The Select Committee on the Ventilation and Lighting of the House of Commons have made their first report. They have sat four days every week, and have made a personal inspection of the works connected with the ventilation of the entire building. They regret to state, that they are not at present in a condition to suggest any specific alterations, either in the ventilation or lighting, calculated permanently to remedy the defects complained of. They, however, recommend, that during the recess Dr. Reid should be allowed to effect the alterations described in his report, under the supervision and subject to the approbation of the First Commis- sioner of Works and two members of the Committee—Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Locke.
Mr. Joseph Hume, as Chairman of the Committee for gathering a penny subscription to form a " Working Man's Memorial to the late Sir Robert Peel," announces that the subscription is now closed. The sum collected is 17371. Os. 6d. ; which has been paid into the Bank of Eng- land, to be invested in Consols till the Committee determine, next month, " in what manner it shall be employed so as to confer the greatest pos- sible benefit on the working classes." The Committee have already decided that the yearly interest of the fund shall be applied to educational purposes." Mr. Home adds the information, that " the subscriptions have been received from upwards of 350 towns and villages ; while, in other towns, the subscription that was commenced for this fund became sufficient in amount to establish a local memorial, which the Committee in every case encouraged. The number of individual subscribers is about 250,000; among whom are English workmen at St. Petersburg, who have contributed 51. towards the fund." The expenses (of printing, col- lecting, &c.) amounting to 2951. 14s. 9d., will be defrayed by contributions from the Committee, and other friends of the late Sir Robert Peel, so as to leave the fund entire.
Some months ago, Mr. Henry William Wilberforce, the " pe delivered an address to the inhabitants of the Irish seaport of
which contained most magnificent statements of the remarkable progress of Popery in England. He said that in Rugby, where he had lived the last year, the priest told him they had received about three hundred con- verts in the short time the mission there had lasted ; and he made the remark upon this fact, that whereas the converts to Protestantism were always notoriously insincere, those to Romanism were generally of persons "gaining nothing in this world, and often losing all, insomuch that he had never heard of one who bad not made great sacrifices." So striking a statement aroused the Reverend J. Moultrie, the Protestant Rector of the parish of Rugby, and drew from hint a contradiction, in general terms, but founded on detailed knowledge of the state of his parishioners. Being challenged to produce names, Mr. Wilberforce replied, that he had been to some degree in error—the priest at Rugby now informed him that he knew the names of 232 ; and those names he was willing to submit privately to some Protestant Magistrate for authentication. The Roman Catholic burden of the controversy was now transferred by Mr. Wilber- force to the priest in question, Mr. M. Furlong of Rugby ; and Mr. Moultrie entered into correspondence with the latter gentleman, to arrange for the proposed authentication. Mr. Moultrie laid down these conditions, as the only ones which could make the examination a bond fide test- " 1. That the converts are of ripe age. 2. That they reside in the town or parish of Rugby. 3. The date of their reception. 4. That they are, in the judgment of the arbitrator, capable of understanding the nature and the consequences of the step which they took in becoming converts to the Romish Church." But Mr. Furlong declined to accept these conditions ; saying, that to recede from the proposal first made, would be "both unreasonable to ex- pect and unfair to propose." The Protestant clergyman replied, that this was an evasion—that such particular terms were included in the spirit of his first challenge ; and he has published the correspondence in the Times, that the public may judge for themselves, whether it is probable that the 232 converts have any more existence than the 300 converts, concerning whom Mr. Wilberforce acknowledged himself in error.
Late advises received at Liverpool communicate a discovery at Porto Rico in the chemistry of sugar-making, that may revolutionize the ma- nufacture. Don Juan Ramos, a native of Porte Rico, is the discoverer ; and this much of the " secret" is divulged, " that the agent is a certain ingredient, probably some vegetable extract," which cleanses the saccha- rine liquor to a degree far beyond that at which the tempered lime hither- to used ceases to operate, while the result is an immensely increased pro- duce of sugar, of a quality very superior to that produced under the pre-
sent mode ; and the greatest merits of all in the discovery are, " that it requires no change of the existing apparatus and involves no additional outlay," and it is " so simple as to be easily acquired." Many experi- ments have been publicly made ; and the following results are given as those of an experiment performed on the estate of Perseverance, a well- managed property belonging to the Messrs. Prate and Co. of Ponce. "On this estate 79 coppers of liquor were ground, and the exact number of gallons of cane-juice were ascertained ; which produced, under what I must now call the old system-
274 hhds. sugar, weighing net 30,2;81W. valued at $n per 100 lbs $869 91 15 puns. molasses, containing 2080 gallons, valued at 10 cents per
gallon 208 0
Total $1,077 91
"Under precisely the same circumstances, from the same cane-pieces, and with exactly the same quantity of cane-juice, Mr. Ramos produced, with less trouble, time, and expense, the following result-
34 hhds. sugar, net weight 33,192 lbs., valued at $31 per 100 lbs $1,203 21 4 hhds. more made from the molasses, weighing net 4545 lbs ,
valued at $al per 100 lbs 142 03 18 puns. molasses, containing 1752 gallons, valued at 10 cents per
gallon 175 20 Total $1,520 44
"This trial, which was witnessed by a large number of intelligent and in- fluentialplanters, and the result of which, as above stated, was attested by judicial documents signed by some of the first merchants of Ponce, exhibits a balance in favour of Mr. Ramos in the advantage gained in quantity and quality combined, of $442 53c, or about 41 per cent. Mr. Ramos guarantees that the gain in all instances shall not be less than 20 per cent."
The Liverpool Chronicle says of a sample in its possession-
" Whether with regard to quality, colour, or strength, this sample of mus- ^eyed° sugar has elicited the admiration of all who have seen it. An emi- nent mercantile house, to whom the sample has been shown, pronounces it to be worth 39s., whilst a similar quality manufactured by the old process is selling in Liverpool at 28s. 6d."
The new expedition to search after Sir John Franklin,—consisting of the steam-ships Intrepid and Pioneer, and the ships Resolute and Assist- ance, under Captain Sir Edward Belcher,—started from Woolwich on Thursday, on their voyage to the Arctic regions. They have among their apparatus charges of gunpowder in copper tubes, for blasting the Arctic ice, when it may be important to save time by hastening the break-up of detaining masses ; harpoon-guns, for striking large cetacea at a distance ; and Minis rifles, for bringing down deer at four times the present range of Arctic fire-arms.
A correspondence of an extraordinary nature in reference to the lost Franklin expedition has been published by the Admiralty. On the 20th of March, Mr. James Shore, Second Master of the Queen's ship Sampson, at Portsmouth, wrote to the Admiralty, stating that a mer- chant-captain named Storey had, in conversation with him, lately men- tioned that a friend of his, a North Shields captain, had, When going to North America in the spring of 1851, fallen in with icebergs which had come upon the Newfoundland banks from Davis's Straits, and that on one of those bergs, which was some five miles long, there were two three-masted ships, which he has since thought were the ships of Sir John Franklin's expedition. The Admiralty directly set on foot inqui- ries • in the course of which it was discovered that the merchant-captain referred to by Mr. Shore was a Captain Storey, of Tynemouth ; and Cap- tain Storey being hunted up in Tynemouth, it was found that the cap- tain who had seen the icebergs and ships was Captain Coward of North Shields, when commanding the brig Renovation, and voyaging from Limerick to Quebec. It was further discovered that Captain Coward is now on voyage to Venice, in the same brig Renovation, manned by nearly the same crew as that which went to Quebec in the spring of 1851. But the Admiralty got evidence that Captain Coward had made statements before a number of witnesses, all of whom knew him as a plainspoken and trustworthy man, to this effect.
" When near the East edge of the bank, in latitude 45 deg. 30 min. N., wind N.E., fresh breezes and clear weather, as much as I could carry fore-
topmast-studdingsail, fell in with icebergs, one of which was very large, with field-ice attached to it, in which there were two three-masted ships, having their masts struck and yards down, and all made snug : to all appearance they had passed the winter together in the ice. At about five o'clock in the morning, when within one mile of them, the mate called me to see the berg and ships ; by the time I got up and dressed and on deck, my ship was abreast of them ; took spying-glass and carefully examined them, to see if there was any one on board, but could not see any one. At the time I did not think of Sir John Franklin's missing ships : anxiety to get ahead out of the danger, while the weather was clear from fogs, and being too far past before I could make up my mind, caused me not to reduce sail and examine them more accurately. I am since of opinion they might possibly be the missing ships." Persevering in the quest, the Admiralty found that the person who kept the log-book of the brig Renovation in the spring of 1851, was Mr. Robert Simpson, her mate ; and they discovered that this person had since become captain of the British Queen, which had just sailed from Shields for Limerick, to take thence a cargo of emigrants to America. Acting with extreme promptitude, they forwarded instructions to Lime- rick, which arrived there the very day before Mr. Simpson entered the port with his ship ; and Commander Palmer, Inspector of that naval sta- tion, instantly got into communication with him, and received from him the following statement.
" On the 20th of April 1851, at six a.m., I saw two full-rigged ships (one about 500 tons, the other 350) on an iceberg, high and dry, the larger one
on her beam-ends, head to the Westward, three ships' lower masts only standing with bowsprit, masts painted white, apparently not housed over ; the smaller one was about 350 tons, head to the South, with lower and top- sailyards across, sails unbent, topmast on end, yards very square and black, not housed over, nearly upright; both vessels apparently abandoned." Mr. Simpson added, that the master, Captain Coward, was very sick in bed ; and when Mr. Simpson called him and stated that two vessels were in sight on an iceberg, he was too unwell to take any notice, and answered, "Very well " ; Mr. Simpson therefore did not like to take the responsibility of bearing up to examine the vessels. The circumstances were all, he says, entered in the log of the Renovation. Commander Pal- mer added, in his letter to the Admiralty-- "I be to enclose a sketch made by Mr. Simpson of the position of the two vessels, both of which appeared to be painted black. I have also examined Thomas Davis, now a seaman on board the British Queen, and who was at the wheel on board the Renovation when the vessels were observed ; who en- tirely corroborates, word for word, the statement made by Mr. Simpson."
It seems, also, that an extract from a letter by one of the emigrant pas- sengers in the Renovation, published in the _Limerick Chronicle of the 28th of May 1851, made a specific allusion to the ships, and suggested that they- were those of Sir John Franklin's expedition—
"The icebergs we met with were frightful in size, as the bases of some of them would cover three times over the area of Limerick ; and I do not at all exaggerate when I say that the steeple of the Cathedral would have ap- peared but a small pinnacle compared to the spires on some of them ; and most to be regretted is that we met, or rather saw at a distance, one with two ships on it, which I am almost sure belonged to Franklin's exploring squadron, as, from the latitude and longitude we met them in, they were drifting from the direction of Davis's Straits. Was there but a single one it might have been a deserted whaler, but two so near each other, they must have been consorts. They were to windward of us, and a heavy sea running at the time, with thick weather coming on, so that we could not board them."
A letter from Lieutenant Girardot, of the Forty-third Light Infant/7,, one of those who escaped from the wreck of the Birkenhead, to his father in England, has this interesting passage- " I remained on the wreck until she went down: the suction took me down some way, and a man got hold of my leg ; but I managed to kick him off and come up, and struck off for some pieces of wood that were on the water, and started for land, which was about two miles off. I was in the water about five hours ; as the shore was so rocky, and the surf ran so high, that a great many were lost trying to land. Nearly all those that took to the water without their clothes on were taken by sharks • hundreds of them were all round us, and I saw men taken by them quite close to me ; but as I was dressed (having on a flannel shirt and trousers) they preferred the others. I was not in the least hurt, and am happy to say kept my head clear. Most of the officers lost their lives from losing their presence of mind, and trying to take money with them, and from not throwing off their coats."
The prevalence of a cold North-east wind, while the sun was powerful and really hot, much increased the mortality at Paris during the last week and the preceding one. The correspondent of the Times says- " Grippe, apoplexy, and suicide, have been, in fact, the principal maladies of the weather, which has now lasted very long. The first is said to be on the decline, but scarcely a day passes without cases of the two last. Human ingenuity seems to be on the rack to invent some new and strange mode, and reasons the most bizarre for suddenly quitting the world. Charcoal is still the generally preferred means of death; and it is curious to see with what minuteness the mind is often anatomized up to the moment immedi- ately preceding the last agony. It has lately been the practice to leave be-. hind a detailed record of the thoughts, the pleasures, and the pangs—the lingering longing for life, mingled with the fierce determination on self- murder ; and all this composed as the process is going on—noted hour by hour, even by minutes, until the pen drops from the hand, complete insen- sibility seizes body and mind, and then, with the ink not yet dry on the paper, all is over."
The library of the late eminent Dr. Augustus Neander, celebrated throughout Germany for its completeness in theological works, has just been purchased on behalf of the Senate of the University of Rochester in the State of New York.
It appears that the case of Wallenstein against the Emperor of Austria, which has now been pending above two hundred years, is still dragging on. Each decision is made nugatory by the discovery of some fresh matter bear- ing upon the merits of the case.
Some of the regulations to which the French Government subjects the theatres of Paris are almost childish. A recent decree of the Prefect of Police, for example, gravely regulates the size of the bills of each house, the character of the type, and the colour of the paper ; and, with equal gravity, it fixes the order in which the bills of the different theatres shall be stuck up on the walls.—Literary Gazette.
Six years ago, a" Mutual Dowry Society " was founded in Berlin, by which young damsels were to be entitled to 1001. at marriage, after payment of 111. in instalments extending over five years. There are now 14,000 members, swarms of whom got married in the sixth year for the sake of the dowry; and great has been their surprise to find that more money cannot be got out of the fund than was put in.
The .Wacion of Madrid states that the number of public functionaries of all ranks, or of persons living on the public treasury in Spain, is 275,000—or one for every five who pay taxes.
Morayshire has long been celebrated as a wheat-growing county, and its tenantry as model farmers ; but a parcel of wheat delivered the other day at the mills of Bishopmill, by Mr. Collie of Ardgay, exceeds in weight any- thing we have ever heard of here. The quantity delivered was from sixteen to twenty quarters, and the weight was 67 pounds per bushel. A splendid sample, truly, and one which, for weight, might challenge the kingdom.— Elgin Courier.
The gardeners of Dresden, at a ball recently given by them, presented the ladies assembled with fans made of natural flowers, which, by a very simple- piece of mechanism, opened and closed like ordinary fans.