The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55
Ormond, Stout, and Smith
Ormond, Stout, and Smith.
After dinner, when Mr To Ao was finishing, we looked for the end, but the Opposition were not going to submit so easily. Mr Ormond rose, and the debate suddenly blazed into fury. The member for Napier had abandoned his habitual calm, and intensified the bitterness for which he is famed, without the command of language, though, lie was angry with an anger which bordered on weakness, and not seldom passed over the limits, though it was limited to the command of adjectives such as "miserable" and "contemptible," these forming apparently the whole stock. Nevertheless Mr Ormond contrived to make the most stinging speech the debate had yet seen. His friends smiled 'throughout, and cheered him effusively at the end.
But Mr Ormond's triumph was shortlived. Nemesis had come. The man who had delayed so long had ventured at last into the fight, only to be more fearfully wounded than any champion has ever been wounded in that place. The Premier, thoroughly roused, blazed with a flame which absolutely devoured his unfortunate assailant. Mr Ormond's speech had been carefully prepared. The Premier, on the spur of the moment, delivered the best speech that has ever fallen from his lips. It astonished by its marvels of memory, and its readiness of resource. The charm of its fluent language, polished yet plain, well balanced and well constructed, held all attentive; and the sustained energy of its vehemen power earned away all arguments. He threw his blazing shield before the policy and conduct of his Government: he sent blighting, scorching flames into every nook and cranny of his assailant's career. When he had done, there was nothing left of Mr Ormond. Protestations, representations, reputation, everything on which his speech had been based and his fame as a politician founded, all were gone. The fire had swept over him and destroyed him utterly.
Mr Smith, of Waipawa, whom Mr Ormond had attacked, followed the Premier, devoting himself chiefly to the part which his neighbor, whom he did not love, had played and is playing in the local politics of their common country side. Mr Smith has a homely style, very, but he has the faculty of telling a story crisply, and making points in a telling way, and driving them home with great force and earnestness. The homely language forced even the unwilling laughter of enemies. Mr Smith made a surprising number of points, and amused the House at Mr Ormond's expense for a considerable time, The impression created in the mind of any unprejudiced stranger would be very unfavorable to Mr Ormond. In his blunt way Mr Smith did for Mr Ormond, as a local politician, what the Premier had done with such tremendous effect in the field of statesmanship.
It seems that in the leading Canterbury paper the hon. member for Waipawa receives a tribute to his praise. Mr Smith is developing into a very effective speaker. He delivers his thrusts with perfect good humor, smiling at his opponent the while; and any who have observed the tact he displays in debate will not hesitate to predict that he will make his mark as a public man. He is a loyal supporter of his party—in or out of power. He never violates the first principle of representative government, which is based in the system of party politics. He never weakens his own party for selfish ends, nor does he traitorously turn round and oppose them if he cannot obtain absolutely his own way. It is rather hard on him that three papers in Hawke's Bay should persistently refuse to see any merit in him, but so much sweeter must be the satisfaction of his success, and in his advancement we see with pride a man of the people proving worthy of the people.