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The following low and coarsely-worded paragraph appeared in an article in the Williamstoun Advertiser of May 15 : “ We are now fully supplied with a list of the new (Gladstone) Ministry, and the further intelligence that the result of the elections has completely upset the plans of Her Gracious Majesty and the Prince of Wales, inasmuch as, I suppose, they have fully calculated on a release of the great Jingo party that has succeeded during its term of office in bringing the nation into contempt and disrepute. What a blood-red page the renegade Jew mountebank has written in the history of our country. A seven years’ bountiful harvest for the reaper Death ; and the net results, titled distinction to the charlatan, an obese, not overburdened with brain, old woman, dubbed Empress, Zulu murders, Afghan massacres, and millions added to the national debt.” As this newspaper is owned and conducted by Mr. A. T. Clark and Mr. W. M. Clark, two members of the Victorian Legislative*Assembly, attention was called to the article in the House. Mr. Service, the Premier, desired Mr. Berry, as leader of the Opposition, to join him in condemning the publication of the degrading paragraph, but the latter declined to act, maintaining that attention had been drawn to the matter by the metropolitan press for party purposes only. Mr. Zox, one of the members for East Melbourne, asked Mr. A T. Clark to say whether lie intended to own or disown the article. He emphatically described the whole affair as disgraceful, and contended that anyone capable of writing such an article was unworthy of a seat in the House. Mr. A. T. Clark replied in an angry tone, neither apologising for the offensive words nor attempting to justify them. He held that as the proprietors of the paper were answerable at law for anything they printed, nobody had any right to call them to account in Parliament. Mr. W. M. Clarke, the other proprietor, reiterated what his colleague had stated, simply telling persons who felt aggrieved to seek out -i legal remedy. On the following day, Mr. W. M. Clark said that the article appeared without his knowledge, and that he regretted its publication; also that the co-proprietor had nothing to do with the matter. This explanation was received with favor by the House, particularly as it indirectly corrected the prevalent rumor that the article had been written by Mr. W. M. Clark. What gave a certain amount of point to the article before these explanations were forthcoming was the fact that Mr. A. T. Clark hold a commission from the Crown as an officer of Volunteers.

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Bibliographic details

LIBEL ON THE QUEEN., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 114, 17 June 1880

Word Count

LIBEL ON THE QUEEN. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 114, 17 June 1880