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NOTES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2002, 1 December 1888
Theke is a wondrous change between then and now. In the then of ancient feudal times barons and knights were wont to know no law but the law of might, and discerned nothing morally wrong m appropriating their neighbore' sheep and cattle, and taking possession, if they could, of their neighbors' estates. In those days blue blood was accorded the privilege of doing pretty much as it pleased, and the lawTv«B reirnrded rather as nn eneine for the 1 entraining, and if noid be, the punishing of folk of the commoner sort. . Bat m the now of this age of progress we have happily changed all that, and while rank has still its privileges, it is expected also to perform its duties, and offenders against the Queen's statutes are accorded no sort of immunity because they happen to belong to the aristocratic order. Plain proof of this was given the other day by the Auckland Justices m sentencing Sir Charles Burdett for stealing a couple of roses from the Albert Park. The case and the sentence hare evoked much newspaper comment, some of our contemporaries applauding the Bench for the severity of the sentence, and others contending that it was more severe than the occasion demanded. Now, no doubt the offence itself, is one which needs to be put down,.as otherwise the labor and money expended m beautifying places of public resort ait: only so much-thjfawn away, and it is unfortunately the fact that there are many thoughtless as well as evil-disposed persons who, but for an example being now and then made, would render nugatory all the efforts of Park Boards, Conservators of Public Domains, and other like bodies, but while this is tfie case there is such a - thing aB being over-severe, and we certainly think that the Auckland Bench erred m * that direction. Fourteen days' imprisonment was, to our mind, altogether beyond the needs of the case, and had the offence been committed by some larrikin we fancy that, anywhere but m Auckland, twenty-four or forty- eight hours would have probably been the limit of incarceration. Sir Charles Burdett deserted no immunity because he is a baronet, but we cannot help thinking that he got a heavier . punishment than would have been awarded to Jack Snooks or Tom Styles. If such really was the case, then m our opinion the Justices made a mistake.
~ The Agnews hare again been worrying the Premier. They have for some two or three sessions past been the bane of the lives of members of Parliament, and daring the recess have turned their attention to Ministers. Some years ago they took up a deferred payment Bection m Otsgo, and being sued for a debt , incurred for wages to a man m their employ, a judgment was obtained, and 1 their interest m their holding was seized and sold. This was illegal ; deferred ' payment holdings being 1 protected by ( law, and the Agnews petitioned Parlia- ( merit They fared better than any ( petitioners we know of, for not only was the property bought back for them, c /ton* they were presented with the Crown < grant (albeit, at the time of the seizure of their property they had not paid all the purchase price) and a Bum of money (we thiak £50) to boot. But" it , that the person who had buc«eeded them, and was bought out, removed some iron from the roof of a building erected on the holding, to the yalne of some £10, and the Agnews petitioned again, bat got no further redress, it befog held,- quite correctly, that they had already been very liberally dealt with. Unfortunately, however, it is said that a member of the Legislative Council informed them, by way of a joke, that the Council (they had petitioned both Chambers) had recommended that they be paid the sum of £1000, and the Agnews firmly believe to this day not only that that was the case, but that the money was actually appropriated for them, and that they have been done out of it m some mysterious way by Sir Bobert Stout and Sir H. Atkinson. Bine Mac lackrymae—'m. other, words hence their persistent haunting of the Legislative and Ministerial precincts, !Ehey have at last become so troublesome '$4 tie Premier that it has been neces«ary to bind them over to keep the jwace, but as the sureties cannot be obtained, probably the best thing to be done would be to " send them up " for a few dayg' hard larbor and then let them go again. To keep them m gaol m default of sureties for six months is a longer term than .their offence seems to require, and as pointed out by the " Post " may have the effect of unhinging their minds — irhich are alre»dy Tery unsettled— _ altogether. . . Bow* cynic has said that"thereisnothmg go comforting as the spectacle of the misfortunes of others " and though the statement is more than the truth it is doubtless true that when those .misfortunes tend to our own idvantage it is not possible but that satisfaction at the latter fact should irifngle with our regret for the former. Ifo one can read of the terrible visitation of drought with its consequent suffering, and lesf which has fallen upon our Australian neighbors without sympathy for the sufferers, bnt at the same time it would be hypocritical to deny that there is general satisfaction at the improved prices which New Zealand farmers are now obtaining for grain and other - produce, and which, are largely dne to the drought and its results. But good may come out of it all to a large Somber of Australian farmers, as well as to the farmers of New Zealand, m the direction of their being induced to come over here, and so avoid for themselves the risk of such terrible experiences m the future. There are already indications that this is likely to be the case, and we «hall not be surprised if one effect of the ' present disastrous season m Australia is to bring about a considerable immigration to our more favored country. Evi- . dence of this indeed appears m the columns of an exchange, which states that " A gentleman m Auckland has ; received a letter from Australia, stating that a number of the Victorian and New Couth Wales farmers may be shortly expected to visit this colony m search of land for settlement, as they are getting tick of the frequently-recurring droughts m Australia." It may fairly be claimed for the late " James Macandrew that he was the father of steam communication between New Zealand and Home. Farther-sighted fb,aa pearly all iuj contemporaries, be
advocated a direct service years befon it was established, and was met witt any amount of ridicule for his pains But he lived to see the service initiated and to see his most sanguine predictions fulfilled. We well recollect too, that on one occasion, speaking m the House ol Kepresentatives, Mr Macandrew urged, amid derisive laughter, as one of the benefits of a direct service that it would give an outlet for potatoes, then a drug m the market, which he contended could he shipped Home m cool chambers, and ; S"ld m London at a paying price. The 1 suggestion was .'aughed to scorn, but it is curious that at this vecj moment the experiment is about to be tried, and it may be that after all the views ot the late member for Port Chalmers may be justified by the event. For we find the following m a Wellington paper just to hand : — " A somewhat novel experiment m regard to the export of produce is being made by tins Aorangi for London. She has on board from, Auck land five tons nf new potatoes, packed m boxes after the manner of fruit, and they are Btowed m the *cool chamber. The freight from Auckland to London is, we believe. l£d per lb. The result of this trial shipment will be looked for with much interest." General Boulanger who a year or two ago was regarded as " the Coming Man " m France, of whom indeed it was predicted that ere long he would climb to a Dictatorship by a coup d'etat, and who was, or was believed to be, the idol of the French Army seems bent upon illustrating the trnthof the proverb Quern Dens vult perdere prius dementat. Not long ago he figured m anything but good form m connection with a duel, and now he appears to have provided plenty of material for an esclandre of the choicest sort. It is telegraphed that he wishes to be rid of Madame Boulanger m order that he may marry a wealthy lady, the proprietress of a Magasin des modes, and Madame Boulanger has already initiated proceed • ings for a divorce wh eh will give him the liberty he seeks. No wonder that his political admirers are disheartened, and that they begin to despair of the prospects of the Boulangerist Party. But the General will only be one example the more of the many Samsons m the history of the world, who have been shorn' of their locks and their strength by the blandishments of Delilahs since he who bore away the gates of Gaza fell a victim to the wiles of the Syren.
NOTES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2002, 1 December 1888
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