6.30.a.m-Steamer Royal Shepherd,from Melbourne, with the English Mail, left 3.5 p.m. Thursday, experienced heavy southerly gales and cross seas.
Passengers.-Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie, Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Brown, Messrs Merry,
Balfe, Cottell, Proctor and C steerage.
Arrived off the Heads ship Lady Egidia from Glasgow, 95 days out, 250 passen-
WE compile the following resumo of news from the papers received last night :
Parliament met on the 6tb of February. The i House of Lords has never within our recollec-
tion presented so mournful an appearance. A stranger entering it for the first time could not fail to have perceived that some public calamity had happened, which cast its shadow over the scene. It was not alone that the sombre dresses of the ladies in the galleries, and of the mem- bers on the floor, indicated a national loss, but that the tone which pervaded the meeting was profoundly grave and sorrowful. Other tokens
there were of the nature of the bereavement. The Throne was unoccupied.and the space upon which the chair for the Prince Consort used to ,stand was empty. A'strange foreign costume, or an ermine robe over n sable dresJ, hero and there, only served lo heighten the gloom, by making the pervading black moro palpable and oppressive. Silence fell like a pall upon the House when the Lord Chancellor rose to read the speech, and instead of tb.2 bustle aud chat- tering which ordinarily follow upon that for- mality, the members dispersed more like men who were departing from some funeral solem- nity, than like actors in a great State cere-
The speeches of the mover and the seconder, '. Lords DuflVrin and "Shelburne, but especially that of the former, wera above the average of such orations. Tho heads of the Queen's Speech were *' echoed" with rather more origi- nality, than on most previous occasions, and. according to custom, the most perfect agreement existed between Ministers, and the movers and seconders of the Address. Air. Portoian and Mr. Western Wood performed that duty with
excellent effect in the Commons.
Oil the Speech itself there is, perhaps, less to be said than of any Queen's Speech delivered within the memory of the living generation. le did not contain a syllable of matter with which the public was not previously acqnainted. It referred, in a paragraph of execrable English, to the irreparable loss the nation has sustained ; announced peace with Europe, the settlement of the dispute with America, the operations against ¿léxico, and tile convention with Moro- cco ; applauded tho loyalty of the Canadians, regretted the distress in certain branches of industry, and promised law improvements. The total absence of subjects possessing any great weight or significance is not more remarkable than the dead level of dullness over which the royal communication passes. This is a good sign. We are at peace with all the Powers'and have really nothing to talk about, notwith- standing Lord Palmerston's urgont hint that matters of importance would be immediately brought forward. There cannot, assuredly, be a more convincing proof of the stability of this country than the fact that, following closely upon a diplomatic imbroglio which up to the eleventh hour looked so like war as to put us to an enormous expense in preparations, we cannot find a single political topic upon which her Majesty sees occasion to express appréhen- sion or regret.
As far as the Session has gone, no Legislative Chamber ever presented so quiet an aspect. No subject of any. importance has been brought forward. The new Education Minute has occupird tho greater part of one sitting in both Houses, Mr. Lowe delivering a speech which lasted nearly four hours, merely preliminary to a discussion upon the merits of the new system of national education, which Government has considerably modified, but against which a strong opposition will notwith- standing be brought to bear. Except in foreign qu stions, which are surcharged with combus- tible materials, the session promises to. be one of unusual tranquility. Domestic politics do not furnish a solitary ground for party warfare. The announcement by L 3rd Palmerston that it was not the intention of Ministers to bring in a Reform bill this session, was received with plainly indicated the temper of the Commons on that subject. Of the measures ns yet put in motion, the most prominent ure the introduction by the Lord Chancellor of a bill to facilitate the transfer of land, and the carriage in the Commons, by a majority of 11, of tue second reading of a bill to legalise marriage with a deccused wife's sister.
It is to be hoped that our recent difference with the Ameriqau government is finally settled, without leaving so uneasy a legacy of mutual ill-will behind as is generally feared. Earl Russell's answer to Mr. Seward's despatch show temperately but firmly'the grounds on which we differ from the American Secretary's inter- national law, while wo readily accept the sur- render of Messrs. Slidel and Mason us satisfac- tion in full for the outrage on our fing. And
there the matter ends. -
The discussion being happily over, her Majesty's Government is doing what it can to prevent future misunderstandings, or, at all events, to remove out of English waters the ri»k of collision. By an order recently ad- dressed to the Admiralty, no vessel» of war
belonging to either of the belligorents^vill be
henceforth permitted lo enter any port of tho Bahama Islands, without having obtained the permission of the governor ; nor to remain longer than twenty four hours in any English or Colonial port.except under stress of weather, or for repairs; nor to provide h»rself with any facili- ties of worliko equipment, and only with so much provisions as may be actually necessary for her immediate use, and so much coal as wil
be required to carry her to the nearest port of. her own country. _ Tho intention of the Govern- ment is to maintain a strict neutrality, and in order the better to secure that end, they have thus interdicted vessels of war on both sides from making uae of our ports for the further- ance of hostilities. .T
The American Government has shown a frank disposition to meet us halfway in the desire to sustain those amicable relations which are essential to our common interests. Mr. Seward has given permission to our troops to pass through the State of Maine to Canada, an act of wisdom and liberality whioh is fully ap- preciated by all thinking men at both sides of tho Atlantic. _ Tt is satisfactory to know also that'ho disclaims the intention of permanently blocking up the harbour of Charleston. He says that tho operation is purely temporary, and that at tho conclusion of the war the sunken vessels will bo removed.
The arrival of Messrs. Slidell and Mason has
produced no more sensation in England thau that of the most obscure stranger that ever vinited our shores. A few people were drawn together out of curiosity when they landed ; but not a word was srokcn.and nobody followed thom a foot from the landing-place. Thej took their, departure immediately for London, and have never been heard of since. They"" were at onco absorbed in the common mass of the metropolis. Mr. ¡slidell is gone to Paris. Mr. Mason remains here ; but be has hitherto been diacrectcnough not to emerge from the obscurity into which he fortunately plunged at his fir.it step. As the conspicuous author of the Fugitivo Slave Law, the loss notoriety ho courts the better for the cause he has been appointed to represent.
Our intelligence from the seat of wnr contains some points which may yet prove highly im- portant. The army of the Potomac is still under canvas. Genornl M'Clcllan, who pro- mises in grand proclamations tho speedy and total annihilation of the enemy has not yet moved hand or foot. Burnside's oxpeditioni however,' lins sailed. Somo of tho ships have suffered severely from a storm, and great losses are said to luive been incurred, but the expe- dition U nevertheless milking way to its final destination. The project is to enclose tho South by sea" and land, M'Clellan opening his march southward UB soon as Burnside shall havo made good his occupation of the coast. Whether this gigantic euterpriso bo practica- ble remains to be seen ; but remembering what kind of country the tro jps will have to traverso and the impossibility of lmlding it in their rear as they advance, it requires a large faith to enabio a dispassionate spectator'to lookforwnrd with confidence to the result. As far as Burn- side has yet proceeded, ho haï been entirely successful, Ilohuslunded on lïoanokc Island, North Carolina, having sunk the fragment of a Confederate fleet ho found there ; und subse- quently taken Elizabeth city, alter a severe engagement. The last news was that he was advancing upon Edon Town, and that the Con- federates in Norfolk were in tho agonies of a panic. To these successes must bo added the capture of Fort Henry, on the Tonncssce River which gives a large balanco of advantages in
favor of the North.
On tho otherside, it is becoming obvious that tho South is losing heart. Shut up from all
communication with other countries, its Bitua. J
tjon is very different from that of the North. It is now, for the first time, compelled to depend upon itself for absolute necessities which it has hitherto derived from abroad. It must grow its own corn, manufacture its own garments, and improvise a hundred shapes of industry
which up to this time were carried on for it by « others. Ii has nothing to fall back upon. Its money is failing. Its productive capacity, developed by the sheer exigency of circum- stances in some new directions, is terribly re- duced upon the whole. The soldiers it furnished in the first hour of enthusiasm for the general defence are beginning to be missed on the plan- tations, and the desolation of families is growing more and more calamitous. There is no means of replenishing the army ; no power of recruit- ing the finances ; and no hopo of repelling invasion except such as is suggested by the naked hopelessness of the undertaking. Tho Southern press docs not conceal its^apprehen sionfl, and openly accuses the government of mism'inageinent and want of energy. There is a weighty grain of truth in the accusation. Had the troops followed up tho victory of Bull's Run, the f South might have been in possession of Washington long ago, and dictated terms from the While House. As it is, the reliance of the Confederate States rests almost exclusively upon the extreme iinprobablity that the North, uialer any circumstances, should «ucceed in achieving the conquest of the Soutli.
The main interest of European politics is just now beginning to be centred in Germany. The agitation for aGermanicConfederation.which in
one sense means a combination of German States to guarantee to Austria her Venetian and Hungarian ,or,in other words, her non-Germanic
territories, has resulted in one of those clear and - sharply-defined differences of opinion, which admit little hope of compromise,- and which
point distinctly enough to the probable future. »
Somo little ,timo ago, tho governments of | Austria, B ivari«, Wurtemberg, Saxony, and
other States, addressed independent but identi- i cal notes to the Prussian government, protesting' against-the view it had tak<»n of tho question of
Federal Reform in a previous communication1 to the Saxon 'Minister. This protest charges ' Prussia « ith designs dangerous to the funda- mental principle onwhic-lithe idea of a Germanic federation is founded, and having a direct tendenov to tho establishment of a system of
centralisation of which Prussia should be
the head, _ with certain of the German
Powers bound to her, while the other Poweis would be excluded, and left much in the same position as if they were foreign nations
To this remonstrance Prussia.has transmitted a prompt and decisive answer, in which she denies the right of Austria and the other Powers to make such a protest, suggests that the noteî of all the powers being identical de- prives them of the character of a free exchange of opinions, asserts that the scheme of a com- prehensive Confederacy aiming at a political consolidation «hieb, should comprise non Germanic territories, would be far more perilous than the reforms proposed by Prussia, nnd declares that the constitution indicated in the protest is impracticable, and contrary to the views of Prussia, and therefore, declines toenter into any discussion upon its details.
Hie most superficial knowledge of ,the inter- nal condition of Germany, and the external possessions of Austria, will enable the reader to perceive the drift of this correspondence, and to comprehend its importance. Austria, unequal to the tusk of keeping Veuotia and Hungary single-handed, seeks to raise up a Confederacy in German?, constructed with so keen a view to her own interests, as to commit its .members to a defence of her foreign provinces. Prussia, on tho other hand, desires that Federal reform should be based upon a purely national fouuda« tion ; th.it it should bo a strict realisation of the theory of German unity ; and thnt none of the Sutes should be implicated in anv' respon- sibility coinectcd with individual ambition or with any views apart, from the interests of the
Tho probable result of this palpabledualism.and irreconcileable opposition between Prussia and Austria, und the States that severally follow them, is the severance of Germany into two Confederations, northern and southern.- Indeed, as mittori stand at present, no other issue seems posible ; and if it bo true Hint the Prussian government has recognise! the kingdorapf Ila y, in the shape of a note to the Prussiffir repre- sentative at Turin under the hand of tho King, the disruption cannot be far off. This new distribution of Germany cannot fail to itivolvo momentous consequences to the rest of Europe ¡ but that is a subject which it is premature to touch upon yet.
Surely the beginning of the end of the Roman question-so long looming nearer and nearer is close at hand at last. _ The French govern» ment has remonstrated with the Pope in a kind and anxious tone, but in a manner which bears very much the appearance of a final appeal, und the Pope has replied, through Cardinal Anton clli, in words which might be translated into ' the famous Hibernian expression of obstinacy,
" I will be drownod, and nobody shall savo me." The Popo "won't be saved. He never «ill surrender up nnjinch of thesacrèd territory. What is to be done ? Franco cannot go on protecting Rome for ever. The effect produced by the Pope's answer on the French govern- ment, is shown by a subsequent communication addressed to the Papal minister, requiring an explanation respecting a circular sent from lîome to tho Gallican Bishops,summoning them
to a mooting in May, such circular not having i been sent through the State authorities. The French government has since " advised" the 13ishop3 not to go to Romo except upon urgent diocesau business. It is impossible to mistake the policy of which theso small incidents are significant indications. _ ?
Prince Napoleon's speech in the-Senate on the Address présents another striking evidence of the growing impatience of R mian obstinacy. The prince openly declares against the temporal power of tho Pope, and demauds that national education in France shall be taken out of the
hands of the priests. Those opinions delivered in the Senile by a cousin of tho Emperor, look very much as if the scabbard had boen at last thrown away. '
The,arrivai of the new Archbishop in War- saw has not liad the effect of calming the pub- lic minti. He was officially received , by the clergy, but it do'es not appear that tile people took any part, or showed nny sympathy, in this ceremony. Great distrusf was manifested respecting ti.e alleged confession of the poor old Cuuon Bialobrzeski. In coaie quarters" its authenticity was called 'into1' question,'and those who admitted it to be genuine believed that it was extorted from the weak mind of an
oldman, worn out by fear and suffering, 'lho first act of the new Archbishop was to re-open the churches, a solemnity which was pciforifled with due magnificence, and not without an ap-
propriate reference to the paternal wisdom of the,government (to whom the prelate owed his appointment) and the quiescent duties of, an oaedienc people. From the floor of tho gor- geous cathedral, the Archbishop exhorted the congregation to sing the prohibilod hymns no more, and assured them of the benevolent pro- tection of the Emperor, if they would abstain
from all such manifestations, Tue contrast be- tween this Archbishop and the fornior must have struck the congregation to its hoart's core,
nnd was not vory likely to reconcile them to (¡je - chungo. t'
The following is from tho " Pjostcript" to tho "HomeNews" ;- < , í
The Anniversary Banquet of'the' Australian Association was held with more than usual suc-
cess this 8eason,'aud the speeches delivered upon
the occasion woro of moro than usual interest. It happens by rather a remarkable coincidence that at n moment whon^thn'ooloniul newspapers aro complaining, not without justification, of the free commentaries and unjust imputations of some of our homo journals, and while the democratic tendencies developed in somo of our colonial possessions uro attracting n largo mea- sure of Imperial consideration and critioisnH tho policy of rendering tho colonies independent-of tho mother country has suddenly beoom.) a topic of^wido nnd earnest discussion. We do not believe tlnit it «ill lead to nny practical consequences, or that it will in the slightest degieo influence the issues of a relationship « hicli one day or another must terminate in the substitution of an alliance, npon terms of mutual equality, for that connection of modified control aud fealty which ntfpresent exists. Wo have outlived the ago of theory, as wehnvo outlived tho obstinacy and superstitious confidence in our owu supremacy which pro- duced the American war. No such 'disastrous blunder can ever occur again. Tho separation
> of a colony from the mother country, whenever ," it takes place, will bo the calm result of a f necessity recognised on both sides, and accepted
for the benefit of both. But it would be the v height of political madness to hasten such a
catastrophe, or to take any steps that might endanger that perfect equity of judgment with which its considerntien should bo approached. Nor. above all things, should it be forgotten ' *' that it is even more important for the colony
than for the mother country, that tho division should not be contemplated lill the colony can stand nlone. _ The question for the colony is, not whether it can supply its own wants, carry on its own trade, and conduct its own govern- ment, without the help and guidance of England, but whether, being thrjwn upon its own unassisted resources, it could maintain it independence against otherPowcra.This is the real question, and the real risk, for Australia, Canada, and the rest of the British colonies scattered over the g'obo : a question which, of course, applies with different degrees of force' i to different places.
The discussion on the address in the French Senate ia still proceding. After the Achilles of the debate came the Thersites- after Prince Napoleon c uno the Marquis de Boissy. This senator is animated by. a sentiment towards England very like that which the late Colonel Sibthorp enterlnined towards foreigners of any kind, 'ihereforc the Marquis de Boissy devo- ted his whole speech,as he did till his harangues of last session,to n denunciation of England and a lament, that instead of spending hoi- money foolishly in the Ciimean and Italian wars. France did not disburse her funds fruitfully and wisely in mirching upon London. He ex- pressed himself quite unable to comprehend why France should go. about _ suppressing bar- barities in China and/in Moxieo, while England was allowed with impunity to torture gibe na- tives of India. Ho appealed to the memory of Waterloo, and declared that " in the hope of reviving the national hatred he would repeat again and again the execrable name." In point of fact, he soreamed out three times success- ively the terrible word, but the warkiko appeal only called forth universal shouts ol' laughter. . Indeed almost every sentence of this remarka- ble oration had the same effect.
Some of the continental journals deny that Prussia has decided upon nu immediato recog- nition ol'the kingdom of Italy. Russia, it is said, having oeen consulted on the subject, haB declined to recognise the new kingdom ; and . Prussia has accordingly resolved to postpone
bet recognition, Other journals, however, re- present the recognition by Prussia, as about to be immediately proclaimed. '