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SCOTLAND., Otago Witness, Issue 2481, 2 October 1901
(Fitou Otth Own Cobbesfoxdekt.) EDINBURGH, August 8, THE SEASON.
July has been an altogether exceptional month this year, having been characterised by very great heat, with drought in some parts, though in both respects Scotland has fared better than England. Thunderstorms have been very common, but happily have not been severe. August has come in. with a thorough change to cold, blustering weather. The fruit crop hai been a very large one this year, but the drought lowered prices through damaging the quality of the fruit. This has been specially the case in the Blairgowrie district, where fruit-growing is carried on upon a large scale, as much as 200 tons of strawberries and raspberries being despatched thence in a single week. , Lptterly the fruit has been left to rot unpicked, or the public have been invited to help themselves to it. The honey harvest in the same district is one of the heaviest on record, which is attributed to the immense area now xmder fruit, and to an unusually fine yield of clover this season.
Harvest has now begun in East Lothian, and promises to be general very ooon. The quality of wheat and oats is reported to be good, but the straw will be poor, owing to the drought. Barley is the best cereal crop this year. The hay crop is below the average as to quantity, but has been secured in excellent condition. Potatoes promise well, now that the drought seems to have broken. Turnips are in a rather critical condition, owing to an outbreak of finger and toe and the ravages of the diamond back moth. To combat the latter pest fvpraying with paraffin hag been largely rceortad to by the farmers between the Forth and Tweed, as well as by their confreres in Northumberland and Cumberland. Owing to the scarcity of pasture and the uncertain prospects of the turnip crop, the prices of lambs have fallen greatly at the large sales held at this time as usual, and those of store cattle have alco fallen considerably. Shooting prospects are reported to be of the best. Grouse are plentiful and healthy, with very few traces of disease, and partridges and pheasants are doing splendidly. Deer are numerous and in the best condition; and the same applies to black game, hares, and rabbits. All these creatures have benefited by the partial respite afforded them through co many sportsmen being absent in South Africa. The East Coast herring fishing is doing well, last week's catches in particular being enormous. At the important post of Fraserburgh the catch is four times as great as it was at the same date last year.
Edinburgh has rejoiced greatly in the winning of the King's Prize at Bisley by Lance-corporal Ommundsen, who is the fourth member of the Queen's Edinburgh Rifle Brigade to win this coveted honour. He is 24 years of age, and a law clerk in this city. He is of Scandinavian exfraction, but was born in Edinburgh. Unhappily, his father died two days after his success, of which he was not well enough to be informed. On this account the son did not receive a public welcome on his return.
Some stir has been caused by the bowling championship of Edinburgh and Leith having been won by the Rev. A. M. Smith, minister of Bruntsfield United Free Church. Edinburgh. In accepting the trophy, Mr Smith said he was neither afraid nor ashamed to confess himself fond of bowling. He had played it for 20 years without, he believed, derogating from his manhood or his ministry, and he had seen very little to deplore. It was a game singularly free from drinking, and he hoped that would become even less and less as time went on. I may add that it is well known that John Knox and many of the Puritans were fond of a game at bowls.
THE PATTISON TRIAL.
The trial of Robert P. Pattison and Walter G. G. Pattison on four charges of fraud and embezzlement in connection with the great whisky concern known as Pattisons (Limited) came to a close on July 17. The jury found Robert Pattison guilty under all the four counts, and his brother guilty under two of them. The iudge (the Lord Justice-general, the Right Hon. J. B. Baifour), in a few words, sentenced Robert Pattison to 18 months' imprisonment, "and Walter to imprisonment for half that period. Universal dissatisfaction is felt with the leniency of these sentences, which are contrasted with the far heavier punishments often given to some petty pilferer. As the Scotsman said in a leader, "it has been a sordid business." The company was floated in 1896, and for two years it paid large dividends. Nine months later it collapsed, and thus far has only been able to pay 8s in the pound to its creditors An examination of the books revealed a number of fraudulent entries, for which Robert Pattison was responsible, and by which the public were swindled to the tune of a good many thousand pounds. The other matter for which he was found solely responsible has excited come amusement. A quantity of raw Irish whisky of poor quality, worth ll£d per gallon, was removed from one side of the warehouse to the other, and blended with a email percentage of Scotch whisky at 2s 2d to 4s 4d per gallon. It was then callerf "fine old Glenlivet," and valued at 8s 6d per gallon, without duty. The effect ot this pretty piece of roguery was to increase the apparent profits of the company in 1896 by £27,000, affording ground for declaring a handsome dividend, of which a large proportion went into the pockets of the two brothers. This " marvellous Glenlivet " remained unsold at the failure, and the liquidators subsequently disposed of it at Is 9d per gallon. The two charges on which Walter Pattison was found guilty along with his brother were — the one of fraudulently obtaining £39,000 or £40,000 from Ihe Olydesdale Bant, and the other of persuading a Mr Arrol, of Alloa, to renew bills on the strength of a quantity of whisky which he was induced -to believe was still held by the Pattisons on joint account, when in reality it had been sold. All sorts of s-tories are current as to the recklessly extravagant style of h\ing indulged in by the two swindlers before their schemes ended in a s-mash, and these things deepen the public indignation at the lightneib of their sentences. People recall how other swindlers on a large seale — e.g., the City of Glasgow Bank directors and Dr Colquhoun, of Glasgow — were dealt with in a similarly lenient fashion, and say that the bigger the swindle apparently the lighter is the sentence. Ju*t at this juncture, too, jt that Ai thu? Jkim'Qck, jvb£
was found guilty some years ago of embezzling some £30,000 belonging to the British Linen Company Bank while he was its agent at Kilmarnock, has just been liberated from prison after s-erving only three years and a-half out of the 10 years' imprisonment to which he was sentenced. As the reason for this leniency it is alleged that hi» health was suffering in the prison ; but a, reporter who witnessed his exit from gaol declared that he came out "looking well and hearty." The worst of it is, too, that there teema to be no way of bringing about thp reform so much needed in this matter, and so the law continues to trounce the little rogvies and deal tenderly with the big one=.
TERRIBLE GAS EXPLOSION IN
A terrific explosion of gas, resulting in lamentable loss of life and great destruction of property, took place in the Stockbridge district of this city on July 16. Some men from Bonnington were engaged about 1 o'clock in removing a gad engine at the back of the flour mills belonging to Messrs Tod Bros., and it has since been proved that with inconceivable carelessness they did not turn the gas off at the main before tincoupling the connection, though they were working with a naked light. The result was a tremendous explosion, accompanied by an outburst of flame. Adjoining the mill was % grocer's shop, and the explosion threw down the retaining wall between them and hurled the grocer — a young- man, named Bowie — through his own plate-glass window into the street, and sent the door-s of his shop across the street into a baker's shop opposite. Bowie presented a pitiable spectacle, his clothes being on fire, and the ekin hanging from his face in long shreds. A woman courageously extinguished his burning clothing, and others took the poor man in a cab to the Infirmary. A cyclist who witnessed the explosion as he was riding' down the street saved himself by running his cycle into a shop. The mill and shop were by this time in flames, but the prompt and energetic efforts of some 40 firemen succeeded in dominating the fire. The proximity of the Water of Leith gave them an abundant supply of water. A number of workmen were found to be very seriously injured, and thr^e children were also hurt. Four of the injured succumbed within 24 hours, and in all six deaths have taken place. The last was that of Mr Thomson, manager of the mills, and a man greatly respected in the district. Mr Bowie, the grocer, seems to be recovering. The damage to the mills and adjoining property is estimated to amount to £20,000. Much sympathy is felt with the Messrs Tod, who are universally esteemed. The workmen by whose carelessness the disaster was caused have paid dearly for it by death or severe injury. It is«to be hoped the lesson will not be lost "upon their fellows, for the carelessness of workmen engaged in carrying out such operations is simp.ly astounding, and it is a wonder that accidents are not more numerous. GAS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.
It may be to note here some remarks made by Mr W. R. Herring, of Edinburgh, in his presidential address at the fortieth annual general meeting of the North British Association of Gas Managers, which was held in Glasgow a few days ago. Mr Herring stated that the average illuminating power in England was from 15 to 16 candles, while in Scotland it was from 23 to £8 candles. In England, however, a consumption of from four to six cubic feet per hour was the rule, whereas in Scotland it was from two to three cubic feet ; so that relatively per burner the illumination yielded was the same. Comparing average towns in the two countries, it was found that the relative annual consxunption per head was 19,890 cubic fee.t in Scotland, while in England it was 38,660 cubic teet. He attributed the difference partly to the higher illuminating influence of Scottish gas, and partly to the differences in the dwellinghouses "of the people on, the two sides of the Border. Self-contained hquse3 for the working classes predominated in almost ail English towns, and this fact accounted -for much of the larger consumption of gas in England. It is rare to find a Scottish working man living in a houi-e of more than three rooms, and of these one is very little used. The great majority of the Scottish working classes live in houses of two rooms ; and in the large cities, especially Glasgow, thousands live in a single room only, which i» dignified by the name of a " house." This may be economical, but-- it is not conducive either good health or good morals. English workmen, when they first come to Scotland, complain bitterly of the cramped house accommodation, and not a few on this account return to England a& soon as they can, even at the cost of pecuniary and other disadvantages.
SCOTLAND., Otago Witness, Issue 2481, 2 October 1901
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