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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

His Excellency's Reply

His Excellency's Reply.

His Excellency the Governor (the Earl of Onslow), on coming forward to reply to the address, was received with loud and prolonged cheering. He spoke as follows:—Your Worship and gentlemen: I receive with very great pleasure the address which you have just presented me. The day is one of which you may well be proud, and the proudest feature of it is the presence here of some of those pioneers of colonisation who witnessed the first hoisting of the British flag in Her Majesty's name—(loud cheers)—an act which secured to them and to you all the privileges which are enjoyed by those who live under her constitutional rule. (Cheers.) Finding as I do in this country all the modern requirements of civilisation now constantly at hand, it is difficult for me adequately to appreciate the courage, the self-reliance, and the physical stamina which must have been possessed by these men and by others who set themselves the task of turning a wilderness into a garden, and opening up to their fellow countrymen such a land of promise. On a previous and somewhat similar occasion, I pointed how vividly the contrast between the condition of the colony to-day and fifty years ago strikes a resident among you, and a student of your history, I refrain therefore from again calling attention to that which must be patent to every careful observer. (Cheers.) It has never been the policy of the British Government to foster colonising enterprise by artificia aids, or pecuniary assistance, and as a result our countrymen look upon their conquests of the axe and the plough as essentially their own, and can claim the right to a complete freedom for their institutions. (Loud cheers.) Whatever may be thought of this policy, if it be true that nothing succeeds like success, it may be claimed for it that the colonial policy of no other nation has been attended with similar results. It has been shown that an attempt to import into a new country a ready-made system of government, with a host of officials for its administration, has failed to win for any nation such an Empire as that which is scattered over every sea, but is bound together by the Crown of England. (Prolonged cheers.) That Empire owes its rise to the marvellous power of self-government, the special attribute of the Anglo-Saxon race, which is capable of being adapted to all circumstances and to every climate. No Englishman can claim a knowledge of his country page 56 who has not studied this development of Greater Britain, and none have studied it more closely than Her Majesty the Queen (loud and prolonged cheering)—and her son the Prince of Wales. (Renewed cheers. It is no empty compliment to say that Her Majesty will learn with interest of our proceedings to-day, but it is a fact that I should be held grievously wanting in my duty were I not faithfully to record so important an event in this distant, but beautiful and fertile part of Her Majesty's dominions. The expression of loyalty to Her Majesty's throne and person, which this celebration has evoked, will be received at home with the same feelings of gratitude and satisfaction by the Queen, that they have called forth in her representative in this colony. (Cheers.)

Replying to the personal welcome extended by the Mayor to himself and the other representatives of Her Majesty present, His Excellency said that unfortunate circumstances in his family prevented the fulfilment of the promise made when he passed through Auckland, that he would return to visit them again at the conclusion of the session of Parliament, but he was glad that his first stay should be ushered in by so auspicious an event as the celebration of the Jubilee of the colony. (Cheers.) Referring to the Mayor's expressions of gratitude to His Excellency for declaring the day to be an official holiday throughout the colony, he pointed out that the days on which holiday should be made ought essentially to be selected by the representatives of the people, and in such matters he deferred entirely to the advice of his Ministers, who were doubtless desirous to abide by traditional and long-established custom. (Cheers.) He thanked the Mayor for his kind expressions respecting Lady Onslow—(cheers)—who was endeavouring to take his place in fulfilling the duties of hospitality towards another of Her Majesty's representatives in Australia at the other end of the colony. (Cheers.) Indeed, the only difficulty which he experienced in the administration of the Government was that none of the centres could see what the Governor could possibly want to do in any other, and each of them pointed out that his duty was to spend twelve months out of every year in their city. (Laughter and cheers.) Even Sir Boyle Roche never claimed that his bird could be in more than two places at once, but the wildest flight of Celtic imagination had never conceived such divisibility as was expected of the Governor of New Zealand. (Laughter and prolonged cheers.)