13 JANUARY 1855, Page 12


CORPORAL punishment of some kind, whether with lash or other instrument, will probably always be retained in any army, as an absolute necessity for telling the soldier that there is a point at which mutinous resistance to authority must yield ; but that is poor discipline, poor command, which relies upon cat, stick, or sword. Lord Raglan has shown that he can rely upon stronger influences. A young soldier having, in a state of intoxication, struck an officer and a sergeant, he was sentenced to fifty lashes and twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour; and, says Lord Raglan in confirming the sentence, he was properly con- victed and sentenced. But, in consideration of his youth and in- experience, of his sorrow and contrition, the Commander-in-chief steps beyond that just punishment and pardons the youth ; "thus affording him an immediate opportunity of showing by his conduct that he is not unworthy of the lenity now extended to him." Was this young man a monster, in his capacity for being reformed ? If not, might not the pardon be more efficacious than the lash ? The returns of corporal punishment in the Navy for the first six months of the last two years show a decline from 790 in the former period to 330 in the latter : half of the punishment formerly in. flicted is now considered unnecessary, and consequently mis- chievous. In twenty-four ships there were no returns of corporal punishment ; and it is remarked that many of the ships which re- turned" nil" in 1853 made the same return in 1854. Is the dis- cipline in those ships worse than in the others ? Is it equal ? Is it better ? There is even something beyond discipline : are the men in those ships less, or are they more willing, in the exe- cution of their duty, less or more likely to act with vigour before the enemy at the call of their officers ?

We note an interesting improvement in the last returns of the Registrar-General,—a table exhibiting the occupations of the adult males who died in London during the week, with the total of per- sons in those occupations alive at the last census. The return is, of course, too limited in time to tell us anything conclusive ; but some of the indications are curious. It might be gathered from the deaths in this table that the "conveyance of goods, &c.," is about twice as unwholesome as the average of occupations. The attendance on man averages slightly more than the average. Dealing in money, houses, &c. is about the average ; art and me- chanical productions under the average; engagement in general or local government considerably under it ; while, to be supported by the community without specific occupation, might, from this return, be supposed to impart immortality, for no persons thus classified died during the week.

The United States propose to mediate between Europe and the great mutineer of Europe, the Emperor Nicholas. The simple resort to war is supposed to create the right of intervention : how would our American friends have relished the proposal to inter- vene between the Union and Mexico ? We will not ask whether a British intervention between Greytown and Washington is po- pular in the Union ; but one question comes nearer home. Colonel Steptoe has been appointed Governor of the Mormon territory : is it with a view of clothing him in military power, in order to enforce Federal laws over the inhabitants of that unattached ter- ritory? If so,—and it is a course clearly dictated by sound policy,—the Mormons will probably rise and attempt to put down their local government : how would Washington relish a proposal to send out a British commission for mediating between the capital and the territory,—the commission to be composed of Lord john Russell, Lord Derby, and Mr. Disraeli?

While the Russians are praying for peace, and Nicholas is as- senting to it, an Archbishop is informing the "Christ-loving in- vincible warriors" of Russia, at Odessa, that they must march to humble the cunning malevolent foe, who, although "rein- forced by fresh bands of scamps," "has been abandoned by his primitive intrepidity." Which is right in his estimate of probable victory, Czar or Archbishop ? What special reliance had the Archbishop for his greater confidence ? As Neapolitan soldiers march under the protection of the Immaculate Concep- tion, the Russians receive as their "companion" from the pre- late, "the picture of the holy envoy from heaven, Michael," with "the conquered dragon of the wicked" beneath his feet.

A voice from the wine-vaults of the London Docks exhorts us, with ghostly solemnity, to ask, whether the recommendation of a jury has been carried out ? It will be recollected, that forty-one pipes, containing sour and almost valueless wines, were miracu- lously discovered to contain really excellent port. Now if those vats had been emptied—" started," so that the wine ran into the ground—and if one quart had been taken from each of the other casks in the vaults, the metamorphosis that was discovered would have been accounted for. We are familiar with that kind of sheep- breeding which goes on at the baker's, and by which the thrifty land- lord of the oven, who buys a leg of lamb, grows it into the finest leg of mutton among the Sunday dinners. Upon the whole, it is calcu- lated that about thirty more pipes of sour wine had been trans- muted in the same manner. The jury which found that "many irregularities had occurred in the Docks," followed up that verdict with a recommendation that "greater strictness should be exer- cised with the London Dock Company in regard to their subordi- nate officers." The difference in the value between the pipes which were originally worth only a few shillings is calculated to have been 30/. or 38/. a pipe after the transmutation. The London Dock wine-vaults are the largest in the world; the merchants who use them are very. numerous ; and the question propounded by the Ghost from the vaults is one that touches them nearly. Another question asks the Ghost. A very eminent merchant expressed his opinion, at a meeting in the London Tavern on the 3d December 1851, that when he deposited his wine in the vaults of the Lon- don Docks, he considered it as safe as if it was on his own pre- mises : will that gentleman stand in the same place now and use the same words ?