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THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION.

The 'first flection of members for the Hokitika Municipal Council carae off yesterday, and considering the extreme importance of ' the occasion, the vast interests at stake by the assumption of local self-government by this young community, it caused remarkably little stir or excitement. The day was marked by a total absence of party strife, candidates for the suffrages of the favored few who possessed the right to vote being apparently contented to rest on their individual merits alone, without making those solicitations and active demonstrations which in any other town in the colonies would, we venture to say, have been resorted to for the ensurement ot their return. It is true that a few addresses were published in the local papers, and one candidate employed the services of a cab, which, placarded in tb^ usual manner, and filled with his partizans, perambulated the town. We also observed a small v boy "strolling about, to whose shoulders were attached two huge sheets of pasteboard^ on , which was inscribed a request on the part of one gentleman in the field that his name might be well placed on the list of those' voted for. Beyond these mild effervescences nothing transpired out of the ordi- , nary daily routine of' town life ; and that , such apathy should have been displayed is only to be accounted for from the fact that the proportion of qualified voters to those whose business licenses bore too recent a date, was as one to thirty. The next election will be better contested, as by that time the ratepayers' roll will be in. force, which, by extending the franchise to between two and three thousand persons, will beget a feeling of rivalry that was certainly not observable during the proceedings of yesterday. The poll was held at the Warden's Court house, and was presided over by Mr Commissioner" Sale, and the Assessors, Messrs Binuey and Williams. It com- ! menced at ten o'clock, closing at four o'clock the declaration being announced to take place an hour later. By ■ that time quite a crowd of persons had assembled, who waited patiently until halfpast fiv£, when the returns were made ! known. We publish them in rotation, according to the number of votes polled by each candidate — \llungerford ' 67 J. Bonar ■ ... 64 C. Williams 64 J. R. Anderson 56 Ecclesfield 54 Camming ;. 50 ■ Shaw ' 49 F.L.Clarke 47 __Fitzsimmons . ... 47 Lynch '. 45 Cassius ... ... ... 42 Mnnro ... 88 J. B. Clarke' ... '... 35 Hansen , 32 The fivst nine were accordingly declared duly elected, which announcement elicited shouts of approbation, and a clamorous call upon the successful oaes to come forward and return thanks. Mr Hung'erford was the first to respond. He said that he had not the slightest idea such an honor was in store for him, especially as he had taken no steps whatever to secure votes. He rested on his merits alone, and the estimation he was held in by his fellow citizens, and accordingly had incurred no expense by advertising in the West Coast Times, or any other Times, feeling confident that, if considered worthy, he would be returned. He assured his hearers that his interests laj- in no particular \ art of the town, and ttiey might therefore depend that he would work for its general welfare. If his ser-vices-were found to be inefficient, he should be ready to resign if called upon to do so. Mr Hungerford thanked the electors for the proud position they had placed him in at the head of the poll, and retired amidst' applause. Mr Williams was the -next to come forward. He considered that the position he occupied that day was one that entailed upon him an , arduous duty, which, however, he should devote Sis whole energies tj> discharge, with credit to himself, and to thobe gentlemen who had favored him with their support. He waa far from expecting so many votes, as he had acted somewhat cavalierly in not publishing an address, or otherwise seeking the suffrages of his fellow townamen. He confessed that he had no desire to stand, feeling doubtful lest his abilities should fail in the hour of need, ar»d thus prevent him from discharging the onerous responsibility the office, would entoil. * They had, however, thought proper to elect him, and he should in return simply strive to do his d,uty, and, if found incompetent, would willingly resign to make room for a better man. (Cheers). Mr J. R. Anderson came forward in compliance to a universal call. He expressed himself much obliged to the gentlemen who had placed him on the list, and like the former speakers, would promise to do all he could for the town. (A voice : u Look out for the right-of-way, -Jimmy.") He would not forget that, or the other muddy ways that needed reclaiming, and as he was pretty well acquainted with all parts of the town, they might depend that he was übt altogether ignorant of those works which were the most urgently required, lie had already served the town as a member of the Improvement Committee, and confessed to a 'satisfaction that those services, • having been recognised, he was placed in a position which accorded him the opportunity of helping to advance the best interests of the town. The speaker then withdrew amidst enthusiastic applause. Mr 'Cumming next came forward, but spoke in so low a tone that we failed to catch the^substance of his remarks. He thanked the electors for theft support, and promised to work for the good of all. He was well received, and retired with *p-

plauso, which was succeeded by a clamorous call upon Mr Shaw to- show him&elf in turn. Mr Shaw, on mounting tho platform, said that ho tendered his best thanks to the electors for his return, and felt sorry that all the candidates could not be elected, as they were good men, who would have served the town faithfully In his opinion this was a mere ghost of an election, as so few having the privilege to vote, it could ,not possibly be accepted as a fair criterion of public opinion. lie should, theiefoie, after the ratepayers' roll was formed, propose the resignation of the present Council, so that a new one could be elected on a more equitable basis. He should offer himself again as a candidate, and then, if the people chose td return hirb, would hold his seat with* greater feelings of satisfaction than those by which he was influenced on the present occasion. He believed, however, that a good election had been made that day, and felt sure the gentlemen who were chosen would serve the town faithfully. (Applause.) Mr JBonar, in returning thanks for his election, said he had served the town before as a member of another body, which, having no legal power delegated to it, was unable to effect much good, or carry out those works of improvement which so large and populous a town as llokitika required. He thought it the duty of every citizen to serve his country when able to do so, and us he had that day been chosen to a position of high honor, he should strive to the best of his ability to do credit to those who had elected him. The speaker,, in conclusion, pledged himself to •work for the town generally, and not for any particular locality. (Loud cheers.) Mr Jfitzsimmons expressed his gratification th*t the" electors had placed him on the list of those returned, and promised to study the inierests of the town. He hoped the new Council would work amicably, and to advance so desirable an end, he, for one, should be always willing to defer to gentlemen of greater experience than himself. He was really grateful for the honor paid him that day — really and truly grateful. (Laughter and applause.) Mr F. L. Clarke declared that he hardly expected to be amongst the fortunate ones, 1 as he made no demonstration, but merely put a few lines in the local papers,.announcing his intention to stand. The address was curt, but he thought it much J better to leave the matter to the discretion of the electors, than to advance his claims by agitation. He sincerely thanked them for their support, and withdrew loudly ! applauded. I This brought the day's proceedings to a | conclusion, as Mr Ecclesfield, the ninth 1 member^ uot being present, failed to return thanks, according to established custom. The assemblage then quietly dispersed, ond so ended the first Municipal election ever held in Westlaud.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WCT18661004.2.11

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THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION., West Coast Times, Issue 322, 4 October 1866

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1,422

THE MUNICIPAL ELECTION. West Coast Times, Issue 322, 4 October 1866

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