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THE NORTHERN TERRITORY.

A despondent tone pervades the princi pal portion of the last report of the Government Resident, and this is all the more significant when it is remembered

how sanguine and even enthusiastic a view Mr. Parsons has been accustomed to take of the prospects of the Ter ritory. It is only fair to say that even now he has not lost faith to the smallest extent in the capabilities and future of the country under his rule. The one thing which gives a dolorous tone to bis repre sentations is the failure of the Government to accept tenders for the Palmeratbn to Pine Creek Railway. With pathetic particu larity' he points out when the Act autho rizing the work was passed and when the money was borrowed, and although he does not in terms condemn the action of the Government he goes aa near to hostile criticism of it as official etiquette will allow. He asserts that for months past everybody at Port Darwin has made his calculations with reference to the railway. He himself based his estimate of j the Customs and land revenue on the ex pectation that tenders would be ac cepted not later than November of last year, and he confesses with sadness that under the circumstances the amounts are not likely to be realized. Similarly tradesmen and others connected with the Territory have assumed that the tenders would be accepted, and have buoyed np their spirits with the belief that their acceptance -would be the turning point in the history of the settlement. It Bpeaks ill for the present condition of the Territory that everything should depend upon the happening of a con tingency which under no circumstances could be absolutely reckoned upon. Mr. Parsons goes as far as he: dares towards censuring Ministers when he points out that the money for the railway which has been in hand for nearly two years is only realizing 2£ per cent, towards the 4 per cent, which has to be paid upon it. The hon. gentleman is not far from correct in his facts, and one would like to know whether South Australia in tends to make good to its northern' de- pendency the difference between the two rates. It is Burely reasonable that she should do so, seeing that it is through the blunder committed by her in raising the loan so soon that the loss has accrued. The Government Resident fears that unless some portion of this railway is put in; hand at once relief, works will have to be found for the unemployed. This is a melancholy state of things to exist in a young community, and it is to be hoped that the Government will not commit the initial error of acquiescing tacitly or otherwise in the view that they are bound to provide men with work. It is most unfortunate that tenders for the railway should all have been rejected, more especially as there is not the slightest guarantee, and indeed but little pro bability, that the readvertisment will lead to a material deduction in the price tendered. The mining statistics for the pas* half-year are the reverse of cheering, and for this result the rail way is held responsible. Touching agricultural matters, the gratifying announcement is made that the sugar bonus of £5,000, or the greater part' of it, is likely to find a claimant, and that the sugar industry is being pushed on. As regards pastoral pursuits there ia real

progress to report. ' The work of *ex-: ploration of the interior and definition of the boundary between South Aus tralia and Queensland is proceeding apace, and settlers are reaping the advantage in greatly improved facilities for getting on their runs. The quantity of stock depastured ia increasing rapidly, . horse-breeding is prospering, and Port Darwin is rejoicing in a good supply of cow's milk retailed at more than double the price which obtains in Adelaide. Nothing is said upon the question of the treatment of the blacks, and we are reluc tant to alludefurther to the subject until the evidence is before us upon which the so called Board of Enquiry recently made their report. We feel bound, however, to join with the Rev. F. W. Cox, whose letter appears elsewhere, in condemning in unmeasured terms the tone of the re cent cornmunication from Mr. D'Arcy Uhr printed by us. For cold cynical heartless ness and inhumanity it would be difficult to find a parallel for his recommendation — for it is that to all intents and purposes — that terror should be struck into the minds of the aboriginals by the in discriminate slaughter of all found within a moderate distance of the scene of any outrage upon whites. It is not thought worth while enquiring into the cause of the outrage, or even into the question of whether the blacks that may be massacred were concerned with it. Proximity to the place is to Btand instead of arrest and trial, and life is to be sacri ficed without limit to avenge the death of the white man, who may have given cause for the attack upon him. It would not be of much consequence if Mr. D'Arcy Uhr were singular in his views, for he has been brought up in a school where the indiscriminate slaughter of the blacks wherever they came in collision with the white man waa regarded as a duty; but there is abundant proof that he represents the prevailing opinioninthe Territory. The columns of the local Press are sullied by atrocious utterances as to the duty of wreak ing vengeance upon natives suspected of crime, without enquiring too. critically into the question of their individual culpability. The sentiments expressed are unworthy of men influenced by the most elementary principles of justice and humanity. It is not much to be wondered at that the report of the Board already referred to, written in a place where such opinions are nnbluahingly avowed and even gloried in, should treat as a venial offence the shooting down of a score or two of blacks, and set to work, not to expose and denounce such proceedings, but to minimize the reports respecting them and to palliate and find excuses for the proceedings themselves. The Governor's Visit to Melbourne. — The departure. of His Excellency (Sir W. Robinson) and suite on Saturday afternoon was carried out in a proper and orderly manner, the steamlaunch Blue Bell being drafted off for this service. The Hon. the Attorney-General, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, and the Minister of Education were met at the station by Commander Walcot, and embarked in due course. After looking over the vessel the Commissioner of Crown Lands and the Minister of Education returned on shore. The viceregal party had every prospect of a pleasant voyage to Mel bourne.

Passkngers by the O.S.S. Garonne. — The following passengers are booked to leave by this steamer to-day for London : — Mr., Mrs., and Master B. C. Smart, in the saloon ; and fifteen third class. fJlAirsi kbom Heegott to Bibdsvillb. — Mr. E. W. Hawker, M.P., has received a letter from the Minister' of Education stating that a tender has been accepted for a fortnightly service from Hergott to Birdsville at £600 per annum. The mails will be conveyed in a vehicle all the way. The Northern Territory. .— The Minister of Education (Hon. Dr. Cockburn) has re ceived from the Government Resident in the Northern Territory (Hon. J. L. Parsons) his report for the half-year ended December 31, 18$5. The Government. Resident sayB that the^ liberal land regulations in the Territory have induced very heavy stocking, and the results throughout are highly satisfactory, large numbers, coming: over the Queensland border. On December 31, 1885, the number of sheep depastured in the Territory was 40,000 ; of horned cattle, 136,000; and of horses, 6,000; this number is being increased weekly. It is believed* that the efforts, made by Messrs. Fisher & Lyons to open up a beef and dairy trade {with Hongkong will be successful, as the movement is being taken up by various contractors in China for supplying the Com miasariat Department o£ the- army . and navy. The Victoria River country is being cultivated with, good results. Pending the opening-up of the country by the railway the mining industry is languish ing. Agricultural prospects are improving, but Mr. Parsons says all advances must be greatly retarded till the railway works are started. With reference to Stuart's tree, Mr. Parsons mentions that in all probability there is very little hope of finding the tree which Stuaxt marked when crossing the con tinent or the tin box buried at its foofc. ' 7 Supplement to the XJustom-hottse Handbook.'— We acknowledge receipt from the Collector of Customs of a very useful handbook bearing this title, and compiled under direction by Mr. Arthur 'Searcy, the Customs Officer, who, it will be remembered,' was told off to assist the Treasurer with his advice in the Assembly - while - the tariff was under discussion last year. This book, as its name implies, iB uniform with the Customs ' Handbook of j 1883, and its publication I^as ren dered necessary by the alterations in the tariff Mr. Searcy is deserving - of compli- : ment alike for the early appearance of the interpretations of the necessarily bald refer ences in the Customs Act— a heavy task,' involving a great deal of research— and for the excellent fashion in which he has com bined useful information with dry detail. The first page contains tables of tenths and decimal parts to every thirty-second part of a gallon, with the graded duties theronj and of ounces and the proportioned duty on weight articles. A list is given of cancellations of the hand book of 1883 ; particulars follow of licence fees, invoices, outward warrants, the Draw back Department, new Customs agencies, and bonded stores; and a list is added of 'New legal ports of South Australia.' The interpretation of the tariff covers thirty-eight pages, and should be sufficiently 'detailed to give guidance in every department of busi ness. The remainder of the book is taken up with South-Eastern Border Customs and drawback regulations, the rules in force at boarding stations at Murthoo (RivecMnrray) and Port Darwin, and regulations for the licensing of lighters and boats. S.A. Teachers' Association.-- A special general meeting of members of this institu tion was held at the Grote-Btreet School on Saturday afternoon, Mr. W. J. Young, M.A., presiding. The attendance was fair. The principal business was the discussion of the papers presented at the previous meeting. With reference to school museums, Mr. Smyth stated that at a meetingof the P.S.P. S. it was suggested that a collection of speci mens suitable for basing special lessons on could be obtained and Bent round in turn to the various schools. He thought that the plan would be bettertaken up by this Society than the P.S. F.S. Mr. Grasby explained that the difficulty in the way of this Association taking the matter' in hand was the want of funds. If the two Societies could combine the suggestion might be carried into effect. He! mentioned that he bid been trying to

arrange with the Lobethal Twead Factory for therfiuBDly of 300 cards with printed in structions and specimens thereon. It was reported that the Government Geologist, Dr. Schomburgk, and the Chamber of Manu faetureshad taken great interest in the matter. Mr. Gill hi formed the meeting that the whole of the subject touched upon had already been discussed, and that the P.S.F.S. had nearly arrived at a settlement. Mr. J. A. Kennedy exhibited his relief map, which was very favourably criticised. The papers were then considered, the - -first being on the subject of ' Aids for assisting: . in teaching reading.' Mr. Young pointed out that' a great deal of the teacher's time was taken up in teach ing comprehension, and it was only fair that He- 'or sUe Bhould have all his children examined ia that branch. In Victoria the .children were always tested and marked for comprehension. The opinion was generally expressed that where two TTuvrki were given for reading the chil dren should each be examined in both read ing and comprehension. The practice of some Inspectors asking the meanings of words without reference to the context was strongly condemned. 'Spelling' was the next sub-' ject, ' Writing' following. With regard to the latter the meeting expressed its disap- j proval of the formation of the letters in the Adelaide copybooks as issued by the depart ment, and also regretted that the binding of the books was not better attended to. Arith metic was the next topic of debate, the chief point raised being the ruling system. The meeting then adjourned. Messrs. D. & W. Murray's New Ware house.— This large building is near com pletion, and the firm are about to occupy it. The building has a frontage of 57 feet to Gawler-place and widens to 80, feet at the back. The length of the main building is 193 feet, and beyond this, and facing the yard at the rear, are the receiving-room and the engine-house. There are five stories in all, measuring in height from the basement up wards 10, 16, 15, 14, and 10 feet respectively. The height of the front is 69 feet from the footpath to the top of the parapet, or 75 feet to the top of the corner pinnacles. The base of the facade is of granite from West Island, and the superstructure of brickwork cemented. The walls generally are of brick, with exception of the basement, which is of hard stone. The style of the front Ie Italian. The entrance porch and the fittings of the offices in the ground floor are of polished walnut. The stairs to the basement and the first and second floors are of walnut. There is a small stair for workers in one corner of the south side leading' from the ground floor to the third floor. Adjoining this, on the ground and third floors, are lavatories ; and there is also a larger lavatory over the engine-room in the wing behind, approached by a small stair in the receiving-room. There are three hydraulic lifts provided— two for goods and one for pas sengers—and all are direct-acting, to secure immunity from accident. One short lift is worked by the pressure of water from the mains, but the other two are worked by hydraulic -power generated in the back wing by an 8-h.p. twin gas-engine working a treble set of pumps and accumulator, having over 18 tons weight of metal, maintaining a pressure in the pipes of .700 Ib. per square inch. Two large strongrooms are provided in the base ment, furnished with massive fire and burglar proof doors of Simpson & Son's manufacture. It was proposed to use the electric light throughout the warehouse, but it was found that a 30-h.p. engine would be required for this purpose alone, as over 200 lamps would occasionally be needed. Gas is, therefore, used with the improved albo-carbon burners, which give a very brilliant light. The building was designed by Mr. James Cumming, architect, and carried out under his supervision. Mr. William Rogers is the general contractor, Messrs. Forwood, Down, and Co. furnished some of the heavy cast iron work and fitted up the machinery, Messis. Revell & Adams provided a quantity of wrought girders, Mr. Nelson furnished some of the lighter and ornamental metal work, Messrs. Fulton & Co. the prismatic pavement lights, and Messrs. W. & T.

Rhodes the sanitary ware. The painting and glazing are by Mr. Hoffmeyer. A large Btaff of men has been employed, and the work has been completed very rapidly, possession of part of the land being only obtained in August last. The total cost, exclusive of land, will be nearly £20,000. Cricket.— The cricket on the Oval on Saturday was very tame in comparison with the two previous. Saturdays. The Hindmarsh increased their score to 283 before the last man vas out, and the North Adelaides made a promising start, but after Knill (38), A. Slight (33), and Botten (20) were disposed of Rundell was the only man who could make any stand against King and Bolloueh, who disposed of the ten men who batted for 130 funs. King was quits in his old form with the . .ban, and his analysis— 27 overs, 20 maidens, 17 runs,' and 4 wickets— will be one of the features of the season when the averages are.made up. The South Adelaides went in first against the Adelaides, and their best batsmen coming off they managed to make 16Lfor 8 wickets. Watling was top scorer with 45, and then came Craigie 42, and Godfrey 37.- The scoring was painfully slow, except when Godfrey was batting. St. Andrew's Church, WALKERVILLE:.-— On Saturday afternoon the foundation-stone of a- bell tower to foe erected in connection with St. Andrew's Church, Walkerville, was laid, . _ This Church is situate on the northern side of White-street, in the eastern part of Walkerville. The present nave of the Church was built about 1878, bat the northern portion of the building .'was con structed previous to this. The tower, which will be 70 feet in height, will be situated on the south-eastern' part of the Church. It is to have four stories. Six bells are to be placed in the upper story and a clock in the third. The. base measures 19 feet square, and is built of Tapley's Hill stone. The superstructure will be of brick and freestone, relieved : with terracotta. The tower itself will be 12 feet square inside, and the walla from 4 ; feet to ' 3- 'ffc .. 6 in. in thickness, The, bells jhave been subscribed for^ while the clock is a gift from Mrs. Kent Hughes. Messrs.. Grainger & Nash are the architects, and Mr. J. Varley haa the contract, the amount of which is £850, exclusive of the bells and .clock. ' The ceremony of. laying the stone was performed by Mrs. Barker, of St! John's Wood, in the presence of about 250 -people, including Archdeacons Marryatand Dove, Canon Ho well; and the Revs.T. Field and E. T. WMtiiigton,: After an evening service in the Church, the choir singing one of the hymns marched in procession through the aisle to the main entrance. Mrs. Barker laid the stone with the usual ceremony.. Archdeacon Marryat, . in a few well-chosen words, then referred to the proposed bells as being the first peal that had been fixed in a Church in the Diocese. There was only another peal, and that was in the Town HalL In Sydney there were two Churches with peals of bells. He thought there was nothing more pleasant than walking across fields and hearing the sound of bells which called us to God's house. After a hymn had been sung a col lection was' taken up and the contribu tions placed on the Btone. The amount subscribed was £54. Prayer was '. offered by : Archdeacon Dove (the incumbent), -and the ceremony ended. ? \ V Death of Mr. Patrick AULD. -Another of the early colonists has joined the great majority, Mr. Patrick Auld having died in New Zealand on January 21, at the ripe age of 75 years. The deceased gentleman arrived in the colony hi the year 1841, and commenced business in Hindley-street as a wine and spirit merchant. Eight years later he sold his business to Messrs. Disher & Milne, and took his family to England for their educa- tion. He returned to the colony in 1852, and his family rejoined him here ra 1854, when he commenced planting the since celebrated Auldana Vineyard. Five years after this Mr. Auld opened an office in the Old Exchange Buildings for the purchase and sale of South Australian wines, and subsequently 'made several trips to London with the view of introducing the wines of the colony in the the English market. Mr. Auld's persevering efforts in bringing our wines into notice in Europe had a most beneficial effect on the colonial wine trade. As a vigneron he was very successful, and his wines have been recognised as being of a high class. Mr.

Auld leaves two daughters— Mrs. Pollard, of Eudunda, and Miss Auld, who has lived with her father for some time past, and one son, Mr. W. P. Auld, Manager of the Auldana Vineyards. SWEDENBOBG V. SPIRITISM.— A discourse upon this subject waa delivered on Sunday evening in the New Church, Hanson-street by the Rev. E. G. Day, in which it waa shown that there was nothing in common in Swedenborg's case with that of 'modern spiritists;' that his spiritual communica tions were entirely unsought by him, thai he was called to his work by the sight of his Bpirit being opened to enable him to see and describe the spiritual world, and that at the same time his understanding was illtunuuted that he might rationally understand the true doctrine of the literal sense of the Holy Word, and at the same time perceive its '?spirit and life.' Thus Swedenborg'8 case was Bimilar to that of the prophets of old. Not so the Bpiritiate, for they from their be ginning some thirty-eight years since have by their 'spirit circles' and table-rappings, under the guidance and1 control of 'mediums,' constantly sought from their own wills to effect some communication with spirits, and have, it would seem, elicited some testimony to tiie 'nearness of the spiritual world,' to the identity of the resuscitated spirit with the persons who were once men and women on earth, and who in all cases appear to have undergone no change in their feeling and sentiments by the mere fact of having ' shuffled off their mortal coil ;' but it is worthy of note that the spirits who may have been thus communicated with have not been permitted to reveal anything about their 'spirit world' except some obscure ideas about 'spiritual spheres' and seven heavens. This may be taken as evidence that' such attempts to obtain information about the place and state of the departed are still as unlawful as when they were firat forbidden by the Lord through Moses. The disclosures made by Swedenborg in his writings 130 years ago, by an 'unsought opening of his spirit's sight,' cover all that can be gathered from spiritists, and very much more, that is at once Scriptural and rational; while the doctrines of the Holy Word which they illustrate are the truths of the uxest and most practical kind drawn from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as written by the four evangelists ;* while for the most part the doctrines set forth by 'spirit mediums' involve a denial of the Divinity of Christ, of the Banctity of the inspired word, the perpetuity and essential chastity of the marriage of one husband with one wife, and of the actual, moral, and spiritual deterioration produced by indulgence in the evils forbidden by the Decalogue, which 'spiritista' do not teash should be shunned as sins against God. Through the celebrated Emma Hardinge, a well-known medium, it is said the spirits gave certain spiritual laws, which are ten in number, and which are followed I'by .the ten laws of right,' as they are called in a spiritualistic pamphlet. Thus do the 'spiritists' make that law of God called the 'Decalogue' of none effect, which Swedenborg shows to be bo holy in Mb ' Doctrine of life for Chris tians.' ? ? . ' ; Steakge Sequel to an Inquest.— At the Adelaide Hospital on Saturday morning an inquest was held on the death of Jane Cole, who was admitted on February 4, and died on the following day. Deceased was the wife of James Onnond Cole, collector, of Roper street. She died from hemorrhage on the brain. There were various marks and bruises on her body, and it was alleged that she was maltreated by her husband.- The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the evidence, but at their request the Jury censured the husband for his inhuman con duct. On Saturday morning he was charged at the Police Court with drunkenness, and remanded for a week While at the Watchhouse in the afternoon he was taken suddenly ill, and was immediately dispatched to the Hos pital in a cab. On arrival there, however, Dr. Lloyd pronounced life extinct, and the body was removed to the City Morgue. An

inquest will be held at the Sir John Barley corn this morning. Fire in a Bedkoom. — On Saturday the City Coroner made enquiries into the origin of the fire which occurred in a bedroom of the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, that morning. He foundithat a quantity of furniture in the room had beenmoreor less destroyed. The room was occupied by a lady and the junior members of the family, and they left it apparently safe about 7; o'clock. A neighbour called out to the landlord and his wife about 9 o'clock that there was a fire on the premises. , The flames at this time had obtained a good hold of the furniture, bedclothes,- and cur tains. With the assistance of some friends the landlady partly extinguished it, but the fixe having made 'its 'way to the window their efforts ; were ^unsuccessful Two fire reels were, -however, soon on the. spot, and managed to put it out before it made any headway in other parts of the hotel. From the information gathered, it appears that one of the children, who sleeps in the room, went upstairs, and after enter-, ins; the room struck a match, with which she lit a candle, and so accidentally Btarted the ' fire. The child was observed coming down ataira from . the room about half an hour before the fire was discovered. The approxi mate amount of the damage is £20. The place was insured in the Marine Insurance Company. The Coroner is in communication with, the Insurance Company as to the neces sity of holdkig an inquest. Accident At the Mooneb Valley Races. —A sad accident . occurred at the Moonee Valley races on Saturday. In the race for the Le Rose Handicap, in which ten horses were running, Childe. Harold from some un known cause fell. Hiq fall brought down Grey Phantom, and Achmet, Genoe, Berkley, and Violet came down over them. It at one time appeared that this was an accident as serious as that which occurred in the last Caulfield Cup. Fortunately, however, all the jockeys but McDonald were uninjured. McDonald, who was riding Violet, sustained a severe concussion and laceration of the brain, and is in a critical condition. Resignation op Mr. A. Hardy, M.P.— The Narracoorte Herald writes:— 'A cor respondent in a contemporary says he has heard that steps are being taken in Narra coorte to bring out a candidate in opposition to :Mr. A. Hardy when he appears for re election to the House of Assembly. This ?rumour has up to the present no foundation. The general or perhaps unanimous opinion here is that Mr. Hardy deserves sympathy on account of his misfortune and support on account of his honesty in placing himself in the hands of his constituents, when he might (had he paid attention to the letter instead of the spirit of the law) have retained bis seat until the dissolution of Parliament,' Feveb ax the Stockadb. — The two patients at the Stockade who were suffering from typhoid fever are now convalescent. No further cases have been reported. Meeting of Engine-drivers and |Fire men.— On Sunday afternoon a fairly attended meeting of engine-drivers and firemen was helid at ths Labour League Hall for the pur pose of discussing matters connected with their work. The Press was excluded, and consequently we cannot give the result. Hospital Item. — A driver named John William Lundy, 24 years of age, was ad mitted to the Adelaide Hospital on Saturday suffering from a severe wound on the leg, caused by a cask falling on it. North Adelaide Baptist Youkg Men's Society. — The opening meeting for 1886 of this Society was held on Friday evening. Councillor W. H. Stevenson occupied the chair. Reports were read by the Secretary, Treasurer, and Librarian, and showed the Society to be in a good position, having 53 members on the roll and a library containing 260| volumes. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year :— President, the Rev. W. E. Rice ; Yice-Presidenta, Messrs. S. Randell and N. A. Webb ; Secretary, Mr. W.| Hamilton! Bennett (re-elected); Trea surer, Mr. F. Hussey; Librarian, Mr. P. Perkins. Cheap Messages between Victoria and New South Wales.— The Argus says:— ' The increase which has taken place in the number of telegrams transmitted between Victoria and New South Wales since the reduction of the charge for a message of ten wordB to one shilling has not realized' the

aBtKlp^tiow^ort^ return wMcn 'las , been*' 1 urniahed , by, Mr Morfcha^; accountant' ^the'. General 'Post-* Ontie,f8nbwX^**'1^»9'^tl^el^^iw^J'^*'' last year as; against 130,954 in 1884, showing an increase of 245'psr' cent, in the business, which waa attended, however, by a decrease of 14£ per centf in the revenue. The six penny inland telegram system introduced oh July 1 last has been a more successful inno vation. During the six months ending with December, 1885, the number of inland mss 8ages wa-? 854,539 as compared with 606,223 in the first half of last year, showing an increase of 41 per cent., while the decrease in the revenue was only 4j per cent.' Artificial Island rs Hobson's Bay.— A proposal to form an artificial island in Hod bod's Bay (says the Argus) upon a portion of the St. Kilda bank was brought under the notice of the Harbour Trust on Wednesday by Mr. Loader, who declared that the scheme was not a visionary one, but possessed some practical advantages. An island in the posi tion indicated would give shelter to Bmall boats and yachts, would provide the city with a new and easily accessible recreation ground, and would afford an admirable site for a fort. Mr. Lorimer, M.L.C., pointed oat that the Trust had no jurisdiction over the site proposed for the island, and had no power to expend money on such an object. The project was a legiti mate Bubject for public discussion, and if any one saw til to build an island in the : bay the Trust could only assist by supplying silt for the purpose. It was resolved to request the Harbourmaster to mark off on the bay chart an area sufficient in his opinion for the purposes of the pro posed island, and also to ''ask the engineer to furnish an estimate of the coat of filling such an area to the requisite height Atten tion was called to the unauthorised and dangerous storage of gunpowder in hulks in the bay. It was alleged that quite recently 100 tons of explosives, including gun-cotton, were stored on board an old prison hulk in the bay, on top of anchors, chain cables, pig iron, and stone ballast, with iron gratings overhead for hatches. A committee was ap pointed to investigate and report on those allegations, which weie contained in a letter from the owners of the licensed gunpowder hulk. The Secretary was instructed to bring up a report to the Finance Committee on an Insurance Fund for the employe's of the Trust. Complaints were made concerning the shallowness of the water in the neigh bourhood of Williamstown, and it was de cided to commence dredging in that locality as soon as practicable. , : Victorian ^Stamp Department,— The Melbourne Daily Telegraph of February l says:—' The total, value of stamps impressed during the past month was £47,476, repre senting 7,445,986 stamps. The value of those placed upon cheque forms was £31,066, the remainder of the total sum being represented by stamps on transfers of freeholds, &c, thus indicating great activity in the lancf market. The total value of stamps impressed in the corresponding period of 1884 was £31,46], of which £29,444 was received from stamps on 7,066,676 cheque forms. The issue of post cards commenced in 1876, during which year 605,761 were issued, In 1880 the number issued was 1,085,015, and the issue in 1885 was 2,525,669. The total number issued up to the end of last year was 13,366,015. Escape of Convicts prom New Cale donia.— The escape of convicts from the ' penal establishments in New Caledonia (says the Sydney Morning Herald) is an event of diurnal occurrence which the newspapers are fatigued to chronicle. By the la teat files, which reach us to January 20, we are in formed that one convict effected his escape from the Daroux Camp on the 7th; three others, who were, however, recaptured the following day, from the Boulou paris Camp on the 8th; and another on the 12th from the Government Work shops. A recapture was effected on the 7th of a convict named Rouaselot, who escaped from the Mire* Camp (Houailon) on October

21, and had been at large . ever since. When retaken he was provided with a complete gentleman rider's outfit, having with him a portmanteau containing boots and breeches, falee papers perfectly in order, and a small armoury. of weapons, including stockman's knife and hatchet, razors, and a six-chamber revolver fnlly .charged. A convict named Cheutral was murdered on the evening of the 10th in a horrible manner by one of his comrades, who has evaded detection.* The unfortunate man was completely eviscerated, and died in the hospital after suffering terr rible agony. The current statement that M. Le Boucher, Governor of New Caledonia, was about to be sent to the new French colony on tie Congo founded by M. de Brazza and . his place supplied by M. Mathieu is contradicted, and it is now as serted that the latter gentleman will now replace M. Moran at Tahiti. ? - The ^CdHTBpL jo* Nobtolk: Island.— A copy: of a despatch from the Secretary of State for ' the Colonies with respect to the present- system of administration -at Norfolk Mand was laid before Parlia ment on Wednesday last (says the S.M. Herald of January 30). After acknowledging the receipt of despatches from Lord Augustus Loftus of July 29 last, with their enclosures, the despatch states :— 'I have read those papes with much interest, and fear that it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that under the present system the condition of the islanders is likely to detericiate. Moreover, the difficulty of governing them will, no doubt, increase, unless some means can be devised of intro ducing new settlers into the island, and of inducing and enabling some of the natives to emigrate. The success of any such reforms would be greatly assisted if the Government of ;New South Wales should be willing to take an active part [in arranging and further ing a practical scheme, 'and if the colonial Government should be willing to test the pro ductive capabilities of Norfolk Island ; and I request that you will ascertain whether the Government of New South Wales would be disposed to entertain the suggestion that the colony might undertake the control and administration of the island,' The sugges tions embodied in the despatch were subse quently submitted to the Cabinet and ap proved, subject to confirmation by Parlia ment.' . One Million Blind People.— A German writer estimates the number of blind people ? in the world at about 1,000,000. This is not a mere guess, but is based on accurate statistics, which show that on the average there ib one blind person among every 1,400. Hence, as this planet haa about 1,400,000,000 inhabitants, this would make 1,000,000 blind folks. The European countries differ Borne-, what in the proportion of blind inhabitants. In Austria one person is blind of every 1,785 ; in Sweden, of every 1,418 ; in France, of 1,191'; in Prussia, of 1,111 ; in England, of 1,037. Then follow, with a still larger percentage, RuEBia, Norsray, and Finland. The largest number of blind persons is to be found in Egypt. At Cairo one person among twenty is blind, and Dr. Franke, of Vienna, once en countered in one morning's rambls almost 1,000 blind men and women. Many are also found in China and Japan.' Germany has the; largest number of asylums for the blind, namely, 35; then follow England with 16; France, 13 ; Austria-Hungary, 10 ; Italy, 9 ; Belgium, 6, &c. America, Asia, and Africa: together have only six asylums, . - S. A. Sttnday-school Unioit.— This evening in the Carrondown Baptist : Lecture 'Hall the quarterly meeting in connection with the S.A.: Sunday-school Union is announced to be held. v ;.???'???' . ; Caledonian Society, Poet Branch.— The annual business meeting of this Society will be held in the local Oddfellows' Hall to* night. . Spiritualism.— 3n the report of Mr. Kirk ham Evans's lecture at the Semaphore, which appeared in the Register on Saturday, it waa stated that he attended over 600 seances in five months instead of twenty-five months. Semaphore Municipality.— To-day the nominations of candidates to supply the vacancy in the Scarboroogh Ward, caused by the resignation of Mr. Thomas Boyce, will be received at the local Council Chamber. The Jubilee Exhibition.— Ia onr report of the successful designs for the Jubilee ^Ex- hibition it was stated that Mr. E. A. Scott had not been employed since he completed his ? articles twelve months ago. Mr. Scott has; remained in the employ of Mr. E. H. Beyer as junior draftsman up to within three weeks ago.

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