HC Deb 27 July 1888 vol 329 cc677-8
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

asked the indulgence of the House while he made a brief personal explanation. It would be in the recollection of the House that a short time ago, in the course of the debate on the Motion initiated by the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division of Northumberland (Mr. Fenwick) as to the payment of Members, he made a few observations with regard to that subject. In the course of his remarks he related an incident which came to his knowledge in the course of conversation while in Australia; and he now found that those observations had caused great offence in Australia. A telegram had been received from the Government of Victoria, addressed to the Agent General here, and he had had the honour of waiting upon that Colonial Representative, and had done his best to explain all that passed. The telegram which came from Melbourne was to this effect. He would read a portion of it only. [Cries of "Read the whole!"] He was the best judge of what he should read. The telegram stated that in the course of observations made by Admiral Field in the House of Commons on July 6, he stated— That an able and wealthy Member in Victoria had told him that any Member of Parliament in the Victorian Assembly could be bribed. He did make those observations; but he also made other observations which apparently were not included in the telegram sent to the other side of the world. The conversation referred to took place in Australia in May or June, 1882, and necessarily referred to a period prior to 1882. He was informed by the Agent General that it was probably at a time when a great struggle was going on between squatters and capitalists and the rest of the community with respect to certain important legislation affecting land in that country. He felt it was but right to say that as this conversation took place in 1882, he could in no sense refer to the present time. He would not willingly give pain to any person living, much loss to their brother politicians on the other side of the world, who were engaged in building up a Greater Britain.

MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)

Perhaps, Sir, I may be allowed to say in connection with——


Order, order!


I denied the statement at the time.

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