HL Deb 15 July 1913 vol 14 cc963-5

My Lords, I wish to ask the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, to be good enough to explain the statement he made last night in regard to my cousin. Mr. Hamilton, having written a letter published in the Manchester Guardian grossly attacking the King. I have here a copy of the Manchester Guardian of the date mentioned, and it is evident that the letter which appeared in that newspaper was not written by Mr. Hamilton, the Member for Altrincham, but was written by some irresponsible person with whom the editor of the Manchester Guardian endeavoured, most unjustifiably, to connect Mr. Hamilton's name for purely political purposes. I think that for a Minister of the Crown to be so careless in what he says that he should not look up the newspaper and see that his remarks have foundation in truth, shows what vindictive feelings Ministers entertain towards the other Party. That a Unionist candidate seeking election should have any connection with such a gross attack on the King as is contained in the letter quoted by the Manchester Guardian is perfectly absurd and unthinkable. The letter was evidently written by quite an irresponsible man who had no connection with the Unionist Party at all.


I am sorry that the noble Earl did not give me warning of the fact that he was going to raise this question, because I could then have told him that I was ready and anxious to forestall him on this occasion by explaining to your Lordships that I found, on looking at the report this morning, that I had done some injustice to Mr. Hamilton. The article to which I referred, and which I quoted, was in the Manchester Guardian of May 26, and I regret that I did not more fully quote from that article during the cross-examination to which I was subjected by noble Lords opposite. I am ready and anxious to make apologies to Mr. Hamilton, whose friends are referred to, rather than he himself, in the article which I quoted.


They are not friends of Mr. Hamilton. I think the noble Earl should withdraw that expression also.


The reason I used the phrase "friends" was that it was used in the heading of the article to which I referred.


Lords, I think it due to my noble friend behind me to add that a somewhat hurried perusal of the extracts which the noble Earl opposite was good enough to hand to me across the Table last night quite satisfied me that none of them could be said to contain anything which could properly be described as a gross personal attack against His Majesty, or as such an attack by a prominent Unionist. There was a quotation from the Manchester Guardian, the issue of which for the date referred to contained no letter of any kind written by Mr. Hamilton. The article quoted was one for which the newspaper, and the newspaper alone, was responsible. The three remaining passages were of a very frivolous character, and to my mind were not in the least of a nature which could justify the construction placed upon them by the noble Earl.