New Zealand Provinces. OTAGO.
[fboji oub own coebespondent.] Dunedin, June 15. The last intelligence from the Marlborough diggings has to a certain extent revived the excitement here, and the opinion is gaming ground that a permanent gold-field will be opened out. The results of the deep-sinking at Deep Creek are regarded as a very favourable sign, which, coupled with Dr. Hector's declared opinion that the appearances of the Wairau Plain are in favour of its gold-bearing character, has created a feeling of greater confidence in the auriferous resources of Marlborough. Until the spring, however, there will not be any further accession of population from this province, but I fully expect that, after winter, if the accounts from Marlborough continue to be favourable, there will be another rush thither. Our Provincial Council, after more than a two months' sitting, was prorogued yesterday by his Honour the Superintendent. In his prorogation address his Honour said : — " Having now arrived at the conclusion of a long and important session, it becomes my duty to thank you for the earnest attention which you have bestowed upon the various subjects which have been submitted to your consideration. I have also to thank you for the provision you have made for the conduct of the public service during the current financial half year. "In my address to you on the opening of the present session I gave much prominence to the financial position of the Province — a position resulting solely from the non-sale of our loans ; and I alluded to the possibility of the Government finding itself thereby placed in circumstances of no ordinary difficulty. " Those circumstances of difficulty have occurred, and have been met — the critical point of our position has been reached, and, I believe I may say, safely passed. " The experiences which have lately happened to the Government will, I feel assured, prove of permanent benefit to the country. We can now see clearly the dangerous position from which we have narrowly escaped, and we can also distinctly realise the source of our difficulties. "With this knowledge, neither the Provincial Council nor the Government will in future be likely to fall into the error of sanctioning a large expenditure upon the basis of unnegotiated loans. "In addition to the various Bills to which. I have already conveyed to you my assent, on behalf of the Governor, I now, on his Excellency's behalf, assent to the following Bills : — [Here follow the Bills assented to] "In now relieving you from your legislative duties, it only remains that I should express my earnest hope that the Divine blessing may follow your labours, and that this Province may continue to advance in all that is conducive to the welfare of its people. " I declare the Provincial Council of Otago to stand prorogued until Saturday, the Ist day of October next." The appointment of Home Agent for this province has been offered to Mr. Maclean, the local manager of the Bank of New Zealand, but that gentleman has not yet definitely accepted it. It is understood that if he does not decide before the departure of the ensuing outward mail, the appointment will lapse. The selection of Mr. Maclean for this very important office is not generally regarded with favour, as, beyond his two years' connection with the bank, Mr. Maclean has no knowledge whatever of the province or its resources. The official inquiry relative to the wreck of the Scotia has revealed a case of the most wanton carelessness on the part of the Captain : in fact, had any lives been lost on the occasion, he would assuredly have been found guilty of manslaughter, The report adopted by the Board of Inquiry is substantially as follows : — "The evidence clearly establishes, First — That, about 6 o'clock on the evening of the 2nd instant, the steamship Scotia being then in Foveaux's Straits, the master never having before visited Bluff Harbour, aud the evening being very thick and dark, he caused the steam to be eased, so that the vessel might remain at a safe distance outside the port, until about 9 o'clock. Secondly — That the weather having then become clear, although still very dark, the master proceeded to run in for the harbour. Thirdly — That, a little before 11 p.m., the ship approached a point which lies about three-quarters of a mile S.S.W. from Stirling's Point, and which it seems is erroneously called ' Lookout Point ' by many persons frequenting this port, although it lies fully a mile nearer to the harbour than the point so named on the Admiralty chart. Fourthly — That when off this point, being then within six or seven cables length of the Pilot Station on Stirling's Point, and not before, the master caused a gun to be fired, but continued to run on in excessive proximity to the land, at a speed of five or six knots per hour, the engines making from forty to forty-two revolutions per minute, their maximum speed being seventy-five revolutions, and the water being smooth. Fifthly — At the time the gun was fired, the red light on Stirling's Point must have been open to view from the steamer, and a red light at a considerable elevation ought to have been a warning to the master to have been on the lookout for danger, even though he had not read the ' sailing directions' for entering the harbour. Sixthly — That the master of the vessel had the sailing directions on board, and had seen them on the voyage. In them a direction occurs to the following effect : — ' After sunset a red light will be hoisted on the flagstaff at Stirling's Point. Masters of vessels are cautioned not to approach the Point too closely, as a reef runs off about a cable's length to the S.E. of the flagstaff.' Seventhly — That, notwithstanding this, the vessel was run almost directly for the red light, and was accordingly stranded, at less than half a cable's length from the red light. The opinion which the members of the Court cannot but come to on these facts is : 1. " That the master was guilty of culpable negligence, in not using the means in his power to inform himself as to the port he was about to enter. 2. " That in approaching a strange port on a dark night, he ought, in common prudence, to have fired guns, and made other signals for a pilot, earlier than he did. That after he had fired the gun, the vessel ought to have been stopped, and kept lying in midchannel, without coming further in, until the pilot had time to board her ; and 3. " That in running into a point so close to a bright red light, the master was guilty of such rashness and want of judgment as must render nugatory and useless any precautions which can be taken to render the harbour safe and accessible." The last accounts received from the Bluff state that the Scotia is in a very critical position, and at the mercy of the first S.E. gale ; and this, I am very sorry to say, is blowing here at this moment. The divers employed to examine and repair her bottom have discovered much more extensive injuries than were at first expected, and it is now a question of great doubt whether the vessel will be saved. In-
telligence reached here vid Launceston (Tasmania), of the barque Countess of Seafield, bouud from England to Lyttelton with railway plant, having put into Launceston in a most crippled condition, and having lost nine of her crew and a passenger who were washed overboard by a sea which swept over the ship on the 27th of April. The Taranaki authorities have just sent another recruiting agent down here to enrol men for the Militia, but from the very bad accounts given by the men who went up from here, I think his mission will be unsuccessful. Whether the recruiting agents make unwarranted promises or not to the men, it is quite certain that very bad faith has been kept with those who enlisted in this province ; in fact, the Taranaki authorities have obtained some hundreds of fine able-bodied men on false pretences. Scarcely any of the conditions held out have been performed, and the men find themselves now in a pitiable state, and without any means of redress. The news from our gold-fields continues to be satisfactory ; the Escort arrived yesterday, with 12,730 ounces of gold — a very fair quantity considering the state of the weather and the decrease in population. Winter has set in with severity. Up country the season has been ushered in by keen frosts and snow storms, but here, in Dunedin, we have nothing but cold and wet, the rain having been incessant for the last few days. The Exhibition bids fair to be a great success, the applications for space from England, America, and the Continent are very numerous, and the demands of the colonial provinces are already causing uneasiness to the Commissioners in respect to supplying all. Very considerable annexes will have to be added to the building, which, I may add, is rapidly approaching its outward completion. On dit that a new daily paper is about to be started here, but I fear the present state of depression is unfavourable to the attempt.
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Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXXIII, Issue 75, 23 June 1864
New Zealand Provinces. OTAGO. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXXIII, Issue 75, 23 June 1864
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