(Fkom Our Own Corhespondent.) LONDON, April 14. Bad hick has accompanied the. shipment of frozen trout sent by the.Waitaki and "Waimate Acclimatisation Societies to the "West-, minster Aquarium from the start. First of all, they arrived 100 late for the opening of the Fisheries Exhibition.'. At-the'end of last week they put in an appearance, to arouse great interest among fish folk. Embedded in ice, unfortunately, too many fish were placed in each block, and between the time, of closing on Saturday night and opening on Monday the ice disappeared and the fish could riot be kept, and were distributed' among the employees -at the Aqiiarium. Luckily, the fish were seen on Saturday by a number of gentlemen interested in angling," and -the exhibit was pronounced of great, interest as allowing the typo to which English trout tend when placed in New Zealand waters,, most of the experts declaring- that the fish were certainly partaking more of the characteristics of sal-. mon. One specimen, in fact, was held to be m a state of transition from'the trout to the salmon, one disciple of Isaac-Walton declaring that a process of evolution was apparent, due to long residence in' New Zealand waters, though such evolution would''riot take place in England. It is a pity that the fish could not have been kept long enough to allow of extended scientific opinion being obtained, on the point. . • ■..- ■ Vital statistics from the colonies have called attention to themsplves by the somewhat remarkable movements of colonial populations, though, on the whole, Ihe-re'sults of-1£93 seem satisfactory. Canada in particular is.said to' have cause for rejoicing. In Australasia, New Zealand, with 783,000 of population, is a bad third. "On the whole, looking back over the' period of _seven years, which takes us back to the collapse of the Melbourne boom, we find that since-then "Victoria, South Australia, and .Tasmania, have remained 'non-progressive —the first actually, the two. others relatively," says the Daily News. "Ou the' other hand.. Queensland and New .South Wales, despite droughts, bad prices, and bank panics, have continued to move forward. New Zealand has, likewise, made very'fair progress, and West Australia's advance has been remarkable." . .' ; '; ■ - ■ '" One-living, however, which gives the Australasians, in general, and thevNcw.Zealanders in particular, food for reflection and controversy is the relentless decline i» their birth rate,'" proceeds the same journal. ■ "This has not only been surprising in' the matter of rapidity, but has now reached-a figure which leaves at least one of the.colonies superior only to France and. Ireland in the table of the vital statistics of the nations. This is New Zealand, the birth rate of which is noV as low as 25.74. New Zealand, however, can afford this better llian other 'countries—thanks to her peculiar death rate, which still stands at 9 and 10 per thousand rand only varies by the smallest fraction. The fall in the birth rate during the last decade see'rn's to have been aetually greatest in South:Australia, but in nearly al! the southern colonies it has been significant, and the downward'process is still goinf; on." — ..-...- ---"No belter horse than Aurum was ever bred in Australia or New Zealand,"' is the. comment of well-known sporting'writers, who think he was as great a favourite on antipodean racecourses as Carbine. . , There' was little of special interest to New Zealanders at the twentieth annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Mortgage Company, held on Monday last, at the Cannon street Hotel. The report and. accounts to the 31st December, 1893, showed "ft" balance to the debit of profit-and loss account of £4-748. A sum: of £4500 had. been transferred to the credit of this account from the reserve fund, making, with a balance of £297 brought forward from last account, an "amount of £4797 to meet the deficiency above alluded to, and allowing £48 to be carried forward. The report added that while in most districts of Australia good rain? had been reported, it uas feared that portions of New South-Wales and Queensland still suffered from drought.; Mr Arthur Flower,, who presided at the meeting, In moving the adoption of the reports, etc., compared tho deficiency of £4700 with that of £13,000 at the end of £1897. That comparison, he thought, o'ffered grounds for encouragement. . Bright anticipations had riot been realised—that .was due to the drought,' particularly .experienced in .Queensland, arid, the tick plague ; and he gave several instances of loss -.vhich made the conditions' of New Zealand stand out boldly'in relief. It was hoped, Mr Flower said, that before long the value of money in Australasia' would improve, and so enable satisfactory investments to be made, in the meantime. the company had, ample funds for all requirements; but as there was no immediate-prospect;of-employment'of. it in the colonies they were not at present either accepting or renewing debentures or 'debenture slock. The report and balance sheet were adopted, arid hearty'votes of-thanka were aeorded the chairman,' directors, and officials. •".■.— ■ Mr John Masterton has written to the Globa in reference to the reported acquisition of the Tongau group by Britain, his/view being, perhaps, best summed up in, \liis own sentencethat if the islands " must be filched from their native owners, England, in her own interests; should.be the thief" Though not for a moment disagreeing with Mr Masterton, one ,can hardly help feeling amused at his way of putting things. He speaks of our missionary work in the. group, which dias. turned " the mosi, dreaded warriors of ; the Pacific " into! gentle, lovable, helpless, harmless, and purposeless people"—in short, "sheep," .whom we have '-'for' a long time shepherded." Cynically-minded critics may be inclined to think of the saying which relates to giving the savages a prospective interest in Paradise and, taking his, potato patch"iii the present, world. .. : : ■ i. ■.;.■ XTrgency of action on the part of the Horns Government in settling ■ the problem of the Pacific is warmly, advocated by a writer in the Saturday Review, who utters a warning that it is " not safe to'count upon the honeyed professions of American senators." With "Hawaii annexed, the Philippines nominally theirs, and sufficient ambition in Samoa to palliate bombardment, the United States have covered a great deal of water, and may easily come to extend the Monroe Doctrine over another quarter of the globe," which means that they "may menace the "Australasian* as well as the Canadian frontier.. In the opinion of tho writer of-4-he article, the representations of New Zealand and Australia in the past have not received the consideration they deserve, or that is due.to the loyalty shown by "our great and prosperous colonies" at the antipodes. Axvstralia and New Zealand "must be' the natural, coadjutors" of Britain in this Imperial task. • Antarctic exploration is looked upon by the Pall Mall Gazette as likely to lead to a revival of whaling in the southern seas. A special article, in a recent issue, is devoted to the subject, and it is urged that now Mr. Long-staff's munificent gift has assured the setting out of the Royal-, Geographical Society's expedition, whaling men, either .from Tasmania, or America, should accompany it to report fully upon tho whales seen. It is urged that a good ground for both oil and bone remains uuexploited. Lord Russell, of Killoweu, has introduced a bill into the House of Lords for dealing with? secret commissions. Good effects are anticipated from this bill in the way of purifying the commercial air. Some yeotile see no harm in a man taking a commission. There would be none if his principal knew of it. ' But then there would be no "secret." j£The system, however, is deeply rooted here, and I have more than a suspicion that NewZealand producers suffer because of it. .1 cannot, of course, mention names, but I know of cases where men, who have set their faqes against the giving of commissions, tips, or bribes to buyers who are employees, have found it impossible to do any business with them. Truth " will out" in the end, though perhaps the only safe place in which to speak it is within the walls of Parliament. Whilst.-the Australian cricketers are' touring in England this summer, a team of Rugby football players from the British Iries will visit the Antipodes, under the leadership of the Rev. M. Mullineaux, the well-known Kent player. The team is not by any means representative; of the strength "of British football, although it includes seven international players in Messrs E. F. Fookes, G. R. Gibson, and F. M. Stout (England), G. P. Doran, T. W. M'Gown, and W. G. Byron (Ireland), and E. G. Nichols (Wales). 'The absence of Mr J. F. Byrne, the English full back, who was expected to join the party, will weaken the defence.. The tourists will leave London on May. 10 to catch the P. and O. s.s. Oceana at Marseilles the following day. and they will open their list of matches at- Sydney on Saturday, June 17. On Monday the four" carcases which , had been branded "New Zealand " by the newlyinvented appliance which I described two months ago, and which have ever since been in (ho freeling ■ chambers at Nelson's wharf, ■\\ ere brought out. and they have been hanging at Smithfield all the 'week. Mr H. C. Cameron is of opinion that the experiment is the laosfc successful he has seen, and that, given a neat and ornamental brand, no difficulty need 1)0 raised in respect'to marking. The inventor claims that the brand, remains on - the meal, even after cooking, if that be so, nothing could be more effective. There are those, however, who hold that branding of any description would be a mistake.
— Beef is never seen at a Chinese table. Oxen capable of working the plough are considered to be too valuable to the farmer to be consigned to the butcher. •Reserve your orders for Flowering Bulbs until you see Nuuto and Blaik's Price List ot Aow Zealand-grown Bulbs, issued in February, and forwarded iiost free to intending purchasers,