The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1879.
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the recent elections in Canterbury was the fact that, while Christchurch returned the Premier now holding office, Selwyn returned the Premier who is to succeed him When the Hon. John Hall resigned his seat in the Upper House to stand for the Selwyn seat in the House of Representatives, he did his party signal service—service which, as events have since proved, they sorely stood in need of. Had be not resigned his position as a member of the Legislative Council, he could not have secured— as he did, and unopposed—the seat for Selwyn, and thus be returned to supply the place, as leader of the Opposition, of Sir William Fox, whose unt iward defeat at Wanganui deprived the country of the Knight's services. Than the Hoi!. John Hall, we know of no man in the House bettsr qualified for the position h will certainly be called upon to fill as Sir George Grey’s successor in office, in the event of tho no-confidence motion being carried which the new leader is to propose to-day. Ho is not an orator, so he will not kill the time of the House with melodious drivel about the “ prattling infant on its mother’s knee,” crowing with gleeful childish innocence, ignorant as yet of the wrongs it is born to suffer, and of the connecting link it is between the past and the future of the great human race. Nor is he likely to weave a web of rhetoric so potent that it will ensnare Sir George’s 60,000 serfs and load them away by his flattery from the blind hero-worship which is so pronounced a characteristic of that portion of the present Premier’s supporters who admire him for himself and the toleol reformer he would play, and not for the loaves and fishes he can provide. But nevertheless the new leader is sufficiently master of his mother tongue to be able to say what he means with a clearness there is no perverting, and, being in every sense of the word a gentleman, he does not deal with the person or the motives of a political opponent, but with the arguments he advances. No amount of work appears to weary him nor blunts his keen-sightedness. He can meet his foe at four o’clock in the morning, after a long and tedious sitting, with an answer as ready and as true to the mark, as he would have met with when the night had only reached its marrow, and the brilliance of the debate was at noon. The colony’s history is at his finger ends, and he is master of its most minute details that have any significance, and he brings to his aid a capacity for business rarely ract with that will be turned to good account against a Ministry whose incapacity is as notorious as their honor and sincerity are lightly esteemed. The Hon. John Hall’s re-entrance of the House of Representatives is opportune. He is no novice in the art of government. Five times has he held a portfolio, and always with honor. So well has he succeeded in winning, “golden opinions from all sorts of people,” that his practical ability, his knowledge of human nature, and his consummate tact are everywhere allowed. Moreover, lie carries to the House an' unsullied name as a private gentleman, and his character as a consistent politician cannot be assailed, In their new leader, then, the Opposition have a man commanding the country’s confidence in his honesty, in his loyalty to the colony’s welfare, and one who has shown by a long and honorable Parliamentary career—during which he has several times been in the Ministry, and would have been the Premier long ere now but for failing health that forced his retirement from the House —how eminently fitted he is for the position he must ere long be called upon to fill. In Sir William Fox the Opposition lost a valiant champion, but he was one who did not have behind him the wholehearted confidence of all who marshalled under him. In Mr Hall they find a man whom they are bound to trust, and under whom, we have no fear, they will present as solid a front as Sir George Grej' has ever yet met in the House.
How long the fight will last it is difficult to say. Doubtless a great sea. of talk will roll over the House before the vote is taken. But even should that vote be adverse to the motion of no-confidence, and Sir George Grey again be entrusted with the country’s destinies, he is so certain to repeat the history he has already chronicled of his Premiership, and gradually estrange the thinking men amongst his recent re emits until he finds himself in a deep minority.