The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 64
V.—The Coming Man
V.—The Coming Man.
The third Parliamentary leader at the present time is John D. Ormond, and as he will soon assume a still more prominent position I propose to show what manner of man he is. In his case, some need of a brief but clear description is extremely necessary, because, though so prominent a figure, he is almost un-unknown personally. Mr Ormond began official life in this colony many years ago as private secretary or aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-Governor Eyre. He then quitted this life for the career of a Hawke's Bay runholder, where, by ability, economy, and most laborious industry, he has amassed wealth. Early he acquired a reputation as a great reader, and, unlike most runholders, who think of nothing but the price of wool, or the lambing season, or other topics of great bucolic interest, he studied in many a volume the thoughts of the minds of men who govern the civilized world. His fame soon spread, and he was elected a member of the Provincial Council, where he early took the lead, and on the retirement of his sworn ally, Sir Donald McLean, he was unanimously chosen Superintendent, and remained such till Superintendents were abolished. He guided provincial affairs with a firm hand, prudently, wisely, energetically, and successfully. He was elected M.H.R., and has sat continuously for about seventeen years. He joined a Ministry, and had Sir Donald McLean as bis colleague, and a very good Public Works Minister he was. He and Sir Donald worthily represented Hawke's Bay; they worked in unison for the good of the district, which most certainly got its share of Vogel's magic millions. The Hawke's Bay electors chose wisely and well, and certainly they had their reward. The two men looked after the interests of the province, and, what is more, they were both powerful; the electors had tangible proofs[unclear: their] own wisdom. Mr Ormond has been is two Ministries already, and had he [unclear: wished] could at any moment have been a colleague of Mr Hall's, the sole reason of his refusal being there is good ground for thinking, his stead fast belief in Mr Hall's utter incapacity. With the other members of the Ministry and with the party he has ever been most friendly In the House, Mr Ormond is no [unclear: wind] but a Captain of Industry. He is like William the Silent, "with strong natural and rare force of will." Macaulay's glowing words apply closely to Mr Ormond. [unclear: H] was born with violent passions, but [unclear: qui] sensibilities; but the strength of his [unclear: emoti] was not suspected by the world. From the multitudes, his joy and his grief, his [unclear: affect] and his resentment were hidden by a [unclear: ph] matic serenity, which made him pass for the most cold-blooded of mankind. Those who brought him good news could seldom detect any sign of pleasure. Those who saw him after a defeat looked in vain for any trace of vexation.
He continues, "but those who knew him well, and saw him near, were aware that under all this ice a fierce fire was constantly [unclear: burn] It was seldom that anger deprived him of power over himself; but when he was really enraged, the first outbreak of his passion was terrible." Mr Ormond rarely speaks, and never by any chance wastes his time is squabbling or discussing trivial matters. "Speech is silvern, but silence is golden, says a hoary proverb. Mr Ormond [unclear: neve] speaks except when he really has [unclear: something] say. The result is that no member of the House has ever been or is now listened to with such rapt attention. When it is [unclear: whisper] that Mr Ormond is going to make ad speech the House is tilled, the [unclear: galleri] page 9 [unclear: ed] with eager, expectant audiences. [unclear: e] is no orator; his range of voice [unclear: is] be has no thrilling, vibrating tones, no [unclear: ding] presence, no eagle eye; and the [unclear: r,] not knowing the man, marvels at [unclear: tement.] Painfully nervous at start-[unclear: perfectly] pallid, with the quietest of [unclear: ers,] and calm, clear, incisive voice, [unclear: he] his audience in hand from start [unclear: to] His speech is bare of all ornament, [unclear: d] of all padding, yet pregnant [unclear: with] full of ideas new and practical, cer-[unclear: make] a deep and lasting [unclear: impression] friend and foe. Years ago, one of his [unclear: es] alone nearly overthrew a powerful [unclear: ry] by its massive strength. Mr [unclear: Ormond] sway multitudes by marvellous [unclear: ey] like Sir George Grey; but, on [unclear: the] hand, he never panders to the mob [unclear: for]
[unclear: pampers] not a hasty time,
Nor feeds with crude imaginings
the herd, wild hearts and feeble wings
that every sophister can lime.
[unclear: since] Vogel left us to soar in [unclear: wider] Ormond has been looked on as a possible [unclear: r] by all his friends, and has been [unclear: a] in Parliament. This was clearly [unclear: shown] the recent debate by the frightened [unclear: de] of Ministers and their not over-[unclear: valiant] At Grey they scoff, and at Macan-[unclear: laugh]; but before Ormond's attack they [unclear: so] quail; and quake they most cer-[unclear: did] for they knew full well that he [unclear: s] to be dreaded.
[unclear: fanny] thing was, that Ministers pre-[unclear: that] Mr Ormond had deserted them [unclear: ken] them by surprise: whereas, [unclear: every] knew perfectly well, months before,[unclear: Mr] Ormond had publicly expressed [unclear: pproval] of their tremulous policy. [unclear: the] division, however, Ministers won [unclear: ding] over deserters the threat of a [unclear: tion] -that most awful of curses [unclear: to] M.H.R. The cry was started that "Ormond was Grey's cat's-paw—a second Larnach." Mr Ormond never yet, nor ever will, pull the chestnuts out of the fire for anyone. Like William the Silent, this still strong man, who is wiser and cleverer in Parliamentary tactics than anyone else in either House, will not be led, but will himself lead.
"He knew when to be silent" is the only epitaph graven on the tomb of a great man. Mr Ormond knows when to be silent. He might have taken for his model the greatest General the world has seen since Napoleon and Wellington, viz, "Moltke, who knows how to be silent in seven languages." Ormond never spoils his chances in life by foolish talking, and evidently agrees with the wisest of men, King Solomon, that "In all labor there is profit:, but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury."
Unfortunately Mr Ormond, with all his fine qualities, lacks one, viz, "loveableness." His reserved cold manners, due to intense shyness, have made him unloved. He is respected, but not loved. His is no name to conjure with. Outside his own province and the House, he has few warm admirers. To most he is an enigma, and, like all unknown men of power, is feared.
At the general election, contest for leadership will be between Grey, Hall, and Ormond. Mr. Ormond has been a successful man throughout life. He has struggled for wealth and gained it. He wished to be Superintendent, and was chosen; aspired to a seat in the House, and was elected; resolved to become a Minister, and accomplished his design. Now he is evidently playing for the leadership of the colony. Will he win? Time alone can tell. Uniformly successful men are not to be despised. One thing is certain that Mr. Ormond would leadhis party, that he would be eminently a practical Premier. His aim would be the material progress and prosperity of the colony.