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Local and General.

Presentation. — Yesterday afternoon, Mr C. D. Moss, late purser of the s.s. Wellington and Taranaki — a gentleman well known for bis courtesj' whilst acting on board of these vessels — was presented by Captain Wheeler, of the Taranaki (on behalf of numerous friends in different ports of New Zealand), with a •t cry handsome gold watch and chain, as a remembrance of their esteem prior to his departure for Japan. The presentation took place at the agents' offices, Lyttelton. Captain Wheeler, on behalf of donors, said he was deputed by them to convey their best wishes to the recipient, and to express the deep regret they felt at his leaving New Zealand ; his extreme kindness and urbanity during the time | he had been on board the company's vessels had made him hosts of friends, and he and they wished him hearty success in his new undertaking. Mr Moss, in responding, said he felt very much the kindness he had always received, and he returned Captain Wheeler, and all his friends, his most hearty thanks for such a valuable gift. Oddfellows. — A general meeting of the members of the North Canterbury district -will be held at the hall, Lichfield street, this evening, at 7.30, to make arrangements for Anniversary Day. / The Fbuit Chop. — Great complaints are made amongst fruit growers of the damage done by sparrows, more especially to the cherries. To avoid total loss, these have in many instances to be plucked before they are ripe.

G-eitebali Government. — The Resident Minister for the Middle Island will have his offices in what are known as Luck and Clark's Buildings, Colombo and Gloucester streets. In future, all correspondence connected with the administration of the Public Works and Immigration Acts 1870 and 1871 should be addressed to the above office. " Bx-the-Wat !" — A worthy old clergyman in a Scotch town is very absent-minded, and has a short memory. It is a common habit with him in the pulpit to forget something, and then, after sitting down, to rise up again, and begin his supplementary remarks with the expression, "By-the-way." A few Sundays ago he got half-way through a prayer, when he hesitated, forgot what he was about, and sat down abruptly without closing. In a moment or two he rose, and pointing his forefinger at the amazed congregation, he said, " Oh ! by-the-way — Amen !" Rifle Association. — The monthly meeting of the council was held at "White's Hotel last night. Present : Captains Bird and Thomson, Lieutenants Pavitt and Urquhart, Trooper Colin, Sapper Allison ; Messrs Crosbie, Glassford, and Manning. Captain Bird was voted to the chair. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. The question as to how many shots were to be fired in the competition for Mr Blake's cup was considered, and it was decided that there should be seven at each range. A letter was read from Mr J. V. Eoss, resigning his appointment as one of the trustees of the association. Mr Manning requested the association to arrange the firing for his prizes at the same ranges as the fii-3t set of the General Government district prizes— 2oo, 500, and 600 yards. It was resolved to do this, and that both prizes be fired for on the 11th January — the prize for the head-quarter volunteers on the Heathcote range, firing to commence at 1 p.m.; no entries to be received after the commencement of the firing, and the prize for the country volunteers on the respective ranges of the different corps; officers commanding to send in a certificated return of the scores to the secretary of the association on, the following day. Messrs Thomson and Crosbie were appointed a sub-committee to draw up the report for presentation to members at the annual meeting of the association. Boat Launch. — The new four-oared outrigger, built by Mr Reese for the Avon Rowing Club, was launched yesterday evening, the orthodox ceremony of naming being performed by Mrs A. Duncan. At the appointed time Mr D. Reese said he had been deputed to ask Mrs Duncan to name the boat, and to express their gratitude at the readiness with which the request had been complied with. Mrs Duncan said she had great pleasure in complying with the request, and had no doubt that the boat, like its predecessors, would do credit to the club, and. that manned by the selected crew it would come off with flying colours at the Inter-colonial regatta. (Cheers.) The boat, which carried a very handsome bouquet in advance of bow's seat, was then launched from the landing stage, and as it glided into the water Mrs Duncan applied the usual libation of champagne, saying at the same time — " I name this boat the Endeavour, and wish it success." A burst of cheering followed, and subsequently three hearty rounds of cheering were given for -Mrs Duncan. A similar compliment was awarded to the crew, who then entered the boat and pulled down stream at a smart pace. Considering that they had only been in the boat once before, they sat it exceedingly well — much better than expected from the width of the beam — and although somewhat down astern, the speed attained, even with only a half -stroke, was such as to lead to the expectation of good performances at the regattas. Tiik Volunteer Encampment. — The site selected for the pi'oposed encampment is exceedingly favourable to the purpose — more so than any one used for a similar object since the encampment near the Waimakariri Bridge. It is in Mr Ford's old homestead paddock — some forty acres in extent, with a sod fence — and is on the north bank of the River Selwyn, about three miles from the railway station, in a westerly direction. There is a capital bathing place near at hand, water for culinary purposes abounds, and firewood will be easily procured. These are necessary conveniences that were not obtainable at any of the sites since 1868, therefore the change, although taking the men considerably further from town, is not made without reason. Another improvement secured is in the matter of a parade ground, which, on this occasion, will bo much superior to that of an} r previous year. It is perfectly level and of considerable extent, whilst the river bed affords a good contesting ground for a sham fight. The order of procedure in camp will be much the same as last year, as also the commissariat arrangements. The men will muster about three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, the 30th instant, and according to the published " order of route " will proceed to the station in heavy marching order. "The men carrying their blankets neatly rolled, horse collar fashion over the right shoulder." Each corps must be provided with one spade, one hook, one billhook, and one axe, also one lantern, and four sperm candles to each tent. Officers' baggage is not to exceed 90 lbs weight, and the daily supply of rations to each man at a charge of Is per day will be 1\ lbs cooked meat, li lbs bread, 1 lb potatoes, £ oz. tea, 1£ oz. sugar, 1 oz. butter, £ pint of milk. A piece of Boap will also be given to each man on arrival, and another piece on Monday. The rations will be served out at 10 a.m. each day, and the " Order of Route " also contains full instructions for the discharge of the duties necessary to securing the orderly departure of the various corps from Christchurch, the formation of the camp, and for regulating the general conduct of the men whilst in camp. Nothing but the ordinary camp duties will be discharged on Saturday, but on Sunday there will be a general parade for church service ; on Monday a sham fight will take place ; on Tuesday, the sports ; and on Wednesday the whole force will strike tenta and return to town in time for business.

Eajily Closing Association. — The committee and subscribing members are requested to meet at White's Hotel this evening, at 7.30 — on important business. A Lad in his Day.— When Dr Thomson, a distinguished Scotch clergyman, was minister of Markinch, he happened to preach from the text, " Look not upon the wine when it is red in the cup ;" from which he made a most eloquent and impressive discourse against drunkenness, stating its fatal effects on the head, heart, and purse. Several of his observations were levelled at two cronies, with whom he was well acquainted, who frequently poured out libations to the rosy god. At the dismissal of the congregation the two friends met, the doctor being close behind them. " Did you hear you, Johnnie ?" quoth the one. " Did I heart ? Wha didna heart ? I ne'er winked an e'e the hail sermon." — " Aweel, an' what thought ye o't ?" added Davie. " I think he's been a lad in his day, or he couldna ken'd sac weel about it! Ah, he's been a alee hand, the meenister !" The Land System in Pbttssia. — The necessity of cultivating small proprietors has been fully recognised by the Prussian Government by forced sales. lam not an admirer of this system, yet it is far better than the concentration of lands in the hands of the few, as in England. It leads to a greater distribution of wealth, and enables the Government to call, with a. greater show of justice, npon a larger number to defend tho country when in danger. I very much doubt, had it not been for the existence of this system, whether the men of Germany would have fought so well as they did in the recent war. The battalions of our own Cromwell were mostly composed of men of a class of yeomen now almost unknown. They fought as men only fight who have something to fight for. In Prussia, by the law of 1850 the smallest occupier of peasants' land acquires the proprietorship at twenty years' purchase, the amount being paid to the landlord, not in money, but in rent debentures issued by the authority of the State, and bearing four per cent interest, and gradually redeemable by means of the one per cent difference, which at compound interest extinguishes the principal in a little over forty-one years. The Prussian peasant has, however, two other options ; he may pay less by one-tenth to the State Bank than the rent he formerly paid to his landlord, in which case the purchase debentures take fifty-six years to redeem ; or he may, if he can raise the cash, compel his landlord to accept eighteen years' purchase money of the annual rent. By this means, nearly 100,000 peasant proprietors have been created in Prussia. Rent debentures to the extent of many millions have been issued to the land- [ owners, and in less than eighteen years more than one-eighth of the debentures issued have been entirely redeemed and extinguished. Asparagus. — The Santa Clara Agriculturist says that in the vicinity of Sacramento there are from 130 to 140 acres of asparagus under culture. The greater part of this depends upon the San Francisco market for a sale. The average yield is about two tons per acre each season. The quality of the " grass" sent to market from Sacramento is much bleached, and much inferior to that which iB grown near the Bay of San Francisco. There are some fifty acres of asparagus now in cultivation in this county, and as much in Alameda. This is of a very superior quality, and commands twice the price in the market that the " grass" grown in the interior does. It is believed that the slower growth, and saline soil and cool breezes, have the effect to produce a better quality of asparagus. Its growth is very prolific, and its cultivation is profitable. There seems to be a growing demand for this sweet and delicate vegetable, and the attention of our farmers should be directed to its more extensive cultivation. The Agriculturist gives the following receipt for cooking it : — In the vessel filled with nice unbleached " grass" he adds one-third full of water, and boils until it begins to get soft. He then turns off the water, which has absorbed all the rank green taste, and adds about half as much more water, and boils until thoroughly cooked tender. He then adds cream or butter, and pepper to the taste. He has ready some dry toasted bread, a layer of which places in tho bottom of a pan, and covers with a layer of asparagus, then more toast and asparagus again until the dish is full or completed. Daisies. — It is absolutely necessary (says a writer in the Queenslander) that means should exist in all dairies for preserving an equal temperature throughout the year, the cold of winter being hardly less injurious than the heat of summer. Care should also be taken to secure a plentiful supply of pure water, effective drainage — by which the water may be carried rapidly away — thorough ventilation and facilities for the exercise of the most decided cleanliness. The buildings should, if possible, be built on the side of a gentle declivity, facing the west, and sheltered from the north and east winds. In order to obtain an equal temperature, the walls should be built of a considerable thickness, and built with a hollow space in them, through which a current of air may pass ; the roof should also be thick, of a curved or pavilion form, and the walls and roof plastered if possible. The lloor should be sunk about three feet under ground, made to slope to a drain in the centre, and paved with tiles or polished stone. On three sides of the dairy small arches should be turned about three feet high, carrying a shell' of slate or marble three feet wide, to hold the pans containing milk, and a little above this shelf ventilating holes should be placed, with shutters sliding over them to open or shut according to the weather. Several landed proprietors in Shropshire and Cheshire, England, have recently erected expensive dairies on their estates, fitted up with massive marble tables and milk coolers, and with a constant stream of water passing through them ; bui these are kept more as a luxury than objects ol profit, and they seldom unite all the conve niences essential to a good dairy, because thi architects who plan them are seldom or nevei practical farmers.

Cantebbu fix Railway. — We are informed that two other employes, in addition to the four already mentioned, have been dismissed. Exploring. — According to the South Australian Register, an exploring expedition is soon to start to investigate the continent to the westward of Stuart's track. "It is intended that the new expedition, instead of losing time by setting out from the inland frontier of the eastern colonies, shall start from Mount Freeling, situated some sixty miles southward of Central Mount Stewart, thence proceeding •' in a bee line' to Perth. The total distance to be accomplished will be between 1000 and 1100 miles, Vithout allowing for deviations, so that the trip will be one occupying many weeks. The charge of the party is to be entrusted to Mr Ernest Giles, who is reported to be well qualified for the task, being thoroughly inured to bush life, and not only burning with a desire for adventure in the hitherto untrodden wilds of Australia, but also animated by a commendable and more rational anxiety 'to extend the bounds of geographical knowledge.' It is not creditable to our enterprise that the maps of Australia should be disfigured by a huge blank, unrelieved by the tracing of a river, undistinguished by the presence of a name other than the hideous one of terra incognita. It seems that already about £100 has been raised by private contributions in Victoria, £50 being the private contribution of Dr. Yon Mueller, and that March next has been fixed upon for the start from Mount Freeling. The Tiber. — "The proposed examination of the bed of the Tiber, says the Pall Mall Gazette, " will doubtless bring to light many objects of interest, but we hardly dare to hope that the results of the search will equal the scholarly anticipations, of the Daily Telegraph. Whatever may be thought of the probabilities of bringing to light ' the receiptbook of iEsculapius, or the missing scrolls of Livy,' those curiosities, if found, would have little value compared with ' the sword which Camillus flung into the scales, to make up the price of Rome.' Such a relic would have a peculiar interest for Brennus, King of the Gauls, who has hitherto been supposed to bo the hero of this incident. We agree with the Telegraph that 'some of Hannibal's African javelins may be there deep adown,' arid underneath them ' spear-blades of the Fabii ;' but we must withhold our opinion as to the chances of finding 'the pot in which Tiberius cooked his great turbot,' and content ourselves with a hope that this vessel, if brought back to light, will be distinguishable from the pot in which Domitian cooked his great turbot — the only one with which we can claim to have any acquaintance. The art treasures which may be reclaimed from the bed of the river will doubtless be valuable, but whether they will contain, as the Telegraph expects, 'goddesses diviner even than Milo's Venus,' our want of acquaintance with tho works of that sculptor forbids us from hazarding a surmise. But a comparison of such goddesses with tho ' Venus of Milo,' or, in other words, ' the Mclian Venus,' will, perhaps, afford us almost as trustworthy a means of estimating then- merit. On the whole, therefore, the article of the Telegraph is deserving of high commendation, and contains a very varied, if not very well digested mass of classical and historical learning. We have Polycrates and Jason, Genseric and Gregory the Great, besides many other proper names in little more than a single column, besides many passages sparkling with the beauties peculiar to this journal." Deploeable Condition of English Fami Labottbebs. — If England is the richest country in the world, to many of its labourers and people working in manufactories it is one of the poorest ; the speech of a farm labourer, reported in the Times of 21st September, will give such of our readers as may be ignorant of the miserable pittance on which families have to exist, and exist too without hope of bettering their condition, some idea of the state of things to which we refer : — " The farmers 'of Hertfordshire having reaped an abundant harvest are celebrating their 'hai'vest home' with much glee. One of these gatherings was held at Hertingfordbury on Tuesday, when the tenantry on the estates of Earl Cowper, Mr W. R. Baker, and Mr W. H. Wodehouso, to the number of 300 or 400 were entertained. Mr Wodehouse proposed the health of the labourers, in doing which he gave warm praise to the labourers in the neighbourhood of Hertford for their orderly conduct and the valuable assistance they had rendered in securing tho harvest. He coupled with the toast the name of a labourer named Digby, employed on the estate of Earl Cowper. Digby, in replying to the toast, said it was admitted by all persons that wehad had a most abundant harvest, but there was one drawback, and that "was the great scarcity of animal food. A great deal has been said on that subject in the newspapers during the past week, and they were told that tho muscles and sinews of their young mon could not come to perfection without a certain amount of animal food. Now, he wished to commend that to the notice of the employers |of labourers, some of whom thought it very imprudent for a man to marry when young— in fact, that it was almost a crime for a labourer to do so. 12s per week was a moderate wage in this part of the country, out of which the labourer had to pay 2s per week for rent, 2s for filing, and supposing he was imprudent enough to be the father of six children, there was just Is per week each left for the maintenance of the father, mother, and children. How, then, was it possible for the labourer to obtain animal food, which they were told was so very necessary for the sustenance of the human frame in the eaiiy stages if its development ? He did not believe the farmers wished to oppress those beneath them, but he would give them this piece of advice, — Let those young men who had been impru-. dent enough to get married and have a family lo the piece work, as far as practicable, and ■hus have a chance of earning a few extra shillings to supply their children with animal food to keep their souls and bodies together, His speech was much applauded."

Cricket Club at St. Albans. — Efforts are being made to establish a youths' cricket club at St. Albans. The Thursday. Hajvf-holiday. — The petition in favour of a half -holiday on Thursday afternoons has been signed by upwards of lib tradesmen, and practical effect will be given to it on January 4, when the first holiday will be held. San Francisco Mail. — The Phcebe, with the southern portion of the above mail left Wellington at two o'clock yesterday, and reached Lyttelton in time for th 6 first train through to Christchurch this morning. As the Phoebe reached "Wellington from Picton at 11 o'clock on Monday night, the prompt despatch which ought to be the rule in these cases has not been observed in this instance. The Canterbury portion of the mail ought to have been received last night. New Bridge across the Avon. The movement for a bridge across the Avon in a line with Armagh street has been renewed, and there is every likelihood of its being successful. A preliminary meeting was held at the Crystal Palace Buildings last evening, and a considerable amount was subscribed on the spot. As soon as the requisite amount is forthcoming, application will be made to the City Council to erect the bridge on the usual terms. Yolttnteehs. — The following is copy of a despatch addressed to the Governor of Queensland by the Secretary of State for the colonies. It is dated August 8, 1871 : — I have the honour to inform you that, with a view to give a distinct recognition of the position, of the colonial forces as a portion of the military forces of the empire, it is proposed in future to insert in the Army List the names of all officers of colonial militia and volunteers. The Governors of the respective colonies will be held responsible for the correctness of the lists containing the names of the officers in. question. I have to request you to issue such instructions as will secure that these lists are written on one side only of the paper, for printing, and that they are addressed to the Under-Secretary of State for War, "War. Office, with the words ' Army Li9t,' on the corner of the cover. After they have been printed they will bo mounted, and forwarded by the editor to the Governors of the colonies twice a year, for any alterations which may" be necessary. As an index is published in January, April, July, and October in each year, it will not be possible to publish their names in the lists issued for those months.

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Bibliographic details

Local and General., Star, Issue 1192, 13 December 1871

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Local and General. Star, Issue 1192, 13 December 1871

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