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Evening Star, Issue 15663, 30 November 1914
It is satisfactory to note that the Prime Minister, has taken commendably prompt action to provide as soon .as possible State supplies of wheat and flour for Dunedin, where the shortage of these commodities appears to be more pronounced than in any, one of the other trading centres in the Dominion. Here it may bo of interest to mention that reino.-entative merchants in Dunedin state that the present shoring’ is due to what they describe as exaggrint-.d faith in the Government being r.blo to fix prices for udiv.it and flour within a fortnight at least after the passing of the necessary legislation, which was dealt with by Parliament ns a matter of extreme urgency. Confident of an early adjustment of an admittedly difficult position, local buyers, it is stated, limited their activities, with the result that, while they were honestly assisting a unique experiment in commercial legislation, ant! speculators elsewhere increased their operations in the hope of securing good profit after the prices had been fixed by the Stale. An unconscionable delay was experienced before the maximum prices for wheat and flour were fixed, .and fixed, it is now aigucd, at rates which do not provide the margin of profit anticipated by those speculators who bought extensively while the Commission set vp under the Eegulation of Trade and Commerce Act were laboriously amassing commercial evidence. So many holders are awaiting a more profitable opportunity to dispose of their hoarded stocks.
I Wheat and Flour.
The action recently taken by the Prime Minister and colleagues will relieve iho position in Dunedin. Arrangements have been made for 75 tons of flour to be sent to Dunedin this week, arid also for the delivery of 1,270 sacks of wheat, which was shipped on Saturday from Sydney. These arrangements will merely ease the position, and it is to be hoped that the Prime Minister, failing the netting free of hoarded stocks in this country, will be able in tho near future to arrange for further fupplics of wheat and flour for Dunedin. A large supply from Canada will be forthcoming in a few weeks, and unless the Government can influence holders to place their hoardingson the maiket Dunedin will certainly require a considerable portion of tire Canadian ship Trent of wheat which was purchased by the State. Most people will agree with the comment of Mr G. M, Thomson, who stated at a public meeting the other night that he would urge tho Government to take over all the wheat in tht country, if necessary, as ho looked upon men who held wheat for a Hugo profit at such a time as public enemies. It must he recognised, however, that plain talk can have but little influence on the sort of individuals referred io by Mr Thomson. The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will purchase at a fair price, and that on rio account will lie allow any storing of wheat supplies for the purpose of exploiting tho public. Aro not speculators being allowed now to store wheat for the purpose of exploiting tho public? No politician need hesitate to take stiong measures against “public enemies” these days. The people will support the man who teaches those cxploiters a salutary lesson. What have the leaders of the liberal party to say about the holding-up of wheat? Are they prepared to teach a few speculative farmers and certain speculators, who neither toil nor spin, a memorable lesson in patriotism? It is time that talk gave way to action.
Ik a characteristic oasay R. L. Stevenson says that “it is‘not over The Navy and “the virtues of a curatetho Schools, “and-tea-party novel “that people aro abashed " into high resolutions. It -inay bo be- “ cause their hearts aro crass, but to stir “ them properly they must have men entering into glory with some pomp and “ circumstance. And that is why . . . “ stories of our sea captains, . ... full “of bracing moral influence, are more “valuable to England than any material “benefit in all the books of political eco- “ nomy between Westminster and Birmingham.” It is in the same spirit, though somewhat differently expressed, that the Otago branch of the Navy League has developed its excellent work during the past decade in the public schools of this province. Tho other aspects of the policy and work of the Navy League and the local branch may be left to the secretary and his executive to discuss and demonstrate in their own effective way. What we consider to be the most valuable, and certainly tho most lasting, feature of tho league’s work in Otago would never he discussed by tho secretary, since ho more than anyone else has been responsible for the remarkable interest in the British Navy that has been aroused, shaped, and maintained in tho public schools. The activity of the Navy League in the direction of stimulating, by tho pleasant means of sea stories “ full of bracing moral influence,” high resolutions in scholars at an impressionable age, promises to become a valuable adjunct to the State system of Imperial education,, which is still capable of radical improvement. The old method of teaching history did not fill every youthful mind with historical facts, and only a few could remember anything in particular of, say, the burning' of the Spanish batteries at the siege of Gibraltar. The league’s system is more, arresting to the receptive mind of youth. They present history in throe strong and attractive lights—by entertaining the imagination, by opening new sources of information, and by inculcating feelings of patriotic virtue. All the facts of history are given, but they are set amidst picturesqueness which trains the young mind to a permanent retention of historical accuracies, and enables memory to develop with tho approach of more responsible years and purposes a truer picture of history; and the achievements that make for progress. So the memory of the description of the burning of the Spanish batteries at the siege of Gibraltar becomes under the better system of instruction this picture: “ A column of fire, rolling from the works. lights up the soldiers and the sunound- “ ing objects; ship after ship is caught in “ the conflagration ; the sea is dyed in a “ red blaze, and through tho drifting “ smoke dart the flames of the British “guns.” History in this form is as attractive as tho living present. How greater to-day than at tho siege of Gibraltar are the picturesque circumstances of war! Sow imicU more necessary t/han ever it is to teach history 7 attractively, in order to establish in our children’s minds a clear conception of the purposes of war, of the tremendous need for British supremacy at sea! The need has long been appreciated by (he Navy League, and. their methods are shaped to achieve the best results. A remarkable interest has been aroused in the public schools, and no fewer than 3,371 essays (a record number) were written by scholars this year on an Imperial subject. But the work of the league in the schools is not confined to fostering literary knowledge of British naval history. No fewer than 32 lectures were delivered, and here again the league rely on the power of accurate pictures as a medium of instruction. It would be difiicul to excel the attractiveness of the league’s Ja-ptern lectures, and one must note with deep appreciation that there rs a strict avoidance of the methods too frequently adopted at other forms of “ instructive entertainment” —the sacrificing of fact for pictorial effect. The public will note with satisfaction that over 2,700 pupils of 49 schools ore members of tfiu local branch of the Navy League, and will hope that in the near future every scholar will consider it a pleasure to become and remain an enthusiastic member of an organisation whose work is in the front rank of Imperial service.
Evening Star, Issue 15663, 30 November 1914
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