The Ashburton Guardian. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1880. A Paid Aristocracy.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m."}
The Rev. Dr. Stuart, of Dunedin, is credited with having once said that he wished he knew less than he did of our legislators, as he would “ so much like to respect them.” This was pretty rough on the legislators, even for a strict Presbyterian parson; but, perhaps, taking the remark as it stands, and without any connection it has with a parson or with anyone else, it is very nearly what may be said by every colonist about two-thirds of the men who hold the future of the Colony in their hands. New Zealand is now passing through as critical a time as she has experienced since the Maori war, and never since then has she so much wanted as now men who love her for her own sake, and not for the loaves and fishes she can provide them with. It is a critical time for any country when, having borrowed to an unlimited extent, and sunk her loans in ventures that yield her nothing, but rather keep up the horse-leech cry of “ Give, give !” she finds that financially she is going to the bad, and that every turn of the screw that can possibly be made must be put on to prevent disaster. It is only by putting in practice a most determined resolution to economise that the colony is able to pick up her leeway, and bring her expenditure down to a level with her income. She is about doing this now, we can almost say, but the task is no light one. We said the time is as critical as she has encountered since the Maori war. It is more so ; for capitalists at Home only wanted to be assured that the Maori was subdued beyond the chance of again troubling the white settlers ; and that assurance given, and the value of the colony as a field for investment made known, British capital could be commanded for New Zealand use. The war with the natives was looked upon as only a misfortune—a temporary ailment that could be cured by a copious treatment of powder and lead ; but the present state of the colony is no so looked upon. It meets with no such leniency at the hands of the capitalists as a simply native-troubled country would. The monied magnates see New Zealand now only in the light of a colony that has borrowed far more than it can pay—that has foolishly squandered its borrowings, and is now struggling, weighed down with the interest on its loans, to keep its head above water. The Government realises the situation, and so does every New Zealand colonist. No sooner was the colony awakened from her day dreams, born of a false plenty, to a knowledge of her true position, and the necessity of retrieving lost ground, than she promptly responded to her Government’s call, and is now holding her neck resignedly to the yoke she knows she cannot avoid. From one end of the colony to the other the cry for retrenchment of expenditure has resounded, while every taxpayer has had his burden added to, to increase income. It was in Parliament this cry first rose. One would naturally have expected that the leaders of the people would have shown the example when they raised the cry —that they would have been in the fore-front of the battle, bearing the brunt of the struggle, and foremost in sacrifice. Do we find them so? Scarcely. We find them loudly calling for retrenchment in every department of the public expenditure except that which finds its way into their own pockets ; and every year seems only to increase the love that the great majority of the legislators of both Houses show for the neat sum paid to each of them under the pretty name of “ the honorarium,” which, being translated into plain English means “ wages” —into vulgar English “screw” —for political services rendered to the colony. The members, of the Lower House have some show of reason for demanding to be paid for the work they do. They gain their seats often after hard and expensive election fights, in the course which many a “ cool hundred ” is lost beyond recall; and now that triennial Parliaments are to be the rule in future these contests will have to be repeated all the more frequently. Their duties in Parliament are more arduous, and their hours longer than those of the Upper House, and, taken all round, they are a more useful set of legislators, Then they are the chosen of the people, a great argument of itself. The Upper House are only legislators because it is the will of the"Governor —really of the Government in office when they were nominated — that they should be so. They have no ordeal of a contested election to go through —no account of their stewardship to give to a dissatisfied constituency. They are the representatives of the propertied classes, and nearly every man of them is wealthy. Not asked by the people to serve the people, who have no voice in their election, the people ought not to be asked to pay them, and being, as they are, mostly the wealthiest men in the colony, and chosen because they are so to fill seats in the Legislative Council, they do not require the money that is paid to them in the name of “ honorarium.” When every civil servant, from the highest to the lowest, is having his or her salary reduced by the all-pervading ten per cent., surely the richest men in the colony, who hold their places in the colonial “ Lords ” without election, ought to realise the colony’s position and refuse to draw another penny from the already poorly furnished public exchequer.. Already the Victorian Upper House —in one sense at least an elected one—has shown the example, and have refused to be paid; and by renouncing the “ honorarium” the New Zealand Legislative Council would lift no inconsiderable burden from the public money chest. We scarcely hope that in the next session the Upper House will chime in with the ciy of retrenchment by a practical example, but we would be glad to see the Hall Government give them the opportunity, by the introduction of a Bill to abolish payments to the “ Lords” of New Zealand. If they accepted that Bill and saved to the colony by passing U something between ten and twelve thousand pounds a-year, then perhaps Dr Stuart and many more would be constrained to confess that their knowledge of New Zealand legislators was a false know-
ledge, and the new light commands respect for their patriotism. May that new light come, for it is sadly wanted.
Civil Cases. —The following civil cases were heard by his Worship this morning : —Orr and Co. v. W. B. Compton—claim, L2O ; judgment for amount, with 19s. costs. A fowl case, reported elsewhere, was the only other.
Music Tuition. Mr. Weeks, of Cameron street west, intimates that he is open to receive pupils for music tuition.
The Dramatic Club. —Should the weather prove favorable this evening, a bumper house is anticipated at the Town Hall, when the Amateur Dramatic Club will present a most attractive bill to the play-going public of Ashburton. Alcohol : What is It ?—A lecture by Mr. Oape-Williamson, of Cambridge, on “ Alcohol,” is announced to take place in the Templar Hall, to-morrow night. The lecture will be under the auspices of the Ashburton Total Abstinence Society.
The District Court. — The next sitting of the District Court will take place on Monday next, and the clerk, in another part of this issue, intimates that for the future the Court will he held on tho first day of every month.
The Czar’s Income. —The revenue of the Imperial family of R ussia is L 2,500,000. About L 500,000 is sot aside for charities, schools,etc., under the direction of the family.
Inquest. —The inquest on the body of Mr. John MacLaughlin, who died from the results of an accident at Tinwald, is proceeding as we go to press. A full report will appear in to-morrow’s issue. Drunk. —Yesterday the dinner of Daniel Harrigan was not well compounded, having more stimulent than, nutriment amongst its component parts. He interviewed His Worship this morning on the subject of stimulative ingredients. The interview ended with Daniel promising to be careful in his mixing in future, and retiring with a warning to attend to his promise.
Another Set op Siamese Twins. —An English paper says : —A birth of an extraordinary chacacter has occurred in the small fishing place of Instow, North Devon. A poor woman, tho wife of a thatcher named Craydon, has just given birth to female babies joined together from the breasts to the abdomen. They are perfect in every respect, having a head each and two hands, two legs and trunk, and it is believed a separate existence. They lie in bod beside the mother, facing each other, and are very much alike. They are well and healthy, but are slightly thinner than when they were born a day or two ago. The mother does not think one of them will live, and is anxious lest one should die and the other live. The neighbors and local doctors, however, believe the infant will live. It is a more wonderf il case than the Sairaese twins, and is exciting great interest in the neighborhood. A Warning. —Young men who go courting should be careful how to treat anonymous letters referring to tho character of their sweethearts, least they should be called upon, like Mr. Edward Rush, of Colane, County Mayo, to offer an humble apology and pay into Court LI,OOO for breach of promise of marriage. Young Rush was paying his attentions to a young and pretty Irish girl, named Mary Sweeney, and some evil-disposed person is said to have forwarded him an anonymous letter casting an imputation on the moral character of hia affianced. There and then he broke off the match, as doubtless many others would have done, too ; but he has since been called upon for a public apology, which lie has unhesitatingly given, and as the lady put her damages at LI,OOO, he has paid a cheque for that amount into Court, feeling that “ their happy union had been frustrated by tho rile production of an anonynious slanderer.” Longbeach Road District. —A meetng of the ratepayers of this district took place on Monday, the 2Gth instant, at the office of the Board, for the purpose of electing two members to serve on tho Board in the places of Messrs. E. G. Wright and Joseph Clark. The Returning Officer presided, who, after having read a copy of the advestisement calling the meeting, and stated tho object for which it was being hold, asked for nominations, which resulted in Mr. E. G. Wright being proposed by Mr. John Williams, and seconded by Mr. Thomas Taylor ; and Mr. E. H. Dobson being proposed by Mr. J. R. C. C. Graham and seconded by Mr. John 8011. No other nominations were made, ’accordingly the Returning Officer declared these two gentlemen to bo duly elected, it being understood that Mr. Wright resumed his vacated seat to servo until January, 1881, and Mr. Dobson took Mr. Chark’s place to serve until January, 1882. Atter a vote of thanks to tho Returning Officer, the meeting terminated. Highwaymen. Two young men standing, the smallest 2ft. 9in. and the tallest 2ft. lOin.—were brought up 011 a charge of being escapees from Burnham Reformatory. It appears this is not tho first time by many that the enterprising pair have taken French leave of the Reformatory, to seek their fortunes in the wilds of Ashburton, and when apprehended yesterday by Constable Smart they stoutly and indignantly denied having any knowledge whatever of such an institution as that at Burnham. However, when asked this morning by the Magistrate what they had run away for, the senior partner promptly replied that “ they were hammered too much, and didn’t get enough to eat.” Their well-nourished if somewhat tattered appearance belied the “to eat ” statement, and his Worship hinted the suspicion that was in his mind as to the young men’s truthfulness, adding also that they would have to go back and get more hammering. The names of the boys are William and George Tozer. They have been a week away from the institution, and since their escape they have slept in hedges and ditches, anywhere, in fact, that presented shelter. Their clothing has evidently seen better days, and their boots have decidedly been made for men of more inches than theirs. No notice of their escape having reached the police the children were remanded for three days. A Lion Caged. —ln one of the criminal prisons in Hungary—the fortress of Ofen —is at present confined a prisoner who is perhaps the strongest man in the world. By all accounts he must be the strongest man living ; as one of the feats for which he was justly renowned before he gave up calisthenics in order to take to the road was to support in the air with his hands and teeth, a table, upon which two gipsies danced a czardas, while a third fiddled. He and one of his brothers, only less powerful than himself, were wont to bear upon their shoulders a wooden platform, shaped like a bridge, while a cart full of stones, drawn by two. horses, was driven over it The other clay, when the gaol in which he is confined was undergoing a visit from the municipal prison inspectors, headed by Ober-Burgerraeister Rath, this Latter-Day Hercules volunteered to give the authorities a specimen of hia_ powers, and, upon receiving their permission to do so, picked up a heavy mahogany table, nine feet long, belonging to the governor, with his teeth, and balanced it aloft for nearly half a minute. As Pospiachill has, unfortunately, forsaken virtue and fallen into evil ways, it is perhaps as well for the lives and limbs of fellow-countrymen that so mighty a misdemeanant should be where he is.
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