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LYTTELTON ELECTION.

""The Election of a Member to serve in the General Assembly of New Zealand took place on Monday. Hustings were prepared facing th c immigration barracks, and at 12 o'clock a considerable number'of electors were present. The proceedings commenced by the Returning Officer reading the writ. He hoped the proceedings would be carried on with the same propriety and good feeling as at Christchurch for the nomination of Superintendant (hear hear.) Mr. Spowers came forward to propose James EdWard Fitz Gerald, Esq., as a proper person to represent Lyttelton. He said, —In coming forward to propose a Candidate for your suffrages my first words must be words oj^congratulation, for we are assembled to exercise for the first time the great privilege of electing- a representative. But if the privilege is great, great too is the responsibility, and we are bound now more, perhaps, tKan afc any time to elect a person who by his ability can give good council, and by his character and position can give weight to that council. Such I think is Mr. Fitz Gerald (hear, hear), whom I have

confidence in recommending as combining those qualifications. There are one or two objections, however, urged against him that I will briefly notice. The first is, that being Superintendent, he ought not to go out of the Province (hear, hear), but remain to discharge the' duties of his office. This, as a rule, Ido not hesitate to say will be necessary when his duties ar3 defined, and with this Mr. Fitz Gerald agrees. But what .are his duties ? I think, with all respect to him, the Public service would not suffer by his absence, but will rather gain by his attendance at that Assembly where the powers of the Superintendents and Provincial Councils are to be defined, and I see nothing but good in our best men being elected to the first General Assembly by which, remember, a character may be stamped upon the Government of the country that may affect it for all time. The next objection is, that Mr. Fitz Gerald will not pledge himself to vote for cheap land ; that is, land at 10s. per acre. Now the cry of cheap land is a very captivating cry, and I like him the better that he does no? condescend to so popular an electioneering dodge (cheers), Without going very deeply into the question there are one or two things that many of you may not have considered ; one that the difference of a few shillings in the price of land is as nothing compared with the cost of labour necessary to bring it into cultivation. What is ss. or 10s. in the government price, when nature says it shall cost you £8 peV acre, to bring it into cultivation ? And, secondly, it is doubtful whether you will get it at the price you imagine. What if all the available spots should be at once bought up? 1 tell you that I hiow many thousand pounds are ready to be invested at once, and you may find that you may have in the end to pay a higher price than now for it in consequence of a very low price having been fixed. At any rate," there are two sides of the question ; and it is important to have in our Councils one who can take a comprehensive view of this, and of all other questions. And now let me as a friend to the working class address a few words to some of you. Working class ! We are all working class more or less I hope, and what I am going to say may after all suit many in other classes than that which so unjustly usurps this honourable title. I have had occasion lately to examine the Customs'books, and.to my sorrow I find that from three-eights to one-half of the Custom's duties are derived from spirits alone. There is evidently more money spent in intemperate drinking in a single twelvemonth than would lay the foundation of many fortunes. Think of it! There is not and cannot be success in life without self denial. Cheap land—land given for nothing, would be useless without it. With it there need be no anxiety of the future. You will have and deserve wealth and independence and have established your claims to that best of governments, Self Government, which, in its high meaning, is self control. Before concluding I must not forget to say that Mr. Fitz Gerald has "laboured hard to obtain those Representative Institutions we are now about to enjoy. That he is well acquainted with all colonial affairs, and that he goes up to AuckJand, as I believe he will go up, to struggle to obtain what you all desire, not the managemfent of our wasteland alone, but as large a control over all our local affairs as may be consistent with due subordination to a central government. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Bayfield briefly but heartily seconded Mr. Fitz Gerald: Mr. Moorhouse proposed C. E. Dampier, Esq., and hoped that Mr. Fitz Gerald would release from their obligations to vote for him those who had promised to support him against Mr. Davis ; if so he was convinced that his friend, Mr. Dampier, would.be returned by an overwhelming majority, Mr. Genet seconded Mr. Dampier's nomination. Mr. Fitz Gerald then addressed the electors at considerable length. We have so recently given Mr. Fitz Gerald's opinions on the leading topics, of the day, that we regret the less our not having space to do so again. Mr. Fitz Gerald freely released from their promises those who had engaged to support him: it was a question for their consciences to decide, and as far as he was concerned they would never hear more of the.matter. (Cheers.) Mr. Fitz Gerald combatted the opinions he heard his opponent entertained, that compensation should be given to the Land Purchasers in the event

of the Land Regulations coming into force in the Settlement. He was entirely opposed to such a proceeding, and wondered how a gentleman who was the avowed advocate of cheap land, could propose a step which must necessarily throw into the hands of the land purchasers tracts of country it was utterly out of their power to cultivate, seeing that quite two thirds of what they now possessed were still in a state of nature. Mr. Dampier then addressed the Electors at considerable length ; first, challenging the propriety of their sending to the General Assembly his Honor the Superintendent; lest, as the representative of the Governor, in his own province his presence should be considered unconstitutional, and the taking his seat a breach of privilege : secondly, claiming the support of the electors as being an earnest and avowed advocate of the working class, and of a liberal policy in the disposition and management of the Waste Lands by the Provincial Councils of each Province. We have not space this week for the speech in extenso, but as the priuciples which he proposed to adopt in the management and disposal of the Waste Lands are of a character worthy of consideration at the present moment, we shall give it at length in our next publication. No other candidate being proposed a show of hands was taken which the returning officer declared in favour of Mr. Dampier; an announcement which was received with loud cheers by that gentleman's supporters. A poll being demanded for Mr. Fitz Gerald, the proceedings ! terminated with a vote of thanks to Captain ! Simeon for his conduct, which was cordially ' responded to. The polling took place on Wednesday, and Mr. Dampier friends succeeded at first in placing him at the head. At 12 o'clock the numbers were: — Mr. Dampier 35 Mr. Fitz Gerald 29 But after that hour Mr. Fitz Gerald gradually drew a-head, and at four o'clock he was in a majority of ten. The final poll was— Fitz Gerald ... 55 Dampier... ... ... ... 45 The official state of the poll was given at half-past 4, and Mr. Fitz Gerald declared to be duly elected. Mr. Fitz Gerald and Mr. Dampier thanked the electors for the support they had received, and the proceedings terminated. The town was enlivened throughout the day by a band which paraded the streets accompanied by banners and horsemen. The utmost good feeling prevailed, though at the close of the poll there was a slight ebullition of party, feeling which subsided as rapidly as it arose. Altogether the entire proceedings reflected the greatest credit on all parties, proving their capacity and fitness for the privileges they were for the first time exercising.

The "Resolution" from Wellington arrived on Monday, but having cleared out for the Chatham Isles, she brought no mail, though an English one, with dates to the 9th May, had been lying at Wellington for a week previous to her sailing. It may, however, be hourly expected by the "Shepherdess," The "Resolution" was laden with flour, which was sold by auction on Thursday, and realised £25 and £26 per ton. Flour had been sold at Wellington as low as £22, but the price on the 12th is quoted at £25 to £28; timber, 255. to 275. 6d.; potatoes, £8 per ton. For the Wellington Country District, Messrs. Brandon, Waitt, and Brown, had been returned to the Provincial Council; the defeated Candidates were Messrs. Schultze, Gibson, and Rhodes. An inquest was held yesterday on the body of William Cross, who expired suddenly at Little Akaloa, on Wednesday last, The deceased was a sawyer and fell suddenly while at work, and before effectual assistance could be procured, died. He was subject to attacks of dizziness in the head, and on two previous occasions escaped death through falling on an axe or saw, by; which he was wounded and blooded. A verdict was returned of " Died by the visitation of God."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LT18530820.2.10

Bibliographic details

LYTTELTON ELECTION., Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 137, 20 August 1853

Word Count
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LYTTELTON ELECTION. Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 137, 20 August 1853

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