NEWS FROM HOME.
(from our own correspondent.) trade returns.
It appears from the Board of Trade returns for June that the value of the imports of the United Kingdom during that period amounted to L 28,336,880, being a decrease of no less than SJ millions as compared with the corresponding month of last year ; while the exports amounted in value to L.15,848,260, or a decrease of nearly 2jt millions as compared with June, 1875. When the six months are taken as a whole, however, the falling off is less startling. An examination of the returns shows that the decline this year is due to diminished values rather than to lessened quantities. For inetance, during the half-year there were exported from the kingdom about 1\ million tons of coal and coke, being an increase on the first six months of 1875 of 1,293,000 tons. When the values are compared, however, it is found that there is a decrease this year of L 126.000. Such-a fact as this speaks eloquently of the depressed condition of trade in these times. In this connection, it will be appropriate to mention a statement made by an authority on industrial matters— Mr Mundella, M.P. — at a business meeting held in London on July 17. Mr Mundella said it had been calculated, and he believed the calculat'on was within the mark, that up to the present time L 2,000,000 per week less were paid in wages throughout the country than was the case at the end of 1873. In the coal and iron trades, wages had fallen 50 per cent, below the rates that then prevailed. Much distress is reported in the mining dis tricts of Cornwall, in consequence of the depressed state of things there. It is declared that the working miners and small shopkeepers alike are reduced to the borders of starvation, and that the bread-winners are leaving the country by hundreds, and leaving the women, children, old and infirm, to be supported by the parishes." In one parish alone, there are 500 women and children thus left. " Groups of emigrants," it may be added, " may be seen almost daily at the railway stations on the Cornwall and West Cornwall lines."
THE "FLESHLY SCHOOL" OF POETRY,
v When my last letter left, an actior for libel was in progress iv the Court of Common Pleas, the plaintiff being Mr Robert Buchanan, and tbe defendant Mr P. A. Taylor, M.P., the proprietor of the Examiner. It was the outcome of a bitter feud between Mr Buchanan and his brother poet, Mr Algernon Swinburne, the feud having its origin in an article published by the former in the Contemporary Review, fiercely assailing Mr Swinburne aad his disciples, who are commonly known as the "Fleahly SchooL" Mr Swinburne retaliated ia three articles in the Examiner, written in the Btyle of the Rocky Mountain Stabber, or some similarly polite organ. On July Ist Mr Justice Archibald summed up. In the course of his charge to the Jury he said that a great deal of the pOotry had been read in Court, arid which had oeen written by persons belonging to what was called the "Fleshly School" had better never have been written at all ; or if it had all been committed to the flames the world would have been much the better for it. At the same time, his Lordship rebuked the style in which these writings had been criticised by Mr Buchanan, hinting that he had written a " sensational essay " upon them. The critic of such writings, he said, should so speak that he should be able to place^ his heel up^ on them, and drive it into them without it being necessary to take them up with his hand as though they were some venomous thing. There was a mode of reviewing Buch writings, which made the review as sensational as the articles reviewed. The Jury, after a quarter of an hour's deliberation, returned a verdict for the plaintiff, with Ll5O damages. The general opinion is that the trial didn't leave a pin to choose between Buchanan and Swinburne, as far as the morality of their writings is concerned, and that the only result of it will be to make more people devour then? literary carrion.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the Prince ot Wales has altered the style of the feathers which form his crest. Instead of the tops of the feathers droopir-g over they are now represented altogether erect. The change is said to be the result of some investigations of the matter made while the Prince was in India, and is declared to be a return to the correct and original device. During the excessively hot weather that has prevailed in London of late, mosquitoes have made than- appearance in considerable force. It is alleged that they have been involuntarily importe^liuthe luggage of passengers from the WeSt Indies. In some of the principal hotels they are so troublesome that the sojoumers the r e, unaccustomed to such a nuisance, have left.
The quidnuncs of " society" settled it from the moment of the King of Hanover's arrival in England, on his recent visit, that the Duke of Connaught was to marry the Princess Frederica, and now they say the marriage is as good as arranged. The World even goes so far as to assert that the Duke has " " for the Princess, and that his mother backed up bin application with a letter to the King, in which she expressed her entire approval of the projected union, and her hope that if it v/as consummated the King would take up his residence Sri England. Common report — usually so unkind to the reputation of those iv high station — pronounces the Princess Frederica to be as gobd and amiable as she undoubtedly is clever and handsome. If Prince Arthur gets her for his wife he will have married far better, though leas brilliantly, than his nautical brother, nor is she by any means a " tocherless lass." Those hximan beings in London who live upon horseflesh — I speak metaphorically only — are in a bad way just now. Bad times have caused great numbers of persons to dispense with their carriages and saddle-horses, and the result to many poor men ia disastrous ( enough. A single Oxfori street firm has on its books the names of no less than 2400 coachmen out of employment, and the number of grooms thrown out of work is set down at more than double that figure. Carriage builders complain that their occupation is gone, and horse dealers have much the same story to telL Now, if ever, is the time to introduce hippophagy into London.
The notoriety which the gilt efficry of the Prince Consort, erected in a fortunately secluaed corner of Hyde Park, has attained as the most hideous monument with which even London is afflicted, has probably extended to the Colonies, It will therefore amuse your readers to learn that the Prince zi Wales is credited with the happy inspiration of christening the figure in question " My Awful Dad." Much dissatisfaction regarding a social question is said to prevail in the Foreign Office. Lord Derby being prevented, by the recent death of his mother, from giving Mb usual official dinners, the duty has been performed for him by Mr Disraeli. The latter having omitted to invite some officials who have hitherto been always among the guests on these
occasions, much discontent and jealousy have bsen bred within the walls of the Foreign Office. Perhapj it is some of the disappointed ones who have circulated a rumour, wnich has been printed in an influential newspaper, to the effect that Mr Disraeli has turned Lord Derby into a non^utity in the Foreign Office, and has usurped nearly the whole of the latter's legitimate functions.
It is currently reported and generally believed in London that the Shah of Persia intends visiting that city and Paris this autumn, in slrict incognito. Two very different objects are alleged as having prompted the projected visit. The one is the Shah's wish to study the military and scientific institutions of the West ; the other (which is far more likely to be the true one) is his desire to enjoy without let or hindrance the coarser forms of dissipation prevalent in the great cities of Europe. On his State visit, he chafed much at not being allowed his run cf these, and never could be made quite to comprehend the neoessity for keephig up a decent appearance.
A grand sporting expedition up the Zambesi is being organised in London, It ia expecLed between 40 and 50 gentlemen will compose it, and that Cook's excursionistd will not be long in following their lead.
HOW WELSH SLATE QUARRYMEN LIVE.
Mr Adam's fruitless visit to the Slate Quarries of North Wales, for the purpose of inducing sorao of the men employed there to emigrate io Otago, will not be altogether forgotten by your readers. Judging from a report just issued by Mr T. F. Evans, Inspector of Mines, your Province has not much cause to lament Mr Adam's lack of success. Mr Evans writes more especially of Festiniog (whither Mr Adam went), and begins by referring to the death rate for 1875. During that year, there died 61 males over ten years of age. Of these, 35 were engaged in tho Slate Quarries, and their average age at death was 38 years, while that of the remaining 26 was more than 67 years. Trying to discover the causes of this stace of things, the Inspector found that the quarrymen had much in their favour in the shape of high wages, bobriety, and a leisure "principally spent iv religigious exercises, and the cultivation of literature and music." On the other hand, he found that these beneficial circumstances were neutralised by overcrowded and ill - ventilated dwellings, and^ other sanitary evils. "In stances," he writes, " have been common of the same beds having been slept in night and day without intermission by successive occupants." The water was unfit for cooking with, and the villages woto filthy, the consequence being the continual presence of lever, with occasional outbreaks of disease of extreme virulence. Domestic ignorance and consequent misery prevailed in the homes of the people. "The wives lack thrift, know nothing of cooking, and Bpend much of their husband's earnings in the purchase of gaudy finery, for which they are generally in debt. The men, theiefore, fare badly.. Their food is almost entirely tea, coffee, and bread and butter, the butter being commonly of shocking quality ; and their homes are as comfortless as slovenliness can make them." People. of such a stamp as this are not the colonists you want, though, in fairness, it must ,be added that the Inspector charges much of this wretched state of matters upon the mine-owners, who, with a single honourable exception, take no trouble in trying to teach their men a better stylo of living. At the sajne time, people who require ta be taught the barest rudiments of cleanliness, prudence, and self -respect generally, by means or pressure brought to bear on them by their employers, are not,' I repeat, the people to make a new country progress. It is, therefore, no great pity, after all, that Mr Adam's visit to Festiniog — carried out, be it ramembered, in obedience to the telegraphic mandate of Mr Macaridrew— proved aa entire failure. A HUNDRED TON GUN.
The largest cannon in the world has just been completed at Sir William Armstrong and Co.'s works at Elswick, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and is now on its vray to Spezia in Italy, to be fitted on board the recently launched Italian ironclad Duitfo. The gun, without its carriage, weighs 101£ tons, and its total length is 33 feet. The weight of the proof shot is 2500 lbs, or upwards of 22 cwt, but the ordinary shot or shell to be fired from it will weigh 500 lbs less, The weight of the charge cannot yet be definitely stated, but it is estimated that it will be from 350 to 380 lbs. Captain Noble calculates that the force of the shot will be equivalent in power to raising a weight of 59,000 tons to tho height of one foot. At its ordinary range it is expected the shot will pierce a 30-inch armour plate, the thickest plating yet made for any Blitish ironclad being 24 inches. As compared with our own 81-t.on gun the Italian monster is expected to give 30 per cent, more effect. If it successfully passes its trials, seven more guns of the same calibre will be ordered to form the armament ot the Duilio and a sister ironclad now building.
THE NATIONAL TEMPERANCE LEAGUE.
The annual fete of the National Temperance League was held at the Crystal Palace on July 12tb, and proveda great success. Excursion trains in connection with it were run from the most distant parts ot England, including Carlisle and Penzance. The total number of visitors registered during the day ,was 34,000. A public dinner was held in the evening, to which about 230 ladies and gentlemen sat down, and Dr B. W. Richardson, F.R.S., occupied the chair. As, of course, no toasts could be drunk, all alcoholic liquors being sfrictly tabooed, "sentiments" were given instead, and were received by the company with all the usual honours, save those of a bibulous kind. Mr W. Fox, for instance, proposad the sentiment of " The House of Commons," and Mr Benjamin Whitworth, M.P., responded. It was mentioned by th« Chairman that the number of total abstainers in the army v/as 7000, and Admiral Hamilton stated that in the navy they numbered between 5000 and 6000. All kinds of sports — cricket, circus feats, chariot races, athletic contests, &c. — and grand concerts and fountain-playing combined to make the fete a most enjoyable one.
Ireland has been enjoying an unusual spell of dry and hot weather, unequalled in duration, it l? said, by any former continuous x^eriod since the year 1844. Belfast is sharing in the trade depression which prevails throughout the kingdom, and several of the largest mills in the town have been closed entirely in consequence. The others are only running half time, so that the position of the operatives is an unenviable one, and it is to be feared distress among them will soon begin to manifest ibself. A Four-in Hand Club has been started in Dublin, The All Ireland Challenge Shield was shot for at Wicklow by the Clubs of Ireland, the conditions being 20 shots each at 700 and 1000 yards. The total scores made were : — Ulster Association, 640; Dublin Club, 634; "Waterford Rifle Club, 563. Ulster thus won by 6 points. Lord Chief Justice Whiteside is very ill, and is not expected to be over aliie to sit upon the Bench again. He is 70 years of age, and in his forensic days achieved the highest reputation.
He defended O'Connell in 1843, ,and Smith O'Brien in 1848, and was also counsel on behalf of the lady known for a time as the Hon. Mrs Yelverton. It will be remembered how, when, in consequence of his impassioned speech, she ,won the day (for a time only, as it afterwards proved), she flung herself into his r.rms amid a burst of the most intense and uncontrollable excitemeni .
Harvest prospects Li Ireland are reported to be good, a«d it is stated that the early forebodings of those who prophesied a dearth will be speedily proved to have been unfounded. The potato crop is pronounced to be the best since the famine.
A farmer named Dunne having purchased a, farm near Edenderry, King's County, received a letter threatening his life. He was so terrified that he became insane, and hanged himself. A man was shot near his hcuse last November.
The Twelfth of July was celebrated by the Orangemen in Ireland in their usual silly fashion, by the holding of monster meetings, processions, and the like. The only place where any disturbance resulted was pungannon, where some stone-throwing was indulged in, and about twenty shots were fired by the processionists. The return of the procession through the streets was prevented by the police with fixed, bayonets. The nearest demonstration to Belfast was at Carnmoney, four miles distant.
The Commissioners of National Education in Ireland have just issued their report for the year 1575. It shows that at the close of that year there were 7267 schools in operation, being an. increase of 10 as compared with 1874. The total number of children who attended school during the year was 1,011,799, beingan average of 141,4 per school, the aveiage daily attendance per school being 54.5. The religious denominations of the children were in the following proportion : — Roman Catholics, 79.2 per cent.; Presbyterians, 11 per cent.; Episcopalians, 9 per cent. ; and the remainder of various denominations. By far the greater proportion of the Roman Catholic and Protestant children were taught exclusively by teachers of their ovn religions ; but there were 26,000 children of each religion under the tuition of teachers of the opposite religion, besides about 21,000 in all taught in schools where there were both Roman Catholic and Protestant teachers. There were in the service of the Commissioners at the end of 1875, 7067 principal teachers, 3037 assistants, and 177 junior assistants — total, 10,281. The total sum paid to them — inclusive of fees and gratuities of every kind — was L 491,991, being about L 70,000 more than in 1874. The average salary of a teacher was thus abo\it L 35, the highest salary paid to male teachers being LSB, and to female teachers, L4B. Some of the Scotch fishermen from Fisherrow and Nairn, having gone this season for the first time to fish off Howth, the Irish fishermen were exceedingly jealous and repeatedly threatened their lives. The latter are perpetu ally raising a whine for Government help, and are too lazy to catch the fish in front of their very door?. On the other hand, the Scotch fishermen not only go in their boats all round their own coast, daring even the wild waters of the Pentland Birth and the Outer Hebrides, but they now fish in many of the English and Irish grounds as well. There is nothing to keep the Irish from doing the same, save the lack of the necessary courage and enterprise.
The men employed in piercing the tunnel through Mount St. Gothard have received notice that they will be discharged shortly. Enquiries are being made by the French Minister of Public Works, the Prefect of the Seine, and the Municipal Corporation of Paris, as to the feasibility of rendering the Seine navigable by sea-gbing vessels up to that city. At Paris, the Seine is only 60 feet above the sea, which is distant 120 miles as the crow flies, or 210 miles by the courae of the , river. To deepen the river seven feet it is estimated would cost L 510.000, and an additional three feet would cost L 440,000 more. The estimated expenditure of the French War Department for the current financial year is L 21.200.000. There appears to be considerable likelihood of the grand International Exhibition proposed to be held in Paris in 187S being postponed, on account of the time for making the necessary arrangpments being tGO short. The last of the "Trees of Liberty" planted in the Place dcs Palais, Brussels, in 1830, to commemorate the revolution of that year, has been removed in consequence of decay. Strasburg will soon be reaOy to face any nontingency. The new forts on the left bank of the Rhine are completed, and the three new ones on the other will be finished by the end of the year. Two serious disasters are reported from Switzerland. The one is a railway collision, resulting in 10 persons being killed and a great many injured; the other a fire by which 52 houses at Elgg, in the Canton of Zurich, have been burned, and two lives lost. Dr Sartori, the Pope's surgeon, has died at Rome.
It is stated that Count Arnim ha 3 sold all his property in Germany, and transferred Iris Pomeranian estate to his son. He is not expected to live long. By an explosion of fire-damp in a coal-pit near St. Avoid, France, 42 men were killed and 47 seriously hurt. A rumour has obtained currency that the King of Denmark is likely to be tne next addition to the considerable list -of monarchs "retired from business." The reason for tlve rumoured change is alleged to be Kin? Christian's weariness of Government, which the factious opposition of the Radicals — pushed to unheard of extremes — has rendered a wellnigh intolerable burden. A severe earthquake occurred at Vienna on June 17th. It consisted of an almost simultaneous double shock, which rent a fourstoreyed house from top to bottom— the inhabitant's rushing into the street in terror. The earthquake also deepened the chaunel of the Danube on one side of the river, and the waters rushed over with such force as to overflow the bo,nk for a considerable distance.
Sad reports regarding the new Sultan come from Constantinople. His uncle, the late Sultan, caused him to be encouraged in evil habits of drinking, &c, until his brain has become weak, and he is incapable of performing the duties of the exalted position in which he so suddenly found himself. It is considered unlikely that he will reign, or indeed live, much longer, in which case his brother will succeed to the throne.
M. Thiers the other day received notice that a present to him from the King of Siam had arrived at the Ivry Railway Station, Paris, On proceeding thither, M. Thiers was not a little surprised to find that the present was a fullgrowu elephant. For waiit of room to keep ib, he sent il to the Jardin dcs Plantes.
GObSll' FOR THK LADIES.
A diamond necklace, valued at L 26,000, has been exhibited during the last week or 10 days in tho windows of a Bond street firm of jewellers, in London. It is stated that the stones, which aie of great beauty and match one another well, took several yeai's to collect. It is added that the necklace is likely to find a purchaser, which shows that there aro still people with spare thousands, in spite ot the dullness of the times,
A somewhat remarkable statement regarding the golden field open to medical women wao made in the House of Commons during a debate on a Bill introduced by Mr CowperTemplo, and whose aim was to open the medical profession to women in this country by providing that the production of a certificate or degree from certain Foreign Universities, of reputation in medical studies, shall entitle them to be registered as medical practitioners. The statement in question was made by Lord Eslington, who declared to his knowledge a certain female doctor in London was receiving larger fees in the practice of her profession than any male practitioner in the Metropolis. Neither this announcement r,or the feeble patronage giv6.n to the Bill by Lord Sandon, on behalf of the Government, saved it froln becoming a slaughtered innocent, condemning budding feminine Sangrados to at least another year of golden dreams. A London paper has been exercising itself over the matrimonial advertisements in the German newspapers, and prints two samples of them, which may prove interesting to Colonial youths and maidens similarly affected. The first reads thus :: — '* To the for-marriage-wish-ing. — A forty-two-year-old, not comely, but of easy temper, evangelical, and with furniture well-provided, Royal State Official, wishes earnestly with a tolerably young, of pleasing exterior, and fair complexion, blue-eyed, in all domestic arrangements expert, with from LI2OO to LISOO endowed, maiden or widow, an honourable connection together to hook. Ladies on this proposition friendlily reflecting, will most amiably their offers to Rhinoceros, at the newsper Expedition Office, send." Then follows this Byronic couplet : —
May this advertisement soon prove potential ; Answers, of course, are strictly confidential.
The other advertisement is of a more romantic and impassioned nature, reading thus : — " The dark-eyed, luxuriant-locked beauty who sat in stall 51, fourth row, of the Wallner Theatre, on Tuesday evening, md wept j>early tears over Anna Ivanoona's sorrows, is passionately entreated to communicate her honoured name to Ypsilon, a young Israel itish merchant in flourishing circumstances. Love, Respect, and Silence ! At the editor's office."
At the annual Educational Conference, held recently at South Kensington, some discussion took place upon the teaching of needlework. Sir Henry Cole, who presided, said he had been told that if he were to go round to all the houses in South Kensington he would find scarcely a servant, and much less a mistress, who could sew on a button properly. Mrs Grey, the well-known advocate of a higher education for women, replied that the servants were taught sewing in the elementary schools, while their mistresses were not. Nevertheless she knew ladies who were good seamstresses, and the best needlewoman with whom she was acquainted was an earl's daughter, who made all her own clothes.
The well-known ceremony of the presentation of the Dunmow flitch ot bacon took place on July 17th. There were two couples who claimed the flitch on the ground that for a year and a day they had lived together in unbroken fidelity and affection. The < first couple— the Rev. Samuel Marriott Smith, Vicar of Harwell, Berks, and his wife-^-did not put in an appearance, so the proceedings were limited to the other couple — Mr James D. Boosey, Clerk of Trinity Church, Ventnor, and his wife. About 3000 persons were present at the trial, Mi> Wm. Andrews, F.R. Hist, S., of Hull, being the judge. The jury, consisting of bachelors and maidens, giving their verdicb in favour pf the claim? Nts, they were awarded the flitch, and then " chaired" to a high platform, where, "kneeling upon sharp • stones, they took the ancient doggerel oath, and the flitch was handed to them amid cheering and the firing of cannon. "
Mr Thomas Carlyle has been visiting his sister, Mrs Aitken, and her husband, at their residence, The Hill, Dumfries. Mr Carlyle is stated to be in excellent health, and to have enjoyed his accustomed walks in th& neighbourhood.
The New River Company, one of the concerns which supply water to London, is well known to be about the most profitable undertaking in the world. It is, therefore, not so surprising to read that the thirtieth of a t King's share in it was recently sold by aiiction in London for L 2935, or at the rate of L 88,050 per share.
The bull Fourth Duke of Clarence, by Eighteenth Duke of Oxford, from Duchess 109, has been bought from Irlr Lodge by the Canadian Company for L 2500, which is stated to be the largest price ever obtained for a bull for exportation. The animal was bought by Mr Lodge last year from Colonel Gunter, to whose Wetherby herd it belonged, Lord Granviiie related a story the other day to the effect that an Eton bookseller, when recently asked if he had Adam Smith's " Wealth of Nations" in his shop, enquired whether the work was the last new novel ! It would seem from this as though the Etonians were as backward in their knowledge of political economy as they notoriously are in respect of proficiency in the yet more important matters of arithmetic and handwriting.
The Wi*kefield water works have been purchased by the Corporation of that town for L 200,000. The defence and testimonial funds raised on behalf of the Rev. Flavel Cook, late of Clifton, and the losiDg party in the celebrated personality of Satan case, have been closed. The former amounts to L 1099 9s Id, and the latter to Ll4(solsßd.
A girl 15 years old, named Agnes Beckwith, the daughter of a London " Professor" of swimming, on sth July, swam from Chelsea to Greenwich, a distance of 10i miles, in 2 hours 46 minutes. She partook of no_ refreshment by the way, and was no 1 ; much distressed at the close. The same young woman swam several miles in the Thames last summer.
They haven't done playing with the 81-ton gun yet. . It is to be tried again presently upon a target specially conntructecl for the purpose at a cost of £5000. It is a question whether the artilleri&tF, and not the big guns with which they seem to be perpetually amusing themselves, ought not to be called " Woolwich Infants. "
A poor barber at Gloucester has come into a fortune of L 350,000, left him by n distant relative.
Herr Lowenthal, the celebrated chess-player, died at St. Leonards-on-Sea on July 20fch, aged 66. The death is abo announced of T. Haywavd, the well-known cricketer. Tne Duke and Duchess of Westminster held a children's flower show in the gardens of Gro3venor House — their London residence— on July 3 Oth. The exhibitors were all poor children, and their flowers had been grown in dark alleys and stifling mews. Some of them were very small, so that the Duchess's injunction "not to lose it," as she placed the prize (a piece of money) in the hands of each winner, was by no means unnecessary. Mr Gladstone and the Earl of Shaftesbury were present, and delivered interesting and suitable speeches. The statistics of the Ancient Order of Foresters show that in England it has at the present time 216 districts, 3486 courts, 416,693 financial members, and 9198 honorary members. Tho court funds amount to L 1,652,159, and the district funds to L 237,024.
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The Mails., Otago Witness, Issue 1296, 30 September 1876
The Mails. Otago Witness, Issue 1296, 30 September 1876
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