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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

[trade dispatches]

page 43

We have Bruce's Specimen-book of 1882 and the complete series of Supplements, with the exception of No. 3, which we suspect is now out of print. If any of our friends have a spare copy, we would be greatly obliged if they would post it to Typo.

We do not suppose that Mr E. M. Gard Eddy, the chief commissioner of the N.S.W. railways, has had a sharper experience of newspaper abuse than his New Zealand fellow-sufferers, but he does not take it so philosophically. Believing that « an organization exists to throw discredit on his management of the railways » he instituted an action for libel against the proprietors of the Tamworth News, and announced his intention to follow it up with civil actions against several other journals.—A late telegram states that the aggrieved commissioner has accepted a full apology from the News.

More than a year ago we published some remarks on the use of the hyphen, in which we referred to its value as indicating grammatical distinctions. A contributor has sent us an article, which appears elsewhere, in which this particular question is very fully considered. Our correspondent is well qualified to deal with the subject, and we commend his remarks and his illustrations to our readers. We have great pleasure in inserting the article in question, and hope to receive more from the same quarter. We will always welcome original aricles on technical subjects from practical men—they constitute the most valuable feature of a trade journal.

Travelling « evangelists » have a strange aversion to newspaper-men. Mr Dowie declared that he could always detect a reporter by the odor of whiskey, and Mr Varley, now conducting a mission in Auckland, is nearly as bad. A reporter of the Star whose lot it had been to report Mr V. at intervals during three weeks, withdrew a few evenings ago after having noted the heads of the address. The preacher drew attention to him in these words: « There goes a young man who has had enough of me. He does not want to hear what I have to say. No—he is off to some haunt of sin. » Mr Varley afterwards sent a note to the Star office, apologising for the language he had used.— Messrs Varley and Dowie seem to be in perfect accord with the Harvard professor whose words we quoted last month. There is no excuse for such reckless and wholesale libelling of a body of men who are quite as respectable as the whole tribe of evangelists, and far more useful to society. The world could even better spare a few college professors than the much-abused reporters for the press.

From Messrs Stone, Son, & Co., Dunedin, we have received a copy of their Otago and Southland Directory for 1890, the seventh year of publication. A comparison of this handsome volume with the first issue marks in a striking manner not only the progress of the great district to which it refers, but of the enterprising firm by whom it is published. It contains over 800 royal octavo pages, closely printed in minion and nonpareil, besides valuable maps, and is without exception the best, most carefully-compiled, and most complete directory in the colony. It is of course inferior in bulk to Wise's directory of New Zealand; but if the latter work were compiled on the same exhaustive scale, it would be four or five times its present size. Every page of the reference matter exhibits the conscientious painstaking manner in which the information has been compiled. An appendix to the work contains an almanac, valuable statistical tables for the year, summary of legislation, &c., and other matters affecting the colony as a whole. We have only to add further that the printing throughout reflects great credit on the job department of the Bunedin Star.

A « Sweating commission » is holding an inquiry in Wellington. The commission was appointed to inquire « into the mode and terms in and on which persons are engaged or employed in shops in wholesale and retail trades and manufacturing business establishments, and in hotels and other places of public resort, » with further provision extending the inquiry to outside as well as inside workers for said shops or factories. Of « sweating, » in the ordinary sense, no cases have been reported to the commission; but the chairman having decided that « all relations between capital and labor were embraced in the scope of the commission, » a practically endless subject has been opened, and a great mass of miscellaneous « evidence » has been received. Every one with a real or fancied grievance is coming forward, and the result strongly resembles that of the Native Land Alienation Commission so well remembered in Hawke's Bay, when every Maori who thought he had sold his land too cheap, or that the lawyers had piled on too much in the way of fees, obtained a patient hearing from an irregular tribunal. In the printing trade, though « cutting » is common enough, « sweating » is impossible; but the two are often confused. In another paragraph will be found the evidence taken by the commission relative to the printing trade.

Every branch of trade, production, and industry in this colony groans, being burdened. The products of two unprecedentedly fruitful seasons have vanished in the abyss, and still the horse-leech of taxation relentlessly demands more. « Half-a-million of people. » says the Napier Telegraph, « have to send away to the foreign bondholders annually £4,358,539, which is £11,900 daily. There is no getting over this fearful and startling fact—and yet we find people mad enough to scream for more loans!»

In our November issue we wrote on the subject of boy-labor, and we have reason to believe that our remarks met with the approval of the trade generally. We are sorry to see that some of the Wellington unions are seeking to constitute monopolies by depriving boys of their undoubted right to learn a handicraft. There are not much more than half-a-million people in this colony: in a few years more there will be two or three millions. What is to become of our fine and intelligent native-born population if they are arbitrarily prohibited from becoming skilled artizans? They will be swamped by specially-imported labor. What could be more monstrous in a rapidly-growing country than the proposal gravely made before the Wellington « sweating commission, » « that there should be one apprentice to every five journeymen bootmakers, and that this apprentice should serve a term of five years »? As the Press remarks: « It will be seen that the master bootmaker employing the five journeymen would thus succeed in making five apprentices into bootmakers in 25 years, and the whole boot trade would in 25 years succeed in training 300 bootmakers. If we suppose the whole number of apprentices in all the trades in New Zealand to be limited by the law to the same extent, we may well doubt as to the future of the 20,000 children of both sexes yearly born into the colony. A vast flood of labor would yearly be thrown off to struggle upon the large area of unskilled labor market to fight its way into the professions, the civil service, the retail shops, and so on. The result would be a fall in the rate of pay in all the occupations, and an irresistible determination on the part of this mass of labor to break down the apprentice law and partake of the high rate of wages forced by the legislative enactment of monopoly in the skilled trades… We have referred only to the young men, but of course the young women would be subject to the same law, and this law, if enforced, could only result in wholesale emigration, or wholesale pauperism. »

A religious contemporary has a paragraph on the Chinese theory of development, from which it appears that one of the links in the monkey-man chain is the « braying mantis »!—Some people went out shooting near Christchurch on Good Friday who were not fit to be trusted with fire-arms. The press agent puts it thus:— « A young man was shot in the face, and several shots passed through the hat of a young lady from a gun fired by a youth at Dallington. » —The Scandinavian element is very noticeable in some of the North Island bush districts. The warning legend « vet paints » on a fence in a country township was somewhat puzzling to a traveller until he found by the signboards that he was passing through the region of Olsens and Jorgensens.—The evil genius of a Napier newspaper mixed a police-court paragraph with the account of a dreadful accident in a quarry. « The men saw the avalanche coming and ran away, but one man was crushed by an enormous 1s and 7s costs each in three cases of plying for hire in vehicles which were not licensed as hackney carriages. » Further down the column it was reported that « —was fined rock. The sufferer, whose name was—, was immediately conveyed to the hospital. » —Scarcely a colonial newspaper is printed without some striking instance of the misuse of the hyphen, or the wrong division of compounds. We read, for example, that the original of Dickens's « Smike » is still living, and is a « toy shopkeeper. » —A comical anagram was lately made by a comp in the heading to a vote of thanks in a newspaper report—the word it « laudatory » being turned into « adulatory. » —A contemporary says that lovers of Shak-peare hesitate to accept his sonnets as autobiographical, as they are loth to question his « martial fidelity. » —In an eighteen-line leader on the late primacy dispute a South Island contemporary works off the following curiously complex metaphor: « Here we have hard heads and solid brains of churchmen, whose owners have not flown hastily at a tangent, but the impulses which have vibrated within have been the offshoots of much consideration for canon law. » There is here material for a whole catechism of unsolved questions. Who, for example, are the owners of the hard-headed and solid-brained churchmen referred to?—In reference to Earl Sydney's illness, the London Daily Telegraph says: « Prayers were offered on his behalf at the churches and places of worship at Sidcup, Foot's Cray, and Chisel-hurst. Lord Sydney, however, on Wednesday appeared much improved. » The « however » is good.— « The magazine or Guttenberg Bible » is an inexcusable slip for a printing trade organ. We find it in one of our English exchanges.