The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit. MONDAY, MAY 6, 1881. The Rangitata Traffic Bridge. .
TOWN EDITION. r lssued at 4.30 p.m. ]
Our contemporary the Timaru Herald has taken great pains in an article published on Saturday, to point out to the Geraldine County Council that it is not liable for the share of the extension of the bridge over the Rangitata river. This is what it says : The republication of Mr Higgenson’s original reports on the Rangitata bridge, should, we think, suffice to put an end to all contention as to the merits of the dispute between the counties of Ashburton and Geraldine on that vexed question. The case stands thus. The County of Geraldine refuses to contribute anything towards the cost of extending the bridge on the plan adopted by the County of Ashburton, on (he ground that that design, or any other except cylinders, is worthless for such a purpose, and that it would be merely throwing away money to carry it out. To this the Ashburton County replies in effect that this ground of refusal is not tenable, because the design that has been adopted was furnished by an engineer of the highest available capacity and reputation, whose opinion on such a subject must be considered of greater value than fhe opinion of the Geraldine County Councillors. That seems to settle the matter; for it stands to reason that if the bridge is to be extended at all, it must be done on the recommendation of some engineer of recognised standing, such as Mr Higgenson is admitted to be. But it is just at this point that the case of the Ashburton County breaks down utterly, or, the very arguments professedly used in support of it. The implication that Mr Higgenson recommended the adoption of iron piles for the extension of the bridge is neither more nor less than a disengenuous misrepresentation of facts; and it is in the last degree unjust to I
Mr Higgcnson for the Ashburton Con. ly Council to attempt to make him responsible for that foolish piece of wasteful blundering. We have now Mr Higgenson’s own words before us, and we hold the Ashburton County Council to their own argument, namely, that the design for the extension of the bridge must be decided by an engineer of high standing and capacity. The Geraldine County could wish for nothing better.
What docs Mr Higgenson say in his long and careful report of the 28th November, 1878 ? He gives the particulars of five separate designs employed for bridging shingle rivers, descending in the scale of merit from No 1, the cylinder design on which the present bridge is constructed, down to No. 5. a design consisting of 40ft spans on piers all of wood. He strongly recommends the adoption of No. 1 on every ground of economy, efficiency, durability, and uniformity. He say, “We have proof in all cases where used, that clyindrical iron piers are above all others best adapted for these rivers. They are easily sunk to a proper depth below scour. The exact nature of the foundations is rendered visible ; and what is of great consequence also, they offer the least possible obstruction to the force of (he current in whatever direction it may set. They are also permanent, as, beyond a coat of paint now and then, they give no trouble.” lie then explains each of the other designs in turn, and recommends their rejection one after another, on very sufficient grounds. Of No. 5, he simply says ; —“ As Ido not consider tit's suitablefor this river, I shall not give any further information about it." Having thus condemned No 5 in the most uncompromising manner, he strongly reiterates bis recommendation of No. 1 as the only one calculated to answer the required purpose. He goes on, moreover, to say, “Should the Council desire to erect a more economical structure and risk the fiossibilify of driving files to the requited depth, I recommend that No. 3 be adopted,” No. 3 being a design of strong 38ft ironbark piles and ironhark girders, which Mr Higgenson had previously adjudged from experience to he of extremely doubtful applicability to the Kaegitata. Well, what did the Ashburton County Council do ? Did they adopt No. I ? No. Did they adopt No 3? No. Tney decided to adopt design No 5, the very one which of all others Mr Higgenson had condemned, the very one which he had warned them not to adopt, even for the purpose of a mere cheap, temporary, makeshift, the very one which he had declared so utterly unsuitable that he refused to give any information about it. The only difference was that they substituted six inch wrought iron piles (a diabolical invention of the Chairman, wc be'ieve) for the wooden piles mentioned by Mr Higgenson. They did not consult him further upon the subject; but simply instructed him to furnish them with a plan [of the design which they, of their own perverse will, bail selected dead against his most urgent advice. He furnished them with a plan, of course, just as he would have furnished them with a plan of a bridge made of lucifer matches or barbed wire, if they had asked him for it in the way of business ; and so the matter ended for the time. But let us see what followed. When the Geraldine ratepayers saw what a flimsy folly the Ashburton County Council were putting up, or rather trying in vain to stick in among the boulders, for 50 per cent, of the piles came to pieces in driving, they repudiated the whole transaction, on the plain ground that they bargained for a bridge, and that this was no bridge. Then—mark the cunning of the thing —the Ashburton County Council threw poor Mr Higgenson at their heads, and said that this was not only a bridge, but the bridge for the Rangitala, accoi'ding to the authority of that eminent engineer. We had some recollection of Mr Higgenson’s report, however, and we thought we should like to refresh our memory about it before finally succumbing to the arguments of the Ashburton County Council. We have now placed it before our readers,-and we leave them to form their own conclusions from it, as to whether the Geraldine ratepayers are not perfectly right to refuse to contribute a shilling towards (he cost of the extension of the bridge on the condemned design No. 5. We say emphatically that a woise piece of chicane on the part of a public body than the conduct of the Ashburton County Council in this matter, never came under our notice, and we are con- ’ vinced that if they seek new legislation, as they threaten to do, to compel the Geraldine ratepayers to pay for their amateur engineering, they will not only fail, but will also incur grave censure for the utterly, unjustifiable course'the'y have pursued, We publish the article in extenso merely for the purpose of enabling our readers to perceive the manner in which facts may be so twisted as to make them present an entirely reverse appearance to that really borne by them. The writer of the argument in the Herald is evidently Geraldine to the backbone, and were his relations of the circumstances veritable, the fairness of hisremarkson theinjustice ofdemanding from the Geraldine Council the half share of the expenses incurrable in the extension would be irrefutable. This, however is not the case, possibly the cmp>essement with which he has undertaken the defence of the Council has rendered him somewhat inconsiderate of a strict adhesion to the facts as they occurred pur et simple. We will regard it as such. Fortunately we are in possession of facts which will disprove that portion of the arguement on which is based the whole of his defence. The Herald says “ The implication that Mr Higginson recommended the adoption of iron piles, &c., &c.,” and proceeds to quote from that gentleman’s summary on the designs submitted by him the remarks in which he says he does not consider No. 5 (the design adopted by the Ashburton Council, with alterations) suitable for the river. On the face of it, it does appear that it was merely a case of “ flying in the face of Providence ” to adopt this, but here is where the first ommission occurs, and it is in this form : The committee appointed by the Council to select one of the plans, met Mr Higginson on the 2nd of January, 1879, and, it being deemed desirable to economise in the matter to as great a degree as possible, that gentleman was questioned as to the adaptability of plan No. 5, provided iron piles, the greater stability of which, as regarding those constructed of iron bark, is acknowledged, were substituted instead of those contained in the design. His reply thereto was favorable, naturally the Committee came to the conclusion that this course of procedure would be most desirable, and requested him to furnish them, with details, and in their report to the Council, which was adopted, recommended the work being so carried out. Then, as to the remark regarding the belief that this substitution was a diabolical invention of the chairman’s, it is refreshing to find that Mr Walker was not present at the meeting, although a member of the Committee, an apology for his absence being read thereat. To turn to the action of our Geraldine neighbors, however. In February of this year, when the deputation from the Ashburton Council waited on these gentlemen, it was pointed out to them the design winch had been chosen, and particulars given ofthe breakage of three of the six piles driven by the Government, yet with this information to ■hand the Council passed the following resolution ;—“ That the Council, in reply to the deputation from the Ashburton County Council, desires to acknowledge its responsibility in leference to the Rangitata bridge ; ” and we even have it from the columns of their present advocate, that one of the members facetiously remarked that it was kind of them to acknowledge their liability, seeing that under the Act they could not get out of it.
Further, as they had not means wherewith to meet the liability, they decided that an appeal should be made to the Road Boards, in the form of the following resolution ; That, as this Council has accepted the responsibility of paying half the cost of the Kangitata bridge extension, and whereas this Council has no funds in hand available for the purpose, the Geraldine and Mout Peel Road Boards, as the i epresentatives of the district most interested, be asked to contribute i,i,000 each towards that work ; failing which, the Council wiU proceed to strike a rate of sixpence in the L for the purpose over the whole County. The Council carefully abstained from bringing the Counties Act into force until the road boards had obtained an appropriation of the impounded land fund, but, this done, they were willing to incorporate the Geraldine County under the same; and when they discovered their liability turned to those they had befriended for aid. This was not forthcoming, simply because the Road Board Ordinance would not legalise such an expenditure, and immediately it is discovered by the Geraldine County Council that their Ashburton co-part-ners have “ been and done something as they didn’t ought to,” in using iron piles for the work. Their sophistry in the endeavor to escape their liability in this direction is futile, and places that body in a most ludicrous position. As they have “ made their bed,” so they must lie thereon. T lie Heiald has merely followed an old law precedent in its article—viz., “in the event of a bad case, abuse the other side ; ” this it has done to its heart’s content, the cloud of surmises contained therein brushed lightly away, it becomes a propos de * icn.
Presentation. —Mr J. Nugent Wood was recently the recipient of an address and purse of fifty sovereigns, presented to him by the people of the Switzers, for which district ho was so long Warden and R.M.
Longbeach School Committee. —A special meeting of the Longbeach District School Committee was held in the Main School, on Saturday last. Present— Messrs Taylor, Moore, Croy, and Dawson. Owing to the unavoidable absence of Mr Grigg, chairman, Mr Taylor was voted to the chair. Mr Isbister was appointed secretary to the Committee. A report from the master of the Main School, was read and considered very satisfactory, the average attendance having increased from 28 to 52. Application from Mr E. J. Jennings, teacher of the Main School, for an increase of salary, and an assistant teacher, was received, it being resolved to put both matters before the Board of Education. It was resolved to write to' the Board asking them to confirm Mrs Jennings’ appointment as sewing mistress, and to purchase a supply of coals and firewood, Mr Croy and Mr Dawson kindly offering to cart the same free of expense. Accounts amounting to LIG 10s lOd were passed for payment, and the meeting adjourned. Notice to Correspondents. —Several letters to the Editor are unavoidably held over till our next issue. A.K.R.A.C. —An advertisement convening a meeting of the above Chapter is published elsewhere. Order of Discharge. —Henry Godfrey notifies his intention to apply at the next sitting of the District Court (June 5) for an order of discharge in bankruptcy.
Accepted. —Mr Olliver notifies that the tender of Skillen and Ryan for gorsecutting has been accepted. Borough Auditors. — Nominations for the above appointments are due on Wednesday, Ist June.
A Memento of the Tararua Disaster. —On Saturday we were a number of photographs of the survivors of the Tararua, and also some of those of the bodies that came ashore soon after the wreck of the ill-fated vessel. Mr W. H. Mathieson, of Invercargill, is travelling for Mr Henry, photographer, of that town, and has appointed Mr Jones, stationer, his agent here for the sale of the photos. Queen’s Birthday. —The train arrangements in connection with the above public holiday appear in another column. Light Porter. —Mr Cook publishes an announcement that he is prepared to undertake light porter work elsewhere. Challenge. —ln ouradvertising columns will be found a notification challenging Mr Oughton to run any three distances, for not less than LlO, and not more than L 25, signed by Mr Robert M'Farlane. Arrest. —On Saturday Detective Neill, of Christchurch, arrested a man named Charles Richard Bushett (lately in the employ of Messrs Milsom and Co., of this town,) on a charge of obtaining goods under false pretences. It appears that Bushett obtained some goods from Messrs T. R. Hodder and Co., and stated that he would call and pay for them, as he was expecting a sum of money from home. Instead of calling himself and paying for the goods as promised, Bushett sent his wife, who told the shopman that her husband had mat with an accident in Christchurch, and she had to go down and see him, and that they would pay for the goods on their return to Ashburton. Suspicion being aroused through rather more luggage being booked by rail as excess by Mrs Bushett than was considered necessary, a telegram was sent from the police here, and. resulted in the arrest of Bushett, just as he was leaving by the Hawea. lie will be brought up to-morrow before Mr Wood 4 R. M. The Tararua Disaster.— The inquiry into the wreck of the s. s. Tararua was continued at Dunediu on Saturday. Nothing further of importance was elicited. Mr. Mills, the mnnager of the Union Steamship Company, gave evidence, in the course of which he said that the total known nunmber of souls on board the vessel when she struck was 151, made up as follows : 125 men, 12 women, and 14 children. Twenty men were saved, which would make the loss by the wreck 131 lives. Prior to the rising of the Court the question was raised whether, at the close of the evidence, the lawyers should be permitted to address the Court. A doubt was expressed on the point, as thero was no charge to which they could address themselves. The Court agreed to consider whether it should, with the view to giving the lawyers the privilege asked, formulate a charge, or whether, as things now stand, the lawyers may make their speeches to urge the Court to restore the officers’ certificates. The inquiry was adjourned till to-morrow.
boll, during her confinement at Ashburton, was attended by Ur Ross, who up to 1880 frequently came to the respondent's house. At the end of 1881, the respondent had a tooth drawn by Dr Ross, who said it was necessary for an operation to be performed. For this purpose, he said it was necessary for Mrs Campbell to go to Ashburton. The parties at this time were living at Christchurch. Arrangements having been made by the petitioner for Mrs Campbell to stay with a Miss Royle in Christchurch, but petitioner found that Dr Ross had taken upon himself to procure a room for Mrs Campbell, a quarrel then ensued, and the petitioner forbade Dr Ross visiting his house. The petitioner had a suspicion of his wife at that time. In February, 1881, petitioner found conclusive evidence of his wife’s adultery with Dr Ross, and upon charging her with it, she admitted it. Letters, which Mr Bell said were of a most disgusting character, would show that the respondent and corespondent had engaged rooms where they used to meet daily, and there would be no difficulty in proving adultery. Letters contained indecent language, and mixed
with high-flown sentiment and prayers to Almighty God for blessings on respondent. Celia Gosling, residing at Christchurch, said that in February, 1881, a woman calling herself Mrs Graham came to her and asked to rent two rooms, a sittingroom and a bedroom. The rooms were let to her, and she came frequently, and always at about 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning. A man, whom witness understood to he Mrs Graham’s husband, came shortly after her. They were in the bedroom together. They never stayed all night in the same room. [Witness here identified the photographs of Mrs Campbell and Dr Ross as the parties who came to her rooms.] Hannah Miller, wife of John Miller, of Christchurch, deposed that she was servant to Mrs Campbell in 1880. Remained so until February last. She knew Dr. Ross when she first went to Campbell’s. Dr Ross visited the house almost daily. Mrs Campbell had been ill, but was getting better. The Campbells removed to Christchurch in March, 1880. Dr Ross was in the habit of visiting the house, but not as frequently as before. Witness remembered taking a note from Mrs Campbell up to the railway station, it was addressed to Dr Ross. Mrs Campbell frequently posted letters to Dr Ross. Witness recived letters from Addington Post Office addressed to Mrs Campbell. They bore the Ashburton post mark, she never heard of any quarrel between Mr and Mrs Campbell. As we go to press, a telegram informs us that a rule nisi was granted.