The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1880.
The Borough Council of Ashburton docs not seem to be the most energetic public body under the sun. Notwithstanding that the Messrs. Saunders Bros., while willing to fulfil the promise made by Mr. Edward Saunders to allow the Council a supply of water from their millrace, prevented any interference with the face until the deed of easement was signed, no steps have been taken in the matter. It is fully a week since the Borough. Council were told that until the conditions under which they were to take the water were.agreed to, and bore the Council’s signature, no water could be taken from the mill-race. Yet there the matter rests, and a most culpable apathy is manifested by the representatives of the burgesses. Surely, if the privilege of taking water from the race is worth having, it is worth fulfilling the not very onerous conditions that are attached to it. With a view to urge the affair to a conclusion, we hear that Mr. S. Saunders has nailed up the floodgate, and notified the Council that any interference with it until the deed of CAsement is completed will be treated as a trespass. We hear of no steps being taken by the Agricultural and Pastoral Association to arrange for a ploughing match. We scarcely think the time has yet come when agriculture, even in an advanced county like Ashburton, can afford to drop from amongst its institutions one that tends to tho encouragement of skill in one of the first necessities of cultivation, the guiding of the plough. We hear farmers of experience—men who have been born on tho homestead,* and whose whole life, from youth to manhood, has been spent in agriculture—speaking in very critical language of some of the specimens of farming they see in this colony. We hear a gentleman of Mr. John Grigg’s standing gomewhat roughly, if traly, setting down not a few farmers as only camp-followers of Sir Julius Vogel's army of road-makers, and possessing only a very parrot-like knowledge of the business they have undertaken. But while we hear these condemnations, ought we not als© to hear of something being done to remove, as far ae can be removed, all ground for complaint in regard ■ to practical working. We fancy that ability to plough well is just as much a necessity to the farmer as is a knowledge of how profitably to stock his farm or regulate the rotation of his crops. But while everything that an Association, anxious for the farmers’ success, can do for the farmer is being done, nothing seems to be undertaken for the ploughman. Many of the ploughmen on these plains have taken to the work they now follow since they came to this colony, and we think it would be in their interests if opportunities were afforded them of looking upon work that practical judges are willing to consider and award prizes to as patterns —models of ploughing. Then we have young men growing up whose practical training should not be neglected, and just as the competition at school tends to healthy emulation and secures excellence, so we should imagine ought competition at the ploughing match promote healthy emulation in good ploughing amongst the lads who are to he our future farmers. “God speed the plough,” is a holy and righteous prayer, but then, “ the gods help those who help themselves,” and if the ploughmen are deprived of all chance of measuring their abilities with the standard of excellence which our farming leaders swear by, then little excuse is left for condemning them if they remain stagnant, and plough as well or as ill today as they did last year. * That the publication of Hansa/rd is a gross waste of public money, is an assertion not very difficult of proof, and we are pleased to see that certain of our legislators are seriously thinking over the question of Hansard’s abolition. It may be particularly gratifying to the members of both Houses of the Legislature to see the language credited to them in the official chronicle of the “ Parliamentarir Debates” as their utterances in the Legislative Council or the House of Representatives ; but it is a luxury very expensive to the colony, and, at the same time, a luxury which is not genuine, inasmuch as thoso'speeches that we read in Hansard are just as often as not very widely different from the speeches that actually fall from the lips of the speakers who are credited with them. Numerous and -very highly qualified phonographic reporters are retained by the Government for the purposes of taking down the words of wisdom and grace as they fall from the lips of the chosen of the people and the chosen of the Governor, and it is not an extraordinary supposition on tho part of a Hansard reader that, with such a staff of highly competent reporters as those who do the Parliamentary reporting, tho speeches printed in the official pages are the bona fide utterances of the men against whose names they are set. We say it is not an extraordinary supposition—it is a very natural one ; but it is also a very erroneous one. With scarcely a single exception—only one that vie know of, the Hon. W. B. D. Mantell —members of both Houses of Parliament demand proofs of their speeches after they have been put in type by the printers in tho Government printing office from the manuscript of the Hansard reporters ; and when these proofs are returned tho speeches are found to have undergone a moat wonderful transformation. They have been subjected to infinite elaboration and endless metamorphosis, and the poor reporters are often unable to discover any resemblance between the harangues they were at so great pains to take down with tho accuracy of a machine, in shorthand, and reproduce with equal accuracy in longhand, withperhaps the added virtue of corrected grammar. When we know that the speakers are thus permitted to overlook tho publication of their speeches, and enjoy the liberty of having printed for public perusal, not the speeches they did make, but those they wish their constituents to believe they made—the gilt if taken off the gingerbread, and we may as well have no Parliament in Wellington at all, so far as the debates are concerned, for tho political essays thus disseminated as the actual speeches of members may just as well be written at their own firesides in the several districts of the colony from which they hail, as at the firesides of Wellington by which during session they are sojourners. This farce which purports to be a faithful reproduction of our legislative oratory is an expensive one. For reporting alone, it. costs £2,500 a year, and for printing £2,700. The cost for reporting, we presume, could not well be reduced ; but wo know sufficient from our own experience with this journal that the cost of printing would be reduced by perhaps onehalf did members allow the admittedly able reporters to reproduce, with the necessary grammatical amendments, the speeches they deliver. While a luxury like this is being enjoyed by the members of tho Legislature—and it is almost exclusively for their benefit, for few indeed of the people ever see Hansard, and not a small proportion have but a hazy notion of what it means,—while this luxury, costing L 5,200 annually, is enjoyed, that could very well bo done without, is it fair to say that all the opportunities for retrenchment have btea taken ? We say this thing could be* very well done without; but we know well also, that if reports of Parliamentary
debates, of a more exhaustive character than that now given by the 1 newspaper press were really wanted, and a public demand made for them, such a demand would very soon be supplied by private enterprise, and at a cheaper rate than it costs Government. Blit then only such speeches as really were delivered would find their way into the hands of the public, and all chance would be lost to hon. members of interfering with’ and elaborating the shorthand writers’ reports. Supreme Court. — ; The criminal sessions of the Christchurch Supreme Court opened yesterday morning. There were 19 cases set down for hearing. Obstructing the Railway. —The two boys—H. Mason and W. Palmer—who were charged at the Supreme Court yesterday with obstructing the railway line, got six weeks’ imprisonment. Mount Somers Building Stone.—A sample of the Mount Somers quarry stone is to be sent to the Melbourne Industrial Exhibition. Mr E. A. Peach being the exhibitor. The Christys. —The Amateur Christys repeated their entertainment on Saturday evening. Again, however, the weather was against them, and the house was thin. In spite of this discouragement the programme was gone through with spirit, and hearty applause was frequently elicited. London Art Union.— Mr. J. Stanley Bruce, the local agent for the Art Union of London, has furnished us with the list of prize-holders for the present year,; from which we observe that two prizes have fallen to New Zealand colonists, one of the lucky individuals being our respected townsman, Mr. J. Sealey. The Hospital. —Dr. Trevor, who has been appointed medical officer to the Hospital, announces that the building is now available for the treatment of cases of emergency. This will remove the necessity for taking cases of accidents, &c., to Christchurch, as has hitherto been the custom when anything serious occurred. The New Courthouse, Christchurch—The new Magistrate’s Courthouse at Christchurch was opened yesterday morning. It is a commodious stone building near the Supreme Courthouse, and at the opening there Were eight magistrates present. Mr. Perceval, as representing the bar, congratulated the Bench on the transition from the old building to one so much superior. The Methten Line Flooded. —Our Rakaia correspondent writes : The heavy rain which has fallen during last night and yesterday has flooded the Methven line near the Cairnbrao station so much that it is not known whether the line there has been damaged or not ; there is quite two feet of water on that part of the line. The train did not leave Methven this morning, but the guard rode into Rakaia. Inquest. —An inquest was held at the Courthouse, Temuka, on Thursday, before Mr. F. Guinness, on the skeleton of a man found in the Rangitata riverbed some weeks ago. The evidence of the constable who found the remains was taken, but there was no means of identifying them, neither was there any report made to the police that any person had been missing. The jury therefore returned a verdict to the effect that there was nothing to show how 7 the man came by his death. Accidents. —On Friday last, while Mr. John Helford was carting shingle from the river bed, his horse became a little restive and kicked. Mr. Hefford received a kick on tbs right hand which dislocated two of his fingers, one of which was also fractured.—On Saturday, while Mr. George Eagle was opening a bottle of soda-water the bottle burst, and fragments of the glass striking one of his wrists severely lacerated the flesh,- and severed some of the arteries. Mr. Eagle lost a large quantity of blood, and it w'as only with great difficulty that Dr. Stewart ivas able to staunch the wounds. “Wicked Marks.” —The adjourned 1 a e against Henry Mark*, fruiterer, for having, on Sunday, the 10th June, sold a quantity of fruit, the same not being a work of necessity or charity, came on for hearing at the Christchurch R.M. Court yeaterdav. The fact of selling, &c. , being admitted by defendant’s counsel, the prosecution did not produce witnesses, and the solicitor for the defendant had merely to bring before the Bench the legal arguments bearing on the case. Finally the Court inflictrd the nominal penalty of 55., on the understanding that a case should be stated for the Supreme Court. Trotting Match. — A trotting match took place on Saturday on the racecourse. Four horses entered —Mr. J. W. M'Bae’s Brandy, the same owner’s bay mare, Mr. O. Digby’s bay horse Bijou, and Mr. D. M'Kenzie’s roan mare. Bijou, ridden by Mr. Physick, took the lead and kept it throughout, winning by about two chains, hands down. The distance was 2f miles, and the time lOmins. IDsecs., no very great performance, but this may be excused as the ground was very heavy and the winner was never asked to go. The man of medicine contemplates earning an honest living by trotting Bijou for the future. About sixty persons assembled on the ground, and, although betting was slack, everybody seemed pleased with the diversion provided for them. The Weather.— Since Saturday night we have had an almost continuous downpour of rain, the intervals of cessation having been few and far between. As a result the rivers are running high, and creeks that have been dry for months are carrying substantial streams. As yet no tidings have reached us of any damage having been done, and the trains have run without any interruption. There has been such a long stretch of dry weather that it w'ill take a somewhat persistent and heavy wetting to do much mischief, but should the copious rainfall continue that wo are now having we may look out for reports of flooding. On Sunday morning the congregations at the various churches in town were very sparse, owing to the damp ; but in the evening, when the rain was falling in real earnest, and the wind had risen to the force of a gale, the attendances were a good deal more attenuated. One congregation numbered four besides the choir, while none could count more than twenty. The Want of Work.— The following story, told by the Christchurch Fress, shows to what straits some men are reduced by the want of employment : —“An apparently deliberate instance of a man choosing dishonesty and the shelter of the prison rather than liberty, houseless and hungry, came before the Lyttelton magistrate on Saturday. The circumstances, as related by the man, were—That his name was Alexander Simpson, about twenty-six years of age, and he came to New Zealand from Adelaide about two years ago. He had lately been swagging, looking for work, sleeping out at nights, exposed to cold, wind, and rain, and, being penniless and hungry and in this condition on Friday, he went to G. B. Philp’s shop, on London street, and took an oilskin coat from a number there hanging outside the shop. With this he went over to the police station and gave himself into custody. This was tho story ho told the constable, and so told it, with apparent emotion, to the magistrate on Saturday. In reply to the Bench, ho said he was a laborer, and willing to work at anything for wages. The police said the man was unknosvn to them, and the magistrate, unwilling to enter up a conviction until further inquiries were made, remanded him for a week.
Bigamy. —A butcher named Lawlor has been committed for trial at Auckland, on a charge of bigamy. Sparrows. —Mr. Merrin, of Kaiapoi Island, has this season reduced the sparrows in his neighborhood by half a cartload. A Good Figure. — A lot of greasy merino wool, belonging to Mr. G. W. H. Lee, The Warren, Oxford, brought Is. 6 J,cl per lb. at a recent wool sale in London. Loyal Contracting, — A portion of the Timaru breakwater recently slipped out. It was found that it had been propped up with bags of concrete instead of resting on solid blocks. Stonebreaking. With a view to alleviate in some measure the distress existing in Wellington, the City Council are to provide work at stonebreaking for the unemployed. The city finances will not admit of any greater effort. Duty. —An Italian organ grinder recently proceeded to Albury (N.S.W.), with organ and monkey, for the purpose of crossing into Victoria. The Customhouse authorities on the Border stopped him, and demanded L 6 10s. for duty. Hibernian.- —The Auckland Herald is responsible for the statement that when Mr. Reader Wood was talking about Sardanapalus, and Irish member thought he was referring to a Hibernian celebrity —Sir Daniel O’Phelus. A Works Committee. —One of the Kaiapoi Borough Councillors evidently fancies that the Works Committee of the Council is a farce, and he is to move their discharge and the paying of an extra LSO a-year to the Town Clerk to do the Committee’s work. Greymouth. —The commencement of work on the Greymouth breakwater was celebrated on Saturday by a demonstration. Since the protective works were first commenced, the export of coal from Greymouth has quadrupled, and the completion of the works now undertaken will enable the Greymouth mine to supply 60,000 tons of coal per week. Retrenchment. —With a view to economy, we understand that directions have been given by the PostmasterGeneral forthe discontinuance of the special trains which the Suez mail has hitherto been sent from the Bluff to Christchurch. The number of letters expedited by this special train is considered quite insufficient to justify the expense which it entails. Coal. —The Orepuki (Southland) Coal Company have forwarded to the Melbourne Exhibition a column of shale the full thickness of the seam, viz., some five or six feet. The seam descends through tho coal at an angle of forty-five degrees to unknown depths. The company have sunk into the coal seam about eighteen feet, and have not yet passed through it. The coal improves in quality as they go ■ deeper. Burglary. —The Chief Post Office at Timaru was burglariously entered on Saturday night, but the would be thief was scared by a telegraphist who slept on the premises. The safe had been attempted unsuccessfully, and several drawers were rummaged. The culprit escaped. An unsuccessful attempt was also made to break into Messrs Halleustein’s establishment in Timaru. Ministerial Justices. —There is one odd thing about the roll of Justices (according to the Hawke’s Bay Herald ) which is worth noticing. All the “ continuous Ministry ” are Justices, so are all the present Ministry. But of Sir George Grey’s colleagues only Mr. Gisborne is on the roll. We look in vain for the names of Sir George Grey, Mr. Macandrew, Mr. Ballance, Mr. Sheehan, Mr, Stout, Mr. Fisher an I Mr. Thompson. The Kelly Rewards.— The persons instrumental in the destruction and capture of the Kelly gang become entitled to large rewards, amounting altogether, we believe, to about LB,OOO. In April last it was notified that the rewards would be withdrawn at the end of three months, but that term has not yet expired. There is also a standing promise of a pension for the children of men killed or injured in attempting the capture of the bushrangers. Larrikinism. The Wesleyan soiree, which was held on the 15th ult. in the Ponsonby Hall (Auckland), was characterised by a novel feature, gratuitously supplied by the “ idle vagabond boys” of the district. A select band located themselves in the porch, and willingly furnished all the applause that was necessary for the various speakers and singers. They also kindly varied the proceedings by reproducing, with artistic fidelity to nature, the many variations of the feline voice, relieved at frequent intervals by capital, though of course dissonant, imitations of canine cacophony. At one period a lively duet between an enormous tom and a coquettish tabby broke shrilly upon the ear, and fetched the enraged doorkeeper ; while at another stage of tho proceedings, the snapping bark of a human terrier was wafted gently round the hall. This mischievous band concluded their night’s performances by loudly applauding the rev. gentleman who rose to pronounce the benediction. Bret Harte in Glasgow. —The many friends of Bret Harte will be glad to learn of his promotion from the comparatively insignificant and inadequately paid office of commercial agent at Crefeld, Germany, to the highly important position of Consul at Glasgow—the second city in point of population in Great Britain, and next to London and Liverpool in point of consular en: olument, the salary being 3,000d0l a year, and the duty not too great. When Nathaniel Hawthorne was Consul at Liverpool, one of his most uncongenial duties was the taking of depositions of sailors—swearing them, as ghe says, “on the office Bible, greasy with perjuries.” Doubtless Mr. Harte will have more or less of the same irksome duty to perform, but he will have the compensating comfort of being in a city where the American language is spoken with some degree of purity, and where he will be received with the cordiality that is always extended to successful authorship, especially when supplemented, as in his case, by exceptionally rare social powers.— Harper's Weeldy. The Future of the Great Eastern Steamship. —Now that it is known that the City of Borne steamship is to he within a few feet of the length of the Great Eastern, and to draw about as much water, the latter huge vessel is to be set at work again. • For several years the Great Eastern has been lying idly at Milford Haven, in England, a constant expense to her owners, who however, have been persuaded that it would prove less costly to let the ship lie at anchor than to send -her to sea. This seems a sorry end for what was once accounted a masterpiece of marine architecture, and it is gratifying to learn that another effort—stimulated, perhaps, as we have hinted, by the bulling of other monster steamships —is in progress to make the Groat Eastern comparatively profitable. Her paddles are to be removed and screws are to be substituted, and the vessel is undergoing preparations to be put in the American cattle trade. She is also to be redecorated as far as h'er cabins are concerned, But we imagine that her most lucrative trade westward will consist in the transportation hither of emigrants. The demand for this kind of accommodaactnally gives token that before long it will outstrip the supply ; and the Great Eastern may come in at tho nick of time and drive a tine business in consequence. The ship can easily carry 3,000 persons at a trip, and it would not be at all surprising if, in a few months, she were call upon to do so.— N. Y, Evening Post,
Run Down. —The Invercargill Working Men’s Club has been closed for “ financial reasons. ” They Share Profit— Why not Share Loss ?—A firm stand has been taken by the licensed victuallers of Sandon with regard to the Beer Tax. They have resolved to deal with no brewer who refuses to undertake to pay half the rate imposed by that tax, and the publicans throughout the district are invited to sign a bond to this effect. Three Millions’ Worth. —The Prussian capital, it appears, has, long contained a jewel of quite fabulous value, although the news of its existence was first made known to tho general public by the reports of the last session of the Polytechnic Society. This noble stone is a sapphire, and is the property of one of the members of that learned body. It weighs “ 12£ loth ” —a little more than six ounces. The jury of the Polytechnic Society have settled its value at the frightful sum of 64,000,000 marks, or L 3,200,000 of English money. It need hardly be said that such a treasure is not very likely to find a purchaser at such a price. It is contended by some of the adepts that the do le it not perfectly pure, but it can never be so far lowered as to tempt the richest and most eccentric collector in the world to give anything like the sum which must be asked for it. The Liquor Trade at Home. —The outcry against strong drinks from some of our most eminent doctors and scientific men seems to be exercising a very marked effect upon the liquor trade of the country (remarks the European Mail). Last year the consumption of wines, spirits, and beer showed a falling-off to the extent of over L 14,000,000, thus reducing the drink bill to an amount below that of .any year since 1871. Doubtless some of the decrease is owing to the badness of the times, but it is not wholly attributable to this cause, as some people have suggested. If it was, the consumption of other things, such as tea and coffee, would also have shown a decrease ; but, while intoxicating drinks fell off to the extent of 9'B per cent., the consumption of tea, coffee, and cocoa increased 2"3 per cent., clearl} 7 proving that the reduction in the former case did not arise from the crippled resources of the people, but from a change in their habits, due to the spread of temperance truth, to the establishment of coffee-houses and to improvements in the genera] legislation of the country. Fish-freezing. —Fish-freezing is the newest form of the preservation of fresh food. It is already being practised in India. Fish are frozen up in solid blocks of ice, and can then be delivered in any part of India, while the surrounding ice can be used for the ordinary purposes of cooling drinks. The fish are suspended in wire nets in the freezing water, and are found in excellent condition after five or six days of sucli enclosure. The same treatment has been tried and found successful with flowers. In this way fish are now being sent from Bombay to Lahore and other parts of India. The experiment is novel as to frozen fish, but it was tried some time ago at Glasgow with salmon eggs, when two million salmon eggs were frozen up with three feet of ice round them, and arrived ready for hatching in New Zealand after 110 day’s voyage. As some hundreds of thousands of those eggs were actually hatched, the Glasgow experiment may be held to prove that the fish frozen in Bombay undergo no physical change whatever. But it is seen that it may be possible to give another development to this process, and to equalise the supply and the price of fish by storing the surplus stock of one time when fishermen are fortunate, for the demands of those days in which the fresh supply is so insufficient as to compel a considerable rise in price. Horrible Affair in Russia. A terrible story reaches the Petersburg Herald from Samara. A few clays ago the wife of a skilled artisan named Schmid of that town, was brought to bed of a child while her husband, who was a confirmed sot, and spent all his wages for many previous weeks in liquor, was away from his home upon a drunken frolic. Two days after tier confinement Schmid staggered in about noon and began to shout, with horrible threats and curses, for his dinner. There having been neither food nor money in the house since he had last left it, the unfortunate woman had no nourishment for herself or her babe since its birth, and the latter had died of exhaustion but a few minutes before its heartless father made his appearance, intoxicated and blaspheming, in a room where a son had been born to him while he was squandering bis wages in drink. To Schmid’s brutal menaces his miserable wife made no answer. Silently she rose from her sordid pallet, wan and emaciated, a mere spectre, of a woman, crept across the room to the dresser, took thence a large dish, which she carried ’ back to the bed, and placing her baby’s corpse upon tho dish, set it down on the table before her husband, with the simple but awful words, “ There is nothing else to eat in the house !” Schmid sat gazing with a glassy stare at his dead child for some time. Presently a neighbor came in and spoke to him, but he utttered no word and made no sign. Upon closer examination he was found to have entirely lost his reason, and he was conveyed to the Samara Madhouse, where he still remains a hopeless lunatic.— London Telegraph.
RAILWAY REFRESHMENT ROOMS.
We remember in the old country that at every licensing day a strong force of reformers rose in arms against the granting of licenses to railway refreshment rooms. The chief reason advanced for the opposition was that they were too great a temptation to railway servants, and by their existence on the railway lines drunkenness was increased amongst the officials, to the detriment; of efficiency in the service, and to the danger of human life. These refreshment rooms gave facilities for getting drunk to guards, drivers, and firemen, and men have been known to join the train at its first stinting, perfectly sober, and yet be reported drunk before they had reached their destination. Human nature is human nature all the world over, and we do not suppose it differs in New Zealand from what we knew it to be at Home. If the railway refreshment room encouraged intemperence amongst the railway employees in the old country there is every chance that it does so here, and therefore we do not object to the action of Parliament on Friday night in striking out the clause in the Licensing Bill which provides for granting licenses to these rooms. There are few railway stations that have not in their immediate vicinity hotels where the thirstiest may quench, and the travelling public wanting liquor can always supply themselves at these hotels.