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The correspondence that has been going on in the evening paper during the past few days on the subject of Mr. St. Hill’s and Mr, Ivess’s requisitions has been, to say the least of it, lively—too much so, on.the part of all concerned. We have made enquiries into the subject, and we are now able to lay the whole facts of the matter before our readers. From these' enquiries we find that both Mr. St. Hill and .his opponents are in the right, the one in spirit, the others in letter. The accusations brought against Mr. St. Hill, as will have been seen by those who have perused the correspondence, were—first, that he was running in the same leash with Mr. Ivess for a seat in the Council, and had, so to speak, acted as Mr. Ivess’s agent in the affair of the requisitions; and secondly, that the line with which the signatures to those requisitions closed, “ and 50 others,” was, to be mild, apocryphal. Mr. St. Hill has already denied any connection with Mr. Ivess, beyond what the requisition to that gentleman bears witness to—viz., that he would like to sea Mr. Ivess in the Council—a very innocent desire. Regarding the second accusation, one of “stuffing,” if we may so call it, it is here that the most severe charge is made against Mr. St. Hill, and is the one perhaps mast easily explained away, notwithstanding that “ Honest’s ” accusation is perfectly true in the letter though not in spirit. Mr. St. Hill explained to us that fifty signa • tures were certainly not attached to those requsitions, but quite that number of ratepayers had promised him, or those who are working for him, their support, though they did not care to have their pledges proclaimed in the newspapers. Mr. St. Hill is impulsive, and knowing that he had those pledges he was not careful to note the difference between a verbal pledge and a written signature. Here he made an error, and this error laid him open to “Honest’s” charges, which, as we have said, may be quite true in the letter, though not so in spirit. Mr. St. Hill is, we have said, impulsive, and when “ Honest ” attacked him so vigorously, he replied with equal vigor, but with more temper than he need have displayed. Had he shown leas temper he would been able with a few words of calm explanation to have disarmed Honest’s” charge, and saved a considerable amount of ink-spilling, and. strong language. Regarding requisitions, pledges, and all the stock-in-trade of this kind of the electioneer, we fancy that too much weight altogether is attached to them. The requisition is a useful means of bringing out a modest but quite willing candidate, and the. pledge is too , often given more to please and pacify for the time being a candidate or an agent, than to aid the former in gaining a seat. The ballot enables a mail to sign a dozen requisitions if he wishes, pledge to all and sundry, and yet prevent the deluded and trusting ones from finding out for certain whether the pledge was redeemed or broken. Thera never was an election yet, under the ballot, in which some unfortunate unsucessful one sadly but futilely compared his number of actual supporters with the list that lay on the table of his committee room, and purported to represent those whose promises of support to him- were supposed to be sure, and which fulfilled would have won him the election. Requisitions like thosejpublished, over which so much bitter ink has been spilt, represent little more than the confidence of the candidates in their own return, but it has always to be borne in mind, that the ballot box, and that only, is the sphinx that can' read the future, and until that sphinx’s time comes, all prophecies are vain. The public is a peculiar Person. He is .easilygulled on some sides of his character, but in the main his eyes are open, and his mind clear. • .

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 150, 9 September 1880

Word Count

THE BOROUGH ELECTION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 150, 9 September 1880