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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70



But sentiment is a good servant and a bad master. It is not to be trifled with. The other day it led to a run on the bank in Sydney, and it has sometimes plunged nations into war. Commercial panics, religious persecutions, and political upheavals have resulted from sentiment. We ought to be very careful lest we do anything to cause a panic, and we should cautiously criticise governments and public measures, because it is so easy to create a scare. This sentiment or fear is locking up much capital at present. Mr. Battley, head of one of the greatest financial institutions in the Colony, and whose public utterances are most significant, said to a representative of the Press, the other day," . . . if moderate counsels obtain, and inequalities and blots in the Act of last session are adjusted by the Government . . . so that everyone has a fair chance, with avoidance of mere class legislation, then, page 8 so far as I could hear, there is a general disposition to let the party in power have a fair innings." Exactly so. I would fight tooth and nail for any Government which will do that; but can we expect it from a Government which studiously slights Chambers of Commerce and Employers' Associations, and defers to Trade and Labour Councils? which treats landowners as "social pests," and pays workingmen more than its own officers certify they are entitled to? When properly directed, sentiment impels men to benign activity; but when it gets the ascendancy of reason, it crucifies the world's best benefactors.