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Sir George Grey is in one sense very like the great tenor Sims Reeves. Let Sims get ever so much “ indisposed,” and disappoint his audiences ever so often by bis non-appearance, when be is at last able to shake himself together and sing, the crowd “ cannot choose but hear ” and must perforce listen to his enchanting music. So in a certain degree with Sir George Grey’s oratory. No matter how effectually his political chimeras are exploded, and his effete notions laughed at, when he comes before a great crowd of people he has such a knack of honeying his words, stroking his hearers with the hair, and ringing the changes so cleverly on the standing grievances that have been the stock-in-trade of demagogues since the time of Jack Cade, that the gaping multitude, ever ready to bo swayed by an able and pleasant speaker, are bound to gape and claw the elbow, and “ toss their greasy nightcaps ” in applause of the great man who can so cleverly tickle their weaknesses. And this is just what Sir George did with the populace of Christchurch on Tuesday evening. He poured out column after column of his old grievances against all and sundry who do not agree with him. He was as lavish of his condemnations and as wild in his accusations as ever; and he failed not to administer his bunkum with all the grace and polish of which he is so well-known a mister. He extracted from the crowd the usual shouts of applause that follow his rhapsodies, and if one were to judge of his political popularity by his reception with the Christchurch mob, there is no other man in INew Zealand worth hearing, or capable of holding and guiding the destinies of the colony. But Sir George played the same role two years ago that he is now assuming, and the popular voice, charmed and won to his side by his enticing flow of graceful talk, declared loudly in his favor, and gave him the highest and strongest position ever Premier held in Parliament. But once in power, it was soon plainly evident that Sir George’s talents existed on’y from the teeth forward—that in reality he was but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal —and that behind all that power of graceful words and honeyed sentences there was the greatest failure as a statesman that New Zealand has yet been unfortunate enough to place in power. In proof of which we yester Jajjfound the great man—great in his one talent —once more on the stump to win back again if he can, by that same talent, the position it once gained for him, but could not maintain for him without the others he did not possess. Sir George’s political sands are run. He has danced out his little day in power, and now ho figures before the colony, trading as the great tenor, on the power of a melodious voice, and the memories of a by-gone greatness.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 102, 20 May 1880

Word Count

SIR GEORGE GREY AT CHRISTCHURCH. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 102, 20 May 1880