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The press. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14,1878.

The City Council election, it appears, ie not yet over. It is, no doubt, so far concluded that the three gentlemen who headed the poll on Thursday are not likely, at all events so far as we have yet heard, to be disturbed in their seats. But the matter does not necessarily end here. The election is no sooner over than no fewer than four of the existing members of the Council resign in a body, leaving only the necessary quorum to welcome Mr. W. Wilson in the achievement of his hard won honours.

Wβ might in a common case be disposed to question the propriety of a general resignation on the part of the members of the City Council. They are gentlemen who have consented, of their own accord, to accept the responsibilities of public office, and, in an ordinary way, it may fairly be said that those who go into public life must enjoy its honours with its inconveniences. The possibility of finding themselves placed alongside of colleagues who, for very good reasons it may be, are distasteful to them, is one of those inconveniences. And at any rate, where either the individual or the public must suffer, the interests of the individual are usually expected to give way. These, no doubt, are the true principles regulating such cases, and we should be fully prepared to enforce them were it necessary. But in the present instance there can be no donbt that the public verdict goes along with the retiring Councillors-. Go where one will, there is but one opinion on the matter. " Quite right too," ie the answer invariably given, when it is : said that nearly all the old Councillors have sent in their resignations to his "Worship. So universal an expression of public sentiment can have but one meaning.

,Wβ regret very much that Mr. W. Wilson should have been advised to bring matters to this issue. Whatever people may have thought of certain unhappy matters of public notoriety, there 'has been clearly exhibited towards him a -willingness to let bygones be bygones, so long at all events as he did not unnecessarily put himself in the way of ■■• adverse comment. With this extent of condonation Mr. Wilson does not appear to have been satisfied. He seems to have thought that it was necessary, and would be sufficient for his complete rehabilitation in the eyes of his fellow citizens, if he could once again seat himself in the civic chamber, and perhaps once again present himself to the citizens of Christchurch as their Mayor. A greater mistake he could not possibly have made. Mere success at a city election goes for nothing. It proves nothing whatever, and it is looked upon as proving nothing as to the character of the successful candidate. For while it may always be expected that the bulk of the members of the City Council will be men of good standing and esteem, there is at the same always room for persons of whom this cannot be said. If Mr. Wilson had come in, as he expected, at the head of the poll, it would still have been cited by many persons as an instance of what can be effected by a lavish expenditure and an energetic committee without any personal chum on the part of the candidate. As it is, he is topped to the extent of more than three hundred votes by a gentleman who took no pains to succeed, and whose own Mayoralty is not remembered with unmixed approval. And no sooner Is he even thns elected than nearly every member of the existing Council resigns his office.

Wβ regret, we say, the course pursued by Mr. Wilson. Bat the part taken by his friends is much more blamable. They will plead, perhaps, the excuse of a generous interest on behalf of one who, no doubt, had been severely punished. If their own interests only were concerned, we might admit the plea. But it is no excuse for what they have actually done. They had no right to make counters of the public interests of the city of Ohristchurch. They had no business, for the mere gratification of their personal sympathies, to throw out of gear the whole machinery by which its public affairs are directed. They were not entitled to put gentlemen, willing to serve the public, and who had won the public esteem in the service, in a position in which their sense of selfrespect demanded that they should retire, and in which the public opinion approves of their retirement. The mischief such triflers do is incalculable. The City Council was in need of all the support which the return of the best names in Chrietchurch would have afforded. It has instead received a blow which it will be no easy matter to get over.

A PEEMMINAEY meeting has been held to consider the formation, we may almost say under the auspices of the Government, of a New Zealand Rifle Association ; and we believe further details are under discussion. The Governmont are prepared to consider favourably an application to grant the use as a rifle range of a reserve in some central part of the colony, are ready to ,hand over the equipments hitherto used at the Colonial Prize Firing meetings, and further will propose that a sum of money in aid l» voted by Parliament. The only condition attached is that the Government shall be satisfied that the Association really means "business."

It is supposed the scheme will meet with favour, not only from volunteers past and present, bat from others outside, who have merely a penchant for rife shooting. We see no objection that can be urged against a Rifle Association such as is proposed, or against rifle associations generally, beyond the inference which may be drawn from the fact that the Government, while encouraging the present scheme, have decided on discontinuing the <solonial prize-firing competitions. W<» are entirely at issue with any who mar consider rifle clubs as any substitute for drilled corps; nor can we admit that any probable increase in numbers would be likely to remove the ob- | jection. If rifle shooting have any 'practical value.beyond purposes of sport, it is a means of national defence; but an nadiscipKned crowd of armed men would probably noi palj be almost harmless to the enemy;" but absolutely dangerous to themselves. The most experienced

leaders would be unable to move them. We sincerely trust our country may never learn so terrible a lesson as 500 disciplined men are capable of inflietin£ on our population at the present time. Upon these grounds we are glad to see that the volunteers are taking , the initiative in floating the Rifle Association for New Zealand. We; hope to see them supported by the public at large; and we hope that, so far from the association being considered as a rival to volunteering, or as any substitute for drill, diat it may, on the contrary, induce those who take an interest in a manly exercise to further take sufficient pains, by going through the course of instruction offered by the volunteer corps, to qualify themselves to use the arm efficiently, not only individually but in concert. We do not say the present volunteer system is free from very serious objections—as we may point out on a future occasion—but, with all its faults, it has within it the germ of the defence force which, sooner or later, must be recognised by the country as a necessity.

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Bibliographic details

The press. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14,1878., Press, Volume XXX, Issue 4098, 14 September 1878

Word Count
1,260

The press. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14,1878. Press, Volume XXX, Issue 4098, 14 September 1878

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