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A MINISTERIAL SENSATION., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
A MINISTERIAL SENSATION.
OUTCOME OF THE WARD-HISLOP DISPUTE. RESIGNATION OP THE COLONIAL SECRETARY. HIS RUMORED SUCCESSOR, [From Our Parliamentary Reporter. | WELLINGTON, September 3. Early in the session the correspondence which had passed between the Hon. T. W. Hislop and Judge Ward in connection with the case of William Christie, of Oamaru, was laid on the table, and at the time of its presentation I ventured to express the opinion that a careful perusal of it had satisfied me that the outcome of the correspondence must be either Judge Ward’s dismissal or the Colonial Secretary’s retirement from office. The matter to-day culminated in the latter alternative, Mr Hislop tendering his resignation as a member of the Executive in consequence of the strong censure passed on him by the Legislative Council. The Committee in question was set up on the motion of the Hon. J. N. Wilson some two or three weeks ago, the Premier having refused to sanction the appointment of a committee from the House, and it was thus constituted—Hons. Mr Buckley, Dr Pollen, Mr Oliver, Mr Stevens, Mr Shephard, Mr Swanson, Mr Wilson, and Mr Reynolds. Only Mr Oliver and Mr Stevens belong to what is known as the Government side of the Council, and it is not, therefore, singular to find that they alone voted against the adoption of the report which was arrived at, and which was virtually a vindication of Judge Ward’s positiou aud a vote of censure on Mr Hislop. The report ran as follows :
The Committees to whom it was referred to inquire ioto and repoit upon the circumstances that have occasioned the correspondence be* tween Ministers and Mr District Judge Ward have the honor to report that (I) your Committee, having made careful inquiry and taken evidence, refer that evidence and proceedings to the Council. (2) This Committee are of opinion that the correspondence of the Hou. Mr Hislop with Mr District Judge Ward merits the gravest disapproval.
When the report was presented to the Council there was no discussion, though probably some will be expected to-morrow, when the Hon. Mr Wilson in his capacity of Chairman of the Committee moves that the report and evidence be printed. THE COIONIAL SECRETARY RESIGNS. The purport of the Committee’s report was communicated to Mr Hislop on Monday evening, and he at once wrote out his resignation and tendered it to the Premier, who has, however, refused to accept it. The Colonial Secretary feels very deeply on the matter, and after consulting with a number of his friends he again wrote to the Premier this afternoon asking to be relieved from office, and his resignation was forwarded to His Excellency for acceptance. This soon became generally known, and created a mild sensation in the lobbies. Many hon. members expressed deep sympathy with Mr Hislop, and hoped that the resignation would not be accepted. In this connection I may mention that Mr Hislop is in receipt of a large number of letters from leading legal gentlemen in various parts of the colony approving of his action, and these doubtless will see the light of day when he addresses his constituents at Oamaru and places the whole circumstances culminating in his resignation before them. THE RESIGNATION ACCEPTED, I learn that early this evening a telegram was received from Lord Onslow, who is at present in Nelson, intimating his acceptance of Mr Hislop’s resignation. THE LIKELY MAN. The question now is : Who will have the vacant portfolio ? Sir John Hall was named as the most likely successor, but I have good authority for stating that the member for Selwyn, having been approached, declined to cake office, mainly on the ground that his health would not permit of the necessary strain. The names of Mr Ormond, Mr Fulton, and Captain Russell are mentioned as the most desirable men to supply the vacant portfolio. THE ‘ POST ’ ON THE REPORT. The following leader appeared in the ‘ Evening Post ’ before the resignation was accepted “ The report of the Committee of the Legislative Council on the WardHislop correspondence is the severest censure ever passed by a committee of any branch of the Legislature on a Minister of the Crown. It will bo remembered that the Council appointed the Committee in defiance of the strenuous opposition of the Government in the Chamber. In the Lower House the appointment of a similar committee was successfully resisted by the question being made a Ministerial one. The Council’s Committee have done their duty thoroughly and impartially, entirely unbiassed ty party considerations, and the result is an unequivocal condemnation of the Colonial Secretary’s general persecution of Judge Ward. The latter is triumphantly vindicated from the aspersions cast upon him, and the Minister who was his chief accuser is humiliated as no New Zealand Minister ever was humiliated before. The justice of the condemnation is sustained by the fact of the Petitions Committee of the House of Representatives having, on an indirect issue, reported that Judge Ward was right in his action re Christie which formed the ostensible ground of Mr Colonial Secretary Hislop’s most improper interference. The latter’s position in the Ministry is now, wo should think, untenable. Ho c<m scarcely remain a Minister of the Crown while resting practically under the strong censure of the committees of each branch of the Legislature, The evidence taken by the Committee is of a very voluminous description, consisting, as it does, of that given by Mr Justice Ward, the Hon. W. H. Reynolds, Mr Filleul (clerk of the Oamaru Resident Magistrate’s Court), the Hon, W. J. M. Laruach, John Scott M'Donald (gaoler at Oamaru), Hon. T. W. Hislop (Colonial Secretary), and Colonel Hume (Inspector of Prisons), September 4. a charge of one-sidedness,
Mr Hislop’a friends assort that the Committee committed a breach of faith in having given an undertaking that they would bimply lay the papers on the table, and not make any report. It is contended that the Committee should have followed that course or have made the inquiry a complete one. A MINISTERIAL VIEW, Commenting on the case, the * New Zealand Times ’ says editorially“ We take it that the main object of Parliament in entering upon this business was to protect the judicial bench from undue Ministerial interference. Wo see nothing in the evidence to incriminate the Minister beyond mere indiscretion. The indiscretion he admitted himself when the subject was before the Lower House, and we think his frank confession might have been accepted, and an acquittance in full extended to him. But tortuous are the ways of party politics. The indiscretion was quickly converted into a weapon of offence against the Government, and pushed to the extremity of parliamentary censure. The inquiry was not exhaustive, and such as it is it would have redounded more to the dignity qf Parliament if it had never been held. The idea of the Minister being influenced by sordid personal considerations may be scouted at once as untenable. He was actuated by the best intentions; and this is precisely the view of the case taken by the leading Australian papers.” PREPARING TO VACATE. Mr Hislop has not yet (one o’clock) been advised by the Premier that his resignation is accepted. The Governor wired back last night leaving the matter in the hands of the Cabinet. His Excellency returns to Wellington to-morrow. Though no formal intimation has yet (2 p.m.) been conveyed to Mr Hislop, it is' understood that the Premier has practically determined to accept his resignation. The ex-Colonial Secretary to-day made preparations for his retirement-from offioq by removing his papers, etc., from the room in the Government Buildings previously qcpupied by him* ' Oi'F HOME. I hear that Mr Hislop leaves for Oamaru on Monday to consult with his principal supporters there.
A MINISTERIAL SENSATION., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
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