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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 32

(The "Southland News.")

(The "Southland News.")

. . . The ultimate social effect of this early adoption of provident habits has, of course, to be waited for, but in the meantime it is fairly enough assumed that it cannot be otherwise than beneficial. The compilers of the pamphlet, while admitting that wide differences exist between the condition of the industrial classes in Belgium and New Zealand, point out that, although relatively the workers are hero much better paid, there is none the less need to foster provident habits. They give it as their opinion that, as a rule, resources are not economised as they should be, and that but a very small proportion make provision for the future. While not prepared to endorse this statement—which is contradicted by local observation—we are quite willing to admit that the easy circumstances of the bulk of the population may have led them to overlook the importance of instilling into the minds of the young the value of habits of frugality. It is a matter of common remark that children in this colony think less of sixpence or a shilling than those at home would of a halfpenny or a penny. Yet the purchasing power of money is not so much less or the remuneration of labor so much greater as to fully account for the difference. If a continuance of prosperous times could be relied on, the rather lavish expenditure of either parents or children would not so much matter; but there is bound to be a "rainy day," and the present is the time to provide against it. Hence we cordially endorse the views of the gentlemen whose proposal is here outlined. At the same time it must be admitted that there are some practical difficulties in the way of its adoption. For instance, how will the teachers receive a suggestion, the immediate effect of which would be to burthen them with duties for which they did not bargain when taking office? Clearly the first step of the Society should bo to place itself in communication with them, in order to ascertain their feeling on the subject. If it were favorable, all other obstacles might be overcome.