FPJDA Y, OCTOBER 24. 1890.
An incidental discussion on tbe loan finances of the colony was initiated in tbe Assembly yesterday. The occasion was the introduction of tlio bill for the
conversion of the expiring G per cent, debentures, a measure which Mr. GILLIES admits lias little if any chance of being an immediate success. As our cable messago to-day indicates, the London money market may recover tone before the year is out, low prices bringing out new buyers, but with Victorian S\ per cents, quoted at 96.1, there would seem to be scarcely a pros- pect of disposing of a heavy parcel of these securities at par. To put o\ por cents, to the amount of _S50,000 on the market in any way to-day would probably mean a disaster. Prices would be forced down, and our credit would receive a shock. The less we press a tender market the better the chances of a recovery, and under tho circumstances the Treasurer is taking the only possible course. He abandons the idea that a large con- version is to be expected. Tho holders of the G per cents, will, ho assumes, ask cash for each £100 debenture, and will not accept a 31 per cent, security at par instead. Tho Treasurer therefore takes power to place tho 3_t per cent, stock upon the market as an ordinary loan whenovor the opportunity offors, and in tho meantime he will obtain
an advance from the banks to pay off the public creditor, who will present the expiring debentures on the 1st January. It is unfortunate that the Treasurer has to finance-to obtain au overdraft-but with debentures run-
ning out, and with a doubtful demand, no other arrangement is possible.
' The return asked for by Air. MUNRO as to the state of the public account was also presented yesterday, and was tho subject of a statement by that gentleman and by tho Treasurer. The return is no more favourable than was expected, and tho subsequent announce- ment mado by Mr. GILLIES will come as a surprise both to the House and to the country. It appears that the £4,000,000 loan lloated in March last has' practically disap- peared. A large portion of the money, as we know, was required to liquidate liabilities then existing, and though nominally a sum of £413,000 remained
to the credit of the loan account at the
date of the return, yet- that credit is but nominal. This is shown by the state of the public account. The public account is the fund which includes the revenue, the loan and the trust funds. The uninvested trust funds amount to £1,670,000, so that the public account should have stood as fol- lows :
Lonu funds. £413,000 Trust funds.1,070,000 ltevenue . -
But the sum actually to the crodit of the public account was only £959,000, and thus the following statement is obtained, the first line showing the sum which would be to the credit of the public account if the trust funds had not been operated upon :
Full credit .£2,OSi),000 Cash in band. 1059,000
In other words, although the Treasurer obtained £4,000,000 in March last, he has already drawn upon the trust funds to the amount of £1,130,000. Or, if we take the £400,000 balance which still lies to the credit of the loan into
consideration, and deduct it from this ;
sum, then we may say that the £4,000,000 loan bas gone and also £700,000 of the trust funds. And on the 14th inst.-the date of the return there was still nearly three months of the year to provide for. Mr. MUNRO contented himself with pointing out that his allegation that the Treasurer cannot make a mile of new railway next year without a new loan being authorised is amply borne out by the facts. Mr. GILLIES has promised to review this statement at an early date, and his explanation must be awaited. He will be able no doubt to point out that the revenue was in debit on the 14th inst, owing to the remit- tance of the January interest and the usual heavy spring payments, and that it should largely recover itself by Christmas ; but after due allowance is made for this it . must be that the Treasurer will commence the new year with the loan fund gone and with the trust funds as heavily drawn upon as they ought to be-because it must be remembered that these funds ought not to be operated upon to the last shilling, inasmuch as the Government has the Post-office Savings Banks de- posits to account for, and the possibility of large withdrawals from the savings banks consequent upon some general strike, some passing panic, or some exceptional temporary distress, has always to be faced. The Government is no more exempt from the obligation of keeping a reserve than is any other
.Under these circumstances, com- mencing the new year with exhausted trust funds, the Treasurer can only spend on loan works in 1891 such money as he can borrow in Lon- don. And he now formally an- nounces that he will not go upon the market for more than the £1,000,000, the unfloated balance of the authorised loan, which is re- quired to cover works already ordered and apparently contracted for. His former statement that he could pay for any new lines re- commended by the committee without the aid of a new loan, is explained by Mr. GILLIES now stating that he does not suppose that more than two or three lines could be recommended, and that not more than a quarter of a million could be spent upon them in the period. These statements, as wo have said, are likoly to surprise Parlia- ment, inasmuch as they point to a smaller amount of railway construction in the immediate future than has been confidently calculated upon, and conse- quently to a much larger reduc- tion in loan expenditure than was anticipated. Assuming that only £100,000 of the £1,600,000 is spent in advance, the Treasurer will have but £1,500,000 for loan works next year. And as this amount is required for works already ordered, it follows that any new lines that are sanctioned this session can barely be commenced for a year and more to come. The drop from an outlay of £4,000,000 per annum to this sura is very con- siderable ; but the policy is an honest one, and, as ,it would be evidently disastrous to our credit to oporate largely in London next year, it is a policy that will commend itself in this particular to the prudent. As to any falling off in employment here, it must bo remembered that the Metro- politan Board of Works will soon be a borrower abroad, and its outlay will be a factor in the sum. In any case, as the check on loan expenditure has come from England, it has to bo made the beat of. The only regreb is that tho trust funds, which, we maintain, should bo kept substantially intact to meet London difficulties-for a hitch is possible even with the floating of the £1,000,000-have been already so largely trenched upon.
Every acre of the great island conti- nent of Australia is now placed formally and completely under the management of local Governments. The constitution of Western Australia was proclaimed on Tuesday at Perth, to the accom- paniment of artillery salutes and amidst the greatest enthusiasm on the part of the.people. The system of colonisation is therefore ^completed in tliÍB part of the world. Canada and Australia, and all tho colonies of tho temperate zones-we need say nothing of the tropical settlements, since for obvious reasons they must always be managed in a different fashion have practically been founded upon the idea of local self-government. It is to this principio that they owe in large measure their progiess, their freedom, and their prosperity. What- ever the result may be in tho future, whether the English-speaking peoples
are to enter into a federation or to be divided into small provinces, whether local liberties are destined to strengthen
or to weaken the bonds of
union, the English policy of colo- nisation, as distinct from the policy followed by every other European country, is that of encouraging re- sponsible government. And it may be said that in Sir WILLIAM ROBINSON'S proclamation Western Australia has simply received the right of English citizenship. The loyalty of the colony will not be diminished one iota by the long desired change which has now passed over its fortunes. Having gained its local independence, it becomes a full member of the English-speaking nations. Emerging from the state of pupillage, to which adverse circum- stances have condemned it, Western Australia will be more in touch than formerly with the other parts of the empire.
There is little occasion now to call to remembrance the opposition that has been shown to the granting of a constitution to Western Australia. Although for the last two or three years there lias been practical unanimity within the colony, a strong .agitation has been required to beat down the more or less stupid scruples of a small section of tho House of Commons ; and, besides Sir FREDERICK BROOME and Sir WILLIAM ROBINSON, two representa- tives from the colony attended the select committoo to which the bill was referred by the House of Commons, All objoction is happily at an end. But it is worth while to point out, if ouly for the sake of showing how an ephemeral reputation may be gained by dogged ignorance and much speaking, that the opposition to the Western Australian bill came from a small knot of radicals, who are never happy unless they are dilating upon some ridiculous fad. The leadership of the anti-constitu- tional movement was assumed by Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL, who has a long record behind him of many brilliant opportunities, and few performances that
; are even moderate. It was said, on the |
one hand, that the people of Westen Australian could not bo entrusted with authority over the black popu lation, and stories were repeated which have long ago been scouted even in Exeter-hall. On the other hand, it was urged that it would be unfair to give such a vast tract of territory tt> the present resi- dents, and mysterious hints were thrown out that a portion of the lund might be reserved for the sake of promoting some indefinite philanthropieal scheme of emigration. We need hardly ada that Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL and his friends had never taken the slightest trouble to formulate any practicable plan of promoting settlement in Western Australia. If they had done so their opinions would have deserved consi-
deration ; for every Australian must know that a large increase of popula. tion is required to develop the resources of the colony. But it suited them to pose as philanthropists, and to their behaviour we must attribute the fact that responsible government in Western Australia dates from 1890, and not from 1889. Were we to draw a moral from the circumstance of such futile opposition to a valuable reform, we might say that it is only necessary wherever colonial interests are in- volved to have the facts of the case authoritatively stated. There will always be faddists in the House of Commons who will imagine vain things regaiding our policy in the South Seas and elsewhere. But the common sense of the English people, if the matter is fairly put before them, ought to come to the suppoitof the common sense of their Australian kinsmen.
In congratulating the West Austra- lians upon their attainment of constitu- tional government, we must express the confident belief that the progress of their community will be more rapid than it has hitherto been. From the time when the first settlements failed, which were attempted on an absurd plan, the colony has been unfortunate. The rich discoveries of gold and the quick growth of commerce and industry in the eastern colonies attracted population to this side of Australia. The narro» financial policy of the Perth Govern ment, the want of capital, and the dread of borrowing in the open market, prevented the inception of public works, and tended, therefore, to hinder private enterprise. But the colony
has all the elements of success. It
possesses many belts of fertile land; it has mines that may yet be made most valuable ; and it lies nearest to the European 'markets. We may ventuie to say that Perth will not be the least among the cities of Australia. We must express the sincere hope that the CINDERELLA, of the Australian sisterhood of colonies will find pros- perity and fortune.
Mr. SHIELS IS to bo congratulated upon his fair chanco of effecting yot another noteworthy social reform. His Law of Evidence Bill is through the Assembly, mid d9 the Council agteed to tho incasura last session it ought to be safo, more par- ticularly as Mi. SERMCF, who 13 its FealouBad\ocate, is present in "another; " placo" to take charge of the proposal. The bill 13 divided into ¿no parts, and each can be commended In futuro a witness if ho 13 sworn need not go through what many considor the highly objectionable and insanitary piactico of kissing an un- clean copy of the &cnpturc3 A city magistrats vías opeo highly wrath becauso a witness do_ted to use his own volumo, and not that puiticuhr copy which n thousand and 0110 people, and perhaps moic, hadhandlod before lum. Yot tho request was lationtl, and would bo commended by those members of tho 1110d1c.1l 1 ra term ty who ha\ 0 adopted tho gorm thooiy of disease. The decent and impresa!vo Scotch sjstom of swearing by uplifted hand will be allowable under tho bill. And tho man who has no toligious belief, and who 13 honest enough to say go, is not to bo required to take an oath, nor is ho to be depuved of his light to give ovidenco on tint account. His testimony will bo taken for exactly what it is worth, and if the man doparts from vority ho w ill bo hablo equally with other ofiondera to tho pains and ponalties of peijury. Incidentally this rofoim may bo of piactical \aluo by impressing upon tho suporstitious the cardinal fact that tho oflenco of perjury lies not 111 breaking an oath-which they seek to ovado by kissing a thumb or changing a wold-but in substituting falsohood for ttuth. As Mr bli» LS put tho caso, you foico tho agnostic to bo a hypocrite it you compel him to take an oatli, and you maka a mtityi of lum if j ou refuse him civil rights whon ho declines to go through tho ceromony. If agnostics are mtolorablo thoy should bo systoinatical'y dealt with, but it is inconsistent to treat JOHN SÍUAHT MILL and HERBEM SPENCER, as authorities in plnlosopli),
and refuse to behove thom 111 court against worthless ill-doors, and to subject fair ROBERT STOUT and Mr. JOHN* MOULFY to tho samo treatment tho ono day, and promote them to high offico in the realm tho nott. The oath system has been softened and softoned since the days of our much-swearing fathers, and tho new bill is a part of tho disappearing pioccss. No one need íegrot tho change, for tho religious linvo tho injunction " swLiu not ni all," and mon of tho world know that tho moro oaths tho les3 verity. The second point of tho bill has been discussod nt length. It is possible very fow learned counsel w ill foel the fetters which it is proposed to lay upon them whon thoy riso to cross oiammo. 'Ino judge will bo entitled to stop counsel when thou questions noithoraflcct tho caso nor damage tho ciodibihtj of tho witnoss, but no reasonable counsel o\erwisho3to put questions that aro meroly \oxatious and insulting " No case, abuso the other " side," may bo a vonorablo maxim, but justico, nt any rato, is not likely to sutler by a regulation that tho abuso shall bo in
Tho disadvantages of tho present arrangement of Supreme Court business aro cloarly illustrated by tho judicial
career of tho late Sir ROBERT MOLES- WORTH, and it 13 not unreasonable to hopo that tho example of Ins Honour may produce an eftect upon tho minus of the majority of tho Bench, who are understood to bo responsible for tho in- discriminate listing of equity and common law actions, even though tho remon strancos of Mr. Justico WILLIAM? fall on deaf oars. It was tho omplmtio precopt of Sir ROBERT, as of many emmont lawyers, that to bocomo a competent oxponont of equity junsprudonco a judge must de\ote practically lim wholo timo to its study, and notwithstanding that ho acquired celebrity as an occasional criminal judge, mid ns a master of tho limited branch of law relating to mining, his «»' woik lay m the Equity Court. Hie lesult of this concentration «as that Mr. Justico MOL_WOUTII'S decisions were ugarded ns authoritative, and wero seldom appealed against. Suitois and
thoir advisors aliko folt that to carry
casos from tho Equity Court to tho Full Court was to invita further defeat, lau" tho gieat ond of finality m the adminis- tration of tho law was to a largo extent assured. The mischief of tho no« system is that none of their Honouis ha»« tho chance of developing into mastera either of equity or of common law, after
the model of Sir ROBERT MOLMWOUTU.
Trying first common law anti the"
equity causes, governed respectively by sots of rules almost as different now as ever they were, how can any judge be a specialist ? Only the other day, a learned judge, who was forced, against his ex- pressed wishes, to hear a will case, declared his ignorance of the applicable lair, and suggested an appeal. This appeal accordingly took place at heavy cost to the litigants. Before a regular equity judge the issues could easily havo been settled without appeal. It is no wonder that, as the Ohief Justice recently remarked to the sub-committee of the Chamber of Commerce, the number of appeals is largo and increasing. Jt is the mixed system of listing that produces them, and mars the efficiency of the courts to the great detriment of the public. Surely the majority of the Bench can Bee that their experiment has failed, and that it is time to rovort to the former practice of separate listing.
Several of the cable messages published to-day appeared in a portion of yesterday's
For an "off" night the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly last evening were slightly more interesting than usual. Mem- bers do not muster in large numbers on Thursdaj s, but as a rnle good progress is made with business, On the Speaker taking the chair a resolution was agreed to reterring to the work of the Chief Justice in regard to the consolidation of the statutes. Mr. Gillies then moved the second read- ing of the Debentures Conversion Bill, upon which a financial debate arose. The measure was ultimately passed through all stages, und then the House went into committee of supply for tbe further con- sideration of the _-.timates. On the votes for the Linds department several members referred to the difficulties raised by the Mining department to the granting of possession -of blocks selected for agri- cultural purposes, BUCII blocks being supposed to be required for mining purposes. The grievance is felt mostly in Gippsland, where selectors have been greatly harassed after they had been led to believe that they could enter into occupation ot are.... Mr. Dow said that the difficulty conltl only be overcome by legislation, and that phase of the question was now being considered by the Government. He was urged to bring in a bill to provide that leases to farmers should only be given for the sur- face of the ground, leaving it to miners to work below if they desired. No other im- portant point was disenssed on these votes, and the>y were agreed to. Mr. Patterson had very little difiiculty in securing the passage of the estimates for the department of Cus- toms. The most momentous issue raised was as to whether or not brewers should use sugar iuBtead of hops, and, strange to Bay, the demand for " pure ale " was made princi- pally by " teetotal " members. The House
rose at 10 minutes to 11 o'clock.
In moving that the House place on record its sense mid appreciation of the valuable service rendered by the Ohief Justice in con- nection with the consolidation ot the statutes the Premier patsed a euloginm upon his Honour which the House applauded. It would be admitted, he thought, that his Honour's career had been a great career, and that he had always striven to do the best far the colony from bis point of view. He had voluntarily undertaken a work which he was not called upon to perlorm, and which no one could have expected that be should have offered to perform. And he had succeeded in a manner which muBt command admiration. Mr. Munro seconded the motion, nnd paid a tribute to his Honour's eingle-mindedness. The resolution was pnBsed to the accompaniment of cheers, and the clerk was formally directed to enter upon the recordtj that it bad been agreed to
Hie debate on the loan proapects and the Btate of the public account in the Legis lative Assembly yesterday was interest mg Members are always on the alert nowadays for information on those points In dealing with the bill for the conversion of the loan of £850,000 at C percent., which matures on January 1, the Premier explained that it was proposed to offer the holders 3J per cent, debentures for the old stock Arrangements had ben made with the associated banks to pay off any holders who did not accept the new debentures for old He also explained that it was proposed that the stock and the unfloated balance of the loan last authorised should have a currency of SO years, but would be redeem able after 30 years on 12 months' notiqe being given. By lins arrangement the Governments of the future would be saved from the neces- sity of having to float redemption loans in an unfavourable market. Mr. Munro thought it would be better for the colony if loans were authorised in larger atnountB tban waa now the rule, so that the Government could 1,0 on to the market whenever it thought fit. The frequent introduction of loan bills pla. ed into the bands ot the carping critics of the colony. Mr. Munro also directed at tention to the low state of the London market, and said that he did not believe that the Government would successfully float a loan next year. It would be impossible, thereiore, to construct any railways next year, Mr Gillies replied that railway construction could be continued At the most it would not be necessary to provide more than a Quarter of a million at the end of next year for progress payments on new contracts, and that amount would be available.
Mr. Gillies did not take the gloomy view of our position on the London market which Mr Munro expressed. He explained that recently a number of Australian financial companies had floated loans for Bbort tero» at 4, _J, and 4_ per cent,, and asked " what chance the Government had with 3. per cents in adiBturbedmarket," One cause of tbe depression was the losses on South American securities. Our stocks were im- proving, however, and the 3J per cent issues were n"w but 1 per cent, below par. Recently they were 3¿ per cent below par. If the colony could only get rid of the " miserable strike" he had no doubt that we would resume our normal position on the London market. Sir Bryan O'Loghlen having waited a long time for his revenge on Mr, Gillies bad it last night Sir Boan, when Premier eight years ago, proposed to ex- change new debentures for those about to be retired, but no one opposed the scheme more thoroughly than Mr. Gillies. The pro posai had to be abandoned. Last night Sir Bryan did not fail to congratulate the Premier upon his conversion, and he gave point to his remarks by quoting from Hansard exactly what Mr. Gillies said in 1882 against a course which he has adopted
The position of the public and trust ac- counts of the colony was set forth in a return moved ior by Mr, Munro, which was laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly yester- day, The net proceeds of the £4,000,000 'nan borrowed under the authority of the Act No, 1,032 amounted to £3,9.4,992, and this amount was apportioned as follows -Rail
wojB, £3,114,557, irrigation, £395,499 ; Mel- bourne water supply, £444,930 The expen- diture under the same headings to the 14th Oc- tober, 1890, has been as i'ollowa :-Rail wa) B, £8,097,048, irrigation, ntl, Melbourne water supply, ¿«1,930 The unexpended balances on the date mentioned therefore were .
Railwojs, £17,509; irrigation, £395,499, total, £4< 3,008 Out of the balance upon the irrigation account, however, a sum of £113,857 has been advanced for railways The balances in the several banka to the credit of the public account are stated to bp as follows. -Bankof Australasia,£91,940, UnionBankof Australia, £90,490, Bank of Victoria, £95,640; London Chartert d Bank of Australia, £00,212 , Colonial Bank ot AuBt.alio,£S9,990, english, Scottish, and Australian Chartered Bank, £100,845 , National Bank of Austral asm, £98,352, Commercial Bank of Australia, £96117 , City of Melbourne Bank, £104,031, Federal Bank of Australia, £95,979 ; total, £959 617. The amount of trust funtls held by the Government IB stated at £2,642,565 These are invested-In Victorian Govern ment debentures, £457,000, in Victorian Government stock, £443,837 ; ndvanced, £65,048, leaving a balance of £1,076,679. The «mount of all existing liabilities for railwav
contracta is pat down by the Railway depart-
ment at £1,072,_8. j
The report of the select committee ap- pointed to inquire into and report upon the claims of Henry Frencham, of Richmond, as discoverer of the Bendigo gold field, was pre- sented to the Legislative Assembly yesterday by Mr Bailes. The committee states that as soon as the fact was made public that an in- quiry was being held as to the discovery of gold at Bendigo, it received numerous letters from persons claiming to be either the actual discoverers of the gold field, or deserving of consideration in connection with the dis- covery. No less than 12 such claims, in addition to the claim of Henry Frencham, were submitted from the following persons:— Frederick Fenton, Mrs Margaret Kennedy, Patrick Peter Farrell, William Henry John- son, Edward Pepperell. Henry Byass, Wil- liam Sandbach (on behalf of William John- son), William Steward, Robert Francis Walker, David Dunlop, John Paton (on behalf of William Steward and the widow of Christian Asquith), Mrs John Barnett (widow of Christian Asquith's son). The report states that at this distance of time from the eventful discovery of gold at Bendigo, it is scarcely to be wondered at that there should be great difficulty in ascertain- ing who was the actual discoverer, and, after carefully considering the evidence and the documents submitted, the committee is of opinion that it would be most difficult, if not impossible, to decide that question now, but there is no doubt that Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs Farrell had obtained gold before Henry Frencham arrived on the Bendigo Creek. The committee finds that Henry Frencham's claim to be the discoverer of gold at Bendigo has not been sustained, but that he was the first to report the discovery of payable gold at Bendigo to the commissioner at Forest Creek. It has come to the determination that the first place at which gold was discovered on Bendigo was at what is now known as Golden square, called by the station hands in 1851 "The Rocks," a point about 200 yards to the west of the junction of Golden Gully with the Bendigo Creek. The committee has also endeavoured to ascertain from what source, and at what time, the name "Bendigo" arose The evidence given leads it to the opinion that the place was called "Bendigo" as far back as 1840, and that it was so called after an employee on that portion of the Ravens- wood station which afterwards became known as "the Bendigo gold field."
The select committee appointed by the Legislative Assembly to inquire into the concessions proposed to be given to the Yea River Timber Company by the Minister of Lands held an informal meeting jesterday at Parliament bouse It was decided that the committee should meet on Tuesday tit 11 o m to take evidence from tho ofheers of the Lands department, and also from the re- presentative of the company, Mr. Walkeden. The proceedings of the commutée are to be open to the press
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways held its first sitting at Parliament house yesterday afternoon. All the mem- bers were present, namely, Sir Frederick Sargood, Mr. Zeal, Mr. Gore, Mr Fraser, and Mr. Thornley, representing the Council, Mr. Officer, Mr. Bent, Mr. A Young, Mr. Woods, Mr. M'Intyre, Mr. Tucker, Mr. M'Lean, and Mr. Taverner, representing the Assembly. A letter was received from the Premier, forwarding a copy of the notifica- tion of the appointment of the committee, and the members made the required de- claration. Mr. Officer then proposed that Mr. Bent should be chairman of the com- mittee. Mr. M'Lean seconded the motion, and remarked that Mr. Bent was singularly fitted for the duties of the position. His experience as Commissioner of Railways and his extensive knowledge of the whole country would be of material assistance. The motion was carried unanimously. Mr. Bent, in taking the chair, said that Parliament and the country had thrown a very grave respon- sibility on the committee, and he was sure that they would each and all do their best to promote the interests of the country. Not only had the interests of tbe country to be considered, but the creditors of the colony in England would doubtless look to the com- mittee to see that the money scent on rail- ways was not wasted. Sir Frederick Sargood moved the election of Mr. Zeal as vice chairman, remarking that Mr. Zeal possessed an amount of expert knowledge that would be of great value to the committee, as well as to the chairman. Mr. Fraser seconded the motion, and it was carried with acclama- tion. Mr. Zeal said he hod much pleasure in accepting the position, and he would endeavour to do his duty without fear, favour, or affection. On the motion of Mr. M'Intyre, it was decided to ask Mr. George Jenkins, clerk of the Assembly, to kindly act as secretary to the committee, pending the appointment of a permanent officer. Mr. Taverner expressed the hope that the com- mittee would be consulted in the selection of a secretary. The chairman and vice-chairman were requested to draft regulations and standing orders for the guidance of the committee, and the committee adjourned to a date to be fixed by the chairman.
It has been arranged that tbe military commandants of the colonies who are to attend the conference to be held in Mel-
bourne on the 17th prox., to consider the question of for.if.mg King Georges Sound, Hobart, Thursday Island, and Port Darwin, will leave Melbourne on the 19th ot next month for Albany in one of the Orient Com- pany's steamers, and return to Melbourne about the Gtb of December a hey will then decide as to when they will visit tbe other outports mentioned.
The secretary of Trade and Customs baa been furnished with copies of the new rules made by the Board of Trade, London, under The Merchant Shipping (Life Saving Ap plumees) Act 1888, to come into effect on the 1st prox, and has forwarded tbem on to the Marine Board, which body will no doubt adopt them for operation m this colony. The new rules are much more strict in regard to tbe provision for the safety of passengers than any that have hitherto been enforced, and a general desire has been expressed that the rules of tbe United Kingdom and the colonies should be uniform This end may now be attained if all the colonies adopt the
rules referred to
The Municipal Surveyors' Board has issued certificates of competency to Messrs Thoa Fraser, John Hardman, L, L Murray, and
D A. Thompson.
The court of inquiry into the charges made by the TradoB-hall Council againBt Cotonel Price of having addre.Bed improper languuge to tbe Mounted lillies was. commenced yesterday at the Victoria Barracks. MeBsrs. Bennet and Murphy, who were summoned as witnesses, stated that beyond the extract from the Alexandra. Standard they were unable to bring any evidence in support of the charge beyond two letters-one ot them anonj mous, m using which the council departed from its UBual practice in such mattera-the second written by a man named Andrews Lieutenant Gordon afterwards gave some interesting particulars as to the character of Andrews, and said there was no truth in the statements. He al.o explained the manner in which an incorrect version of Colonel Price's remarks appeared in print
General Tulloch Bald that bad Colonel Price done less than he did he would not have per. formed his duty. So far the only point which the board seem likely to be called upon to deliberate is the use of Colonel Price's phrase, " lay tbem out, ' as against the ofticinl phrase, " the fire must be prompt and effective, ' which General Tulloch interprets to mean that every bullet must have effect.
During tim hearing of the chargea made against Colonel Price yesterday a cha- racteristic letter wus received from Mr
Maloney, M L A , who declined to give evidence but criticised the proceedings of the board, and offered an interpretation of the words " to lay out, ' as they appeared in Websters Dictionary Mr Maloney claimed, practically, the right, ns a member of Parliament, to say what he liked when and where be pleased, and Captain Tailor, who appeared BB amttui cuna for Colonel Price, explained that, as the general public knew the exact value of Mr. Maloney'« utterances, they did not propose to make u marti r of lum by compelling him to attend Lest the Court should be unduly swayed by the quotation from Wtbtter't Dictionary as tendered bv
Mr. Maloney, Captain Taylor put in a copy of Mark Twain's A Yankee at the Court oj King Arthur, lu which the sensation of being " laid out " was described in effect as like a cheap and transient fireworks display, the most objectionable part of which was the recovery.
Thee Postmaster-General received a very large deputation from Moonee Ponds yester- day, accompanied by Mr. Deakin, the Chief Secretary. It was decided some time ago to erect a post office in Moonee Ponds, and the department selected a site for the purpose in Puckle street.
The deputation represented the residents who favoured a site in Mount Alexander road, and very strongly urged the merits of this site as against the one in Puckle street. Mr. Patterson requested the deputation to select four sites, and submit them to him, with the prices asked for tbe land, and stated that he would pick one from the four, and would take a poll of the residents on it as against the Puckle street site.
Mr. G. T. A. Lavater, who has been absent for about three years from the Railway de- partment in his capacity as secretary to the late Melbourne Centennial International Ex- hibition, returned this week and took up his former position ot accountant. During his absence the assistant accountant (Mr. Kent) filled the office of accountant in a creditable
Mr. Reginald Lucas, tbe principal private secretary of Mr. Akers Douglas, M.P., the Conservative whip of the House of Commons, dined with the Speaker at Parliament-house yesterday evening, and afterwards watched the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly from the Speaker's gallery for some time.
The train now leaving Wallan for Kilmore at 6 a.m. will, from Monday next, leave at 5.25 a.m., returning from Kilmore at 6.45 a.m instead of 7 a.m , as at present.
The Public Service Board have appointed Mr. Dawson and Mr. Smart landing sur- veyors, the latter being raised to the second class, and in this way the difficulty between the board and the Customs department-the board wishing to select Mr. Dawson for the vacancy caused by the retirement of Mr. M'Farlane, and the department contending for the appointment of Mr. Smart-has been overcome. Mr Oxenbould, the landing-sur- veyor whom Mr. Smart succeeds, has been appointed cashier vice Mr. Trapp, who has been promoted to the position of inspector of accounts, rendered vacant by the retirement of Mr. Le Piastrier.
The following vacancies for head teachers and assistants are announced by the Educa- tion department --Head teacher in class 3B for school No. 327, Chiltern, in class 3K for No 1,500, Beechworth ; and in the filth class for numbers 2,_9, Lillimur South ; 2,124. Devenish East ; 2,009, Pine lodge West ; 3,0(i'l, Waggarandall ; 1,209, Victoria Valley ; 1,744, Marma ; 2,280, Gre Gre North ; 880, Stony Creek ; and 2,448, Blakeville road .female junior assistants, filth class, for numbera 2fi&\ Brighton East ; 1,057, RuBhworth j and 2,001, Chilwell ; and a male junior assistant lor No 1,976, Sandhurst.
In response to cards of invitation sent out by the committee of the Victoria Racing Club, a large number, probably some 000 or 700, ladies and gentlemen yesterday paid a visit to the Flemington racecourse for the purpose of inspecting some improvement« which have been carried out recently, and of seeing the perfect condition in which everything is being placed in readiness for the Melbourne Cup carnival. As the im- provements which have been made are on the hill, a number of tbe club's guesta were thosewhogenerally visit the hill on race davs. A special train conveyed the party Irom Spencer-Btreet, and landed tbem at the course within a quarter of an hour. Mr. H. Byron Moore, tbe secretary ot the club, Mr. John Whittingham, a member ot committee, und other gentlemen were present, and con- ducted the viBitors, amongst whom were several members ot the Legislature, over the enclosures and the buildings Amongst those newly erected is one for dispensing temper- ance refreshments. It ia of the ¡swiss stylo of architecture, and underneath are counters, while above there is a room SOft. by 30ft, with a number of tables, which pro- vide comfortable sitting accommodation for a large number of people. This room is reached by two broad flights of steps, which are placed on either side of the chalet, and which lead on to a balcony running round the building From this balcony a beautiful view of the country behind the racecourse, in the direction of Maribyrnong, is obtainable. Other improvements consist of a newly-built oyster saloon, the front of which is made of oyster shells, the building being curious in appearance and unique in design. An oma mental fruit kiosk has also been built Mr. Lloyd Tayler is the architect for the buildings. Light refreshments were served in the chalet on behalf of the club by Mr. R. Mattatin, and at the relreahment bars by Mr. C D, Straker. The party returned to town soon after 4 o'clock, having Bpent a pleasant hour and a half ut the course, despite the prevalence of a disagreeably high wind.
A highly successful experiment was made
yesterday by the Mutual Store Company, under the direction of Messrs. Stevens and Kelt, with one of the recently constructed re- frigerating railway cars The company has lately undertaken to supply several of the lines of mail steamers with fresh meat and poultry, and in order to deliver the articles in the best possible condition has arranged with the Railway Commissioners for the use of refrigerating cars, from which the meat can be readily passed into the steamers' re- frigerating chambers. Accordingly, yester- day morning, at the Spencer street station, 6 tons of beef, mutton, pork, lamb, veal, poultry, and game were loaded into one of the large trucks, which has a carry- ing capacity of 20 tons. This consignment was intended for provisioning the P. and O. mail steamer Valetta, now lying at Wil- liamstown, preparing for the homeward voyage. The meat had previously been kept in a temperature of 34 deg, freezing point not being desirable for ships' stores, although necessary for cargo. The cooling of the car had been commenced on the previous day, when, in one hour, it was reduced by 14 deg , and in another five hours, by 4.30 p m , the temperature was lessened to 45 deg. At 8 o'clock yesterday morning, the thermometer showed 40 deg. This was the temperature of not only the inside air, but of the walls of the car. A ton and a quarter of ice was used, and it will probably last a week. Mr. R. H. Francis, traffic manager, paid several visits while the loading was in progress, and afforded every facility. The car was attached to the 10.40 a.m. goods train, and ranged up alongside the Valetta at the Williamstown railway pier by 11 o'clock, when transfer of the contents into the ships refrigerating room was commenced. Mr. Stevens, who has had a long and varied experience of the chilled meat trade, made a careful examina- tion when the car was opened, and found everything satisfactory, the low temperature having been retained, and even during the operation of removal, with the double doors of the truck wide open, there was a fall of only 6 deg.
The charges of falsifying a report and balance sheet laid against James Mirams, ex secretary of the Premier Permanent Build- ing and Investment Association, William Dotiert), ex accountant. and John Hedrick and John Holten, ex auditors of the institu tion, were commenced yesterday at the Banco Court before his Honour the Chief Justice. Before the jury wus empanelled Mr. V. I. Johnston, on behalf of his client, James Mírame, asked his Honour to quash the presentment, on the ground that it was insufficiently specific. Dr Madden made a similar application on behalf of Dotiert), mid also lodged a demurrer. Mr Cantor, on behalf of John Hedrick, also asked that the presentment should be quashed, and the observations of Jonn Holten, who defended himseli, were interpreted by his Honour as a similar application After hearing argu mentB his Honour intimated that be would give his decision on the point this morning If the objections raised by counsel for the defence are upheld, the presentment will have to be amended before the cases are gone
The Mercantile Finance, Trustees, and Agency Company sued Mr. George N. Taylor, yeBterdny, in tbe Supreme Court, for £5,500, alleged to be due on a promissory note. Mr. i Tono and Mr. Isaacs appeared for the
plaintiffs, and Mr Box and Mr. Duffy for tlte defendant On the 18th April, 1SS9. the defendant made the note in question, and ga.e it to Mr \\ & Cramer, who endorsed it, and it afterwards came into the possession of the plaintiffs. The note bore on its face, above the signature of the détendant, the words " live thousand Bhares in the Dur- ham and Lord Byron Gold mining Company Amalgamated, paid up attached ' Tbe note was due six months after date, bat when it was presented for payment no shares were attached to it, and the defence was that the note was not negotiable unless tbe shares were attached to it His Honour Judge Holroyd, in deciding the case, Baid that the words quoted were a part of the contract entered into when the note waa given to Cramer. The words might freely bear the interpretation " five thousand shares in the Durham nnd Lord byron Gold-mining Company Amal- gamated, being attached," and they would then be tantamount to a condition of the con- tract The words were evidently designed to attract the attention of any person to whom the note might be passed, and must bave been designed for the protection of the maker, and could have no other object He
took it that the word " Bhares " meant the certificate for the shares, and counsel on both sides had also given it that meaning The judgment would be for the defendant with
His Honour Mr. Justice Webb yesterday delivered judgment on questions which bad been submitted to bim for his opinion on the construction of the will of the late Michael O Brien, of Woodend, storekeeper The will was dated 7th December, 1689, and waa proved by Julia O'Brien, widow of tbe deceased, on the 12th June, 1890 The value of the real and personal property left by the testator was £5 810 Tbe principal portion ot the wiil was as follows.-" I give and bequeath all my property, realty and per- sonalty, to my dear wne Julia, whom I appoint my executrix and guardian of my children, and I do order that all my previous wills, if any, be revoked, and I further order that after my death the Baid Julia O Brien shall have full power to distribute amongst my children as ahe may direct, but always taking into consideration that no one out- side of my children ¡¡ball partake of tbe distribution ot my property , but ni case of Julia remarrying, then I revoke her power over my property and disqualify her from such possession of Bame in any shape or form, and that application be made to the Court for a distribution of said property as they may direct " The testator left Beven children, of whom five were adults, and the questions submittea to the Court were whether Mrs. O'Brien was absolutely entitled to the whole property, mid, if not, what was her interest in it and what were the interests of her children. His Honour, in the judg- ment, stated that there was an absolute gift of all the property to the widow, and though there was a Buperadded power, it did not cut down the absolute interest created by the words making tbe gilt The property was not in any way held in trust by the widow lor the benefit ot the children, but was ben absolutely.
_ he examination of witnesses in the in- quiry respecting the recent attempts to Bet fire to the Palace Hotel was commenced at tbe morgue y esterday before Dr. Youl and a jury of five Mr. Helm, who conducted the inquiry for the police, remarked that the case bore a peculiar complexion, as though the place had been set on fire in order that the fires might be put out again rather than with the idea of burning the place down and endangering life. It was a singular circum- stance that whenever a fire occurred the boots was always at hand to put it out, but against this it must be remem bered that his duties compelled lum to be about the premises at BUCII times of the night Nevertheless Mr. Helm would hazard the prediction that the evidence would narrow the suspicion of incendiarism down to one or two persons Mr. Wilson, managing director of tbe Palace Hotel Company, was examined as to the circumstances attending each of the fires, and also as to his pecuniary interests in the hotel property. He waa unable to give the exact amount of the in- surances, but stated that toe building was, at any rate, not insured to a^third of its value, and that the company had been unable to negotiate insurances on the chattels and effects Several other witnesses employed m the hotel, including the fireman specially engaged to watch the premises at night, were examined as to the details of the various out- breaks of fire, and the inquiry was then adjourned until Tuesday next Among the witnesses then called will be the man em ployed as night porter and boots.
The city of Richmond is exceptionally fortunate as regarda electric lighting The southern portion of the city is about to be well supplied by the new Australian Electric Company, which has extensive works on the Yarra bank, and has already commenced business both in Richmond and Prahran The Alcock Company l8 erecting a central Btation in Burnley street, which will supply the northern and central portions of the city This company has written to the council, offering to light certain streets at £5 per lamp per annum, giving a 10 candle power light The town clerk was instructed nt the meeting of the council last night to prepare the necessary agreement The council also ac cepted the offer of the company to Bupply three or four 2 000 candle power arc lights, Bimilar to that at the corner of Bourke and Exhibition streets, Melbourne, free of cost, to be placed wherever the council may think
The Richmond Council baa decided that in future owners of private Btreets in the city shall be required to contribute the whole of the coBt of construction of Buch Btreets At one time the council paid two thirds of the cost, and since November of lost year, the practice has been to contribute one half
It is possible that some of the visitors to the Botanic gardens are not aware of the fact that the cutting and taking away of flowers, and thereby mutilating valuable plantB, is a punishable offence Within the last day or two several plants bave been almost stnpppd of their flowers, but unfortunately the offender or offenders could not be appre hended The police authorities have promised to do all that is possible to assist the gazetted bailiffs (gardeners and others) in detecting offenders, and preventing a re currcnee of these practices
The committee of the Victorian Orchestra bave arranged to receive a deputation from tbe choral societies on Monday morning next with the view of baviug the question ot forming a choral adjunct to the orchestra discussed It is understood that the com mittce are anxious to enter into some amicable
arrangement with the choral societies by which choral works may be given with their co operation
The Victorian Orchestra concert, consist-
ing solely of selections by local composers, in the Town hall last night was but poorly attended, and many of those present went aa much out of curiosity to Bee the various sty lea of conducting aa to hear the music, for with but one or two exceptions each composer conducted his own composition As has been already pointed out in The Araus, viewed from an art point of view the concert waa a lamentable blunder, and the manage ment ia deserving of censure for thus prosti
tuting the services of the talented body ot musicians under its control. If, as adver Used, the object waa the very excellent one of endeavouring to create a Victorian Behool of music, surely it is hardly necessary to mention that the sensible course to adopt in pursuit of that end would be to place the standard worka of the great masters, as well ns the more recent productions of eminent modern com posers, betöre the young aspirants to fame &B examples for their emulation Ae has been lecently observed in these columns, no fair objection can bo made to the occasional introduction of a local composition-having previously been submitted to well qualified judges-at a Victorian Orchestra concert, and all who take a genuine interest in the progress of art in Australia will welcome Buch with keen interest, but the course pursued this week waa unwise in the extreme, being likely to have an exactly opposite effect to that de sired It is not our intention to go through the programme in detail, but we have pleasure in drawine attention to one number which
augurs well for its composer's future, namely, an air with variations for strings only, by Mr. W. A. Laver. This was sufficient to at once ahow the possession of more than orJinary ability, nnd further contributions from the same pen should be gladly welcomed. An overture, "Bianca," by Signer Fittipaldi, was so indifferently played- under its composer's baton - that it was impossible to form a fair estimate of it, though it certainly reminded us of what had been heard before. Another number, by Mr. H. H. Chandler, was strangely reminiscent of a gavottein Cowen's "Language of Flowers " An item worth mentioning waa a "Hunting Song," by Mr Louis Lavater, which served to prove that there was latent talent which has not as yet been fully deve- loped. Compositions by such veterans as Signor Zelman and Mr Leon Caron were fully up to the standard of their authors, and do not on this occasion call for special men- tion, A barcarolle, by Mr. H. J. King, was on the programme, but was not performed on account of some misunderstanding about
The Melbourne Tonic Sol fa Choral Society gave a concert at the upper Athena.ru hall last evening, the first part of the programme consisting of Sterndale Bennett's "May Queen,' and the Becond portion comprising several solos and part Bongs. A fair perform- ance was given of the cantala, the most notable feature being the pleasant singing of Miss Humphreys in the part ot the May Queen. Mr. Alfred Tord represented the lover, and Mr. W Jumper Robin Hood, but their efforts were ot a mediocre order. The best rendered choruses were " O 1 Melancholy Plight " and " With a laugh as we go round " The miscellaneous items which were after wards given were of an interesting character Mr. S Lambie acted as conductor, Misa Fagan officiated at the piano, and Mrs. Hunt at the harmonium, the accompaniment to the cantita being supplied by both instru-
At the Alexandra Theatre this evening, Mr Bland Holt's company will appear for the last time in the drama, "London Day by Day ' To morrow evening a new play by Frank Harvey, entitled "Tbe Land of the Living," will be performed for the first
Mr W. M Forster, of the Toorak and South Yarra Try Society, desires to acknowledge receipt ot a contribution of £5 from His Ex- cellency the Governor to the funds of the
The concert in aid of the cho r fund of St John's, Toorak, will take place this evening in the Prahran Town hall.
The committee who ore working amongst the poor and neglected children in the " East did " of Melbourne received this week a welcome donation in the shape of a cheque for £50 from Miss Hatcbell Brown The money was the result of a cake fair held by the young ladies of The Priory, Alma-road,
St Kilda. A children's carnival, in aid of the same object, ia being held this week in Fitzroy
The Presbyterian Sabbath school choirs will meet on Saturday afternoon at the Assembly hall, Collins street
News baa been received by the English mail that Mr Charles F Baillteu has pas°ed his final examination at the Royal College ot Physician» and Surgeons, Edinburgh.
At a congregational meeting held on Wed- nesday evening in Chalmers Church, l.astern Hill, presided over by the Rev. A Marshall (Scot« Church), it waa unanimously decided to give a call to the Rev S Hector Ferguson (late ot __iliiiburgh),who has occupied the pul
pit during tbe paie seven months. Commis- sioners were appointe 1 to attend the presby- tery meeting on Tuesday, 4th November, to sustain the resolution of the congrega- tion. _______________________________