The Morning Post from London, Greater London, England on December 2, 1872 · 6
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The Morning Post from London, Greater London, England · 6

London, Greater London, England
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Monday, December 2, 1872
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my firm confidence in the people came to my assistance. True, sir, most trne,' such as neatly as possible were the words with which I addressed the clear-sighted Prince, the power of the Crown and of the Ministers of the Crown is very closely limited by this constitution ; but make the attempt, and see whether these liberties may not be made compatible with order. Try and govern in the spirit ef this constitution, and do so with the 'most scrupulous conscientiousness, but if you find that good government is incompatible with this statute, send a message after a certain time to the Chambers, in which you frankly state the experiences you have made, and point out the faults of the constitution. You may rest assured that if you have acted to the best of your ability, and according to the dictates of your conscience, the people will stand by you, and will gladly undertake to make the changes of which the necessity may be demonstrated." It is seldom that such good advice is given and taken. In all the early part of this work there is very little indication that Baron Stockmar was occupied with the union of Germany. He was, in fact, in the service of the Princes who were the last persons to wish for any such amalgamation, and we cannot help thinking that the idea did not take up any considerable portion of his attention till after the visit of the King of Prussia to England. We cannot quite understand why a solemn memoir of King William IV. is inserted in this book, but it is impossible to help laughing at the picture he draws of the King's style of writing : " King William's style abounds to overflowing in what is called in England parliamentary circumlocution, in which, instead of direct simple expression, bombastic paraphrases are always chosen, which become in the end intolerably prolix and dull, and are enough to drive a foreigner to despair. r In this memoir, which contains the King's views on foreign policy, there is scarcely a word about Germany, though there are pages about the Eastern Question. In fact, the only question at that time in which Prussia seemed to take an interest was that of staving off the performance of the King's constitutional pledges by allying herself with Austria and Russia in their opposition to the Western Constitutional Powers. The first great and ostensible act of the Coburg family policy in which Stockmar took a prominent part was the marriage of the Queen of Portugal with Prince Ferdinand of Coburg. He prepared the young Prince, and he negotiated the terms of the marriage, and upon the old Prince of Coburg asking that England should guarantee the marriage contracts, found himself obliged to say that this was impossible, and to remind the Prince, as we have no doubt he would remind the Orleans, Princes if he were yet alive, of the old adage, "Nothing venture, nothing have." On this subject Lord Palmerston writes him a punning letter, which shows on what good terms they were. He now undertook seriously the preparation for the English marriage. The plan which he laid down for the young Prince Albert as soon as it appeared probable that the choice would be made in his favour seems to have united everything which would give him a fair chance of becoming a wise constitutional sovereign. In 1838 and 1839 Stockmar accompanied Prince Albert to Italy, and the letter which the former wrote depicting the character of his young charge, though often quoted, accounts for so many peculiarities, physical and mental, that we cannot omit it : " His constitution cannot be said to be a strong ane. After exerting himself he often for a while appears pale and exhausted. He dislikes violent exertion, and both morally and physically tries to save himself. His judgment is on many subjects beyond his years, but up to the present time he has not shown the least possible interest in political matters. Even the most important events of this kind, never, even at the time of their taking place, induce him to read a newspaper." Now this seems to us to be, notwithstanding Stockmar's subsequent rejection of it, a perfectly true picture of the Prince's character taken as a whole. He always disliked exertion, and he never took an interest in politica in the sense in which Englishmen are supposed to take an interest in them, namely, as a game or contest in which they like to distinguish themselves. We consider that the Prince's labours in the political world were always undertaken more from a sense of duty than from having political instincts or an accurate political judgment; in fact, like all good men, he overcame his natural deficiencies. The letter of Baron Stockmar to Baroness Let j en, dated December 15, 1839, seems to us to exhaust all that can be said by a wise and good man upon the subject of the Prince's marriage. From the first the Prince seems to have determined on the advice of Stockmar, if possible, to make friends with all parties, and not to continue the hostility which existed between the Tories and the Queen, and inthb he perfectly succeeded, so that after the departure of Lord Melbourne Sir Robert Peel and Lord Aberdeen took his place as the personal friends of the Queen and Prince. This was no doubt excellently managed by Stockmar. But to Lord Melbourne also much of this was due, who, in a rough sort of careless manner, had taken his own measures through the late Mr. Greville to prepare Sir Robert Peel for the best mode of securing the Queen's friendship. In the year 1841, more than half way through the book and much more than half through his life, we find the beginning of that which we are told was the main feature of Stockmar's policy, namely, the union of Germany and the friendship of England. The visit of the King of Prussia to be godfather to the Prince of Wales was opposed by the King of Hanover as eldest relation ; by Austria and Russia for political purposes ; by the French Government very naturally; by the Court party in Berlin, and by the Coburg family for Saxon reasons in fact, it hardly could be more opposed. Stockmar writes to the latter in the following terms : B "That Prussia has become great at the expense of Saxony was rather the fault of the latter than of the former. It appears to me hardlv possible that the sponsor ship of the King of Prussia can afford a fresh lever for the total destruction of Saxony. On the occasion of this visit the King had a con versation with Stockmar on the foreign policy of Prussia, and, although recognising his dutv towards Germany, he appeared to have much more in his head, the idea of suppressing the revolution in Belgium, than of leading the popular aspirations of Germany. He was still under the influence of Prince Metternich, and when Stockmar ventured to suggest the possibility of Belgium being otherwise than swallowed up by Germany or France, the King merely smiled in a friendly but incredulous manner. The next step in the development of the objects of Stockmar's aspirations was the appointment of Bunsen as Prussian Minister to London. The following ig his description of the loss of prestige from which Prussia would suffer by the appointment : " I said to Humboldt and also to Count Stolberg that by Billow's departure an agency was lost which was of great value to the policy of Prussia. Metternich ruled the policy of Prussia from Vienna, but as the opinion of the Austrian Embassy in London had considerable weight with Metternich, and as Biilow, though he did not rule the Austrian Embassy there, yet exercised considerable influence over it, his departure would be a great loss of influence for Prussia, and this disadvantage would be greatly increased by the fact that Bunsen was personally hated by Metternich, and also enjoyed the enmity of the Russians." The Count de Stolberg, on his return to Berlin, writes to Stockmar that he had made " a friend in Northern Germany, whose feelings towards him would remain for ever unshaken. " The King's visit therefore must be considered to have laid the foundation of Stockmar's German policy. In June, 1844, the Emperor Nicholas visited England, and Stockmar made use of the opportunity to endeavour to secure the recognition of the Belgian State by Russia. The notes of Baron Stockmar upon the conversations between Lord Aberdeen and the .Emperor, which are supposed to have been based upon what was told him by Lord Aberdeen, show that he was made acquainted with the most intimate particulars of the English Foreign-oflice. The Russian Emperor visited England with the view of counterbalancing the influence of France with the English Ministry, but the importance of the French alliance was deemed to be so great as to lead Sir Robert Peel to declare that the maintenance of the Orleans dynasty was the chief object of his policy. Stockmar now spent 18 months in Germany, and, without doubt, became much more acquainted with the state of affairs in the Fatherland. In 184G-7 took pla e the transactions of the Spanish marriages, or. ..' . Baron Stockmar gives a long chapter. The subject is now so utterly uninteresting that it is of no importance to discover who was in the right or who was in the wrong, but it may be said to have been the beginning of the breach of the good understanding between England and France, and of the events that cost Louis Philippe his throne. , As long as Lord Aberdeen was in ofhce even Louis Philippe had not the face to cheat him, but the moment Lord Palmerston succeeded him the French "at once prepared for a conflict. M. Guizat writes to Bresson in 1846: "J'aiavec Lord Palmerston cet avantage qua s'il sur-venait entre nous et Londres queique refroidissement, quelque embarras, ce serait a lui et non a moi queu France, en Angleterre, partout, on imputerait la faute. Je le lui ai dit a lui-meme il y a trois moia.' In the despatch of Lord Palmerston on his accession to ofhce he mentioned the candidature of one of the Princes of Coburg, and thU was a sort of excuse for the marriages taking place ; but before they did take place the most frank explanations were made as to the indifference of the English Court to the Coburg candidature even by Lord Aberdeen, which swept away the only excuse for the faithless conduct of the King and his pious Minister. The letters of the Queen Marie Ame'Iie and of Queen Victoria in answer are very interesting papers, and the character of the whole transaction fully justifies the remark of Lamartine, quoted in a note of this work, that " to the -Spanish marriages Louis Philippe owed his downfall on the 14th December, 1847." Stockmar writes "A real fatality has prevailed in France ever since the Spanish marriages. This is always sure to be the case when people are inconsistent in affairs of importance. The sober spectator may perceive the folly of the expectation that France, now at this day so entirely devoid of all dynastic sympathies, would look upon the advancement of the King's family interests as a great national gain ; bat it was as natural to the character of Louis Philippe as error is to egotism or human nature in general . . . M. Guizot wanted to play the first part in a political intrigue which exceeds in immorality and vulgarity everything brought out in modern times on the theatre of pontics, a part which would have shut out every one who had attempted to play it in the circle of private life from all respectable society." In April, 1847, Baron Stockmar went to Coburg by way of Berlin, which city he found in all the excitement of the inauguration of a new Constitution, and writes a most interesting letter to Bunsen on some of its features. In 1848 Stockmar i3 said to have seriously taken up the question of the Constitution, not of Prussia, but of Germany. The Revolution there took the form of a desire on the part of many German thinkers to unite Germany with Prussia, and the King proclaimed his intention to take upon himself the leadership in days of danger, and on the 21st he rode through the streets of Berlin with a German flag, but this proclamation was received by the rest of Germany with offensive scorn and contempt. On March 31 Stockmar writes " The poor King of Prussia has entirely broken down ; he has never yielded or acted except when it was not only too late, but when it would have been better to' do nothing. Metternich and the Emperor of Russia were the ruin of him and of Germany In Germany no one will hear of him now ; rather the Emperor of Austria or the King of Bavaria." In April, 1848, Stockmar was appointed deputy for Coburg to the German Diet, and in May of the same year he devised a scheme, which he published, for the reconstruction of Germany. This scheme, like all others which ignored the fact of the existence of two great military monarchies at the head of gigantic armies, could never be successful. In May, 1848, he writes to Bunsen, and in this letter we find the first allusion to that German hallucination, the Schleswig-Holstein Question. He at once proclaims " The Danish King has forfeited his German provinces, and they will be at once incorporated, in the immediate territories." Stockmar's plan was sent on to the King of Prussia, but it does not appear to have received any answer. He also communicated it to Prince Albert, but it met with little approbation from him, for he was himself occupied with a similar task ; and we have not the slightest doubt, when the secrets of all hearts are known, that it will be discovered that every German Prince, every German lawyer, and every German professor were all occupied in the same way. Space would not allow us to follow or to make quotations from the three long chapters on the complicated affairs of Germany in 1848 and 1849. They are deeply interesting to students of German history, but we must be forgiven for applying even stronger terms to the wearisome circumlocution with which they are described than those in which the writer criticises King William's memorandum in 1834. To alT other persons the history of the follies and absurdities of the Frankfort and Erfurt Parliament become in the end intolerably prolix and dull, and are enough to drive a foreigner to despair." The following remarks of the Emperor of Russia to a diplomatist sum up the whole state of Germany : "It was easy to see that by next spring the state of affairs in Prussia would be as bad as they were two years ago. His brother-in-law at Berlin was a visionary with whom he had no patience. The Emperor of Austria, on the contrary, in spite of his youth and want of experience, had shown a talent in governing." Thus Austria came out of the German Revolution triumphant, because the Monarch knew what he wanted and sought to obtain it. while the King of Prussia wanted two things incompatible with one another, and therefore obtained neither. In the year 1850 the following remarkable conditions are set down by Stockmar as those which he would follow were he Belgian Premier "1. To uphold the neutrality of Belgium in the full sense of the word. "2. To claim for myself the right to interpret this neutrality in the face of Europe. "3. In order to properly carry through this act of Belgian autonomy I would set on foot the lamest possible military force, firmly persuaded that under such circumstances no European Power would think of tampering with the neutrality of a State that could of its own choice join one or other of the contending forces with 100,000 men." This was precisely the policy followed in the late war. The death of Sir Robert Peel, in 1850, causes Stockmar to write in the Deutsche Zeitung of July 16 a paper on his character, in which we find "I have been told, or have read it somewhere, that Peel was the most successful type of political mediocrity. In accepting this estimate of my departed friend as perfectly true, I ask Heaven to relieve all Ministers, within and without Europe, of that superiority and to endow them with Peel's mediocrity." If Stockmar were to rise up now from his grave and gauge the character of the brilliant genius which now governs us, and of those of the successful mediocrities who surround him, what would he say? The fact is that at the time of Peel's death Stockmar was becoming more of an advocate of a German line of policy than an impartial observer of what other politicians were doing. His affection for Peel seems to us to have arisen rather from his finding in him a docile pupil than from a just appreciation of his capacity as a conductor of foreign affairs. Henceforward we must regard Stockmar as an energetic actor in the political drama, and we find it impossible to absolve him from responsibility for many of the misunderstandings that arose, more especially in the two great events of Lord Palmerston's life namely, his dismissal by Lord Russell, and his adoption by the Liberal party as their leader. The English public was no doubt very wrong as to many of the particulars of the interferences which they attributed to the Prince Consort, but they were quite right as to the main features of the case. The Prince Consort was far too honest a man to do a thing himself or to recommend the Queen to do a thing which he did not believe to be right, but his mind was swayed by two contending influences. On the one hand were the English statesmen noisily contending for power and place and advocating interests not congenial to him ; on the other, the calm philosopher and confidential friend, with no object in view but those thoroughly in sympathy with his own. We again repeat that if Stockmar had taken no share in the German imbroglio, but had watched as a doctor would watch a patient, the course of English affairs, he never would have advised the Court to act upon their technical right to dismiss THE MORNING POST, MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1872. Lord Palmerston in 1851, nor would he have been a party to the resistance to Lord . Palmerston's action in 1854. These events are explained with much detail in these volumes. The first of them, the dismissal of Lord Palmerston, is attributed to the well-known causes. We expected to find some hitherto unconfessed justification. What, we ask, would have been Baron Stockmar's opinion of a German monarch who had dismissed the moSt powerful Minister in the country for such a cause as not answering a letter, or slightly exaggerating an opinion in conversation ? Hi3 contempt would have found expression in sentences as terse and epigrammatic as they would have been just. But somebody must have advised this step ; the attempt to shift the responsibility on Lord Palmerston's colleagues will not hold water. The very defence which Baron Stockmar sets forth shows that the determination to act upon the technical right must have been come to in the Palace, and the advisers of the Palace were in the first instance to blame. Of these Baron Stockmar was the principal one. As an English adviser there was no excuse for it, but as an advocate charged with the duty of pleading for Germany the advantage was bvious. The s'trength of France, confirmed by the coup d'etat, was a source of danger to Oermany, and the close relations between France and England increased that danger. The account given of this event is not strictly accurate. Lord Palmerston is said to have "publicly approved the coup d'etat." This was not the case. The publicity of the approval was due to the notoriety arising from the dismissal of the great Minister. Nor is it true to say that the approval was only given by Lord Palmerston, because we find that Lord Palmerston declared, and that his declaration has never been contested, that M. Walewski made a tour of visits to all the principal members of the Cabinet on the same day, and that he received from their lips an approval in precisely the same terms as those the utterance of which caused Lord Palmerston to be dismissed. The following extract from a letter of Stockmar's (1854) renders justice to Lord Palmerston's foresight : "In order to be just, I must admit that he at that time saw more keenly into the future than all of us, as we saw through glasses darkened by indignation at the coup d'etat. The Russian madness certainly made the Franco-English alliance a political necessity, and Palmerston may justly say that he recognised that necessity sooner than we did. He certainly had the better of us." With regard to the assertion that Lord Palmerston desired either his friends or his adherents to attack the Prince in their vindication of him, we have the fullest authority for stating that when application was made to him to expose the intrigue he answered that he would not have it done, because he considered " that loyalty to the Crown was the sheet anchor of the British Constitution." The next chapter is devoted to the Crimean war and to the repetition of the attacks on the Prince Consort in the Press and elsewhere. In Stockmar's defence of the Prince he attempts to prove too much and publishes too much. He asserts, and most justly, that the Minister's defence, clouded as it was with parliamentary circumlocution, left out of sight the plain view of the Prince's position, which Lord Campbell alone defined, namely, that he was the alter ego of the Queen. In fact, that the being the alter ego was the inevitable condition of that perfect concord which to the satisfaction of every one prevailed in the Royal House. Such being the case, it was impossible that such a man as the Prince, advised by such a man as Stockmar, could fail to interfere in matter3 which, within certain limits, they understood so thoroughly. That their view of these affairs was limited was a great misfortune. The attempt to make a bloodless campaign before the Crimean expedition, the efforts to get Austria and Prussia to join in giving a sort of stale mate to Russia, were actively promoted by the Prince, by Stockmar, and those whom they inspired in the English Cabinet. These endeavours embittered and lengthened the contest, simply because they neglected to watch the state of parties in England. The matter did not interest Stockmar, so he did not inquire into it ; but it was everything to Palmerston, who therefore took the trouble to master it. Before the long correspondences, official and secret, could be brought to any conclusion, the disaster of Sinope had occurred, and it was soon afterwards found that the temper of the English people might thenceforward be directed, but could no longer be kept down. Baron Stockmar, who was wont to enlarge upon the wants of the German population as regarded two muddy Duchies near the Elbe, whose industry fitted him for the smallest details, and who had capacity and experience sufficient to deal with the largest questions, seems never to have made a just comparison between the nature of English Radicalism and continental Democracy. He never mentions the Peace Party ; he does not seen to be aware of the existence of the Brights and Cobdens, who converted Peel to a true system of political economy, and who ended by converting half the politicians of England to a false and impossible system of national action. He seems to see in Palmerston's opposition to his German views nothing but spite or intrigue, instead of an honest antagonism to the boneless humanitarianism which is now so triumphant. He never seems to have observed that one of the principal causes of the Russian war was a national protest against the Peace Party. This wave of political sentiment broke down the power of Russia and made Palmerston Prime Minister. But of these notorious facts we find no record in these Memoirs. The acute analyser of French politics, or of German motives and German shortcomings, seems to have seen in English life very little beyond the Foreign-office or the Court. To him the English world consisted of the three or four statesmen at most who are interested in foreign affairs, or of a few of the lazy hangers-on of Court life, whose habits and morals presented only to his mind a contrast with the orderly and industrious life led by the Princes he was serving. In this respect he seems to have been far less acquainted with England than Baron Bunsen, who rejoiced so much fn the society of the earnest and intellectual sections of the upper classes in this country. In making these remarks we exhaust all that can be said against Baron Stockmar, and we cannot better conclude than by asking the question which, in reference to the Court, we quoted from the editor's preface is there any secret intriguer and confidential adviser " that could have borne the full light of history" like Baron Stockmar ? CLOSING OF THE DUBLIN EXHIBITION. The Dublin Exhibition of Arts, Industries, and Manufactures was brought to a close on Saturday afternoon at four o'clock. The Lord Lieutenant and the Countess Spencer arrived at the principal entrance, where a guard of honour was stationed. Their excellencies were received by a deputation of the council, the manager, the secretary, and the acting representative of the executive, and were conducted through the Sculpture Hall and along the main building to the dais in the Leinster Hall. The military bands played the National Anthem on their excellencies taking their seats on the dais, and the " Hallelujah Chorus" was afterwards sung. Mr. Edward Lee, the manager, read and presented a report of the proceedings and the results "of the Dublin Exhibition of 1872. His excellency then declared the Exhibition closed. The chorus then sang an ode, under the direction of Mr. George W. Lee, written for the occasion by Mr. John Francis Waller. Their excellencies then left the Exhibition with like ceremony as at their entrance, the choir singing the National Anthem. During the ceremony Mr. Edward Lee was knighted by the Lord Lieutenant. Iron Wixb Bins. W. and J. Burrow, Malvern. The original inventors and patentees of the Safety Wine Bins, with separate rest for each bottle All sizes and shapes. Illustrated price lists free. The Hair, The Plain Truth. Mrs. Allen's World's Hair Restorer will positively restore that natural original colour in every case of greyness, no matter from what cause it arises, and the hair is stimulated to natuial growth. The " Zylobalsamum," as a hair-dressing for young and old, is the best article that can be used il imparts a glossand vigorous appearance to tbe hair very beautiful to see. The Restorer, 6s.; the Zylobalsamum in large bottles only. Depot, 266, High Holbora", London, Sold by all chemists and perfumers. MBS. SOMERVILLE. We have to record to-day the death of a lady whose name has been before the world for upwards of half a century as one of the most distinguished astronomers and philosophers of the day a lady who has shown in her own person that it ia not necessary for woman always to re3t contented with superficial attainments and a subordinate place in the intelligent world, but has done honour to the female intellect by her study of nature, and of nature's operations. We allude to Mrs. Mary Somerville, a lady of whom it has been elegantly and justly remarked that " whatever difficulty we might experience in the middle of the nineteenth century in choosing a king of science, there could be no question whatever as to the queen of science. " This gifted lady died suddenly on Friday, at Naples. The only daughter of the late Admiral Sir W. G. Fairfax, by Margaret, daughter of Mr. Samuel Charters, sometime solicitor of the customs in Scotland, the subject of this memoir was born at Jedburgh, where her mother was residing with her brother, Dr. Somerville, the minister of that place, during her husband s absence on foreign service. The date of her birth must have been about the year 1780. At an early age she married Mr. Samuel Greig, a captain and commissioner in the Russian navy, and after his death (in or about 1312) she took as her second husband Dr. William Somerville, a Scottish gentleman of good family, and her own cousin maternallv. From a child Mary Fairfax, even when at school at Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, evinced a strong taste for physical science ; and this taste she was enabled to gratify to a greater extent when she grew up and entered upon life. Before many of the distinguished cultivators of science now among us were born Mrs. Somerville had already taken a place among the original investigators of nature. As early as the year 1825 or 182G she presented to the Royal Society a paper on the magnetising power of the more refrangible solar rays. This communication had the honour of being reprinted in "The Philosophical Transactions," and led to much discussion on a difficult point of experimental inquiry, which was only set at rest some two years later by the researches of Rie3s and Moser, two distinguished German electricians, in which the action upon the magnetic needle ws shown not to be caused by violet rays. In 1832 she published the work by which her name first became widely known, and which at once gained great popularity we mean her 1 ' Mechanism of the Heavens. " It was based on the ' ' Me'canique Celeste " of Laplace, and was undertaken by her at the suggestion of Lord Brougham, with the intention of its being published in the " Library of Useful Knowledge." This she followed up two years later by the publication of her work on "Physical Geography," and also her " Connection of the Physical Sciences." These works have passed through many editions, and have been translated into several foreign languages, while in this country her services to geographical science have been rewarded by the bestowal upon her of the Victoria medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1889, when she had long passed her 80th year, she published, in two volumes, another still more learned and laborious work, and which may be regarded as the magnum opus of her life, we mean her 'Molecular and Microscopic Science." The world is often called upon to admire the keen interest and powerful grasp which veterans foremost in the ranks of science retain in their various favourite pursuits up to the latest moments of an advanced age. It was, however, something passing strange, and without a parallel in the annals of science, to witness an octogenarian lady publishing a work which contained a complete review and resume of the most abstruse researches of modern science, and describing not only the most recent discoveries in physics and chemistry, but especially the revelations of the microscope in the vegetable and animal worlds. In this work the gift of lucid description is as manifest as it was in the author of " The Connection of the Physical Sciences;" but that which most forcibly struck the reader was the extraordinary power of mental assimilation of scientific facts and theories which she displays. To use the words of the Edinburgh Be-view : " In it she gives us first a clear account of the most recent discoveries in inorganic chemistry in the elementary condition of matter, and tells us of the latest researches on the synthesis of inorganic compounds. She then leads us on to the relations of polarisation of light to crystalline form ; and, quitting the subject of molecular physics with an account of the phenomena of ' spectrum analysis ' as applied to the stars and nebula?, she begins the consideration of the microscopic structure of the vegetable world, and passing in review the whole of the-organisms from alga; to exogenous plants, she lands us ia the second volume among the functions of the animal frame, and describes the morphology of the various groups of animals from the protozoa to the mollusc." In thus traversing the immense field of modern scientific inquiry Mrs. Somerville does not indulge in any fanciful generalisations, or, indeed, bring forward many original observations of her own ; but, as she modestly states in her preface, ' 1 the microscopic investigation of organic and inorganic matter being so peculiarly characteristic of the actual state of science, she has ventured to give a sketch of some of the most prominent discoveries in the life and structure of the lower, vegetable, and marine animals, in addition to a few of those regarding inert matter." In fact, she does not attempt to describe the cosmos, but, dealing with her subject in an inductive manner, simply gives in clear language an account of the most interesting results of recent investigation. The latter portion of her work is devoted to biology, or rather, we should say, to a description of the progress lately made in our knowledge of the biological sciences. Here Mrs. Somerville's power of lucid description is still more conspicuous than ever, but the subject is too deep for us to enter upon here. It is enough to say that her language is simple, clear, and expressive, and her descriptions so picturesque and vivid, that they could have been written by no one who was not a perfect master of the subject of which they treat, and that the book itself will for many a long year be full of interest to all those to whom the study of nature in her varied forms, from the highest to the lowest orders of creation, is a pleasure and delight. So far back as the year 1835 Mrs. Somerville was elected a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and we believe that she was the only lady on whom such an honour was ever conferred, with the single exception of Miss Herschel, the sister of the bite Sir William Herschel. She was also a member of the Scientific Society of Philadelphia and other learned bodies. Among other acknowledgments of her scientific attainments, she was in receipt of a literary pension of 300 a year for several years before her death. For the last few years Mrs. Somerville had lived in the neighbourhood of Naples, with her mind as active as ever to the last, and her intellect as clear as the bright blue sky under which she chose to live. To the last she kept up a constant correspondence with friends at home upon all the latest points of scientific interest and physical inquiry. Her life was blameless in itself, and useful to mankind ; and during her long existence of some 90 years' span she was able to prove to the world how much a woman could and can accomplish in intellectual pursuits without sacrificing of her usefulness in the sphere of home or her feminine dignity. Professor Allman, to some "Notes on the Botany of Naples," communicated early in 1370 to the Edinburgh Botanical Society, adds the postscript : "t paid a visit the other day to Mrs. Somerville, on her 90th birthday. She is a charming old lidy ; her senses, with the exception of a slight failure in her hearing, are still perfect ; she can thread her needle without spectacles, and is in full intellectual vigour. She is engaged with a second edi.ion of her work on 'Molecular Science.' " It ia singular, and worth noticing here, that her constant friend, the late Sir Dvid Brewster, was also a native of Jedburgh. THE AMERICAN CONGRESS. m . , i n ... xne second session or tne congress or United States commences to-day, and it will end, by limitation of law, on or before the 4th March next. This Congress is senators, of whom all but 17 are Republicans "of 243 representatives, of whom licans. A distinction ia to be d between the Republicans who support the present Administration and those who opposed it during the late canvass. If we add all of the latter class. in both Houses, to the ranks of the Opposition, we hnd the Administration party still in a majority of 26 in the Senate and 21 in the House of Representative3. This majority is sufficient ; and it must be remembered also that the Opposition is something like the nominal majority in the French Assembly, a body made up of separate factions without a recognised policy, destitute of a leader, and bound together only by a common dislike of the Executive. The Administration Republicans at Washington, on the other hand, form a compact, well-disciplined, and confident party. Tbey have every reason to know that the country is on their side. If the President wished to carry into execution any new and larg measure of foreign or domestic policy at I the present session, he could with reason point to the results of the plebiscite which was taken on the loth of last month as a proof of the popular con- hdence in him and m his rule. But we are told that the present Congress is to be allowed to expire without being called upon for new legislation of an important character, and that the full disclosure of the schemes which are said to be maturing in the Presidential mind is to be reserved for the next Congress, which, although already chosen, will not assemble until a year from to-day. It should be explained that the effect of a law passed at the last session of Congress is to greatly lighten the labours of the American legislators. The life of each Congress is two years. Hitherto the practice has been to commence the sessions of each new Congress on March 4. Hereafter the sessions will commence on the first Monday of December in each year, and as they must end on March 4 of each alternate year, some months every other year which have hitherto been taken up by legislation, will be saved. The present Congress, for instance, expires on the 4th of next March, when President Grant begins his second term of office. From that time until the following December no Congress will be in session. In that month the new o u x A. i x i x- Congress, chosen at the late elections, must meet auu eaect its organisation, it win remain, i session until the summer of 1874, when it will adjourn until the December of that year, at which period it will again meet and sit until it expires on March 4, 1375. It is understood that President Grant will reserve for this new Congress the execution of certain measures of great importance to which mere allusion will be made in the Message which he will send to the present Congress to-day. The composition of the Congress of 1873 is already known. The Administration party in the House will number 200 members, aa against 0 in Opposition ; and in the Senate the present Administration majority will be maintained, if not increased. If report be true, President Grant in his Message to-day will set forth, with more or less distinctness, recommendations for legislation of a highly important nature, but will suggest that action upon these subjects may well be deferred until the newly elected Congress shall have assembled. These recommendations are to relate, it is said, partly to domestic and partly to foreign affairs. The finances of the Government are in a perfectly wholesome state ; but the Americans are not satisfied to continue paying 6 per cent, interest on their funded debt while England pays but 3 per cent. The attempts made by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Boutwell, to replace the 6 per Cent. Bonds by new obligations bearing only 4 and 4i per cent, were successful only to a very small extent. In the report which he submitted to the President the other day, the full text of which will be sent to Congress with the Message, he attributed this failure, it is understood, to the fact that the interest on the new bonds was not payable in London, and that he was able to offer to agents and bankers only a very small commission as an inducement for their aid in negotiating these securities. Congress will be asked to remove these obstacles, and abo to compel the national banks of the country, which hold about 80,000,000 of 6 per Cent. Bonds, to exchange these for 4 per Cents., or to submit to the penalty of closing their business and giving place to other banks whose circulation shall be based upon 4 per Cent, securities. The influence of the banks in the present Congress may be sufficient to delay this reform, but when its importance is understood by the country at large its accomplishment may be expected. The condition of the American navy will likewise form one of the subjects to which the attention of the Legislature and of the people will be directed. The navy consists of something like 50 or 60 wooden vessels in active service, an equal number of single and double turreted ironclads of the Monitor type, laid up in ordinary, and unfit for any tiling but harbour defence, and a few antiquated ships of the line and frigates used as store and school vessels. The Secretary of the Havy is anxious for the complete reconstruction of the navy, the building of a number of broadside ironclads, and the construction of one or two vessels able to cope with our own monster ships. It will be with difficulty that Congress can be induced to vote the very large sums of money which will be required to place the United States in even the second or third rank of naval Powers. But the President, it is said, will ask that the suggestions of the Naval Secretary be well considered, and he will support this request, it ia believed, by bints which will deserve attention. The Administration has never abandoned, although it has suffered to remain in abeyance, its projects for the acquisition of San Domingo, for interference in the affairs of Mexico, and for the purchase or the conquest of Cuba. A year ago President Grant informed Congress that the condition of Cuba " continues to be a source of annoyance and of anxiety." The state of affairs in that island has since then in nowise improved, and if the Presidential Message to-day should repeat this expression of M annoyance and anxiety," it will probably be followed by the suggestion that the time has arrived when some steps should be taken to remedy these evils. The LivisoaToxB Coxgo ExPKDirrojr.-The 2iev.a, which saitH fmm r;,. i c v -. . . ! "Si." pi3S0DSer3 Grandy and brother Mr. J. IT . tne! America artist; .. ,7 hi Of iL a first ran, T rfTute KX35 many of .them, executes with very comic K.vW.JU variety or eccentric .Im. : an original order as an -j 5U . . . . ouuu auogtCUer infinite jest and most excellent fancy " Jlr E iel:"of to that class of artists known in this tannS6 tainers." antl win. - . . 7 Xi 'nh Ml "v-t" wiWl a View t, mil l:. VV,- suitable for ata tent iuio a melodrama, entitled " The Fritz, our Cousin German. " This V,'1 "f being constructed upon exceptional ndS? 'h meet the exigencies of a peculiar ease , too rigorously criticised. Indeed the AZ even Mr. Andrew Halhdav. th in,,.,;...' , ' ' whom was assigned the anlnni:! tA ..i.., .. . . jvuw., arsr ... . to have succeeded so well ia giving not only have succeeded so well ia zivini not n-,t 1 -' ment but dramatic interest to am,... ... .. . Wr6& and incidents so far beyond the beaten track at 2 ' ' ?" He deserves no little credit for the skill he haa ; ' , in so weavinsr the tissue.. an:r,rt r., ... ' 'il - r tin. I, j consequence" of an intricate plot as to impa-t air of likelihood to an extravagant story. The ""a troduces Mr. Emmet as the representative lU I Dutch Yankee of the Hans Breitruaun type. w; ' to New York for the two-fold purpose of naT sister and making mouey by hi wit, fulL iato the LyT of sharpers, and pasjes throu-h all varieties of . and ridiculous fortune before he aeeompishes the b . of his mission. Not only does he lose far a time f luggage and his affianced bride, but he is tu.-ownV! prison upon a false charge of for-ery. Through tie cess of a trial, which presents the crimiaal jSrWoda of our Transatlantic cousinain an exceedingly icicxllh he proves bis innocence, tumj the tables upon ;. cutors, and finds an unerring clue to the recovery 0f T money, his sweetheart, and his sister. 1: h. v m ! Frits, in the courit of his professional pwegrinatiea, attend at an eveniag party in New York, and it occasion that, while administering to the asm the guests, he finds the most frequent an.lfav , portunities for the display of hia talents, mttiicji andfo trionic. He impersonates with "verve" aad aja--. many characters new or nearly so to a British am '-Jt-and sings in BreitUiann dialect a variety ofsuuju followed by a characteristic dance. Etejeaeral of his ballads may be inferred from their titles "Dats vats de matter mit Jacob," "'ihoauie wu T young man," " Kaiser, dun't you want to buy a d jj ? " " a the Zoo," and Seven Up." But he is not baa mses&A in effusions of a more tender tone, as ia p:.JV3, )y touching performance of a " LuUaby " in the c. c ! ,:t) and his still better rendering in the third of a ::. lEg ki little song called "Schneider, how you v:vC i ' especial delectation of a Utile boy who eouios to , iZ. Ma P10". ana wuom he hoists upon his she about the 3tage with such iint" IS prison, and wuom he hoists upon his shoulders, . iry i'"" auuience, equaily delighted with tiie SOU the dance, insist upon both being repeated three Mr. Emmet is alike nn ftii. at th wj ,ists. . ' the banjo and the sentimental .strains of the 2uita- b favourite instrument is what he terms a " Toy H u :: from which he extracts very melodious and u music, playing no fewer than five distinct vtafast tne dear old air of " House, sweet Ho:re There is, however, in Mr. Emmet's programme one Song t ., j exception may be taken -that in which he nro tn give a description of the offence caused Sa the oifoetoq nerves by the cooking of naur kraut, a thei? no: pirti cularly attractive in itself, nor treated ia a styl: -. pensate by wit (though such coirpensatioi: hid been dos- sible) for the transgression against good taste. With one or two pleasant exceptions, voar .a tertainers" are dull rogues, and to spend an an,tuR with them ia like going to supper after tli 2 mamwr f Polonius, " not where you eat but where you are eitec " by intolerable mnui. Mr. Emmet, on the cmtrary. is clever amusing performer, and as his types of efaaracta are as yet unfamiliar to a L,udon audience, his enter- tainment has, independently of its intrinsic merit, m air of freshness and novelty which will probably : , i bute to its popularity. In the United States b a ; ! to have had a run of 1,000 nights. Clad in the uniform of the American artillery, i'Awi Sergeant Bates was present in a private box. recognised and cordially cheered, he came in froat m!, saluting the audience in military fashion, sud, 'Li!iti$ and gentlemen, for this kindly greeting I ou very much I thank you sincerely." Thereupon the b&M struck up "The Star -Spangled Banner,"' foitowed n ke course by "God save the Queen." There ware oubJ Americans among the audience, and what wita Mr. Emmet upon tbe stage, and Mr. Bates m bit bu ; the evening's proceedings partook somewhat of the caaMcwr of an international celebration. A new farce, called " No Cards," from the pleasant ieo of Mr. John Oxenford, served as a lively prelude t the more substantial entertainments, and was rtoeived vtU unanimous applause. CRYSTAL PALACE. The performance of an entire work at oue of the dtu day concerts was, if a novel venture, successful esaugb lead to the repetition of the experiment m another Otot tion. Mendelssohn's oratorio, "St. Paul," by many cc sidered his finest sacred work, requires the exercise ol special gifts in order to insure a satisfactory vers;- the part of the principal singers, and it L aba oejJfoJ that the band should be good, and the chorus eapabls singing with a mixture of vigour and iftSaBSwsi t qualities almost incongruous in chorus Bmjinga5ui!?w to the musical world at the present time that 3Mrf issue should be brought about. It ia Batifvisi t; U- able to say that the Crystal Palace choir by these exec: tion ot the choral music did credit tu thenisel.ts and tice to the work, much of the chorus sinaiuj fefchw ' the usual average. The accomoauitreats all that COUld hit .lo-ti-n.l ..! tk ,.- nnt indifferently rendered. Madame Len; sang the chief soprano music with all her wonted cte. and being ia excellent voice much pleasure was imputed -o tne audience by her performance. The cor.-iltf music b.iinc entrusted to Miss Julia Elton, ma t tt quently well done ; and the noble voice ar.d line dol .ni'- non ot Ui. Lewis Taomas awakened zeneral a lmir .::& The tenor music was sung by Mr. J. H. Pearson iu a acceptable manner; it might have beeu that there 4 little lack of fire and vigour in the delivery of recitative! in which Stephen reproaches the elders with pertily . ' the undue use of the spirit of persecution, bit the smoother portions of the tenor music were very plea'"'-' given. There is scarcely a tenor part in any or.u , .: 1 aenerally difficult as taat in MenJeUanhn' ' i.r! - for it needa an amount and variety of expression met with in any similar work ; delicacy of feelin.', rcfe ment, pathos, passion, and power have each to be if picted in turn, and as there is not enough muiic to alto for a division of the interest amcng several prinMP tenors, the whole ia usually done by one, to be successful, must possess the power of utter-ing, and giving forth truthfully the many emotiow sought to be conveyed through the music. Mi - Feai" haa not all the needful qualifl cations at present, bat t-e promise he gave by the manner in which lie saa certainly lead to the belief that there ia much hopa :'jr him in the future, especially as he Lt young, and decide Si painstaking. The most noteworthy feature of the whjie performance was in the introduction of the sp?cial ejfjp part, written by MendeL-sohn himself for the wo:k, Gli probably played for the first tim in England on Sstu .-day. It is not like the generality of organ part, a convenient makeshift for an indifferent orchestra, and a meaii whereby an incompetent choir may have all shortcaav ings covered up, but ia a truly and thoroughly orehetrai organ part, thickening the harmonies and never t' Trying any of the delicacy of the other instrument il tySfw-The effect produced in many places by the org in wai that no other instrument could possibly bring al as the part was played by Dr. Stiiner wr h e t : sion that a fine taste and thorough command : ' organ could dictate, there was eve ry reason to pleased with the result. It is satisfactory to b.- able dsoto recom the fact of the first perfot mar. oe of ?o ins; ' ' n Tl dition to the score h.ivu.g been undertaken w" stands so high in the profession a art art! t - -.inii' Dr. Staiaer. M IB

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