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,
Ralfe, Cottell, Proctor and 6 steerage.
Arrived off the Heads ship Lady Egidia from Glasgow, 95 days out, 250 passen-
WE compile the following resume of news from the papers received last night :
Parliament met on the 6th of February. The 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 a sable dress, here and there, only served to heighten the gloom, by making the pervading black more palpable and oppressive. Silence fell like a pall upon the House when the Lord Chancellor rose to read the speech, and instead of the bustle and 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 Dufferin and Shelburne, but especially that of the former, were above the average of such orations. The 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. Mr. Portman and Mr. Western Wood performed that duty with
excellent effect in the Commons.
Of the Speech itself there is, perhaps, less to be said than of any Queen's Speech delivered within the memory of the living generation. It did not contain a syllable of matter with which the public was not previously acquainted. 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 Mexico, and the convention with Moro- cco ; applauded the 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 urgent 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 apprehen- 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 occupied the 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 questions, 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 Lord 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 as yet put in motion, the most prominent are 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 the second reading of a bill to legalise marriage with a deceased wife's sister.
It is to be hoped that our recent difference with the American 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 we readily accept the sur- render of Messrs. Slidel and Mason as satisfac- tion in full for the outrage on our flag. 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 risk of collision. By an order recently ad- dressed to the Admiralty, no vessel of war
belonging to either of the belligerents will be
henceforth permitted to enter any port of the 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 herself with any facili- ties of warlike equipment, and only with so much provisions as may be actually necessary for her immediate use, and so much coal as will
be required to carry her to the nearest port of her own country. The 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 use of our ports for the further- ance of hostilities.
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 which is fully ap- preciated by all thinking men at both sides of the Atlantic. It is satisfactory to know also that he disclaims the intention of permanently blocking up the harbour of Charleston. He says that the operation is purely temporary, and that at the conclusion of the war the sunken vessels will be removed.
The arrival of Messrs. Slidell and Mason has
produced no more sensation in England than that of the most obscure stranger that ever visited our shores. A few people were drawn together out of curiosity when they landed ; but not a word was spoken, and nobody followed them a foot from the landing-place. They took their departure immediately for London, and have never been heard of since. They were at once absorbed in the common mass of the metropolis. Mr. Slidell is gone to Paris. Mr. Mason remains here ; but be has hitherto been discreet enough not to emerge from the obscurity into which he fortunately plunged at his first step. As the conspicuous author of the Fugitive Slave Law, the less notoriety he courts the better for the cause he has been appointed to represent.
Our intelligence from the seat of war contains some points which may yet prove highly im- portant. The army of the Potomac is still under canvas. General M'Clellan, who pro- mises in grand proclamations the speedy and total annihilation of the enemy has not yet moved hand or foot. Burnside's expedition, however, has sailed. Some of the ships have suffered severely from a storm, and great losses are said to have been incurred, but the expe- dition is nevertheless making way to its final destination. The project is to enclose the South by sea and land, M'Clellan opening his march southward as soon as Burnside shall have made good his occupation of the coast. Whether this gigantic enterprise be practica- ble remains to be seen ; but remembering what kind of country the troops will have to traverse and the impossibility of holding it in their rear as they advance, it requires a large faith to enable a dispassionate spectator to look forward with confidence to the result. As far as Burn- side has yet proceeded, he has been entirely successful, He has landed on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, having sunk the fragment of a Confederate fleet he found there ; and subse- quently taken Elizabeth city, alter a severe engagement. The last news was that he was advancing upon Eden Town, and that the Con- federates in Norfolk were in the agonies of a panic. To these successes must be added the capture of Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River which gives a large balance of advantages in
favor of the North.
On the other side, it is becoming obvious that the South is losing heart. Shut up from all
communication with other countries, its situa-
tion 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. It 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 hope of repelling invasion except such as is suggested by the naked hopelessness of the undertaking. The Southern press does not conceal its apprehen- sions, and openly accuses the government of mismanagement and want of energy. There is a weighty grain of truth in the accusation. Had the troops followed up the victory of Bull's Run, the South might have been in possession of Washington long ago, and dictated terms from the White House. As it is, the reliance of the Confederate States rests almost exclusively upon the extreme improbability that the North, under any circumstances, should succeed in achieving the conquest of the South.
The main interest of European politics is just now beginning to be centred in Germany. The agitation for a Germanic Confederation, 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.
Some little time ago, the governments of Austria, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Saxony, and
other States, addressed independent but identi- cal notes to the Prussian government, protesting against the view it had taken of the question of
Federal Reform in a previous communication to the Saxon Minister. This protest charges Prussia with designs dangerous to the funda- mental principle on which the idea of a Germanic federation is founded, and having a direct tendency to the 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 Powers 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 notes 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 which should comprise non- Germanic territories, would be far more perilous than the reforms proposed by Prussia, and declares that the constitution indicated in the protest is impracticable, and contrary to the views of Prussia, and therefore, declines to enter into any discussion upon its details.
The 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 task of keeping Venetia and Hungary single-handed, seeks to raise up a Confederacy in Germany, constructed with so keen a view to her own interests, as to commit its members to a defence of her foreign provinces. Prussia, on the other hand, desires that Federal reform should be based upon a purely national founda- tion ; that it should be a strict realisation of the theory of German unity ; and that none of the States should be implicated in any respon- sibility connectcd with individual ambition or with any views apart from the interests of the
Tho probable result of this palpable dualism and irreconcileable opposition between Prussia and Austria, and the States that severally follow them, is the severance of Germany into two Confederations, northern and southern. Indeed, as matters stand at present, no other issue seems possible ; and if it be true that the Prussian government has recognised the kingdom of Italy, in the shape of a note to the Prussian repre- sentative at Turin under the hand of the King, the disruption cannot be far off. This new distribution of Germany cannot fail to involve 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, and the Pope has replied, through Cardinal Anton- elli, in words which might be translated into the famous Hibernian expression of obstinacy,
"I will be drowned, and nobody shall save me." The Pope won't be saved. He never will surrender up much of the sacred territory. What is to be done ? France 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 Rome to the Gallican Bishops,summoning them
to a meeting in May, such circular not having been sent through the State authorities. The French government has since "advised" the Bishops not to go to Rome except upon urgent diocesan business. It is impossible to mistake the policy of which these small incidents are significant indications.
Prince Napoleon's speech in the Senate on the Address presents another striking evidence of the growing impatience of Roman obstinacy. The prince openly declares against the temporal power of the Pope, and demands that national education in France shall be taken out of the
hands of the priests. Those opinions delivered in the Senate by a cousin of the Emperor, look very much as if the scabbard had boen at last thrown away.
The arrival of the new Archbishop in War- saw has not had the effect of calming the pub- lic mind. He was officially received by the clergy, but it does not appear that the people took any part, or showed any sympathy, in this ceremony. Great distrust was manifested respecting the alleged confession of the poor old Canon Bialobrzeski. In come quarters its authenticity was called into question, and those who admitted it to be genuine believed that it was extorted from the weak mind of an
old man, worn out by fear and suffering. The first act of the new Archbishop was to re-open the churches, a solemnity which was performed 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 obedient people. From the floor of the gor- geous cathedral, the Archbishop exhorted the congregation to sing the prohibited hymns no more, and assured them of the benevolent pro- tection of the Emperor, if they would abstain
from all such manifestations. The contrast be- tween this Archbishop and the former must have struck the congregation to its heart's core,
and was not very likely to reconcile them to the change.
The following is from the "Postcript" to the "Home News" ;—
The Anniversary Banquet of the Australian Association was held with more than usual suc-
cess this season, and the speeches delivered upon
the occasion were of more than usual interest. It happens by rather a remarkable coincidence that at a moment when the colonial newspapers are complaining, not without justification, of the free commentaries and unjust imputations of some of our home journals, and while the democratic tendencies developed in some of our colonial possessions are attracting a large mea- sure of Imperial consideration and criticism, the policy of rendering the colonies independent of the mother country has suddenly become a topic of wide and earnest discussion. We do not believe that it will lead to any practical consequences, or that it will in the slightest degree influence the issues of a relationship hich one day or another must terminate in the substitution of an alliance, upon terms of mutual equality, for that connection of modified control and fealty which at present exists. We have outlived the age of theory, as we have outlived the obstinacy and superstitious confidence in our own supremacy which pro- duced the American war. No such disastrous blunder can ever occur again. The separation
of a colony from the mother country, whenever it takes place, will be the calm result of a necessity recognised on both sides, and accepted
for the benefit of both. But it would be the 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 consideration should be approached. Nor, above all things, should it be forgotten that it is even more important for the colony
than for the mother country, that the division should not be contemplated till the colony can stand alone. 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 thrown upon its own unassisted resources, it could maintain it independence against other Powers. This is the real question, and the real risk, for Australia, Canada, and the rest of the British colonies scattered over the globe : a question which, of course, applies with different degrees of force to different places.
The discussion on the address in the French Senate is still proceding. After the Achilles of the debate came the Thersites— after Prince Napoleon came the Marquis de Boissy. This senator is animated by a sentiment towards England very like that which the late Colonel Sibthorp entertained towards foreigners of any kind, Therefore the Marquis de Boissy devo- ted his whole speech, as he did till his harangues of last session, to a denunciation of England and a lament, that instead of spending her money foolishly in the Crimean and Italian wars. France did not disburse her funds fruitfully and wisely in marching upon London. He ex- pressed himself quite unable to comprehend why France should go about suppressing bar- barities in China and in Mexico, while England was allowed with impunity to torture the na- tives of India. He 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 screamed out three times success- ively the terrible word, but the warlike appeal only called forth universal shouts of 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 an immediate recog- nition of the kingdom of Italy. Russia, it is said, having been consulted on the subject, has declined to recognise the new kingdom ; and Prussia has accordingly resolved to postpone
her recognition. Other journals, however, re- present the recognition by Prussia, as about to be immediately proclaimed.