The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 1890. SIR GEORGE GREY.
The name of (Sir George Grey •is closely interwoven with the early history of New Zealand; his exertions on behalf of the colony, have been distinguished by' great earnestness, and characterised also by scrupulous conscientiousness. From the date of his appointment as Governor of the'colony j in 1845-6 up to the present time the Knight of Kawau has taken a deep interest in every public movement calculated to benefit either the abori-, ginal inhabitants; or • Angl^axoii settlers of these for-off British possessions. At times, like other public men, his zeal ; has;, outrun discretion, but his errors in administration, either as. Governor or Premier, as Superintendent of a province or as. a private member, of the Hou^e of Representatives, have only served to show that he had a higher and more exalted opinion of the future of the colony than his contemporaries. This well-known and highly respected statesman hasj however, of late years given unmistakable evidence that time 'will- dim the brightest intellect, and that it is.pos-; sible to live beyond the" age 'of public usefulness—and ;not know it. His political actions in the House of Representatives have for some time been erratic, ' and from ; the position of a leader he has fallen to the shades of the rank and, file. Like all -others who, have been accustomed to lead, lie makes a poor and unreliable follower, aiming rather to embarrass his general 1 than rout the enemy. His action in moving, single-handed, a vote of want-of-confidence in the Ministry immediately on the assembling of Parliament on Thursday, is characteristic of the Sir George Grey of to-day, and not of the discreet Parliamentarian of former times who, while leader, first assured himself of the support of a large following before making onslaught upon the enemy's position. The result of a proceeding so manifestly futile was apparent even to the mover himself, as, with that straight-forwardness so characteristic of the man, he assured the House that his motion had been moved—like many others, we may add '-—without consultation with, anyone. Happily this latest eccentricity of Sir Geo. Grey—who.aspires to be leader of the Opposition with or without the consent of the party —was not allowed to seriously disconcert the Government or their opponents, though manifestlyaimed at both. Timo was allowed both parties to rally their forces through tho "surprise" motion being promptly ruled out of order by the Speaker. Nevertheless it must be confessed that Sir George Grey caused, as usual, more consternation among his i friends than fear among his foes. His action has embarrassed those who, with himself, are'fully alive to the absurdity of " governing the liviug with the | dead," for while the ■ Opposition realisa the urgent necessity for the removal of the present divided and dying Cabinet from office, they know that "it is impossible to form a Ministry with Sir George Grey at the head, and retain the confidence .of the country. The country,; as well as-the House, is painfully alive to the fact-that Sir George Grey's day for political usefulness lias for ever gone by, and that it would be better for his reputation,*and the interests ,qi the party with whom he lias worked in by-gone clays, if lie would retire voluntarily to the seclusion of private life. At present he occupies the undignified position of a leader of the one-man party, and that one-man party is the honorable knight himself. ' ■ Nevertheless he' is a thorn in +.he side of Government and Opposition alike, and his knowledge of party tactics, not entirely forgotten, enable/ him to make use of his position / «o throw the House into confusion at any moment. We observe that already capital is being made out of the knight's latest eccentricity by Ministerial journals, who are endeavoring to create; -the impression, • despite. Sir George's assertion to the contrary, that he is working in -unison and harmonywith the Opposition. We have no doubt that this rumor will be proved to be a disingenuous fabrication when the final result of Sir George Grey's obstructive motion is made known. It is really painful to think that one who has held so high a position in public, estimation should descend to a position so humiliating as that of a perpetual obstructionist, and in the corning election it is to be hoped the Knight of Kawau's friends—the electors of Auckland—will be kinder to him than he is to himself or his country, arid relegate him to that seclusion which his declining years seems so much to need. In the seclusion of private life, occupied with his library and reminiscences of a well-spent life, Sir George Grey's name may be held in veneration by the present generation, and may be handed down to posterity unsullied by theeccentric acts of old age; but if allowed to remain in public life much longer the glory of n useful life will. be ; seriously tarnished.