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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 67

Mr. Allen's Letters To Sir Robert Stout. Mr. Allen at North East Valley

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Mr. Allen's Letters

To Sir Robert Stout.

Mr. Allen at Old Knox Church.

Mr James Allen addressed a crowded meeting in Old Knox Church on Wednesday evening, and towards the commencement of his remarks referred to the two letters addressed by him to Sir Robert Stout, which had been published in the daily papers. He said: Those of you who were present yesterday will remember that I began by asking Sir Robert Stout this question "Did I or did I not apply to the Government for a billet?" and he had the candor to say no, I did not. I then asked him another question-'Did I or did I not ever express by letter confidence in the financial proposals of the Government, or a wish that the want of confidence motion should be carried in their favor?"—(A Voice: "Yes") Sir Robert Stout did not have the candor to answer that, and only said that with my permission he would publish the letters. I said "Yes, Sir Robert, I have come to demand the publication of those letters; and I ask you if you have any charge against me to make it to-night or to-morrow, in order that I may have a chance of replying to it."—(Applause.) Now, I do not know whether Sir Robert Stout did make any charge against me last night; I was not present—(A Voice: "No")—and there is no report of any. Well, it seems he did not make any charge against me, but at the same time it is to my interest, and it is my duty to you, I think, to make plain the interpretation of these letters, on which I say a false interpretation has been placed.—(Applause.) Now, I regret that personal matter has to be introduced into this contest, and I tell you I have not introduced it willingly. Sir Robert Stout has compelled me, by making use of these letters in a way which I would not do. He has, I know, taken them to electors and let them read them, and I do not say that he has induced them to, but he has let them misinterpret the letters.—(A Voice: "They are of no value.") They are of tome value to me, and I will make it plain.—(Applause.) Now, the first of these letters was Written on the 18th April, and I think it needs hardly any explanation at all. I will read it:—My dear Sir Robert,—I think I will act upon the Suggestion contained in your telegram, and will find my way to Wellington when the session has commenced, where no doubt one can pick up a great deal of useful information and gain some experience. I am exceedingly obliged to you for troubling to send a telegram, and only regret I had not the pleasure of seeing you when in Dunedin.

On many of the questions which interest us In New Zealand I fancy I hold much the same views as you, and that has been one reason why I have ventured to bother you in the matter; and, further than this, I felt the necessity of some advice if I ventured into politics, and could not pick upon anybody whose counsel seemed so much worth having as yours. The fact is, I want something more to do outside of my own private concerns, and several friends have urged upon me politics as a duty.

Now, the telegram here referred to is a telegram from Sir Robert Stout. I may explain that he appointed to meet me at his office on the morning after Mr Macandrew's funeral. I went there, but he was gone, and I received a telegram from Wellington to say that he had to go and advising me to come to Wellington. That was the reason of that telegram. Now, to turn to my letter. I said: "On many of the questions which interest us in New Zealand I fancy I hold much the same views as you." Those of you gentlemen who have read my speeches and studied them will agree that I only stated what is absolutely true.—(Applause.) I have always looked upon Sir Robert Stout as a true Liberal, and I look upon myself as one, and on many questions I maintain that my opinions are similar to his. But at this moment there is a question of principle between us, and on that I stand and I fight.—(Applause.) I may further explain that I wrote and asked advice of Sir Robert Stout because he was then, and I hope is now, a personal friend. I knew him as such in Dunedin, and I know no man whose advice I would rather have then or now. I think that makes plain the first letter. There is nothing detrimental to me in that.—(Hear). At least I hope you are satisfied that there is not.—(Applause). I suppose, by-the-bye, on this first letter was founded the rumor that I wrote and asked for a billet.—(A Voice: "The rumor began with your own men.") It did not. You are afraid of the rumor now it has come to light.—(Applause, and a Voice: "Chuck him out.") The second letter is dated May 10, and is as follows:—

My dear Sir Robert,—This morning I received a letter signed W. J. Habens, notifying my appointment as a member of the Otago University Council. I have written to him wishing him to convey to His Excellency the Governor my appreciation of this honor. But I must at the same time convey to you also my thanks, for I gather from your telegram that you are page 2 he chief one to whom my thanks are due. We are all looking forward to the result of to-night's debate, and I send you my good wishes that you may succeed. I hope I may find my way to Wellington within a week or two, but I have first to take a trip down South.

Now, gentlemen, in the first part of this letter reference is made to the University Council and to a telegram. I received a telegram from Sir Robert Stout to this effect: "Will you accept an appointment on the Otago University Council? and I telegraphed a reply "Yes; I would consider it a high honor." Let me tell you I never made application by sign or word for the appointment; I never asked a soul for it, although possibly others did. It was given to me without any requisition by the Governor, advised, I suppose, by Sir Robert Stout.—(A Voice: "There is nothing in the letters. Pass on.") There is something in them, and you do not like to hear it, sir'.—(Applause.) Now, there is another clause in this second letter: "We are all looking forward to the result of to-night's debate, and I send you my good wishes that you may succeed." Gentlemen, this letter is dated the 10th May. I wrote it on the morning of May 10 and posted it, and I will bring facts to show you presently what I was referring to when I said "I send you good wishes that you may succeed to-night."—(A Voice: "You denied that letter at the last meeting of yours.") I never did. I denied the interpretation of it, and I will today.—(Applause and interruption) Someone says I denied the letters. Do you think a man standing in my position so foolish as to deny that he has ever written a letter that he has written? No. When I wrote I referred to the Representation Bill, and I can bring absolute proof to show it—to the Representation when seventy-one members had been carried, and when Sir Robert Stout had said he would loyally accept the reduction to seventy-one.—(Applause) On May 4 the Mackenzie clause came down for a reduction of members to seventy-one, and was carried. Mr [unclear: ole] and Mr Larnach recorded their votes in its favor, but the Premier, Mr Richardson, and Mr Ballance went into the opposite lobby. It is a funny thing members of the Government generally are in opposite lobbies. Now, bear in mind that the Premier had promised at a subsequent discussion to give loyal support to the decision that had been arrived at; and in response (A Voice: "Oh, pass that"). I am not going to pass it. In response to an expression by Mr Seddon of a hope that, after considering the matter, the Premier would tell the House definitely if he accepted the reduction, the Premier replied he had accepted it; and that after reflection. Therefore that is absolute proof that on 4th May seventy-one members had been carried, and the Premier had accepted the resolution after consideration.—(A Voice: "On what consideration?") That was the position on the 4th May, and on the 6th May Sir Robert Stout made this declaration regarding the Representation Bill: "Before the Orders of the Day are called on, I wish to make a short statement. No agreement has yet been arrived at on the third clause of the Bill. I am in hopes that some arrangement will be made which will enable the Bid to proceed, and I ask, therefore that the Order of the Day for the further [unclear: consideration] of the Bill in Committee be [unclear: post]poned till Tuesday, when I will take it as [unclear: the] first Order of the Day. That Tuesday, [unclear: gentlemen], was the 10th May; and when I wrote [unclear: and] wished Sir Robert Stout success I wrote in [unclear: the] faith of this being correct, and wished [unclear: him] success on the Representation Bill.—([unclear: Gres] applause.) Gentlemen, I believed the [unclear: principle] contained in the Representation Bill was a [unclear: good] one, and I believe it to-day; and if I had [unclear: that] write again and express an opinion as to [unclear: whetheir] I wished success or not to that Bill in [unclear: which] seventy-one members had been inserted, I [unclear: would] do exactly the same thing to-day.—([unclear: Prolon] applause.) Now, gentlemen, you will [unclear: remember] that, unfortunately for my date, the [unclear: Financial] Statement came down on the evening of [unclear: the] 10th of May. Now, when I wrote I [unclear: knew] nothing of the Statement. My letter [unclear: was] posted before any news of it arrived, yet [unclear: they] fact that I wished success to the [unclear: Government] in the division on the 10th of May has [unclear: been] twisted to mean that I wished success to [unclear: the] Financial Statement. Here is the only [unclear: never] I had about the Financial Statement on the [unclear: 10th] of May morning. It is a statement [unclear: contained] in the newspapers:—"The Premier [unclear: information] me to-day (the 10th of May) that he cannot [unclear: say] whether the Financial Statement will be [unclear: brought] down this week. The whole of the [unclear: account] were not available till the 1st or 2nd of [unclear: the] present month, and, as only eight or nine [unclear: do] have elapsed, it is rather early to say positive when it will be ready." That was all I [unclear: knew] about the Financial Statement on the [unclear: morning] of May 10. It was staled here that it [unclear: could] not come down for several days, and I did [unclear: not] believe it would; and those of you who got [unclear: a] on the morning of the 11th of May, and [unclear: for] the Financial Statement in the newspaper were, I am certain, quite surprised—every[unclear: thing] was surprised.—(Applause.) I think I [unclear: have] now made myself tolerably plain. I [unclear: rep] once more that I wrote and wished [unclear: succ] to Sir Robert Stout as I believed on the [unclear: Representation] Bill, which was to come on, [unclear: as] supposed, on the 10th of May, with [unclear: seventy] one members carried. But, as a [unclear: matter] fact, the Financial Statement came down [unclear: qu] unexpectedly. I never wrote expecting it come down, or expressing sympathy with or with the Government on the [unclear: vote] want of confidence, which did not [unclear: come] till about ten days or a fortnight [unclear: afterward] I think I have made that plain; and I [unclear: am] astonished that anyone holding the position Premier of this Colony, if he knows, as he [unclear: show] know, that I wrote not with regard to the [unclear: Financial] statement, should be leading people to [unclear: beli] that I wrote and wished success to the [unclear: Finan] Statement, which was not before me, or [unclear: same] to him in the want-of-confidence debate, [unclear: which] did not come on for a fortnight [unclear: afterwards] (Great applause.) Gentlemen, I must [unclear: ap] gise again for having detained you over a [unclear: per-]sonal matter of this kind, but you will [unclear: see] easily it might be twisted to mean what it do not mean, and you will pardon me for [unclear: bring] it so prominently before you.

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Mr. Allen at North East Valley.

James Allen addressed two meetings of [unclear: edin] East electors last evening. The first [unclear: held] at Opoho, and there was so large [unclear: tendance] that many people were unable to [unclear: n] admittance, and the windows were own open in order that those outside might [unclear: the] candidate. Mr Isaac Green occupied [unclear: hair], Mr Hamilton proposed and Mr [unclear: Chap-] seconded the following motion:—"That Mr [unclear: es] Allen is the most fit and proper person present this constituency in the ensuing [unclear: ament]." There was no amendment, and [unclear: notion] was carried amid general cheering.

[unclear: The] second meeting was held at the Council [unclear: bers], and there also there was a large [unclear: dance]. Mr Allen's supporters received [unclear: most] enthusiastically, and carried him [unclear: der] high into the hall. Mr Green again [unclear: ded].

[unclear: The] Chairman, in introducing the candidate, he bad very great pleasure in so doing, [unclear: nuch] as Mr Allen was a gentleman who, if [unclear: ned] to Parliament, would reflect great [unclear: it] on the Colony.—(Applause.)

[unclear: Mr]r Allen would ask his hearers to pardon [unclear: if] he was not heard as well as he should be, [unclear: he] had already spoken for an hour at [unclear: ho], and that had taken a deal out of him. [unclear: had] the unpleasant duty of saying a few [unclear: ls] regarding the letters from himself to Sir [unclear: ert] Stout which had been published in the [unclear: rs]. His explanation of these letters was [unclear: e] seen in that morning's 'Daily Times,' [unclear: he] asked the electors, if they had any doubt [unclear: o] the interpretation, to read the report of [unclear: t] he said the previous evening at old Knox [unclear: rch]. He would not say any thing as to the [unclear: of] those letters—it required no [unclear: expla-on]; and as to the second letter, he would [unclear: h] on one portion only, and that was the [unclear: ence] in which he said "We are all looking [unclear: ard] to the result of to-night's debate, I send you my good wishes that [unclear: may] succeed." It was on the 10th [unclear: May] that he wrote that letter, and it written in reference to his appointment as [unclear: member] of the Otago University Council, [unclear: en] writing that letter he was under the [unclear: ression] that the Representation Bill was to [unclear: brought] down that day. Sir R. Stout had that he would loyally accept seventy-one [unclear: abers], and he (Mr Allen) wrote and wished success. That was all he meant. His letter had been twisted to mean that he wished Sir Robert success in the Financial debate and vote of confidence; but the truth was that he (Mr Allen) had no notion that the Financial Statement was coming down that night. As he had just said, he simply wrote wishing success to the Representation Bill with seventy-one members carried. The principle of this Representation Bill was a good one, and if he had to write his letter over again he would again wish this measure success. These two letters had been freely used to his detriment, for Sir Robert Stout had given them to the electors of Dunedin East to read, and had allowed a false interpretation to be placed on them. He had two more proofs that he did not refer to the Financial Statement when he wrote that letter. One was that on the 19th of May, nine days after he wrote to Sir Robert, he attended a meeting held in the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the Tariff proposals of the Government, and long before he had announced himself as a candidate for Parliament. The resolution arrived at, he might say, was an adverse one—he opposed and would continue to oppose such absurd proposals as were brought by the Government, and they might see by referring to the papers that he moved one of the resolutions in opposition to the Tariff. There was yet another proof, in the letter itself. It said that they were interested in the debate which they supposed was coming on that evening. Now, the debate on the Financial Statement never takes place on the evening the Statement is delivered. The usual thing is to adjourn the House, and the debate generally lasts for some time. Therefore, in saying that they were looking forward to the result of "to-night's debate," it was evident that he did not refer to the Financial debate. The letter itself contained proof of that. Sir Robert Stout, as a lawyer and one accustomed to picking things to pieces, should have known this, and if he had been a man and a gentleman he would have said right out: "Mr Allen did not wish me success on the Financial Statement." He was sorry to introduce personal matters, but was compelled to do so for the reason that these letters were being used by his opponent, not openly and publicly, but in such a way that one could only know from rumor what was said and thought about the matter.