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NOTES.

What Carlyle dyspeptically dubbed “the eternal jabber of politics ” is once more sounding musically in our ears. Our legislators will soon be on the way ts windy Wellington, and meanwhile processional addresses are the order of the day. Speeches to loft and to right, behind and before, thundering and blundering. Mem bsrs are assuredly to be pitied no less than their patient constituents, for what is there to speak about? What is the political question what the bone of contention b tween parties ? Parties there presumably ft e ; there is a Ministry, and there may be au Opposition ; nay, in Sir Robert Stout’s vivid imagination there is a Liberal party and a Conservative party a party of economy and patriotism, and a_ party of parsimony and various unpatriotic iniquities. Unfortunately these interesting phenomena, t mugh they bo dreamt of in Sir Robert blout’s philosophy, are pertinaciously invisible to the naked and unsophisticated • /e. They are “such stuff as dreams are made of.” It is said that one day when jpitt and Sheridan were entering tho Home of Commons “after dining,” Pitt observed ; “Sheridan, I can't see tho Speaker,” whereupon Richard Brinsley retorted : “ Why, I can see two Speakers.” Sir Robert Stout does not “dine”—at least not in the Sheridanian sense of the term—but he can eee two parties. Now, this is just what ordinary people, ungifted with a proper power of gathering their thoughts from their wishes, fail to see, and consequently the prospect for the ensuing session is slightly dull. Of course there is the eternal probability of the unexpected turning up ; and —ah, yes! and there is the ex-Honorable Oror’ge Fisher. That large and depraved band of electors—a distinct majority, we { jar whose chief interest in the “eternal jabber” rests in the chances of “ructions” must pin their expectations on Mr Fisher. Our hearts, our hopes are all with thee—all with thee, are all with thee.” In his present position of “less responsibility and greater freedom,” Mr Fisher may fairly be expected to make sport for the frivolous Philistines. Moreover, it appears _ extremely improbable that the late Minister {, r Education will neglect the obligation. Toe mortal fray between Mr Fisher, freed from the galling trammels of office, and Sir Harry Atkinson, big-booted for the occasion, will certainly create a little excitement. After all we may have what ‘Helen’s Babies’ called “good times” this session.

The (omnii; Session.

Xt will be remembered that on the evening of September *26, 1887 —that memorable day, “ big with the fate of Voj/el and of Stout a certain newly-elected member of Parliament “ engaged in prayer.” He was returning thanks (not to Heaven) for his own election, within a hundred miles from Stafford street, when he suddenly bethought him of the contest for Dunedin East. History does not declare whether he assumed the orthodox kneeling posture, or whether he merely folded his hands and turned up the whites of his eyes ; but it states that he wave utterance to a fervent prayer that the then Premier had been returned. No doubt there was a certain inconsequence in the proceeding, pardonable enough at Bach an exciting time ; the votes had all been cast, and it was hardly likely that Providence would interfere with the ballot boxes at the earnest intercession ©f a “certain member.” But the noteworthy point—the point which induces us to “ resurrect ” this pious and pleasing inci-dent-lies in the fact that the democratic «,rdor which incited the petition was not ooled by the remembrance that the person prayed for was a belted knight who had “forgotten the meaning of the word Dimocracy,” and had “accepted a title as the representative of Democracy.” Yet one would have imagined that this occasion the first appeal to the Democracy after the awful treachery—was the proper time for rebuke and denunciation. But no ; the prayer proceeded in the very hearing of Demos, and a “certain member” was proud to own the knight as his leader and the champion of the people’s cause. Nearly two years pass away; the offerer and the subject of that electoral supplication fall out over a local matter, they meet in discussion on a local platform, and the pent-up indignation of a “certain member” at the bygone dishonor of Democracy bursts forth in all its righteousness. “To be wroth with one we love-doth work like madness in tbo brain ” Strangely enough, too. when the charge is at length made, offended Demos calls out “ shame,” and sides with the wicked knight Against a “ certain member." Well, Demos has tolerably sharp perceptions, and is probably not very wrong. He thinks that the charge does not come with the best possible consistency and grace from the prayerful adulator of September 26, 1887 ; and ho alearly recognises, moreover, which of the two democratic rivals has, on the present occasion, “forgotten the meaning of the word Democracy. Wit view with considerable uneasiness the continual omission of an internal pod mortem examination A Warning. j n cases where there is no patent evidence of the cause of death. The rule here seems to be not to order a pod mortem unless there are distinctly suspicious circumstances in connection with the death. The safer rule, which wo believe is usually followed at Home, is for the coroner to order an internal examination in case of sudden death, unless the deceased has previously been attended by a doctor who is prepared without hesitation to certify the cause. As matters stand, verdicts are continually returned upon medical evidence which is, and can be, little more than conjectural. Wo are convinced that the present practice is unwise and unsafe. There cannot be the slightest doubt that it offersj facilities to poisoners.

Memories.

probably there has been no awful mistake of this kind made as yet, but it ia not entirely impossible that such should occur, We seriously commend consideration of the matter to those whom it concerns.

Loan Hartixgtux visited Sunderland on

April 17 with a double purCharityaud pose. He meditated placing a (’(lercloii. tablet in tho infirmary in

memorial of a munificent benefactor ami addressing a great “Unionist” meeting. The “Unionist” meeting came off; the tablet-placing didn’t. Just as tho latter ceremony was to take place a platform, upon which some eighty persona and the tablet itself stood, gave way ; more than one person was seriously hurt, and tho ceremony had to be foregone. Was the incident “providential”? A believer in “judgments” of that nature might well imagine that the catastrophe was a forcible and supernatural protest against the attempt to join charitable and merciful undertakings with a demonstration in favor of coercion, eviction, and unmerciful Balfourism in unhappy Ireland.

Tim discussion at the last meeting of the City Council in regard to the The City state of the civic exchequer Finances, revealed a condition of things that ia not calculated to be regarded with pleasurable feelings by those ratepayers who have been expecting that needed works in the neighborhood of their residences were likely to receive immediate attention. Tho plain but unwelcome fact is that the Works Committee find themselves, with nine months of the municipal year yet to run, very nearly at the end of their tether ; and their chairman (Cr Sinclair) did no more than his duty in resisting any extraordinary expenditure while the fund at the disposal of his Committee is as low as it now is. At the beginning of the municipal year the municipal estimates allocated L7lofor expenditure on extraordinary City works ; and it was considered at tho lime that those estimates made ample provision for any increased expenditure the City might be put to during the current year for street maintenance, repairs, etc. However, tenders were called a short time ago for tho supply of metal, aud it was then found that, owing to a trade movement, the expenditure on that item alone would bo increased by LISO. Next came the repairs to tho Forth street bridge—not altogether an unexpected work, because it has been sanctioned more than once ; but the bridge has now become absolutely dangerous to life and limb, and therefore must immediately be attended to if the Council wish to avoid risk of accidents —which will absorb another LIOO. When the Works Committee found it probable that requisitions would como from the Reserves Committee, who arc wholly without funds, for fencing the Southern Recreation Reserve and contributing £ for £ towards fencing and improving tho Triangle, _ which would reduce tho works fund to a trifle over LIOO, with which they would bo called on to meet the requirements of tho next nine months, they were brought face to face with a difficulty the seriousness of which will ho freely admitted. The Works Committee wisely instructed tho City surveyor to make a tour of the City, in conjunction with the mayor and the chairman of the Committee, and ascertain what works, in their judgment, should he scheduled as imperatively necessary; and what, while fairly coming within the category of desirable improvements, could stand over until the City finances show considerable improvement. They discovered that L 1,500 would be needed to meet pressing wants. In the face of that report the idea of inviting tho assistance of tho ward representatives’ in schedulingworks to be undertaken was abau doned, and it was decided to keep a tight grasp of the fund at tho disposal of the Committee. We believe that we have fairly stated tho position, aud from it it will be seen that the Council took the only course open to them on Wednesday. Tho Amenities Society have carried their proposals for tho improvement of tho Triangle before tho Exhibition opens to such a stage that it will be a matter of general regret if nothing comes of their, this year, because not only are the subscriptions in hand jeopardised, but the society arc denied the opportunity they desire of practically demonstrating their usefulness. We hope that tho most active spirits of the society will discover a way by which tho citizens as a whole can promote the carrying out of so commendable a work as tho improvement of the Triangle. Minor works are to be shelved indefinitely, unless those persona inclined to rebel against the inevitable are disposed to accept tho alternatives of a special rate or being invited to contribute their proportion of any permanent works that may bo undertaken.

When 1 The Times ’ brings itself to speak

of “ the uncovenantcd mercies of Foreign Office routine,” it is tolerably certain that the Department over which Lord Salisbury presides has been making a mess in some way or other. On further examination one finds that tho mesa is in connection with Japan, and that Lord Salisbury himself is apparently the delinquent. Japan has set out this year with a brand new Liberal Constitution, and the Japanese authorities and people desire to receive a new kind of recognition from European Powers, and to find a new and improved basis for international intercourse. “The intercourse of Western nations with Japan has been conducted since 1858 on the principle of extra-territoriality. Foreigners have been admitted to certain localities designated by treaty, all having equal privileges in virtue of a most-favored-nation arrangement; and their relations with Japanese subjects have been regulated by the Consular jurisdiction accorded to the representatives of tho several nationalities concerned.” The Japanese now seek for the abolition of these extra-territorial privileges, and demand an admission of international equality. Proposals for the arrangements of commercial treaties were sent last December by the Japanese authorities to the representatives of each of the great European Powers and to America. Within forty-eight hours of the receipt of tho proposal at Washington the United States Minister at Japan was instructed by telegraph to conclude a treaty, and that treaty was finally signed in February. England, at all events up to the latter part of April, did—nothing. ‘ The Times ’ waxes quite wroth over the matter, and its Tokio correspondent sends a long and interesting dissertation upon the importance of the position and tho folly of dilly-dallying and treating Japan any longer as an inferior State. “After Great Britain, the United States have incomparably the largest interests in Japan, and their citizens have certainly equal reason for scrutinising the terms on which they agree to submit to Japanese jurisdiction. Why, then, at this allimportant juncture, should there be set up between American liberality and British conservatism a contrast destined to sow seeds of ill-will in tho hearts of many future

Whore is Lord Salisbury}

generations of Japanese ? Meanwhile, England may bo betrayed by sheer inadvertence into forfeiting her chance of winning the grateful regard of thirty-nine millions of the first people of the Orient, ns well as of opening up to her merchants and others a new and promising field of enterprise and trade. Sued* opportunities were not neglected in the days when Great Britain laid tho foundations of her huge Empire. Their neglect at this epoch will assuredly be remembered with surprise and regret in the future.”

Who would have thought last New Year’s Day that the Year of Grace 1889 was destined to witness so many pleasant little rows in Dunedin, and the wasting of so much local and dirty linen. We have had a hospital row—a very savory little row that was ; a sweating row, not yet defunct; a syndicate row, whose epitaph (as noted above) was composed and manfully delivered by Mr Councillor Kimbell; and now, to keep the pot boiling, we are to have a University row. There is to be an unhallowed incursion of public criticism into our quiet (shall we say slumbrous?) academic retreat. A row has been obtained, and the bears are to bo stirred up resolutely—the bears in question being the Professors and the members of the University Council, The new entertainment will probably last a, month or two, and when it gets stale our esteemed morning contemporary will doubtless be ready with something else.

Another How.

We have read somewhere or other that a Puritan of the seventeenth cen--11 —ii tury named Barebones conferred Kiiulii'll. upon his innocent infant son the following Christian—very Christian name : “ If-Christ-had-not-diod-for-thrc-thon-bad’st-been-damned.” But time is precious, and it was obviously impossible for poor Barebones junior’s intimates to call him all that every time they spoke to him; so, by a natural abbreviation, he was always dubbed “Damned Barebones” —a ludicrously fitting penance for his sire’s canting absurdity. Our object in repeating the story is to express the friendly hope that a similar fate will not be the lot of Mr Councillor Kimbell. Wo do not wish to justify the worthy councillor’s indiscreet impromptu, but in one way it was not altogether inapposite, It formed a very terse summary and representation of the syndicate proposals, which were assuredly destined to damnation from their birth. We arc likely to hear no more of them; henceforth they will be like Wordsworth’s . . . Party in a parlor, All silent and all damned. Pence to their manes!

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

NOTES., Evening Star, Issue 7935, 17 June 1889

Word Count
2,494

NOTES. Evening Star, Issue 7935, 17 June 1889

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