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@ur onbolt CorrtspciiiJenf.


@ur onbolt CorrtspciiiJenf. [We deem it right to state that we do not at all timea Identify ourselves with our Correspondent's opinions.] The election of a Speaker of the House of Commons is an event which does not often occur, and when it takes place it is surrounded with every element of interest. A Speaker generally fills the chair many years, so that such an event as the choice of a new one is of comparatively rare occurrence. Mr. Manners Sutton and Mr. Shaw Lefevre each pre- sided over the deliberations of the House eighteen years, Mr. Denison fifteen, and Sir H. Brand twelve. The shortest Speakership in modem experience was that of Mr. Abercromby, created on his retirement Baron Dunfermline, and he held the chair only from 1835 to 1839. He was, however, a man of mature years when elected, and the labours of the chair are, as Sir Henry Brand de- scribed them in his retiring speech, severe. They were not so exacting half a century ago as they are now; but at any time they were certain to tell upon a man of advanced age. The post is one of great historical importance and of high and dignified responsibility, and it is not held under the Crown. Thegentleman appointed to it does not seek re-election at the hands of his constituents. The House of Commons provides for its presiding officer a sumptuous residence within the Palace of Westminster, a salary of £ 5000 a year, and a pension of X4000 per annum on his retirement. It elects him to preserve order and decorum in its ranks, and no matter what the calibre of the member may be, from the Prime Minister to the representative of the obscurest borough, he must bow to the ruling of the Speaker. The Speaker is generally selected from the party in power, but when once in the chair he is expected to show the strictest impartiality. He is not dispossessed of his office unless under very strong reasons. A remarkable illustration of this occurred in the case of Mr. Manners-Sutton. He was elected in 1817, when the rule of the Tory party, which had then lasted half a century, seemed likely enough to continue. In 1830 came the French Revolution, followed by the Reform agitation in this country, which led to the passing of the Act of 1832, and the election of a Parliament in which the Tories of that day were in a hopeless minority. The Radicals wished to have a Speaker in accord with the dominant spirit of the new House of Commons, but the Whigs decided to re-elect Mr. Manners-Sutton, because, although a Tory, it was held to be advisable that a man of experience should be in the chair in a Parlia- ment composed of such heterogeneous and turbulent elements. But in the course of that Parliament the Whig Ministers fancied they detected partiality in the conduct of Mr. Manners-Sutton, and at the beginning of the next they elected Mr. Abercromby in his stead. The truth is that a Speaker of the House of Com- mons, if he wishes to maintain his position, cannot afford to have the slightest suspicion of par- tiality associated with the discharge of his duties. The short speech delivered by the Prince of Wales in the House of Lords on the dwellings of the poor has created a very good impression. The fact that the Heir-Apparent is to be a member of the Royal Com- mission to inquire into this subject shows the hold which it has obtained upon the attention of all classes. As Mr. Bright said of the visits of the Angel of Death during the Crimean War, this question has attracted notice not only in the cottage of the humble, but in the castle of the noble and the mansion of the wealthy. The Heir-Apparent has lately, in order to satisfy himself by personal inspection, gone into some of the worst dens of St. Pancras and Holborn. He has made himself acquainted with phases of life strongly contrasting with those to which he has been accustomed for more than forty years, and which suggest very different pictures from those to be wit- nessed in the immediate neighbourhood of the palaces of Buckingham and St. James's. Mr. John Hullah, who died last week at his residence in Grosvonor Mansions, Pimlico, suggests by the mention of his name a resurrection of a controversy now more than forty years old. Mr. Hullah introduced in 1841 a new method of teaching singing, which being made the subject of a great deal of criticism, was described by those who did not like it as Hullaballoo." But Mr. Hullah persevered, and with such success in his efforts to make music a customary part of school instruction, that this was recognised by the Education Act of 1870. Under its provisions Mr. Hullah was appointed Inspector of Elementary Schools, a position which he filled to a period not long anterior to the time of his lamented death. Mr. Hullah was 72 years of age when he died, and his loss is regretted by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, as that of an amiable and accomplished man, as modest and unobtrusive as he was able in his pro- fession, and whose originality of intellect will leave its results for many a year to come. Since Parliament assembled there has been a rush of bye-elections, the result of which is thus far to leave parties exactly where they were. No doubt the most interesting contest of the whole is that at Brighton, where Mr. Marriott, who was returned at the general election as a Liberal, now appeals to his old constituents as a Conservative. This experience is not a frequent one. The present generation does not remember Sir Francis Burdett, for many years Radical member for Westminster, who in his maturer years became a Tory, and as such suc- cessfully appealed to the electors of his con- stituency. That was in May, 1837; but at the general election two months later the hon. baronet described in the House of Commons by Daniel O'Connell as "an old renegade," migrated to North Wilts, which he represented as a Conservative during the remainder of his political career. Anothar instance of a changing faith was in the case of Mr. Milner Gibson, returned for Ipswich at the general election of 1837 as a Conservative, but two years later he appealed to his constituents as a Radical, being however unsuccessful. The right hon. gentleman afterwards represented Manchester and Ashton-under- Lyne in the advanced Liberal interest. Prior to the great University Boat Race, which is to be rowed on the Thames on the 5th April, an event of considerable importance in the aquatic world, will be brought to an issue on the 10th of March. This is the great sculling match between Wallace Ross, the Canadian, and George Bubear, of Barnes, the former conceding the Thames man 10 seconds start. There is no doubt that Bubear has improved wonderfully of late friends and foes both admit that fact. In August last he beat John Largan, who was then regarded as the only sculler in England, fit to compete with him. But he was not destined to rest on his laurels, for William Elliott, who hails from the coaly Tyne, and was once Cham- pion of England, returned from America, and of course became anxious to measure blades with the southerner. A match was made between them for £ 400, and the race was rowed from Putney to Mortlake a few weeks ago. The result of that contest is of course now known all over the world, and it suffices here to say that Bubear paddled in an easy winner by about six lengths. Thus Bubear has fought his way up from comparative obscurity to the position of a first-class sculler. The race that is coming off next month will be very interesting-firstly, because the contestants have not met before, and, secondly, there will be an international feeling about it. Ross has a very hard task before him in giving such an opponent ten seconds start, and if all goes well Bubear should win, It is very likely if he does that there will be a level race, the result of which would be watched very eagerly. Bubear is considered by some to be the coming man, the one who is to bring back to our shores the reputation of English professional rowing. Whether he is to be matched with Hanlan, the wonderful sculler, who has defeated all our own, and Australia's best men as well, remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that if this ever comes to pass, he will do his best to sustain the repu- tation of the Thames. Another new theatre is to be opened in Leicester- square on Easter Monday, to be named the Empire, following swiftly the addition to the Metropolitan Temples of Thespis in the Prince's, in Coventry-street, opened on the 18th January. The Alhambra also in Leicester-square, was re-opened in December, after the destructive fire of twelve months previouslv. The existing theatres such as the Adelphi, the Lyceum, and the Savoy are nightly crammed. London may complain of the dulness of trade as much as it pleases, but this is certainly not perceptible at the atten- dance commanded by the ever-increasing number of its places of dramatic entertainment.







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