The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1879.
. .One would have .thought, that in these colonies the differences of creed that have caused so much unhappiness, and even bloodshed in Old Ireland,would have hasn allowed tq fmfi qf tf that thoso who differ would agree to 00 so in peace and harmony. Recent events have proved, however, that a virus from the old sore has been brought across the seiisj and stijl iq thg bggojqjj q| thi.sq who do yjot sgen) J.q qble s to above theiw, early' prejudices', but iquri allow these to subvert thpjr hgttff feelings, with“th3’result following Hnat they permit themselves to take part in rjow that are a disgrace to the colony. The Boxing scenes at Timaru and Christ* Church w ? re fltO fem» to fiWteq iq qny q| .ouj
loving towns, and it is saddening lo think that any order of men, no matter what their|prinoiples, if not antagonistic to the the community, cannot, when they so choose, array , themselves in the little badges of their order, raise such flags and banners as may please them, and walk in innocent procession through the public streets, without being .madly set upon by an infuriated mob.of roughs, to, whom those badges, flags,, and banners, may be displeasing. In, thp recent riots we fancy the blame rests with the Catholics, seeing that both at Timar u and Christchurch they were the aggressors. We are glad to be assured, however, —and the characters of the men who have been apprehended over the matter give proof of the‘ assurance—that the outrages hart been the work cf the most ignorant anc unthinking of the faction, and that though the aggressors were certainly Catholics, and' were .impelled to their .work by the ■amPi impulses that have brought about faction/ fights in the past, their better thinking fellow-countrymen and co-re-ligionists had nothing whatever to do with the outbursts. The Catholic community: as a body are to be commended for their prompt denunciation of the outrages, and we hope that as a more enlightened. public, opinion advances such ebullitions of feeling as have happened this week in Christchurch and Timaru, and upon which we were on the verge in Ashburton on Saturday night and Sunday will; be sent to the region of things impossible.
One feature af the Timam scare, however, is especially noticeable—the weakness of the police. We have always believed that when the Riot Act'had been read, the time for all parley with a crowd and tolerance- of an, unruly assemblage was at an endj and any man.reinaining on the street did so at hisperiL But the Timaru . police oflicialaseem to have this part of their duty-still to learn, for though nearly 100, organised men were on the ground when the Resident Magistrate read the Act, ,no steps, whatever were taken to disperse..the crowd §nd quell the disturbance./: Doubtless an inquiry will be made-into the conduct or the chief officer who.hsd such a .belief in his own persuasive povyers that he refrained from attempting tq disperse the rioters,[and from asserting the power of the law, and chose rather. to persuade . the ringleaders to desist from their illegal doings. When the Biot Act isiead no man has any right to he on the street, and the police should at once have exercised the power the law gives them, and charged the men who had endangered the public peace. The readof the Biot Act is the last resource of the police, and when it is taken to there .should be no backing out, no shirking the duty that, follows, otherwise the police force and the machineiy of the law are in of coming into contempt, as they evidently did in Timaru. It is idle to talk of stopping processions ; —they are harmless in themselves, and any body of men has aright to parade the streets when occasion requires. But the illegality comes in when other citizens are so intolerant as to dare stop those processions or interfere with those taking part in Father Hennebcrry’s processions were not interfered- with, and his green badges were not insulted. Had they been so, it jnrould have been the duty of the police jbpreventitasfar as possible, and to punishfthe offenders. Such wasunquestionably their duty on Friday. The Orangemen are just as much entitled to a free march in through the streets as were Father Hennebery’s teetotallers. The . processions can do no harm whatever, if they'are let alone, and it says little indeed for either sde that the display of so .many .yards of green or orange silk should . lunje tne effect of setting several hundred meh by the ears, and plunging a whole ■' codunuuity into terror. When riots of OW'-kmO— Wcaj-e/erred to take place, ~ thepumahment should be'pronrpt, telling, . and exemplary. ■