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The Press from Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand • 1

The Pressi
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Nihil utile quod non honestum" Voi HI No 192 SATURDAY JUNE 13 1863 Published Daily Price 3d luman race If wo revert to the earliest i primordial typos of meclianical life to tho lever tho wedge tlio inclined plane tho screw and the pulley or (for analogy would lead us one stop further) to tliat ono primordial type from which ell tlio mechanical kingdom has boon developed we moan to tho lover itself and if wo then examino the machinery of tho Groat Eastorn wo find ourselves almost awestruck at the vast development of tho meclianical world at tlio gigantio strides withwliivh it lias advanced in comparison with tho slow progress of tlio animal and vegetable kingdoms Wo sliall find it impossible to refrain from asking ourselves vrhnt tlio end of this mighty movement is to be In wliat direction is it tending? Wliat will be its upshot To giro a few imperfect hints towards tho solution of these questions is tho object of the present letter We have usod the words 11 mechanical life" the mechanical the moclwnical world" and so forth and wo havo done so advisedly toe as tho vegetable kingdom wns slowly developed from Die mineral and os in like manner the animal supervened upon the vegetable so now in these last few ages an entirely now kingdom has sprang up of which wo os yet have only soon what will be one day oonsidorod the antediluvian prototypes of the raoe We rogret deeply that our knowledge both of natural history and iff machinety is too small to enable us to undertake the -gigantio task of classifying machines into their genera and subgenera species varieties subvarieties and so forth iff tracing tho connecting links botween of widely different characters of pointing out how subservienco to the use of man lias played tliat part among machines which natural selection has performed in the animal and vegetable kingdoms of pointing out rudimentary organs see note which exist in Rome few machines feebly developed and perfectly useless of tlio greatest and most mysterious questions of tlio day Wo refer to the question what sort of creature man's next successor in the supremacy of tho oartli is likely to bo We have often heard this dobated but it appears to us that we are ourselves creating our own successors we an daily adding to tho beauty and doltcaoy of tlieir physical organisation wo aro daily giving Pwm greater power and supplying by all sorts of in-genfous contrivances tliat self-regulating selfacting power which will be to them wliat intellect has boon to the human race In tho courso of ages wo shall find ourselves the iuforior race Inferior in power inferior in that great moral quality of self control wo shall look up to thorn as to the acme of all that the best and wisest man can ever dare to aim at No evil passions no jealousy no avarice no impure dosiroo will disturb the serene mjjglit of those glorious creatures Bin shame and somftr will havo no place among them Their minds will bo in a stato of perpetual calm the oontentmcnl of a spirit that knows no wants is disturbed by no regrets Ambition will never torturo them In-gratitudo will never cause them the uneasiness of a moment The guilty conscience tlie liope deferred tho pains iff exile Mtbo insolenoo of offico and tho scorns which patient merit iff the unworthy takes these wQl be entirely unknown to them If they want 14 feeding" (bjrtlie uso of which veiy word wo betray our reeoghition iff them as living organisms) they will be attended hy patient slaves whoso business and interest it iriD be to eeo that they shall want for nothing If they aro out of order they will be promptly attended to by pbysidane wbo aro thoroughly acquainted with their constitutions if they dfaforeven theso glorious animals will not be exempt from that necessary and universal consummation they will immediately enter into a new phaseiof existence! for what machine dies entirety in every part ft' Our opinion of this subject lias been often and freely expressed Wo entirely hold with the report of tlio Committee of the Provincial Council in which they pointed out that tho present system ought not to be continued any longer We believe that with Terr large opportunities for jobbing and a control growing weaker and weaker tho magnitude of the operations of the department rendered supervision more difficult Mr Dobson has left his office with entirely clean hands' We Iwto heard him accused of recklessness and extravagance of being very crotchet ty and very obstinate but we have never beard tlio slightest suspicion thrown upon liis integrity But no public offico ought to bo in a position in which it becomes virtually irresponsible of the supremo power There aro then but two courses one to appoint a Minister of Public Works with a seat in tho Provincial Council the other to break up the deportment altogether We believe on every ground tliat tlio latter is the wiser course The Government will alwnys require professional advice as for example they require mi engineer in this railway If they build a bridge over the Bakaia they can employ an engineer for that the samo or another os they thought but the great work of road making ought to be given over to district boards The great change thus effected may be described os a change from monopoty to free trade the monopoly of all the engineering work of the province in tho hands of one Government officer or fie trade in engineering ability It cannot bo dohbtcd that under such policy the supply of engineering power would be greatly increased os supply is always stimulated by demand and the public would be tho goinors every way Mr Dobson was tlie first Provincial Engineer and we hope be may bo tho lost We hope instead of seeing one Provincial Engineer to see a separate Engineer for each district and the great bridges and railways given to those who acquire the public confidence most thoroughly MR DOBSON cannot tate leave of Mr Dobaon as the Provincial Engineer without a more formal notice of liia past acrvicca than we have yet made Mr Dobaon was first employed hy the Govem-joentin 183 to lay ont the bridle-road from porau to Akaroa The effective and satisfactory hi which he performed this duty making complete sketch of the route through a dense foiest previously untraveraed and over monn-tnn more than 3000 feet high and laying jom the line ao accurately as to require little subsequent alteration established his reputation not only as an able surveyor but for os much hia leoonnaisance survey was made entirely without assistance as a man of great endurance euBgj and perseverance Not long after Mr Dobson was placed at the head of the public works of the province and we have no hesitation in saying that it would have been very difficult if not quite impoeaible to have found any professional so well adapted for the situation or who would on the whole have done so much valuable service to the public Those only who hsd the opportunity of seeing Mr indefatigable labors in times when all those at the head of departments had to pull the ropes as well as guide the ship's course con rightly appro-date how much work Mr Dobson got through with very inadequate resources for in those days the Engineer was his own Clerk of the Works and in a measure liis own pay clerk too Perhaps no man has been on the whole from time to time more unpopular than thelote Provincial Engineer Where every one wanted every thing done at once and to underbake one work waa to offend a host of claimants interested in works in different parts of the province most persons sooner or later had occasion to grumble at the Provincial Engineer But it is only fair to aay that if unsparing labor would have done everything at once time aud apace would have been abolished in the Public Works department Another feature in Mr official life was this that in all except very rare case the public works were dime within bis cctbnateSi It is true on the other hand that he had a tendency to estimate worlm rather ow than wader their full value All laborers do and ought make much higher wages on piece or contract wwi than on time labour because they put more hard work into the job but it requires very dear judgment to estimate the value of contract work kdating it at the current rate of wages of the day allowing for a fair and honest day's work being done by each man There can be no doubt that Mr Dobson lias in many cases allowed much more monoJr to bo paid for work than it would Inure cost hd it been dene by an ordinary employer A the colony became richer we have always thought that the Engineer gradually grew into theponiion of a Minister of Public Works in dlier words that liis duties become more administrative than was desirable with any public servant having a scat in the legislative body In fact recent tunes tlio public works grew to such a lnagnitude that they were for too much under the rontrol the Engineer and for too little under the control of the Provincial Council Wo are accusing Mr Dobaon of having aimed at this lra jrault of fas position ono tho seme instant? CHRISTCHURCH The New Music Hah Wo desire to call tho attention of our readers to tho opening of the Now Music Hall in Gloueester-street An advertisement in our columns announces the pleasing fact that the members of the Canterbury Musical Society intend to celebrate the event by two concerts on Monday and Tuesday next It is a pleasing feature in the case to be enabled to add flint Messrs Poussord and Douay and their assistants Messrs Wilkinson and Beaumont have also offered their valuable aid to give eclat to these concerts Tho room is the largest and for the transmission of sound beyond doubt the finest in tlio Province and great credit is due to the enterprising proprietors who have at last supplied a so long needed to give effect to the musical talent of the city We hope nay we arc sure that although at so short a notice the Hall will he a crowded one Wo take it that when the state iff things dull have arrived which we have been above attempting to describe man will have become to foe machino vrhat the horse and the dog aietq man' He will continue to exist) nay even to impirove and will be probably better off fa hie state of domestication under the beneficent rdicf the machines than ho is fa bis present wild Btate We treat our liorsee dogs cattle and sheep on the whole with great kindness we gtye thoh whatever experience teaches usto bebestforthfcm and there can be no doubt that oof use of meat has added to the happfaesa of the lower anfaida for more than it hai detracted flom it i 'fadfee- manner it is rrasonsWe to suppose fbiit tiu- machines will treat ns Unity for their existeiictf is as dependent upon us as one is upon the Wiser -animals Thsy cannot ldn us and eat uraeWdo' sheep tbtywill not onty require ofa invitee fa the parturition of their young (which branch oT their economy will remain always fa our yet serving to mark desoent from some ancestral typo which lias either perished or been modified into some new phase of mechanical existence We con onty point out this field tor investigation it must be followed up by others whoso education and talents have been of a muoli higher order than any which we con lay claim to Some few hints we have determined to venture upon though we do so with the profoundest diffidence Firstly wo would remark that as some of the lowest of the vertebrate attained a for greater sixe than has descended to their more highly organized living representatives so a diminution in the size of maeliineo has often attended their development and progress Take the watch for instance Examine tbs beantifol structure of the little animal watch the intelligent play of the minute members which compose it yet this little creature is but a development of the cumbrous clocks iff the thirteenth centuiy it is no deterioration from them The day nuy come when docks which certainty at the present tinii are not Jwnmishing fa bulk may be entirety superseded hy the universal use of watches fa which case docks will become extinct like the earlier saurians while the watch (whoso tendency hai for some years been rather to decrease in size than the contrary) will remain tho only existing type iff an extinct race Tho views of machinery which we are thus suggest foe solution ofone feebly mdicatingwfll but also fa feeling them fa 'tatting Drim they are rid and burying theta dead fawmifcfaf Corttspoiftcnce DARWIN AMONG THE MACHINES TO THE EDITOR OF SUE PRESS There are few tilings of which the present generation is mow juMly proud than of the won-derfol improvements which arc daily taking place in oil sorts of meclianical appliances And indeed it is matter for great congratulation on maity grounds It is unnecessary to mention these here for they aro sufficiently obvious our present business lies with considerations which may somewhat tend to humble our pride and to make ns think seriously of the future prospects of Die up their corpses into 'new' machfoai is obvious that if dl Britain save nun aloni the loine timed! were by some sodden -eetssbWta jurfeetty faqusublr it is obvious thlft I I.

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