THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1890.
A portion o£ the Premier's manifesto, which deserves to be recalled to public attention, is that which deals with the preferability of the existing property tax to the land and income tax, which it has at various times been proposed to substitute for it. Beginning with the equities of the case, Sir Harry Atkinson points out that it is difficult to conceive of a fairer principle of taxation than " that a man should pay toll upon " the whole of such wealth as he " actually possesses, and which lie can " leave behind him when he dies." A land tax, pure and simple, is so entirely out of the question, that we need not 3top to discuss the reasons against it. But a land and income tax, the Premier tells us " would fall upon the man of small " means in far greater proportion than " the property tax." This statement is borne out by the inquiries made by the Property Tax Commissioner as to the effect of a Id land tax and a 6d income tax upon ;he large companies. These now jontribute L 75,800 of the property ;ax, but under the above land and Income tax would only pay L 34,000 a fear, or less than half the present imount. It is not likely to be a ■ecommendation of the change that it ,vould throw a considerable burden of axation off a class of absentee pro)rietors who are by no means popular nor profitable to the colony. But n any case no change, however iesirable, is practicable until the evenue from other sources, such as he railways and customs, has improved ■cry considerably. It is evident that rhat with the present difficulty in aaking both ends meet and the further barges that will be cast upon the onsolidated fund next year through lie exhaustion of the loan fund, whatver Government holds office for the ext two or three years will have a cry hard task to avoid demanding dditional taxation. Now, the Proerty Tax department calculate that a enny land tax, or double that which xists in South Australia, would not roduce more than about L 177,000 dthout exemptions, or L 140,000 with he LSOO exemption which was allowed nder Sir George Grey's Land Tax ict and would doubtless be granted gain. An income tax of 6d in the ound on all incomes above LI 50, 'itii an abatement of LI 20 between ,150 and L4OO, would yield L 74,000, laking a total of L 210,000 for the ouble tax, as against L 355,000 from be present property tax, "We need
not here stop to point out how exceedingly unjust would be the incidence of an income tax which made no distinction between incomes from property—what the French conveniently call rentes whether they are derived from land or other property—and incomes from labour, earnings from the use of a man's faculties, which dio with him. No proposal for an income tax of 6d in the pound upon the latter would be tolerable, and therefore the difference between the product of a land and income tax and that of the present property tax would considerably exceed the L 140,000 at which the Property Tax department place it. But that L 140.000 by itself is a bar against any consideration of proposals for a change in the method of direct taxation for the duration of the next Parliament at anyrate. Sir Robert "Stout in his recent speech at Napier acknowledged this very frankly, and he is well known to be an ardent advocate of making the change as soon as it is financially practicable. The estimates obtained from the Property Tax department are valuable as setting at rest a question which hitherto the public have had no means of deciding for themselves upon. To depend upon the word of interested politicians as to the practicability or impracticability of making a certain change is at best very unsatisfactory. Now every elector has before him the means of judging the position for himself.
The notoriety attained by that interesting extravaganza " Looking Backward"—not to mention Sir Julius Vogel's less popular production—has made the prospective year of grace 2000 a familiar matter of thought and imagination. It seems, however, that dippers into the future would do well to post-date the period of their visionary interest by 72 years, and passing by the year 2000, to fix their curious gaze upon the year 2072. Moreover, in varying the object of their attention, they must expect a picture not of joy and plenty, but of perplexity and want. For, according to a talented member of the British Association, the year 2072 will be characterised, not by the inauguration of the " Bellamyllenium," not by tha final extirpation of sin and sorrow, but by the abrupt refusal of Mother Earth to provide room and sustenance for any additional members of her prolific race. The British Association recently held its annual meeting at Leeds, and on September 8 the Geographical and the Economic Science and Statistical Sections combined for the discussion of the subject of the lands of the globe still available for European settlement. The discussion was opened by Mr E. G. Kavenstein, of the Geographical Section, and this gentleman proceeded calmly to unveil the alarming picture at which we have hinted. "He had estimated the " world's population for the present "year to be 1,463,000,000. . . . " He found that the population of the " world every 10 yeiars increased 8 per " cent. . . . The total population
"of the cultivable area would be " 5,850,700,000, and the total number " which the earth could feed was "5,994,000,000 people; and supposing . . . Supposing this earth of ours could sustain 5,994,000,000, "we were improvident enough to " increase 8 per cent, per decade, how " long would it be until the earth was " full 1 He said that number would be " reached in 182 years, and he thought " his estimate was very moderate." Such, according to Mr Ravenstein, is the lively prospect for tlie year 2072— such the fate from which not even the passing of the Legal Practitioners' Bill can save Sir George Grey's unborn millions. It is to be presumed, however, that the notification " Full" will not be posted up in every country at the same time, and here in New Zealand food and room are likely to go further than 2072, unless we have to give admittance to the homeless hungry herds of the congested lands in their day of starvation. Could we refuse such admittance? Would Protection or humanity win the day ? It would be interesting to have Mr William Hutchison's opinion on the prospective dilemma. He is a stern Protectionist, but withal a tender humanitarian, and he has drawn a vivid picture of the future New Zealander consummating life's noble possibilities by eating bread to repletion. In the not very distant day of Mr Ravenstein's vaticination, will it be the duty of the gorged colonist to welcome or to reject the wretched European who is da trop in his own land? And if the latter—if Protection is to cast out mercy—is it not a mistake on Mr Hutchison's part to oppose the defence vote ? But j this by the way. We fear that we j have been seduced into something like levity by the fact that Mr Ravenstein himself dees not appear to have been materially shocked and saddened by his own conclusions. Indeed, his closing words indicate a strange spirit of indifference, not to say callousness : " So far as we ourselves were con- " cerned he did not think we need " make such a tremendous fuss about " it, knowing we would not live to see " the day when there was no more " room on this earth." Apres mot et mon fds le deluge. Yet as the Times says : " Imagination reels under the effort " to realise the gigantic calamity thus " clearly foreshadowed by the opera- " tions of science. The interval may " actually be bridged by a couple of " lives. The babe born this year may " live to see the birth of a grandchild "or great grandchild in 1981, who, " in turn, may live to witness the " birth, in 2073, of one of his de- " scendants, fated to endure either " starvation or a diet of grass. Surely " the most frivolous must pause at " the awful thought that his infant's " grandchild may live to see the world " marked comiilet like a French " omnibus." But one finds afterwards, with a certain sense of relief, that the Times is only chaffing Mr Ravenstein, and thinks that " one or two civili- " sations will follow those that have " preceded them into oblivion before " anything of the kind occurs."
In our supplement this morning will bo found reports of Mr James Smith's speech at Milton, of the annual meeting of the National Insurance Company, the City Council and Anglican Synod meetingp, the Otago University honours list, letters to the editor, some particulars of the Melbourne Cup race, anel other matter.
Rather a sensational incident took place at a Druids' fancy dress ball at Auckland yesterday morning. Peter Mackie, one of the M.O'c, represented Stanley, and had a revolver in his belt. While dancing his partner took the revolver and snapper? the trigger, when the revolver, which proved to have been loaded, went off, shooting the Bkin off the end of Maclde's nose. The girl fell down in a dead faint. Mackie was not much hurt. He had borrowed the royolver for the ball, and had not
The Hon. G. F. Richardson left Wellington for the South yesterday afternoon. The Premier and tho Attorney-general are now the only Ministers remaining in Wellington.
Tho annual meeting of the National Insurance Company was held yesterday afternoon, Mr J. M. Ritchie (chairman of directors) presiding. After the chairman had explained the more important items in the balance sheet, a lengthy discussion took place, in the course of which two or three shareholders animadverted somewhat strongly upon the conduct of the company's business, and an amendment was submitted, the purport of which was thatiusteud of carrying forward the balance recommended in the roport, a cum should bo appropriated to the payment of a bonus of 6d per sh<reThis was resisted by the directors, and though the voices of the meeting were in favour of the proposal, it was recognised that the proxies held by the directors would turn the scale upon a vote by shares being taken, and tho amendment was, after some heated discusEion, withdrawn, the mover of it declaring his intention to revive the subject at an extraordinary meeting, which it was intended to requisition the directors to convene. The retiring directors—the Hon. W. J. M. Larnach, Meßsrs R. Wilson and A. Burt—were re-elected, and the retiring auditors wera also reappointed.
About 11 o'clock last night an elderly woman named Mrs Annie Bell, residing at Pine Hill, was so seriously injured by her clothes catching fire that her life is despaired of. It appears that she had dropped off to sleep in a chair at tho fireside, when a burning log of wood fell from the fireplace, setting fire to her clothes. Before she could obtain the assistance of her son, William Bell, she was very severely burned about the legs and body. She was attended to by Dr Hacpherson, who dressed the wounds, but he holds out no hopes of her recovery.
The Land Board yesterday considered reports on applications for revaluation of lands in the following districts: —Kurow, Domett, Maerewhenua, Benger, Dtmbacb, Hummockside, Glenomaru, Naseby, Glenkenich, Strath-Taieri, Tuapeka West, Maniototo, Poolbura, Blackstone, Lauder, Waikouaiti, Moeraki, Otepopo, Highlay, Swiuburn, Tiger Hill, Sutton, Gimmerburn, and Leaning Rock. It was decided that notices be sent to the various applicants to the effect that the board would be prepared to hear objections to the ranger's valuations on the 18th of December.
Our Auckland correspondent telegraphs:— " At the soiree of the Helping Hand Mission it wao resolved to start a rescue movement for tho fallen women of the city, and £40 were subscribed in the room. Attempts will be again made to get the Provincial Government voto of £200 given 20 years ago, and held in trust by Mr H. Lusk, now of Sydney, also the £1000 hung up in the Supreme Oourt by a decision of the late Mr Justice Gillies, the initial fund of whioh was collected by tha Rev. J. H. Crawford 20 j ears ago, but, through legal and other difficulties, is still unutilised."
We are requested to call attention to the meeting of the London Missionary Society, to be held this evening in the North Dunedin Presbyterian Church at 8 o'clock, when the Kmiuent missionary and explorer, Captain Hore, F.R.G.S., from Kavala Island, Lake Tanganyika, Africa, will address the meetingThi* ground has been rendered famous by the explorations of Stanley and others, and doubtless much interesting information will be given. Owing to the late arrival of tho steamer, the meeting at St. Andrew's last night had to be unavoidably postponed. I very much regret to hear (says a writer in the European Mail) that Sir Walter Bnller has met with a loss which cannot, I fear, be replaced, for, iv the chip Assaye, which has been posted at Lloyd's as "missing," was shipped Sir Walter's very valuable New Zealand library— the accumulation of 30 years' careful selection. Besides thie, there was his most interesting collection of natural history and ethnological specimens. Everyone, I am well assured, will sympathise with Sir Walter, who was always bo liberal in placing hia collection and services at the disposal of those interested in the cause of science. The following extract from the Melbourne Evening Herald of the 28th ult., we understand, j refers to Mr T. E. Weldon :—" A cure of a remarkable character has been effected recently at tha Alfred Hospital. A gentleman, who for many years occupied an official position in New Zealand, camo to Melbourne some timo back in a very bad state ot health. Ho gradually grew worse, and became a paying patient in the abovenamed hospital. His symptoms were those of extreme debility and paralysis, and ib was b.liavcd that microbes were destroyirg the corpuscles of the blood, thus causing the syrnp. tjms referred to. The disease he suffered from is anosmia, or extreme poverty of the blood. He wp.s dosrd with strychnine and arsenic, with tho result that the microbes were destroyed, and the p&tient gradually restored to health. Hn left the hospital a few days since. The cure ia considered by those who understand such matters to bo an extraordinary one."
Tha anniversary of the Kew Primitive Methodist Sunday School was held on Sunday, when services were conducted in the morning by Mr A.S.Adams; afternoon, Key. D. Dutton; and evening, Rev. J. Sharp. The congregations and collections were in advance of last year. At the public meeting on Tuesday evening Mr B. Turlcy presided, and there was a large attendance of children and their friends to witness tho distribution of prizes for regular attendance. The report showed that the number of scholars o:i the roll was 131, the average attendanco 03 a<id the number of teachers 15. Ths receipts amounted to £26 5a 33, and the expenditure to £14 9i 4.1, leaving a balance in hand of £11 153 lid. The Rev. J. Sharp, in his address, stated tbr.t in ths connection at Home and iv the Australasian colonies there were 4231 Sabbath school?, 61,727 teachers, and 431,868 scholars. Mr T. Woods also addressed those present. The, children sang a number of hymns, Miss Turley presiding at the harmonium.
The cantata " The Hermit'a Cell" was repeated last night at the City Hall to an audience which crowded the hall to the doors. This was duo partly to the merits of the previous performance, and partly to tho object for which the proceeds were destined, it being understood they wore in aid of the Prisoners and Patients' Aid Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Tho characters were Bustaiced by their former representatives, and with the same euccccs as on the previous representation of the cantata. Iv addition to the cantata thero was added a miscellaneous progriuime of songs, &c. The Rev. Dr Stuart presided, and the usual compliments to those who took part in the performance brought to a oli>se a highly successful entertainment.
Mr Haikett Dawson has obtained honours ui'on tha result of the year's examination in la.v at the University of Melbourne. There were 50 competitors, and he slone obtained hoaonrß in four subjects. Tho exhibition for proiiuency iv Roman law and consiitutional law aud legal history has also been awarded to him. H^ will be called to the Victorian bar next ytar.
Another performance was given at the Princess Theatre last night by the Harvey Brothers' variety company. The minstrelsy with which th:; performance commenced, and the subsequent Bongs and negro and Irish comicalities wire much appreciated by the audience, who heartily applauded the various perfoimers. A special feature of the entertainment was the operatic singing by Mra Cunard, who obtained a very warm reception. Tho Harvey Brothers alto created a considerable amount of amusement by their delineation of Irish character. Tonight there will be another change of programme, embracing a new and original farce, entitled "The Foiled Mashers," which wsb played by the company at the Gaiety Theatre, Sydney, last July. The season terminates tomorrow evening.
Shareholders in the Duncdln Amateur Ground Company are reminded of the general meeting at Hi's Criterion Hotel this afternoon at 5 o'clock. Dividend warrants are now obtainable by shareholders in the National Insurance Company. Messrs B.C. Reynolds and Co. .hold a clearing sale of pictures st their rooms on Monday. Theextraordinary meeting of the Walpapa Creek Gold Mining Company convened for next Wednesday has bean postponed till the following Friday. We have received from Messrs Lvon and Blair, Wellington, a pamphlet by Mr John Gammell, B.A , entitled, " An Inquiry into Origin of the Pentateuch, or the Pentateuch of po«t-eaptivity date." It will be remembered that Mr Gammell gave a series of lectures on this mbject in Dunedin, and these having been revised are now presented to the publics in pamphlet form. Mr George Sumpter, per Mr R. Davles, sells a farm at Waiareka on November 22. Messrs Wright, Stephenson, md Co. Bell the trotting mare Miss Nettie on Saturday. jlr U. M. Speeding sells English furniture on Tuesday, at his rooms. John Hblop, Watchmaker and Jeweller, 74 Princes street. The oldest established house la town. Repairs of all kinds, Good assortment Watches, Olookn. ana Jewellery.' Spcctaolss to suit all Blght».-[AB7T.J ' '
Money can be obtained from R. Francis, Octagon (next Aihonieam). Repaid weekly, monthly.—[Adv.] Unionists and free labour advocates! re agreed on one matter - i.e., that the beßt nerve soother ii a Purity Cigarette.—[Abvt.]; See G, and T. Young's stock of watches, docks, jewellery, sterling diver and electroplated goods. Five first-olaoa awards received N.Z. and B.S. Kxhibition 1889 90, Prices strictly moderate. Largest and finest stock in N.Z. to select "from,—[Advt.]
By special appointment to his Excellency the Governor Lord Unelow for premier quality Aerated Waters and Cordials.—" Of other Sodawaters that
have come under our notice, and take a very high place in Australasia, we would be remiss if we did
not mention that of Messrs Thomson and Co., of Dunedln."— " Australian Brewers' Journal," 1890.— Thomson and Co.. Orjstal Springs Mineral Waters Works, Dunedln.-fAuTT.]