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queries circulated in the metropolis are the same as those which have been received in the town parishes in the country, and they comprehend most of those circulated in the agricultural districts. It is expected that answers will, in some form, he published, so that the inhabitants may have, an opportunity of judging of the accuracy and ability of the statements made by their officers. It is understood, that as soon as the answers have been received and investigated, members of the Commission will proceed to the several parishes, and examine witnesses on oath, and inspect documentary evidence, as may be deemed necessary, for the investigation of any matter with relation to the practical operation of the laws, which may appear to them to require especial examination. Several of the agricultural districts have already been visited by the Commissioners; and magistrates and other public officers of those districts have received letters from the Home Office, requesting them to assist the Commissioners in their inquiries. The sittings of the Commissioners are held at the house in Scotland-yard, formerly occupied by the Ecclesiastical Commission, where the answers and communications are directed to be forwarded. Beside the queries sent to those officially concerned in the administration of the Poor Laws, others have been sent to gentlemen distinguished by their attention to the subject, and by their exertions as governors of public charities, or otherwise, for the improvement of the moral and physical condition of the labouring classes.
Cotton—The first-cost of a year's cotton, manufactured in England, is estimated at 6.000,000/. sterling; the wages paid to 833,000 persons employed in its manufacture, in various ways, is 20,000,000/. sterling; the profit of the manufacturers may be estimated at 6,000,000/. at least. This gives a clear profit of 20,000,000/. from the manufacture of not quite onethird of the amount; or the increased value of the manufactured over the unwrought material is 31-3d to 1; and nearly a million of persons besides get from it constant employment.
Firet in London.—From a register of fires kept for one year in London, it appears that there were 360 alarms of fire, attended with very little damage, 31 serictas fires, and 151 fires occasioned by chimneys being on fire, amounting, in all, to 542 accidents.
Echo.—An echo of a very peculiar character has been described by Sir John Herschel, as produced by the suspension bridge across the Menai Straits, in Wales.
The sound of a blow with a hammer on one of the main piers is returned in succession from each of the cross beams which support the road-way, and from the opposite pier at the distance of 576 feet; and, in addition to this, the sound is many times repeated between the water and the road-way, at the rate of twenty-eight times in five seconds.
Population.—There is a striking dispro" portion in the comparative increase of the population of three of the leading monarchies of Europe, during the last ten or twelve years. England, Wales, and Scotland, had 14,072,331 inhabitants in 1621, and in 1831, 16,255,605, showing an average increase of 218,334 souls per annum; Prussia increased her population by 2,033,315 souls during the interval between 1817 and 1828, being an average increase of 184,646, which, on an average population of 11,000,000, is far greater than our own; and France, during the same eleven years, exhibited an increase of 2,260,530 only, averaging but 205,502 a year, on an average population of scarcely more than 30,000,000. Had our population increased at the rate of the Prussian, it ought to have given an average augmentation of 258,700 per annum, whilst the French should have added an average of 554,400 to its number, instead of only 205,502.
Lunatic* and Idiott in England.—From a report made in 1829, it appears that there were at that time in England, in confinement in public lunatic establishments, 1189 male, and 1514 female lunatics, or idiots; in private lunatic asylums, 1770 males, and 1964 females; in workhouses, &c, 36 males, and 52 females; making, in the whole, 6325 persons in confinement. The number of individuals in the condition of lunatics or idiots, who were at large or with their relations, was 3029 males, and 3193 females; making a total of persons at large, of 6222. The total number of lunatics was 6806, and of idiots 5741; making together 12,547 insane persons. To these must be added about 1500 persons belonging either to parishes, from which no returns had been made when the lists of the clerks of the peace were made out, or to towns which are counties of themselves, and which are not included iu this summary. This addition makes the whole number above 14,000, of whom not fewer than 11,000 were paupers, and maintained at the expense of their respective parishes.
The Committee of the Lords appointed to inquire into the actual state of the negro population in the West India Colonies, were occupied nearly forty days in the examination of evidence; that in the Commons for a somewhat shorter period. The evidence taken by both Committees has been ordered to be printed; but no detailed report appears to have been made by either. The Lords assign as reasons for delay, that the evidence is, as yet, in. complete, and that witnesses are expected to arrive from Jamaica, whose testimony is most desirable.
Expedition to Africa.—The Landers have Sailed from Liverpool on their commercial expedition to the Niger. The squadron consists of two steamers and a brig. Its first destination is the mouth of the river Quorra, 40 miles to the leeward of Cape Formosa. The large steamer is 145 tons burden, propelled by a fifty-horse power engine, and mounted with 10 6-pounders; forward a 24-pound swivel gun, and a long swivel 18-pound cnrronade astern. In addition to these precautions against the Spanish pirates who infest the coast, and also such of the native tribes as might prove hostile to the expedition, she is surrounded by chevaux de frixe, and provided with small arms and boarding pikes for forty persons, which will compose the crew, &c. This steamer is named after the river she is intended to ascend, namely the Quorra, which is the Arabic for "Shining River." The construction of the paddles is such that they can use sails in place of steam, and receive no impediment to progress by their immersion in the water. The Quorra is intended to ascend the principal stream, and the lesser boat, which is built entirely of wrought iron, and of a draught of only 18 inches, is intended to explore all the tributary streams, and likewise visit Timbuctoo, Warre, Stockatoo, &c. She is 51 tons burden, and called the Atbarkha, which is the Arabic for "Blessing." The brig Columbine, which accompanies the expedition as far as possible, is laden with fuel and other articles for the crews of the two steamers. It is expected that a sufficiency of wood will be found on the banks of the river to generate steam when the supply of coal is finished. The squadron is under the command of G. L. Harris, Esq., R.N., whose experience on the coast, during a period of six years, entitles him to the confidence of the proprietors of the expedition. Together with the elder Lander (the companion of Clapperton) and his brother, Macgregor Laird, Esq., and Dr. Briggs, of Liverpool, accompany it: the latter as the medical attendant and botanist.
Report of the Ecclesiastical Commission.^* The Commissioners appointed to inquire into the jurisdiction and practice of the
Ecclesiastical Courts of England and Wales have published their Report, proposing extensive alterations, of which the following are the most important:—
"The abolition of the Court of Delegates, and the transfer of its jurisdiction, as a court of ultimate appeal, to the Privy Council. [A law to this effect will come Into operation on the first of February next.]
"The entire extinction of a numerous claaa of petty jurisdictions, the peculiar and manorial courts, scattered throughout the country.
"The transfer to the provincial courts of York and Canterbury, of the whole of the jurisdiction of the diocesan courts which embraces any question raised in the form of a suit.
"A similar transfer of the whole of the testamentary jurisdiction, and the exclusive right of granting probates and administration*, to the Brchiepiscopal courts of the respective provinces} and the remodeling and amplifying of the jurisdiction of these courts in respect of suits for legacies, the distribution of intestates' estates, and enforcing securities for due administration; and that surrogates should be appointed to administer oaths in the country, to save the expense and delay of Commissions.
"That every testamentary disposition of any kind of property, shall be executed and attested with the same formalities—the number of witnesses In all cases to be two Instead of three.
"That, with certain limitation, the validity of wills disposing of real or personal estate shall be determined In the same court, by viva toes evidence and a jury, at the desire of any party Interested; or if the judge shall think tit, either before a judge of the Ecclesiastical Court, or. If the parties reqnire It, or the judge think fit, before a judge of a court of common law: and the probate to be final and conclusive evidence of title to real and personal estate. Thus, with some reservation, all testamentary causes win be transferred to the Ecclesiastical Courts.
■• The union of the Arches and Prerogative Courts of Canterbury, and a like arrangement for the provincial courts of York.
'* Donatives to be placed under the same jurisdiction, law, und authority, as other benefices. That all suits for restitution of conjugal rights, for having marriagea declared void, and for separation by reason of adultery or cruelly, shall be confined to the provincial courts of Canterbury and York j and that, under strict limitations, eit-d voce evidence and trial by jury be introduced j and the ecclesiastical jud^e to have power, at his own option, to direct an Issue to be tried before himself, or a judge at Nisi Prius.
"That questions respecting churchwardens shall be tried at the quarter session, or tha magistrates may send a difficult case to the King's Bench. That churchwardens be com* pelted to submit to vestry a statement of expenses to be incurred, and In case of dispute, appeal to be made to the next quarter session i church rates to be on the same assessment as the poor rates, and enforced by the same means, and churchwardens' accounts to be under similar rules as those of overseers.
"That no faculty in future be granted for permanently annexing a pew to any messuage, and all existing claims to be investigated, and. as far as possible, extinguished i and disputes checked by subordinate regulations.
"That dilapidation suits be changed to a civil form, and continued in the spiritual courts; their orders to be enforced by sequestration.
"That a new tribunal be appointed for exercising episcopal jurisdiction In suits against Clerks [Clergymen] for ecclesiastical offences. That a choice be allowed the promoter to be heard before the Bishop, In person, of the diocese where the Clerk resides, or in which he Is beneficed or licensed, or in which the offence was committed; the evidence to be taken tried rocs on oath, except in cases of unavoidable absence. An appeal to lie to the Archbishop. Proceedings to be commenced within three years after the alleged offence. A series of regulations are proposed to obviate the expense and delay attending the present system, which have hitherto afforded almost a virtual immunity to the offender.
*'The criminal Jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts over brawling and defamation to be transferred to the temporal tribunals; and that proceedings against Incest, adultery, and fornication be abolished; or the former offence may be made indictable as a misdemeanor in a com. toon law court.
*' That all sinecures he abolished, and the actual registrars compensated without having recourse to their holding another Incompatible office, as al present.1*
The report contains a variety of suggestions for the improvement, and expediting the movements of these courts.
Law of Real Property, as applicable to Church Property. — The Commissioners appointed to inquire into the law respecting Real Property have published a third Report, exceedingly instructive to professional men; but some of their views respecting Church Property are particularly worthy of general attention at the present juncture.
After much deliberation, they conclude, that a statute of limitations for the Church would be beneficial.
That in all proposed improvements in the law, property should be respected, and the property of the Church held as inviolable as any other. They recommend a final adjustment between the Church and the Laity, upon the basis of present enjoyments, so as not to sanction on either side any recent usurpations.
The " semper eadem" maxim, inferring the inconvertibility of Church Property, has done immense injury to the Laity, without anything like corresponding advantages to the Church. The Commissioners say—
"There is no doubt that conscientious motives often induce ecclesiastical persons both to advance and to persist in prosecuting claims on behalf of the Church, which private considerations would Incline them to forego or relinquish. We consider that the Church would be benefited by the removal of the species of snare.
"The principles upon which long enjoyment Is held to be conclusive evidence of right apply to this species of property as fully as any other \ and where the tithes are claimed by a lay impropriator, or by a corporation aggregate, whether temporal or spiritual, there seems no reason why the enactments which we have recommended respecting land shonld not be extended to them. With respect to the claims of the Clergy generally, however, a different course must be pursued. Prescription must be governed by peculiar rules as to property extra commercium, held by a succession of tenants for life, who are liable to want the Information as to their rights, which other owners may be considered to possess who are peculiarlyUshle to want the pecuniary means of enforcing those rights. This property is held, too, on a species of trust for the public, and the trust is left to the protection of Individuals who have but a partial Interest in enforcing Its performance, and yet (unlike other trustees) must bear personally Hie whole expense and risk of the requisite proceedings. It Is a consideration, moreover, not to be overlooked, that these individuals are liable to be influenced by many motives, operating either constantly or for a long period, to deter them from demanding, and especially from hostilely prosecuting, their rights."
Several of the Bishops, to whom questions on the subject had been addressed, seem adverse to the notion of a statute of limitation to the el.rims of the Church, and various expedients are suggested for obviating the necessity for it: among others, & Commission for ascertaining the present rights of churches, and trying the solidity of moduses, is strongly enforced by some of their Lordships. To this, however, the Commissioners decidedly object, on the ground, first, that it would hare the effect of raising up many claims which otherwise would never have been heard of; and, secondly, that the decisions would be unsatisfactory; and, upon the whole, they finally arrive at the conclusion, that the rights of the Church in respect to the validity of moduses, compositions, rent, and the possession of glebe lands, shall be bound by quiet possession for a period of fifty years with two incumbencies, aud three years of a third.
General Register Report.—The Select Committee appointed to consider the expediency of a General Register of nil Deeds and Instruments affecting Real Property in England and Wales, have agreed to a Report, which concludes as follows:
"After mature deliberation, your Committee arc unanimously of opinion, that a general register of all deeds and instruments affecting land will be of decided advantage, as regards large purchases. With regard to smaller transactions, especially those in the country, in which the more cumbrous and intricate proceedings of the law are generally dispensed with, your Committee believe that the same facility which would be afforded by ageneral register In dealings with large estates, applies equally to sales of small properties; yet inasmuch as the expense of registration will be more severely felt by the latter than by the former, and as sales of small estates are so mmii more numerous than transfers of great properties, your Committee feel some doubt whether the benefits to be derived will more thau compensate for the certain expense to be incurred. However, as it is plainly impossible lo fix any limit which would not lead to this anomalous result, that nil property above a certain value should be governed by one Ibw, while all below It should be regulated by another, your Committee are, upon the whole,of opinion, that if the cost of registration could be so adjusted as to be comparatively small upon purchases below a certain value, the system of registration would be made most perfect, by being made applicable to all lands, without reference to their value.'*
An extraordinary General Meeting of the proprietors of Irish Bank Stock has been held at Dublin, and a dividend of 4 per cent, declared. The Governor announced that the Bank had 1,400,000/. over and above all demands that could be made on that establishment. The report was deemed highly satisfactory.
The expected Comet. — The comet of Biela is approaching the earth's orbit with increasing velocity, and towards the end
of the following month it will partially intersect the course which the earth traverses in its journey round the sun. Happily, the comet will be in advance of the earth, so that unless our globe augments its pace, or the anticipated visitant retards its journey, there will be no risk of any dangerous proximity, much less of a hostile collision. During this return, at least, it will always be more than two hundred times the moon's distance from us; and were it, at any future time, to approach very much nearer than the orbit of our satellite, its influence would be too inconsiderable to affect any of the elements of the earth's path. This comet is about 40,000 miles in diameter, and of that class termed Nebulous, having no tail, and probably no solid nucleus. The point where the comet's centre crosses the plane of the ecliptic is within and very near the curve which the earth describes; so very near that the outskirts of the nebulous matter of the comet might possibly, at some future visit, envelope our planet, and would thus enclose the earth. It is not unlikely, at its ensuing return, if it were about a month later than the time calculated, of its intersecting the plane of the earth's motion.—Literary Gazette.
The Republic of Venezuela have abolished tithes, as being oppressive to agriculture, and made a government provision for the clergy. Another Act of the Congress abolishes all convents containing less than eight inmates, and converts the buildings to colleges and schools, in imitation of the Reformers of the 16th century.
European Population.—A German periodical (" Hesperus ") contains some very fanciful speculations on the causes which affect population, from which we have
selected the following particulars: The
increase and decrease of marriages in a country are naturally influenced by great events, such as peace and war, public prosperity and public calamities, famine and disease; but here we are told that political feelings exercise an inBuence. Thus, in Prussia, the number of marriages was greatly increased after the expulsion of the French. During the years 1817, 1818, and 1819, when the political prospects of that country were in their zenith, 1 person was married in 98; in the subsequent years, the numbers again fell to 1 in 108, 1 in 111, and 1 in 118. In France, from the year 1815 to 1822, the number of marriages was much less than before
the revolution, although the population was greater by several millions. After 1817, the number of annual marriages increased by about 8000, and continued stationary at that rate till 1821; but in 1822, after the evacuation of the country by foreign troops, the number quickly rose by 20,000, and, in the ensuing year, even by 40,000. But it again declined during the obnoxious administration of Villele, and again increased after the overthrow of his ministry. Even in Russia, from 70 to 80,000 couples less than usual were married in 1812. The proportion of deaths among children tinder five years is also remarkable, as it seems to keep pace with the degree of education and comfort of the inhabitants. It is smallest in the large towns, and would be smaller still if it were not for those who die in workhouses and hospitals, deserted by their parents. The degree of fertility of marriages seems to vary between 3500 and and 5500 children to 1000 couples. The author, from an average of more tout 77,000,000 of births, and 17,000,000 of marriages, all extending over a period of several years, comes to some results, from which we shall extract two or three of the most interesting. To 1000 marriages there were born in the—
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies . 5346 children
In France 4148 ,,
In England 8365 „
In Zealand 3439 „
the Two Sicilies and Zealand being the extremes. Marriages appear to be less prolific as the countries lie nearer to the north. A fourth point of importance in these investigations is the growing excess of males over females since the general peace, which, if correctly stated, is not a little alarming, and seems to make a periodical return of war an indispensable evil. Thus, in Russia, the increase of males over females, in 15 years, was 81)4,453; in France, 347,254; iu Prussia, G9,7«4; in Naples, 25.790; in Bavaria, 8398; in Bohemia, 09,172; in Sweden, 15,195; in M'urtemberg, 0877; in Hesse, 3301 j in Nassau, 0484;—briefly, in a total population of 101,707,212, an excess of 1,350,754 males. If this proportion be applied to all Europe, with a population of 215,000,000, the excess of the males would amount, in the same period of peace, to 2,700,000. In the southern provinces of Russia, near the Caucasus, in the two Americas, and the Cape of Good Hope, the disproportion is still greater.
New Cornel.—Professor Harding, of Gottingen, discovered a comet in the head of the serpent on the 29th of July. It is different from any of those announced this year. It is without a train.
Pompeii and Vesuviiu.—Another buried town has been discovered by Professor Jiilin; and the young naturalist, Leopold Villa, has announced a " Journal of Vesuvius." There will be rare digging in the former, and the latter will afford hard work for the critics. The eyes of the scientific world are fixed on both.
The Bank of France has just issued new notes of 1000 francs. The size, the form, the arrangement, the vignette border, the stamp, and the v.ater-marks, are precisely the same as the old notes; but from some peculiar preparation of the paper and the ink, the impression appears through the note with the same distinctness as on the face, though the letters are reversed. Ou holding the back of the note to a looking-glass, it presents a perfect fac-simile of the impression, except that the signature of the cashier, or registering clerk, does not appear.
Seamen in the United Slate).—We learn, from the fourth annual Heport of the Board of Directors of the Boston Seamen's Friend Society, that the number of seamen belonging to the United Stales, estimated with as much accuracy as pos
sible, is 103,000! of whom there are in the foreign trade, 50,000; iu the coasting trade, in vessels of nearly or over 100 tons burden, 25,000; In the cod fishery, 10,000; in the whale fishery, 5000; in steam vessels, 1000; in the United States' Navy, 6000.
Phenomenon The "St. Petersburg
Academical Gazette" contains the following account of an extraordinary phenomenon, from a letter, dated Moscow, May 2 :—
"In March last, there fell, In the Beldi of the village of Kourtanof, 13 verstl from Volokolamsk, a combustible substance of a yellowish colour, at least two inches thick, and covering a superficies of between 6U0 and 700 square feet. The inhabitants at first thought it was snow, but on examination it appeared to have the properties of cotton, having, on being torn, the same tenacity; but, on being put into a vessel filled with water, it assumed the consistence of ro9in. On being put to the fire in its primitive state, it burnt and sent forth a flame like spirits of wine; but In its resinous state it bolted on the fire without becoming inflamed, probably because It was mixed with some portion of the snow from which it had been taken. After a more minute examination, the rosin had the colour of amber, was elastic like Indian rubber, and smelt like prepared oil, mixed with wax."
The Legion of Honour.—By a calculation lately made, it appears that 32,231 Crosses of Honour have been distributed in France since the Restoration. By Louis the Eighteenth, in the six mouths in 1814, 1701; by Napoleon, the Hundred Days, 114; by Louis the Eighteenth, on his return, 4206; by Charles the Tenth, 11,524; by Louis Philippe, up to the 20th of Julv, 1832, 14,506.
Riusia.—Accounts from Sarepta, iu the government of Suralow, state that the horde of Kalmucks, living in the neighbourhood of that place, had suffered most severely in the lust hard winter. The snow lay to a great depth from November till the middle of April, so that the herds could nut find any food, and great numbers perished. Many of the Kalmucks were starved, because they had no wood to dress their provisions. They were obliged to burn all their huts for fuel, and many families collected iu one, but even there they found but little protection against the violent storms. All the children under six years of age are frozen to death, and many grown-up persons have lost their hands and feet by the frost. As their herds constitute their whole wealth, they are now in such a state of misery that they are obliged to attack caravans, and plunder them of cattle and bread to appease their hunger.
During M. Blanchard's ascent iu a, bailoon from Strasburg, 20lh of Au.