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The Press. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1864.

WILL THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEET? Thb whole of the press of the Middle Island now teems with complaints as to the present condition of the Colony. But what is to be done? Is the General Assembly about to be called ? It seems to be assumed that it will be summoned to meet shortly, but no sign has yet been given by the Ministers. The Estimates have been Toted till next March ; there is therefore no constitutional necessity for calling the Assembly together before that time. It may readily be presumed that *he present Ministers will not submit their position to the judgment of Parliament until they are compelled to do so. The opportunity of appropriating the money voted by the Assembly for the purpose of forming military settlements, to the object of importing a number of ordinary settlers into Auckland, is one too tempting to be lightly relinquished. Auckland has got the rest of the Colony under its thumb for the present; and an Auckland Ministry *» not likely to remoTe the screw, so long as it has the power to the {treasure. What then are the reasons which are likely to compel the Ministry to appeal to the Parliament. If they are unable to obtain money to carry on the present expenditure, one of two tilings must happen—either that expenditure most come to a sudden stop, or Parliament must be asked for fresh powers to enable Government to offer such extravagant terms as shall win the coy affections of. the money market. But will this contingency be realised ? Will the Government be unable to get money ? The rumour that an attempt was about to be made to borrow from the Bank of England is significant on this head. It is possible that the Government, under the pressure of great necessity, may be driven to offer terms so extravagant for temporary accommodation as to command a supply of money for immediate use, which shall enable them to carry on to the extreme limit allowed them by law, the experiment in colonizing one province a. the expense of the rest of the colony. We showed yesterday that such arrangements were totally illegal. but there axe no means of preventing them. There are, in fine, no penalties attached to the breach of the law; it is, therefore, powerless. If, however, the Government isabeolutely unable under any terms to raise money Cor present neoeadtiee Parliament muet be called at

once. It will be eaid— what can the Assembly (b when it meets ? That of course is a question for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We at all events do not regard the position of the Colony as at all hopeless. Ther? are various measures which might be proposed, winch would have the effect of restoring our credit; and if the Assembly be called, it will be the first task of the Ministers to propose their own scheme for that object. On this score then of immediate and pressing embarrassment, it seems quite possible that the meeting of the Assembly may be postponed. There are, however, other questions to be considered. First in importance is that of the sum of money which we are to pay for the troops. It ie obvious that the conditions imposed by the Home Government in this matter entirely upset the financial arrangements of the Treasurer for the current year. The charge of £40 a man instead of £5 is to commence in three months from the present time. From the first of January, the annual expenditure of the Colony will be increased by from £300,000 £400,000 a year. For this vast addition to the General Government expenditure no provision whatever hae been made. Tlie Assembly has not assented to it, and should the Ministers determine to keep the Imperial forces in the country without calling the Assembly, the Hou3e of Representatives will not be of necessity compelled to vote the cost. It is hardly to be believed that the Governor will allow this fresh debt to be incurred to the mother country without the sanction of the representatives of the people. It is incredible that such a usurpation of the functions of parliament would be attempted, though really one is getting pretty well used to encroachments on the powers of parliament, which in any other country where responsibility is established by laic, instead of by mere usage, would subject a minister to impeachment. Still, as this is a question between the home and colonial governments, and the Governor will be held responsible for incurring a liability to the former which the latter may refuse to recognise, we doubt whether Sir G.Grey will, for hia own sake, permit any great delay to take place in procuring the definite acceptance or rejection Dy the Assembly of the conditions appended by the Home Government to the assistance of the Imperial forces. This seems to us to constitute an imperative necessity for the meeting of the Assembly without an hour's delay. Many other minor reasons point to" the same conclusion. Amongst them the condition of the Panama Contract is not the least in importance. Captain Vine Hall has returned to the colony charged with power, as it is understood, to modify the conditions of Mr. Ward's contract so as to make it acceptable to the Government. It is impossible that the Ministers can allow this question to stand over. The boats will soon be ready, and the shareholders will be anxiously awaiting a definite answer as to what is to be done with them. No Government in its senses would keep a powerful company in a state of uncertainty for many months. To do so would destroy the last rag oi credit which New Zealand may still retain in England. We, therefore, think that this matter will necessitate an immediate meeting of the Assembly * And we may add that the Guarantee Act passed by Parliament, makes the meeting of the Assembly a condition precedent to obtaining the loan of a million. On the whole then we think the Assembly wilj meet, and that immediately. But where? The resolution of the House was that, unless the Cook's Straits Commissioners should in the meantime have determined where the Seat of Government should be fixed, the Assembly should meet at Christchurch. There seems no obstacle in the way o< carrying out this resolution. The affairs in the North are much in the same state as when the Assembly met in Wellington, when there M-as the remains of a war which had burnt itself out without coming to an end. The Cook's Straits Commissioners having gone to Nelson, have by this time left the colony. Whether they have made their report from Nelson, or whether they will take the voyage to discuss the matter, and will send their report from Sydney, known. If they are agreed as to the qaestion referred to them, there seems no reason which should prevent their report being sent at once from Nelson. In that case the Assembly will be called in Cook's Straits. If any delay should occur in the report, the Session must be held in this city; and we hope the General Government has been informed that accommodation could be provided, at a few days' notice, for both Houses, in many respects far better than that to which they have been used elsewhere. The Town Hall buildings can readily be fitted up for the chambers, and offices can be run up on the vacant ground at the back, sufficient, with the rooms already built, to accommodate the clerks and eervauts of the Houses. Messrs. Morton and Robertson, opposite, would, we undertake to say, contract for the commissariat, and put far better dinners on the table than the members have enjoyed elsewhere. We do not know whether this matter has been before the Government, but it is of importance that it should be known that if the Assembly be not called at Christchurch it is not because there is any difficulty in providing the requisite accommodation. The Vailey Steeplechase.—To-day this event is to take place in the Heathcote Valley, the time for starting being fixed for two p.m. Arrangements have been made which will allow passengers by railway to leave every hour from the Christchurch station, while those who wish to take the road may patronise Cobb's six-horse coach, which is to start from the office at 12.15 p.m. The following are the entries, with the respective weights:—Peacock, 12st. 91bs.; Drummer, 12st. 71bs.; Harry Hieover, 12st 71bs.; Discount, 12st 71bs.; Locomotive, lOst. lOlbs.; Little Maid, 9st. 71bs. Bed Rover was scratched, we believe, yesterday, and it is rumoured that the starting of both Discount and Drumnofr is doubtful. The Victoria Bridge.—At length, after months of waiting, together with unlooked for accidents, this bridge across tbe Avon, which in its unchristened state was known as the Papanui bridge, has been thrown open to public traffic. The ceremony of opening it took place about 11 a.m. yesterday, when a large number of citizens congregated together to witness the event. The members of the City Council, headed by their Chairman, J. Ollivier, Esq., together with the Chairman of the Lyttelton Municipal Council, Dr. Donald, drove on to the bridge in a four-in-hand break when, as an introduction to the proceedings, various toasts were proposed and heartily responded to. Mr. Ollivier proposed the Queen, his Honor the Superintendent, and the Lyttelton Municipal Council, after which Dr. Donald, upon whom devolved the duty of giving the structure some definite name, replied, and expending a bottle of champagne in the usual manner, named it the Victoria bridge, and declared it open to the public, at the same time proposing the health of the City Council and its Chairman. This toast having been duly honored, the proceeedings terminated, and the crowd quickly dispersed. The approaches to the bridge have been greatly improved, and neatly formed asphalte foot pavements have been made on cither

■<ide. We congratulate the inhabitants of C:iri«tchtsrch on the acquisition which the bridge will undoubtedly prove, anl in particular the tradesmen and others in the vicinity on the removal of so gre.-vt a hindrance to business as the stoppage of traffic across this part of the river has long been found to ent»il. Kohler's Gardens. —Mr. Kohler, who has been very successful in drawing a largejittendanee to this popular place of amusement, on Monday evening, by way of varying the entertainment, produced a very original novelty in the shape of what he calls his Champagne Galop. The inexhaustible bottle has become a stale trick, but an inexhaustible flow of champagne from a cornet is certainly something out of the common, and all who were at the gardens on Monday can testify to having heard the corks popping, and the wine gurgling out just as long as Mr. Kohler chose to play. Our teetotal friends will be glad to learn that in spite of this lavish effusion of champagne no one was found to be at all more exhilirated than was strictly proper. To-night, we observe, Mr. Kohler intends to give a Steeplechase Assembly, when his own particular champagne, and possibly some of a less ethereal character, will be forthcoming. The duetts of the Brothers Kohler on the cornet, and the performance on the rock harmonicon, are too well known and appreciated to require our notice.

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Bibliographic details

The Press. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1864., Press, Volume V, Issue 598, 29 September 1864

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The Press. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1864. Press, Volume V, Issue 598, 29 September 1864

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