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MR R. BONTINE-CUNNINGHAME-CUNNIGHAME-GRAHAM, M.P., J.P., D.L.

The following racy description of the above-named member of the Imperial Parliament, some of whose near relatlvoe are resident m this district, will, for that reason probably bo read with Interest. It Is from "Vanity Fair " of August 25:-— The Grahams and Bontlnes have been famous In Scottish history ever since tbe Deluge. Shem and Ham Bontine and Japhet Graham adopted with enthusiasm the customs of the country. They fought, marauded, drank whiskey, and otherwise deported themselves after the fashion of tho Lairds of that period ; snd their offspring, following their exollent example, wore usually well to the front whenever hard knocks and broken head, were to be looked for. Animated by a oharltable desire to improve the breed of Scottish Klngß, one Bontine-Graham, about the ejid of the fourteenth centary t married the daughter and heiress of Prince David, the son of Robert the second, and from this union proceeded a plentiful orop of Lords of Stratb.rn, Lords of Mentelth, and o'her exalted Bontlneß and Grahams. S >metimes they were Bontlnes, at other times tbey were Grahams ; but generation after generation the heads of tho clan displayed the same qualities of courage, chivalry, and feather-brained impetuosity which have' been transmitted to their representative of today, the hero of Trafalgar Square, Robert Ounnlnghame Graham of Gartmore was born about slx-ond-thirty years ago. From his accomplished m ether he Inherited a taste for books, and from his father, William Cunninghame-Bontine, a turbulent nature and a luxuriant head of hair. After a few years' sojourn at Harrow, Robert migrated to South America, where he scoured the pampas on a mustang', lived a hardy, out-of-door life m oompany with con boys and half-breeds, and othorwtas labored assiduously to qualify for a seat ia tho British House of Commons. At twenty-one he married .a Chilian belle, Gabriello Marie, the daughter of M. Francois Jote'Labalmondifcre, who to the reputation of a oraok pistol shot, has since added that of a picture exhibitor * ten years later he inherited the family estates In Dumbartonshire and Perthshire ; and soon afterwards the miners of Lanarkshire seat him to Parliament, There he watched oyer their Interests by making a clever maiden speech and, subsequently, a number of foolish onea.; by consorting with Socialists and sentimental scribblers; by being " named " and suspended ; and by *• vindicating " a supposed right of publio meeting m Trafalgar Square,' for whioh he reaped the reward of a ecalp wound, a trial at the Old Bailey, and six weeks' Imprisonment. Though a member of the olaoscs, he profoßoes muoh sympathy with the masses; and though he lives at the West- End, his heart is In the East. Matoh-glrls, who go on ettlke, find la Mr Cunnln^hsme--Urohsm a guide, philosopher, and friend ; and the very policemen who smite him tf Ith their trnooheons havo the benefit of h!s advooaoy when their pay, pensions, or privileges or. In , question. He labors under a settled conviction that civilisation Is a failure and that' our existing Institutions are prayed out. In his eyes, law Is coercion, Sir Charles Warren a liveried despot, the Homo Oflioe a sink of Iniquity, a polloe poster a " ukase," and our whole system rotten to tbe core. It is superfluous to add that be has abundant fahh In Mr Gladstone. He claims the dormant Earldom of Gartmore and Ardooh, but he believes m tho equality of all mankind. His friends regard him as a semi-Inspired enthusiast ; his critics — when they deem It worth while to criticise him — aa a wellmeaning, fanatioal creature, devoid of egotism or hypoorley, but crammed with half formed, pu__!e-bralned ideas, and bubbling oyer with mawklrh sentiment. . Despite hjs ecoentrioity, he Is a high- \ minded apd honorable gentleman and a , first-rate ftnoer. I {

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881110.2.16

Bibliographic details

MR R. BONTINE-CUNNINGHAMECUNNIGHAME-GRAHAM, M.P., J.P., D.L., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1993, 10 November 1888

Word Count
626

MR R. BONTINE-CUNNINGHAMECUNNIGHAME-GRAHAM, M.P., J.P., D.L. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1993, 10 November 1888

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