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THE CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION.

RETURN OF MB CHARLES LEWIS.

No by-elsation for a member of the House ot Representatives h&3 ever exoited so much interest in this electorate as that which took place yesterday, and there are few instances where in other part* of the colony such strenuous efforts were made to fill a vacant seat by the supporters of any particular party, and especially of the members of the Ministry. There were three candidates for the seat rendered vacant by the appointment of the Hon. W. P. Reeves as Agent-General for the coloay, namely, Mr Chaa. Lewis, who was standing in the Opposition interest; Mr R. M. Taylor, who was the Government nomiuee, and Mr T. E. Taylor, the elect of the prohibitionists. Each candidate was well supported, and a great deal of feeling was manifested in the contest, a sure sign of change in public opinion, especially when it is ehown in an electorate where the so-called Liberal party has for some years past been enabled to gain a large majority at the polling booths. The supporters of each party worked hard during the day to bring electors to the poll, numerous vehicles being employed, and at each polling-booth there was a acene of considerable activity. The candidates had representatives stationed outside each polling booth, who facilitated the work of the sub-Returning Officers by supplying the electors with the number set opposite their names on the roll.

The streets after the close of the poli presented an animated appearance, large crowds assembling in front of the newspaper cilices, at each of which the returns as they came in from tho various polling booths were displayed on a screen by means of limelight. Cushel street in particular was closely packed, the crowd extending for a considerable distance on each side of the Press office. Each return as it appeared wae received with loud cheering and coun-ter-cheering, 'according to the political leanings of the individual spectators. Thauks to the excellent way in which the Returning Officer, Mr J. Whitelaw, and his assistants carried out their duties, the returns came in speedily, mid aa the evening wove on the uncertainty which was widely felt as to the result of the election gave place, on the part of Mr Erewia'a supporters, to a strong feeling of confidence—a feeling which, as events proved, was amply justified. Shortly before ten o'clock the final returns came to hand from the Provincial Council Chambers, and showed the result of the polling to be as follows :— ' Lawis ... ... 4714 Taylor, T. E. ... ... 4302 Taylor, R. M. ... 3196 Majority for Lewis 412. The tremendous burst of cheering from the Press Office, where Mr Lewis and a number of his friends had been awaiting the result, first, told the assembled crowd outside t-hat the Opposition candidate had won the light. The news that Mr Lewie had been elected to represent Christchurch by a majority of 412 wua quickly made public in a visible manner by means of the illuminated screen, and the announcewas greyed with volleys of cheering, which were renewed again and again. The sueeaseful candidate subsequently addressed a dense crowd of his coustitueats from the window of his Committee room in High street, and was received with enthusiastic cheers, which were repeated at the conclusion of his rnmarks.

'.the followiug ia the statement of the votes recorded at each of the polling places:—

I j? ■! Booths. $ g I" I 6 hp 5 & Provincial Council Chambers (principal) 1023 424 430 10 Opera House .. .. .. 967 759 621 3 St. John's Schoolroom .. .. 742 530 293 14 Oddfellows' Hall, Montreal street 381 405 161 10 Foresters' Hall, Richmond .. 255 205 90 1 Hibernian Hall 240 182 278 12 Mission Hall, Sydenham.. .. 332 677 651 12 Public .Library, Waltham .. 80 177 5C6 4 Methodist Schoolroom, Addington 173 426 211 3 Borough Council Office, St. Alnan's 361 233 73 6 Mutual Improvement Hall, Knitfhtstown .. .. 160 234 282 6 Totals .. ...■■■ 81 It may be Doted th*t out of v total of 17,569 votes on the toll, 12,292 votes were polled.

Before eight o'clock people began to congregate in front of the Press Office, it having beea intimated that as the numbers were received from the polling booths they would be exposed to view by the aid of a powerful light. This was done, and the concourse, which numerically strengthened uutil by ten o'clock there were several thousands of persons present, applauded tie each return appeared. It was evident that the majority were sympathisers of Mc Lewis. There was frequent applause, mingled with some groaning, but the cheering »nd enthueiasni were mild compared with that which ensued on the figuree " 412 majority ior Mr Lewis" being exhibited. The animated scene became one of tumultuous excitement, cheer following cheer in rapid succession; men waving their hats and women their paruaols and handkerchiefs ia expressing their satisfaction at the result. As the member proceeded to his Committee's rooms, he was the head of an enormous crowd of people, who gave vent to their feelings in renewed thunders of applause, and at the rooms he was overwhelmed by supporters, enthusiasts, and friends all struggling and striving to shake by the hand the man who had effectually beaten three Cabinet Ministers, v two weC nurses," and the prohibition vote. Comparative quiet having beeu obtaiued, Mr Lewis stepped to one of the windows knd confronted the great gathering of people who had assembled in the Triangle in High street and were shooting themselves hoarse in the endeavour to emphasize their opinion of the eventful occasion.

Mc Lewis's first attempt to speak was I rendered futile by the prolonged applause. As ie subsided he said:—" Ladies and gentlemen,—l have spoken to you often duriug the last few weeks, and I have 1 answered a good many questions, but you have asked mc a question to-night which I honestly confess I cannot answer.' -(Very load applause.) Tfou have asked mc to state what I think of the result of this election, and I cannot do it. The personal hononr to myself is very great, but that fades into insigui&cance as compared with the note which yon have struck in Christchurch to-day. (Prolonged applause). I hope that to-night will mark a new era in politics in this country. (Very loud applause.) The straggle has been a keenly fought one, but remember you are now all my constituents, and though some of you have; opposed' mc and voted against mc, we shall be friends for all that (load cheers], and forget any little bitterness that may have cropped up daring the late contest. I have to very sincerely thank yon. ladies and gentlemen, for the great honour you have conferred upon mc and the proud position in which you have placed mc to-day, and sow goodnight. (Great cheering). After Mr Lewis had left the Committee rooms, the large crowd was augmented by several hundred persons who had previously been waiting in Cashel street for the results posted at the Paiss , otSoe. Enthusiastic cheers were given for the National Association and the • P&sss. Groans were as heartily given for Mr Seddon and the Ministry, and for "Prohibition, 1, and the Government candidate, who happened to pass down High street through the crowd, was also greeted with groans. Mr Lewis was carried shoulder huzh from his Com* mittee'tf rooms, bat this did not satisfy the people and he was eventually persuaded, when near the Hereford Hotel, to speak from that building, which he did, and met with another ovation. At the conclusion of Tiis address he called for three oheers for the losing candidates, which were heartily given. Mr T. E. Taylor, at his Committee rooms, and iv front of the Prohibition

League office, returned thanks to those who had voted for him.

Mr R. M. Tavlor returned thanks at hie Committee rooms to his supporters. After three cheers were given for him and three for Mr Lewis.

In the Thsatre Royal, ju»t before the commencement of the fourth act, Mr Percy Kehoe announced the result of the polling, the news beiug received with loud and continued cheers from the large audience.

As it may bo interesting to compare the number of votes cast for each candidate at the last general election with those of yesterday's contest, we append the results of the polling on November 28th, 1893 :—

?8 e St?s?g=i g * SS&SIogSSiSgyJI Provincial Council Cbauiber. I (Oper* House). [ Hibernian Hall. S§S2s§Ss§S§ I Sk John's Schoolroom. co£3o-oS2gSSg£SI Oddfellows' Hall, Montreal totoin>~"OcoooO!:oi>«3 j Street. j St. Allans. Sgs23?sSliSi§j Kni&htstown. t§B3BSi3S§S§S I Richmond. aSSi§Ss§3S§ I Sydenham. SSSs2§§S§§w§ j Addington. SSSJSSiiiSIIs Waltham. H *-* Eγ 1 ®t>3l" Cm Cf* ■£» ui~! CJI ~4 .& .*» CD wCn >-* \M I JLUUwIS. THE NEW MEMBER.

The following is a brief sketch of the career of the newly-elected member. Mr Charles Lewis was born in Christchurch in September, 1857, and is the only son of the late Mr David Lewis, and nephew of tho late Mr Georcje Gould. He was educated partly at Christ's College, in this city, and partly at Clifton and Malvern Colleges, England. On returning to hia native country m 1875 Mr Lewis became a cadet on Mr Duncan Cameron's station at Methven, on leaving which he continued to study farming under Mr Henry Overton, at EHeamere. He then spent several montbe travelling in America, returned to New Zealand, aud became a farmer at Brookside, in the EHeamere district. Iv 1883 he left Brookside, and settled down on his own farm at Halswell, where he has lived ever since. Mr Charles Lewis is a typical New Zealauder—strong in physique, clear-headed, practical—who has seen sufficient of the world outside his native laud to be wisely educated in the business affairs of life. He has always taken a keen interest in New Zealand affairs and has worked energetically to develop both the practical and pleasing sides of colonial life. He has proved himself a thoroughly shrewd and ab the eaine time enthusiastic colonist. He has alwaya been ready to try on his farm any experiment which might further the interests of agriculture, and has also taken his part in the Agricultural and Pastoral Association and at the shows. Mr Lowia has always taken a great; interest in the history and life or the colony, and has travelled ovor the greater portion of both islands. He has a clover, incisive style of writing, and great skill as an amateur photographer, and hia illustrated descriptions of some of hia travels have been enjoyed by large numbers of ' readers. Mr Lewie is also well known as a keen aportsman, and being possessed of means has been able to encourage the beat kinds of sport. He is facile princess in field sports, and ia an excellent shot. In this connection it may be added that he has assisted materially towards the introduction of game ia Canterbury, being an old and influential member of the Acclimatisation Society.

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Bibliographic details

THE CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION., Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9340, 14 February 1896

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THE CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION. Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9340, 14 February 1896

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