The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1880.
In a paper presented to Parliament a history is given of the disgraceful piece of humbug that was recently perpetrated in connection with the introduction to this Colony of fifty coal miners (with their families) under engagement to the Westport Colliery Company. The miners wore engaged in England by the AgentGeneral, for and at the request of the Westport Colliery Company, and when engaged the men were given to understand that they would be sent to work immediately on arrival in this colony, at 10s. a-day wages, or an equivalent in tonnage if piecework were chosen. The letter of the manager of the Company, Mr. A. J. Burns, to the Minister for Immigration, asking the men to be selected and engaged for the Company, is very explicit, and he laid down the instructions necessary for the Agent-General’s guidance with a minuteness of detail that is perfectly refreshing. The men had to be selected from the best coal mining districts in the Old Country ; had to be of the highest moral character and of the best skill as workmen; married, as a recommendation for steadiness ; and of small stature—we presume, so that they would work more handily in contracted spaces under ground. The Agent-General seems to have been particular in attending to the instructions of Mr. A. J. Burns—too particular, in fact, for we find that when the little army of carefully selected miners arrived at Nelson the fastidious manager of this Westport Company, that was going to raise coal enough to set the Thames on fire, objected to several of the men because they were “local preachers,” and no “ local preacher ” would ever find employment in his mine. Mr. A. J. Burns apparently had a holy or unholy horror of those who preach, especially amateur preachers, and stoutly averred that the sort of workman who with one hand cut into the obdurate heart of the earth and with the other into the equally obdurate souls of men, must naturally give only a half-hearted attention to the work for which he was paid in current coin, however well he may merit the reward which is not paid in silver and gold of an earthly coinage. Had Mr. A. J. Burns and his precious company been prepared to employ any of the colliers whom he had seduced Government in a weak moment to import for his benefit, we could have pardoned his fastidiousness ; but lie was no more prepared to employ miners than he was to employ preachers, and evidently sought only an excuse for getting out, no matter how, of a bargain he was not prepared to fulfil. On the arrival of the Opawa, which brought the miners to Nelscn, as the port nearest to Westport, the Government telegraphed to Mr. Burns to fulfil a promise he had made in one of his letters on the subject—namely, to meet the men at Nelson. But all that could be got out of the doughty manager was that he had no instructions from the Directors of his Company, and until he got those the miners would have to remain in Nelson. Telegrams came and went between the Government and the Company’s Secretary, and the Government and this humbug of a manager. The one blamed the manager for the delay, and the other blamed the Directors; and meanwhile the miners were put on rations in the Nelson barracks, where they fumed and fretted, and expressed their opinion of those who had humbugged and befooled them. During their enforced idleness the more intelligent of them wrote Home to the papers published in the districts from which they had come, and the accounts given of their treatment are anything but pleasant, while assertions are made by them perfectly warranted by the usage to which they had been subjected. They do not hesitate to state thrt workingmen are really not wanted in the colony, and that the immigration scheme is only a move instigated by capitalists to flood the country with workers, and thus glut and cheapen the labor market. Such statements as these, made by men brought over here under false pretences, and made as a special warning to their old fellowworkmen at Home, cannot fail to injure the reputation of the colony amongst the working people in Britain, and they will tell against us on any future appeal we may require to make for immigrants of this class. After the poor fellows had spent many dreary weeks in the Nelson barracks, the Government were able to find employment for them in the Springfield Colliery, in the Brunner mine, and Coal Pit Heath mine at Greymouth, and the companies owning these fortunately absorbed all the men. There was difficulty to begin with at the Springfield mine, owing to the absence of house accommodation, but the men bravely went to work, taking their families with them and choosing to live in tents until cottages were erected. By this fiasco the Government haxe been put to great trouble and no little expense, all because a blundering manager did not know his business, and only knew his own mind very imperfectly. But the humbug did not end with the finding of employment for the men. The Secretary of the Westport Colliery Company had the consummate impudence, after the men had been brought out at Government expense, and maintained in Nelson waiting the Company’s pleasure, to deny all liability for their rations. To this denial Mr. Rolleston replied curtly that the Secretary would hear from him again. He did so on the 22nd of April last when a little bill amounting in all to £239 7s. was forwarded. Here the correspondence, so far as the paper submitted to Parliament is concerned, ends, and we are not told whether the Government has been paid the amount or not. The sum covers only the bare cost for food to the men and their families, and we are surprised to find the Minister for Immigration so amazingly lenient. We had fancied it ivas quite within his power, from the correspondence published in this paper, to recover from the dilatory Company not only the rations but all the passage money paid, not only to the colony, but from Nelson to the various places to which the men were sent. The whole conduct of those concerned for the Company in bringout the unfortunate miners is throughout a gross outrage upon the men, and in the interests of justice the matter ought not to be allowed to rest at the simple payment of the rations, but an example ought to be made so that the colony and the Mother Country may be assured that men cannot with impdnity be enticed here on a wild goose chase to suit the caprice or cupidity of the promoters of any private enterprise or speculation. This is the first importation of a large body of skilled men for any special industry, and it is a blow to the colony’s reputation that the undertaking should have been attended by such unpleasant circumstances.
Parliamentry Papers. —We have to acknowledge the receipt of a batch of Parliamentary papers, &c., from the Government Printer.
Business Change. —Mr. W. White has taken over the business of baker, Ac., carried on by Mr. Edward Taylor in Saunders’ buildings, East street north, and the announcement of the change appears in another column.
Railway Changes. —Mr. W. Ennis, Inspector of Permanent Way, at Ashburton, has been appointed to a similar position at Invercargill, and, we understand, will remove thence on Monday next. Mr. Ennis is an efficient officer, as his promotion to a more important district proves, and we learn that tangible expression is to be given to his fellowofficers’ esteem before he partsj company with them. Mr. Ennis’ place will be supplied by Mr. C. Hawkins, a gentleman from the Northern line. I. O. G. T. Waterton. The usual weekly meeting of the Cleavbrook Lodge was held on Saturday, the 29th ult., Bro. W. T. Norrish, W.C.T., presiding. After the initiation of a new member and the business of the lodge had been disposed of, the installation of officers for the ensuing quarter was performed by Bro. Fred. Clothier, L.D., The following were duly conducted to the respective chairs : —-W. C.T., Bro. Jno. Pearson; W.Y.T., Bro. Wm. M‘Rae; W.S., Bro. Sami. Norrish ; W.F.S., Bro. Wm. Alderdice ; W.T., Bro. Wm. Houston ; W.C., Bro. Alf. Norrish ; W.M., Bro. Jno. Barr ; W.R.H. S., Bro. Chas. Sheett;W.L.H.S. ,Bro.T. Timms; W.A.S., Bro. Jno. Shepherd ; P. W.C.T., Bro. Thos. Savage. Several new members were proposed, after which the Lodge closer!, the members having spent a very pleasant evening.
Lost Money. —On Friday night Mr. Wm. Frisby, Ashburton Forks, lost, between the establishment of Messrs. Quinton Bros., on the Alford Forest road, and Mr. Corbett’s farm, Ashburton Forks, a black leather pocket-book. It contained, besides several receipts and other documents, ten LlO notes and six LI notes, and was carried, previous to its being missed, in the left breast-pocket of the owner, who was riding at the time ho lost his property. The notes were new ones, .and were obtained that day from the Union Bank ; they were numbered consecutive!} 7 , and these numbers are known, so that any attempt to pass them will be dangerous. On Saturday morning, about daylight, a laborer named Leonard going to his work, picked up the pocketbook in the vicinity of where it was supposed to have been lost, and he also found several of the papers it bad contained lying about, but the notes were gone. The police are on the watch for the first finder, who has evidently taken possession of the money'.
Udolpho Wolfe. —We have heard many a man smother a curse after he had got half through one of the cleverly written paragraphs in which Udolpho Wolfe and Co couch the advertisements of their “schnapps.” This firm also advertise that in every day’s bottling of their liquor they insert three orders for LI each in the capsules—one order at three intervals over the day’s work. There are those who are sceptical of the truth of this statement, and not long ago an individual wrote to a paper in this colony stating that ho had purposely bought ever so much schnapps with a view to ascertaining whether there was anything in the “draw” or not. He failed to find a LI order in any of his purchases. Last night, however, a resident called at this office and showed ns an order for LI that, he had been lucky enough to find in the capsule of a bottle he had bought at the Somerset Hotel. It runs thus:—“ Hamburg, January 1879. —Ll—Good for one pound sterling, payable at the office of Messrs. M. Moss A Co., Sydney and Melbourne, —Udolpho Wolfe, Son, and Co., No. 450.” This is a proof that after all there is some body in the advertisement. Drunk in a Railway Carriage. —ln the absence of Mr. Guinness, who was at Longbeach attending the Assessment Coup on Saturday, his Worship the Mayor presided at the R.M. Court. After dismissing with a caution, a first offender, who was brought up on a charge of drunkenness and being illegally on the premises of Mr. Mossman, Robert Macready, a respectable-looking man, was charged with three offences, namely, being drunk in a railway carriage, obstructing a railway guard in the execution of bis duty, and likewise violently assaulting the said official. Charles Heaton, railway guard, deponed to finding accused in a first-class carriage with a second-class ticket, while on the journey from Timaru to Temuka on Friday ; and on demanding the excess fare from accused, who was intoxicated, the latter collared him, and it was only on gentlemen coming to witness’ assistance that the danger of both passenger and guard rolling over on to the line
was avoided. John H. Fox, another railway officer, gave corroborative evidence. Sergeant Felton said that on Friday he had gone down in the train as far as the Rakaia, and Mr. Hurst, M. H.R. for Wallace, who witnessed the affair, had desired him to state that the guard had acted in a most temperate manner, and that it was on liis (Mr. Hurst’s) advice that the accused had been apprehended. His Worship said that conduct like that which Macready had exhibited deserved severe punishment, and it was onty right that the railway officials should be protected from such offensive characters. He would inflict a fine of L 5, or fourteen days imprisonment. Ashburton Gas Company. —A special meeting of shareholders of the Ashburton Gas Company was held in the readingroom of the Public Library yesterday. The purpose of the meeting was to confirm the resolutions passed at the special meeting held last month, at which the articles of association were adopted with two slight alterations, and two auditors were elected. There was a fair attendance, and the resolutions were confirmed. Previous to commencing business, Mr. Bullock said that at next annual meeting a recommendation by the Directors would fall to be considered - namely, that the price of gas to consumers should be reduced. Consumers had been complaining of the high price ; but he wished them to bear in mind that Ashburton was far from port, and costly freight had to be paid on the coal used. Having this in view consumers would understand that gas could not be produced so cheaply here as it could be in places whose proximity to the seaports saved a great expense on the overland carriage of coal. Still, he believed gas was just as cheap here as it was in Oamaru and Timaru. Regarding the Company, he might say that the workswere now in excellent condition, and a very satisfactory feature of their working, and one that said much for the manner in which the mains had been laid, was the fact that the percentage of waste had been largely reduced since work commenced. When they began they had had a waste of forty per cent, of the gas manufactured ; but now that waste had been minimised to seven per cent. The monthly consumption of gas was now 170,000 feet, and thisamong seventyconsumers. There was a gradual but steady increase taking place in the number of consumers ; and gas was steadily forcing its way into private houses, many more of which lie hoped to see supplied ere long. Coke was now being made at the works, and the price of this article had been reduced from L2 to 355. per ton, with a view to inducing consumption. Mr. Bullock then thanked the shareholders for their attendance, intimated when the next annual meeting would take place, of which due notice would be given, and the meeting adjourned.
Sudden Death. —Mr. James Blair, a farmer, of Lincoln, fell clown whilst walking along the Prehbleton road on Saturday last, and died immediately.
Cricket. —Members of the Ashburton Cricket Club are reminded that a meeting is called for this evening in the County Council Chambers at 7.30 o’clock. Settling Day. —The Steeplechase Committee met on Saturday night for the purpose of striking a balance-sheet, &c. The Treasurer reported a deficiency of some Ll 5, which was accounted for by the paucity of contributions from the public. The great bulk of the work and expense has fallen upon the Committee, and this can easily be understood when we state that the total subscriptions from the public, outside the Committee, which have been collected to date amount to L 5 14s. 6d., of which Mr. Quill subscribed L 3 3s. If the Ashburton people wish to enjoy racing, as they seem to do when sport is provided for them, surely they can assist the Race Committee a little better than this. As it is the Committee will have had all the work to do, and have the subsequent pleasure of paying for it. They have themselves to blame to a certain extent in not having had a reliable canvasser and collector, and hence the deficiency.
Rates. —The Wakanui Road Boai’d don’t intend to givo any further tick to the ratepayers, and the collector has strict injunctions to at once issue tickets of admission to the R.M. Court to all defaulters.
A Sham Parson. —A man named Atterbury, alias Cornock, who had passed himself off as a clergyman, is in trouble at Auckland, where the police have thenhands on him for larceny. He is now under remand. The Colleen Bawn. —There is still no sign of the missing schooner Colleen Bawn. The Hinemoa hailed to find any trace of her, and has returned to Wellington. It is now believed the schooner has foundered at sea.
Queer Prize. —We learn (says the Thames Advertiser) that Mr. Brassy has given a perambulator as a prize to be fired for by the Thames Scottish Battalion. Only single men are to compete for this prize, and the winner is allowed six months within which he must marry, or the prize falls to the company to be again competed for. We understand that a member of the Brokers’ Association has also given a prize of a baby’s cradle to be fired for on the same condition as the perambulator prize. Marriage Service, A.D. 1479. Martrymonye was ordeyned of God for two causes, Fyrst prycycypally into ofiyce to brynge forth childern toGoddes servyce, also in to remedye to flee fornycacy’sn and lechery'o. For the first cause it was ordeyned in paradyse byfore Adam’s synne ; for the second cause it was ordeyed in Paridise after Adam’s synne. Thre good thynges be pryncypaly in Martrymonye. The fryst is faith that echo of theym kepe truly his body to other and rnedle flesshely with none other. The soconde is bryngyth forth and nourysshyngc of childern to the worshyp of God and to Goddcs seruyee. The thyrde is the sacrament whiche may not be undo but only by clethe. And therefore the ordre of wedlokc to full woi’shypfull for it repveseuteth the grete sacrament of unyte and of endless lone bytwene Cryste and holy chirche. And the faithful lou that ought to bo bytweeu busbonde and wyfe betokeneth the lou that ought to be bytween Cryste and holy Chirche. —Notes and Queries.