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Extraordinary Political Plot.

A STRANGE STORY.

('* Wellington Catholic Times.") The following letter, received by a well-. known and highly respected citizen of Duhedin from a New Zealand colonist an ex-politician now and for some two years past, resident m London, has been? handed to us for publication. The l|tfei?> »eproduced below reveals the details k»f a political conspiracy as astounding as ; im* pudent. At the same time the contents of the letter <\n question render many, local political incidents, hitherto obscure^ singularly clear—jbhe frequent parleyinga and evident good understanding between Sir Harry Atkinson and Sir Robert Stout; the retirement of Mr Ormond from political life ; Sir Robert's attitude upon the labor question, and towards the Anglican clergy of Dunedin ; Sir Harry Atkinson's absence from the House last session ; his sudden recovery; the equally sudden friendship between Sir Robert Stout apd a. brother, lawyer, and the unexpected .candidature of one or two aspirants for representative positions. The bona fides of the writer of the subjoined letter is above and beyond dispute— i "Reform Club, London, 6th September, 1890. ■' Dear^ »-1 regret there should be a slight contre temps m connection wit-hi thisletter. I had intended to write to you by the direct mail, as I. had a good deal of private news, as you will see by my letter enclosed^ to communicate. I happened, however, to run down to shire fot the partridge shooting oh the first, and stayed there, for a reason I will now make apparent, until I lost the mail. The truth is my host, with whom you are nob acquainted, ,so I "need not mention' his : name, on the night of my arrival, strangely enough, brought up the' subject of New Zealand politics, and I soon saw I was on the track of something worth hearing. To hear that something I gladly consented to prolong my stay, and I think whenjyou. read my jpolitical news you will forgive me for having lost the direct boat. JMy host, whom we will call C ,is a particular intimate of (here follows the name of a New Zealand ex-politician and financier, which we for obvious-reasons suppress), and C——'s information has been gained direct frotti the ? former. A The details lam about to relate dropped frtini o—— m a most fragmentarywwainy—m the I smoking-room after dinner, when we were lunching,,, among the turnips, over the billiard table, and at similar odd times and places. I have, however, piejed the fragments, and have naught exlenuated, naught set down m malice. On some points there may not be absolute precision, but on all there is fair approximation. WHY SIR HARRY WAS ABSENT. Towards the close of the session before last Sir Harry had at the suggestion of (the financier before alluded tbi a number of private interviews with Stout, at which the whole political position and outlook were thoroughly thrashed out between them. Atkinson had not a real working "majority, nor could Stout, if m : the House, count on such a majority. They agreed, without much difficulty, that the only solution was < AN ATKINSON-STOUT COAMTIO\. The only rock ahead was Stout's idea that he was m a measure committed to Yogel. Atkinson would not hear of workiiig m the House with Yogel, even could Yogel return and procure ci seat, or were a triumvirate possible. This difficulty was referred to Yogel, and Jthat astute person himself, as you will gather later on, cut the Gordian Knot. The Atkinson-Stout Coalition,, therefore; on the receipt of Vogel's reply, became practically unfait accompli. THE NEW POLICY. ■ '~'::\ The' proposed coalition policy is a queer jumble of Liberalism and Conservatism as they are understood with, you ajjul fperhaps nowhere else m the world, First, there will be > sop to Freetraders. Protection, of course, there will and must bo, but there will be a considerablefriedudtffcfn 1 m the -tariff* ■„with the understanding that subsequently duties will be lowered rather than raised. No income tax will be imposed. Absentees will be, heavily taxed. Parliament will be immediately asked to sanction a loan to complete public works which may be judged to be quickly productive. A very large loan to effect most extensive purchases of Native lands will also be asked for, and —; (the financier) has already felt the pulse of London money-men on the subject; this to enable a more liberal land policy to be initiated, without interfering with or hurting your sacred squatocracy m anyl way. There will be a promise of the> stoppage of the sale of Crown lands at such time as the residue of such lands unsold amounts to acres. Further retrenchment m and reclaseincation of th« civil service is on the programme. An English official of some eminence as an organiser is to be sent out to re-organise the civil service from top to bottom, and an attempt will be made to abolish your Audit department, i WHY SIR HARRY WAS ILL. It was agreed, m view of the coalition which is to take place, if possible immediately ort the assembly of the new Parr, liament, that Atkinson was, on the plea of ill health, to take no prominent part m the session that has now finished, and thus avoid tension of any kind with the" rank and file of the Opposition, who would be subsequently required to form membership of the New Party. • SIR ROBERT STOUT'S PLAJ{. Stout^ of course, is to stand for 'election m the new Parliament, but he will not stand until the last moment, and then, will probably contest two seats —Dunedin for certain, and some northern seat, Napier possibly, but of this I am not sure. He, however, will probably deny his intention of standing until the last practical moment, m order that he may wjeld political influence until then from a mo,re independent standpoint. THE NEW MINISTRY. Should all fall out, as anticipated, the new Ministry will be composed—subject to slight alterations—as follows.: " . Premier and Post-V a- ™ „, master-General]* bir, K Stout ■ Colonial Treasureri "V ] Commissioner of I Sir H. Atkinson Customs J Justice Mr.Jellicoe Education ... ... Mr W. P. Reuves Colonial Secretary Mr Fulton _ '•(in Upper House, Defence and Natives Mr Lance I>ands Sir John Hail Minf. B Mr J.Allen s Public Works , ..Mr Fish or Mr Larnach HOW THE LABOR, VOTE IS TO BE DISHED. ■ When it became evident last session that the labor organisation would be, unless met by diplomacy, an important faotor at the election, a further private understanding was come to between Atkinson and Stout. The former was to hold ; aloof, without entirely alienating himself - I from the Labor party ; the latter was, m Itto slang of the day, "fcogoin bald, 1

headed ;" to unite with it, attempt to lead j ib, pose as a public defender, air.! advise I the party to bring forward .labor candi- - dates. Tin's course, it is thought, will ensure a hplit m the Labor Vote, ncutj?;>,li,so the strength of the Labor, party, and arouse organised opposition taci.i<a| by employers and the higher grades of colonial society, which would-result m the return of a majority of a superior, that is, a more wealthy-class of representatives, to pether with a sprinkling' of Labor candi. dates—mow who w6uld exercise no influence m the House, but who could, bo used as occasion required, and who would always look to Stout as their natural leader for advice as to their votes. Notwithstanding this small lea ten it is hoped to secure an " Upper Glass" representation m the new House, and this class would of course take its instructions from Atkinson. stout's sew ally. . If all goes favorably to the scheme you will have pno or two Ministers whom I only know by name. Among these is a Mr Jellicoe. It; .appears that Stout, who was opposed to the former m some legal case which I forget* was impressed with Mr Jellicoe's fighting powers, and came to the conclusion that ho would be a more valuable lieutenant than Ballance, though Jellicoe, I believe, has actually no political experience and no great social status. I have it, on the best authority, that even before the case was settled, political nego tiations had been entered into between the two lawyers, the result of which was that Jellicoe, under Stout's auspices, started south to contest the Timaru seatt then vacant. If Jellicoe is elected poor Ballance will be entirely thrown over, and it is supposed that Atkinson, Jellicoe, and Fish will be" thoroughly competent to brow-beat the • Lower House, as Ballance had no gifts that way and his land policy was risky. I jjivel the rumor regarding Mi- Fish "for what it is worth. My own impression, founded as you know on some conciderable experience of that politician, is that no Government would be strong enough to take him as a colleague. But I admit that I may be prejudiced: * WHERE SIR JULIUS YOGEL COMES m. ■ ■ You,.who,know All the parties so well, will have no difficulty m perceiving whose " diplomatic " brain conceived these excellent schemes. There is no doubt that Sir Julius Yogel is the author of this new Plan of Campaign. It is equally certain that he has not forgotten himself m the distribution of rewards. When Sir, Dillon Bell relinquishes the AgencyrGeueral, Yogel will assume his cares of office. In that position his services m arranging the new loans—£lo,ooo,ooo is mentioned as the probable amount of the larger—will bo invaluable. Voxel's previous claim for commission is to be sanctioned and paid. AGENrS-'dEyEBI AL TO SIT IN IMPERIAL / . PARLIAMENT, > It is freely stated among the "inner circle" m London that it is a question rather of months than years when colonial Agents-General will have seats m the British Parliament, this being recognised as the only means by which Imperial Federation can be brought about. Pending thig, however, I am informed that both Atkinson and Stout have, through Yogel, the coming Agent-General, given m their adhesion to a scheme for supplying New Zealand with a force of Imperial troops. The force will not be large—m all perhaps" nob larger than a British Regiment of the line on a peace footing, and will consist of artillery, rifles, and cavalry, officered, of course, by British officers, Married officers of each branch of the service will be almost exclusively ■sleeted for the duty, and will be changeable every five years ; a moiety of the pay and allowances of these troops will be,' at first, borne Ivy the Imperial and the balance by the' colonial revenue. It is hoped that by sending married men, scciety, m the English sense, will be formed m the four cities, ?»nd that an Imperial tone will ' emanate' from the circle thus created vvhich will have a refining; effect on the colony at large. Parliament will be aakedto largely supplement the emoluments of the Governor m order that the hospitalities of Government House may be increased, and every attempt will be made to foster English, as opposed to merely colonial, sentiment, 1 and to introduce a state of society generally as.-,closely resembling as possible that ! which obtains m • a first-rate English i garrison (Ifcy. MORE TITLES FOE. .COLONIALS. ] With this end m view, and with the idea of captivating men of toosdemocratic tendencies, a perfect shower of colonial titles and decorations may be expected. Atkinson and Stout may probably receive i baronetcies, and it is more than whispered that the precedent m the case of the late Mr Dalley, of New South Wales, will be followed, and one or two, if not more, appointments to the Privy Council will be made. The sentiment of a New Zealand nationality is to be eradicated at all hazards, and all ideas of joing the Australian Federation are to be discountenanced. Yogel is said to have quite recently pointed out to Stout that his freefchought idiosyncrasies were calculated to militate against his chances of success under the new order of things, and if; is believed that the latter will before long give m his adhesion to some theological plan. He will probably join the Church of England. ORMOND AND RUSSELL. It is further asserted that Ormond was a short time ago approached with regard to the scheme, but that he indignantly flouted the supposition that he' would lend himself to it m any way. As, however,, he had ..first given a pledge of entire secrecy, he will most probably resign. Russell, op tire other hand, is said to view the various propositions with considerable favor, but will not, at first at anyrate, join the Ministry, though great efforts were made to induce him to do so, it being felt. that his social status and graces would be invaluable among a set not perhaps too. remarkable for social position and culture. Dislike and distrust of Stout are reported to have actuated Captain Russell's coyness. I am,, my deai. I—— Yours faithfully " We give this letter, of course, verbatim c.t literatim re-asserting that the bona fidss of the writer is beyond dispute, and further remarking that his position m English society is peculiarly- favorable to enabling him to procure most accurate information concerning such political movements as are initiated m London or arranged between London and Now/Tea-"" land—and it is anuncontrovertible fact that most of our larger politics, have bwen and are arranged m London rather than m New Zealand. That the writer's information is correct must be clearly evident to those who have closely followed reee,nt development's ; to those who have marked Sir H. Atkinson's actions and Sir Robert Stout's tactics with the labor party, and have attentively read his Napier speech and compared it with his Dunedin utterances. The foregoing letter explains the evidently strong interest at present working against Mr Ballance ; the retirement of Mr Ormond ; the candidature of Mr Jellicoe, a pronounced Englishman and Imperialist rather than a colonist;. the mysterious and equally strong influences at work to render certain the return of other candidates mentioned, as members of the , now Ministry' while nearly all the principal members of the Atkinson Ministry are strongly opposed m their various districts. Here, ■- too, may ba found an explanation of the attempts to split both,, the Catholic and. the Labor votes ; the fact that Stout's political activity meets with no counterblast from his ancient foe, Sir Harry ; the joint attack of these two upon the single tax platform»Sir Robert Stout's Action;

m coquetting with tha Anglican clergy m Dimedin and the labor party with whom lie lifts not and never hud real sympathy, and many other heretofore inexplicable , matters. The known divergence between the political faiths of the two proposed loads rs will bo m their favor rather than Otherwise, enabling them to support, on sufficient pressure, most contradictory measures without laying both of them open, fit the same time, to charges of inconsistency. Ed. C. Tihe^. *T3ell.Jellicoo libel case.—Ed. O.T. f This is evidently an error ; the Oamaru seat being meant.— Ej>. C.I, •*-., ■■ ,« [If the above is meant for a skit it is certainly a very ■ clover one. We can scarcely believe that it is what it purports to be—a record of actual-fact* /sltifewere so, then: he sooner 1 ■ the archplotters referred to are taught that New Zealand electors arc not mere counters in;' tfßelfifth game the bettor.—ld: "Guardian.. 1, 1]

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18901104.2.14

Bibliographic details

Extraordinary Political Plot., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2561, 4 November 1890

Word Count
2,540

Extraordinary Political Plot. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2561, 4 November 1890

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