LONDON TOWN TALK.
(From Smith, Elder and Co 's Circular.) Mr Gladstone has had to atone for the mistake he committed in allowing himself to be pushed forward as fne Government adviser of Garibaldi. He has had to solicit an interview with or,e of the leading Garibaldi committees, aud to explain what part he realty took in driving the Italian general out of the country. Like all explanations, it leaves the question in precisely the same position. Mr Gladstone hns stated what he said—no oneexpected him to say what he meant —aud his hearers have hadto express their satisfaction and drlicM <it tl: 2 explanation. Determined to regain his lost ground as soon as possible, and with a shrewd eye to the approachiug general election, Mr Gladstone has made a great speech on the extension of the franchise, in which he ? .has laid 4own the principle that every roan who is not incapacitated by personal uufitness, or whose admission would not be attended by political danger, is morally entitled to come within the pale of the constitution. This principle, the corner-stone of liberal politics, has been laid down scores of times before by liberal statesmen, but at the present moment it appears to be regarded as something more revolutionary than the " Charter." The Times has been in agonies of indignation. Mr. Gladstone is compared to "Robespierre," "Tom Paine," and "Anarcharsis Clootz," opening those vials of wrath which are labelled universal suffrage, anarchy, and confiscation. The cry, however, is not taken up bytlje country, and Mr. Gladstone still commands confidence as one of the most; practical of our statesmen. Session alter session, for the last five years, it has looked to him for the useful measures necessary to redeem the discussions of Parliament from the reproach of absolute barrenness, and it has seldom looked in vain. A series of masterly and triumphant budgets, the French treaty, and the Annuities Bill, are measures by which the administration of LordPalmerston will be remembered, when much which is of doubtful merit in its character will he charitably buried with its bones. Mr Gladstone may become Prime Minister in a future Parliament, after the great Conservative party have had an innings. Mr Gladstone has published his speech in the form of a pamphlet, and the Moniteur has quoted the whole of it. The object of such an unusual and curious publication in the French official journal is' doubtless to show that England, is a convert to Imperial ideas of universal saffrage—of course with all its consequences. . ■: , Party feeling here rors somewhat high on the Dano-German question, the sympathy of the majority being with the weakest belligerents—the Danes, Much dissatisfaction .has been shown at certain :■ civilities extended to the Prussian ambassador by her Majesty at Osboroe, and more dissatisfaction with Prince Alfred and his advisers for accepting the order of the "Black Eagle" from the King of Prussia, at such a season. There has been a little sea-fight between the Austriaus and Danes, almost in "the chops of the channel," in which neither party seems to have been really victorious, though the victory is claimed for and by the Danes. A popular demonstration was made against Prince Hesse at a grand Volunteer review in Hyde Park, and another demonstration at Cambridge in favor of Denmark on the occasion of .a recent State visit paid to that town by the Prince and Princess of Wales. On the other, hand, English travellers are being most inhospitably received in Germany. The Prince of Wales has made his first real plunge into public life— following the example of his father —by presiding at the annual dinner of the "Eo3'al Literary Fund." He was supported by a fair number of distinguished literary men. The Prince's speeches, which he read from notes, were certainly not remarkable for that dashing brilliance which we expeci from young men; and Earl Stanhope, Lord John Russell, Mr Anthony Trollope, and others, who spote after him. appeared to rein in their eloquence. The subscriptions, however, reached a large sum — nearly two thousand pounds. Several graceful tributes vrere poid during the evening, by the PriDce and others, to the late W.M. Thackeray.
The levees and drawing-rooms held by the Prince and Princess of Wales, as representatives of the Queetp, have been rßther thinly attended—a fact attributed to the disparaging way iv wbica such ceremonies were spoken of iv the royal manifesto which we published last month. The ■unusual duties thrown upon the Prince are beginuing to tell upon his income, and it is probable that this matter will soon be brought before the House of Commons. " The Derby" this year, more numerously attended than usual, iv consequence of the fine weather, has ended in landing a comparative outsider as the winner. Blair Athol, tbe fortunate colt who came in first by two lengths, stood very low down in the list, and thirteen to one was very freely betted agaiusfc it on starting. Much money has, of course, changed hands under these circumstances, and several well-known sporting men have won sums varying from thirty thousand pounds to ten thoiisand pounds sterling. Mr I'An-gbnftne-chief owner of the horse, has won a Derby and a St Leger race before, to say nothing of fourteen Queen's plates last year. The second horse was General Peel, the property of Lord Glasgow, who is one of the most honorable men on the turi; and Mr Merry's Scottish Chief came in third.
The Oaks, a race nest in importance, was won eaaily by a French mare—Fille de l'Air—-and Lter owners were suspected of having " jockeyed" ber in former minor races, to conceal her capabilities. The result was a demonstration, which nearly all the French newspapers have commented upon in an unfriendly spirit. The official Moniteur has condescended to pander to the ignorance and narrow-minded jealousy of a portion of the French public by representing that the demonstration •was provoked by the fact of her being a French mare, and it complacently contrasts to the advantage of French civilisation and courtesy the applause which saluted the English horse Kanger, when he ibeat La Toucques at Suresne, in June last year. A poisoning case, which is destined to cast in the shade the celebrated Laffarge trial, has just been concluded in Paris, ending with the condemnation of the criminal. In some of its details it resembles the great Palmer case—the lives of the
victims bavin? been insured for large sums in French and English offices. The old Lesurqnes affair has also been again brought under the notice of the French legislature. Lesurques was a man who bore a fatal resemblance to a notorious highwayman, and who was falsely accused of robbing the Lyons mail about ] 796, and executed. His property was confiscated, and though some years afterwards, the real robber was discovered, the Government could never be got to disgorge this money. There is now some prospect of tardy justice being done to the Lesurques family. The story has long been dramatized under the well-known title of " The Courier of Lyons." Civil Service clerks never get the credit of being very bard workers during office hours, °but no one supposed that they amused themselves with occupations move harmless than writing for magazines or reading newspapers. A serious case of gambling however, which has been discovered at the War Office, has helped to alter this opinion. It appears that a number of chief clerks at that establishment have been in the habit, for some time past, of playing at cards and dice from eleven to three, and losing not only their salaries, but pledging their credit. As soon as the discovery was made, two of the clerks were summarily dismissed, and four or five others have been taken off the list for promotion. What makes the matter more serious, and fully justifies the rigorous proceeding of the Minister for War, is that loaded dice have been fraudulently employed for upwards of two years. The following story; which may or may not be true, has created much amusement. About a year ago the Prince Royal of Prussia had invited to dinner the corps of officers, without including his cousin Prince Frederic Charles. The latter, in order to revenge himself for the* slight, caused the generate to be beaten just as the 'party had sat down; and all the officers, including the Prince Royal as general of the division, were obliged to leave the table and hasten to the place of muster. This trick caused Prince Frederic Charles to be excluded from court for six months. Both of the Princes have held active commands in the army during the Danish campaigns. Jokes more or less bad, and made with more or less bad taste, are frequently circulated at the expense of American politicians and their finance. The last is one in which the " Greenback" securities —the Government bonds of Abraham Lincoln, are compared to the Jews, because they a»*ethe issue of Abraham, and know not their redeemer.
The death oi a man, somewhat, celebrated in his time—John Clare, the Northamptonshire peasant poet, occurred in May. He was dug out of obscurity about forty years ago by .Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, Wordsworth, and others, and set up in town literary society as a second Bloomfield. The late hours, hard drinking, and generally excited life he was led into by his new friends, told upon his constitution, and he went mad._ For many years he has been confined in a lunatic asylum at Northampton. ' 'Mr Nathaniel Hawthorne, the wellknown American novelist, expired suddenly at Plymouth, New Hampshire, on the i 9th May. Deceased was the son of a naval captain, and was born at Salem, in Massacb assets, in 1804. Educated at Bowdoin College, in Maine, he early commenced a career. of literary effort. At first he was unsuccessful, and in 1838, under the presidency of Mr Tan Buren, he obtained a small post in the customs at Boston. Three years later he joined the Brook Farm Phalanx, an Utopian endeavour to found a "perfect state of society." In 1846 he was appointed surveyor of the port of Salem, and in 1852 he was appointed by President Pierce to the consulship at Liverpool. He resigned this position in 1857, and devoted much of hisremaining years to European travel. Mr. Hawthorne's last work, the " Old Home," which appeared last year, and in which the author criticised English society from an American point of vievv, it will.be recollected, gave rise to much discussion in the coluniDS of the metropolitan press. "Reboul," the famous French poet and baker, also died during the same month in his native town of Nismes, where for many years he sold hot rolls over the counter in the morning, and wrote verses in bis'parlorin theafternoon. English tourists were in the habit of asking for Reboul as one of the sights of Nismes, after they had visited the Roman theatre and the Maison Cavree. He was the son of a locksmith, and was born in 1796. In 1848 he was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly. A new political journal called The Owl, Conservative in tone, printed on glazed paper, and so small in size that it only covers four quarto pages, has made its appearance in London. It is managed by Mr Borthwick—the manager of the Morning Posl—anA is written by official people who have the fullest and most correct information on tbeir particular subjects. It has been very_ largely quoted in The Times and other journals, and. has succeeded in making a fool of M. Mocquard, the French Emperor's private secretary. It published a piece of good humoured satire professing to be a letter on the policy of France and England, addressed to its editor from the Tuileries. The letter was written in French, and signed with M. Mocqnard's name, whereupon that gentlemen treated it as a serious and deliberate forgery, and sent the following communication to the official French journal, the Moniteur: —"The English journal, the Owl, under the head of 'French Politics,' publishes a letter bearing my signature, which it pretends to have received from the Imperial Court of France. The Morning Post reproduces the same thing in its number of May 12. This letter is, from first to last, a most audacious forgery. I stigmatise it with this well-de-served epithet in the most unqualified manner. Accept, &c, the Senator, Secretary of the Emperor, &c, &c, Mocqturd." M. Mocquard is a very clever man—a man of letters and a dramatist— but as an official he is far too sensitive and blind to a joke. His letter has created far more laughter in society than the squib which caused it to be written.
Garibaldi has declined the English offer to secure him an independence by voluntary subscriptions, and the money collected, which was not a very large sum, has been returned to the subscribers.
The late Shakspeare festival at Statford-on-Avon, though successful as a provincial fair of a high order, has been a lamentabl
! financial flilure. A deficiency of three thousand pounds will have to be made up by the coinmiitee, and the towu will get neither statue nor foundation scholarships. The London statue proj'-r^ 3ms retired from the public gaze, and the committee are hampered with a sum which will hardly pay for much sculptural extravagance. it has been currently reported in Sunderland that Mr George Hudson, the Jate "railway king," hn- '.t '■ obtained a settlement of his heavy claim of L 200,000, upon certain Spauisli railways, and that, after paying all his liabilities, he will be ia pos&ession of a ha adsome fortune. Rumour further states it to be Mr Hudson's intention to offer himself for the representation oTWiiibby at the next vacancy. But the report has been contradicted, aud it is said that a subscription is being raised in Sutherland to purchase an annuity for At Hb-.son. The time approaches for the " Inauguration" of what is called the liberty of the theatres in France, and the Minister of the Fine Arts has issued a.circular in which, amongst other things, it is stated that the literary censorship will be strictly maintained, and that cafes, or other places of amusement not strictly theatres, will not be allowed to produce operas or comedies, or even songs interspersed with prose. At the same time, however, theii- proprietors may, if they so desire, convert their establishments into regular theatres. The prospectus of a large cheap playhouse, capable of holding four thousand persons, is now issued. It is proposed to erect it in the populous Quartier St. Antoine, near the Place de la Bastille, with a capital of about sixty thousand pounds sterling. Leotard, the prince of acobats, has returned to Paris, and has a^ain made his appearance at the great circus in the Champs Elysees, after an absence of three years. The houses have been crowded to excess, and hundreds ! >ave bun obliged to go away without obtaiuing admission. He has varied his feats since his performance in London and Madrid, and now actual'y flies from trapeze to trapeze with one hand only, terminating the exhibition with a series of wonderful flights through the air, at the side of the circus from which he starts, and a somersault from very nearly the height of the central lustre. O f ur theatres have been suffering from the'unusual tropical weather winch.we had in May, and our theatrical managers* haveshown even more irritability than might have been expected in such premature dogdays. Mr Webster, lessee of the Aderphi, Ptiticess's and St. James's, has produced a mouldy adaptation, by Mr Boucicau'fc, called the "Fox Chase," at the later house, simply to spite the so-called author. The piece, taken from the French, of course, is more than c even years old, and its production, with a spiteful police in the play-bill, has led to a correspondence between Mr Websfer :mul Mi- Boucicault, printed in some of ibe daily papers, in which old cash matters are freeiy discussed, and the lie is bluntly given on both sides. Mr Webster appears with a very bad grace as the provoker of the quarrel, for it is tolerably well known that Mr Boucicault's opportune career at the Adelphi with tbe fortunate, though meretricious "Colleenßawn," saved M> Webster from the consequences of many dramatic failures.
Mr Tom Taylor has produced an original p; ece __ a " morality" ia which the seven cardinal virtues and tbe seven cbi?f vices are played off against each other, and various forms of " serration" are satirized somewhat heavily. Mr Boucicault and Fecbter are ridiculed—the first as the introducer of gymnastics in the drama, the second as the interpreter of Shakspeare iv broken English. The satire is hardly good-humored enough for the stage, and the piece is not improved by being adulterated with modern burlesque, but Mr Taylor is entitled to some credit for trying a form of drama which has not been seen in England for several ce> v'-s. hough it is popular in Germany. Mr Fechier has again appeared in " Hamlet," and his performance is full of thought, intelligence, and origina'ity. His pronunciation is now almost faultless, and bis delivery is singularly musical. He makes the play as picturesque as possible, gives it an old Danish character, by using carefully-painted scenery, and carefully selected dresses and accessories, and has very liltle respect for stage tradttious. The result is a representation of Shakspeare's chief tragedy, which is. sometimes brilliant, always artistic, and never wearisome. It promises to be very successful. Mr Fechter has only recently recovered from a severe stage adcident, which at one time threatened to end in lock-jaw. •
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LONDON TOWN TALK., Otago Daily Times, Issue 832, 22 August 1864
LONDON TOWN TALK. Otago Daily Times, Issue 832, 22 August 1864
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