LOCAL AND GENERAL.
WE are not as yet able to give our readers any further information in regard to the Northern Railway arbitration award. We understand that, although a decision was arrived at on Thursday last,-as we stated on Friday-the formal docu- ment is not yet complete ; nor, when complete will it be delivered until after the arbitrators' fees have been paid.
WE notice in the European Mail that Lord and Lady Gifford were booked to leave Southamp- ton for King George's Sound on Sept. 15 ; and the Attorney General (Mr. Onslow), with Mrs. Ons- low, two infants, and maid servant on Septr. 29.
WHILE Sir Frederick Weld was Governor of this colony, a sister of Lady Weld's married Mr. Strutt, of Belper, who not long ago was killed while showing some friends the machinery at one of his manufactories. Lord Belper, his elder brother, has lately died, and the World inserts the following paragraph : " There is indignation in Catholic society concerning the will of the late Lord Belper. One of the present peer's brothers married Miss de Lisle, a daughter of the late Am- brose de Lisle of Garendon, tile prototype of Eus- tace de Lyle, in Lord Beaconsfield's Coningsby; and this brother died some little time ago, leaving his widow with an only child, a son, who is, naturally enough, being brought up by his mother in her own faith. Lord Belper leaves his eldest son the bulk of his landed property, and to his second son a good slice; and to this grandson a sum of money, .£20,000, I believe, but on condition that he. ia brought up a Protestant. Of course a daughter of Ambro3e de Lisle, and a sister of Lady Howard of Glossop, would rather forego many fortunes than hand the little boy over to the tender mercies of heretics, and he is too young to have any voice at all in the matter. The awkward part of the busi- ness is that when he himself grows older he may, if he is lax, repent the choice made by his mother
in his behalf."
OUE English files state that the denuncia- tions of the anti-rent agitators were being pitched in a preceptibly higher key, and their orators were growing more vehement than ever, apparently from the fear that a good harvest might diminish their opportunities. At one great meeting, Mr. Dillon M.P. assured 20,000 hearers that the House of Lords were " ruffians," and a brother orator ex- claimed : " They say, ' Pay rents to Casar; give to Csesar what is due to Casar.' But where is Casar? Csesar is dead. There was a man called Brutus, who gave to Casar what was hisv doe-he sent a dagger though his heart."
" ATLAS," of the World, thus corrects the Times, in which the haunts of the Kellys had been described asa vast impenetrable thicket: "Tig lath Pileser, Esq.., who now edits the Times, ap- pears to be under the impression that the ' bush' of Australia is a veritable forest-a bush such as his friend and contemporary Moses saw burning only ' more so,* So, at least, it is to be gathered from a passage in a leading article in the Times of Tuesday last, on the dispersion of the Kelly gang of bushrangers, where the scene of their exploits is described as a * vast impracticable thicket.' Now the ' bush' in Australia merely signifies all land not settled or reclaimed from the wilderness. There is a sufficiency of woodland, of ceurse, and in some parts of the continent there are forests of some thickness and extent. But 'for the most part the ' bush' is simply a waste land, sprinkled here and there with stunted sapless shrubs, thinly covered with stiff spiky grass-in short, my'dear T. P., as arid, stoney, sterile, and generally ' as uncomfortable a desert as your own loved and lone Arabia." It is pleasant to find that for once at any rate the old journal-which has come in for such an amount of sarcastic criticism of late from young contemporaries-is in the right, audits critic ludi- crously in the wrong.
LADY Burdett-Coutts, on the occasion of ker marriage, will, it is said, be given away by Mr. W. H. Smith, late First Lord of the Admiralty. The Baroness, after all, may not be dispossessed of any of the property she holds under the Duch- ess' will. A point of law has, it is understood» been suggested by one of the highest living auth- orities on international law; and this point, if suc- cessfully raised, would render the alien clause in- operative, and permit those legally entitled under the forfeiture clause from enforcing it
Ix the leading journal of Geneva a well known Alpine tourist publishes an entertaining; account of the proceedings of a raven-tribunal, ac cidently witnessed by him during a recent excur- sion in the Swiss mountains. Decending from the region of glaciers, he came upon a small secluded glen, surrounded by thick cover, concealed in which he was enabled to contemplate a strange spectacle. From sixty to seyeuty ravens had form- ed a circle round one of their fellows, obviously a misdemeanant, whose alleged delinquencies they were eagerly engaged iu discussing with infinite clatter of croaking and wing-flapping. Every now and then they interrupted their debates for a brief space to listen to the energetic representations of the prisoner, who conducted his own defence with amazing fervour, the judges breaking out into a deafening chorus of comments or refutations after his every statement. Presently, having arrived at the unanimous conclusion that the arraigned bird had failed to excuplate itself, they suddenly flew upon! him from all sides, and tore him to pieces with their powerful beaks. Having thus summarily executed their own sentence, they dispersed, leav- ing the remains of the dead offender bestrewing the very seat of justice, as a dead warning to all immorally-disposed ravens.
A COEEESP03TDENT writing to the London Daily Telegraph on the same subject says : " On a sultry summer afternoon I was riding leisurely on horseback along a quiet road in Norfolk-not many miles distant from Norwich-when I was startled by hearing an unsual commotion, within a short distance, amongst the dwellers of an ad- jacent rookery. Quietly lying np my horse to a gate, I crawled some hundred feet or more to a gap in the hedge of a grass field, where a rook " trial by jury" was going on. The criminal-as undoubtedly he was -at first appeared very perky and jaunty, although encircled by about forty or fifty of an evidently indignant sable fraternity, and assailed by the incessantly vehement cawing of an outer ring, consisting of many hundreds» each and all showing even greater indignation
than was manifested by the more select number. Some crime or other had evidenty been committed against rook-law. Scouts, too, were hovering in' au" directions, but so absorbed were they that my vicinity was unheeded. After a very few minutes the .manner of the criminal Buddenlyand wholly changed. He bent his head, cawed weakly, as it were imploringly, and drooped his wings, as if pleading for mercy. It was useless. The select circle went in at once, and, picking him to pieces, left a mangled carcass in less time than I write of it Then they and all the rest, scouts as well, set np a sort of exulting screaming and flew away, some to their neighbouring home, and others-the greater number I may say-across the fields. On
licking, up the remains I found a shapeless mass, mt was able to discern that it was a male bird."
WE aré loth to revert to subjects which have been discussed od nauseam of late, and of which the public must be heartily tired. But when a position we have taken is assailed by downright perversion of facts, silence is neither possible nor politic In a journal which ventures weekly to assure us, notwithstanding the finan- cial embarrassments with which every one of our neighbours has at present to contend, that Responsible Government is a cure for deficits and extravagance, we need not perhaps be surprised to read the, following paragraph : " Some Governors " may have been very injudicious and even waste "fnl, but what they have expended without the " concurrence, if not at the actual desire of the " Council, would not amount to £6000 in all ; and " how could this account for the annual expendí " ture rising at the rate of £10,000 a year, or for a "deficit of £80,000?"
THIS astounding assertion is part of the process by which the journal in question endeav- ours to expose to the public the folly of the Coun- cil's late action in taking steps to ensure, as far as possible, legal and economical expenditure of the public funds. We will now proceed to make an- other' quotation, a quotation from a document which has not yet been made generally public, -the report of the select committee of the Legis- lative Council on the over-expenditure for tho year 1879 beyond the grant for that year. This report gives ns the following information :
"For services for which provision waa made in the Esti- mates, there hu been expended OTer and above the appro- priation made, the sum of £7,961 15a. 7d» and services authorised by resolutions of the Council have caused an expenditure of «5,784 5s. 5d, whilst £7,088 18s 6d has bein spent without any authorised authority. Tour Com- mittee ax* of opinion that many of the services for which the above expenditure has been incurred might well have been allowed to wait nntU the sanction of tho Legislature could have been obtained, whilst in some eases the pro- bable expenditure might have been foreseen, and provision made for it on the Estimates when brought before the Council. Tour Committee cannot too strongly condemn the practise of expending the public money without Legis- lative authority-an expenditure, too, occurring without any commoniing revenue to meet tt ; those two circumstances combined having conduced to our present deficit. Tour Committee think it right to draw the attention of your honorable House to the circumstance that the excess of £16VH7 8s., forming the total amount included in the BUI referred to your Committee, does not represent the whole unauthorised expenditure for the year 1879, as there was ?pent on various works connected with the Northern Ball- way in that yea», a sum of £14,243 10s. 6d. without any Legislative authority, over and above £17,000 which had hero provided by loan for the completion of this railway."
So we see that last year alone £ï,96115s. 7d> waa expended ia excess of votes for services, without authority ; a further sum of £7,082 18s. 6d. also without authority ; and, finally, another amount «i £14,243 10s. 6d. in the same manner. And, while the. public is led to believe that what onr Administrations have spent without the con carranca or expressed request of the Council baa not amounted iq all to more than £5000, we find that as a matter of fact; in one year alone, £29,288 4s. 7d. was spent without any legUlative sanction tefcat «wer) direct or indirect. It is evidently not appar- ent to those who an guilty of these gross mis- representations, that they are in reality only in i'uring the cause which they profess to have at
leart. Responsible Government has no doubt cer ' tain decided advantages,-advantages which its
advocates curiously overlook in the arguments they put forth. But financial mismanagement is as likely to occur, under that as under any form of Government. Deficits and embarrassment can only be avoided by wisdom and foresight on the part of those who administer whatever the form of Govern- ment may be, stimulated by vigilance on the part of the Legislature and backed by a wholesome public opinion.
vVs hear that Mr. Shenton'« pure bred Alderny cow dropped a fine heifer calf on Friday
n " ,WB understand that Messrs. Crowder and
v latchford, who not long ago established an »rated water manufactory at Fremantle, intend building another manufactory at Perth, the site selected being in Murray street. The business of the firm has so extended since its establishment at Fre- mantle last year, as to necessitate the erection of new and more commodious premises.
THE Queensland Parliament has adopted a system of postal card money orders to be used as a circulating medium. They are stamped of differ- ent values from half a crown upwards, and will, it is expected, prove very useful in the bush. The opponents of the measure argued that these new fashioned money orders would enormously increase the work of the post office officials.
"WE are requested to state that the lately formed partnership between Mr. G. F. Wilkinson and Mr. E. Kay Courtbope relates exclusively to the auction and commission business of both par- ties, and that no altération whatever will take place in the import and general mercantile business of Mr. E. Kay Courthope, which will continue to be carried on for his own sole account and at his own risk.
"We have felt much surprise that the arrange- ments nidde daring the late session of Council in regard to the up-keep-of public roads have elicited novjemark whatever from the country, as this is a subject which generally awakens a large amount of interest. We must conclude, either that the country approves of the action taken by the Legis- lator«, or that but few are aware what that action has been. A few days ago we received a com- munication from a gentleman of long experience in Western Australian road making, andSoad Board work, who is unaware of what was eventu- ally arranged, and yet has arrived at the same con- clusion as the Legislature in regard to what should be done. Having read Mr. Marmion's proposed amendment to the Districts Beads Act 1871 Amendment Bill, our correspondent apparently had not heard of the final result, but formed a similar opinion with respect to minor roads and the levying of rates as the majority of the Council. Seeing that the policy of the House in respect of the question of rates, was strongly opposed by the Government, and that the action of members in this matter caused a dissolution to be seriously thought of, the independent opinion of a repre- sentative settler on the same subject is of much interest. Our correspondent writes :
"Mr. marmion and perhaps other dwellers ia towns feel SOM that the users of country roads should depend for the maintenance of these roads entirely on public funds, m the . ! present impoverished state of the colony. And in this they
nave a certain show of reason. Consequently they wish to make a property rate for road purposes compulsory. But Mr. Marmion should recollect that in those countries Where roads axe kept up by the imposition of a property rate there are many property holders for every mile of road, whereas here there are many many miles of road for every property holder. Itcsnnofcbe denied that those who make profitable use of roads ought to contribute towards their mainten- ance, and it cannot be denied also that the present methed of raising this contribution is in the highest degree unjust and futile. The owner of a four-wheeled buggy whose track can hardly be discerned is charged £1 per annum, while the owner of a two-wheeled dray, carrying (with four horses) per- haps two tons, and T»M"g probably more than twenty Jour ?* ney« in the year, ia charged only ten shillings, or 3d. per ton.
The only fair way of levying contributions would be by a tatt, which would ensure that those who did most damage, psttmost. I think that all the Board funds should be expended on ifcewuun road«, and that Mr. Marmion'« principle miyM jMsUV W brought mt» pla« en the «»nor road».
I wiU give an example. The minor road by which we reach the mai» Una wanta repair. The Road Board is applied to
shan levy on yon who use the road a. compulsory rate. II .must be eommlatry, or, aa yo* knew, some would contribute nothing. This understanding that minor roads must be contributed to by their users, with «.discretionary power on the part of the Board to levy rates for the purpose, is a very different thing from what Mr. Mansion proposes.
I am aware that for some reason the Government doe« not like the idea of tolls, probably because theran» now discontinued in England, but it should be remembered that this change baa been caused by railways. Formerly the ex- cellent turapike roads of England were entirely kept up by tolls. Hiere ia of course a difficulty in collecting, but this might X think be got'over."
So we find that our correspondent who, as we said before, isa representative settler, has arrived, independently, a,t exactly the same conclusion as the Council. 1st-that public funds should be de- voted exclusively to main roads ; 2nd-that minor roads should be kept up by the- Bettlers themselves, and, 3rd-that the levying of rates should be left within the discretion of the Bonds Boards. As foi the question of tolls as a means of enforcing local contribution towards the up-keep of main roads it was mooted under Sir Frederick Weld's Govern, meat and strongly opposed. It is certain that tollt are almost everywhere being abolished, probablj on account of their inconvenience. We agree witt our correspondent that in theory they are a verj equitable means of collecting funds for road main teñance, though we scarcely think1 they would tx suited to the circumstances of this colony. W< see that in Victoria the question of the re-establish
ment of tolls has been raised in the* Assembly, several members averring that the roads of the colony haTe deteriorated ever since they were abol- ished. Mr. Berry however refused his support to a motion for their re-introduction and' promised a j measure for supplying their place.