The Evening Star WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 1915.
With a spirit worthy of a mail, and with a practical expression of gratitude that hits the need of the occasion, a
1 A Debt of Honor."
clear-seeing citizen of Dunedin acknowledges in our correspondence columns his personal debt to the Belgians. lie accepts the debt as a “ debt of honor,'’ and agrees cheerfully to do his level best in a modest way to discharge
an honorable obligation. His view of an unparalleled position, which is both inspiriting and appalling, is the only view open to men and women with British hearts, and with love of liberty all the world over. Against a hast of ruffians the brave Belgians have, in a glorious but disastrous tight for freedom, made their debtors for ever all nations that love peace, prosperity, and liberty. A "little monarchy of seven million patriots has dared to resist the blackguardly intrusion of intelligent ruffians backed by the tremendous rei sources of an Empire of 65 millions. Inevitably the greater army has prevailed against the smaller army in all things save honor, which still shines untarnished i amidst the black waste of ruin, cold, Hun- | ger. and despair. The sacred homes and | shrines of a laborious, frugal, peaceful t people have been defiled and destroyed; their hearths and homesteads, their hives of industry, and haunts of beauty have been laid in smoking ruin; fair fields have- become black and ugly graveyards, and innocent babes cling about hungry mothers’ breasts ; but still the love of liberty and the spirit of independent freedom defy the marauding host, and sustain the hungry, tortured remnant of the brave Belgians. Is there further need of stressing our debt to the courageous patriots of Belgium, whose trim country has absorbed the blood of contending forces since Caesar’s dayj Surely not. The very least that we
all may do is to give all we can out of our peaceful prosperity to a people who, amidst the horror of war and the rigor of winter, are bruised temporarily under the iron heel and hand of a ruffianly conqnerer, and are oppressed by homeless cold and heartless starvation.
It is probable that many citizens whose sympathy is with the goaded people of Belgium may not be able to follow the example of our correspondent whoso nom-de-plume, “A Debt of Honor,” we have so willingly accepted as the caption to our appeal; but it is beyond doubt that the spare resources of Dunedin and New Zealand are not yet exhausted. Of all British possessions New Zealand stands most prosperous under the cloud of war, and no other possession, surely, is ahead of this Dominion in generosity. Let New Zealanders hasten with men and money to remove the felon’s grip from Belgium. The Government ought to exercise a keener interest than they have done in -the matter of voting direct monetary aid to the starving people of Belgium. This is not the time for the practice of niggardly economy- If the Government consider it unnecessary to make a direct, grant-in-aid to the Belgians,, perhaps they will recognise the necessity for stimulating national generosity by means of monthly subventions. Australia has not hesitated to adopt that wise procedure, and we see no valid reason why the New Zealand Government should not subsidise liberally the monthly contributions of tho people to an Ally whoso country and resources have been foully devastated by a ruthless invader.
Th&BS lias been another hitch over the official opening of the Catlin Railway owing, it is understood, to a difference of opinion between the Working Railways and the Public Works Departments as to what constitutes the “ margin of safety ” on a newly-constructed section. Tiie latter is content with a running speed o£ 15 miles an hour; the other department -requires a better road to ensure a higher speed if required. Meanwhile the public interest suffers, inasmuch as the users of the line do not receive that measure of protection they are justly entitled to. As soon as the Working Railways takes charge of a line there is a properly regulated, scale- of charges, which, despite anomalies, is under-stood by the common people, and there are the practical evidences of constituted authority in the persons of a station master or a porter, whose very presence is sufficient to curtail. if not check, those abstractions, of goods in transitu which for a long time past have hern the worry of consignors in town. We wish in this relation to acquit the Minister of Works of any desire to retain control of the line one moment longer than is absolutely necessary. As a matter of fact, the- Hon. Mr Fraser has been exceedingly anxious to turn over the line to bis colleague of Railways, iu order that the long-suffering and most patient settlers in the Tahakopa Valley may realise their fond dreams before another summer passes away. So near and yet so far. Tim holiday reason is well-nigh over, and those who had. hoped to travel to Tahakopa by train this Christmastide were keenly disappointed that they could not get a trip by rail into this picturesque valley at this festive season. Well, they must content themselves iu patience till Easter-time, when the weather conditions are generally highly favorable, and when the beauties of tho Catlin bush and the exquisite river scenery are seen, to much greater advantage. So that, after all, the townsman will not be a real loser through the game of official ‘'yes-no” which has been played too long. In all probability the settlers’ grievances and disappointments will bo ended in tho first week of February; and we are glad to know' that tho people of Tahakopa and the town friends of the railway and district mean to join hands and make the celebration worthy of the occasion and of themselves. So mote it he.
A Postponed Function.
Justice must of necessity be stern and swift against treasonable, offenders during a deadly ■war, but even though there is a sharp distinction as between military and civil law, military
justice should not be associated with anything approaching the nature of vindictiveness. We believe that most people who readily support military law in time of war -will be disposed to accept the salutary punishment inflicted upon Mr F. E. N. Gaudin, of Auckland, by a British Military Court at Apia, Samoa, as somewhat severe and a little out of proportion to the prisoner s offences against the necessary regulations established by tbs Non* Zealand ExpeditionaryForce, who occupy and govern Samoa on behalf of the Imperial Government. It is true, of course, that on a question of this sort there is wide, scope for an embarrassing play of popular sentiment—an exercise which cannot be encouraged, even though a foolish individual might suffer -vmri.&ctisati.r'v KardstiAp. h.Q o.ocvcla tAotvs. Samoa are essentially different from those prevailing at the sources of popular sentiment, and doubtless the Military- Court at Apia placed, a more weighty interpretation upon the possible effect of Gaudin's offences than is possible in normal conditions in New Zealand, and acted in accordance with the graver aspects of the question. That point and more conceded, however, there are still loft several features of the case which must tempt practical, cool-headed people to think that the punishment was too severe. Granted that in the special circumstances prevailing in a country occupied and administered by a military force Gaudin’s offences were really serious, it would appear from the evidence tendered, at the trial of the prisoner that his treasonable acts were foolish rather than felonious. The charges against him were ; Charge I.—Committing an act of “ war treason ” in that ho, at Apia, on or about the 30th day of October, 1914, carried on board the Navus—(l) a largo amount of correspondence from subjects of the enemy to several prisoners of war, thereby assisting the said subjects to evade the censorship of letters ; (2) a photograph of the wireless station addressed to Messrs Wilson and Horton, photographic editors of the, Auckland 'Weekly News,’ presumably intended
for publication, thereby evading censorship: (3) a number of papers of manuscript intended for publication in the Auckland ‘Weekly _ Xcws' or other paper, thereby evading censorship. (*harge 2.—Disobedience of Government regulations in that he, at Apia, on or about the 50tb October, 1914. removed from the occupied territories of Samoa a considerable quantity of coin, contrary to proclamation Xo. 3, dated the 30th day of September, 1914.
It is impossible to read into those charges any attempt on the part of the prisoner of a deliberate felonious intention materially to aid the enemy in a manner that would lead to serious disadvantage to the military force of occupation. The prisoner admitted the technical accuracy of the charges, but pointed out in apparent sincerity that he was innocent of any act of “war treason.'’ The evidence shows clearly that ho acted the part of fool, whose sympathy was keener than his judgment. The gUitude of the Grown
Prosechtor Is the greatest point in favor of the general belief that the punishment (five years’ imprisonment) was unnecessarily severe and harsh in character. The learned gentleman admitted in court that after hearing the evidence and the accused’s statement he would modify his original address in favor of the prisoner, who had been guilty of '’war treason” under “ Laws and Usages of War” in a minor degree; indeed, a very minor degree. Nono of the letters conveyed by the prisoner contained anything treasonable or of importance. Added to those aspects of the case arc the facts that Gaudin was not represented by a pleader, and that the Court must essentially haOe been unconsciously influenced by the purely military features of the case and their wide jurisdiction. It is beyond question that the Court would be true in spirit to the highest standard of British justice, but very naturally they would assess at full value the military aspects and effects of the prisoner's treasonable offences, and overlook the palpable and transparent foolishness of the man and his acts. It seems % to us that the circumstances justify an appeal to the authorities for a merciful modification of the punishment inflicted upon the prisoner.
As election petitions are talked about as likely, it may be of interest to outline the procedure. The petition is addressed to the Chief Justice, and presented by delivery to the returning officer of the constituency, who forwards it to the Registrar of the Supreme Court at Wellington. The Chief Justice then appoints two Judges as the Election Court, and 14 days’ notice is to be given of the trial, which ordinarily takes- place within the district where the petition originates, but may be shifted to another district if good reasons are shown. It is pretty well rccogidsed that if enemy trade is to bo captured in anything like a permanent way, something more than mere talk is required (says the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’). The task is not so easy as some would suppose. True, while German competition is cut off as it is during the wat, the process is comparatively simple. Bub what of the future? Will onr newborn industries be able to stand the strain when peace has been declared? German manufacturers then under a cloud will use every device to recapture the markets they have temporarily lost. "Germany owes much of her success in recent, years to the acquired skill of her artisans and of her leaders of industry. Her universities ha.vo turned out chemists who have revolutionised industry after industry. Her technical high schools have produced technologists who have distanced competition. The Sydney University evidently recognises this, and has offered its services to the, manufacturers of the State, so as to bring about a. similar state of efficiency in Australia.
In the opinion of Mr W. F. Freeman, an English tourist at present, in Palmerston, there is no room in New Zealand for the English artisan or skilled man, because of the unions, that seemed to him to govern, the work of the people. Land, he also thought, was too dear to encourage tho capitalist. The tourist, he considered, was not given the best of encouragement. There was evidence of too much red tapo in tho railway service, whereas the system should make travelling for the tourist as easy as possible. There were, for instance, said Mr Freeman, certain little tads in connection with the cheeking of luggage which seemed to him to be unnecessary and burdensome for the tourist. The tourist tickets issued by the department were not of much value to the tourist, who should be encouraged. An unusual and exceedingly sad surprise awaited Mrs L. 'Sinclair, of Wairarapa, who was visiting her mother-in-law at the Lower Hutt. Arriving at the residence of the latter, the visitor found the place locked, and after entering by means of a window wa-s shocked to discover her mother-in-law dead. The police were at once informed, but as the doctor who had been attending the deceased for apoplexy, is prepared to grant a certificate as to the cause of death, no inquest will be necessary. The deceased had visited a doctor a few days previously, and was given a prescription for her complaint. She was a widow, aged about 50 years, and resided with a grandchild two years old. Tho child was found undressed, as though ready for bed, and had managed to exist by some means till discovered. It had been shut up in the house with its grandmother for at least two days, bat was found to bo in the best of health. In the Tasmanian House of Assembly a" few days ago, whilst considering the Supplementary Estimates, Mr Ewing called attention to the following item under “ Miscellaneous ” :—“Part cost of marriage certificates obtained from the Registrar-General by Monsignor M. W. Gilleran, his own having been destroyed by fire, £15." (Laughter.) He (Mr Ewing) always understood that the clerg,y of the Roman Catholic Church did not Met married, but according to the way the item was printed Monsignor Gilleran had been married many times. (Loud laughter.) .Sonic , amendment ought to be made in the wording in fairness to the rev. gentleman. The wording was ordered to be altered.
Thousands of people on Christmas afternoon (says a cable in the Sydney ‘Sun’) witnessed the air fight near Sheerness. As tho combatants —the two British, aviators and the German of whom they, went in pursuit—flew over Southend-on-.Sea they were at an altitude of nearly a. mile, and were tearing along at a. great rate. The Britishers’ speed was about 70 miles an hour, but the German, in a Tanbe machine, was travelling even more swiftly. 3r,vei"v tiott and then Vh.e aeroplanes could be seen spitting five, to which the enemy was unable to reply, owing to his lower altitude. When the daring invader was first sighted the guns specially designed for dealing with aircraft were trained on the German, and several shots fired at him. After the British airmen took up the chase, however, it. was possible' to continue the shooting from the earth without endangering the pursuers, while tho high speed at which the enemy was toaring“througli. tho air made the gunners' aim uncertain. One of the British planes swooped down dose- to the Xaube and started to pump shots into it. This timo the fire was returned, but the spectators could not see whether either side had suffered any damage. The fighting airmen then flew away to the eastward.
Kobert Curtice appeared in the Magistrate’s Court at Wellington yesterday to answer charges of, on November 10. threatening to shoot Alary Ann Thew, and on. December 17 ii-Dempting to commit sviicide. He admitted the facts of the case, which were that ho became infatuated with Miss Thew, and, sho refusing to marry him, he threatened her with a revolver. On December 17 he was found in the yard of her house with a bullet wound in his head. Some 12 months ago defendant met with an accident while working on the wharf. Prior to that ho had been an able, willing worker. The gaol surgeon said he could find no evidence of" insanity, though it was evident that at the time the offences were committed defendant was not in his right mind. The Magistrate agreed that defendant's mind must have been to a certain extent unhinged. He pointer! out to him the folly of his act, and on the charge of attempted suicide ordered him to pay expenses, amounting lo £4 16s. He was further ordered to find sureties to keep the peace towards Mary Ann Thew in his own recognisance, of £25 and one surety for a, similar amount.
The following was cabled from London to the Bydner ‘Sun’ on December 30: A violent blizzard hats wrought havoc throughout the whole of Great Britain. Many houses were demolished, and nine had ’ their roofs stripped clean away. Everywhere, trees were uprooted. Bivcrs were in Hood, and the hurricane force of the wind caused seas of unexampled height to dash upon the coasts. 'Hie cable service to the Continent was interrupted, and the inland telegraph and telephone lines in and between London. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester. Liverpool, and other cities were not working.
Mr Paulin’s forecast:—S.E. to N.E. winds, and electrical rain showers.
The Minister of Works has informed Mr Malcolm, M.P., that the ptone crusher at Houipapa cannot be retained for the supply of road metal for the local bodies,-because it is urgently wanted elsewhere for departmental purposes. Mr Fraser goes on to say: “The quarry will be handed over to the Railway Department, with the section of railway on which it occui's, and will in future, if operated at all, be under the control of the Working Railways Department. The material coming from the quarry is not of very good, quality, and I doubt very much whether it will he permanently used by the Railway Department. Assuming that the quarry will not be used by the Working Railways Department, it could not be kept open unless there was some guarantee given as to a reasonable quantity of metal being taken by the local bodies. It tide undertaking were given the. matter could then be, considered by the Railways Department.” The copious rains that biassed Dunedin last night came from the north-east, and did not reach Baklutha.g Everybody is asking whether parched Oamarn participated. Unluckily it did not. In North Otago they had a light drizzle of no value to the dwarfed crops.
The English, mail which was despatched from Dunedin via Auckland and Vancouver on the 28th. November arrived in London on the 4th inst.—three days late.
Up to the time that the Hon. James Allen left Dunedin at 11.15 to-day he load not received any answer from, the War Office to the question as to whether New Zealand nurses would be accepted for service in Egypt. The superior manner in which the troopship Veraala was fitted out at Port Chalmers won the unqualified approval of the authorities that control those matters. The Minister of Defence said that in view of the good work done on that ship Port Chalmers would he remembered if further transports had to be fitted. It is said that another transport will be fitting out. at Port Chalmers at a not far distant date.
A shipping man just returned from a trip north told a ‘Star’ reporter this morning that in the matter of wharves Otago Harbor seemed to be losing ground as compared with Wellington and Lyttelton. The Wellington wharves were bristling with cranes to whisk the cargo front ships’ holds in the minimum amount of time. The railway passenger wharves at Lyttelton were decked in such a manner that people could walk without the discomfort experienced here in the matter of the risk of losing boot soles through entanglement with railway lines and points. A peculiar feature of Utago Harbor’s water front arrangements was. that vessels entering or leaving the new clock were often blown up against a. clay bank, a risk that could be easily eliminated from our first-class docking conveniences by erecting a dock wharf, the timber for the construction of which had been on. the ground for a considerable time.
The New Zealand authorities of the St. John Ambulance Brigade have received a communication from DTajor-genera 1_ Dalton, the chief commissioner at St. John's Gate, in which he. speaks in very high terms of the work which has been carried out by the divisions of the brigade in this Dominion in connection with the supply of clothing and material for the Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, and in the raising of funds for the work of the Order. General Dalton, writing to the deputy commissioner, states, inter alia : “ We appreciate greatly the contributions, financial am) otherwise, towards the colossal work which the Order of St. John has taken on itself in connection with the care, of the sick and wounded in the desperate strug-rlc we are engaged in. The overseas brigade have come to the front in the manner wo know th^j r would, and we hear from all sides of their good work and cordial and loyal help, and in no place more than in New Zealand. It will take tho Order all it can to cope with the task that- it has undertaken, and this help from the Overseas Dominions will be mostacceptable." The King and Queen have notified their intention of attending the performance to be held on behalf of the Actors' Fund in February. This will be their Majesties' first visit to the theatre since the commencement of the war. They have caused a. letter to be' written, stating that the dramatic profession enjoy a just public regard, because of the invariable readiness and generosity with which, in time of peace, it places its services at the. disposal of every good cause and national charity. Their Majesties (says a. cable message, in the Sydney ‘ Sun ') feel that in this time of distress an obligation rests upon the public to alleviate the anxiety which tho war has entailed upon the profession.
New season's photographic goods; Excellent dock now arriving. Cameras from 6s. Send your order early to H. J. Gill, II and 13 Frederick street, Dunedin. 'Phone 1,144. —[Advt.] Tho Bluoskin A. and P. Society’s 47th annual show will he held at Waitat-i next Wednesday. Entries close on Monday and late entries up to 11 o'clock on the morning of the show.
Troubled with insomnia? A glass of Watson's No. 10 makes a, splendid nightcap.— [Advt.]
There is at present on clew in the window of Messrs Forrester and Dow, corner of Princes and Dowling streets, -a. mode! of Kelson’s famous monument in Trafalgar Square, London. The. actual height of the, monument, is 145 ft, and the scale, of the model is 5-10 of an inch to the foot. The model, which is rondo of plaster of pan's and other materia), was constructed by Mr 'Dios. Annison, of Grosvenor street, a. plasterer, of over 80 years of age, and is a. good testimony to his ability. Tf, is very finely executed, and embrace; every deta.il of the monument., itself.
alo and stout- are by the Dominion public to be tho beet on vlic- msurV-at.—C.Ad.T’t/l Watson’s Xo. 10 is a little dearer than ■■ most whiskies, but is trorfh the money.— ! [Advt.] 5
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The Evening Star WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 1915., Evening Star, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915