The nomination of candidates for seats in the Provincial Council for the city of Christchureh was taken in the Town Hall, on Wednesday at noon. W. Donald, Esq., returning officer, having read the customary writ, made a few seasonable observations,' and then called upon the electors to nominate the candidates of their choice.
At this time the hall was scarcely half filled, but shortly afterwards the audience was considerably augmented.
Mr. Packer, sen, proposed and Mr. W. Wilson seconded, the nomination of Mr. Joseph Brittan. Mr. J. Ollivier proposed and Dr. Barker seconded Mr. Isaac Thomas Cookson.
Mr. Packer proposed and Dr. Barker seconded Mr. Frederick Thompson. Mr. J. Ollivier proposed and Mr. Minchin seconded Mr. Richard Westenra.
Dr. Barker proposed and Mr. W. Wilson seconded Mr. Samuel Bealey.
Mr. Allen proposed and Mr.'J. Hart seconded Mr. Hugh Bennetts.
'■ Mr. J. Ollivier proposed and Mr. Harston seconded Mr. James George Hawkes. :
There being no other candidates, — . Mr. J. Brittan rose to address the electors, and was received with applause. He had the honor to present himself once more before the electors of Christchurch as a candidate to represent them in the Provincial Council. This was the fifth time he had appeared before them in that character, and. each time they had received himfavorably; indeed on only one occasion had he been exposed to a contest, and then he had been returned at the head of the poll. Since that time there had been one session of the Provincial Council—a long and most important one ; and he submitted that he had taken upon himself a fair share of the talk—("Hear, hear," and laughter)—ay, and of the work tod—with some good results. (Applause.) The Government were taught that the people should, rule, and not the Government. (Hear, hear.) Having been much before the public, he might be content to leave off here; but it had been conveyed to* him, very courteously, he must say, that to-day he would be questioned as to his opinions on the subject of education. He would, however, anticipate those questions by stating fully his convictions on the subject. There were two views of the whole question,—one of the theorist; the other that of the legislator. The theorist must go into the Couucil to hear the various theories propounded there,,before he began to dogmatize on his own. He had himself a theory on the subject; but he must accommodate himself to the majority, of course not surrendering a principle engraven on his conscience. It', was! not clear to him that public money should be devoted to educating the community. The speaker alluded to the views on this question entertained by English' voluntaryists, who contended that for the state to undertake the task of instructing the people. was only taking from them a duty, the exercise of which was wholesome to themselves. If that principle were good in England, a fortiori it should be better here, where parents can better afford to pay for the education of their children. This was in harmony Avith that acknowledged doctrine of political economy which teaches that it is vicious by furnishing extraneous aid to destroy the sense of duty. He was content to waive his doubts, and as it was determined that money was to be given he would yield. The question then was—shall the education given be secular or religious? He felt it his duty to state clearly his views on that point. (Hear, hear.) He would not consent to any me.asure for education which did not include religion. (Applause.) Another question arose; how was the money to be administered. It was difficult to say which of the numerous proposals made on the subject was best. He must confess that his head had been addled by the letter's which had appeared in the papers. No doubt those letters were well written, but as they each propounded a different scheme, the reader got lost in the wilderness of opinions His conclusion was that the real merit of legislation on the subject will consist not so much in the measure as in the mode of, its administration. Mr. Brittan passed in review the old method, which had been pronouuced unsatisfactory during the last session of Council; and referred to the board introduced in the new bill. There had been much controversy as to the construction of that board, and one chief objection to it was that part of that board was. irresponsible; so that, practically, the chairman or person undertaking the management, would be minister, as it Were, of that department. Such board would be best presided over by a responsible paid officer, acting under prescribed laws; and he (Mr. Brittan) conceived that the Council should elect such officer in the same manner as they appointed their Auditor, subject to the Superintendent's approval. Laying aside, then, his own peculiar views on the policy of a voluntary system, he was willing to vote a liberal grant for education, but that education must be a religious one. To this he was pledged; but as he was in doubt as to the best mode of administration, he should reserve his opinion until the matter was brought before the Council. Before concluding, he wished to say one word upon an incident of the last election. He was at that time asked a> question as to the Sunday-closing of public houses, when he answered "No," and he meant "no," as he understood the question. But some mistake had arisen. The question was, "Would he vote for the Sundayclosing of public houses," but he had not heard the question aright. At the time it was currently reported that a bill was about to be introduced for the opening of public houses on the Sabbath, and he understood the question to.be, would he vote for that bjll, whereupon he answered "No," and meant what he said. After a few observations as to the causes which led to the passing of the Public House Ordinance, Mr. Brittan said that as regarded the present election he had canvassed no man for his vote, not out of ■ disrespect to the electors, nor because he thought that canvassing was wrong; but partly because he thought his opinions were so well known that the constituency were quite competent to judge of his fitness or otherwise to serve them ; and chiefly because he had not latterly been in the frame of mind or body to perform that task. He should be sorry if his not canvassing should act to his'prejudice, for he should esteem it an honor to be returned again—an honor the more to be prized if again placed at the head of the poll. (Loud cheers.)
Mr. Cookson (applause) said it was with great pleasure he stood as a candidate before them for the first time; for, though he had been returned by them before, it was during his absence, and quite unexpectedly by him. He would not enter into an exposition of policy; for his opinions were well known, and he had not the speechifying powers of his friend Mr. Brittan. (Laughter.) If returned he would go into the Council unpledged, but would act to the best of his power for the good of his constituency. He had not canvassed, thinking it unnecessary where his views and principles were so well known. (Cheers.) Mr. Brittan had asked to have his old place on the poll. He (Mr. Cookson) would be glad to see his position the same as before. (Loud cheers) l ■ ■■
Mr. Thompson Avas received with mingled cheers, hisses, and laughter, the latter predominating. He said, that on the occasion of his previous election he had given his constituency two pledges—that he would attend diligently to his duties in the Council, and give an honest and carefully considered vote on every question; and he had "faithfully redeemed those pledges. (Hear, hear.) - He defied any one to come forward and prove tho contrary. On a former occasion he had-been returned without asking a vote, nor did he even know the names of those who had voted for him. Therefore that was an. honorable position. He had no party nor class to serve. (A voice: " Only coal mines.") It had not been his wish to introduce that matter,' but he thanked tho elector who had. (Hisses.) He would explain the matter. (Here there -was a considerable noise of hisses, groans and laughter, which having subsided the speaker resumed with some warmth.) He indignantly repelled the insinuation that in the transaction of purchasing tho coal-field he had acted in other than a straightforward honorable manner. A lengthy explanation was given by the candidate, from which we learned that as agent ftir Mr. Sheath, he had applied to the Waste Lands Board for the purchase of SO acres of land-on the.Kowai, to secure which he had^kept that gentleman's name on the application book from one Board day to another, as.
there was some difficulty n'.>out the purchase. In the meantime the propriety of confirming the Superintendent's reserve of tlio coal-field was brought under discussion in the Provincial Council. lie (Mr. Thompson) voted against those reserves being maintained, solely on the ground that the reservation was illegal, and not with any ulterior object. On the following morning, Mr. Sheath called upon him about half-past ten. That gentleman had contemplated purchasing a large block of land, and Mr. Thompson suggested the propriety of buying the coal-field in question.' Mr. Sheath concurred with him, and they went to the Land Office to effect the, purchase. On their arrival they found another member of the Council (Mr. Rhodes) and the Auditor looking over the sectional drawings of the coal-beds. Mr. Rhodes' name was third on the book; Mr. Sheath's, ninth; and the land was obtained by the latter gentleman. He contended that if it was right for one member of the Council to apply for those coal lands it could not be wrong in another to do so. In his position at that time, as agent for Mr. Sheath and as a member of the Council, there were two courses open to him. He might either have' voted for the reserve being maintained, and knowing that it would not, have gone and purchased the land for Mr. Sheath; or have voted conscientiously as he did, and have sacrificed what he believed to"be his client's interest, which he did not; and he put it to the conscience and judgment of the electors present, whether as an honest man he could have done other than as he did This explanation on the whole was received with marks of satisfaction, and the speaker passed on to the consideration of other subjects. Speaking of education, Mr. Thompson said he would not support any system that, was not based upon religion. As to the division of the money, he wished it to be for the general good. He spoke approvingly of the English system, under the Educational board of the Privy Council, and thought that ministers of religion should not have control over the Education Fund. In conclusion, he stated that last session he had never save once been absent from his seat; he had stayed to the last of every sitting; and if again elected, he would ever be found at his post. (Applause.) Captain Westenka (applause) did not think he ■would so soon again have had an opportunity of addressing the electors. An ordinance had been passed to enlarge the Council, and that was the reason of the present election. He had lived amongst them since the earliest days of the settlement, and had spent his income amongst them, and therefore felt he had a claim to. be returned to the Council. The railway into port, he was glad to inform them, was a settled question. He congratulated the people of Christ.'church on having obtained municipal institutions, and Avas glad to see that good men had been elected for the Council, from whose labours they might expect beneficial results. If he was returned he would do all he could to support the claims of the municipality. On the subject of education, when the bill came before him he would give it his best attention, and see that even - handed justice was dealt to all. He hoped to have the honor of again representing the City, and would do his best for their interests and those of the Province generally (applause). ,
Mr. Bealey, who was warmly greeted, commenced by saying that on a former occasion, when it was comparatively a very small place, he had represented Christchurch, and felt it an honour then. Now, ; "with a larger constituency, he should think the honor proportionably greater. No doubt, every thinking man present had, as he had done, considered the subject of education; and none of them, very likely, had arrived at definite conclusions, nor could he commit himself to any precise views. .Here the .state had nothing to do with forms of religion, but it was a Christian state, and any system of education which it might establish, should be based upon Christianity. (Cheers). Mr. Bealey then described the American system, but objected to its introduction here. He was disposed to grant state aid for education to every sect, except their doctrines were, immoral, as were those cf the Mormonites. He had formerly had the honor of being intrusted to bring! in a bill for secular education, leaving it optional for, ministers to convey religious instruction to pupils of; their own creed: but he now thought that in any! general system it should be imperative that religion; should be taught. (Hear, hear.) He was glad to find that Municipal Institutions had been established in the province, and hoped to see them work well. In South Australia they were extended into the country districts, and he found that they worked efficaciously. He should be glad to see the experi-; ment tried in Canterbury, where he felt convincsd it "would be productive of good results. One great recommendation of municipalities was, that they trained men to habits of thought, and developed the best forms of citizenship. In Europe they had' won freedom for enslaved states; and though Aye happily had possession of freedom independent of their instrumentality, yet these institutions were not the less valuable to us; for what created a love for liberty had also the power to sustain it. (Hear, hear). If he had a seat in the Council, he would therefore lend every encouragement to municipal todies. (Cheers). What might be called another institution, he. rejoiced to see springing up in our day. He alluded to the volunteer force, which he desired to see more markedly encouraged by the state. Men who gave their time and exercised their patience to perfect themselves in difficult manoeuvres, should be asked for nothing more. All other requisites should be found by the state, which might need their services; but, even if this should never he the case, still the volunteer service would be valuable, inasmuch as it taught obedience, —no mean virtue in a country where every man, in a great measure, was his own master. (Hear, hear). Colonising had been said to be an heroic work, and he •wished to enter upon it in an heroic spirit. It had "been done so in America, in some of the states of ■which might still be found the grand traits which had marked the first settlers there. It was in that spirit he sought the suffrages of the electors present ; for, if returned, he should feel it an honor to give an impulse in the right direction. (Loud cheers).
Mr. Bennetts was received with applause. He said he could not point to a past political career marked with wonderful exploits; he must therefore teg their patience to hear his views, and then pronounce on his fitness. He was not a sectarian bigot nor a narrow partizan, though something of that eorthad been insinuated against him. He wished especially to allude to what had been said, that, being a teetotaller, he wanted to get into the Council to thrust teetotalism down the people's throat. He despised the man who could make so dastardly a charge, for nothing could be further from his thoughts. He was proud to say he was a teetotaller, "but he would not coerce any man into teetotalism. He wished to represent the trading interests' of Christchurch, which, though of vast importance, had hitherto been shamefully neglected. He did not wish to speak disrespectfully of other interests. (Here Mr. Bennetts pointed out analogies between society and the human organism, but he spoke with so much volubility and vehemence, that we failed to catch all he said.) In his peculiar position he had opportunities of discharging the duties of a representative greater than many who possessed superior attainments. They had got a Municipal Council and he wished to see justice done to it. We had a full provincial chest, and as money was wanted for municipal purposes, he would, if returned, strive to get it from that source. It was their right, and they should have it. Christchurch had not had its share of public money, seeing how much their reserves had fetched. He was opposed to taxation, but not when necessary for the general good; but here it was not necessary, and he would oppose it to the last drop of his blood. (A laugh). He had known what taxation ■was at home. It ground men down to starvation, and it had driven him from his home. If taxation were introduced here, it would stop immigration, cripple trade, and produce nothing but mischief. He wished to say something about education. He had a profound regard for every denomination, but did not believe that one should exercise supremacy over the rest. If money was to be given to denominations, he thought it should be given in proportion to the numbers taught. (Hear, hear). An Education Board should be appointed by the Council, who should also make laws for the governance of the Board, and local committees should be called into existence to carry out details. Hitherto educa-
tion had not been carried out, because the people had not been allowed to have anything to do with it. He did not wish to throw cold water on what had been said about religious education; but ho thought the State should supply instruction, the churches religion. (Hear, hear). Mr. Bennetts propounded a scheme of education, but we fear to report him, as he spoke so rapidly that we could not follow him. We understood him to recommend a general board such as that above alluded to, whose machinery should be supplemented by local boards or committees appointed by the residents in the different localities ; that a certain pecuniary allowance should be made for each child seeking instruction, which allowance should be claimed from the general board by the district committee ; that those avlio did not Avish their children to be " crammed with any religious views" might get aid for moral and intellectual culture in schools set apart for that purpose. The next subject alluded to by the speaker was the railway. He was glad that a movement had been made in that direction, and would be more pleased when he could see through the tunnel. He would not stop there, but strive to make that work profitable by making some kind of railway to the hills in the mineral districts where coals, copper ore, limestone and clay were said to exist. A tramway he preferred to a shingle road, as being more convenient and less expensive. Such a road available for the transit of coal at a low rate would be an especial boon to the towns, as it would greatly cheapen the price of fuel. Mr. Bennets here became somewhat discursive, and the meeting unequivocally manifested its desire for his. remarks to be brought to a close. He took the hint in good part, and sat down amidst cheers and laughter.
Mr. Hawkes received a kind greeting when he advanced to the front of the platform. He said he felt diffident on coming before the electors, being a young unknown man, seeking a high honor. It was not his privilege to say Avhat he had done, but he could promise, if returned, to exert his best powers in their service. He had not canvassed the electors, because it was a practice he did not approve; indeed he should be sorry if any man gave him a vote from merely personal considerations. He had studied deeply the question of education, but wiser heads than his own had been puzzled by it, and indeed even Mr. Brittan himself had stated that his was addled by the conflicting theories propounded. It was therefore not to be wondered at that he confessed his inability to suggest a satisfactory solution of the question He might say, however, that he had greatest confidence in' the denominational system, and thought the amount of the grants should be based upon the census. He considered the railway now in course of construction was essential to our progress ; but would be very chary about voting for any other railway, unless it was shewn that it was fairly within our means. (Cheers).
A show of hands was then taken, when there appeared,—for Mr. Brittan, 25; Mr. Cookson, 22; Mr. Bennetts, 22 ; Mr. Bealey, 21; Capt. Westenra, 17; Mr. Hawkes, 17.; Mr. Thompson, 2. A poll was demanded for the three lowest, which was announced to be taken on Thursday.
A vote of thanks haying been carried to the Returning Officer, that functionary complimented the electors on the courtesy and good feeling manifested by them, and the meeting separated.
The poll for the Christchurch Election closed on Thursday at four p.m. The official announcement took place on the following morning. The following was the result: —> Brittan ... 160 Cookson ... ... 148 Bealey ... ... 11l Westenra ... ... 11l Bennetts ... 80 Hawkes ... ... 79 Thompson... ... ... ... 72
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CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION., Lyttelton Times, Volume XVII, Issue 991, 10 May 1862
CHRISTCHURCH ELECTION. Lyttelton Times, Volume XVII, Issue 991, 10 May 1862
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