The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, MAY 6 , 1882. Mr Wright, M.H.R., at Alford Forest.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued ai 5.40 p. m. j
The speech delivered by Mr E. G. Wright, M.H.R., at Alford Forest on Thursday evening last, will, like all Mr Wright’s speeches, be found well worthy of perusal. It is a great pity that there are so few men in the House of
Representatives of Mr Wright’s description. There a few good speakers ' there; are a great many good promisers, and the bulk of the members are quite capable of enjoying, and not a few of adorning the social festivities connected with their three months stay in Wellington; but the men who think, and examine, and judge for themselves ; who take nothing second-hand that can be investigated at its source, and who have the independence and courage to act up to their carefully formed opinions, are very few and far between, and are of more value than any other class of men that enter our legislature. When Mr Wright first offered his services to the Coleridge electors he was most unfortunate in his sponsors, and heavily handicapped by the support he re ceived from a quarter that surrounded him with suspicion. So strongly was this felt, and so great was its effect that even those who best knew Mr Wright and had seen much of his useful local work were afraid to trust him in such company, and consequently voted for his less able and active opponent. But the crucible of earnest public work soon brought out the true metal from the dross that obscured it, and Mr Wright now stands before the Ashburton electors as one of the few men who think, and act, and speak for themselves, and one, moreover, who has intelligently and wisely served both the district that trusted him, and the colony that had previously known so little of him. His reception at Alford Forest the the night before last was not encouraging to anyone who may contemplate honest and arduous service to the colony, or may be prepared to devote intellect and energy of a high order to the service of electors, amongst whom ■ there will always be too many absolutely ignorant of all that has been done for them, and utterly unconscious of the day and night vigilance with which their public interest has been watched over and protected. When Mr McFarlane expressed a hope that Mr Wright “ would do something more for them in the future than he had done in the past,” it is to be hoped that he knew very little of how much public work Mr Wright had really performed, and that his unjust aspersion was said more thoughtlessly than wantonly. With the single exception of Mr Hall there is no man in the House of Representatives who has worked harder than Mr Wr’ght. Those who know him, know that it is not his ; nature to be idle anywhere, and those 1 who have only read his speeches in “ Hansard” can see that every sentence he utters is the outcome of some labo- . rious research, while those who have taken up the Committee Reports he has brought out must be struck with the painstaking manner in which he enters into any public duty, and the enormous mass of evidence he can bring to bear on any subject he takes in hand. On the Railway Commission we find him the leading spirit, and doing the chairman’s work without the chairman’s honors or the chairman’s pay. We see him following up that report with a formidable array of evidence intended to slop the waste of millions on the Otago central line. Then we find Mr Wright employing his active mind in demonstrating the folly cf constructing railways by the side of navigable rivers, or pointing out in his forcible way, that each journey that the train makes from Wellington to the Hutt entails a heavy loss upon all the rest of the colony, and that the gross average earnings of each such journey amounts to the enormous sum of one-and-ninepence! Then we find this useful public man directing his attention to the desert lying between Nelson and the West Coast, and coming down like a sledge hammer on the Government, for proposing to waste on a few miles of the useless political line there. On another occasion this indefatigable member ferrets out and exposes the concealment by the Otago Minister for Public Works of the expenditure on the Tuapeka line; and coming back to his own province, he brings up a collection of figures to show that out of the so ostentatiously paraded as a vote for the Canterbury interior lines, in 1878, only p£B,ooo had been expended.