To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times. g IK) __May I request that you will favor me by'inseiting the following letter in the next number of the Lyttelton Times. I beg to remain, Sir, Your obedient servant. Cha.ki.es Simeon. lyttelton, July 1 } 1853. Lyttelton, 30th June, 1853. Sir, —Having received from the Honourable the Civil Secretary a despatch, bearing date 3rd of June, 1853, transmitting copies of despatches from Sir John Pakington to His Excellency Sir George Grey, and from the Civil Secretary to Mr. William Guise Brittan; the former apprising His Excellency that the power of disposal, by the Canterbury Association, of lands within the Canterbury block has been determined by the Government; the latter informing Mr. Brittan that His Excellency has entrusted to him the power of disposing of the said lands ; —I am made aware that the main functions hitherto exercised by me as Agent of the Association have ceased, and that my duties are now confined to having the custody and management of the real and personal property of the Association in New Zealand. You have brought with you from England powers of management and disposal of the real and personal property of the Association, (with which you were invested by the Committee) of so ample a nature,, that I cannot but feel, that, my higher functions of disposal of lands in the Settlement having ceased to exist, my continuing to hold the office of Agent of the Canterbury Association would be superfluous and unnecessary, and I have therefore determined at once to resign that appointment. A despatch to Lord Lyttelton, Chairman of the Committee, tendering the resignation of my office, will be forwarded by the first mail to England. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant, Chables Simeon. Henry S.ewell, Esq., &c, &c.
To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times. . Sib, —I happened to be at the Court /^yesterday morning when the Magistrates '"were revising the claims of parties desirous of being placed on the Electoral roll for this district, and I along Jjwith others was astonished to hear that they had decided that service of notice of objection upon the wife, son, or daughter of the party objected to was not a good service of the notice of objection, or, in other words, that in all cases personal service was requisite, and that, in defiance of cases, I understand, cited to the contrary. My astonishment was, however, greater to find such had been their decision, when immediately after I met a person going to the Court who had a day or two previous come fromAkaroa, who asked me, "how had the Court decided as to the service of the notice of objection," and when I told him that a personal service was requisite in .ail cases, " Why," said he *' the Magistrates at Akaroa not only decided that a service of notice upon the wife, son, or daughter of the party objected was good service, but also that a notice put under the door of the party so objected to, if in time, was a good service." Here then we have two sets of Magistrates holding Courts for the revision : of claims within a few miles of each other, entertaining opposite views of a single .clause in the Constitutional Act as to the service of notice of objections. I then asked on what ground the Magistrates at Akaroa had founded their decision; on the ground as stated by them in Court "that the Act did not declare personal service requisite, and that in the absence of it|they had taken the common sense view of the .clause in question." I must say in this I .coincide, and can only account why the Magistrates here did not take " a common sense view of the clause in question," on the ground that one-of them had some time,, previously given Hi¥™dpihion that personal service of objection was requisite. Upon this opinion parties conscious of the illegality of their claims acted, and in order to avoid personal service, ten of them, well knowing that notices of objection would be served upon them if they remained in Lyttelton, set off on an excursion in the "Rover," cutter, to Port Levy and other places to avoid personal service. It could scarcely therefore be expected that the Magistrate giving such opinion would, knowing the result it had led to, stultify himself when sitting in judgment upon what may be called a previous decision. I for one am as anxious as any man that all parties properly qualified should enjoy the elective franchise and that a liberal construction should be put upon the intentions of the Legislature as set forth in the Constitutional Act, so as in all cases to allow the benefit of any doubt to the claimant. This I concede is a duty which the Magistrates owe to all claimants; but, Sir, I conceive the Magistrates have also another and no less responsible and imperative duty; to perform, and that is, injustice to all parties who have a legal qualification to be on the Electoral roll, to shut out such as have not a shadow of right to such a claim—who are put forward regardless of qualification for the mere purpose of party, and who, if such a decision as was yesterday given is to be in future acted upon, will on some subsequent occasion swamp the Electoral roll. There is, Six-, only one remedy for such a nuisance, and that is at once to petition Sir Grey to place the revision of the ' claims in this district in the hands of men who will not prejudge or give an opinion upon a clause in the Constitutional Act, or any other Act, until it is brought properly before them; and let me add who possess a little [more knowledge of law combined with a little more common sense. . In.this I think you, as well as the majority of your
readers, will agree with me —there will be no difficulty. Apologizing for the length of this letter. I remain, Sir, your's obediently, AN E.LECiOB. Lyttelton, June 6, 1853.
To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times. Sm,—ln reading your publication of the 2nd instant, I was greatly surprised in seeing a movement announced for the importation of Chinese labourers. Feeling that myself and many others are likely to suffer from this system of traffic, I have taken the liberty of troubling you for insertion, in your widely circulated journal, what must be the views of every English labourer in the Canterbury Settlement. , If these speculators in human flesh are really intent upon benefitting this Settlement and not themselves individually, why not look at home first? They cannot forget the numbers of able bodied agricultural labourers who are now, for the want of employment, burdens upon their respective parishes in England, and who Avith the assistance of such a sum as £10 or £12, would be enabled to reach this settlement; a guarantee being given for a limited time of service as compensation for the money advanced. Thus we should have men of our native land disciplined to English laws and customs, whose characters and qualifications have been tested. It is not labour which is required by these speculators ; it is a reduction in the price of labour; but what can a man do with a family and the present price of provisions ? it is not to be supposed he has left the land of his birth to drag out a miserable existence in a foreign land; therefore the average daily wages for labouring men is no more than what is required to provide them with the necessaries of life. Should this movement be carried into operation -it must -materially''lnjure the welfare of men who are trying to improve their condition by industry. It must not be inferred that because we are working men depending on our daily labour, that we are ignorant or blind to our own interests, and can be palmed off with building castles in the air. Independency and overseers' appointments look very well on paper; but, owing to the present state of this Settlement, the working man is not likely to realize the former, and as for the latter, it must be an act of chance if ever it was obtained. If labourers are really wanted and the employers willing to pay a fair rate of wages, they would find numerous applications at the time and place appointed. Englishmen have had sufficient proof of the result of the introduction of foreign labour. What was the consequence of the great influx of liish labourers into England ? Why the usual price of 2s. 3d. per day, as paid in the time of harvesting, was reduced first to Is. 6d., and afterwards to Is. per day. This occurred in many parts of England and was not the only evil; bloodshed and continual riots were frequently heard off, and such must be the result of this movement. Live and let live should be the motto. Fearing I have infringed upon your valuable time, but trusting you may deem it worthy of a place in your columns, I remain, Your very humble servant, A Laboueee and a New Pilgeim.
To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times, Sib, —Pursuing the subject of my correspondence, permit me to notice the charge laid at the doors of the Committee of Management, that they have refused to give effect to that principle of local self government which was a main feature in their undertaking, and have retained power to themselves which ought to have been transferred to the colonists ; nay, have refused to fulfil express pledges to that effect. This objection is of the same character with that made to their ecclesiastical and educational policy, which I noticed and refuted in my last letter. lam not going to argue against the abstract truth of the doctrine, .contended for. On the contrary, I entirely agree in it. My object will be to shew that Lord Lyttelton and the Committee have to the utmost of their power acted on that principle. But of course they were tied down by the conditions of their charter, for which, as I have already explained, they are not to be held responsible. They could no more establish, by a mere act of theirs, a theory of Colonial Government, however wise and desirable in the abstract, than they could make an Act of Parliament; nor would it have been possible to vest power in the colonists until they were legally organized for the purposed, by means of Representative Institutions, as they shortly will be under the new Constitution Act. I am sure I need not remind you or your readers how earnestly the Association struggled to obtain that Constitution for the colony. But, in' the meantime, the Association was
bound to discharge its own duties, by administering the power lodged in its hands according to the terms of the charter. That instrument contained no clause enabling them directly or indirectly to transfer or delegate independent power to the colonists. On the contrary, it contained provisions (such as those relating to the controul of their affairs by the Privy Council in England) which could not be carried into effect elsewhere, Mr. Godley urged strongly on the Committee the instant creation of an independent governing body in the colony, and we may reasonably infer that he, as the author of the charter, meant to make, and believed he had made, provision to that effect. But the proper effect of the charter is matter of legal .construction, not of private interpretation; and I am sure that Mr/ Godley himself would not on fuller consideration have adhered to that opinion. Such a view was certainly never in contemplation of Lord Lyttelton and the Committee under him: nor was it dreamed of before or at the time the first body of colonists sailed, viz., in August, 1850. Some influential gentlemen now in the colony were at that time members of the Committee or connected with its affairs. Before I had anything to do with them officially^ viz., on the 24th May, 1850, the Committee formally recorded the principles according to which they meant to govern their relations with the colonists. Frequent reference has been made to this document (which is published in the Canterbury papers, p. 103), but I confess it surprizes me that it should ever have been quoted in support of the view taken by the Colonists. It recognizes, as a broad general principle the right of the colonists to receive from the first, " as far as lies within the Province of the Association the fullest powers of local self government." But that is afterwards explained, as was obvious enough, as applying, in the full and formal sense of the words to the period when the colonists! should have obtained, as they now have, Representative Institutions. But during the intervening period nothing can be more express than the language of the minute, in declaring " that the colonists will have no corporate existence, no mode of distinct collective expression ;" "that the full attributes of self government should only attach when the subjectSjOf it are legally capable of it by concession from the Crown, and capable of it as a distinct whole ;" '-.that the Committee will endeavour during this temporary period to shape their own course as much as possible in accordance with the known wishes and feelings of the colonists." And the minute points out distinctly the medium through which alone such wishes and feelings can be ascertained and conveyed, viz., through Mr. Godley, their chief agent, and the then expected Bishop. I must say in justice to the Committee that they have practically adhered to this principle—as far as lay in their power. But they went farther ; they wanted even before the Colony obtained Representative Institutions (which might be deferred no one could tell how long) virtually, if not formally, to establish to the extent of their power the principle of local self-govern-ment. This could not be done in a direct way, because it would have been impossible to obtain from the Government, such a.privilege for the Canterbury Settlement until the question of Constitutional Government for the Colony at large was settled. But, as a provisional measure, they obtained in their act of 1851 the introduction of a clause enabling them to appoint a local Committee of Management, that is a Board in. the Colony precisely answering to the Board of Management in England, and having the same relations to the general body of the Association. They transmitted the act of 1851 to Mr. Godley, with a despatch dated the 14th August, 1851; and I request the special attention of your readers to the terms of this despatch as entirely exonerating them from blame in this matter. The Secretary writes thus— " The Committee will be obliged by your favouring them with your suggestions on the following points :• " Ist. Generally, whether in your opinion it is expedient to appoint such a body in the Colony. " 2nd. As to the appointment of Members including their mode of appointment, or elected, and the supply of future vacancies. \ " 3rd. As to the exact powers which should [be entrusted to them, with reference to which
you will bear in mind the Scheme already transmitted for administering the Church and Educational Funds, and the proposal for vestj ing the Administration of these funds in a special body in the Colony. " Your suggestion that it is necessary to keep distinct the management of Secular and Ecclesiastical affairs agrees with their views, and in any organic changes this must be effectually provided for. "4th. The CotsnuiUee will be obliged by favouring them in detail with a plan for governing the proceedings of such managing Committee, as their acts must be formally regulated. " In stating your opinion as to the exact nature and extent of functions to be committed to such body you will bear in mind that some portion of the concerns of the Colony must for a time at least be transacted in England, in particular Land-sales and Emigration. You will also keep in view- the responsibilities, both •' moral and'pecuniary, which the Members of the Association in this country have undertaken. " The Committee beg me to add that your suggestions shall receive every consideration with a view to giving them effect to the utmost possible extent, and at the earliest possible period." To this proposal the Committee received replies, declining it in terms which imply censure on them for having made it. The grounds of objection taken by Mr. Godley and the Council of Land-purchasers were two-fold, Ist. That the proposed local board was to benominated by the Association. 2ndly. That it was to be subordinate and not as they wished, independent and irresponsible. To speak plainly I think these objections were unreasonable, and the unkind feeling excited in the Colony against the Committee in • England on this account has. been wholly unmerited. It is true that the members of such a pro* ? posed local board must needs have been formally uominated by the Association ; no other means of constituting them could have been devised; but the words quoted, from the despatch clearly shew that it wa^rin the mind of the Committee to give effect to a system of election, which might have been contrived without difficulty, and by which the local board might have been virtually a Representative body. * It is also true that such local board was to be subordinate to, and under the controul of thegeneral body of the Association at home; just as the Committee of Management in England was. But so long as the charter lasted, and so« long as the Colonists wanted the requisite representative organ, no ingenuity could have devised means to escape from this difficulty. And so long as the Association at home were to remain responsible for the fulfillment of the conditions of their charter, how was it possible to constitute an independent and irresponsible Board of Management in the Colony ? To do justice, however, to Mr. Godley and the Council, I must notice the plan which according to their view ought to have been adopted. It was to constitute an independent and irresponsible body in the Colony, by appointing every person who might be, or become a Landpurchaser, ipso facto without regard to; personal fitness or circumstances, a Member of the Association, so shifting off in an indirect way on such newly organized body all. the functions lodged by the Charter in the Association. When that proposal was received, it underwent serious consideration, but the unanimous opinion of the Committee, (including several lawyers, some of eminence), was, that it was. contrary to the spirit and even to the letter of the Charter, and that to have complied with it would have had the effect of vitiating the Charter itself. I need not discuss the grounds of this opinion. They will be sufficiently obvious. I believe that on a candid view of this question, it will appear clear that the Committee in England have acted throughout with a sincere desire, to the utmost of their power, of placing the management of local affairs in the hands of the Colonists. I am, Sir, Your obedient servant, Henky SewuMi. j June 28, 1853.
To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times. 'W' Sir, —Am I dreaming, or is it positively a fact, settled by the collective wisdom of our Bench of Magistrates, that a man with* out a shadow of a title to vote, by qualification, nevertheless can obtain that great privilege by registering, and then quietly slipping out of the way of personal service of objection ; having wisely ascertained from our Resident Magistrate the necessity
of such personal service ? The fact is so monstrous, but yet so true, as almost to stagger the belief of one's -eyesight and hearing. I cannot imagine the English Legislature ever intended that the strict letter of the law should solely be observed by those situated 16,000 miles away from all interpretation of its enactments. Or rather, is it not intended that the spirit should be the guide, where its operations are entrusted to men, worthy in themselves, but as ignorant of legal technicalities as the majority of the people. The past is, I fear, beyond remedy, but let us hope that another year the duties of purging the registry will be entrusted to some barrister, qualified to interpret the law in accordance with common sense and right reasoning. A few such instances as the recent revision of our electoral list would verify Sir G. Grey's remark, "that we were unfit to be entrusted with. Representative Institutions." I remain, Sir, An Elector by Qualification. N.B.r—Had the Magistrates interpreted the Law in accordance with its spirit, no harm could have resulted to any qualified Electors ; as none were objected to but those disqualified under the Constitution Act. To the Editor of the Lyttelton Times. Sir, —The establishment of a fortnightly mail between this place, Lyttelton, and Christchurch, was announced upon authority many months ago. It was a matter of no slight consequence to men of business here, to be able to depend upon any regular and authorised conveyance of letters, however unfrequent, In faith of the announcement thus publicly made, while absent from Akaroa for a considerable length of time, I was accustomed to forward from- the Plains on the proper day my letters. Many of these were of primary importance to myself. On my return to Akaroa lately, to my utter horror and serious loss, I learnt that a whole series of letters had not reached, and that the carrier between Lyttelton and Pigeon Bay had ceased to travel. Now, Sir, —whether upon sufficient reason, or the contrary, this step has been taken by the proper authorities, —as a simple matter of public information of the highest importance to individual pockets and affairs, notice of it should have been circulated as extensively as possible by the usual channel—advertisement in the papers. If the carrier is to be taken off for the winter season, we have a right to be told when the regular communication will be reopened. Meanwhile we shall not be misled and made to suffer by trusting our letters to a Post-office which professes to forward them to their destination, but in reality transfers them to a dead^letter box for an indefinite period. I am, Sir, yours, &c. Querulous. Akaroa, 2.4 th June, 1853.
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CORRESPONDENCE., Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 131, 9 July 1853
CORRESPONDENCE. Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 131, 9 July 1853
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