Burke Manuscript

Burke Manuscript: Page 144

Burke Manuscript Page 144
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The Days of Old, The House of the Many Gables

One may wander through its provincially old corridors and passages and bring anew to recollections by their sight the familiar doorways that in olden days led to the seats of power where sat the rulers of the pioneers of the Church settlement and here there creeps over one, however unwillingly, a despondent sad feeling, telling of the departure of the familiar faces of powerful men and the fleeting pace of time. It seems as yesterday that William Sefton Moorhouse, over whose personal appearance, features and characteristics, as transmitted by the sculptor’s art, so much controversy took place and so many memories are contradictory, could be seen striding, with energetic defiant step, pipe in mouth, into what he seemed to consider his own castle. There might be seen buoyant, in the full pride of manhood, with beaming face and cheery voice, his trusty henchman, John Ollivier, the province’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. William Guise Brittan, to whom was entrusted the distribution of the great provincial estate, sat here in state, supported by the old veteran Cass, and having at call busy bustling surveyors young and active, and rolls of untold land mysteries, hydrographical to the uninitiated, but as the alphabet to Board room frequenters such as Soulsby and old Bainbridge, Cass, Marshman, Dobson, Dunn, Chas. Reed, of Ashburton, the best and original gridiron, whose fame has been lost in the attempt to foist upon an eminent political man, the credit of the invention.

In those rooms were arranged many earthly matters, which have since become controversial and subject for political acrimony. Mr Cyrus Davie, “the man who came out in two ships”, Mr Dobson, Mr Marshman, were familiar figures, and William Thomson, then a prominent figure in our streets, portly in presence and strong in voice, could both be seen and heard. There also was Mr T. Duncan of free and pleasing speech, the one who in these days would be termed a masher, an ancient masher; Mr Bainbridge, erect and spruce, who carried out to the letter the well understood unwritten role of the Civil Service unwearied. In these passages day by day resounded the domineering tones of the old Nabob, Sir Cracroft Wilson, and with mysterious air, studious, thoughtful and observant and shrewd could be seen the Bridge builder, Mr William White, holding Engineers according to the Statute in contempt, and buttonholing with also perseverance and judgement [sic]

There used to be a then “power behind the Throne” Mr William Wilson, voluble and plausible, at whose nod maps were unrolled and information at command. Sir John Hall, quick, active, energetic, coming to the point with piercing glance, might often be seen, and Mr Robert Heaton Rhodes, land to the eyes, was always full of business. Yes, those passages and

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