When the By-laws of the Borough of Ashburton were brought to light- as fullgrown laws—and they ought to have been born full grown, after such a terribly lengthy and costly incubation —they were intended to help in the maintenance of peace and good order in the township. All fines recovered under them go to the funds of the Borough, and this fact may induce Councillors and patriotic citizens to have a warm-hearted fondness for those local statutes, and to be anxious to have them in full working order ; possibly, also, their money value to the Borough may be a greater incentive to their energetic enforcement than the preservation of good order in the township, which is the great purpose for which the By-laws At all events, they are being enforced with a commendable degree of energy—an energy that, if it does anything, shows how very near to persecution many of the provisions of the By-laws may come. When merchants block up the footpaths with boxes and bales of goods, merchandise, &c., and leave these impedimenta lying day and night on the public way, merchants are doing a culpable thing, but when they only hang a coat or a pair of boots, or a board with an announcement on their door-posts, we feel that the offence is of the most innocent character. Yet the bylaws make this an offence, and for it a considerable number of citizens will have to answer, and may probably have to contribute some silver to the municipal purse. We say that these prosecutions look very like from one point of view, and there are those that say they are an unwarrantable and suicidal interference with business. Wo would, perhaps, wish to sec the law’s on matters of this kind less stringent; but, at the same time, justice makes no allowance for ignorance of the law, and the By-laws have certainly obtained the fullest publicity. The Borough Council have decided what they consider to be offences, and have clearly laid down in their Bylaws what they will and what they will not permit to be done within the Borough. How’ever severely the By-laws may press upon residents, fair warning has been given of the coming into force of the local statutes, and if they are transgressed the transgressor has only himself to blame if he finds, even in the trifling matter of the Borough regulations, that the way of transgessore is hard.
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