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TOWN VEBBUS COUNTRY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2192, 6 August 1889
TOWN VEBBUS COUNTRY.
TO THK BDITOB Bis,— The fatal ftclllty for smart writlog, to whloh allnalon wan made In yom leider of Thursday hat, m comimn ing on the cruel criticism leveled against Mr Buxton by the Wellington oorroapendent of the "Lytteiton Tlmei," has reoclved •a Illustration much nearer home, th's time m the pereoa of Mr James Ke!r, •nd I must *ak yoa? Indalgence In ordei that I may return to the Mi^j <r, and endeavor to reply to Mr K^ir. M«rk, lam not at present arguing tha cs;e of the conntry party, I may do tbat before I olobs, bot am simply replying to Mr Kelr. In tbo nrat piece Mr Kelr eeeks to give thin disco; sion a narrow and local C«et He says "If tho eleotors of tho borongh — pceaamably the boroogh of Ashborton— are to be subjaoted to tho 33i dedoctloD, we will, I hope take acttou to prevent each an injuatloe." Now, no one knows better than Mr Kelr that the boroogh of ABhbnrton aa a borough has no Interest m thla etrnzgle, Lnt tb>t it forma part cf a ooantry ooostitaeccy. And even Mr Kelr, though he belong to that aagmt body yo'epi— •" tho ely fathers," would only to rcgnrded aa ft young man from the country, wero be to fltlt Ohriatcburoh or Dacedin aa an Ashburtonlte, bo that It ia somewhat unkind of Mr Kelr lo thus narrow down the dleoussion for the purpose of bringing popular oiliam open those who venture to dlffr from him.
Mr Kelr BBsezta that from hla point of view the towa party have all the best of the argument, bnt he doea'nt toll us where his point of view la located, nor support tbat view by any of thoso arguments — tbe best cr otherwise And yet he oomplaiaa m the next breath that I do not point cut what the just and proportionate demands of tbe country pro. Mr Kelr adds, |: I am we 1 aware tbet Mr Loadiey leans to conservatism." Well ranlly sir this is news to me; I was not prev!ouß'y awsr<> that my leanings Inclined id tbst direction at ail. In faot I thought that I had .a ■light " lfat " m the contrary dirco lon, but I may bave been mistaken, I am n;t quite sore that 1 thoroughly understand what denser vatic m la, I kaow what I understand by it, tut possibly I tray h»ve been wrong. Will Mr Kelr m his ntxt letter kindly enlighten oa upon tbe eubjret, and tell as m a few words what Conservatism Is and then I shall know whether I answer to the diecriptlon or not. I know Mr Kelr to be an authority on these anbj ;ots, *nd I thall feel obliged for the Information, as up to tho Wmo of tbe present writing I had a notion thot amongst the things which I wfb not Conservative might be inc'uied. I was not previously aw»re ttutone with "lean Ings towards Ocnaervatlviem " would be likely to support " a stcte of 1 flairs which permits the meanest fam eo-vaut to h»7s as much power at the bi'.iot box as the fn ; l-fledged cockafoi xiht farms hla 10,000 »creß," aa I em charged wltb doing; If ! h*t ia C ns«»v.*jlem.thei 1 admit tbat 1 »m gcilty, »nd viUitg to tcke the consequences ic wih;nt bmefi'; cf clergy." Then, farther, Mr X ir tffi-nss that '* to be In accordance with tho main argament " of ray letter I »ho^!d m inUic that " the gentleman farmer b\ oold bave a jaet-and proporti« nate amount of representation over and above tbat possessed by tbe m te plongbmao." No donbt from bia *' point of view " I ougbt to have made aoch a oontentlon, becanse it would have been fine pastime for Mr X ir to have demolished such a position but I never said any saob tblog. Neither did I anse Bach phraaes as "gentleman farmer/ and " mere ploaghman," whlob Hr Kelr nies with quotation marks la suah a way as might lead readers to ■oppose that I had referred to them to tbe disparagement of the latter. Bur, yet again, here Is another sample of Mr Kelr's jaar and generous method of debate m putting Into an opponent* month arguments be never used, for tbe ■ole pleasure of ousting him from a position he never took up, "A man who drives a plough should bave more say m the affairs of tbe oountry than a man who makes a ploogb." I rever eaid co. "Does one contribute more to the revenue than tbe other." That depends oa his tsi'es and habits, bat one thing tbe man who employs them both probably oontiibutes more ',' to the revenue " than them both. " And is not one as essential as the other e'e " Undoubtedly 1 "We ara all mutaally dependent upon each other." See my first letter, "If the ploughman did not plough The poet could not wrlta." Again, "the town cannot exist without the oountry, quite true, but neither oan tbe oonntry exist without the town." — Joat my contention word for word.
Once mere Mr Kelr says he holds that ; every person who does any kind of productive labor or farthers la any way the production and distribution of the seers■arles of life prodnees wealth, etc. This does cot imprees one sa being very new or str.kicgly origin*!, nor is Mr Kelr singular In holding these views, and, m the words of the Yankee, I would crave the privilege of adding emphatically " Them's my sentiments." But before I dismits Mr Kelr for the time being permit me to aay that I do not think that ho can be i cowed of having contributed anything to this disoasiion by bis letter. He has not given us one argument m support of the demands of the town members or of their method of enforcing those demands. He aocaaes me of inconaUtancy, and Is great on rights of man and the " One man one vote " policy ; bat I have m my recollection an ocoaslon scarcely two years ago when ha held, and very emphatically expressed very different views. Let aa be fair and just at ail htzwda, and wbat ere betide as let as be consistent.
So far Mr Kelr, and now brlc fly a few word* la explanation of the poiltion from a " oonntty buoipkln's :> point of view ;— Ist. The representation of tbe countryIs fixed on tbe population basis. This gives to the large towns and cities an nndne advantage over the country district on ercDont of the Urge number of , women and children resident In them. Were tbe gross population of adolt males the accepted basis, muoh of the difficulty would be removed. Bat as It takes 10,000 of a city population to give us 2000 adult males, whereas wo find the same number In bat 7000 of a country population, the advantage at present posaesped by the cities !■ too obvious fo nefd comment, and the quota provided for In the present BUI Is intended to adjust the Inequalities whlob at present exist. 2.-— Wo ere told by ihose who should know, that "There la no prlnolple at ptake In tbe business. Tbe pnbllo are ire liked to believe that tbo country li
»iui.g advantage of the town ia imroouclng rrrnethlng entirely ne-*-, and Injurloan * tbe towna We ara d;iog no -hi or cf ' f>c gort but BJtaply asking fo? aa allowsr.^ • tbe oeuntrv districts which h^, withont •» d'fseaMent voice boeo given to them trough' ut Ui". wh?le pi t "ri^rv cf iho oo'ony right np to the jra*" 1887." I will not rt prreoat pnr.na tho uQ* jc*: 'arthrr, 1-sot w nU o-rt»i'i'.y r<*comrn«!id M' K-i'r aud a'J w' n tMnk with hlna to read the taanlfaato ieeuid by tha ooonlry ?:pmbcrs, whiob appe&rod In tha «smo »sno ai mv -»af lottor, and which e*ti'rs he caso of tho country va;y c'ccrl/ «s"d ■■v--M I o~mm nd "hit m^ni'ts oto Mr Kir's careful 9nd mp^jidire-l roni <id«>rat!oD. I urn etc., George W. Leadltsv.
TOWN VEBBUS COUNTRY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2192, 6 August 1889
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