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To the Electors of Kiama.

Gentlemen,—In my absence, and without my consent, you have re-elected me to the seat which, by four previous elections, you entrusted to me as your representative in Parliament.

I hope I shall be pardoned if I acknowledge that I should have been glad if your choice at the present time had fallen upon some other person identified with the political interests I have advocated. I believe it would have been better for myself, and perhaps better for all, if I had been left at liberty to take my own course, uninfluenced by any public considerations. Nor can I shut my eyes to the truth that it is not desirable that persons in my situation should be elected to the Legislature.

I feel, nevertheless, I hope with becoming gratitude, that you have conferred upon me a great honour, and that I ought not lightly to disregard your wishes after this manifestation of your continued confidence, which has been marked by a majority of votes in my favour in every part of the constituency. Putting aside the advice of friends, who, I fear, set too high a value on my ability to serve the public, I do not think I should be justified in causing you the trouble and annoyance of another election by declining to accept the duties and responsibilities of your representation.

I am, Gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,

HENRY PARKES.

Sydney, November 8, 1870.

In due time I took my seat. Strange proceedings had attended the formation of a new Administration which had just been sworn. The chief of the retiring Ministry had been appointed to the high office of Agent-General in England after his defeat in Parliament and before his final relinquishment of office. The leader of the Opposition in the late Ministerial defeat and a leading member of the defeated Ministry had, without any new


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circumstance to bridge over their political differences, coalesced in the new Government. My first speech was delivered in condemnation of the appointment of Agent-General. The leading journal of the colony next morning came out with a volley of abuse against me for my speech; admitting that the appointment was bad, said the critic, I was not the person to condemn it. Incredible as it may appear to strangers, and Quixotic as it appears to myself at this distance of time, I thereupon resigned the seat to which I had just been so handsomely elected. Without taking time for calm reflection, I contended that if I could not deal with all questions with unimpaired privilege and untrammelled judgment, I ought not to be in the House at all. After all the electors had done for me, that was their reward. Yet the generous people of Kiama to this day, whenever I can spare a day to go amongst them, receive me with kindness and enthusiasm.

The prospect before me was gloomy enough. I had stripped myself of the conventional importance that attaches to a seat in Parliment. I was penniless; I was deserted by many who had profited by my friendship in former days. But throughout my life my heart has always been most buoyant and strenuous in the face of difficulty, and it did not fail me then.

A gentleman, an old resident of Sydney, who had made some money at the diamond fields of South Africa, had lately returned to the colony; and he took it into his head to start a daily newspaper. He offered me employment, which I accepted. It opened to me a medium for the expression of my opinions on current


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events, and it afforded me the means of subsistence. For some weeks I worked day and night on this paper. The following is one of my articles at this time, which I select because it treats of the state of public matters to which reference has been made and also deals with a subject of the highest concern to the friends of constitutional government.

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