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An 111-natured Critic.

One would have imagined that the Customs returns which were published

last week would have afforded nothing but satisfaction to every man in New Zealand. The large increase of the Customs revenue derived during the financial year which closed on the 31st of March last was of such a satisfactory nature as to make any well-wisher of the colony rejoice, no matter to what cause that satisfactory result might be attributable. The Lyttelton Times, however, while not able to deny the present satisfactory position of the colony, as proved by its revenue from imported goods during the past financial year, does a war-dance about Major Atkinson’s now famous Budget speeches of 1879 and 1880, and tells its oft-told tale about the Colonial Treasurer endeavoring to ruin the colony by what our contemporary delights to call his “ panic ” Budget. Of course, no good thing can come out of Nazareth, and, to the thinking of the Lyttelton Times, the present Government can do no good. Really, the ingenious way in which our contemporary seeks to prove that the progress of the colony was retarded by Major Atkinson’s Financial Statement of 1879 is instructive if not edifying. It is instructive as showing to what depths a public writer may descend in his attempt to cast discredit on a public man. But the effort is certainly not edifying. Our contemporary was opposed to the late Ministry, and is too bio'otted in his opinions to give one of the most honest and capable Administrations we have had in New Zealand the slightest credit for the sound, and in every way satisfactory, position in which we find the colony to-day. Our contemporary accuses Major Atkinson of retarding the growth of the colony five years, and congratulates its readers that the straightforward warning uttered by the gallant Major has not ruined the colony altogether. The Times might have gone further with more truth, and rejoiced that the warning note uttered by the Colonial Treasurer came in time to save the colony from the course of extravagance and recklessness which it had been pursuing under the Grey-Macandrew tegime. For plausibility, and the way in which it can distort facts to suit circumstances, the Lyttelton Times is really no mean imitator of its great contemporary the London Ltmes, d he old lady of Gloucester street and the old lady of Printing-house Square are evidently nodding acquaintances, if nothing more. The financial out-look, says our Christchurch contemporary, “ is cheerful and encouraging in the extreme,” but havingjadmitted so much, it hastens to add that “ the Hall Government has not succeeded in ruining the colony, or, which comes to the same thing, in persuading people here or in England that it either was or might be ruined. To achieving both these ends they did their best.” Exactly ; and the result of their bungling is that things are decidedly looking hopeful and encouraging ! So much for bad management. The poor old lady is fairly nonplussed. She is constrained to admit that the affairs of the colony are improving, but carefully avoids being magnanimous. Our venerable friend evidently shares the opinion of the oftquoted brow-beating attorney who, when he had no case, always took care to abuse the other side.

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Bibliographic details

An Ill-natured Critic., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 627, 4 May 1882

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An Ill-natured Critic. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 627, 4 May 1882

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