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For absolute originality we have to look in a quarter probably one of the very last to which search would naturally be directed—wc mean Dunedin West. Mr Downio Stewart has absolutely ventilated something in the nature of an original ideia. If it wore not quite impossible to associate tho idea of levity with the person of Mr Downie Stewart, wo should be inclined to suspect that he was playing a joke on hia friends, the Protectionists, but we know the idea of a joke is altogether foreign to his nature. Mr Downie Stewart rejoices greatly in the measure of Protection which he helped to achieve last session, but he is by no means satisfied with it. He wants it extended, and in an altogether new direction. He wants manual labor protected against machine competition. His righteous soul is ponderously agitated by the discovery that “ workmen aro being replaced by machinery to a very remarkable extent in nearly all departments of industry.” Ho thinks that in consequence tho hours of labor will have to bo restricted to less than eight per diem, if tho present standard of living amongst the people is to be maintained. The extent to which human labor can bo displaced by machinery is “truly alarming,” especially in the power it gives capital, and ho is firmly convinced that “sooner or later this question of laborsaving machinery will have to be solved.” Who can now say that a political prophet has not arisen to save the land ? All that we have to do to secure happiness and prosperity is to banish labor-saving machinery, and to return to the primitive manners and customs of our ancestors. Let the sewing machine be banished from our households, and bo replaced by the spinning wheel; let our woollen factories be razed to the ground, and hand looms be placed in our cottages; let the sickle supersede the machine reaper, and tho flail take the place of the steam thresher; let such pernicious innovations as roller mills and silk-dressed flour be banished from the land, and let us depend for bread upon the sweat of our brow, working stone mills by hand, and getting rid of impurities with the wire-bottomed sieve; let us shut up onr railways and depend upon the pack-horse, the pillion, and the bullock-sledge for inland conveyance, induce the Union Company to replace its noble steamers by sqnare-sterned Dutch modelled schooners of small burthen for sea conveyance ; let the pit saw replace the timber mill, and render it penal to use steam power or machinery in any shape or form ; above all, let those pestiferous machine-printed newspapers be abolished, and the public taught to depend for its information on tho hand-written news-letter or the glib tongue and powerful of the wandering peddler, and then, according to Mr Downie Stewart’s belief, the great political problem of the age will be solved, and New Zealand will be the most prosperous spot the sun shines on upon the face of the globe. This wisdom comos to us from tho West—of Dunedin.— ‘ Post.’

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Bibliographic details

DECIDEDLY ORIGINAL., Evening Star, Issue 7939, 21 June 1889

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DECIDEDLY ORIGINAL. Evening Star, Issue 7939, 21 June 1889