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ARRIVAL OF CAPTAIN ROBIN.

HIS RECEPTION AT DUNEDIN.

Captain Robin, who was commander of the New Zealand mounted contingent on the occasion of their reoent Jubilee visit to England, arrived back in Dunedin by the express train from the North on Saturday night. A very largo crowd had assembled about the station, but a strong posse of police, present at the request of Stationmaster Crombie, were successful in keeping the main portion of the platform clear. Amongst those waiting to formally receive Captain Robin were the Mayor (Mr H. Gourley), Crs Carroll, Solomon, Gore, Hardy, Mouat, Chiaholm, Haynes, and Park, Mr W. B. Taylor (town clerk), members of the Reception Committee, the.Hon. T. Fergus, Messrs J. Hazlett, A. J. Burns, J. Hislop, Colonel Webb, Captain Milne, Surgeon-major Coughtrey, Mr J. Allen, M.H.R., Mr J. T. Mackerras, Mr A. Sligo, Mr J. A. Millar, M.H.R., Hon. D. Pinkerton, Mr James Robin, Miss Robin, and membeia of the Otago Hussars from Dunedin, Waikouaiti, and Taieri. On landing from the train Captain Robin was loudly cheered. The friends having gathered round him, The Mayor said : Captain Robin, I am very happy, on behalf of the City Council and citizens of Danedin, to extend to you a very hearty welcome back to New Zealand. —(Cheers.) I may say that the citizens of Dunedin are highly pleased with the very honorable way in which you have acquitted yourself while in England. It has been very pleasant to read from time to time the flattering remarks that have been made about you and about the way in which you have performed your duties. I congratulate yon upon the able way in which you have discharged your duties, and I am sure these rtinirks may be extended to the men under your command, who have so ably seconded your efforts. It is very pleasant indeed to see that a young man, brought up iu New Zealand, with no Imperial training, has been able virtually by yonr own perseverance to train yourself to such an extent, that your ability has been recognised by the military authorities in England.—(Cheers.) I have no doubt that your success will be an incentive to young men in New Zealand to imitate the honorable example you have set, and I cannot help saying that the way the authorities received the contingent in England will go a long way to strengthen the good feeling that exists betweeu the Home Country and the colonies. The noble appearance tho colonial troops presented will prove to the world that England haß got a strong force at her back in her colonial empire. I can only say acain that Captain Robin and the men from New Zealand have performed their duty worthily, and have acquitted themselves with credit to the colony. With these remarks I desire to heartily welcome you on your return to your native land.—(Cheers.) Three ringing cheers were then given for Captain Robin and another for His Worship the Mayer. Mr S. G. Smith (on behalf of the exmembers of the Otago Hussars) aud Lieut.colonel Wehh (on behalf of the volunteers) also addressed a few words of welcome.

Captain Bobix, in replying, said : Your Worship, members of the Council, officers, ex-hussars, volunteers, and gentlemen,—lt is very much harder for me to speak here just now than it was to do my duty in the Old Country. There is quietness and coolness in the discharge of duty, but the warmth of your welcome is confusing ; and aB I find the mayor, councillors, officers, and so many of my fellow-citizens here to receive me, I hope you will excuse me for not saying a great deal to-night. (Applause.) I should like to say that six months ago I expressed to the friends who came to say good-bye the hope that ou returning I should prove to have merited their confidence, and I feel proud now to stand amongst you and to be received as you tuve received me to-night.—(Applause.) Of the power of our ciuntiy, of the relationship which exists, and of ihe affection in which the Mother Country holds the colonies I shall probably have something to say to you later on ; but I would say to all parents, put your boys into the volunteers. I thank your Worship and all friends for your kind reception.— (Cheers.) Some of the volunteers present sc-iz?d Captain Robin and carried him shoulder high to his carriage, m hich was waiting at the main door. The carriage was provided in Messrs D. and J. Bacon's best style, Mr D. Bacon himself hiving control of the ribbons. As Captain Bobiu was driven away, accompanied by the members of bis family and the mayor, there was a good deal of cheering, and altogether the reception was of a most cordial nature.

On arrival at the Octagon another large crowd was assembled, and as the'carriage drew up the cheering was vigorously renewed. Captain Robin, in a few wellchosen words, expressed his gratitude for the kindly reception accorded him. and said that he took tho display of good feeling as a mark of approval, not for himself alone, but for the men o? the Now Zoal&ad contingent, who had bec-n his comrades and who had worthily represented the oolony.

A CHAT WITH THE CAPTAIN

Captain Robin is not very well to-day, but he made no objection to receiving one of our representatives this afternoon and talking about the trip. Steering clear, as far as passible, of such subjects as the voyage, and the reception accorded the New Zealanders, and their welcome everywhere, and the part they took iu the procession Captain Robin being quite content to consider these matters as already sufficiently dealt with in the descriptive articles of correspondents, special and otherwise the conversation was by mutual consent of a discursive and miscellaneous character. Among other things, Captain Robin Eaid that the first thing which struck him in connection with militarism in England was the youthfulnesa of the soldiers. He referred to both the regulars and the volunteers. He had noticed the same sort of thing when a man -of - war came to Dunedin, his idea then baing that the ship's company was made up chiefly of boys, bnt his observation in Eugland showed him that the standing forces in both lines of defence were manned from the younger classes almost exclusively, the nation thin getting the services of the best muscle available, and not only the best muscle but a fair proportion of capable brains. The soldiers of Eugland had to be good men in every way. The tendency of the service wis, he had noticed, to throw an immense amount of the regulation work into the hands of sergeant-majors and non-commissioned officers—not tint the superior officers took less interest in the duties of the service, but that the lower grades took a greater interest in consequence of the responsibilities thrown upon them. That was his impression from what he had seen and read, and ho believed the new departure was a step in the right direction and one which we might safely follow. It wa3 one of the most valuable hints he picked up in the Old Country that this active interest of the inferior officers should spur our own corps on to greater efficiency. In regard to the horses that he saw u cd f< r military purposes in the Old Country he could hardly speak in terms of sufficient praise. He saw the horses that the mounted rifles took from Australia, he took notice of those brought from Canada by the mouuted police, and he had "looked over hundreds of the English cavalry horses, and, in his opinion, it would be almost safe to say that, by comparison, we had no horses here at all. " What is the matter with our horses ? Are they not well enough bred ?" asked the interviewer. " Well enough bred ! Our horses ire too much bred—there is too much blood in them, but they haven't the appearance cf the English horses. They are not so well taken cire of. The horses that you Eee in Hyde Park and about the streets are simply perfect, we never saw i "ilea horsrs before ; and the ones used in cibs and buses are a credit to their owners." It is altogether a mistake, according to Captain Robin, to f,upposo that the old-time trouble of the public with cibbies still exists about London. "I found the hansom drivers most reasonable in their charges. My duties, as you can guess, took me often about the city, and I was always in a hurry and wanted the men to drive fast, and I don't consider that

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11 was once overcharged. Those drivers are still pretty bad,' I believe, if you take them outside the four-mile radiuslet them drop you there and then ask them the faro and you will have ii battle for it; but in the Uity and within the fourmile radiuß I have spoken of the passenger is well treated—that is my experience. It would give you a surprise if you had never been out of New Zealand to soe the way iu which the wheel traffic is controlled in London. A man . has a bigger chance of being run over in Dunedin than in the big metropolis. Here, as you know, traps and vehicles of all kinds uee the streets at the-r own pace and take pretty well any part of the street they like. In London it is quite different. They have rules of the road which are never infringed, and the control exercised by the police is nothing short of marvellous. You see a cab dash into an opening where there is scarcely rtfom for it to go and never graze anything. We saw London as it had never been seen before in this respect. Talking with drivers, they told us what wo could r .adily believe—'.hat never before in their experience, not even at the Jubilee of ISB7, had they such difficulty in gitting along ; yet, though the passenger would seem to be in imminent peril every minute there wa3 neve r a touch anywhere." The captain went on to say that the bigness of the buildings in London did not at first impress the visitors, but in going about from day to day they tound that their first impressions were entirely false, the explanation being that every big building was nigh unto and apparently dwarfed by some other big building, end so on with row after row. The only other large town that he saw in England was Birmingham. He was iu thi3 manufacturing city for a couple of days, and says of it that it is a big, black, dirty place, aud one which, seen alone, would quite justify the belief occasionally expressed that the air of England was musty. In going about London he noticed particularly that shopkeepers were not interfered with when attending to their trade or business on the footpaths. If a shopkeeper in Dunedin put a few cases of goods iu front of his place he was brought up aud fined. A London shopkeeper could use the footpath as much as he liked, and as long as people did not actually fall over his goods nobody bothered about him or his business. It was quite common in a narrow thoroughfare to see the skimpy footway belittered with cases and bales, and buses and cabs driving within an inch of them, and everybody seemed to think it was quite right. This was the case Dot only in the East End, where one might expect litter and disorder, but also in the fashionable quarters. As to his experiences with regard to famous persons, Captain Robin noted that the Queen is not such a very little woman as he had supposed her to be. He saw Her Majesty one day walk to and from her carriage, aud she seemed to him to be short, but certainly not diminutive iu stature. It is quite a mistake, also, to picture the Prince of Wales as a dwarfish and overcorpulent person. He is, on the contrary, a well-set-up and fair-s : zad man. Captain Robin Bays that these notables and others such as the Princess of Wales, General Robert', General Wolseley, Colonel Ward, were immediately iecogni3ed at a glauce by the men, who knew them by their portraits. What could not be photographed was the geniality and kindliness these distinguished persons displayed towards the contingent, and this is what the visitors will always remernbsr England by. " Believe me, :: added the captain, "there is no response in the Old Country to tho cry of 'Cut tho painter' that has occasionally bsen heard in the colonies.' 1 Our fellows all felt that England is really the heart of the Empire, and that she thinks a very great deal more of the colonies than we have imagined she Joes. One need 3 only to take a trip such as we made" in order to bo fully assured on that point." During the interview Captain Robin showed the treasures he had picked up on bis trip, amongst them a silken Union Jack similar to what every man of the contingent was prcseuted with na the occasion of the naval display. He adds that our boys tiid not feel that they were making guys of themselves by wearing the Kharkec uniform, for they had some of the Australians to keep them company, and it had the advantage of being a distinctive drcs?. The Indian visitors did not wear it. They appeared in all sorts of swell uniforms.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18970913.2.38

Bibliographic details

ARRIVAL OF CAPTAIN ROBIN., Issue 10418, 13 September 1897

Word Count
2,287

ARRIVAL OF CAPTAIN ROBIN. Issue 10418, 13 September 1897

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