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

A Historian's Estimate

A Historian's Estimate.

In Dr. W. P. Morrell's new book, “New Zealand,” one of a series of world historical studies, the young New Zealand scholar—he is Reader in History in the University of London—makes shrewd comment on Seddon's complete domination of his party, “not altogether to its own good.” No democratic leader ever excelled him in making it appear to the people that he was indeed one of themselves, and thought as they did. How true this remark is, many a contemporary of Seddon can testify to-day. He is accused by Morrell of a propensity for breaking with clever young men. W. P. Reeves is evidently in mind. But Seddon did not actually break with Reeves. He simply translated him to London, which I believe was well to Reeves' taste by that time.

The Seddon manifestos, which were rather numerous, trumpeted forth the cardinal aims of his Government. He proclaimed that in his view Government should provide conditions which would reduce want and permit the very largest possible number of its people to be healthy, happy human beings. “The life, the health, the intelligence and the morals of a nation,” to quote his last manifesto, “count far more than riches, and I would rather have this country free from want and squalor and unemployed than the home of multi-millionaires.” That summed up very well the excellent ideals of the man who was more truly the leadel of the people than any politician who preceded or succeeded him.