The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 1880.
The statute book of Acts passed by the New Zealand Parliament during the year just closed lies before us, and it is perhapsthe smallest of any that has yet represented a year’s work of our colony’s legislators. In it, however, will be found some valuable measures, measures that, if all is to be believed that was said against the “ Liberalism ” of the Government now in power, would never be passed by any Ministry of the present day that does not have Sir George Grey, Mr. Macandrew, and Mr. Sheehan as its head and front, or at least the source "f its inspiration. But there are laws on the book of statutes passed in 1879 that give the lie to the slanders on the Hall Government so industriously published against their “Liberalism” by those who claimed, so underservedly, to be the great Liberal party. . The session was spent in party strife, and for the frittering away of the public time the Grey Ministry are responsible. They are also responsible for the absence from the statute book of such Liberal measures as we miss from it, notwithstanding the noisy claim they made to be the only Liberals in the House ; and such Liberal measures as do appear in the volume before us are there in spite of the strenuous efforts of the “ Liberals ” to keep them out. The compilation of this volume has a peculiar history. The session of which it is the outcome and the record —or rather the two sessions, for the work of the short one that preceded Sir George Grey’s appeal to the country is also given—were notable for many important incidents. The people’s idol of 1878, when threefourths of the populace were ready to accord him that hero-worship which is given lavishly to every idol of the hour, was weighed in the balance and found wanting, and had to give place to the Hon. John Hall, a man less showy in his oratory, less lavish in his promises, more reliable in regard to their fulfilment, and less given to wild vituperation against
those who differ from him. The downfall of Sir George Grey was the breaking tip of his party. Once so strong, and coming into power at first with only a small following, the second session of its existance saw a strong phalanx of votes at its back. It had a splendid prospect before it, and its talented leader might have closed a brilliant career with a still grander conclusion, and the close of his parliamentary history might have been almost as sublime as some of tire stirring perorations he made in his famous journey round the Colony. But a strange fatality seemed to follow him, and his power and popularity crumbled away as rapidly as they had been acquired. But with the tenacity of purpose for which he is noted he clung gamely to the last hope for office, and when that was gone, his opposition and obstruction were as bitter as they were foolish and peevish. So equally were parties divided, that only by the defection from Sir George’s party of four of his Auckland supporters was business allowed to proceed. It was that defection gave us the only really Liberal measures we owe to the second session of 1879. The Hall Government were credited with being essentially conservative, and conservative in the worst sense for the working-man. All their instincts and interests .lay in the direction, it was said, of conserving rights to property .and playing into the hands of wealth and the large landowners. Sir George’s followers did their best to stamp this character upon their opponents and stoutly denied what the others as stoutly asserted—that the difference between the parties was one of men only. The men of the Hall side have all along approved of the principles laid down in the Liberal programme sketched out by Sir George Grey in the Governor’s speech, but their opposition was to the men who sought to carry that programme out. When they turned these men from office they at once set about honorably fulfilling their pledges to the country—pledges that had also been made and broken by their political opponents. The statute book of 1879 shows how far they have been able to fulfil these, while “ Hansard,” more plethoric of talk than usual, shows how they had to fight against an uncompromising obstruction, and extricate the country at the same time from the financial dilemma into which the administrative talent of their predecessors had thrown it. In this statute book we found a sweeping electoral reform brought about, by which the registration is provided for without trouble of every man fairly entitled to a vote. The Land Tax Act has been repealed, and in its place comes a property tax which reaches all classes of property, as well as land, and lays the burden of taxation on the shoulders of those who are best able to bear it. But perhaps the most striking feature of the sessionwas the passing of the Triennial Parliaments Bill—a Bill that should have been passed by the former Government, but they deserted it, left it in the hands of a private member, blessed it, and it died. Yet the Government who passed it through the House were not Liberal ! Had time allowed a Re-distribution of Seats Bill would have been introduced, as well as many other measures that the last Government flaunted desperately before the eyes of the constituencies. Time did not permit, and the Ministry refrained from intrducing important Bills, only to have them hastily and inconsiderately passed by a worn-out House, or their own reputation jeopardised by Bills upon which they themselveshadnothad time to bestow needful thought. The instalments of reform they have given us, however, and their plucky wrestling with the colony’s financial difficulties are good earnest of their future government. Mails. —The mails for the United Kingdom and Australia per Ringarooma close at the Bluff at 4 p.m. on Friday, the 16th. Life Assurance. —The Rev. Mr. Turner, of the Mutual Provident Life Assurance Association, lectures to-night in the Templar Hall, Ashburton. Borough Valuation List. — The valuation list for the Borough of Ashburton is now open for inspection at the Council Chambers. We refer those interested to the official announcement elsewhere. Proposed Horticultural Society.— We are very much pleased to notice that steps are to be taken to form a Horticultural Society in Ashburton, a meeting of those favorable being called for this evening in Quill’s Sample Rooms. Labor Agency. —The proprietors of the “ Ashburton Herald,” at the request of many farmers and farm laborers, have started a registry for servants that will doubtless be found very useful to both employers and employed for the approaching harvest. Particulars are given elsewhere. North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. —We, observe that this well-known Insurance Company has opened an agency in Ashburton, under the charge of Messrs Poyntz and Co., whose known energy will doubtless soon give the company a wide range of business in this district. The R.M. Court. —Some time ago the several members of the legal profession in Ashburton memorialized the Government in reference to the mal-administration of this Court, and as a result a change, beneficial to a certain extent, was made. The management of the Court, however, is anything but A 1; persons having business to do with it compain strongly about mal-administration, and the loss which they sustain in consequence. Similar complaints are made in reference to the District Court. The legal profession are now taking the matter up, and memorializing the Government with a view to a reform. There is no doubt it is wanted. The truth seems to be that the Government did not realize the importance of Ashburton as a judicial centre. We trust the present Ministry will look into the matter, and show that they comprehend the wants of the place in this respect better than their predecessors. The Barristers’ Room at the Courthouse. —Recently, for the convenience of the members of the Ashburton bar, one of the small front rooms of the Templar Hall was set aside for their special use during the sitting of the R.M. Court. Previously that room had been made a passage way into the Court by the public, who have not yet apparently got to understand the purpose to which it is now devoted. On Tuesday it was crowded by the public—three or four is a crowd in its cramped space—and Mr. Branson called His Worship’s attention to the fact. Those in the “bar” room were at once ordered out. It would be well for visitors to the Courthouse to remember that only the open hall is available to them, if they are not barristers or clients. Donald Dinnib, the Champion Athlete. —Members of Caledonian societies, and Scotchmen generally, will read the following from “ Bell’s Life,” regarding the great champion athlete of Scotland, Donald Dinnie, which shows that he has not yet decayed to a very great extent : Donald Dinnie, 'after twenty-six years success in gaining over 4000 money prizes, besides 100 medals, cups, &c., and before retiring from the arena, issues the following challenge to all “ would-be champions,” although now a long way short of his best records, viz. : He will give Ift. start at “ putting stone,” and 3ft. at throwing hammer for from LSO to LIOO a-side, or will back himself to throw a IGlb. hammer, fair stand, over 130 ft., and a 161 b. stone over 47ft. On Bridge of Allan Athletic Grounds ho will put a 161 b. ball over 52ft. He will also throw a 161 b. hammer over 100 ft. if allowed !• turn round.
Suez Mail. —The outward mails for the United Kingdom, Ac., via Suez (for specially addressed correspondence only) will close at the local Post Office at ten o’clock this morning. The Late Borough Cricket Club.— The Secretary hints at paying up by members in arrears, so that a final squaring up may take place. Reaper and Binder Trial. The reaper and binder trial of the Ashburton Agricultural and Pastoral Association is announced in a preliminary advertisement to take place on or about the 20th. Extensive Sale of Contractors’ Plant, &c, —On Thursday next, January 22, Messrs Matson and Co. will put up for sale, at Tattersall’s, Christchurch, the extensive plant of Messrs Lake and Bead, who have now completed their contract at the Rakaia railway. School Committee. —Two members of the School Committee—Messrs St. Hill and Bradley—attended at the schoolroom with the Secretary on Tuesday, and waited for an hour or more, but as a quorum of members did not attend, the meeting had to lapse. The Irish Relief Fund. —The Victorians are working hard for the relief of the distress in Ireland, and already’, a cablegram informs us, the Mayor of Melbourne has collected L 5009, which he will forward to Dublin on Friday next. A list has also been started at Auckland, and no doubt many more will be opened over the colony in a few day's. Severe Accident. —Yesterday afternoon, while Hubert, the son of Mr. Edward Cookson, livery stable-keeper, Ashburton, was catching a horse, belonging to his father, that had been grazing in his paddock, the lad received a severe kick in the leg, which fractured the shin bone. He was brought home and surgical aid procured, and we learn is doing as well as can be expected. Rakaia Police. —Constable Thoreau, who has been stationed at Rakaia for the past twelve months, being about to be removed to Timaru, an address, conveying to him the thanks of the residents in the district for the gentlemanly way in which he has conducted himself while on duty there, has been very numerously signed, and will be forwarded to him through the proper channel. Constable Rouse, from Ashburton, relieves Constable Thoreau on Wednesday. Professor Wallenburg. —An advertisement in another column contains an announcement of Professor Wallenburg’s intention of spending ten days in Ashburton. We are given to understand that the engagements of the Professor prevent his stay being extended over that time under any circumstances. A perusal of the extracts given from the Southern press will at once show how wonderful have been many of the cures of deafness, blindness, and diseases generally of the eye and car, that have been effected by Professor Wallenburg, and those who may have the misfortune to be afflicted apparently beyond cure with any of the diseases the treatment of which Professor Wallenburg makes a specialty', would do well to inquire for him during his stay. School Treat. the limited amount of subscriptions received, the School Committee were unable to deal as handsomely by the scholars at last examination in the matter of prizes as they could have wished. Several boy's and girls, whose merit deserved recognitior by the presentation of prizes, bad thus to be overlooked. It is to be regretted that any discouragement should be caused to the children, but the fault did not lie with the Committee. We hope that next year the public will contribute more largely than they did this year to the prize fund, and so allow every boy and girl who have duly earned prizes to be presented with them. It has been customary to give the children a treat annually, either at the close of the session, and just before the vacation, or immediately' before the opening of the school, when the holiday's are drawing to aldose. The School Committee intend that this year there shall be no departure from the annual custom, if by any means they can manage it. But the only difficulty in the way' is the want of funds. Festivities of any kind are always attended with expense, and some one must bear that expense. As far as the individual members of the Committee are concerned they are willing to do their share, and doubtless they will do it, but it is too much to expect that they should find everything. They have therefore decided to appeal once more for aid to parents and the public, and every resident will be visited for a contribution to the treat fund. The Committee’s efforts to raise the needful funds will, we hope, meet with fair encouragement, and we would point out that the smallest donations will be accepted. There are many peojfle who object to prizes for school work, as likely to cause ill-feeling, and to discourage naturally dull boys. We have nothing to say here either for or against this objection, but we think there can be no objection whatever raised against giving the little ones an opportunity for a day’s outing in their own playground, and regaling them with cake and sandwiches, throwing in a few trifles in the way of nick-nacks to be raced for as prizes. Boys value those meetings even more highly than they do prize day.
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