COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TO MESSRS. KINGSTON AND YOUNG.
The above event took place at the Rising Sun on Wednesday, the 17th December. About 50 persons were present, but a very much larger number would have been in attendance had it not been for the reaping operations which had just commenced in the neighbourhood. But it was said on all hands, by the oldest inhabitants, that the assemblage was one of the most thoroughly respectable that had ever been drawn together at a public dinner in Auburn. No fewer than eight gentlemen in the Commission of the Peace were present, and the rest comprised most of the neighboring settlers and others holding a large stake in the district. It is almost superfluous to say anything about the quality of the dinner; sufficient to observe that it was in every respect worthy of the host’s reputation. The chair was taken by E. B. Gleeson, Esq., S.M., and the vice-chair by A. E. Davies, Esq., J.P., of Clare. The Chairman was supported by the guests of the evening, Messrs. Kingston and Young, and J. Gleeson, J. P., and J. Jacobs, J. P. On the right and left of the Vice-Chairman were seated Arthur King, Esq., T. Ward, Esq., J.P., and Richard Read, Esq., of Gawler.
The Chairman proposed the usual loyal toasts—’The Queen,’ ‘The Prince of Wales and the Royal Family,’ and ‘The Health of His Excellency Sir Dominick Daly.’ He said His Excellency, though indisposed lately, was very anxious to visit Auburn, and always expressed himself as greatly pleased with the genuine and enthusiastic reception he experienced at Auburn on his late visit, and had stated his intention of visiting the district again, if possible, on the occasion of the next agricultural dinner.
Drunk with musical honors.
Song—’The Bould Soger Boy.’
Mr. Taylor proposed ‘The Army and Navy.’ He felt sorry that he had been called on so soon, for he was not quite prepared to speak to so important a toast. He had read somewhere lately of a Yankee, who had endeavoured to sow the seeds of sedition in the United Kingdom, but he felt confident that, notwithstanding all the boasting of the Americans, 100,000 Englishmen were quite competent to thrash 150,000 Americans. Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen were all united now, and together they were able to fight against all comers, and were proof against all temptations to commit treason; and one of the gentlemen whom they had been fortunate enough to secure as their representatives, had by his energy and ability effected a great work in connection with the Volunteer movement; and if he possessed no other good quality, that one alone was sufficient to recommend him to any constituency. Mr. R. Cole returned thanks for the ‘Army and Navy.’ He should have liked the response to have fallen into more eloquent hands, for he was not accustomed to public speaking. The good deeds of the Army and Navy were well-known, and we have one proof of their achievements in the fact of our presence in this colony; for had they not established the pre-eminence of England, English colonies could not have been established either in this or any other part of the world.
Mr. George S. Kingston, M.P., said—I hoped that Mr. Cole’s response to the toast would have been considered sufficient, as that gentleman has served in the army. I need not recount the brave deeds of the English army and navy, for they were matters of history, and I am proud to say that no occasion could be called to mind on which they turned their backs to a foe. The volunteers had yet to be proved, but I believe that whenever the emergency arose they would not be found wanting. They had had but little to do as yet, except drill and practice, but the last reports showed how great their proficiency had been in those matters. I have carefully compared the firing at Wimbledon with the firing at the last rifle matches in this colony, and in proportion to the numbers, and the respective efficiency of the weapons, I find the colonial firing was quite equal, if not superior, to the English firing. It had been said that the climate was much better adapted for firing, but such was not the case, for the excessive refraction materially interfered with the shooting here, especially at long ranges.
Song—’The flag that’s braved a thousand years.’
The Chairman said that he never rose to propose a toast with more satisfaction than the one which he was about to submit them. For the first time in their political history they had returned good men and true. Mr. Kingston was well known as an old Parliamentary veteran, and his past career had proved him to be an honest, straightforward man—unbiassed by either party feeling or private friendship—and although Mr. Young had not been proved in the same way, yet he was well known throughout the district as a just and honorable man—upright in all his dealings, and possessed of business talents. He considered the electors of Stanley had wisely acted in electing the present members, and was quite sure that their future career in Parliament would justify the wisdom of their choice. He concluded by proposing their representatives in Parliament—Messrs. Kingston and Young.
Mr. Kingston, M.P., in responding, said, I feel a difficulty in responding to the toast, after hearing the catalogue of virtues which the Chairman has bestowed on me. I feel grateful to you on the present occasion, but I remember the time when I felt more thankful still, and that was when I was elected after coming before you as an untried man. With reference to my future Parliamentary career. I am unable to say what it will be, as the Ministry have not yet explained their future course of action. The Ministers in addressing their respective constituents distinctly repudiated the programme of last session; and it will be for them to reconcile the inconsistency of their conduct, if they meet the new Parliament with an opposite policy to that they enunciated in the last session. If they adhered to their former programme, I feel sure they will not hold office ten hours. I have no personal antipathies, but will judge measures, not men, and give my support to those which are for the good of the constituency I represent, and the colony at large.
Mr. George Young, M.P., in returning thanks, said—I thank you very heartily for the manner in which you have received me this evening, and for the cordiality with which you have drunk the toast, and to which I am called on to respond. I would take this opportunity of explaining the reasons which induced me to come forward as a candidate for the representation of this large and important district. When first invited to stand by several friends, I declined, feeling unequal to the task, and having an idea that my health would not allow me to do so. But when I found that only one candidate was in the field I consented to come forward, as I could not plead the most valid of all excuses, want of time; and the conviction forced itself on me that if I did not, I should be neglecting a plain and obvious duty. But had any one else come forward who would have been likely to please the electors, I should have withdrawn from the contest. But I could not give way to my only opponent—only one I say, because Mr. Finniss was scarcely looked upon as a candidate, inasmuch as he only came forward at the last moment, issued no address to the electors, nor took any other steps to make his opinions known in the district. I was much gratified at being placed at the head of the poll in Auburn, because I am best known, and have been more connected with it than any other place in the district. I am sure Mr. Kingston will not be disposed to envy me this small gratification, for he invariably had a strong muster of friends in this township. With regard to Parliamentary matters, all local questions shall have my best support; and with reference to the Wallaroo-road, I saw the Surveyor-General a few days ago, who told me that a party of labourers would shortly be sent to clear a road along the telegraph line, and to construct the long-promised dams. As this district owed its rise to the traffic caused by the opening of the Burra Mine, the copper being formerly carried through Auburn to Port Wakefield; and as that traffic has diverted to another channel, so any expedient by which the distance between here and Wallaroo can be diminished will be certain to benefit the district, by opening up a most important market for the sale of your produce. In regard to more general matters, I have nothing whatever to expect from the Government, and my vote will therefore be perfectly unbiassed by either party feeling or private interest. I am against frequent changes in the Ministry, for I believe it is the chief aim of the Ministry of the day to carry out the wishes of the population, and therefore shall feel it my duty to support the Ministry in power ; and I hope, when I meet you again after the first session of Parliament, you will accord me an equally warm reception.
Dr. Ward, J.P., proposed ‘The Land we live in.’ He alluded to the fine country and its fertility, and regretted that the farmers were so harassed and injured by the want of labour. Nearly every one in the district was seriously injured by this great evil, and there was no remedy for it but in the resumption of immigration.
Mr. Brewer responded. He said one of the greatest blessings we enjoyed in this land was in having such a good and wise Queen to rule over us—a lady who, under one of the severest dispensations of Providence, had acted with Christian fortitude and resignation; but, how ever fine the land itself might be, its fertility was of little use without labor to work it. The farmers were spoken of sometimes as a grumbling race, but now they had something real to grumble about. His brother farmers, brother sufferers he might call them, were all loudly complainining (sic) of this great evil, and he regarded the stoppage of immigration as one of the worst evils that had ever befallen the land. He never had been for grinding down men’s wages or tyrannizing over them, but must confess that when he paid men he liked to be master. But under the present system the men were the masters and did as much as they pleased.
The VICE-CHAIRMAN proposed ‘The Parliament of South Australia.’ He thought our Parliament would bear a favorable comparison with those of the other colonies, for we never heard here of the disgraceful scenes which too frequently disgraced the Legislatures of other countries. He believed the members of our Parliament to be on the whole honest, straightforward, and gentlemanly men. He begged to couple with the toast the names of Messrs. Kingston and Young.
Mr. Young, M.P., as junior member, was called on to respond, but said he thought Mr. Kingston, who was the oldest member, was most competent to respond.
Mr. Kingston, M.P., had always been of the opinion that it was the duty of the junior member to respond to a toast of this kind, but in reply would say that he would always endeavor to do his duty and merit their approbation.
Mr. Kingston, M.P., proposed ‘Our Working Committee.’ He said a good cause was of little avail unless there were plenty of true and good friends to support it; for wanting them, there was a great chance of being defeated through the base underhand methods adopted by unworthy opponents. There was no occasion during the last election to publish pungent placards, inasmuch as their opponent with singular kindness and generosity furnished them with two letters, addressed to two persons of opposite opinions,—the one letter promising white, the other black, and thus conduced to the result they were met to celebrate to-night.
Mr. Young, M.P., was anxious to support the toast, for the Committee worked very hard, and on that Committee were persons whom he little expected to see there.
The Vice-Chairman responded on behalf of the Clare Committee. He said there was an old adage, ‘Show me your friends and I will tell you what you are;’ but it might be affixed to another matter—’Show me the Parliamentary representatives of a country, and I will tell you what the people are.’ He did not take much interest in the election at first, but when he found the nature of the opposition he determined to work heart and soul to prevent so great a disgrace being inflicted on the district.
Mr. Joseph C. Bleechmore responded on behalf of the Auburn Committee. He said the whole of Mr. Young’s supporters were men who had a stake in the district, and who were therefore anxious to secure able and respectable members. It was surprising to see on the morning of the day of election men of standing in the district meet in groups, and without any previous organisation, consult on the best means to effect the end they had in view.
Mr. Thompson Priest responded on behalf of the Mintaro Committee. He said the people of Mintaro had so much confidence in Mr. Kingston’s and in Mr. Young’s personal character that there was scarcely any work to do.
Mr. R. M. Cole, J.P., responded on behalf of Ryhnie. He said the people in his part of the district all voted the right way with but one exception. He should like to take that opportunity of impressing on their members the necessity for the introduction of more labor. It was pitiable to see corn wasting here which would suffice to feed hundreds of the starving at home. He thought something should be done in Parliament to bring out those starving people on a large scale.
Mr. John Jacobs. J P., of Penwortham, proposed ‘Lady Daly and the Ladies of South Australia.’ When away sometimes in the Far North, he felt the loss of ladies’ society, and was always glad to return home again and find himself surrounded by his family.
Mr. Arthur King responded in a clever and sensible speech.
Mr. Thirkhide, in a lengthy speech, proposed ‘The Yeomanry of South Australia.’
‘The Chairman,’ ‘Vice-Chairman,’ ‘Press,’ ‘Host,’ and Hostess,’ followed, and then the company broke up. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the meeting was the entire confidence in the members, which every person in the room appeared to feel.