The Lyttelton Times.
January 10, 1852. One of the most urgent wants which is beginning to be felt most seriously in this settlement, is some adequate machinery for the due administration of justice, both civil and criminal. What is the substitute which we are obliged to put up with at present? There is a Judge residing- at Wellington who is paid £800 a-year out of the revenue of the Province of New Munster, to which the taxes paid by us contribute a very large quota. The " district" of this Judge includes this settlement, together with those of Wellington and Nelson. His Honor visits Nelson twice a-year, more or less regularly; but all judicial matters occuring in this settlement which are beyond the jurisdiction of a Resident Magistrate's Court have to be judged by him at Wellington. There is also a Judge at Otago who receives £800 a-year, and who, up to the present time, has had literally almost nothing to do. We believe he has sat but once on the Bench since his appointment, nearly two years ago. Although, as yet, our population does not amount to more than three-fourths that of Nelson, there is liule doubt but that our need of the services of a Judge are, just now, greater than that of the older settlement; much greater certainly than that of Otago. That rough and lawless portion of the population of New Zealand, which has no fixed home in any particular settlement, but whose particular characteristic is the greater quantity of crime committed by it, in proportion to its numbers, than by any other class, ever hangs about the footsteps of a settlement in the iirst stage of its foundation. Experience has probably taught these adven turers that it is less easy and convenient to enforce the penalties of the law against them in
such places than in those which have been established for a longer period. Nor is the need less in civil matters; perhaps there is no condition of society in which the want of a superior legal authority is so severely felt, as in one where the construction of society from the very base is going on, where new rights and privileges have to be ascertained and settled, where various questions of property daily arise, and where there is none of that custom or tradition which operates so powerfully in older communities to facilitate transactions between man and man. New colonists do not at once shake down into the position of neighbours who know that it is best, if possible, to avoid litigation. The few' who live by agitating instead of appeasing quarrels, are not at once silenced by the contempt of the peaceable many, and the very inconvenience of appealing to a distant seat of justice preserves them in their position of obstructors to the general progress. The prospect which they ban hold out to their victims, of a long absence from their industrious and pressing avocations, combined with a long- and somewhat dangerous sea-voyage, and an expensive residence in a settlement composed of strangers, is a menace which can always be brought to bear most severely upon those who are most busy in the good work of colonization, and most disposed to peace and quietness. The very fact that we are all especially busy in the work of rearing our future homes, makes the grievance more severe than a parallel case would be in an already-settled country. And yet, suppose for a moment that, before the establishment of steam, suitors, prisoners, prosecutors, and witnesses from the neighbourhood of Dublin had been obliged to attend the sittings of a judge at Liverpool, abandoning their useful occupations at home to embark in a small smack, and to bear the inconvenience, expense, and danger of the voyage thither and back, and of the sojourn near the Court ; —how great would have been the sense of wrong called forth ? What is already the consequence in this settlement ? We are not aware whether the threat of a voyage to Wellington implied in a lawyer's letter, has ever yet induced compliance with any exaction named as the other alternative. But it i*s commonly reported that more than one case of felony Ims been passed over without prosecution, because the prosecutors and witnesses dreaded the certain punishment of the voyage more, than they cared to run the chance of visiting another punishment on the criminal; and, recently, recognizances having b.>en entered into in the belief that His Honour would make a circuit to this place as well as to Nelson, we know that no other motive but the fear of their forfeiture, has induced some of the parties to embark, at six hours' notice, in a cutter of twentyfive tons, to perform a voyage of 180 miles, with great uncertainty as to the length of stay which might be required at Wellington, or the means and period of return. We cannot help feeling that much has been done towards the deterioration of a community in right feeling, when the desire to assist in the conviction and punishment of crime depends on the fear of penalties alone. Justice has already become worse than useless, when she renders attendance on her courts distasteful to the innocent and the injured. We wish to cast no reproach on Judge Chapman, who, we have every reason to believe, "is anxious and ready to exercise his functions among us ; and who, at any rate, is well able to appreciate the necessity which we have described, for near as well as good justice in an infant settlement. There are excellent materials on the spot for Grand, as well as Petty Juries; and it lies with the'Govenior-in-ChieY to direct the formation of a Jury-List, and the holding of sittings of the Supreme Court in this settlement. But it lies also with the colonists themselves, by public meetings and petitions, to represent this great want to his Excellency ; and if that appeal prove useless, to Her Majesty and to the British Parliament. Another accident, a fatal one, h;»s occurred within the past week on the Sunnier Bar. The boat owned by Mr. Thacker was crossing the bar on Tuesday, in a heavy swell, when ?i lad, a son of Mr. Hollingsworth, carpenter, was washed from his seat and precipitated into the sea. The body has not yet, so far as we can learn, been discovered. One thing we hear with surprise and indignation,—that no direct tidings of the accident were conveyed either by the owner of the boat, or by the men in her at the time, to the bereaved father, who was left to hear of his loss as he best might!
We arc called upon to notice as a most interesting fact, that a young gentleman, Mr. E. Leej has just succeeded in completing the overland journey from Nelson on horseback, without any great difficulty, and in so short a period as twelve days. This fact is a significant o#3, as it clearly proves, not only that the practicability of the overland route is no chirnaera, buf that we have been most inordinately frightened at its supposed dangers. Capt. Mitchell with his party took six weeks to traverse the space between Nelson and the Port Cooper plains : —Mr. Lee starts from Mr. Bedborough's sheep station, and rides over in less than a Jortifight. Some notes of the adventure have been kindly placed in our hands for publication, which we will give to them next week.
Much anxiety was felt here during the week in consequence of the non-arrival of the schooner "Return," which left Wellington before the " Fly." The ' Agnes and Hannah," however, which arrived on Thursday evening, brought the news that the " Eeturn " had put back to Wellington ; report says on account of her being too much by the head. We are informed that the " Cornwall" arrived at Wellington on Sunday last. The " Scotia" from Otago, the " Louis and Miriam" brig, and the "Chieftain" from London, via the Auckland Isles, had also arrived. The " Chieftain " took supplies from England to the Islands, and on her way rescued the crew of the " Countess of Minto," which was wrecked. The " Henry" schooner may be shortly expected here with the " Chieftain's " mail. We understand that the " Pauline," so long stranded in this Port, has been purchased by Mr. Swinbourne, who intends running her as a regular trader between here and Sydney. A gang of carpenters and sailmakers is already at work on board, and it is anticipated that she will be ready for sea by the middle of February. The vessel is to have a new name and register, spsA will be a great acquisition to the place, especially as her charter and freight money will be so much kept in the colony for the benefit of the settlers. An extract from a letter recently received states that Captain Lawrence, of the " Charlotte Jane," had been endeavouring to get the rate of insurance reduced upon vessels from London to this port, representing at Lloyd's that the harbour was one to which vessels might run in all weathers with perfect security ; —and that it was quite absurd to pay 50s. for Port Victoiia, whilst only 30s. is the rate for Sydney. Captain Lawrence hoped a reduction of ss. or 10s. would result from the representations he had made.
In accordance with the wishes of several members of the Society of Land-Purchasers, we publish in extemo the Report of the Council for the last quarter, of which we took a brief review last week. Report of the Council to the General Meeting of the Society of Land Purchasers, held at Christchurch, on Thursday. January 1, 1852. The Council have the honor to lay before the Society, the result of their labours during the last three months, which completed the past year of office, for which they were originally elected. 1. Since the last General Meeting the Select Committee appointed by the Council to inquire ir.to and report on the,best means of improving the communication between the port and the plains, have completed' their labours. The report, approved by the Council, lias already been made public ; and it was, as the society are aware, submitted a Special General Meeting called for the purpose ■J on the 6th December, at which it was unanimously J'-a'iopted. Its recommendations now await the decision of all the inhabitants of the settlement, for which purpose public meetings have been called at this place and at Lyttelton, to which the report will be submitted. i In the mean time, however, your council having % reason to hope that the co-operation of the Governmight be obtained to a work of such great public importance and utility, lost no time in transmitting a copy of the report to his Excellency the Governor-in-Chief, and they have much satisfaction in laying before the Society the reply received from his Excellency, which seems to justify the anticipations they had formed. Your Council, therefore, indulge a strong hope that this fruitful \ cause of dissatisfaction to the colonists may be.removed, and that an easy means of communication may be shortly established between the port and the plains, the advantages of which, in advancing the
interests and developing the resources of the country it is hardly possible to over-estimate.
2. The Council have had under their consideration the Act of Parliament which has been passed during the last session for the purpose of conferring fresh powers upon the Canterbury Association. The short time that the Council have had the document before them does not allow of their entering minutely into a consideration of all its details. Generally they approve of its provisions, but there is one important clause in it which has more particularly attracted their attention, and which they cannot pass over without special notice in their report They allude to the 7th clause, which provides the power for the Association to constitute a managing committee in the settlement, and to delegate authority to them. If it were intended that the Committee to be constituted under this clause should represent the inhabitants of the settlement, and should be responsible to them only ; in other words that it should be elected and independent, your council would fully approve of the principle involved in the proposal. But they cannot see any such intention indicated by the wording of the clause. On the contrary, it appears t at the proposed Committee would be in every respect subordinate and responsible to the Association in London, that their powers and functions would be revocable by it at pleasure, that they would in short, be dependent altogether upon it for their existence, still more with respect to the extent and continuance of their powers. Your Council cannot see in the constitution of such a body any improvement on the present system, under which an Agent exercises on behalf of the Association certain delegated powers ; subject to such conditions, even an elected Committee would, in the opinion of your Council be open to objection. But still more, the Act, as your Council are advised and believe, makes it necessary for the members of the Committee to be previously appointed members of the Association by name. If this be the case the Committee would not only be subordinate and dependent, but nominated. They would in fact hold with respect to the management of the land, precisely an analogous position to that which the present Legislative Council of the Province holds with respect to the general Government. Your Council think it hardly necessary to express an opinion that a Committee so appointed and constituted would not deserve or obtain the confidence of the people of this
3. Your Council are highly gratified in being able to inform the Society that the representations forwarded some months since from the colony to the managing Committee in England on the subject of the then existing Pasturage regulations of the Association, and the extreme desirableness of some attention being made in order to encourage the importation of stock into the settlement, have received from the Committee the most prompt and courteous attention. The suggestions conveyed in the Ileport of the Council on this important subject have been assented to in every respect, "so far as they do not interfere with the fundamental conditions provided by the charter and the terms of purchase for securing the unrestricted selection of land by purchasers." The Act of Parliament lately passed gives to the Committee this power of alteration and regulation, which they have at once and fully delegated to their chief agent in the colony, to carry out out " in any manner he shall think best, with the view of facilitating and encouraging to the utmost of his power the occupation of the unappropriated land in the settlement by pastoral capitalists." The Couucil think that the grateful thanks of the Society and the whole community are due to the Committee for this prompt attention to their expressed wishes on this important question, while they cannot but regard it as a measure of the utmost value to the colony, in providing the readiest means for rapidly occupying the tfhole settlement, and most speedily developing the resources of the country.
4. In reference to the expenditure of the funds at the disposal of the Agent of the Association, the Council have continued to point out such works as they have considered most called for, and of the first importance. At their recommendation the following public works have either already been commenced, or will be undertaken as the necessary funds are forthcoming. Ist. The Great Northern Road, in continuation of the road from the Ferry to Christcliurch, over the bridge at the Marketplace, as far as Papanui Wood. This work has been contracted for, and is now in course of co<n< pletion. The Council have also recommended that, as> soon as possible, a bridle and cattle-path in continuation of this road, over the Purarekanui, should be made as far as the river Courtenay, by which the whole of the country to the north of the settlement will be effectually opened up. 2nd. The building of a suitable Collegiate Establishment in Christcliurch. 3rd. The completion of the Lower Lincoln Itoad, as far as the bridge over the Upper Heathcote river. The Council have also recommended (although for the present they are aware that there are no funds for the purpose) that the trigonometrical survey of the plains on the south and west sides of the Courtenay should be extended
to the hills as soon as possible. They regard this as a work of considerable importance in reference to future sales of land, and they have reason to believe that the expense of carrying it out would be very moderate, as a large portion of the cost would be borne by occupiers of pasturage runs, by whom the country has already been in a large measure taken up.
5. The Clerk of the Council, Mr. Harman, elected since the last General Meeting, in the place of Mr. Wright, xesigned, has prepared a statement of the financial accounts of the Society, which is appended to this Report.
6. In resigning the offices with which they have had the honour to be entrusted again into the hands of the Society, the Council hope that their labours have not been altogether in vain. Aware that they have been placed in an anomalous and delicate position, with no legal existence, and with no real power or authority beyond that accorded to them by the courtesy of the agent of the Association, and the confidence of their fellow colonists, they still believe that the collective expression of public opinion, of which they have been it may be said the imperfect organ, has not been without advantage in promoting the interests of the settlement And while they hope that an early period will be put to the existence of such a self-constituted body as they feel themselves to be, by the establishment of representative institutions, yet, until this is the case, and until those institutions are granted, your Council do not hesitate to recommend their fellowcolonists to persevere in the course they have hitherto pursued, and to maintain their organization as a Society; for however unsatisfactory it may be, yet in the absence of any other legally constituted institution, it affords them the only means of collectively expressing their sentiments on public matters affecting the well-being of the settlement, and of advancing by co-operation and unity of action their common interests.
The Council cannot conclude their report without congratulating the Society on the progress made by the settlement during this the first year of its existence. The following brief summary of the results attained within this period will, they think, warrant this congratulation. Ist, The safe arrival in the colony of nineteen ships from the mothercountry, bringing upwards of 3,000 souls, and attended by an amount of loss and casualty so trifling as to be unprecedented in the annals of emigration. 2. About twenty-five thousand acres of freehold land purchased (with only a few exceptions) by resident proprietors, who have all been put in possession of their land. 3. Pasturage runs to the extent of four hundred thousand acres taken np by owners of stock. 4. A very considerable breadth of freehold land substantially fenced in and under cultivation, (your Council having reason to believe that not less than six hundred acres have been tilled for the coming harvest); while the amount of stock—sheep and cattle—already in the settlement, greatly exceeds what could have been anticipated within so short a time.
These substantial proofs of the progress of the settlement, combined with other scarcely less gratifying evidences, the great increase of the two chief towns, the uninterrupted enjoyment from the first of almost all the aids of civilization to which as Englishmen we have been accustomed in our native country, the order, peace, and well being of the whole community; these are results which your Council conceive justify the warmest congratulation on the success that has hitherto attended the Association's undertaking, while they call for thanks to Almighty God, to whose blessing on the great work in which they are engaged, ycur Council would entirely refer the past, and would rely with unabated hope "for the future. On behalf of the Council, "W. G. Brittan, Chairman. The following is His Excellency's reply to the letter of the Council of Land-Purchasers on the subject of the Sumner Road: Colonial Secretary's Office, Wellington, Dec. 11, 1851. Sir, —I am instructed by the Governor-in-Ohief to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the Ist instant, enclosing a copy of the Report of a Select Committee, appointed to make enquiries as to the best means of communication between Port Victoria and the Canterbury Plains. In reply, I am to convey to you his Excellency's thanks for the Report, and at the same time to inform you that the opening up of a line of road between Lyttelton and Christchurch is a subject which has frequently occupied his Excellency's attention, and is a project which he will be most ready to aid to the best of his ability in any well devised plan for obtaining so important an object. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant, (For the Colonial Secretary) J. E. Gkimstone. R. J. S. HakmaN; Canterbury.
Continued from p, 2. The Chairman stated that in a matter requiring such an. amount of consideration, it was desired to give every facility for free discussion, and even to invite opposition, if any well-consi-dered proposal could be brought before the meeting. Mr. Ceidland stated that the present bridlepath crossed the range at the lowest point, 1150 feet above the level of the sea, the line suggested by Mr. Bead must therefore be objectionable from its elevation at crossing the hills, if from no other reason. The Chairman inquired whether any other gentleman had any proposition to bring before the meeting. Resolution No. 2 was then put to the meeting, and carried unanimously. Mr. Fitzgerald said, that in proposing the nest resolution he would just say one or two words as to the road itself, more especially as he had been one of the select committee who drew up the report. With regard to the committee, he believed they came to the consideration of the best line of road perfectly unprejudiced; although they could not but have their own private opinions, from previous conversations with experienced persons and from other circumstances, as to the comparative merits of the land and water communication, yet with respect to the particular line of road, they were unbiassed. They collected together in the course of their labours a great deal of information, not only from the surveyors of the Association, but from others of extensive civil .engineering and surveying experience, who were settlers in the colony. He hoped all present had read, not so much the Report itself, but the evidence appended to it. All the witnesses had been perfectly unanimous in recommending the completion of the line of road that had been commenced, as the most satisfactory when done, and not much, if at all more expensive than any other of the lines proposed. The great point was that this road would enable a cart or bullock dray to travel from the port to the capital, and to return in the same day, loaded both ways. Of the two principal routes suggested, the Sumner Road comprised only A\ miles of hill-work, while the road over the hills west of Lyttelton gave nine miles, a dray going over the latter from either place would therefore be obliged to remain at the other all night. He might remark that the opposers of the road appeared to be of two opposite descriptions, the one class regarding the Sumner Road as too expensive, and being inclined to force a road over in any place without proper consideration; the other, despising the Sumner Road as too trifling and inexpensive, and resolving to be content with nothing less than a tunnel through the hills; people who were determined to travel by first-class carriage (laughter). He hoped' that some day there would be a tunnel, but if we would be rich enough to construct railways, we must first be content to make roads (htar hear), and this was to follow the example of the old country. He firmly believed the road proposed was on the whole the best and cheapest obtainable. Again, with respect to the question of the money,—-Mr. Godley had stated, what he believed was generally known, that he had not received sufficient funds to warrant him in devoting any part of them to this object. Now what were they to do ? Were they to fold their hands and do nothing, or were they to look in another direction, in order to get the road as quickly as possible ? Although they could not perhaps get 30,000/., that was no reason why they were not to get all they could. Capt. Simeon had referred to his interview with the Govemor-in-Chief. He (Mr. F.) might add that the Committee had forwarded to his Excellency a copy of the Report, requesting his aid in raising the sum required, and His Excellency had replied that he was ready to give every assistance in his power to any well devised plan*for improving the communication. One thing he (Mr. Fitzgerald) was anxious should be well understood, ami that was the willingness of the inhabitants that the sum advanced should be made a charge upon the revenues of their own settlement; that they did not want the money of other settlements to make their road. He believed there would be no difficulty in raising the money ; with the increasing revenue of this settlement as a security, it might, so to speak, be raised in a few hours. In a few years the charge would be, he had no doubt, looked upon as a mere trifle; Sydney fifty or sixty years ago would have had probably as great "difficulty in raisin<>• such a sum as we have at present, but with her presenu-evenueshow easily it would be obtained.
Our revenue was at this period upwards of GOOOZ. a year, and would be taken as ample commercial security for the debt. Once more, let it be understood that it was not sought to burden the other settlements with the debt we were about to contract. He would therefore move the third resolution.
3. That in the opinion of this meeting, if a sum not exceeding fifteen thousand pounds could be obtained upon loan for the purpose required, the debt might justly be charged upon the general revenues of this settlement.
Mr. Rowland Davis recommended that immediate steps should be taken to obtain the loan while Sir G. Grey was so far favourably disposed towards the settlement. They must remember that much of the success of the settlement depended upon its inter-communication, just as it had been said that a country would make a town but a town would never make a country. This offer of assistance was one of the few generous acts Sir Geo. Grey was wont to perform, and it was their place to seize the opportunity and go to work in good earnest. He had great pleasure in seconding the resolution.
The third resolution was carried unanimously, Mr. R. .Beamish proposed the last resolution,
Mr. Alport in seconding it, expressed his pleasure at the unanimity with which the former resolutions had been adopted. He had watched the road from its commencement, and was convinced it was the only proper means of communication. The water-communication was manifestly inefficient. The outlay that must take place to vender Smnner available as a port, could not be calculated, and might be of little use after all. They had an example in Dover harbour, where it had been necessary to erect very expensive works, consisting- of Sluice Gates and a Keservoir, that being filled at spring tides, the gates are opened at low-water, and by the rush thereby occasioned, the silt at the entrance lodged by the surf, is periodically removed. .Again, water communication could never supersede the use of roads. Even in England, with steamers constantly plying alonothe coast, they were still bent upon new roads and railways. Besides the communication by water was here so open to casualty and delay. He had known vessels pent up at Sumner for fourteen days, not daring to approach the bar. He believed, too, that a rough road, such as would answer their purpose at first, would cost far less than 15,000/. He hoped Sir G. Grey would, in addition to supplying us with funds', send us down a good practical engineer to carry on the works. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the meeting, which then separated with a vote of thanks to the Chair. '?%:%* We understand that it was simply by some inadvertence that a difference occurred between the resolutions moved at the Lyttelton and Christchurch meetings. The promoters of the meetings originally proposed that the sum of 15,000/. should be named as that advisable to endeavour to raise, they subsequently thought it better to leave the sum indefinite, and the incomplete copy of the resolutions appears to have been read at Lyttelton. The mistake was of little importance, as there was perfect unanimity in the object to be gained.
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The Lyttelton Times., Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 53, 10 January 1852
The Lyttelton Times. Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 53, 10 January 1852
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