The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1882. Higher Education.
A paper warfare is being carried on just now in the South on the question of higher education, and as this is a subject that affects the whole community, and as it will probably be keenly discussed during the next session of Parliament, it deserves more than a passing notice. During his recent address to the electors of his constituency, Mr H. S. Fish, the member for Dunedin South, ventured an opinion to the effect that ere long the circumstances of the colony would necessitate the making of secondary education self-supporting. It was not likely that such an observation, which by the way was loudly applauded by Mr Fish’s audience, would long remain unchallenged, and Dr. Macdonald, the rector of the local High School, took up the gauntlet at the earliest opportunity. The worthy dominie naturally felt strongly on the point, and if the language he used in denouncing Mr Fish and those who agreed with him was at times more forcible than polite, it is not difficult to provide an excuse. In this question, as in all others, there is a great deal to be said on both sides. Dr Macdonald is no doubt right in saying that when the State undertook to educate the rising generation of the colony, the education provided should consist of something more than the teaching of the three r’s. Nor is Mr Fish, on the other hand, without reason when he asks whether the colony can afford to spend so much money on what is called “ higher education.” But the question arises : Can the State, having gone so far, turn back ? The High Schools which have been established throughout the colony have not only done good work, but have also prevented the establishment of private educational institutions. If, then, we take from these schools State aid, and compel them to became self-supporting, we deprive the children of the poorer classes of the opportunity for obtaining more than the rudiments of education —which is tantamount to no education at all. There seems to be on the face of it an injustice in the fact that everybody should be obliged to contribute towards an institution from which only a comparative few will derive any advantage ; but the injustice is more imaginary than real. We often hear it said that a boy is being educated “ beyond his station.” This is the veriest claptrap, for —especially in the colonies, where class -distinctions are not so marked as they are in older countries —no man knows what station he may be called on to fill. The vulgar parvenu, who by a turn ot Fortune’s wheel has suddenly become wealthy, is as familiar in real life as he is upon the mimic stage. Such a man when he finds himself in the society of those higherinthe socialscalefeelsout of place. His want of education precludes familiar intercourse with those above him in station, while his wealth makes him an object of distrust to those who are his equals in ignorance. This is hut one instance out of many that might be given to show what disadvantage a man labors under who has not received a good education, if indeed any proof is needed to establish the truth of what is generally recognised as an axiom. Mr Fish does not deny the advantages of education, but he differs from Dr Macdonald as to the amount to be given by the State. The member for Dunedin South says, in effect: —Let the State supply only the barest elements of education, and if more is needed, let it be paid for. The answer to this is, that when the State undertook to educate the people it pledged itself to give something besides the mere rudiments, and the people hare a right to demand more than will fit their children for mere artisans or clerks. We do not say the working of the High School system is perfect ; no doubt there is room for reform ; but to improve these schools
off the face of the earth, as Mr Fish seems to wish, would certainly not be wise. As to the plea that the colony cannot afford to provide secondary education, we do not think that retrenchment in this direction should
commence with the High Schools. The argument would have far greater force if applied to such an institution as the Otago University. The establishment of this University was the outcome of that petty jealousy inseparable from the old provincial system, and which is still as strong as ever in some quarters. Surely one Alma Mater was sufficient for a colony like New Zealand, but the fact that Canterbury had a University was sufficient reason for Otago to set up a “ little place of its own.” The result is that expensive buildings have been erected and a staff of Professors engaged, several of whom have scarcely a pupil to attend their classes. Had Mr Fish chosen to wage war against such an unnecessary institution as this, he would have had more sympathy from us than we can give him in his attack on High Schools, which have done, and we believe will continue to do, good work.
The Effects of Bad Liquor.—A man of the name of Drinkwatep was brought up before the Dunedin Magistrates yesterday, charged with attempting suicide, by cutting his throat. He gave as a reason for his rash act that ho had been drinking bad liquor at Lyttelton, and the sympathising J. P’s. discharged him.
A Wonderful Sheep. —The following tough one is published in a Blenheim paper :—As an instance of the wonderful wool-producing capabilities of this province, we may mention that a stuffed sheep was exhib’ted at a show lately, on which the wool i» still growing. The apimal was shorn just prior to its being killed, about forty years ago, and was afterwards stuffed by its owner, Mr J. Gibson, since which time the wool has been steadily growing until now, when the fleece is quite heavy enough for the shears. Woolgrowers will do well to ascertain tha peculiar breed of this sheep, with a view of developing the species, for if wool can bo grown in this way on shelves under cover flock owners can be independent of both droughts and runs.
Carried off by the Wolves. —A Morar correspondent writes to the Indian Pioneer : The wolves are carrying off children at a tetrible rate. A poor little child was taken away and eaten (only the lower part of one leg being found) from the lines of the 27th Punjaub Infantry a short time ago. Another child was carried off and eaten (only the head being found) from the door of the house of a poor, old, halfblind coolie. Last night an ayah’s child was carried off from inside a wall enclosure in an officers’ compound, the wolf jumping over two children, and taking a third lying close to its mother, who. poor creature, rm shrieking after it Thejj poor children are apparently always seized by the throat, so their cries are not heard. The English Press and the Colonies. —At one of the annual civic dinners given in tho Leathersellers’ Hall a few days since (writes the London correspondent ®f the Argus) Sir Saul Samuel, in replying to a toast, made pointed reference to the indifference exhibited by the London Press towards all news relating to tho colonies. His remarks, however, were not allowed to appear in print. Another and more important illustration or the same fact was afforded by an omission of the London papers, when reporting the recent meeting held at the Mansion House, to promote the sue ess of the Amsterdam Exhibition. Though great stress was laid upon the desirability of the whole of the Australian colonies participating in the Exhibition, and a special resolution was passed urging the AgentsGeneral to use their influence to secure that end, none of the metropolitan journals even alluded to the circumstance in .heir reports next day.
European Flax Cultivation.— Mr M. Murphy, Secretary of the Caaterbury A. and P. Association, has received a letter on the above subject from Mr H. H. Lamont, of San Francisco, in the course of which he says :—“ I would state that the proper way to remove scepticism of any kind is to give ocular demonstration of the subject in question ; but the proving in this instance involves considerable time, expense and risk, for all of which I am willing to be responsible, providing that your company are willing to encourage me. What I would ask them would be to rent me at a moderate rent about 100 acres of clean, good fenced land, prepare it and save the seed. I will get the latter of the very best quality, and I will be in New Zealand in time for the harvest with my machine, and convince you of the truth of all I stated in my previous letter. If the company are then persuaded fhat
there is sufficient merit in the invention to warrant them having a business interest in it, that could be arranged at the time; or perhaps ray proposal would be more agreeably carried out could there be some pre-arranged basis of purchase, but that seems to be quite impossible under existing circumstances. However, if you can suggest any way, I shall be glad to consider it. ” Ferrets —There was some warm discussion in Parliament last session as to the advisableness or otherwise of introducing ferrets, etc., to this colony for the purpose of exterminating rabbits. The Colonies and India of October 27 last, referring to this subject, says : —“ The idea of sending out weasels, stoats, and ferrets to the Australian colonies, to prey upon the surplus population of rabbits, has been again revived, notwithstanding all the arguments which have been brought forward against the proposal. It would take some years before these animals would become numerous enough to make any appreciable inroads on the numerous s ock of rabbits which have overrun so many districts ; and before then there is reason to hope that the means now being adopted to deal with the evil will have proved efficacious. Even if they do not, the risk of the vermin in their turn over-running the country, and attacking other kinds of animals than those it upon which it was specially intended that they should feast, would be too great to justify the experiment. The case of the rabbits should be a sufficient warning against any more heedless attempts at acclimatisation. The loss of the interesting wingless birds of New Zealand, which would inevitably fall a prey to the weasels and stoats, would alone be too great a price to pay for the extermination of the rabbits, which, after all, can be turned, and are being turned, to useful and profitable account, while the vermin would have no redeeming f aturo —not even th of a white coat and black tail, which, in cold climates, the stoat assumes when ho furnishes us with the once highly-prized ‘ ermine.’ ”
A Legal Dilemma. —The case of the three men, Thompson, Morgan, ami Taylor, who were recently found guilty in Wellington on charges of being concerned in the production and sale of illicitly distilled spirits, has assumed an interesting phase. It will he remembered that after the accused had been found guilty, and mulcted in penalties which amounted in the aggregate to £4OO, with the alternative of cert 1 in periods of imprisonment, their counsel applied that the warrant of commitment might be hold over for a short time to give them an opportunity to procure the amount of the fines imposed upon them. To this Mr Izard, who appeared for the Crown, assented, provided security was given to his satisfa tion that the defendants would reappear if the fines wore not forthcoming, lie also informed them that they could not expect more than three days’ grace. Thereupon a simple bond appears to have been entered into by the defendants and two sureties each in a penal sum of twice the amount of the fines imposed. The defendants failed to make up the money required to clear them, and acting upon the advice of their counsel, Mr E. Shaw, they intimated their readiness to surrender themselves for the alternative terms of imprisonment if the magistrates would sign the warrants of committal. This the magistrates apparently find themselves unable to do, as the defendants having been discharged from custody after they had been found guilty cannot be rearrested. According to the N. Z. Times, it is the intention of the Crown to proceed under the Crown Debts Act and sue the defendants and their sureties for the amount for which they are supposed to be liable. The action of course will be defended, and advice has been given that the Supreme Court is likely to sot aside the bonds altogether, on the ground that they were obtained for the purpose of ensuring the reappearance of the defendants, and cannot now be treated as security for any other purposes. Thus the matter stands at present. The further development will, no doubt, be looked for with the keenest interest. I
Postponment op Sade. —On account of the inclemency of the weather the ealo of Mr Black’s contracting and farming plant, etc., is postponed until Wednesday, January 3rd, 1883.
Borough School. —The distribution of priz s will take place at the Borough School (to-morrow) morning, at half-past ton o’clock. The date for the annual school treat has not yet been decided upon, owing to the inclement weather.
Assaulting a Mayor. —A Miss Rouse was fined 10s and costs at the R. M. Court, Invercargill, the other day, for assaulting the Mayor of North Invercargill (Mr John Garmson). Constable O’Leary deposed to seeing Mr Garmson shortly after the assault complained of, when he bore marks as if he had been scratched by a woman’s nails, his cheeks being scraped and bleeding on each side of his nose.
Railway Excursions. — la our advertising columns will bo found a notification from tho Railway Department in reference to cheap fares by the excursion train which leaves Christchurch and Ashburton for Invercargill, the Lakes, and Dunedin on the 30th inst. A special night train also leaves Ashburton on tho 30th inst., at 10.30 p.m. All tickets will be available for return up to the Bth January. The cheap rate ought to encourage a good number of excursionists for the New Year holidays. Caledonian Sports. —The following are the special prizes which were presented in connection with the Caledonian Sports : —By Mrs Butler, of Butler’s Hotel, a silver medal for Irish dancing ; and by Mr F. Hill, of the Somerset Hotel, a silver cup, valued at L 3, for Handicap Flat Race winner ; a silver cup, of L 3, for the Mile Handicap winner ; aSt Andrew’s cross, of 1.3, for the best piper ; and a similar cross, of L 3, for the best Highland Fling dancer. J, M. O'Connor, the Titnaru pedestrian, was disqualified by tho committee for both his races, the protest lodged against him for not paying his nomination fees before running being upheld. Harbor Improvements. —The Bluff Harbor Board have at a special meeting, resolved to sand up plans of the reclamation works on the f oreshore to the Marine Department, Wellington. The Railway Department will take a large portion of tho reclaimed land. A strong section ot the Board was against going on with it on such terms, but consoled themselves that before the plans were approved an election of the Board will take pi -ce. The action of the present Board in declining to purchase a tug for the harbor was not approved by a strong section of the community,and there islikelyto be opposition to their election. The plant for dredging, now being fitted up, consists of an iron screw steamer, to carry a Priestman dredge on a bogie in the hold, and a barge for 60 tons of spoil, with doors to the well.
The Weather.—Since yesterday at 8 p.m. the weather has been decidedly boisterous. Very heavy and intermittent rain, accompanied with a strong southwest wind, has during last night and today been experienced throughout the county, and we fear'that some considerable damage has been done to the crops. Inde'ed, it has been a return of one of the old fashioned “ sou’-westers,” with
which “ new chums ” have had little or no experience. We have not yet heard the extent of the damage done to the farmers, whose crops are in a forward state, beyond the information given us by a gentleman in the Wakanui district, who states that his crops are very much knocked about. The Rakaia and Ashburton rivers are in high flood, but no damage has yet been reported as from this source. Holloway’s Pills.—Health or Wealth.— No sane person would hesitate an instant in the choice between these two Now is the season to secure the former either by restoring or confirming it. These Pills expel all impurities from the system which fogs, foul vapours, and variable temperatures engender during winter ; this medicine also acts most wholesomely upon the skin by disgorging the liver of its accumulated bile, and by exciting the kidneys to more energetic action ; it increases the appetite for food and strengthens the digestive process. The stomach and liver, which most disorders originate, are fully under the control of these regenerative Pills, which act very kindly yet most efficiently on the tenderest bowels.—[Advt.]