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- » SOME PLAIN SPEAKING. Colonel Fox, ex - Commandant of the Forces, has addressed this letter to the* Christchurch newspapers:— Sir,-Ihave just seen ou page 6,554, 'Hansard,' October 19, 1897, that Mr Seddon states "We gave a free hand to the late commander of the forces. This is an absolute lie. I was never Riven a free hand as commander of the forces. He continues: "And he ran us into £15,000 or ±16,000 for a class of rifles that last night I was told were obsolete and useless." The MartiniHenry rifles, with which the defence forces of New Zealand are now armed, were procured on my recommendation on grounds fully set out at the time to the Government by me. Those grounds hold good at the present moment. It will be greatly to the advantage of the colony if the whole matter concerning the procuring of the Martini-Henry rifles be thoroughly investigated. I earnestly hope that in fairness to me, who have been obliged by official ties and in the interest of the defence of the colony to remain in silence while being calumniated, that this letter may be published by all the papers in the colony. [From Oor Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, November 4, I saw Mr Seddon this morning concerning "ColonelFox's-letter, telegraphed from Christchurch, and asked him if he desired to make any explanation. The Premier saya that his statement re a " free hand " had reference to the weapon to be ordered for the use of the volunteors of the colony only, and, turning to 'Hansard,' page 655, I find the words actually used were: "We gave a free hand to the lato commander of the forces, and he ran us into £15,000 or £16,000 for a clasß of rifles that last night I was . told were obsolete and useless." Mr Seddon says dis- j tinctly that hia remark applied only to the 1 weipona to be ordored, and tiat to i allege that he meant that Colonel

Fox was to have a free hand as commandant of the forces is a mere quibble. Colonel Fox was quite unfettered in his recommendation as to the selection of a weapon for the volunteers, and he reported in 1895 in favor of the Martini-Henry and adversely on the Lee - Metford rifle, alleging that the latter carried so far that, it would be a dangerous weapon to use in New Zealand, and that it had sent bullets through people without killing them. It was solely on Colonel Fox's recommendation that the Cabinet agreed to send Home an order for a class of weapon which had proved to be obsolete and useless. Mr Seddon further says it should not be forgotten that Colonel Fox is a relation by marriage of the Leader of the Opposition, and it is therefore fair to assume that he is biased against the Government.

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COLONEL FOX AND THE PREMIER., Issue 10462, 4 November 1897

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COLONEL FOX AND THE PREMIER. Issue 10462, 4 November 1897

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