THE "Wellington Independent." Saturday, August 2, 1851.
I Tho present Session of the Legislative Council may now be said to have boon brought to a close. The honorable members have gathered iv their plunder from the various settlements, have divided it amongst themselves with far less quarrelling than is usually ovinced on such occasions, and are now anxious to be off to their respective homes. They havo got all they can; they havo feathered their nosts for the season, and now bid their victims their most affectionate adieu, expressing at the same time their hope that every future campaign may turn out equally satisfactory and profitable. Amidst the rejoicings and revellings of these official plunderers, tho settlers from one end of the colony are burning with iudignation at the farco which has just been enacted, at the insults which have been heaped upon them, and at the ecol contempt with which the best and most important interests of the colony have been neglected and passed over by this band of renegades and apostates. Nor is their indignation tho less, becatt.o they feel that they aro powerless to resist, and that they must, whether they like it or not, grin and bear it Their only consolation is that the day of retribution cannot be far distant, aud that the present Council has by its recent proceedings done more than all previous Councils to throw ridicule upon the present system of Government, and to demonstrate the utter impossibility of its being much longer maintained.
For most assuredly, under whatever i oint of view it is regarded, the present s the most contemptible Council that a3 ever been assembled in New Zea-
1- ml; and, as far as Legislation is con-' c- rned, has been the greatest farce, and tie mo.t complete mockery, that has e--er yet been perpetrated. All previous General Councils have consisted of the fi-ur chief Executive officers of the Go- ' erument and the three Senior Magistrates of the colony, and amongst the Litter ther. has always been some one or other who has had both the courage and the ability to speak wholesome truths, and to expose and denounce the insane and mischievous policy of the Government ; but the present Council has consisted of eleven officials, and (since the resignation, in disgust at its proceedings, of Mr. Hickson) of three Nominees, who have all vied with each other iv subserviency to their lord and master—to him who made them what they aro, and who, they well know, can quite as easily and readily unmake them. So completely has tho mask of independence previously worn been thrown aside by this Council, that there is scarcely a single member of it, who, during its sittings, has not publicly avowed that they were assembled, not to deliberate but to register the decrees of Sir George Grey. From the Lieutenant-Governor down to Mr. Commissioner Bell, they have one and all declared, that being in the pay of government, they were not entitled, and did not presume, to have an opinion or will of their own. They had sold themselves for a certain price ; they had pocketted the money, and were bound to do his Exccilency,s bidding in all things. So utterly has all decency been set at nought—so gross has been tho blind and servile obedience of these puppets, that tho surprise in the minds of the spectators has all along been, that Sir George should have condescended to go through such a farce, and that he should have taken tho trouble of assembling such a body together, seeing that he might just as well have made the Laws himself, and then proclaimed them. For our own part, looking at the constitution of the Council; bearing in mind that only one Senior Magistrate has been present, and that the Charter requires that tho threo Senior Magistrates in any General Commission of the Peace for the colony should at least be members, we have little doubt but that his Excellency's decrees would havo been qnite as legal as the Ordinances which havo just been passed by the Council—most undoubtedly, quite as legal as his appropriation of the revenue of this Province without tbe authority of any Appropriation Bill; for which he has obtained a Bill of Indemnity; quite as legal as his hanging the Natives at Porirua, for which also ho obtained a Bill of Indemnity ; and quite as legal as ; hia abolition of the Courts of Request,
for which ho was censured by Lord q and (if wo remember rightly) instructed to obtain likowiso a Bill of Indemnity Whon we pointed out the illegality of U 10 " presont Council, owing to tho abse nco from it of tho three Senior Magisii- vu_ os wo were told by tho oilicials that wo h ll( j discovered a mare's nest, that they wer. themselves from tho very first aware of the flaw, and that Sir George intended to follow tho practico pursued both by himself and his prodecessors Captains Hobson and Fitzroy on former occasions and to issue a fresh Commission of tho Peace, placing tho three Nominees at the head of tho list. Nay wo wero in. formed that tbe Commission had already been prepared, and would appear in the next Gazette ; but up to the present day no such Commission has ever been published, though several Gazettos have been issued. Wo only now again allude to this fact, because wo understand that the settlers will bring it under the notice of Her Majesty's Secretary of Stato for tho Colonies.
The only point in which tho present Council can bo said to have proved itself superior to its predecessors, is in the passing of the estimates. Previous Councils showed some moderation in their demands Jupon the public nurse • they helped themselves liberally enough' but still they did not completely empty tho purse. They robbed on a comparatively small scale, in a sort of retail way but the honourable members of this Council have conducted their operations upon the wholesale system; in proportion as the revenue has increased, so havo their appetites ; they have swallowed nearly tho whole of tho money, and yet they leave off hungry; and end by * expressing a hope that the next time they meet, they will find the revenuo so much increased as to afford them all a considerable augmentation to their present salaries.
The settlers of Wellington (simple minded people that they are) when they heard his Excellency's exposition of tho extremely satisfactory state of tho Provincial Finances—when they heard him estimate the probable revenue for tho ensuing year of this settlement alone nt £19,000 —and when in addition to this sum, they found him and his Council, by smuggling the uewCustoms'Bill through, so as to take tho mercantile community by surprise actually defrauding the merchants of an additional sum of ..800 or £1000, llattered themselves that some few crumbs at least would be vouchsafed to them, tbat some small portion of their own money would bo appropriated to repairing their streets, and especially to establishing proper ferries across the dangerous rivers up the coast; but they soon found they wero labouring under a delusion. It is true that it is calculated that the revenue for the ensuing year, will exceed that of tho last year, (the Customs' Duties having been increased to fully double their former amount,) by some seven or eight thousand pound's; but then his Excellency has a few more Commissioners, a few more Secretaries to satisfy, before the claims, howover just aud urgent, of the settlers, can be listened to.
It is tiue that the sacrifice ofthe lives of twenty-nine persons by the shipwreck of tho Maria, and the consequent indignation of the whole community, havo forced the Council at the eleventh hour, to devote the money of which they robbed tho Merchants, to the erection of a Harbour Lighthouse. This boon we say, has been reluctantly wrung from the Govrrnment by the sacrifice—we had almost said—by tho murder of Captain Plank and his unfortunate companions; but the drowning of a settler every now and then in crossing tho rivers up the coast, is altogether beneath the notice of the Council ; and when an application is made for a few hundred pounds for the purpose of establishing proper ferry boats in the place of the present rickety canoes, the answer of our .Sonators is that they are extremely sorrow, "but they havo already divided every farthing of tho revenue amongst themselves. When some twenty or thirty settlers havo been drowned in a body, or when some Lieutenant-Governor, Commissioner, or Secretary, shall have been upset in. the Manawatu, and been obliged to swim for it, then probably the officials will take the recent application into their gracious consideration, and will see whether they can afford the few hundred pounds which are required to establish suitable ferryboats ; but till then the settlers who travel up tho coast must be content to incur tho risk of meeting with a watery grave.
But although tho Council can plead, when a public work essential to tho very safety of the settlers is in question, that they have voted away all the revenue, yet they never have the slightest difficulty in finding funds for increasing the salary of an Official. Thus to givo one example--although the estimated expenditure for New Ulstor exceeded the estimated revenue by about £2000, yet when the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor canio under discussion, tho following instructive scene occurred. Our readers aro aware that General Pitt received £400 a-year as Lieutenant-Governor of New Ulster, and that Colonel Wynyard accepted tho oflioe on the same terms. It
appoars, howevor, that Sir G. Grey having installed the gallant Colonul into hi. office a fow days before tbo anniversary of ll.r Majesty's birth-day, felt sonio qualms of conscience in having entailed upon him tho expense of tho Ball which Governors aro expected to givo on that day. When thcrcforo the vote of £400 was proposod, Sir George cast an imploring look upon his Council, and asked whether any honorable member had an amendment to propose. Tho Colonial Secretary of New Zealand, to whom a wink is as good as a nod, and who seems to divino by a species of instinct, His Excellency's wishes, at once got up and proposod that the salary should bo raised to £GOO. Colonel M'Cleverty supported tho amendment on the ground of tho heavy expense to which the Lieutenant-Governor had beon put by tho Ball, which Sir George Groy had shirked. His Excellency looked black; and tho Council seeing that something was wrong, rejected the amendment. This done, Sir George again asked whether some hon. Member would not wish to proposo a further amendment. Tho worthy Colonial Secretary perceived at once the blunder he had committed, and proposed that tho salary should be doubled, that is, raised from_£4oo to £800. His Exellency gave a smile of approval at the Doctor's quickness of perception; bis slaves at the Council Chamber nodded their cordial acquiescence, and carried the amendment without a division. Now few who know the unbounded hospitality of Colonel Wynyard, will probably object to his receiving a salary sufficient to meet ic. All know full well, that the gallant Colonel will spend every sixpence of his salary and probably a great deal more, in keeping up the dignity of his office ; and in dispensing that hospitality, which is generally expected of Governors, and which really constitutes the excuse for their high salaries. But what strikes us is this, that it is scarcely fair to call upon the colonists to pay for a ball, which Sir Georgo Grey ought to have given himself: it appears to us, that instead ofthe expense of this ball coming out of tbo pockets of the colonists, it ought to have come out of his Excellency's £2,654 a-year. But wo purpose going through the Estimates in detail in an early number.
Our worst fears with respect to the passengers by the Maria have been realized. From lettors> received-by the cutter Fly, which < arrived from Port Cooper yesterday morning, we learn that the two unfortunate passengers were' Mr. William Deans of Port Cooper, and Mr. G. P. Wallace of this place. Mr. Deans was one of the pioneers of this settlement, having come out in the Aurora, the first vessel despatched by the Now Zealand Company, after the preliminary expedition. lie was in every respect a true settler—one of those men, whoso energies and resources rise in proportion to the obstacles they meet! with, and who, if disappointed in one pursuit, immediately strike out another path for themselves Finding, after waiting some two or three years in this settlement, that there was no prospect of his obtaining possession of his land, he proceeded to Port Cooper, where he located himself, and f.rmed a sheep and cattlo station. After having undergone all the hardships and privations of the early colonist, he was in a fair way of reaping tho fruits of his energy and indomitable perseverance, when, for some reason or other not yet explained, he took hi 3 passage in the Maria, instead of proceeding as he originally intended by the Eudora to Sydney. His generous hospitality, his kindness, and frankness of manner, his readiness to assist and advise, have, we well know, won for him on tho part of the Canterbury colonists, the same feelings of esteem and affection, which wore entertained for him by those who knew him in this settlement. It would indeed be difficult to point out a singlo individual whoso untimely end will be more soveroly felt and regretted by tho Canterbury settlers.
Mr. G. P. Wallace was so well known to every settlor of this placo, his storling worth and integrity wore so fully appreciated, that wo feel it almost unnecessary to pay our tribute of respect to his memory. His relations and friends may rest assured, that thoy carry with them in their sad bereavement, the warmest sympathy of the inhabitants of this placo. Ho is the second of tho family who has perished on tho voyage from Port Cooper to this place. Had the Local Government, instead of squandering the revenues of the settlement upon a host of useless Oilicials, devoted a small portion of them to building a lighthouse, the lives of these valuable colonists, and of many.others, would have been saved.
Wo have recorded in our obituary today tho death of Mr. Kauffman Samuel, after a short illness, but we cannot refrain both from expressing our deep regret at the loss tho settlement has sustained by the decease of so valuable a colonist, and also our warm and heartfelt 6ympathy with his widow and numerous family. Mr. Samuel arrived in Wellington in July, 1842, when ho immediately
established tho Houso of Samuol & Joseph, which, as our readers aro well aware, has always ranked high amongst tie mercantile firms ol' this place. The Houso has not'only been one of tho largest importers, having extensive and wealthy connexions,both in England and tbo neighbouring colonies, but it has always been distinguished by an earnest desire to encourage and dovelop the natural resources of tho colony. In the infancy of this settlement Messrs. Samuel & Joseph wero extensively connected with tho Whalo Fisheries, and wero amongst tho largest exporters of Oil and Bone. During tho last few years they have been most zealous in encouraging the Flax trado; in fact, Mr. Samuel, upon whom the business of the House mainly devolved, was ever ready to encourage any branch of industry,' likely to prove beneficial to the colony. We need scarcely say that in carrying on bis extensive business, he gained tho respect and_ esteem of all, for the integrity and straightforwardness which ho invariably manifested in all his transactions. His word was ever considered as good as a bond. But it is not only as tho head of a Mercantile Firm that his loss will be regretted by tho inhabitants of Wellington ; for probably no man had a higher sense of, or more fully appreciated the public duties of a citizen, or was more anxious to discbarge them, than Mr. Samuel. As the warm and zealous advocate of free institutions, he never flinched from bearing his part in the struggle which, in regard to these institutions, has so long been waged between the colonists and the Governor-in-Chief.
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THE "Wellington Independent." Saturday, August 2, 1851., Wellington Independent, Volume VII, Issue 606, 2 August 1851
THE "Wellington Independent." Saturday, August 2, 1851. Wellington Independent, Volume VII, Issue 606, 2 August 1851
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