The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 1889. MISTAKEN SEVEBITY.
Tbe unhappy condition of Ireland is very deplorable, and the worst of the busineps is that there appears to be no prospect whatever of affairs m that faction-disturbed country settling down into a condition of quietude and peace. There are thousands m Ireland and out of it who honestly believe that the true remedy for her ills would be found m the granting of Home rule, while there are thousands more who contend that so far from this proving the case the result would be to bring about internal (per hapß internecine) tronbles of an acuter sort than even those at present affecting and distracting that unfortunate country. Whichever party be right those who hold the former opinion are, doubtless, justified m adopting all legitimate means to attain the object they have m view, but none but those who are utterly blinded by party feeiing will for a moment attempt to defend the use of means subversive of law and order, and the resort to such methods as boycotting, moonlighting and dynamiting. So long as outrages such as have been aud arc still perpetrated m Ireland continue to occur, the law must be vindicated, and the law-abiding must be protected against the law breaker, if need be by force, and the Government has no alternative but to punish all who aid Snd abet spch offences, or who incite to their commission by seditious speech or writing. But while that is the case, it should not be forgotten that many of those who bring themsrlvos within the reach of the law are influenced by what they believe to be truly patriotic motives, and such ought not we think to be trflttfied prfl.cJß.ely gs if they wero mere ordinary criminals. For example, take the case of Mr Harrington, who was sentenced the other day to six months' imprisonment for reporting the proceedings of the National League, and who upon conviction was shaved, and we presume cropped, like a felon. This had to be done by force after a violent resistance, the prisoner contending that the authorities had no right to subject him to the indignities of a common malefactor, Hp may bo wrong as to the " right," that Is to say bis tveatnient may he. probably is, m accordance with prison regulations, b» k if right m this sense, it is not, we think, by any means expedient, and if need be the regulations should be altered so as to enable these " indignities " to be dispensed with m similar cases. To enforce such a regulation m such a case is mistaken severity, because calculated to defeat its own end by provoking sympathy not only for but with the offender.