Member for Christchurch. — On Tuesday last, the corps of members of the house of' Representatives for the province of Canterbury was completed by the election of Richard Packer, Esq., who now fills the seat vacated by Mr. Sewell, for the town of Christchurch. We cannot look upon the want of excitement at the event as meaning any lack of interest on the part of the public, any more than the absence of nervous agitation on the part of Mr. Packer, himself, proved that he was careless of the issue, or held his new position in light estimation. An ardous though noble task is before Mr. Packer, if he aims at supplying the place of Mr. Sewell to Christchurch and New Zealand. — Lyttelton Times, Nov. 22. By an advertisement which we publish today it will be seen that the Provincial Government are prepared to assist the promoters of steam communication within the province in one of three different ways, any one of which will leave the action of the individual or company, as the case may be, unfettered in the management of the business. The offers of the Government are as follows : —
1. To advance £5,000 to a contractor, without interest, upon valid security for the insurance of the capital j — the money to be re-paid when the contract is at an end.
2. To guarantee a fixed bonus on private capital employed, to the amount of the yearly lo3a estimated to be incurred by the service. 3. To guarantee a minimum rate of interest on the amount of private capital invested.
At the meetings which have been held lately at Lyttelton and Christchurch to discuss the subject an opinion has been pretty generally expressed that the Provincial Government ought not to undertake to provide or work any steamers, but that the business should be left to private enterprise, assisted by the means at the disposal of Government for that purpose. The Government appear to have placed themselves in the hands of the mercantile community, and there can be little doubt but that one or other of their offers will be speedily accepted.
As an abstract question of policy, we are convicted that Government should have nothing whatever to do with such an undertaking as the one proposed. The commercial enterprise of England or America has always been left to itself, and it has increased. In those countries where Government has interfered to prop it up, it has invariably either failed or remained in a very \|eak sickly condition. But, perhaps, under our peculiar circumstances some stimulus was necessary to start a steamboat company. Want of capital and want of experience are deterring many from engaging in what they are convinced will be a paying speculation. ' The general rule, however, will be verified here — Either the whole thing will be a failure (which we can scarcely believe), or else private enterprise will eventually take the business out of the hands of persons assisted by Government. We do not think that the first contracts ought to be let for any great length of time. We cannot but think that Government assistance will not be long necessary- If the present offer cause the formation of a company it will create competition, and this is the only satisfactory result which we can expect from the Government grant. If the grant draws public attention to the subject and succeed in initiating good Provincial Steam Commnnication it will be a satisfactory expenditure of public money. — Id. Dec. 6.
The following extract from a private letter from Mr. Godley will be read with interest by most of our readers. The vote for the purpose of immigration passed during last session by the Provincial Council will probably have placed the Provincial Government iv a position to carry on the immigration as heretofore.
" * * * Canterbury is in great favour here just now. The new Bishop will sail early in September. Harman goes by the same ship, and numerous other cabin passengers. What you want now is labour, labour, labour. I would I could impress on the people of Canterbury as strongly as I feel myself the j absolute necessity of keeping up a stream of immigrant labour, not merely for the sake of material prosperity and personal comfort, but for the sake of that higher civilization, the hope of finding which is the attraction to Canterbury amongst colonists of the highest stamp. If you have not got money for that purpose, borrow it. Don't be afraid of anticipating revenue for that purpose. Public works may not pay ; surveys may not pay ; steam communication may not pay ; but the thing that must pay is the importation of labour. Consider the matter in this way, — Your present revenue is (say) £25,000 ; i.e. £5 per head. If you borrowed and spent in immigrstion £ 10,000 a year within the next five years, you would at the end of that time have doubled your population, because with good management you can get people for £10 a head all round. Supposing you have to pay 8 per cent, and add 3 per cent, as a sinking fund (which would pay it off in about twentytwo years), you will have charged your revenue with £5,500 a year, but I have no hesitation in saying that you will have doubled your present revenue, as you will have doubled your population by the operation ; that is, you will get £25,000 a year and pay £5,500. This is no speculator's dream, it is mathametically certain, if you don't bring in your immigrants too rapidly. And this you will not do, if you only import 1,000 a year. You can get the money, I understand, easily enough. The Province of Wellington has just raised through Gladstone's house £50,00°, which I am told will be spent on public works. Do you act in the same way, send home debentures, say for £10,000, bearing (I am afraid I must say) 8 per cent, which is the interest paid by Wellington ; entrust them for negotiation to your agent here, who will negotiate them to the best advantage for you ; and spend the proceeds exclusively in immigration ; for I strongly recommend that public works, which are not sure, like immigration, to bring in direct and immediate returns, be carried on with current income. You must, however, have an office
here, and a paid immigration agent, if you wish to do anything worth doing. It is a most serious misfortune to the colony that you are obliged to recall Harman, and I earnestly hope you will send him home again. He has done you infinite good. His office is a focus of interest and information about Canterbury ; his good manners and attention conciliate everybody ; his business habits have set up your credit. In short, I cannot say how much you owe him. It is altogether out of the question that Willis or any shipowner should carry on your immigration business. If you can't afford to have an office of your own, you should join with Wellington and Nelson ; and if this can't be done, you had better send your money to the Government Commissioners than trust to Willis, who has no machinery for the purpose, no knowledge of the subject, and strongly protests against having anything to do with it. * * These Views of mine, though hastily expressed, have been very deliberately arrived at. * *"—ld." — Id.
Appointments. — By a Provincial Gazette, dated the 29th ultimo, which we have only now received, we find that Mr. Joseph Brittan has been appointed Keeper of the Public Records, in the room of Mr. Taucred, resigned. Mr. Tancred's resignation of the appointments of Resident Magistrate for Lyttelton, Sheriff of the Province of Canterbury, and Commissioner of Police, is also notified, and Mr. Hall is gazetted as his successor in all three; for the two former, provisionally, waiting the confirmation of the Governor. In the same Gazette are published the prorogation of the Provincial Council till March sth, 1857, and his Honor the Superintendent's address on the occasion. — Id., December 10.
Fatal Accident at Amuri. — The schooner "Caledonia" has just arrived from Amuri, without her master and one of her men. It appears that in bringing two bales of wool from the shore, with three hands in the boat, the wool rolled with a lurch and upset them. One of the men swam to the schooner ; Randal, the master, and Marsh were drowned in the surf. The survivor, the only man remaining in the schooner, attempted to bring her to port, alone ; and, fortunately falling in with the Hannah, received assistance from her, and reached Lyttelton in safety. Randal has been well known and much esteemed in this town since its first existence, having been one of the crew of the ship " Charlotte Jane." His loss is severely felt by all who knew him." — Id.
The determination of the General Government with respect to the conveyance of the mails between Melbourne and New Zealand, looking at it merely as a matter of policy, has taken every one by surprise. Although the seat of Government was left at Auckland, it was generally supposed that the establishment of a responsible Government would be a guarantee that no undue prepossession in favour of Auckland should hereafter interfere with the interests of the southern provinces. If the old officials had mads such an arrangement as the one now proposed, we should not have been astonished ; but that the present Executive should be so entirely forgetful of the interests of the colony as a whole is almost incredible. There has been a general feeling of goodwill towards the present Government throughout New Zealand, an anxiety that they should get a fair trial, and a wish to make every allowance for the difficulties which a new Government would have to encounter. Their policy in the present instance appears to be perfectly suicidal. The southern provinces only ask for justice, and that justice is denied them. We need not repeat the protests entered against the Government measure by the commercial bodies of Wellington and Canterbury. They will certainly be re-echoed at Nelson and Otago. It is intolerable that when the south gave up the question of the seat of Government for the sake of forming a responsible Government, the first act of that Government should be to ignore altogether the claims of the south to any participation in the benefits of the steam communication for which the whole of New Zealand pays. Indeed, so far from sharing in the benefits of the new communication, we shall be placed in a worse position than we were in before (as we pointed out on Wednesday), if the Government persist in their intention of causing the letters to be transmitted via Auckland. We could understand the object of the Government if their proposed plan involved greater economy in the postal service ; although, even then, we should not agree with their policy. But economy has not been consulted. Auckland, and Auckland alone, will benefit by their arrangement. Now, we are far from wishing to look at questions of interest to the whole colony in a merely provincial point of view. It is not through any jealousy of Auckland that we protest against the Government scheme. But we are entitled justly to complain when we see general interests sacrificed to one province — to that province to which a lion's share of the Government spoil has been already conceded. There are many schemes by which Auckland would receive ample justice without monopolising all the advantages of the new postal arrangements. We hope that the protests of the South will, even at the eleventh hour, induce the Government to pause before they commit themselves to such an injustice as the one at pz-esent contemplated. — Id. Dec. 13. Arrival of the Bishop of New Zealand. — The Southern Cross, with Bishop Selwyn on board, arrived in this harbour on Thursday evening last. His Lordship had visited Otago, and called in, on his way here, at Akaroa, Okain's Bay, Pigeon Bay, and Port Levy. We are informed that it is Dr. Selwyn' s intention to wait in the province for at least ten days, in expectation of the arrival of the Bishop of Christchurch, in the Egmont, within that period. His Lordship will, we believe, during that time, visit the sheep stations round the country, as far as is practicable, and afterwards (to-morrow week as we are informed) preach sermons in Christchurch and Lyttelton for the public charities which it is his custom so to support. — Id.