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4 corrections, most recently by Bjenks - Show corrections

THÜBSDA T. OCTOBER 8, 1868.

The Parliament of South Australia bas entered upon a task which is likely to engage it for some time to come, if Victorian experience is any guide in the matter. While we, for the last ten years, have been experimenting upon the land laws of the colony, and have gradually become more expert in the art of getting rid of the Crown estate with the least possible advantage to the Treasury, the Government of South Austialia have been content with the simple system of sale by auction, at the fixed upset price of one pound per acre. It was felt, at the same time, that the true intention of the authors of this sjstem had not been carried out, from the difficulty-experienced every- where-of preventing the operations of the capitalists, and of insuring the passing of the lands sold under the hammer into the hands of those who were most desired as purchasers. These were men who intended to settle on the soil, to put their hands to the plough, and to throw in their future fortune with that of the colony. But the evil was little regarded so long as the rich harvests of the neighbouring colony enabled the tenant farmers to pay the rents required by the capitalists who had secured the lands, and so long as the cultivators had a reasonable ex- pectation that they would be able to take advantage of that clause in their agreement which secured them a right of purchase under conditions arranged. But the harvests of the last year or twTo have been less remunerative than they were before. The farmers have not improved their position. Many of them have become discontented, and have left the colony to seek for fresh fields and pastures new. Some of them have settled within Victorian borders, we believe; and certainly a numerous body of the very best class have selected lands on the Upper Murray, in New South "Wales, close to the boundary line, on fields of unlimited fertility, the fieehold of which may bo said to be secured to them from the moment ol their settlement upon them.

It was a knowledge of this fact, anc the fear of a more extensive emigration which brought the question of the lane laws of the colony once more before tin Legislature of South Australia. I was almost the sole topic of the electioi addresses during the late contest for th representation of .the constituencies. I was one of the first subjects brought u whew-the lately-elected Parliament at sembled ; it was the occasion of the de featof theAyersCabinet; audit led toth formation of the new Hart Ministry, i which Mr. TOWNSEND-lately the popule mayor of Adelaide-holds office i Commissioner of Crown Lands. TI debate which preceded their accessio to office had exposed the fact that eve the members of the new Governmei were by no means agreed as to what ti amended land policy of the color should be. Mr. TOWNSEND, howeve had declared himself in favour of system approaching that of Victori

I and thus the policy of the new Gover

ment was looked ' forward to with great interest, both, 'within and..with- out the .limits of South Australis. Mr. HAUTES Government has lost no time in propounding its scheme for the disposal of the public lands. The telegraph informs us that reso- lutions embodying the views of the Cabinet were laid before Parliament on Tuesday last; but, with an unhappy brevity, it leaves us to conjecture as to all but one or two of the leading features of Mr. TOWNSEND'S policy.

The chief novelty seems to be the in- ' j troduction of an arrangement by which all Crown lands which have passed under the auctioneer's hammer shall be available for selection on lease, ia quantities not to exceed 640 acres, at 2s. per acre per annum, payable in ad- vance, with the right of purchase at the old upset price of £1 per acre at the end of ten years.

In propounding such a scheme as this Mr. TOWNSEND has adopted one of the worst principles of the land law as it exists in Victoria-that of selection on lease with the right of purchase. His plan, in the first place, does not secure to the person who in- tends to settle on the land and cultivate it a choice of the best soil. All the really desirable portions of the publie estate offered at auction will be bought by capitalists, with whom the man of small means, but who desires to create for himself a home and a farm, will be unable to compete. In the next, though ostensibly avoiding a system of deferred payments, it in reality introduces it. Our short experience has shown us that men will select land, and will honestly endeavour to live by farming it, who can scarcely hope to carry out their engagements to the state. They make the attempt to pay rent, but from the insufficiency of their capital at the be- ginning, they are unable to farm with a profit, and so cannot perform the condi- tions of their lease. But these men are naturally loth to leave their holdings, and to lose the fruits of their labour, and the benefit of the little capital they bad to start with. The departmental result is a series of warning notices of impending forfeiture, the visitations of Crown bailiffs, the employment of all sorts of corrupt agencies for or against the struggling Crown tenant, forfeitures, re-selections, and irrecover- able arrears of rent. The political effect is the creation of a body of electors having a common interest ad- verse to that of the public generally, and who exhibit a very natural willing- ness to exercise their voting power so as best to serve their own interests. They will vote, therefore, only for re- presentatives pledged to support such a Government as is likely to be most friendly to the claims they prefer j and the weight and influence their increasing numbers will bring to bear on-future elections will tell seriously on the result of any appeal to the country. Already we see a powerful organisa- tion formed for the purpose of- drawing

from the Government a consent to re- gard the annual payments of rent as instalments of the price of the freehold, and this demand, stoutly resisted 'at first, partially assented to by the Go- vernment, which, probably, will give tvay altogether on the point as soon as the free selectors have found by associa

tion their actual electoral strength^

We are not surprised to learn, under all the circumstances, that the Hart-Townsend Ministry sus- tained a defeat yesterday on their land resolutions. It was apprehended that they would resign, their policy having met with little support in the debate ; but as the adverse majority was only three, and as Captain HART is not of a resigning nature,-it -is-not improbable tLat he will " try again." Let him take warning, however, from our and his sad experience. If his chief desire is to retain in the colony the people who are there now, and. to induce others to make it their home, he must widen the area of selection be- yond the lands which have passed under the hammer without finding a pur- chaser. The system of sale by auction is, at the same time, not only in favour in South Australia, but it is the sim- plest and the best. Let him, therefore, adhere to it. The honâ-jide farming bidder can readily be protected against the mere land shark by conditions of sale ; and the state can be se- cured in its turn by the withholding of the Crown grant until sufficient evi- dence has been afforded that the buyer has really settled upon his farm, and has cultivated a fair proportion of the acres he has bought. Victorian expe lience points to such a system as the fairest to all parties, and we recommend it to the consideration of our neigh- bour. Under any circumstances, let them avoid a system of defeired pay- ments; the experience acquired here, both under the Duffy Act of 1862 and the Amending Act of 1865, having been altogether against that arrange- ment, much favoured as it was in this colony by the early land reformers- and " friends of " the people"

The efforts which the law reformera in England have so long and so perse veringly made for a revision and re-ar- rangement of the law, are gradually pro- ducing practical results. Two great classes of improvements in tlnVdirec tion have for some years been in pro- gress. One of these has been the pre- paration of a new edition of the statutes. The other has been the consideration of

the possibility of obtaining a digest of the common law. Both these objectsmust be completed before our scattered and complex legislation can be reduced ,into a complete and systematic code. With a view to the former object Parliament has repealed during the last ten years an immense body of obsolete law; and we believe that there is reason to hope that no long time will elapse before a

collection of the statute law as it now

exists, with proper cross references and indices, and all the other apparatus for convenient reference, is given to the public. How great and difficult a work this will be, we may judge*,from

the labour which it has cost to con-

solidate our own statute law, though the growth of little more than thirty years. Still, enormous as the work actually is,

I the revision of the EugUah statute law

.shrinks into insignificance in comparison .with the herculean labour upon which, as the last mail tells us, a commencement has actually been made.

The commissioners who had been ap- pointed to consider the practicability of -a, digest, made in the-course of last year a progress report, in which they es: preBsed generally their approbation of the project. After pointing out the ?time, the skilled labour, and the, conse- quent heavy cost of such a work, theyivadvised that "a portion of " t}*£ digest, sufficient in extent to

*' be a fair specimen of the whole, " should be in the first instance pre " pared before the state is committed to "" an expenditure which will be consider 41 able, and which, when once begun, " must continue for several years, if it 41 is to be at all efficacious." Accord-

ingly, in last November the commis- sioners issued a circular, in which they invited the members of the bar to assist them in their experiment. They selected three distinct classes of rights-namely, the law of mortgages, including lien j bills of exchange, including promissoiy notes, bank notes, and cheques ; and '.rights of way, water, and light, and

other easements and servitudes. They asked for specimens of a digest of the existing law, relating to each of these ? ¡three subjects. They desired that these

specimens should include a general summary, in an analytical form, of the whole matter comprised under the par- ticular head dealt with, and a sub- division worked out in detail, as an .example of the mode in which the work was to be filled up. Further, they .requested suggestions as to the method in which the work of a digest

should be framed. In answer to this

circular eighty-seven papers were sent in, and from the writers of these papers three gentlemen have been selected to prepare a specimen digest. These gentlemen are-Mr. FISHER, the author of a well-known book on mortgages; Mr. MACLEOD, the author of a work on the theory and practice of banking, and of some other works on political eco- nomy; and a younger member of the profession as yet unknown to fame, Mr. LEYBOUKN GODDARD. In this some- what anomalous position matters at pre- sent stand. It has not yet been finally settled whether theie is to be any digest ; much less have the commis- sioners decided upon any uniform and systematic plan for the whole work, but three unconnected bits of a possible digest are to be finally prepared.

The course thus adopted by the com- missioners has-as, indeed, wo might have expected-been the subject of much adverse criticism. It is probable, however, that on the whole they have acted with prudence. They were ap- pointed merely experimentally, and without any permanent organisation or adequate powers. All that they can hope to do is to show the country how the work can be done, and to persuade it to pay the necessary price. For these purposes the best plan was to make an actual beginning. At all events the labours of these three gentlemen .will not be thrown away. If nothing further is done, their respective works will

iorm useful summaries of those matters with which they deal. If a systematic digest bo undertaken, these fragments can, with comparatively little trouble, be fitted into their proper places. We doubt, however, whether the public will be much the better judges of the com- plete work by the preparation of these portions. The real responsibility of the arrangements must rest with the -commissioners. That body ought to ¡make up their minds upon, and dis- tinctly describe, the machinery which this great undertaking needs, and its approxi- mate cost. On such matters Parliament and the public can form no independent opinion, but must roly upon their confi-

dential advisers. No amateur commis-

sions can prepare such a work. It de- mands the whole time for many years of a body of competent men, acting on definite principles and on a settled plan. Such services will of course cost money, and the public are not yet accustomed to spend much money on the improve anent of their laws. Yet there is no form of public outlay which would be so certainly and so largely profitable. ?" To have," says a recent writer on the subject, " a complete yet clear cx " position of our law, which men may " read and understand, we might fairly "" pay the money we have paid that we 41 might free from captivity our fellow ?" countrymen in Abyssinia. Yet the " public mind will have to be prepared *' for an expenditure of a minion upon a 41 digest of English law, by a calm, *' temperate, and convincing statement ?" of the labour which will have to be per "" formed, of the difficulties which will 41 have to be dealt with in preparing it, *' and of the immense advantages, social *' and economical, to which it will

." lead."

To-day, at daylight, the fine steamship Great Britain will leave her anchorage in Hobson's Bay, for Liverpool direct. On this occasion she carries less than her usual com- plement of passengers, the season not being a favourite one with colonists desiring to visit their native land. The Great Britain, however, has a full cargo, and carries gold to the value of about £250,000. As she is in fine trim, we shall probably have, in due time, to congratulate Captain Gray on having achieved another successful voyage.

Some excitement was occasioned in Swan ston-street yesterdoy, by the extraordinary behaviour of a mon who had seated him- self upon the top of one of the large cranes in use at the new town-hall buildings. Ho rnuBt have taken up this most uncomfortable position at a very early hour in tho morning, as the constable on duty in that neighbour- hood saw him there at daybreak. No amount of persuasion could "induce him to descend,

and he remained undisturbed until the vejamen carno upon the ground. Thon an attempt was made to dislodge him by force, but ho brandished an opon pocket-knife in his hand, and threatened to use it upon the first person who approached him. The hose was subsequently turned upon him, but to this ho seemed perfectly indif- ferent; and when Mr. Sturt, P.M., en- deavoured to persuade him to act reasonably, le replied " he didn't see why he «hould come down for the magistrate anymore than for anybody else." He was left in quiot enjoy- ment of his elevation till noarly twelve o'clock, by which time crowds of people had gathered in the street to watch him. Then ho -suddenly resolved to change his position, and -carne about half way down the crane. Horche ?«topped, and declared he would move no

further; but-ho-had-loBt- his "coigne of van togo"- aworkraanhavingrápidlyascondcd the crane, prevented 'Kim again reaching the top, and Sergeant Summerhayes seizing him by the legs, with somo difficulty landed bim on terra firma. Ho was taken to the watchhouso, and the police soon learned that the unfortunate man -waa suffering from montai aberration. His name is David Wauchope Spence, late of 'Adelaide, but re- cently residing in Flindera-street, Melbourne, ne is a gentleman of independent means, and his present distressing condition is said to have been induced by close and pro- tracted study. By direction of a magistrate, he -was taken tri the Collingwood Stockade Asylum. Mr. M'Donald, photographer, Bourkc-strcct, has sent us two very well exe- cuted photographie views of the curious scene of which tha unfortunate lunatic was the

hero.

It will bo seen from the Post-office notico, which appears in another column, that the English mail for the current month will bo despatched on Tuesday, the 13th inst., per the R.M. S. Avoca. The mail thus leaves two days later in the month than has been tho case tor some time back, the monsoon season having become favourable for vessels sailing from

this sido.

A brigade order has been published by tho Colonel-Commandant, congratulating tho vo- lunteer force upon their appearance at tho last inspection. The order runs as follows : "1. At the recent inspection of the metro politan and suburban volunteer orderly rooms, on the evenings of the 28th and 29th ult., and 1st inst., His Excellency tho Go- vernor was pleased to express to the Major General commanding his approbation of the correct and regular manner in which they are conducted, and also the efficient state of the several corps that paraded therein for His Excellency's inspection. 2. The Major-Gene- ral having accompanied the Governor, it affords him much pleasure in coinciding with His Excellency's opinion ; and begs to record his thanks to the officers commanding the several corps, the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men generally, for the zeal evinced by thom for the service, as well as for the crcditablo manner in which they turned out on this occasion ; and he trusts that at no distant period he may have an opportunity of seeing the volunteors of this colony brigaded for his inspection."

The usual fortnightly meeting of the com- mittee of the Melbourne Chamber of Com- merce was held on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. J. Lorimer, president, in the chair. Present, also, Messrs. Blackwood, Bright, Couche, Stevenson, and Spowers. Tho correspon- dence included a letter from the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, intimating that the postmaster-general of South Australia would make the overland mail service dovetail with the new mail arrangements of the Victorian Government, so as to shorten the course of post. The sub-committee appointed at the lost meeting to consider tho question of wharfage and shed accommodation, reported their subsequent proceedings, and were re appointed for the purpose of further prosecu- ting the object in view. Tho next quarterly meeting of tho chamber was appointed to be held on Tuesday, the 20th inst. Mr, William Brown's application to bo recognised as a marino surveyor for the port was as- sented to, and a certificate will bo issued to him.

The Government had better take warning, and, if they have the means, clear off the ac- counts duo by theni with the least possible delay. A correspondent, who signs himself "A Victim," and whose patienco is ovidently exhausted, threatens, in a letter which he ad- dressed to us yesterday, to expose them in the eyes of all Europe if they fail to cash up. He writes :-" Unless the sums of money owing to divers persons in connexion with the reception of the Duke of Edinburgh bo paid before the 13th inst. (mail day), I shall cause to bo inserted in the leading journals of Europe, notices of the interesting fact that Victoria received and glorified the Prince at the expenso of a few private tradesmen of this colony. And I fmthermoro pray you. Sir, to publish in your summary that such things as unpaid accounts of eleven months standing exist under tho mild, parental, and benevolent government of Jones, M'Culloch, and Co., late Higinbotham, M'Culloch, and

Co."

Most of our íeadeis will remember that the establishment of a glass manufactory was commenced by the late Mr. Nixon, and they will be glad to leam that tho death of the piojector has not interfered with the carrying out of the scheme. The works fell into the hands of Messrs. Weiffer, Thomas, and Co., by whom, in tho face of considerable diffi. culties, they have been so far carried to a completion that a start in tho work of glass-making was effected yesterday after- noon. The manufactory is situated at tho back of the Benevolent Asylum, on tho edge of tho Noith Melbourne swamp, and so far as outward appearance is con- cerned, presents to the view little that is attractive. The internal arrangements of the works aro, howcvei, complete onough, and this manufactory may now bo faiily included among the numerous brood of "now indus- tries," which attest the spirit and enterprise of the colonists of Victoria. The manufac- tory consists of a small but compact wooden erection, in tho centre of which is placed tho principal oi smelting furnace. In this furnace aro the smelting pots, which aro made of a very fine clay, obtained from Newcastle. Into these pots the materials which are to form the glass, silica, nitre, magnesia, soda, &c, are placed, and reduced by intense heat to a semi-liquid state, somewhat of the consistency and colour of honey. The material is kept in this state for about fifty hours, and then the operations of the glassblowor commence. The blow-pipe is heated at one end, and placed among the mass of molten glass. It is then brought out with a quantity of tho unformed material at the end, and by rolling it on an iron plato and by blowing, the workman re- duces it roughly to the shapo which ho wishes it to assume. It is next trans- ferred to the " glory " furnace, where» under tho combined influence of heat and manual application, the plastic material is gradually brought up to tho requisite point of size and finish. Tho last step iu tho process is tho " annealing " furnace, where the glass work is placed and subjected to a slowly do creasing degree of heat. If the glass were rapidly or suddenly cooled, it would break in pieces ; and in this furnace it is reduced from a high to a low temperature, and tbo glass thus gradually firms and coheres. At the works, yesterday, we had the plea- sure of seeing some fino fish-globes, lamp glasses, and work ofthat description, executed in a very creditable manner. The works are still in a somewhat rough, unfinished stare, and it will be some time before they are able to produce tho moro complicated and finished kinds of glasswork with complete success. The glass manufactured, however, seemed to bo very pure, and we have little doubt that when the manufactory is fairly established, it will be ablo to supply most of tho glasswork in the shape of lamp-glasses, bottles, &c, re- quired in tho colony.

Mr. G. J. Sims, of Brighton, an amateur florist of some local fame, has just produced a horticultural novelty which has excited a pretty general admiration among those who have seen it. It is a new seedling verbena, with large blossoms of peach and white, pro- nounced by some of the best professional judges in Melbourne to be decidedly in ad- vance of the prettiest varieties hitherto known hero, and a valuablo acquisition for bedding and other decorative purposes. It has been named the Amy Sims verbena, after a young lady who had a hand in its development, and not being very covetous in the matter, Mr. Sims has taken stops which will soon place

tho new plant i within the .roach of ^ the

public. - =--.

¡ ( Several gentlemen representing the medical profession,waited upon the horn ,tho Minister of Justice yesterday, for the purpose of,asceri taining tho conditions on which the proposed appointment of a pathologist and medical jurist was to be made. Mr. Cosey read a letter Dr. Youl had written on, the subjecti pointing out that ho was freauontly obliged to employ unskilful persons to make post- mortem examinations ; and, after some con- versation, the deputation undertook to con- vene a meeting of tho profession generally, for the consideration of the subject, with a view to laying their opinions before tho Minister of Justice.

The ordinary monthly meeting of the Medical Society of Victoria was hold last night, in the hoard-room of the Melbourne Hospital, tho president, Dr. Neild, in tho chair. There was a good attendance of mem- bers. Mr. Gillbco road a short paper upon an obscure abdominal tumour, and exhibited the subject of it to the society. It occasioned an animated discussion, the opinions of those present being divided as to its nature. The desirability, however, of operativo interference was generally questioned.notwithstanding that tho patient himself strongly desired it. Mr. Blair exhibited a new operating chair, -which he stated was a modification of the one em- ployed by Dr. M. Sims. Mr. Blair had had it made in this city, and, apart from its merit in a surgical point of view, it was a very creditable specimen of colonial workmanship. Dr. Bird read a most ably-written papor on tho cases of scurvy lately brought to the colony in the Dayspring. The author referred to the statement that the cases were those of a peculiar Indian disease named "beri-beri,1' and showed conclusively that they could not bo any other disease than scurvy, to which they corresponded both in the appearance of the symptoms aud the nature of the causes from which they had arisen. Dr. Bird's paper evoked a prolonged discussion, in which most of tho members took part, but Dr. Bird had considerably the best of tho argument. A very cordial vote of thanks was accorded to the author of this paper. Tho president then read a communica- tion he had received from Dr. Day, of Geelong, referring to the application of the guaiacum'blood-test, more particularly in relation to those cases requiring it to be de- termined whether the blood has been in contact with suppurating or fresh wounds. Mr. Gillbeo announced his intention of moving at the next special meeting of tho society that tho rule be rescinded compelling the production by candidates of their diplomas before being ballotted for.

Wo observe from a Post-office notice that tbo colour of the five-shilling postage stamp has now been changed to carmine and bluci upon white paper.

A court for the revision of the electoral roll of Gipps Waid sat yesterday, at the Tem- perance-hall, Russell-street. The court con- sisted of Alderman Hughes, and Assessors E. Chapman and B. H. Cooling. There was only one erasure from the list-necessitated by the death of tho voter-there being no objections preferred and no defaulting free- holders. Of new claims, eight notices had been given, and four of theic wero esta- blished, constituting tho only additions to

the roll.

Although oponed late in tho season, the new skating rink at the Apollo-hall appeals to command no inconsiderable amount of patronage. Mr. Mothersill, tho lessee, has provided excellent accommodation, and his arrangements are such that several ladies have found themselves enabled to follow the delightful pastime of roller-skating.

Mi. G. It. G. Pringle, organist, late of St. Peter's, and now of St. Francis', has an- nounced that on Wednesday next he will give an " organ recital " of sacred music. It is to take place in St. Francis' Church, and tho proceeds aro to bo devoted to tho enlarge- ment and improvement of the organ of the place. This last is a very fine instrument ; but its inner works are worn, and re- quire renewal. Tho instrumental selections are to include some fine classic pieces, such as Mendelssohn's grand sonata in F minor, Vivian's " Silver Trumpets" March, Batiste's grand Offertoire in D, and tho "Dead March" in Handel's "Saul." There is besides to be some vocal music, of which Mrs. Fox and Mr. Furlonge are to be tho executants.

A serious charge against Police-sergeant Kenny, stationed at Hawthorn, was heard in the District Court yesterday. Mr. Charles Pyne, money-lender, of Littlo Lonsdale-street west, charged the sergeant with being unlaw- fully on his premises-that charge implying an intent to commit a felony. Tho proceed- ings arose out of certain monetary transac- tions between the parties, defendant having obtained accommodation from Pyno, who ac- cepted his bills as security. On the 5th inst., Kenny paid off three bills, by means of a Go- vernment order for salary. So far tho story of both parties agrees, but hero begins tho difference. Pyne says he gave up tho bills to defendant, but retained others for further advances, not yet duo. Having had tea to- gether at Pyno's house, they wont out, prose- cutor telling defendant that he was going to the theatre. Ho did not return till after twelve o'clock, and in tbe interval Kenny had been threo or four times to his house, attempting to gain admission, trying to fordo open the windows, and threatening to burst open the doors unless they wero opened to bim. It was broadly nsserted that ho con- templated abstracting the bills held by Pyne against him, and so get rid of his liabili- ties. Kenny's statement, however, puts the matter in quite a different light. It is true, ho says, that during the suspension of payments by Govoinment, he was obliged to seek accommodation from Pyno, and received from him in cash the sum of ¡£20 upon bills, which mado interest and principal amount to between £60 and £G0. On the day namod he paid off tho three first bills on Pyne calling upon him at Hawthorn, but as Pyne had only one bill with him, he vv ent to the house in tho evening for the other two. Instead of giving bim these, the money- lender walked out of the house, and went, as ho was told, to tho theatre. Deter- mined to obtain possession of the two re- maining bills (which were not due, and could bo used by Pyne), Kenny did wail about, and call several times at the house, getting over tho fence into the back yard on one occasion, when ho could get no answer at the front door. Ho never did moro than ask if Pyno was at homo, and his solo object was to see that individual, and demand from him the securities unlawfully detained. Mr. Call dismissed the case, being of opinion that the evidence did not substantiate the charge. The act never contemplated such an offence as this. The defendant had been very wrong in his proceedings, but this part of tho act meant nothing short of a criminal offence, and there was nothing in any part of Kenny's conduct which would bear out tho supposition that he had any felonious intent. As, how- ever, the defendant had boon guilty of an impropriety of conduct, the case would be dismissed without costs.

Between one and two o'clock yesterday, a fire broke out in a grocery and hay and corr store situated in tho Bridge-road, Eichmond, near the Hawthorn-bridge. Tho alarm having been given, the Eichmond Fire Brigade lost no time in proceeding to the sccno of the fire ; but, in consequence of the very high wind blowing at tho time, the premises wero consumed before any ol the stock could bo saved. Tho property destroyed was owned and occupied by Mr. George Bxly. and is covered by insurance te tho extent of £320. At present it is unknown how the fire originated. Mr. Exly was in town at tbo time, having left tho shopboy in charge. Tbe latter states that ho first saw the fire under tho counter. The building

being constructed of wood, the" firo quickly spread. . _ _ ' "

Tho tree selectors under ^tho Amending Land Act are actively continuing their agita- tion for the acceptance by the Government of their annual payments of rent as payments towards the purchase of the freehold of their selections. A largely attended meeting of the lately-formed Selectors' Association was held at Ararat on Friday last, when letters were received from the selectors at Gion

thómson, Cherry Mount, and Learmonth, agreeing to co-operate with the association. It was resolved to move Parliament by petition on the subject, rather than to leave the matter in the hands of the department ; but that further measures should not bo taken till it was seen what action the department would take. It was also agreed that a conference should be held in Melbourne on the subject, on tlie first Tuesday of December next, when the petition to Parliament should be drawn up by the delegates present.

Archibald MTherson, who has hitherto occupied a respectable position as a squatter in the Ararat district, was charged at the police court, Geelong, yesterday, with utter- ing a forged bill of exchange for £30 Os. 6d. to Mr. J. M. Tulloch, draper.

The usual monthly meeting of the Geelong Hospital was held yesterday. A report of the sub-committee, recommending that a legacy left by the late Mr. John Hastie, amounting to £300, be invested in Government securities, was adopted. One of the visitors for the month reported that tho only complaint beard was about tho bread. Two loaves were produced, which were found not to be good, and after some discussion thi5 Ilouse Committee were instructed to obtain the very best bread. The subject of patients coming from distant parts of the colony for admission was discussed, and it was resolved, " that the course pursued by the House Committee in not admitting persons coming from a dis- tance, was appioved of." Tho mooting then adjourned. ,

On Saturday last, as Mr. Georgo Whittall

and Mr. Buchanan, Emerald-hill, wore cross- ing the bridge over the Yarra at Heidelberg, a large snake emerged from the grass along- side and passed within a yard. Mr. Whittall was, fortunately, carrying a fowling-piece, and fired at tho snake instantly. Tho shot destroyed the snake, which waa about four feet long, and of tho carpet spocies.

Alexander Macdonald, a labourer, ap- peared at tho police court. Queenscliff, on Tuesday, charged with unlawfully detaining Robert King, a child threo years of ago. About two years ago Mrs. King died ; the child, then ten months old, was taken by Mrs. Macdonald to nurso. Macdonald sued King in the last County Court for its mainte- nance, and obtained an order for the payment of the amount. The child was then given up to his father, but a week afterwards Mrs. Macdonald carno to the house and took away the child again. King then summoned her for stealing the child, but that case being dis- missed the pi osent charge was brought, as Macdonald refused to give the child up to his father, who wished, as his daughters were now old enough to take caie of him, to havo him at home. As Macdonald still refused to sun ender tho child, ho was committed for trial at the Cii eui fc Court. '

A native porcupine has been captured on the Little River, by Mr. Hugh Richmond, of Wyndham.  

Some few days back a boat bolonging to Mr. Stainsby was missed from her moorings at the Eastern beach, Geelong. It was found on Monday evening near tho mouth of the river Werribee, by the constable stationed in that district, and at the time all the sails were set. From this fact it is supposed that somebody must have taken the boat from its moorings and fallen overboard, but as yot the affair is wrapped in mystery, no parson hav- ing boen found by tho police to be missing.

Two women of indifferent character havo been apprehended at Sandhurst on a charge of stealing goods and jewellery to the value of £40, from the Butchers' Anns Inn, Mundy strect, there.

Between forty and fifty dozen of opossum skins were received yesterday at the Duck Ponds railway station, foi transmission to Melbourne. This is about the avorago quan- tity obtained weekly. The skins wore all well tanned, and finished for the market. There appears to bo no diminution *in the number of opossums, the You Yangs still swarming with them. Rabbits ate also be- coming a nuisance, and there is some talk of snaring them and utilising their skins for the Melbourne market.

"We are informed," says the Mount Alex- ander Mail, "that Captain Aitken has re- signed his position as captain-commanding the 1st Castlemaine Rifles, in consequence of some misunderstanding with reference to volunteer matters between himself and Colonel Bull. So far as we are able to learn, the matters which have led to this step are of a most trivial nature, and, in the interests of the corps, we hope that the resignation may be withdrawn."

The Gipps Land nunt Club Stpoplechases were run on Saturday. The winners were : Of the Hunt Club Cup, Mr. W. B. Cunning home's Turpin ; of the Hurdle Race, Mr. Pi u den's Laura ; of the Selling Stakes, Mr. Pru den's I'm Hero.

It is mentioned hy a local paper that "a thousand sheep belonging to Mr. Homy West, of Yambuk, having been found to bo scabby, a meeting of tho inhabitants was held on Wednesday, when it was resolvod that 300 clean sheep be presented ' to Mr. West, con- ditionally upon the whole of his being de- slio} ed. This was agreed to, and the opera- tion was performed on Thursday."

A rather serious atcidont occurred at Beech- worth on Saturday, owing to some children playing with gunpowder. Four lads, named Dunn, Meldium, Skidmoro, and Trovaskis, residing in tho neighbourhood of Holracs's Cicek, got hold of a llask of gunpowder, and while engaged trying experimente with it by means of lighted matches, it exploded) burn- ing all of them more or less severely.

The Dunolly Express reports that " a high- way robbery took place on the Moliagul-road on Saturday last. An old man named Roberts was walking on the road near Cross Hotel, at about ten p.m., whon ho was knockod down, and his pockets were rilled of their contents viz., two £l-notcs, some silver, two miners' rights, and two deposit receipts. The robbor then commenced to kick and othorwise ill-use his victim, finishing by throwing hiot into a hedge. The cries of the old man, who be- sought 1Ú3 assailant to spare his lifo, at length attracted attention, and some persons went to his assistance Information was given tb the police, and tho robber was apprehended at Cross's Old Dunolly Hotel, at two o'clock on Sunday morning. He turned out to be Peter 1 lavin, a deserter from tho 14th Regi-

ment"

A curious libel case has been brought before the Malmsbury Bunch. One William Bing- ham is charged with saying-" That William M'Laren was turned out of the wituesd-box

at a public court in Bendigo, for'that his e\ idenco was refused to be taken, for that ho

the said William M'Laren was an unbeliever in the existence of a God." Tho case was adjourned.

John Code, Thomas Trewarthen, and seven other tributers of tho Wonderful Roef Quartz mining Company, havo had an escape from occupiing a criminal position. " It seems it had come to tho knowledge of tho proprietors of the minc, " says the Daylesford Mercury, "that the tributcrs had been in tho habit of selling part of the produce at Cieswick, the yield having thus been made to appear less than it really was. Messrs. Wallis and G ulli more, of Melbourne, with others interested therein, laid an information against nino of the men for ' feloniously concealing gold with intent to defraud the company.' Mr. Warton, when the charge was called on,

'asked to withdraw If* the defendants having apologised for their wrong-doing, made resti- tution, and handed over the mine to tho proi prietors. Tho police magistrate said the de|

fendants were accused of felony, but as there was no prosecution,,the case must bo struck out. The men, however, might consider themselves very fortunate the chargo was not pressed." ,

The Geelong Register professes to know something of contemplated changes in the Eailway arrangements. Our contemporary says:-"We understand that the Commis- sioner of Railways has decided on runningdaily a special express train, to perform tho journey between Ballarat and Melbourne in three hours. This will bo an additional train, and

will not interioro with the traffic as at pre]

sent arranged for. Tho time of starting will be six a.m. from Ballarat, half-past seven, p.m. from Geelong, reaching Melbourne at nine a.m. This train will stop at no other station than Geelong unless signalled. A similar train will leave Melbourne about tho same hour. We also understand a similar convenience is to be conferred on tho Sand« hurst and Melbourno line. It is also con- templated, although not actually decided on, to alter the time of starting the afternoon luggage train from twenty minutes past three p.m. to twenty minutes past four p.m., and to attach thereto third-class carriages. Of course, if carried out, a similar alteration would take place in the up trains. This con j cession would also be applicable to both main lines of railway. It is also understood that the Saturday excursion train from Bal- larat to Geelong will in future leave Ballarat a few minutes after the last through train to Melbourne." '

"Tho ingenuity of the Chinese," says the Majorca Independent, "in the art of manu-   facturing spurious gold is proverbial; but a   new dodge of increasing the weight of the parcel without becoming amenable to the law, through mixing inferior metals with the sample, was tried at Mr. Samuels' gold-office on Saturday, and was very nearly successful. The invention at least deserves credit for originality. A Chinaman, who has been in the habit of selling small parcels of amalga- mated gold at the office for some time, came on Saturday morning with four or five small pellets of a few pennyweights each, and the quality of the gold was so apparently pure that Mr. Lloyd would not have thought of a closer examination but for the bulk being so great in proportion to the weight. The pieces were then broken, when it was found that the centre of each little knob was com- posed of a nice round or flat ironstone pebble, nicely coated with pure gold about the thick- ness of a shilling, and apparently put on in the shape of amalgam, and afterwards re- torted."

A demonstration of a successful character, in the form of a soir¿e, was given on Tuesday evening, in tho Alfred-hall, Ballarat, to the Hon. T. Learmonth, on the occasion of his departure for Europe. About 500 persons were present, Mr. R. Lewis, president of the district hospital, acting as chairman. Ad- dresses were delivered by the chairman, Mir. Joseph Jones, president of tho Mechanics' Instituto ; and a formal address was read by Mr. W. H. Batten, and bore the signatures of the[mayor of Ballarat (Mr. Davey), and Messrs'. Lewis, Doane, Jones, and Gibbs, presi- dents of the Hospital, Benevolent Asylunii Mechanics' Institute and Orphan Asylum, respectively. Mr. Learmonth road a written reply, and also added a few remarks, in the course of which ho promised to invest £1,000 in municipal debentures as a parting gift towards the extension of the district hospital. An address from tho local Agricultural and Pastoral Society was then read, and was replied to by Mr. Learmonth, who added to his wiitten remarks a few observation, ip. which ho said-" Tho allusion to morino wool was not without significance, for he might inform his lady friends that the beautiful gauzy fabrics they wore were probably made of wool grown on the Ercildoun hills. It was a fact that thoso fabrics could only be made from wool grown within eight or ten milos of Ballarat, and with a little extra caro tho pro- duct might be grown successfully, and by realising an oxtra shilling per pound some- thing like £500,000 a year would bo- added to our revenue." Tho celebration altogether passed off admirably, and a very cordial tono pervaded it throughout.

A man named Farriut has committed suicide at the Great Western, Ararat, after a very delibciato attempt to assassinate a young woman of the named of Robertson, to whom he was attached. It appears that on Monday evening weok Miss Robertson was leaving the Wesleyan Chapel, in company with two little girls, when she mot Farriut, whom she mildly reproached for not attend- ing tho chapel, lio mude on excuso for him- self, and then presented a pistol at tho girl and fired. She ran away, but was chased, when she turned and caught Farriut's hand, thus changing the direction of his aim at the moment when ho fired. The first shot took effect under the left ear, and tho second under tho right ear. One ball was extracted, but the other has not boen found, and the girl now suffers very little, and, apparently, will in a few days be in hor usual health. On tho fol- lowing Sunday night the body of Farriut was found in a field near Ararat, lying in a pool of blood, from a pistol wound which ap- peared to be self-inflicted. It is believed that he committed suicido within a very few minutes after tho attempt on the life of his unfortunate sweetheart. The coronor's jury found that the deceased had died by his own

hand.

A young aboriginal, who bore the name of Prince Albert, has disappeared horn the neighbourhood of Euston, under circum- stances that leave littlo doubt as to his having met his death by unfair means. Ho is sup- posed to havo boon murdered and thrown into the Mulray by tho mon in chaigo of the Victorian mail horses, at a camp between Ki and Tupalling, during a drinking bout.

Tho inquest on the human bones found in a paddock near tho Big Waterhole, Talbot, was, concluded on Saturday. Tho evidence taken made it appear probable that the íemains were thoso of a man who in 1855 was found dead and buried on the spot where ho was found. This man had, on tho ovon ing beforo he was found, talked with some men of a sur voy party, by whom he was thought to bo " cranky," perhaps from the effects of drink. The jury found a verdict expressing their opinion that tho remains wero thoso of the man referred to, and that death was the result of delirium tremen*. I

"Wo understand," says the Tarrengower

Times, " that there is some likelihood of ji

grand amalgamation of quartz claims on onb of tho Maldon reefs-tho whole to bo thrown into ono large company. We should boil with satisfaction a start in such a direction, for it is really grievous to seo the waste of capital and labour consequent upon each small claim having to sink its own independent shafts, make its own crosscuts, &c. No doubt there would bo souio difficulties ia tho way1, but certainly not insurmountable ones, of making such a practico general, but it would bo better for all concerned wero such amal- gamations to becomo a rule ; particularly with a number of small companies who now have to keop a staff of officers each, whereas

ono amongst six companies would amply

suffice."

In the trial at the Ballarat Circuit Court, on Tuesday, before Mr. Justice Barry, of two boys for having set fire to the common school- house in Eureka-strcct, his Honour, in dis- charging the boya, told them they had had a very narrow escape from conviction. Ho told them this because tho crime was a very serious one, and because they had made a gross mis- take in nofpaying attention to their teachers, and had not felt tbo benefits of education. No doubt they had been very proporly

punished, and boys were sometimes drummed,

[ out of school for their1 bad behaviour^ A.t , Harrow, once, ',tho boys proposed to burn f¡b¡e

school, hut were shamed into not doing so by I being reminded of the names of their ances | tors carved on the oaken timbers of the

school. Such antiquo memories did not oxist hero j but it would bo an indelible disgrace to our youth if such crimes as theso should be connected with our public schools.

'"Die Octoroon" was repeated i at the Theatre Royal last night to a fairly-attonded house. The performances this ovoning will consist of "The Octoroon," and "Tho Bride of Abydos."

The Collingwood Commercial Crickot Club holds a meeting to-morrow evening, at the Collingwood Hotel. ,

lho Sons of Temperance, who have in- creased greatly in the neighbourhood of Duck Ponds, intend shortly to erect a good stone structure in the neighbourhood,* considerable sums towards tho object having already boen

obtained.

The superintendent of the Deaf and Dumb Institution acknowledges with thanks a dona- tion of half-a-dozen gold-fish, for tho foun- tain, from Mr. Cox, per Rev. G. Mackie ; and also a donation of garden seeds from Mr.

Railton.

The Sunday ovoning religious services in the Duke of Edinburgh Theatre, wo are in- formed, aro suspended for a few weeks, in consequence of a severo cold caught by the Rev. Thomas Ness while preaching on Sun- day evening last.

lae usual monthly meeting of tho Third Victoria Building Society was held last oven infs, at the society's outee, 56 Little Collins street oast, Mr. G. W. Rusden in tho chair, who announced the monthly receipts to be £3,000. Several shares wero sold at nominal premiums.

A gymnastic entertainment will ho gfvon this evening in the St. Kilda Artillery ordorly-room, Chapel-strcot, under tho patron- age of Colonel Anderson and Lieutenant Colonel Rede, by the members of tho St. Kilda Gymnasium, commencing at eight

o'clock.

Tho anniversary of the Bethel, or Marmora' Church, Sandridge, was held there on Tues- day evening ; Captain M'Callum in the chair. About 200 persons partook of tea, and somo excellent sacred music followed. The Rev. J. M. Strongman, J. W. Bradney, W. Potter, J. Stephenson, and Kerr Jahnston, took part in the proceedings.

Wo nave received a cheque for £2 from "Colonist" for the widow and children of Patrick Doggett, the unfortunate man who lost his life whilo gallantly attempting to save somo children from drowning in the creek at North Wangaratta. We shall forward this and any further subscriptions we may receivo for so laudable an object to tho mayor of Wangaratta.

At a mooting of tho Loyal Melbourno Lodge M.U.I.O.O.F., held last evening at the Man- chester Unity Hall, Swanston-street, tbero were over 350 members present, includ- ing tho officers of tho older and district with official visitors from various lodges in tho city¡ for the purpose of being present at the initiation of several gentlemen, and among3t others the right worshipful the Mayor of Mel- bourne, Mr. J. S. Butters.

A lea meeting, in connexion with the Fitzroy Gospel Band, was held in the George street Baptist Chapel on Tuesday evening

last. About 3Ö0 persons sat down to toa. " Afterwards a. public meeting was hold, Pastor ' W. Bi vant in the chair, After a few reinarles from the chairman, the secretary (Mr. Wm. Warne, jan.) read tho first annual report, which showed that tho band is in a most prosperous condition. Appropriate addresses were delivered by Messrs. Davis, Skeatj, Needham, Lush, Hill, Illingworth, Cole, and Johnston. Tho evening's proceedings wore enlivened by the choir.

Tho Melbourno and Suburban City Mission Committee held their monthly meeting at the usual place on Tuesday lost. Thoro wore pro sent Mr, Cook (in tho chair), Mr Ogilvy, and Mr. Jennings (treasurer) ; also, of the ministry -Mr. Wollaston, Mr. Kininmont, and Mr. Hamilton (secretary). The treasurer had another unfavourable íeport to givo, owing to the irregular way in which subscriptions and church collections aro obtained. Thoro was

a deficiency of £2G for the month of Septem- ber, and it was hoped that all in arrears would come forward promptly to tho aid of the committee. The principal business had reference to the rc-arrnngoment of the mia- ' sionaiies' districts, which require adjustment from time to time. It was agreed to divido the city and suburbs into ten districts-, Emerald-hill and Sandridgo ; St. Kilda and Windsor; West Melbourne and Hotham ; Richmond, Prahran, and South Yarra ; Cailton and Fitzroy ¡East Collingwood ; and Melbourne Proper. Each missionary to have ch argo of two of these, and to spend two months in each alternately; and tho city proper to be visited two days in tho week for two months by two missionaries, who should bo succeeded by other two, and so on through- out the year. It was arranged to hold tho annual meeting in Hockin's Assembly-rooms, on tho evening of Tuesday, the 3rd No-

vember.

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