LEAVE OF ABSENCE.
The Assembly did a sharp thing on Wed nesday afternoon. By a majority of five they refused leave of absence to Mr. G. T. Bean, the 'junior member for West Torrens.'
This is probably the first time such a subject las been debated at all, and certainly it is the first instance of such, a decision. The case was peculiar throughout, and it pro voked many peculiar views of Parliamentary custom. Mr. Hart, the mover of the question, began the fatuity by choosing a very unusual form of motion, namely — 'that leave of absence be granted to the honourable member for West Torrens until the end of the present session,' It is said that only one precedent can be found for such an indefinite term — a leave of absence granted on one occasion to Mr. Neville Blyth. But Mr. Strangways pointed out some funda- mental distinctions between Mr. BIyth's case and Mr. Bean's. In the former there was the strongest possible plea of illness, and there was wanting the special aggravation of Mr. Bean's case— distance. Mr. Blyth did not go further than to one of the neigh- bouring colonies, if indeed he left South Australia at alL In point of form the motion was virtually unprecedented, and Mr. Boucaut, though, inclined to support it, had to stipulate for its being rendered more definite. But the House generally went beyond technical considerations, and seriously took up the question of principle. This it dis- covered to be somewhat complicated. First, there was the uncertainty of how long the session might yet last, and involved therein was the degree of inconvenience which might be entailed by Mr. Bean's absence. The cir- cumstance of his having gone to England, and the temptation he might encounter to parade his M.P.ship rather obtrusively in the mother-country, was a second point which weighed against him. The danger of other members giving way to the same temptation till the attendance might suffer seriously in consequence was vividly anticipated. The interposition of Mr. Bean's constituency by means of a memorial in support of the motion added another element of controversy, the effect of which was the reverse of what had been intended by its originators. Imperial pre- cedents were also dragged in, especially on Mr. Bean's side ; but they were pointless in the debate, and still less can they stand sub- sequent investigation. For the most part they were erroneous in principle, and erro- neously applied. Mr. Hart would fain have represented the House of Commons as being lax with regard to granting leave of absence, but "May' gives its alleged laxity another aspect. He had the countenance of Messrs. Blyth and Boncaut in contending that the House should not concern itself about the reason for asking leave of absence or the use which was to be made of it. According to Mr. Blyth, it was all the same to Mr. Bean's fellow - legislators whether he went to 'England, Calcutta, or Jericho.' But the Commons are more inquisitive. 'May's' doctrine is that when leave of absence is applied for 'sufficient reasons must be given, as that they are about to attend the Assizes or go on Circuit, or that they desire to be absent on account of urgent business, the illness or death of near relations, domestic affliction, illness in their family, or their own ill-health.' The House of Commons evidently does not regard the application as a form, nor does it allow the applicant to treat it as such. It expects definite reasons, and reserves to itself the right of determining their sufficiency. In supposing that all applications are granted as a matter of course, Mr. Hart stumbled into another error. ' Upon these and other grounds,' says May, 'leave of absence is generally given, but has been occasionally re- fused.' The further back we go in English precedent the greater strictness discloses itself. When the Knights of the County were paid for their services, the payment was limited to their actual attendance, and protracted absence was punishable besides by fine. In 1554 a number of truants had informations filed against them in the Court of Queen's Bench, which issued in the infliction of penalties. And long after the abolition of payment of members, a resolution stood on the journal of the House that ' no member should absent himself without the licence of the Speaker and Commons, to be entered on record in the book of the Clerk of Par- liament.' In South. Australia we have commenced with a much more lenient theory than the English, for our Constitution Act expressly allows a member to absent himself from the House for two months out of every session without asking any leave whatever. The ignoring of this clause is a crowning illustration of the fatuity which has attended Mr. Bean's case. Reckoning by the probable duration of the session after he started, the chances were greatly in favour of his seat continuing safe to the end of it. His friends might have risked saying nothing at all about his sudden, departure by the Darra. If they could not, however, allow the important
event to pass without special notice, they might have introduced it with greater effect a month, hence. What they asked from the House was not a necessity to Mr. Bean. It was intended to appear as a compliment, but the House has not been taken in a complimentary humour. It has reasoned where it was expected to flatter, and foreseen danger where Mr. Bean anticipated some glorification. As to Mr. Bean individually the event has proved that he staked too much on the hope of establishing a precedent for ' unlimited leave.' It has shown him and his friends that they adopted a wrong course in asking from the House what they might have quietly taken under the Constitution Act. As Mr. Carr justly observed, if a member wished to strain to the utmost any of his Parliamentary rights, it was one thing to wink at the strain and another to bestow a solemn sanction upon it. In ordinary cases where the leave asked is reasonable and definite, it comes with a better grace directly from the House than it can be taken by the individual, though that alter- native is equally available. But an absence which may be questionable in itself, and which may threaten the validity of the member's seat, ought to be a matter for individual risk. The House would not be performing a mere act of courtesy in sanc- tioning snch a transaction; it would be slighting its own principles and endangering its usefulness. The refusal of its sanction then was not so discourteous as the asking for it had been originally. The wider issues of yesterday's discussion — those which, concern the House itself more than they do Mr. Bean— will go far toward establishing a limitation precedent. Several speakers distinctly condemned the idea of members carrying their seats abroad with them in their pockets. The 'legislator unattached' may be permitted free range of the Australian Continent and the adjoining islands, but we can. hardly afford to send specimens to Europe. The article is not ripe for foreign exhibition, and the supply is barely equal to the home consumption. It will be decidedly better to have an understanding that leave of absence is to be limited to the colonies, otherwise getting elected to Parlia- ment might become one of the fashionable
preliminaries to a voyage home. J.P.ships might be much, more conveniently utilized for such a purpose, and to those for whose ! edification they are coveted there would be ; very little difference either in sound or ; intelligibility. The fate of the Beanite memorial involves a more interesting question than Mr. Bean's own. Several members— notably Mr. Neales —repudiated it altogether, and disowned the jurisdiction of the memorialists. The House would have certainly misunderstood its position had it given any effect to the memorial. The very presentation was a mistake, and one for which the House cannot hold itself blameless. Yesterday there seemed to be a feeling that Mr. Bean's constituents had interfered gratuitously ; but their interference was distinctly invited, and by Mr. Bean's own colleague, the Attorney GeneraL Before they had manifested the slightest interest in Mr. Hart's motion, Mr. Strangways moved its adjournment, in order that they might have an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it. Two meetings were held, and their verdict — what- ever it may be worth— was decidedly in favour of Mr. Bean. But the House discovered its mistake as soon as it obtained what it had been waiting for. It had to set its own opinion against that of the constituency - a collision entirely of its own creation. Mr. Neales's doctrine was as true a fortnight ago as it was yesterday— that the con- stituents had nothing to do with the tenure of a member's seat. Their jurisdiction begins when the seat is declared vacant, and ends when the seat is legally filled. The control of the seatholder belongs exclusively to the Legislature ; it is a matter of internal discipline. The electors of West Torrens were invited to go out of their way on Mr. Bean's account ; they were encouraged to do for him what they had no power to do ; and when their manner of doing it disappointed the Attorney-General he helped the House to undo it all. He voted against a memo rial from his own constituents, pre pared at his own instigation. The electors of West Torrens are not far wrong in thinking themselves awkwardly situated. A Bean at the North Pole can, it seems, attend better to their interests than a Strangways on North-terrace.
THE SCHOOL RETURNS FOR 1868.
A Parliamentary Paper, entitled the School Keturns of 1868, affords a useful sup plement to the report of the Education Board, though not issued by the Board
itself. It takeB a much wider view of the educational progress of the colony than is attainable by the Board, for it includes the attendance at private as well as at Govern ment schools. It professes to furnish, in fact, a complete picture of the state of education in the colony with one significant exception. It is explained in a foot-note that returns from Roman Catholic schools are not procurable. This omission, however, may not so seriously affect the total as to render it useless for the purposes of com parison. In order to make definite use of these returns as a gauge of public instruction there must be an ideal established. A perfectly efficient system of instruction would be one which reached all the youth of the popula tion of an educable age; the general limits of which are from five to fifteen. Between these two ages we have, according to the census of 1SC6, a juvenile community numbering thirty-seven thousand. Allowing for sickness and other disqualifications, abo for private tuition, there might remain from thirty to thirty-five thousand as the maximum school attendance. This takes no account of two years' increase since the date of the census, but what we may thereby lose in numbers will be gained in certaintv. Without the slightest exaggeration or over exaction, it may be said that South Aus tralia ought to have from thirty to thirty five thousand children in regular attendance at school. The actual total given in these returns is 20,846 ; consequently less than two-thirds of the educable population is even making the pretence of educating itself. The above twenty thousand odd appear only on the school rolls, however. The daily attendance ia quite a different matter, its total being only 17,8G6. In other words, little more than half the educable population of the colony report themselves daily at school. Fully two thousand of these do not fairly come within the present comparison, for they are outside the ages specified. Under five there are no less than 1,620 scholars, nearly 10 per cent of the gross attendance ; and over fifteen there are 523 more. Out of the thirty-five thousand eligible scholars in the census, these returns therefore account for barely fifteen thousand. Satisfaction with the present system implies a capacity to explain to oneself what becomes of the other twenty thousand, and to conceive a cheerful prospect for them as future citizens. The diffusion of education in South Aus tralia is clearly no ground for boasting. And how as to its quality? Of that the pubUc can judge but roughly, and inferentially. They may without injustice assume that a good organization of schools, and a staff of decently-paid teachers, are indispensable to efficiency, Here we have 527 separate schools and 1,013 teachers provided for an average attendance of 17,866 scholars. The average for each school i3 34, and for each teacher 17. Assuming that each scholar pays three pounds per head per annum, including the Government grant, the average income of the schools would be £102, and of the teachers £51 per head. It is a moral impossibility that good scholars can be maintained on such a footing. The system of instruction cannot be what it ought to be where it is so subdivided as to allow only an average of thirty scholars to each school. Teaching as a profession cannot be what it ought to be under competition which reduces the average income of teachers to £51 per head — one half the earnings of mechanical labour. These returns comprise an analysis of the subjects taught, through which further in sight may be gained into the nature of what we term our popular education. In the ' reading' section all on the roll are entered with the exception of a few hundreds. In writing there is also a comparatively good muster— 17,705 in alL From this to arith metic there is a falling off of about a thousand, leaving a nominal aggregate of 16,677. On what would be considered the lowest level of instruction in England, we have between sixteen and seventeen thousand children. At the second level the number contracts wofully. In the grammar section there are not many more than ten thousand (10,247), and in geography less than eleven thousand (10,687). The type of the third level ia modern languages, and of the fourth classics. Ere we reach the former the number of pupils has dwindled down to 2,568, *nd at the latter we conclude with 462. Or if mathematics b« preferred as the test of a superior education, the total will be 655. In accomplishments the system seems to have had greater success; drawing has 1,462 students, and music 1,051. From the ideal to the actual we descend step by step thus — number of juveniles who ought to be at school, 35,000; number on the school rolls, about 20,000; number receiving a fair elementary education, about 10,000;
lumber who have advanced into the higher I education, from five to six hundred. . Aj straightforward analysis of the facts does not I Leave the system much * ro*m for boasting a» to quality. There is a third requisite by which it might be judged— the adaptation of instruction to the future requirements of the instructed. According to the returns there is more of this than the system has hitherto been credited with. About four thousand are said to be under 'industrial' education —a very gratifying announcement, but un fortunately it degenerates on enquiry into a question of crochet and needlework. Of the four thousand 'industrials'* 3,946 are females, and the male proportion is consequently dis appointing. Taken altogether, our educational ma chinery — that is, the five hundred and twenty-seven schools, . with their thousand and thirteen teachers — has not produced anything very creditable to us as a nation. It has neither attained a high standard of nstruction nor has it secured a large school attendance. The Nortiier.\- Territory Act Ameso ment Bill.— The object of this Bill, which is being rapidly passed through the Assembly, is to place certain land-order-holders, who, through accident or inadvertence, have neg lected to forward their applications for the extended area granted under the Act of last year within the time specified, in the same position as if they had strictly conformed to thc^terms of the Act. The schedule is the most interesting part of the measure, and embraces the following names: — English Register— Land-order 131, J. Lance; 152, E. Budden; 153, J. Bevan; 64 and 29S, Alex. Lawrence ; 66, Chas. Clark ; 65, E. D. Joyce ; 98, Jno. Johnson (by his attorney, A. Law rence); 169, Peter A. Anderson; 199, Chas. Chapman; 260 and 445 to 453, J. M. Napier; 261, 262, and 263, Jno. Adcock ; 160, 161, 1S4, and 344, W. H. Bernand ; 203 and 393, T. Townend; 244 and 417 to 420, David Benjamin ; 245 and 421, Solomon Benjamin ; 75 and 76, H. B. Craig. Colonial Register— Land-order 140, 141, and 142, Executors of Jacob Bauer; 162, Frederick Davis; 512, Herbert Ludlow; 728, Thomas Yause; 734, Charles Sanders; 735, U. D. J. Lienard. Representation of West Torress.— Tho House of Assembly on Wednesday, December 8, by a considerable majority declined to grant leave of absence to the end of the session to Mr. G. T. Bean. Tho hon. meml-er made his last appearance in the Assembly, before leaving for England, on November 17. Under the Con stitution Act his seat will not be vacant until the middle of January, and then only in the event of the session lasting beyond that' date. New. Year's Dat's Races.— Tho nominations for the Steeplechase, New Year's Handicap, and Hurdle Race will be taken at the Globe this eveninsr.
Passengers by the Mail.— The onlv pas sengers booked for the outgoing mail are Messrs. G. Hcinzmann and T. F. Mouteith, jun., for King George's Sound. Fiue at Port Augusta. —A telegram on Wednesday from Port Augusta stated that Jlr. P. U. Warren's store had been destroyed by fire. Entertainment. — On Friday night, in White's Rooms, a musical and literary enter tainment takes place in aid of the Adelaide Female Reformatory. The programme— ap- pearing elsewhere— includes a lecture on ' Mirth,' by the Rev. A. Scales. The Hon. J. Col ton presides. , Northern Notes.— A letter dated Wirrialjw, Decemlicr 3, says :— ?'?'The weather still continues hot and dry. 1 hear of largo numbers of sheep travelling northwards from many of tho lower runs. 1 believe there have been very heavy rains up North, which will sot the runs there up again.' From Port Augusta, on Deccml-er -i, our correspondent writes : — ' ' The weather for the past week .has. been variable. There is a hot wind to-day, and plenty of dust— thermometer in the shade, 105. A thunderstorm passed over us, but only a few drops of rain fell.' Partial Openino ok the Northern Exten sion Railway.— Wo understand that, though the Northern Extension Line is not likely to be fully opened till towards the end of January, the Hon. Commissioner of Public Works has determined for the convenience of the fanners in the North to open it from Rivertou, Saddle worth, and Mauoora for wheat traffic only on Monday, December 20. Novel Railway Carriage.— Mr. Mais, the Engineer-in-Chief, has now in course of con struction a large carriage for the Northern Ex tension Line, and we believe that he contem plates introducing one of the same kind upon the Port Line. It is on the Bogie principle, JO ft. long, 8 ft. wide, and 6 ft. high, hung upon an American Bissell-truck at each end, and con structed to carry 42 passengers, guard, }*ost oflice, and luggage, as well as a tank attached to the under-frame, containing about 800 gallons of water for the purpose of supplying the tank engine, to which this carriage will be connected, and will form the train. The carriage will Iks extremely light, as it will not be used in connection with heavy goods trains, and have to withstand the shocks in shunting. The uudcrframe will be of iron, and the panels of the carriage of the same material, and ample ventilation will be secured. The whole is carried upon eight wheels, and the intention is to save running two carriages and a break-van, which run upon 12 wheels, and the heavy carriages now in use are rarely ever full, consequently a heavy mass has to be drawn backwards and forwards, and extra wheels have to run beyond those absolutely required, except upon special occasions. It is proposed to run the engine and this description of carriage on the new lines, at a speed of about 20 miles per hour. The true Ajnerican system cannot be introduced here, as in America there is no distinction of classes, while here the autho rities must provide for that contingency. Ttnte-street Baptist Church.— This after noon, at half -past 4, Dr. Wheeler, M.D., is to lay the foundation-stone of the new building for the Church under the care of the Rev. J. L. Parsons, Chairman of the Baptist Association, and lately worshipping at Lefevre-terrace Chapel. The former pastor, the Rev. George Stonehouse, is to give an address, and the Revs. J. Jcfferis, LL.B. (Congregationalist), J. G. Millard (Wesleyan), and S. Mead, M.A. (Baptist), will take part in the ceremony. After tea a public gathering takes place in the North Adelaide Congregational Church, when the President of the Evangelical Alliance, and ministers and members of the denomina tions already named, and others are to speak. Annexed is a description of the intended structure : — The church is Venetian in style; the exterior of freestone, with ornamental 'piers, rusticated windows, enriched cornice, and pierced balu strade executed in Portland cement. The front entrance is approached by a spacious flight of steps from either side, and a still broader central upper flight leading to a piazza, on each side of wnich a small vestibule gives access to the aisles. The pews, which will accommodate about 600 persons, are arranged in circular curves from a centre at a point near that to be occupied by the minister; and the floor ascends, in a stepped curve, from the platform, so that the pew at the front wall of the building- is eight feet higher than that nearest to the platform. The interior dimensions of the church are 75 feet long by 46 feet wide, and 32J feet high from the lowest part of the floor to the highest part of the ceiling. The ceiling is flat in the centre, with elliptic coving at the walls, relieved by enriched longitudinal and transverse beams coming down to a massive cornice at the bottom of the coving, and supported by corbelled shafts. The ventilation is through perforated enrich ments in the ceiling, and conveyed through the roof. It is so arranged as to be regulated by one pull at a convenient part of the vestries. The vestry behind the main building contains two spacious rooms, with access from bauk porches, and have each a door owning on the platform, for convenience of access to and from the baptistry. It is intended to erect a lecture hall at the rear, capable of accommodating 250 persons, with several class-rooms above. Overseer op Works.— The Mount Gambier Standard states that Mr. Pannell, the Overseer of Works, has received notice of the termination of his appointment at the end of this month. The Draixace Works.— The Standard states that two survey parties are running the main lines of drains from Penola southwards. Combination of Accidents.— On Monday, December 6, a serious accident happened to Mr. James Mold, for many years a well-known resident of Gawler. Mr. George Bassett was loading his dray at Mr. Dawson's Mill, when the horses were suddenly frightened, and bolted at a rapid pace. They tore along Murray-street at a furious rate, and came into collision with a trap belonging to Captain Hammet, throwing out the driver (his son-in law), who was not, however, seriously hurt. The terrified animals then rushed into Tod-street, thence into Jacob-street, where Mr. Mold, thinking they were likely to do more damage, attempted to stop them, and was knocked down in the attempt, and trampled, receiving severe bruises on the body and head, which rendered him insensible. Dr. Nott imme diately attended and pronounced the injuries very severe. Blood was vomited by the sufferer, ! which tended to show that internal injuries had I been received. The runaway horses were soon ' after captured, and were found to have wisely abstained from injuring themselves or the dray to any great extent. Erratum. — In our Monthly Commercial Summary it was stated that about 1,500 to 1,800 cases of kerosine bid been placed at Is. 2Jd., instead of which it (should be 2s. 2Jd.