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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Sir George Grey

Sir George Grey.

And, therefore, gentlemen, at the risk of all the unpopularity you can cast upon me, I testify, in the face of the colony, that there is a power in New Zealand incapable of falling in, I believe, with representative institutions, and that power is Sir George Grey. (Tremendous uproar, hooting and groans from the back of the hall), Now, gentlemen. I have never said—and I defy anyone to point out that I have ever said an unkind word of Sir George Grey—(disorder)—and if anybody says I have, I ask you not to believe it. (Three cheers for Sir George Grey, followed by three groans for Mr Council.) You must know that it is not bellowing that will do it. You must bring argument. Now, I say this, gentlemen, that if he can get into Parliament with a following of six or seven, or eight men after him, he will belong neither to the Government nor to the Opposition, and good and effective government will become dimply impossible. (Uproar.) Gentlemen, if the colonists of New Zealand send Sir George Grey to Par-lament with any tail behind him, there is not the slightest use talking of retrenchment. You will have no retrenchment. My own feeling with regard to Sir George Grey is almost one of affection, because he could exercise a magnificent influence for good in our democracy if, instead of sitting in Parliament, where he has no power (loud dissent), he stood outside where he would be the guardian of the liberties of the people. He could make magnificent orations in serious crises which would compel the Government to do right, and he might be a magnificent force in New Zealand of a kind that has never been seen in any country in the world. I recognise in Sir George Grey great honesty of purpose, and that he has the real good of the colony lying at heart, and I would not say that of any man unless I believed it to be true. But, I say again, in order to make him an effective representative, you must have in him sound practical political character, and the training of Sir George Grey has been such as, in my opinion, to render him unfit to work in with the representatives of the people. (Hooting and hisses, culminating in three cheers for Sir George Grey, followed by three groans for Mr Connell. The speaker paused to consult his notes, whereupon loud cries of "Go on, Connell," were raised.)