The Morning Post says, that the Queen intends to give two state balls, one on Monday next, the other towards the end of this month.
Lord Grey is said to be decidedly convalescent. He went out on Monday, in a carriage.
Various candidates are mentioned by the Kilmarnock Journal for the vacant seat in the House of Commons for Ayrshire,—on the Liberal side, Mr. Rigby Wason ; on the Conservative, Colonel Macadam Cath- eart of Craigengillan, Colonel Mure of Caldwell, Sir Charles Fergus- son ; and Mr. Alexander Oswald, nephew of the Member for Glasgow, has actually offered himself. We understand that Thalber,..-, the celebrated pianist, will be united, on Saturday next, to Madame Bachand, a daughter of Lablache.— Morning Post.
A concert was given at Hanover Square Rooms, on Tuesday, in aid of the funds to build a hospital for Germans resident in London. A number of performers gave their services gratuitously ; and among them was a distinguished stranger, Herr Ernst, who has for some years enjoyed the highest reputation on the Continent as a violin-player. His visit to this country was not professional, but he would not with- hold his contribution to the charitable performances. His playing is thus described in the Morning Chronicle- " Ernot's tone is incomparable. We have never before heard any thing even approaching to it. It is an immense volume of full, rich, pure, mellow sound ; a delicious human voice, in short, extending from the deep contralto to regions into which no human soprano can ever soar. In every part of its com- pass it is perfectly equal : its quality is always the same; its identity as the same organ is always preserved. To speak of it (as one naturally does) as of a voice, It is entirely a vocedi petto, without falsetto notes even in the utmost altitudes of the scale. In one ur two bravura variations Ernst introduced a few Paganini harmonics, evidently by way of showing that he could do such things if he thought it worth while : but, with this slight exception, be pro- duces even his highest notes iu the same manner as the others; and it is only necessary to hear him to be convinced how much this conduces to the greatness and elevation of his style."
The first meeting of the British and Foreign Institute was held on Thursday, at the Hanover Square Rooms. The Earl of Devon pre- sided ; and among the company were Lord Brougham, the Earl of Grosvenor, Lord Dudley Stuart, Lord James Stuart, Mr. Wyse, and several other Members of Parliament. The Chairman stated that the object of the Association was to secure facilities of meeting for literary persons and foreigners visiting this country : there would be twenty- five conversaziones during the year, and twenty-five lectures. Resolu- tions to further the project were passed unanimously ; the Earl of Devon was appointed President, and Mr. James Silk Buckingham Resident Director.
One of the most sumptuous of the Blackwell banquets, this season, was given on Monday, at the Brunswick Tavern, by the United King- dom Life Assurance Company ; a graceful way which the Company has of admitting a large party of tasteful and discriminating friends to a share of its redundant profits and bonuses. Mr. James Stuart was " glorious" in the chair ; and Mr. Boyd in the highest feather,—as well he might be, having at the recent annual meeting of the Company been enabled to boast an increase of 50 per cent capital in seven years, with a prospect of doubling at the next division of profits.
The deputation of iron-masters from South Staffordshire had a long interview with Sir Robert Peel on Wednesday, to present a memorial from that district, setting forth the extreme state of depression under which the iron-trade is at present labouring, and the condition of the working population. The deputation was accompanied by Lord Hatherton, Lord Lyttelton, and the Members for South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary for the Home Department, and the President of the Board of Trade, were present. Mr. James Foster stated the views of the deputation ; declaring that the falling-off in the demand for iron, the depres- sion of trade, and the consequent reduction of wages, had brought the work-people to a condition which could not be contemplated without serious apprehension. The deputation did not seek pecuniary assistance from Government, but wished to discuss the practica- bility of measures to improve the internal trade of the country and keep the population in a healthy state of employment. The progressive reductions in the prices of iron, the rate of wages, and the state of pauperism as exhibited in the enormous increase of the poor-rates in the unions comprised in this district, were described in de- tail by members of the deputation; and the operation of the American and the various Continental tariffs was adduced as acting most prejudi- cially on the iron-trade of this country. The great falling off in the ex- portation of commodities to the United States resulting from the restric- tions of the late American tariff was mainly attributed to the continued exclusion of American corn, Sir Robert Peel said that he should most willingly give his best attention to any remedies that might suggest themselves to the minds of the deputation ; but he feared the production of iron had been forced by the requirements for railroads and other causes much beyond the ordinary demand, and now that these sources of consumption had been supplied, he could hold out no prospect of im- mediate improvement from any measures within the power of the Go- vernment. The deputation further imputed the state of their trade to the operation of the present money-laws, and the want of a sufficient cir- culation to maintain a range of prices adequate to the fixed public and private burdens which form so large a proportion of the cost of production in this country. Sir Robert Peel dissented from the conclusions of the deputation, but thanked them for the temperate and judicious manner in which they had stated their views. The conference then terminated. Mr. George Sydney Smythe, the Member for Canterbury, finding his conduct in the debate on Ireland assailed by a portion of the local press, has written a letter to his constituents to explain his motives. "I would have done so sooner," he says, " only that I was unwilling to anticipate that I could have been censured by any of my constituency I not for belying, but for fulfilling—not because I broke, but because gave effect to—former promises and pledges." He reminds his consti- tuents of his having told them on the hustings, that in him they would elect one who believed that the principles advocated by " the old Tory " party of a century back were still the soundest principles of Government- " I thought with them, that the Church ought to be placed in a less de- pendent and circumscribed position. 1 think so still; and therefore I will sup- port any measure which may tend to that effect. 1 thought with them, that in trade and commerce the old Whig policy of restriction ought to be replaced by a larger and freer system. I think ao still; and therefore I spoke in favour of the Government propositions of last year. I thought with them, that in foreign policy the French alliance is the best guarantee for the peace of Europe and the prosperity of England. 1 think so still; and therefore my humble confidence is with a Ministry which is pledged to that alliance. 1 thought with them, that Ireland ought to be governed in sympathy with Irish feelings. I think so still ; and therefore I voted the other night against a policy which is hostile to those feelinge
He quotes a speech delivered in 1841, to prove his consistency ; and explains that, in accordance with his view, he sought in the Irish debate to discover what bad been the practice of former Tory leaders in similar emergencies. He found all of them, even so late as 1829, distin- guished by a policy the exact reverse of the present inaction to suppress licence and indisposition to redress grievance-
., I am not going to change aides. I am not going to pass over to Opposition. I am not going to alter my opinion about men or measures. I am not going, because on this question I think for myself, to abandon the lead of the Con- servative statesmen in the Commons. Nor, because I may have incurred their displeasure and rebuke, shall I abate in that admiration, which you will re- member, was not of yesterday, for Lord Stanley's great and simple character, or for Sir James Graham's administrative talents. And if I have voted against Sir Robert Peel's Irish policy, he at least will know, that, as I have never sought a favour at his hands, so I am not influenced by any motive of pique or disappointment."
A correspondent of the Times, writing from Carmarthen, and signing himself N., (Nott ?) furnishes the following copy of the reply of Sir William Nott to the questions sent to him by the Government, which were forwarded by him to the Adjutant-General of the Army. N. received it by the last mail.
Lucknow, 411i April.
" Sir—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, No. 817, of the 29th ult., calling upon me, by directions of the Right Honourable the Governor-General of India, to report upon certain excesses said to have been committed by the British troops on retiring from Afghanistan. I will confine my remarks to that veteran, gallant, and highly disciplined army which I had the honour to command for so long a period ; and I will leave it to my gallant comrade Sir George Pollock, G.C.B., to defend the honour of the troops he commanded.
"1. I am called upon to state upon what private property, and upon what private buildings, injury was inflicted by my orders, or under my toleration, at Ghuznee. I answer, upon none.
"2. I am desired to state, . whether unresisting individuals were destroyed in cold blood for mere vengeance, and whether women were either violated or murdered for their ornaments? ' I will endeavour to suppress my scorn and indignation while I shortly reply to this charge, or suspicion, or whatever it may he called by the persons from whom it emanated. And this is the return made by the people of England, or rather, I would believe, by a few individuals, to the gallant Candahar army,—that army which was for so long a time ne- glected, but which nevertheless nobly upheld our national honour, and during a period of four years acted with the greatest forbearance and humanity to the people of Afghanistan !
GROZNEE.—Colonel Palmer, at the head of a brave garrison, surrendered Gbuznee to various tribes of Afghans. The city was occupied by these people for months; it was vacated by the enemy on the arrival of the army under my command. On its being entered by the British troops, it was found that not a single person was in the city—neither man, nor woman, nor child. There was no property; and I do not believe there was a house left completely stand- ing in the town; the whole had been unroofed and destroyed by the contending Afghans, for the sake of the timber, &c.
" I have said there were no inhabitants in Gbuznee, and therefore ' unre- sisting individuals could not have been destroyed in cold blood ; women could not have been murdered and violated for their ornaments.' These, I boldly say, are gross and villanous falsehoods, whomever they emanate from. "I ordered the fortifications and citadel of Gbuznee to be destroyed. It Lad been the scene of treachery, mutilation, torture, starvation, and cruel murder, to our unresisting and imprisoned countrymen. Look at the contrast : see the conduct of the noble British soldier ; and are calumny and gross false- .hood to rob him of the honour? They shall not, while I have life to defend his fame.
"Rose.—The extensive village or town of Rosa is situate about two miles from Ghuznee, and is lovely to behold. When this city was taken by the force under my command, Rosa was full of inhabitants, men, women, and chil- dren; my troops were encamped close to its walls; its gardens and its houses were full of property, its barns and farm-yards were well stored, its orchards were loaded with fruit, its vineyards bent beneath a rich and ripe vintage, the property taken from our murdered soldiers of the Ghuznee garrison was seen piled in its dwellings. Were not these fa.';tet! to !I:224,11er who had undergone four years of fatigue and privation ? Some of these soldiers had seen, and all had heard of the treacherous murder of their relations and com- rades by these very people. But why should I enlarge? Four days the vic- torious Candahar army remained encamped close to this village, with all those temptations before it and at its mercy: but not a particle of any thing was taken from the Afghan ; the fruit brought for sale was paid for at a rate far above its value ; no man, no living thing, was injured. Much more I could say ; but so much fur the noble British soldier, for Ghuznee, and for the beau- tiful, rich, and tempting town of Rosa. " I did not command at Cabul. I did not interfere in its concerns. I never was in its bazaars. My division was encamped at a distance, with the ex- ception of one regiment, against which corps I never received a complaint. My division was not in Cabul after Sir George Pollock's troops left. General Pollock's army and my troops marched the same day. No man under my command was ever detected in plundering without being immediately punished. " How am I to have patience to reply to ' whether Afghans were permitted to be wantonly treated or murdered?' Is this a proper question to put to a British general officer who has ever had the honour of his country uppermost in his mind, and deeply impressed upon his heart ? ' Permitted' indeed! Is it supposed that 1 am void of religion—that 1 am ignorant of what is due to that God whom I have worshiped from my childhood ? Am I thus to have my feelings outraged, because a few people in India and in England have sent forth villanous falsehoods to the world ? I have confined my reply for the present as much as possible to the questions in your letter. I will only further say, that never did an army march through a country with less marauding and less violence than that which I commanded in Afghanistan. In Lower Afghanistan or the Candahar districts, I put down rebellion—quelled all resistance to the British power—in spite of the fears and weakness of my superiors. By mild persuasive measures, I induced the whole population to return to the cultiva- tion of their lands, and to live in peace. I left them as friends, and on friendly terms. On my leaving Candahar, no man was injured or molested, no man was deprived of his property, and my soldiers and the citizens were seen embracing. It is on record that I informed the Indian Government that I could hold the country for any time; it is on record that I informed Lord Auckland, as far back as December 1841, that 1 would with permission reoccupy Cabul with the force under my command; there was nothing to prevent it but the un- accountable panic which prevailed at the seat of government. And now I am rewarded by a certain set of people in England taxing me with that which would be disgraceful to me as a religious man, as an honourable gentleman, and as a British officer !
" I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, W. NOTT, Major-General. " To Major-General J. It. Lumley, Adjutant-General of the Army."
The explosion on board the Camperdowa has been more fatal than at first appeared probable : another seamen, James Duke, died on Friday ; Miss Yerker, one of the visiters, died on Monday afternoon ; and Miss Barton, the other lady who was seriously hurt, has been thought past recovery. A Coroner's inquest sat on board the ship on Saturday, to investigate the case of West, who died on Thursday week : the Jury returned a verdict of " Accidental death "; and similar verdicts have been returned in the other cases.