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A PERSONAL EXPLANATION., Issue 7971, 29 July 1889
A PERSONAL EXPLANATION.
TO TUB EDITOR. Sir,— Mr H. S. Fish, M.H.R , has, with characteristic impertinence, attempted to prejudice me in the minds of my followcitizens by sending the telegram wnich His Worship the Mayor read to the meeting on Saturday night. His object was transparent, but he has again missed tho mark, Ido not claim either to represent or misrepresent “ public opinion” in this City. For what I do in my public capacity I shall render ah account in due season to those who have honored me with their confidence, and I repudiate the self-constituted censorship of my actions by the member for Dunedin South. Only a man of Mr Fish’s peculiar temperament would have sought, for political purposes, to attack my action as a journalist in the way he has done. I know that it is not usual to tell through the Press “the secrets of the prison house,” but as I am aware that my action has been misrepresented in certain quarters I will, with your permission, state the circumstance under which tho message which has roused the indignation of Mr Fish so much was despatched. Let me say at the outset that 1 am not the “own correspondent” of the ‘ Evening Post.’ There a r o reasons that do not concern the public which prevent my acting in that capacity. On Friday I received from Wellington a wire asking mo, as tho “ own ” of the ‘ Post ’ was absent from Dunedin, to send to that paper a precis of the leading articles of our dailies on the Representation Bill Accordingly I on Friday sent a summary of the ‘Herald’s’ article of tho previous evening, and on Saturday I sent abstracts of the articles in the leading columns of the ‘Daily Times’ and Evening Star.
I will deal with the mayor's telegram first, IJIs Worship wired—“To Mr Fish; Dunedin to a man approves of your action. Never seen such excitement before. Nothing else talked of." I would simply ask you and your readers are the specific statements made by His Worship true ? 1 am able to prove that there are hundreds of the electors of Dunediu who disapprove of the stonewalling proceedings, and I affirm fearlessly that the state of excitement pictured by the mayor docs not exist, but I offer no opinion in regard to his last statement. lam not a sufficiently keen partisan to sacrifice truth in order to advance a party struggle. When I wired that the mayor’s telegram was “ over colored " I told the plain truth. To recur to Mr Fish : Ho is good enough to say : “ lie (Cohen) says you have called meeting in smallest place you could get, and that any expression of opinion thereat will not reflect public opinion.” I charge Mr Fish with deliberately misquoting me. What I wired was this—l quote the actual text of my message: “ Mayor has mistakenly called to-night’s meeting in the smallest hall in the City, so attendance cannot bo accepted as criterion of popular feeling,” by which, of course, I meant that as the Rattray street Hall holds relatively so few people the value of the meeting, as indicative of local feeling, would not be so great as if the meeting had been held in either the Temperance or the Garrison Hall, which I am satisfied would have been filled. Then Mr Pish goes on to say: “He (Cohen) says Dunedin does not object so much to the quota, and suggests that present members are only desirous of retaining their scats.” I said nothing of the kind, as Mr Fish well knows. The personal opinions I expressed in my wire to tho ‘Post’ were these: “Is unquestionably strong feeling resistance (to the Bill), but it is to unfairness of quota being raised (to 33/j percent.). Is equally strong opinion city constituencies should bo amalgamated, and in favor of reduced House.” Have I spoken falsely in either respect. The words Mr Fish seeks to put into my mouth arc quoted from the Star’s article, as my message—a copy of which lies before me —shows, and ns every reader of that paper can see on turning to its pages. The motive for Mr Fish’s attack is well understood by my friends, who advised me to take no notice of it. But 1 thought it only right that tho public at largo should know where the truth lies, and should judge aecij dingly. With Mr Fish I shall have a reck-, ring one of these days.—l am, etc,, M. Coiie.v. Dunedin, July 27.
A PERSONAL EXPLANATION., Issue 7971, 29 July 1889
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