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THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ANTI-DRAY AND LAND TAX LEAGUE.
A very important meeting of the several Delegates from different local Associations for resisting the odious Dray and Land Tax, was held yesterday at Mr Smith's, ' White Horse Hotel.' Currie-street. nursuant to ad
vertisement, (gentlemen deputed to represent several District Societies attended, among whom we noticed — For the Yatala Branch Association : Messrs Wells, Mounster, W. Parker, Webber, and Fletcher. For the Hundred of Adelaide : Messrs Man full, Daw, Martin, and Dal wood. For the Morphett Vale Branch : Messrs Wilson, Darley, Anderson, Creig, and Clarke, in addition to a considerable number of gentlemen, members of the League but not Delegates. During the morning a ridiculous hoax was played by gome fellow with more money than wit, who placarded the town with handbills, announcing a general public meeting instead of a meeting of Delegates only. This caused a large attendance of gentlemen, who afterwards resolved themselves into a public meeting as reported below. The Delegates being assembled in a private room, with closed doors, Mr Wells moved and Mr Manfull se conded 'That Mr A. Anderson, of Morphett Vale, take the chair.' Carried unanimously. Mr Darby, of the same district, was appointed Secre tary. Mr Daw moved, and Mr Wilson seconded, ' That Mr Manfull, of Adelaide, be appointed Treasurer.' The Chairman stated that the Delegates named by each district were five, three being necessary to form a quorum to vote for such district. The meeting was scarcely so well attended as might have been expected, the advertisement convening it being sent off to some parts only on the very day of the meeting, which might be considered the «'day after the fair.' The Willunga and Mount Barker folks would hear of the proposed meeting too late to attend. He (the Chairman) was quite sure they would willingly join heart and hand in the glorious movement so auspiciously commenced. Mr R. L. Milne made a polite request to be permitted to make a statement, which was acceded to when the business of the meeting was concluded. ' The farce would suitably follow the play,' said the worthy Chair man, in allusion to a few noisy and very indignant persons, headed by Mr Brunskill, who, in a state of considerable excitement, wished to intrude upon the Delegates' meeting. The Chairman addressed the Delegates to the busi ness of the day. The purpose of that day's assemblage was for the purpose of abolishtng those obnoxious, odious, and detestable impositions, the dray and land tax. Nothing so iniquitous had been imposed in England, with its debt of eight hundred millions, its vast standing army, and its proud navy, the wooden walls of glorious Britain, that isle of freedom. The proportionate taxation of the British in Britain w?s nothing like that of the British in South Australia, taking into consideration our position as denizens of a new country, toiling and struggling by the sweat of our brow to support an honest name, the best inheritance bequeathed to us by our ancestors. (Hear.) The dray and road taxes fell most heavily on the poor farmer, by the sweat of whose brow the masses got their bread. The farming interests of this colony were second to none. (Cheers.) Those taxes were most unequal and outrageous — unequal, because an unfortunate owner o( a dray only using a road twice a year, paid as much to Government as impost on his ' motive power,' as the man who, owning little or no land, tilling little or no soil, and contributing little or no quota to the staff of colonial as well as all human life— went over the same roadB with his bullocks for hire, daily throughout the year — (Hear) — travelling five hundred miles to the poor man's twenty. It was unequal among the farmers themselves, as the man living twenty miles from town iamaged double the extent of road that the farmer of only ten miles' distance would injure, supposing either jit them only to go twice a year to town. As to the land tax, the people who owned mines and quarries, and worked in the tiers, used the roads, but paid no equiva lent to the badly-remunerated farmer. As far as the land tax went, it was enough to startle anybody who thought on it. It was in his (the Chairman's) hun Ired 3d. per acre. He had heard publicly from one of Commissioners that I£d. or *2d. out of the 3d. was ex pended in the collection and incidentals. What pre posterous absurdity to leave only the odd penny for the great object to be accomplished! (Hear, hear.) If this was to be the case they were better off before the bill was passed — clnbbing together their teams and other resources, to keep in order the ' Highways and Byways' to their own properties. (Cheers.) He be lieved confidently that Sir Henry Young never could lave intended to insult the most industrious class in :he community by imposing a tax which bore so heavily, to peculiarly, so unfairly upon them. (Hear.) Her Majesty's faithful subjects at home were not subject to burthens imposed by the peers, but by their own elected representatives. It was unconstitutional to reverse the rule here. (Cheers.) When the voice of South Aus tralia from every town and cluster of cottages, from ;very farm-yard and each distant station scattered through the province, is heard, ' Thus far the shalt ' thougoand no farther' — if Sir Henry Young was a - statesman, he would meet their views at once. It was not one district or one hundred, it was the voice of the j -ntire people, and thirty thousand persons would flock ; the streets in th* neighbourhood of Government House, ! if rendered necessary by an insane refusal on the part j )f the Colonial Council and its head, and raise the old 1 :ry of the apprentices of olden time, ' No surrender' ; )f our rights or our privileges as free men. (Loud ap alause.)
I Mr Wells thought it better to proceed to business t once after the able address of their respected Chairmai . He therefore moved the following resolution :— ' Th | assembled Delegates hereby declare the formation of | League of all the united Districts in opposition to th odious Dray and Land Imposts ' The speaker agree in all the Chairman had so well expressed. With a overflowing treasury, and a £40,000 surplus, w heard of— what ? Well-advised appropriations c parts and parcels of this money to wise purpose of advantage to the community ? No such thing Instead of it, we heard of the imposition by thi precious Government, this regime upon its last leg —this expiring clique of Downing-street upon its las legs— of a system of direet taxation (with emphasis wanton and wicked in the extreme. (Cheers.) Th speaker continued— I have not paid, nor will I pay ou farthing of cither tax. I am prepared te become i martyr, one of those 'little martyrs' to which M Edward Stephens so feelingly alluded the other day This martyrdom, little or large, I will submit to ; mj friends will submit to ; the entire of the thinking ant intelligent farmers in my district will submit to, rmthei than be fleeced against our will, and without the fran chise. (Loud cheers.) The plan the speaker suggested was, to go in a body to Government House, peaceablj certainly ; by legal means to demonstrate by theii personal presence, and the appearance of tbat physical force the people possessed in such abundance, that they meant to obtain their rights if in answer to moral force they were denied them. (Cheers.) Mr W. Parker seconded the motion. He was con vinced the taxes were as illegal as they were unjust, dishonest, and roguish. The same sort of thing hat boen tried in Van Diemen's Land, in 1843, in the case of the 15 per cent, duties and the dog- tax. The firm and united determination of the people, however, had beaten the Executive, aided by the integrity and leaning of the Bench of Justices, who had vindicated the law and were basely treated in consequence: Judge Montagu being dismissed, and the other Judge ehelved for 18 months. (Shame.) The luminaries of Van Diemen's Land had taken up the cause and enlightened the public intelligence, and he doubted not the case would be similar hero. Mr Wilson said, even if the ridiculous Road Act had proceeded from a popularly constituted Assembly, tbe powers give* to the Commissioners were vastly too great Let them try the question if the Council had power to tax in a way contrary to their rights as British subjects, and 'God shew the right.' (Hear.) The best plan was to subscribe ample funds, and defend any case in any district, in which the Commissioners were so ill-advised as to proceed to extremities. On the resolution being put from the Chair, a con versation arose upon the general question, in which perfect good temper, and scarcely any difference, even of opinion, prevailed. The Chairman added — The result they had come to at Morphett Vale was this :— If other Hundreds did not join them, they would fight the battle alone. (Chears). The Queen could not impose taxes without the people's representatives' consent at home ; neither could she delegate a power she did not possess to any one man or body of men here. Taxation, by the dogma of the British constitution must originate with the Commons, and the Lords of this colony dared not con travene this glorious clause in the people's charter of freedom. His Excellency had appointed those immacu commissioners. No bankrupt or insolvent was qualified, yet in two instances such persons sat at the board. Money in this agitation was of little object The farmer would subscribe ample funds to put down oppression. Mr Mouster said that for Yatala they would shew one thousand members of the League, each of whom could and would, if necessary, subscribe a pound. This would make £1000 alone. (Cheers.) Mr Wells announced that Mr J. H. Fisher had been appointed Solicitor for their district ; he would move that the following gentlemen be appointed Solicitors and Counsellors for the confederated League, viz. :— Messrs J. H. Fisher, E. C. Gwynne, R. D. Hanson, and H. W. Parker. He thought these gentlemen would to a tolerable match for tbe very learned Advocate-General. (Loud laughter.) Mr Daw seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously. After a lengthened and somewhat desultory conver sation, in which many delegates took part, Mr Wells moved that an address be issued by the assembled meeting to the people of South Anstralia —
Mr Wilson seconded the motion, which was unani mously carried. Mr Manfull moved, and Mr Daw seconded, that if a seizure were made in any Hendred, the parties be re ferred to the solicitors, who would, be instructed to defend tbe case. The Chairman gave a handsome tribute to the value of the press, as a means of advancing the cause of the people ; and as tbe battle had been fought most ably by the literary gentlemen of the colony, the address had better be effectively advertised. The Meeting decided that the address should appear in the newspapers ; and the Meeting, after a vote of thanks to the Chairman for his admirable tact in his office, adjourned to the same day fortnight, same time and place.