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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79


page 44

Ladies and Gentlemen,—

Permit one, who being for an extended period a close and interested observer of passing public events, but precluded by position in the public service from taking any active part in the mould of the same, now at liberty, to express press the joyous exaltation the realisation of that freedom brings. The knowledge gained, the reflections made, during twenty-five years of the middle of a man's life, are by no means the least valuable of his possessions. During such Interval he learns to modify or to strengthen the impression or opinions of younger days, here something is east there something is added to. Such been my own experience, and though I have not been led to abandon nay of the main fixed ideas or principles with which I started in public life, in the four, 1979, I have, I trust, learned much which causes me to weigh and consider with more evenness of mind matters deserving of more extended consideration, than the youthful man, eager to reach a quick conclusion, is apt to possess. This matured thought and experience I now propose to place at the service of the electors of Eden. If upon further acquaintance with my views and methods, you decide to entrust me with the high honour of representing you in Parliament, well and good. I shall esteem that honour at a very high value and seek to deserve it. If, on the other hand, you cannot, because of divergence of opinion between us, entrust me with your confidence; again I say, well and good, and, however much in such case I may be disposed to have a doubt as to your wisdom, we will remain as now, good friends. I am anxious, however, that under all circumstances it be quite understood, that the views I put before you during this election, as being my opinions upon essential points of public policy or administration, are my views, and it is upon them and your trust in my honesty and capacity, you are to elect me. I am not ready to drop what I deem primary considerations, merely because some portion of the constituency desires, me to adopt others. In the course of the remarks I have to make, it will be necessary to trouble you with some financial, statistical and other references, usually deemed and termed "dry." I make no apology to you for doing so, as a proper understanding of the subjects treated is impossible without them, and I am not using any flattery when I express my belief that Eden electors will welcome all proper material put before them by candidates. In any case, you are a "dry" district, capable of sustaining yourselves under a fusillade of figures, though I promise I will make them as light and refreshing as possible.