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CHRISTCHURCH.

The Nomination. of Members to serve for the Christchurch Country District and Town of Christchurch, in the General Assembly, took place at Christchurch on Tuesday. The Returning Officer having read the writs, — Mr. Bray stepped forward and proposed W. G. Britlanj Esq., as a lit and proper person to represent the district. Captain Westenra seconded the nomination. Dr. Martin proposed, and Mr. In wood seconded, E. J. Wakefield, Esq. Mr. 'fancied proposed, and Mr. Bowen seconded, the Hon. James Stuart Wortley. Mr. Brittan said that his interests were closely bound up with those of the Settlement, and that he intended making it the home of himself and his family. He intended no disrespect to the electors for not having personally canvassed them ; he considered a vote obtained by asking alone not worth having1. He considered pledges to be objectionable, but was prepared to vote for the delegation to the Provincial Council of the powers vested in the General Assembly over the Waste Lands; but certainly not for ever, as he hoped to see New Zealand one large and powerful country, and not many antagonistic Provinces. (We have not received, as we hoped and anticipated, a fuller report of Mr. Brittan's speech). Mr. Wakefield addressed the electors in a speech which we have not space to report at length. Mr. W. stated his views on the principal subjects which are likely to be before the General Assembly. An address which appears . in our columns, saves us the necessity of repeating such of his spoken opinions as are thus in print. He explained that in consequence of the mysterious conduct of the Governor in inaugurating the New Constitution, his former opinion, that the Superintendants ought not to go to the first General Assembly, had been considerably modified. He still felt the inconvenience of the absence of the elected head of the Province, and also the incongruity of his being a member of the Representative House: but he thought those evils less than others which might arise, if less able and less trusted men were to join the Assembly instead of them. He drew a parallel between the manner in which Mr. Brittan concealed his opinions from his fellow colonists, and the manner in which the Government, of which he was "Agent," .concealed its intentions from its subjects. Mr. W. concluded by a reference to reports which had met him, in the course of his canvass, that "his name was against him." If by this it was intended that he was thought unfit to be re- ' turned, because he was IV son of Mr. Edward Gibbon V/akelield, he stated that, so far from protesting against such a subject of disqualification, or disclaiming any political connection with him, he was on the' contrary strongly of opinion that that gentleman's public views as to New Zealand were eminently calculated to benefit the colony, and should wish to identify himself with them as much as possible. Tiiis near relationship hud only enabled him to be the more intimately acquainted with the labours which his father had undergone in the foundation and service of the colouy: it was as a New Zealand colonist rather than as a son that he must always be grateful for the public exertions of .Mr. E. G. Wakefield, and pay respect to his acknowledged experience of, and familiar acquaintance with, colonial subjects. He begged there might be no mistake about this ; but°promised, if the electors should not think this a disqualification, to do his best for their interests. Mr. Wortley said: I rise for the purpose oi oiienng myself fur the honour of representing you in the General Assembly of New Zealand. I have not taken this step without great hesitation, nor without taking the advice of others, and it is only the kind assurance of support, which I have received from so many of you that induces me now to come forward. I can, perhaps, spare the time more easily than many others, and I am sure it cannot be better occupied than in your service. It is to be much

regretted, Gentlemen, that the distance at which the General Assembly is likely to be called, the lengthened absence from private and domestic business which will be involved in attending it, and the consequent great inconvenience arising from the performance of the duties of }'our members, combine to prevent so many much better qualified than myself from being able to oifer their services. If there were no other argument in favour of the localization of government, there would be one in this that your best men, those who are most largely engaged in profitable pursuits among you, and whose experience in our various social political questions is consequently greater, are debarred by these various reasons from being able to attend the deliberations of an Assembly held at a distance from the sphere of their engagements. There is one peculiarity, Gentlemen, connected with the present election which renders it difficult for the last speaker to know exactly what to say. It is this, that I believe that there is no material difference of opinion on the political questions at present before us between myself and the gentlemen who have preceded me. I cannot therefore make you a long speech, which I have no doubt is rather a good thing than otherwise. I will, however, simply and briefly express my concurrence in them. I agree with them entirely in the question of the transfer of the power over the Waste Lands which I look upon as an object of the most primary importance. As for the question of the New Zealand Company's debt, I also think with the other candidates that there is every need of a careful scruting in three points of view,—lst, to enquire whether so large a sum as the debt amounts to, has been spent at all; 2ndly, how it has been spent; and 3rdly, whether any of it has been repaid in land or otherwise. In my published address I mentioned that my efforts should be also mainly directed towards the enforcement of rigid economy in public expenditure. Now, Gentlemen, by this I do not so much allude to economy in salaries, though that, no doubt, is an important thing, but I rather mean economy in the appropriation of the public funds by the General Assembly. I wish to see as little revenue dealt with by the General Assembly as possible, and a large surplus to be left to the Provincial Council for them to spend as they think fit. That is what I principally mean by economy in the public expenditure. There are two differences of opinion, however, I must mention between myself and both the candidates who have already addressed you. I entirely and totally differ with Mr..Wakefield on the question of pledges. I will not promise or pledge myself to resign at the will of a majority of my constituency. If you do not choose to elect me without that pledge, I will not come in on that ground. I consider it the position of a delegate, not of a representative. A delegate represents opinions, but a representative represents the interests of a constituency. He is chosen to watch over, and. enquire into the subjects affecting his constituents, and to act and vote as he thinks best after hearing the question discussed. His time is supposed to be given up fo public matters, while that of his electors is differently engaged. On these grounds, Gentlemen, I once more repeat I will not pledge myself to resign at the request of any body of the electors. I also differ with my friend Mr. Brittan on the subject of canvassing. I have canvassed actively and am not ashamed of owning it, and I believe it a most useful thing. Where a candidate is not publicly, perhaps not even personally known to many of the Electors, it is impossible that they can judge of his capabilities by a mere hustings speech, where many of them do not attend. If you do elect me therefore, Gentlemen, I shall not be ashamed of attributing it in some measure to a personal canvass*. With the exception of these two points I think I may once more express my entire concurrence with the opinions expressed already by Mr. Brittan and Mr. Wakefield. 1 have already, Gentlemen, I fear,detained you too long and I will only, in conclusion, remind you what an important responsibility lies with you in exercising your first right of electing representatives. You are not acting for yourselves alone; .you are acting for the whole? of New Zealand. You are, each of you, acting as a member of a community, and not as an individual. Now is the time, Gentlemen, for dropping all personal or selfish feeling, and choosing fairly and impartially according to your conscience, men to represent you. Your

vote is not a plaything—a mere bagatelle. It is a serious and important matter, and it is a talent committed to your charge to be used and not abused for any selfish feeling. We have a measure of self government. Let us make a blessing of it as it really is. With due confidence in their representatives on the part of the people, and due discretion in using it on the part of your members, New Zealand will see such days as she has never yet seen, and with a quiet, orderly, and contented people—a people fearing God and honoring the Queen, we may make her ia some measure what Ireland has been called : " Great, glorious, and free, The first flower of the earth, and *he first gem of the sea." A show of hands was then taken, and declared to be iv favour of Messrs. Wakefield and Wortley. A poll was demanded for Mr. Brittau ; after which, Mr. John Hall proposed, and Mr. Charles Wellington Bishop seconded the nomination of Henry Sewel], Esq., to represent the town of Christchurch. Mr. Porter proposed and Mr. Hart seconded, C. B. Fooks, Esq. Both Candidates addressed the electors at considerable length: Mr. Sewell on the leading topics of interest; Mr. Fooks confined his observations chiefly to the acts of the Canterbury Association which he vei-y unsparingly attacked. The shew of hands was for Mr. Sewell. A poll was demanded for Mr. Fooks. The polling for the Town takes place to-day ; for the Country on Saturday the 27th.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LT18530820.2.19

Bibliographic details

CHRISTCHURCH., Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 137, 20 August 1853

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CHRISTCHURCH. Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 137, 20 August 1853

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