“I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains. ” —LONGFELLOW.
(From Ashburton Herald, June 19.)
I see the Hon J. N. Y. ilson isdownon the justices, and has poked up the Government to shunt off the list all the insolvents “ and other unsuitable people.” I wonder how many features of a justice’s character he wants that word “ unsuitable ” to cover 1 I have heard of one justice who bravely fined a digger LI for beingdrunk, and an hour afterwards sat down with that digger and Iris mates, and helped and joined with the whole crowd in drinking the notes that remained. The diggergot the second offence in, seeing, I suppose, it was sanctioned by the august aid and majesty of the Bench. There is a Judge now on the bench who, while sitting as a Resident Magistrate, had to figure as defendant in innumerable debt cases, and even now his name does not seldom follow a small v for unpaid accounts. 1 should neither like to be plaintiff nor defendant in a case coming before a Judge like that, for I should be afraid that he owed my adversary money, and the fear of a writ may wonderfully sway a decision. I have heard, too, of another case, in which the Magistrate is said to bo owing all round and the first question asked of a client by the solicitors who practice in said Magistrate Court is—Does the beak owe 3 T ou any money 1 and the next is—Does he owe the other side any ? If there is nothing owing, the case, of course, is safe to be heard on its merits. If there is money owing—well, justice has one eye open then. Those solicitors were at one time meditating clubbing a few notes, buying up LSO worth of the beak’s paper, and putting him through. Colonel Brett has come across a Justice in Hawke’s Bay who had been convicted of sly-grogging. Can any one wonder at decent men refusing to accept the position of Justice of the Peace? Back again to the Court. I have often heard my legal friends discourse learnedly on what constituted vagrancy, and when a man could be said to have no lawful visible means of support. I was never able to get exactly at the hang of their opinions on the subject, but I have known worthless characters who travelled the country living on their wits, carry a twofeet rule in their pocket, just to show that they had some show of doing work, when a policeman hove in sight. These are the sort of men who are perennially unemployed, who seek for work always, but are in constant fear lest they should find it. We have that class of character here, too, as well as elsewhere. A loafer, whom 1 have often seen within cooey of the R.M. Court, was once threatened with the Vagrancy Act. He stoutly denied being without visible means of support, “ For,” said he nnblushingly, “ my brother is very well-to-do, and I loaf on him.” But for the greater density of blood than water that brother would have been very glad to see his loafing relative do a month or two in a Government billet under very strict discipline. But the case of this moral weed Bariera seems to me peculiar. What good purpose [he can serve in this fair world of ours is an enigma. Still, it is also an enigma to me how, sentenced'to three months’ compulsory service of his
adopted country for being a rogue and a vagabond and without visible lawful means of support, he should yet turn out to be the owner of between L2O and L3O worth of property, and be able to emerge from his free dwelling under Colonel Felton’s sheltering wing and claim it. The business—if you can call it that—he carried on was, I presume, what his apprehension and conviction aimed at stopping. Without the trulls he harbored his occupation was gone. Yet the furniture he claimed has been handed over to these women to help them on in their hellish trade. Brave law ! Strict and impartial justice ! I notice that one of the Wellington papers waxes jubilant over the fact that a considerable quantity of new silver and copper coin isfindingits way into circulation in Wellington. I don’t know that there is any very strong reason to be joyful over this fact ; but I would be very joyful indeed if -it wore a proved fact that a largo quantity of any kind of coin—new or old had suddenly been added to that already in circulation in Ashburton in this year of grace 1880. The Milton Pottery Company have engaged an experienced hand for the mauuof glassware. This information reaches us at a strangely opportune time. For now that another sixpence has been added to the cost of a gallon of beer, mine host will be able to lay aside the glasses he has been using, and go in for a sot no smaller in bulk, but considerably reduced in capacity—reduced just enough to square that sixpence on the gallon. Tom Quill owes me something for this tip, and so do all his fellow’s in the trade. Chispa.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 116, 22 June 1880
CHISPA’S LETTER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 116, 22 June 1880
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