The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1880.
In this advanced age of ours the grea* principle of action seems to be—get as much from Government as possible, but reduce your contributions to the public purse to the veriest minimum. On this principle the various districts in the colony have religiously acted, ever since the Public Works and Immigration scheme was inaugurated,—ever since the money of foreign capitalists was put in the public chest, and began to be dispensed from the Treasury. Government was a milch cow whom everyone looked to for a supply ; but now that her time of dryness has come, no one feels called upon to supply fodder. Loud-voiced suitors sued for railways, for roads, for bridges, for buildings, while the money lasted, and their eyes became green with jeak.u y over every penny that was given to districts not their own ; while, like sulky schoolboys, they eyed their own dole with dissatisfaction, and grumbled heartily because it was not large enough to their liking. Too much of the borrowed money could not be given to them, nor too little to their neighbors. And now, when the time of reckoning comes, the boot is on the other leg altogether. The shares of taxation come to be allotted, and every man is as ready to cry out that he is getting too much as before he was ready to growl that the share he got of public good things was too little. Government finds itself placed in a difficult position. It must make both ends meet somehow, and the tax-payers have to supply the extra length of financial rope. Let Government devise as it will, it will never discover a scheme of taxation that will not find opponents. It is to taxation itself more than to the mode of it that most people object, and when a heavy deficit has to be made up, and the shortest and most productive way is adopted, it is not surprising to find that way denounced just because of its shortness and its productiveness. Cuckoo cries about the inquisitorial character of the Property Tax have been raised, and a deep growl against it has echoed from one end of the colony to the other. But we are afraid the growl will have no effect —or at least very little—for the deficit must be made up, come in what form it may. Government have declared their readiness to relievo personal effects from the operation Ox the tax, and to modify the admittedly complicated forms that the present law requires, and also to extend the time for collecting the tax ; but the exemption thus obtained necessitates the imposition of taxation somewhere else, and the Treasurer at once turns to beer. Here, too, he will not have all his sorrows to seek, for the licensed victuallers and the brewers are a powerful body, and do not give in without a severe struggle. But in this instance they can only kick against the pricks, for the colony may stand 6d. on the gallon of its beer, but it will rebel against a reimposition of taxes on its breakfast table. The Government are not wedded to the existing form of the Property Tax Assessment Act, as they have already announced, and their concession noted above will tend to close the mouths of the loudest opponents of the impost on property, but only a return of prosperity sufficiently abundant to enable the tax to be altogether repealed will entirely silence the grumbling. A land tax and an income tax concurrently working are desired by some; but others would oppose both with a vigor equal to the opposition now being given to the Property Tax, so that it is a dire impossibility to please even a large section of the community, far less all, in the little matter of paying away money to the State. Meanwhile, we believe the concessions proposed by the Treasurer will take out the sting that was believed to lurk in the tail of the terrible Property Tax—but we fear the fact that remains, notwithstanding, will be just as disagreeable as ever—viz., that we have to pay, and no amount of grumbling and growling will stave off the evil day of cashing up. The Town Hail Stage. —The workmen are now busily engaged on the alterations necessary to make a decent stage in the Town Hall. When they have finished, a complete change will have been wrought on the appearance of the hall, which hitherto has been the reverse of creditable to the township. The old eyesores of paper-hangings that did duty in the way of concealing what was going on behind the curtain have been relegated to the lumber room, and their place will be supplied by a proper proscenium. In height some eighteen inches have been gained, and the new drop scene upon which Mr. Bourke is at work will hang fully two feet nearer the audience than formerly, so that considerable space will thus be added to that which was previously at the disposal of the performers. The work is expected to be finished in a short time. The Oddfellows’ Ball. —At a special meeting of the Committee of the Oddfellows’ Lodge appointed to make and carry out he arrangements for the anniversary ball, it was found necessary to engage the Town Hall for the ball in consequence of a decision come to by the Freemasons at their lodge meeting on Friday not to let their hall for other than Masonic purposes. The Secretary, Mr. Williams, stated that Mr. Hugo Friedlander, one of the trustees of the Masonic Hall, and Mr. Zander, Secretary of the Somerset Lodge, had told him that lie could depend on having the Masonic Hall for the projected assembly, and on the strength of this assurance the Masonic Hall had been advertised as the place of meeting. The Committee were thankful that they found out the state of matters so soon, as about 100 of the tickets have been sent over the district—some to Christchurch, some even to Kaiapoi, and to many farmers in the out of the way places in the County. The change will involve a very large amount of work upon the Secretary, Mr. Williams, and there is some talk of looking to these whose assurancemisledthe Committeefor corapensaation. However, the Town Hall lias been secured, and to our thinking the Committee made a mistake in not taking that hall to begin with, seeing that it was built for purposes of this kind, and from a public spirit on the part of the company to whom it belongs ; besides it is the best adapted of the two buildings for any meeting of this kind. At the ordinary Lodge meeting of the Oddfellows on Friday last, some of the members expressed their fear that the tickets had been fixed at too high a price. Some of these members were added to the Committee, and at the special meeting on Saturday the Committee went thoroughly into the matter of ways and means, and proved to the entire satisfaction of the doubtful ones, that when all refreshments, both eatable and drinkable were found free of any extra charge, they could not give satisfaction to their patrons and make both ends meet at the same time, if they reduced the price, especially as it was intended to made this in every respect one of the best balls that has ever been given in connection with the Order in Canterbury. On the tenders for supplying the refreshments being opened, that of Mr. Shearman, of the Somerset Hotel, was found to be the most suitable to their wants, and was consequently accepted. We feel satisfied that with such a well organized Committee to do the work, and with the very excellent and hard working Secretary, Mr. Williams, at their head, the ball must be a success.
The Concrete Channelling. —Mr, Bradley started work to-day on his contract for concreting the water-channels of the township, and expects to be finished in about six weeks. The Volunteer Outrage at Ashburton. —A telegram gives to understand the enquiry into the Volunteer’s misconduct at ■ Ashburton shows that the affair was grossly exaggerated. One Volunteer has been suspended. Dangerous Driving.—Two men, whose skill in driving was evidently not equal to their daring, undertook to give on-lookers a sort of circus performance with a horse and trap about noon on Saturday opposite Baldwin’s Hotel. After tearing round at a furious pace for some time, the driver essayed to negotiate the post and rail in use outside the hotel for the convenience of horsemen, but the effort was futile, and the wheel coming in contact with the horse trough the trap overturned, and the occupants were pitched out. The vehicle was somewhat damaged, but the men were very little the worse for the “spill,” as the irrepressible Jehu again took the reins and was about to repeat the performance, but evidently thought better of it, and decided to let wAI a!on r . The sequel to the above story has a very unpleasant feature in it—namely, an ugly cut in the back of the head of one of the performers, which will give the doctor some trouble in patching up. Perhaps we may hear more of the matter through the medium of the Pc lice Court. New Seam of Coal. —We learn that a . new seam of coal was discovered a few days ago at Kowai Pass, on the property of Mr. Macrae. The seam is fully sft. thick, and the coal is said to be equal to best Springfield coal. About twelve tons have been tried.— Press. Timaru Races. —The general manager of the railway, Frederick Back, Esq., announces that for the convenience of those wishing to attend the Timaru races, ordinary single,fare tickets to Timaru issued at stations between Christchurch and Ashburton on 17th and 18th inst., and at stations south of Ashburton on 18th inst., will he available for return journey up to and including 21st inst. Watekton Library. —Patriotic Watertonians are referred to an advertisement regarding one of their institutions, on behalf of which a tea-meeting and an entertainment are to be held in the main school on Wednesday, June 23. The Library is an institution claiming the support of the whole district, and have we no doubt this effort to help it on will meet a full reward at the hands of those for whose benefit the Library was instituted, —and these are, all who care to improve their minds by sucking the brains of genuis living and dead. A Grim Discovery. —A startling surprise, after the fashion of the story of Ginevra, w'as experienced some daj s ago by a party of Styrian wood cutters in the forest of Drommling. They began to fell a venerable oak, which they soon discovered to be quite hollow. Being half decayed it speedily came to the ground with a crash, disclosing a skeleton in excellent preservation. Even the boots, which came above the knee, were almost perfect. By its side was a powder-horn, a porcelian pipe-bowl, and a silver watch, on which was engraved “ H. von Krachowitz, 1812.” The teeth were perfect. It is conjectured that, while engaged in hunting, he climbed the tree for some purpose, and slipped incautiously into the hollow trunk, from which thero was no release, and he probably died of starvation. The Iron Horse. —Telegraphing from Nelson on Saturday, the Press Association agent recounts a railway incident thus —An accident occurred on the railway last night. As a train after leaving Wakefield was nearing the road crossing, the driver saw three horses within the railway fence ; they bolted to get over the cattle stops, and the first jumped over them, the second fell into the stops and rolled over on the rails, and the third went on top of the second. Though the engine was reversed it had still too much speed on, and one of the horses was nearly cut in two and thrown on the roadway, and the second had its legs taken off. At R’chmond the train above referred to had to pass another going down to Foxhill, which was filled with volunteers from Richmond. The passengers had alighted when the train proceeded on to the points to admit of shunting, but just as the Richmond train was at the points the up train came along, and the two engines collided. Fortunately very little damage was done.