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THE New Zealand Herald. SPECTEMUR AGENDO. SATURDAY, JULY 24 1875., New Zealand Herald, Volume XII, Issue 4273, 24 July 1875
THE New Zealand Herald. SPECTEMUR AGENDO. SATURDAY, JULY 24 1875.
We complete to-day tha telegrams from Wellington relating to the correspondence on the four million loan, between Sir Julius Vogel and the other Commissioners in London. By a misunderstanding between tho special correspondents in Wellington of tho Herald and tho Cross, we received on Thursday evening only one part of the telegram and our contemporary only the other part, which we reprint from its columns. These telegrams display somewhat more clearly tho nature of tho difference—we may call it the quarrel—between tho commissioners. Tho Crown Agents and tho Agent-General state that they wero exceedingly opposed to any departure from the ordinary practice in negotiating the loan. They wished it issued in two parts, with an interval between, and they wishod it offered to the public direct. They say, " the system of raising loans, through tho agency of financial contractors, is frequently resorted to by such foreign States as have already anticipated their resources or have not a sufficiently secured credit in the English market to render it prudent for them to embark in large undertakings, without a certainty that the capital required will accrue in instalments as the work progresses ; but this method of prospectively insuring the receipt upon necessarily onerous terms of such money as is needed, has not hitherto, we believe, been resorted to by Colonial Governments, and we regret that, in this instance, New Zealand should have had to follow such a course ; and, wo believe that the mere fact that it has abandoned the Government department will havo a prejudicial effect. Such changes invariably produce unfavourable influences on . the public credit, and, unless for some very imperative reason, should, we think, be carefully avoided." They gave way ultimately, on the assuranco of Sir Julius that it was necessary for tho colony to raise the money with the expedition specified in the contract, and they conclude by expressing their opinion that, under the circumstances, the terms obtained for tho loan were exceptionably favourable. For ' the fact that they were favourable Sir Julius Vogel, unquestionably, deserves credit as tho negotiator. The success is comforting also as a proof of tho solidity of the credit of the colony which could bear such a strain, however severely the strain may reilect on tho policy 5 which rendered it necessary. For that policy tho Assembly i 3 as . much to blame as the Ministry whoso 0 acts it has so cordially endorsed, and s members cannot now, on the evo of an election, hope to carry the public with them in making Sir Julius "Vogel or anyone else a scape-goat for their own ' offences. Reverting to the negotiations, Sir Juliu3 emphatically denies tho as-
sertions of tho other Commissioners respecting tho effect of passing the loan through a contractor instead of going to the public direct. He attributes the statement to jealousy, and gives reasons for that belief which amount to a grave charge against tho Crown agents, of desiring to sacrifice the interests of the colony for the sake of the commission of five shillings per cent, they would have earned by the loan passing through their hands. With this exception, tho difference, so far, is not ono that ought to havo produced tho quarrel of winch so much is likely to be heard. The question was simplified by the necessity of raising the whole of the money at once. Sir Julius pointed out that the average balance at credit of the colony from this loan would not bo more than £1,500,000 during tho half-year ending f>th October, 1875,"and £750,000 during the following half-year to sth April, 1870. From this we infer that the whole of tho money will probably havo been used by the latter date. There could bo no doubt, then, of the absolute necessity to negotiate the whole loan so as to receive the money as required, and this necessity being admitted, the Commissioners wero bound to agree that ne""oJiation through a contractor was the only resource. The chief difference mast havo really been rather about tho form in which tho report was to be drawn and the points that were to be brought out in the strongest relief than about tho substance of tho report itself. Whether the effect on public oredit of passing tho loan through a contractor be, generally, as the Agent-General and Crown Agents state, or whether Sir Julius Vogel bo right in denying that statement, is really a matter on which wo cannot in tho colony decide. It seems to us one on which opinions might fairly differ without attributing interested or unworthy motives to tho Crown Agents or to any of tho parties concerned.
Tho noxt stago in the dispute relates to tho deposit of the proceeds of tho loan with tho Bank of New ZeaJand. Tho ono side proposed to place it in deposit with some of the London banks as well as with tho Bank of New Zealand. To this Sir Julius objected as a broach of agreoment with tho latter bank, for which the Government would be liable to pay compensation. The Bank of New Zealand was entitled to six months' notice of any termination in tho agreement made. It was also at the time making very large advances for the Government in New Zealand and the heavy balance apparently at credit in London wa3 to a large extent anticipated by these advances. The money was to this extent tho property of the bank and not of the Government at whoso credit it stood in London. If tho other Commissioners had any reason to doubt, in tho very smallest degree, the capacity of tho bank to deal with such deposits, if they had the smallest reason to give for the course they proposed, ho would be ready to accedo to their views. Without such reasons ho was equally ready to take upon himself, as Colonial Treasurer, the responsibility of leaving the arrangement untouched, and would not cxposo the Government to charges of bad faith and to possible claims for compensation. Ho reminded his fel-low-commissioners that " the interests of tho Bank of New Zealand are intimately bound up with tho interest of the colony," and that " he did not think tiie responsibilities of the Bank of Now Zealand to the Government aro, on tho whole, in excess of the general responsibilities of the Bank of New South Wales to tho Government of Now South Wales." Finally, a case was drawn up on this point by Messrs. Mackrell and Co., solicitors, and submitted to Mr. Joseph Brown, Q.C., whoso opinion was found to support Mr. Vogel's views. After carefully considering tho whole of these letters, wo can only regret that tho difference between tho Commissioners should ever have occurred. There seems nothing in it which a very ordinary amount of good temper on eithorside might not have avoided. Saving, as wo have before said, the imputation on the motives of the Crown Agents, to which wo attach no weight, there was nothing to prevent these gentlemen acting harmoniously together. It would have been better for the credit of tho colony, and of the Commissioners themselves, if that harmony had not been disturbed.
Ok late months, and sinco the water supply question was disposed of, the ratepayers have subsided into a somnolent state as to all matters municipal. Some day—perhaps not very long hence, —the ratepayers will be aroused from the slumber they had fallen into by a knock at their doors from the City Council Collector, who will politely present a bill of costs, which is likely on the instant to cause not a little surprise. The surprise will not, however, be accepted as payment of the bill. This is how it will all have come to pass. On Wednesday last there was a special meeting of the Council to consider applications for the laying down of a tramway. Wo know what ca:ne of that. No ono blamed Councillors for what they did. Following on tho tramway question another was raised respecting the propriety of dividing the city into wards. This was also disposed of, upon its being shewn that the city was very fairly represented from its east to its west sides. And, so far, so good. Hut, then, in quite a quiet, uuostentatious manner, a petition for presentation to Parliament was submitted to Councillors for their approval. The subject matter of this petition appeared in our report of the Council's proceedings ; but no one seems to have taken any notice of it, or to have considered how, if its prayer bo acceded to, which is very likely will be tho case, ratepayers will be affected by it. It is the following portion of tho petition which we here make special reference to :—" That section 317 of tho Borough Statutes of Victoria, relating to tho paving, flagging, and kerbing of frontages at half the owners' expense, be introduced." Now, wo ' are under tho impression that some months ago, when Mr. P. A. Philips was Mayor, he stated the streets of Auckland within the Municipal Council boundaries to bo flagged, kerbed, or paved would cost tun thousand pounds. When this came to be done, as it would havo to be if tho chief city of the colony was to maintain its municipal character, it would be seen that nil this sum would bo wanted. We do not say the unpaved thoroughfares ought not to bo paved. Indeed wo think they ought. But then, what with a general rate, and a special rate, and a water rate, and having to pay for gas, and to obey expensive by-laws, the citizens have long been under the impression that they are paying quite as much as, all circumstances considered, they ought to pay. Now, if the prayer of tho petition to Parliament be granted, and people are made to contribute half the cost for kerbing, paving, and flagging the footpaths in front of their premises, the cost will come heavy upon them. Queen-street will not suffer, nor some two or three other streets which have long since been paved. But the owners of small proproperties on side thoroughfares and back Btrcets will come to feel the full force of the amended Corporation Act. If propertyowners do not object, we have nothing further to say; indeed, we should not have said anything about it but we are under a full conviction that owing to the very quiet, unobtrusive way tho petition was introduced, and most of tho clauses passed in Council, it has quite escaped publio notice.
It ia highly satisfactory to be informed upon such high authority as that of the Premier, that not only is the Onehunga Railway line a glorious financial success, but that " he
kuew of no exception among the lines already I completed where the expectations of the moat sanguine of the promoters of the policy had not been agreeably sustained." He further informed the House "that returns would shortly be laid on the table which would prove incontrovertible - that the Onehunga line, so far from not paying was, taking the circumstances of its construction into consideration, a remarkable financial success, and asserted that the prophets who declared that railways would be an entire failure, would find themselves agreeably disappointed." But assuming that we accept this latest expression of Dr. Pollen as a truth, how are we to reconcile his recent action in seeking to stop the capitation money due to this province and to Wellington, for losses incurred in the working of the very lines which he now assures us are a financial success, far beyond the expectations of the most sanguine of the promoters of the policy ? At the rate of returns published in a recent Gazttle, we should be inclined to say that there had been a large loss upon working expenses ; but then, it Dr. Pollen can shew to the contrary, we shall be only too happy to acknowledge our error, and he, in hi 3 turn, should not be so ready to seize, legally or illegally, our small dole of capitation money, under the pretence of a serious falling off in the tralhc returns of our lines.
Victoria, by a radical change in its fiscal policy, has entered upon a new set of conditions for raising a revenue. Whether as a matter of expediency or dire necessity, other colonies will hare to follow suit remains to be seen. But the Colonial Treasurer of Victoria proposes to relieve the people of a large proportion of the burdens arising from the Customs duties and making good the deficit by a tax upon property, income, and capital. The new tariff proposes that all owners of land to the extent of 320 up to 2000 acres shall pay fourpence per acre, while owners of 2000 acres and upwards shall pay sixpence per acre. •It is further proposed to tax house property in the following manner. All properties above £75 mp to £150, to pay sixpence in the pound. Over this amount, ninepence in the pound. The tax is to be levitd on owners, leaving tenants exempt. Banks are to pay 2 per cent, on their notes in circulation, while those banks which do not issue notes are to be rated on the liabilities of each bank, according to the deposits received from the public. The policy of meddling with the banks is as foolish as meddling with the business of any ordinary tradesman—say a baker or a butcher. If in these cases the Government were to tax the baker for the number of loaves he baked, or the butcher for the number of the pounds of beef or mutton he disposed of, we may be sure that both, in some wuy or other, would charge the impost to their customers. There is a general expression of approbation when banks and wealthy public companies are pitched upon by a Government for the purpose of raising a revenue. The laugh would probably be turned to something more serious if it were understood that it is not these institutions which suffer, but the public which has been amusing itself at their supposed expense. The Victorian Colonial Treasurer proposes further to impose a charge upon cheques and bills of exchange ; to tax life, fire, and marine insurance companies ; also to levy a tax to the amount of 2J per cent, on absentees holding property, and to place a tax of 5 per cent, on all incomes from businesses not otherwise taxed. By the above methods, Victoria calculates upon raising a revenue of £322,000. In return for these new impositions, the Customsis tobe relieved of duties to the extent of £230,000. The Treasurer's programme would not be complete without a loan. It is therefore proposed to borrow nearly two millions and ahalf for railways and public wofks. Thus we see something more than the thin end of the wedge introduced into one of the Australian colonics of a property and income tax. It is not improbable that before many years the wedge will be driven clean home, not only in Victoria but in all the sister colonies.
The number of desertions from our Naval Training Schools shews unmistakably that there is something wrong in the system. Wc seek to trace the cause, and wc think we discover it in the rules under the Act by which the school is conducted. Boys who have been accustomed from infancy to the utmost latitude of freedom and unrestraint, are suddenly subjected to the severest discipline and a course of the dullest of routine training. There is not the slightest variety or change by which enforced confinement obtains mental or physical relief. The system alternates between work and punishment. There is nothing that can be named to relieve the monotony of a boy's life. Under such a rrijime the school must prove a failure, and the number of desertions be certain to increase. Here is the routine as laid down in the printed regulations : —Boys turn out at live in the morning ; make beds, clean buildings, and wash until half-past six. From this to seven o'clock—muster, prayers, and receive reports. Then breakfast. Afterwards one watch to school, the other to nautical instruction. School over, that watch to garden and trades. Clean for dinner. Then dinner. This at noon. At one o'clock, watehes to school and nautical instruction. School over, one watch to garden the other to trades. At a quarter to five, clean for supper. Five o'clock, supper. Seven o'clock, all hands to school. Eight o'clock, prayers. Nine o'clock, out lights. Here it will be seen that no time is given for play or recreation. Boys must pine at such an utter want of sympathy for their natural feelings and inclinations. And what follows for a breach of any of these rules ? Here are the punishments to be inflicteJ, given under the signature of "Forster Goring, Clerk of the Executive" : —
r.larh List Mazt-head Cell* Cells, with or without bread and water riacard with nature of offence to be worn on boy's back Caning Whipping.
Before inflicting the latter punishment the boy is to be triced up, and may receive twenty lashes. Here we have excess of both school and work, to be followed by what may be an excess of punishment. The caning may be a brutal one ; the tricing-up, followed by twenty stripes, a cruel infliction. These regulations for school work and punishment have probably been framed by some tyrannical old martinet, who in his early days has witnessed all these severities and tortures on the quarter-deck of a man-of-war. Perhaps he has had them inflicted on himself. Punishment is to follow immediately after prayers. '' Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them who trespass against us," and afterwards the command to " strip, and trice him up." The softening impression prayers will have made upon that boy, who shall say 1 The whole regulations require amending, if our Training School is not to prove a complete failure. A firm but kind master, reasonable hours for play and leisure, rewards by way of encouragement, are what are needed for such a school, and without these, boys compelled to comply with such rules as we have shewn to form the whole system, will certainly desert whenever opportunity offers, —will not only desert, but will be certain to follow in evil courses. Hitherto we have found nothing but praise for this institution, whose noble mission commands our warmest sympathies. But we desire most emphatically to protest against these new regulations, which appear in the Gazette of the 15th July, and to which the Marquis of Normanby, as Governor, ha 3 been induced to give his name. Had the object been to destroy the institution, the regulations could not have been more efliciently framed for the purpose. We invite to them the prompt attention of the Hon. Mr. Reynolds, whose benevolent interest iu this institution has been so actively exhibited.
Has the floating of the four million loan been a success, or has it net ? When doctors differ, who shall decide ? HiaExcellency, in his speech at the opening of Parliament, gave it as his opinion that '* the immigration ami public works loan of four millions authorised by the Act of last session, has been successfully negotiated." The Executive is r«epon-
Bible for the framing of His Excellency's speech; ergo, the opinion therein expressed is that of the members of the Executive collectively. Dr. Pollen, for himself, gives it as hi 9 opinion that in view of the fact that an obscure and disappointed schoolmaster obtained publication of his ideas upon the finances of the colony, and notwithstanding the " heavy-ratal" reply of Sir Julius, Premier and Colonial Treasurer, "it must be held a fortunate circumstance that the negotiations were completed at the tune and in the manner they were." Sir Julius, another member of the Eecutive, says in his report, after making certain charges against his colleagues appointed to negotiate the loan, that he "took up the negotiations, and with Featherston's assistance, carried them to a result which those persons who have spoken to me on the subject have told me they consider a brilliant success." Messrs. Featherston, Julyan, and Sargeant, on the other hand, qualify their admiration. They write :—" The terms upon which this transaction lias been carried out appear to us, indeed, to be exceptionally favourable, when it is considered how recently the previous loan was negotiated, how large is the present operation, and how prejudicial were tho circumstances by which it was surrounded.
At the same time they point out that the fact of rapid and steady depreciation is undoubted. So much for the various opinions upon the loan. Now for one or two upon the prospects of the future in the money market. Sir Julius says thereupon, " I may express the hope that it will be some time before it will be necessary for the Government again to have recourse to the money market, and that by that time New Zealand securities will have very much increased in value." Messrs. Featherston, Julyan and Sargeant arc, however, more positive in their opinion ; they report:—" It appears to us, so far as it is possible to judge of the future, that the Government of New Zealand will act wisely in abstaining from all attempts to place in this market any further loans." Dr. Pollen, on his part, is more sanguine and cheerful than his colleague. He says : —" Jt is to be hoped that with prudence, economy, and mederation in our expectations as to our progress with works, we shall not be under the necessity imposed on us of going into the money market for another loan either this or next year. That will depend, not so much on the Government a3 on the moderation and good sense of the people, who ought to be content to await the gradual and steady development of the policy in future. In future the Government will be able to complete works already authorised with the means already provided, and have no need, except for such new works as were found necessary, to apply for further loans for two years." We do not know that we have done our readers any great service in placing these ideas side by side, certainly not if they have not already made up their minds on the matter themselves; but it is, nevertheless, instructive to read, if in reading we should become a trifle "mixed," the opinions of those who should themselves be the directors of public opinion.
Tub debate upon the Governor's address, it will be seen, goe3 merrily on, and the Government, bo far, have met with little sympathy or support. Objection has been taken to the correspondence upon the loan and its publication, as being anything but conducive to the interests of the colony, and as eontaining expressions of a most objectionable nature. No sympathy is accorded the Governor's remarks upon the state of public works —especially as represented in the railways—and the prevailing opinion appears to be against aDy attempt to carry the abolition scheme, in any shape, this session. Sir George Grey's presence in the House seems to have inspired members with a desire to give utterance to their pent-up feelings, and to express opinions which they must long have held, but had not the moral courage to rid themselves of, with Sir Julius in the House and no foeman worthy of his steel upon the Opposition benches.
It will be seen by a wire message from our special correspondent at Wellington, that at the time the Telegraph-office closed last night Sir George Grey was speaking ably and forcibly, to the fact that the House did not fairly represent the country, as shewn by the Government, to alter the electoral districts, and to extend the franchise. He asked whether, under these circumstances, the Government intended to force constitutional changes this session ? to which Sir Donald McLean said it did. Sir George Grev then proceeded with a scathing attack on Or. l'ollen, Mr. Bowen, and Mr. Russell. Why Mr. Hussell, we must be content to remain in ignorance for the present.
The debate on the address has been prolonged to allow of three heavy pieces of ordnance to be brought up and placed in position. These are Mr. Mac.indrew, Mr. Keid, and Mr. Reader Wood. When these arrive the Opposition will hold a caucus to determine upon the line of action to be pursued. There is a hot fight looming full in view, with old and experienced generals on either side to direct the movements of the contending hosts.
THE New Zealand Herald. SPECTEMUR AGENDO. SATURDAY, JULY 24 1875., New Zealand Herald, Volume XII, Issue 4273, 24 July 1875
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