The Lyttelton Times.
Aprils, 1852. MEETING OF LAND-PURCHASERS AT CHRISTCHURCH. On Thursday last, the Quarterly General Meeting of Land Purchasers was held at the Land Office Christchurch, and notwithstanding heavy rain which lasted incessantly all day, there was a tolerably good attendance. It was anticipated that the main subject for discussion would have been the proposal to dissolve the Society and to establish a new one on a larger basis ; but the question of the recommencement of the Sunnier Road chiefly occupied the attention of the Meeting. The Meeting having occurred so late in the week, we regret we are unable to give more than a general outline of what occurred. After the minutes of the last meeting had been read and confirmed, the report of the Council was read as follows : Report of the Council to the Society of Land Purchasers for the quarter ending April 1, 1852. The Committee have the honour to lay before the Society the result of their labours during the last three moths. 1. Since the lust general meeting of the Society, the subject of the completion of the road between Lyttelton and Christchurch, by way of Sumner, has been submitted—as was recommended by the resolution passed at that meeting—to the decision of all the inhabitants of the settlement at public meetings held for that purpose in Christchurch and Lyttelton. At those meetings the report adopted by this Society was unanimously approved of, and a Committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Godley, Captain Simeon, and the Select Committee, (by whom the report was drawn up), for the purpose of communicating with the Gover-nor-in-Chief, with a view to ascertain whether the necessary funds for commencing the work could be raised on the security of the public revenues of the settlement. Your Council are gratified in being able to inform the Society that the hope which they entertained of obtaining the co-operation of'the Government to a work of such great public importance was nor unfounded. His Excellency Sir George Grey has manifested the warmest interest in°the undertaking, and has expressed his readiness to co-operate, as far as he is able, in any well devised scheme for carrying it into effect. With this view his Excellency has recently paid a visit to the settlemant, accompanied by Mr. Boy, a Civil Engineer of great ability and experience. Immediately on his arrival Sir George Grey had an interview with the Road Committee. His Excellency stated that he attached very great importance to the early completion of the road, but he regretted that the whole of the funds required for finishing it were not immediately available, Mr. Roy's report was very satisfactory > and from it, it appeared that by reducing the proposed road to an average width of eleven feet, (the width of other similar roads in New Zealand,) the whole work might be completed for a sum not exceeding Fifteen Thousand Pjunds. This estimate included Ist a post and rail fence wherever required; 2nd, a bridge over the river Heathcote; 3rd, the metalling the road from the Ferry to Christchurch. His Excellency was aware that that the whole of this sum could not be raised at once, but what he would now propose was this :—The present available Surplus revenue in the Local Treasury amounted to between two and three thousand pounds. This could be had at once for the purpose, and, considering the public importance of the undertaking, he should have no hesitation himself in adding- to it from the general revenue of the colony, a sum sufficient to make up that amount to Five Thousand Pounds. With this a good beginning might be made, and it was not unreasonable to hope that further sums, from the accruing revenue of the colony, would become available from time to time, so that the work would not be interrupted, and thus there would be the prospect in a few years of completing the great undertaking, on which he considered the material prosperity of the settlement in a great measure depended.
The majority of the Road Committee concurred in these views, and agreed to the advisableness of commencing the work at once with the funds thus guaranteed by his Excellency. At a subsequent meeting, however, held in
Lyttelton, at his Excellency's request, which was attended by several of the Magistrates of the district, anil some other gentlemen, a different view of the subject was taken. The amount immediately available, viz., Five Thousand Pounds, was not considered sufficient to justify the resumption of the works on the road, without some security that the remaining funds would be forthcoming-and it was thought more desirable to expend the Surplus Revenue in hand on smaller works of immediate utility such as roads of communication on the Plains and to postpone the great road to a future time' until larger funds should be available. His Excellency yielded to the wishes of the meeting thus expressed, and consented to place the present Surplus Revenue of the settlement at the disposal of the Chief Agent of the Association " by whom it is proposed to be expended in the completion of the following public works on the plains: Ist, making the Lower Lincoln Road, as far as the oth mile from Christchurch ; 2nd, in metalling as much as can be done of the road from the Ferry to Christchurch ; and 3rd in making, (as was recommended by the Council in their former report) a Bridle and Cattle path, in continuation of the Northern Road hy Papanui, over the Purarekanui, as far as the river Courtenay, by which the whole of the country to the North of the settlement will be effectually opened up. Your Council have thought it right to enter thus minutely into a report of the proceedings connected with this important subject, but without giving any decided opinion as to the policy or impolicy of the course determined on. At the same time they are anxious that the feelings of the inhabitants of the settlement, in a matter in which they are so deeply interested, should as far as possible be clearly ascertained, and as there does not seem to have been time to call a public meeting for this purpose previous to His Excellency's departure, they desire to avail themselves of this opportunity of ascertaining the opinion of at least the body of Land purchasers on the point, and with this view they have prepared a resolution on the subject which will be submitted to tlt^ meeting this day, and which they hope will lead to a full discussion of the whole question. 2. The following are the public works which, on the recommendation of your council, luyre been undertaken since the last general meeting. 1. The Great Northern Road as fat as Papanui Bush is now nearly completed. 2. A general survey is in progress, of the country lying between the Rivers '"Courtenay and Cholmondeley, a portion-of the expense of which will be borne by the holders of runs in that part of the country. 3. A survey is also being made of the country between Kaiapoi and the River Courtenay including within its limits the head of the navigation of the Courtenay. A survey is also making of a line of road connecting the Harewood road with the northern road in the Christchurch district, thus opening up a considerable portion of new country, part of which has already been selected as freehold land. 4. A suitable building is being erected, in connection with the Parsonage House at Christchurch, for the purposes of the College and Collegiate School, which will be opened for the admission of scholars, under the management of the head master, the Rev. H. Jacobs, M.A., on the 21st instant.
3. As respects the proceedings of the Committee of Management in England the only news of interest received since the last General Meeting is confined (1) to the intelligence of the resignation of the late Bishop Designate, Mr. Jackson : and (2) to the instructions which Mr. Godley has received to sell Rural land in the Colony to the amount of 10,000 acres;'acdl (3) the reservation under the recent Act of Parliament, of town and country lands to the va£ue of £15,000 to be held in trust as an endowment for the maintenance of the ecclasiasticai^and educational system in the settlement. rumoured resignation of Mr. Godley,'as chief Agent of the Association, having gained very general credence, your Council thought it their duty to inquire into the truth of the report, and the correspondence which, under their direction, has taken place on this subject, between the irchairman and Mr. Godley, will be laid before you. 4. The Clerk of the Council has prepared a statement of the financial accounts of the Sor ciety which is appended to this Report. From which it will be seen that the Society is in debt to a small amount which your Council recommend should be raised by a small proportionate
subscription from each member of the Society. (For the remainder of the Report, see the clauses published in our number of the 13th March). The President then stated that in consequence of the article which appeared in the Lyttelton Times last week in reference to Mr. Godley's resignation, the following correspondence had taken place between the Council and Mr. Godley:— Christehurch, March 30, 1852. My Dear Sir, —As Chairman of the Council of Colonists I have been requested to communicate with you on the subject of your rumoured resignation as Chief Agent of the Canterbury Association. You are no doubt aware that this rumour (which has for some time been j current) has within the last week gained consistency, and indeed obtained very general credence in consequence of the leading article which appeared in the " Lyttelton Times'' of last Saturday. The report I need hardly add has occasioned considerable excitement not to say alarm in the minds of a great many, and the Council think that it is only due to the public that some authentic and official information should as soon as possible be given on the subject. With this view they have desired me respectfully to request that you will be so good as to favour them—perhaps in a letter which I may read to the General Meeting of Land Purchasers to be held on Thursday next, or in any other way you may consider most advisable — with such information on the subject as may serve to allay the public feeling which has been excited by the report. The Council farther desire me to express their earnest hope that there may be no foundation for the rumour in question as in the present stage of the Colony they can hardly imagine anything that would prove a more serious blow to its progress while they feel convinced that it would be an event very deeply deplored by all classes in the settlement. I have the honour to remain, Your faithful and obedient servant, J. R. Godley, Esq. W. G. Brittan. Riccarton, March 30,1552. Sir, —I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day's date, requesting me to t%-brd you, on behalf of the Council of Land Purchasers, some information with reference to a prevailing report that I have resigned my office as Agent to the Canterbury Association. I fear it is not in my power to give you a reply which you will consider satisfactory ; it would be mere affectation, indeed, to make a mystery about what is perfectly well known from other sources; namely, that I have tendered my resignation to the Managing Committee ; but as I have received no answer to that communication, I cannot, consistently with my duty, give any further explanation to the public at present upon the subject. I thank you cordially for the kind manner in which you have expressed the sentiments of the Council towards me.- You may rest assured that so long as I am able to work, whether in a public or a private capacity, whether here or in England, the promotion of of the interests of the colony must always continue to be one of the chief objects of my life. Believe me, my dear Sir, to remain your's very sincerely. John Robert Godley. The President next read the following correspondence between Mr. Godley and his Excellency the Gtovernor-in-Cliief on the subject of the Roads:— Lyttelton, March 24, 1852. Sir,—lt will be in your Excellency's recol- .. lection that you desired me to express my opiH nion and to ascertain so far as possible the opinion of the public of this settlement, on the - _est mode of expending our surplus revenue in local improvements estimated by you at.fi3,ooo. You further informed me that if it were considered'advisable to go on immediately with the Lyttelton and Christchurch road, you would be prepared to advance an additional sum from the General Funds of the Colony, sufficient to make up altogether £5,000. iii obedience to your wishes, the Magistrates of the district were summoned to meet at Lyttelton on this day, the shortness of the time not permitting a more general expression of opinion, and your Excellency having declared that you would be satisfied with one emanating from them. Of the magistrates present the majority declared their opinion in favour of expending the surplus revenue on smaller works, tending to open
up the plains, rather than upon the larger work of the Sumner road, of which they did not see their way to the completion within a reasonable time. With this view my own opinion coincides, as well as that of the people of the settlement generally, so far as I have been able to ascertain it. It is my duty, therefore, to request that your Excellency will give the necessary authority for advancing, to the extent which the revenue will afford, the sums required for the most necessary roads on the plains. I understand that your Excellency wishes that this advance be considered as a loan to the Canterbury Association, and that I consequently should have the responsibility of expending it. If so, I am prepared to accept it on those terms, and to engage that it be repaid to the Provincial Treasury out of the first monies which may be at the disposal of the Association for purposes similar to those upon which the above mentioned advance will be expended. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant, John Robert Godley. His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief. H. M. Brig " Victoria," Pigeon Bay, 'March 27th, 1852. Sir, —I am directed by His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th instant, requesting an advance of funds to enable you to carry on those roads which are essential to complete the communication between Christchurch and the Ferry, or to open up the Canterbury plains to the Colonists. 2. Sir George Grey understands that if he directs advances to be made from the Provincial Secretary for these purposes, you will, upon behalf of the Association, undertake to repay such sums into the Treasury, from time to time, out of the first monies which may be at the disposal of the Association for purposes similar to those upon which the contemplated advances are to be expended. 3. Upon this understanding, therefore, Sir George Grey directs me to inform you that he has instructed the Sub Treasurer, at Lyttelton, to pay over to you advances not exceeding in the whole the sum of £2,000 ; such advances being made to you from time to time upon your written requisition, in such amounts as you may require, a specific statement being made in your requisition of the nature of the public work to which the advance asked for is to be applied. 4. I am farther to add that the advances made in any one month, dating from the Ist proximo, must not in the whole exceed the sum of £1,000. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, J. S. Cooper. John Robert Godley, Esq., Agent of the Canterbury Association. Riccarton, March 31, 1852. Sir, —As I understand some discussion may probably take place at your meeting to-morrow on the late decision of the Magistrates with respect to the disposal of our Surplus Revenue, I think it may be well for me to furnish you with an explanation of the circumstances under which that decision was arrived at. The alternative which the Governor-in-Chief proposed to us was as follows: His Excellency said that if we wished it he would devote the existing Surplus to the prosecution of the Lyttelton, Sumner, and Christchurch Road, and that for that purpose he would advance from the general Revenue of the colony, a sum sufficient to make up in all £5000, the advance to be repaid from the accruing..Surplus Revenue of this settlement, on the other hand, he offered, if we prefered it, to place the existing surplus at my disposal, for the purpose of being expended in making the most necessary roads on the plains. Mr. Roy, the Engineer, who accompanied His Excellency, after carefully surveying the Sumner line, estimated the expence of making a road 11 feet wide from Lyttelton to the Ferry, with a bridge, and of finishing the road from the Ferry to Christchurch at £15,000. He also informed us that he did not think it would be expedient, or indeed practicable, even if funds were forthcoming, to spend more rapidly than at the rate of £500 a month, or say, allowing for interruptions, bad weather, &c, £5000 a year. The work could not be commenced under three months at least from this
date. I also informed the meeting that I saw no prospect of having any part of the land fund at my disposal for the purpose of road making for a considerable time to come. It was evident therefore, that if it were determined to go on with the Sumner Road, there would be no further expenditure on any other roads, until that one should be finished, i.e., until the middle of 1855, unless the improbable, I may say impossible, hypothesis that the part of our revenue (whether derived from land or customs,) which would be available for road making, should exceed £5000 a year, during the next three years. If it fell short of that sum, on the other hand, while road making on the plains would be equally suspended, the advantage to be derived from the expenditure on the Sumner Road would be postponed for an indefinite period. Under these circumstances the Magistrates pronounced their opinion in favour of spending the sum actually in hand upon works which may soon be finished, and which by the addition they will make to the public convenience and public wealth, will help to make us able to bear the burden of larger and more expensive works. You will much oblige me by reading this letter to the meeting. I am, my dear Sir, your's very faithfully, John Robert Godley, W. G. Brittan, Esq. Upon the motion of the Rev. 0. Matthias, seconded by Mr. Packer, the Report of the Council was received. Mr. Alport then moved the following resolution in a speech of some length, in which he urged the vast importance of devoting all the disposable means of" the Settlement to the completion of the Sumner road. " That in the opinion of this Meeting the completion of the Lyttelton and Christchurch road is an undertaking of the first importance to the welfare of this Settlement, and that the sum of 5,000?. proposed to be expended by His Excellency upon that work is sufficient to justify the recommencement of the work.'' Mr. Packer seconded the resolution. An amendment was moved by Mr. E. J. Wakefield, seconded by the Rev. O. Mathias, as follows :— " That in the opinion of this Meeting the decision of the meeting at Lyttelton, communicated to Sir G. Grey, at Lyttelton, in reference to the road, was the wisest which could be adopted under the circumstances." When the amendment was put there appeared— For the amendment 14 Against it 8 Majority for the amendment . . 6 The Society then proceeded to discuss the recommendation of the Council respecting the dissolution of the Society, and the formation of a new society on a larger basis. Mr. Cholmondely moved the first resolution in a speech which we greatly regret we are unable to report. 1. " That in the opinion of this Meeting, the time has arrived when a general organization of all Ihe inhabitants of the Settlement is desirable on the basis suggested in the report now read." It was seconded by Mr. Wakefield. Mr. Packer moved, and Mr. Bishop seconded the next resolution—> 2. " That the Council be directed to call Public Meetings of all the Inhabitants at Christchurch, Lyttelton, and Akaroa, for the purpose of effecting such an acquisition." The third resolution was moved by Captain Westenra, seconded by Mr. Watts Russell. 3. " That as soon as such organization shall be complete, the Society of Land Purchasers be dissolved." The fourth resolution was moved by Mr. Fitzgerald, seconded by Mr. Cookson. 4. " That as soon as the New Society shall be formed, all the books and papers of the Society of Land Purchasers be entrusted to its keeping upon the undertaking that they are ultimately to be deposited amongst the public records of the Settlement." All these resolutions were carried unanimously. Upon the motion of Mr. Mathias, seconded by Mr. Cholmondeley.a vote of thanks was then passed to the President and Council, and the Meeting separated.
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The Lyttelton Times., Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 65, 3 April 1852
The Lyttelton Times. Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 65, 3 April 1852
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