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portant questions, sometimes even the determination of peace or war, may depend on the personal character and manner of an ambassador, we see the paramount necessity of the qualifications which can only be acquired by the experience of many years of service. Much has been said against secret diplomacy ; but secrecy is, to some extent, indispensable, as will be apparent on calling to mind the nature of the duties an ambassador has to perform. If it were known that everything which was said to an English representative would be made public, we may be sure that he would learn very little which it would be of use for him to know. Even our present system of laying papers before Parliament has its disadvantages; but great care is taken in preparing papers to obviate any ill consequences to persons who give our ministers information. A comparison between our diplomatic service and that of foreign countries, as well as an examination into the political tendencies of the diplomacy of different nations, would be an interesting subject; but it is one which would take more space than we can now devote to the subject, and we will, therefore, proceed to make some remarks on the consular service.

A consul, except at a few such places as Warsaw and Venice, is essentially a commercial agent. At large ports consuls have much work to do, having to watch over all matters connected with British trade, and to settle the numerous disputes which arise between masters of vessels and their crews. An English consul has to furnish full information on all points relating to commerce ; to make an annual trade report, accompanied by various returns of statistics, as well as to announce tariff changes, the prices of different articles of produce and merchandise, the rates of exchange, &c. He has also to send home copies of commercial laws and decrees, quarantine and navigation notices, and of all other public documents bearing on these questions. These reports are published from time to time by the Board of Trade. Con suls have also to perform notarial acts;

hospitals ; and to solemnise and register marriages. Consuls were originally paid by fees, which they were authorised by Act of Parliament to charge on performing duties required of them. The appointment was generally conferred on some respectable English merchant resident at the place where it was thought necessary to station a consul; and in this manner the consular establishment was a very slight burden on the country. But subsequently it was considered expedient to appoint non-trading consuls with a salary, and lately the House of Commons' Committee recommended that fees should be received on account of Government, and that consular salaries should be further increased. We fear that the desire to extend ministerial patronage had much to do with both these alterations. At certain places, which we will briefly specify, consuls should be paid, and they should receive adequate salaries ; but in all other cases we do not consider that the services to be performed justify the additional burden thus laid on the tax-payers at home.

1. Places where consuls have political as well as commercial functions, such as Venice.

2. Places where consuls have to exercise magisterial and police duties, in consequence of peculiar powers vested in them by treaties with certain countries, such as China, Japan, Turkey, &c.

3. Large sea-ports, such as New York, and Marseilles, where the consul would have enough to do to attend to his official duties.

4. Places where, on account of the slave-trade, it would be inexpedient that the English consul should be mixed up with commercial affairs, such as ports in Africa, Cuba, &c.

At all other places we think it would be better if consuls were unpaid. Merchants of respectability are always to be found ready to hold the appointment, and the fees they receive (which are now very moderate) would be sufficient to defray their office expenses, postage, &c. Consuls are examined on their 1. To show a correct knowledge of English.

2. To be able to write and speak French correctly and fluently.

3. To possess a colloquial knowledge of the language of the places they are appointed to; Italian being taken for Mediterranean, and German for Baltic ports.

4 and 5. To show a knowledge of commercial law and of arithmetic. The limit of age is twenty-five to fifty, and they are required to attend for three months at the Foreign Office to learn the forms of official business.

Such are our diplomatic and consular services. The authorities at home give

a most favourable account of their efficiency, and declare that they were never in better working order. The examination system is stated to have had already a good effect, although persons who have entered under it have not yet been placed in trying or prominent positions. Our Government appears to be served abroad quite as well as other Governments, if not better; there are in its service men of great ability; and, if promotion was guided more by real merit, and less by other considerations, we need not fear the superior skill of the diplomatists of any other nation.

“THE FAUNA OF THE STREETS.”

“And mine has been the fate of those)

To whom the goodly sun and air
Are banned and barred-forbidden fare."

PRISONER OF CHILLON.

The subterranean caverns of America, caverns many miles in extent, and uncheered by the feeblest ray of light, are found, nevertheless, to be tenanted by animals of various races. These hermits cannot in strictness be described as eyeless, for in some may be traced rudimentary organs of vision, but which have, according to Mr. Darwin, become more or less absorbed pending the lapse of successive generations—who have slowly migrated from the outer world, deeper and deeper into the sunless recesses of the cavern. Some have been supposed to regain a feeble power of vision, after living for a few days in the light. But a sort of compensation for the loss of sight is found to be given, in a strange increase of supplementary in stincts, and the augmented sensitiveness of other organs.? • There seems to be no good reason for restricting this kindly law to the brute creation. Had the dungeon of Bonni

1 See Mr. Gosse's interesting account of the blind Fauna of Caverns.-Romance of Natural

Natural History, p. 81.

vard been his birthplace, the complaint put into his mouth by the poet, and which we have taken for our motto, would certainly have lost half its force; for where an abnormal state of existence has been the birth-lot of any creature, Nature, in pity, makes the best amends she can, or at least schools the sufferer into a patient endurance of evils, which she is powerless otherwise to control.

But for the influence of some such gentle discipline, how shall we account for the uncomplaining fortitude (greater than mere Stoic endurance) of the aborigines of the London streets, of whose lifelong condition Byron's verse is only too closely descriptive? What a study in natural history is the genuine London child, excluding, we need not say, from that term the children of those whose arrival in the West-end constitutes the vernal epoch popularly known as the “ London Season." We would here be understood as confining our attention to the child of the streets, the offspring of the back alleys, courts, and slums; visible semper et ubique at all times

when a halfpenny can be lured from the producible by the tiny acrobat; and, passenger-in all places in which mud even should you present him with a coin more particularly abounds, for mud is the of that amount, its investment will not element on which he thrives, like the be effected in a manner likely to swell Spartan on his black broth, a compound the dividends of the shareholders of the probably not very dissimilar in colour bridge. and consistency. În mud he eats, drinks, So we part company at the turnstilewashes, plays, and sleeps ; his favourite an event of less importance, from the spot for a picnic appears to be the sewer. circumstance that fresh specimens may Not long ago, a band of infant brigands easily be found on the other side; nay, were discovered by the police quartered should it be low water, there will be in a fastness—no other than the subter- visible, on looking over the balustrade ranean tunnel of the Fleet ditch, whose of the bridge, a group which forms a atmosphere would probably have killed ghastly parody of Mr. Frith's masterly any other living creature, the rat, per picture, “By the Sea-side.” No rosy haps, excepted.

children playing on the sands are here ! The stranger may, within five minutes The little figures resemble rather those of his arrival in London, select an ghosts of infants, who first met the example for study. Say he arrives from Trojan hero on the margin of the the country by one of the southern infernal riverrailway termini, and would pass over " A group of spectres weary and wan Waterloo Bridge. His progress will be

“With only the ghosts of garments on." heralded by an apparition, which he might take for a well-grown specimen of These are the mudlarks of the metrothe Volvox globator, or wheel insect; an polis, though what affinity exists beacrobat, whose performances may be wit- tween the little featherless biped who, nessed on the stage of the microscope for a halfpenny, will plunge downwards in a theatre whose drop scene is supplied head foremost into the black ooze at his by the fluid of any Metropolitan Water feet, and the feathered one who floats Company. We exclude, of course, the upwards to Heaven's gate in a flood of produce of the Thames, for the Thames song, is a problem yet unsolved. Surely, at Waterloo Bridge has long been in- if akin to any bird, it is to the London capable of supporting the minutest form sparrow ; dirt and impudence are alike of insect life. On closer inspection, the the family characteristics of both; and phenomenon will resolve itself into a the very fact that any bird, albeit a ragged urchin, who forms an advance London sparrow, should of its own free guard in an extraordinary series of will haunt the streets, when by aid of somersaults, revolving on his centre wings he can attain the range of open much as would a capital X, if possessed air and wild wood, is inexplicable, save by the revolutionary spirit lately preva- on a hypothesis like that of the author lent among our tables. Head vice heels, of the “ Vestiges of Creation,” that the hands vice feet, each member inter- bird will develop into a child, and is changes both place and duty promiscu training for the change, or else on a ously and on the shortest notice, with a Pythagorean supposition, that the child flexibility outrivalling even the Manx has already actually taken the form of the arms (which, by the way, consist of bird, with, alas ! some human reministhree legs), and with at least an equal cence of the kennel surviving to clog its title to the Manx motto, “Stabit quo- wings, and fetter its flight skywards. cunque jeceris," which may be freely Yet a little farther, and, as we cross interpreted, “Pitch him where you will the Strand, others of the same type prehe'll fall on his legs.” A copper half- sent themselves. Here is one whose penny sterling must supply the place of vocation is apparently that of lord high the golden bough as our passport across steward of the crossing, his wand of

head of its bearer presents a somewhat disparaging contrast. Here is another, who, promptly availing himself of the opportunity afforded by the departure of the billsticker, has stripped off a placard from the hoarding, while yet the paste is damp and reeking. The little wretch has replaced it, but only after having carefully turned it upside down ; and now, standing on his own head, reads the contents to the passers-by, who are somewhat bewildered by the inversion of the infant Daniel and the writing which he professes to expound. The performance is, of course, concluded with the usual appeal for a “’apenny;" for note that the street urchin's is no golden dream of wealth. It is invariably limited to the sum above specified, neither more nor less—"only a ’apenny."

Throughout the livelong day we shall meet him, go where we will, and (should the spectator be of a thoughtful cast) never without experiencing the somewhat mingled sensation produced by listening to a tale half humorous, half pathetic, or gazing at an actor whose performance, Robson-like, is semi-grotesque, semi-tragic. But the night advances, and, if we follow the little animal to his lair, the serious element may perchance somewhat preponderate. A visit to the Refuge in Field-lane will form no bad frigidarium, or mental douche, after the tepidarium of a crowded “at home." It may, as a Turkish bath, produce a not unhealthy reaction upon the mind blazé with the glare, and relaxed by the heat of the crush we have quitted in time, to arrive at the Refuge while it yet wants a few minutes of twelve. Enter, and you will witness a somewhat singular phase of the night side of street-nature. This is the rest ing-place of our pariah of the street, the only resting-place, save the one which awaits him when “a longer night is near.”

The sleeping accommodation can hardly be termed luxurious. A rug, and a sort of counter, not very unlike that in the Morgue of Paris, on which the suicide and the murderer sleep their last sleep! A raised and sloping platform

of wood, such as is used in a guard-room for the temporary resting-place of soldiers on duty, with the difference that the one before us is partitioned off into separate cells ! Each cell has now its inmate, for it is close on midnight ; and here you may perchance recognise the little face which this morning grinned its quaint appeal, comic in spite of all that hunger and dirt could do to sadden it. The tiny tumbler has played his play out—the marshal of the crossing has laid aside his baton—the song of the mudlark has ended, and its dactylic refrain, “Give ŭs à 'āpěnný, please sīr," has sunk into silence; and there they lie, with all that is comic, merged in the awfulness of cleep-a deep sleep evidently, for it is unbroken by even that never-ceasing, hacking cough, which rings forth throughout the livelong night—a sound which proclaims, in sadder eloquence than that of words, whence the sleepers have come, and whither they are surely hastening.

No statistics of the Registrar-General, however elaborate, no testimony of Bluebooks and Boards of Health, however weighty and convincing, could point the moral more strongly than that neverceasing cough, the sound of which only dies away as we pass into the open air, absorbed, perchance, in the deep vibration of the bell of St. Paul's. Heard under these circumstances, that midnight vibration may remind us of certain realities, perhaps as important as the fact that the ball-rooms of the West are even now brimming over in a hightide of arrivals, and glittering in the noontide of their brilliancy.

Two questions, meanwhile, have possibly crossed our mind—the first, What becomes of these children when sick ? the second, What is their destiny when convalescent ? As regards the first, the case of the sick child of the streets, unable to find a refuge in the hospital, is one for which kind Nature furnishes a speedy solution. To him whose acquaintance of Earth has been almost wholly derived from the mud of the streets, the announcement, “dust thou art,” sounds almost a truism, and the sentence, "to

when a halfpenny can be lured from the producible by the tiny acrobat; and, passenger—in all places in which mud even should you present him with a coin more particularly abounds, for mud is the of that amount, its investment will not element on which he thrives, like the be effected in a manner likely to swell Spartan on his black broth, a compound the dividends of the shareholders of the probably not very dissimilar in colour bridge. and consistency. In mud he eats, drinks, So we part company at the turnstile washes, plays, and sleeps ; his favourite an event of less importance, from the spot for a picnic appears to be the sewer. circumstance that fresh specimens may Not long ago, a band of infant brigands easily be found on the other side ; nay, were discovered by the police quartered should it be low water, there will be in a fastness-no other than the subter- visible, on looking over the balustrade ranean tunnel of the Fleet ditch, whose of the bridge, a group which forms a atmosphere would probably have killed ghastly parody of Mr. Frith's masterly any other living creature, the rat, per picture, “ By the Sea-side.” No rosy haps, excepted.

children playing on the sands are here ! The stranger may, within five minutes The little figures resemble rather those of his arrival in London, select an ghosts of infants, who first met the example for study. Say he arrives from Trojan hero on the margin of the the country by one of the southern railway termini, and would pass over

“A group of spectres weary and wan Waterloo Bridge. His progress will be

“With only the ghosts of garments on."

wit heralded by an apparition, which he might take for a well-grown specimen of These are the mudlarks of the metrothe Volvox globator, or wheel insect; an polis, though what affinity exists beacrobat, whose performances may be wit- tween the little featherless biped who, nessed on the stage of the microscope- for a halfpenny, will plunge downwards in a theatre whose drop scene is supplied head foremost into the black ooze at his by the fluid of any Metropolitan Water feet, and the feathered one who floats Company. We exclude, of course, the upwards to Heaven's gate in a flood of produce of the Thames, for the Thames song, is a problem yet unsolved. Surely, at Waterloo Bridge has long been in- if akin to any bird, it is to the London capable of supporting the minutest form sparrow; dirt and impudence are alike of insect life. On closer inspection, the the family characteristics of both ; and phenomenon will resolve itself into a the very fact that any bird, albeit a ragged urchin, who forms an advance London sparrow, should of its own free guard in an extraordinary series of will haunt the streets, when by aid of somersaults, revolving on his centre wings he can attain the range of open much as would a capital X, if possessed air and wild wood, is inexplicable, save by the revolutionary spirit lately preva- on a hypothesis like that of the author lent among our tables. Head vice heels, of the “ Vestiges of Creation,” that the hands vice feet, each member inter- bird will develop into a child, and is changes both place and duty promiscu- training for the change, or else on a ously and on the shortest notice, with a Pythagorean supposition, that the child flexibility outrivalling even the Manx has already actually taken the form of the arms (which, by the way, consist of bird, with, alas ! some human reministhree legs), and with at least an equal cence of the kennel surviving to clog its title to the Manx motto, “Stabit quo- wings, and fetter its flight skywards. cunque jeceris," which may be freely Yet a little farther, and, as we cross interpreted, “ Pitch him where you will the Strand, others of the same type prehe'll fall on his legs.” A copper half- sent themselves. Here is one whose penny sterling must supply the place of vocation is apparently that of lord high the golden bough as our passport across steward of the crossing, his wand of

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