A NEW DIFFICULTY.
A knotty point will engage the attention of the Legislative Council on its reassembling. It is known that there are now three seats vacant — that of Mr. E. McEllister, deceased ; that of Mr. J. M. Solomon, resigned ; and that of Mr. A. Scott, vacant by non-attendance. Mr. Scott
has not been present at all during the present session of Parliament, which commenced on the loth of June, so that on the reassembling on Tuesday next he will have been absent for about twelve weeks. His seat is rendered vacant under clause 12 of the Constitution Act, which provides as follows : — ' If any Legislative Coun cillor shall, for two consecutive months of any session of the Legislative Council, fail to give his attendance therein, without the permission of the said Council, his seat in such Council shall thereby become vacant.' On the reassembling of Parliament Mr, Scott will have beenabseni
nearly three months, and his seat will therefore be vacant. The adjournment was on July 5th, from which date to August 28th is, of course, less than two months, so that the interval of the recess will not occasion any vacancies in respect of those members who attended in Par liament down to the time of the adjourn ment. But it unfortunately happens that two hon. members — Messrs. Angas and Everard — did not attend in their places after June 27, from which date to August 28 is just one day over the lawful two Tnonths. It is therefore a question whether Messrs. Angas and Everard have not forfeited their seats in consequence of this absence. If they have it will be exceedingly unfortunate for them, as they certainly had no intention of transgressing the prescribed limit, and will lose their seats (if they do lose them)
simply because JP arliament was dispersed by the form of adjournment, and not by that of proro gation. A prorogation terminates a session ; and every thing begins afresh when Parliament is sum moned again. It is then a new session. But an 'adjournment,' whether for a day or a month, or any longer period, does not terminate the session, which is merely interrputed by the recess ; all Committees continuing in existence, all notices standing on the paper, and the busi ness being resumed on reassembling precisely as if there had been no adjournment at all. So far,
therefore, as regard the retention or forfeiture of seats, the period of the recess must count exactly as if Parliament had remained in session, and this being the case, we confess we see no way of escape out of the difficulty but for* the two seats to be declared vacant, and for the hon. members to offer themselves again, at the same time with the candidates for the other three seats. One thing is quite clear, namely — if the period of the adjournment does not count in Messrs. Angas's and Everard's case, neither will it in Mr. Scott's ; and Mr. Scott's seat in that event would not yet be vacant. But as the Constitution makes two months' consecutive absence without leave in any one session, fatal to the retention of the seat ; and as the adjourn ment does not divide the session into two, we fear there is no escaping the conclusion already indicated. In matters like this there is always a tendency to endeavor to evade the strict letter of the law, inasmuch as it is felt to be no fault of the indi vidual, but the result of what might almost be
termed an accident. And, so far as the Council itself is concerned, no doubt hon. members would unanimously paE=- a resolution to the effect that an absence caused by the adjourn ment of the House is not such an absence as is contemplated by the Constitution Act. But, the legal constitution of the House is held to be essential to the legality and validity of its enactments ; and any Judge of the Supreme Court, or — indeed — any lawyer pleading before that Court, might object to an Act passed by a Parliament a portion of whose members were declared by the Constitution Act to have for feited their seats. Nor is it at all a stretch of imagination (with the experience of the past few years before us) to suppose that such possible objection would in reality be taken, and taken successfully. For the Parliament to be satisfied that it is legally constituted is one thing ; but to compel the Courts of Law to admit such legality is another tiling ; and we may be pretty sure that
in these days of invalidity the fact of two mem bers sitting in Parliament, when their seats were declared by the Constitution Act to be vacated, would not be overlooked. It may be said that it is necessary for the Council by a special resolution to declare a vacancy ; and this is true. But the declaration of a vacancy is only a condition precedent to the issuing of a writ. The resolution does not create the vacancy, but merely informs the President of it. If there be no resolution the President will not issue his writ for a fresh election ; but the vacancy will occur all the same, whether filled up or not ; and no resolution of the House, nor of both Houses combined, can override a distinct pro vision of the Constitution Act. There is a clause which declares that whenever 'any ques tion shall arise respecting any vacancy,' the same shall be ' heard and determined' in the House where such question originates. But the ' question' here no doubt means some question of detail ; some point of obvious uncertainty, and which uncertainty the House may resolve. A plain, unequivocal provision of the Constitu tion Act can scarcely be 'a question' to be submitted to one branch of the ^Legislature for determination. The 18th clause of the Constitution Act — especially in the face of Mr. Hyrdess's actions against certain members of the Government for sitting and voting when alleged to be disquali fied — ought also to be carefully considered by those hon. members whose seats are now in dis pute. The penalty for sitting and voting when legally disabled or disqualified is £500 for each person ; nor have the Legislature any power whatever to quash or control such proceedings as may be taken to recover the amount. Any person may sue ; and it would be for the Su preme Court to decide whether the seat was legally held or not. These points are certain to be raised, and we have therefore brought them forward at once ; for if there must be new elections for Messrs. Angas's and Everard's seats, it would be folly to separate them from the other three. Besides which, it is only fair to those gentlemen them selves to inform them of the points that will probably be mooted, and in which they are so much implicated. If, however, it can be shown that the provisions of the Constitution Act do not extend to such cases as theirs, the sooner this is done the better. To forewarn the hon. members, arid to have the matter set at rest immediately, is our only motive in calling attention to it.
The friends of the late Mr. Barlow will be glad to know that the Rev. Mr. Evan will preach a funeral sermon in Freeman-street Chapel, to-inorrow morning. The President of the Marine Board, accom panied by the Foreman of Works, proceeded on Friday night in the Govenuent schooner Flinders, for the purpose of removing the Thistle Rock in the fairway near Port WakefiehL It is intended to blow up this obstruction to the navigation of the Gulf with charges of gunpowder — 70 lbs. to the charge. The services in connection with the first anni versary of the Kent Town AVesleyan Jubilee Church were commenced on Sunday, August 19. In the morn ing the Rev. J. G. Millard conducted Divine worship, and delivered a discourse upon the words contained in the 10th verse of the 15th chapter of Luke. The Rev. J. Watsford preached in the evening', and he selected for his text Isaiah Lni, 5. The congregations werehuge, espe cially in the evening, when the church was crowded to xcess. A collection was made after each service. To The Sophie has brought 115 German immi grants, who, from their appearance, and the report of their general demeanor on the voyage, will prove a great acquisition. The majority come out to their friends here, and the few who have no friends will doubtless soon acquire some amongst the population of the Ger man villages. There are four Lutheran missionaries in the cabin, who are to devote themselves to the instruc tion of the aborigines in the outlying Northern Districts. During the passage the only incidents of importance
were the loss (by death) of one of the passengers, and speaking a British sloop-of-war off the Cape. The Sophie is one of the well-known Godeffroy's line of packets, and is consigned to Messrs. Amsberg & Co. A large number of persons congregated in front of the shop of Messrs. P. Gay & Son, in Rundle street, on Friday, attracted by the sight of a very handsome chair, which has just been completed by that firm, and which is destined for the Adelaide Council Chamber. The chair is really a splendid piece of work, unsurpassed by any in the colony. The size of the chair is 6 feet 6 by 2 feet 10 over alL The seat and a portion of the back are covered with velvet, and stuffed with colonial horsehair. Just above the stuffed portion of the back, is a handsome piece of carved work on a frosted ground, and cut out of a solid piece of cedar, which has a very pretty effect, and the whole is sur mounted by tho Australian Arms, also carved in cedar.
The legs and arms, as also round the seat and up the back of the chair, are elegantly carved, and the whole is highly polished. Behind, the chair also has a pretty appearance, and it seems a pity that it should be placed against the wall to hide the view of that part. Altogether the work is of a superior kind, and reflects the greatest credit on its makers. It will be an orna ment to the Council Chamber, and a fit receptacle for any Mayor. The cost of the chair and table, which is not yet completed, is, we believe, £91 12s. 6d. The ex-Mayor (The Hon. T. English), and several of the Councillors visited the shop during the day, to have a look at the chair, which will be on view for a few days at the establishment of Messrs. Gay & Son. We are pleased to say that the longantici pated work of sloping the river banks has been com menced in right good earnest. A grant of £1,000 has -een made for the purpose, and this week, about 40 or 50 men have been employed under the superintendence of the City Surveyor, in cutting down the banks. It is proposed to expend the sum of £1,000 between the site of the dam, near the Gaol, and the Company's -V Bridge, and the banks will, as far as possible, be cut down to the natural Blope. The Sheriff, we learn, has placed the prison labor at the dis posal of the Surveyor, provided it is employed in the vicinity of the GaoL The rest of the work will be per formed by navvies, and this will tend to relieve the present state of the labor market. The banks when slnpsd will be planted with willows, grass, and fibrous plants, so as to bind the earth together and protect it from the action of future floods. Mr. Geo. Prince, of Mitcham, has presented the Corportion with 140 willow-poles, and several of these have already been planted along the river. We are exceedingly pleased to see this work begun, and we hope that it will be thoroughly and successfuly carried out. Already we hear of confident anticipations that ere long the inhabi tants of Adelaide will have aquatic amusements close at hand, instead of having to travel miles in order even to see a boat. We visited the river dam on Friday, but this work seems to be proceeding slowly. The piles are driven about half way across the stream, but lere it seems to remain in statu quo. Possiblv winter is
not the time in which to look for much progress in this work ; but we hope that vigorous steps will shortly be taken to complete the dam, which, as is confidently asserted by the many, against the sneers of a compara tive few, will prove an inestimable benefit to the people of Adelaide. On Friday evening a conversazione was held in Pulteney-street Schoolroom, in aid of the Building Fund of St. Paul's Church. This was the first of a series of similar entertainments which it is purposed to hold bi-monthly for the same object. There was a good attendance of ladies and gentlemen, principally those connected with the congregation. The Rev. Canon Russell, the Pastor of St. Paul's, presided, and having briefly explained the object of the meeting, in troduced the business of the evening. Readings were given by Messrs. N. Blyth, M.P., W. A. Hughes, E. J. Hodgkinson, and O. K. Richardson, all of which afforded much pleasure and delight. There was music and singing also by a lady and gentleman, amateurs, and by Herr Reyher, and their performances were highly appreciated and much applauded. The Rev. Canon Marryat, who has recently returned from England, gave a most interesting lecture, his subject being the reminiscences of his visit to England. The lev. gen- -V tlenian, in commencing, alluded to the rich and sacred stores of historic association connected with so many places in the old country— associations which made her the repository of the mighty past, and the store house of history. He spoke of the immense changes
and improvements which had been effected m London — the advancing taste in architecture — the growth of the great metropolis, and the network of railways which had been made over, under, and through London. He dwelt at some length upon the wonders of the Crystal Palace — that production of a new era introduced by the first Great Exhibition — and a pro duction which had tended so to elevate and refine the English people, as to have made London a rival of Paris in the matter of taste and elegance. Truly, he said, this palace was the palace of the people, and the palace of art. He spoke with pleasure of the Handel festival which took place at that palace, and at which, he was present. He described the orchestra as con sisting of 3,500 singers, and 500 musicians, and the audience as numbering from 15,000 to 20,000 persons. He remarked that the command of Sims Reeves and Mdlle. Patti, the principal artistes over the immense concourse, was perfectly wonderful, while the per formance of the Grand Hallelujah Chorus, gave him a sublimer knowledge of the declarations of the Prophet than his Bible study had previously imparted. Never either did he so thoroughly feel the inspiration of music which Handel possessed. He glanced also at the special Sunday evening services at St. Paul's, and the great work which the Church in England was doing. TTia lecture would not have been complete without a reference to the British Parliament, and although, he said, the session during which he was in England was a somewhat uneventful one, he still experienced great pleasure in listening to some of the debates which took place there, exhibiting, as they did to his mind, the legislative excellence of the members and the thorough organization of party. He disap proved of the mode of election in England, giving in his adhesion to the ballot as the better mode. He descanted upon the beauties and wonders of the picture galleries, gardens, and museums there, and advised the establishment in this colony of working men's indus trial exhibitions, and a Society for the encouragement of window gardening amongst the working classes — institutions which in England had been productive of the most beneficial results. Having briefly dwelt upon the increase and progress of various societies, and of Church and charitable organizations, he concluded his lecture by expressing baa deeper love for the old country since he had revisited her ; and his hope that South Australia, though in her infancy, would, ere many years had passed, be rich in historic treasures such ^y as made England so dear to alL Before the proceed ings concluded, the Rev. Canon Russell took occasion to thank the various persons who had contributed so largely to the amusement and instruction of the even ing. A meeting of the Irish Volunteer Company was held at the Hamburg Hotel on Thursday evening, for the purpose of enrolment. There was a considerable number of persons present, and Mr. P. LL Coleman occupied the chair. Colonel Biggs was in attendance to receive the names of persons willing to enroL and administered the oath to six additionol recruits. The Colonel, at the close of the enrolment, stated that those desirous of joining the Irish Company, could do so by attending at the Volunteer Staff Office, and also in formed them that unless the Company was made up iu a short time the idea would have to be abandoned, and those who were sworn in drafted into the general com panies. Before the meeting separated he thought a vote of thanks should be given to those few gentlemen who had taken such an aotive part in endeavoring to form the Company. The Chairman was one of those who had been very active in his endeavors, and he proposed a vote of thanks to him and the other gentlemen who had acted with birn Tha motion was seconded by some one present, and carried by acclamation. The Chairman responded, and remarked that it would have been a great pleasure to him to have seen the company formed, and he would have taken any trouble so long as it was formed. It would have been the greatest pleasure he could have to shoulder his rifle side by side with his countrymen. He expressed his great regret that his countrymen had been so back ward, and said he thought it was their duty to come forward, and if necessity required to be the foremost in the ranks to defend the country they had made their home. The meeting then closed. Thursday's Gazette contains the following notification : — Robert Rankine, Esq. , to be a nomi nated member of the Central Board of Main Roads, vice Edmund Bowman, Esq. , deceased ; George Ernest Hamilton, Esq., C.E., to be engineer for the construc- tion of the Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor Tramway, from, the 16th. instant, inclusive ; J. B. Shepherdson, Esq., S.M., to be Visiting Justice at the Wallaroo Gaol ; Mr. Edmond William Price to he Clerk in the Police Court, Adelaide, vice Draper, resigned ; Mr. John Donnelly, to be Clerk of the Local Court, Gawler Town, vice Price, promoted ; Mr. Joseph Stewart to be Bailiff of the Local Court, at Port Elliot and Goolwa, vice Hodgson, deceased. Volunteer Military Force— In- fantry— George Mayo, Esq., F.R.C.S., J.P., to be Lieutenant-Colonel ; dated 15th August, 1866. No. 4. ^ Troop of Cavalry — Sir- Edward Beok to be Lieutenant, and Mr. S. Tierse Creagh to be Cornet ; dated 21st August, 1866. Mr. Thomas Chalwin to be Veterinary Surgeon, ranking as Comet ; dated 22nd August, 1866. No. 4. Company of Infantry — William Oldham, Esq., J.P., to be Captain, Mr. Thomas F. Oldham to be Lieutenant, and Mr. William C. Oldham to bo Ensign We have seen a beautiful testimonial presented by the Catholics of Gawler to Mr. P. Kelly on the occasion of leaving the colony. It consists of a crucifix of silver, gilded, rising from a handsome pedestal The groundwork is of massive silver, fretted, with imitations of rocks, and studded here and there with specimens of malachite and green carbonates. A passion flower in silver twines round the crucifix, and a seraph is kneeling at the foot. The height to the top of the crucifix is about 20 inches, and the groundwork about 10 inches. Its weight is 117i ozs. , and has been manufactured by Mr. C. E. Firnhaber, of Hindley-street. The cost, we understand, is nearly £100. There is good news from the Darling by the Wentworth mail of Thursday. By a letter from Menindie, dated 15th August, we learn that the mail down brought intelligence of a rise of 8 feet at Fort Bourke, and that the river was still rising when the mailman left. This had been anticipated by the settlers in consequence of the news they had received of tha heavy rains at the head of the river. We learn that the captains of the boats think they will be able to get up the Darling in a fortnight hence. The Postmaster-General notifies that, pur suant to an arrangement made with the Sydney Post Office, mail in future will be made up for dispatch by the Panama packets for the following places, via Sydney and Panama : — New Zealand, Panama, Lima, Valpa raiso, San Francisco, Honolulu, British Columbia, Jamaica, Barbadoes, Demerara, St. Thomas, New Orleans, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, and the United Kingdom. The combined rates of postage will be as follows : — ad g' Description. ^ ^|| £ Letters— s- d. s. d. s. d. Not exceeding A-oz ... 10 10 10 Ex.A-oz., notex-loz. ... 2 0 2 0 2 0 Ex. loz., notes. Hoz. ... 3 6 3 6 4 0 Additional 2 ozs. ..' ... 4 0 4 0 4 o Books — Not exceeding 4 ozs. ... 0 10 « „ 0 8 Four to 8 ozs ? 12 -g| 14 Every additional 8 ozs. ... 1 2 J 14 Newspapers ? 0 1 -- J 0J