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?IR liar.




SOMETHING like thirty miles west-

ward from Ballarat is the town of

Skipton, noted for the singular duality

tbat characterises its institutions. It

has two inns, two butchers shops, two smithies, two shoemakers, and two police constables, and was sometime since described ia these columns as

" remarkable for a certain placidity, as though the stores were opened not for business but to keep up appear- ances, and the storekeepers were so many hermits dwelling in dark cells in the rear, completely given up to »elf meditation. Nobody seemed to be capable of hurrying him or herself, or to take any vivid interest in any- thing." This, as the sequel will show,

is somewhat of a libel on the town re-

ferred to. The population of Skipton aud its suburbs does not exceed some one hundred and sixty persons. For

a place so circumstanced it was con- j

sidered necessary for some reason or another not very apparent to other than the very bustling Skiptonians

that an effort should be made to have

a Court of Petty Sessions established there. It may be that the Skiptonians are law loving, or that they required a little extra excitement to amuse them, at all events they thought that a law court was necessary in some shape, so they set about the matter

with, more than their characteristic

energy, and in due time they were rewarded for their perseverance and unwonted activity by the proclama- tion of their township as a place in which a Court of Petty Sessions was to be held. The court in question held

its first session to the delectation and

glorification of all true Skiptonians, and let us add, we trust for the greater safety of the lives and pro- perty of Her Majesty's liege subjects in that locality. We are as yet unable

to state the number of cases that came

on for trial during the first sitting, though if we may argue of Skipton and its neighborhood as we would be fully warranted in doing of other places having an equal amount of population, we might not be far from the truth if we hazarded the opinion that there would be little for the

bench of magistrates to do on the occasion, unless indeed some of the very spirited inhabitants of the neigh- borhood in question, for the sake of the honor and importance of the place, would get up a case of "assault, or be- come drunk and disorderly, or perhaps

sue for some small sum due over the

limits of the Small Debts A.ct ; by doing so of course the necessity of a court would be fully manifested, and no greater harm done than what may be expected to follow from the inflic- tion of a twelve or twenty miles morning

constitutional ride on the magistrates of the district, and an inferential appreciation of a recherche luncheon at one or other of the Skiptonian hos- telries, when the Court had been adjourned for, say a month-certainly a fortnight. But the Skiptonians are not too exacting, but considerate jolly good fellows iu their own way, for while they may be anxious for the presence and operation of a Court of Petty Sessions among them, they are by no means desirous of entailing on the neighboring Justices of the Peace the whole of the duties required by a monthly or fortnightly Court being held there. They are one and all quite ready to show themselves worthy of the boon so lately conferred on them by stepping forward to aid the Executive by their advice as to the selection of local magistrates, on whom tile serious and responsible duty of dispensing laws to the people of Skipton might naturally be de- volved. In accordance with this highly commendable and disinterest- edly patriotic spirit, the inhabitants of Skipton some tune since assembled in a monster meeting to nominate some of the residents of that locality to the favorable consideration of the Execu- tive for the honor and dignity of Jus- ticeship. There was an unusual inte

rest displayed on the occasion j indeed so important was the matter at issue considered, that it was unnecessary for any further notice of tba intended gathering- to be ..giren, than the merest intimation of time, place, and object, and every Skaotonian heart beat quick with the resolve that the grave duty should be conscientiously performed. Near the hour named the attendance was so large as to justify the meeting in proceeding to appoint a chairman and honorary secretary,,, and proceed to the work ia hand.: It is unnecessary to quote the eloquent and piquant sentences that fell from the Ups of the several speakers ; it will be sufficient to say that, high as the reputation of the public men of Skipton is for oratorical display and argumentative cogency, they fairly excelled all their former efforts, in well merited eulogy of the character

and fitness of the candidates nomi- nated, and of the importance of the meeting on the future, not only of Skipton and Victoria, but of humanity in general. Need it

be said that the resolutions

were rapturously received and una- nimously adopted toy the meeting.

As historians of ? this momentous oc-

casion, truth compels us to add that there was a trifling want of unanim- ity, but even this speaks well for the independent spirit of the Skiptonians, as it shows that they can, and do think and act for themselves, and are uot to be wheedled into an indis-

criminate acquiescence in the dicta of even their eloquent leaders. The want of unanimity referred to arose

in this wise : The character and re- cognised abilities of the gentlemen nominated stood so high that there was some difficulty experienced as to their order of succession, on the list to be forwarded to the Executive ; while ali were prepared to endorse the opin- ion that each of the gentlemen nomin- ated was fit for the justiceship, still some thought that one or other was

even a little in advance of the others in the several characteristics which go to constitute magisterial pre- eminence, after some practice on the bench. The matter however ended, as others of a perhaps equal magni- tude, such as the dispute between the

two Houses of Parliament anent the

Land Bill did, in mutual concessions being- made and an amicable compro

mise effected. The result was that the Chairman announced that he

would have great pleasure in forward- ing to the Government the names of six gentlemen-himself included-who were recommended as eminently fitted to be placed on the roll of magistrates for the colony, in the opinion of that highly respectable, in- fluential, and numerously attended meeting of the citizens of Skipton, who to the number of six which con- stituted the assemblage, then dis- solved as a public meeting and betook themselves as their fancy or inclina- tion prompted them. Of course, we would be the last to take exception to the good people of Skipton holding a public meeting, or to carp at what they do at them ; still justice compels us to say that they are not altogether original in this movement ; for it is in the memory of the people of this district that a similar kind of magis- trate-nominating assemblage was held in this neighborhood some two years ago, when the names of nearly every one present, after being duly proposed, seconded and carried, were sent to town, and gazetted as magistrates in the ordinary course of political

events. Now, the district suffered too much scandal through the former wholesale gazetting, to be indifferent to the repetition of a simi- lar proceeding, and we beg to call the attention of the Government to the affair, so that proper inquiries may be made before action is taken in this

Skipton affair, as to the appointment of six magistrates on the recommenda- tion ot a like number of men who choose to form themselves into and constitute a public meeting. We have every confidence that the present Ministry will be more careful than their predecessors in making the necessary inquiries about such com- munications as are forwarded from such public meetings as we allude to ; but that there may be no excuse on the ground of ignorance, we call on them to act in this matter with more than usual caution. We do not wish it to be understood that we find fault

with the majority of the names nomi- nated at Skipton for the commission of the peace ; on the contrary, we hear some of them are well fitted for that position : but we do find fault with this more than Tooley-street spirit, which prompts men to nominate themselves for political honors. By all means let the people of Skipton, or anywhere else, hold such public meet- ings as they can command, do as silly -not illegal-things as they may ; but when they enter into communica- tion with the Government, or any other body that does not know them fully, let them honestly say "The following resolutions were unani- mously passed at a public meeting of six, held, ¿cc." To do otherwise is simply ridiculous impertinence, that deserves the severest castigation within the power of those on whom it is sought to imjrase by calling such gatherings "public meetings."

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