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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

Turning the First Sod of the Thames Valley Railway

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Turning the First Sod of the Thames Valley Railway.

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Saturday was a red letter day in the history of the Thames. It ushered in a new order of things, which will enable us to take a fresh lease of life. The district has for some time past been under a cloud, but let us venture to hope that the turning point has at length arrived, the silver ining dawned, and that ere long we may have no cause for complaining on the score of progress and prosperity. The work just inaugurated promises to be the harbinger of that prosperity to which we have long looked forward as the result of the opening up of our lands by an industrious class, and aided by railway communication. Should our sanguine hopes be realised, we shall have cause to thank the Grey-Macandrew administration for the inauguration of this work, and it was, therefore, to be expected that the citizens of the Thames would vie with each other in their efforts to do honour to the gentleman representing the head of that administration, when it was ascertained that he intended to comply with our wishes in the turning of the first sod of the projected fine of railway, uniting the Thames with the fertile valley which links it with the interior. In accordance with arrangements made, the Colonial Government steamer 'Hinemoa' left Auckland at 7 a.m. on Saturday for the Thames, having 011 board Sir George Grey and a number of invited guests. At 11 o'clock the little p.s. 'Ruby' proceeded to the Government steamer to land the guests, His Worship the Mayor, Mr Davies (Chair man of the Harbour Board), Mr A. Brodie (County Chairman), and Mr W. Carpenter (Chairman of the Parawai Highway Board) accompanying. Arrived at the Goods Wharf Sir George Grey and the visitors were received by members of the local bodies, and at the shore end by members of the Railway Committee, the band of the Thames Scottish playing suitable airs, and the guns of the Naval Brigade firing a salute at the time. The wharf and entrance were gaily decorated, and carriages were in readiness to convey the visitors, the committee, and local bodies, &c., to the site fixed upon for the ceremony of turning the first sod of the railway, on the beach midway between Shortland and Grahamstown, a little below high-water mark. The places of business were closed, a half-holiday having been arranged for, and various decorations met the eye as the long line of carriages bore the guests and members of local bodies to the place prepared for the ceremony. Here an enclosure had been constructed with accommodation for some 500 children who were to sing on the occasion. Under a shed at the end of the avenue the spade and wheelbarrow to be used by Sir George Grey in the turning of the sod were in waiting. The attendance of spectators was very large, not less than 2000 adults being present, in addition to the 500 school children, who introduced the proceedings with the singing of two verses of the National Anthem.

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The Chairman of the Thames Valley Railway Committee then read and presented to Sir George Grey the following Address.

To Sir George Grey, K.C.B.,—

Sir,—This Committee, in asking you to turn the first sod of the Thames Valley Railway, desire to express to you the great satisfaction which they, in common with every inhabitant of the District, feel on the present occasion, which is the happy termination of a long and arduous agitation commenced more than six years ago, and carried on without much encouragement. Notwithstanding the want of success which attended their efforts to obtain a favorable consideration of this question for many years, the Committee never lost sight of the object they bad in view, but took every opportunity of pressing it upon the attention of the Government of the day, but still without any result until you, sir, appeared upon the scene, and announced to the people of the Thames that you considered the scheme to be not only practicable, but reasonable, and a project deserving the attention of the legislature of the Colony and of capitalists seeking profitable investments. From that time until the last session of Parliament the prospects of the Thames Valley Railway continued steadily to improve, when your Government took the decided step of placing it on the schedule of railway works to be undertaken by the Colony of New Zealand. This recognition of a scheme no less useful than necessary redounds much to the credit of your Government for justice, impartiality, and foresight, and we now have the pleasure to invite you thus to crown an undertaking which already owes so much to your advocacy, by making a formal commencement of the work.

For the Thames Valley Railway Committee,

James Kilgour,


Sir Geogoe Grey said: Dr. Kilgour, ladies, and gentlemen,—I will only say it is with great delight I find that the wishes of the inhabitants of the Thames are at length crooned with success in respect to the commencement of this railway. It is with infinite satisfaction and pleasure that I to-day render you my assistance in commencing this important undertaking. (Loud cheers).

Sir George Grey then proceeded to turn the first sod. A gangway bad been run out from the small platform erected, alongside which were some turf sods. A very handsome wheelbarrow of rimu (manufactured by Mr F. Dann), and varnished, was standing near, and a light spade of ordinary make, the silver implement ordered for the occasion not being finished, Sir George proceeded to handle his tools in a workmanlike manner. He dug a good sod, put it into the barrow and wheeled it back to the shed, instead of putting it over the "tip," amid a salute fired by the Naval Volunteers, and the cheers and complimentary remarks of the spectators, by whom the greatest enthusiasm was manifested.

Addressing Dr Kilgour, Sir George Grey said: Ladies and gentlemen,—I trust that the railway, which has now been inaugurated, may prove a blessing and convenience to the inhabitants of the Thames, and be the means of bringing a I large amount of commerce from the in terior of the country to what I believe will be one of the greatest ports in New Zealand. I thank you all for having allowed me the opportunity of assisting at the commencement of so great and noble an undertaking. (Loud and repeated cheers.)

Mr Peacock, Mayor of Auckland, said he had very great pleasure on behalf of the people of Auckland in congratulating the Thames on the proceedings of that day. There would have been a much greater attendance of Auckland visitors, but for some uncertainty regarding the steamer and the day. He need not dilate on the importance of railway works. That was recognised everywhere, and the benefits felt. Auckland people were aware of the importance of opening up the country. I he energy which had been displayed in bringing the work commenced that day to a practical issue was deserving of success, and he could assure them they had the good wishes of the people of Auckland.

Mr J. W. Melton expressed the plea, sure he felt at being present to represent the Borough of Parnell. After the speech of Mr Peacock it would be unnecessary for him to say much, but he would reiterate that they had the good wishes of the burgesses of Parnell in this undertaking. He regretted that the Mayor (his successor), Mr Coleman, was prevented by illness from attending today and occupying the position he (Mr page 3 Melton) did, He would again say he congratulated the Thames people on the result which had attended their exertions.

Mr McMinn, M.H.E. for Waipa, hoped to be able some day to congratulate them at the other end of the line on the completion of the work begun that day. He was sorry there was no other representative from Waikato present, but the fact was they were nearly all farmers in Waikato, and it was very inconvenient to leave their homes at this season. The Thames had a warm friend in the Premier, who had always done what he could for the district, and particularly in regard to the railway and other matters during the late session of Parliament.

Mr. A. J. Cadman, Chairman of Coromandel County Council, congratulated the Thames people that day. He hoped it would not be many years before the Coromandel people would be able to invite the Thames to assist in a similar work at their end of the peninsula.

Dr Kilgour read an apology from H. Brett, Esq., ex-Mayor of Auckland, congratulating the Thames people on the work of that day, and regretting that he and Mrs Brett were unable to avail themselves of the invitation to be present.

Three cheers were then given for the visitors in a hearty manner, and the band played a selection of music.

The school children than sang the following piece, entitled "My own New Zealand Home," the words and music being by Mr John Grigg, of Pollen-street:—

I love my home, my happy home,
In fair New Zealand's isle—
The glory of the South, where all
The face of nature smiles;
Where noble forests crown the hills,
And streamlets thread the vales,
And mighty ocean circles round
And breathes refreshing gales.
Chorus—My happy home, my happy home,
My own New Zealand home.

I love to stroll on summer's morn,
Before the sun is high,
And gather flowers and ferns and moss,
And chase the butterfly;
At noon to shelter Heath the trees,
And hear the tui's song,
And then, 'ere ev'ning spreads her veil,
Homeward to speed along.
Chorus—My happy home, my happy home,
My own New Zealand home.

I love to wander by the shore,
Beside the flowing tide,
And watch the seabird's graceful flight.
And ships with sails spread wide.
The pleasant school and busy town
Are full of charms for me,
While on this British Southern soil
I dwell content and free.
Chorus—My happy home, my happy home,
My own New Zealand home.

(The hymn was much admired by those present, the tune being specially commended by musical connoisseurs for its sweetness and softness of cadence. The Thames Scottish Band rendered the chorus accompaniment.) At the conclusion of the local anthem, for which great credit is due to Mr Grigg, the composer, Sir George Grey proceeded to the raised ground where the children were assembled,

Sir George Grey, addressing the children, said: It affords me very much pleasure to see so many children assembled here to-day, and to hear them sing so well. I tell you this—that myself and a great many other friends of the children of New Zealand have been working for many years to try and secure them a happy future in this colony. It is with great delight that we have seen that wherever the children of New Zealand have been brought in competition with the children of other countries, they have taken a very distinguished place. (Cheers.) God has given you a country in which there is a climate which developes well not only your frames but the human intellect. "Well, now, my earnest prayer to you is that you reward all those who have worked to make this country for you by growing up to be a noble race of men and women, and doing your very best to make the country in which you were born one of the greatest nations in the world. (Cheers.) I do not mean a nation merely distinguished for wealth, but I mean a nation distinguished by the goodness of its inhabitants, and by the care which is bestowed upon its children. When you grow up remember that we have all tried to be kind to you when you were helpless and could not care for yourselves. .Recollect that kind words make happy homes (Cheers.) That kind looks make happy children. You must all have felt that you liked to be met by smiling faces and by kind words., and that they brighten up your homes. Now, do you try to brighten your homes by your kind looks, by your cheerful faces, by page 4 your good actions towards your fathers j and mothers. Be obedient and loving children to them. Endeavour to repay them for the care they have taken of you, and when you come to be fathers and mothers, you will reap your reward. I will not keep you longer. I will only wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope that God will bless you throughout all your lives. Good-bye to you all. (Loud and continued cheers.)

The children again cheered, and the visitors moved towards the beach, where the carriages were in waiting to convey them to the luncheon, but the proceedings being over earlier than was anticipated, and before luncheon was ready, it was arranged that the party should be driven out in the direction of Parawai and the new County road. The decorations at various places along the line of route were admired, and the appearance of the country generally, especially the progress made since Sir George, and others who accompanied him, last visited the road. The party proceeded along the newly-formed county road as far as the native reserves at Totara Point. A great battle; was once fought at this place. On one of the invasions of the Ngapuhi, the Thames tribes assembled at Totara, and constructed there an enormous pa. This was besieged and taken by the Ngaputu, who, armed with muskets, made a tremendous slaughter amongst the Thames people. Ever since, the place has been strictly tapu, no person having till lately been allowed to pass over it. Many of those who knew the natives, and the awe which surrounded the place, predicted that they would never consent to a road being made there, as it might disturb the bones of their ancestors. From the configuration of the country, it was absolutely necessary that the road should pass by Tolara. The perseverance of the County Council at length had its reward, the road was made, and it is anticipated that the railway will be laid down alongside. The verdure and foliage along the road was green and refreshing to the eye, although the sun-light and heat and the dusty road, made the journey otherwise unpleasant. Hero the party halted, and the horses were directed towards Shortland again. Arrived at the Volunteer Hall, everything was in readiness for the guests, and the neatness of the hall was a theme of general admiration. The building had been elegantly decorated for the occasion with tree ferns, flowers, and shrubs. Great credit is due to the Luncheon Committee for their excellent arrangements for the comfort of the guests. The luncheon was prepared by Mr J. Forgie, of Pollen street, and included the delicacies of the season.

The Luncheon.

The Luncheon Committee, consisting of Messrs Allom, W. Davies, F. C. Dean, ' J. McGowan, H. McIlhone, It. N. Smith, and John Osborne, successfully supervised preparations for a cold collation, in the drill-hall, Richmond-street. About 200 attended. During luncheon the Scottish Volunteer Band enlivened the proceedings by the performance of a selection of music. The chair was taken by the Chairman of the Thames Valley Railway Committee, Dr Kilgour, supported on his right by Sir George Grey, the Mayor, Colonel Eraser, and Major Murray; on his left by the County Chairman, Wm. Rowe, M.H.R., and E. W. Puckey. The vice chair was occupied by Cr. J.Brown. Theelite of the town were there, together with the many distinguished visitors from a distance who came to mark their interest in the proceedings.

After lunch the usual loyal toasts were given from the chair, each being received with hearty cheers.

The Mayor (who was received with cheers), said the next toast had been placed in his hands. It was that of "His Excellency the Governor of the Colony." He believed there were no portions of the British Empire more loyal than its colonies. His Excellency was the representative here of Her Majesty the Queen, and it was only their duly to drink his health. The toast was received with cheers.

A. Brodie, Esq., said that in proposing the next toast he was placed in rather unfavourable circumstances for doing justice to it, inasmuch as a change in the programme had been made, and he was not aware that it would fall to his lot to propose the Army, the Navy, and the Volunteers, until he entered the room. What the British army had done in former years, and more recently what it had done in India, needed no recapitulation from him. What the Volunteers had done in this colony was well known. He remembered that several now present were engaged page 5 in defence of the colony, either as soldiers and sailors in the British navy, or as soldiers in the ranks of the volunteer force. He saw a very old volunteer before him in the Mayor of Auckland. As to the force here, the Premier would have an opportunity of inspecting it himself that evening, and as an old military man he may perhaps tell us, later on what he thinks of them.

Major Withers responded for the army, regretting that he lacked the necessary eloquence to reply to the toast. The deeds of the British army were blazoned in history. As to the Volunteers, in this colony we knew what they had done He was only sorry that his powers of speech were not greater, to enable him to do proper justice to the toast.

The Mayor of Auckland, in responding for the Volunteers, said he was somewhat surprised to be called on, after so many years, to respond to the toast, which, however, was in itself a proof that the service rendered in a time of difficulty to the country was long remembered. He had served in the Volunteer force, and in the rank of "full private" he had endeavoured to do his duty. He thought that the toast would be more appropriately responded to by some volunteer whose connection with that branch of the service was more recent He had every confidence that, if the Volunteers should ever be called on again in presence of active hostilities, they would do their duty as they had done before.

Major Murray, in obedience to loud calls, also responded, and in doing so took the opportunity of again acknowledging the support given them by the present Government and especially by the immediate head of that department—Col. Whitmore.

Col. Fraser could not refrain from saying a few words on this toast. He came to this colony emphatically as a volunteer. The late Captain Goldsmith and himself, with their men came, when help was needed. Our men felt happy they had done so, he felt happy in his happy home, and if they carried out the work commenced they would have a happy people.

The Chairman said the toast he had next to propose was that of their illustrious guest, Sir George Grey (prolonged cheers). He was sure he had but to ask them to drain their glasses without another word and they would respond at once, but the present was not an occasion to be passed lightly over. This had been a great day for the Thames. A great day in so far that they were favoured with the presence of the Premier to initiate an important work for the district. Long before he came to New Zealand Sir George Grey was a man of mark. He had been Governor of the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia, and the peoples of both rejoiced at his rule. He had not therefore, when he re-entered public life, yet to win his laurels, but as the world would say "he was comfortably laid up in lavender at Kawau." But when the colony needed his help, he once more in answer to the call of duty emerged from his privacy and reentered political life. He did this not for the sake of sordid gain, but for the good of the country. We may differ in opinion from Sir George Grey on some points, but in this we should be united, that in the attempt to open up the lands of the colony to bona fide settlers Sir George Grey's policy was one that must be endorsed by all the world. As one instance he noted the case of the Broom hall settlement, in which Sir George and his colleagues took a much broader view of the question of settlement than that implied in the sale of lands to English capitalists, who could send out labouring people to work them, or immigrants with more or loss capital. He looked to a more permanent advantage from settlement than was implied by the money paid into the Treasury. Sir George felt that the lands should be as open to settlers actually in the country, or the children of settlers born in the country, as to gentlemen in England and those whom they employed, They took high ground, and said we have men ready and willing round about us, and it is our duty to give these men, who have come so far and suffered so much, an opportunity to obtain and cultivate this land. No political man with whom he was acquainted had achieved such deserved success as had Sir George Grey. He trusted the toast would be drunk with enthusiasm. He wished Sir George a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New year, and many of them." (Musical Honours.)

Sir George Grey, after the prolonged cheering had somewhat subsided, said Mr Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, your Chairman just now in proposing my health, said I ought to be a proud man. Well, I am both proud and page 6 thankful to be allowed to lire to realise what had almost seemed a vision The scene of that day reminded him of a vision he had tried to realize years back. It was 35 years since he first visited the Thames. He came down in a little schooner belonging to the late Bishop of Lichfield, who brought him down and left him here a few days. He proceeded up the river Thames, in a small boat, as far as practicable, and then still fun her in a canoe. At that time he wait perfectly satisfied that this district was one of great importance. He relied on the belief of Captain Cook, formed years before, that a great city ultimately must stand here. (Cheers.) He stated that if a great city was to arise in New Zealand, he felt perfectly certain that no more convenient locality could be found for it than the Thames River. That was the opinion of a great navigator. (Cheers) He spent several days in going up the river, and in fancy saw such a city rise and a great settlement established. Early one morning he walked op to the top of the Aroha Mountain, and as he looked down upon the valley he spent some time musing upon what the future of this valley and this country was to be, and in that fancy saw some such scene as witnessed to-day. (Cheers) He did not imagine that he was to take a part in the scene himself, but he thoroughly believed that a day of greatness was to come for this place. He now enjoyed the blessing—a blessing not often realised in the world—that after the lapse of so many years he had been permitted to see the visions of comparative youth thus brought vividly as a fact before him. (Loud Cheers.) Now, from this he could point to one thing worthy of their consideration, and that was that steadiness in the pursuit of some particular object almost invariably met its reward. (Cheers.) We are told that "the rolling stone gathers no moss," and there is more in that proverb than at first strikes the ear. If he had not persistently, through many years, felt a great affection for New Zealand,—felt determined to see this country reach the goal to which he felt sure it must come,—If he had not remained here and felt that determination to witness the great end which years before he had seen in prospect,—if he had been a mere rover, a wanderer, caring little for the country, except during the time of official life, he could not hive had the infinite pleasure and satisfaction which that day had afforded him (cheers.) Now, to form the opinion be had then required a belief in many things. It did not simply require a belief in oneself and one's own powers to do anything; but it required a belief in his fellow man. It required a belief that an industrious, thrifty, and enterprising population must prepare to face great difficulties and great dangers. They came to this country and persisted in the noble career upon which they had entered of founding a great nation and a great people in the very remotest corner of the earth. He believed in that—he believed in his race; he believed in the Anglo-Saxon people; he believed in the British as a race and people who were destined to occupy the earth, who would dare all difficulties and dangers, and who would not be easily turned back from any proper and legitimate pursuit upon which they had entered—he asked them all to look around today, and answer him, had they well and faithfully fulfilled this expectation of his? (Cheers.) Had they shown that they had sprung from a race who would dare all things, and do all things legitimately and properly to found homes for the families who were to follow them? He said the enterprise developed here had been wonderful, and was but little known. Look at the machinery brought into the place? look at what the miners have achieved; look at the difficulties and dangers which they all had to encounter. See them all overcome, and see now the great career which is opening before them! (Cheers.) Well, now, in reference to that career, just let him say one thing more. It was not his business on an occasion like this to make a political speech or allude to politics. He might tell them that he had heard it said Sir George Grey will make a fine speech to you; he will tell you all about the Public Works Policy" Now, he would tell them that he was the first man who introduced the Public Works Policy into the British Colonies. (Cheers.) He was the first man who even proposed that a change should be established—the first man who recommended the British Government to establish a system which should be carried out in all Her Majesty's dominions—and he, upon his own recommendation and his own advice, pointed out a Public Works Policy which was afterwards introduced into this colony. They have done this, and it was as much their duty to make use of it to extend page 7 their public works as it was their duty to grind their corn. Well, that subject, introduced by him, raised great discussion. He had returned to Great Britain, and recollected being present at a dinner party where a discussion arose on the subject as to whether he was right in wishing to spend money on works part of the burden of which would rest on posterity. There were present among others Sir G. Cornewall Lewis, Lord John Russell, Mr Gladstone, and Lord Macaulay. The first three opposed his view, but Macaulay—who was a man of infinite wit in a peculiar way—supported him by saying in opposition to the statement that you have no right to burden posterity with anything—it is a bad system, "We all know of the massacre of the 100,000 Chinese under Lin. When I (Macaulay) heard of it I was painfully affected, but I really believe that the effect of distance is such that an attack of gout in my little finger would have caused very much more trouble and pain to me," and applying the story to the burdens on posterity said "he did not think they would ever bring the people to think much of those burdens if they were satisfied that the money raised was to be expended for right and legitimate objects. It was like professing an intense regard for those who surround you, but neglecting their demands out of consideration for those who might come 300 years hence. ' But here the time has come. You have created that invisible thing, credit; and it is your duty with it to open up the country—to spend it, not extravagantly but wisely, so that the country may become populous and fertilized. Insist on your right to have that done for you which has been done for other parts of the colony. Do not be led astray by the glittering temptation of imported wealth held up before you. As your chairman said just now, with reference to your lands, whether, temperance settlements or intemperance settlements, or any other kind of settlement that may be proposed, by which Urge numbers of people are to be brought from England, allow nothing of the kind to be done until the wants of yourselves and your children have been provided for. He made no answer to the arguments on that side of the subject used in the House. They amounted to this, it would be providing a great blessing for Thames people if capitalists came from England to provide work and employ labour. He sat still, he said nothing. In his own mind he thought the Thames people knew their own interest too well. They want to employ themselves. Knowing that nothing could be done, he made no answer, but resolved in his own mind that the lands (which properly belonged to them) now that the power rested with himself, should be secured to them. When what is necessary for their own wants has been taken, let the whole world have a chance and not the water drinkers only (Laughter and cheers). He was himself a water drinker and had a very great respect for them: let them have the same rights is other men. But he believed the way to make men temperate was not by restrictive laws, which produce little effect; not by depriving them of lands and money and making them simply labourers to other men. The true way, he believed to make sober, thoughtful, temperate, and, he believed, religious men was to give them the opportunity of obtaining homes for themselves; to give them a chance of providing for the wants of this life, and time in their old age to prepare in peace and comfort for the life to come. One word more, on the work in which we have this day been engaged. May the work in which we have been engaged produce all the prosperity and blessing for this place which he believed it was capable of achieving He hoped those who had aided him that day might live to see this good and prosperous town the starting point of a railway connecting every part of New Zealand. (Applause)

The Vice-Chairman (John Brown, Esq.) rose to propose the next toast—"Our Visitors"—which he said he was sure would meet with a ready response from the people of this goldfield. They were much indebted to those gentlemen who had come from the Waikato, Auckland and Coromandel to assist them on that occasion. He trusted that they would have the pleasure of carrying out Mr McMinn's wish, by going to Waikato to assist them, in return, to make a success of their end of the line. He also hoped they would have the pleasure of going to Coromandel on the same business, to assist them when they had completed their own line. The wisest policy they could carry out was that of assigning one another to get through New Zealand with their lines of railway, opening up the country, and carrying prosperity with page 8 them. This event was one of great importance. It was the beginning of the end, and he hoped it would be pushed on with all possible expedition until completed. It was the good intention of the Government to give us the railway. They did not like to be under any obligation to the Auckland people, and hoped soon to be able to help them on a similar occasion. (Drunk with loud cheers)

Thomas Peacock, Esq. (Mayor of Auckland) rose amidst applause to respond to the toast. He said he could assure them he appreciated the hospitality they had extended to him and others that day. The undertaking they had commenced that day was pregnant with the most beneficial results to this community. He had a high opinion of the efficiency with which they conducted matters. He need only point to their Volunteers and Volunteer Fire Brigades as evidence of this, as well as to their County and Borough officials, who carried out all their undertakings with energy and enterprise. (Cheers.) He felt sure the Government would concur in his opinion when he said that they looked after the interests of the Thames people. (Cheers) fie had heard words of a jealous tendency between the two places, but he did not think it was their wish such should arise (Cheers) The interests of both were identical—the success of one meant the success of the other. He hoped that cordiality would not diminish, but grow on and on. (Cheers.) He concluded by thanking them for the kindness and hospitality shown him.

J. W. Melton, Esq. (ex-Mayor of Parnell), also thanked the proposer for the toast, and regretting that the Mayor-elect, Mr Coleman. was not able to attend. He was assured i would have afforded him great pleasure.

Mr A. J. Cadman (Chairman of the Coromandel County Council) was called Upon to respond, and in doing so said the committee deserved credit for the successful issue of the arrangements. The Coromandel people had an interest in the Thames railway, and hoped when the time arrived they would not forget that Others wanted railways also. They hoped to see the line extended to Coromandel from the Thames. (Cheers.)

Dr Kilgour (Chairman) rose to propose the toast of "The health of W. Rowe, Esq, our representative, Mr McMinn, and other members of the House present." He could add his testimony to that of others as to the work done during the last session. He happened to be present during the session, and it was his duty to be brought into contact with their representatives present, and he could testify to their diligence, and to the kindness he had received during his stay there. They worked hard to promote the welfare of the country. He could say that there was complete accord between the gentlemen before them when anything affecting the good of the country was concerned, just as there was with himself. He hoped they would be in accord in lime to corneas they had been in the past. (Cheers.)

W. Rowe, Ksq, M.H.R., rose to respond. He said he believed short speeches ought to be the order of the day on these occasions. For himself he had not felt a happier day for a long time past. He felt that the outcome of the day was but the result of what they bad been looking after for years past, and he saw before him those who had assisted to push it forward years ago. There was Mr Berry and Mr Robertson, both to be classed among the pioneers of the movement, and to-day they saw the outcome of their exertions. He was a firm believer in consistency. He believed that if men formed their convictions they should not let men or circumstances put them aside. He did not seek popularity—he cared nothing for that. His convictions were his guide as to his public duty, and by those he stood. They might have heard something of differences between Sir George Grey and himself—(Question?) They were met to-day on an occasion when old sores could be healed,—when they might take advantage of the occasion to become united. (Hear, hear.) He had differed from Sir George on some occasions, but he might say that on all he had found him intensely desirous to promote the welfare of this community. (Cheers.) he always endeavoured to say to Sir Geo. Grey that he was about to do so and so for the Thames, as representative, and his invariable reply was, "Very well, it is good, it is right, and I will support it." No man had a greater respect or affection for fir George Grey than he had; but he might say that page 9 he would not sacrifice any political opinion of his own in that respect. He was glad to see the Auckland people present, because he did not believe in the reports that they would oppose the Thames getting their railway. Now is the time for cementing a unity of opinion not only among the people of the Thames, but of the people of the whole Provincial District. (Cheers.) He could say of Mr Macandrew, the Minister of Public Works, a more sincere friend Auckland never had. He believed that the Parliament of New Zealand desired to promote the best interests of the colony at large; that they did their duty, and deserved every praise. The Hon. Hoani Nahe and Mr McMinn were sterling representatives of the interests of their constituents. He was sorry that the name of the former had been omitted from the toasts. (Cheers.)

The Hon. Hoani Nahe rose to respond to the toast (interpreted by R. W. Puckey, Esq,) He said he was glad to meet them that day. He was pleased at the way they had drank the toast of the New Zealand Parliament, although he hesitated about making a speech, for it occurred to him that Sir George Grey had already spoken long enough. (Laughter and cheers) He was pleased at the opening of the railway, 8nd hoped it would be carried to a successful completion. He was also very glad to hear that the permission of the chiefs of this district had been given to take the land necessary for the railway line. The railway would be the greatest possible blessing to the native race as well as to the European. The first railway he saw was the one from Grahumstown to Tararu. He would only say that he was pleased at the proceedings with a view of opening the Thames Valley Railway. (Cheers).

E. McMinn, Esq., M. H.R. for Waipa, rose to respond, and was greeted with loud cheers. He said he was proud to see so many people of the Thames and Auckland, and had to apologise for the Waikato people, as he was the only representative present from that district. Mr Whyte, the Mayor, and a number of others, intended to be present, but as he bad already explained, the harvest season prevented their leaving home just now. He was pleased to see them in one respect because they reminded him of the large body of consumers in this district which the railway would open a market for from the Waikato, although he did not say so in any selfish way. (Cheers.) He felt sure the settlers of the Waikato would take the same view, and say the same. (Cheers). He was glad to see that those entrusted with the arrangements for the day had shown their good sense by inviting the presence of the ladies. There was one hon member of the House who, if he were present, would be rejoiced to see them—he referred to the ladies' champion, Dr. Wallis. (Laughter). Mr McMinn said he had a toast to propose before he sat down—the "Health of Mr Brodie," and he paid a high compliment to the County Chairman of Thames (Mr A. Brodie), whom he had met in Wellington. He said that there was not a person present at the County Conference held there so well versed in the County system as Mr Brodie. He thought he was somewhat proficient in that respect himself, but he himself was a mere child in these matters in the presence of Mr Brodie, and there were others who also felt they had their match on that occasion, when Mr Brodie is present. (Loud cheers). He asked them to drink his health. (Cheers.)

A. Brodie, Esq. (County Chairman), thanked Mr McMinn and those present for the honour thus conferred upon him, and the hearty expressions accompanying the toast. (Cheers.)

"The Ladies," by Cr. Robt. Graham, and "The Mining, Commercial, and Agricultural Interests," by Capt. Souter, brought the programme to a close, and the proceedings terminated with three cheers for Sir George Grey.

At six o'clock Sir George Grey, accompanied by Major Withers, inspected the Volunteers, comprising six companies, and numbering about 500 men, commanded by Major Murray. After the review Sir George Grey said:—"Major Withers, officers and men of the Thames Volunteers,—Your appearance to-day is in every way satisfactory. I was much pleased to hear from Colonel Whitmore of your efficiency and enthusiasm in all that pertains to volunteering, and I take this opportunity of informing you that he has in no way overlauded your commendable spirit and satisfactory condition, which I can now fully endorse as being equal to anything I have seen in the colony."