MR O’REILLY AT THE TOWN HALL.
Mr F. P. O’Reilly addressed the Wakanui electors at the Town Hall on Saturday evening, i There was a large attendance. I Mr O’Reilly commenced the proceedi ings by remarking that his Worship the ! Mayor was out of town, and so he could. not ask him to take the chair, and sooner - ' than lose time in finding a chairman, he ■ thought it would he best to manage by himself. He had not prepared a speech, for the simple reason that he had not had > the time to do so. His remarks- that ; night would, therefore, be rather discur- • sive ; but he hoped at a future time to address the electors, when he would bar, better prepared to meet them than on ■ ■ that occasion. Very early 'in the day a requisition had been got up to him to ■ contest Wakanui, but being satisfied that, that requisition had been got up with a”;’ certain object he had declined to have anything to do with it. Then he joined ; the cavalry [loud applause and laughter], and, as a consequence, withdrew from both the County Council and the Parlia-_ mentary contests. There was at that period a strong probability of trouble r with the Maoris, and he would simply have had no time to give to the elections,. but when it became apparent that there was going to he no such trouble at the front, it occurred to him that he could find time to contest this seat, and he had come forward prepared to fight for it to the last. [Applause.] Now they would, doubtless, like to hear his views on some of the more important questions before the country, and although he had comeunprepared with a speech, he would endeavor to give them an idea of what he believed in and what he did not, and the first question he would touch upon was the religious question. Now, people said, - that this was a very ticklish thing to handle, but he would tell them that he had never heard the question yet which he was afraid of. [Applause and laughter.] He could proudly say that he was no advocate of bigotry, and was above all petty sectarian considerations. If elected to Parliament, his motto would be —“ Measures and not men,” and he would not undertake to follow any man unless he - saw where he was going to. [Laughter and applause.] Coming to the question of law reform, he thought that the Abolition of Distress for Rents Bill required a great deal of consideration before it became law ; for if it did, the rents would bp always payable in advance. The landlords would have to enforce this prepayment for their own protection, and this he thought many people would object to.
The bankruptcy laws were badly in need of amendment. With regard to the Upper House, he would advocate that it be an elective chamber, and that the members be elected for say 10 years, and no longer. To life-membership he was altogether opposed. He was in favor of a Property tax, for he thought it was a fair tax ; but it wanted a supplementary tax in the shape of an Income tax. He would say' tax every income over L3OO. He thought that doctors, lawyers, and other professional men in the enjoyment of large incomes should contribute towards the government of the country; and everyone else who could should do so.
He would leave the present Education ' ■ Act as it was, and for this reason : ; the country was committed to a large expenditure for educational purposes, and any r, change would riot be easily effected, but at the same time a galling injustice was being done to the church to which he belonged—the Roman Catholic Church—that was : Now the Catholic must simply do as he was told to do ; believe what he was told to believe. The country paid for education, and if a parent liked to send a child to this school .or that school, ho should be allowed to do so, and when the attendance at any school reached a certain number it should be granted a capitation allowance. Coming to the native difficulty, he would tell them what a friend of his had asked him in connection with the land question. His friend had asked ;j, him, “If you had bought land and paid for it and had it taken from you, what ■ would you do ?” and he had unhesitatingly replied, “I should go to the frorit.” (Loud laughter.) But he thought, at the same time, that the Maoris were entitled to every consideration at the hands of the Government. He condemned the Legal Practitioners’ Bill. It would be a great mistake if the country was to be swamped with bush lawyers, ; and for his part he thought that Sir George Grey’s intellect must be failing. [A voice : The name of Sir George Grey does not dismay you I hope. That name- - has carried—[here the speaker’s voice voice became inaudible in the confusionthat ensued]. Now with respect (Mr O’lieilly resumed) to the immigration question, he was of opinion that every child born in the colony should have a grant of land. It would be better to make provision for the unborn population rather than encourage immigration from the old country. The gentleman on the front bench shook his head, but he could assure his hearers there was nothing in ' that. [Roars of laughter.] [Mr Hughes, the gentleman referred to, denied the head-shaking.] Resuming, Mr O’Reilly said the railway tariff required reforming, and this matter demanded the immediate attention of Government. If the colony could afford it, let them have direct steam communication with England by all means. With regard to Chinese immigration, he did not think there was much fear of a Chinese invasion of this colony, but if the immigration of celestials assumed alarming proportions, why it should be put a stop to. In conclusion he begged once more to apologise for the shortcomings of his speech, and would wind up by saying, “ vote for the best man.” (Applause.) After a pause of a minute or two Mr O’Reilly signified his willingness to answer any questions. _ _ Cat-calls, yells and and an indescribable,' uproar ensued, in the midst of which someone enquired whether that was “ a vote of confidence or not?” [More row ] Mr Williams, of Tinwald, now rose and enquired whether it was true that Mr O’Keilly was there as a candidate that night at the instigation of two other candares, from whom he was receiving LSO, to contest the seat for the mere purpose of ( splitting up Mr Ivess’ votes? [Uproar.] “ Mr O’Reilly (excitedly) : “It is a malicious lie, and only just show, me the man that said it!” [Yells.] , Mr Hughes here left his seat, arid gptupon the platform, amidst a tremendous row. As soon as the noise subsided, Mr Hughes remarked that he had certainly ’ not intended to have said anything that night, but Mr O’Reilly had been pleased, . to level two of his remaiks directly at him, and he felt bound to say a few words in reply. Mr O’Reilly had borrowed a r witticism that evening from a mari.pfI genius—a really clever man—and it off as his own. It was the illuStridfisi Curran who had remarked to the judge
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MR O’REILLY AT THE TOWN HALL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 497, 21 November 1881
MR O’REILLY AT THE TOWN HALL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 497, 21 November 1881
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