20 JANUARY 1855, Page 13


IT is rather interesting to note the excitement in which the corn- trade periodically indulges. At the beginning of this week there was a sudden turn. The first announcement of negotiations for peace from Russia had put a stop to business; then came a seven- days wavering, with increased imports, and finally a consent to two or three shillings a quarter under the prices of the preceding week. This was the more disappointing, says the journal of the trade, as the opening of the new year "was expected to show a simultane- ous improvement, and there is now panic." Panic at what P—At the real "improvement" in the prospects of the country, or rather at the fact that the prospects of the country are discerned from Mark Lane; for everywhere else it was seen that prices could not continue at the heights they had reached. The corn-trade appears to be one of those in which oldfashioned notions still prevail. There is panic or delight as prices are low or high. Now in corn, even more than in most trades, with scarcity we have high prices ; we have a high rate of profits, but business is limited, and liable to sudden fluctuations. Individuals may make unexpected for- tunes by casual transfer of goods; but is there such a large spread of profits to be divided amongst all ? With abundance we have low prices, and a low rate of profits; but all the country prospers, the consumption through the bakers is steady, and business is continually extending.

Dr. William Roots revives the "worn-out question, whether of- ficers in the Army should wear a distinctive garb"; and he is, he says, "induced to offer an opinion on the contrary, from the recollection that our greatly beloved and lamented Nelson in all probability lost his valuable life from the conspicuous figure he offered to the enemy when full-dressed in all his regimental ho- nours." Was Nelson, then, an officer in the Horse Marines The story itself on which Dr. Roots relies in the case of Nelson was:set at rest as a fictitious fact some years ago.

What should be done with the criminals of Europe ? Some great improvement is necessary in the moral sense of states in re- gard to this matter. Not long since, England made no scruple of sending her criminals to Australia' and tried to send them to other colonies even less fitted to receive them; thinking it a slight mat- ter to concentrate the poison, which is mischievous when diffused amongst our larger population at home. The evil was retaliated upon us in the transportation of the Channel Islands to the United Kingdom,—and Scotland used banishment to England as a punish- ment, within living memory. We notice that the American jour- nals are complaining that convicts and paupers are shovelled off the old countries of Europe on to the new countries, and that the consequence is an increase of criminal offences, particularly in New York. It is almost a casns beUi. If the dollar fine on emigrant shippers be not sufficient,—and we should have thought it would be,—the Republic should take steps to apprize the thieves and paupers of the Continent, that they will not be welcomed in the -Union; and perhaps then the thieves and paupers will take the subject of their deportation into their own hands.

Is the passage of the Red Sea ever to be opened to a ship-canal? We now have the promise, we forget how many times repeated. M. Ferdinand de Lesseps actually has a firman from the Viceroy of Egypt; but how can the firman of his Highness cut a channel through the broad shallows which form the approaches of the Me- diterranean coast at the Isthmus of Suez ? How can the most for- mal promise of Egypt insure "honest and hearty cooperation," as the firman phrases it ? The rails for the ever-promised railway across the Desert used to be lying about, a mockery of the pre-. tenses which they were imported to sustain. It is curious that these two portals of the great highways of the world, Suez and Panama, should be the scenes of such repeated promises of ship. canals, with so small a previous examination as to the means of fulfilling the promise! The last expedition to Central America, it is said, oliscovered gradients up which but few canals could ascend; and M. de Lesseps has not yet waded through the shallows of Suez.

A snowdrop, one of the most delicate and beautiful of things, raises its head through the hardest and coldest ground, and is safe in the fiercest storm. There is no picture more beautiful than that of gentleness and purity defended by the life with which

divinity has made it instinct amidst turmoils and corruptions. The attacks that are made on Miss Nightingale, who has copied the pattern of the chivalrous ages by leading forth women, gentle and simple, to minister to the wounded and sick soldiers in the East, make one blush—but not for her. It would have required the ingenuity of a Mrs. Trollope, or rather of a Theodore Hook, to invent such refinements of baseness and "beastliness "—so the Times justly calls it—as have been launched towards her by angry divines. One Protestant clergyman cautions his congregation against sending bounty to our suffering countrymen in the East through Roman Catholic channels; another suggests to a sympa- thizing contemporary that there is something " indelicate " in the attendance of young ladies upon sick men. The reverend person does not know that "nice affection scorneth meaner hands,"— that there are services so sacred as to make even the thought of indelicacy an outrage upon decency. Others assert that she is Unitarian, Papist, High Church, Infidel. "It is a cruel return,* says Mrs. Sidney Herbert, "to make towards one to whom Eng- land owes so much "; but the cruelty is that of suicide—the accusers are mutilating their own character before the public. Even arithmetic must be twisted to support a false morality, which it seems is inconsistent with true arithmetic. At least we have a right to infer so from the perversion. There are Roman Catholic nurses: granted ! but there are also Roman Catholic sol- diers—perhaps in a proportion not very different from that of the nurses, of whom there are 26 belonging to the persuasion; the total number appointed, according to the Chaplain-General, being 90. Bigotry, however, magnifies the proportion. There must be more Papists; it assumes—there must be something like half, instead of less than one-third. There is a conviction to that effect, and the figures of course must be made to square with the conviction. How can that be managed ? Easily enough. If the first numeral of 90 be turned upside down, the effect is accomplished. "Of the whole number," says the Standard—" 60-26 are said to be Papists."

Indeed you may find corruption-anywhere, if you will look for it. The amiable writer of "Notes and Sketches" in the Morning Post, turning the spectacles of Michael Angelo Titmarsh upside down, finds dangerous morality in John Leech ! He is quoting a review of Leech in the Edinburgh- " At page 83, the Reviewer exclaims, apparently with much delight, 'What plump young beauties those are with which Mr. Punch's chief con- tributor supplies the old gentleman's pictorial harem !' Is it [asks the es- timable prude] this harem' that we can walk through with such perfect coolness and safety ? "

Who is to be the next War Minister ? Already there are many candidates in the field, put forward by this club or that journal. Lord Palmerston has been on the list for a long time, and he clings to the possession of the Militia, which ought to be consolidated in the War department, but is in the Home department, and is per- haps a kind of stay to the military appetite of the Foreign Secre- tary at the Home Office. Lord Ellenborough is also a standing candidate; though it would be a promotion downwards probably, if he were placed in actual administration, instead of being where he is, a valuable critic of the Administration. A vast deal of energy, powerful situations, striking papers, wonderful cere- monies, we probably should have ; and perhaps other wars than those against Russia, other aggressions upon the East. Who knows that we should not some day see the noble Lord triumphantly returning up the Strand, in procession, not with the gates of Somnauth on his Sampsonian shoulders, but with the gates of Temple Bar, and a prostrate and weeping Corpo- ration chained to his cab ? The ghost of Lord Howick has flitted across the scene in the group of candidates, .under the form of Earl Grey ; who was a real reformer when he was of the living, and not in office. The favourite of the dubs is Lord Panmure, better known as Fox Maule ; an able administrative officer, as well as a stanch Whig, but untried as a statesman. The last suggestion is, Sir De Lacy Evans; who, because he has been obliged by declining health to retire from the labours of the field, is destined by his friends to the more harassing labours of the bureau!