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ELECTION OF A MEMBER To REPRESENT THE WAIRAU IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

On Tuesday, the 2nd of \ugnst f tho Returning Ofiicer, W. L. Shepherd, Esq., attended ai th" 'uisiii\g9 in the Wairau, .iiul read the writ for the cLctioi* of a M.v iber to represent that district in ihe General Assembly.

F. ]j. Vickeuman, Esq., rose and said that he had great pleasure in meeting the electors of the district, tben assembled for the first time to return a Representative to the General Council of the colony. The gentleman who he was about to name for that honourable oiiice he need say nothing of personally, as he was better known to them than himself, and he should therefore simply propose F. A. Weld, Esq., to represent the Wairau in the General Assembly. (Cheers.) Mr. Weld had by his strenuous efforts, both in this country and whan in England, promoted and been mainly conducive in getting the Constitution for us, and therefore under this new order of affairs, obtained in part by Mr. Weld's assistance, he (Mr. Vickerman) called upon his fellow electors to give that gentleman their support. (Loud chee-s.) Mr. M'Rae said he had great pleasure in seconding the nomination of Mr. Weld. That gentleman had been one of the earliest settlers in the Wairau, and had ever been deeply interested in the district. He differed from him it was tiue in religious opinions, but not the less for that did he now stand forward to support him for a political office. He knew that Mr. We'd wished for perfect fair play and equality in the eye of the law for all, and he himself -wished no more. He would therefore let Mr. Weld follow h»9 belief, and he (Mr. M'Rae) would follow his. They were not going to elect Mr. Weld to look after their spiritual welfare but their temporal, and spiritual welfare would follow on the success of their temporal affairs, giving them more leisure for its contemplation. He had every confidence in Mr. Weld, and would most cordially call upon the electors to make him their Representative. (Cheers.)

No other candidate be'ng proposed, the Returning Officer declared Mr. Weld duly elected.

Mr. Weld then thanked the electors for the honour they had done him in electing him as the representative of that important district, and said that he stood before them in compliance with a requisition signed by many of the most influential electors of the district, and moreover in obedience to the expressed wish of a great number of electors who did not see that requisition in time to sign it — he might say in obedience to the almost unanimous wish of the people of that part of the country. He said almost unanimous, because he was aware, and the gentlemen present were aware that there has been an attempt at opposition. The moment he beard the names of the gentlemen opposed to him, gentlemen for whom he entertained the greatest friendship and respect, but whose political opinions bad differed and did differ from his own, he at once felt certain that that opposition would be conducted in a fair and gentlemanly manner. In that he had not been disappointed. He was indeed surprised to find that they did not question his ability to serve them — that might have been tenable ground, but he \va3 more surprised when be heard the point on which they r.stdd their case. Like bad taeiician*, they assailed on a point on whioh h.- v-.s in vulnerable. TLt-y •aid that he ••_* a, -trr-n^r. (7o ; »•, *' <• foreigner was iv • • or 1.") Well, he appealed to the n whether a more ..nhappy ellc^ntioji

could have been brought forward. In the first place he did not see that personal con* nection with a district had anything to do with its due representation in the General I Assembly, an Assembly called to legislate upon the general interests of the colony. It was certainly essential for « candidate for the Provincial Council, but he held not for the General Assembly. He should enlarge more fully upon this point if he were a foreigner, but he was not a foreigner. He was, as Mr. Vickerraan had said, one of the earliest settlers in tbe Wairau ; the bulk of his property was in the Wairau ; his usual residence was in the Wairau. Why, he was the first that ever drove live stock over the bills from Port Underwood, and across the mouth of the Wairau river. He was the first that ever stood upon the downs of the Kaparetehau, and on the summit of Barefell's Pass, now their high road to Canterbury. It was necessary that he should refer to these things to rebut the allegation of his being a stranger, They however shewed that they did not consider him as such, so he should proceed to other topics. Mr. Weld here read part of paragraphs 3 and 4 of liis address, and resuming said, that he wished to make a few observations upon what he had just read. He had there referred especially to the constitution of the Upper Chamber. As it stands, it was a miserable parody upon the British House of Lords, a house that represents great property, great interest in the welfare of the country (the hereditary tradition of ages), education, the natural offspring of leisure, and in fine was a " state " naturally bound up with the great landed interest of the country. Here we had no such class, we had no natural aristocracy, and he considered that there was nothing more contemptible than an artificial, fictious, and mushroom aristocracy. As such he should lend his most earnest support to any measure calculated to oppose its establishment. He was happy to say that these sentiments were not his own only, but those of the great colonial reform statesmen of the present day. A point to which he had nvit alluded in bis address was the New Zealand Company's debt, the legacy for which they had to thank our late paternal government. It was tettled on us by Act of Parliament, and it w mid be difficult to reduce it to its just limits, but if any endeavours of his could further so desirable an object, they might rest assured that they should not be wanting. Then* was ytt another remark he wished to make to them. As the Constitution now sto.id the Superintendents have no power of dissolving their Provincial Councils ; if the Council is dissolv d the Superiatend?nt goes out of office, and in fact all government ceases— they lose the services of their Superintendent at the very moment they need them moit. He considered that this also should be altered. He was also opposed to the retention of the veto by the Home Government in matters of a local nature. And now there was yet another subject on which he must say a few words. He had said in his address that he considered that " a perfect religious equality is the only true policy for mixed communities ;" now as they well knew, and as his friend Mr. M'Rae bad very well said, he held a religious creed different from that of the majority of them; he professed it openly and unreservedly, and did he not he should consider himself, and they would consider him, as either a coward or a hypocrite. They would be right in so doing, and more than that, they would b^ right in doubting his honesty, his sincerity ot purpose to serve them. Now all hn asked for his religion (and what he asked tor himself he conceded to others, not as a gift but as a right) was a fair field— no favour, no state interference. He asked no more, he would willingly take no less for himself or others. As a test of his sincerity, he there unasked pledged himself to use his best endeavours to repeal those clauses in the Marriage Act which give exclusive privileges to the clergymen of that Church to which he had the honour to belong, and to the Church of England. He had now but little more to say, but, following the example of others who had addressed the electors of this province, to offer them his con gratulations upon the powers of self-govern* ment that they had obtained. He could do so from his heart, because, as Mr. Vickerman had said, he had given his humble aid to obtaining; them. He did not agree with some who had said that they had received those powers soon enough. Let no man tell him that a representative government would ever have contracted the debt to tbe New Zealand Company; let no man tell him tl.atthe almost ruin of this colony in its early tiroes conld have occurred under a representative system; and what would they have thought of their representative* had they allowed nearly tbe whole i»f tue parliamentary grants t . have be* n expended niti t- c oher lalaaol, and the*- «• - hta.e nvet of . eir J<\i»* tV»re c ih^iT. * j•• f >o _ - j(l -• have hvye»".. r>-. oar „ .•* v ,• ,J past. Un .Nso.cctorr- it .v.-uli: Uc^.k- when cf

this country should in future be well or illgoverned; errors might be made— it would be their busineH to rectify them ; and he would ask forgiveness when he expressed a hope that in future days, when tlvs country had attained a state of prosperity now difficult to predict, men would look back fondly to the day when a few of the early settlers met there to inaugurate the advent of free institutions. (Cheers and hurrahs.) He thanked them for the kind reception they had given him; for the kind fetlings which had been displayed towards him personally, and in electing him as representalive of that important district, a district most importont from its size, the great amount of property contained in it, and from the large proportion of educated and intelligent men amongst its electors. He would only say that they might be in the confidence they had placed in his judgment, in bis ability to serve, but they should not be disappointed that he could promise them, in the earnestness of his purpose to do his duty. Cheers were given for the Queen, for the Constitution, and the newly elected representative.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NENZC18530813.2.20.2

Bibliographic details

ELECTION OF A MEMBER To REPRESENT THE WAIRAU IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XII, Issue 597, 13 August 1853

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ELECTION OF A MEMBER To REPRESENT THE WAIRAU IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XII, Issue 597, 13 August 1853

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