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Melbourne Letter.

-■% [from our own correspondent.] Melbourne, June 30. Ministers have decided not to go out of office over their Railway Construction Bill. Mr Gillies has been piling up the loan account in a most daring manner during the last two years, but, with all his recklessness, he did not venture to ask Parliament to sanction the construction of more than 800 miles under his new Bill. As a matter of course, every member was disappointed upon finding that his district was not included in the measure, and there was an indication that Ministers would have a bad time during the debates which' were to follow. They knew well enough that this new undertaking* would swallow up a greater number' of millions than it is prudent to borrow at present ; but they knew, likewise, that they -would have to meet a storm of abuse—perhaps an adverse vote. The abuse they care, r«ry little about, for they are casehardened ; but an adverse vote is a horse of another color—a horse that might kick them out of office, and that is just what they wish to avoid. So, wishing to keep on friendly terms with the straight Opposition, and the Opposition that has lately been formed in the "corner," they gave way at once. They now promise a Railway Bill 1100 or 1200 miles long, to cost, before it is done with, the trifling sum of £20,000,000. One hardly knows what to think of the men who, for the sake of remaining in office another year or so, are willing to saddle the country with such an enormous burden. Few of the proposed newjines are expected to pay expenses, let "alone the interest, for a long time to come. The interest will have to be paid, however, and that means more taxation. The " Argus," referring to the measure for the protection of infant life, that has just been presented to the Legislative Council, says that it "is a far less sensational Bill than was shadowed forth to the consternation of several sections of society o Collins street doctors are noe to be placed under surveillance, but the most that is attempted is to secure the registration and inspection of houses in which infants are nursed by. fostermothers, and the registration of private hospitals specially devoted to the treatment of women." This may be so. Of course, one is hardly in a position to state what sort of a measure some people really did expect. Measused by the state of their own conociences, some persons, if all be true that is said, would feel a trifle uneasy one would with think. In his evidence given before the Charity Commission, Dr Neild is reported to have said "that there are fifteen hundred women now walking about Melbourne with unsullied reputations who have been instrumental in taking the lives of somesoC infants." The report goes on to say : We know from the records of the police court that infanticide is ft far more popular offence than it ought to be in proportion to the population, but no one could have suspected that any single medical man could furnish such ghastly proofs from his own individual experience. Most of the victims, he says, have been killed at the birth ; but all of them were killed." This is indeed a ghastly story ; and if we consider that Dr. Neild does not take into account the children abandoned in the streets, and those which are deliberately starved to death upon those modern monstrosities, the "baby farms," the picture is calculated to send a thrill of horror and consternation thrrugh the heart of every beholder. During the inquest over what will hereafter be known as " The Hall of Science tragedy," the City Coroner said:—We are getting very American here, but have not quite arrived at the days of revolver law. These people at the Hall of Science had bettor be told to have less of this revolver law, or some of them will certainly be tried for murder or manslaughter. It will be better for them to settle their property disputes in a proper legal way." You cannot, he said, settle in this country the ownership of a place with pistols, adding — " We are not going back to the old state of society, when every man had his hand up against every other man. You cannot shoot a burglar because he is coming in at your bedroom window, for a man might shoot his own son or the lover of his daughter." For all that, sons who reel home beween the small hours, and wish to get into the house quietly, or lovers who crawl through windows, had better look out. The production of "Romeo and Juliet," at the Princess's next Saturday evening is looked forward to with much interest " David Garrick," the piece in which Mr Bellew has given so much satisfaction to the critics, will be repeated up to Friday. "The Flying Scud" is filling the Royal nightly, and the manner in which this sporting drama is staged is worthy of all praise. The Thornton season at the Alexandra will close directly, and the evergreen Bland Holt follows, with "Master and Man," a drama about which we have heard a good deal from England. The production of "She Stoops to Conquer," at the Bijou, is a decided success. Like all productions at this house, the comedy is beautifully staged. A unique attraction in the city just now is the phonograph at the Athenaeum.

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Bibliographic details

Melbourne Letter., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2462, 9 July 1890

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Melbourne Letter. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2462, 9 July 1890