The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1880 Otago v. Canterbury.
A criminal is often detected by means of the jealous efforts he makes to conceal his crime, and the weakness of a public man is not infrequently paraded before all observers by the steps he takes to appear uncommonly wise. If Mr. Oliver and Mr. Maxwell had q uietly pursued their course of uniform railway charges without offering any reasons for such a system, their friends w ould have found many excuses for men), and some are so obvious that cuey must have been allowed even by enemies. But when these gentlemen enter too jealously on their own and assign reasons for their a tions which wil> not bear a moment's ex amination, they leave no doubt as to t i x e weakness of their case, and lead at ' nee to the conclusion that in addition o their many deficiencies they are unable to take a Colonial view of their duties, and think and act only for particular Provincial Districts. Nothing could be more fatal to the reputation and usefulness either of a Minister of Public Works or a general manager of railways than the exhibitions we have lately had from these two gentlemen of a disposition to give the public incomplete and one-sided statements, intended to justify their evident disingenuous partiality in the discharge of their public duties. Neither of them are experienced public men, but it is hardly possible that even they could have supposed the facts they misstated in favor of Otago, and the important points they suppressed that would have told in favor of Canterbury, would be allowed to remain before thepublic as they wished to place them ; or that they could fail to see that such an easily detected evidence of injudicious partiality would tell against both themselves and the cause ihey were so anxious to serve. To tell us that the difference between Otago and Canterbury gradients was only the difference between one in fifty and one in eighty, whilst entirely suppressing the fact that there were twenty ups and downs in Otago for one in Canterbury, was a statement not likely to pass unchallenged long. But when Mr. Maxwell tells us that the easier gradients make little or no practical difference, because the goods traffic is so limited that in either case the engines do not take all they might do, he must have been lamentably ignorant of what is daily passing before us in Canterbury, and of the long trains that attract our attention here during the grain season, and which clearly show how much cheaper grain can be taken over the Canterbury lines than it ever can be over those of Otago or Wellington. Mr. Maxwell would have been wiser to make himself better acquainted with the Canterbury lines and their actual working before he ventured into print about them, and both he and his principal will find it necessary to remember that whatever theii own inclinations may lead them to desire, and however anxious they may be to serve any particular district at the expense of others, their duties are now of a Colonial character, and if unable to suppress they ought, at least, to conceal their provincial proclivities. The relative positions of Canterbury and Otago in the present Ministry remind us of a story of a fond mother's efforts to teach good manners to her two promising children, Mary and John. On one occasion she gave Mary two apples, and told her to give one to John. Mary said, "Which shall I give to John?" "Oh, give him the largest, of course, and teach him good manners," said the mother. Next day the gift was repeated, when John showed his progress in etiquette by saying, " Now, Mary, give me the largest, and teach me good manners again." We have Mr. Rolieston seeking every occasion to show the House and the colony how politely he is willing tc wave the interests of himself and his district, and to give the largest apple on every occasion to the districts in which he has no personal interest. We have Mr. Hall carrying the same spirit so far as to prepare a Redistribution of Seats Bill, giving Canterbury far less representation in proportion to its population than any other part of the colony, and thus placing it at a disadvantage for many years to come, whilst Mr. Oliver is always standing by, eager to be taught good manners in this pleasant way, and ever ready to secure the largest and best apples for Otago.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 228, 29 December 1880
The Ashburton Guardian. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1880 Otago v. Canterbury. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 228, 29 December 1880
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