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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Statesman? not He!

Statesman? not He!

Sir,—In this part of the Wairau many of our men have been induced to vote for Mr Henderson because he was said by his touters (that's what we used to call such men as Dodson and Sinclair) to be a better speaker and a better statesman than Mr Seymour. Now that the election is over, I hope they will ask themselves whether that last statement is really true. The better statesman should beat the worse; Mr Seymour should therefore have been beaten by Mr Henderson—but he wasn't. A statesman—especially a "better" statesman—should know what is under his power to control, and what is not. Now I see in your paper that Mr Henderson proposed in the Education Board not to pay any accounts until they were passed at the monthly meeting of the Board. All accounts were included in this—teachers' salaries and all. The Board has no power to pass, or to refuse to pass, the monthly payment of teachers' salaries. The Board almost at first made it a rule that all teachers' salaries should be paid monthly, and then this grand statesman Henderson brings forward a resolution contradicting a regulation printed and issued by the Board. And then he'll say, "But Mr Seymour agreed to it." If he said that to me in the nomination hall, I should say it was a "mean thing" to try and foist off his mistakes on Mr Seymour. The "better statesman" ought to have known better. Statesman? Not he!

And then what a grand statesman he must to to try and gain the teetotallers' votes by taking round with him as chief supporters a man whose coat of arms must be a beer cask rampant, and another, whose only qualifications as a canvasser are these: 1st. That he can drink without danger more brandy than anyone else to be found; 2nd. That he can issue more false smiles than anyone else to be found; 3rd. That his only motto is "Hennessy." Statesman? Not he!

When he gets to be statesman he is going to make all pay taxes alike, according to justice. When asked in connection with this subject whether payment of legacy duty did not tend to equalize this matter, he said something to this effect—"The person to whom the money us left does not pay it." He meant that if I had L1000 left me, and the legacy duty was at 2 per cent, that I should receive L980, but that I should not lose the L20 because I never had it Here's logic! here's a Miilite! here's a statesman! Does the dead man pay it? No; dead men pay no bills. But somebody must pay what somebody receives. Government receives it, page 12 therefore they receive it from the rich people who bequeath it and receive it. And then he says to all the Blenheim men "Did you near me at the nomination?" Statesman? Not he!

And then his ideas about the people whom he seeks to help to rule are very wild and Uninformed. He talks about runholders in a very ignorant way. Doesn't he know that Mr Seymour's run supports a great many men besides Mr Seymour? What does Mr Seymour do with all the money he gets on his wool? Who pays all the taxes on the tea and sugar used on Mr Seymour's runs? I suppose the time has been when Mr Henderson has boasted of the millions of pounds of wool clipped here every year—the time has been when he has bemoaned the fall in the price of wool as a national calamity—the time has been when he has rejoiced at the rise in the price of wool as national prosperity, and now—he tries to turn you against runholders—the men who are, and have been, the mainstay of the country.

I say that by his speeches he is neither logician nor stateman. Statesman? Not he!

But of all other things which, to my mind, show that he is no statesman, this is the chief. The Seymour party brought from all parts men who had a right to vote for the member for the Wairau. Had a right. Supposing that Mr H. H. Stafford came. I think his stake in the Wairau Electoral District requires representing as much as yours or mine. Mr Henderson's organ, the Express, condemns this kind of thing on page 4 of the issue of the 10th September in a foggy sentence ending in "absence of really good organisation," and also on page 6, in his account of the election. And yet both Henderson and the organ advocate as much suffrage as even you can get, but with this limitation—if you are absent at the time of the election, and won't vote on their side, your suffrage is forfeited. And they didn't want to "swamp the electorate," as they call it, with Brother Tom and Mr Rishworth, who haven't any stake in the place. Oh, Mr Henderson! what a fine statesman you are to argue thus. Grey is the Mahomet whom they follow; and on page 5 of the same issue, column 4, near the top, we are told that Grey's central committee will do the same thing Mr Seymour's committee did, viz, get him all the votes they can, either by steamer or special train. They had better devote their next leader to condemning their leader.

Now is Mr Henderson a statesman? Not he. Yours, etc.—