Page:Item 7 1858.pdf/53

From Historical Hastings
This page has been proofread


might, with impunity (and with impudence also) be branded as a renegade. But it is not so now. Popular feeling has been quietly rising, and we see unmistakably the result of it in having a new candidate and a Conservative put at the top of the poll; and put there, too, partly by Liberal voters. Let the H.I.P.S. be warned. If they limit their operations to objects purely political, and abstain from applying their test of faction to all offices and men in the borough, they will have a legitimate power, and may be respected and helped by many who now despise their practices and shun their alliance. Political club-ism is a fair thing enough if kept to its own work, and not made a thing of terror and of scandal in things not political. It is legitimate enough when used to forward political ends, and not employed to elect mere tools to municipal offices for which local knowledge and business habits are fitter qualifications than a political creed or a party badge. We hope the future will witness a more decided advance in the direction of municipal freedom than the late election has given us, and that the day may yet come which we have long laboured to hasten - when the right men shall be put in their right places in offices of local trust without reference to their political designation, and when an honest man shall not be called a traitor to his Liberal profession by every pot-house time-server who envies the freedom and scoffs at the honour which he himself has long since sacrificed at the shrine of a blind and reckless partisanship. If the election of Mr. Wingfield be an indication of a ‘good time coming’ in this sense of returning reason to our borough we may well rejoice. Mr. Vidler’s position on the poll in the second place of honour is also a proof of the existence of some rational ground of choice being at last acted upon by the burgesses in general. We are no special favourites of Mr. Vidler, nor has he always done justice to our motives or cared to understand our remarks upon him and his party. We have a decided conviction that he and his friends have said more evil of our journalistic labours than we have deserved. But we can better afford to be wrongly judged and to be evilly spoken of than to speak evil ourselves of any man. We have done Mr. Vidler the justice to notice his assiduous attention to the duties of his office, and we know that it is on this ground alone that many have been induced to support him. We have supported Mr. Vidler in a spirit of -