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CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 107, 1 June 1880
“I am not yet so bald that yon can see my brains. ” —Longfellow.
(From Ashburton Herald, May 31. ) John Hall will have it that the country can’t pay its way—that there is ever so
much leeway made, and that all hands will have to put “ shillings in” without anything to win, and therefore no winner, and no shout. Taxation’s the word all round, and no getting out of it. Sir George again, doesn’t like to allow that we are in queer street, and stoutly affirms that the Honorable John is out in his calculations, coming it strong that when everything is totted up it won’t look nearly so bad as Johnny Oltock and the Major make out. I hope he is right, but I m afraid that whether he is right or wrong we’ll all have to pay stiffly to keep the craft Zealandia afloat. lam not a man of figures. I know, as a general rule, how much I have to draw when screw time comes round, and I think I am pretty sound on the general arithmetical rule that gives eleven herrings for elevenpence if one and a half can be got for three halfpence, and that modicum of ciphering ability has served to keep me square with my creditors up till now. I find it quite sufficient to keep open my eyes to the fact that when a man is not able to scrape together enough mopuses to pay all he owes, and is running out more than he is getting in, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. This rottenness is amazing common. It has been gradually eating its way over the private business of New’ Zealand, and now—if the Premier is to be believed—it has got into the public business as well. This rottenness in private affairs has caused some auctioneering, some advertising under the royal arms, and has trotted out the signature very frequently oi “0. CavendishHurrell, Clerk of theDistrici Court.” So often has the; latter gentleman’s name appeared under the royal arms, andin connection with so many names of good men and true, that it has come tc be looked upon now as no disgrace at all to appear above his signature, and undei the Royal insignia. And this is jus! what I want to point out to the Honorablt John and the aristocratic Sir George. 1 want to point this out to them as a waj for the colony to get out of its financial difficulties. If the bankruptcy laws makt it easy for a man to ow'e everybody around him, and their by a very simple process gone through come out and ow< nobody, without at the same time having paid anybody, why don’t the colony take the benefit of the same law, and gel whitewashed. If I were the ruling powei of this great colony, I know I would main that deficiency nil in a short time by ■< sweep of the pen, and would wipe out tin debt of twenty millions at the same time Yes, the best thing for the colony to do ii to go through the Court, and havin' come out whitewashed and respectable paying a dividend of nothing in the £, ant hardly that, begin business again with t clean sheet. “ What’s bred in the bone will ou in the flesh. ” That’s an old story, and i true one, for no amount of theorising, ant planting of Burnham Reformatories has been able to give it the lie. I heard ou; worthy R.M. dispose of those two youm wretches, Jones and Best, last Court day and I quite agreed with the course fol lowed by Mr. Guinness—at the time. H wouldn’t try them for felony, because tin i two waifs were so young, and it wouh have been cruel to send the little scamp I to prison, so he sent them back to the In , dustrial School, with strict injunction that they were to be soundly whipped. H might have added “ at once, and further as occasion may require.” That occasioi will be every clay for some time, I fee quite sure. Fancy ! Sergeant Felton ha( their young Thievishnesses to send bad to Burnham, and in the same train he hai to despatch the two Swedes who robbe< • the drunk wagoner in Shearman’s wash house. The Swedes were committed fo a great crime, and before they started oi their journey he told them they would re quire to be handcuffed, and escorted by ; constable with a loaded revolver. Shouh they show any undue longing for liberty and try to gratify that longing, the con stable would bo justified in at once adopt ing the powder and lead cure, which h would administer through a revolvinj spoon. Having delivered himself of thi speech, the Swedes were handcuffed This job done, up starts little Jones wit! the air of a man who had done a grea action, and with a nonchalance that wouh have been amusing if it had not indoxei a hopeless absence of shame, the younj blackguard presented his little hands b be handcuffed ! ! Felton was never mon astonished in his life. The two baggage might have been carried in a constable’; saddle-bags, so handcuffing them wouh have been a farce. But the two wer< dreadfully affronted because they weren’t and they walked up town behind the mon stalwart prisoners, keeping their inwarc wrists close together with some thread oi other doing duty as a make-believe hand' cuff ! If a fair dose of strap is not ad ministered there those lads will have £ bright future before them. Attend my muse, and with thee bring Thy most harmonious fiddlestring ; For I intend this night to sing— The By-laws ! Assist me all ye Council Nine, To celebrate the theme divine, But first a quorum bring to time — For the By-laws. Hail, all hail, the township’s sport, And fun of many a spiced report— A twelvemonth’s folly you are, in short, — Ye By-laws. The biggest Act that e’er was framed. Most potent law that e’er was named. Took less time passing than these blamed Old By-laws. Six-bob Crisp toiled with might and main, And Braddell, clerk, look share of pain, In making Nine men scarcely sane— With By-laws. O’er you the Mayor has wagged his pate, St. Hill attended soon and late, And Rudolf with you linked his fate— Oh ! By-laws. Toe Ivess shared the hi eke: ing, While Weymouth did some snickering, The Saint they’ll drive to liquoring— Those By-laws. The Saint at times they’ve sadly huffed, The Council’s candle almost snuffed Fiom Mayor to Robinson—those “ swuft ” Made By-laws. The job was tackled in ’7B And nightly the Committee sat, But only able yet to “ drat ” Those By-laws. They’ve broken Bullock’s loyal heart, And Williamson with shame does smart. While Andrew Orr plays wisdom’s past— Oh, By-laws— And leaves the Council legislators To become self-aggravators, And tear their patience all to tatters— O’er By-laws. Old Parkin keeps a quiet aloof, Ted Saunders gives a mild reprof. The web is rotten—warp and woof, Of the By-laws. Why do you fail to get a quorum ? Why don’t the Mayoral cockylorum, Fo help the passing, shout a jorum ? Then the By-laws Will pass in spite of absentees, fn spite of conduct not the cheese ; Dh, let us, Councillors, if you please, Have By-laws.-Mas the work so badly teased you, L'hat chicken-hearted funk has seized you; Dr has old Chispa’s words displeased you— On the By-laws.. f the had boy Ins been so n U lity, le humbly begs your pardon haughty, tnd henceforth he renounces Ate— But pass By-laws.-i’arewell, ye Councillors Municipal, ’our legislation’s halt and cripple, 'hen here’s to chess and riddle’s ripple— Vice By-laws-Chispa,
CHISPA’S LETTER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 107, 1 June 1880
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