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OUR MELBOURNE LETTER.
MELBOURNE, MAY 28.
Somebody did his best on Saturday and Sunday to
create a scare. And he succeeded. It does not matter how preposterous a report may be, some people are sure to believe it. There was not tho smallest foundation for the statement that tho London Chartered Bank was in difficulties, but the rumour was credited to a con- siderable extent, and s0 on Monday morning there was a small run on the central establishment, and an extended wave of distrust at some of the branches, Now the fright is over, and oonQdonco is rostorod, and those who thought the commercial world was coming to an eud are just a little ashamed of themselvo-. The report seems to have been exactly of the nature of those aots of im- becility of whioh we have examples occasionally in the throwing into the soa of bottle, containing leitera as from drowning paa.engort. Any idiot can raise these terrore, just as any idiot can cry "Fire!*' in a theatre, The misfortune is that none of them can ever be discovered. It would oi.tainly bo a great satisfac- tion to seo onto of thom whipped. The pure malig- nity there is in some people's minds is be- yond explanation, and it is continually showing itself. It has shown itself quite recently by the poisoning of tho white swans at the Botanical Gardens. One cannot imagine a motivo for destroying these ornaments to the gardens ; but a motive ÍB often the last need to prompt some of these Thugs to their acta of devili.m. They sin out of pure idlauoes. Aud there are thousands of euoh Thugs in this great city. Thoy would set fire to the oity just to BOO how it would look burniug. The fatuous creature who started the ory of the London Ohartered Bauk going to do.t.uc tion, no doubt onjoyed the consternation of which ho WBB the author. He would juBt as readily have dropped a matoh into a powder magazine, eave that, like all
of his kind, he has a notable fear of j
And the mention of powder suggests dynamite, the BtoreB of which in the bay Mr, Newbery has been inspecting, with a view to its more oareful disposal or safe destruction, I have not heard
how Mr. Newbery felt while engaged in this work ; i but he oan hardly have enjoyed tho duty. |
And yet the unseen dangers of the city are declared to be quite as imminent as cither dynamito or gun- powder, namoly, the gorma of typhoid fever, the risk of t&king which, we aro assured, ia greater a great deal than that of being blown up by explosives. And the astounding statement hss been officially GOnt forth that the mortality In typhoid is 75 par cent., a state- ment so utterly at variance with facts that overybody is very naturally inquiring upon whoeo authority it has been mado. No doubt typhoid is prevalent, as it always ÍB at this autumnal season of the year, but I havo reuBOP to know that it is not moro prevuhnt than usual, and I also know that its present type ia by no means of a pronouno.doharaoter. One could almost beliove that the Barrie man who est the report about-the bauk going had invented this other scare about typhoid
And being upon dismal subjects, it is consistent to set down that the Executive have dooidcd to let the law take its courso in the csse of Morgan, who is accordingly to be hanged on the 6th of next month. A poor attempt was made to iuvent a story about a knife, so as to throw doubt upon the othor story of the real knifo ; but it was so clumsy an invention that it took in nobody, and served only to occupy some paragraph-writers which eut on some barron philanthro- pists to talk about memorialising the Executive to pardon him, or to eet him fieo without pardoning him, or to imprison him for 20 years, or to put him in a lunatic asylum. A discussion, consequently, is going on upon the psychopatbology of tho case, which, pro- bably, will extend over the period of his execution. So long as he is hanged, however, there is no objection to
Also there is a disoussion going on upon the case of Elton, whose COBO hos sevetal times before boon dis- cussed, and who ought to have beon hanged 14 years ago, if for nothing but to save the trouble he baa caused. But Elton's case is curious, nevertheless, for, having been acquitted on the ground of insanity on a charge of murder, and . having been cured of the insanity after txvo years' detention in the Yarra Bend Asylum, ho wae then sent to Pentridge for 20 years. Now, he was either a criminal or a lunatic If he xvas a criminal, he ought to have been hanged; if he xvas a lunatic, ha was not respon- sible for his actions ; and therefore, on being curod of his insanity, ho ought, according to law and common sense, to have boen Bet at liberty. Instead of this, as soon as he ceased to bo h lunatio, ho was treated as a oriminah And now ho asks to be released,
There was found the other night on the railway near Newmarket, the body of a decapitated man, and ho had been the superintendent of a Sunday school in a township a few miles from this city, and the hoad of a section of the religious world there ; but it has been ascertained that he was in the habit of going to Melbourne and plunging into the wildest excesses, aud it appears that in a lit of drunken madueca on one of these visita to the metropolis he had decided upou decapitation
as a means of suicide.
It is quite comforting amid these incidents of murder, suicide, robbery, and filthy sensuality, to turn to such nn event as the presentation of a congratulatory addreso to the Rev. Dr. Bromby on his 75th birthday. Such a man as Dr. Bromby repre- sents the other end of the scale of social development. For he is worthy of all good men's reaped, because ho is a learned and liberal divine, a prac.tical-minded Chris- tian, a good citizen, a fine old English gentleman, and a very cheerful companion. In addition to tho address given to him, he is to have the more substantial com- pliment of a thousand pounds, and it is genuinely re- freshing to feel that there are among us mon and women who will unite to do eo graceful an act as this, of recog- nising the merita of a gentleman wboBO career among us has been marked, at every step, by the gentle manner whioh serves to distinguish the make-believe from the genuine gentleman.
And, in the direction of gentleness, Professor Morris has been writing some columns upon the proposal to establish a Shakespeare Society. He is apparently sincere in his desire to bring together those who make Shakespeare a study; but, for all his disclaimer, it is not easy to separate the movement from Trinity College, out of which it seems to have started, and within which it will practically be confined. Of course there is no objection to anybody starting another Shakespeare Sooiety, with similar aims and objects; but I do not expect to see the movement grow into very large proportions, for the good reason that every- body is consumed with a passion for muscularity, and muscularity, as we know it in this part of the world, has no part nor lot with what we know as the intellectuul. When I see 5000 people frantically applauding at a football match, I have little hope of Shakspeare being in request. Footballing is a proof and an expression of the savagery to which I have just referred, and foot- ballers care nothing for Shakspeare. The other day a boy was killed at a football match, and every day boys are maimed in the practice of this brutalising game. They play it now in some of the most public streets, and the day before yesterday 84 parents were fined at one of the suburban Police Courts for not making their children attend school, the excuse in many instances being that the children preferred to go footballing to going to their lessons.
The military spirit ia not dead, for the graduates and undergraduates of (he University have signified their intention to become enrolled in the militia. The foreign invader will thereforo not bo entirely unopposed.
And this xeassuros us.