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PUBLIC MEN ON PUBLIC MATTERS. Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, in addressing his constituents at Deal on Monday, defended the Government from the charges of incompetency that had been hurled against it. He said there might naturally have been errors in the policy of the Government with which he was connected; but he contended that its general ten- dency was of a most beneficial character as regarded the financial position of the country. He contended that Mr. Dtsraeli's Government left the Liberal Government to pay the balance of the Abyssinian war expenditure, and they had since had to pay largely for education, military organisation, the abolition of purchase, and the purchase of the telegraphs, as well as to meet the Alabama claims. They nad, nevertheless, met all these matters, and had taken on twelve millions of taxation; they had reduced the national debt by twenty-six millions, and the income tax to threepence in the pound. If, therefore, they wished the latter tax to be abolished—and he personally did not agree with such a burden -they must keep men in office who were prepared to endorse the sneers ,of those who called them "economical." He referred to colonial ^questions, and dwelt at eome length on the difficulty with Ashantee. The Government, ? said, had been charged with hat- ing, by their mismanagement, caused the war, and it was stated that itjmight have been avoided if we had chOHea to pay to some native prince a ridiculously small sum which he had been in the habit of receiving annually. It WM further alleged that the Govern- ment, seized with a fit of ecenomy, would not pay the paltry amount, and the result was a serious Ashantee war. His answer to this statement was simple and complete—there was not a nford of truth in it. Those who had read, the pfcpers presented to Parliament on the subject—and those who had not done so had nO right to make looee assertions- -would nnd thit the Dutch had been in the habit of paying a certain sum of money annually to Hie King of Ashantee, and that he regarded this as a tribute. They would find that thereupon declared that we could not receive the Dutoh forts from the Dutch Government until the nature of that payment was fully cleared up, and the King of Ashantee had fairly renounced any right to the fort and town in question. They would find, moreover, that he did renounce in writing any such claims, and owned tliat the payment made to him by the Dutch was only to insure friendship and goodwill. On the 20th April, 1873, the representative of the King of the Netherlands informed the King of Ashantee that it was the earnest wish of the British Government to continue to his Majesty the stipend which the Dutch Government had hitherto paid, ana to crown all, in a lettef of the same date, Mr. JPop# Hennessy, representing the British Government, thtti wrote to the King of Ashantee :—" In the letter to the Dutch Governor brought by M. Plpnge, dated at Coomassie, August 19,1871, your Majesty refer. to the annual payment made to the King of Ashantee bl the Dutch government to ensure friendship and good- will. With the same object, and as an additional proof of friendship, the British governor of the Gold Coast will pay your Majesty double that sum nert year." He would ask those present whether it was possible to have a more triumphant refutation of the statement he had; quoted, and which had beeit made without one single fact to justify it ? Anothet chargejagainst the Government was, that they foolishly wished to shut out the Ashantees from the s&a; but he could multiply quotations to shew how untrue this charge was. Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen con- tended that the Government were not to blame, and he hoped that, as the war hadlbeen forced upon them, it would (end in carrying the twin sistirs, Clfetianity and civilization, into a heathen land. Mr. Dixon and Mr.tMuntz spoke on Monday at Birmingham at a meeting held to consider the subject of the Ashantee war. Mr. Dixon confessed his ig- norance of the origin of the war. but said he was in- clined to think there was a great deal of truth in what had been said by certain Conservatives, that her Majesty's Government ought to call Parliament to- gether in order that they might know what kind of a war Government was engaging in before the neces- sary supplies were voted. He had, however, very great faith in Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright. He was sure they would not have entered into the war without the great possible determination that it should be as small in extent as possible consistent with the English interest involved. Mr. Dixon de- precated the system of political treaties, and! con- demned among others the treaty protecting the neu- trality of Belgium. Mr. Muntz also condemned the treaty system, and especially the Belgian and Lut- emburg Treaties. We hadjundertakeji to defend, in the latter case, a small territory not so large as Wai4- wickshire against all the Powers of Europe. Mr. Muntz also said he should be very much surprised if any war would arise if Mr. Gladstone could possibly avoid it. A petition was adopted, praying the Go- vernment to use all reasonable means to settle existing differences before sending an army into the interior of Ashantee.

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