Some Ceylon men who were captured on board the Hitachi Maru by the German raider Wolfe have now returned home, and our Colombo correspondent sends a copy of a document given to them and to others before leaving the internment camp at Ruhleben, of evil memory. The purport of this missive is to ask these ex-prisoners of war to bear testimony to their fellowcountrymen in favour of the new regime in Germany. After what has been aid about the Ruhleben camp, such a request might be regarded as the acme of impudence. Nevertheless it is seriously made and there is no reason to doubt its sincerity, for nothing would suit the Germans better, having lost the war, than to wipe the slate clean. The writers of this appeal refer in moving terms to the “four years of endless privations and sufferings” which it took to make the German people realise that they had been misguided and misled. That is all very well, but by a coincidence the Germans only realised how they had been misled when they found themselves defeated. When they thought they were winning they sang a very different tune, and the Ruhleben prisoners have cause to remember it – a circumstance of which the writers of the appeal betray an uneasy consciousness. Having regard to the course of events, both before and since the appeal was written, the average Briton will be disposed to trust the Germans exactly as far as he can see them and no further.



A statement has been issued today showing the progress of the co-operative movement in India during the year 1917-18. The total number of banks has risen during the year from 264 to 262, with a membership and working capital of 91,594 and Rs 580 lakhs, as against 76,475 and Rs 485 lakhs, respectively in the previous year. The net profit resulting from the operations of these banks increased to Rs 10,53,758. The number of agricultural and non-agricultural primary societies increased from 20,990 agricultural and 1,237 non-agricultural to 23,742 agricultural (excluding insurance societies) and 1,450 non-agricultural societies, respectively. The total membership of the agricultural societies was 851,407 with a working capital of Rs 689 lakhs. Non-agricultural members were 203,837 and the working capital Rs 171 lakhs. The profits from the operations of these societies were as follows:- Agricultural Rs 27,32,407 and non-agricultural Rs 8,23,164.



Mr. B.D. Shukul has declined to allow himself to be reelected to the Imperial Council, Replying to the letter written by a number of members of the Provincial Council he states:- “The reasons which led me to tender my resignation are too widely known to need reiteration, and nothing to my knowledge has transpired since then which could enhance my confidence in the efficacy of the non-official Indian voice in the deliberations of that august assembly. Rather I for one feel still more depressed, particularly in view of the circumstances under which even Sir Sankaran Nair found his position as a member of the Government of India’s Executive Council untenable and is reported to have resigned his seat just lately. Under these circumstances I regret I cannot see my way to change my position.”



Messrs. Mackinnon and Mackenzie notify that a number of passages are available for gentlemen in troop hospital accommodation by the steamer Nevasa sailing on the 21st inst. Passengers will sleep in the hospital cots but will mess in the first saloon, will have the use of the first saloon decks, and will be in all respects on the same footing as first-class saloon passengers. The fare to London is Rs 576. Gentlemen wishing to secure passages in this accommodation should apply at once to Messrs. Mackinnon, Mackenzie and Co., Bombay, either direct or through their agents.



A meeting of the subscribers of the Madras War Fund was held last evening at the Banquetting Hall. His Excellency Lord Willingdon presided and Lady Willingdon was also present. The Hon. Sir Gordon Fraser presented the statement of accounts and balance sheet which were adopted. On His Excellency’s motion it was resolved unanimously that a committee consisting of the Raja of Bobbill, the Hon. C.G. Todhunter, the Hon. Advocate-General and Sir Gordon Fraser, with Lady Willingdon as President, be appointed to decide the best method of allocating the balance of the War Fund which amounts to about four lakhs.