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Colonial.

OTAGO,

(From a Correspondent.) December 6,1859. On the 27th November we received an increase to our population by the arrival of the Cheviot, 1066 tons, from Glasgow, with 34, settlers, and a very valuable selection of stock, comprising two horses, two mares, two cows, three heifers, five bulls, eight sheep, and six pigs, besides a large amount of cargo. A very Haltering testimonial has been presented to Captain Orkney by his passengers. It is a great pity that so fine a vessel cannot, from her great draught of water, nearly twenty feet, get up to Port Chalmers; the more especially as it is only one place that prevents it, and this has become so within a short time. In fact it is a question whether the services of a dredge would not well repay theoutlayin procuring one, in clearing out this spot, deepening the upper harbour, and alongside the jetty here—all which are much wauted, our trade increasing fast. Close after the Cheviot came the Sevilla, on the Ist December, with 304 souls, equal to 242 adults, apparently a very good selection; the vessel having made a favourable passage, with 11 deaths, principally children, and 3 births. All the passengers landed within a few hours after the vessel's arrival at Port Chalmers, where she was towed the same day by the Geelong. This amount of labour will soon be absorbed —in fact many public works are standing still for the want o£ hands. On the 2nd our old friend the Armin arrived from Sydney after a fine passage of seven days, with 1700 sheep, 170 head of cattle, 246 horses, all in splendid condition. Mr. McGlymont.has come down in her. We were all taken- by surprise on the 3rd by the arrival of another steamer, the Oberon, a small screw boat, from Melbourne, with passengers and cargo; the Pirate, not yet being finished, is not likely to be here for a few days yet. It was at first supposed to be the Airedale, with the mails, coming up the harbour, as by the Balmoral from Hobart Town on the 26th inst., we had a telegraphic summary ; the Armin had full news; and now the Oberon has brought complete files of papers. She is.expected to remain on the coast, and may probably take a look in. at Lyttelton before long. A rather serious robbery has taken place here. The cabin of the,schooner Ellen has been broken into, and nearly £800 worth of valuables removed. Four men have been examined on suspicion, but the evidence was not sufficient to commit them, and they were discharged. . The saw mill at the Waikava stream, between the Clutha and the Bluff, has commenced operations, and by the Star we have received a first instalment of 20,000 feet timber. It is expected to turn out 20,000 feet per week. . .

Our long talked of Athenseum is now in a fair ■way of being started, plans for the building having been prepared; its erection will be proceeded with at once.

The proceeds of-the sales of Crown Lands for the months of October and November amount to no less a sum than £11,114, and that chiefly at 10s an acre.

A child was killed here the other day by a cart running over it; the driver has been committed on the eoroner'3 warrant for manslaughter. This is, I think, the first instance of, the kind.

Public, works are progressing, and many buildings being erected; the road to the ocean beach~is to be proceeded with at once.

The weather has been very fine lately, with just sufficient rain to, do good. The wool is coming in, and we may now soon expect the Royal Bride, as also the Bosworth.

We have had a large supply of timber lately, and it is still iv demand.

Flour and grain still maintain their prices, the loaf being now Is. 2d. • . Business is pretty good, and improving. . Friday, December 8.

The Lord Ashley arrived here yesterday at noon, and the mail closes this evening. I learn that the Pirate, with the October mail, may be expected about the loth or 16th.

The' Colonist' of the 9th has the following paragraph :— .

Scabcity of Laboub.—We understand that an influentially-signed memorial has been presented to the Superintendent, and that several deputations have had interviews with the Executive upon this subject. It appears that unless there is a supply brought in at once, either public works must be entirely suspended, or private employers must be deprived of what littlelabour they have managed to get hold of. It seems that so long as men can obtain 365. a-week, wet and dry, and also provisions, from the Government —which on public works in the country the latter have been compelled to pay, or let the work stand—there is little chance of private employers retaining their hands, even at the high wages they have been paying. It must be evident that, under these circumstances, the prospects of the country are anything but cheering, and that instead of the production of food being increased throughout the province, it will be decreased, just in proportion to the extent to which agricultural labour is diverted to employ itself on the public,works. We are glad to learn that the Executive have so far complied with the urgent appeals which have been made to them, as.to despatch an agent to the neighbouring colonies, where labour is abundant and a di'ug, with instructions carefully to select and despatch a few hundred able-bodied men with all possible speed; so that, ■with the aid of steam, we may calculate upon a supply within the next two months. This will so far relieve the apprehensions of our agriculturists in the prospects of an abundant harvest to be reaped, and will, we hope, also enable the most Brgenfc of our public works to be gone on with this season. We should, of course, have preferred receiving our supplies from the old country direct; in the meantime, however, we must make a virtue of necessity, and procure them from whence we best can. We trust that all future Governments will have received a lesson from the insane conduct of their predecessors of 1858, which will effectually prevent another stoppage on immigration, under similar circumstances.

The September Mail.—We were on Wed. nesday, by tlie Lord Ashley, from Auckland^ put in possession of the overdue mail. As mentioned last week, it was brought by the Airedale to Auckland, where it appears the White Swan and Lord Ashley were in.waiting, by which the Wellington and the Middle Island portions of the mail were forwarded to their destination. We can scarcely understand why the Airedale should not have come first to $elson, and the Lord Ashley have been there in readiness to bring forward the southern portion ofihe mail, instead of sending it all round the coast for the convenience of Auckland. Messrs. Macandrew'a agent applied to the Postmaster at Melbourne for the Otago mail,(which was made up separately), and offered also to take that for^ Canterbury and Wellington, for immediate transmission; but the latter gentleman, it appears, thought it necessary to telegraph to Sydney for instructions, which were to the effect that the whole was' to be sent to Sydney for the Airedale. What authority the Sydney Post Office has over our mails we have yet to learn; but we believe the Government here nas addressed another remonstrance to the Postmaster of $ew Zealand, urging the removal of the obstacles which are so constantly interposed to the transmission of our mails by the earliest possible opportunity. ■ i , ' The Colonist offers] the following well deserved

rebuke to an anonymous and untruthful correspondent of the Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne papers from Dunedin. '

Tho • New Zealander' is very angry at the statements with regard to tho glut in the labour market of Auckland which the southern press has copied from tho local papers, which; with the exception of the 'Now Zealander' itself, were unanimous on the subject, mid were moreover supported by declarations at public meetings, an appeal to his Excellency, and so forth. We think we have much more reason to complain of our contemporary for having giving currency to assertions by a correspondent (with whose character for veracity lie was bound to have satisfied himself) containing such gross falshoods as that tho country in Otago "is not at all adapted for sheep-breeding" —that on that account "many runholders are therefore anxious to sell out" —and others who came with the intention of making investments have returned to Australia with their, money in their pockets—that consequently the "labour market is already affected, and will be more so " — and that " among all the new Zealand provinces Otago has the least favourable propects!" As the writer of this tirade professes to speak from personal observation, he having, as he states, only just returned from Otago, there is no loophole by which he may evade the charge of wanton and wilful misrepresentation; and while we are far from accusing ■ our contemporary of designedly lending himself to the propagation of such falsehood, we think he has shown, to say the best of it, culpable negligence, in circulating as statements of fact the assertions of a scribbler who has. proved himself to be utterly unworthy of credit. We may inform the ' New .Zealander,' without any attempt at " puffing," that the province " with the least favourable prospects of any in New Zealand" has just now. about the same amount of available balance lying idle, for want of labour to expend it, that the Auckland Government has (by securing the absence of its leading opponent) jockeyed the Provincial Council into allowing it to borrow to save itself from hopeless bankruptcy— that labour is so much in demand here that the Government has felt itself compelled to adopt measures which will have the effect of almost putting a stop to public works, in order to afford the settlers an opportunity of .getting in their crops and securing their wool clip—that this province is so " ill adapted for sheep-breeding" that our flocks now number upwards of 350,000, or nearly double the return for 1853—and that if intending runholders have not made their proposed investments, it is not because the country is " not adapted for sheep-farming," but because its capabilities have not only been ascertained but the country already secured. The veracious writer is, however, right in one of his statements—we are greatly in want of a few competent surveyors; though, he must suppose that we have a good stock of superfluous cash, if we are willing to expend it in the survey of land which, according to his account; is useless! Laboue.—The demand for farm labour is increasing in urgency every day, and strong remonstrances have, we understand, been addressed to the Government by the settlers, who complain that the inducements held out by high wages and light work upon the roads render it impossible for the farmer s to obtain the necessary assistance, except at rates which the low price of produce precludes them from paying. It is scarcely fair that the present Executive should be called-upon to encounter a state of things brought about by the wrongheaded and short-sighted gentlemen who were the means of checking immigration into this province. The evil is for the time irremediable; but we believe the Government have decided upon reducing the rate of wages of road labourers to 4s. per day, with rations, and a corresponding increase where those are not supplied. This will put private employers in a somewhat better position; but no doubt many necessary public works will be stopped until additional labour is procured, measures for obtaining which have, we believe, been promptly taken.

A most malicious attempt to. injure the Oberon steamer was made on Wednesday night, by some scoundrel who got on board and opened the sea cock, which, but for a timely discovery, would have caused the vessel to be filled with water. We trust the reward offered will secure the conviction of the dastardly perpetrator.

We understand the Rev. Mr. Stuart, the minister for the second Presbyterian Church in Dunedin, is a passenger by the Bosworth, which was to leave London early in October.

A private letter from Invercargill informs us that Mr. Dillon Bell was, at the nomination for a member for the House of Representatives for Wallace County, on the 30th ult., proposed by Dr. MenzieSjand there being no other candidate brought forward, was declared duly elected. If such be the fact, we cannot but think it reflects a stigma upon the,want of public spirit displayed, not only by the dozen persons who are stated to have been present, but on the whole constituency, who appear to have been willing to rest under the imputation that a properly qualified representative could not be furnished from their own ranks, and that they were shut up to the necessity of accepting one entirely unconnected with them, and ignorant of their circumstances and requirements, at the bidding of a dictator.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

Colonial., Lyttelton Times, Volume XII, Issue 741, 14 December 1859

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2,169

Colonial. Lyttelton Times, Volume XII, Issue 741, 14 December 1859

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