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The Timaru Herald. FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 1881.

The contest for the representation of Nelson Suburbs has not so far aroused any violent excitement m the country generally. Even m Nelson itself public feeling can scarcely be said to be at white heat. It is, m fact, about as quiet, hum-drum an election as could ■well be imagined. Tet it seldom happens that opposite political principles are brought to an issue so distinctly as they are m this out-of-the-world struggle. The late Mr Andrew Richmond, who had been z*eturned over and over again for Nelson suburbs, but only by very small majorities, was a negative politician, as far as any expression of opinions of his own was concerned. The electors chose him for their representative, not because he represented them m any respect, but because they liked him. He was the son of one of the oldest and most prominent settlers m the place, and was himself an integral part of the place. He was moreover, an honorable gentlemen' and a kind hearted, genial creature, whose only offence against any section of the community was that he happened to be a man of means and leisure. That circumstance alone, however, is a very serious offence to some people, who hate such a man for no other reason under the sun than that he is better off than they are. In a little, narrow-minded, gossiping place like Nelson, thia small sort of envy prevails pretty widely ; and it was mainly that which always made it touch-and-go with Mr Richmond whether he should retain his seat or not. Well, now he is gone to the poll where "nobs and Bnobs" all Btand on the same platform, and where every man is judged not by what he has but by what he is. As soon as he was dead, of course, all classes combined m lamenting his death and extolling his public and private virtues. "When somebody proposed to substitute verum for bonwn m the ancient maxim concerning the reputation of the dead, De Quincey observed that of the living, not less than of the dead, only the truth ought to be spoken. When Mr Richmond was gone, the electors of Nelson suburbs were rather at a loss at first to find a suitable substitute for him ; but they were not long without a candidate and they soon had a choice of candidates. Mr Alfred Harley brought himself into the field, and Mr Arthur Collins was brought into the field to meet him. Mr Harley is, if we mistake not, Nelson born. He is a son of a very old settler there, who once was celebrated all over New Zealand for the excellence of the ale he brewed, but whose fame has long since vanished with that of his brew. The young man has no fame of any description that we are aware of ; but then, like all young men, he has the whole world before him. He is said to have considerable ability, and a degree of energy that is hardly distinguishable from violence. He is, as might have been expected, an extreme democrat. He " goes the whole ticket," and literally sticks at nothing. He proposes to begin by abolishing the Governor and the Legislative Council, and issuing a paper currency ; and heaven only knows where he would leave off. In short, he would like to see all inequalities of fortune levelled and every man allowed to have as much money — m greenbacks — as he pleases. We ought to mention that he claims emphatically to be a "Liberal;" and those are his ideas of Liberalism. Mr Arthur Collins is a man of a very different stamp. He belongs to the upper ten thousand by birth and position, and has no particular desire to abolish anybody or anything. In the olden days, when Nelson led the way for sport amongst all the settlements, he was well known as one of the most dashing young men there. For riding or Bhooting or boating, he was always to the fore ; and he was, m fact, a general favorite. Since then he has steadied down into a manly, upright country gentleman, a thorough good settler, and a highly respectable member of the Diocesan Synod. He is no stronger, either, to politics. Ho served his apprenticeship with credit m the Nelson Provincial Council, and was elected to the House of Representatives, as Member for Collingwood, if we remember rightly, m 1866 or 1867. He came out first as an ardent Provincialist, but the experience of one or two sessions cured him, and he soon became one of the best of that able band of young politicians who rendered Sir Edward Stafford such brilliant services m the House during the brightest period of that Minister's career. He displayed an aptitude for public affairs that even his friends had never expected, and after he had got over the first flush of parliamentary life, settled down to his work with equal vigor and steadiness. He retired from politics, however, without having had an opportunity to make his mark m any conspicuous way, and has devoted himself entirely to private pursuits for the last five or Bix years. Now he is once more before the public, with maturer judgment and clearer views than before, but with all the old courage of his opinions undiminished. Mr Collins has no sympathy with such "Liberalism" as Mr Harley professes, and he is far too honest a. man to pretend to have any. He is m favor of. good Government according to the Constitution, economy and relief from taxation, and desires above all things to proceed on the principal of live and let live. He is, m short, what m England would be called

a Liberal, but what is, therefore, m this topsey-turvey country called a Conservative. If Mr Harley is a Liberal then Mr Collins is a thorough Tory. Apart from, mere names, which have no intelligible meaning here, the two candidates for Nelson suburbs represent, at all events, the polar opposites m New Zealand politics. Mr Harley is all for smashing and wasting. Mr Collins is all for building and saving. Mi- Collins deprecates the conduct of the Grey Ministry. Mr Harley out-Greys Grey m his Greyism. It is a very pretty quarrel as it stands, and we hope to see it fought out fairly and squarely as a fight between Communism and Constitu t:oaalism. We sincerely hope, nevertheless, that Mr Collins will get m.

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Bibliographic details

The Timaru Herald. FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 1881., Timaru Herald, Volume 1964, Issue XXXIV, 7 January 1881

Word Count
1,081

The Timaru Herald. FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 1881. Timaru Herald, Volume 1964, Issue XXXIV, 7 January 1881

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