The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 22, 1889.
The address which Mr John Roberts, the
retiring President of the Chamber of Commerce, delivered three months ago at the quarterly meeting of the Chamber
was inspired by a very hopeful spirit. It caused a good deal of talk throughout the country, and, though some thought it too sanguine, there can be little doubt that it has helped to cure tho colonists of their despondency. Mr Roberts held that tho tide of prosperity had decidedly begun to set in, and that New Zealand would soon be herself again. The interval that has elapsed since then has, perhaps, scarcely justified the confident hopes he expressed ; and, if we mistake not, there was a somewhat less jubilant tone in his address at tho annual meeting of the Chamber on Friday last. Not that there is any sign of his having lost faith in his own forecast of the Colony's fortunes. He is still hopeful, and his remarks still tend to confirm the general impression that our commercial and industrial prospects are steadily improving. But the improvement is probably not so rapid as he expected; and it is doubtless the recognition of this fact that has given a soberer hue to the texture of his second address. After so long a period of obstinate depression, the revival could not be both sudden and complete. The turn for the better came upon us with something of a surprise, though it had been long looked for; and the welcome change led many to suppose that the hard times were past and gone But recovery is in most cases a gradual process, in which relapses, that beget doubt and fear, are not unknown. In our own caiie the very retrenchment that had become necessary, and which ought to have begun years ago, hinders to some extent the disappearance of the old uncomfortable symptoms. Such a diminution as has taken place in the expenditure on public works could not but have a more or less depressing cfi'ect, and it is not pleasant to think what might have been tho result of the retrenchment policy in general but for the opportune rise in prices of our produce. The Colony is undoubtedly again on the ascending scalo, and with such recuperative power as it is well known to possess, it is only reasonable to expect that we shall soon hear the last of the depression. Mr Roberts, taking a glance at the past year, said that he believed the general progress of the country had been satisfactory. There had been a good deal of financial disturbance, the official assignees having been kept busy ; but settlement had increased, production had been maintained, and better prices received for most of our exports. Grain especially had gone up in value, though the market for wheat had fallen off Bomewhat since the delivery of his last address. He at that time advised farmers to take advantage of tho demand which had suddenly sprung up on the other side in consequence of the severe drought; and he now virtually blamed those wl>o had bsld back, for tho present dis-
organised atftii? of tho grain market in Sydhcy. . fie said the grain season had Opened with tho beat prospects, and it looked as if tho benefit to accrue to outsiders from tho failure of the Australian crop would be secured by New Zealand. " I "confidently believe," "ho added, "that " this end would have been attained had "our farmers continuously fed tho Sydney "market and realised at the best possible " values, eo as to keep the market entirely " to themselves, rather than holding out for; " somewhat excessive values, and thereby "causing the Sydney consumers to look " elsewhere for supplies," Such a statement as this sounds plausible enough', but it supposes a general agreement and unity of action on the part of the New Zealand farmers which does not and scarcely could exist. Cargoes of wheat from California were besides inevitable, so that it may well be doubted if our farmors could, in any case, have kept the market entirely to themselves. Aa a rule it is no doubt good advioo to sell when prices are high. Sticklers for excessive values are often grievously disappointed. On the other hand, if all rushed to market with their commodities when prices are higl, prices would immediately fall, and as a continuous feeding of tho market is impracticable, through want of proper organisation among producers perhaps through tho invincible jealousy nf human naturesuch occurrences as that which Mr Roberts deplores must frequently happen. Nor is this holding back for higher prices altogether without its uses. It helps, in fact, to supply tho absence of that organisation to which wo have just referred. It would seem to be almost an economic law that some should look to a future rather than the present market. But for this tendency of human nature no market could be "continuously fed," even in an approximate degree, as we know all markets practically are; and it is obvious to remark that a country should not, auy more than an individual, part with the whole of its stock. Nor do those who hold always suffer by doing so. Some fourteen years ago farmers in New Zealand who kept their wheat over winter got as high as 7s a bushel for it. This happened, if we remember right, two successive seasons ; and the chances are that something of the same kind will also happen this year. Not that there is any chance of suoh an exceptionally high price being obtained ; but there is good reason to believe that Australia as a whole will still require very considerable supplies before next crop is reaped. It is thus almost certain that there will be a demand from that quarter for all, and more than all, the wheat that has been hold over in New Zealand, and that at higher prices than those now ruling. But whether this happens or not, the grain returns for the present year will be highly satisfactory. Wool is also doing well in the London market, prices being, on the average, from 5 to 7« per cent, better than they were this time last year. The export of frozen meat still continues to increase in volume, and values, though they have of late been somewhat capricious, are on tho whole better. Tho gold mining industry, which ought certainly to receive more attention from the Government, is also looking up, especially in our own district; and the discovery of tin in Stewart Island promises to add another industry of great value to the Colony. Mr Roberts said nothing about the newly-revived domain! for flax, which concerns the North Island more than this, but which will in its measure tend to hasten the return of prosperity, although the price of New Zealand hemp has fallen considerably of late. Neither did the president of the Chamber of Commerce refer to our exports of dairy produce, which are rapidly increasing, and promise to be one of the surest sources of profit to the Colony. As to the noticeable excesß of exports over imports, tho tapering off in the Public Works Department will account for much of the difference, while the balance may be set down to a corresponding retrenchment and economy amongst the people generally. Tho excess in question thus only shows, as Mr Roberts said, that wc are living within our means, a kind of economy that cannot be called parsimonious. It is better, besides, to stop borrowing than to continue spending money (for the interest on which the Colony has to exchango its products) on unproductive works. Our prospects are, on tho whole, decidedly brightening ; and, if we go on in tho cautious self-reliant manner which has characterised the admininistration of affairs during the last two years, believing (as Mr Roberts remarked) that we have sufficient power within ourselves for a large development of our present resources, New Zealand will soon tako its proper place in the estimation of the world among British colonies. Mr Roiierts could not avoid referring to the Exhibition, intimately as he is himself connected with the undertaking; but he was surely justified in saying that an " exposition of matters colonial on a ssale never before attempted in New Zealand" was bound to prove highly advantageous. He remarked that "his position as chairman " of the Chamber of Commerce had been the " means of causing him to assume the prosi- " dency of tho Exhibition." In this connection we venture to make a suggestion which ffe are sure will meet with the approval of the entire community. It is this—that he should stand for the olHcc of mayor at the coming election. He is certainly the proper man for that office—an office which ought at all times to be held in the highest esteem—during the Exhibition year.
The Princess's was crowded to the very doors on Saturday night, and the programme put forward by the management gave general satisfaction.
Over twelve months ago tho members of the Dunedin Railway Volunteer Fire Brigade decided to include ambulance as part of their training, and under Dr Coughtrey's able tuition made considerable progress in the work. This winter the practices have been resumed, and the brigade have now at command a body of men well versed in the principles of first aid.
There is a Bill now before the British Parliament for better securing the purity of beer. It provides that every person who sells or exposes for sale, by wholesale or retail, any beer brewed from or containing any ingredients other than hops or malt from barley shall keep conspicuously posted at the bar or place where such beer is sold or exposed for sale a legible notice stating what other ingredients are contained in such beer. Non-compliance with this enactment is to be visited with a fine of L 5 for the first offence, and L2O for any second or subsequent offence. The term "beer" includes beer (other than black or spruce beer), ale and porter. The fancy dress carnival, which takes place at the Palace Rink this and to-morrow nights, promises to be a very successful affair, some 200 ladies and gentlemen having given in their names to the manager with the intention of participating in the function. The rink has been tastefully decorated, and, by the aid of the limelight, should present a very pleasing appearance. Prizes for the lady wearing the most handsome and becoming dress, and for the bestsustained comic male character, will be given. The full band of the Engineers will occupy the orchestra and play a speciallyarranged programme of musical selections. Mr D. Wright's week of special services in Knox Church commenced yesterday. In the afternoon the children connected with the Sunday schools mustered in force, and in the evening the evangelist discoursed to a full house on ' Christian manliness,' tho proceedings hoing opened and closed by the Rev. Dr Stuart. The address, which was listeucd to with rapt attention, had an earnest and manly ring, and the arguments and illustrative examples were presented in an interesting and forceful way. During the week the meetings will be held in the old Church, and Mr Wright will be assisted by Dr Stuart and others. In the course of an inquiry before Mr E. Baxter, one of the London coroners, into the cause of the death of a child of four months, it transpired that the poor mother was de3erted by her husband twelve months ago. He had been out of employment for many months, and left home and never returned. She had no idea whether he was alive or dead. She had since managed to exist by finishing trousers. She had to put on nine buttons, make nine button holes, and line each pair of trousers for 3d. On an average oho earned 3s 6d per week, and to get that turn she had to sit up the half of each night. From that sum she had to pay 2s rent, leaving Is 6d to keep herself and three children.
Mr Mansergh, the engineer who has been engaged to report upon a system of underground sewerage for Melbourne and suburbs, is to receive L 4,000 and travelling expenses, and is to stay in the colony eight weeks. Tho 'North OtJgo Times' states that a case will como before the Supremo Court in Oamaru, in September, in which Mr W, Christie, will sue Judge Ward for damages for alleged false imprisonment. The plaintiffs cage will be that he was committed to gaol for an offehco that ho had not committed, and that there was no evidence to prove that he had committed. Mr P. R. Chapman appears for the plaintiff, and Sir 11. Stout for the defendant.
In New Zealand during 1888, 3,617 marriages were contracted. Three thousand one hundred and twelve were between bachelors and spinsters, 172 between bachelors and widows, 234 between widowers and spinsters, and 99 between widows and widowers. In 133 cases the parties signed their names with a mark. The Church of England marriages were the most numerous (794) and the Salvation Army the least numerous (4), Four wives were over 60 years of age, and four husbands over 70.
A notice to members of tho Otago Lodge, U. A .0.D., appears in this issue. An emergency meeting of tho Lodge St. Anlrew, 5.0., will be hold this evening. A special prayer meeting is advertised to be held in tbe rooms of tbeY.W.C. A. to-morrow afternoon.
A spechl meeting of the Federated Steward* and Cooks' Union of JSew Zealand will be held at Port Chalmers this evoning, and the general meeting to-morrow evening at the same place. In "Irishman's" letter published on Saturday, two typographical errors occurred. The writer said that tbe number of Protostant Home Rulers ia Ireland is 5,000, end that the priost who died worth L 27.700 left ordy L7OO to hu family, the rest going to the ohuroh, The third annual tea meeting of the Church of Christ was held on Friday iu the Council Chambers, Mernington. After tea a number of the scholars rendered solos and recitations very creditably, and Master R. Williams was encored for a piccolo solo. The superintendent (Mr C. VV. Smith) reported that, although the Bohool had suffered by the removal of a number of the children from the district, the attendance was very good, and gave words of encouragement to the teachers. He also impressed upon the minds of the parents present to assist the teachers by sending their children regular, and to see that the lessons were committed to memory, There is a balance in hand of nearly L 5. Tbe meeting terminated at 9.30, and all were highly delighted, having Bpent a pleasant evening.
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The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 22, 1889., Evening Star, Issue 7965, 22 July 1889
The Evening Star MONDAY, JULY 22, 1889. Evening Star, Issue 7965, 22 July 1889
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