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Mr. Reeves, one of the members of the House of Representatives for the Grey Valley,moved on Wednesday “That in the opinion of this House it is desirable 1 o impose a duty on coal imported.” He stated that the mineral was imported to the value of a quarter of a million of money annually, and suggested that a duty should be imposed of a shilling a ton, which should gradually be reduced until it disappeared in the course of five years. Mr. Masters, the other member for the same district, gave the information that there were thirty-two coal mines in operation in the colony, producing 139,000 tons annually, whilst the total consumption was 294,000 tons. Of course we feel that Messrs Reeves and Masters were looking to the benefit of their own district in attempting to tax other parts of the colony, not haying coal measures; but it must be evident that the tax of a shilling a ton on Newcastle coal means a like imposition on the consumer, for although the Grey coal mines are to all intents and purposes inexhaustible, yet tiiey are not as yet available for supplying even this celony. The convenience of the Grey port for shipping is limited, and the changeable nature of the bar harbor makes it only capable of accommodating small coasters. The expensive works undertaken by Government with a view of improving the entrance have so far tended to render navigation more difficult than it was ten years ago. The Kawakawa mines, north of Auckland, are, or soon will be, in a position to supply a thousand tons per day, and some of the Otago pits are gradually increasing the output. The Malvern and KowaJ Pass mines, in our own district, although no* producing coal of a first-class character, are capable of supplying a cheaper fuel than the imported article, so that, taking all things into consideration, we are of opinion that a very few years will see New Zealand independent of the sister colony for the supply of black diamonds, and it would be a most itnwjge measure to inflict a tax which would become a dead letter in a few years, and, in the meantime b# t ff a certain extent a burden on some sections of the population.

Cablegrams this week announce that ■ f another stay has gone ,put ” in the death of John Apthtf? Roebuck, whose demise has snapped anotfeoP of the connecting links between the present pofitmal history of Great Britain and that antpri/Jf' tq the passing of the Reform Bill of 3.833, Of the deceased politician “ Men of the Time ” says :—“ Roebuck, John Arthur, grandson of Dr. John Roebuck, of Sheffield, maternally descended from the poet Tickell, was born at Madras in 1802, went

to Canada in boyhood, and left that country in 1824 for the purpose of studying law in England. He was admitted a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1821, and chosen member for Bath at the first election after the Reform Bill. The character of a thorough Reformer, 'vh'-’h he won in this arena led to his ap<pointment in 1825 as agent .for ihe'Hivt,iof Assembly of Lower Canada durinu’tbe dispute pending between the Executive Government and the House of Assembly. Air. Roebuck commenced the publication of a series of political 1 Pamphlets for the People,’ in which, having assailed the whole body of political editors, I’eporters, and contributors to the press, particularly those of the ‘ Morning Chronicle,’ he became involved in what is called an affair of honor, and fought a very harmless duel with the late Mr. Black, the editor of that journal. In the country he was a popular favorite, though the plain speaking he had practiced towards the Whigs, whom he regarded as false to the cause of progress, lost him his seat in the general election in' August,. 1837.! He regiiiri6d it in June, 1841, but was again defeated in the general election- in August, 1847', and from May, 1849,' till 1868 ho represented Sheffield. Mr. Roebuck is a hold unsparing orator, and has particularly distinguished himself in his replies to Mr. Disraeli. In January, 1855, he brought forward in the House of Commons a motion for inquiry into the conduct of the war, known to. history as ‘ the Sebastopol Committee.’ The Aberdeen Government resenting the inquiry, was beaten on a division by a majority of 157, and compelled to resign. Mr. Roebuck had no place in the new Cabinet, but acted as chairman ,of the committee appointed through his exertions. In December, 1855, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the' chairmanship of the Metropolitan Board of Works at a salary of £ISOO, standing third on the list at the close of the poll. In 1856 he accepted the chairmanship of the Administrative Reform Association, from which great things were expected, though after publishing a luminous programme, the society became ■' extinct. Mr. Roebuck has written ‘ Plan for Government of our English colonies,’ published in 1849, and ‘ History of the Whig Ministry of 1830,’ in 1852, a work of great ability. In 1868 he lost his seat at Sheffield in consequence of his denunciation of the tyrannical proceedings of the Trade Unions.”

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Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1879., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 31, 6 December 1879

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The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1879. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 31, 6 December 1879

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