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TOPICS of the DAY.

(From Our Special Correspondent.) LONDON, Feb. 12.' A CHANCELLORS DILEMMA. Inopportune indeed was the period the South Australian Treasurer selected for boroaehing his. suggestion for Imperial guarantees for colonial loans. Mr. Lloyd-George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is certainly not at the present time in a position to consider any proposal which tends, even only theoretically, to increase the financial obligations of the Home Government. He is, indeed, in a most unhappy position, and is face to face with the most serious crisis that has arisen since the Liberal party came into power. The problem Mr. Lloyd-George has to solve is how to obtain nearly £19,000,000 in fresh taxation from ail already overtaxed country. Mr. Lloyd-George's Budget o{ last April allowed for a decrease in the National Revenue of £'3,458,000, and for an increase in expenditure of £1,405,000, but the decrease in revenue has been very much larger than was anticipated, and the deficit is likely to exceed £5,000,000. Then, if the Government carries out the pledge given to the House of Commons to bring the Navy up to the two-Power and a 10 per cent margin standard, at least £ 6,000,000 additional must be spent next year on the first line of defence. Again, instead of £0,000,000, the estimated cost of old-age pensions next year, rather more than £8,000,000 will be required. Of this, £ 1,200,000 is arranged for on the present basis of taxation, leaving £6,800,----000 to be found. On top of this Mr. Lloyd-George has to provide for the normal increase oi national expenditure, which amounts to about a million a year. Altogether therefore the Chancellor has to find nearly 19 millions more than the amount he arranged to find in last year's Budget. The question that is being asked on all sides is "How will he do it?" It is suggested that he will impose a 5 per cent tax on the annual value of land, which would bring in about £3.500,000, a super tax of 6d. in the £ on incomes of £5000 and over, which would produce £3,000,----000, and increase the licensing duties to net an extra £2,000,000. Even so there would still remain ten millions to be obtained from other sources. A re-imposi-tion of the tea duty current during the war would bring in nearly £3,000,000, and if he put back the farthing on the sugar duty he might raise nearly 3i millions, leaving another 3J million pounds to be discovered elsewhere. A re-imposi-tion of the corn-tax and the export coal duty would just about cover this amount. Two other courses are open to the 1 Chancellor —a raid on the Sinking Fund or a loan. These expedients are, however, not likely to commend themselves to the Government, and the adoption of 1 either course would be very bad for the [ national credit, which is at present none ' too good, judged by the current price of Consols, viz., 84. Moreover the trouble with which Mr. Lloyd-George is faced is not owing to a mere temporary increase in fche national burdens. The taxpayer can hardly hope for any appreciable relief through lessened expenditure on naval and military affairs in the future, and oldage pensions will certainly require more money each year Jot many years to come. FEATS THAT DEFY £XFL&K&< TIOJT. Mr. W. T. Stead has been associated with many strange experiments, but quite one of the strangest was the testing of the " Williams Sexophone" at the Hotel Cecil this week. The sexophone is simply a pendulum constructed of copper wire and a piece of magnetised steel, at the lower end of which is suspended a pith ball. At the opposite end is a wooden handle inlet with copper, which Is held in 1 the centre of the palm. The inventor, Mr. W. A. Williams, a working engineer, claims that \>v holding the sexophone over any living" creature the pith- ball will gyrate if the animal is male and swing backwards and forwards in pendulum fashion if the animal is female. It is claimed that this instrument will determine the sex of human beings, animals, birds, reptiles and even eggs. A disinterested member of the audience first held the sexophone over the head of Mr. W. T. Stead. After a few seconds the pith ball of the instrument began gyrating in ever-widening circles. An attempt was made to force the pith ball to swing in pendulum fashion, but directed by some unknown mysterious force, the ball persisted in swinging in cirles. The sexophone was then held over the head of a lady, and in this case the pith ball commenced swinging in pendulum fashion. Both Mr. Stead and General Turner held the sexophone over the lady's head, and the result was just the same. Mr. Stead has also been hold seances to test " The Mastery Mystery/ which a Mr. and Mrs. Tomson are presenting at the Hippodrome. Mrs. Tomson retires into a cabinet, wearing only a gauzy black gown, through which, the outline of her body is distinctly visible. The curtains are closed, and almost immediately afterwards Jong stalked flowers, carnations and thorny-stemmed roses are thrust out from under the curtains. After another pause the curtains are drawn back, and there is discovered sitting upon an empty chair next to Mr. Tomson, a living bird or animal of some kind. A dove, a cockatoo, a guinea pig, a rabbit and a dog have all been thus introduced the cabinet, no one knows how or from whence. The bird flies away, or the animal is Tβmoved, after which the curtains are closed. When they are opened the chair is seen to be heaped up with a mass of flowers. These flowers, which are fresh and uncrushed, are then distributed to the audience by Miss Halnia Tomson, a girl of ten. The curtains close again, and when they are re-opened a figure, which may or not be Mrs. Tomson, emerges clad from head to foot in a beautiful draped white cloth dress, fitting closely to her figure, but the substance of which is too dense for the outline to appear of the limbs, which were plainly visible through the black dress worn when Mrs. Tomson entered the cabinet. Over her head there is a fine gauzy veil of white material. The figure thus habited and veiled stands for a moment or two in full view of the audience in the lighted Hippodrome, and then retires into the cabinet. Two or three such forms usually appear in succession, each dressed a little differently from the other, but always, in white. Mr. Stead has held seances at his own house, under stringent test conditions approved by the Society for Psychical Research, and Mrs. Tomson has reproduced her Hippodrome performance on each occasion with complete success. The trickery — and there is apparently no reason to suppose it is anything else— has baffled every investigator.

THE TERRITORIAL " BOOM." My experience of the volunteer movement in New Zealand was that it rose [and fell in a series of waves, and much the same effects are to be witnessed here. A wave of Territorial enlistment ha 3 set in in London, partly as the result of the new military play "An Englishman's Home" and partly through the exertions of the "Daily Mail" and other papers. Some three thousand recruits have come in during the week, find great efforts are now being made to raise the other eight thousand required to complete the minimum strength' of London's territorial forces. The appeal has been assisted by an anonymous donation of £10,000, and another £250 is being offered by the "Mail" in prizes to recruiters. Seventeen corps will march through London streets to-morrow, with drums beating and colours flying, to arouse the martial spirit of young England. >»■ Many people are sceptical regarding this wave of military enthusiasm. Soma look upon it as a clever advertising dodge on the part of the newspapers concerned. Others declare that the attempt to raise another 8000 recruits in London will fail. Others, again, maintain that the enthusiasm born of this wave of excitement will die away as quickly as it rose. But at any rate there can be no doubt that London has been stirred. This melodramatic play, "An Englishman's Home," has done more than acres of books, pamphlets and articles to awaken an interest in home defence, and send young men into the Territorial force. Hitherto the apathy of employers of labour has been largely responsible for the weakness of the Territorials. It was difficult to induce employers to give facilities for their men to go into training in camp every August. But as a result of this sudden wave of enthusiasm in London, large employers are vicing with each other in their efforts to induce their men to join the Territorials. One insurance company has gone so far as to decide that every junior clerk who joins their staff in future must serve four years in the Territorial army. This is really a blow at the voluntary spirit which is meant to underlie the Territorial scheme, but the newspapers hail it as a wise and patriotic decision. Other firms will give their Territorial employees three weeks' holiday every summer, so as to allow them a fortnight in camp and a week over to spend as they please. How the scheme is going to work if a big contingent of employees are withdrawn from one office at the same time has yet to be shown. Employers will find it very difficult to let a large number of men away simultaneously. Besides, three weeks' camp in the year, plus 40 drills and 70 shoots at a target, seems very inadequate training for men responsible for the home defence of England. Sooner or later the Territorial scheme will break down, and a system of national compulsory training in the . use of arms will have to be adopted ia.its . place. THE KATE XGStD BUSTtW. It was as the , head of the great brewing- firm of Bass, Batcliff and Gretton, that the lata Lord Burton, who succumbed on Wednesday last after an operation for abcess of the kidneys, waa best known to the general public. Hβ "Vfas the grandson of. William Bass,. tf> Burton carrier, who, realieing the possibilities of that town as a, centre, oi the ale trade, owing to the special quality of its water produced by its passage through the gypsum beds' in the neighbourhood, founded the gigantic concern at Burton, which to-day covers considerably, over 160 acres of land, employe over 3,000 men, and pays over £300,000 a year in duty, and £250,000 in railway freightage, and has a revenue of over £5,000,000 per annum. Lord Burton first entered the House of Commons as Liberal MJP. for Stafford in 1856; then he represented. East Staffordshire ■ from 180S to 1S85; and from 1885 until his elevation to the peerage he sat for the Burton division of the county. At Westminster his bright and witty speeches, always to the point, made him a popular member, and he waa a close friend of the late W. E. Gladatone. He was a personal iriend of King Edward, his genial, outspoken and good-humoured personality attracting his Majesty when Prince of Wales. An exceedingly generous man: Lord Burton was also very, reticent respecting hie charities, and the full extent of his philanthropy will probably never be known. He was an unfailing friend of the poor, a bountiful giver to the Church, and his gifts to Burton-upon-Trent were noteworthy. He built the ferry bridge which spans the valley at the south end of the town at a cost of about £20,000, and presented it to the borough, while in more recent years he expended large sums to carry out improvements in th* town. Before the late Lord Burton was created a peer, and while he was sitting as Liberal member for Derby in the House of Commons, Bass's beer was "boomed" by two unparalleled and , unprecedented, testimonials. One was from the Prime Minister, Mr. Gladstone, who declared in the course of a "Budget" speech, that it was a drink fit for the banquets of the gods in Olympus. The other was from, the King (at that time Prince of Wales), when the whole nation was watching for the issue of the attack of typhoid fever that had brought him to death's door. Then the news came that the crisis was safely passed, and that one of the first signs of returning vitality given by the Prince was to ask feebly for a bottle of "Bass." According to a singular little book' published in 1623, written by William Folkingham, Burton ale was famous in the time of Queen Elizabeth. But the pale ale, for which Burton has become famed all over the world, was almost unknown in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, although a large trade was done * with Russia. Driven out of that country, however, by a prohibitive tax, the Indian market was ' attacked, where "Hodgson's ale," alluded to by Thackeray in "Vanity Fair," then reigned supreme. The Burton ale came off victorious in the contest, and returned Anglo-Indians singing its praises, a demand sprang up for it in, ■ England. But for a long time it reach- ■ ed consumers at Home only after a voy- ■ age to India and back, which was supposed to improve it. This lengthy and. expensive method of maturing wasabrndoned about sixty years ago. A biographer of the late Lord Burton's father claimed that the. great brewing ■ family are descended from Baasareus, the Egyptian god, to whom oblations of barley wine were periodically offered. In viow of the fact that the .Egyptians are said ■ to have been the originators of ale, this seems a. most appropriate descent, and ■ Bassareus is no doubt as genuine an ancestor as many of those nßurinj? in the i genealogies of our noblo families. This ' Egyptiun origin may account for the • pyramid which forms the trade mark; pf Bass's ales. ' ' ...

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TOPICS of the DAY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 74, 27 March 1909

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