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New Zealand Provinces.

CANTERBURY. By the Lord Ashley, we hare papers to the 31st ultimo. The Council had been prorogued, after having passed, amongst other measures, a bill authorizing the construction of a railway between Lyttelton and Christchurch, and a bill authorizing the Government to obtain a loan of on the security of the provincial revenue, for the purpose of effecting this work. On this subject the Canterbury Standard remarks : —

All agreed on the desirability of having a railway, and the certainty of our enjoying it at some future period. The only question, therefore, was how far it might be prudent to undertake so important a work with the comparatively limited resources of so young a community ; and at a time when that objection was aggravated by previous over-expenditure, and temporary commercial depression. In addition to these, the estimates of the projected work were vague, and at best but theoretically presumptive on many points, whilst in some particulars, no data were attempted. As every one was anxious to get a railway as soon as we could effect it without suicidal sacrifices, all the opposition to the bill was conducted with disinterested calmness, and lessening at every successive stage, until, at length, it was tacitly allowed to pass nem. con. The most sanguine advocates of the measure admit the heavy responsibility of an undertaking so disproportionate to the apparent means for its accomplishment ; and it must be allowed that the most rigid economy consistent with the attainment of efficient progress of the work is absolutely necessary to secure satisfactory results without ultimate embarrassment. We hope, therefore, the Executive will strictly adhere to this rule, during the recess, in the alienation of land and other preliminary expenses necessary to be incurred. They have the tide of public opinion with them at the commencement of their labours, and if they manage their stewardship with satisfactory prudence and sagacity, they will not find themselves deserted if unforeseen circumstances create greater difficulties than are at present apprehended.

Mr. Packer had resigned his seat in the General Assembly, and Mr. H. Sewell had offered himself as a candidate for the vacaut seat, and was likely to be unopposed. H.M. ships Iris and Niger . were both at Canterbury ; the former carries 26 guns, and bears the flag of Commodore Loring, C. B. Indeed, the port must have presented a brisk appearance, for in addition to the two vessels just named, there were in harbour on the 31st December, the steamer Royal Bride, five ships, two barques, three brigs, one brigantine, and three schooners; the merchant vessels representing altogether a tonnage of 5,577 tons.

The following are extracts from the papers : —

Since the middle of last month trade has been gradually assuming a more healthy tone ; and though it cannot be said that general commercial confidence was ever shaken — an assertion which may be be borne oat by the fact that no such thing as a forcing of goods into the market has been attempted— still a perceptibly livelier and brisker tone has been assumed throughout all branches of business.

Tins improved condition of things is due in a great measure to the arrival of the wool-clip into the market, a fact which cannot fail to have a widely spreadinn beneficial effect upon the circulation of money. The Cashmere lias commenced to load, and not less than four other vessels are announced to take in wool, viz. t — The Royal Bride, Begins, Zealandia, and Mermaid, representing in all a registered tonnage of about 4,500 tons. What the number of bales for export may be it is not possible to calculate with any nicety ; but if the clip is everywhere as abundant as it is re* presented, 6,500 to 7,000 boles will be about the mark,

Additional confidence is given by the excellent promise of the harvest, which up to this time has been all that farmers could desire. Not less satisfactory is the prospect of the Government entering during the approaching year upon the tunnel works, an enterprise wliich is regarded almost universally with favour, and which even those who express a dflubt m to its influence upon the finances of the Go-

vernment acknowledge will confer an unmistakable benefit on the community at large. — Lyttelton Times, Dec. 14.

Drowning. — A sawyer named Horton was unfortuuately drowned last Friday week, in attempting to cross the Rangitata in company with some eight or ten companions. It seems they all formed a kind of moukcy-bridgft chain by taking hold of each others' hands, the formost holding on by the tail of a horse that led the van. The river was muddy and rapid, but not deep enough to cause the horse to swim. The deceased was the hindmost, and it was observed that ho soon grew nervous and giddy on getting into deep water. Whatever was the cause, he quickly let go his hold and was instantaneously swept away beyond assistance, which seems to have been negligent and inefficient at the best. It is said the body was equally neglected after being recovered.— Standard, Dec. 29.

The Customs revenue for the twelve months ending this day turns out to be within a fraction of £30,000. — Lyttelton Times, Dec. 31. A sudden and remarkable death occurred in this town on Wednesday morning. Mr. James Vaux, a member of the medical profession, and some time engaged in the service of her Majesty's Customs in this port, was found dead in his house, by a lad who called on business early. He was in a half-kneeling position, his face resting on the bed, and the body was quite cold. The unfortunate gentleman had lately removed into the house, which was new, and which he inhabited alone. A coroner's inquest was held on Thursday, at which the medical evidence as to the cause of death indicated nothing but that it may have occurred from suffocation. The verdict was " Died by the visitation of God." This has been a remarkable yeav for sudden deaths, accidents, and offences. — Id. We have this week to make a record of festivities, as is natiirul at the time of year. The visit of his Excellency and two men-of-war, and the thronging shipping in our harbour, have given an unusual vigour to the gaieties of the place. On Tuesday last, the 27th, being St. John's day, and a festival among Freemasons, a grand ball was given by the Masonic body, in the Town Hall, Cliristchurch. His Excellency was present j so were the officers of the Iris and Niger ; so were two hundred and fifty of the inhabitants of the towns and surrounding country. Of course, the room was crowded, almost unpleasantly ; but it was because the building was too small, not because the company was too large. It was peculiarly gratifying to see for once all classes amalgamating in the enjoyment of the occasion, for such a sight has not been usual. The room was handsomely decorated, and the supper liberally and tastefully provided ; the music also was such as to do justice to the occasion ; and when, at four o'clock the next morning, the phalanx of hooded and cloaked dames and damsels issued from the portico to regain their homes, there was an expression of thorough satisfaction on their countenances. — Id.

We learn from Pigeon Bay, that some cattle belonging to Mons. Pierre Bernard, of Akaroa, twenty-two in number, valued at £200, have, during this season, been killed, one after another, in a manner which presents every indication of wilful and malicious conduct on the part of some person or persons unknown. Steps are being taken to bring the perpetrators of this coldblooded atrocity to justice. — Id. A fire occurred in the neighbourhood of Akaroa, a few days ago, by which the ware of a man named M'Jenkins, living near the Maori pah, at Onuku, was burnt to the ground. The fire originated from the chimney, which was built of manuka poles and clayed inside, catching the flames from the hearth ; in a few minutes the fire spread and consumed the place. Nothing was saved, and even the personal clothing of the proprietor and his wife was consumed. The whaling ships which make Akaroa their rendezvous were being looked for. — Id. An inquest was held yesterday, at Biccarton, before the Coroner, on the body of Joseph Richmond, who was drowned on Tuesday last, while endeavouring to cross the Rakaia. The evidence adduced showed that the deceased, who had a horse with him, had been put across the 1 river from the north side, by Dunsford'a man, in the punt ; and that a quarter of an hour afterwards, when the punt had recrossed, he wa3 seen returning. Dunsford sent the man to the punt to go over for him, but deceased rashly ventured into the stream, was quickly washed off his horse, and life was extinct before the body was recovered. The verdict was given in accordance with the evidence. — Id.

OTAGO.

By the Lord Ashley we have received papers o the 31st ultimo.

His Excellency the" Governor has been paying a visit to the province, where he was received with great signs of welcome. He stayed several days in Otago, and made some excursions into the country districts, expressing himself highly pleased with the signs of progress which he met with. Previous to his departure for Canterbury, a public dejeuner was given to him, which was numerously attended.

The importation of stock and timber from Tasmania and of horses and sheep from Melbourne still continues.

Writs had been issued for the election of the Superintendent and Provincial Council. For the former officer (the nomination for which was to take place on the 3rd January) there was likely to be little or no opposition to the return of Mr. M'Andrew. The reply of this gentleman to the requisition presented to him contains the following : —

I feel that the responsibility of the office is such that one might well shrink from it — responsibility, great under any circumstances, but peculiarly so in the present position of the province. I need not say that, if elected, I shall devote myself wholly to building up the edifice, the foundation of which I have had some small share in laying. My highest ambition is to see the whoLe province turned to account — the abode of happiness and comfort ; all its inhabitants, from one end to the other, like brethren dwelling together in unity. To those of my requisitionists' residing in the southern district — of whom I am proud to observe there is a considerable number, I may be permitted to say, that the integrity of the province is to my mind oneof the most essential requisites towards the prosperity both of north and south. It shall, therefore, be my mission, if elected, to maintain this, and to remove all just grounds of complaint which the settlers of any particular district may have against the whole. It shall" not be my fault if the public money is not equitably distributed for the benefit of the whole province. I # # # # #

It appears to me that there has hitherto been a tendency to indulge in excessive Uvw-making ; we have been, as it were, surfeited with laws. No doubt, experience will suggest many improvements in our existing laws, and the exigencies of our progressive circumstances will render new laws necessary ; at the same time, lam disposed to think that the future government Bhould, if possible, be more practical than theoretical, and that life and efficiency in tho performance of its various admriistrative functions — especially as regards immigration, road-making, steam communication, and the profitable occupation of the waste lands— are the graud desiderata now to be sought after.

The remaining news of the province is contained in the following summary, published by the Otago Colonist of December 30 : —

As we are nc >\ within a day of entering upon another stage of the journey of time, our attention is naturally directed to the progress which, as a community, we have made during the stage of the journey which iB about to terminate ; the great, indeed the only, barrier to our advance during the past year has been the insane conduct of the Superintendent and his advisers in stopping the tide of immigration which had set in so freely from the mother country : notwithstanding this drawback, however, the 'year 1859 has been in many respects the most prosperous in our past history, and we hope and believe it has been but the faiut precursor of subsequent years of prosperity

and progress— the day of small things when compared with the future which we trust is before us. The aspect of Dunedin has undergone a greater change in every direction during the past year than it has done for several years previously : new houses are daily making their appearance, the streets are being metalled and otherwise improved, nnd altogether there is an air of bustle about fcUe place which inusfc astonish those who now visit it after any lengthened interval of absence. Among other notable improvements now in progress, we may mention the erection of v second Presbyterian church and manse at the north end of the town, nearly opposite the residence of Dr. Purdie. Ere another year goes round we hope to be able to congratulate our readers upon the complete organization of the Dunedin Athenceum and Mechanics' Institution, a handsome edifice of stone, about to be erected at the corner of Manse and High-streets, at a cost of some £5,000. This erection, it is hoped, will provide the mean 3 of useful recreation and instruction to the younger part of the community, a desideratum for which there is at present no provision, and the necessity and importance of which, cannot be overestimated.

The most marked change which would strike a visitor who has been absent from Dunedin for a year or two, is the amount of business now carried on at the jetty : formerly all was quiet and serene, excepting for an occasional hour or two, three or four times a year, when an immigrant ship happened to be in port ; now the old jetty has been widened and a new extension carried out as far again ; there is also a large wharf for timber, a couple of tramways extend to the extreme end of the jetty, and a couple of railway trucks find constant employment all day long ; notwithstanding these facilities the wharf is generally so blocked up with timber and merchandize that it is I difficult to get along, and we anticipate that it will soon be absolutely necessary, in order to meet the requirements of the rapidly increasing trade of the place, to have additional landing snd shipping accommodation. We have seen nineteen sea-going vessels at one time, during the last month, within half a mile of the Dunedin jetty, irrespective of the large vessels at Port Chalmers. This will give a fair idea of the remarkable increase which has taken place in the commerce of the province. The Geelong and the Oberon, sea-going steamers, now load and discharge alongside the jetty. What with these, and the two steamers plying daily upon the harbour, the bay often presents a very animated appearance to those who knew it in its days of solitude. Among other improvements we have to notice a new bonded store which is being erected close to the wharf; it is a three-storied building, built of white limestone. A new Court House, being a large and elegant building of wood, is also progressing. Both of these erections front the harbour, and look remarkably well from the water.

As regards roadmaking, we regret to say, that comparatively little progress has been made during the past year in the neighbourhood of Dunedin, in consequence of the want of labour ; anything that has been done in this way has been chiefly in the interior, and about Invercargill. We are glad to see, however, that of late the formation and metalling of the main south road through Caversham is progressing with more vigour, and the expected supply of labour will, we trust, enable the Government to press on this, as well as various other public works throughout the province. We are glad to learn that the carriage-road from Dunedin to the Ocean Beach has been contracted for, and that the work ha 3 now commenced, We trust long before this time next year to see an omnibus running constantly between Dunedin and the Beach.

One feature which marks the progress of the year that is gone is, that whereas in former days the sledge and the bullock dray were the most approved and only method of locomotion, horses and carts are now much more numerous. The inland mail, wliich was wont to be carried on horseback, is now taken as far as the Clutha Ferry in a spring cart, the postman driving tandem once a week for sixty miles out and sixty miles back, carrying passengers at a moderate rate. Private vehicles can now be procured on hire — a thing formerly unknown; and if we had the roads a little further advanced, there would be ample room for a coach-building establishment in Dunedin. There are few things which afford a better index to the progress of a country than its means of locomotion. If we are to judge of Otago by this standard, the year 1859 will stand pre-eminent in its history, in which it may be regarded in some respects as the year one. Our ocean steam to Melbourne by means of the Pirate— to the neighbouring provinces bytheColeman line — together with our coastal steamers — afford us the means of travelling with comfort wherever business or inclination may direct ; and our two harbour steamers, plying daily from one end to the other of perhaps the most picturesque sheet of water in New Zealand, complete the facilities for moving about by water which are not as yet to be found to the same extent in any other part of the colony. Another very gratifying feature in the history of the past year is the improvement which has taken place in the character of stock, especially horses. We are much struck with many of the horse-tesms driving tlirough the town ; they present an appearance of strength and symmetry which would do credit to some of the best establishments in the old country.

There have been several importations of superior breeding stock of various descriptions from home, which will in a short time exercise a marked effect upon the general character of the stock throughout the province. Several capitalists have turned their attention to the matter, and we hope in the course of next year to see a prize exhibition started, not only as respects live stock, but farm and dairy produce 5 already a great impetus has been given to horticultural and floral pursuits, by the formation of a society in Dunedin, and the periodical exhibitions connected therewith.

As stated at the outset, everything is indicative of solid healthy progress. The only sphere of industry which has been neglected is the sawing of timber in our own forests j as it is, we have been importing largely. A new mill has just come into operation, which, it is said, will turn out 20,000 feet per week. We hope to see several such ere another year goes round, and that the termination of 1860, will find us in an equally self-congratulatory mood, and with equally good cause.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

New Zealand Provinces., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XIX, Issue 2, 7 January 1860

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3,245

New Zealand Provinces. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XIX, Issue 2, 7 January 1860

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