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It would seem that Sir Arthur Gordon is even yet to be called to account for i his action m connection with the Bryce-Rusden affair. The " Welling I 'ton Evening Press" (Mr Wakefield's 1 ( paper) had the other day an article ' j on the subject, from which we learn that the attention of Mr Henniker Heaton, M.P., having been directed to the correspondence between Mr Bryce and the Secretary of State, as published by that paper last year, that gentleman moved for its production m the Imperial Parliament. At this time Mr Heaton had not seen the correspondence referred to, and was m ignorance of the details of the matter, but tabled his motion as the result of a telegram forwarded to him from the colony, asking him to move for its being laid on the table of the House. The " Evening Press " now publishes details of Mr Beaton's action as supplied m a letter from that gentle man under date Jan. 11th, and thus relates and comments upon what has taken place : — " Immediately on receipt of the telegram above referred to, Mr Heaton tabled a motion for the production of the papera ; but being a Conservative and an independent supporter of the Government he took the usual and courteous course of • writing to Lord Knutsford, stating that he would press his motion to a division unless reasons against it were given. To this letter ' Lord Knutsford replied that * not by the greatest stretch of reasoning could the Bryce-Gordon affair be considered to be connected with the question of the appointment of colonial Governors.' This audacious statement had for the time the effect for which it was no doubt made. In the absence of any detailed information Mr Henniker Heaton accepted Lord Knutsford 's assurance, and withdrew his motion. Early m January he received full particulars from New Zealand, and great was his astonishment to find that ' the Bryce-Gordon affair ' was without any stretch of reasoning at all, most closely connected with the question of the appointment of colonial Governors. The connection, which must be perfectly obvious to everybody, lay m this. Sir Arthur Gordon, while Governor of New Zealand, had quarrelled with his Ministers on a constitutional question m which he was hopelessly m the wrong. Finding himself compelled to give m to them he set to work to traduce them secretly m confidential despatches to the Secretary of Hate, and going beyond his technical right as a Governor to supply secret information to the Colonial Office, he deliberately collected a number of the most shameful libels on the Native Minister, and himself furnished them to Rusden, who he knew was writing a book against that statesman, for the express purpose of publication. Rusden published the book containing the libels Sir Arthur Gordon had furnished him with ; Mr Bryce prosecuted him ; and he was condemned m £5000 damages and costs. Eventually Rusden unreservedly withdrew every word of the libels, admitting them to be totally false, and formally acknowledged that he had received them from Sir Arthur Goidon, and published them on Sir Arthur Gordon's sole authority. All these facts and circumstances were brought to the notice of the Colonial Office at the earliest possible date, from time to time, as they occuned or came to light. Yet, m the face of them, Sir Arthur Gordon, still under the accusation of this disgraceful conduct, still subject to be prosecuted for the libels for which his tool Rusden had been so severely punished, still under the bad odour of his misgovernment of New Zealand, was appointed Governor of Ceylon. Surely the connection between the BryceGoiu?n affair and the question of the, appointment of colonial Governors was ' as distinct and as strong as it could possibly be ; for, if ever a colony could be justified m refusing to receive a Governor appointed to it, Ceylon would have been justified m refusing to have such a man as Sir Arthur Qfordon inflicted on it. This very point had, indeed, been raised m the House of Commons, where the Secretary of State had been asked whether he was aware that exception had been taken m Ceylon to the appointment of Sir Arthur Gordon, m consequence of his conduct towards the New Zealand Ministers. On that occasion the Secretary of State had replied that he had received no official information on the subject ; but that, the matter having been made public, he expected to hear from Sir Arthur Gordon upon it." Mr Heaton, m the letter above referred to, goes on to express surprise that Lord Knutsford should have stated that Sjr Arthur Gordon's conduct m relation to Mr Bryce has no connection with the appointment of colonial Governors, and intends to move during the present session of Parliament for the production of the whole correspondence, which, if granted as it probably wijl be, is likely to prove rather an unpleasant exposure for our ex-Governor. Our Wellington contemporary goes on to say that care has been taken to make all the fruits known m Ceylon, the correspondence between Mr Bryce and the Secretary of State, with the article of the '* Evening Press " thereon, and an extract on the same subject from the " Australasian" having been published m full m the " Ceylon observer " of the 3rd January. "In the same issue (writes the " Press ") our Colombo contemporary announced the sudden departure of the. Governor for Malta, for family reasons, and the assumption of the Government by Sir Edward Noel Walker ; and expressed its intention of refraining from comment on the Bryce affair m Sir Arthur Gordon's absence. It nevertheless, suggested that Sir Arthur Gordon would have to go on to England m consequence of the revival of the Bryce affair and the publication pf the correspondence. It added that it was unable to understand his having made no effort earlier to explain his conduct ; and alludes to the probability of his having thereby forfeited hiß expected peerage. That is all that had appeared publicly on the subject when the mail left Ceylon ; but from a private note from an officer m a high position there we learn that there is general sympathy with Mr Bryce m that colony, that the Governor's departure is surmised to be m connection with tjie exposure, and that, after all that has j appeared m the Ceylon papers, it is im- ? possible to believe he will return. It . will thus be seen, that the strenuous efforts which have been mad© |r New **- .'•:[' lent our willing . assistance, to obtain some reparation foi A tbe phimefui wrQn g ioflio^ by gij

I Arthur Gordon on Mr Bryce, bid fair fto be entirely &uccessful, m spite of all I the discouragements and obstacles which [ have been placed m the way. Those efforts will not be relaxed, but will be renewed and redoubled until truth prevail over falsehood and right over might." The result of the efforts alluded to will, it is believed, prove highly inconvenient for Sir Arthur, and the public of New Zealand will look with interest for news of Mr Henniker Heaton's promised further action m relation to the matter.


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Bibliographic details

SIR ARTHUR GORDON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2085, 12 March 1889

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SIR ARTHUR GORDON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2085, 12 March 1889