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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Our Correspondents

page 138

Our Correspondents.

Wellington, 26 December, 1890.

The event of the month has been the general election on the 5th. Pressmen came forward in many districts, and with varying success. In Wanganui it was, as on last occasion, a pitched battle between the rival editors and proprietors—Mr John Ballance, of the Herald, and Mr Gilbert Carson, of the Chronicle. Mr Ballance was successful; but his adversary ran him close. The result must have been a surprise to the leader of the Opposition, and seems to show that his popularity in his own district is on the decline. Three years ago Mr Carson was nowhere. A comparison of figures is interesting:

1887. 1890.
Ballance 865 807
Carson 430 780
Majority —435 —27!

Better luck next time, Mr Carson! The way in which the Opposition candidates have been careful to repudiate allegiance to their leader is significant. Mr Hogg, editor and proprietor of the Wairarapa Star, is the elect of Masterton. He was so hopelessly beaten last time by Mr Beetham that that gentleman's supporters took things too easily, and between four and five hundred votes were unaccounted for. The Knights of Labor quietly blocked for Mr Hogg, who was elected by a majority of 23. He is opposed to the Government, but distinctly repudiates Mr Ballance. The new leader must be a « strong » man—a new man—a statesman—a land-reformer, &c, &c. Ahem! « Letters four do form his name. » Mr Fisher's association with the press is a thing of the past. Last session he had the bad taste to make statements about the private financial affairs of two of the Wellington papers, which he was compelled to withdraw. His coarse attacks on Mr Wakefield and Mr Hawkins, too, are still remembered. Not one important newspaper in the colony had a word to say in his favor, yet he headed the poll for the city. The influence of the press in the present election seems to have been very slight. Other pressmen were, Mr Fred Pirani, who made a good fight for Palmerston North under the single-tax standard, and had the Knights of Labor behind him; but was beaten by the late member, Mr J. G. Wilson. Mr W. L. Bees, one of the Auckland city representatives, is a literary man of considerable reputation. In his varied career he has played many parts, that of journalist among the number. In the South Island, Mr Carncross, the new member for Taieri, has been for some years engaged in journalism, and is proprietor of the local Advocate. Mr J. G. Fraser, who unsuccessfully opposed the Hon. G. F. Richardson, Minister for Lands, at Mataura, is proprietor of the local Standard. Mr Feldwick, proprietor of the Invercargill News, and late member, found himself this time at the foot of the poll. Mr W.Hutchison, one of the labor candidates for Dunedin, was in the House of 1876, and is an old journalist. He is a native of Morayshire, and followed the profession in Scotland and Ireland. He came to New Zealand in 1866, and joined the staff of the Southern Cross, afterwards becoming the proprietor of the Wanganui Chronicle, and mayor of Wanganui. On removing to Wellington he started the Tribune, on which he lost heavily. He was five times elected mayor of the city, besides representing it in the House and Provincial Council, and filling other important public positions. In 1884 he removed to Dunedin, and at the last general election was defeated at Roslyn. He is a man of high principle and integrity, and an important accession to the labor party. There has never been so great and sweeping a change at a general election. The Ministry have not a clear majority; the Opposition are a still smaller party, and are divided. The labor candidates form a third party, and if they unite, the balance of power lies with them. But they are also greatly divided. Several genuine working men have been returned, some of whom will most likely make their mark. Mr David Pinkerton, shoemaker, one of the Dunedin representatives, president of the Trades and Labor Council, seems to be one of the right stamp: a thirty years' resident, and generally respected. Mr Tanner, bootmaker (Heathcote), a young Northampton man, is under the serious disadvantage of being a New Chum. Only three years in the colony, and M.H.R.! That is not only what may happen, but what has happened, to a working bootmaker in New Zealand. The victory of Mr William Earnshaw over the veteran Larnach (Peninsula) will be very popular. Mr Larnach's overbearing and offensive manner is such that his return three years was a surprise. « Kennel up, you curs! "was his celebrated retort to some noisy electors, and a majority of the constituency did their best to justify the epithet by returning him. His libel action against the Auckland Herald made him unpopular in press circles. How he took his defeat is thus described by a corrrespondent of an up-country paper: « All it wanted was the spark to set him aflame, and that very soon came in the shape of a stinging remark from one of the crowd. Then the Hon. J. M. Larnach let himself out in his best and most robust style. He has, when he likes, a very striking way of giving expression to his opinions, and on this occasion he fired off into the yelling crowd every shot in his vituperative armoury. The 'kennel up ye curs' incident was Christian politeness compared to the present occasion. He fired off his 'big, big d's' and snapped his fingers at them, and pitched unionism and all its iniquities to eternal perdition, and went for everybody and everything baldheaded. » Mr Earnshaw is a brass-finisher, a Manchester man, in his 38th year. He has has had American experience, including a public discussion in San Francisco with « Sand-lot » Kearney. He has been twelve years in the colony—long enough for an intelligent man to know something of its affairs. Mr Kelly, who displaced Mr Feldwick at Invercargill, is distinctly a labor candidate. He is described as a « tailor by trade, » of somewhat limited education. He has held the position of councillor of the borough; but owes his election to the combined efforts of the Trades and Labor Council and the Bailway Servants' Society, with both of which bodies he was connected. The result of the Port Chalmers election was very significant. The duel was between J. Mills, the manager of the Union Steamship Company, and W. J. Millar, the redoubtable Maritime Council secretary. If labor had any lingering confidence in Mr Millar, it could have returned him by four to one. Instead of this, the numbers were, Mills, 874; Millar, 645. It is clear that the labor question—the only one really before the country on this occasion will occupy much of the time of next session; and the party would have done well to have sent such self-appointed champions as Fish, Fisher, Joyce, Seddon, Taylor, and Dick Beeves, of Inangahua (who only slipped in by one vote), to the right-about. The return of Dawson, of Dunedin, Fish's nominee, is another huge mistake on their part. Some of the « Conservative » papers are sneering at the election of tailors, shoemakers, and brass-finishers. I am sorry that more of this stamp were not returned. A working-man is quite as likely to be honest and free from class prejudice as an employer; and it is chiefly owing to unworthy jealousy on the part of fellow-workmen that such men have so little chance. For one genuine working man returned on the labor-ticket there are at least three self-seeking adventurers, with a long record of broken pledges. « I never take character into account in giving my vote, » said a fellow-workman to me: « l go for the smartest man. » And far too many « smarts » men are in, whose smartness will cause their constituents to smart before the next dissolution.

The 5th of December, the polling-day, was observed as a half-holiday by the staff of Messrs Lyon and Blair in celebration of the completion of the fiftieth year of the business, which was established in 1840 by the late Mr William Lyon. According to the Wellington papers no other firm in New Zealand has been so long is existence. The staff had also a pleasant surprise for Mr C. H. Chatwin, who has for the past sixteen years held the position of overseer of the composing-room, and presented him with a handsomely-illuminated address, the work of Mr Boss. A few days later, another pleasant ceremony took place, when Mr Chatwin, on behalf and in presence of the staff, presented the proprietor, Mr J. E. Blair, with an office-desk and an illuminated address. Mr Chatwin remarked that it was no ordinary occasion thus commemorated—in fact it was, he believed, unique. No other firm in New Zealand could date its existence from the foundation of the colony, and show, like this one, an unbroken record of fifty years. Mr Blair, in responding, said that he deeply felt the kindness and goodwill of which this gift was the expression. His object in conducting his business had always been to conserve the interests of those in his service equally with his own. The long existence and prosperity of the firm must be regarded from two sides— that of the staff as well as of the employer. In these times of unrest and feverish desire for change, the quality of stability, to which Mr Chatwin had referred, was not only gratifying, but rare.—The address was illuminated by Mr H. Parsons, of the engraving department, and the handsome inlaid frame, made up of thirty ornamental woods, was constructed by Mr J. C. Swallow, of the warehouse department.

On Christmas eve, Mr W. F. Boydhouse, of the Evening Press, had a pleasant surprise. He was called into the composing-room, and found all hands round the stone. Mr W. Price, on behalf of the staff, then presented him with a handsome set of silver napkin-rings as a token of the respect and esteem in which he was held by all hands.

I am sorry to record the death, at the advanced age of 84, of Mr S. D. Parnell, the venerable initiator of the eight-hours' movement. He died on the 17th inst., and was accorded a public funeral on Saturday, the 20th. There was a very large and representative attendance. He lived to see the triumph of the ideal reform of his youth; and the jubilee demonstration in his honor on the 29th October last was a source of much gratification to the old man, who will henceforth be known as the humble originator of a mighty reform.