The Press. MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1864. THE MEMBER FOR CHRISTCHURCH.
Mb. Cracropt Wilson does not often come before • the public. His utterances in the General Assembly : are infrequent; those in ,the Provincial Council ; equally so; and they are usually of that grotesque ' character which provokes the laughter of the ; audience rather at the absurdity of the speaker ] than at the opinions or persons he tries'to satirize. Once a year, however, the member for Christchurch presents himself to his constituents as a £ lecturer on public affairs, and particularly on his t own conduct in the General Assembly; and it 1 would seem as if this public exhibition of himself f is the penalty under which he holds his seat. t Most of those who listened to the hon. member 1
for an hour and a half on Friday night, must have gone away with the feeling how strange a thing it is that this city should be represented by such a ' member. Three minions of the people's money have been thrown into the ditch; their taxes have been raised thirty per cent; there is an impending | burden of £200,000, or £300,000 a-year for the cost jof the British troops in the colony; the war with the Natives is still unfinished; the Queen's writ will not run in the Northern Island beyond the pale of the English settlements; half of that Island, which a few years ago was traversed freely by English travellers amid the cordial hospitality of the Native inhabitants, is now closed against us; our credit in England is at the lowest ebb ; in the Middle Island the public works are stopped, and the people who were imported to do them are very partially employed, every province being without the means to extend its operations. At such a time one might have expected that the representative of one of the largest, certainly the most politically influential, city in the colony would have had something to say at the end of a session of Parliament of the causes of all these disasters and of the prospects for the future. Mr. Wilson preferred to occupy the time of the meeting by explaining the meaning of a rather vulgar, ill-drawn, and unintelligible caricature, which he caused to be circulated round the room; by enlarging on the conveniences of our new Town Hall; by explaining how much he has to pay for Road rates, by inveighing against the Road Boards — a measure which however we believe he supported, or at all events did not oppose in the Provincial Council — and by telling one or two " old Indian" stories, some of which at least we fancy we have heard from the same Lips on former public occasions j and he varied the entertainment by a laudation of Mr. Fox, and by an apology for his former abuse of that versatile politician. This, however, was the least he could in common gratitude do in exchange for the sacrifice Mr. Fox has made of the most cherished opinions of a life, and for the ardor with which that gentleman has prosecuted the policy of Mr. Wilson's friends. Whether Mr. Fox will consider his loss of character as a public man and a consistent politician, compensated by winning the applause of Mr. Cracroft Wilson, we leave to the judgment of those who recollect the terms in which a few months ago those gentlemen were using towards each other in the public press. There was but one point in Mr. Wilson's speech deserving of notice as regards the present state of public affairs. He attributed the failure of the policy of the session of 1863 to the hostility of Sir George Grey and to the interference of the Home Government. We shall have upon future occasions to explain fully to our readers what part Sir George really took in all this matter. What we have now to say is, that our member left
us in blank ignorance of the whole of the facts whicl have transpired through the papers laid before thi Assembly. Indeed it was perfectly evident that Mr "Wilson had either never read those papers at all, or if he had read them, had done so without in the leas perceiving the real facts whicb they disclose. Mr Wilson came before his constituents at the end of thi Session of 1863 and explained the policy of thi Whitaker Government. He told us then that h( supported it, and promised us that it would succeed Especially ho told us, as all can remember, that al j the cost of settling the proposed military population in the provinces of the Northern Island would b< paid by those provinces and not by us. He admits that the whole thing has broken down, that the money has gone, that the war is not ended, nor the Natives subdued, But he did not tell us on Friday night that the Whit. aker scheme had broken down in every feature in which tJtose who opposed it pointed out in 1863 that U would break down. Mr. Wilson abuses the Home Government. But was it not one of the arguments used in 1863 against the scheme, that the Home Government would not allow it ? Does Mr. Wilson suppose we are all such geese as to believe that the Home Government will allow her Majesty's troops to be employed, and the money of the English tax payers to be expended, and will express no opinion as to the objects for which, and the way in which, those troops and that money is to be used ? It was the supreme folly of such an idea which was over and over again pointed out as the weakest feature of the Whitaker scheme—that its success was only possible with the assistance of the Mother Country, and yet that the Mother Country was to accept it in blind and silent obedience to the demands of the colony ' Mr. Wilson talks of the action of the Home Government in the matter as if it had been exceptional and unconstitutional. Is he so ignorant as not to know that it is a part of the Constitution of New Zealand that the Acts of the Assembly may be vetoed by the Crown, and that the Crown is as much a constitu. ent part of our Government as the Governor and the Assembly ? And if he does know this, with what sense or reason can he turn round and complain thatl the Crown has exercised the power it possesses ? or that a policy has failed which depended on the assent of the Crown, and which was, notwithstanding, proceeded with without that assent, and in spite of a great probability that that assent would be withheld ? As it happens the Crown refused its assent to the Settlements Act of 1863. The Crown has the power to veto an Act at any time during two years after it has passed. Mr. Cardwell has stated that the Settlements Act will be merely " left to its operation," intimating that if it is not altered in certain particulars which he suggests, it will be disallowed. And yet upon such a rotten security as this our three millions of money was voted in 1863, and now has been thrown away. Again Mr. Wilson abuses Sir George Grey. We shall reserve what we have to say about the part taken by Sir George Grey until a future occasion. But we will say this at present, that had it not been i for the curb put on the insane folly of Ministers by the Governor, the prediction uttered in the Town < Hall last year by Mr. Moorhouse had every chance
j of being fulfilled, and we should probably have been ; asked this year for another loan of double the k amount to meet the engagements winch would have ■ been incurred. We do not express any approval of > his Excellency's conduct; but if the public could r read all the " Memoranda" which have been printed, ; we are confident that the verdict would be, that the L failure of the Whitaker policy does not lie so much i at the Governor's door, as in the inherent impossibility i of working the scheme, which the Ministers would not i see, and which it was the duty of the Governor to [ point out. That, too, we have no doubt will be the . verdict in England. The real fault of the Governor t consisted in ever consenting at all, or seeming to con- [ sent, to a policy which he knew his duty to the Crown , must forbid him cordially to carry out. Mr. Wilson ( complains that the clauses of the Loan Appropriation | Act, which made the cost of the military settlements > scheme chargeable on Auckland, have not been j adhered to. We all remember that he defended the ' policy of 1863, on that very ground. But he forgets j now to tell us that it was pointed out at the time that [ there was no likelihood, no possibility even of the . province of Auckland being able to repay the enor- ) mous sums which were about to be squandered upon • her, under the monstrous sham of suppressing a i Native rebellion. He was told all this at the time, r and now he comes before his constituents to lament l over the falsification of all his expectations, and to i bear witness to the fulfilment of every prediction t hazarded by his opponents. But it seems Mr. Wilson - is beginning to feel that the war is becoming unj popular and that it is prudent to disown it. With an - energy of language which, as with most weak men, 5 never becomes vigorous without becoming vulgar, j Mr. Wilson asserts that it is "a lie" to say that the I votes of the Southern members caused the war. It r is not safe for men with treacherous memories to . handle public affairs. Mr. Wilson must have forgoti ten that in the debates on the Waitara question as to , whether the war policy of the Stafford Ministry f should be sanctioned by the House or not, a l majority of the Northern members were against the . Ministers, a majority of the Southern members were • for them. He forgets that Mr. Stafford refused a . committee of enquiry into the Waitara question, and t that the policy of enforcing the Waitara purchase by > force of arms was ratified by a majority of the South- « em members. It is humiliating to hear any public ! men denying well known facts; still more humiliating when the facts are such as he not only would have ( admitted but would have boasted of two or three . years ago. . We have only two other crows to pick with the F Member for Christchurch, and shall have done with him. They are both matters which arose out of , questions asked Mm by electors at the public i meeting. First, about the Nominated Superintendents' Bill. , Mr. Wilson denounced the principle of Superintendents being appointed by the Governor, and told a i story about Lord Clive and some gentleman sent out to India with an appointment, the moral of which , was, if it meant anything, that no officers at all ought ; to be appointed by the Governor or by the Crown, and he asserted distinctly that he had never supi ported or voted for the principle that Superi intendents should be so appointed. We shall not i here argue the merits of the question. We have at present to do, not with the principle, but with Mr. Wilson's consistency and truthfulness as our Member in the Assembly. In 1862 a Bill was introduced for abolishing the election of Superintendents. For this Bill Mr. Wilson voted, and we believe spoke. He now asserts that he only supported it because it contained a clause by which it could only come into operation on a requisition from the Provincial Council. But if it be true, as he now states, that he never believed in the principle of nomination at all, can he explain why he voted for the Bill? The absence of a clause allowing each province to bring the Bill into operation or not, as it pleased, might have been a very good reason, even for a man who approved of the nomination principle, for voting against it, but how is it possible that a man who disapproved of nomination altogether, and preferred the elective principle, as Mr. Wilson now says he always did, could have voted in favor of a measure the whole object of which was to get rid of the election ? Mr. Wilson does not perceive that his excuse for voting for that Bill in 1862 is simply silly. The fact is that his opposition to the Bill when reintroduced in 1863 was met with the laughter of all his friends, who all knew that the year before there was not in the whole House so strenuous an opponent of the principle of election of Superinvendents as Mr. Cracroft Wilson. We do not care to inquire why he changed his opinion, nor do we quarrel with him for doing so ; but we do say that Christchurch ought to expect a better representative than a gentleman who does not know what his own opinions were two years ago, and who, when he changes his views, has not the manliness and ingenuousness to tell his constituents that he has done so. The next point is that of the Masters and Servants Act, which, we reprint elsewhere. Now any man may hold what opinions he likes, and defend them as he pleases. A man may think it right that servants should be imprisoned with hard labor for breach of engagements, whilst masters should not be punished for similar offences. We may think a man a goose for holding such views, but he has a right to hold them. But there is one thing no member has a right to do, and that is to misrepresent to his constituents the truth of what he has been doing. Let any one read the Bill, of which five or six clauses provide for sending servants to gaol like felons, and tell us whether my honest man ought to stand up before t public meeting and say that he had inaroduced such a Bill for the "protection of Servants " / [hose were Mr. Wilson's words on Friday night, md after reading the Bill will any elector tell us vhether he considers it creditable to Christchurch o be represented by the member who used them ? To conclude : Mr. Wilson took occasion to remark
:liat he had no doubt a great deal would be said about lim in the columns of this journal. Wo regret to 3e compelled to undeceive him. Neither the violence md absurdity of his opinions, or the personalities with -which he seasons his politics, would ever have xttracted notice had they not emanated from one folding the position of Member for this city. Even nrith the incidental importance attaching to the position, his views are not supported by that common imount of reason and intelligence which entitles him to more than passing attention at our hands. When lie comes forward to make such a melancholy display as he did on Friday night, we are compelled to point out that the information he gives his constituents as to public matters is not to be relied on beyond that we can assure him that nothing in his position as a , public man tempts us to interfere with that seclusion to which he always assures us he is so anxious to return and for which he is so well fitted. It will probably be found that the removal of the seat of Government to Wellington will tend to increase the number of candidates for seats amongst the Southern Constituencies, and we certainly hope that Christchurch may soon have the opportunity of being represented by some one who in some small degree reflects its political intelligence. The Heathcote Regatta.—This event is to take place to-day, the first race commencing at 12.30. For the benefit of those interested we publish the following additional rule for the races : —"That in the pulling races Nos 1, 2, and 4, each boat will be started at intervals of a quarter of a minute, and in the event of being overlapped, the leading boat will keep the starboard side, so as to leave room for the overhauling boat to pass." The following are the entries : — Ist race, 12.30, two oars, with coxswain, open to all comers; one mile and a-half; entrance, 10s; Ist prize, £5; 2nd do, £3—Snowdrop, Black .Eagle. 2nd race, 1 p.m., four oars, with coxswain, open to all comers ; two miles ; entrance £1; Ist prize £15 ; 2nd do, £s—Snowdrop, Planet, Hero, Black Eagle. 3rd race, 1.30 p.m., whale-boats, five oars and steer oar, open to all coiners ; two miles and a-half; entrance, £1 ; Ist prize, £15 ; 2nd do., £s—Pigeon,s—Pigeon, Spray. 4th race, 2 p.m., four oars with coxswain ; club boats, manned by members ; two miles ; entrances by £5 subscription to the fund ; one boat from any club ; prize, value £25 (silver cup to each winning crew, names, &c, engraved) Note—l. Outj riggers not admitted to any of the foregoing races, jfote—2. In all faces third boat to save stakes.— Snowdrop, Planet, Black Eagle. 6th race, 2.35 p.m., four oars outrigger, with coxswain ; course to be named by stewards, at 12 noon, on day of regatta ; distance two miles ; entrance, £2 ; prize, value £10 (a silver cup) ; if three or more boats entered, second prize, value £5. The tunnel is to be thrown open to the public to day, and will be illuminated with the lime light, to produce which Mr. J. L. Hall has lent his kindly assistance. The last time that the public had the opportunity of seeing the progress this wori had made the attendant inconveniences from the wet under foot were very great, this objection has now been obviated by part of the tunnel being planked over so that visitors can see the wori without the inconvenience alluded to. The Dinner at the Gasworks. —On Saturday night the introduction of gas into Christchurch was inaugurated by a dinner given by the directors o! the company to the men who have been employed ir the construction of the works; a considerable number of visitors were also invited, the partj sitting down about sixty strong. The chair wat occupied by I. Luck, Esq., supported on his left by His Honor the Superintendent, R. S. Harman, and C. Ward, Esqrs., and on his right by J. E. FitzGerald, and W. S. Moorhouse, Esqrs. The vice chairmen %rere J. Ollivier and W. Wilson, Esqrs The dinner, which was prepared by Messrs. Morton and Robertson, had been subjected to the culinary process by means of a gas cooking stove, which was erected in an adjacent tent, being the first instance of another of the uses which we hope to-sec the new production put to. The room where the dinner was held was decorated with evergreens and flags, and, the gas pipes having been led into it, as theevening drew on four burners flashed a splendid light on the party who had assembled there, amidsl a simultaneous and prolonged burst of cheering, After the dinner was over, the Chairman proposed the usual loyal toasts, after which the healths of the directors, the secretary and engineer of the company, and the workmen employed on the works, were successively proposed and very heartily received bj the comnany. Some very humorous speeches from several of the gentlemen present contributed greatlj to the fun of the evening, and everything went oil merrily till the company broke up about half-pasl 11 o'clock. The News fbost the Nobth.—By theWellingtor we have our files from Auckland to the 17th inst, The most important news is of a proclamation issued by Sir George Grey on the 17th, in which ho specifically declares his intentions towards the Natives. We give this proclamation in full in another column. The only other news is that Mr. Mantell has joined the Government as Native Minister, and that Rewi, the Ngatimaniapoto chief, has made his appearance at Te Awamutu with a band of followers. Account* differ as to whether he purposes to negotiate for peace or to set up the King's flag. We will give further details in to-morrow's issue. The lujmiSATioTfS on Satt/bday.—Besides the celebration of the first use of gas in Christchurch by the dinner we have referred to above, many of the buildings in different parts of the town were decorated with gas illuminations. The new Town Hall had a handsome star burning over the entrance, which threw a strong light on the opposite houses in High street. Messrs. Luck and Clark's buildings exhibited a star with the initials Y.A., and Mr. Gould the initials V. R. Two lamps were lit in Cathedral square, and Mr. Ruddenklau had the pipes led to his gigantic lamp over the entrance of the City Hotel, and Mr. Coker's lamp in front of the Criterion was lit up by the same means, and burnt we think clearer and stronger than any other with the exception of those at the gasworks. Mr. Coker's new music hall will take we hear about 60 burners, and the theatre will use about 100. We are informed that orders have already been received in Christchurch for upwards of 500 burners, a number which in the the course of a couple of months will in all probability bo doubled. The Governor's Visit to the Sottth. — We are informed that Sir George Grey will arrive in Otago on the 10th of next month for the purpose of opening the New Zealand Exhibition; he will then come on to Canterbury on the 16th and witness our Champion race meeting, after which he will return to Otago on a visit to the goldfields of that province. The staffs of the different departments of Government have received instructions to be at Wellington about the 20th. Christmas Meat.—ln our issue of Saturday we inadvertently omitted the mention of the first-rate show of meat which was displayed in the butchers' shops onEriday evening. The palm, we think, could be awarded to Mr. street, for beef; the cattle we believe were bred by Mr. Creyke. The joints hanging for public inspection at his shop windows appeared to be as first-rate as any meat that could be produced in any part of the globe; the weight of some of the cattle killed was upwards of 1200 pounds. His mutton was also excellent, as was also that of Mr. Wilkinson in Cashel street. Mr. Rowley and Mr. Millbank both displayed first-rate veal and mutton. Mr. Nicholson's beef and lamb were excellent. Mr. Green showed some capital beef and mutton, and Mr. Culbert was also very successful in his exhibition. The poultry were perhaps to be seen to best advantage at the shop of Mr. Dorset*, Cashel street., and at Mr. Millbank's. Ehe display was excellent throughout the town, and tetter than any exhibition of former years.
Permanent link to this item
The Press. MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1864. THE MEMBER FOR CHRISTCHURCH., Press, Volume VI, Issue 673, 26 December 1864
The Press. MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1864. THE MEMBER FOR CHRISTCHURCH. Press, Volume VI, Issue 673, 26 December 1864
Using This Item
Fairfax Media is the copyright owner for the Press. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Fairfax Media. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.
This newspaper was digitised in partnership with Christchurch City Libraries (1921-1945).