(From Our Own Correspondent.) Edinburgh, April 13. AUSTRALIAN BANK FAILURES.
In this city, at any rate, the event which has. awakened most interest during the month has been the suspension of the Commercial Bank of Australia. For some years that concern enjoyed an exceptional amount 0* confidence and support in Scotland, so that its deposits on this side of the Tweed came to be counted by millions sterling. For a year past the failures and disclosures in Melbourne banking had steadily been shaking this confidence, and the transfer of £300,000 from the reserve fund to a suspense account by the Commercial Bank of Australia some five month 3 ago, confirmed many in their misgivings. Many deposits were withdrawn, and at the coming term in May these withdrawals would have be3n very largely increased. In Elinburgh alone, when the bank suspended, its deposits amounted to £1,952,860. The amount deposited in Glasgow has not been made known. One paper estimated it at another million. The number of shareholders in Soot land is about 65, and they occupy, for tbe most part, very respectable positions in society. Among them there are a number of lawyers. Tne Rev. Dr Cameron Lees, minister of St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, is also one of them. A good many ladies figure in the list. One Edinburgh depositor, who lodged his money on the day of the failure, had it returned to him, as the suspension was officially announced within business hours that day. At meetings of the Scottish shareholders and depositors held in Edinburgh yesterday, there was a very large attendance, and fche reconstruction scheme ■was adopted, after certain points had been keenly criticised, and suggestions made with a view to safeguarding the interests of the depositors. The announcement to-day of the English, Scottish, and Australian Chartered Bank has revived and intensified the feeling of panic •with respect to Australian banking. The Scotsman, in a leading article, declares that "further suspensions are inevitable," and Bays "it is desirable that the weak banks should confess their weakness and their inability to carry on the struggle any longer, so that there may be a clearing up as fast as may be." It seems certain that the withdrawals of deposits from all but two or three of the oldest and strongest banks will continue, as the faith of the British investing public in ths smaller concerns is now thoroughly shaken. The bank which has just suspended had only some £850,000 in British 'deposits, and the proportion of this total received from Scotland is not yet known with accuracy. The present Edinburgh agents have only been acting in that capacity for four months, and during that time the total amount received by them on deposit has been only £14,000, in sums varying from £100 to £3000. A SCOTTISH SPENDTHRIFT. The papers have teemed with paragraphs illustrating the inglorious career of Mr George Alexander Baird, better known by his sporting cognomen of "Mr Abington." He died of a chill caught while watching a prize fight at New Orleans, and his body* was brought to Scotland, and interred at his birthplace, Stitchel, near Kelso. He succeeded to a great portion of the wealth of the Bairds, the Scottish iron kiDgs, and it is said that his income was at one time as ncuch as a quarter of a million a year. He early showed great moral obliquity, and his wealth combined with his natural disposition to lead him into all kinds of low practices. His career at Eton terminated abruptly, and before he wag of age he fell under the ban of the Jockey Club. Racing and pugilism became his favourite pastimes, and he achieved distinction (save the mark 1) as a gentleman rider. He also bought and fitted up a yacht at a cost of L 37.000, and then presented it to an actress. His morals were of the worst description. One fashionable beauty, who had ministered to his evil tendencies, he struck while he was in a drunken rage, breaking her jaw, but she got L 50.000 out of him by way of compensation. In "scores of instances" he gave sums varying from L2O to LSO to persons o/er whom he had thrown a brandy-and-soda, or whose hats he had knocked over their eyes in a drunken revel. One day he bought a hack at Newmarket for 700gs, and on its proving re3tless when pulled up next day, he told his groom to take ib out of the yard and to give it to the first constable he met. The " set " who throve upon him kept a close watch upon his movements, and manipulated his weak and wayward character so as to make him virtually their puppet. Now he has gone at the early age of 31, and respectable people, while pitying bira, rejoice that the moral atmosphere is purer by his death. Much curiosity is felt as to how much of his enormous wealth remains unsquandered. By his will, his estate is bequeathed to his mother and to certain cousins. THE CHURCHES AND HOME RULE. A new political movement has suddenly sprung into being in Scotland since I last wrote. The Rev. John Kelman, a muchrespected Free Church minister in Leith, wrote a letter to the Scotsman urging his brother ministers and church members to declare their sympathy with their Presbyterian brethren in Ulster, and to place religious above political considerations. The suggestion was taken up with surprising alacrity by man} Free Church ministers, including the present Moderator of Assembly, Dr Blaikie. An organisation is being formed to lead to concerted action, and public meetings in furtherance of the ends in view are about to be held in Edinburgh and elsewhere. The United Presbyterian Church has followed suit, and at a public meeting of its ministers, office-bearers, and members, held two days ago, a resolution denouncing the Home Rule Bill was adopted. These movements will grow, and are certain to have an important influence upon the next general election. The Established Church has not as yet moved in the matter ; but it is so busily fighting for its own existence that its forgetfulness of the dangers which menace Protestants in Ireland can at least be understood. THE BANK OF SCOTLAND. At the annual meeting of the shareholders of this bank, held in Edinburgh on the 4th
inst., the net profits on the past year's transactions were stated to be L 170.225, and a dividend was declared of 12 per cent, with a bonus of 1 per cent. This is 1 per cent, more than the dividend and bonus declared a year ago. A balance of L 24.707 was carried forward. Notwithstanding the increased dividend, the year's profits were L9GO2 less than ia 1891, a resalt which the directors' report ascribed to the state of the money market and the general dulness of business. The bank's liabilities in respect of deposit and current accounts are set down at L 14,726,78 2; and in respect to nots circulation at L 903.149. As compared with the preceding year, these totals exhibit docreases of L42B,G39and L 30 ,682 respectively. The bank's reserve fund remains at its former figure of LBOO.OOO. TELEPHONING FROM G' ASGOW TO BELFAST. A telephone wire 145 miles in length has just been fixed between the post offices of Glasgow and Belfast. Bstwesn Portpatrick and Donaghadee it is carried under the sea in a cable insulated with guttapercha and lined with brass libbon to protect it from the attacks of the teredo, a creature which seems to be particularly active in that locality. Th 3 cable weighs about 13 tons to the knot, and the land wire, which is carried overhead, 8001b to the mile. Sir John Burns was the first speaker between the two cities on the sth inst. Repeated experiments since then have shown that voices in Belfast can be heard even more distinctly than those uttered in other parts of Glasgow on the ordinary telephone wires. This being the case, the new line is certain to be extensively use as soon as it is opened to the public. The cabins are of the most elegant description; and by an automatic arrangement as soon as an operator takes his seat the cabin is lit up by electricity, and the connection made with the switchroom. MURDER IN GLASGOW. Another, murderous affair has been added to the somewhat numerous lists of such occurrences in Glasgow during the last year or so. It seems that one Thomas Gemmell, a restaurateur, carrying on his business in tbe Oandleriggs, reached his home at 34 Paterson street, Kingston, about 11 p.m. on the sth inst., accompanied by a young man, who was afterwards identified as James W. Rodger, publican, 58 King street, Ruther^len. Both had been drinking, and after supper and more drink, they retired to bed, but began to quarrel, and made such a noise that a neighbour called in the police, who declined to interfere unless the neighbour would lodge a charge against Gemmell, which he refused to do. About 3 a.m. shots were heard, and Gemmell was seßn shouting " Police 1 Murder 1 " through a broken pane of the window. Two constables entered and apprehended him, while he was raving like a madman. A large revolver, with all its six chambers discharged, was found lying on the floor, while Rodger was found dead, with a bullet wound through his head, anil severdl others in his body. Gemmell voluntarily confessed that he and Rodger having quarrelled, he took the revolver from its accustomed placo under his pillow, and shot his companion. It is stated that Gemmell still suffered from the effects of -a sunstroke which he received some years ago when on a tea plantation in Ceylon. About a year ago he divorced his wife, and since then had been giving way to drink. REBUILDING GLASGOW BRIDGE. Many in far-off lands will hear with a feeling akin to that of bereavement that the Broomielaw bridge is to be pulled down and rebuilt. It was erected in the early part of the century from designs by the celebrated engineer Telford. Of late years it had become too narrow for the vastly increased traffic which passes over it, while its foundations were endanged by the dredging of the river. It was at first proposed to widen the bridge and strengthen its foundations by under-building, but it was finally resolved to rebuild it altogether. To accommodate the traffic while the bridge is being rebuilt a temporary wooden bridge is in course of construction close by. It is on the cantilever principle adopted in the Forth bridge, and is to cost L 14.000. It is expected to be ready for use about the end of July, and as soon as it is completed the demolition of the old bridge will begin. A similar course of procedure was adopted during the rebuilding of Blackfriars bridge, London, some 28 years ago. "-' ARRAN AND THE OROFTEBS ACT. Dr Cameron's action in introducing a bill into the House of Commons for extending tbe Crofters Act to Arran has caused much alarm in that island, and the more so as at the same time a firm of Glasgow architects began to survey ground for feping purposes. A petition against the bill was at once got up and widely signed, in which it was stated that the extension of the Crofters Act to Arran would have the effect of severing the feelings of personal regard and friendship which have always subsisted between the Duke of Hamilton and the crofters aud other inhabitants of Arran. Hitherto the said inhabitants have eDJoyed a golden monopoly in regard to house accommodation, as the duke would not allow houses to be built for the recaption of visitors, so that the natives could fleece strangers handsomely. But if his Grace, in a fit of anger or cupidity, should sanction the building of villas and hotels on the island, nobody will submit any more to the primitive accommodation and highly civilised charges at present in existence, and the natives will find themselves swept away by the inrush of strangers. Hence their tears. A STRANGE POSTAL SERVICE. Though the curious little island of St. Kilda forms one of the British Islands, it is more isolated in regard to postal matters than many groups in the South Seas. Durt ing the winter months there is no communication whatever with the island. The other day, however, a crof fcer in North Uist saw a buoy floating near the shore, and on securing it found painted on it the words, "To be opened." Obeying the request, he found the buoy contained five^ letters, together with 5d in coppers and a nole, dated from St. Kilda, asking that the finder would post the missives at the nearest post office, which be promptly did. The letters were addressed to various persons in Skye and Glasgow. From the date of the note, it appeared that the waves had taken a little over a week to wash I the buoy from St. Kilda to the spot where it was found — the distance being rather more than 60 miles.
A very well-known citizen of Edinburgh, Major-general Anderson.'C.B., died on March 23, after 10 days' illness. He entered the Royal Artillery in 1840, and saw a great deal of active service in China and the Crimea, as well as in India during the mutiny. He commanded the Horse Artillery at Lucknow under Sir Colin Campbell, and gained great credit both there; and in an action near Cawnpore, where he routed a large attacking force. He retired from the army in 1871, bat took an active part in public matters in Edinburgh up to his death, especially in connection with the volunteers and philanthropic organisations. At his funeral, 300 of the police forca marched in front of hi 3 coffin.
Another highly-ssteemed officer, also resident in Edinburgh, has passed away, in tbe person of Colonel A. G. Young, who died on March 29, aged 77. He went out to India in 1832, and afterwards joined the Madras army, serving with a native infantry regiment till his retirement in 1861. In this city he gave an active and much- valued support to religious and charitable woik of many kind 3. He was for six years foreign mission secretary of the Free Church, and also at one time president of the National Bible Society of Scotland.
Mr John Bartholomew the well known map maker of Edinburgh, died "on March 30 in London, whither he had gone for medical treatment. He was born in 1831, and began map-drawiag at an early ag?, studying for a time under Dr Peterrnann in London. In 1856 he returned to Edinburgh, where he built up a reputation for thorough and skilful work in his calling. Altogether he published some thousands of map plates fro m which hundreds of millions of impressions have been printed. He leaves a widow (his second wife), two sons, and seven daughters. Of late years the business has been managed by his elder son. An historical peraonage has just passed away in Mr William Stronacb, of Ardmeallie, Banffshire, who died on April 5; aged 97. Mr Stronach was one of the central figures in the dispute at Marnoch which ended in the formation of the Free Church, whose jubilee is to be celebrated nexb month. In June IS9I the jubilee of the fir^t Free Church— at Aberchirder— was commemorated, its foundation stone having been laid 50 years before by Mr Stronach. A touching scene took place on the occasion, Principal Brown, of Aberdeen, the oldest minister of the Free Church, embracing Mr Stronacb, its oldest eldrr. On behalf of the nonagenarian, Principal Rainy bade the congregation goodbye for this lite. The scene will live in the history of the church. The Rev. Dr Thomas Brown, of the Djan Free Chucb, Edinburgh, died on April 4, aged 82. He was ordained to the paiish of Kinneff, Kincardinesbire, in 1837, his presentation to that charge being the first document signed by Queen Victoria on her accession to the throne. Mr Brown " came out " at the Disruption, but founded a new congregation at Kinneff. In 1849 he was settled in Edinburgh in the charge which he held up to his death. He was an unobtrusive man, and besides being an efficient minister, wrote on various theological, literary, and scientific subjects. His memory will live as the author of the standard work entitled " The Annals of the Disruption." Mr Brown received the honorary degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University in 1888, and in 1890 he was moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church.
The deaths are also announced of the Rev. Dr Milne, parish minister of Ardler, Forf arshire, and Mr John MartiD, principal clerk in the Second Division of the Court of Session, Edinburgh. s
The R f ght Hon. Sir R. W. Duff was entertained by his Fetteresso tenantry at a banquet at Stonehaven on April 1, when he was presented with an illuminated address in a silver casket congratulating him on his appointment to the Governorship of New South Wales.
Sir James Ferguson, of Kilkerran, M P., your ex-Governor, was married in London on April 5 to the widow of the late Mr Charles Hugh Hoare. Tne personal estates of the following deceased persons have been sworn at the totals placed after their respective names :— Mr Thomas Nelson, publisher, Edinburgh, £630,000 ; the Duke of Sutherland, £298,625 ; Mr William Maclean, C. A., 10 Somerset place, Glasgow, £88,305 ; LordElphinstone, £72,575 ; Mr J. A. CJark, thread manufacturer, Anchor Mills, Paisley, £69,672.
Mr Charles Mitchell, Newcastle - uponTyne, who lately gave £13,000 towards the extension of Marischal College, Aberdeen, has given £7000 more towards the same object. The money is intended specially to build a graduation hall and students' unioD. After due deliberation, the House Committee of the City Poorhouse, Glasgow, has decided to supply pocket-handkerchiefs to any of the inmates who may wish for them, subject to the discretion of the governor and the matron.
A young minister in the suburbs of Glasgow, being anxious that one of his congregation should get to a week-night service, stayed in for her and looked after her six children while she went to the church. One would like to know if he is willing to repeat the exchange.
The number of deaconesses in the Obmch of Scotland is increasing steadily, the sixteenth having just been ordained at Dumfries.
At a meeting of the Free Presbytery of Lockerbie last week, the Roy. W. Howie, Ecclefechan, said that he had not sent in a report on religion and morals, because there was neither religion normorals in his district-. 16 has been noted as a sign of dull times that at Burntisland, a town with GOOO inbabit.intp, there was only one marriage during the first three months of this year. The Rev. George Davidson of Free St. Mary's Church, one of the best preachers in Edinburgh, is about to sail for Australia and New Zealand to recruit his health.
A Glasgow shoemaker exhibits the following notico in his shop :— " Shews maid and mendead hear." Probably ho has stuck too close to his last to have mastered the spelling book. The destitution in Harris is reported to be assuming an alarming aspect. The Medical Oilicer for Health for the county of luverness avers that unless measures are promptly
taken to prevent it there will be a serious famine.
It is stated that Lord Tweedmouth intends in August next to sell off his herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle at Guisachan, the reputation of which is world-wide.
A panic was caused a few days ago in a school at Overton, Greenock, owing to nearly 20 little girls falling on the floor in a fainting condition. All were got out and speedily recovered. They had been overcome by fumes issuing from the fireplace.
The Rev. I)r Simon, principal of the Theological Hall of the Scottish CoDgregationalists, in Edinburgh, has accepted the principakhip of the Yorkshire United Independent College, Bradford. A Perth inspector of police, named Buist, daring his 21 jears of service there, has saved 15 persons from drowning, and prevented as many more from committing suicide by poisoning and in other ways.
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SCOTLAND., Otago Witness, Issue 2051, 15 June 1893
SCOTLAND. Otago Witness, Issue 2051, 15 June 1893
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