NEWS OF THE WEEK.
TEE simplest recital of the week's doings at Leeds might, if pro- perly read, form the most cogent lesson which unconstitutional monarchs could read. The British Association is to meet in "the natural metropolis of the West Riding " ; the foundation stone of a new town-hall was laid in 1853, the building is now finished, and the Queen, who was to open it, arrived as the guest of the Mayor. There are reports that in the Reform Bill of 1859, the West Riding is to be out up into two Parliamen- tary constituencies, and already the Leeds people like the idea at least in one aspect. A great musical festival was arranged as part of the week's celebration. The denizens of the ;loth dis- trict have been filled with a sense of Yorkshire importance, and of the brilliant occasion. The Queen and the Prince Consort dis- played the required interest,—all the better for being really felt,— in the exhibition of local industry, in the new building which graces the town, and in the subjects generally which interested the vast community ..en that day. Their pathway was marked out by the crowds of the loyal of all ranks,—by vast hosts of charity children, and by the Leeds Unions that now did the duty of volunteer special constables under municipal orders. Thus the working classes became the guardians of peace and order, and partners in the welcome given to the Sovereign. So strongly indeed had the spirit of loyalty seized the cloth ca- pital, that for the first time in its life the corporation appeared in a royal magnificence of robes, having liberally taxed itself to do honour to the occasion. The -whole, from the arrival of the Queen to the knighting of the Mayor, went off with the desired brilliancy ; and by this last in a long series of communions, the crown has been identified with the local-government and the self- government of the people.
Lord Stanley has taken up his new position as Secretary of State for India. He has mustered his Council, and he has di- vided it into three committees; one of them especially appro- priated to the conduct of political and military affairs—" politi- cal" in the dialect of Indian departments implying relations with the native courts. This committee has been rendered the strongest of the three, not only in nominees of the Government, but in the character of the men composing it, with Sir John Law- rence at their head and Captain Eastwick, one of the earliest reformers at the Indian House, as the sole India House mem- ber. The meetings have been private, but it is observed that the new Secretary of State has the assistance of Sir James Mel- vin, the late Secretary of the East India Company, and of Mr. john Stuart Mill, the head of the correspondence department ; and he seems to be fortifying himself in all directions for a vi- gorous prosecution of his duties in their new form. Sir George Clerk, the permanent Secretary at the India Board, is made one Of the Under Secretaries, with Mr. Henry Baillie as his Parlia- mentary duplicate ; and an hereditary name is brought in as as- sistant Under Secretary of State in the person of Mr. James Cosmo Melvin. As in other recent cases the Minister is proceeding ap- Wendy without any reference to party objects, and with a au- Pe, riority to those still more embarassing trammels, party .` Claims." It is difficult to describe the aspect in which the new Indian Government appears,—it is too young to have an aspect; but evidently the Council has been constructed and ar- ranged with an exclusive reference to the most efficient conduct of Indian affairs, and so far the promise is good.
Some criticism has been expended on another newly created Indian Board—the new Commission for considerine.° the recon- struction of the Indian Army. It is stated that the late Go- vernment intended to place in the Commission the Indian Minis- ter, the Secretary at War, and the Commander-in-chief, with three Queen's officers, three Indian officers, and three civilians. In the new Commission there are the same heads of departments, but not the three civilians ; while there are four members from the Queen's, and four from the Company's service ; Lord Stanley himself representing the civil service. It may be admitted that the Commission, though comprising men of experience and abi- lity, does not contain any very remarkable names. Perhaps the best guarantee for an honest and independent consideration of the subject, from a political point of view, is Lord Stanley him- self; though we cannot forget that Sir Robert Peel entertained the very highest opinion of his brother Jonathan's judgment. One of the difficulties with which this new Commission will have to contend will be the evident desire among certain folks about Whitehall,-to keep up a very large European force in India—i measure evidently convenient to all families who have relatives in Commission, and therefore to Ministers who like the distribu- tion of patronage. It is to be hoped that Lord Stanley, although not quite so powerfully supported as he might be, will be suffi- ciently independent, sufficiently long-sighted, to see through the dangers of any such assumptions as are now hazarded with the -view of superseding a native force by a great permanent Euro- pean Army.
The most remarkable intelligence from China reaches the public by a strange and at present incomprehensible channel— private letters, forming the material for a leading article in the Times news,paper, which thus anticipates its own correspondence and the correspondence of the Foreign Office. Yet the events so far must have been completed before these private letters were despatched, and it is to be presumed that the proper Secretaries of the Mission, with the correspondents of the newspapers, were at their posts. The private letters recount the interview held by Lord Elgin with the Chinese Plenipotentiaries, who presented a Commission giving the power to do nothing more than to ask "the strangers of England and France" why they ascended the Peiho, to grant them their demands if they did not infringe the customs of the Celestial Empire, the dignity of the Emperor, or the will of the people ; otherwise to refer those demands to the Emperor for his pleasure. The leading journal, inspired by its private letters, gives a very dramatic account of the way in which the British Plenipotentiary was cunningly watched by the Chinese, awed them by his frown, declared the powers of the Ambassadors not to be sufficient, and abruptly terminated the in- terview by going away. In a second act of the drama, Keying tried his fortune ; but the British were in possession of a letter amongst Yeh's correspondence describing how Keying had for- merly bamboozled the barbarians ; and a copy of the letter was read to Keying's two colleagues. After this attempt at bare- faced evasion the British and French Plenipotentiaries threatened that they would carry their demands to Pekin ; and the threat called from the august Emperor a letter dismissing Keying, and authorizing the other commissioners to undertake a treaty in the terms of Lord Elgin's demands. Lord Elgin's demands resem- bled those which had already been successfully preferred by the American Minister, only they are larger, including a clause which makes China "open to all the world under a passport sys- tem," indemnity for the war, customs tariff reform, and a special Chinese Embassy to England. It was an ancestor of the noble Ambassador who enriched one of our museums with the most beautiful types of the human form : the new Ambassador will bring home a fresh Elgin museum, its living statues representing altogether different types ; but it may be useful.
France is labouring under strange visitations. Sonic of the journals will discuss a new claimant for a miracle—a young girl living at Lourdes, who has seen a vision of the Virgin. The French Government having permitted free trade in miracles, though not in testaments, the supply of course begins to respond to the demand. But while French journalists have exhibited a
submissiveness which nobody 'Would have bxpectecl from them, they cannot stand this pressure on their forbearance; and some of the most discreet not only hint the want of evidenotsfor mi
' - racles but even intimate some favour for the Bible.
In the midst of awkward discussions, which thus put to severe trial the influence and perhaps the temper of the Government, appears the will of the Duchess of Orleans—a testament which will become historical. The Duchess, who has always maintained her proper place in spite of every embarrassment and danger, here, even in death, succeeds in maintaining her position. She bequeaths her two sons to constitutional France, and thus sug- gests renewed hopes in the constitutional soundness of the Or- leans family. Should France tire of absolutism, therefore, even under a direct suffrage, the leaders of the new movement would know where to apply And in the will of the Duchess their mother, the young princes have at once a testimonial to their pretensions, and a memento of the standard by which they must abide.
Constitutionalism is receiving other testimonies. Even in Spain, the Catalonians,—whose race which was amongst the earliest and most consistent in Southern Europe to vindicate something like constitutional liberty,—have remembered that Espartero lives, and has presented to him an address of continued esteem and affection. The retired statesman-soldier replies in terms as ge- neral as possible, so as to avoid the provocation of open conflict, but at the same time plainly showing that, aged as he is, re- duced in influence as well as strength by repeated disappoint- ments, Espartero still looks forward to a return of the constitu- tional regime, and is prepared to be at his post should he be wanted. On the whole, notwithstanding the favour given to some curious forms of arbitrary power within the last ten years, constitutionalism is not defunct : its stock is still quoted ; and although we do not yet hear of any actual transactions in the market, the quotations are rising.
A domestic warfare has broken out in Constantinople which might almost be expected to crush the Sultan, or, if he prove but half as strong as Mahmoud, to complete his power under the new system. The palace is understood to be mutinous against recent laws which forbid it to profit by large appropriations out of the revenue. And a popular cry has been got up that the Sultan intends to sell Candia,—that sport of vicissitude, once the property of commercial Venice,—to the English. Abd-ul Medjid replies by addressing his assembled ministers with re- proaches for failing in their duty, after they have been appointed to provide for the welfare of his people "without distinction of oath or nationality," and with threats that in future he will be more severe towards backsliders. On his return, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe will find his royal pupil's house in admired con- fAsion.
The trans-Atlantic telegraph has arrested its own proceedings, Worn out, it is supposed, by abradings near the shore end, which have exposed the wire, spoiled the insulation, and thus cut off the channel of communication. From the fact that the signals reach the American side, though they do not reach this, it is as- sumed that the injury is on the Irish shore ; and Mr. White- house, the engineer, has the satisfaction, as he shows in a pub- lished letter, of seeing his warnings verified after he has been dismissed. Yet after the telegraph has been thus suspended in its work, another engineer, Mr. Charles Bright, receives knight- hood and public dinners ; the great fact that communications can be kept up through an ocean being sufficient to make intelligent people burst forth in public demonstrations though the experiment may temporarily fail. The Killarney banquet afforded the hearty Lord Eglinton an opportunity of de- claring that neither personal feeling nor bigotry would have made him intentionally absent from another dinner,—that in Dublin. We never supposed that Lord Eglinton was a man afraid of taking the red bull by the horns.
The failure of the Atlantic Telegraph may at least teach us not to rely too much upon that which has been laid down between England and the Channel Islands. We cannot yet count upon the electric rope as the means of binding Cherbourg over to good behaviour.