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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8008, 10 September 1889
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.
[Prom Opp, Melbourne Correspondent.] Tuesday, September 3. POLITICS, The Legislative Assembly of Victoria, Raving pronounced emphatically against the Increase of the stock tax, which was made the subject of a no-confidence debate, and which at one time premised to seriously complicate matters as against the Government, have now been called upon to deal with the Budget proposals in detail. Although another hostile motion is threatened from the ultra-Protectlon members in Opposition, there is little doubt that the proposals of the Government will in the main be agreed to. It is to b noted, however, that on the Ministerial side there is a strong feeling against the ridiculous protection which is suggested in the shape of duties on fruit and eggs, and probably enough the Ministry wilt give way on this point. No doubt, this proposal was only brought forward to uonciliato those Protectionists who arc inclined to suspect the Cabinet of Freetw.de tendencies, and, if the bait does wot Yake, it will be speedily discarded. The Coalition Government, whose members have so long partaken of the sweets of office, have no decided predilections, except those which will have the effect of keeping them in office. They judge the tide of popular feeling very accurately, And only propose that which is likely to meet with ready acceptance. If they happen to make a mistake they are always ready to rectify it. They are very much in the same happy frame of mind of the candidate for political honors, who, having given an address to his desired constituents, said: “ Them’s my sentiments, and if they don’t suit I can alter them.” The Victorian Government found themselves in a minority on Wednesday night on the proposal of a private member that a new clause should be added to the Education Bill providing for the compulsory teaching of Richardson and Ridge’s temperance lessons in the State schools. Dr Pearson, the Minister of Education, objected to the compulsory use of any text-book, for although he approved of the teaching of temperance lessons, he thought they should ba embodied in the new reading books which are to be introduced. He also mentioned that he was in communication with the Ministers of Education, with a view to (having uniform lesson books used throughout Australia, and it was likely that a contforence on the subject would be held in December next. The discussion on the matter was to some extent turned into one m to the merits of temperance, and one or two amusing incidents took place. One member was severely called to task for daring to compare the sentiments of Solomon to Burns. “It was degrading, and he ought to apologise,” observed his mentor, who was interrupted by the observation “To whom— Burns or Solomon ?” This sally of wit was duly appreciated. It was decided to add the new clause by 36 votes to 29, and it was made apparent that the House includes a good many strong temperance advocates. The matter was brought to a humorous conclusion by a member asking the Premier, with mock gravity, whether it was the intention of the Government, after such a division, to persist in the proposed bonuses to the wine industry. A stormy debate took place in the New South Wales Assembly when the education vjte in the Estimates came on for consideration last Thursday. The religious element was introduced by Mr Abigail, who stated that teachers of one religious persuasion were being preferred before others, and he mentioned one school in which seven out of eight teachers were Roman Catholics. He considered that in view of the recent statements by the heads of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the immoral tendency of the public schools, the matter to which he called attention should be thoroughly investigated, and ho intimated his intention of endeavoring to rescind the resolution which had been passed to the effect that teachers need not disclose their religion. Messrs O’Sullivan and Crick got very excited during Mr Abigail’s speech, and Mr Crick frequently interjecting “It’s a lie,” woe as often called upon to withdraw the remark. Feeling ran higher as the debate proceeded, and a climax was reached when Mr O’Sullivan referred to a physical 1 ifirmity of Mr Abigail by saying that bis mind was as crooked as his leg.” The Government were subsequently ac cased of running up the sectarian flag in view of next election, and the Premier was reproached for cheering Mr Abigail, but he explained that he only applauded the proposal to rescind the resolution relating to the religion professed by teachers. The Leader of the Opposition was charged with having raised the sectarian banner in connection with his manifesto prior to the last election, but Mr Dibbs denied this, and in turn charged Mr Abigail with being the writer of the famous letter bearing upon the party struggle after the recent dissolution. Mr Abigail declared the document a forgery, and Mr Dibbs, thinking that forgery was attributed to him, threatened to “take it out of ” Mr Abigail if he did not withdraw. When the excitement had subsided, Sir Henry Parkea announced that there was no fear of the Public Schools Act being interfered with, as, whatever might be said from the altar or elsewhere, it was too soundly engrafted on the public mind to be disturbed. A MYSTERY SOLVED. What has been designated the Ringwood mystery remains one no longer, and another exemplification has been given of the truth of the saying that “ Murder will out.” On the 21st of last month the body of Peter James Sherlock was discovered hidden beneath the boughs of trees in a paddock near Ringwood. The head was in an advanced state of decomposition, but letters were found in the lining of the deceased’s coat which gave his name. At the inquest the deceased was identified by Robert Landells, an engineer residing in East Melbourne, who stated that ho was a surveyor in poor circumstances, that he had lived with him for some time, and that the last occasion on which he saw him was on the 22nd of July in the Fitzroy Gardens; that he owed a considerable sum of money, and that he was in a despondent state. The tale of Landells suggested that the case was one of suicide, but the post mortem examination showed that although the deceased had been shot in the jaw, he met his death from fracture of the skull, which could not have been self-inflicted. It was thus evident that the deceased bad been murdered; but, on account of the supposed poverty of the daceased, the police were at a loss to understand why his life should have been taken, and for several days they searched in vain for a clue to the mnr derer. The case had all the features of an undiscernible mystery, but patience and diligent investigation have met with their reward, and yesterday Landells was arrested on the charge of murdering his friend. The police at first endeavored to find out somebody who had eeen the deceased at iitngwood, but as he was a stranger in the locality no one was forthcoming who had noticed him in the neighborhood, and the services of black trackers were used for days without result. Baulked at one end the police determined to make every inquiry at the other; and, as Landells was the last one known to have seen the deceased before his death, he was minutely questioned from time to time. His own statements at last betrayed him, for while he contradicted himself be was discovered to be telling untruths. It was found that the deceased, instead of being in such want as had been represented by Landells, was really in food circumstances, having L 216 on xed deposit at the Land Credit Bank and LlO or Ll2 to his current account. The police detectives therefore grew suspicions of Landells, and their inquiries elicited the fact that on the 24th and 29th of July he cashed cheques which represented deposits on certain unsuccessful tenders by the deceased returned by the Government, and further that he had sold a gun belonging to deceased for much less than its value. They accordingly decided to accuse Landells of the crime, and in an interview which they had with him they pointed out the various discrepancies in Ms statements, and finally arrested him. Landells seemed a little surprised, and turning to Sergeant-detective Conaidinc said : " I admire your astuteness, sergeant.” He then asked to bo allowed to see his wife, and while Landells and his wjfe were conversing apart Detective
Gotumline said to Detective Jlurhclt “It might have beten an accident.” Landells, taken unawares, immediately turned round and said; ‘‘Yes, it was an accident.” He afterwards added the following statement, Which was taken doWn in Writing; “I went out with him to feiogwood to examine the •country with a view to preparing a tender for the supply of water to the Ferntree Gully station. We took a gun with us in order to combine pleasure with work. About four miles from Ringwood we missed our way, and got into the paddock which I now know as Chambers’s. A hare ran across in front of us, and Sherlock fired at it, but missed. Soon afterwards we sat down on the log to rest, and Sherlock handed me the gun to reload. It was a breech-loading weapon, and while I was closing the breech one of the barrels accidentally went off. The charge struck Sherlock behind the right oar, and he dropped down dead, I did not know what to do. I lost my senses. I walked about in a frantic state for a time, and then the idea occurred to me tb cover him up with boughs and leaVe him there. I pulled the boughs from a fallen gUm tree near at hand, and some sprays from the titri growing there, and covered him up. I then returned to Ringwood and took train to town.” Whether it is likely that any educated man would have acted in such a manner as Landells did if there had simply been an accident is for a jury to decide. In the meantime it may be said that he occupies a very übenviable position. THE LONDON DOCK LABORERS’ STRIKE.
A great deal of sympathy is felt in Melbourne for the dock laborers who have gone out on strike in London, and a public meeting in regard to the matter was held last night. Resolutions were unanimously passed deploring the privations now being suffered by the dock laborers and others in their efforts to secure increased remuneration for their labors, and denouncing the attitude assumed by the London dockowners in resisting the demands of the men. A motion was also passed requesting all sections of the community to subscribe to the fund to bo devoted to the mitigation of the appalling sufferings which are being endured by the dock laborers and by their wives and families. The general tenor of the speeches was that good would result from the strike, and that it would ultimately tend towards placing capital and labor on a move equitable footing, while it would do much to strengthen the bonds of sympathy between the people of Great Britain and the colonies, and to federate the Empire. It was announced that L 1,604 had been either given or promised to the fund, including several handsome donations from the trade unions and a contribution of LSO from the Premier.
THEATRICAL AND MUSICAL. Mr Charles Warner has finished his short season in Melbourne, and is appearing in provincial towns previous to his departure for New Zealand. Miss Jennie Lee has taken his place at the Princess, ‘Jack in the Box,’ a comedy drama by Sims, being performed. ‘The Harbor Lights’ has given place to ‘ The Silver King ’ at the Theatre Royal. Mr H. Stockwell and Miss ColbourueBaber are singing at the Sunday concerts in Sydney. The system of admission at half-price after nine o’clock has been introduced at the Academy of Music, Sydney. Mr Henry Jewett, who Dunedinites do not need to be informed joined the dramatic profession in your fair city, has won golden opinions from all the critics for his impersonation of Cassias in connection with Mr George Rignold's production ef ‘Julius Cfcsar’ in Sydney, Tho following extract from the criticism of the performance appearing in the ‘ Evening News ’ is particularly favorable :—“ The Cassius of Mr Jewett is more than good. Cassius has been better played doubtless. That does not detract from the merit of so young an actor—one who, I believe, is, comparatively speaking, a beginner in his profession, playing Cassius with more than intelligence, with an appreciation of tho meaning of every word and line of the part rare even in the old actors. Hitherto we have been accustomed to Mr Jewett as the gentlemanly villain of latter day melodrama. Now we know him as an actor capable of great and high work in his art. Indeed, while praise of the acting of Mr Rignold and all the company engaged in ‘Julius Caesar’ may be accorded with fairness, I question whether, in the circumstances, Mr Jewett should not get the more praise.”
OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 8008, 10 September 1889
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