27 JANUARY 1900, Page 19

Mr. Courtney in another part of his speech asked why

the newspapers which support the Government have taken no notice whatever of the Hawksley letters,—i.e., the letters published in the Independance Beige. We cannot, of course, answer for other newspapers, but we will tell him why we have not noticed them. Those letters, if they are not forgeries, were stolen, or else obtained by some under. hand or corrupt means. This fact would most certainly have prevented us from purchasing and publishing the letters if they had been offered to us, as it is said they were offered to several London newspapers. But we do not see why we should be expected to do at second hand what we would not have done at first hand. Those who give publicity to the results of acts which must have been dishonourable—i.e., the obtaining of the letters—cannot avoid encouraging such acts of theft or treachery. If, however, the letters come to be fully and openly debated in Parliament we of course shall feel free to deal with such discussion. It will be for Sir William Harcourt and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the late and the present leader of the Opposition, who were both members of the South African Committee, to speak as to the signifi canoe of the letters. They are honourable men, they are certainly not inclined to shield the present Government, and they are responsible for the acts of the Committee, and, so, anxious as to its credit. If they take up the alleged dis- closures and ask for further investigation the matter should be investigated, and investigated thoroughly.