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NOTES.

Nkvkk was the perplexing inadequacy oi our cablegrapbic information That from Home more remarkable Cubic Again, than during the past week in regard to the withdrawal of the Parnollitcs from the Special Commission. At lirst it almost appeared as though Sir Charles Russell and his colleagues had deserted Mr Parnell, and thrown up their briefs; but it subsequently became evident that the Irish members, as well as their legal representatives, were saying good-bye to Sir James Hannen's Court. But why our submarine deponent sayeth not. As a matter of faot, however, the event in question does not necessarily indicate any very important situation. It must be remembered that under the conditions of the Court's constitution no party is obliged to appear as pleader, though ' The Times' on the one hand and the incriminated parties on the other did so appear as a method of convenience. The Parnellites, having now made their full defence to the charges of' The Times,' probably feel that their part in voluntarily assisting the Commissioners in their work is over. They would, perhaps, be confirmed in this feeling by the faot that the Commissioners are apparently not in a very amiable frame of mind. The task imposed upon tho Judges was to find out the truth, if necessary, by their own methods, and they havo power to call any witnesses they choose, unasked by either ' The Times' or Mr Parnell. Thus the close of the defence is by no means necessarily the close of the inquiry, though it may quite reasonably be the close of Mr Parnell's active and voluntary assistance.

On May It Lord Coleridge and Mr Justice Hawkins gave judgment in a nrniniitv Cftse which proves that the '" progress of time does not render less urgent in England the necessity for the watchful offices of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The owners of some cattle In Norfolk had been charged with unnecessary cruelty by performing the operation of dishorning the animals—that Is, sawing off the horns close to the skull. There was some doubt as to the illegality of the practice, and the Magistrates declined to convict, a refusal which the Judges have now pro* nounced unjustifiable. The evidence in the case is of such a character as to render it passing strange that two long and learned judgmentsshouldbeneoeßsaryinordertostampthe brutal practice in question as reprehensible. Indeed, the details of the operation are so shocking that ' The Times' declines to harass its readers' feelings by transcribing them. It appears that tbe objeot of the performance is to enable the animals to be packed more closely in yards or railway trucks, end so to fetch something nnder L2 more per head. In regard to the operation itself, we will quote from Lord Coleridge's judgment: . . . The evidenco of the surgeons was that tho operation of sawing off the horns at the root not only caused excruciating torture, but caused suppuration, which involved a oontinuanco of the pain for two or three weeks, during which the animals were so sensitive as to flinch from the least touch, and some were proved to be suffering thus twenty-five days after the operation ; and the surgeon stated that the operation was grossly cruel, and absolutely unnecessary. The Judges entered learnedly into the question aa to what constitutes necessity in giving pain to animals, Lord Coleridge observing that " the mere infliction of pain, and even of extreme pain, is not sufficient to constitute cruelty." But in this ca6e there was nothing gained beyond the paltry profit alluded to. It appears that the operation has been pronounced legal in the Scotch and Irish Courts; but Lord Coleridge declined to believe that the evidence was similar to this case, or if it was, he took the liberty of acting independently.

Ajsout two months ago we gave some account in a leading article of

Insurant*.

the BoKome o{ compulsory insurance which has been inaugurated in Germany. At

the end of May the last great branch of the scheme—that dealing with insurance against old age and infirmity —finally passed the Reichstag. The Acts dealing with insurance against sickness and accident had passed in previous years. On May 18 Prince Bismarck made a long speech in support of the measure. He " heartily desired to see it become law, as it waß calculated to give thousands upon thousands of petty annuitants in prospect an additional interest in the stability of the State. What the Government aimed at doing was to appease popular discontent and to relieve distress among the masses, as well as to create a means of tranquillising its own conscience, in the event of its having, after all, to fight the Social Revolution."

A deputation of hasty philanthropists recently waited upon the Home

An En Conn fed More.

Secretary asking him to put some check upon the employment of young children s-t

theatres and in pantomimes, and asserting that such employment had a bad effect upon the youngsters physically, morally, and educationally. On May 17 a counter deputation attended at the Home Office to protest against these assertions, Mr Henry Irving being the chief spokesman. Mr Irving said the outcry emanated from people who did not know and did not want to know the facts. "They were good enough to look upon theatrical life as a preparation for eternal doom, and therefore they regarded every child who could betaken from this employment as a brand snatched from the burning." As regards the physical tendency of the employment, Mr Irving adduced the evidence of Dr Priestley, formerly of King's College Hospital, who said: "I can only Bay that we always considered the little fairies and goblins of the pantomimes ran a far better chanee of recovery from dangerous illness than their less well-cared-for neighbors." Mr Irving said that the children were always happy and proud of their calling ; and, in answer to the charge of educational negleot, explained how great care was taken that the children attended school while engaged at the theatre. Mr Augustus Harris, of Drury Tans, took up the moral side of the controT rsy, and certainly the following evidence is remarkable: days ho had had prepared a return (which he handed in) showing what had become of the children who had | been employed at Drury Lane since 1881. He had been able to traoe nearly 99 per cent., and he had found that they were all earning an honest living." Mr StuartWortley, representing the Home Secretary, was evidently of opinion that the deputation had made out an effective defence. Along with the theatrical people, two or three influential members of the London School Board bore witness to the falsehood ot the assertions previously made to Mr Matthews. But the good old Puritan distrust of everything connected with the wicked stage dies very hard in some quarters.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

NOTES., Evening Star, Issue 7965, 22 July 1889

Word Count
1,138

NOTES. Evening Star, Issue 7965, 22 July 1889

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