("To the Editor of the Daily Telegraph.]
Sir,—Some months ago certain settlers around Hastings resolved to put forward a candidate at the general elections who should be able to woo the votes of the working men. The difficulty was to find a man who, belonging to the working man class, and talk sufficient "rot," and who should be at the same time conceited enough, and shallow enough, to convince himself and his mates that he was the "man for the people."
For a long time the various merits of many different men, market gardeners, plowmen, and shepherds, were discussed, but not till almost the last moment did the choice fall onMr. Desmond.So well did Mr. Desmond fulfill the expectations of his "backers" that he not only convinced 189 of his fellow-workingmen that his candidature was a genuine and bona fide effort on his part to represent the Liberal cause and the rights of the downtrodden masses, but he succeeded in humbugging others.
I ought not to use, perhaps, the word humbug, because Mr. Desmond himself was soon under the spell of a dream of ambition. The funniest thing in the world was the manner in which "my esteemed friendSir George Grey" was induced to take a deep interest in Mr. Desmond's success. Those who were behind the scenes were convulsed with suppressed laughter that their dummy should have been such a catch, but the game had not been played very long before merriment gave way to alarm. Sir, the runholders have introduced to the working men of Hawke's Bay one of their own class who, in the interval between 1884 and 1887, will have learned his lesson better than he could do in the short space of three weeks.
Mr. Desmond will profit by his experience, and at the next general elections, he will require no téte-á-téte with a sheep farmer’s mutual friend to induce him to come forward. He will come to the front on his own account, and, mark my words, Sir, he will enter Parliament with a thumping majority.—l am, &c,
July 26, 1884
Daily Telegraph, 28 July 1884