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NOTES., Issue 7929, 10 June 1889
O.n iho very day that Mr A. Wilson gave his quite admirable dissertation on the uses of novel-rending at the University came the welcome news that Mr Vizstelly had been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for disseminating French dirt in London. It is highly satisfactory that the law has been able to perform this act of justice ; but will notthe law also enable the authorities to make seizures of all pernicious matter issued under the innocent guise of fiction’ If not, the law wants manipulating to that end. There is a certain school of thought in England which w 11 sympathise with Mr Vi/otelly, but ws are glad to think that it is not very la-ge and not really influential. English fa ;lin" as a whole hates license as much as it loves liberty, and the Puritan strain, which is at the root of our dislike of all reitraint on true freedom, generates at the sane time a national tendency towards d -coney and honest shame. Moreover, E iglish common sense is quite proof against th° ridiculous argument that “realistic’ descriptions of vice arc calculated to exercise a moral and deterrent influence. There is a sa'e lino between prudery and pruriency, but better the former extreme than the litter. Mr Goschen delivered his Budget speech on April 15. The revenue for the past year amounted to 1.88,473,000, or L1,64(5,000 above the estimate ; the expenditure to L 85.673,872 or L 941,072 less than the estimate. For the jmsnirg year the estimated revenue is L 85,050,01 0, the estimated expenditure LS6 9(57,000, which means a deficit of nearly L 2,000,000. iliis condition is produced by the fact that during this year the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to further relievo local taxation to the tune of about L 1,400.000, and has also to pay extra charges for the Army and Navy amounting to L 2.980,000. The profit accruing from tho Conversion Scheme this year is L 1,500,000, and two-thirds of that Sinn are to be applied to meet a portion of the deficit instead of tho whole sum going, as was anticipated, to the reduction of tho National Debt. A duty of 1 per cent, is to bo imposed upon all estates exceeding LIO,OOO, whether consisting of realty or personalty, and an addition of one-fourteenth of a penny is to be made to the duty of twopence a gallon on beer. Result —exit deficit, Mr Goschen’s speech is very readable, and contains many suggestive reflections. It was punted out that the day for “ simplicity of tixation ” had gone by, and that the need nowadays was to increase the sources of revenue. Indirect taxation produces a gradually diminishing amount. “It was all very well when taxes on articles of consumption were increasing every year by leaps and bounds. Those were the times when, to use a phrase that has often been used before, the country drank itself out of the Alaban.a Indemnity in one year, tho figures were so large. There is more precariousness in those articles than wc anticipated, partly due to fashion and partly to a change in morals, and we find they arc not tho stand-by on which we used to be able to rely in times past.” Mr Goschen observed that it had always been the rule, when indirect taxation showed a temporary deficiency, to fall back upon an increase in tho income tax ; but “we are not justified in making such a constant reckless use of the income tax, 1 do not think it just to persons in the position of small and struggling tradesmen, and clerks and others, who feel the income taxwith such peculiar weight, to continue the system of making tho income tax an engine for getting a Chancellor of the Exchequer immediately out of the difficulties in which he may placed.” Towards the close of his speech Mr Goschen gave an interesting account of the various and ingenious devices by which people manage to cheat the Treasury in regard to the death duties, tending to show that prospective death in by no means a necessary incentive to honesty. Some curious facts were told to tho House of Commons by Chancellor Goschen when presenting his last Budget. For example, though England is admittedly become soberer every year, the decadence of heavy wines is not due to any temperance wave that his passed over the kingdom, but to their supercession by slight sparkling wines, owing to the almost general use of the cigarette immediately after dinner,” which has seriously affected “the circulation «? the bottle.” And the English housewife, having discovered that Indian tea being so much stronger than the China, and that “a larger number of cups of tea may be extracted out of it,” evinces a decided preference for Assam over touching, leading to a shrinkage of the revenue hitherto derived from Chinese teas, In cocoa there was an increase of L 6.000 ; but coffee, which “maintains its character of dull uniformity,” was short by L 2.000. “ Coffee will not move,” and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having consulted the exports as to its immovability, told the House that their opinion was that “ cocoa has actually been puffed into its move satisfactory position by the energy of ambitions advertisers, lYhile tea also enjoys with ooooa a vast amount of advertisement, somehow or other coffee has been neglected m that respect. The result is that coffee is dull, and never will yield even the small increase in the estimate, notwithstanding the Increase of population.” Tho testimony of one of the ablest financiers of the day to the •efficacy of advertising should bo received without reservation by the holders of commodities that “ will not move.” Will they act on the hint ? The House of Commons has adjourned for the Whitsuntide recess, and the Grand Young Man of eighty winters is once more on tho stump. Mr Gladstone is of opinion that a general election at the present time would give his party a majority of 100, and visible signs render his conjecture by no means improbable. It is not strange that ho should view with impatience the possible existence for_ more than three years of a Parliament which no longer represents the mind of tho country, for he must know how important it is to the Home Rule cause that the next election should take place before his removal from the scene. Not that the triumph of the cause is dependent upon Mr Gladstone’s life ; but, nevertheless, his absence would undoubtedly proven loss of British enthusiasm, to say nothing of the personal loss of great leadership. The cause would still progress, but it would progress more slowly, and tho final triumph might be more distant. It may be hoped, by the way, that the next Liberal House of Commons will pass a measure providing for a dissolution every three years. It is wrong that the country, having pronounced an opinion upon a momentous question at very short notice, should not have another opportunity of decision for the space of nearly seven years. Modern research plays sad pranks with the history of our childhood. It has been proved that Richard 111, was neither a hunchback nor a very bad man, and now the audacious borrower into the past tells os that Prince Hal was not a larrikin. The Eev. A. J. Church has published a monograph on “ Henry the Fifth ” in Macmillan’s ‘Men of Action ’ series, containing an epitome of what history really tells of the favorite monarch. The Prince Hal of Shakespeare “is one of those creations of genius which, be they true to history or untrue, never lose their hold on the minds of men and it seems that wo must believe this particular creation of genius to be decidedly untrue to history. In short, Shakespeare invented his Prince Hal, unless Bacon did it for him. Mr Church “founding himself on authentic documents, shows that Prince Henry was not a roystering, but a stcaoy, if high-spirited boy. . . . The charges of robbery and low vice are dismissed «8 fables, not standing close inquiry.” Nay, worst of all, the famous scene with ■Chief Justice Gascoigne is a myth, at least so far as regards Prince Henry, “whatever is true in it being referable to the sou of Edward I.” Equally fabulous in all probability is the incident relating to tho taking up of the crown when Henry IV. lay dying, but not dead. “ Oh, woodman, spare that free!” But, after all, what matters it?
“ Sent Up.”
' Advertise Advertise!
Harry the Fifth.
The Shakespearian Hal, the bright audacious boy who swaggered so charmingly with Falstaff and other doubtful company, is the Prince who will live still, despite whole libraries of musty documents; and, depend upon it, tho traditions upon which Shakespeare placed his moulding hand were not utterly untrustworthy.
The ‘ Spectator ’ has been discussing the evergreen subject of Irish “bulls,” and a correspondent 11 s ' sends a charming letter of Sir Hoyle Roche’s, the “highpriest” of tho art. It was Sir Hoyle who once commenced a speech in the Irish Jlouse of Commons with tho words : “ Mr Speaker, it is the duty of every true lover of his country to give his last guinea to save the remainder of Ins fortunes.” Hero are a few bits from the letter, which was written during the rebellion of ’OS : —“ At the present there are such goings on that everything is at a standstill. 1 should have answered your letter a fortnight but I on'y received it this morning. Indeed, hardly a mail arrives safe without being robbed. . . . Hy the time half of our party were killed we began to be all alive. . . . In fact, in a short time nothing was heard but silence. Their uniforms were all dif-
fercut, chiefly green, . . found a parcel of empty bottles filled with water, and a bundle of blank French commissions filled np with Irish names. Troops are now stationed round, which exactly squares with my ideas of security.” A postscript to the letter runs : “If you do not receive this, of course it must have miscarried ; therefore I beg you to write and let me know.”
There has of late been considerable diversity of opinion in the Auckland education district as to the wisdom of teaching temperance in the State schools, but the Board got rid of a formidable diliiculty by giving effect to the principle of local option in permitting school committees to decide whether Dr Richardson’s book should be added to the list of works used in their several schools. At the annual meetings of householders in April the question was hotly discussed in Auckland and many of the suburbs, but on the whole the temperance advocates carried the day. M here the “moderates” were vanquished they appear to have accepted the situation witti resignation, doubting if any good results could accrue from the very limited use proposed to bo made of the hook, and promising to shepherd their forces so as to ensure the capture of the fort when_ election clay comes round. The suburban district of lakapuna, however, has not been allowed to resume its wonted peacefulness. The soul of a committeeman named Harrow was much vexed at the turn of affairs, and, meeting with no sy m pat hy whatever from his colleagues, carried Ids grievances to the Board. Passing over some rnivor charges, as ridiculous as they were unfair, he declared that the school attendance had greatly fallen ofl in consequence of “the introduction of teetotal ideas ”; that the master had punished scholars who did not possess the teetotal book ; and that the master had taught tome of his scholars to look on a publican’s daughter who went to the school as “ wicked because her father dealt in wines and spirits.” The investigation set afoot by the Committee demonstrated conclusively that the charges brought against the teacner were quite foundationless, and were the outcome of ill-feeling between bun and Mr Harrow, on account of the active part ho had taken in a previous local option poll. The schoolmaster was unfortunate enough to bo a Good Templar, and had the courage of hi s opinions. A few passages from the report of this extraordinary inquiry will illustrate the feelings entertained by the persecutor —we can call him nothing else—towards his neighbor, the dominie : Mr Harrow : It lias been sa d that you teach religion in the school. Is that so? Mr Haines replied that Mr 1 farrow mint th-Quc what he meant hy rel.gionhjfcrolio could au-wer. He quoted the 1 iblc as he quoted * Paradise Lost' ami other boo- *.
Tempi l nuico in Schools.
Mr Harrow’: DM you say that the wisest thing Solomon ever did was to destroy all the vi.‘'yards in the ha hj Mr Haines ; No, I never heard of it till now. 1 have wad of Salomon pfantir-g vineyards, hut never heard of Jits having destroyed them
Mr Harrow : Do yi Anew if Sir William Vex is in any way interested in vineyards and wino manufactare ‘1
Mr Haines did not know. Mr Harrow: Did you say that anyone who drank could not go to heaven '! Mr Haines: 1 have sad r.t Band of IT p « meetings, quoting from the BibV, that no drunkard can inherit thn Kingdom of Heaven If it is in the temperance hook it has been before the school.
When the witnesses relied on hy Mr Harrow were called they flatly contradicted his assertions. The publican said candidly that his children were withdrawn, noton account of the temperance lessons, but because they did not like tho school, and had not made what he considered satisfactory progress, though he felt that, in consequence of so much being said about temperance, the other children rather looked down on his, seeing that he was tho only liquor seller in the district. The other witness denied that he had made any complaint against either the teacher or what ho taught, and admitted that his children had been properly punished if they had broken any of tho rules. Defeated in his main purpose, Mr Harrow made a personal attack on the teacher, but the love of lair play was at last roused in the majority of the Committee, who interposed and stopped the unseemly wrangle. The teacher was able to prove that instead of his attendance falling off it was steadily increasing ; that only three out of ninety children in the district went to schools beyond it, showing the confidence of parents in him ; and that the socalled punishment consisted of five minutes detention, which was meted out to all cases of failure to bring class books, if no satisfactory excuse is tendered. To the principal charge he made this reply “If the statement were made that children were taught to look on other children as wicked because their father sold wines and spirits, it was utterly untrue. Such teaching has never been given in my school, and never will be given. No ‘ teetotal ’ book is used in this school except the temperance lesson book authorised by the Board and ordered to be used by the Committee. This is used one half-hour a-week in Standard HI. and upwards.” The vindication of the teacher was considered complete by tho Committee, with the exception of Mr Harrow, whose uncompromising attitude of hostility made itself felt afterwards. So long as tho cumulative vote enables men of the stamp to keep their places on school committees, the lot of the teacher will in these cases be anything but a happy one. As demonstrating how a person dressed in a little authority can make himself offensively unpleasant, it is not by any means_ singular, and points to the need that exists for a teacher having a right of appeal to a competent tribunal against petty tyranny such as was attempted at Takapuna.
From Australia comes the news that the Home Rule delegates have collected LIO.COO for the cause in one month ; from London comes the news that Lord Harris, “ chairman of the Grand Council of the Primrose League,” wants to despatch a lecturer to the colonies, who shall persuade us poor, deluded sympathisers with freedom that coercion is the best thing for Ireland. The two pieces of information are worth contrasting. We fear that a Primrose “ knight,” carrying a box for subscriptions in aid of Mr Walter, would have a rather rude awakening as to the state of colonial feeling, and would return a sadder and wLcr, if not richer, man. If Lord Harris would come himself we dare promise him a big and admiring crowd—on the Carisbrook Cricket Ground, if not in the Garrison Hall.
Two Pieces of tiifoninitioii.
One of the most astonishing and impudent reasons ever advanced by a criminal in mitigation of punishment was that given by Frank Spearing (a stonemason, thirty years of ago), who was recently charged at the Colling wood (Melbourne) Police Court with criminally assaulting a girl twelve years of age. This monster’s victim was his own niece. It was proved that the offence was an oft repeated one; that he was steeped in crime, having in 1575 been sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude and fifty lashes for assaulting his wife’s sister, ten years_ of ago, but obtaining his release after serving nine years. When called on for a defence he pleaded none, but prayed the mercy of the Court on
Vagaries of J list Ice.
account of the age of hie mother! And the stipendiary magistrate—Shuter is his name, which deserves to be reprobated by every parent in the land—let the brute oil' with six mouths’ imprisonment. Ro wonder that some of the Melbourne papers characterise tho sentence as a travesty of justice. Imprisonment for life would only have been a just punishment of one who had so disgraced his manhood. Will it be believed that in a higher Court in the tame district, at the very hour that the child ravisher was being dealt with, a Judge felt himself called on to give two years’ hard labor to tho receiver of a stolen watch, four years’ to a man who received a stolen horse, and four years’ to a woman who fired a small cottage ? The law that discriminates so widely between first offenders, whose punishment may or may not have been deserved, and such a deeply-dyed scoundrel as Spearing is indeed “ ahass,”
NOTES., Issue 7929, 10 June 1889
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