THE LATE SESSION OF THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL.
Press, Volume I, Issue 1, 25 May 1861, Page 2
THE LATE SESSION OF THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL.
There are few few persons who did not feel, when Mr. '.[ Fitz-Gerald in his letter to the "Lyttelton Times " not , ; long ago, said that the Provincial Council had been • reduced to a cypher by the Superintendent, that, although j the charge contained a truth, yet the mode of expression; was somewhat strong. Mr. Fitz-Gerald does sometimes, allow his pen to get the better of his judgment, and lays about him in a very gladiatorial style. The pugna- : city of his country we suppose must have vent. Now an over stated case is always a damaged one ) and the Superintendent who had the next move, might have weakened it still more. That is what any prudent and sensible man would have done. What has really happened ? Mr. Moorhouse has made his next move; and has actually more than justified the grave charge made against him. If Mr. FitzGerald's language was tod
strong l describe what had occurred, it was too ' weak to»jiaractorise what rras about to happen. j The ijperintendcnt promised, as we understood, and every we have spoken to understood, that his Honor j ■would ftt complete any contract for the railway works, or for Rising the loan, without the consent of the Counci ; He jnakes the contracts and calls his council togethe,; He lays before them information contemptuous in its mager paucity. He has a majority, ?o he refuses them nire than o c night to consider what it has taken himself-ionths to effect; no time is allowed for discussion; still lessfpr calm deliberation. To call the late meeting a session .f a deliberative assembly is to abuse language It was, slurried uncomfortable conversation ; and this is the maeer in which vc areabont to enter on a work, the largest to the means yot undertaken in the world. If they had time, there were some questions which, tjje Council might not unreasonably here liked to have asied; and to have hadanswered too. Who is Mr- Holmes? vhat works has he done? has he ever made a mnnel?of what, magnitude? through what material? how long was he about it? There may be satisfactory answers to all tlese questions, but the public know nothing about them, and there is real and justifiable anxiety on the subject. We haire ourselves put these questions to several members of the council, and the answer has always been, "We dont mow " .Again, who is the Engineer of the line? Mr. Stephenson was a yeur ago. Has he been dismissed? tliis would indeed be news. The Canterbury folk will certainly be the admiration of men of business: they dis. miss IMr. Stephenson and appoint Mr. Dobson. Is that so? Now, we want to know, did any one yet hear of any railway in the woild having been made without a principal Engineer? or of any contract being made without the advfce of the Engineer ? perhaps his Honor is the engineer; ifjjo it is only one more trade in addition to the many in wd Mr. Moorhouse has won the admiration which awaits jtoccess. Mr Stephenson we have heard had a new confrctlr ready the moment it was known that Smith jitid Kifght had given up; this looks as if Mr. Stophenson hardly fxpected to be passed over. Will it tend to get us our mopey in the London market, this snubbing the first engineer in the world ? No doubt there are explanations tojill these question?, all we are saying is the Provincial Council afforded the proper opportunity of conveying inch explanations to the public; bnt on the contrary find <hnt body made (Ire tool for nothing but evusionsmd concealment This is farming ami suspicious. Agaij, Mr. Stephcn-on had a particular mode of makingtthe tunnel, which he explained to 1113 contractors He addil a very large sum to the estimate solely to secure this mo|o of construction; without this plan he thought the tunifel could by no possibility be made in five years. Is that pan to be followed ? if not, how is the tunnel to be madi? are we to pay the price charged for a costly mode offcecuring* expedition' and not. to get-the expedition? fVe have heard it said Mr. Holmes is going to make tie tunnel by shafts from the service; a mode which every engineer has declared to be impossible, within the limits a|to cost and time contracted for. Nowjwhy was the Session of the Council first hur-2'i(d, thii cut short; the representatives of the people treated,jirs«; with contempt, then with discourtesy ? We all know! Because there was one man who had made these iritters the subject of enquiry who had talked with en|neers and capitalists in London on these very sutyectsj and who might, therefore, have asked these and othj- questions. When Mr Fitzgerald stood for Akaroapt' became necessary to hurry matters in the Councilj When tie writ was returned the game was up. Til writ was returned on Friday morning, and the Proelanfition proroguing the Council was instantly issued. JAnd we have reason for believing it was issued witboufthe knowledge of some at least of the Members of the Executive Council We all admire pluck. What Englishmen most thoroughly despise is anything approacllng to a bounce or a cock-tail The Superintendent, Hien he attacked Mr. Fitzgerald at the Town Hall, lie other day, lost his temper, and spoke most valiamy, though not exactly with the dignit}' attaching to %i M Chief Magistrate of the Province." He shrank from the contest when it was offered in the Council. Our reade s may call this by what name they will. Mr. Oliivierdid indeed, when secure of a majority for exclusion, talk very bravely and v&vy loudly'; but we must, once for all, apologise for declining to notice that gentleman's most flueut and flatulent oratory. We must draw a line somewhere : nnd there is a marked difference between the piper and his wind bag. And these windbags, the more you squecse them the more they squeek, and we shrink from inciting them to "sing i' the nose" nshey do most pitcously when pinched. i
What remains*?* that the Provintinl Council bus been made thp organ for concealing information from the public. Is it supposed the public will permit this 7 j This journnl is the first result of such-policy—others lessagreeable may follow.