ELECTION OF MEMBERS FOR THE TOWN OF NELSON FOR THE GENERAL COUNCIL. On Monday last a considerable assemblage of persons met at the hustings in front of the Court House, to elect two Members to represent the town of Nelson in the General Assembly of New Zealand. At twelve o'clock, B. Walmsley, Ksq., the Sheriff, read the writ, and expressed a wish that the proceedings might be conducted with good feeling. Mr. J. P. Robinson came forward and said, that he had been requested by a large number of the electors to propose Mr. William Thomas Locke Travers, as a fit and proper person to represent them in the General Assembly. There was not, he said, so good an attendance as he had expected, but if not numerous, it was select. It was unnecessary for him to say much in favour of Mr. Travers, as there was no one to oppose him. Mr. Travers had not been a long resident in Nelson, but sufficiently long to .justi/y his coming forward on that occasion. He was distinguished by great talent, and had worked hard, not only for the political, but for the social -welfare of the settlement; and that New Zealand had got a Constitution, was attributable in some degree to his exertions (hear), and that the Constitution was not a more liberal one, was attributable to the opposite party. Mr. Travers was a liberal man, and would do his best to support the principles which he had always so ably enunciated. A person like Mr. Travers was required in the Council to advocate sound and liberal principles, and to confute the charge made against a large body of the electors of Nelson on those hustings, of being red republicans. (Hear, hear.) There never was so great an insult offered to the men of Nelson as that. (Hear.) The term was intended to apply to the working classes. Now when the working classes of Nelson were on the verge of starvation, when their wives and families were destitute, was there a single instance of a single act of pilfering being committed by them 1 And yet they were coupled with red republicanism ! No other man in Nelson, he wai sure, could have been found^ to^ draw such a comparison. (Hear, hear.) But it would be unnecessary for him (Mr. Robinson) to trespass further upon their time, or to enunciate all the claims of Mr. Travers, as he had no opponent, and he should therefore conclude by proposing Mr. W. T. L. Travers as a fit and proper person to represent the town of Nelson in the General Assembly of New Zealand. (Cheers.) Mr. Collins, on rising, said that he need not occupy the time of the electors by dilating upon the qualifications possessed by Mr. Travers, as his ability, zeal, and integrity were known to every one, and he had much pleasure in seconding his nomination, as he believed him to be in every way qnalifiedferthe office. (Hear.) Mr. Sclanders begged to propose Mr. Mackay as a fit and proper persou to represent the town of Nelson. As he understood there was not to be a contest, it was unnecessary for him to say one word upon the claims of that gentleman, and he congratulated the electors on having one so well qualified and willing to represent them. (Hear.) Mr. D. Sinclair seconded the nomination, and said, that as a business man Mr. Mackay would be useful, and he was worthy the support of the electors. Mr. Travers then addressed the electors, and said that his political views were well known. He was more than ever satisfied there was no danger to be apprehended in the extension of the franchise, and he should therefore adhere to universal suffrage. (Hear.) He also saw a necessity for the introduction of vote by ballot, as tince the election proceedings had commenced, he had seen some men who had been threatened with coercion on account of their political opinions. He would therefore continue to support the ballot as a necessary protection. T-he nominee part was a ortat blot npon the Constitution; thy
alteration of making the appointment for life was a mischief rather than a benefit, as it would render the nominees more independent. He thought that the electors sh.mld do away with nomineeism, and he would see th<* Uppor Chamber composed in a manner similar to the Upper Clumber in America. He considered it very impolitic to make' any state grants in aid of religion, but' preferred the voluntary system, for where aid was given by the state, none was contributed voluntarily by the people. He was opposed to endowments also, because they would lead to bickerings and ill-feeling amongst different denominations "He considered education to be one of the most important duties of the state, for though every one was able to pay for the education of his children, some would be found willing to do so, while others would not. Crime was the offspring of ignorance (hear), and if it was the dluty of the state to prevent crime, it was an equal duty to increase the moral status by the education of the people. He did not go the length of saying that education should be compulsory, though he would advocate a certain amount of coercion, and would refuse to grant offices of any sort to those who were not educated. (Hear.) With regard to the land question, he considered that land was cheap if cultivable, but dear at any price if unfit for cultivation. Land should be sold at such a price that every man could resort to the pursuit of agriculture if he so desired ; at all events, he would offer the opportunity to every one of doing so, and he would never give his vote for a higher upset price for land than five shillings an acre. This colony was cursed by absenteeism, —it must be done away with, and he would wish to see a tax on all land, whether cultivated or uncultivated, to be appropriated to the repair of the roads. He was prepared to advocate any measure that would root out absenteeism. With regard to the application of waste land to runs, he thought that the new regulations were very impolitic, both to the people and to the flockowners. The sheep owner .could not claim his run for three months, and although it was right that capital should be protected, he objected to -a lease of fourteen years for runs — it was too long a period — as agricultnre was the wealth of the state and not pasture. The prosperity of the colony would be promoted by the introduction of steam navigation, and he thought a portion of the revenue should be appropriated to that purpose. Good roads were also wanted, if not railroads, and he would assent to the largest possible outlay of public mone> for the making of good trunk lines of road. Emigration should be assisted, and when the amount of funds applicable to that purpose was ascertained, it would be the best time to make schemes to promote it. The present tariff he considered a great absurdity, for whereas some agricultural implements were admitted free of duty, there was a heavy duty levied oh iron, which was often needed to make and repair such implements. The tariff would require the fullest revision. He would advocate free trade (hear, hear), for he thought a high duty injurious to the community. With regard to the cla-ims of the New Zealand Company, he was agr cable to pay them as much as had been laid out for the benefit of the colony, but would resist all other payments. He considered that the charge on the .Registration of deeds was too .high, many deeds were not registered at all in consequence; and he considered that the charge should be reduced from 10s. to 2s. 6d. He avowed himself not satisfied with the present constitution of the Hesident Magistrate's Court, and would say, that he had succeeded in gaining almost as many cases in which he .had been wrong as he had those in which he had been right (laughter) ; he wished the Court to be altered, and thought that a lawyer should be at the head of it (laughter), for the electors would not set a watchmaker to build a house for them, nor a bricklayer to clean their watches. He thanked the electors for their patient hearing, and assured them that, rf elected, he would do hit utmost
to promote the interests of the settle ment of Nelson. (Hear, hear.)
In answer to a written question handed to him, as to whether he would support compensation to the working classes? Mr Travers replied, that he had heard of the claim of the working classes to compensation, and recognized the validity of that claim as much as that of the land purchasers, and he would support that claim as [against the New Zealand Company, but not against the Government as the successors 4o the Company. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Mackay rest and said, that agreeably to the requisition which had been addressed to him, he appeared before them as a candidate forja seat in the House of Representatives. The absence of any contest for that honour* was a proof that the electors were satisfied, and were willing to trust his learned colleague and himself to watch over the new and most important interests created by the Bill granting them representative institutions. With Mr. Travers he was most willing to work, and he had no fear but that they should get on very amicably together, having but one interest to serve — that of their adopted country. To speak figuratively, if he (Mr. Trayers) would drive the winnowing machine, he should endeavour to do the best in his power with the sieves to get out the cheat, the docks, and the sorrel from the wheat. (Cheers.) It had been truly said by one of our greatest poets, that
•• All the world'i a stage, And all the men and women merely players t They have their exits and' their entrances, Andjone man in his time plays many parti." There was great truth in this, and he had in his time played a few parts on the world's stage. First, in our distant native land, the commercial and other parts ; since he had been in New Zealand, the agricultural part, even to the whistling after the plough (a laugh), and now the political — this being the first act in that drama, and that meeting the audienc*. He hoped they would be a patient, forgiving, and not a too severely criticising one, making due allowance for defects in oratory, and scenic embellishments. (Cheers.) Qn occasions like the present, he knew that it was expected to hear a candidate wty something for himself, not taking him on the ipse dixit of his friends and proposers. They 'were right in this expectation, and it was his duty to make them a full and true confession of his political views. He had to tell them that he was an old reformer, or what was now termed a liberal ; and at soon as he had known right from wrong he had joined that party, and had never known any other. (Cheers.) His first support was given to Karl Grey when passing the Reform Bill. In that early day he gave a helping hand, not by vote alone, but on committees, and in various ways assisting to carry the elections of some of the most notable Reformers, such as Lord John Russell, George Byng, for many years father of the House of Commons, and Joseph Hume ; also, Sir W. Molesworth, Bright, Cobden, Duncombe, Wakely, &c. Having studied political economy and free trade principles under M'Culloch, he sbould be prepared to support all measures that have a progressive tendency, firmly believing that in a new country any other course.would be highly detrimental to its best interests. The prospect of soon having a steam vessel to trade on our coasts, he hailed with pleasure ; and as Mr. Travers had already brought this subject under their notice, he could only now join him in expressing a hone that every encouragement would be given, by way of bonus or otherwise, towards maintaining this auxiliary, to communication between th» sister provinces, as well as to Australia, if required. (Cheers.) Immigration was a subject beset with many difficulties ; but when he looked around him and saw many, who were but a few years ago labourers, now masters, and in tne labour market themselves as employers, he both felt and saw the necessity that this most important subject should have immediate attention. (Hear,) With respect to the tariff, already mentioned T>y MrTravers* be thought that genttapM did
not go foi enough in explaining the inequalities of the duties of Customs. It would be imagined from what had been sta ed, that all agricultural implements were admitted free of duty. Such however was not the case, for whilst ploughs and harrows pay no duty, reaping, winnowing, and chaff-cutting machines, and land rollers, &c.,pay a duty of £10 per cent.; but the inequalities of the present tariff were so numerous that the whole required revision. With respect to the price of land, he had often stated it as his opinion that many of our hill sides were not worth 2s. 6d. an acre ; and he felt assured that much land which is now a perfect wilderness, and in some parts almost inaccessible, would, if it could be got very cheap, soon be bought up and settled on. (Hear.) Coming as he did fsom the north side of the Tweed, they must reckon that he was an economist (hear, hear) ; but while admitting this, he must assure them that it would not do to let the state ship sink hy grudging a pennyworth of tar, when necessary to keep her afloat. This reminded him of a remark in the ■peech of the Governor of New South Wales, tr that the present high price of provisions and fuel must be severely felt by officers of the Crown having small salaries." (Hear.) He had now noticed most of the subjects of importance which occurred to him to bring before their notice; and the other dutTes they had to perform that day demanded that he should cut it short. He should therefore ask if they had any questions to put to him, because if so, he was ready to answer them (none, none); or, if they were willing to send him free and unfettered to the Council. (Yes. yes.) Th« Sheriff then declared that Mr. William Thomas Locke Travers, and Mr. James Mackay, were duly elected Representatives for the town of Nelson in the General Assembly of New Zealand, which announcement was received with three cheers.
Mr. Travers and Mr. Mackay then returned thanks to the electors, and after a vote of thanks to the Sheriff", the meeting adjourned for half-an-hour's refreshment, previous to proceeding with the nomination for the Provincial Council.
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ELECTION INTELLIGENCE., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XII, Issue 595, 30 July 1853
ELECTION INTELLIGENCE. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XII, Issue 595, 30 July 1853
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