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’ r he Wakanui School Committee, we are glad to observe, have allowed wiser counsels to prevail in their deliberations, and have rescinded their resolution to charge three shillings per service from the religious bodies who made use of the school building as a meeting place on Sundays. They have, moreover, decided to take no further steps in the prosecution of those householders who took a leading part in the public meeting held in the school on the 9th instant. The rescinding of this resolution ought to restore the good understanding that should subsist between neighbors, whether in town or country, and we hope those whose feelings and temper have been ruffled over the affair will accept the advice which Mr. Leadley gives in his letter, and let bygones be by-gones. Now that the matter is ended, and the householders are to be asked to attend a public meeting for the purpose of pointing out some other means of wiping off the debt upon the school than levying a tax upon devotions, we hope the appeal of the Committee will be manfully met, and that they will be able to go on with the work intrusted to their hands untrammelled with financial difficulties. In this little village fight, whatever principle the householders may have contended for, the Committee undoubtedly had the law on their side, and the Education Act gives them as custodians of the school property, full power to deal with the building in the manner they did. While they hold the position of School Committeemen they hold the power to permit or deny the use of the building to any one, and no one has any right to resist their action. The question of right of worship does not come in at all. Granted that the Committee only hold office by the suffrages of the householders, when the former are elected the latter’s power over them ceases so long as no breach of the law is committed, and that power comes back again only at the next election. When, therefore, the householders aggrieved by the Committee’s action found that the Committee were unwilling to bend to the popular wish, they should have waited patiently for the opportunity that the Act gives them and removed them at election time, filling their places with men whose ideas on the subject of religious freedom were more in consonance with their own. But leaving the legal aspect of the affair altogether, we are of opinion that a great deal of unnecessary feeling has been exhibited by both sides, and had a little more forbearance been shown, by the Committee on the one hand for the expressed feelings of their constituents, and by the worshippers on the other who ought as law-abiding citizens to have respected constituted authority, there would have been no necessity for the display of acrimony that has been witnessed. Kad the meeting which is to be called now been the first step taken, we have no doubt the Committee would have been supplied with funds without trouble.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 154, 18 September 1880

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The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1880. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 154, 18 September 1880