At a meeting of the City of London Corporation Reform Society, on Thursday, Mr. Hannen the Chairman stated, that the Society con- stantly received an accession of new members: among those who had recently joined them, were Mr. Raikes Currie and Mr. John Travers. The legal expenditure of the City formed the chief topic of discussion. A meeting of the proprietors of the Great 'Western Railway was held on Wednesday, at the London Tavern, to consider the reports of Mr. Hawkshaw and Mr. Nicholas Wood, civil engineers, who had under- taken to examine the railway, and state their opinions to the pro- prietors respecting the plan adopted by the engineer in its construe- tion, and whether it were advisable to adhere to it. Mr. W. Unwin Sims, Chairman of the Company, presided ; and the Secretary read the report of the Directors upon the two reports of Mr. Hawkshaw and Mr. Wood. That of Mr. Hawkshaw recommended an almost en- tire remodelling of the line, and the substitution of the narrow gauge for the wide one adopted by the Company's engineer, Mr. Brunel. Mr. Wood expressed a decided opinion that Mr. Brunel's gauge of seven feet was too wide„ but did not declare what the most advantageous gauge would be. Mr. Wood seemed to rely much upon the result of Dr. Lardner's experiments on the resistance of the atmo- sphere to bodies moving through it. Mr; Russell Gurney, in a very long and elaborate speech, defended the conduct of the Directors, de- preciated Mr. Hawkshaw's report, and expressed general approbation of Mr. Wood's. From Mr. Gurney's speech, it might have been sup- posed that Mr. Wood concurred, except in minor details and uncertain r; points, with Mr. Brunel; but Mr. Heyworth (who represents a very large amount of shares owned by himself and persons who rely upon his judgment) and Mr. Hoyes Teferred the proprietors to the following passage in Mr. Wood's report- " The objection that there are no advantages gained commensurate with the increased expense and inconvenience of a departure from the ordinary width, does appear froma full consideration to be substantially correct." e: Mr. Babbage entered into an elaborate defence of Mr. Brunel's plan, and deprecated the attacks upon it as highly injurious to the interests of ' the Company.
Mr. Gurney moved a vote of approbation of the principles laid down by the Directors, as most conducive to the Company's interests. Mr. Heyworth, who said he had lost 75,000/. by Mr. Brunel's experiments, moved an amendment,
"That the reports of Mr. Wood and Mr. Hawkshaw contain sufficient evidence that the plans of construction pursued by Mr. Brunel are injudicious, expensive, and ineffectual for their professed object, and ought not to be per- severed in."
Only fifteen hands were held up for the amendment ; but Mr. Hey- worth demanded a poll ; which was commenced, and the result was—
For the amendment, present 176, proxies 5,969 =-- 6,145; against the amendment, present 1,984, proxies 5,808 = 7,792; majority, 1,647 so the original motion was carried.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was occupied on Thursday with hearing arguments from Sir William Follett and Mr. Charles Austin against the legality of a mandate issued by the late King, which opened the Common Pleas to "barristers," not "ser- geants," whereas the invariable rule had previously been to insure a monopoly of the practice in that Court to sergeants. It was urged in proof of the illegality of the mandate, that it merely bore the sign- manual, and was not countersigned by any public officer. The deci- sion was postponed to the 1st of February ; but several members of the Committee appeared to think that as the judges might call upon any barrister, attorney, or attorney's clerk, to plead, there was no occasion for the Royal mandate, and that the object of the sergeants would not be gained by setting it aside.
Mr. Thomas Erskine, has been appointed a Judge of the Common Pleas, and took his seat on the bench yesterday. It is now generally believed that Mr. -Manic, M.P. for Carlow, will succeed Baron Bolland.