Monday, September 5, 2016

Douglas giving a campaign speech in the 1859 NSW election

Newspaper article on Douglas giving a campaign speech for the seat of Darling Downs in the NSW election of 1859
Empire (Sydney), Monday 20 June 1859, page 6

On Friday evening the 3rd instant, a meeting of the electors took place at the Royal Hotel; the meeting was well attended and orderly, and convened at the request of Mr. John Douglas, who was desirous of addressing the electors. At seven o'clock, the electors being all assembled, Mr. Morgan was voted to the chair; who explained briefly the object of the meeting, and called upon Doctor Aldred to introduce the candidate.

The Doctor, in a neat and appropriate speech, proposed John Douglas, Esq., as a fit and proper person to represent us in the forthcoming Parliament; which was seconded by Mr. George Walker.

Mr. Douglas then came forward and addressed the electors at some length, explaining his views on the general and local politics of the day; but whether from the novelty of the position he was placed in, or whether be was straining too much at effect, his speech was not so good as we have heard him deliver on other occasions; but taken as a whole, since the days of Coriolanus, there has been nothing of the sort heard to equal it. Dashed off at a rattling pace, a mixture of inflexible haughtiness and decorous good humour; putting prominently forward such of his views as were sure to clash with the opinions of the majority of his audience; casually glancing at, and lightly skimming over those subjects of more immediate and local importance, disdaining the usual clap-trap resorted to on like occasions, of flattering our prejudices with illusory promises. His politics are liberal-conservative; he seems a sincere lover of independence, both in electors and elected. Such a man can never do anything dishonourable, and 'twere ten thousand pities not only not to elect him, but to send him to Parliament shackled by pledges of any kind.

We do not agree with Mr. Douglas in all his views, but we consider him possessed of a rare union of candour and honesty, and a capacity for legislation and public speaking without many rivals among our untried men. His pretensions are so immeasurably beyond any other candidate now in the field, and so fully appreciated by the thinking: portion of the electors that in spite of too much honesty of expression, his election is considered a dead certainty.