20 JANUARY 1855, Page 12


yet to be written—the story of the travels of any given letter to one of our public departments, and of the answer to it. The tale would disclose a curiously circulating, devious, tedi- ous course, for every message, and a marvellous amount of written paper upon each point. An order of the simplest kind for the arrangements of a ship cannot be given directly or viva voce—as it would have been by a merchant—but must go through the usual path, and be embodied in the usual amount of stationery. The portable fuel proposed by Price's Candle Company can be sent out at once by a charitable committee in connexion with a journal ; but before so much as an answer can be obtained from a public depart- ment, a volume of polite letter-writing has to circulate between War Office, Ordnance, Horse Guards, &c., for a month. It takes about as long to extract a reply from a public department as is required for notice of bans in marriage.

We have a case before us. An official circular was issued in- viting tenders for wooden huts to be sent out to the Crimea; and a Manchester house responded, offering to supply the huts. A month was expended in the transmission of orders and counter- -orders ; and as the official gentlemen know the value of time, these -orders and counter-orders were transmitted by electric telegraph. In the mean time, however, it occurred to one of the partners in the Manchester house, that similar huts might be wanted for the French : he set off for Paris ; arrived there at 9. 30p. m., and saw the Emperor at 10; but the Emperor would not give an order with- out seeing a sample. An order for the sample was sent home by telegraph; in three or four days a house was erected in Paris ; the Emperor saw it, and the order for a supply of the huts was given on the spot. The French order was of course executed before the British.