24 NOVEMBER 1855, Page 11


A. FRENCH powder-magazine near Inkerman has been exploded, with such effect as to destroy 30,000 kilogrammes. of powder and 600,000 cartridges ; while shells filled with combustible matter, launched into a neighbouring English park of artillery, raised a violent conflagration, with a loss in killed and wounded of not less than 250, officers and men. This happened, apparently, on the 16th of November.

On the evening of the 18th, the sky over the Champs Elysees

was reddened by a great conflagration which had broken out in the Manutention at Chaillot, a large Government grain and flour store for the supply of the army of Paris. The immense machine- ry which was brought to bear upon the conflagration could not quench it before the destruction of the building and of immense stores; a loss which is some set-off to the destruction of Russian stores on the shores of the Sea of Azoff.

On the night of the 18th, a fire broke out in Stirling Castle, which not only destroyed the Governor's house, but threatened the whole castle and particularly the powder-magazine.

Here are coincidences to delight Pepys !—three conflagrations within forty-eight hours, destroying the stores and threatening the lives of the Allied armies in the Crimea, in Paris, and in Scotland! The Russians will of course see in such triple visitation "the hand of Providence." Russophobes will detect "the hand of Russian agency." The cause may always be extracted from the effect: a direct injury to the forces of the Allies points to the agency of the enemy. In one respect at least, there is no doubt upon the point : the enemy has no agents so faithful as idle store- keepers or disorderly arrangements on our side. Such disasters very seldom happen in ships of war, for the simple reason that the precautions taken render them almost impossible. Such accidents may be traced therefore directly. They belong to the category of railway "accidents," with this difference, that it is not individuals and private property which are at stake, but armies and imperial interests.