(From Our Special Correspondent.)
London, February 28. VOGEL'S PLANS.
I understand that Sir Julius Vogel has de" cided on a much earlier return to the colony than he contemplated a few weeks back, but he is very uncertain aboub re-entering public life, as he feels he has been badly requited by the colony for his past services. His article on "Imperial Federation," in the "Nineteenth Century," and his recent letters to the " Times " attacking Henniker Heaton's penny postage scheme, prove that he still takes an active interest in colonial affaire. He has not, so far, been very successful in his Company promotions, but if a"railway project in which he is interested should prove the success it promises, Sir Julius will pocket a large sum of money. He has already benefited by the floating of the Taranaki Petroleum and Ironsaud Company, but ha 3 consented to take the whole of his interest in fully-paid shares. SIR FRANCIS DILLON BELL. A rnmonr of a very persistent kind has been in circulation for a fortnight past, to the effect that Sir F. D. Bell has accepted the managing directorship of a large Australian Finance Company, and will shortly resign the post of Agent-General. I have not been able to obtain as yet Sir Francis Bell's authoritative denial of this rumour, but I have reason to believe that there is no foundation for ib beyond the fact that some such offer ha 3 been made to him. Under the term? of his re-appointment as Agent-General he is entitled to retain the office till October, 1891, and although he often talks to his friends about returning to the colony before' hi 3 term expires, i think New Zealand may depend on his services to the end. In many respects ib would be very difficult to replace him. Not only is he regarded as an able financier and good man of business generally, but in high quarters he is upcrsona gratissima, and this counts for a good deal in a colonial representative. THE NEW ZEALAND " ANTIMONY COMPANY. The Hon. William Gisborne has been appointed a director of the Company in the room of Mr James Farmer, who resigned some months ago on account of urgent private business. Sir Charles Clifford and Mr Walter Turnbull retire from the Board by rotation, but they will offer themselves for re-election. I regret to say that Mr Turnbull in still in a very precarious state of health, and has been ordered to take a complete resb at the seaside. He is, however, the holder of 12,000 shares in the Antimony Company, and both his colleagues and the general body of shareholders are unwilling to lose his services on the Board. THE BLUE SPUR IMBROGLIO. A commission has been issued by the High Court of Justice for the taking of evidence ab Dunedin in tho action brought by Dr. Cameron and others against the directors of the Blue Spur Company, on the ground of alleged misrepresentation in the prospectus. No one i 3 likely to take any benefit by the action but the lawyers on both fides. The recent decision in the House of Lords in the case of Peek and .Deny places beyond argument the principle that directors can only be held accountable for their own wilful and intentional rnissbatenionts or misrepresentation, and, in the present case, if there were misrepresentations, the directors were themselves the dupes. proposed life of *siil donald McLean.
The appearance and favourable reception of Sir Geo. Bo wen's book of " Colonial Experiences" has suggested another work of a similar description, which would undoubtedly have a very hearty reception in New Zealand—thab is a history of the life and great public services of the late Sir Donald McLean,whodid more than any other man, except perhaps Sir George Grey, to brine about a good understanding between the two races, and whose extensive official correspondence if published would form a very important contribution to the history of bhe colony. His personal career was a very remarkable one, and his influence over bhe Maori race was extraordinary. Whilst a benefactor in every sense of bho word bo his fellow-colonisbs, he was the besb friend the Maoris ever bad, and ib is alrnosb enbirely bo him bhey owe their presenb share in the legislabive insbibutions of bhe country. The book would be interesting reading. " BETTER LATE THAN NEVER."
In one of my former letters I mentioned the names oi several English gentlemen \vh° either had received or were about to re ceive high rank in the Legion of llonou r in connection with the Paris Exhibition, o r for other services. Among the latter wa s Sir Walter Buller, who had been officially notified of the intention of the French Government, although he had not (as I never stated) actually received the much-coveted "red ribband." He wa3 a gue3t at the banquet given by Sir Polydor de Kesper to the French Ambassador ab the Mansion House on the 25th ult., when the decoration was worn by all the recipients, but Sir Walter was still without ib. However, when standing on the platform at Fencbureh-street station, bidding adieu to the friends who had assembled to wish him and his party bon voyage to New Zealand, a despatch was handed to him from the Minister of Public Instruction announcing that the President of the French Republic had just signed the decree and congratulating him warmly on the event. 1 mention this incident because ib seemed a happy finale, to the unmistakably good time Sir Walter Buller had of ib both here and on the Continent. HONOURS FOR THE TASMANIAN COMMISSIONERS. Referring to the Exhibition honours, I may state that the exclusion of Tasmania from any recognition whatever has been made the subject of urgent representation in the proper quarter, and that the propriety of bestowing some distinction on the Tasmanian Commissioners is said to be under the consideration of the French Government. It is hardly likely, however, that a»y fresh list will be brought out before July n6xb, ifc being customary in France (as in England) to publish the honour list only twice in the year. A NEW "BIBLIOGRAPHY OF NEW ZEALAND." Mr E. A. Petherick, of the Colonial Book Agency (33, Paternoster Row), is preparing for publication a "Bibliography of New Zealand." The first thing of the kind ever attempted was tho appendix to Thomson's " Story of New Zealand." A few years ago Mr James D. Davis produced a more comprehensive list and issued it in the form of a 12mo. volume. Sir George Grey compiled a fairly complete list (particularly of Maori publications) in his catalogue of the library presented by him to Cape Colony ; and there was another list of a more systematic kind in the huge catalogue of Mr S. W. Silver's library at York Gate prepared by Mr Petherick himself ; bufc the present bibliography will be of a far more complete and comprehensive character than anything that has hitherto appeared. The work will be of inestimable value to collectors, and it will further demonstrate the truth as to New Zealand's pre-eminence over the other colonies from a literary point of view. SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST AN EX-COLONIST. A returned remittance man, George Seafcon, who for 15 years honoured New Zealand with the light- of hia countenanco, was a few days ago hauled up before Sheriff
Crichton, at Edinburgh, and charged with committing a number of acts of gross character with three telegraph messengers. The accused, who is in his 62nd year, pleaded guilty. An agenb appeared in Court and : paid he had been asked" by the relatives of the accused to make a statement on his behalf, and then informed the Court that the old. scoundrel had never done a good day's work in his life, and that he had been sent by his relatives to New Zealand, where for 15 years he was a good-for-nothing and a ne'er-do-weel. Sheriff Crichton allowed the prisoner the full benefit of his friend's testimony, and let him off with nine months' hard. PERSONAL NOTES. The Hon. Randall Johnston is now on his way to New Zealand. He will bake his eeat in the next session of the Legislative Council, and will then return to England for some years, having established a home for his family ab Exeter. "A MAN OVERBOARD." A New Zealand passenger by the P. and O. steamer Victoria gives a very difserent account of the lamentable accident which occurred during that vessel's homeward trip to that in the London papers, it was, he says, a perfectly calm day and the vessel (though steaming her best) was stopped, and going full speed astern in an incredibly short time of the alarm "man overboard." The muddle commenced with tho lowering of the boat, for when the order to " lower away " was given tho ropes ab the stern of tho boat stuck, and the crew were pitched head-over-heels into the sea. Then commenced a scene well-nigh indescribable. The Lascars (reliable enough in ordinary circumstances) completely lost their heads. In vain the captain and oiflcers bellowed their orders, and ib was fully twelve minutes by a passenger's watch ere thesecondboatwassuccessfully lowered, and by that time the prime cause of the catastrophe was a dead man, and two of the crew of the first boat were also drowned. It is a matter for wonder that the greater portion of them were saved. We are continually reminded of the excellent system of " lire drill," etc., carried oufc on board the liners of big companies; but what earthly use are all these elaborate precautions when an accident, trifling if dealt with by men of resource, appears to paralyse the whole crew? Officers, however\ able, cannot do everything at such times. ARCHIBALD FORBES. Two days ago, Archibald Forbes, who has been in very bad health since his return from his antipodean tour, undciwent a serious aud complicated operation, which was performed with brilliant success by Dr. Reginald Harrison, the farnouts Liverpool surgeon, who recently took up his abode in London. Mr Forbo" is making a good recovery, and the operation bids fair to restore him to perfect health. NEW ZEALAND-BRED CAVALRY HORSES FOR INDIA. Lieut-Colonel Carre, who has travelled extensively in Australasia, reports that if India intends to rely on tho antipodes for a regular and sufficient supply of cavalry horses, she must tako step? ab once to ensure getting them. Melbourne, says Colonel Carrti, is the port from which India ab piesent receives its supply of Australian horses. The trade there i.s entirely in the hands of a syndicate, whose agents penetrate into South Australia and the borders of New South Wales. The climate, unfortunately, is unfavourable. The largo landed proprietors have runs where pastureis plentiful in what are termed tho good season, bub in the dry portion of tho year, and after continued droughts, the mares and their progeny aro obliged to roam over large bracts, seeking a precarious livelihood on tha dried-up herbage that remains above soil. Colonel Carre avers that ths northern island of New Zealand, above all the other colonies, is best adapted for horse breeding, and strongly recommends the Indian Government to send experienced officers to assist New Zealand and the other colonies in the breeding of suitable horses as remounts, and so place them in a position to compete with Victoria, winch at present holds the monopoly. VINE'S SUCCESS. Ab bhe 24tb meeting of the Organising Committee of the Imperial Institute, on Tuesday ksb, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales himself moved " That bhe satisfaction of the governing body with the manner in which the assistant secretary (Sir Somers Vine) had discharged the duties connected with bhe mission entrusted to him, be specially recorded." A considerable advance has been made with the Imperial Institute building, the exberior walls of the upper floors having already been erected. THE CLAIMANT AGAIN. Sir Roger Tichborne has announced to the world at large thab his case is bo be reopened in April nexb, a fund of £150,000 being guaranteed towards the necessary legal expenses. The Claimanb, .who is looking remarkably well, resides for the nonce ab Hanley, where he delivers free lectures each evening upon bhe points of the last I trial. EALL IN BANK OF NEW ZEALAND SHARES. Some of bhe financial papers continue to adopt a very hostile tone in their cribicisms upon the affairs of the Bank of New Zealand. This has tended to prevent the recovery of confidenco, and shares fell to £5 bhe obher day. Several suggesbions have been ottered by bhe financial papers with regard to allaying bho scare. The mosb effective would probably be bhe endorseinenb of the Bank's deposit notes by some such firm as Ransom Bounerir, Coutts's or Glyn, Mills, Currie and Co. " Fairplay," in a recent issue, observed : " After all is said and done, the future of the Bank lies in the hands of the depositors. . . . There is only one thing, in our opinion, which can restore tha confidence of depositors, and that is the endorsement of the deposit notes by Glyns or any first-class London bank. It the affairs of hbe Bank of New Zealand are as sound as they ought to be, there should be no difficulty in getting this endorsement; on the other hand, if, with all bhe evidence thab can be produced, a firsb-class London bank, which should derive large profibs from bhe currenb bank- i ing business of the New Zealand Banking Company, will decline to give ibs eupporb in the way indicated, then depositors will naturally say, 'If the securities are nob good enough for those 'in bheknow,' they are not good enough for us. . The chares of this Bank at ono bime,we believe, bouched £30; from bhis poinb they gradually declined, and some bwo years ago, when doubts began to ari?e, bhey were bebween. £17 and £20. After the Commitbee of Invesbigabion, the £10 shares were wribten down bo £7 ; these shares are now quobed as low as £5. Clearly, if something is not done, and quickly, bo restore confidence, we may see a repebifcion of the Orienbal Bank Corporabion business."
THE TRUST FUNDS BILL. The Ti'uat Fund Committee have afc length completed their labours, and presented their report to Mr Goschcn. Despite the opposition of Sir J no. Colomb and others, who look upon the New Zealand and Queensland funds more especially as far from ideal securities, Sir Francis Dillon Bell and the other Agents-General profess themselves confident that the necessary legislation will be brought about. THE SHAW, SAVILL. AND ALBION COMPANY. The next meeting of the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company is fixed for Wednesday next, and their report will probably be issued in the course of a few days. Since it started, the Company's average dividend has been within a small fraction of 6 per
cenl., and as everyone knows that the shipping trade generally has had a good year, a deal of curiosity exists as to how far the improved business has been shared by the liners. Those in the know aver that Bhaw-Savill will cut the record this year.