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MR LEWIS EXPLAINS.

TO THE -EDITOR OF THB PRESS. Sir,—lnasmuch as yonr statement of my reasons for resigning is incomplete, I trust you w»U allow mc to supply the public with that full explanation to which they are entitled!. To do so properly I must begin. at the beginning.

I never wanted to enter Parliament. In 1890 and 1895 I refused to stand for seats •which were apparently easier to win and leas troublesome to hold than Christchurch. The reason for my refusal I will explain later on. But I sought to discharge some of the duties of citizenship by taking part in the work of organisation, actinias secretary to Mr Rolle..ton's committee in 1890, and subsequently becoming a working member of the National Association. When the retirement of Mr Reeves became inurnment I was one of a small majority who decided that the election must be fought. Fearing that the resolution might be rescinded', I forced the situation by informing the papers that we were going to fight the .seat. Naturally, I was one of the three appointed to find the candidate. This we failed to do. Having compromised the situation I was simply bound to redeem it by becoming a candidate. This I did, stipulating, however, that my (unsuccessful) candidature should relieve mc of all responsibilities for some years. I confess I entered upon the fight light-heartedly enough, but I was very speedily sobered by the spectacle of a number of men and women working hard and earnestly, night and day, to assert their principles, and I swore a mighty oath that they should have a fair chance, and that I would never let them down. For four years" I did what in ine lay to keep that vow. In addition to discharging my duty to my constituent*, I lost no opportunity of, as it were, keeping the business together in the interests of my political companions and j associates. At the end of tihat time, how- | ever, I found, a* the election of 1899, that the enthusiasm of 1896 was dead and gone. The situation had lost all interest for mc, it contained no incentive, and I retired. For reasons wihioh I need not enter into I was induced to re-enter the field, but, takj ing my tone from others, I went through the contest without the slightest spirit, and finally wait to Wellington last year, feeling that I had some 20,000 constituents, whose interests must be attended to, but practically no associates or supporters. Let mc add to this the fact that no one has accused mc of neglecting my duties.

Our Parliamentary system demands) and is based upon, the physical prostration of the weaker side. Important, debateable, or questionable legislation is deliberately withheld until men wibo have lived for three months in a hothous. are unable to offer effective resistance. Then the House is made to sit till daylight, and Bills are shovelled through. A strotfg Opposition can, in a measure, prevent this by giving the Administration a taste of their own medicine, but seventeen men are powerless against fifty-five. At the end of a session a man is so limp, enervated, and run down that, he is liab.e to suffor severely from attacks which ordinarily he could shake off. At the end of the session of 1899 Captain Russell lay for some time between lite and death. Last year he frankly left the House at twelve each night; M_r Jamet* Allen succumbed to an attack, from which he has not yet recovered; in the seat in front of ms 1 saw Mr Monk growing gradually weaker and more frail, till on a day his seat was vac-ant, and tile doctor's carriage waited at Ills gate; after sticking to it as long as I eouid I left for my home, where I spent the last .week of the session- in bed; nor did I regain my strength as quickly as I could hrtve wished. My reason for refusing to ent?r politics was the fact that my tarnily history was of a nature to render it extremely improbable that I could stand the physical strain. Each of my first lour sessions left- ins weak and mkerab'.e. The fifth one knocked mc out.

I hardly expected that every one of the 6340 people, who sent ms to Wellington to do their work, would attend my masting, but when something more than 99_ per cent, of them absented themselves, I le!t fchat I really wes at last ■ entitled to ask myself the question which 1 now submit to my judges.—"Under all the circumstances, am I under any obligation to remain in politics at the bidding and on behalf of those who, in the. same cause, refuse to leave their firerid .s on one ni_"ht in the year?"' My answer is known. Its propriety will b9 most hotly di-pitted by those most responsible for it.—Yours, etc.. CHARLES LEWIS. ' June 15th.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19010617.2.12

Bibliographic details

MR LEWIS EXPLAINS., Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 10993, 17 June 1901

Word Count
821

MR LEWIS EXPLAINS. Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 10993, 17 June 1901

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