RETURN OF MR E. J. WAKEFIELD FOR CHRISTCHURCH EAST.
The polling for the election of a member: to represent the district of Christchurch East in the General Assembly, took plape yesterday, commencing at 9 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. ' . . . The ballot was taken in the -Town-Hail, two compartments having been specially fitted up for the occasion. In one of these j the Returning Officer, Dr Donald, 7 presided, and in the. other his Deputy, Mr Death. The two candidates had each a scrutineer in each compartment. ' . . ! There was very little excitement duririg the day, and it was not until near the time for closing the poll that any considerable crowd assembled in front of the Town Hall. The arrangements for taking the ballot appeared to be perfect, every facility being afforded to the voters to record their voteß. At half-past four o'clock the doors of the Town Hall were thrown open, and tbe building was speedily fil ed by a large crowd of peop'e. ] The Returning Offices ascended tlie -platform, and announced the result of the ballot as follows :— j For E. J. Wakefield ... . ... 169 . j For A. Duncan ... ... -154 : ■' j Loud and prolonged cheering followed this announcement, and one person j imped on the taMe in front of the Returning Officer and commenced to dance. i Mr Wakefield then came forward and was received with loud cheers. He said j: Won by a neck; won by a neck; He had told lots of men that he wns certain of getting Id, for be was certain pf that,. but still it wafs only won by a neck. ' He would give his testimony at once that the Returning « >ffieer did not know in any case how a man had voted except one, and that one instead of scratching out Mr Duncan's name wrote his (Mr Wakefield's) name at the baclf' of the voting paper, and shewed it to the Returning > fficer. That vote was rejected. This was ho very great triumph of the ballot. They had some of* them seen that paper of his headeii " Scratch out Andrew Duncan's name," anil he (Mr- -Wakefield), had- succeeded,- he believed, in scratching out Andrew Duncan's name tor the present. (Cheers and laughterj) He was glad, of thi'*, anii why ? ; Because, when he came before the puhlic, it was not (hat he desired to put forward himself, but seeing no others come forward, he .wished that the electors pf Christchurch. East should have an opportunity of sending up one to ttie Assembly who would not beiooked upon there as a dummy. Anil yet when he held his meetings, there Were . people ' mean enough to say that at the time of the declarajrtiyn'Vyak fisld would be in the ditch. Now was the time of the declaration, and Wakejfleld was a member of the ; House of Representatives ; for a part, of the constituency of which he ,;Was moro pi'Oud than any othei* in New Zealaud. (Cheers.) NowVI he went on a footing' of equality with" the wandering. Yogel, with Mr Fox, Mr Stafford, Mr. Hall, , and , .Mr ; Kolleatod — -gentlemen,, with whom he could, now talk on a perfect equality. (Cheers.; and a voices And withtbe, Lyttelton Times too). At any time they asked him he should be always happy to meet and talk with them either at the Godley Statue, or through his penny newspaper, which would shortly be estahi lished. Wiiat had the, newspapers done wittj some of the beßt reporters in New Zealand ? »hey had failed to give utterance to— nayL tbey had concealed — public opinion ; that public opinion which had said, " Teddy is *.h<"» man !" (Cheers). He begged earnestly to assure them that he felt the deep responsibility impqsed on him. He could not aa a man of 50 years of sge, nearly 25 of whicl he had spent in New Zealand, but fee and acknowledge the deep responsibility which rested ou him — to take care of hit health,— (cheers) — to take care of his bram. —(renewed cheers)— for he might have t great fight to do even in the Assembly; h< might be in a minority fbr some time. H< 1 whß in a minority for one wliole session it the Provincial Council of Wellington, ant ttie next session he was in a ma jority ; and rthaty might be thu case in the General * Assembly. Althougli he had passed through a very serious illnesi > —inflammation of , tjie lungs— and had beet 1 fetched by Dr Prins almost from the grave , he waß happy to tell, them that h«» brain, hi lungs and his heart were as good as ever thei were, and so long as he had brains or bean or lungs left, they should be at their service (Cheers.) Being vow a member of the Housi of Representatives it was- possible that Ihi w mid be offered office, and he. would take ■fflue, but only when he, believed that he should be serving his constituents, and the oolony by doing so. He might., take;; office with jEipoo a year, salary, but i Jt would be •mch .an office as tie could.be dismissed from, oy the lioure of Beprtat/nUtiveß at. a day'il notice. (Cheers.) He would take every pport unity of giving them; an . accounj of «h«t was . done Jnr f P*rli*jnent < Ha would take .ey'erj opj^rtflnity^o£;.c^ming 56*Wn"o'n a Friday and telling them what had
been done, and then he would go back again on the Tuesday to Parliament. (Cheers.) And if bo found, that the general opinion waß that be had been doing as he ought not to have done, that very moment he would place his seat at their disposal. (Cheers.) He would not, however, do bo if he thought that by giving up his seat he should let a jobber or a contractor into place — (Hear, hear) — but when ha found that the general public thought he had betrayed his trust, he would not be mean enough to remain— immediately he found that they thought he was not to b relied on, tbat moment he would resign. (Cheers.") By electing him they had given him a hope for himself, for his family, and and for his friends. (Cheers.) What had become of the great and influential requisitionists ? They thought that they were aoing to carry the day, but they were mistiken — the people had told them differently. (Cheers.), There was one thing he felt proud of, not a single elector could say that he had asked him for bis vote, on ihe contrary, they had acted truly and independently, and had elected him because they believed him to be a better man than his opponent. (Cheers.) They believed that whatever,, he muht have been, that he would serve them faithfully for the future, and he (Mr Wakefield) acknowledged to the utmost his responsibility not only to those who voted for him, but also-, to those who .voted' against him, even the influential non-electors for Christchurch* East who signed the requisition to his opponent/o He"(Mr Wakefield) would appeal to his defeated opponent whom he honoured for his many good qualities, whether during the whole contest he had done a dishonourable thing ? (Cheers). He did not come forward- until the la&t 'moment, because he was in hopss that other people would do so, but finding that they did not, and knowing that his opponent, if he, went to the Assembly, would be treated as a Christchurch dummy, whilst he (Mr T Wakefield) would not be so treated, he came forward io, the strength of the ballot, arid * had won the victory. (Cheers). Aud now he would say that should any elector have any idea or suggestion to make at any time, he should ba happy to receive it, and would give"it his best consideration. He held the trust they had reposed in him to be most sacred— a trust to be exercised for their benefit, aud he could assure them so long as ..they trusted him,reyery act or his., should be - devoted to their services as ' well as to " his own" as % " a colonist of New Zealand. (Cheers.) And he would give them bis word') that no representative in the-Assembly would do more to serve them than he would. (Cheers.) He would not detain them long, for he had had very hard work lately. He had only just recovered Irom a serious illness, from which he had been recovered by a most skilful physician, and he could assure them that it was with great effort that he had manage! to nightly address large, aud ■he Was bappy to say increasing, audiences. He was delighted with this constituency, and he would never forsake them. He believed he might have been returned for Wellington, but he much preferred- MDhristchurch.' •■ i ?«Hft .belonged; :to .Canterbury,' and 'now he wbuld endeavour to carry out his father's principles — his father who was the father not only of Canterbury, .*iut of New .Zealand. ■ (Cheers.) •-' He was happy to tell them that his election had cost him but a mere trifle. He owed Mr Tombs a trifle for printing, but he did not owe either the Lyttelton Times or the Press one f penoy, and he hoped that the managers of those papers would publish' that in' the mornin/. (Cheers and laughter.) They had hitherto ignored him. This was a respectable meeting, and they had sent reporters, but they did not send reporters to the meetings round, the .Go.dl.ey . Statue— -they. were rowdy meetings, but;, they 'had won; the election, (t "beers, and 'a cry "Go it Teddy.") He thanked them very warmly for the position in which , they had, placed him., .He had won his election,' because- he had -acted | on his knowledge of the power of the ballot — a knowledge which his opponent did /not possess. (Cheers.) Still, he thanked them most warmly for their support. . The name of B jr..Wakefltil4'had now got that mark on it which he told them not to put on the voting papers, and that mark was M.H.K. (Cheers.) He would now make room for -bis opponenty whom he highly esteemed as a fellow- citizen Mr Wakefield then sat down amid loud cheering., " ; .-' •, ■ Mr Duncan, who was received with cheers, said " That a beaten cock was a very respectable animal." .He r appeared before, them as beaten, but he was a^ young man, and it might be that a beating was good for a young man. He did not find fault witb them for Rejecting bim; they had a perfect right to do so if they thought fit, but because they had done co, it would not, he could ,asaure .them,. lessen . his feelings regarding jtlie excellence of the ballot (Cheers.) His'4ppp]*#iei\ts. , doubtless felt : a little elated at being returned, he (Mr Duncan) must confess tbat he felt otherwise. ( heers and l.ughtfir^.r He^ahonld haye .felt, more e'ated had he been-reiurried. - (Cheers} The time might come when hey might want his services, and should that be the caSe," they would not, because thty had that day reiej*tod^m,vfij^*.hj»«s^ sidered it every man's duty when called upon so to do, to come forward and contest, an. election, leaving it to the electors to de.'ide who was the most fit and proper person to Tertfe^ut^hemv^ph.eew^^ ibey must -allow that Uhii-ielectiod had' been carried on in a spirit of •cou^tesyi oni both' aides, and he was sure> Mr woiild say that he (Mr Duncan) had never done anything towards him or his. party that he neel be ashamed of. [Vlr Wakefield— Hear, hear]. He hope! that the election to-morrow for Christchurch W^t, .woijdd ba-oooducted in the same spirit t ai- had been dieplayed-be-tween himself and his opponent. (Cheers). He noy t begged -to, move a. vote of thanks to the iteturriing Officer. ' """" " '""" l "" "'" l Mr Wakefikld, in seconding the.. motion, said that he could bear testimony to -the able? patient, and impartial manner in whioh the
Returning Officer bad discharged his duty (Cheers). , Tbe vote waß carried by acclamation. The Returning Officer in acknowledging the compliment said, that this being the first time they had exercised their right of voting by ballot, they would perhaps be curious to know how it worked. In the first place, les* han half the number of electors had voted. He thought that those who had voted pretty well understood the ballot, but seven had put their names across the ballot papers, and of course those papers were rejected. Two did not scratch out any name at all, and those papers had to be laid aside, whilst one took the liberty of tearing off the number, and his paper was consequently rejected. The proceedings then terminated.