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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69


At the Oddfellows' Hall, Rattray street, this evening, Mr Leary addressed a meeting of electors in favour of his candidature for one of the city seats. There was a good attendance, and Mr A. Mouat was voted to the chair.

The Chairman said he had pleasure in presiding on the present occasion, as he had town Mr Leary for about 30 years, and spoke in the highest terms of his personal character.

Mr Leary said that he was pleased to see before him men representing every class in the community, and he was not surprised at that, because he had on many occasions been elected to the highest position in the gift of his fellaw citizens—a position he could not have attained were it not that he had been fortunate enough to secure the confidence of all classes; and he hoped he had given them no cause to say he had done anything to forfeit their good opinion. Having referred to the request of a deputation that he should become a candidate for one of the city seats, he said: I think it Would be unfair of me, Mr Chairman, to accede to the flattering request without letting you know what are my views on political questions, as I am conscious that some of them may not reflect popular opinion. It is well, therefore, that you should know what my opinions are; and if, after hearing them, you are prepared to accept me as a candidate, I shall place myself in your hands. I believe I may, with confidence, ask you to accept my assurance that the opinions I am about to express are not adopted by me merely for the purpose of the present election, but are the honest expression of my real sentiments. Not being identified with any class interest, I think I may fairly ask you to take it for granted that I approach the consideration of the various questions without the bias begot of self interest. My desire is that legislation tad administration of public affairs shall be in the interest of the people as a whole, and I am persuaded that this can be accomplished, and without doing injustice to any class, if we only secure as our representatives men of pure motives and lofty aspirations. I may say, that although I hold what may be regarded as Utopian views on some social and political questions, I trust I have sufficient sense to recognise that such views cannot be considered in connection with practical politics; they must simply be regarded as indicating a lofty ideal, the realisation of which is far off. I will therefore merely indicate them by saying that as the people generally become better educated, more thoughtful, and take a more intelligent interest in political and social questions, the nearer we shall approach an ideal state of society in which the brotherhood of man shall be practically recognised and the principle of Christianity dominate human affairs. There are, however, one or two planks in my ideal platform which may, I think, be considered as probable of realisation in the near future. For example, the more equal distribution of wealth. I do not think it to be the true interest of the State that wealth should be monopolised by a comparatively few people who, by the possession of it, shall be in a position to dictate terms to the rest of the community. Acting up to these views, I favour a large increase in the legacy and succession duties, sufficiently large to induce rich people to divide their wealth during their lifetime, and if they neglect to do so let the State succeed to a large portion of it. I am one of those who believe that