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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)

Traits of Character

Traits of Character.

But leave the Kainga and survey the man and his methods in the Legislature, and his masterful and victorious career. Seddon was a blend of many qualities, many virtues and many faults and foibles. I think he can be described with truth, as chivalrous, generous, tyrannical, downright, diplomatic, perfectly unscrupulous, fair-dealing; he could play the bully, he was full of human sympathy and prejudices; he was capable of dissimulation for political ends, he was as straight as one of his West Coast kahikatea trees. All those contradictory qualities he displayed; he was a strange mixture of incongruities. But one thing shone out above all others, his supreme courage. He feared no man or body of men. Once he had made up his mind on a desirable course he would push on with it no matter who came in his way. He could be ruthless to his political opponents; he was often over-generous to his friends. “Spoils to the victors” was sometimes said to have been one of his working principles. But perhaps he was in that no worse than his opponents. It is not in human nature to be unmindful of those who have helped you to victory. One thing he lacked, and that was a sense of humour. He was without sense of proportion; he made a great fuss about non-essentials. We who knew and liked him often wished he would develop those saving qualities and make an end to a speech before he said something supremely ridiculous.