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The Lyttelton Times, in its article of Saturday, grows very warm in defence of the Government, but its advocacy would perhaps have been more effectual if the writer had better comprehended the meaning and intention of the strictures he wished to rebut. We nowhere suggested repudiation. " "We did not " charge against the members of the present Executive the sins and follies of their predecessors " —norshall we imitate our contemporary in specifying as the three most prominent of those " sins and follies," the tunnel, the railway, and the West Coast road We are also quite prepared to admit that when the Treasury is empty the most liberally disposed Ministry can pay nothing out. But what we lifted up our voice against, was the practice that has prevailed now among several successive administrations of treating the local requirements of the country districts as matters of inferior importance, and of regarding the money voted by the Council to the Road Boards as a sort of reserve fund to be drawn upon at discretion for supplying any deficiency elsewhere. We pointed out that the mischievous effects of such a policy were beginning to be felt, and that if continued it would infallibly lead to the destruction of the land fund.

The Lyttelton Times, without denying this, defends the withdrawal of the funds voted for the Koad Boards on the ground of the necessity of reducing the overdraft. That excuse will hardly serve. The overdraft is not a novelty, an unforeseen difficulty which has suddenly presented itself to complicate accounts and preclude the fulfilment of engagements. It existed at the very time the Government promised these sums. The estimates were drawn up in December last, when half the financial year had already expired, and consequently when half the year's revenue and expenditure had no longer to be estimated but had already been received or incurred. With such assistance it

must have been an easy mutter to calculate the probable receipts and expenses for the remaining six months, and the Government then announced that, after making provision for the overdraft and all liabilities, there would remain a sum of about £50,000 available for the Koad Boards. They now find that they will only have half as much. What then has occurred within the last three months —what event unforeseen and unsuspected in December—to upset all their calculations, and to necessitate the reduction of these votes by 50 per cent ? The argument of the Lyttelton Times that the money has been wanted for the reduction of the overdraft simply means that the Government made a great blunder in their estimates. We are scarcely satisfied with that explanation, but will accept it in default of any better and in deference to such excellent authority.

Opening op the Flaxton Chubch.—The attendance at this ceremony yesterday (Monday) was very large, but the weather rather unfavorable. A full report will appear in our next issue. Disteict Phizes. —Yesterday afternoon the firing for theee prizes by the L.V.A. was concluded. Two members, who were engaged in marking on Saturday last, competed. Lieutenant Wright and Sergeant Kayner were present in charge. The following are the scores made :—Sergeant-Major Walker, 26 ; Sergeant Allwright, 20. Gunner Craigie, who fired on Saturday, therefore remains at the head of the score in Lyttelton with 42 points.

Mb. Hamiltox ok Phbenology. —Mr Hamilton delivered his final lecture last evening, and it we mHy judge from the large and attentive crowd which we observed there, he haa become more appreciated in proportion as his perfect acquaintance with his subject has become better known to the public. His subject was " Tho Education of the Feelings." We regret that we are unable to give a detailed report of his discourse. After hid lecture was finished, about a-quarter to ten, he examined aoine heads from amongst tue audience. Meeting at the Chtthch Bpsh.—On Thursday evening last a meeting of. the inhabitants in this locality was convened to take into consideration the advisability of building a place of worship, which would also serve the uses of a Sunday and a day school. The meeting took place at Mr C. Young's, when, that gentleman having promised a suitable site for such a building, a committee was at once formed to collect subscriptions and other assistance. A day school is a great necessity in tho locality, and will be appreciated, as there are no schools within three or four miles round.

Theatre Eotal. — The programme last evening waa the same as that of Saturday evening, except that the tableaux of the " Seven Ages of Man " were omitted. "Faust and Marguerite" was succeeded by " The Happy Man," in which the leading parts were taken by Mr Clifford and .Mi?s Holt. This deserving actress, who played well in this piece, and, we think, better still as the bailiff in " Black-Eyed Sukey," on Friday last, has, wo think, scarcely received the notice she deserves. This evening Mrs. B. N. Jones, who has on many occasions given her services gratuitously at this theatre, will take a farewell benefit. Mrs. Jones, as an amateur in Chrietchurch, has always been most willing to give her services, and no doubt

to-night when she appeals to the public on her own behalf she wili meet with a generous reception. Mechanics' Institute.—A. meeting of the shareholders of this institution was held yesterday afternoon. The meeting whs a special one, called to consider a proposition made by the Government to take up the original shares, and consequently to make the institution a Government one. The attendance of shareholders was large, and Dr Prins was called to the chair. The chairman called upon the treasurer, Mr E. B. Bishop, to explain the reasons why the meeting had been called. Mr Bishop explained that the present meeting could only be culled a preliminary one. as the fixed intention of the Government had not been ascertainei. The Government had, however, offered to take up tlie shares of the original shareholder and make the institution a Governm-nt one, provided the Provincial Council would agree to the necessary outlay. The institute,* as heretofore conducted, had always been able to pay its debts, although the interest on capital had not always been met. It was proposed, he understood, to throw the room open to all, and the present meeting had been call -d to find out whether the shareholders were willing to accept the offer made by the Government. The present shareholders seemed to be in a very peculiar position. The directors, it seemed, according to a Tery good 'egal opinion, had no power to issue scrip, and if the present offer was refused lie could not see really in what position they would be placed. It was considered by the committee that all should stand on an equal footing; those who had given their shares to the institute, and those who had not. The Government, however, did not pledge themselves to any course, they merely proposed to lay before \,he Council at its next sitting a proposal to pay off all the sharee, and to open the institute as a public reading-room. Captain Brown then mcved, "That in consideration of the Provincial Government extinguishing the claims of several shareholders and any outstanding liabilities of the institute, and guaranteeing to open the Mechanic's Institute of Christchurch free of charge to the public under necessary resolutions, this meeting consents that the property shall be vested in the Provincial Government." The motion was seconded by Mr John Rutland. Dr Turnbull considered that before giving such power as proposed by the resolution the general consent of the shareholders should 'je obtained The powers they possessed should not be given up without the expressed wish of a majority of the subscribers. Mr Bishop explained that the interest of subscribers would cease as soon as their subscriptions ran out, and if the resolution was carried and adopted by the Government, all would have access free to the reading room The Rev. Mr Fraser and Mr John Ollivier spote in favor of shareholders only having a voice in the matter, and ho ied that the matter would be unanimously settled. The resolution was carried nem con. Mr Ollivier then moved the following resolution, which was carried —" That in order to give effect to the foregoing resolution, we the undersigned shareholders consent to surrender all claims on the property in the institute on the receipt ofthesumof £5 for each and every share held by us respectively." The resolution was signed by upwards of twenty shareholders, representing sixty-one shares, and the meeting then broke up.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18670326.2.10

Bibliographic details

Press, Press, Volume XI, Issue 1367, 26 March 1867

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1,426

Press Press, Volume XI, Issue 1367, 26 March 1867

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