THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1863.
If the number of candidates nominated to fill the vacancies in the Municipal Council were a true criterion of the in- terest which the ratepayers generally feel in the affairs of the city, we should be almost willing to let the election go forward to-day without remark. But when we know that the proceedings at the nomination were characterised by unwonted levity and a disregard of pro- priety on the part of some persons whose position amongst the citizens ought to have been justified by good behaviour, we are constrained to offer a few words of warning and advice to the unobservant or unwary, with a view to arrest the consequences which the advo- cates of obstruction and faction are so desirous to bring about. We wish we could avoid using such harsh terms ; but they are forced upon us by the cir- cumstance of their being the shibboleth of the party whose conduct we decry. And, much as we regret that personal considerations should demand such a large share of attention on an occasion like the present, we must deal with them as inevitable-we cannot, if we would, ignore them. They were the commence- ment, and they will be the conclusion, of
The extraordinary number of twenty three candidates was nominated this day week ! Four declined to stand, so soon as they were at liberty to respond to the pressing kindness of their fellow-citizens who nominated them ; and, meantime, four others have publicly announced their withdrawal from the contest. There remain, therefore, fifteen candidates on the list-thrice too many, we will say, for any advantage which their coming forward is likely to confer on the com-
munity. We feel sure that at least half of them regard their nomination as a joke, and their chance of election as the most remote ; and that they will not attempt to influence a single vote. But there can be no harm in naming them, in the order in which they were pro- posed :-Messrs. Authur Martin, A. J. Hockings, L. Le Gould, J. Markwell, E. B. SOUTHERDEN, J. SCANLAN, J. W. Thompson, J. T. Cockerell, W Brookes, Darragh, Peattie, Collins, Hargrave, Jewell, and Dickens. To analyse the qualifications for the office of Alderman, of all here named, would be a work of supererogation, as well as an
ungracious one. We think, however, we shall not be far out in assuming that the election lies amongst a half-dozen. Decidedly the two first gentlemen on the list, Messrs. Martin and Hockings, have, and deserve, a large share of public confidence ; and we expect to see them both returned. For the third, we would select Mr. Brookes, whose qualifications will bear comparison with those of any other candidate whose name has come before the ratepayers. These will not find three more capable men than we have named to fill the existing vacancies in the Council, and we shall be glad to see them at the top of the poll, this after- noon. Their presence in the Council would enhance its respectability, and be an earnest that its status will be improved at every available opportunity. Ad- mittedly Messrs. Southerden and Mark- well are eligible men ; but they have, unfortunately for themselves, declared in favor of retrogression and obstruction. They will, perhaps, think it hard that we say so ; but their intimate relations with that unquiet spirit, Mr. Robert Cribb, M.L.A., lead all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, to conclude that his influence would never be so effectually exerted as when he could direct their votes to the attainment of his ends. It is to be regretted that Mr. Cribb had not the courage to stand himself ;- he was shrewd enough, almost at the eleventh hour, to foresee defeat in his own proper person, but he hopes to achieve success in the persons of his proteges. We trust that the ratepayers will show their appreciation of the merits of these gentlemen by preferring the independence of others to their sub- servience. We might stop, now, without making any reference to the remaining candidates ; because there is little room to suppose that the election will affect other than the five gentlemen more par- ticularly referred to. But, where in- terests are so divided, and votes will necessarily be so widely distributed, a very small number, more or less, may place the most ineligible candidate at the top of the poll. Messrs. Le Gould and
Scanlan have both exerted themselves most industriously in canvassing the ratepayers and blowing their respective penny trumpets. We do not know whe- ther to be most surprised at the gro- tesque absurdity of the latter, or the unblushing effrontery of the former. One can, however, smile at the diversion afforded by the Celtic tapster, who can harm nobody more than himself by his eccentricities ; but we must remind his pseudo-Gallic rival that we are serious in saying we do desire to see men of honor and reputable conduct in the Municipal Council-even though we can- not always ensure them elsewhere. Mr. Le Gould, spite of his professional quali- fications-upon which he sets great store -does not come up to our standard of fit- ness for the public office to which he aspires ; and he would have done
well had he rested content with the credit
which the exercise in private of any small ability he possesses would have gained.
We are anxious that henceforth the
Council shall be an improvement on the past, and we will endeavor to guard its reputation. Should a limited num- ber only of the ratepayers vote, there is the possible danger of the Council being trammelled by such men as Mr. Le
Gould and Mr. Scanlan. To obviate so
great an evil, let every one who possesses the privileges of a voter exercise his franchise, and vote for " the three best men." If this be not done, and the re- sult is disappointing, let no one affect surprise, or deplore, when too late, a ca- lamity which he would not try to avert while yet there was time.
The ratepayers have an important duty to discharge, to-day, aud they should endeavor to exercise a wise discrimina- tion in disposing of their votes. Let them bring their judgment to bear in deciding what is best for the general body of the citizens - not what accords with their mere individual predi- lections ; and they should bear in mind that not themselves only will he affected by the result of their action, but the large proportion of women and children, and other citizens, who do not enjoy the franchise. In the matter of Water Supply, the force of this truism is plainly seen ; as, also, in respect of a system of Sewerage. The erection of the Town Hall having been decided upon, and all the preliminary arrangements made, delay is not now permissable ; for which reason we have objected to candidates, otherwise eligible, who have expressed an intention to oppose the progress of that work. The erection of the Bridge possesses interest for every member of the community, and it must be proceeded with as soon as possible. The expenditure involved in those works is something enormous. As regards the Town Hall, and the Bridge not only will the expenditure be entirely in the hands of the City Council, but this body must make arrangements, under the Acts of Parliament, for bor- rowing the money. It is important, therefore, that the character of the Council as a whole be such as to bear the jealous scrutiny of the lendor. The Government, who have so long kept the bridge in " suspension," will not permit the Corporation to carry out the Water Works if they be not satisfied of the business capacity of the new Council ; and the effect of such a determination on their part would be to diminish, and perhaps destroy, confidence in its capacity to act efficiently in the conduct of the other works. Let not that large section of the ratepayers whose easy-going habits make them con- tent with the reflection that " all will go right, anyhow," neglect to record their votes ; let not those who affect to con- temn municipal affairs, look upon the necessity to vote as a bore, but go and vote for the three best men. If we only find that a general interest has been taken in the election, we shall not demur to the choice of the ratepayers, whatever it may be ; for the result is sure to be right, if all take part in bringing it about. We may, in conclusion, throw out a suggestion to those of the ratepayers who live on the boundaries of the city ;
they should record their votes in their respective divisions-Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, and Fortitude Valley- and thus, as much as possible, prevent a " rush " to the central polling-place in North Brisbane. Past experience has satisfied us that many inconveniences and irregularities have been occasioned by want of attention to this simple pre-
caution. We have seen many ratepayers leave the Council Chamber without
voting, rather than waste their time waiting their turn in the crowd.