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(Pbom otTtt owh Correspondent,)

Last Wednesday night the Chief Secretary found himself m pretty much the same position as the boy who played with a nest of hornets, and brought the whole swarm about his ears, Mr Dea .m is rather fond of having his_ own way, and has done a few things which indicate his qualifications for an out and out despot if fortune has placed him m & position to indulge his predlections, which, however, she has not. Chance— even more than hs own merits— has made him Chief Secretary man ultra democratic country ; and, if he desires to make the most of his opportutunitics, he will do well to study the temper of the men by whom he is surrounded, and profit by h s mediatations. Whether his nomination of Mr Vale, a man whose hostility to the publicans bas almost become a proverb, to the post of arbitrator on behalf of the Government, is intended as an insult to that body, few people would venture to decide. To put forward a man of such extreme views, and impose upon him the duty of cutting down to the lowest shilling the amount of compensation to be paid a boly of men who are having their living taken from them, looks somewhat unfair on the face of it.

Of pourse, the man who negotiates on behalf of the public treasury is conscientiously bound to . c ee. that. the publicans get no more than to justify due to them. But, m order to obtain that, result, it is not necessary to select a man who conscientiously believes that they ought not to receive a single penny. Yet, upon his own showing, such is Mr Vale's opinion. To him, and to those who think as he does, the men with whom he has to deal are not only "publicans," but very great "sinners "as welL They are "Philistines," to be smitten "hip and thigh" — national enemies, whom to despoil is a meritorious action. But such, I take it, is not the sense of the law, nor is it the desire of reflecting people. Here are a body of men who have been permitted to invest money m a certain calling, and who have m that w^y acquired certaiu rights, and to suddenly deprive them of those rights— rights acquired by public consent — Without fair compensat on, would be an act of spoliation, altogether unknown \q the jurisprudence of civilised cotnmunjti2s. J t is for this and similar reasons that Mr Vale's appointment as Government arbitrator is felt be to something more than a mistake. No wonder, therefore, that the subject raised a commotion m the Legi lative Assem« bly last Wednesday night. There was mutiny m both camps. Men who usually suppot the Government rose m open rebellion, whilst members on the opposite side fairly jibbed and kicked over the traces. The Premier himself undertook Mr Deakin's defence, and had not the leader of the Of position also supported, not exactly the Government, but h s old friend Mr Vale, it is impossible to say w^at might have happened. But the probabilities are that the Ministry would have witnessed an adverse vote. Mr Munro, however, bravely faced the rebellious members of his party, finding himself m pretty much the position of a huntsman m an obstreporous kennel. Had his party been better welded together and a little stronger, it is quite on the cards that he might have thrown Mr Vale overboard for the pleasure of flooding the Government. But he sees as well as a,nyone, that the time for such a step has not yet arrived. As a matter of propriety, even of good taste, it would be advisable that Mr Vale should forego the invidious distinction thaf has been conferred upen him. It would hava been still better if he had not accepted

itThe two Btories regarding the alleged journey of Mr James Gordon Bennett, (" New York Herald ") are. equally sensational. One is that, under a heavy wager, he has undertaken to visit Khartoum and leave it alive— a feat said to be at present impossible of accqmplishment. The other is that Mr Bennett has received news that General Gordon is alive—a close prisoner — and that his keeper offers him for ransom for i.00d.000 francs, That on receipt of the information, Mr Bennett made arrangements for the payment of the sum men* tioncd, and started oft with a friend that day. This is just the sort of thing that Bennett would do. It must have cost him half as much again to find Livingstone ; if he finds and r -leases Gordon, he will add an imperish' able l\ ere to the name of an Irishman.

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Bibliographic details

MELBOURNE NOTES, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2169, 10 July 1889

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MELBOURNE NOTES Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2169, 10 July 1889