The Timaru Herald. THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 1880.
The Property Assessment Act Amendment Bill is the result of the pressure ■which was brought to bear upon the Government some months ago, when the first attempt was made to levy the Property Tax. It provides for the exemption of personal effects, and it entirely removes the vexatious and inquisitorial features from the machinery for administering the Act. A great deal of misapprehension has existed as to what kind of property is included m the term " personal effects " j but the Bill before us leaves no doubt on that point. The second clause says : — "To the classes of property exempt from taxation under the aaid Act as mentioned m section twenty-six, there Bhall be added the following : — All household furniture and effects m actual use, including books, plate, wearing apparel, jewellery of all kinds, and all pictures and works of art ; but such exemption shall not extend to or include any such articles when kept or used as stock m trade and for purposes of sale." That is plain enough. Household gooda are to be exempted, that is to Bay, the sacredness of the home is not to be invaded by the taxgatherer. Now as to the method of assessment. The statement to be furnished under the thirty-second section of " The Property Assessment Act 1879," the statement which gave rise to bo much discontent on account of its inquisitorial and unnecessarily vexatious character,
is withdrawn, and this is substituted i for it : — ] Pbofebtt Assessment fob thb Yeab 1 ending 31st mabch, 18 . ' Property Assessment Distriot : Name: Occupation : ' Address : ; In pursnanoo of " Tho Property Assessment , Aots, 1879—1880," you are hereby required to ] moke a rotnrn of all your property m the fol- . lowing form, and cause the same to bo for- 1 warded to the Deputy-Commissioner of your distriot at , on or before tho , m default of whioh you will be liable to a ' penalty of .£IOO, and to be assessed and ; ohargod treble duty. Property Tax Department, ; ,18 . Commissioner.
Total Value of all my intorost m any £ ' Lands, Bnildings, or Leases, after i deducting all liabilities dno by me thereon Total Value of all other Property bolongiug to mo, including Money \ owing to me, but excluding Houso- ' hold Furniture, Jewellery, Plate, ! "Works of Art, and Shares m Publio Companies, aftor deducting my jnst debts for whioh I olaim oxemp- '• tion ; Loss Exemption 500 ' Taxablo Value £ ;
Declaration. I, , do hereby dcolaro that tho above statement is truo and accurate m all tho particulars stated by mo, according to tho best of my judgment and, boliof . Dated this day of ,18 . Signature! : The reasonableness and businesslike simplicity of tins statement, leave nothing to be desired ; and the only wonder is that the Government or any of their officials ever made such a. blunder as to issue the complicated, unintelligible arid vexatious forms m the first instance. "When this subject was causing go much public discussion, we pointed out clearly that all the Government required for the purposes of taxation, was a statement of the value of what each taxpayer possessed, OTer and above his debts, and that any details beyond that, would only give trouble to the honest taxpayer without m the least hindering the dishonest taxpayer from cheating the revenue. It astonished us that public men of experience, like Major Atkinson and Mr Hall, could not Beo that ; and it is very satisfactory to us now, to find that after all, they have come round entirely to our way of thinking. The statement of property for taxation as set forth m the new Bill, iB almost word for word what we recommended early m June last. It will, we are convinced, meet every requirement, and enable the Government to collect just as much revenue as the most elaborate form would do, while relieving the taxpayers altogether from the worry, expense and humiliation of giving minute particulars about their possessions. Those who have read this article with any care, so far, however, must, we think, be struck by one remarkable feature of the Bill. It exempts the classes of property with respect to which the forms first issued were considered specially offensive ; and at the same time it abolishes those forms and provides a fresh one of such a character as not to give offence to anybody with respect to any class of property whatever. Does not this look like doing the same thing twice over m different ways ? The complaint against tho taxation of personal effects was not a complaint of the amount, but of the manner. Nobody, we believe, objected to pay the few shillings which the tax on his personal effects would come to. What he objected to was the idea of having to state, for the perusal of assessors or other officials, the money value of his domestic treasures. Well, under the present Bill, that sentiment is scrupulously respected, and no information is asked for beyond two round sums, representing the total value of the real property and the personal property of the taxpayer respectively. In this statement, domestic treasures would be included m personal property, and nobody would know how much of the amount set down m the money column was for jewellery and furniture, and how much for bank deposits, gas shares or what not. The change m the form of statement, therefore, has entirely dispoßed of the objection to the taxation of personal property, and that being bo, it seems most unwise for the Treasurer to throw away £40,000 of revenue which could be collected without a shilling of additional expense, and would come for the moat part out of the pockets of the classes who are best able to pay it.
We have already alluded to the frightful waste of money which has gene on steadily for years under the auspices of the Native Lands Department. Successive Native Ministers had thousands of pounds of public money entrusted to their charge, the expenditure of which the public knew nothing about, and apparently cared not to know. It was generally supposed the money went to " pacify the natives." It was spent m rum, m blankets, m tea, m sugar, and what not. It was sufficient for the Native Minister to report peace and quietness, with a total disregard as to the price paid, or what this insensate attempt at pacification was likely to result m. Turning at random over the bulky appendix attached to the Weat Coast Commißsion Report wo find under the head of Appendix D, page 13, the following specimen voucher of how : money was expended. " Treasury , Voucher 1C543 — New Zealand Govern- i raent (Land purchase), Dr. to Kerepu, i Hawera. — Authority (Hon. Mr Sheehan) — compensation for self and rela- ! tivcH, on account and m consideration j of our former claims over confiscated ] land weat of Waingongoro, #100." i Then follows a translation of the above ' m Maori, ended by a certificate under I the hand of Obarlcs Brown, Civil Com- , niissioner, that " the foregoing account ' is true and correct m every particular." . In this account there are some curious ■ items which, were it not for explanatory ( notes attached, would puzzle the sharpest accountant, and drive to distraction < the best of auditors. But the notes ] only satisfy m part, witholding from 1 the enquirer the tit bits of the bill J which remain to be wondered over. ( A gentleman named "Manga" is ever < present m some shape or other. For c instance £4 is required for " Manga's c young men " and £1 for " statnpa for j Manga," while ten shillings is put aside j for " nails for Manga's house." Coach i fares by thiß irrepressible Manga require r £10 10s to satisfy. "Manga "again ' standing by himself this time absorbs ' another £3 ; but stop, we do him an j injustice, for a note informs us that this t
was "to pay expenses of my young people on journey from New Plymouth to Wanganni : " and JS2 is taken for " petty for Manga, per receipts." But we have not done -with Manga yet. To a humble payment of 5s 6d to one Davis, a note tells us that this was for a spade for " Manga's man." Who is Manga P Boswell and Co., who follow the occupation of lightermen, are entered as recipients of a sum of four shillings " for forwarding luggage and stores for Maoris " — explained m brackets " (for mutton birds used at Waitara meeting)". "We are now fairly dumbfounded at tho next items : " Uncles, 18s" ; and "Gallop, 205." "Uncles "and "Gallop"! The former surely must have something to do m the pawnbroking line. But " Gallop" P "We turn to the notes for aid. " Uncles " is not what we libellously supposed him to be, but a harmless person who supplies natives with teas, dinners, breakfasts, and beds ; and " Gallop," Benjamin Gallop if you please, is a gentleman who digs graves, for he sends m a little bill of one sovereign to W. Rennell, Esq., for " removing and burying Rewi's horse." " Pennington and Baker, general storemen, however, show an account of one-sixth of the amount of the whole £100, and by it moreover tells the world how Maori chiefs sustain life, and especially what a luxurious dog Mr Rewi must be, for he it is who is the customer of Messrs Pennington and Baker through the Native Department. Olearlymere "necessaries" do not satisfy this sybarite. He must have port wine, brandy and old torn, salmon and oysters, sardines and lobsters, jams and peaches, cocoa and fancy biscuits, etc., etc. But besides the good things of this life, amusements for our black brother must be provided. Voucher No. 24 runs as follows; — "Theatre, Wellington, 23rd September, 1878. Received from Major 0. Brown, 0.0., the amount of £5 the lump Bum that I paid by agreement for passing sixty three natives to see the representation at the Imperial Theatre, as ordered by the Hon Native Minister. — William Williams. And again, Voucher 28 tells us that a sum of £5 8s was received from Major Brown " for reserved seats at a pantomime on 28th and 29th November, 1878," at the Theatre, New Plymouth. The above are fair specimens of the accounts which go to make up this hundred pounds voucher, and this is the way " land claims" are satisfied ! If the claim be bona, fide, and will bear inspection, then it is a shameful thing to satisfy it by debauching the claimants ; and if worthless, then equally reprehensible is the Minister for spending public money so improperly. But after all, such trifles as the above are very venial indeed compared to certain items of expenditure by the Native Lands Department we wot of. We dare not write them for fear we should be called liars. Mr Sheehan knows all about them. Conobbt.— We remind our readers that the second of a Bories of entertainments arranged to be given m the Wesleyan schoolroom, Bank street, takes place this evening. High Sohool —The Board of Governors of the Timaru High School will meet next Tuesday evening, at 7 p.m., for the transaction of ordinary business. S.:::so Bindbes. — A Mr Cooper, of Christchurch, is said to have invented a stringbinding attachment to be fitted to tho McOormick reaper. The appliance is stated to be simple, cheap, and effective. Boakd op Education.— The South Canterbury Board of Education hold their ordinary monthly meeting on Wednesday next, at 11.15 a.m. General buiiaess of an important character awaits the atttution of the Board. The Austbaman Eleven. — According to a cablo message published elsewhere, the Australian Eleven have for the first time during their present tour suffered a defeat, a Scarborough Eighteen having beaten them m a two innings match by 90 runs. LITBEAEY AND DfiBATINO SOOIBTY. — The usual weekly meeting of this Society will be held at eight o'clock this evening m tho Oddfellows' Hall, Sophia street. A criticism on George Eliot's " Middlemarch," to be opened by Mr Scott, will form tho business of tho evening. Thb Bbbakwatbb. — Ifc is expected that another 18 feet monolith will be filled m this evening. Yesterday afternoon, W. Blake, tho diver, wont down and minutely examined the foundations of the work along the whole of the southern side of tho present contract. Ho found tho blocks m every caso to be down on tho solid rock and m a Tory satisfactory state. Chess. — Tho chess match between the Timaru and Tomuka Clubs took place last evening, and resulted m a victory for Tomuka by seven games to five. Mr Mason winning two from Mr Stringer; Mr Guinness two from Mr Vincent ; Mr Dickonson lost two to Mr Taylor ; Mr Byrne won ono and lost ono with Mr Bolton ; Mr Nicholas won one and lost one with Mr Kinnerney j Mr Ollivier won one and lost one to Mr Gordon. A match botweon Ashburton and tho local Club will take place Bhortly. KeSIOTSI ILnaiSTBATB's COTTBT, TjTMABir. — At this Court yesterday, before B. Beetham, Esq., R.M., a man named Brown was fined 10s, with the alternative of 24 hours' imprisonment for being drunk and disorderly, and tho same penalty was imposed upon hint for using obseone language. Tho man Found who was arrested at Auckland last wcok was brought to Timaru yeßtorday by tho express tram. Ho will probably bo brought boforo tho Bench this morning. A case of drunkenness will also bo brought boforo the Justices. Thb Bbbaxwatbb and thh Raiiwat. — In (ho Houso a few days sinco the Hon. Edward Richardson, who never missos an opportunity of trying to put a nail m Timaru's coffin, askod tho Minister for Publio Works, m effect, whether tho Govornmont were awaro tho injury to tho beach m Caroline Bay had boon eausod by tho construction of tho Harbor Works, Jand if Jso, whether they purposed making any claims on tho Harbor Board for tbo oxponse tho Railway Department had been put to m protecting tho lino. Mr Olivor repliod very cautiously, and simply said that possibly at somo future timo tho Govornmont might tako tho matter into consideration. Oub TBiiKOBAMS. — Tolegraphio communication botweon Christchurch and tho north had not boon restored up to last night, and it is difficult to ostimato tho timo which will bo roquircd to got tho lino m working order aguin. Wo publish this morning a fow items by cablo rccotvod m Wellington on Monday morning, and alio a summary of tho proceedings of tho House of Representatives at Monday morning's sitting, and a telegram from Wanganui, which woro handed by the Press Association's Agont to tho purser of tho Botorua, but whioh that officer forgot to give to tho Agent at Lyttolton on the steamer's arrival thero. Abbbbt.— A man named Gcorgo Askloy, aliat " Brummy," was yestorday arrosted at Duntroon by Mounted Constable Black, on a warrant charging him with obtaining board and lodging at tho Waitaki Hotel by means of folso protencos. Ho wont to tho Hotel on tho 29th July, and ropresontod himself to Mr Orr, tho landlord, as a "remittance" man, stating that he had money lying to his credit at tho Union Bank, Oamaru, and by means of such representations ho obtained board and monoy to tho amount of £4 6s. Mr Orr boing m Oamaru, called at tho Bank, and was informed that tho offender had no account and wbb unknown at tho Bank, whoroupon ho of courso laid an information against tho man. Mooeinos fob Stbajtebs. — Storn moorings for steamers wero put down undor tho 100 of tho Breakwater yestorday. They consist of
a9O fathom ls-inch cable, one end. of which is held by a 4-inch iron bolt sunk 3 feet m tho tail of the roef to the north of the Government Landing Service, and the other by a 20cwt anchor close to the Breakwater. The mooring buoy, with a shackle, is attached to tho cablo by a bridle, and lies m the centra of the channel immediately m front of the Government Service. We trust tho Board will think fit to put down outer moorings as well, so that when steamors como insido they may not havo to let go their own anchors. If they have to do this they might just ns well lie outside, for if bad weather comes on they may have to slip. In any cose too much time will bo lost m dropping or hauling up tli eir anchors. •■ _ v Diobaxi. — A. diorama of tho Aniericanv war, distinguished from others of tho /kind by the title " Confederate," will bo exhibited m tho Theatro Royal for a fow nights, commencing on Tuesday noxt. Lieut. '.Herman, a clever ventriloquist, accompanies^ this diorama. The proprietors havo just had a successful season, extending over seven weeks, m Dunedin, whore the liberality of tho scale on which prizes wore given drew large audiences. An equal liberality is Ipromiscd here, and no doubt it will produco a similar result. A featuro of tho distributions m Dunedin was the giving away of suites of furnituro, a prize which, if not required by tho winner, is easily disposed of for value. St. Maby's Ghuboh. — At a meeting of tho Church Building Committoo on Monday, threo persons out of foartoon applicants for the post of Clerk of Works wero selected, with » requeit to Mr Armson, tho architect, to select ono of thorn. Mr Armson has Bines done so, and has nominated Mr G. O. Clayton for the post. Yesterday morning Mr Armson, Mr McGill, tho contractor, and tho Clerk of ths Works, accompanied by tho Ton. Archdeacon, tho two Churchwardens, and ono or two members of the Building Committee, met on tho site of the Church to decide whether it woro best to level tho aito for tho building, or to raiso tho stono work where tho ground fell away. It was found that to raise tho Btone work would entail more expense than was warranted, and also it was a moot point whether tho raising of tho foundation would add to the look of the building. Consequently it was decided to excavate and level. Mr McGill was instructed to proceed with the work forthwith. The Committee at thoir meeting on Monday fixed the salary of tho Clerk of Works at £4 per weok. Ah Song. — It turns out that the Chinaman Ah Song, who was injured at Saltwater Creek on Saturday last, did not die on Tuesday, as stated m our columns yesterday. Wo received our information from tho medical gentleman who had been attending him, and ol course relied upon tho information wo thus received. Probably that gentleman was deceived by a report of Ah bong's friends, and they, m their turn, by the injured man's falling into a state of coma. He was reported as dead to the polico, and the Coroner wa» communicated with, and somo steps taken to have an inquest hold. About thi-oe o'clock yesterday morning tho camp was astonished by the supposed dead man showing sigm of life, and m tho morning the former report had to be contradicted. Dr Hammond visited tho man yesterday morning and found him sinking rapidly, bo that it seemed unlikely ho would live till night. Tho Doctor's opinion proved to be correct, and the unfortunate man died m tho course of the afternoon. His body was removed to tho Sportsman's Arms Hotel, wlioro an inquest will probably be hold this evening. Accident to the Amobd Fobest Coaoh. — The Ashburton Mail of Tuesday gives the following account of an accident to the Alford Forest Coach :— On Saturday "morning Mr Tisch's coach from Alford Forest to Methven got washed away m attempting to cross the North Ashburton river at the Pudding Hill ford. It appears that the coach started with the mailß as usual at about 9.30. On gettiag to tho river it was found that there was a. very strong current running, but tho driver judged that it would not be sufficient to prevent his attempting to get over. The stream, howover, proved too powerful, and soon after entering the river, coach and horses were carried forcibly before ifc. The driver managed to stick to liis seat for some time, until one of tho wheels striking a boulder, the coach turned ovor, and he was thrown off. The polo of the coach breaking, the horses wero able to get free and reached tho bank ii safety. For some time the driver managed to cling to tho wreck of the coach, which was carried rapidly down stream. At length he was most fortunately brought up by tho bridge, on to which ho was hauled m a very exhausted state, by somo of the people about. Had not his progress been thus arrested, he most certainly would have been drowned. The coach, it is almost superfluous to say, was completely smashed up, and tho mails had not at latest advices been recovered. A Loathe. — A person of this description (says the Wanganui Chronicle) is at present going the rounds of the town. Ho enters a tradesman's shop, and asks if tho owner wants any hands, pretending to be of the same calling. After a minute or two's convorsa tion he endeavors to borrow "a few shillings." In ono instance tho owner offered him work, telling him to come m the morning, which he agreed to do. Before leaving, howevor, he nmdo his usual request for a loan, and, something m his manner exciting suspicion, he was asked to name one or two of tho tools which were lying on the board. This ho was unablo to do, and was consequently " bowled out." Thb Wbathbb ik thb Nobth. — ThoN.Z. Times of Saturday says: — Wellington was visited yeitorday by ono of the heaviest N.W. gales ever experienced here — and that is saying a great deal. It raged from midnight of Thursday, and its period of cumulation appeared to be all day, during which squall after squall of furious intensity swept over the town and harbor. Although houses were literally shaken to thoir foundation, very litlle damage was done boyond tho destruction of a fow panes of class. Heavy weather appears to have been general m ofcb.Gr directions by the stoppage of telegraphic communication. Tho lines to Chrietchurch wero down, and, wo hear, seriously damaged, and communication with tho North was also interrupted. Abnormal atmospheric conditions prevailed, as witneai tho tornado at Westport, a visitation almost exceptional of its kind m this colony. Is it possible that tho off eel of the much talkod about planetary perihelion is beginning to bo felt ? A QussTioiTAßLß Ebmbdt. — Tho use of poisoned oats for tho purposo of killing rabbits (says tho Southland News) is not without its drawbacks, as several settlors m tho Wostern district can testify. One of them, for instance, laid somo phosphorised oats m a paddock m which 32 sheep wero depasturing, and had tho mortification, a fow days aftorwards, to find half of them lying dead. Other scarcely loss serious losses aro reported — dogs, catß, and poultry having been killed off wholesale. It is consequently becoming a question whethor tho remedy ii not worso than tho disease j or, rather, whether tho oldfashioned plan of kooping down tho rabbits by dogs, cuts, and traps was not greatly preferable — at all events m Bottled distriots. Ibish Gold. — A woll-rlofined gold reef has been discovered m Wicklow, and is probably tho source from whence tho grains and small nuggets obtained by stream-washing somo years ago (m 1864) wero dorivod. Tho pcasmt who has nmdo tho discovery has lived amongst the mountains ever einco tho timo of tho gold oxcitomont m Wicklow. Ho lins now brought down somo pieces of quartz with small lumps of gold cmbodded m them, and says that ho broko them off from largo rocks of similar constitution, which wero exposed to view this spring by the falling of a mass of tho supcrincumbont strata. If his account bo true, and if ho can bo induced to point out tho locnlity of his discovery, wo may yet (remarks a Homo paper) aco a Budden change m tho aspect of Irish affairs. Capital would at onco bo forthcoming to dovolope tho mineral resources of tho country, and tho ownership of land would bocomo invested with a now importance. Tobtubing Communists. — The Paris correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph telegraphs on July Ist as fallows: — "Tho Committee of Inquiry into tho treatment of prisoners m Now Caledoniajcontinues to elicit somo extraordinary accounts of tho punishments inflicted on tho convicts. M. Alphonso Humbort, m his ovidonco yostorday, gavo a dreadful description of tho ' brutality of the oflicials.' Ono of tho mildor forms of punishmont consists m shutting up ninoty mon m a spaco intended only for thirty, and loaving them there nil night, with water up to the
calves of their logs. The officials themselves are puniihed for bearing any complaints from the prisoners to their officers. Imprisonment m cells without light and air is also resorted to, and there the prisoner is supplied only ■with such food as quickly produces scurvy. He is kept m chains, water is given him m one of hia shoes, as no cup is allowed, and when the doctor orders a ration of wine and soup the liquids are mixed. When wino is supplied it is always bad, being rendered sour by the climate, and not oven fit to make vinegar of. Flogging is frequently inflicted with great violence, and with slight provocation, and the convicts aro often put m irons for being ill. Perhaps the moßt agonising torture is that of hanging a convict by tho lens, and leaving him to tho mercy of the mosquitos. One man treated m this manner went mad on tho spot. M. Humbert stated that the officers mako no scruplo of using their revolvers, and that on one occasion a warder lodged five bullets m the body of a man m one of the cells. This evidence shows the necessity for a complete reform of tho French convict system. It is high time that such a disgrace to a civilised nation should be swept away for ever." An Unpopular Govebnob. — The Mauritius correspondent of the S;A. Register, writing on Juno 18th, states : — " On tho occasion of tho Queen's Birthday tho Governor held a loveo, which failed, howevor, to attract many people. Ifc has been a matter of surpriso m some circles to see how much of his popularity Sir George Bowen has been losing sinco his arrival m our colony. Last year the levee was attended by nearly 1000 persons, and this time it scarcely attracted 350, this failure must be ascribed to different causes, but principally to the new lists of invitation to tho Government ball. Many inhabitants of rank and high standing were evicted on the grounds that they had not paid a visit to Sir George and his family at their country residence, Ecduit, distant 12 or 14 miles from town. Somo of the most influential bankers, merchants, journalists, barristers-afc-law, planters, memborsof our different scientific or literary societies were, to my personal knowledge, not invited. It has always been the custom until now m Mauritius to give official or Bonn-official balls at the Government House ; but Sir George, with his mania for innovation, has decided that his soirees ■hall henceforth take place at Eeduifc. Much dissatisfaction has been experienced on account of this resolution, and the annual ball of 1880 was, as a. consequence, less numerously attended than m former years." A Tbbeestial Comet.— The ruling motto of the famous astronomor, Mr Richard A. Proctor, whoso prediction that the world will not last much longer than 250 millions of years has led many large holders of landed property to completely alter their arrangements, would appear to bo " large profits and no returns." He enters a capital, clears a thousand or two, and disappears like a comet, never to come back. Being accustomed to deal with rather large bodies — about 10 or 20 times tho sizo of the sun — the champion star-gazer cannot bear small places, so when he has done one Australian capital he flies off like a shooting-star (which lie is) to another. For instance, ho had attracted immense crowds m Melbourne and Adelaide; ho was to be m Sydney on Monday, tho 16th inst., and on tho 31st he was to sail from Melbourne for New Zealand. The Sydney evening papers of tho 14th (our latest date) announce that between four and five hundred guinea courso tickets had been sold for his lectures, and about two hundred second-class courre tickets. In consequence, every lecture was to bo repeated on tho oltornato nights. Well may the Ballarat Courier announce as its lateit item of mining intelligence that Mr Proctor had discovered a splendidly-paying goldfield m the sun. Howover, the people of Dunedin will Boon havo an opportunity of hearing the eminent astronomer.