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The Press. FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1865.

The City Council must be feeling much like a fish out of water. After being so long the subject of universal praise, it suddenly finds itself exposed to harsh criticism and rebuke. For a long time after it started into being it remained the one public body of which all men were accustomed to speak well. It might happen occasionally that an impertinent newspaper found something disagreeable to say about the drainage of Christchurch, or 'that a householder on the extreme outskirts of. the town could not be brought to understand why the Council did not form and metal the few hundred yards of road that led to his solitary dwelling place; but these were only partial and transitory fits of ill humour which did not disturb their general tranquillity. The Council had plenty of work before them and they did it well. They laid culverts, filled up gullies, levelled the streets, spread metal, formed footpaths, and in various ways contributed to -raise Christchurch from a ragged look-; ing village to a respectable town. They about the streets and survey with honest pride the work of their hand*; the citizens blessed them, and their fame went abroad throughout all the province. This however was while they were spending money voted by the Provincial Council -, the time came when that money was all gone, and the Council weie forced into the melancholy alternative of levying rates. A change has since, come over the hitherto unruffled aspect of municipal affairs. Where there are rates there must be ratepayers, and it. is the nature of ratepayers to be critical and morose; so that it has come to pass that there has sprung up a Eatepayers Protection Society, a body, .which regards not municipal dignity, but speaks slightingly of the Ikfayor and pours out" the vial of its wrath over the Town <3lerk. The two partiesH-the Conservatives of the Council Chamber and the Radicals of the Lyttelton 'hotel—came into collision on Tuesday last, when, the leader of the latter demanded that the Chairman of the City Council should call a meeting in the Town Hall, where they could settle their difference in public before, the assembled citizens. The C3»aiman declined to comply with this request, w& his refusal draw down, ripen him some bitter denunciation from the opposite party. Yet it seems nther hard that the Chairman of the City Council should be expected to

summon and preside over a meeting the particular object of which was to ? hold him and Bis colleagues up to the public as blunderers. A man may deserve hanging, but it is not fair to ask him to put the rope round his neck himself. As honest Barnardine sivys, "I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion; if you have anything to say to mc, come to my ward, for thence will I not to-day."' What i position too for the Chairman if lie 'iad had to put to the meeting a rosolutiou flatly condemning his own conduct, and been forced by the daty of his office to disguise all inward pangs, and with a semblance of joyful ala rity to declare it carried unanimously ! and how painfully ironical the applause of the meeting would sound when voting him their thanks for his exemplary behaviour in the chair! Mr. Luck, at \ all events, was unequal to the task, and j the City Council has undergone -ensure in consequence. ITet they have \ had one source of consolation, the same as that which comforted the Roman miser— populus mc sibilat, at mihi plaudo ipse domi. Whatever j resolutions the Ratepayers Association might pass in the Town Hall, they have been able to soothe themselves by a jubilant chant in praise of their own honor and dignity within the inviolable seclusion of the Council.Chamber. But a still worse fate seems impending over the devoted heads of the City Council than that of being exposed to the sarcasms of indignant ratepayers. Mr. W. Williams and Mr. Travers, following in the wake of Mr. Barton, of Dunedin, maintain that there have never been such things as municipalities at all; that they are mere myths—a set of colonial Mrs. Harrises —a name and nothing more. {Supposing this to be true, what a dreadful state of things for the phantom beings we have come to look upon as forming the Christchurch City Council. .They stand before us, to all outward seeming, men and Councillors; but to the unglamoured eyes of the law's magicians they are but galvanised, as it were, with a temporary and factitious existence, and the moment approaches when at the touch of the magic wand of the law the enchantment will cease, and Mayor and Councillors alike fade away from our eyes, and like the baseless fabric of a vision leave not a— — but no, our City Council, mythical though it may be, has left very substantial tokens of existence behind it. We take heart again, and console ourselves with the reflection that what ±he law unmakes it can make again, and that the City Council is too useful and necessary an institution to be in any danger of permanent dissolution. One most gratifying and unexpected fact came out at Tuesday's meeting, and that is that the public of Ciiristchurch have fallen into a state of chronic dislike to remaining unrated. It was quite refreshing to hear with what unanimity every one agreed that rates ought to be imposed, and declared his-own willingness to submit.to them. We have heard of an impatience of taxation, but here was an impatience of being untaxed. Mr. Williams; ex officio, we presume, as leader of a society for the protection of ratepayers, did indeed oppose the imposition of rates upon unoccupied land, but be was cried down at once, and buried out of sight under a mountain of "facts, figures and arguments. With such general agreement Upon the main point of the matter it ought not to be a work of insuperable difficulty to arrange ■the details. The City Council have certainly been most unfortunate in their attempts to provide a ratepayers' roll,; but they may be able to accomplish the task at last, and make a, fresh start in their interrupted career, in time to save the .town from relapsing into the condition of things which existed before the municipal era. But if the doom of annihilation inexorably a\vaits them, we recommend them to go straight to the place of sacrifice —the Supreme Court —and meet their fate like men. Happy despatch is the privilege of high public functionaries, and in their case j they may rest assured that it will only be a prelude to a happier resuscitation.

Ajs important case was tried yesterday in the Besident Magistrate's Court the final issue of-which may have a considerable effect-upon the Provincial Exchequer. The Provincial Grovernment, or rather the Superintendent, sued, a man named Robert "Watson for passage money for some of his friends, amounting to £25 65.----Bd., for which a bill had been given in favor of the Treasurer of the Province of Canterbury for the time being. As will be seen by our report the Besi- j dent" Magistrate dismissed the case ! with costs, upon, the ground that such a note had no legal value. This decision appears to have been based upon the judgment in the case of Cowie v. Sterling, referred to by the counsel for the defence, which was delivered |by I Chief Justice Jervis, in the Court of Appeal, and concurred in by Judges Pollock, Cresswell, Growder, and Baron Alderson. The question in that J

case was whether a promissory note in favor of a secretary for the time being was valid at law. The following was the judgment:— C. J. Jervis said—With every desire to make out this instrument to be a promissory note, I am afraid we must hold it not to be one. It is clear that a promissory note must contain a mention of the payee by name or designation. This document does not do so ! >y name. It promises to pay to tin secret nry for the time being. That d'»«*> not mean the man note secretary, to< t!te noteis payable nine mentis hem--' !t means the mamckoshall be seererar. nine months hence, who may bo a dir Keren t person* from the'present secretary. I doubt if we could aid the not v by reference to the collateral agreement, for the note must, on its fare shew who is the payee. The judgment must be affirmed. There J3 also another case which bears out the decision given by the Resident Magistrate, and which was cited by the solicitor for the defendant iv this action, viz., the case of Yates v. Nash, argued before Chief Justice Earle, and Judges Williams, Willes, and Byles. The ground of action was a bill of exchauge payable six mouths after date to the order of the treasurer for the time being. Sfc. After hearing the arguments of counsel on both sides, C. J. Earle delivered the following judgment, which was concurred in by the other judges :— C. J. Earle said —I am of opinion that the defendant is entitled to our judgment. The true construction of the bill is, that the defendant undertakes to pay to the order of the person who will, at the maturity of the bill, be the treasurer of the institution. In order to constitute a bill of exchange, it is essential there should be a drawer and a payee, and though the payee may be described in any way, yet, in order that the bill should be valid, be must be a person capable of being ascertained at the time the bill is drawn. That doctrine was laid down in distinct terms as to promisory notes in Cowie v. Sterling, and in my opinion bills of exchange stand upon the same rule in law It follows that this is not a valid bill of exchange, and that no action can be maintained upon it as such. We understand that the Provincial Government intend to appeal against the decision of the Resident Magistrate, and the case will therefore be re-argued before the Supreme Court, though the cases cited appear so very analogous that there seems little chance of tb!e judgment of the Court below being reversed, and those who are indebted to the province on account of immigration bills will thus be able, if so disposed,to evade payment. Of course the Grovernment will take care that, as the point is .at besk so very doubtful, the mistake is rectified at once and the bills so drawn in future a3 to place their legality beyond dispute. Cotjroh or England School Commitxjse. —For Borne time this Committee ha 3 been desirous of appointing a master to St. Luke's school to assist the mistress, Mrs. Young, under whose close attention the school has attained a very fair standard. The number of children attending the daily school is about fifty, and we have but little doubt that the number of scholars will be doubled when it becomes known that a master has been ap? pointed. The Committee made application to the Board of Education to assist them, but riot heirig-successful intheirrequest, they have now determined to invite annual subscriptions for the partial support of the daily and Sunday schools, the subscriptions to form a fund and to be kept quite distinct from other parochial funds. Mr. Hampton, the master Appointed, has been for some time master of a school in the Bays, where he was much esteemed foe the attention paid to his scholars; he is a native of the north of Ireland; and ! educated in a very large school in Porfcadown> - The Committee for the present can only guarantee him the sum of fifty pounds, exclusive of fees, and this without a residence. We hope" the parishioners will send in their names-as subscribers to this roost desjirable fund. We believe we are not wrong, in stating that about £80 a year will be required to: meet the demands 'existing at present j and surely this ia but a small amount to be asked for by the committee, to be placed at its disposal, and who can calculate the amount of good done, the saving to the public in after years by education ; and this makes us urge our request again—" give liberally." While on the subject of schools, we congratulate the committee on their endeavours to establish a night school. The one to which we allude, and commenced under the charge of Mr. Taylor, in Tuam street about three weeks back, numbers about eighteen scholars ; this in our minds is a satisfactory commencement, and serves to show that such an establishment was needed, and will be appreciated more and.more by those parents who, for various reasons, cannot allow theis children to attend the day school. Benevolent Aed Society.—The following subscriptions and donations have been received during the past week, on behalf of the funds of the Benevolent Ahi Society:—The Hon. j H. J; Tancredi £10 ; Mr. Harman, £2 ; Mr. | Booth, £lj Mr. Treadweu, £1 Is: Mr. Q. Buckley* £5 -5s ; Mr. McDowell, £5; Mr. JJ Anderson, ss; Mr. H. S. McEellar, £5 ; a Friend, 3s j and from Captain Wilson's lectures, £6. Total, £30195. Pbtn-ckss's Theatbe.—The performance at the theatre, which was; to have taken place last night for the benefit of Mr. Willis, has been postponed.until Saturday nex*, owing.to the boisterous state of the weather. Fras. —Yesterday a stack of firewood, the property of Dr. Idltie,- of Papanui, became ignited, and considerable excitement.' was created in town by the clamorous ringing of the fire bell. It appears that Dr. lallie had. caused a'large quantity of firewood, about 400 cords, to be stacked in therear of his premises, and yesterday his gardener was burning some' refuse from the land when the fire became communicated to the wood, which was gqjskly in James. The fire Brigade turned

out with promptitude, and by means of the hand-engine succeeded in confining the fire to about one-half of the stacks. Providentially the wind, which was very strong at the time, wt»s blowing directly from Dr. Lillie's house, r it, from its being connected by outhouse* with the burning pile, would in a'l probability hare been consumed. Ratspaveks' Roi/l.—The amended Ratepayers' Roll will bo open for inspection at thtCouncil offiVe from Saturday, August 5. :o Friday, the ISth, and all objections must bi lodged with the Town Clerk within that per od. The objections will be heard at a meeting o 1 >n to be held on Friday, the 25t> u=.t. Waste L.vkds —Th«> following is the rctui-t >f Waste Land sold yesterday at the LandV Office :—Timaru district, 380 acres ; Elle.» mere, 50 acres ; Banks Peninsula, 20 acres : Malvern, 20 acres. Total, 470 acres ; 50 teres were also granted on compensation Sheriff's Court.—The Sheriff held a Coir yesterday at the Town Hall for the purpose o' j assessing some land in the Windmill road, tht- I property of Mr. T. R. Fisher, which has been required by the Government for the Great Southern Railway. A special jury was em punnelled, of which Mr. R. Symington was foreman. Dr. Foster appeared for Mr Fisher, md Mr. Garrick for his Honor the Superinlendent. The action was to assess the value o( 'ome land in the Windmill road, belonging to Mr. Fisher, which had been taken by the Government for railway purposes, and also to determine the depreciation which the adjoining land, the property of Mr. Fisher, had suffered by the railway blocking up a right-of-wny. The amount of compensation claimed was £550. On behalf of the appelant Messr-. Hark and Ollivier were called, who respectively rated the damage at £630 and £638 ;snd on behalf of the Government Messrs. Stevens and Beetham, the former of whom considered £370, and the latter £313 as a fair price. The jury returned a verdict of £450. Imports fhom Austhaiasia. —The imports of Australasian products into Great Britain have made a very decided progress during the last ten years. Tims in 1855 they were valued at £4,500,200; in 1856 at £5,736,043; in 1857 at £5,925,305 ; in 1858 at £5,291,287; in 1859 at £5,834,641 ; in 1860 at £6,469,243 ; in 1861 at £6,901,487 ; in 1862 at £7,109,809; in 1863 at £7,160,666; and in 1864 at £10,039,329. The exports from the Australias will be observed to have made a great stride last year, every settlement participating in the advance. Thus the value of the imports from Western Australia last year was £71,408, against £60,681, in 1863 ; from South Australi, £1,203,131, against £1,097,795 in 1863 ; from Victoria; £4,043,813, against 2,681,239; from New South Wales, 2,809,915, against £1,966,948 in 1863,- from Queensland, £344,362 against £253,201 in 1863 ; from Tasmania, £464,293, against £360,405 in 1863 ; and from New Zealand, £1,102,407, against £740,397 in 1863. Thirty years since—in 1835 —the exports from the Australias were valued at 'less than £1,000,000 per annum; now they exceed £10,0O0,QO0.annually j and yet the work of Australasian colonization has little more than commenced at present.

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Bibliographic details

Press, Press, Volume VIII, Issue 856, 4 August 1865

Word Count
2,853

The Press. FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1865. Press, Volume VIII, Issue 856, 4 August 1865

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