(From our own Correspondent.) Wellington, July 15,
The even tenor of the Legislative way in the House of Representatives was somewhat disturbed last night, by a long and cowardly attack on Mr. Hurst. Mr. Seymour being unable to continue the double duty of Speaker and Chairman of Committee, Mr. Hall last night proposed that Mr. Hurst, who had on a previous occasion shown himself an excellent Chairman, should take the chair. All the old fury against Mr. Hurst at once burst out, and the whole evening up to the 12 o’clock adjournment was spent in various attempts to annoy him. The Government supporters sat quiet, as usual, until Mr. Downie Stewart had the audacity to' join in the cowardly attack, 'and |to call Mr. Hurst “ the most objectionable man in the House.” This was too much for Mr. George McLean, who fired up, and gave Mr. Stewart a bit of his mind, and the House a little of Mr. Stewart’s history. In doing so he called Mr. Stewart “perfidious and impertinent” ; upon which he was called to order by the Speaker, and was called upon to withdraw the' words. He did so, saying—“ Well, sir, then I withdraw those words, and wish I could think of some ten times as strong to take their place that were Parliamentary. ” As if to show Mr. McLean how to manage it, Mr. Moorhouse rose and said—“ Sir, I don’t say the hon. member for Dunedin,; Mr. Stewart, is perfidious ; I don’t say that he is impertinent ; I don’t say that he has betrayed his party and his constituents ; I don’t say that he is contemptible ; —but I have my own opinion about him, for all that.” After several divisions, Mr. Hurst was elected by a majority of four, but, with good judgment and a very judicious speech, he declined to accept the position under such circumstances. Wellington, July 16.
The first Order of the Day was the Maori Prisoners Bill, over which much dreary discussion is proceeding. Thera was perhaps never a session when the proceedings of the House were so dull as they have been this year. The best speakers in the House are not heard at all, and Hansard is being crammed with such men as Seddon, Stewart, Turnbull, and Andrews, who will talk for any length of time to empty benches without throwing a particle of light upon any subject. They not infrequently spend LSOO worth of talk in some foolish attempt to take LSO from the salary of a clerk about whose value the Executive only can judge. Last night there was a fight over an Otago Harbor Board Loan Bill,’ which showed very plainly that in the present temper of both Houses the Ashburton Waterworks Bill has but a small chance of cutting its way through both Houses. Since Mr. Saunders’ speech last Monday night the Wellington papers have dropped the Civil Service report and Mr. Conyer’a letter like a hot iron with which they had burned their fingers. The great fight which was anticipated collapsed with a pitiful exhibition of Mr. Macandrew’s teeth, a dirge for the civil servants by Mr. Gisborne, and a reprimand from Mr. Thompson to the Ministry for having joined in the cheers when Mr. Saunders sat down. Messrs. Fox and Wood having stated that every word in the report was more than proved, Mr. Macandrew has' since found that he has no alternative hut to grin and bear it. It is evident that even the newspapers are uncertain that Mr. Conyers will be the source of future advertisements. • . •
The debate on the Maori Prisoners Bill is likely to be a long one. Messrs. Turnbull and Stewart have already given their valuable experience in Maori affairs, and Mr. Seddon has threatened a five hours’ speech. It is hoped that some of this will be put a stop to by a regulation limiting the number of Hansard pages that any member may occupy. Mr. Sheehan made his first appearance for this session to-day, and asked the House to suspend its judgment upon him until they had heard his defence. His personal influence in Bellamy’s, though much less than it was two years ago, is still very great. A publicans’ petition against the removal of licenses by magistrates at the Thames, although; supported by Sir George Grey, was refused consideration yesterday afternoon* in .a manner that showed the altered temper of
the House on that subject, and that the publicans have no longer the power that they had in 1878.
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