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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 4 (July 1, 1936)

The Reformer's Spirit

The Reformer's Spirit.

Harry Holland was a man for whom I had the warmest admiration, not so much for his great intellectual qualities and his literary ability and all that, as for his spirit of the noble rebel. Having always been somewhat of a rebel at heart myself—probably a hereditary virtue—I could never hear of a man setting himself up as an opponent of established rule and conventions without making some inquiry or search for the cause. Nothing worth while has ever been accomplished in this world except by rebels of some kind or another, and the rebels of to-day are often the Government of to-morrow.

The true Holland spirit is shown in the many pamphlets—more than one of them is a book rather than a pamphlet—which he wrote and published in Australia and New Zealand dealing with various abuses and persecutions and evil conditions that aroused his indignation and set his eloquent pen page 18 flying. Labour conditions in all countries which called for bettering, wrongs of individuals and classes which needed righting, the insolence and tyranny of dictators, unjust and repressive laws and regulations brought pamphlets hot from his printers. He was never content with hearsay. He went to the heart and source of wrongs.

His longest and most incisive and effective publication was that great little book “Armageddon or Calvary,” in which he took up the cause of the conscientious objectors in the war period. He wrote on a great variety of topics in his Labour newspaper work, and always forcibly and well.

He was a poet, too, with a touch of fine fancy and tenderness that betokened the golden heart within. His book of verse “Red Roses on the Highways,” contains much that is touching and beautiful, much that reveals his intense love of nature and bright life, much that reflects his love for the suffering onès.