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FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY

[From the ' Evening Star,* December 10, lffTO.]

There is an effort boing made to establislia battalion of volunteers in the- south, to consist of the two Clutha companies, the. ono'at Tuapeka, tho East and West Taieri companies, and the Bruce Rifles.

* * * * * * * The Southland members of the Provincial Council, with the exception of Mr Wilson, arrived yesterday, and were met' at the Hailway Station by a crowd. Messrs Tosshack, Wood, and were received indignantly. An instant explanation was demanded for their vote against the enlargement of tho boundaries. Their egress was intercepted until tho demand "was complied' with. A written explanation was handed out by Mr To«shack, and read aloud by Mr Wade (solicitor). It was immediately voted as unsatisfactory, and tho denouncement that they were traitors and had nold the Province was loudlv cheered. Mr Wood assured them that they did not know their friend?, and denounced the "lying telegrams" which had been received. The reply " Deliver us from such friends was cheered. They left the station, and were hooted at and groaned amid cries of " How much did 'you ,r;o(. for your votes, traitors?" The popular members were cheered lustily.

The meeting of citizens convened for the purpose ot hearing the Colonial Treasurer expound the Ministerial policy of Public Works and Immigration was held at the Princess Theatre. At the time appointed (5.30 p.m.) every part of the building was filled ; we should judgo that at least 1.500 people were prewnt. It was quite evident, before- any effort wa.i riiade to commence the proceedings, that there was an organisation to prevent the Treasurer from- being hoard. . . • Scarcely had the Mayor come forward to take tho chair before Mr J.'G. S. Grant rose and demanded imperatively to know "Who called the meeting?" His rising was the signal for ono of the most disgraceful exhibitions that has ever been witnessed at any public meeting. The majority of those'present, disgusted, tried to hiss him, while a few, who seemed to look on him ns their fugleman, applauded. Ho tried in vain to make himself heard. This noisy war continued for some time. Tho Mayor tried to get a hearing, which for some time was persistently refused. He tried to get a hearing for Mr Grant, but was equally unsuccessful. Mr Mason, Mr Birch, ami .Air C. S. Reeves stepped forward to try to calm the tempest, but without avail,"and were obliged to retire. At length, after a lull, the Mayor explained that Mr Vcgcl had disclaimed thn.t afternoon any intention of throwing any indignity on the office of Chief Magistrate, and had asked him to preside as such, and he (Mr Fishl had felt happy to do so.

Then pandemonium broke out afresh at or.ce. Immediately from different parts of the theatre there were cries for Mr Grant, ■who then rose, and refused to sit down when requested by the chairman. Continuing to resist all the requests made to bins by different gentlemen to bow to the. decision of the chair, one of Hie police, by request of'the Mayor, stepped forward and renxved him ftom tho stage. That was the signal for a chorus of groans and bonis such as perhaps was never before heard in Dunedin. It was impossible to proceed with the work of (he evening, as Mr Grant, white with rage, was allowed to corno forward again, but beyond a few frantic gestures he was not permitted to make any demonstration, and after shrieking that If he were not allowed to speak the meeting shculd rehire to hear Mr Vogel, he was by some mesne; that we did not observe removed off the platform. He continued, however, to make his presence known by & scries of outbursts at a distance, loud et ongh to signify that ho was willing to interrupt, but too feeble to act as a- watchword to his ill-mannered colleagues. After an exhibition of extraordinary patience on t,hi3 part of the Treasurer the latter was allowed, on the subsidence of the excitement, to proceed with his address, which occupied nearly two hours in its dcliveiy and filled nearly six columns of tho 'JHar.' Tlvrc was, however, a good deal of interruption, and at one stage Mr John Barnes created a diversion and held up the business for some time. «**#■*#» The semi-editorial the same evening in-' eluded these sultry comments: We thought Mr Grant had acquired sorno glimmering of reason when ho rcee theatrically to demand '' Who called tho meeting'/" But, alas! it was only a passing gleam! The man who stood forth to do battle for the respect due to dignities was the first to insult. His Worship at the meeting by insisting on taking precedence of him, and by refusing to obey his ruling. Mr Fish showed himself superior to petty forms, and deserves the highest commendation for accepting the chair. Tho clique, of u hose organisation to interrupt we were informed in the afternoon, have identified themselves with Mr Grant's disgrace, lowered themselves in the oyeg of every respectable man, and have tended to bring the reputation of the people of the City into contempt. They knew the demand "Who called tho meeting?*' was a cry that none but a fool would have uttered. . . . Theychos? for their purpose a fit ■'■ ing tool—ono whose trade is political buffoonery, and who is tolorated at public meetings only on account of tho amusement thai ran be picked out for him. It was a pity that the police- interfered, for ultimately the common aense of the people would have put him down, although backed by M.P.C.s and men who ought to have known better.

[How history. repeats itself has been illustrated by similar happenings in various parte (51* the Dominion this week. But Dunedin on this occasion rcsenied the imputation that it would not. " play the game" in politics, and in response to a requisition the Mayor called another meeting, when the Treasurer received a respectful and attentive hearing.—K:l. E.S.]

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141210.2.62

Bibliographic details

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY, Evening Star, Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

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995

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY Evening Star, Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

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