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of the most extreme faith, so that you do it by other means than a catechism. You may teach the most outrageous catechism, SO that it be the compilation of an individual and not adopted by a religious dénomination. In the schools it has become a dead letter. In the Technical schools it has never, so far as I know, been heard of. In the elementary schools during the last seven years I recollect one case only of its being put in force. It was a small village School Board, divided three against two. The majority wished to have the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Duty to God, and the Duty to your Neighbor, out of the Church Catechism, taught in the village school. The minority protested that it was a violation of the CowperTemple clause and forced the Board of Education to a decision. After long and mature deliberation, and after consultation with the highest legal authorities, it was laid down that the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments might be taught, but that the Duty to God and your Neighbor might not be taught. For although the propositions of the former would be assented to by every Theist, and those of the latter by every philosopher, Christian and Pagan, the language in which these universally accepted dogmas was expressed was distinctive of the Church of England.
The best security that could be given for due regard being paid to the religion of parents in elementary schools would be to make it the duty of the local authority to see that in every school provision was made for such religious instruction being given as was acceptable to the parents. It is the easiest thing in the world to do, and is already done in thousands of schools. All it would in general require is a separate teacher in a separate classroom in a comparatively small number
The Nineteenth Century and After.
of schools giving a Bible-lesson to some of the children during the brief time in which the rest were receiving the special teaching of the religious body to which the school belonged. In the island of Barra in the Hebrides a Presbyterian School Board provides religious teaching acceptable to the parents in schools where half the children are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. The schools have a Presbyterian and a Roman Catholic teachAt the time of religious instruction a partition is run across the school: the Presbyterians are taught by their teacher at one end; the Roman Catholics by their teacher at the other. If the Parliament of the United Kingdom could be got to confer on Local Authorities in England powers similar to those enjoyed by the Scottish Board, the religious difficulty would be solved.
I have thus endeavored to show that in the battles over the Education Bill which are being fought by religious and political partisans, it is of vital importance to the nation that the following main principles should not be overlooked or sacrificed to sectional animosities:
(1) Not a moment should be lost in dealing with the present state of public instruction in England and Wales.
(2) One public local authority should have jurisdiction over schools of all kinds.
(3) Parliament should not halt between two opinions, but adopt at once either Municipality or School Board as that authority.
(4) The secular instruction in all elementary schools should be given at the public expense, and be under the absolute control of the public authority.
(5) In the case of certain Voluntary schools public security for the maintenance of their religious character must be given.
John E. Gorst.
IN TIME OF DROUGHT.
In the summer of 1900-01 a large portion of Australia,-practically the whole of central Australia-was suffering from the most disastrous drought within the memory of white men. It was not a case of one bad season coming after several good seasons, but the worst of a number of bad ones. The result has been almost the annihilation of the live-stock in the country; all who could have moved or sold their stock; those who, owing to the impassability of roads, were unable to do so have been obliged to watch their animals dying of starvation and want of water. Even in fair seasons it is a country of light-carrying capacity; on an average it will carry about sixty sheep or six head of cattle to the mile; and consequently the areas worked are very large; a thousand square miles is a moderate property, but there are many double and even treble that size. Everything is on a large scale, except the profits. One man, who had decided to get rid of his stock before the summer set in, sent to market, or moved to another district, sixty thousand sheep, and in districts nearer railways there have been several instances of two hundred thousand sheep being moved to fresh pasturage; while, as a contrast, a neighbor who preferred to take the risk of rain falling, or who was unable to get his cattle away, had left on his several properties at the end of the summer two thousand cattle out of one hundred thousand. And there are many, very many, who have not a single animal left.
There can be no more disheartening labor than tending live-stock in a drought, to watch the result of years of labor and anxiety, and of constant fighting with the elements, disappearing before one's eyes in two or three
flying months, or to feel the sickening dread of it all hanging as a nightmare over one. It may rain to-morrow, or it may not rain for two years; and even the rain may not be an unmixed blessing, for heavy rain falling on animals as weak as ours were will kill them in thousands, what with the cold and the wet and the country almost a morass. Only the other day at a railway-station on the central Queensland line there were three thousand weak sheep waiting to be transported to fresh pasturage; rain came down, nothing could be done with the sheep but to keep them there, and by the next morning, when three inches of rain had fallen, there was not one sheep alive; they had just died where they stood. However, until rain does fall, we can only make the most of our resources, while we watch our flocks and herds perish day by day.
As I start of a morning on my daily round, with a large water-bag slung around my horse's neck,-he poor beast must often go till evening without a drink-I meet the first of the sheep on their way to water before the heat of the day. The country is rolling downs, covered thickly with stones like shingle on the beach; for four miles there is nothing but brittle stumps of grass which the stones preserve from being trodden out, and beyond are withered low-growing salt-bush, all nourishment seemingly long ago dried out of it. Here and there, along a gully or a water-course there are some stunted trees; and on the salt-bush and the withered fallen leaves the sheep are living, or trying to live.
Red soil, red stones, a few dingy green trees, and overhead a faint blue sky which loses almost all its color as it meets the horizon. . oh you hate
ful sky of drought and heat! The long dusty lines of sheep are winding over the downs; heads down, they scarcely notice me as I ride close alongside them; here and there one raises its head, stops a moment, then on again, plodding its weary way along the pad to water; they have been thirty-six hours away from it, for the feed is too far out to let them get a drink each day, and their scraggy ribs are drawn together, so hollow are they. In time the leaders snuff the muddy odor of the water, and break into a run. Such a bleating there is as they reach the banks; the others behind catch it up, till it echoes down their files; and so for hours they string in, fill themselves till they can scarcely walk, and sleep and rest till evening.
The paddocks are about six miles square, and in a far corner I find a hundred sheep or so. Poor beasts, the combined effects of thirst and heat have made them absolutely stupid, as they do all animals,-aye, and men too. They have followed one fence, met the other fence and stayed; and as there, if allowed, they would stay till they perished, I take them in to water. The sun beats down relentlessly; the stones are so hot I can scarcely bear to touch them; and every now and then a gust comes swooping over them, a burning fiery blast, shrivelling the skin on my face. My eyes are scorched with the glare of the sun flung back from the stones, which shimmer all around me till in the distance they disappear in mirage.
It is slow, weary work. We camp during the heat of the day under the shadiest tree within reach,-the temperature in the veranda at home being a hundred and fifteen degrees, or over. As the afternoon draws on the great white heat clouds rise, that seem to act like a lens and to focus the sun's rays on my wretched body. High overhead in the air, miles high it seems,
they draw together now and then; the winds there seem blowing all ways, bearing the clouds with them, and towards four o'clock comes the boom of thunder; it even rains, but alas, it evaporates in mist long before it reaches the parched red earth. Other sheep are making towards water, caught on their way this morning by the mid-day heat and forced to wait under what shade they could find, while here and there a group have stood the long hours through with heads hidden beneath each other's flanks, patient, thirsty, panting. As the sheep I am driving know their way now, I turn them among some others also making for water, and go on my way homewards. Passing the waterhole I find some beasts stuck in its soft muddy banks, and many too weak to carry away their loads of water; their days are numbered, for most of them will die where they lie, the rest within a mile or two. As the sun goes down the clouds clear away, or we get a few drops of rain and a dust-storm.
And so it is all over the run; there is no feed within miles of water, and feed of little nourishment then. In the spring there were tens of thousands of rabbits; now there is scarcely one. Many have perished along a rabbitproof fence that divides the run, marking the border of Queensland and New South Wales; they huddled under the shade of the posts, gasping in the heat, perishing slowly. Should you follow one up as he hobbles in front, he goes but thirty yards, squeaks, and falls over, utterly exhausted. All along the length of fence sit sparrow-hawks and eagle-hawks and crows,-black-eyed crows, white-eyed crows-and such cold cruel eyes they have, these birds of death. From time to time they rouse themselves, flop heavily down, snatch a rabbit, and gorge once more, leisurely choosing the choicest tit-bits of their wriggling prey. So it is, too, with the
kangaroos: they hop away from you; should you follow, each hop becomes less steady, and needs more of an effort, and finally, he rolls over, helpless, soon to be another of the countless victims of the drought. But the greatest mortality among the rabbits and kangaroos has been around the tanks and dams and water-holes that are now dry. As these dried we fenced in the little water left with wire netting, and put troughs of arsenic or strychnine solution round about, and the poor brutes died in such numbers that the stench was almost unbearable.
To the north lies the cattle-country, -light gray, almost white in parts, washed by miles of water in floodtime, the inland sea of early explorers. For thirty miles it is like this, a dull white plain, broken here and there by sandy hummocks, and, where the water lies longest, covered with a dense straggling forest of lignum bushes. They are higher than a man on horseback, so dense that he can hardly force a way through them, and, when the waters are out flooding the maze of channels so that a horse must swim, he needs in order to find his way the combined bushcraft of all the bushmen that ever went to South Africa.
At the far side the river comes in, -a great river for this country, now a string of water-holes. Around the lake and for many miles along the river extends the cattle-country, an area of nearly three thousand square miles, fully stocked last winter with eighteen thousand cattle. In addition to the swamp-country it consists of endless red sandhills or dunes, covered thickly with low shrubs, and of a few great plains stretching away to the horizon treeless and trackless, and forming among their gray wastes such mirages in the summer sun, that even when quite near their borders they seem without end. Heaven help the man who travels them then, or when
the dust-clouds shroud them, if he knows not the way!
Twelve years ago the rabbits reached this district from the south; it is now one huge rabbit-warren. This year they are dying in thousands; yet some will live, for they have cover here and the river, and in a few years will be as numerous as ever. They have made the country a happy huntingground for the dingoes, or wild dogs, who in old days lived beside the river and hunted the game there, kangaroos, emus, wild-fowl, and the rest; and when in a dry time these had migrated perhaps hundreds of miles to where rains had fallen, the dingoes had a hard struggle to live. But now with the rabbits they have penetrated everywhere; and where formerly litters of puppies born far away from water were deserted and perished, both puppies and dam live on the flesh and blood of rabbits, and with three litters a year, and nine or more puppies to a litter, they increase at an enormous rate. Of course they do much less damage to cattle than to sheep; but in the dry season when cows must leave their young while they go for a drink, many calves are killed or driven away by them, till the cows cannot find them. It is curious, this instinct in cattle, and to some extent in sheep, -leaving their young behind them when they are too small and weak to travel a long distance to water. It is almost impossible to drive these calves away from the place where they were left; and since the dingoes have become so numerous, we sometimes see one cow minding three young calves while the other two mothers are away for a drink of water. But for the last three months the calves have been knocked on the head so soon as possible, to give the cows a chance to live.
Before the rabbits came the sandhills were covered with salt-bush and
other edible shrubs; but now there is nothing. For three months the cattle have not been able to find more to eat than they could find in the streets of London. Those that have lived (about three thousand) have borne starvation the longest; they have simply lived on water, or satisfied their craving for food with leaves of trees in which there is absolutely no nourishment. There is no water but what is in the river; all the tanks and dams are dry. A little while ago there was a bellowing of cattle up and down the river, the bellowing of the many bogged and dying; in one water-hole there are three thousand dead, packed tightly together on the top of one another.
The blackfellows have a tale handed down from their forefathers of the time when the river was dry but for one big water-hole, to which were gathered all the natives in the districtto the number of many thousands, for it was once heavily populated-and there they lived or starved on fish. We are wondering if the like will occur again; but stocking the country has made water run off more easily; the surface has hardened and the stockpads form good surface drains, and now a much lighter fall of rain will cause the river to rise.
There is nothing to be done now to help the cattle to live; we can only watch them die. When the backwaters were drying up we had a hard time shifting the beasts on to the frontage. They could only travel at night, the heat during the day being too great and the cattle too weak. One day we were shifting a large mob from an outlying water-hole, a stockman, six blackboys, and myself. Starting in the afternoon, we intended travelling till about midnight, when we should reach a cattle-yard, to camp there for an hour or so, and then on, hoping to reach the river before the heat of the day. Our spare horses,
and a donkey packed with two large leather water-bags. we drove among the cattle, carrying also on our saddles small canvas water-bags, holding two pints or so. Flog, flog, hour after hour, we thought ourselves lucky when we could get a mile an hour out of the poor brutes. About ten my bag had long been empty, and I was terribly thirsty; but rather than stop the cattle to catch the donkey I was holding out as long as I could. Then the stockman came up; he could last no longer he said, so the cattle had to be stopped and the donkey caught; but though all the horses were there, there was no donkey,-the little brute had got into some bushes and strayed.
Well, there was nothing to do but go. on, and make the best of it we could. We arrived at the yards in good time, and when the cattle were safe within the rails, so exhausted were we that we lay down on the sand, each man. where he stood, and slept. For an hour and a half we lay there in merciful oblivion, and then on again, one boy being sent to pick up the tracks of the donkey. Day-light came, and soon one boy disappeared; in a short timethere were only the stockman and myself left; and then he went. I rode to the top of a high sandhill and caught a glimpse of them on the plain below going as fast as their horses could lay legs to the ground towards the river. What on earth was I to do? If I let. the cattle go they would nearly all perish, or give us very hard work to get them together again; and yet a man could not tamely die. My tongue was dry and seemed of enormous size; I had visions of all the most alluring drinks I knew. Though always a moderate drinker, I felt that, if I got in alive, I could never stop drinking while nature held out. However, I tried to endure it yet a little longer and flogged into the cattle once again. Stubborn brutes, they knew as well as: