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NOTES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1993, 10 November 1888
Post hoc ud non propter hoc — not because New Zealand has adopted the retrenchment policy, but certainly after her loyal subjects m this ultima tkule of her dominions have individually and collectively entered upon the path of severe economy, Her Most Gracious Majesty has been moved to follow their example; At least so the cable informs as, for we are not only told that " enormous ecohomy is being observed m the Queen's household," and that the " Royal Hunt has been abolished," but we are also informed of the reason for this new departure m the direction of thrift and self-denial. This is that the sum to be saved thereby is to be devoted to making provision for Her Majesty's grand-children. We are very glad to hear it, for the descendants of the Queen are now so numerous that the nation could scarcely ba expected to go on with w system of Royal allowances to the third and fourth generation. Indeed, seeing that the Royal income for a period of fifty years had been m round figures £620,000, equal to a total of thirty-one millions for the whole term, it might be supposed that, after defraying all expeßßes of the Royal household, it must have been possible to* set aside a very considerable amount every year, and that the sum of those savings would by this thne be sufficient to make handsome provision for Her Majesty's grand-children-— numerous as they are — without the necessity of any special or " enormous " economy m the fiftysecond year of her reign.
Talking of royalties it is to be noted that with true Russian autocratic severity, His Majeßty the Czar has dis r missed his Minister for Railways because an accident happened the other day whereby the royal train came to grief. Not improbably the station-master, who despatched the train, despatched himself also, because he foresaw that the doom of the galleys, the knout, or the mines of Siberia awaited him, for there mnst be a victim to atone for so heinous an offence as hurting even a hair of the bead of the wearer of an Imperial Crowh. And all this because a high rate of speed was ordered, lest the journey should be too tediouß for royalty. Reading of these things, one is reminded of the saying of Sidney Smith, who propounded that the first step necessary to secure railway reform m his day wonld be to " kill a bishop," and when we think of the many reforms needed m New Zealand railway management we are inclinod to wish — not that w Minister might be killed on bne of the lines — the taints forbid I but that not one, but all the Ministers had practical experience of the inconveniences and vexations which are constantly caused to those who have to use our railways by our present red-tape system of man - agement.
So Harbison is to be the new occupant of the Presidential chair of the greatest republic the world has ever known, and Cleveland is to take his leave of the White House. We are glad to hear it, because the recent action of Cleveland and his Secretary, Bayard, has been such as to show anything bat friendly feelings towards England. Nay, anything shabbier than the means which was taken m tbe hope of securing thereby for Cleveland the anti British vote, it would be impossible to conceive. Up to the time of the Sackville-West affair most people m these colonies were desirous to see Cleveland 6ecure a second term of office, but after that, there was not one m a dozen of those who took any interest m the matter who did not sincerely hope that he would be beaten, as* he has been. It is a drawback certainly that Harrison's return will probably prevent tbe reduction m tbe import duties on wool to which we were all. looking forward m the near future, and which wonld have meant a large and distinct benefit to New Zealand flock owners, and from this point of view Cleveland's defeat is to be regretted. As it is, our loyalty to the Old Country pulls one way and our self-interest the other.
Hoani Mare promises to go down to bistory as the New Zealand Jack Sheppard, being a perfect adept m prisonbreaking. How on earth he managed this last time to get np to a skylight 12ft above tbe floor of bis cell, and to force it *nd the iron bars by which it was protected sufficiently far up to enable him to get throngh seems most astounding, but the fact remains that he did it, and that so far as we know at present be is still at large, laughing it may be presumed \ at pakeha gaolers, and pakeha prisons. It is to be hoped that he will be caught again, and that this time the authorities wUI try to carry out the school boy doctrine of " finders keepers." For if not it will have to be accepted as a wellunderstood fact tbat New Zealand gaols are not places for the safekeeping of prisoners for sucb time as tbe law and the judges appoint, but merely temporary Bojourning-plaoes duringpleasure — of the prisoners themselves. Really these frequent escapes are becoming a scandal, and it is abundantly evident tbat there is something rotten m the State of Denmark. Mr Fergus has, we see, returned from Australia, and is just now at Christchurch, and it will certainly be expected of him that he should at once institute a most rigorous enquiry with a view to finding out who or what is so blame. There is something wrong Somewhere, that's quite certain.
By-the-bye this reference to New Zealand prisons brings to mind the fact that at the moment of writing a poor old fellow is doing 14 days hard labor m the gaol at Auckland for taking a couple of roses, value two-pence, from tbe Albert Park. Tbe culprit is a baronet, Sir Charles Burdett (presumably a relative of the Baronesßßurdett-Coutts)wboisevidently m low water, for he is spoken of as presenting a venerable and " dilapidated " appearance. There seems to be no doubt that he was rightly convicted of unlawfully plucking the roses, and it is quite right that people should be punished for wilfully despoiling plants I prodded for tbe general delectation of the public m places of public resort, but fburfeey (fays bard labor I that seems Wjn altogether excessive sentence, and errs as much on the side of severity as a winking at such offences would err on the side of laxity. Such a sentence is quite exceptional m New Zealand, and reminds us of the Justices, justice of r^ral districts m England where stealing a turnip ' is sometimes visited witl} a sentence nearly equal io. the punishment for j^laugQter,
NOTES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1993, 10 November 1888
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