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THE FEDEBAX* CAPITAL.
fHB Premier Jast flight, in perhaps the best speech, lie 1ulb delivered in the course of the present federal discussion, prefaced the . third leading of the Enabling T^li in. the Assembly by explaining the position^ of the Federal capital question. Thie matter of the Federal capital has been most
ingeniously and persistently crocked by the enemies of federation} who, if they had not that .grievance, would doubiaess have gorne fttfee? over iwhisk they would pretend iq T»a jaat as j&uch ia earnest. Mr. Reid enforced upon his hearers a thing which , is often cooYet&estly Ignored — that the CojiB&tation BIU as now amended does not provide, that the Federal seat of GoveqMneat shall be in Melbourne until aoeommodation naa been provided elsewhere, only that $ha first Federal Parliament shall meet there. According to Mr, Beid'a contention, and it- eeexna axMso&ttfa ©ae, this -will
not prevent the temporary seat of Government being- in Sydney itself, an ar rangement against which the consti tution contains not one word. The permanent seat of Government must be in New South Wales, that is down in black and white in the Constitution ; and pending the fixing of the particular- site for its establishment, where is the Governor General, who will be the first outward and visible sign of federation, to reside ? There will be a considerable interval ot time to elapse before there can be a Federal Parlia ment, an interval during which the federal machinery must be put in working order j and, eveu when a Federal Parliament has been called into being, its sittings will not occupy more than a couple of months in the year, because it will not be so much taken up as are the local bodies with. the infinitely little. The Governor-General, when he arrives in Australia, will doubtless come to the colony which, according to the Constitution, is to contain the seat of Government ; he cannot do otherwise. Also when the Federal Parliament has left Melbourne and set up housekeeping on its own account upon a selected site in New South Wales, there is nothing to prevent the Governor-General having a residence in Sydney, and this he certainly will have, while Sydney firms will have the supplying of the permanent seat of Government when it is chosen, that is to say if the 6ite picked upon is situated somewhere within a reasonable distance of this city, and surely the Government can be trusted to see to this. Recurring to the subject of the Governor-General, can it be for a moment supposed that he will come out entirely ignorant of the Constitution, and of the fact that by the Constitution the seat of Govern ment has been allotted to this parent colony ? If he knows these things, he can hardly constitute himself a permanent absentee and reign over us from Mel bourne. Besides there is no reason why he should do this. Some enemies of federation may profess to believe that the Victorians have a deep-laid scheme to steal the Federal capital and fix it per manently in Melbourne, but no one in his senses can maintain that a Governor-General would be privy to this scheme, have any interest ia being so, or be unwittingly led into it. It must not be forgotten that to start the new order of things, which upon its inauguration will probably lead to the resignation of the other Governors, there must be sent out one of the best men Great Britain can produce — a man well acquainted with con stitutional practice and with the particular constitution he will have to work, and who therefore would not be' likely to violate it. He certainly would violate it if he persist ently carried out all his official functions in Melbourne, because Melbourne is not indi cated as the seat of Government, but some other place, (yet to be chosen in New South Wales) instead. He would not violate it if, having his official residence iu New South Wales, he spent as much of his leisure as he chose in Sydney, ThoBe who talk
imagined for themselves some state of affairs in which the Governor-General's establishment and all attached thereto, as well as the members of the Federal Parlia ment, and the officials of the Federal depart ments, -will be forbidden to come to this great city, which will, with ordinary common sense on the part of New South Wales public men, be much nearer than any other to the Federal capital. To think that Sydney will not be nearer than any other present capital in Australia to the new seat of Government is to imagine that all the contingent of members which this colony will send to the Federal Parliament will ^ be hopelessly incapable of look ing after, on© of the chief interests of then? constituents. To imagine that the New South Wales' contingent would allow the Federal Parliament to remain permanently in Melbourne is to sup pose that the members from this part of the country would have no power of com bination, and would ; be hoodwinked by a plot to transgress the Constitution, to which, as we have showa, the Governor Qeneawl would have to be a consenting party, Hoodwinked, too, , despite' all manner of preliminary advantages, for as Mr. Reid pointed put last night in the event of federal union the Premier of the leading Colony would ipw^ablyifoe seat for to form thie Fedftwl Government, - Mr. Want htul better come back. On that point there can now be so doubt. It ia not that bis presence !? desirable to Satisfy the laudable ewAonty oMfeseos. Whaughlin, Hajnee, and O'SulUvan. Thai curiosity ia jastifiahle, bat pot -paiffleleutly moinentonB to jusfaf j the recalling ot the Attoraty-Generai from whatever pUo* he Km obom&m *»tsfatiiii«rMohbf«*ya«»T9t»*w»«
leisure Jto a cjons^dewti^pa of his reseapflte* in Egyjp^. Nor. though, fe&tase importance i« 4«ry properly attachable to it., is there a Vital necessity that the people of New South Walts should know exactly what 'Mr. Want thinks of the ameiided' Convention Bill? Without wishing to detract from the value of bis opinion on this measure, it may still be confidently said that the people of the colony have' made up their minds on it.and are quite capable of making up their minds on it in the absence of Mr. Want, and in igaorance of his views. But nevertheless it is * imperative that the Attorney-General should come -back with all convenient speed. Until he comes back . only a bare formal and wholly unsatisfying solution can be given to a question which Mr. Dight, on behalf of the Sran,xton or Greta portion of his constituency, put in the Assembly last night. The question is, Why did Mr, Want, as Attorney-General, decline to prosecute a man who was committed for trial for having killed a pig ? The flippant answer of the Premier that it is not usual to prosecute iu euch cases will not suffice. - It is true, we believe, that the pig was a very little one, what is inown in Ireland as a ' boneen,' or something of the kind, or what is met at hospitable though indigestible dinners in the form of ' Buck ing pig/' It is also true that the man Who billed the pig did so in order to eat it in company with some travelling companions who had no food. But both, these considerations ere beside the great question at issue, which is— Why a man who killed 3- pig was net prosecuted, a. mere official reply such as that given by the Premier will not do in a case like this. Life and liberty, as Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz might say, are not to be bartered away by such a shallow artifice as this. Mr. Want had better come back at once and give a good and sufficient answer to the important
question under notice. Otherwise that question will become as universally pressing and as inces sant in demand for an answer in the public interests as the cognate inquiry, ' Who struck Buckley?' More than one eminent lawyer has expressed the opinion that a man who escapes from gaol and i- recaptured should cot have any addi tional ponishment inflicted on him; that is always providing he has not injured anyone else in his escape or during the process of recapture. The theory upon which this opinion ia based is that the mere fact of putting a man within stone walls .and confining him by bolts and bars pre sumes a natural instinct on his part to get away it he can. Otherwise it should be sufficient to say to prisoners, ' Tou must not go away. The law requires you to stay here,' and then without any precautions of locks and keys to trust to their own reverence for the' law to remain where they were. If in these circucusauces they run away they might on recapture be punished because they had cot been practically dared to try and escape by escape being made almost ' impossible for them. Into the nice and' ethical points which have been noted there is no need at the moment to enter deepiy, but they certainly comroend .them- selves for casual consideration consequent upon a case heard at the Dubbo Circuit Court yesterday in which, an aboriginal gentleman named Jimmy Solomon w.-s charged with escaping from custody at Dandaloo. Jimuiy admitted having escaped, and explained that, like Iago, being tronbled by a raging tooth, he merely went a* ay to gee a cure in the shape of iguanas' gall, which seems to be a sovereign remedy for toothache. He had .to go to a distant paddock, and this occupied him some time, but directly he had obtained the gall and effected with it what in the language of a patent medicine advertisement may be trnly termed ' a startling cure,' he returned to custody. Jimmy was acquitted. He evidently does not believe in the ointment of the apothecary which, as his name sake the wise Solomon said, is made to stink by dead flies. His principles and practice in medicine would not commend themselves to the gentlemen who are endeavoring to get a medical act through. Parliament, bat in his case they seem to have been sufficiently efficacious. And public opinion will be with the jury who acquitted him. All the same, it will not do to permit his case to ba cited as a precedent by other prisoners who escape from cus. tody and are recaptured. Tue excuse' of a toothache may eerve occe, but too often repeated it would be apt to . become what is called ' too thin.' Jimmy Solotnoa's case, how ever, is interesting in a business direction. Sojie enterprising capitalist ought now to start the manufacture of a patent cure for toothache made from iguanas' gall. He might also hire Jimmy when tbe other charge against him has been dis posed of as au example of the efficacy of the cure. Further, a new industry in the hunting of iguanas would be created. Writing yesterday of the time Germany was at war in Samoa, we mentioned an outcome of the curious practice known as tapu, by which the lives ot a couple or Germans were sived. Tapu, or as it was iormerly known to English tars, ' taboo,' is not confined to s'amoa, but was a great semweligiou* practice in New Zealand, and even to this day h-s not wholly died out even where Christianity has been adopted. Tapu is as untranslatable by a single English equivalent word ae is 'mana,' or whut, for want of a better transla* tion, may be called 'authority.' The best idea of tapu is probably given by the meaning which in England was attached to 'taboo.' It a mas wanted to indicate thajt any person or thing had a species of sacred protection tarowe around it forbidding it to be handled or touched, or even, in extreme cases, looked at, he spoke, of, often jestingly, as being 'tabooed.' That word indeed became . by - use for ail
purposes an^aungiim one. sue mere is not iiiuon jest about tapu among the Samoans and the Maoris. The aegis of tapu has been and is cast over many persons and things, xand occasionally for reasons which had better not be imagined and cannot be described. It is a very serious thing, however, and the person who violated tapu in the good or bad old New Zealand days took . a heavy responsibility. A chier on the Wanganui Eiver was many years ago tapu to an extent which for bade him to place morsels of food in his mouth with his own hands. He was, therefore, Tegularly served by a slave. One day the slave, in leeding his master, purposely omitted a very savory morsel— a titbit in fact — and when the chief's head was turned away, as he thonght, Jor a moment, conveyed the titbit to his own mouth. The chief had seen this, howe . er, and presently rising, apparently satisfied, from his repast, he took a, path through a patch of bush, followed by the slave. Having gone a few yards, the chief turned suddenly, took his tomahawk from his belt, and, splitting the slave's head open, dropped him dead in hia tracki, as the saying h&s it. In our summary of mail news telegraphed from Albany, particulars are given of the dis covery by the successor to M. Pasteur, Dr. Eoux, of a remedy for lockjaw or tetanus, cf which an outline was cabled some little time ago. Apart from the benefit to the human race conferred by this discovery, some among us will recall iu connection with it the successful de fence once made by a New South Wales barrister, now de'ad, of a man charged with murder by stabbing another man. The barrister, whom it is unnecessary to name, was a far better advocate than he was a lawyer. In defending prissmere his methods, were those of what are professionally known as bulldog lawyers in England. In the case under notice the murdered man had not died directly of his wounds, but from lockjaw, or traumatic tetanus, as it is professionally called, which had super' vened as , a consequence of the wound. It was here tkat the barrister's defence came in. With the aid of Taylor or some other writer on medical jurisprudence, he so browbeat and bothered the surgical witnesses .for the prosecution that they were unable to swear positively that the tetanus was traumatic, that is, was caused by the wounds. The accused man got off . To, return to consideration of Dr. Soux'b discovery, it 1b possible that it may not be an unmixed blessing. On the whole it will be undoubtedly and widely beneficial. . But on the other hanu.a good many who are just now ' wearied of the Federation controversy would have no objection ?If certain speakers who could be easily named were temporarily affected bj lockjaw and if Dr. £oux'a remedy were not availnbl*. . , Albert- Smith, the novelist, makes cne of ids characters write of beautiful Boulogne the Queen of hit mag and tbe home *t the stranger wh»
has done something wrong. That was the time when crossing the Channel from Dover insured a much greater immunity for .gentlemen who had ran a race with the constable than it does now. Until a comparatively few years ago there were, however, ' many places to which enterprising people- who had overstepped the law even to a Herioas criminal extent could have recourse for safety and sanctuary. Bat with the, spread of extradition treaties these modern Whitefriars have almost ceased to exist as was shown in the cass of Mr. Jabez Balfour. Some South American Republics do still, however, open wide their arms to the absconding criminal, par ticularly if be be gold ladsn ; but these Repub lics are not bo accessible as might be desired. Also where .extradition treaties do exist, the case of the late Mr. Butler might be cited to show that only in the case of charges euch as that preferred against him doe? a State get value for the money epent in procuring extra dition. In too many oases the game would hardly be worth the candle. For the present, however, a telegram from the British Secretary of State for the Colonies would seem to show that there exists within reasonable facilities of access from Australia an Alsatia to which criminals may escape and defy capture. That is Honolulu, respecting which Mr. Cham berlain has expressed an opinion that no power of extradition for British subjects applies. The abscoaders* business in Australia has been elack for some years since, the era of the bogus banks passed, and a couple of gentlemen sailed away in a yacht with riches concealed ou board, after the manner of Monte CriBto, Still, there have been intermittent though minor cases sufficient to show how desirable it is to a certain class of the community that there should be a haven offering a certainty against arrest. That they will now have in Honolulu— if they can get there. Aud Honolulu, by all accounts, including those of Mark Twain, is a bind of terrestrial paradise as far as climate and physical conditions are concerned. There should soen be an exodu3 te Honolulu, not all at once, but in detach ments.
Mr. Jas, Wilson, M.L.C. (Sketched from a recent photo, by the Crown Studios.)
Aid. Nicholas J. Buzacott, M.L.C. (Sketched from a photo, specially taken for the 'Even- ing- News' by G. F. Jenkinson, Argent-street, Bro ken Hill.)