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LOCAL AND GENERAL NOTES. Cheshire folk will read with pride the account of the brave conduct of a small detachment of Cheshire Mounted Infantry, who, with some of the Berkshires, successfully held an over- whelmingly superior force of Boers at bay at Kaalfontein. The little garrison was under the command of Lieut. Williams-Freeman, and he deserves every credit for his splendid defence of the position. For over six hours the Cheshires were subjected to a terrific bombard- ment, but fortunately not a man was hit- Of the gallant act of Trooper Park, of the Cheshires, it is impossible to speak too highly. At the commencement of the attack he rode through the Boers under a heavy fire with a despatch conveying news of the affray to a neighbouring British force. The brilliant defence of this station will live in the glorious annals of the Cheshire Regiment. An incident at the meeting held this week in the Town Hall to consider the Beer question gave rise to considerable comment. Mr. J. R- Rae (District representative of the National Trade Defence Association) rose to speak on a resolution which had been proposed, when he was unceremoniously called to order by Mr. M. Kennedy. Dr. Stolterfoth was, as a matter of fact, the chairman of the meeting, but Mr. Kennedy evidently thought that he was the chairman, or that the worthy Doctor was not capable of performing the duties. At any rate he told the chairman that he should put the resolution, and peremptorily insisted that Mr. Rae had no right to speak. Mr. Kennedy was, of course, entirely in the wrong, and Mr. Rae, as might be expected, had his way. We are not at all disappointed to learn that there is a prospect of a good, stand-up fight in St. John's Ward. Mr. C. G. Haswell has now been before the electors for nearly a week, and the Radicals have taken all that time to find a candidate willing to break a lance with him. The opposition is represented by Mr. J. D. Siddall, a gentleman not unknown hitherto in municipal politics. Mr. Siddall will be remembered as having been elected for St. John's Ward on the 5th June, 1891, in place of the late Mr. T. Q. Roberts, who was then made an alderman. Mr. Siddall's term of office expired in November, 1893, when he was rejected by the ratepayers, and has not until now again appeared in the electoral arena. On his first appearance Mr. Siddall was chaffed as a man of one idea," that idea being his avowed intention of gaining a seat in the Town Council for the sole purpose of securing better wages for the scavengers. His crusade was a disastrous failure. Mr. Siddall, it seems, still adheres to his principle of fighting an election upon a programme of one plank, but he has made an alteration in the timber this time. He is going to the poll on the present occasion, not for the sake of the scavengers but for the sake of the Museum, in order, as he informs us, that the Grosvenor Museum may have a good representative on the Council. We yield to no one in our respect for the Museum and in our admiration of the excellent educational work that is being carried on in the schools there, but that admission does not imply the necessity for a special representative of that body upon the Corporation. Even were the point conceded, the Museum is already admirably represented on the Town Council by Alderman Stolterfoth, not to mention other Councillors deeply interested in the welfare of the institution in Grosvenor-street. Does it not also appear a little far-fetched on Mr. Siddall's part to attempt to drag in the Museum question into a St. John's election, seeing that the Museum is not even in St. John's ward, but in St. Mary's ? Apart from all these objections, every one of which is fatal to Mr. Siddall's claims, does not this mode of conducting an election betray a singularly illiberal and narrow-minded view as to the duties and responsibilities of a Town Councillor? Once admit the principle for which Mr. Siddall con- tends, and you are driven logically to elect men to the Council to represent all the public institutions of the city. We should then have a member for the Savings Bank, another for the Free Library, another for the Infirmary, another for the Fire Brigade, another for the Oddfellows' Hall, another for the Handbridge Institute, and so forth. But would the city, would even these particu- lar institutions be the better for such special representation ? Is there not a danger of doing an injury to the organisations it is sought to benefit by making them a shuttlecock of political animosity ? Mr. Siddall may pro- fess to come out as the champion of the Museum pure and simple, but it is desirable for the electors to bear in mind that, if he is elected, he will be an equally zealous advocate of another institution, not quite so popular, in Watergate-street, and will be at the beck and call of the Radical Caucus, whenever the occasion for his services arises. It is in the last degree undesirable to introduce political partizanship in connection with a strictly non- sectarian, non-political agency like the Museum. The question of the fair wage clause in relation to the Police Clothing Contract was revived in the Town Council on Wednesday by Mr. Carr. The Watch Committee recommended that the tender of a London firm which had previously successfully tendered for the work be accepted, but Mr. Carr suggested that the firm did not conform to the fair wage clause. Mr. B. C. Roberts and Mr. W. Vernon.went up to London a few years ago to make enquiries in the matter, and they presented a report to the effect that the firm were observing the clause. They also found that the firm supplied clothing to the Government and the London County Council, both of which bodies insert in their contracts, or estimates, the fair wage clause, and most of the members of the Council were then satisfied as to the bona-fides of the firm. Mr. Carr may have excellent reasons for his complaint, but if he expects any support he should place the Council in possession of them. It seems that Mr. Vernon went up to London a fortnight after he and Mr. Roberts had been there, and interviewed an employe of the firm, with the result that he came to the conclusion that they were not carrying out the fair wage clause. This, however, cannot be seriously taken as evidence against the:contractors. The Town Council are pledged to the fair wage clause, and are, we take it, genuinely anxious that it should be observed, but they would not be considering the ratepayers' interests if, on the uncorroborated statements of Messrs. Vernon and Carr, they rejected the contract of people who tender the lowest and have done good work for the Council. We hold no brief for the firm in question; all we say is that the charge against them has not been proved. It is regrettable that friction should arise between two public bodies like the Chester Guardians and the General Infirmary, and we trust that the discussion at Tuesday's meeting of the former authority will have the effect of removing all causes of unpleasantness. The Rev. Mr. Lowndes did a wise and politic act in bringing forward his proposal for appointing the Chairman of the Guardians a governor of the Infirmary, and so paving the way for his election on the Board of Management at the annnal meeting of the Infirmary. It is to be trusted the governors of the Infirmary will readily accede to this reasonable request. According to the rules of the institution no guardian, as such, is eligible for appointment to the Board of Management of the Infirmary unless he is already a governor of the insti- tution, but by the action taken at Tuesday's meeting Mr. Pover will now be eligible for that position. On all grounds this seems the best way out of the difficulty. and will in all probability tend to make the two institutions work more in harmony than has been the case recently. Though the conference of the Cheshire Poor Law Guardians at Crewe on the subject of providing a home, apart from any workhouse, for the accommodation of sane epileptics was not so unanimous as might have been desired, it undoubtedly took a step in the right direction. The conference affirmed the principle of the desirability of providing a home of this kind, and it was evident that there was a strong feeling in favour of the adoption of the Tarvin Workhouse for the purpose. This building is' now practically empty, but of course the staff has to be kept up, and the con- sequent expense to the ratepayers is large. Looking at the matter broadly the suggestion that the Tarvin Guardians should board out their inmates, and allow the workhouse to be converted into an institution.for the reception of epileptics seems an excellent one. Difficulties might arise regarding the manage- ment of the institution, but these should not be insuperable. Unfortunately for the success of the scheme it was evident at the conference that the representatives of several Unions attached more importance to the provision of a home for imbeciles, and one speaker suggested that a central institution should be built with accommodation on one side for imbeciles and the other for epileptics. This, however, would entail an enormous expenditure, and an ex- penditure that would be partly unnecessary, for the imbeciles can be sent to the asylums. It would seem a far better plan to make use of the Tarvin Workhouse, that is provided the building is suitable for the purpose. la doing this the various Unions would be committing themselves to a small expense, and if the idea did not work satisfactorily they could revert to the present system, without incurring any loss. —————— 0 ——————



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