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Past and Present, and Men of the Times.

Mr. J. Ballance

page 233

Mr. J. Ballance was born near Belfast, and after being apprenticed to a merchant there he went to Birmingham and engaged in commercia pursuits. He came to the colony in 1866 and settled in Wanganui. He became proprietor of the "Wanganui Herald." He fought in the war, and was an officer in the Wanganui cavalry. He entered the House in 1875—the same year as Sir George Grey and Sir Robert Stout. He joined the Grey Ministry in 1877, and remained in office till June, 1879. He became Premier in 1891, and died in April, 1893, of a painful complaint. No doubt, if he had not had so much worry and trouble, he might have been alive yet. He introduced the self-reliance policy, stating that New Zealand could never rise to be a great colony if she did not rely on herself, and not on the London money-lenders. He was successful, both as Minister of Lands in 1884–1887 and Native Minister and Colonial Treasurer. He was one of the Stout Ministry, which contained the following able men:—Sir Robert Stout, Sir Julius Vogel, Sir P. A. Buckley, Messrs. John Ballance, Richardson, W. J. M. Larnach, J. A. Tole and W. Reynolds. A monument is to be erected to him in the Parliamentary Grounds.

He sprang from the ranks, from whence all leaders spring;
He had a royal mind to guide, nor wished to rule as king.
But he is gone. Long will his name be praised,
For the labourer he did raise to peer with his fellow-man.
When Labour's flag was unfurled
He proved unto the world New Zealand led the van.
He constructed righteous laws that shall for ever cause
Justice to his fellow-man, and not a dream.
But thou art gone. New Zealand weeps for thee,
The Champion of its Liberty.