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DEFEAT OF MR. WELD AT WAIRAU.

The following parttculars relative to the election for the General Assembly at Marlborough, resulting in the return of Mr. Eyes over Mr. Weld by a majority, of 4, are condensed from the Marlborough Press of the 16th inst.

THE NOMI MATION

The nomination of candidates for the representation of the Wairau district in ihe House of Representatives, took plack on Monday last, llth February, and contrary to the expectation of many, the proceedings were conducted wirh decorum and good temper. Our subjoined report, gives an abstract of the speeches whicb, we believe, will be found to comprise the leal pith of what was said. The hustings were erected in front of the Polioe Office. The nuin ber of persons present was estimated at about 150.

Shortly after twelve o'clock, the Returning Officer (S. L. Muller, Esq.,) read the writ, and called upon some person to propose a candidate for the Wairau district.

Dr. Viokerman then rose to propose Mr. Weld. He said : As he bad told them in his letter of the 12th January, the present political contest in this province was not Weld v. Eyes, hut the Fox party and Wellington interests against the Stafford Ministry aud the general good of the colony at large. Since he had written that letter, notable proof of the truth of his statements had baen given, which showed that the contest was regarded in that light in other places. He alluded more particularly to the Colonist, a Nelson paper, the strong advo cate of Mr. Fox's views, which actually travelled out of the established rule among journalists, and dedicated a leader to the subject of the present election in the Wairau, coached in the same terms as would be used in a local paper. Of its value and regard for truth, tbe Marlborough public could judge for themselves from the following, which apy lad of ten years old could contradict: "What the public know, and what they will feel, to the third and fourth generation, is that the Stafford government has plunged the country into war." He asked the electors if they thought so? Was it the Stafford Ministry, with Mr. Weld as a member, tbat shot down harmless and unarmed people, who refused to abide by agreements, and defied the authority of the Queen ? Again, the Colonist attacked Mr. Weld's address with equal truth and candour, and said that Mr. Weld's " assumption that Mr. Eyes will factiously oppose the Stafford or any other Ministry, is a piece gratuitous foil)', if not something worse." Some of his fellow-electors were perhaps not aware that when in England a member of a ministry whioh is carrying out a war policy came before his former constituency for their suffrages, and they did re-elect him. it was always considered to mean tbat that constituency condemned the war, and appro-red of the polioy of the opposition. The editor of the Colonist must have known that ; or if he did not, he ought to have known. He would ask the electors if they disapproved of the war; did they wish to support the opposition? If they did not, then elect Mr. Weld, and shew the world what their opinions really were [Mr. Collie : "We are not here to be lectured."] He did not wish to lectiue them. There was another proof of what the nature of the contest really was— [Mr. Dodson : " Did the same Ministry who undertook the war settle it."] The Returning Officer here interposed, and requested that tbe questions should be put to the respective candidates. Dr. Vickerman iesuined : He believed that Wellingtou influences were at work ; and for stating that he was threatened with an action for libel. An elector appropriated to himself a general question — not oven an assertion — and declared not only that it tneaut him, but that it meant he was " open to the highest bidder." He knew all his fellow-electors personally, and he must say that he had too high an opinion of them to think that any one could be bought (hear). He would call upon them all to contradict that, and not show by their actions that they wished to support the Wellington party. Many had signed the requisition without knowing Mr. Weld would come forward (no, no). Tbey had been told that if Mr. Weld had put up for auother district, he would have met with the warmest support, but he (Mr. Weld) could not offer himself for any other district without insulting his old constituency of the Wairau. He would again remind them that by throwing out My. Weld, they would practicallyshow that they disappiovod of it (no, no). Mr. Weld's acts would speak better than words ; and he hoped the electors would show their approval of the man who had assisted to prevent the Maories from cutting down the people and murdering them. He felt convinced that they could not have a better representative than Mr. Weld, and had great pleasure in proposing him as a fit and proper person to represent the district of the Wairau in the General Assembly. Mr. Soi»er seconded the nomination of Mr. Weld.

Mr. M'Rae then briefly proposed Mr. Eyes as a fit and proper person to represent the district in the General Assembly. He was uo speaker, and would merely state that those who had signed the requisition believed that by returning Mr. Eyes they secure the services of the right man to represent them. And as they had signed the requisition, they would still support their candidate. At tbe same time he hoped that tbey would see Mr. Weld returned for some other district. The principal requisite for them was a resident representative, who would discharge his duty faithfully Theie was one little matter he might allude to. He bad known Mr. Eyes at home, and could assert tbat he was a mau of respectability, who was well \ qualified to represent tbem, both by education j and practical knowledge. He would leave the candidates to speak foi themselves. Mr. Dodson seconded the nomination of Mr. Eyes. After the few honest and terse words which had fallen from the last speaker, they would not require bim to slate that Mr, Eyes was a man of education ; that he was a man of

sterling # honesty ; energetic, and in: everyway competent to represent them, he ootild .float.positively assert. He had known little of Mr.^j Weld, except that he was a member of tbe^^ ministry. Though he had been in the province •'• some time, he had not even seen him before* *. and it .vas five years since he (Mr. Weld) bad shown himself among them ; and if he were , elected again, in all probability they would not see him for five ye irs more. They were told . that as he was a member of the ministry, be should be returned. But since be had been • in the ministry, what had he sought to do for them? Nothing. [The principal portion • 'of •-, ■ Mr. Dodson's speech relates principally to local -/■■_ questions relative to the rivalry existing;/ between the towns of Blenheim and Pioton, and . not interesting to extra-provincial readers.] He . concluded by begging to listen to Mr. Weld ■ quietly and respectfully. From Mr. Weld's own account be was a modern Atlas, with the weight olthe whole Government on his shoulders. , He had been their representative, or rather, nonrepresentntive for a long time. Mr. Eyes was, an intelligent man. But he hoped tbey would: hear both sides, and judge between tbera. . Mr. Weld next addressed the electors for a . period of about two hours, carrying on with them .-. a kind of dialogue of question and answer, attack and repartee, varied by cheers and laughter, and counter-cheers. He entered into a wide range of subjects as they were suggested to him.- , . by the crowd of questions wl_ioh r . were put 10,, bim: We have found it quite impossible to give anything like an accurate report of either questions or answers, or to mould our notes into .-, a condensed form and Mr. Weld confesses bis - inability to assist us. We have, consequently abandoned tbe attempt. He commenced his address by saying that though he knew that the • majority then present were opposed to him he was sure that they would give hira the fair t hearing which bad been asked for bim. He ... tbauked Mr. M'Rie for the tone in which he had alluded to him, and he was sure that though 7 ,. ' unfortunately he was not now one of his supporters, yet that no man would be more ready than Mr. M'Bae to admit that he (Mr. Weld) had fulfilled every pledge he had ever given, : and done his duty by tbe constituency siuce '. 1854. He touched upon the topics and tone of Mr. Dodson's speech, a hash of an article in a Nelson paper. In reply to interruptions and;, questions, he dwelt upon the origin and conduct 7 ' of the war, and entered into a defence of the ■ Governor, and of the ministry, in that respect, and also defended the general policy of the ministry, and impunged the conduct of the opposition. He believed that there was no pro- .' bability ofthe people of New.Zealand having to pay any portion of the expenses of war, •; - : though he though he thought it would be only just if tbey did pay a share, and thus relieve; :i. the heavily-burdened taxpayers of England a«.*i little. A great number of other questions of a * : '_ local or personal, bearing were also put. 7'

The principal question of general importance^ * was —

" Would you use your interest in favour of an alteration in the New Provinces Act, to the effect that the Superintendent's be chosen by the electors instead of the Council ?"-i-He would not pledge himself to support the Superintendent's being elected directly by the people ; it was, however, a question - for- much consideration as to the best mode, and such an alteration had. been considered likely. The object of the enactment had been to enable the Superintendents to act in harmony with the' Councils as representatives of the people.

In reply to a question as to the ballot, Mr. Weld had some objections to secret voting; it was un-English ; a man's vote was public proderty ; he should be against making that a ministerial question. He was aware that in the present election the ballot would asssist his return. Before concluding, he released any voter who had signed his acquisition from any pledge ; let every man vote as he thought fit. He appealed to Mr. Eyes to do the same. Before he sat down, standing before them perhaps for the last time, he chellenged any man wbo had anything to object against him, pablicly or privately, to do so now. He had served them for many years ; let any mau who had a fault to find against him say so vow, whilst be yet bad the opportunity of answering face to hoe. Mr. Weld resumed his seat amidst loud cheers.

Mr. Eyes said : Fellow electors as your time has beon so much taken up by the long speeches ' which have fallen from proposers and seconders, as well as Mr. Weld, and also with the many "■" questions put to tbat gentleman, and the answers . he has given to those questions, I shall, as it is getting late, npt detain you very long with the few remarks I have to make. You all know why I stand before you upon the present occasion in the position I do: At the request of a large number ofthe electors of this district, I think I may say a majority of tbe resident ; electors, I appear before you as a candidate for the honour of serving you in the House of Representatives. Had I not been so requested '• : I should certainly not have iutruded myself on the notice of the electors upou the preseut s occasion in the position of a candidate seeking their suffrages. But holding as Ido tbat it is the duty of every man, even at a slight sacrifice ; to himself, when called upon by bis fellowsettlers, to assist in any public duty, to acquiesce and come forward and -do bis best for their interests, I could not reluse to allow myself to be*-put in nomination this day. I shall without further introduction at once proceed to remark upon those two questions which have lately so much agitated tlie public mmd — I mean the Native War and the New Provinces' Act. The first question bas been one out of which the piesent ministry and their supporters have made immense political capital during the late* contests throughout the colony,' and' about which we have heard a great deal of electioneering clap-trap. Now I look upon the question of the war as settled, we, have proceeded so. far v. that it is impossible for us to . withdraw until the rebels are thorougly subjugated, arid made ; , to know tbat Eugland has the power tb put down with a strong arm any rising on tbeir part ■ •' for the future; but whilst agreeing with the i ministry in their advocacy of the Governor's.; ,-- *.- war policy, Ido think tbat considerable obloquy H and apptobinm have been heaped upon their 'X opponents, especially the Fox party, who;. have 7 < not been allowed an opinion without all s-prtsy.; of diabolical motives being imputed to thecrtV ' but we find other men who have no political purposes to serve, acknowledged good' andi v righteous menv including the Bishops of New.l..:, Zealand and Wellington, and :Sir:'*rW|iliam[*],^-:;C Martin, the late Chief justice, holding the same .{il*. opinion ofthe war; and surely theyhave.a^w.-v^ righ.t to their opinion, although I blan^-Stifc^'y William Martin for promulgating at the presenjti^j X time,, and before., thie. war, is. .end§(J,;^^^-|i opinions in the manner . 4p_..» -?"Y?l!^_|i?»>fT;-ll^%^^v had done. ■ I have .said, that iyjtookisp^ war .gues'tio^as settled,^ am; not singula^ in ttiat^piug^^g|Ol|»^^| from the Nelson Examiner of thi?ip^^la||i|^^^ and tbat journal you-aU,kn'ow""totfe^^l^^l»-bK^^^ supporter of tbe Stafford Ministay~^^|<|';;.^^| " The die is -already cast ; England^^i^lj^ . . " '■ : k- .' 'k-:k\'^Xl^l^}&mm

mitted to the task of putting down an open revolt against her authority, and a direct defiance of her power ; and sbe must do this : for no one can doubt, whatever and wherever the rights of the original quarrel may be, that no compromise is admissable, no transaction possible, until there is first complete native submission ; anything short of this would now only occasion greater evils, confirm the native in the perilous idea that he can resist us with impunity and suocess, and embolden him to try a further and a sharper struggle hereafter." Holding then this view ofthe war, I look upon what has fallen from Dr. Vickerman about constitutional usage as absurd. I shall now make a few remarks upon the New Provinces Act, that Act which Mr. Weld prides himself so much on having bad a hand in, and of whioh both supporters and epponents of the Stafford Ministry, with few exceptions, that ever I have conversed with, hold but one opinion, namely, whilst agreeing in the principle they condemn tbe measure as crude and imperfect. A few of those imperfections I will endeavour to point ■out to you. Under tbis act the Superintendent" w elected by the Council, and not as in the old provinces by the electors. Now I consider that a change is required here, and I should certainly advocate the election of Suparintendent by the people. I bave arrived at this opinion after •seeing how it has worked in this province for upwards of a yeaa. The Superintendent being elected by the people, I think ought to have the power of assenting to or dissenting from all measures of a purely local character. At present the Provincial Council of Marlborough can only initißte measures ; it rests with the ministry to make them law; and this is what is called local self-government. It is uothing more than a delusion and a sham, and I hope to see this part of the Act modified. lam further of opin. foo that the power of creating New Provinces should rest with the Legislature, and not with tbe Executive. Whilst desiring a modification of the New Provinces Act lo the extent I have named, admiring, as I do, the principal of local self-goAernmcnt, and admitting that we have benefited even by the p.iesent imperfect measure, I should not vote for the total repeal of the Act. After enumerating various causes of dissatisfaction which the Marlborough province had against the Stafford Ministry, Mr. Eyes concluded by making two pledges. First, if elected by you, I pledge myself to serve you faithfully to the best of my ability ; and secondly, not to accept ony office of eraolu. ment under the present, or any future ministry, unless at the desire of those who elect me. [Mr. Eyes was frequently cheered during the delivery of bis address.] A Voice : — Would you vote for the Superintendent being elected , by the Council or the elettors, bearing in mind the dead-locks at Wellington and Auckland. Mr. Eyes:— The Council's Superintendent, from what had been seen iv this province, swamped the voice of the people ; and setting that against the possibility of a dead-lock, he thought it better to bave the Superintendent elected by the people. Mr. Ward said he (Mr. E.) must admit^that it was a great inconvenience to a province to have it money expended without any control from the Council. Mr. Eyes .—Better even that than that tbe voice of the majority of the people should be ignored altogether. Mr. Ward : — Did be understand Mr. Eyes aright when be said that be would neither join the government party northe opposition. Mr. Eyes said he did not intend to join any party. He would ..support the Government in its war policy, and the general principles of the New Provinces Act. Mr. Ward .^-Then you would not support the opposition to the present Government. Mr. Eyes: —The country was already committed to a course, and he would support any ministry that would carry it out best. A Voice: — "Will you advocate vote by ballot?" „ . Mr. Eyes : Yes ; it had worked well in Australia. Mr. Weld said it was un-English ; but he did not think it was so un-English as to put a name down to a requisition for one candidate and vote for another, or to sign botb. Tn reply to a question from Mr. H. Dodson. Mr. Weld said that he should advocate for the sitting of tbe Supreme Court to be held in that part; of the province which would best suit the inhabitants. Mr. Weld appealed to Mr. Sinclair to tell him of any one* thing that he had neglected to attend to on behalf of tbe piovince. Mr. Sinclair said he wrote a note from the Wairau to Wellington about the administration of justice. Mr. Weld said that he did press the matter on the attention ofthe ministry; and though he had forgotten the circumstance, henow believed that jt was in consequence of the letter which Mr. Sinclair had allndel to. No other questions being put, the Returning Offioer then proceeded to take the show of bands ; but the meeting afterwards divided on each side of the hustings, and the majority was in favour of Mr. Eyes. Mr. Goulter then demanded a poll on behalf of Mr. Weld. Mr. Weld proposed a vote of thanks to the Returning Officer ; and thanked his. auditors, both those for and against hira, for the patient manner in which he had been listened to. The Returning Officer briefly returned thanks and the meeting dispersed. THE POLLING. The final State of the Poll was— Eyes.... 65 Weld 61 . Majority for Eyes 4 ■ * i ■__._■. ___

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Bibliographic details

DEFEAT OF MR. WELD AT WAIRAU., Wellington Independent, Volume XVI, Issue 1500, 26 February 1861

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3,285

DEFEAT OF MR. WELD AT WAIRAU. Wellington Independent, Volume XVI, Issue 1500, 26 February 1861

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