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ELECTION DAT IN BLENHEIM.

The Polling.

On Monday last the town of Blenheim presented a scene of unusual activity. Fortunately, the weather was most; propitious, and though midwinter, the sun shone with a pleasant warmth that would not have disgraced that luminary on a clay in spring. The open space in front of the Government Buildings, dignified by the name of the Market Place, was thronged from about 9 o'clock in the mornine with men and horses, and vehicles of all sorts and sizes, from the pony gig, barely affording room for a loving couple, to the huge four wheeler, a sort of nondescript between an omnibus and a Pickford's van, the space between being filled by traps and] Yankee waggons et hoc genus omne. On many of these large placards were posted, on which the names of "Moorhouse" and "Ward" stood out in bold characters. As the day advanced, the crowd thickened, and the excitement increased; betting by those of sporting proclivities being freely indulged in, as we were well assured by the assiduity with which some of the " knowing ones" were making up their "books." During the half-hour after 3 p.m., only two votes were polled, and during the final half-hour not one, and we heard it positively stated that there was not another vote to poll in the locality. Punctually at four, the doors of the chief polling place were closed ; then, too, the jaded nags were taken home to have a feed, and forget in the luxury of oats and hay, the sweat of labour and the smart of collar galls, leaving the poor brutes to munch and ruminate on "man's inhumanity to man," as well as horse, we mark the somewhat noisy, but good tempered crowd, who watch the movingindices, and count theminutes on the dial; a brief half-hour has barely slipped away when Mr Barleyman, the Returning Officer, appears and declares the state of the poll at Blenheim to be— Mr Moorhouse, 125 ; Mr Ward, 116. Cheers and countercheers from both Montague and Capulet then rent the evening air, while the speculators decided that it was too late to "hedge." Each of the candidates addressed a few words of gratitude to their supporters, and the crowd dispersed ; some to slake the fever of defeat in draughts of bitter beer and some to celebrate their victory in "P.B. ;" yet still while darkness unrolled the curtains of the night and the consumption of kerosene began in shop and bar, loud talking groups lingered here and there, until the sound of hoofs coming in hot haste concentrated the forces, and the rider announced the nnmbers at Marlborough Town to be— Mooi-house, 41 ; Ward, 26. Again they cheered and chaffed, but the actual result of the contest was then pretty well settled in the minds of all. The greater part of the crowd still remained, however, to hear the news from Renwick and the Wairau Valley. At last these also arrived, and the returns were — Renwick : Moorhouse, 7 ; Ward, 36. Wairau Valley : Moorhouse, 2 ; Ward, 12 — thus giving the latter gentleman a majority of 15. After gaining that information wo retired to tlie repose of our own fireside, having [watched with peculiar interest the most determined political contest which has ever been witnessed in the Wairau, and notwithstanding the hard and sharp things which have been said on both sides the struggle passed off with the least possible ascerbity, while the champions of the fray declare they are ready to fight again and again. THE SCRUTINY. The official scrutiny of the votes polled at the several polling places took place last evening, when were present — John Barleyman, Esq., the Returning Officer, and Messrs Eccles and Johnson, the scrutineers for the respective candidates at the principal polling booth. The result did not alter the figures announced in our Extra on Monday evening, which were as follows : — Moorhouse. Ward. Blenheim 125 116 Marlborough Town 41 26 Renwick 7 36 Wairau Valley 2 13 JTlaxbourne ... 2 11 177 202 Majority for Mr Ward 25 It will perhaps be satisfactory to some persons who entertain doubts as to the secrecy of the ballot, to learn that at the close of the poll on Monday all the voting papers were at once sealed up in the presence of the scrutineers, each of whom also affixed his private seal. It was not found necessary afterwards to disturb any of these packets. The errors during the polling were very few : one person made a mistake as to the way in which he intended to vote, a second erased both names, a third only erased the candidate's surnames, and two others voted on other persons' qualifications, making four bad votes. The total number of votes polled were therefore 383, being exactly 100 more than were given at the last contest in 1872, when Mr Seymour obtained 161, and Mr Ward 122. It is also noticeable that only 20 possible votes were left unpolled, including several who paired off to save a long journey, two ministers, and the Returning Officer. FINAL DECLARATION. This afternoon at 3 o'clock, the Returning Officer made the official declaration of the poll, when the numbers were given as above, aud Mr Ward was declared duly elected. About twenty persons were present. Mr Ward said he stood in an honorable position, a more honorable one than when he last addressed them, as he was now their representative, although even then he felt pretty confident as to the result. He thanked those who had supported him, and assured them that he would endeavour to do the best to serve the interests of the district ; at the same time he would not lose sight of New Zealand as a whole, though he believed in begining with his own parish, he, therefore, thanked them earnestly and sincerely. With reference to those who had opposed him, he hoped by his conduct to make them change their epinions of him ; at the same time lie believed there were a few who would never agree with him, as they held widely different principles to start with, and as it was a concrete subject, which did i not admit of demonstration, they were not

likely to agree. Should he ever gain the victory over them, he believed it would be to the advantage of the Colony. He thanked those who had opposed him for the kind and manly forbearance with^ which they had at all times heard him ; so much so that he was tempted to believe there were more on his side than there proved to be. lEe would not say more, as the time for speech-making was over, and the time for work rapidly coming on, so that he would not have much time to prepare for the session ; he had a few arrangements to make, after which the whole of his services would be given to advance the interests of the Province. Mr C. J. W. Griffiths said on behalf of Mr Moorhouse, who had been compelled to leave in order to catch the steamer, that he had received a telegram from that gentleman, which he would read as follows :— " My best thanks for the general kindness I have met with. lam certainly disappointed, but not dissatisfied. lam glad Mr Ward has plainly promised his support to Government." Mr Griflibhs also stated that it was Mr MoorhousWTtitention to publish a general letter o{ thanks. A vote of thinks to the Returning Officer was moved by Mr Ward, seconded by Mr Griffiths, and carried by acclamation. Mr JBarleyman thanked them for the compliment, and took the opportunity of expressing his gratification at the orderly niunner in which the election had been conducted.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX18750623.2.16

Bibliographic details

ELECTION DAT IN BLENHEIM., Marlborough Express, Volume X, Issue 721, 23 June 1875

Word Count
1,284

ELECTION DAT IN BLENHEIM. Marlborough Express, Volume X, Issue 721, 23 June 1875

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