f&bt ästtneg Jfïornins ^eraiï?»
TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 1859.
SOME months have elapsed during which the Ministers have enjoyed almost uninterrupted calm. The leaders of the Opposition long ago retired in weariness or disgust. Many of them have ceased from public life. This is true not only of those -who represented ideas, but equally true of those who represented passions. If there ever were, which we doubt, any three persons in the House, advocates of the ancient system of Toryism-the party has now totally disappeared. Of those who disputed the pos- session of office with Mr. COWPER, not more than one or two remain on the ground. Mr. COWPER is even the survivor of his own original adherents. He quarrelled with his first Attorney General, and transferred his first SoliGÍtor General to the next parish. His first Minister of Lands and Public Works is, at all events, hovering near the ranks of opposition. Perhaps the only personal adherent he had has entered the land of silence. Mr. JONES-once his col- league-alternately his patron and his censor, who mingles with just discrimination his re- proofs and his praise, is still at his elbow-may
perhaps be his heir. i
Mr. COWPER, however, has not been idle.
He does not sit down in sackcloth and ashes, i mourning the ravages of time or the unfaithful- | ness of friends. Like the merry girl in the old song, he says :
" Set your stool in the sun :
When one goes another will come."
We thus find him surrounded by men whom fortune has sent him-all new men. Ho has conquered the termagant virtue of Mr. ROBERT- SON, conciliated the grave and cautious confi- dence of Mr. WEEKES, acquired the admiration of the docile Mr. HARGRAVE, and bought up for his native country the wit of Mr. BAYLEY. Dr. DICKSON gave Mr. COWPER his speeches as an orator, and he is, they say, about to consecrate his profound political intelligence. The PRE- MIER, like the " Last Rose of Summer," is the survivor of one Administration ; but, like the first flower of spring, he is budding, with the promise of a more blooming and fragrant stock.
It cannot be said that the Minister or his
colleagues have been annoyed by faction or interruption in their preparation for the Parliament now assembled. They have had ample leisure, for, save the pleasing excitement of the elections, nothing has interrupted their repose. Whom they would they have set up. Whom they would they have pulled down. The colony quiescent, has seen some of the oldest and best servants and friends of the people humi- liated and set aside. It has seen with equal resignation strangers step down from the deck of a ship, hand in their card, and assume the highest and most important functions, as in the olden times. All the influences, resources and gifts of the Administration—even the exercise of the most sacred prerogatives of the Crown, have been at the disposal of the Ministry with- out question. It has been beautiful to see how places have been made and disposed of;-how friends and enemies have been conciliated; how one man has been induced to go, in order that another might be able to come ; how all the machinery of Government has moved in harmony with one great end—the consolidation of the power of Mr. COWPER. And is there no ability to be inferred from this ? We do not say so. On the contrary, a man who has shown such capacity in overcoming difficul- ties, in reconciling animosities, in collecting out of an heterogeneous mass instruments for his purposes—in compelling them, in spite of old recollections and remaining distrust, to give their adhesion to his Government—must be said to
have at least one element of greatness. All this has certainly demonstrated power; and it ie force that men worship.
Some of our readers may imagine that the Ministry meet the new House with feelings of comsiderable anxiety. They are mistaken. The price is known in many instances, and it will be paid. A great portion of its members have given no clear indication of their sympathies or opinions. In truth, opinion is in a chaotic state. There are no great ideas around which divisions of the people can rally. If we except an unhealthy jealousy of authority —the desire to weaken the Executive — to retain in the hands of the representatives of the people that control over Government which is really an instrument of ministerial corruption —there is no principle that we know of characteristic of any, considerable section of the House. There are, doubtless, men more or less tinged with traditional ideas—who have the
shibboleths of Radicalism or Conservatism ; but when we come to actual practical Government there are no definable ideas—nothing that we can embody, or for which we can fight.
The future, therefore, becomes a question of
personal preference, and each one, according to the loose and prevailing morality, will praise the bridge which carries him safe over. We hope, however, it will be found that in the House there are a number of men whose minds are not deluded by faction, and who have no personal objects to accomplish—who will think of the future welfare of the colony—who will look at measures not in their immediate popularity, but in their ultimate results—who will take from history and experience that light which is presented to them, and hold in check the impe- tuous desire of those men to alter everything that exists ; and who consider, that popular go- vernment is chiefly valuable for the uncertainty which it impresses upon everything else.
He must be blind who does not see that the
party hitherto acting and voting together on what is called the Liberal side of the House, is now divided. We do not expect that from this circumstance the colony will derive any great advantage. Its only effect is to submit all public questions to the process of auction, and to put every interest of the country to the arbi- tration of the hammer. That party which will bid highest to meet the views of'the dominant class, will probably be in the long run success
tul. The permanent interests of the country are not the interests of those who have the greatest
share in moulding the policy of the country,
We heard, in the recent elections, principles avowed-amid popular acclamation-which every man of reflection knows are fraught with confu- sion and ruin, namely, the practical confiscation of capital,—an interference with various forms of industry—the sacrifice of the land revenues— the employment of labour out of the taxes —the construction of public works, not for the sake of their utility, but for the stimulus they afford to particular callings—the borrowing of public money to be expended in the course of a few years without a clear prospect of reproduc- tion. These schemes have already numerous advocates, and no one can look abroad without feeling that the stream of popular feeling would naturally flow in their favour.
It is in view of these truths that every pru- dent man in the House who attaches great im- portance to the stability of public affairs will shape his course and determine his votes. The displacement of one Ministry and the appoint- ment of another are secondary considerations. However intense or well grounded may be the dislike to particular Ministers—however pro- found the distrust of their principles and of their character, it is not simply to change of persons that we must look for the welfare of the country. We would rather accept good mea- sures from bad hands than see upright and worthy men driven to concessions involving the sacrifice of great principles.
IN discussing the prospects of telegraphic com- munication with England, and the best method of attaining it, mention has been frequently made of the desirability of carrying the line over- land as far as possible. According to the map, Port Essington appears as the last point at which the wire must finally quit the land. But, in practically dealing Avith the question, even this appears to go beyond the bounds of Avhat is immediately possible. The prospects of coloni- sation, as affording a speedy and effectual pro i tection to the line, haA'c to be taken into con-
sideration, and it does not appear likely that for | some years to come, there Avili be a chain of pastoral stations all the Avay to Port Essington. I But this is quite possible as íegards the distance
to the Gulf of Carpentaria, although the time that Avili elapse before it is realised cannot be accurately specified. It is obviously an eA'ent that is gradually in the process of realisation, and it must be admitted, therefore, that the con- struction of land telegraph up to that point is quite feasible. But, though this may be con- ceded, the further question arises, Avhether it is expedient, and on this, as on many other knotty questions, there is a great deal to be said on both sides. The respective merits of each plan will haA'e to be very carefully considered by the Legislature before any final decision is come to. Withoutattempting to forestall any such decision, we shall just put before our readers A\-hat seem to be the principal arguments that can be alleged in faA'our of each method, so that they Avili be in a position to form some opinion for themselves, and be able, if necessary, to influence the Legislature in Avhatuver direction may ssem to them most expedient for the public interest.
A submarine line commencing at the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria would be about the same length as one from Cape York, and the comparison therefore lies between a land line from Moreton Bay, to some point near the mouth of the Mitchell River, and a sea line from Moreton Bay to Cape York. According to the map, the former distance would seem to be the shortest, as the Gulf of Carpentaria makes a deep indentation to the southward. But the sea cable would be laid pretty nearly in a straight line, and the soundings are so favourable, that an allowance of from five to ten per cent, for slack would probably be quite enough. A land line, on the contrary, cannot -go so con- tinuously direct, but must wind about to suit the features of the country. It is very likely, therefore, that the wire would be actually as long in the latter case as the former, though fewer parallels of latitude would have to be
The first cost of the submarine wire is greater ' that that of a land wire, for it cannot be laid down, at present, for a less price than from two to three hundred pounds a mile, all expenses included. In a settled country a land line can be set up for about sixty pound a mile ; in an unsettled country the price would probably amount to a hundred and fifty pounds a mile. Cceteris paribus, therefore, there would be a saving of capital by the latter method. As to the respective cost of repairs, it is difficult to form an opinion without knowing what would be the relative frequency of the need of such repairs. For a land line, it will be necessary to keep a staff of men at intervals, all along the line, provided with horses, and with instruments and materials, and the time occupied in restoring the line would depend upon the number of the stations
and the distance the men had to travel to the scene of accident. In the case of a submarine
line, a steamboat fitted 'with apparatus for fishing up the cable and splicing it, will have to be kept , constantly on the coast, ready to start whenever
any fracture is announced. The cost of main- taining such a vessel and its crew has been estimated at ' about ten thousand pounds a year. Science has provided a very ingenious ana effective instrument for determining at what ^oint of a cable the injury exists, so that no dif¿?ulty will arise in this respect. Nor is the procer of fishing up the cable and splicing it one that would create any great delay, at least not where th£ line is deposited in water of moderate depth. Tb?
delay would taVce place in getting the steam vessel to tb.e scene of the accident. Supposing it stationed permanently at some point mid Avay betAYeen Moreton Bay and Cape York, so as to be ready to proceed at once to any part of the line, it might often be a AVcek before the
necessary repairs could be effected. In the case < of the Mediterranean line, the cable between Malta and Sardinia has been broken for three months, no vessel being at hand suited for effecting the repairs.
As to the chances of damage to the line, the probabilities seem to be decidedly in favour of the cable. When a line is laid in a favourable sea, deep enough to be out of reach of distur- bance by storms, and not in the Avay of ships' anchors, experience seems to shoiv that the risks of fracture are really very small. The cables across the Straits of Dover-not by any means a favourable locality-have stood the test of experiment in this respect remarkably Avell. The sea on the north-east coast of Australia is admirably adapted, both by the nature of the soundings and the nature of the bottom, for preserving a cable ; and if it is laid out of the ordinary route of a ship's course, the risk of anchors fouling it Avili be A'ery small indeed. Land lines, on the contrary, as our experience already has proved to us, arc liable to frequent acci- dents-accidents which often proA'okingly hap- pen just at the time Avhen they are most incon- venient. And, of course, the chances of such accidents are multiplied in proportion as the line is extended. A post down, or the Aviro on the ground, anywhere between Sydney and the Gulf of Caipentaiia, AVOUUI stop all the mes- sages that were coming along. Storms, too, hinder the Avorkingoftho land line, and a storm may often be happening at some part or other of a long line. A cable at the bottom of the sea remains unaffected by all the turbulence of the elements above it. It is protected from all atmospheric influences. It is subject, however, to a cause of disturbance peculiar to itself, aris- ing from the magnetic currents in the eaith ; but, except in the case of submarine lines of considerable length, the interruptions from this cause are said to be not very serious.
One great advantage of a land line would bo that a second wire can be added at about a quarter of the cost of the oiiginal wire. The same posts answer, and nothing but fresh wiro and insulators are required. If the tclegiaph to England answers as satisfactorily as is hoped for, and a moderate tariff of charges is adopted, one wire will soon be insufficient to carry all the traffic ; and a second submarine cubic could not be laid down for a less cost than the first, except so far as improvements in the manufacture enabled it to be more cheaply fabricated.
The great recommendation, however, of a land line to the colonists is unquestionably that it will open up at once a communication through a territory destined for colonisation. There can be no doubt that, if a wire were carried overland to the Gulf of Carpentaria, squatters would take up the available land on both sides of it, and that the settlement of the country would be pre- cipitated. The advantages would be very great if a squatter in Sydney could send a message in a few minutes to his overseer on the Burdekin, or if a settler on the Lynd could communicate with equal case with his agents in Sydney.or Melbourne. So far as sending down stock is concerned, these stations would doubtless be very remote from the market ; but wool, tallow, horns, and hides could be easily shipped from the coast, which is not far distant, and supplies could be received in the same way. A submarine line could be made to serve part of the purposes of a land line, by attaching branches to it at intervals, and carrying them, inland to any townships that might spring up. But if this operation were repeated frequently, there would be' as great a length of land line involved as would have constructed a continu- ous trunk line, the only advantage being that the seaport towns would be accommodated.
A land line, precisely in the proportion in which it would be available as a local line, would benefit principally the colony through which it passes, and though this may form a strong recommendation to the colony concerned, it would not be so to those who merely wished to u«e it for through messages. If New South Wales and Queensland between them as a joint specu- lation choose to make an overland line to the Gulf of Carpentaria, without calling on the other colonies for aid, and look to the traffic to indemnify them, there is no doubt but that they will command that traffic, and that a submarine line will not, at least for a long time, be laid down in competition with it. But of course if a joint action among all the colonies is desired, then that sort of line which is best adapted for through messages will be fixed upon, and the local considerations as to communication with inland territory will be disregarded, as being the concern exclusively of the colony to which that territory belongs.
Such seems to us to be the principal points to be urged with respect to the relative merits of the two modes of establishing the communi- cation, and according to the importance attached to these arguments in favour of either side will be the ultimate decision. To have both lines would, doubtless, be best, as one or other would probably be always in working order ; but th's, though it may come some day, will be too ex- pensive a luxury at first, and, in choosing one to begin with, the point for consideration is, which is the best as a pioneer.
YESTERDAY morning, at about ten o'clock, the wires of the electric telegraph were seized with an unaccountable fit of restiveness ; they did not altogether refuse to work, but acted irregularly, the adjustment of the instruments altering so frequently that it was almost impossible to get any continuous message through. On asking at the different stations as to whether anything was the matter there, it appeared that they were all in the same fix. Everywhere the instruments were jammed. The same curious phenomenon was exhibited on all the Victorian lines, that to Albury, that to Echuca, and that to Portland. The cause of this extraordinary behaviour on the part of the wires, spread over so large an area, was quite inexplicable. The day was fine, and there was nothing remarkable in the atmosphere. Application was made to the Observatory to know if any peculiar electrical phenomenon had been remarked there. But the colony cannot afford magnetic instruments, and Mr. SCOTT had no means of investigating this
The wires continued to display their obstinacy till the evening, when the cause of the mystery was, to some extent, cleared up. A bright red light in the south-west quarter of the heavens, made many at first suspect that a great fire had broken out somewhere, but the changing hues and forms of the light revealed at last to the initiated the Aurora Australis. As soon as this manifestation was visible the wires began to work better, and by the time it had vanished the wires had resumed their usual regularity. There was, therefore, evidently some connection between the Aurora and the electricity of the
earth, though the nature of that connection is a
puzzle for the scientific. The Aurora was visible at Gundagai and Albury, but not at Melbourne.
The galvanometer at the telegraph office in- dicated a much stronger magnetic current than
The Aurora has for some time been conjectured to be an electric light, but we never remember to have heard of its having so remarkably affected telegraphic wires.
A message was forwarded to Melbourne at noon, to enquire whether anything peculiar had been observed at Professor NEUMAYER's magnetic observatory there, but no answer was received up to last evening.