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MR MANTZ REPLIES., Issue 7909, 17 May 1889
MR MANTZ REPLIES.
TO THE EDITOB. Sib,— On taking up my Evening Stab of Saturday last I perceived you had called me to account in reference to my recent letter respecting Sir Robert Stout. From the tone of your remarks it is evident your estimate of the ex-Premier is the very reverse of my own ; but as to which is the correct one we may safely leave posterity to decide. You regard him as a pedagogue, perpetually indulging in twaddle about distinctions in Liberalism which you assume do not exist; while I admire him as a man of culture, as a statesman of advanced views who would not stoop to the time-serving expedients of the ordinary politician, and as an unselfish patriot, whose desire has been to initiate a progressive policy that would exempt New Zealand from those social ills which have caused so much suffering and misery in the older communities of Europe. lYhether Sir Robert may consent to forego health, personal comfort, and the charms of retirement for the thankless task o' serving those who pay little heed to the d.wnward tendency of our institutions, I am not in a position to say. I can only hope that the “ ruling passion” which has prompted him in the past will again burn within his bosom, and impel him to take his proper place in that sphere for which his abilities so eminently qualify him. Turning from Sir Robert to myself, I do not admit the justice of your strictures either as to my “ impertinence” or autocracy to dictate to the electors of East Dunedin, While a fervent devotee at the shrine of Democracy, and a firm believer in those principles which the greatest men in all ages have sanctified by their personal sacrifice and suffering, lam not precluded the right of expressing disapproval at the blunders which the popular vote has decreed. Admitting that the power of democracy is all-powerful, and more often in the right than wrong, I am not blind to the teachings of history. I cannot ignore the fact that there are occasions when democracies not only evince ingratitude, but, like Saturn, devour their own children. Aristides was banished because tKe citizens grew tired of hearing him called "the Just”; Socrates, the stern moralist, was doomed to quaff the cup of hemlock ; Robespierre, the “ Incorruptible,” was consigned to the guillotine; Bolivar, the liberator of South America, died of a broken heart at the early age of forty-eight; and Garibaldi, the pnrest patriot of modem times, after making Italy a nation, was shot down as a rebel at Aspromonte by the troops of an ungrateful monarch. With these sorrowful examples before us, we need not affect surprise that Sir Robert Stout should experience a little of that popular ingratitude in a young country that has not thoroughly educated itself in those principles of democracy which he and a few others have so zealously sought to inculcate,—l am, etc., E. S. Mantz. North-east Valley, May 16.
MR MANTZ REPLIES., Issue 7909, 17 May 1889
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