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THE CITY COUNCIL—PAST AND PRESENT., Press, Volume VI, Issue 639, 16 November 1864
THE CITY COUNCIL—PAST AND PRESENT.
We are sorry to be again compelled to lift up our voice and disturb the peaceful repose of our City Councillors. We know that in spite of Dr. Watts idleness has its charms, and no one can appreciate more fully than ourselves the exquisite pleasure of having nothing to do ; still, when there is a great deal of important work that has to be done, and men have been placed in oflice for no other purpose than to do it, we may be pardoned for gently reminding them that this is not the time they should choose for luxuriating in the dolcefar niente. At the hour when the meetin" of the City Council should have taken place on Monday evening there was no quorum. The same thing happened the last week but one, and on several previous occasions ; in fact, it has become such an ordinary thing for thc meeting to be adjourned for want of a sufficient attendance of the members, that we wonder it has never occurred to them to change their meetings from weekly to fortnightly, which would save the two or three punctual members the uncom fortable half-hour the bye laws compel them to spend in the deserted Council chamber, while it does not appear that the public interests would receive any the less attention. Meantime the summer is rapidly advancing, and with the summer the usual fever and malaria ; the citizens are anxiously waiting to learn what steps the Council intend taking to prevent the ravages of those diseases whose virulence depends entirely upon the sanitary state of the city, and as the foremost among these they want to know what is I going to be done about the drainage.
It is a little singular to note the change that has come over the Council since it entered upon its labors in 1862. Christchurch still remembers with gratitude the services of its Council in those days of its vigorous youth. The work before it was immense, but it went at it with a will, and with a result so successful as to have done much towards the establishment of municipal institutions throughout the Province. But time changes all things, even City Councils, and comparing the Council of to-day with that of 1862, we are sensible of a singular alteration. In one respect they have made great advances, in another they have fallen far behind. They have lost the power of sticking hard at work which distinguished their forerunners, but in the length and sonorousness of their speeches, and in the capacity for carrying on a prolonged discussion, they have immeasurably the advantage. It would be a very curious speculation to investigate the causes of this change, and we venture a surmise that they would be found to be in a great measure owing to the gentlemen who have successively filled the chair. The exalted position occupied by the chairman naturally makes him the model on which every councillor seeks to form himself, and the influence of the chair can be very plainly traced in the peculiar characteristics of the two municipal eras. It was impossible for any body presided over by the original Lord Mayor not to be infected with a little of his unbounded activity, his love of work purely for work's sake, his utter inability to sit down and be quiet, or as opium-eating De Quincey, speaking of Dr. Arnold, calls it with a feeling of intense disgust, his ■* diabolical energy." The forte of the second mayor lay in a different direction, but his influence has also made itself felt, and under his auspices a taste for oratory has gradually sprung up in the Council. The eloquence of the I members has been developed to an extent which impairs their practical efficiency ; they talk but don't work.
Now, with every disposition to give the gentlemen of the City Council full credit for what they do, we must remind them that there are other matters of the highest importance which they are leaving undone. We must beg them to remember those matter-of-fact and pound-shillings-and-pance considerations, which have a great deal to do with their affairs, and detract largely from the purely aisthetic view in which they are disposed to regard them. Tne ratepayer wants to see something done for his money, and the chink of the departing coin discourses a sad music which leaves him no pleasure in the harangues of the most eloquent councillors. If tlie City Council do not intend to get on with the drainage of Christchurch let them give up their places to thoss who will. The drainage of Christchurch is what wo want done. We give our votes for, Drainage sans phrase. The Ag_ic-_tu_al Show.—lt is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that the Show takes place to-day at the grounds of the Association. We hear that most of the large shops in the town will be closed, and a holiday made on tlie occasion. Tlie prizes will be awarded at the dinner to be given at the Town Hall in the evening, when his Honor the Superintendent will take the chair at 7 p.m.
Edttcatios Rate—The inhabitants of Okain's Bay appear to have taken the lead in carrying out the provisions of the new Education Ordinance. A committee has been formed of Messrs. Ware, Priest, Moore, Harris, Mason, and other respectable inhabitants. Mr. Harris, was elected by ballot as chairman of committee. The newly-formed committee have made an estimate, in accordance with the 28th clauss of the Ordinance, of the income and expenditure required for the current year, and have passed a rate of £1 a house in order to make up the complement of the same. It was decided to put theschool buildings in a proper state of repair.
CHBISTCHTJBCn CITT Council. —On Monday last Messrs. E. B. Bishop, Bailey, and Burnell were the only members present at the requred time, being two less" than a quorum. The business of the Council therefore stands over until next week. We believe we are correct in stating the Report of the Committee on Drainage was to have been brought up and read.
Mb. Thatchkb. —We beg to call the attention of our readers to the advertisement in our columns with reference to Mr. Thatcher. This gentleman gives his first entertainment to-night at the Town Hail, and a glance at the programme leads us to believe that he has selected subjects for his local compositions that will render the evening an amusing one. Pbincess' Thbatbk. — Last night the drama "Janet Pride" was repeated. We were sorry to notice so small an attendance in every part of the theatre, partly owing, no doubt, to the inclemency of the weather. The Fair One with the Golden Locks was as successfully acted, and as cordially received, as on the last occasion. To-night a new comedy is to appear —A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush —with a repetition of last night's extravaganza.
THE CITY COUNCIL—PAST AND PRESENT., Press, Volume VI, Issue 639, 16 November 1864
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