The Press. SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1885.
Ministebs have been reminded jast now ia a rather unpleasant fashion, of the expectations which they raised when they took office. Some of the Otago members have been holding a meeting with -reference of their Central Bailway. They are dissatisfied with the rate of progress, at which the work of construction is proceeding, and they accordingly met the other day—a few weeks before Parliament assembles— for the purpose of calling attention to the preeent state of thbge. lie knowledge that such a meeting was to be held appears to have seriously disconcerted the tunoroos Minister of Public Works. He communicated with the Premier, who was in Donedin at the time, and asked him "to see some of. the members, and explain that if any farther contracts were to be let now Ii would simply mean wasting money." Hβ sspplied Information for the purpose of showing that the Government were really spending money oa the Otago Central railway with a good deal of liberality. Fertile year ending March Slat last there had been an expenditure of £28,089, and the liahilitiea on the last day of the financial year were £101,590, of which £57,600 represented sew liabiUtiae incurred within the year. The total vote for the Otago Central taken last oeeslcm was £165,000, and the expenditure and tfabilities fe? the year reached £129,688. There had aleo been some fresh engagements entered 3&so sines Match last, and in addition there was a liability for "pemasent way, material, aad rolliag stock sot yet allocated.'' »
Considering the present position of the public work* 'fond, oar Otago friends have good reason for congratulating themselves on the attention they have received at the hands of tne Government lα-Hew of the non-flia»ing of the million and a-ha!£ Jean, the Premier pointed oat, the Government "would "ham been justified in contracting ex"pe&dit&re." Bat looking he added, °on "the importance of the line, we have "poshed the matter on, and dons aa "much as possible." Soah a statement of the position of affaire should have satisfied the most exacting and selfish of representatives. Bat in the matter of public works the Otago members are not easily satisfied, and the meeting passed the following resolutions unanimously:—"That assuming that the; -figures as furnished by the Minister for Public Works to the Chairman are correct, there seems to Dβ a balance of £35.000 of last year's appropriation still available, and that the Government b$ urged to place in hand without delay, among other works, the following: Foundation of Wingatui viaduct and erection of piers; completion of the formation of Hindon section fay contract; j proceeding with four bridges on the. Taieri River and other streams; and the speedy prosecution of other sections beyend Nenthorn." "That, inasmuch as £300,000 was borrowed and specially allocated by Act of Parliament for expenditure on the Otago Central Railway, the Government be asked to take immediate, steps towards making the full amount of this sum available for such railway. ,. It is certainly somewhat an* grateful on the part of those who attended the moating to pass such resolutions. The only effect of what has been done is to call pointed attention to the manner in which the present Government have been looking after the interests of Otago, at a time when prudence required that they should largely limit public works expenditure. Not only would Ministers have been" justified " in contracting expenditure, it was their positive duty to have done so. Their plans as regards railway construction were based on the assumption that the million and a half loan would be floated some months ago, and when it was found that their original plan could not be carried out, common prudence would have suggested the propriety of keeping their expenditure and liabilities well within the means at their disposal. Bat the "importance "of the Otago Central, in the Premier's opinion, justified Ministers in maintaining the expenditure on the railway np, or nearly up, to the standard laid down last session. With each; facts before them the Otago members, should have felt that the Government had really been running serious risks on their account, and gratitude ought to have prompted them to keep silence. The treatment the Ministers have received at the hands of those Otago members who took part in the proceedings of the meeting is shameful. After making each sacrifices on behalf of .O'.ego, the Government are reminded that they have not done nearly enough, And they are told in distinct terms that they must hasten to fulfil their bargain to the letter. It is a significant fact, too, that the meeting was convened just at a time when Ministers are busy with the work of the apprcaohiog session, and when they are do doubt carefully preparing plans by means of which they hope to carry on with safety for another year. The Government are at such a juncture reminded in the most oamietakeable terms by their Otago supporters that all Ministries are mortal. Aβ we have said, it was a selfish thing to do, and may have exactly the opposite ggec t f otner parts ot toe" flblony are taking the matter up, and in all probability the example jet by the Otago members will, be followed. Men elsewhere are begin*, ning to ask why they should wait patiently for the good times that are to result from Ministerial action, if Otago is to have'all that it wants at once. The proceedingsof the Otago member?, must be not a little embarrassing to the Government, and were it not that Ministers have themselves largely to blame for what has occurred, they would have been the objects of general sympathy. Ever since they have taken office they have striven to represent themselves as charged with the mission of restoring prosperity to the colony through the instrumentality of political action. They have, therefore, little right to complain if men jadge them by the standard which they have, themselves set up, and there is evidently a strong disposition to do this in many quarters. Wβ observe that some of oar northern contemporaries are asking why the prosperity which is to result from a liberal expendi.nre of borrowed money should be confined to the favoured district of Otago. They think that the favors which the Ministry have been distributing with a lavish hand in the South should ba more equitably divided. Wβ are not nowconeiderisg whether these demands are well founded or not. The chances are that Ministers have been earnestly striving to conciliate all parts of the colony to the best of their ability and the means at their disposal; although we cannot help thinking that Otago has, all things considered, received excellent treatment. Be that, however, as it may, the Otago : meeting, and the ominous mntteringe heard in ether directions, point to the fact that the public of New Zealand are < beginning to ask anxiously when the prosperity co freely promised last session 1 is going to commence. Ministers, of j coarse, will not be prepared to admit j that their efforts to finance the country ' out of its difficulties have utterly failed, i Bat it will require all the skill and in- I genuity which theyposeesa to convince the 1 House that the policy Bills of last see- i sioa have been productive of the bone- ( fieial result* which Ministers so confi- i tartly predicted would flow from them. ] trie not often in this colony that ladies address pubfic audiences. There is, therefore, to us something novel about Sire. LEAVTiT'a coarse of lectures, now - taiag delivered in various churches in ■« *is city. If there are any of ear \ readers who have never heard a woman 5 ipeak in public, we recommend them to t jo and hear Mrs. Lsayitt. If at pre- t tent they imagine Oat a woman who doe* <= met a thing must needs nnsex herself ia » » doing they will admit their mistake J ifter bearing Mrs. Lsavitt. They will fi Ind that she doea not aeraem, op gn«h, or c to anything at all unwomanly or maladyike. M.n. Jjsxtxti has a pleasant roiee ? ad a good delivery, her sentences are « pel! famed, her treatment of her sob. « ect is marked by considerable reasoning tl sowar, and altogether eh» is a fisani and Pi gweabfc apeaker. We only wfeh more of g » puhße men coaM speak as well oa £ mx subjects at Mrs. louyot speaks ia
on hen. The drink question is one oo which women have m peculiarly good right to be beard Not only is excessive drinking ft vioe which, sad to say, numbers plenty of women among its victims, bat it is * vice the indulgence in which by asen entail* terrible enfferisg ok women. There are few male drunkards whose conduct does not causa great dietress, bodily and mental, or both, to some unhappy woman or group of women. If Hα Lkayitt can succeed in stirring op the good women of this town, to renewed exertions In the cause of temperance, her visit will be prodactive of much good. Bat her supporters mast see to it that they do not justify the sneers of the cynical by diminiahiag their efforts as soon as her back is turned. A mere temporary enthusiasm wOI not do much good. . Wβ h&Ve ere thle expressed onr opinion that the colonial born population of this colony are* remarkably temperate in their habits, and we are etill of thai opinion. Bat nevertheless we do not deny that there ie a great deal of drunkenness here, and that it is responsiole for mach of the poverty, disease, and misery which is to be found in New Zealand. It the figures quoted by Mre. Lbatitt are at all near the mark the amount of fembney wasted in drink in New Zealand is appalling. However, whatever statisticians on one side or the other may say there can be no donbt that tern* perance reformers can find plenty of work to do in New Zealand. We were glai to notice that Mrs. Leavitt does sot devote .too maoh of her energies to descriptions of the misery of a drunkard's life or to denunciations of the publicans. Much eympathy with this cause is alienated by some tern* perance orators by exaggerated language on these subjects. The evils of excessive drinking are admitted by everybody, and by none more surely than by the unhappy drunkard.^Wβ only differ amongst our* selves as to the remedy. Then as to the publicans, it ia idle to deny that there are many estimable men earning their living as; hotel-keepers or brewers or wine merchants. J£thetrade is under all circutn* stances a wicked and immoral one, ihe guilt lies at the door of tho Legislature which canclions it, or, perhaps, rather we should say at the ddbrs of the people who elect that Legislature. Mrs. Leaviet's account of the woman's crusade against drink in America is interesting, but we doubt if suck a movement is practicable here. Our American coueina do many things in their own country which are unsuited to the genius of our people. For this reason we doubt whether a prohibitory law, even if we could satis, faotorily settle the vexed question of compensation, would work at all well here. It is very difficult for ue to 3 adge of the working of these laws in the States of the Union where they have been adopted. Temperance orators tell us one story, and opponents of Prohibition tell us another story. We will sot discuss the propriety or otherwise of such a law at present, for we are satisfied that public opinion is not ripe for it here. Persona holding such extreme Temper, ance viows are at present in a miiority in New Zealand, It is however the bnricess of minorities to convert themselves into majorities, and possibly if this minority only act oa Mr. Gladstone's advice to thff working man at Hawarden, and "keep on knocking at the door, , they may gain their end, and that sooner tbaa many people imagine. Our Licensing Aot is a distinct advance towards prohibition, ana it is the fault of the Total Abstinence party that they have not made more use of it- than they have. Wβ should, we confess, like to eea the voting qualification uader the Licensing'" Act -afo?Sft& uuSyrtwtffeevote enould'bo given to women as well as to men. The control of the licenses is a matter for the residante,and net eimply for those of them Who are ratepayers. One other thing we would say on this bnnoh of the subject, sod that is that if there should ba any more restrictive legislation as to the liquor trade it should all be locally parmUaive. This is a local government matter, if ever there was one.* Mrs. Leayitt has touched on one < two minor branches of thedrink qaestioi which are well worth a reference. SI tells us that the Women's Temperatu Union of America devote special attentio to the study of heredity in its relation 1 drink. This is worth studying. Thoog it is true that we all came into the worl total abstainers, yet some of us inherit tendency to take to strong drink 1 surely as some of us inherit a tendenc to tell lies. It is well, therefore, thi persons interested in such children ehoul be taught how to deal with them. Mn Ljbavitt says, als-v that the study c hygiene in its, relation to drink is so neglected by her society. This also i of great importance. If everybody live in a clean, well-drained, and well-ventn latcd house, and ate good and welLcookei food, the temptations to drink would b very seriously diminished. Cooker especially deserves the attention of Tern perance-reformers. The eating of badl; cooked food causes much indigestiot I irritability, and general discomfort, ant leads tea greet deal of drinking. I every woman in Hew Zealand could onlj be made into a good cook and a cleai and careful housekeeper, we venture t< say that our drink bill would be verj much smaller than it ie. We cannot concur in all that peopL like Mrs. Lkaveep say. Millions of peopU drink moderately up to a green old age without doing themselves or their neighbours any harm, rand we cannot therefore admit that moderate drinking is in itself, under all circumstances, a crime, But we do not forget that the ranks ol tiie drunkards aretrecruited from amongst the moderate drinkers. Erery druukard begins by being a moderate drinker. Aβ therefore we believe that the less any one drinks the better for him or her, it is with perfect sincerity that we wish Mrs. Lbavitt all manner of success in her honorable and useful career.
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The Press. SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1885., Press, Volume XLI, Issue 6134, 16 May 1885
The Press. SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1885. Press, Volume XLI, Issue 6134, 16 May 1885
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