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NOTES.

Sir Charles Drke has emerged from his retirement with a big speech. Presumably he made no reference to his personal position, or the lengthy cablegram would have mentioned it. Mr Stead, that Draconic guardian of the public morals, will doubtless have something to say upon the point. But as Sir Charles has all along stated his intention to avoid political prominence until he should be in a position to redeem his private reputation, it may be that he has discovered the required evidence, and feels justified in anticipating the result. No one would be particulaily surprised to hear that the amatory Mrs Crawford (that was) played the part of a female Pigott; and the Painell case has made people unpleasantly alive to the fact that dreadful mistakes may be made. Sir Charles Dilke : s escape from the cloud would be good news, for he is a man whom the political world can ill spare. Perhaps it would be hardly exaggerative to term him the best-informed statesman of the day. Clear - headed, cosmopolitan, and yet profoundly English, he is alike without the narrowness of English Conservatism and the blatant passion of much English Liberalism. In knowledge of European politics he can hardly be second even to Lord Salisbury, and he is an Imperialist without a touch of Jingoism. Moreover, he has a proper and Gratifying conception of colonial importance, n fact, if he does win his way back into the political arena, he will prove a tower of strength to the Liberal party, and as a leader would be distinctly preferable to either Sir William Harcourt or Mr John Morley. It may be questioned, however, whether he could ever now be generally acceptable in that capacity, whatever turn events might take. Sir Charles evidently dißagreoß with those ex-Liberals who think that all really needful reforms have taken place, and that they may possess their souls in peace. He puts forward a formidable list of desirable undertakings, but he will not live till "Anno Domini 2000" to see them all carried out. By the way, Sir Charles Dilke's speech must have been an enormously long one, or else he must have touched very briefly indeed upon the very numerous subjects mentioned in the cable.

Under a Cloud.

Human ingenuity, prompted by the varying desirea of the human palate, A New Tipple. a 8 > nven ted a countless number of beverages wherewith to make glad the heart of man and to more or less disorganise his stomach ; but the palm for originality in this respect must be allotted to two young rascals who appeared before the Police Court the other day. These infantile Jack Sheppards broke into a shop, stole some money, and then engaged in the fierce dissipation of—lemonade and cough mixture combined ! Whether the concoction proved, like the famous beverage with which Mr Epps has provided our breakfast tables, " grateful and comforting," deponent sayeth not. Men have often risked character and freedom in order to provide themselves with malt and spirituous liquids ; but we question whether the law of meum and tuum was ever before broken for the love of cough mixture. Perhaps the nearest case in point is the pathetic circumstance, familiar from " damnable iteration," of the individual who deposited his nether garments with his "uncle" in order to purchase Warner's Safe Cure—or was it Mother Seigel's Syrup ?

The rumor as to the possibility of Archdeacon Farrar's appointment to Episcopal. the See of s y dne y is still a PP a " rently in the air. It is hardly

likely that the famous preacher would accept the post. His latitudinarian views on Sheol are understood to have excluded him from the chance of an English bishopric, but at Westminster he is safe and unfettered. That he would popularise the Anglican Church in Australia cannot be doubted; he would do so both by his energetic liberalism and by his magniloquent and passionate preaching. The * Freeman's Journal,' the organ of the Roman Catholics in Sydney, pays a high tribute to Dr Barry, the retiring Anglican Bishop:—"The greatest loser by the Primate's departure is the colony he is about to leave, where the remembrance of his broad public spirit and genuine liberality of sentiment, his keen sense of that higher strain of ideality that should run through our social and political life, and his sympathy with the finer tastes and influences of culture, will only remain by-and-bye as a pleasantly cherished tradition."

It m a satisfactory sign that the proposals for strengthening the navy are The British uot being made the subject of Navy. party strife. There has been no mention of controversial debates upon the question, and the cable now says that the Naval Defence Bill has passed by a majority of 141, showing that any opposition to the measure must have been of an insignificant character. It was an understood thing that something was to be done in the direction of strengthening the forces this session, and it would have gone hard with any party which had stood in the way of this necessary work. It will be a blessing (barring the cost) when confidence in Imperial defences is once more restored, for the interminable discussions and correspondence in the London papers upon the subject have been absolutely sickening. Viceadmirals and Rear-admirals, Generals and Colonels, Lords of the Admiralty and exLords of the Admiralty, have argued, stormed, and contradicted one another with a self-importance and bumptiousness truly typical of the "services," until the whole question assumed the appearance of a hopeless jumble.

We have heard it said that Mr Froude is

never by any chance well, Froudoacity accurate. This is a mistake; Again. witness the following sentence

from a letter written in answer to the inquiry whether it was true that he had turned Home Ruler: " The opinion of a person like myself on a great political question is not of sufficient consequence for the notice of the newspapers." And so say all of us. Accurate for once, Mr Froude; there is no " Froudeacity" in that. If the great pseudo-historian had really changed his mind on the Irish question, it would have been high time for Home Rulers to ask themselves seriously whether they were not in the wrong after all. But though Mr Froude's opinion on a great political question—or on a colony even —is a matter of indifference, his opinion that the Home Rule cause is likely to gain the day is of considerable value. When a very bitter partisan recognises the probability of his opponents' victory, the inevitableness of that victory is pretty well assured.

We hope that the attention of the Minister of Justice will be directed, Sympathetic when Parliament meets, to the Justices, extraordinary observations that are reported to have been made by Mr Krull, who presided over the Bench of Justices at Wanganui by whom the second information against the pugilists, Smith and Laing, was heard. When a magistrate goes out of his way, as this gentleman unquestionably did, to express sympathy with these brutalising and degrading exhibitions—yclept "glove fights"—itis high time that they were officially reminded that their sworn duty is to aid in the preservation of law and order, and not to hamper the authorities, who are performing a plain duty. What are the actual facts ? Two pugilists were engaged in an encounter that to all intents and purposes was a prize fight. Inspector Pardy did not interfere until he was convinced that the combatants were doing each other serious bodily harm, or, to use his own expressive language, " each man was trying to inflict as much bodily harm as possible on hisadversary. The exhibition was, in his opinion, a pure and simple prize fight, except that gloves were used." The first information that the police laid was dismissed on a technicality—that the racecourse, where the fight was held, was not a public place within the meaning of the Police Offences Act; but the second information was so framed as to avoid that issue, and the Justices were asked to determine, under the common law, whether or not the conduct of the combatants was calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, inasmuch as it was " disorderly." We maintain that no one who reads the evidence impartially can come to any other

conclusion than that the police fully proved their case, But their Worships, speaking through Mr Krull, felt called on to free their town from the slur—" if slur it can be called "—of a prize fight for a stake and the championship of the colony having taken place at Wanganui, under the conditions sworn to by Inspector Pardy and the witnesses for the prosecution. If words can be weighed, the Justices of Wanganui have declared in favor of prize fights, and say that the townspeople approve of them. 'We refuse to believe for a moment that the Justices speak in the name of the manhood or womanhood of the town, which, if we mistake not, will assert itself, as it has done before, against the continuance of this degrading sport. But where Mr Krull most seriously erred wag in blaming the police for not having stopped the ul lh- commencement. A magistrate bhould kisow the law, and Mr Krull ought to have been cogpisant of the fact that the police have no power to stop a glove fight until the conditions testified to oy the inspector arose. To do otherwise would have rendered the police officer liable to an action. These sapient Justices should have remembered the oldtime Yankee magistrate, who consistently refused to give reasons for his judgments, lest they should bring him into trouble. These advanced by Mr Krull are simply ridiculous. We have stated the law as we are confident it is ; let us see how Mr Krull put it: The police are blameworthy, because they did not stop the fight at the outset; but it is not illegal to indulge in a fight; ergo, there can be no breach ot the law by the men who intended to fight, Clearly Mr Krull and his associates are impaled on either horn of the dilemma they have themselves created. We do not think that the Minister of Justice will be advised to endorse the views of the Wanganui Justices ; but if he do, it is high time that the law was altered. But we rather fancy that this illustration of Justice's justice will lead the Minister to modify his opinions on the subject and adopt measures in consonance with the public conscience, which from end to end of the colony has demanded that glove fights shall be effectually put down.

Whek we read Mr Krull's decision we had a hazy recollection of some proA Judicial ceedings that took place here Dictum, among the sixties, when a judicial deliverance was given entirely at variance with that of the Wanganui Bench. A search through the records of the Supreme Court has confirmed our belief. "Old identities" will doubtless remember that in the early part of 1864 two pugilists, named Dufty and Hill, had engaged to take part in a prize fight, but Commissioner Branigan got scent of it, and took measures that were successful in preventing the encounter taking pkce. He had both men arrested and brought before Mr Strode, who found the common law—and it has not been altered since sufficient to warrant him in sending them before Mr Justice Richmond. These men were detained in prison for fully two months, in default of bail, before being sent up for trial, and depend upon it if Mr Strode had gone beyond his powers there were plenty of men in those days ready to have tested the legality of his action. That Mr Strode was right is proved by the report of the proceedings at the June criminal session that year, and we quote it, not only because it supports our contention in the preceding 'Note,' but because the learned Judge has affirmed that intention to fight is an offence. That is going a precious long way beyond what the police at Wanganui proved the other day. We quote from the ' Daily Times':— On the cases against Dufty and Hill beiog called on - the indictment was for " intending to engage in a prize fight "—the Crown Prosecutor was asked by the Judge if any breach of the peace had been committed, and replied in the negative, adding that the men did not even meet en the ground. He went on to say that "this was the first attempt to introduce into this province the disgusting and brutal system of prize-fighting, and if the parties had not been shown that the law would not allow such proceedings, they would probably have fought it out before this." The Jud?e took time to consider what course he should take, arid on the matter being mentioned next day the Crown Prosecutor iuformed the Court that the men had been in prison for two months without bail, and ho urged that " the public ought to be guaranteed that no further attempt to commit such an outrage as prize-fighting would be made in this province." The decision of the Cou t wai armouccel by Judge Richmond in these terms: "Well, my men, I think you must see now that this sort of thing won't pay—that's the best way of putting it to you; and when you see that it won't pay, I feel certain that you will drop it. I require you to enter into your own recognisances in LIOO each to keep the peace towards each other and to the public for twelve months. Do tbat and you will be discharged. But, mind, you will suffer smaitly if you go attempting to fight again. The men entered into the required recognisances and were released. The Judge's advice was also acted on, because no prize fight occurred here afterwards. But the Justices at Wanganui have had the audacity to set aside a decision of a Supreme Court Judge, and to declare to be beyond the pale of the law what he affirmed to be an offence and punished accordingly.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890513.2.20

Bibliographic details

NOTES., Issue 7905, 13 May 1889

Word Count
2,353

NOTES. Issue 7905, 13 May 1889

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