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CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION.

On Friday evening, as announced, a meeting of the electors of'Ohristeburch Was convened at the -Town Hall, for the purpose of giving Mr. Sewell an op-: portvinity of stating his views as a candidate for the seat in the House of Representatives vacant, by the resignation of Mr. K. Packer. The room was crowded, many being present who were not electors, attracted probably, by.the rumour that an opposition! candidate would present himself on the platform..

Mr. William Thomson^ M.P.C., being moved to the chairi opened the- business of the evening by explaining the ■;■ object of the meeting. He added that, though the meeting had. been convened by the friends of Mr. Sewell, other gentlemen would indue course be at full, liberty, to address the meeting) whether as candidates or. otherwise. . For all speakers lie begged : aud would endeavour to obtain an impartial hearing. .; : v ; Mr. Sewell addressed the meeting as follows :— He came forward, as an old. servant, claiming to be reinstated in his former place. It was asked on what his claims were grounded? He reminded them; that, at their special solicitation, in 1855, he had postponed his return to England for the purpose of representing them in the General Assembly. The object which they then had in view had been accom- ■ plished; he had done their work ; and he now felt that he had a right to ask them to replace him in his former position. It, was an ungracious thing for a man to plead his own services. But there were occasions when it was- necessary to do so. He reminded them of the state in which they were in 1855 with reference to their land fund. Their land fund was their life blopd, to the possession of which their progress was attributable. In 1855, their landfund was impounded to pay for native land purchases in the northern island. Large sums had then been received, but the province was not permitted to reap the benefit of them. That injus-, tice had been corrected, mainly through his instrumentality, in the session of 1855. They would remember that at that time the, land fund,, was liable to two charges, which wholly absorbed jt,— the New Zealand Company's Debt, and the. liability for,native land,purchases. When the Assembly met in 1856, he (Mr. Sewell), was called on by the Govern-)r to form the first ministi'y under Jiesppnsible Government. He undertook the task, and tlie leading measure, of policy. which be then initiated (and which was subsequently effectuated by hiitnissiqn to England) jwas,to borrow a sum of £500,000 -for., the purpose of. exonerating the land fund iVomboth liabilities. The essential feature of that policy, was to get rid of both simultaneously. Some Wellington members had declared that the Legislature meant and resolved to accept relief from the Company's Debt, without making provision for native land purchases. He denied absolutely the truth of that statement. Another object accomplished by his mission to England was the steam service. When he left the colony there was only one small steamer on these coasts, which was afterwards discontinued. He had succeeded in obtaining for the colony a service consisting of 4 vessels, of adequate capacity, and a contribution from the Imperial Government of £14,00) a-year towards' -'the subsidy. He had been charged by his Wellington opponents with jobbing for his own advantage in the matter of the loan arid steam contract. He was ashamed to be obliged to notice scandals of such a character, for which there was not the smallest foundation. As to his connection with the steam company, it simply arose thus: About a fortnight before he left England he was applied to by the company to act as their professional.and confidential adviser in the colony for one year, and specially to advise them as to their permanent arrangements. He readily undertook the sorvice. His advice to the company in making their permanent arrangements was to ; appoint an inspector, independent of their manager, ! and he undertook to discharge the duties of that office' as long as his connection with the company lasted. That connection censed, and he now had no more to do with tho company than one .of them* f elves. He claimed, however, the right of pursuing his profession, us ho pleased, and undertaking pro-

Icssioiml 'employment/ whether in connection win the. steam company or any.other porHon,aß lie miir! I judge fit. Another objection had been raised, n wa« said that ho.had.6. large interest to the extent of 20,000 acrcu in a land claim in the Norther Island, whilst ho.had no propeity or interest in t|,! Province of Canterbury; whence it was argued UiJ his bias on political questions would be ?n favoo of the Northern Island. For his own part J, wished he had an interest in llie Northern Island of such.magnitude, but'it was not so; and in f^.t his interests in the •Proyince'of Canterbury w ( . ri . far more important to him than those in the Xor'them Island. But he protestt/d against beim, measured by any such rules.. As a matter of ufut ciplw in selecting their representative, the electors ought solely to be influenced by considerations of the fitness of the individuals and not by such local questions. He took for granted that it was not meant to introduce a property qualification. But as to the railway P Ho had been described as an enemy to the railway. Such a charge was simple absurd. No man in his senses could be an eneiriy to a railway (not that that had any thing to do with the choice of their representative in the General Assembly, which had no concern wi(h t) le matter); but a3; a great deal had been said about the railway, he desired that his views might not be misunderstood. Ho did not entertain the exaggerated notions as to the benefit of the railway which some people did. Still it was beyond doubt that a railway communication between the port and Christchursh would, be of essential benefit to those towns, and, in a certain degree, to the province generally; and seeing that the, mind of the province had been so deeply set upon this work, he for his part would be sincerely glad to see it undertaken without delay, upon a prudent plan that should not involve the province in difficulties. But he disapproved of the plan now proposed. In lii s opinion, if the work is to be done, the whole money must.be' borrowed, and only a proportion of the land sales set apart annually, leaving a sufficiency for other purposes. Any other plan but this would be sure to end in taxation which he desired to avoid. He apologised for troubling them on matlers of a merely local and personal nature. He would turn to another point more directly bearing on the question before them. He had been asked why did he disconnect himself from the Government? That question they probably had a right to ask. In answering it, be disclaimed all intention of takinj up a position adverse to the Government, towards which his sentiments were of a friendly kind. TJie facts were these: when he left the colony, ife whs understood that his office in the Government would be open to him on his return. He was however detained in England, by the negotiations for the postal service, longer than was expected; and he received a communication to the effect that unless he should be able to return in time for the meeting of the assembly, it would be necessary to add another member to the Government in liis place. In the expediency of this he quite acquiesced ; and as he was unable to return in time he wrote to 1 express his acquiescence accordingly. Oh his return to the colony, he found that a new member (Mr. Tancred) had been added to the Government; but an offer was made to him (Mr. Sewell) of either the Colonial Treasurership or Ministry of Native Affairs; for the division of which offices provision had been made. He at once expressed his doubts, whether the creation of a fifth political office was expedient or necessary. On reaching Auckland he found the Governor and Mr. Richmond on the point of leaving for the South, with the intention of being absent about two months, so that there was not sufficient,time for full discussion..,lt was under* stood that he (Mr. Sewell) should resume office during Mr. Richmond's absence, during. which period he might be able to decide finally as to "remaining with or leaving the Government- He did so; and the result was, that on Mr. Richmond's return he (Mr, Sewell) decided on retiring from the Government. Amongst other reasons, he satisfied himself that a fifth political office was unnecessary, and that the colony would look on the separation of the two offices; as a mere job" for the purpose of providing a place for him. He found also that there were fundamental points of difference between him and the Government. He differed from them as to the Native Territorial Rights Bill, which in his opinion was a movement in; a; wrong idirection. He disapproved of the New Provinces Act. He considered: it to have been the imperative duty of the Government, and that it would be the duty of . any Government, to devise a suitable plan of niunit cipal institutions for those outlying districts, which I were rapidly developing themselves, independently ! of the present provincial centres. But the New Provinces Act did not appear to him adapted to meet the. exigencies of the case. He objected to it, ;as devolving upon the Executive Government powers which essentially belonged to the Legislature, viz., of determining the political organization of the colony. It was besides against all principle and reason, to allow each small knot of persons, of ■their own will, on compliance with certain formal i conditions, to create themselves into a separate 'state, each with its own legislature and its own i| statute book, so that the statute book of New Zealand would quickly become more cumbersome : than that of Great Britain. ' The measure jtself also appeared ill considered. Practical difficulties had arisen in reference to the province of Marlborough, which showed that it had not been properly digested. Objections had been, made to the excessive powers and undue importance given to the original provinces; but to repeat thbse faults in these small subdivisions of the colony was simply absurd. In his opinion,unless the New Provinces Act be materially modified or altered, it must be repealed. As j regards the Waste Lands Act of 1858, he (Mr. i Sewell) regarded it as. a measure which, whilst j stereotyping all the existing land regulations with fall their faults, took from the provinces at the same time all opportunity of correcting and modifying : these regulations as circumstances might require. ;He considered that the principle settled in 1856 ; was that the provinces were to decide all practical questions of administration, such as price of laud, size of blocks, and so forth; only if the provinces transgressed in their regulations any of those fundamental principles which ought to govern them, then it was the duty of the General Government to interfere. He instanced the case of the Otago j regulations; according to which the lands, of that province were handed over to the squatters for H years, with a condition preventing the public from j.purchasing during that period, except with the squatter's consent ; the only correction of this mischievous regulation being an arbitrary power lodged in the Provincial Executive. He .considered it to have been the duty of the Government to interfere in such a case, and that the General Assembly ought without delay to abolish such a monopoly. The most impoitant point, however, on which he differed i\\tm the Government was in their policy in native affairs. Ho foresaw that a critical pei'iod was approaching. Hitherto the natives of the Northern Island had outnumbered the settlers; now the proportions of the two .races were being rapidly revorsed. The natives, particularly those in the interior, retained in their hands vast tracts of country of fine quality, much ot it equal to the best of the Canterbury lands. They were drawing themselves within lines, and endeavouring to exclude the settlers, whilst they could not adequately cultivate their lands themselves. Meantime the demand for land by incoming settlers was growing. Feeling their increasing strength, tm? settlers vyould not be content to. see waste tracts held by an uncivilized race who cannot turn tlu'ift to account.; It was to be dreaded lest the desire.to obtain, the lands should take some active form wbicn

•"^rT^fc by resistance -on- the, part of the wo«W bfc " leH ,iiL to .a conflict between the races, »ativ °S;i of'which must, be fatal to the weaker tlie T -u> oumnied with disaster .to the colony **> b" Cclau-er culd in bis op -non only bo at J". „ ; omo wise measure which should reconavcrtert b> *•« ft , tires w , t |, t,o wants ol «"» llr;S and Sle pU,o,s of the colony, But it th"?cltl *l to him that tho Government was a^^htymewuroofthi-kind. This ]' rt>pll ni, -s involved risk to tho. Middle no less •wto,° Si Northern Island. In the last soss.on than to J"° nWv the Government, had earned an of the i measure which adopted the numencal eleetoiw 6as t |," e i, as i s o f representation. P r"C' tto the probable increasu of natives, who ? J"o!-"i 1! f be hoped would obtain individual titles to it«»S „„!, Crown grants,.accompanied with the la" ' I franchise, there might be & danger lest the electoral t» n of the Middle Igland> not with standrepie^en evenue an( j importance, might be »* lt9 \t that of the Northern Island. The swunpco } two islands were in some respects interest* o fund of m^\e Island anW!laTs'been an .object-coveted,; especially by liad,. ,;,,' which was" alieni appetens sin proWelling ' iow o f what belonged to others, and /"*"'; Tin'the expenditure of its own.. Their thril!"'"' j { . the y cm \& t to resume the land object fffo <Teuern \ revenue, available for their necesJ!"' "Vim land fund was in his opinion a local sltieS' it came f>-om tho land and ought to rereveime. y Qn jj| {ene( j to manU re tUi r"i nMit to be restored to the land it was taken I ] ortkinctothesesourcea of danger, the safetyof Jitfiddle Wand appeared t^him to be in separa- • Tf it were suggested to remove the seat of ?!!:,,!.icnt from Auckland, lie believed that to be ■ ptinble. From his own experience he whs r fed t-hit so long as native affairs remained in lSort«ent«tate, it would be impossible to remove fSvenunent from Auckland. Auckland was Ip natural centre of the" native districts, and the T prill Government would not consent to.such a \, [^ If therefore the. inconvenience of so di<l in seat of Government were too great to be any iff b'nrne, the remedy was not in attempting ♦""Snowtlie seafc of Government from Auckland attempt which would'be unsuccessful—but •adopting ths natural division between the two Id* and establishinsr. a separate Government for c Middle Island. Mr. Sewell then apologised for the fen»th of his remarks, and thanked his audience for their attention, after which he sat down. The chairman then invited any other gentleman to sneak, who niisrht wish to address the meeting.. jl,. Jl B. Hurt then stepped forward, and in a f ew word's announced himself as a Candidate in opposition to Mr. Sewell. He declared.himself to be a staunch supporter of the railway and assured hw auditors that if elected he would do all in his power to promote that work, and the interests of the province generally. ■ ■ After a vote of thanks to the chairman, the meeting separated. ■

Cape Wool.—Tho wool--lair at Riversdalo on the;9fcli, went oil' with, great spirit. About 180,000 lbs. were sold, mostly by sample, and a portion yob on the sheeps'btuik. T~he prices vnried acuordinjg1 to quality from Is. 6d. lo is. S^'J. per ll>. Tho wool is said to have been better than w.iw unticip»tiHl, after the severe drought, 'which.iceeps^tho slieop in in lew condition. Jn the getting, tip there was evidently a great iinprovemont. Some of tho oruizerts employed in tho suppression of the slavo trade upon the west cdast appeared to be securing large sums in prizej money to their fortunate crews. One, the, steamer Archer, has taken six slavers to her own shorn. . There is no Cape News of importance.

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Bibliographic details

CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION., Lyttelton Times, Volume XIII, Issue 751, 18 January 1860

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CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION. Lyttelton Times, Volume XIII, Issue 751, 18 January 1860

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