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“HONEST JOHN.”, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889
The most interesting piece of colonial news we have published for some time is the announcement that Mr Bryce is going to stand for Waipa. It is said that he is almost certain to be returned. Any constituency might be proud to have such a representative ; and the Waipa electors would show a regard, both for themselves and for the Colony, if they returned him without opposition. If he should have an opponent, we hope that he will at least bead the poll with an overwhelming majority. Mr Bryce was one of a number of our best public men who had the, misfortune to be rejected at the last general election. It would, indeed, be more correct to say that the country had the misfortune on that occasion to lose their services ; for it was probably rather a relief than a misfortune to a man like Mr Bryce, who does not enjoy robust health, and who has no love of “ office for office sake,” to get back to the quietude of his country home and to the oversight of his private affairs. His rejection by the electors, on the ground of some petty local feeling, was, however, a decided loss to the Colony. Mr Bryce is not, perhaps, a great statesman; but he is, as we have just said, one of the very best of our public men. It would be something like an indignity—it would certainly be a misnomer—to call him a politician.
“ Plain ” J ohn Bryce, as he is familiarly styled, knows no political arts; but he has m ore than average ability, great shrewdness, invincible determination, and a character not merely unblemished, but universally esteemed for its purity and rectitude. He is, in a word, the exact opposite of a certain class of politicians, who are unfortunately coming to the front in most of these colonies—men of fluent tongues, mediocre talents, and flexible principles, who, if they are not checked, will yet vitiate and degrade the politics of Australasia. Mr Bryce is also, both from the natural constitution of his mind and on principle, a rigid economist. On this account his presence in the House would be of great value; particularly now, when returning prosperity will be apt to cause a reaction against the economies which the Government have been enforcing during the last two years. When he was in office as Native Minister it was rather a misfortune that he confined his energies almost exclusively to his own department. He was in fact appointed, very much as the present Government were appointed, for a special purpose. He was an emergency Minister, just as they are an emergency Ministry; and he may have thought that it became him to perform his special task without taking a prominent part in the general work of government. It was well enough known that he would have been strongly in favor of a thoroughly retrenching policy years ago; and it was no doubt the knowledge of this that led many to hope that he might succeed to the Premiership when the Stout-Yogel Government collapsed. But this was not to be. His old constituents thought fit to dispense with his services ; and however much that foolish step is to be regretted, we can scarcely regret that he did not supersede Sir Harry Atkinson as leader of the retrenching party. For a variety of reasons the return of Mr Bryce to the House would be highly desirable.
“HONEST JOHN.”, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889
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