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Mr Fisher's Last Word., Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
Mr Fisher's Last Word.
In the course of the debate on July 3 on the motion to refer the Atkineon-Fißher correspondence to the Printing Committee, the ex-Minister urged that he should be allowed to bring the correspondence to a close. He said:—
May I cay one word in explanation? It is this : If I forwarded any letter at all to the hon. gentleman it would be an extremely short one. As to the trivial objection in regard to the number of pages of my letter, that becomes simply a question of the size of one's handwriting lhe Hon. the Premier forwarded to me a lotter of forty-two page 3 in very small handwriting, and that, if it had been written in the same writing as mine, would, I dare say, have made seventy-five pages at least. But this is so trivial a matter that I will not take up the time of the House by further referring to it. Sir, I recognise that there is a proper and constitutional coarse which rhould bo followed in all such oaßeß. I agree with the hon. member for Timaru that it would have been very much better had there been no correspondence at all. If the Premier, instead of initiating a correspondence on such a subject, had followed the usual and the constitutional course, and had come down to the House with a simple announcement that the Ministry ha I been reconstructed, or tbat one of itj number had loft it, that would have been sufficient for all purposes. But what does the hon. gentleman do? He begins a correspondence in which he makes a charge againßt me of a serious nature, and I answer that letter in the most decorouß language possible. Any man who roads my letter of the 6th April will see that no exception can be taken to it on the score of impropriety of language. But what follows ? In the middle of the same month the hon. gentleman writes to me a letter containing charges of a most serious nature charges serious enough if made against any private person ; but to be made against a Minister of the Grown—l say that any man ought to be ashamed to have written such a letter, and then to say tbat it shall not appear upon the reoords of the country—that he ehall have the right to indulge in slander " for private circulation only." Mr Speaker: I cannot allow you to impute Blander to any member of this House, That is not Parliamentary language. Mr Fisher : Sir, all I have to say is that, for my own part, I exceedingly regret that there should ever have been any correspondence upon such a subject. I agree with those hon. gentlemen who even object to the reading of the conospondence, much lobb to the printing of it. I say that Buch a correspondence is most unusual, and I myself regret ever having been a party to it. I had no charges to make against other people, ani I think it was wanting in consideration for my feelings th»t the hon. gentleman should have written to me Buch letters as he has written. I should be the last man in this House to obtrude any private grievance of my own upon the Parliament of the country; but I think the hon. gentleman should remember that I have been for some years engaged in the publio affairs of the country, though perhaps not for so many years as he has been engaged in them. He has trifled with my feelings, and has endeavored to take from me a reputation it has taken many years to make, and I say he ought, before making such un> wananted oharges, to have had some consideration for me and for my family. I care nothing for myself, but it will be well for the hon. gentleman to remember that in the future politics of this country he will have to make his account with young and vigorous men, who will not be so easily put aside by him as others have b?en in the past—who will not be bullied and browbeaten as the hon. gentleman has bullied and browbeaten my aged and venerable friend the hon. member for Auokland Central (Sir George Grey). TbWe £0 OW 1 nW &W<#«« *Kft"lfo«
politlea of the country who will nottolerato imputations such as the hon. gentleman has thrown ont against me, and I am only sorry tbat I have not had, as I ought to have had, a fair opportunity of meeting the allegations contained in this last letter. The hon. gentleman will remember for many a day the serious charges be has madeagainßt me, and he will also do well to remember that he will have to meet the oountry yet and make answer for having made these charges. I wish the hon. gentleman to understand once and for all that I am sot a man to be trifled with. lam exceedingly sorry tbat I should have had even for a moment to take up tho time of the House upon such a question, but when the hon. member writes such letters as he has written to me, and then asks that they should not be placed upon the publio reoords of the country, together with the answers I have made and am prepared to make, I say that is a serious matter, Kir, the hon. gentleman has indulged in a courso of conduct, the effect of which, as regards himself, it will take him many years to obliterate. I have nothing further to say.
Mr Fisher's Last Word., Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
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