By the arrival of the Nourmahal we have received a single paper, the 'Colonist' of the 11th, and the agent kindly lent us the ' Witness' of the J 2th inst.
So far as we can ascertain from both papers, there is every probability of there being no competition at the' forthcoming election of a representative in the General Assembly. Mr. •J. P. Taylor has come forward with an address to the electors, and appears to be popular, at leu&t so so far as the 'Colonist' can eulogize him; and the ' Witness' admits him to be a good man, but prefers Mr. Valpy, whom it recommends to the electors as a better legislator, though inexperienced. The latter gentleman had not offered himself, nor do we perceive that any requisition in his behalf was in preparation.
The following paragraph from Mr. Taylor's address shows his neutrality in politics, and. the independent position he professes to assume: — " I must, however, distinctly state that, as I 'have hitherto but very superficially studied 2?ew Zealand politics, if elected, I go to the Assembly entirely unfettered by any pledge, ■excepting to oppose Dr. Menzies' proposal for the division of the Province."
A public meeting was held on the 7th inst., ;at the Mechanics' Institute, for the purpose of adopting measures to counteract the attempts •of Dr. Menzies to cause the dismemberment •of the province. There had been but little time 'for convening the meeting, it having been supposed that the attempt of Dr. Menzies had 'been abandoned, inasmuch as the settlers themselves had taken not a single step in the matter since signing the memorial some fifteen months since. Letters received from Auckland, however, by the last mail, proved that Dr. Menzies Avas actively at work, and, from the various inifluenees that might there be brought to bear mpon the. settlement, of the question, it was -deemed advisable that-a counter-demonstration •should be made, in order,- so far as time would permit, to furnish their representatives in the Assembly witli a real expression of public -opinion on the -question. The meeting was very fully attended, and nearly all their leading men were present.
Dr. PijrJMK was called to the chair, and briefly impressed upon the meeting the importance of the subject they had met to consider, -and on which he hoped there would be a unani-. ■ mous expression of opinion. It was not only »the attempted division of territory which he deprecated, but the breaking up of the community : into sections, and increasing those petty ":jealou_m-arKl animosities from conflicting invterests which already existed to too "Teat an ex■tent.
Mr. W. H. Gotten read the following -memorial to the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives:—
" That your memorialists understand that a ._tetiffeo.: has heeu forwarded;io^our'.honourable
House, praying for a separation of the Southern or Murihiku portion of the Province of Otago from the Northern, and the erection of the Southern portion into an independent province.
" That your memorialists view such a proposal with feelings of regret, as a measure which would be productive of the worst consequences to the Murihiku district; the population of that district being so small, and the resources of the district being as yet so undeveloped as to require, in the meantime, what they have already, to a large extent, received, the fostering care and pecuniary assistance of the earlier settled portions of the province.
" That the small population, and consequently small revenue of that district, are in the meantime wholly inadequate* for the support of the necessary expenses of an independent Government, and that the erection of it into a separate province would therefore retard the progress of that district itself as well as be injurious to the general interests of the whole Province of Otago, "Your memorialists would therefore crave
that the Province of Otago be not divided, and that your petitioners will ever pray." In moving the first resolution —" That_ the memorial now read be adopted by the meeting " Mr. Cutten said the meeting had necessarily been called in a very hurried mariner, the intelligence from Auckland having taken them by surprise, and it was felt necessary to strengthen the hands of the members about to proceed to Auckland. His Honor the Superintendent had communicated the information that Dr. Menzies had abstained from presenting the memorial on account of the small number of members present, but that he was determined to press it. The Superintendent was preparing a countermemorial from himself individually, to the effect that the question might be referred back to the province. The only danger lay in the jealously of the other provinces, which would perhaps be glad of an opportunity to saddle Otago with a larger, portion of the debt; but the folly and the absurdity of the proposal must be apparent t> all. Were it carried into effect, the resources of the whole province would be swallowed up in the double expenses and not a farthing would be left for public works of any kind; and if the principle of further division were admitted, Jacob's River or Waikouaite had an equal claim with Murihiku. The proper remedy for any existing evil was to send members to the Provincial Council, to see to a fair apportionment of the publ«c revenue, and this they would have an opportunity of doing; but the present divisions, with so many different laws and regulations were felt to be a great evil, and the separation of this province would only tend to increase it. Tt would have been better for this part of the province if the division had taken place when the question was first agitated, for not less than £10,000, which had been borrowed on the security of the general revenue, had since been expended on surveys in the south, where it could not have been borrowed, as there was no fixed revenue. The agitation would have died a natural death if Dr. Meniies had not been summoned to Auckland; and he had good authority for saying that- a counter memorial would now be signed by nearly all who had signed the former one, for the difficulties were now in a great measure smoothed away, and all were going on peaceably ; but should a division take place, vested interests would be interfered with, land and leaseholders brought under new regulations, and all would be in confusion. He therefore hoped the memorial, which had been drawn up by a committee of gentlemen, would be universally signed; for although they might succeed in getting the best men to represent them, it was necessary they should be supported by a decided expression of public opinion. About a dozen more gentlemen addressed the meeting, all concurring in Mr. Cutten's views. The memorial was adopted, and the following resolutions were carried almost unanimously:—
" That a committee, consisting of Messrs. Reynolds, Sibbald, T. B. Gillies, W. C. Young, A. Burns, Mosely, Pillams, Jas. Smith, W. Jones, and H. Clarke, with power to add to their number, be appointed to obtain signatures to the memorial; the list to be handed in on Saturday the 19th instant."
" That the Hon. J. H. Harris be requested to present the memorial, and to support the prayer thereof in the legislative Council; and that the Members for Otago be requested to present and support it in the House of Representatives."
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Colonial., Lyttelton Times, Volume IX, Issue 587, 19 June 1858
Colonial. Lyttelton Times, Volume IX, Issue 587, 19 June 1858
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