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JOHN ADAMS'S SOUTHAMPTON ALMANACK.
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that self-interest should be such a strong instinct. It has been said that all the world is a stage, and men and women are the actors, but this town, with its many public boards, has at times also resembled a circus, for there have been people who have aspired to fill some or other of the many public positions of various kinds in the town, apparently not so much from a laudable desire to assist in directing the complicated municipal or other administrative machinery foi the benefit of the public at large, as from a wish to drive wheelbarrows of their own, to adorn themselves in various ways, or to work mysterious wires by which certain small wheels are made to go round inside big wheels. Our retrospect of such obscure proceedings is that of a circus-like performance without any applause.
Duiing the past year there has been a growth of public spirit—a very welcome sign in a growing town—where more public spirit has long been wanted.
The great temperance question has been much discussed, and brought to the front, particularly in the autumn, during the United Temperance Mission Week, and during the time the magistrates were considering the renewal of licenses and applications for new ones. A license has been granted for refreshments on the Pier (a decision which has been intemperately criticised by temperate people), some of whom for the time, forgot to be temperate in all things. There has unhappily been far too much drunkenness, especially among the maritime population and their hangers on. Our retrospect of public feeling on this subject shows that, if the advocates of total abstinence would adopt a programme for reforming public houses instead of abolishing them, they would have the great majority of people in this town with them.
In February we had a Parliamentary Election, and as seven months before that date two Conservative members were returned, in accordance with the fitful course of politics in this borough, the Liberal candidate was elected. In Sir Francis Evans (the Chairman of the Union Steam Ship Company), the town has of course a good commercial representative, but our retrospect shows that in the circumstances connected with the unseating of Mr. fankerville Chamberlayne on a technical point, public feeling was strongly inclined to the opinion that the late popular Conservative member was hardly dealt with.
As maybe seen by a visit to the docks, or a voyage from the Royal Pier to the Itchen, progress has been made in the great work of the Dock Extension. More progress has also been made beneath the water than is apparent above its surface. This extensive work has been moving on. The available area for dock purposes has been enlarged, and some of the new quays along the Itchen are approaching completion.
• The progress of business at the (Docks has been the "most satisfactory progress to record. The statistics of this trade for the year 1896 have not yet been officially stated, but those for the previous year have been announced during the period under review, and from them we have learnt that the tonnage shows a very satisfactory increase—as much as 75 per cent, over that of 1892. The cargo outward and inward increased 49 per cent., the passengers increased 71 per cent, the mails 44 per cent., and the parcel post consignments 30 per cent., between the same periods, while the quantity of bunker coal passing through Southampton increased as much as 91 per cent. As the commerce of the port is almost wholly carried on by steamer traffic, this remarkable increase in the quantity of coal necessary for the ships shows unmistakeably the great growth of the traffic. The value of the imports into Southampton, according to the last annual return, was £10,005,688. The value of the total exports of
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