THE COLONIST. NELSON, TUESDAY, JULY 10, 1863. EVIL BIRDS.
A homely proverb has perpetuated the scorn and contempt with which mankind view those malicious detractors who rail against their own kindred, or country, or local habitation. It is deemed an offence to publish even truth if that truth should happen to be adverse to the reputation; of (wy of these, But it is trebly rep^Fehensibl©
when these " grim, ungainly fowls " hatch calumnies, and strive to cover their neighbors with that detraction which springs from party rancour, and that spite which characterises the nature that can lend itself as the ready instrument of personal malevolence. "We have some complaints of this kind to make respecting the treatment which.Nelson receives, and some censure to bestow on those who may be guilty of the practice, and the vehicles that propagate the slander. We do not believe in singing peans re%, garding the'excellence of the province, or by exaggerated accounts and overdrawn pictures, to attempt to influence a current of population to our shores. Neither, on the other hand, do we think it well to hide faults and failings ; nor, when a disagreable truth requires to be told would we shrink from telling it. But we desire, most unhesitatingly to condemn and vilipend a system of continual abuse, intended to fall upon the provincial Government, but in reality reaching and injuring the public at lai'ge. There is a paper published in London bearing the title New Zealand Examiner, which professes to give for the special behoof of readers at hoome interested in this colony a monthly resume of all the intelligence of importance connected with the Several pro-.; vinces of New Zealand. Month-after •month the news published respecting seven1 of the provinces is exceedingly favorable and coleur de rose. These provinces are described as advancing, it-heir.-works proceeding, their governments generally making satisfactory progress and improvements. If faults they have (and no man nor government can possibly be without them) they are rarely referred to by the New Zealand Examiner's correspondents, who deal tenderly with, and pever parade, but rather cover, any appearance of a failing. The one " base exception " to this rule, doubly base inasmuch as groundless charges are trumped up, —is to be found in that paper's correspondence from Nelson. Steadily and monthly is calumnious detraction carried on against the Provincial Government, and against provincial undertakings. Not to go further back we shall take specimens from the last two numbers of this monthly which have arrived here from London. The first is extracted from the March number: —
Of local products we are still obtaining splendid samples, but they are nature's own. Luckily chrome does not depend upon our Government for its development, and, as a consequence, we are repeatedly having large deposits of it discovered. Near to the Dun Mountain Company's property, some persons have found another and yet richer reef of chrome ore, a sample of which is now waiting shipment for England. The Dun Mountain Company have found a large mountain of limestone and are now erecting furnaces for the purpose of burning it, and then exporting it, which in New Zealand and Australia, will prove of great value. During the Christmas holidays a very rich reef of chrome ore was discovered on the Dun Mountain's Company's land, and will add mat rially: to.tlio-«noMnt>u»-we«ltl»-y«t-iuide.Yeloped upon 'this property. • ■'.■.-,./ !. Of our gold and West Coast coal fields, I can say nothing —that is that nothing has yet been done for their encouragement, not that they yield nothing, for we have had 1159 ozs. entered at our customs, and there have been about 1900 ozs. altogether obtained since last month. I believe that eventually both gold and coal will attract here a large population, but not until there is some more activity evinced by all classes. Primarily, I of course blame the Government, but not on them alone rests the blame of our stationary position, The whole community requires a little more life and energy—we want the inoculation of a little stirring active blood.
Now we shall take a few sentences from the paper received by last mail. First, as to roads and goldfields.
Our gold fields are at length forcing themselves forward, and, spite of all that a most absurdly indifferent executive can do to prevent their development, I verily believe that the public are moving in the matter with an energy that will not be satisfied with less than the granting of their most reasonable request—that good roads shall be opened without delay between Nelson and its West Coast gold-fields.
If there is one thing more patent than another, it is the activity with which Government explorers, surveyors, engineers and road-makers have been for many months past assiduously searching for, marking out, planning and forming dray roads, bridle tracks, and footways, for the purpose of reaching the interior and west side of the province, and opening tracks for the gold districts. There is no great noise made about the matter, but the work goes on, and has gone on; witness the latest report of Mr. Eochfort, which we publish this morning, and which is one of a series of many. As for the roads of this province in general the fact is this; that people who have travelled in all parts of the colony declare that as a whole the roads-of Nelson are unequalled by any in New Zealand.;. The palpable untruth that the Government is endeavoring to prevent the development of the gold-fields is self-contradictory. Given a good, payable gold-field, and no Government can prevent its development. There is some more pure abuse of the Executive, who are charged with refusing to spend the revenue upon anything " save their salaries and a few peddling jobs here and there." Such stuff as this is only noticed to show the quality of the general writing; its utter refutation is contained in the account of the provincial expenditure for the past year. Another reference is to the alleged neglect of the Superintendent to have a survey for a railway to the Waimea. That survey was made, and a very good thing it proved for the engineer who got the work to perform. It was duly reported to the Council early in the session.
This foolish correspondent has not even the judgment or memory to make his stories agree. And accordingly, after the March letter, we find in April the following reference to the proper road (the sea) to our West Coast, and a sneer at the Dun Mountain's temporary difficulty v whielv latter
scarcely agrees with his grandiloquent flourish of the previous mouth:—
Something is requisite to keep us forging a-liead, for the Dun Mountain Company have, for the present, stopped their Vorks, although I think when they learn that chrome does not exist here in abundance, they will speedily again • commence working their rich deposits of it.
All this might probably be utterly beneath notice were the writer of such inconclusive and spun-out stuff known. "We in Nelson may suppose, and rest satisfied with the supposition, that the writer of such letters— whoever he may be—can be only the instrument of disappointed partisanship, and acting as such after his kind. But, unfortunately, the English reader cannot make this distinction; and so this systematic and untruthful decrying of the province, assiduously published month after month, must, especially when contrasted with the glowing accounts from neighboring provinces, do great and most unjust injury to the province, and deter and mislead intending emigrants. "We can trace too in some of the papers of other provinces the same detracting spirit, the same loose phraseology, and the • same misrepresentation. Time of course will counteract the evil, and bring its punishment; but meanwhile, injustice and injury are done. We would counsel the -New Zealand Examiner to exercise a little more judicious editorial supervision, to watch its correspondence and check it by other sources. There are the journals of the. province, containing proceedings of the Provincial Legislature, public papers of the Government, official narratives of surveyors, engineers, and explorers, with commentaries thereon. Let these be compared and tested by the laws of fact and argument, and thus limit arid counteract the unjust aspersions cast on a whole province by the reckless pen of an inaccurate and irresponsible writer.