NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE International Exhibition was opened on Thursday, With as much of pomp as a nation unused to spectacles could contrive to display. It did not, however, even as a pageant, come up to the scene of eleven years since, for the Queen was absent, the Prince-projector in his grave, and all the circumstances of the world entirely changed. The peace- ful millennium which was to have succeeded that culmination of human effort has never been realized, the air is full of the dust raised by marching armies, and Tennyson's piean of exaltation over the triumphs of art has for echo the plaintive wail of starvine. Lancashire spinners. We do not at any time profess to love these acts of worship paid to mechanical skill, these hosannahs raised to our wondrous selves, these Te Deums offered in thanksgiving because our chairs tempt us more pleasantly to sleep. We had as lief bow to Moloch as worship Tubal Cain, and think the mad Feast of Reason as noble as this orgie of Industry, in which princes march in procession to honour work, while the workmen who built the palace are "driven away by authority," because they peep through the panes. But at this moment, with a province starving, earth in arms, and intellect exhausted in inventing new weapons of slaughter, the whole thing jars.
M. Mercier, French Minister at Washington, has quitted his post for Richmond, amid, of course, abundance of' specu- lation. The latest story is one circulated by the Scotsman, and implies that the Emperor has at length decided on inter- vention. M. Mercier, it is said, will advise both parties to come to terms. That failing, he will declare that France demands a peace, and will hold the side which first breaks it a foe. And that last resource failing, France will, in the interest of peace, declare formal war on the North and break the blockade. It is a mere canard, probably as baseless as any of the score which have been published before, but we give it as the only explanation of M. Mercier's visit worth a moment's attention. The pressure is becoming very severe in France as well as in England, and though the French people are sound on the slavery issue, the Emperor may not bear long the danger which continued distress involves.
The primary elections in Prussia have gone in favour of the Liberals, and the new Parliament will leave the existing Ministry in a minority of about one-fourth. The king is said to be willing to make modifications, but the Ministry will probably be tempted to encounter one adverse vote. We note one exceedingly healthy sign ; the lower grades of officials have voted as per order, but in every other class of society the attempt to intimidate the electors has produced a large attendance to vote for the Liberal cause.
Parliament has been sitting during the week, but the debates have been wholly without interest. Mr. Horsfall has proposed to fuse the Board of Customs with that of Inland Revenue, and Mr. B. Cochrane has suggested the erection of a Palace of Administration ; Mr. Williams has stopped an expenditure of 5000/. a year upon Highland roads, Mr. Sotheron Estcourt has introduced a bill to facili- tate the work of co-operative societies, and Government have passed some items in the miscellaneous estimates. But, generally, Parliament has either occupied itself with the Exhibition, or has held very short sittings, or has displayed a capacity for silence which must be pleasant to reporters, though wearisome to every other section of the public.
The Parisian papers assert, with tolerable unanimity, that General Goyon has been recalled from Rome. For weeks past the quarrel between him and M. de Lavalette has been the topic of Parisian society. Ultramontanism and the Re volution seem to have selected General and Ambassador as knights to fight out their quarrel ; and at last, after weeks of delay, it is said that the Revolution wins. The immediate consequences mill, probably, not be great, but the Emperor, if the statement is true, does not mean to yield to the clergy, and the brigandage, now supported by Papal funds, and pro- tected in Roman convents, will be brought to a final close. We may mention another report which, if true, may have assisted in the decision, but which we greatly distrust. The Pope has not, it is said, summoned a Council to make a dogma of the temporal power,' but to name his future suc- cessor, Cardinal de Angelis, a devoted Ultramontane. Un- fortunately, unless the cardinals elect a Pope by unanimous acclaim, France possesses one veto, and the only effect of the nomination would be to place the name of the nominee in the secret paper, which must be opened before the election is legal. The cardinals are able, but circumventing Napoleon is never an easy task.
The Greek troops have left Nauplia, the revolt being con- sidered over. That, at least, is the last telegram, but we are told that no telegram comes from Greece unless signed by General Hahn, who is not infrequently of opinion that facts are very disloyal. That King Otho has not yet been dis- missed is the only statement the authenticity of which is wholly beyond dispute.
While we are celebrating the latest glories of the nine- teenth century, the Prince of Wales, who in many historical. senses may be called the "heir of all the Ages," has been, inspecting the tombs of the patriarchs on the plain of Hebron. The Cave of Macpelah, of which Jacob said," There they buried Abraham and Sarah his 'wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebecca his wife ; and there I buried Leah," has been for the first time visited by an English party. The Mahomedans feel the strongest jealousy of the profanation. of these sacred places by infidel visitors, and when at length, after protracted negotiation with the Ottoman Government itself, as well as the Governor of Jerusalem, the Prince of Wales gained authority to enter, the piteous lamentations of the faithful were heard among the Mahomedan attendants who accompanied him. But the cave itself; where antiquarians believe that the embalmed body of Jacob still reposes, no one enters. There is a tradition that 2500 years ago a healthy and corpulent servant of a great king entered it, to return blind, deaf; crippled and withered. But into what are called the tombs or shrines of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, the party were admitted, after a prayer to appease the patriarchs. The tombs of the women were not thrown open, and'a special difficulty was made about Isaac. Abraham, say the Mahomedans, is pacific and genial-'-Isaac jealous and lb severe. Some years ago he steuck down Ibrahim Pasha on entering his shrine 'W.hare do the -.Mahatnedans get their traditions of Isaac? Amending to Genesis, which we esup- posed to be the on authority, Lou is certainly one the most passive of the -patriarchs, unusually submissive as a son, and devolving many responsibilities on others even in his maturity ; sending for his wife by Eleazar the steward; and leaving the control of his sons rather too completely in her hands afterwards. Possibly, on account of this inactive temper, they think him specially, jealous of intrusion on his rest. It is a strange picture of the, state of the Mahomedan faith itself, which is in a condition. not unlike this conception of Isaac—half alive in a dim, sepulchre, and displaying life only by its jealousy lest any one not dead should come and gaze upon its paralysis.
The new trade returns are far from favourable; but it is wily in cotton manufactures that our exports are greatly diminished. The value of the imports, which marks more than any thing else the temporary prosperity or depression of the country, has also fallen off in a very marked manner.
The Social Science Association will hold its sixth annual meeting from the 4th to the 14th June, and there is every season to expect that it will surpass in interest all previous meetings. Both Guildhall and Burlington House are to place suites of rooms at the disposal of the association, and in every department papers of the highest interest and authority have been secured. We have especial reason to expect one discussion of the greatest practical value on Prison Discipline, as f3ir Joshua Yebb has promised a paper on Prison Disci- line, and another on the best means of assisting discharged prisoners ; while Captain Crofton has been invited, and we hope he will accept the invitation, to submit his own different end, as we hold, much sounder conclusions. After the various failures in the discipline of the English convict prisons during the past year, this discussion may well happen to mark the definitive turn of the tide in favour of the Irish system.
The Indian metropolis mourns for the loss efa true man, and mourns him more deeply than it has done others of far greater mark and name. Twenty years ago, William Ritchie went out to Calcutta to take his chance at the bar of the Supreme Court. For a long time it appeared quite improbable that he would have any success. Ile was not a man of genius, or a man of reckless daring, or unscrupulous, or a popularity-hunter. He was, for an advocate, deliberate almost to a fault, and scrupulously accurate in mind, but he was a man of refinement and scholarship, modest and retiring in manner, and possessed of deep religious feeling, without a particle of assumption or rant. In person, a man of great height and bulk, with acountenance of singular sweet- ness. So faint did his chances of success appear after a year's residence in Calcutta that he at one time contemplated pro- ceeding to the Upper Provinces, to take the editorship of a newspaper, which might have brought him an income of 7001. A year. But the first brief came at last. It was a tough case, and be was excessively nervous and hesitating inmanner, but the Chief Justice (Sir Lawrence Peel) knew what was in the man, and encouraged him. He displayed great and un- expected legal acquirement % a strong memory, and un- failing accuracy. It was a distinguished success, achieved more by solid knowledge than by any brilliancy of speech. This was the character which marked his fo- rensic career • throughout, and during the long term of his subsequent practice, the Court never found him at fault. Within a few years of his first brief, his income must have been upwards of 50001. a year, and it amounted at last to upwards of three times that sum. He was Appointed suc- cessively Advocate-General and legal member of Council, but it is not so much as a servant of the State as a member of sodiety that his loss is so deeply felt. It is not even for his eager and unsurpassed liberality in the support of every useful undertaking, for his thoughtful generosity wherever there was distress and suffering, or for his ever active hospi- tality to the stranger and the friendless, that his loss is most to be deplored. There was something more, and something more difficult to define. His presence unconsciously sweetened the whole social atmosphere in which he lived. It would be but half the truth to say that he never had an enemy. It would be far _nearer the truth to say that no one ever saw him without loving him. Great would be the loss of such a spotless life anywhere, but especially great in our great Indian metropolis.
The official accounts of the battle of Pittsburg strongly mpport the eriew that the engagement must be considered &awn. ' General Beauregard claims a victory, and so does general Grant. The former, however, avers that he captured thirty-six guns, and the latter admits that the "loss of artillery was great." He estimates the killed on his own side at 1500, the wounded at 3500, and observes that the enemy left more killed on the field, but carried his wounded to Corinth. He also admits that he could not pursue, and, above ail, he makes no claim to have captured any prisoners. The matter seems, therefore, to stand just as we put it. General Gl-raut is -entitled by military etiquette to claim a victory, but General Beauregard has inflicted a severe check on an advancing arid bitherto victorious force. The Northern papers affirm that General Halleck is to assume the direct command and attack Corinth at once, but the statement needs confirmation.
The Mexican imbroglio seems to become worse and worse. The French, it is said, have given notice that they will return to Vera Cruz, and thence march direct on the capital. General Lorencez has explained to the Mexicans that they must create a government, and a monarchical party would seem to be already raising its head. Meanwhile, Juarez and Doblado, pressed by the pecuniary demands of the Allies, are levying forced contributions, and threatening private pro- perty, and so the circle of outrage widens with every demand for fresh compensation. The statements which reach Europe are probably exaggerated, but enough remains true to prove that Napoleon is determined upon some end which is not thnt of the Allies, that he is accumulating troops in Mexico, and that his agents are actively striving to induce the Mexi- cans to declare for a monarchy after the type of Brazil. England is better out of it, for if interference only produces anarchy we have no wish.to interfere, and if it should end in a regular government, that authority must guarantee the debt.
Mr. Reed, appointed by the Admiralty to design the new iron-clad fleet, informs the public that it' has been resolved to build armoured vessels of small size which can proceed to sea. Only one seems to have been ordered, but the Admiralty has adopted the principle. It is time. The French have now four frigates proved at sea, the .Gloire, Invincible, Normandie, and Couronne ; ten more are upon the stocks, while six floating batteries are ready, and six more have been ordered of private yards. The Admiralty will, we presume, make a formal statement to Parliament before the session is out. If they desire secrecy let them at least say so on their responsibility, but the country will not be contented without proof that the naval chiefs are fairly alive to the requirements of the hour.
The papers published on Thursday contained a telegram announcing that Hussein Pasha had attacked the insurgents in the Herzegovina, and been defeated with a loss of 2000 men. The statement has not been confirmed, and telegrams from the East are exceedingly unreliable. It seems certain, how- ever, that Turkey has either been forbidden to enter Monte- negro or is unable to do so, that the revolt which Omar Pasha was despatched to subdue is still not quelled, and that a sup- pressed excitement prevails throughout all the Turkish de- pendencies north of the Balkan. Omar Pasha himself is ill, and his troops have spent months in the effort to reduce a country which a regiment of Zouaves would overrun in a week.
The measure to consolidate and amend the laws relating to Industrial Provident Societies, which we advocated a fortnight ago, has been read a second time, and will be committed in three weeks. Its drift was explained very lucidly by Mr. Sotheron Estcourt, who has charge of the hill, and obtained the hearty approbation of the Solicitor- General, who simply objected that certain privileges which are given in another and more general measure now before the House, need not be given in duplicate in this Bill. The main emendations, however—to allow these co-operative in- dustrial societies the privilege of limited liability, and to permit them to spend their surplus funds on educational purposes, if they wish—received general meant.