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private communications, reviews in the public papers, and in the recent discussion in the House of Commons, when Members of both sides of the House expressed themselves in terms of high approval both of the scope of the work, and also of the plan on which it is conducted.
It is now intended to commence a new Series, and, in doing so, some alterations will be introduced, which, it is hoped, will be found acceptable.
1. The new Series will commence with the Annals of the PRESENT session.
2. The Work will be printed in future in double columns, by which nearly a fourth more matter will be given in the one thousand pages. By this means the “ Annals” will become a still more complete Work than it has hitherto been, and the Digest will, in reality, be as useful, if not more so, than the documents as given in full.
3. The classification of the Work into Series has been generally approved; but much inconvenience having been experienced from the necessity of waiting for the binding till the several volumes were completed, it has been decided to discontinue the double paging, and to make each volume complete in itself, but with the index and table of contents classified according to subjects.
4. By a more rapid publication the “ Annals ” will be kept au courant with existing Legislation, and the Digest of the Papers and Reports will be given as soon as possible after their publication.
These changes involve considerable addition to the labour and expense connected with such a publication; but it is desired to spare no effort in order to secure for the “ Annals" the place it aspires to take among the permanent literature of the country.
The extensive importance which the Commerce of the United Kingdom has acquired within the last few years is at once the cause and the result of the great prosperity which exists among all classes of society. Whilst, on the one hand, immense wealth is thereby annually accumulated, and labour and industry obtain abundant reward; on the other, this same prosperity is itself the stimulus to large importation of foreign produce and manufactures, and an incentive to the unlimited development of our productive power. Illustrations of this may be seen in the returns of the consumption of sugar, and in the statement of the trade and navigation of the Empire, given under Series A, Finance, Commerce, &c., of this volume of the Annals. The consumption of sugar in the United Kingdom is probably the best index we have of the measure of comforts possessed by all classes, and it will be observed that whilst in 1820 such consumption was only 18 lbs. per head, the same has now increased to more than 35 lbs.
head. Side by side with this we have in the Board of Trade Accounts the enormous development of our trade. Since 1832, the imports and exports of the country have nearly quadrupled ; and in 1862 the imports amounted to 226,000,0001., and the exports to 166,000,0001. The mode of taxing raw sugar has of late attracted
much attention. For many years a graduated scale of sugar duties has been in force having relation to the quality of sugar, and the quantity of its saccharine matter. Objection has been, however, made to this scale on account of the difficulty of justly rating qualities divided by imperceptible gradations, and of the disadvantage accruing from it to such sugar colonies as have the means of refining or purifying the sugar before sending it to this country. But since a uniform duty would have admitted the purest raw and even the refined sugar at the same rate as sugar containing a large percentage of molasses and other wasteful matter, and would have otherwise proved most disadvantageous, if not decidedly unjust to our refiners, it was resolved to adhere to a modified graduated scale. The Financial Accounts of the United Kingdom present many points of great interest.
There we see the total amount of Revenue, with the proportion of expense incurred in the collection of each branch, and the expenditure in all its details. The Annuities to the Royal Family, and the pensions for Military, Naval, and Civil Services, are given in full ; and so the salaries of Ambassadors and of the officers of Courts of Justice. The actual state of the Public Debt, on the 31st March, 1862, is also given, amounting in all to 784,252,3381. 9s. 11d. The Report of the Council of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales upon the Duchy of Cornwall will be found interesting. And of great value are the reports of the Secretaries of Embassies on the commerce of different countries. Useful returns are published on the Coinage for the last ten years. We have the usual report of the Patent Law Commissioners; a report of the Commissioners on the Salmon Fisheries; and a most interesting report on the International Exhibition. Everything in that great undertaking was on a arge scale, and it is gratifying to find that, notwithstanding those
most unfortunate events which threw such a gloom over the whole country, viz., the death of the Illustrious Prince Consort, and the war in America, as many as 6,200,000 persons visited the Palace in the six months it was open. The report on Trade Marks well deserves careful attention.
Under Series B, that of Diplomacy and War, considerable correspondence is inserted on the affairs of Holstein, Lauenburg, and Schleswig, preparatory to the crisis of actual war. The Slave Trade correspondence contains the remarkable fact that the Confederate States of America have passed an Act abolishing the Slave Trade, and prohibiting the import of Slaves. Some short papers are inserted on Italian Affairs, and on the alleged help given in Rome to brigandage. The Syrian Affairs are the topics of a large volume of correspondence; and a glance at the Affairs of Poland is afforded by the reprinting of a correspondence on the subject with Prince Talleyrand in 1831. Three Treaties are inserted in this volume; one with the Republic of Salvador and two with Belgium. We call special attention to the document issued by the Comptroller of the Navy, on the relative advantages of Iron and Wood, and the relative cost of those materials in the construction of Ships for her Majesty's Navy. And lastly, full of information are the papers relating to Foreign Affairs laid before the Congress of the United States, on the opening of the Session of 1861, upon the commencement of the great insurrection, and they well deserve our readers' attention.
In connection with Series C, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Education, we have the usual reports of the Civil Service Commissioners; of the Science and Art Department; and of the Commissioners of Tithes and Church Estates, with a batch of Bills of an
Ecclesiastical character of an exceedingly controversial nature which did not pass into law.
Under Series D, Railway, Shipping, and Postal Communication, there will be found a most valuable return, relating to Railway Companies, giving the traffic, capital, expenditure, and other information respecting the most important companies. Also a report of the Liverpool Compass Committee and other papers.
Series E, Justice and Crime, has the report on Military Prisons.
The Colonial Series contains an abstract of the Statistical Tables exhibiting at a glance the economical state of each Colony and Dependency, and of India in particular, including papers on Indian Finance, and on the claims presented in Oude. Some reports are also inserted on the disturbances in New Zealand and on the Gold Fields of Victoria.
The most prominent paper under Series G, Population, Parliamentary, and Municipal Affairs, is the report of the Commissioners on the Embankment of the Thames; and under Series H, Health and Miscellaneous, we have several papers on Lunatic Asylums. These papers, with an Abstract of the Statutes of the Realm, form the substance of another volume of the Annals now presented to our readers, and we trust that the extensive usefulness of such documents, and the correctness of statement which marks such official reports and papers, will always secure for the Annals a favourable reception.
10, Farrar's Buildings, Temple,