PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
Observer, Volume XXXIX, Issue 52, 30 August 1919, Page 4
PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
INTENDING politicians hoping to gather up the loaves ■ and • fishes that . remain after ' aged and honoured ' fisherman have abandoned the gay and festive House will be desolated to have Sir William Fraser's assurance that he has no intention of retiring from politics or the Ministry. It is gratifying to know that at the age of seventy-nine - Sir William Fraser looks forward to many years of political usefulness, able to keep a mere '-youth of forty or fifty from distinguishing himself by objections to roading policies and other up-todate notions. The apparent necessity for running the business of the country with septuagenarians and octogenarians should make the return of Sir /Walter Buchanan from his trip to the Old World doubly welcome to ruling statesmen. Sir Walter is even better entitled to the confidence of the country than Sir William, as Sir Walter is eighty-one years of age, and has not long retired. By the way, it is a little curious that the.State objects to the aged in most public positions except political positions. It clears out the septuagenarian civil servant, and even likes to have the Supreme Court bench manned by men who are not yet eighty. In the case of the Chief Ju-stice exception has been made probably on the ground that at seventy-five he is the equal of a man half his age. The expression of Sir William Fraser's intention not to retire from politics suggests that the Government, of winch he is so distinguished an ornament, has renewed its lease.
It appears that Major Alexander Wilkie, "the Thin Red Line," after nearly' five years of war, is not afraid to fight some more. Rumoured that he will contest the_ Taumarunui seat at the general election, thus jeopardising the political position of Mr. Jennings, who once narrowly escaped being a Minister. Aliek, who is an Ashburtonian, is well known in the bush country, and was chief high roller of the Ohakune Town Board in the days Lang Syne. He has but recently returned from Palestine via England and way ports, bringing with him as wife a Scottish lady doctor. He is writing the New Zealand official history of the campaigns in Gallipoli, Egypt, and Palestine, but if one knows the restless Alick he is already sitting up o' nights composing the great speech with which to ,win a place in Parliament.
That alert and facile prohibitionist, the Rev. L. Isitt, has called attention to the fact that a clergyman is not a barrel of beer within the meaning of the railway regulations. He pathetically declared that a gentleman of the cloth seeking to attend to his Sabbath d!uty was compelled like other people to obey the Fourth Commandment, which orders that "in it thou shalt do no manner of work." If the reverend gentleman had been a barrel of beer, according to' Mr. Isitt, he would have been welcomed on a New Zealand train, and it might be added that if the barrel of beer had arrived at the bethel instead of the clw-gman, a record congregation wouicl have been assured. They would noo go to church, of course, to drink the beer, but out of curiosity to see the article that in the opinion of th 2 railway authorities takes precedence of school children going home from holidays and clergymen going away from home on holy days.
Included in the officers who returned by the Somerset was Lieutenant J. P. C. Walshe, who was well known on the staff at Featherston. He was officer commanding details for some time, and from there was drafted to the 43rd Specialists, with whom he sailed. Lieutenant Walshe occupied a unique position with his men, who evidenced tueir regard for him after special leave, just before sailing. Every man turned up to time, and that was an- vnusunl thing in Featherston. Lieutenant Walshe was in charge of the Tiimiru Military District before le went away.
Some clerical bombs have long fuses. Rev. J. K. Archer, formerly president of the Baptist Union, is the intrepid personage who lately remarked that Napier Gaol was a criminal manufacturing concern, and that there were "abominations" there. The clerical bomb, it appears, only exploded after the rev. gent, had Known the Napier Gaol for about nine years. Imagine a parson seething with anger at the gaol he is familiar with for nearly a decade without blowing up. And, on the other hand, imagine a gaol remaining "abominable" for nine years despite the perpetual ministrations of so eminent a padre. You wouldn't think it possible, would you? They haven't got a scold's bridle to fit a gentleman in Napier Gaol, have they, Mr. Holdsworth ?
Old Thamesites greatly value records of the beginning of social and religions activity in the goldfields and Mr. M. Whitehead, secretary of the Baptist Church there, recently told most interesting history . It was on Sunday, May 9, 1869, that the Rev. P. H. Coraford, of the Wellesley Street (Auckland) Church (the first and only one) preached the opening sermon at the Thames Church. It was because a number of Auckland Baptists had gone to Thames that the Church was necessary. Meetings were first held in the homes of Mr. Ambrose Goad and Mr. John Brame, and later in
the home of Mr. Henry Driver. A building fund was raised, Mr. William Mason subscribed the first halfsovereign.
The Maori chiefs Taipari and Rapana gave the site free and Mr. Thomas Donovan built the Church to seat 200 in Willoughby Street. The church music was supplied by two violins, and the original membership was 25. Four of these original members attended the recent jubilee—Messrs. John Grigg, Cyrus J. Brown, Thomas Donovan, and Matthias Whitehead. In 50 years there have been eleven ministers, the Rev. W. R. Woolley being pastor ior 16 .years. Mr. James Henshaw was the first Sunday school superintendent, and continued in the office for 35 years. The first baptism (unluckily the name of the candidate is not mentioned) took place in the Waiwakaurunga Creek at Parawai.
Lieutenant-Colonel George Mitchell, D.5.0., who *is the official organiser in Wellington of the R.S.A., doesn't seem pleased with the people who have stayed at home ana bled each other while Digger and Co. have bled for the lot. George recently said: "We have been fighting the Huns, btit it seems that we have come back to New Zealand to find that we still have to crush a number of 'Huns' here." The spirit of comradeship, brotherhood, and love that had grown up among the men at the front seemed to be quite foreign to the people who had stayed in New Zealand, and soldiers had returned to find an orgy of land speculation, profiteering, and selfishness consuming those for whose liberty they had fought. Among' the things George forgot to mention was that the Government had made dispositions to keep up the cost of living for the next thirty or forty years, and to ensure that the man who wants a roof to cover him shall bleed through the pocket for it. The Digger who borrows money from the Government at seven per cent., two of which go towards the extinction of his liability, is the chap who is being used to make it absolutely impossible for anybody to have cheap residence. The basis fixed by the Government is going to make Digger a State servant for the term of his natural life unless he lives to such an age that the Old Peoples' Homes collect him. © © @ "Political P" writes: The melodramatic episode in which Sir Joseph Ward pulled himself and half the executive out of office and threw the iron gauntlet to Mr. Massey will become one of the landmarks of New Zealand party political warfare. It is a shrewd psychological move intended, as no doubt it will, to appeal to the popular imagination, and to cement in one bond of brotherhood, everyone who wants money spent and doesn't know whore it's coming from. Sir Joseph Ward demonstrates that astuteness, of character without which no political leader can succeed. His magnificent optimism and his threat tocarry the population of New Zealand* from height to height of prosperity -will be greeted with loud hurrahs by the proletariat. I assume that the ex-Ministers whom the astute statesman has led presume that by the sudden desertion of the war time Ministry they will be able, with some mental exertion,, to appeal to the hearts of the peopleat the next General Election, and that by carrying out word by word the promises' of that excellent personage whom they delight to follow they will ensure the summit of prosperity to the people of New Zealand. It would seem desirable that Mr. CI. W. Russell; ex-Minister of Health, should have charge of any phase of prosperity he cares to undertake. <ss ® ® . Major Hine, M.P., remarked to a. meeting the other day that women in Palestine were merely chattels.. This isn't very new, as in all primitive races, and some that are not primitive, the 'ladies, take second place. But what is new is this:. "It is a common thing to see a man riding on a donkey, followed by his; wife on foot, bearing, perhaps, many parcels and a number of children. It will be obvious to the least intelligent that a lady who can not only carry a number of parcels, but several children, is losing her timein the Holy Land. What she wants, is a job as a strong woman in a circus. The gallant major neglects to mention how many children the female Hackenschmidts of the- Holy Land can carry at a time. It appears that soldiers delighted to pull the Palestian gents, from their donkeys, in order to give theirwives a seat on the animals, the result, of course, being, that when the troops had departed Mr. Palestine would pull Mrs. P., the parcels, and the seven children from the ass and hammer the missis for her pains.
Since the declaration of Peace, Admiral Lord Jellicoe has again come before the public as an author. He has written and published a book on his war activities that must stand as one of the greatest works of the last five years. In an amazingly convincing style he has described the history of our navy while tinder his command, and although so many technicalities are introduced, the book teems with interest. The great mystery with which naval matters were eßshrouded during the war is swept away by this book, and we learn great new truths about the navy which defended our liberty at Heligoland, Dogger Bank, and Jutland, and in every eea and clime.
Brigadier-General W. R. N. Madocks, of the Royal Artillery, plans to come to New Zealand on a visit. General Madocks has innumerable friends in New Zealand. At the outbreak of the South African war this officer, then a captain, was lent to the New Zealand forces, and went on service with the First N.Z.M.R., distinguishing himself greatly. He was the hero of "New Zealand Hill" and unquestionably saved the situation. When the enemy attacked the famous hill, and was within a point or two of success, Madocks called on posts of Yorkshire Infantry and N.Z.M.R. to charge down the precipitous face with the bayonet. The charge was ah unqualified success. Madocks himself was waslucky enough to kill the Boer commandant, and the doppers broke after bravely contesting a most difficult sdrap. Thlis officer became military secretary to Sir lan Hamilton when Sir lan held the Mediterranean command, but had rejoined his battery when the 'General made his tour of the colonies. Brigadier- General Madocks has served brilliantly throughout the whole of the Great War, and is. considered to be one of Britain's leading artillerists. He married a daughter of the late Sir Walter Buller, one of the greatest authorities on the natural history of New Zealand.
A discharged Navy man, with 25 years' service and the whole length of the war to his credit, lately discussed the relative merits of Jellicoe and Beatty: "Beatty is a fine man and a top-hole scrapper, but as a naval strategist who sees the ultimate end of what he is about to do he can't hold a candle to Jellicoe.
Beatty is spectacular—Jellicoe a genius. It makes a blue-water man tired of this public opinion. Beatty bogged in at Jutland against orders and lost three cruisers. Jellicoe didn't want him to bog, but required him to wait until Jellicoe's" bigger, slower, and more powerful ships came tip. Jellicoe knows his men better, and treats them better. He plans for a finish not a melodramatic surprise. If a vote of the public were taken as to which was the greater man the public would acclaim Beatty. If a vote of the Navy was taken the voting would be all in favour of the careful and clever Jollicoe.
By the way, the people seem to have got a queer impression of the volunteer patrols attached to the Navy. These patrols were not "Navy" in the true sense, and knew almost nothing of Navy matters from a strategic or tactical point of view. It is quite wrong for anybody to think that because Bill Jones of Bondi or Jim Smith of Devonport was in the patrol that oil launches won the war. As far as the British Navy is concerned Jellicoe won the war.'"
New Zealand artilleryman, just back from the fields of France, where he has been, as he Bays, " driving a pair of donks " for some years and helping to put over the stuff on Fritz, being a New Zealand "Savage," got among some historic personages in the London Savage Glub on two occasions. On one evening that amusing cuss, Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemy&s, G.C.8., was the guest of the eyemng. In replying to the ...toast of his health, the owner of the monocle said that at n Savage Cfub a chap was supposed to be humorous. At one time he might have had a sense of humour, but he had since gone to the Admiralty—so what could you expect"? He told them that when he was a junior officer in the Navy he came up on deck from below with a bit of red-hot coal in his eye, and having seen the surgeon in the sick bay appeared wearing a green shade. His cap was pulled down to shade the light from his eyes. The comment of a tar struck him as being humorous, "Gorblime, 'ere'ls the queer bloke with a Venetian blind over one eye and a lampshade over the other.''"
At the London Savage Chib on Wemyss night and a subsequent occasion some notables the menu of the New Zealander. These included General Sir David Watson, a guest and a great Canadian military lender, who presented to the Club a piece of timber from the destroyed Cloth Hall at Ypres, T. Eyre Macklin, the sculptor, some of whose work is to be seen in New Zealand; G. L. Stampa, the celebrated artist; George Belcher, artist; Lyell Johnston, . the well known entertainer; Mark Hambourg and Mostyn Pigott, the versifier. Oα the back of the menu Lyell Johnston has written, "My love to 'Ariki' " (Sir James Can-oil), from "Massa Johnston." It is -understood that as the evening advanced several gentlemen demanded menu cards on which to write, and that one being handed to a personage of international celebrity he affixed his signature to the table cloth under the impression that there were two menu cards before him, and he was writing on the right-hand card. © @> ® A tale that will interest Old Thames Boys and Masons generally: Two Anzacs hailing from Onehunga were sitting in a recreation tent in one of the base camps in France. Harry Lander was on his third encore, when one* of the twain from Sleepy Hollow burst out disgustedly with, "He's a bloomin' pirate." "How's that?" asked the mate. "Why, he's singing all Captain Bob Gibbons' eongs!" <© <$ ® Dr. Pomare, the ponderous personage who directs the health of the Maori race, lately stood on a platform, -waved his arms, agitated his embonpoint on an occasion when everybody was oratorically proud of being British. He boasted that he, too, had British blood in him, and sustained his contention by declaring
that it was possibly due to one of his forefathers having absorbed a Presbyterian missionary. It is obvious that the absorption of the missionary had no deleterious effect on the physique of the arikis from whence the rotund Pomare descends. Parsons nowadays are so very stringy that no self-respecting person would cane to eat 'em without mustard. © @> @ That intrepid tennis player and professional politician, Mr. F. M. B. Fisher, for more than eight hours a Minister of, the Crown in New- Zealand, is about to become a Member of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdem. Hβ is to put up as. a Unionist, which is in itself a rather quaint thing, considering the 6ort of democrat Francis Marion Bates Fisher always declared himself to be when in New Zealand. "Dahn, ,, as he was affectionately designated before he deserted New Zealand for more payable fields, will try to get in for Widnes, a seat vacant by the elevation of Colonel W. Hall-Walker to the peerage. * * * The Colonel was, of course, a Unionist—that is, in effiect, a person who believes that the bally country is going to the dogs, dear boy, if the working man gets a vote or emerges from the slough of wageearning or sounds his aitches or infringes on any of the ground trodden on by the aristocracy of Great Britain. " "Dahn," the Unionist, used to bear his pure and unsullied soul to the proletariat, and beseech them to view in him the workers , friend. F. M. B. Fisher, son of the original old George Fisher who used to roar very cleverly in the House, is a pure, opportunist, and it will be found that wherever "Dahn" is, or whatever he does, his ruling passion, whoever goes under, ie F. M. B. Fisher.