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BARRY RAILWAY EXTENSION.

-------MR. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN,

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MR. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN, AS A MUNICIPAL STATESMAN. fBY MR. J. A. LOVAT FRASER.] An Australian statesman, who visited this -country in connection with the intended Coronation, recently stated that the most popular man in the Empire was Mr Chamberlain. This assertion is one of many proofs of the remarkable position which the Colonial Secretary has made for himself within the last few years. The career of Mr Chamberlain presents many features of interest And instruction. In view of the importance now attached to municipal affairs by Lord Rosebery and other prominent politicians, it is interesting to know that Mr Chamberlain was a municipal administrator before he became an Imperial one. As mayor of Birmingham he exhibited all the qualities which have distinguished him as Colonial Secretary. His entrance into the Town Council of Birmingham marked a new era in the history of the town. He performed his civic duties with the same enthusiasm as he has devoted to his Colonial administration. No work is worth doing badly," Mr Chamberlain ones said, and he who puts his best into every task that comes to him will surely outstrip the man who waits for a great opportunity before he condescends to exert himself." This has been Mr Chamberlain's motto, and he himself has put its teaching into practice with the best results. Mr Chamberlain, who is a native of London, took up residence in Birmingham when he was twenty years of age. He early exhibited an interest in the welfare of his fellow-men. He was a teacher in the Sunday school of the Unitarian Church of the Messiah. He taught in the night school, and took part in penny reading entertain- ments. He was president of the Mutual Improve- ment Society, and was a prominent figure in local debating societies. In 1870 he entered the Town Council. Up till that time the policy pursued by the Council had been one of economy and the routine performance of every day duties. With ,the advent of Mr Chamberlain, a new spirit was infused into the municipal administration of Birmingham. In November, 1873, he was chosen mayor. His first step was to induce the Council to take over the supplying of gas to the town. In spite of much hostile criticism, Mr Chamberlain estimated that at the end of fourteen years there would be an annual gain of £70,000. As a proof of his foresight, it may be stated that the actual surplus at the end of the period mentioned was £70,337. Mr Chamberlain's next step was to take over the water supply. The idea had been dis- cussed and advocated years before, but nothing was done until the second year of Mr Chamberlain's mayoralty. In December, 1874, Mr Chamberlain carried through the scheme for the municipalisa- tion of the water supply, and it has proved an equally valuable investment. The third great achievement of Mr Chamberlain was the improve- ment scheme begun in 1878. By means of that scheme, one of the handsomest streets in the country took the place of a wretched and insanitary Blum area. Mr Chamberlain disarmed all opposi- tion by the enthusiasm of his advocacy. When a technical difficulty arose with regard to the funds for the purchase of the slum property, several prominent citizens guaranteed an advance of j6 50,000, in order that no delay might occur, Mr Chamberlain making himself responsible for £ 10,000. To these schemes, involving millions of money, Mr Chamberlain brought the same strenuous energy, the same capacity for pushing things through, that he has shown as Colonial Secretary. He made the name of Birmingham synonymous with enterprise and good government, and he himself doubtless acquired much of the experience and knowledge of affairs which has stood him in good stead as an Imperial minister. The square bearing his name and containing the Art Gallery, the Free Library, and the Council House, commemorates the municipal services of the Colonial Secretary. To Mr Chamberlain is largely due the interest in municipal government which is so conspicuous a feature of modern social life. No one nowadays regards the town which takes over the public supply of gas or water as doing anything very bold or enterprising, but it was different in the early seventies. Mr Frederick Dolman, in his Municipalities at Work, has justly said that Birmingham, under Mr Chamberlain, was the first to initiate, in a broad and comprehensive spirit, the new methods of municipal administration. I remember in the eighties hearing that remarkable and brilliant scholar, the late Bishop of London praising the civic patriotism of the medieval cities of Italy, and lamenting that the same spirit was so rare in England. Great strides have been made within the last fifteen years in the direction of removing this reproach, and of awakening men to a sense of their duties as citizens. Civic patriotism and what is called the civic spirit have in these days become familiar ideas. Great municipalities, like Liverpool and Glasgow, show the world what a city can do for the welfare of its citizens. Much of the credit of all this is due to the Colonial Secretary and his municipal statesmanship in Birmingham. Having evoked and fostered the civic spirit, Mr Chamberlain is, now evoking and fostering the spirit of Imperialism. May he be as successful in his labours at the Colonial Office as he was when Mayor of Birmingham. ¡

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r-M R. CARNEGIE AND BARRY.

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,---MRS. GRUNDY'S JOTTINGS.