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The more we consider the Gaspabini correspondence the more it resolves itself into an absurdity. The passage of arms between Mr Fisher and Sir Harry Atkinson, which came off on Friday afternoon, only renders the absurdity more translucently transparent. Either Mr Fisher was acting as Italian Consul or as Minister ; he could not possibly be both at once. As Consul there was nothing to be said about his action as Minister, while as Minister there was nothing to be said about his action as Consul. But he committed a mistake by trying to fill both offices at once. As Italian Consul he had no right to make use of the Government Printing Office for publishing the correspondence between himself and Count Johffroy D'Abbans, the French Consul; neither had he any right to incorporate in that correspondence memoranda that had passed between himself and his Ministerial colleagues. The printing itself was an extension of his right as Consul; the publication of Cabinet amenities was a breach of faith—understood, if not expressed, like the code of honor. Mr Fisher, as Consul, comes out of the fray with flying colours, but Mr Fisher, as Minister, comes out of the contest with a reputation so damaged that his future chances of political life are forever gone. The higher the position the more fatal the mistake, and Mr Fisher has certainly made a mistake here. We, however, acquit him of any wrongdoing so far as his action in the Gasparini affair is concerned; in fact we are astonished at the utter abnegation of common sense displayed by Count D'Abbans. How on earth could he have connected the Italian Consul's five minutes' conversation with Gasparini with the poor fellow's escape; and we do not use the adjective "poor" as in anyway commiserating the convict. If we understand the matter rightly, Gasparini was a political deportee a class to which the Mother Country has at all times given shelter; but if Mr Fisher were wrong in treating this matter as a Cabinet one, so also was Sir Harry Atkinson. They seem to us to be both in the wrong ; and from the tone assumed in Friday's debate we can only come to the conclusion that the true cause of the qurrrel is, as we said months ago, incompatibility of temperament. Charles Dickens discovered the phrase when he quarrelled with his wife. It is a convenient one, and exactly suits the present occasion. But it is a pity that the men chosen to govern the country will not be content to wash their dirty linen in private. It says a good deal for the good sense and discretion of our representatives that, notwithstanding the mud-slinging which Mr Fisher and Sir Harry Atkinson indulged in on Friday night, the House proceeded to the business of the day without comment. Evidently there are gentlemen yet in New Zealand; and they showed the possession of the gentlemanly instinct by refusing, or rather declining, to interfere in what is, after all, mainly a private quarrel.

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Bibliographic details

THE GASPARINI INCIDENT., Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889

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THE GASPARINI INCIDENT. Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889