MERIT NO RECOMMENDATION.
TO THE KDITOB. Sir, —From time to time we are called upon to do honor to some individual who, by reason of his ability and uprightness, combined with laudable ambition, has placed himself in the front rank of oar prominent townsmen. In this connection it not infrequently happens that the recipient of our eateem makes reference to the fact that he is " a self-made man."
As a youth I was told that if I wished to advance myself in life nothing could hinder me. Having choseu the railway business as my sphere of labor, I find, after years of faithful sotviee, that I am confronted by a combination of circumstances which efftictu■iV.y d> bars me from advancing beyond a cortaiu grade. In the British Army Tommy Atkins, if he prove himself worthy, may advance from grade to grade until he fiod himself with the Field Marshal's baton. Likewise, in the Navy, the powder-monkey may rise to be commander of the fleet. In our merchant seivxe the apprentice must go through the romioe of drudgery, from polishing the brass to furliDg the skysail, in addition to learning logarithms, the use of the sextant, etc., before he can present himself before the examiner with a view of obtaining his certificate of competency. But what is the condition of things in the railway service in Democratic New Zealand ? Like the Hindu and his caste system so are we graded in the railway. Any provision that existed f >t men to advance by virtue of their superior intelligence and practical knowledge has been withdrawn. Who is responsible for this state of things is difficult to determine, but we trust wiser counsels will prevail, and that New Zealand will come up to scratch with older countries concerning this matter. In Britain some of the most prominent officials originally occupied very humble positions in the service, while the late Mr Eddy, who ran the railway system so successfully in New South Wales, was formerly a porter on one of the lines in England. Iq our service a porter may fill the connecting grades and attain to the position of guard; but he cannot become a stationmaster or fill any other superior position excepting that of coaching foreman, no matter how well qualified he may be. The new r.-gulation has set apart all the plums for the oade f , who graduates as clerk and then receives his appointment as stationmaster, although he is devoid of that practical knowledge which is so essential to the safe working of the railway system. I have endeavored to make plain to you, air, that the present Ministry have, set up an aristocracy in our railway system, and by so doing have created much -discontentment among the men generally. I trust you will make inquiry into this matter; which done, I an confident yon will feel impelled to give us your aid.—-I am, etc., . . Employe. ! Dunedin, November 15.
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MERIT NO RECOMMENDATION., Evening Star, Issue 10471, 15 November 1897