DECLARATION OF CONFIDENCE IN MR JOHN STEPHENS.
In life's short and changeful history, during the few years which intervene between our ap pearance on the 'world's stage' and our exit, there are incidents of deep meaning and over
whelming interest. Such, in our own career, is the "great fact" which our subscribers and friends have enabled us to place on record this day. We have long laboured in connec tion with the press, to '"hold the mirror up to nature, to show vice her own image ;" to plead the cause of virtue as understood by the Heathen sages ; of religion and morality, as taught in the Gospel code. We have suffered the pains and penalties ever attached by its enemies to the votaries of simple and un varnished truth ; have been stigmatised, abused, slandered, and conspired against ; but when our foes flocked the thickest and fought the hardest — when our early and cherished motto, ' Never despair,' seemed all but falsi fied—then the noble and spontaneous tribute of fifteen hundred and fifty hearts came to our rescue — at once our answer to the scorn of the "few" — and our "character" for fair dealing and honest journalism, certified by so vast a proportion of our fellow-colonists. It will be seen by the prodigious array of names, to the publication of which we have this day been compelled to devote a ten-column suppplement (a circumstance unprecedented in the annals of the press), that the 159 signatures (less ten) to the so-called testimonial, are tri umphantly overbalanced by the general voice. The alleged cause of the pitiless storm which has been so unmercifully and unrighteously raised against us is too recent, and too well understood, to require any further explanation now. But that is no reason why we may not reiterate the assertion, that in publishing what we did we were unconscious of the intentional breach of any law, human or Divine ; and although aware that we were perhaps deviating somewhat from conventional usage, in substi tuting a sorrowful and truthful, for an insincere and flattering obituary, we had no wish either to offend the living or to malign the dead. In such a crisis it was hardly to be expected that our large body of subscribers would stand idly by while a cruel attempt to crush their news paper was being publicly made. They have therefore, by themselves and their friends, testified for us in a remarkabe document, con veying to "the few" an insight, into the strength of our position in the true confidence of the colony, and the utter absurdity of the supposition that to falsify and gloze over the characters of public men is approved or appreciated by the great body of "the people." The signatures in approbation of our general conduct as independent journalists are pub lished with a view to remonstrate with those who have inflicted upon us such an unmerited penalty, and they may serve as a reproof to those who still entertain feelings of hostility to us and our journals. The document itself will speak more forcibly than anything we can write. The majority is undoubtedly with us ; but we would not, therefore, treat disrespectfully a minority, which comprises some estimable colonists, who still prefer to be displeased and inimical. We would rather express our regret that the personal influence of a little knot of declared enemies should have been exerted against us with any measure of success amongst those whom we respect and esteem. It is but fair to state that a very.considerable number of our town friends, who entirely con cur in this manifestation of public feeling in onr favour, have verbally assured us to that effect, but on various personal grounds (which may readily be understood) were reluctant to appear in print as expressing disapprobation of the conduct of many individuals with whom they are more or less mixed up in business transaction. It is also due to ourselves to state that, of the one hundred and fifty-nine persons who signed the hostile declaration, ten have pub lished, through our columns, their candid dis avowal of any sympathy with the real object of that document ; and we are happy to state that many others have privately intimated to us, directly and indirectly, their regret at having signed it without being fully aware .of its ten dency, but who are at the same time unwilling publicly to say so. We most sincerely thank our friends for this triumphant proof of their long-tried and stead fast confidence. The tribute of this day is at once «ur reward and onr encouragement.