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She gestalte <3£ouî[teiî,
¡Holiday, ¡»lurch 1, 1880.
Tue return showing the progress of alienation of our Crown lands during tho year 1879, which has just been published by the Lands Department, is worth somo examination, since the financial policy which tho colony has adopted is based in some degree upon the supposition that if necessary a considerable cash revenue may be obtained from the sale of our lands. At tho same time we must boar in mind that it would be uufair to take the receipts of last year as a fair indica- tion of what we may expect to get from this source in other and more favorable
There has been a considerable falling off in the amount received, as well as in the quantity of land sold, and it is impos- sible to say precisely how much of this falling off is duo to tho hard times and
how much to the fact that some classes of
purchasers have got all they require and aro not likely to come into the market again.
In conditional selections wo find that the return, as compared with that of the previous year, shows a falling off of 190
in the number of selections and of about
170,000 acres. This is probably dun to tlio depressed state of the market for fat stock. With the prices which havo been ruling during the last twelve months it can scarcely pay to take up land for purely pastoral purposes under conditional selec- tion, and that consideration, coupled with tho tightness of the money market, may be hold to account for the diminution of our land revonuo under this head. With
the better lárices for stock, which wo may hope to see before the end of this year, and a greater abundance of money, tho domand for this class of selections may, however, bo expected to rovivo, and wo thcreforo pass over the present doficit in it as being in all probability duo to merely temporary causes, and thcreforo exceptional.
Wo can scarcely, howevor, take the
same view of tho diminution in tho
quantity of land taken undor pre-emp- tion during the year. In 1879 there woro only three pre-eruptivo purchases mado, of a total area of 25G0 acres, as against soventy-fivo purchases and 45,103 acres in 1878. Squatters, Uko all other classes, have of course found it hard to raise money for purchase of land during the last year, but wo scarcely fancy that the almost entiro stoppage of pre-emption
can be due to that cause alono. Pur-
chases of this class showed a groat falling off in 187S also, and we believe that so many of those squatters who hold valu- able runs in accessible positions havo employed their preemptive right to its full extent, that very little more land is likely to be taken up under it for some years-until our railways reaching tho western runs make it necessary for their
owners to secure the land which this
privilege of pre-emption will permit thom
to take. Wo therefore set down our resources from pre-emptive sales as almost exhausted for the present.
In the other class of selection-namely, homestead selection, there was, we are glad to say, a large increase last year, 734 selec- tions being made, and 67,723 acres of land taken up, as against 540 selections and 48,158 acres in the previous year, the in- crease being therefore nearly 200 selec- tions and 20,000 acres. If we are to sup- pose that these 734 homestead selections mean that the same number of families were settled on the land last year, wo can-
not find fault with the result. If wo can
only settle an equal number of families in every year upon our soil as bona fide cultivators of it, a very few years would see our agricultural districts fairly peopled, and we might expect to see some valuable results from the labor of so largo a farm- ing population as wo should soon have. Whilst, howovor, wo admit that tho per- manent settlement of an agricultural popu- lation upon our lands is of more import- ance than any price which we aro Jí'ceiy to got for the land, it must still bo remembered that it is not cash-that a largo increase in homestead selections, howover '¿ooà it may bo for the country in oth ¿r ways, does not increase tho land revenue porceptibly.
Looking th.^u morely to the financial aspect qf the business, we sold last year under tho terms of conditional selection about 170,000 icres less than in tho pre- vious year, whilst pre-emptions also showed a falling off of about 42,500 acres; to balance which we havo an increaso of nearly 20,000 acres in the aroa taken for homesteads. Tho falling off has been, therefore, precisely in thoso classes of selections from which wo derive tho greatest part of our land revenue, whilst the increase has boen in that from which the receipts aro purely nominal. It is evidout that if the receipts from our land aro to meet the expectations of our financiers, thore^must bo an enormous in-
creaso in the demand for land under con- ditional selection within the noxt two
years-unless, indeed, sales by auction aro extensively resorted to, and with success.
Here wo must notice one defect in the return before us. It professes to give an account of the working of the Land Act of 187G during the past year, but it omits entirely all notice of the sales by auction
under that Act. Wo can seo no reason
for this omission, and wo venture to
direct the attention of the department to it in the hope that in future returns this omission v ill be supplied It would only requne the addition of two columns for sales by auction of towu and countiy lands íespectnely, and it would thou bo a complete îecoid of the alienation of Ciown lands during the j ear As it is, wo can only speculate upon the effect which the yeal s sales may havo upon oui re\ enuo, since it is quite possiblo that a falling off in the îeceipts from pre emptive and conditional pinchases might be moro than co'vered by an mcieaso m the sum ob
tamed fioin auction sales
We fancy, however, that the receipts from that som co during the last )en cannot have been sufficient to cover the deficiency in selections of all kinds, and in spite of tho sale of the South Brisbane budge lands and othei exceptiojal io ceipts, w e fear that the land rev onuo for the pi osent finincial yeal will, on tho 30th June next, be found to havo fallen shoit of the Troasuiei's estimate by a very large sum We shall then find a sonous falling off in all branches of our Revenue -in taxation under the head of Customs, in services under the head of îailways, and in our land revenue, and it will be absolutely necessary that the Government shall be prepared with some plan for laising a sufficient revenue to defiay the woikiug expenses of the colony and the
intciest on its debt Ti ade will no doubt îevivo in time, and our revenue will in- crease with it, but the revival will pro bably be giadual, evon supposing that it 13 not interrupted 01 deferred by any new
misfoi tunes We cannot wait for Provi
deuce to fill oui Treasury again The necessity for taking steps to restore the balance of the public account will be found to bo uigent and imperative To extncate oin solves from our present difficulties we shall have to resoit to addi tional taxation ot some sort, and disagree ablo as that of com se will bo, wo hope th it oui Ministry will bo sufficiently bold to propose an effectual remedy for the now
almost chrome deficit from which wo
suffci, and that, sinking all party feeling, tho iepieseutati\es of tho colony will one and all give then best help to so neccssaiy
The koy note of tho financial policy of the piesent lieasuier was, if wo mistake not, this-that the revenue proper should bo sufficient to don ay the expense of tho government of the colon j, and th it the îecoipts fiom land should bo set asido to don ay tho mtoiest on the public dobt As long, therefore, as the intciest of the debt did not exceed oui laud levenue, wo might safely continue to bonow-and in this view wo concuned Our geneial oxpendituie, howevoi, has alioady laigely exceeded the geneial levenue, and if wo weie also to hud our land îeveui e falling below tho amount requued foi inteiest, the result would be veiy seuous
It is cuuous that on ono side of the globo some of oui couutij men should be at
death's dooi bciauso theie is not sufficient
land to suppoit I hem, whilst here at the same time we no in hu mcialstraits beciuse wo cannot get popuhtiou to como and take the land, which wo oflei almost as a fieo gift to them feoonei 011 îtei a tiansfei of population will no doubt settle tho difficulties of both England and Austialia, and the soonei th it solution comes the better foi both w e think
lni tclegiapli 1 ne was last evening inter rupted letweou Bnsbano and Syduoy ami ne aro consequently w ithout our late advices from
Tug new postal arrangements consequent on tbo discontinuance of the mail service by the P and O Company s boats between Sue? and South hampton not meeting with the approval of the Government, and in the absence of sufficient information as to the new arrangements proposed by the Imperial postal authonties, the Post master General telcgraihed to the Premier in London, objecting to the increased rates, and requesting Mr Mcilwraith to strenuously exert himself to obtain better terms In reply the Postmaster General received the following tele gram from the Premier on Saturday morning - " Have arranged for a reduction of postage as foHows Letters, 6d , newspapers, Id to com mencc next mail Ibis is still moro advan tageous th in the old arrangement, under which letters na Southampton or San Francisco only were charged Gd , while for those na Briudisl the charge was 8d
Tue Commissioner for Railways received a telegram on Siturday from Mr Billard, Chief Engincor Central Railway, stating that tho damage to the line bj tho floods has been much less than might have been expected, considenng the great extent and height of the flood waters Passenger traffic between Rockhampton nnd Fmerald is now umuteirupted, except at the Comot River, which has to be crossed in boats by the passengers Goods trafhc will bo resumed as soon as the wa tai s, which oro now going dowu subsido sufficiently
THERE is in Brisbane to-day one "old iden- tity the less ; one who would never say "die,"
and who insisted to the end that he was "only a young fellow yet." Alderman Baines - Host Baines of "The Pineapple - has "shuffled off this mortal coil." He was considered eccentric, and perhaps he was so, but we happen to know that he was a bighearted goodnatured man, and that no appeal to him for help in any case of real dis- tress was turned "a deaf ear" to. His funeral will take place at half past 3 oclock this afternoon.
It vi as not our foi tune to have been on board either tho Boko or the Settler on last Saturday, but wo leam from those who went on either boat tint they were fairly patronised, aud that the people enjoyed the tup very much We hear, however, that there was as near as possible a eolh ion betw con the two steamers on their way back to town There isa n\alry between the Settler and the Boko, to which wo have no ob jection, as long as it does not endanger their pas sengcrs But we strongly piotest a¡,uuBt any attempt at lacing, or trjing to cut one anothor out on the river at the nsk of the lives of those on board Each boat has its special advantages foi excursionists, and should be content with them Tho Boko hits most power, and can go farther and faster than het rival lhoold&et
tier has most accommodation for people who don t want to go far or fast, and espoually for those who enjoy a dance on board, but Bho must bo content to take the Boko s back water
] ii im the far Western country a corre3pon dent sends us the following, via Aramac -" On the 2nd February, about half past 7 p m, I ob served to the south of wtst-say about 20°-an enormous comet, length of tail, about 15°, the nucleus not visib'e The sky had been obscured for some days, otherwise it might have been Been
To-day Messrs. Sinollie and Co. will celebrate the anniversary of the eight hours movement hy giving their employés a trip to the Bay in the
A KituiT soiree, in connection with the Loyal Hope of the Valley Lodge, M.U.I.O.O.F., in aid of the building fund, ia announced to be held in the Valley Hall, Wickham-street, to-morrow evening, commencing at ba'lf-paat 7 o'clock.
The many lovers of high-class music who aro looking forward to Madame Camillo UrBo's con- certs will be pleased to learn that the gifted violiniste-accompanied by Miss Jennie Sargent (soprano), Signora Palma (contralto), Mr. Sauret (solo pianist), Herr Scherek (accompanyist), and Mr. F. Luer -arrived in Brisbane last night after a pleasant voyage by the Elamang from Sydnoy, and are in excelleutjiealth and spirits for their first concert next Wednesday night.
That perennial and favorite entertainment, Rainers Original Diorama of the American War, will open for a farewell Beason at the Queensland Theatre to-night. The management announces that presents and souvenirs on a scale of magni- tude wnever before attempted will be distributed free amongst the audience nightly, without any extra chargo for tickets.
A melting of the Municipal Council will be held to-morrow (Tuesday), at 3 p.m., to receive petitions ^rom ratepayers of Wharf-street, Bowen-Btreet, and Perry-street ; to consider finance, improvement, and legis- lative committee reports ; to examine ten- ders for forming Wharf-street to permanent level ; and for the consideration of notices of motion, for which see Courier of February 17.
A special general meeting of the Brisbane Early-closing Association is called for this even- ing, at the Synod Hall, at 8 o'clock. A large attendance on the occasion is particularly re- quested, as very important business is to bo dis- cussed relating to the conduct of certain em- ployers towards their employés for subBcribiug to the Early-closing Association.
We learn that, at a late hour last night, a young man who has only been staying in Bris- bane for a few days made an attempt to commit suicide by cutting hiB throat in Eagle-street, where he had been lodging. Dr. Hobbs and another medical gentleman were at once sent for, and upon arrival they ordered his immediate removal to the hospital, where he now lies in a very precarious condition.
The Brisbane Freethought Association held their usual weekly meeting last evening, when the paper read was Mr. Marous Clarke's reply to Bishop Moorhouse, of Melbourne. The reply seemed very exhaustive and pointed, and if any- thing more than the occasion demanded. Some of the ideas were very striking, as for instance his belief that every man formed his own con- ception of God, which was almost invariibly different from another's. He was very severe ou the so-called Christianity of the day, thinking that tho teachings of Christ had been completely changed. He said, " We have had religion without morality for 1800 years, and it was time now to teach morality without religion." The speakers who followed admired the paper very much, and some went so far as to say it was not the so called Christians who followed Christ's precepts,
but tho Freethinkers.
We leam that Joseph Wells, now lying under Bentenco of death for shooting with intent during an attempt to rob the bank at Cunnamulla, has made a written statement to the authorities iu
which he implicates three other men as partici- pants in his attempted robbery. Ho also alleges that the robbery was first suggested to him by a man in bus'nesB in Castlereagh, New South Wales. Ho states that ho and the others met
by agreement on the Queensland border, and there it was arranged among them that he (the prisoner) should go to Cunnamulla and rob tbe bank ; that ono of the others should meet him with fresh horses after the robbery, and that the remaining two should stay behind to blind the tracks. The prisoner denies having fired at Mr. Murphy, stating that he did not take any aim or see which way the revolver was pointing when ho fired ; tho weapon went off by accident, and had he desired to shoot Murphy ho could easily havo done so. Prisoner also points out
that ho saw the wounded man afterwards come out of the bank door, so that he could not havo used the words which Sergeant Byrne, in his evidence, ascribed to him, " I have stuck up the Cuunamu"a bank, and I believe Bhot a man
Tnc official reporta for the twenty-four hours ended at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning show that the weather was generally fine throughout tho colony on Saturday morning, though there had been light rains at several of the southern stations, including Cape Moreton, Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Warwick, Nanango, and Maryborough. Telegrams from our own corres- pondents state that very heavy rains have fallen in Victoria, and that the drought from which portions of that colony have been for some time suffering has now come to an end ; but the floods appear in some parts to be causing more loss of property thau was previously occasioned by the want of rain. During the twenty-four hours ended at 9 o'clock yesterday morning there were several heavy showers here, and in the Wide Bay district the rain was very heavy ; at Bunda- berg thero was a storm during the night, but at
most of the stations in the south-western and
central districts, as well as on the northern coast, the weather was generally fine. The inlnnd stations in the north report cloudy weather in many iuBtauces ; nfc normanton there was a thunderstorm, and it was showery at several other stations.
" Richaud III." was produced at the Queens- land Theatre on Saturday night, and notwith- standing tho unpromisiug state of the weather theio waa a good house to witness tho perform, ance. The resources of the theatre in the way of properties and the want of a sufficient num- ber of " supers " did not permit of this grand historical play being put on the boards with the necessary spectacular effect, and consequently the actors labored under disadvantages. The piece, however, was on the whole muderately well played, aud appeared to give satisfaction to the audience. The heavy rain that fell during part of the peí formalice rendered it difficult to hear, and of course considerably marred the effect of one or two sceneB. Mr. W. C. Dillon undertook the title rôle, which is ouo of his best parts, and hia performance was fairly successful, although we cannot say that he has improved since he last appeared in the character in Brisbane. Miss Pender, ns Queen Elizabith, appeared to good ad- vantage, and the character waa perhaps the beBt sustained in the play. Miss Kate Douglas waa good as Lady Anne, and interpreted the part very intelligently. Mr. J. HesforJ,as Henry VI., was as usual oxcollent ; and Mr. Thorpe's Richmond was a respectable performance. Mr. Andrews deserves notico for the impersonation of the Lord Mayor, ti3 do Miss Annie Wilson and MisB Addie Thynne for those of the two young princes. Mr. Dillon was recalled at the final fall of the curtain. This company, we understand, will not appear again until March 15, after their return from Ipswich.