The Lyttelton Times. Saturday, December 31, 1859.
The representation of the town of Christchurch in the General Assembly is about to lie clanged; Mr. Packer has retired, and Mr, Sewell comes forward as a candidate; the addresses of botli gentlemen may be found in the ' Standard' of Thursday last. There is very little in either of them. Mr. Packer offers no' explanation of his past conduct, thinking, no doubt—and rightly—that, his constituents will not require it at his hands. Mr. Sewell offers no indication of his course of action for the future —with the same hope, perhaps, but scarcely so well founded.
Mr. Sewell is well known throughout New Zealand as a politician; no man more so. The position which he took in the early sessions of the Assembly, while he was a member for the town - which he now seeks again to represent, was one highly creditable to himself and thoroughly approved of by his constituents generally. Since that time, nothing has occurred to cast the smallest doubt upon Mr.' SewelFs abilities; his employers in any capacity may have every confidence that any business with which he is entrusted will sooner or later be accomplished; as a politician, if Ohristchurch can secure his services to carry out those views of general politics which the province has adopted and adhered to, our chief town will be conferring an undoubted benefit upon us all.
"We must object, however, to Mr. Sewell's resting entirely upon his past services. Satisfied as, no doubt, most of us are with what he has done, the electors of Christchurch will naturally enquire also what he means to do. Mr. Sewell is not in an ordinary position. He is not a working settler, to whose instincts" of self-preservation the safety of those similarly situated may be entrusted with confidence. He is, so far as concerns the electors, a politician pure and simple; a politician without a party tie to be a bond upon him; an unattached statesman, not under authority, and having no adherents; one who has upset; the government of one party in the state and disconnected himself from that of the other. It is ; therefore, necessary to remember that Mr. Sewell does not present himself in the position of a leader whose views are well known through his party • he is not the exponent of any known policy; his opinions must be definitely expressed, because they' cannot be imagined. Christchurch, and Canterbury generally through the electors of Chrischurch, will expect to be informed of the objects for which the candidate for their suffrages desires to use his great abilities, and will claim to pass judgment upon their propriety and utility.
There are other reasons why Mr. Sewell ought at once to speak out. The people of Canterbury have never joined in the outcry against him in the matter of the Steam Postal Contract, —we mean, both as to his evidence before the Committee of the Commons, and his acceptance of office from the Company while still a member of the' Colonial Government. At the same time they have not yet had a satisfactory explanation of the doubtful circumstances attaching1 especially to the latter accusation. JNor do any of us know the exact position of Mr. Sewell with respect to the Manukau Land Company —whether his adoption of this claim lias not been in opposition to his declared opinions with respect to the land question generally, and the settlement of land claims in particular ; we cannot tell that the favourable settlement of this claim may not give him such an interest in another part of the colony as will lessen considerably the personal attachment which may be supposed still to exist between
him and this province. In the event of the provincial right to tho land fund—or the native policy—or any other question—raising a political controversy between the north and the south/the consideration of personal attachment to one or other would prove most important. We are disappointed that Mr. Sewell has thought it proper to word his address to the electors so very briefly; but it is to be hoped that during his canvass he will take pains to remove this impression. We wish it for his own sake, for we should regret to see a man of his position labouring" any longer under degrading suspicion, when he lias it i n his power to make a full explanation. And we demand it on the part of the constituency and the province at large j for they have a right to possess a thorough insight into the political views of any candidate for their suffrages; it would be dangerous indeed to take them for granted.