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BROUGHT TO BOOK

The following correspondence speaks for itself:— Wellington, November 27. In the 'Dailv TimesV report of your recent speech on the Bible-in-schools question at "the Presbyterian Assembly occur these words in reference to the Parliamentary Committee's inquiry on this question :

Mr Elliott said he had been amazed at the venomous and vituperative way in which Opponents of tho league had conducted themselves before the committee. Although he was a "red-hot" Protestant, he was bound in justice to say that the only exception was Dr Cleary. He had acted as a courteous Christian gentleman.

I was the representative of the National Schools Defence Lcaguo at the inquiry, and in the above, therefore, you are- reported to have said that I " conducted myself in a venomous and vituperative way." If you have not been correctly reported, may I respectfully suggest that you owo it to yourself as well as to mo to have the correction made in the "columns of the 'Otego Daily Times.' and of any other papers in which the?o damaging words occur* If you have been correctly reported, may I inform you that Canon Garland has' thanked me for the courteous manner in which I had treated him at the cross-examination, and may 1 again respectfully suggest that you should obtain verification of this from Canon Garland—to whom I am writing-—and then have a proDer correction made in the columns of the Press of this country, especially in the 'Otago Daily Times.'—t am, etc., Twos. H. Hr.NTKit.

Rev. J. K. Elliott. Wellington

On November 27 Professor Hunter wrote to Canon Garland, directing his attention to the reported observations of the Rev. Mr Elliott, and proceeded to say:

A3 you know. I am one of the people whose* conduct at the inquiry is herein described as venomous and vituperative. As you were good enough to go out of your way to thank me for my courteous treatment of you during cross-examina-tion. I am sure that you will not fail to condemn statements such as these, wherever they may bp made. I have written to the Rev. Mr Elliott, calling his attention to the report, and have taken the liberty of referring him to vou as a witness of the falsity of the Tpported statements as far as they tench my conduct at tho parliamentary inquiry.

Which produced On the next day i.he following reply from the organising secre tary of tho Bible-in-Schools League:

Dear sir,—ln replv to your letter of tne 27th inst., in which you quote a statement of the Rev. J. Kennedy Elliott, that he had been " amazed at the venomous rnd vituperative way in which opponents Ti the league conducted themselves before the committee," and in which you say I was good enough to go out of my way to thank you for your courteous treatment of me during my cross-examination, I am ipiite prepared to stand by what I said : that I thanked you for the courtesy of your manner; and I neither said nor implied more. As to whether youf conduct justifies fie language used by Mr Elliott is a matter of opinion, but as to your conduct apart from your manner, I can hardly describe that as courteous. 1 will take ono example. Your Question, put in a courteous manner, ns to what salary I received, was impertinent, and had nothing to do with the petitions before the committee. The courtesy of your manner was one thing and the of .your question qui«e another thing. Tho incidents mako ine think of members of the Roman Inquisition, who, in the suavest tones condemned to torture those who, like myself, were struggling for the principle of religious freedom for tho people and for the principle of opening tho Bible, both of which principles your league and the Roman Church are opposing in their application to the children in the State schools of this part of the British Empire.—l am, etc., David J. Gablaxp.

On December 2 Professor Hunter thus answered tho organising secretary : I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 28th ult., for which I thank you. J am sorry if, through my ignorance of your most subtle use of words, I have in •my way minted tho Bev. J. K. Klliott, but it was unfair to expect me, untrained in methods of Jesuitical casuistry, to know that your plain statement of my courteous treatment t>f you was, in your mind, restricted to my manner. AYhen you spoke to me at the entrance of the Parliamentary Buildings, I accepted your statement in good faith and without any suspicion that you were really giving mo .-» studied insult. You have now, however, made your intention clear. I regret that my question as to your salary should have offended yon. May I point out (1) that I asked other witnesses before the Committee whether their positions were honorary or paid, and (2) that my cross-examination of you was intended to ahow that, in view of (a) tho money expended, and (b) the methods used by your league, tho signatures of 150,000 people, even if they were all bona fide electors (which was not the case), did not mean that your league were-supported by 75 per cent, of the people as you had claimed. Surely there was nothing impertinent in that. It is true that your ignorance of the financial position of the league /ou represent broke down my cross-ex-amination on this point, but that the cross-examination was fair even my bitterest opponent will admit. You reference to the Eoman Inquisition is instructive. One of the most notorious methods of that institution was to pillory people under c'rcumstanCes that prevented any reply from, or justification of, the intended victims. I think even you will admit that all my attacks on your league and its methods have been made openly and in public. On the contrary, most of the attacks that your side have made on me and on those with whom I arn associated in this matter (the members of the National Schools' Defence League) have been made in meetings "for supporters only," in the shelter of the pulpit, or in chnrch organs that have refused publication of reply. I do not doubt that you think that you .ire fighting for religious freedom, for the Bible, etc., etc. ; so did the officers of the Inquisition. History has shown how misguided they were; I believe history will return the same verdict on your campaign.—l am, etc., Tho.s. H. Hunter. On the same day Professor Hunter informed the Rev. Air Elliott that Canon Garland, when speaking of the former's " courteous treatment" of him, referred only to the courtesy of his manner. He (the Professor) expressed regret that his letter of Xovomber 27 remained unanswered, and intimated that " to defend myself against tho unjustifiable attack you made upon me indirectly in the Presbyterian Assembly, I am handing my previous letter to the Press."

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141210.2.8

Bibliographic details

BROUGHT TO BOOK, Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

Word Count
1,154

BROUGHT TO BOOK Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

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