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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Letters to the People on the Political Situation

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Letters to the People on the Political Situation,

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Auckland W. Wilkinson, Central Printing Office 177 Queen St.


Letters to the People.

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No. I.


For nearly half a century, with hut one short interval, New Zealand has been governed by an oligarchy composed mainly of English capitalists or their nominees, land monopolists, and colonial plutocrats. The laws which have been enacted have, in consequence, conserved and promoted the interests of wealth, without simultaneously safeguarding the interests of the poor. A system of taxation has been devised by which the weight of the burdens of government has fallen upon the working classes, while the possessors of princely incomes have almost wholly escaped the payment of taxes. By this system of indirect taxation, the toilers have had to pay heavy duties upon almost every article of food they consumed, and every garment they wore. The effect has been that the great mass of the people have, through the unequal pressure of taxation, been kept in a state of poverty, and have been unable to avail themselves of the great opportunities of bettering their condition which a new country fairly governed would necessarily afford.

For many years a great and large-hearted statesman—Sir George Grey—has endeavoured, by the instrumentality of his matchless oratory, to awaken the people to a sense of their power, and to their duty in the interests of; themselves and their posterity to rightly exorcise it, but the unsparing and unscrupulous use of money, artifice, intrigue, calumny, and other weapons of the plutocrat party thwarted him at every step, and delayed the fruition of the hopes with which he began his career as the tribune of the people. His teaching, however, was not without result, and, at length, at the General Election, held in December last, the Democracy of New Zealand vigorously asserted itself, and returned to the House of Representatives a large majority pledged to overthrow the old monopolist regime, and to place in power a Ministry of the people. The Parliament met the continuous Ministry was ejected from office, and the present administration of Mr. John Ballance entrusted with the reins of Government. When it was seen by the Plutocrats and their entourage of hirelings and hangers-on that the defeat of that hybrid thing, Colonial Toryism, was real and smashing, their first feelings were those of consternation. They stood aghast. They believed that their day for plundering the masses was over, and that henceforward the colony was to be governed for the people, and by the people. But, from the effects of the blow received by the Liberal victory, those, whom I shall, for the future in these Letters, call the Tory party, are beginning to rally. They are not ready to admit the permanency of a popular triumph. They think they can re-organise and consolidate their shattered forces and make a determined effort to recover their lost position, and to restore the reign of a privileged and pampered Plutocracy, and a minority composed of the slaves of financial corporations. Hence we see throughout the colony that coteries of Tories have formed themselves into associations and societies, with vague and colourless programmes, which do not avow the real object or purpose which their originators, have in view, but are designed to hoodwink and entrap the unthinking and unwary. Here, in Auckland, the Tories have established what they call the "National Association." To the published programme of this Association every Liberal could subscribe, as it deals in vague generalities with regard to the principles of Legislation. But no Liberal is, or can be deceived as to page 3 the real character and objects of the organisation, which has been the outcome of so many secret meetings of timid little citizens, and the puppets and the deluded victims of the plutocracy. The National Association is the body by means of which it is sought to create a Tory re-action, to turn back the tide of political progress, and to re-establish the ascendancy of the plutocracy and their dependents. In order, therefore, that the Liberal victory at the last elections may be preserved and extended at the next general election into a universal triumph throughout the constituencies of the colony, it is incumbent on the Liberal party not to rest too long on their oars and allow their opponents, by the various tricks in which they are adepts, to win over any unthinking electors. It is necessary to organise, as the Tories are doing. It is necessary to widely disseminate among the people the fullest political information, and to enable every Liberal elector, if necessary, when called upon, to be able "to give a reason for the faith that is in him." The Tories have wealth, a groat portion of it foreign wealth, the possessors of which are but little concerned with the happiness of the New Zealand people. The Tories, therefore, have, in fighting the coming political battle, the immense advantage which abundant sinews of war manifestly supply. It is all the more necessary, therefore, for every Democrat, having the welfare of his country at heart, to use all honourable means at his command to enlighten his fellow countrymen with regard to the tactics of the Tory reactionaries, and to prevent the great force of New Zealand Liberalism from being sapped and weakened by their insidious and strategical assaults. I propose, in these letters, to briefly point out the miseries which the long domination of the plutocracy has inflicted upon the people of Now Zealand, the inestimable advantage to the masses of the people of preserving in power a thoroughly capable Liberal Government, and the unwisdom and folly for Liberals to allow themselves to be led away from allegiance to their party by any side issues, or those which can be fitly described as sectional or subordinate. Before proceeding further, I must warn you to accept with caution the statements and comments on political questions of the majority of the newspapers. With but few exceptions the Press of the colony is intensely Tory, and hostile to reform, and its teaching therefore is necessarily, and even avowedly, designed to overthrow the present Liberal Government, and to destroy the Liberal majority in Parliament. You should, therefore, look rather to the speeches of your political leaders than to articles in newspapers for the true exposition of your political faith and information as to its various phases and development.

Now to my task. I start with the proposition which is now admitted even by the most pronounced Tories (see Mr. Balfour's speech at Plymouth, on August 10th last) that the true end and object of all human Government ought to be "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." That this has not been the object aimed at during the long domination of the Tory party in New Zealand is but too painfully evident by the political, social, and economic wreckage with which the country is everywhere bestrewn. This magnificent colony, the Pearl of Oceania, unrivalled in the possession of all the gifts with which bountiful nature can gladden the heart of man, has been blighted, and stricken well nigh unto death, by a misrule as grievous as that of the Negroes of Hayti, or the Turks in Europe, and if the "bag and baggage" policy which Mr. Gladstone would, if allowed, apply to the latter, were adopted with regard to our land sharks and their dependent political quacks, the relief to the country would be immediate and incalculable.

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No. II

When the blood and treasure of England were poured forth like water to subdue the aboriginal races of these islands it was intended that the conquered country should be the heritage of the whole people of the United Kingdom; that here in a free atmosphere, unhampered by ancient traditions, there might arise a great nation of free men among whom the terrible contrasts of the extreme wealth and abject poverty of older nations might be unknown. But, firstly by cunning English Tory adventurers imbued with the idea of transplanting and rejuvenating here the obsolete and tottering institutions of the old land, and afterwards by colonial nouveaux riches, the best soil of the country was monopolised in areas equal to European principalities, and the bone and sinew of the country had to go and battle with the wilderness remote from civilization to eke out an existence, or floe from the country as a plague spot, and seek other climes whereon the shadow of the land cormorant had not yet fallen. The poet says:

"Ill faros the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay:"

Weath has accumulated abnormally in New Zealand, owing to land monopoly but it has been concentrated in the hands of the large landholders and their progeny, and the growth of the country's wealth has not been indicative of any general prosperity among the people. To exemplify the manner in which the soil of the colony has been appropriated by a few, I will give one or two instances. One man who lives in Europe, rarely visiting the colony, draws a revenue of £85,000 a year from land here. He pays but an insignificant sum in taxes and employs but a few labourers and shepherds on his runs. It is stated on official authority that there are 1140 absentee large landholders. There are 346 individuals, and 16 banking corporations and companies, who own among them 7,348,713 acres of the soil of New Zealand the unimproved value of which is £15,153,630. The Bank of New Zealand (now I suppose the Estates Company) owns a quarter of a million acres. Forty eight landholders have locked up and kept cut of cultivation 1,400,668. acres upon which they have not spent a single shilling. Sixteen hundred persons hold nearly 18,000,000 acres. Are not these appalling facts? Reflect for a moment how many prosperous families could be maintained on these 18,000,000 acres if they were available for settlement! And what an impetus would be given to trade and commerce in the cities and towns of the colony if thousands of human beings, with all the wants of civilized existence, were located on those fertile expanses, where now the solitude is unbroken save by the bleating of sheep and the lowing of cattle. Moreover, not content with monopolising the heritage of the colonists these Tory plutocrats have adroitly managed to shift nearly the whole cost of Government on the working classes. It is calculated that every man, woman, and child in the country has to pay £2 2s. 11d. every year in customs duties, or about 10d. per head per week. Therefore a working man married and having say five children, pays about six shillings a week in taxation through the customs. If we add to this the local taxation, by means of rates, which even if he owns no property he pays by accretions to his rent, we can form some idea how grievous is the burden under which the main body of the people are now groaning, and which is driving from our shores those who can by hook or by crook obtain the means of page 5 transporting themselves to other colonies. The system of taxation is a crying and shameful scandal. If the struggling workman with £2 a week pays about one fifth of his income in taxation why should not the man drawing £85,000 a year pay one fifth of his income also or £17,000 a year to the public exchequer? I ask you, are you, the voters of this colony, going to allow these evils to be stereotyped and perpetuated amongst you? Are you going to remain quiescent and cowed while a gang of Tory wirepullers are devising schemes to secure your permanent political helplessness and enslavement? No! Tell them in the words of Bishop Spalding, of Peoria, Illinois, U.S., that, "we will not tolerate vast wealth in the hands of men who do nothing for the people." The great orator Patrick Henry once said: "We can judge the future by the past! Look at the past! When Egypt went down 2 per cent of her population owned 97 per cent. of her wealth, the people were starved to death. When Babylon went down, 2 per cent, of her population owned all the wealth, the people were starved to death. When Persia went down, one per cent of her population owned all the land. When Pome went down, 1800 men owned all the known world. There are 10,000,000 people in Great Britain and Ireland and 100,000 people own all the land in the United Kingdom." The concentration of the land in the hands of a few necessarily ends to precipitate a nation to political and social death. The power of a plutocracy is always exerted to depress the mass of the people, and to make the rich richer. In America the people are being openly and shamelessly robbed by the plutocrats. In a recent issue of the Forum, Thomas G. Shearman shows that by indirect taxation the richest class in the United States gains upon all the other classes of the community at the rate of £200,000,000 per annum. "Nine-tenths—he says—of the rates and taxes in the Union are paid by the poorer classes. One tenth is paid by the very few and the very rich." How truly in respect of these statements might we apostrophise New Zealand and say Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.

No. III.

In addition to disinheriting the people and eluding the tax-gatherer by heaping the cost of Government upon the masses, the Tory party in this colony have, until quite recently, kept their power by means of the plural vote. By this infamous device the large property owners were enabled to place their nominees in the greater number of constituencies, and the voice of the people was stifled and unheard. It was not men who were represented, but property. For many weary years your great leader, Sir George Grey, endeavoured to remove this gross abuse, but he was ridiculed, buffeted, scoffed at, until at length at the end of the last Parliament he succeeded by page 6 an ingenious political manoeuvre in winning for the people the recognition of the great and sacred principle of political equality, or One Man One Vote. It is still however possible, as registration is allowed in more than one electoral district, for great abuses to take place undetected, and one of the first reforms for the present Government to effect must be the total abolition of all electoral qualifications except the residential. This will place all men on an absolute equality, and enable every man to vote only in the district where he resides.

It is therefore absolutely demonstrated that the Tory party have in the past, during their long and almost unbroken tenure of office since the earliest day's of the colony, not had the interests of the masses at heart, but their whole policy and aim has been to reproduce a facsimile of England, with its very rich and its very poor. They have sought to establish here a nation of serfs and beggars, ruled by an irresponsible and insolent plutocracy, whose domination the "inarticulate masses would be helpless to overthrow.

Now, what is the mission of the Government to whom you have given your mandate by your votes last December? The primary, the fundamental object of that mission, the one that overshadows every other object and desire, is to secure by law that the legally expressed will of the majority of the people shall be the law of the land. This is the first work to be accomplished by the Liberal party, for until it is accomplished our energies and strength may be frittered away and exhausted in achieving but the most meagre legislative results. Now what is the state of things at the present time? You have elected a majority of members of the House of Representatives pledged to carry out a policy of justice to the people, a policy based on the principle that "the object of politics is the common good not the advantage of sections." A number of measures have been sanctioned, and as far as they could do so passed into law by those representatives. Why then are the measures not in the Statute Book? Because a chamber of persons representing nobody, most of them of feeble intellect through age and infirmity, many of them ignorant and unlettered, and almost all very strongly imbued with intense selfishness and devotion to the interests of wealth, have without apology and almost without comment, contemptuously rejected the measures which the constitutionally chosen representatives of the people with great labour and at great monetary cost had enacted! You must therefore resolve that this obstruction shall henceforward cease. You are not children, but full-grown self-governing citizens. Is it not therefore an absurdity and an anachronism that an irresponsible coterie should exist which by the exercise of its mere will can stop all reform, ignore your wishes and most cherished aspirations, render useless and unworkable your Parliament, and plunge the country into agitation and turmoil unnecessarily. The Legislative Council is an institution suitable only for nations in the infancy of representative government, and it is as obsolete as the thumb-screw and "Traitor's gate." It must therefore be abolished root and branch, and the government of the country entrusted solely to a single Chamber. Why is the government of cities by Municipal Councils not subject to review by a second Chamber? Or the government of counties by County Councils? If there were only one Chamber your representatives would have a stronger sense of responsibility, and greater care and caution would be exercised than at present in passing laws. To satisfy the very timid but honest and well meaning people who have fears of rash and empiric legislation from a tingle Chamber it might be enacted that page 7 important organic changes should be passed by Parliament in two consecutive sessions before becoming law.

When you shall have made your legislative machinery workable and secured true and complete representation, then there is a herculean work to be done by your legislators. Firstly, as to great questions of policy, your Parliament will require to exert its highest intelligence and power. The system of taxation must be completely overhauled and re-modelled. The present system of indirect taxation through the Custom House is not only radically unjust in its incidence, but it is the most wasteful system of levying taxes that blundering incompetence could devise. It is wasteful in the enormous expense of collecting; it is penal in its effect on the working classes. If an importer pays 20 per cent, duty on an article it is safe to affirm that that amount is doubled as an element of cost to the consumer; because the importer has to pay the duty to the Customs before he can get delivery of his goods, and he adds on a large sum to compensate him for being out of his money from the date of its payment until he disposes of his goods. The correct adjustment of the tariff will however tax all the skill of your, statesmen, because the exemption of imported goods from all taxation, though correct in theory and suitable of application in certain given circumstances, would not be practicable or expedient here at present. Industries in a now country require a fostering hand from the Government, and city populations of artizans must be kept in the colony to afford a ready market to our farmers for their produce. There are however multitudes of articles in the tariff which are not and could not be manufactured in the colony, and the cheapening of the cost of which would do much towards increasing the comfort and sweetening the life of the masses of the people, and such things should be admitted free of duty. Everything having an educational tendency should also be admitted free, such as books, pictures, and works of art of all kinds. The same may be said of articles which alleviate suffering, such as medicines. An outrageous impost is now levied on the medicines which are most extensively used by the workers, and many thousands of pounds annually are under this head exacted from the offering poor. The land tax imposed in the last session of Parliament must be judiciously developed and extended so that the future unearned increment of the value of land shall belong to the whole people who create such value. In the time of George III. in England the land tax was 4s. in the pound, and from time immemorial war taxes (which formed the chief element of expenditure), were always levied upon the land. The ignorant Tory critics of the present Liberal Government raise a howl that confiscation is intended when a proposal is made to revert—though in a very attenuated form—to the most ancient English tax, and a tax which in all ages of history has in nearly all civilized nations been the method by which Government has been carried on. It will further be the duty of Parliament to resume possession of large blocks of accessible land now held as great sheep runs. Compensation, to be assessed by a proper tribunal, must of course be paid to those dispossessed; but the land is urgently required for settlement, and the interests of the squatters must give way to the public necessities.

The laws against combinations must be thoroughly revised, so that all shall possess equal freedom to combine for lawful purposes. The criminal law is the most chaotic and almost the most barbarous of any civilized nation, and complete revision is absolutely essential. The question of the means of transit by land and sea, a question which vitally affects, and I may say is page 8 bound up with the life and happiness of the people, is also waiting to be considered, and must ere long receive attention. The preposterous proposal advocated by Mr. C. E. Button, Solicitor to the Globo Assets Company (who is personally a most estimable man), that we should sell our railways, can never be entertained or listened to by any sane democrat. It is a covert attempt to bring us under the yoke of what would become an omnipotent monopoly. We might just as well be asked to sell our Courts of Justice and Post and. Telegraph systems. The people of the United States are groaning under the incubus of the railway combinations, and the manner in which the interests of the citizens are protected by the great plutocrats is vividly pictured by the historic aphorism of Jay Gould, the Railway King, "Damn the public."

No. IV.

The possibilities which are open to a true democratic Government in New Zealand are stupendous and far-reaching. If you choose level-headed men, devoted to the popular cause, as your representatives, a complete transformation in the present conditions of life among the great body of the people i; possible of accomplishment in a future by no means remote. As a distinguished writer recently observed, "Government is only a machine to insure justice and help the people, and we have not yet developed half its powers. And we are under no more necessity to limit ourselves to the governmental precedents of our ancestors than we are to confine ourselves to the narrow boundaries of their knowledge or their inventive skill." There does not appear to me to be any well-grounded reason against the State doing its own banking, and receiving for public uses the immense profit now made by private financial corporations by a paper money circulation. A State guarantee for a five pound note would surely be as good as that of a company with limited capital. Then again if it be right for the State to carry its people and produce in railway trains, there does not appear to be any â priori reason against carrying them if necessary in steamships. When the time is expedient therefore the colony may well engage in the carrying trade by its own steamers on its own coasts. But it is unnecessary to further dilate upon the reforms and undertakings which are practicable in the interests of the people by a capable Liberal Government. Whatever can be demonstrated to be feasible, and will promote the comfort and well being of the whole population, may reasonably be adopted and carried out. The concerted action of the whole people exerted through their legally appointed executive is capable of carrying out works of a magnitude impossible in the past, even to the most powerful combinations of capitalists. And it is certain that the sphere within which the State may employ its almost limitless capacity and power is rapidly page 9 widening, and that the somnolent and stagnation policy of laissez faire has been absolutely and irrevocably discarded. The success which has attended Government Post Offices, Telegraphs, Life Insurance, &c., but dimly foreshadow the benefits which the people as a whole will receive in the future from the great enterprises of the State.

Now, the Tory party will strenuously oppose any extension of the sphere of action or influence of the State in civic and social life. The Tories are the staunch upholders of individualism, fierce competition and non-intervention by the State. The watchword of Toryism is "self," the battle-cry of Liberalism is "brotherhood." It matters not to the Tories that you point to the blessings of concerted action by the people as evidenced by magnificent Free libraries, Free Art Galleries, beautiful Public Parks and Gardens, cheap Postage, safe Life Insurance, and other advantages: they will tell you the Government—that is the people collectively—ought to leave such things to what they call "private enterprise" and benevolence, and that it destroys the manliness and the self-reliance of the people to provide such intellectual and physical advantages for them at the general expense. Every step you cause Government to take in advance will be fiercely and determinedly opposed by the Tory party. It is therefore of the highest importance that you should thoroughly organise yourselves, for in your union lies strength. The reason why the masses of the people have been kept in a state of serfdom through so many centuries is that they had no organisation and no means of organising. Your power collectively is irresistible, but unorganised you can be beaten in detail by the well organised capitalist class, among whom even without any formal organisation there always exists a strong esprit de corps. Combination therefore in societies, or a great federation or association, is the talisman, the "open sesame," to a complete and triumphant democratic political victory. Every worker ought to belong to a society, an organisation under whatever name, where his influence as a unit in the commonwealth may be usefully employed when the occasion arises. There can be no great success without organisation and the discipline which that necessarily entails. Therefore the workers ought to unite in a great political association, outride of their own special trades unions. The liberal Association which was established last year in Auckland seems at once to offer a rallying point for all true democrats and to be the nucleus of a great and powerful association which might ensure at future elections in this part of the colony the success of Liberals in every constituency. I would suggest therefore that you should all join or be represented in this energetic and growing society. Remember that your enemies have organised in the National Association, though they have not the candour to avow their true principles, but seek to achieve success by borrowing Liberal plumes and imposing on the artless and guileless electors. It appears that this Tory National Association refused to identify itself with the honest and outspoken Conservatives, who were not afraid to publish their principles on the house-top and to stand by them. The crafty leaders of the Association thought they might imitate the exploit of the Greeks at the siege of Troy, and capture the citadel by assuming a harmless disguise. But no one is deceived, and the true colours of the National Association are just as well known to everybody, and specially to Liberals, as if they were emblazoned on their charter. The National Association people would perhaps do well to think over this extract from La Bruyère: "Cunning leads to Knavery; it is but a step from one to the other, and that very slippery; Lying only makes the difference; add to that cunning, and it is Knavery."

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No. V.

The Tory Press of the colony has sot up a howl that the policy of the present Ministry in imposing a Land Tax has the effect of frightening capital from the colony, and all sorts of dismal forebodings are indulged in as to the future. These vapourings need not cause you much uneasiness. We do not want hero capitalists owning large tracts of land, and thereby having practically the power of life and death over their fellow men. Capitalists did nothing for the settlers north of Auckland. And where will you find a hardier and, all things considered, a happier race of men than those whose homesteads are dotted round the bays and inlets on our northern coast? And in the main the settlers in the north had to be content with moderately fertile, and, in many cases, poor land, while the capitalists swallowed the rich plains of the south. We can find ample capital among ourselves to clear, fence, and cultivate the soil of the country, and Nature will supply the crops in superabundance. It will be an unmixed blessing if English land speculators are for ever effectively warned away from the colony. They are of no more use to the country than locusts. The absentee capitalist, especially if he be a land cormorant, is a perpetual drain upon our resources. He levies a tribute upon the labour of the people here, and disburses that tribute in foreign lands. His capital pauperises instead of fructifying the colony. What possible benefit, for instance, is it to us that Mr. Balfour, the late Secretary for Ireland, should own, as he does, a large tract of land in Canterbury? But there are those who unflinchingly contend that the colony should encourage the growth of great estates, and welcome the money of English nobles and plutocrats to be invested in our lands. What would be your fate in the near future if you, were deluded by the specious arguments of the Tories on this subject? If the Land Tax were repealed, and unrestricted monopoly in land permitted, the evils which have followed from the great estate system in England would be renewed and intensified amongst us. Listen to what Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, M.P., says in his "Unauthorised Programme," with regard to the state of the English peasantry, "The hard lot of our peasantry is, as a rule, accepted by them in silence, and their sufferings are but little known outside their circle. The life of the labourer may be said to be one long grind of human toil, unrelieved by holidays or recreation. Happy if he escapes sickness and loss of work. With no pleasures in the present, and the horizon of the future bounded only by the workhouse and the grave, he works on to the end to escape "the parish," which he dreads. Strength, however, fails at last, and he then has to rely on a scanty "out-door relief," or he goes into the "House." In duo time he is reported dead, and so ends a long life of toil in which he has added, who shall say how much, to that stock of national wealth so small a portion of which has fallen to his share."

Now is this a picture which you would like to represent the agricultural population of this free land? But the Liberals who repealed the Property tax cannot even by the most mendacious of their adversaries, be said to be the foes of capital. The National Association and all the other Tory upholders of the Property tax are the real enemies of the capitalist, because they taxed him whether his capital was earning anything or not. But the Liberals allow him to go scot free unless his capital is producing an income, or unless he be a large land-holder. Another reform that the permanent interests of the people call for, is the abolition of the power of what is known as the "Settlement" of landed page 11 property, whereby land may be locked up and rendered incapable of being sold (except by order of the Supremo Court) for practically an indefinite period. This is really just as effective as the old power of entail for keeping land in the possession of a few individuals. The freedom of disposition by will should also be curtailed. While I would leave a man absolute discretion in the disposal by will of his money, goods, and personal property of every-description, I think a compulsory division of landed property among his children after his death (as in France) would be a reform which would be attended by most beneficent results. The tendency to the accumulation of landed property to gratify family pride should be combated at an early stage of the colony's growth, and compulsory subdivision at death is probably the most effective way in which the excessive growth of estates may be prevented. It was thoe great estates that ruined Italy. We are told that shortly before its fall in the Roman Republic "large sections of the country were depopulated of freemen, while Rome swarmed with a horrible population of half savage paupers, who were only kept in good humour by doles." (J. A. Picton, M.P., "The Conflict of Oligarchy and Democracy.")

If the democracy of New Zealand cannot work out its own destiny, and that a high one, then truly must faith in mankind be despairingly given up. You have, such as no former people had, the experiences and examples of the nations of the past made common knowledge by the unprecedented expansion of literature. The disasters which have befallen the peoples of old through allowing the political power and the land to be monopolised by the wealthy are painted in lurid colours in the pages of history. Let the lessons which they teach be ineffaceably impressed on your minds, and operate to prevent you from allowing a criminal apathy with regard to public affairs from paralysing your power. Take your rightful place in the Constitution,—that is to govern! Every man should as a matter of simple duty take care that he is registered on the roll of electors. Every man of 21 years of age and upwards can now be registered as an elector. No qualification by property or house-holding is now necessary. We have manhood suffrage. Therefore every man's name should he on the electoral roll. Any qualified person can get his name registered on the electoral roll by applying to the Registrar of Electors, whose office is in the Resident Magistrate's Court building in High-street. No fee is payable. I would strongly urge upon all the necessity of registering your names as electors. At election times it frequently happens that large numbers are unable to vote through not having applied in time to be placed on the electoral roll. Now your adversaries take great care that every vote they can rely upon is safely registered. Therefore take a leaf out of their book, and be in time. The trouble is slight and the advantage incalculable. Then when an election comes around do not allow any business whatever to prevent you from voting. The vote which you hold is a sacred trust which every individual should conscientiously fulfil by voting. No one should think or say, as too often unfortunately happens, "Oh! a single vote won't make much difference. I cannot conveniently go to the polling booth." If many act in this way it is evident a large number of votes are lost. Every one who abstains from voting when he is called upon to do so, except physically incapable, is guilty of a grave breach of duty, and his abstention might be the means of bringing great evils upon his country. The heads of societies should get supplies of application for registration forms, and see that all the members of their body are correctly registered on the electoral roll of their proper district.

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If the democracy of New Zealand does its duty a magnificent future is before the colony. Her position enables her to dominate for the purposes of peace and commerce the great archipelago of the South Pacific. Her resources and climate combine to furnish the materials to make a great and happy people. Nothing is wanting but good laws and just government. Let the democracy frame laws which will promote the acquisition of moderate wealth and discourage the accumulation of excessive riches, which will extinguish monopoly of natural advantages, which will preserve the freedom, the independence, the health, the manhood of its workers, above all their manhood, for as the immortal bard says, "He is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man." If only these things be done then in truth an auspicious future is before you, a nobler fame than that of Greece awaits you, and priceless indeed will be the heritage of your descendants who shall inhabit these islands in the coming time.

W. Wilkinson, Central Printing Office, 177 Queen St.