, extending from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Turks, too, are fighting for life itself, and for what they believe to be the true religion. Their shouts of "Allah il Allah I upon going into battle show by what feelings of enthusiasm if not even of fanaticism they are animated. Naval warfare will unquestionably depend more in future upon the celerity and skill with which sub- marine engines are worked than upon the range or calibre of guns or the thickness of armour-plating. At one time naval battles were won by manoeuvring, and very seldom depended upon the mere weight of metal. Kelson's ships were generally inferior in size to the foreigners whem he encountered; it was his marvellous skill in placing them which gained him his victories. From his quarter-deck, with the pennon flying over him he directed the movements of his men-of-war by signal, and whilst so occupied on the quarter-deck of the Victory at the battle of Trafalgar he was shot down. Nelson could see his foes, and dealt with them accordingly, but it would be different now. A naval captain's enemy would not be an opposing ironclad, but an unseen destroyer laid low in the water. It seems, however, that even this diffi- culty is to be dealt with by a submarine vessel which can at pleasure be moved on or under the surface. It can descend to any required depth, and there either remain stationary or move backwards and forwards at any level. The object of the imentor is to move along under water, and lodge a torpedo under the bottom of an enemy's ship. Should this mode of fighting at sea- be adopted, no possible skill on the part of an admiral would avail him in the winning of a victory. Tae rise in the Bank rate of discount has once more directed attention to the general trade of the country and to the fact that the clearing-house returns maintain their position. This shows a fair amount of busines daÏtg, although some might be inclined to describe it as of a hand-to-mouth character. If this be so, it may help to explain the paucity of bills, tran- sactions being to a larger extent than usual of a ready-money nature, and settlements being chiefly made by means of cheques. Of late a considerable drain of gold to the continent has gone on, aa" well as shipments of sovereigns to New York, so that in raising the rate of discount, the Bank of England was merely protecting its reserve. The ordinary autumnal efflux of sovereigns into the circulation has now com- menced, and at a time when the reserve in the Bank was not unusually strong, and the foreign bullion currents were adverse, the influence of that efflux was a powerful one. Still there seems no reason to antici- pate sharp caanges. The autumn drain is a gradual process, aad although there is not such an improve- ment in trade demands as might be wished, the dis- count rates in the general market, owing to the ballien movements, show a hardening tendency. The recent storms and floods have, it is said—and statistios have been adduced to prove the assertion— affected the quality of our harvest, as well as the quantity yielded. It is therefore satisfactory to know that there is an abundance of corn in Southern Rus- sia. The average export of grain from that country has risen within tho last three years 143 million bxuheit. The export. in previovi yean from the Black Sè; and .,18 Sea of Azof were about sixty-two millions; this year, in consequence of the War, only twelve millions have been sent out. It is therefore computed that fifty million bushels of grain are now in the southern provinces awaiting railway transport. How to get this corn into circulation has been a matter for anxious consideration, and at a conference of delegates from the ehief railway companies the con- clusion arrived at was that the train service on the principal lines must be increased from 130 to 190 per day. It was, however, held to be doubtful at the conference whether, looking at the war traffic, and the extraordinary demands upon the resources of the iines, the companies could undertake eren so impor- tant a task as the conveyance of these vast quantities of grain. Thia subject affects one which is of interest in every household of the kingdom, and that is the price of bread. Wheat is now dearer than it has been for many years, and there are those who say that it must yet become dearer. Still it must be borne in mind that the present price of wheat is a speculative one. It be,, an to rise at the time when Russia declared war against Turkey, on the assumption that war must make corn dear. This was the case in 1854, when we went to war ourselves. Bread rose at once, and the rise was assisted by the results of the indifferent harvest of the previous year. The supplies from Southern Russia have not been so numerous during the pa-t few months, it is true, but Germany has not failed us, and the shipments from Roumania and Turkey have fallen little short of .those of twelve months ago. It should also be remembered that what a province or two in Europe cannot yield, a province in India, a colony in Australia, or a state in America can easily make up; and so great are the equalising forces of modern production and modern intercom- munication, that hardly anything short of a bad harvest season all over the northern hemisphere will cause a permanent addition to the price of wheat. Our ports have been thrown open to the markets of the world and with the proverbial wealth and credit of Great Britain there will be no difficulty in procuring maple supply of food for the busy people of these islands.



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