TOPICS OF THE WEEK - 15 OCTOBER 1885

SOME of our contemporaries have been rebuked for discussing Riel's case on the ground that it is still before the Courts. We should be very sorry to countenance anything like tampering with public justice; but as the appeal is on a question of jurisdiction and on the merits of the case, there seems to be no objection to discussing the merits, much less do we see any objection to discussing the principles which should guide the Executive in exercising or refusing to exercise the prerogative of mercy. For ourselves, however, we have nothing more to say. We deprecate the intrusion of any Party influences or considerations into the domain of justice. Under a law necessary to the preservation of all States, which was made long before this rebellion occurred, and by a tribunal the impartiality of which there is no reason to doubt, Riel has been found guilty of treason, a crime which, if not so degrading and repulsive as many others, is of all crimes are most dangerous to the community. If any extenuating circumstance has come to light, if any flaw has been found in the evidence, by all means let justice be stayed; otherwise it ought to take its course. The Indians who were set on by Riel suffer the full penalty of their offences, and are sent without compunction to the scaffold, though they, being mere children in understanding, must be held far less guilty than their instigator. But if it is found impossible to carry out Rielís sentence because he was the champion of the French element and the French are resolved to protect him, let the ground of political necessity be frankly avowed. The worst of all solutions is a lie. The wretch who was executed for the murder of Mr. Brown was really insane, though, as his insanity was caused by dissipation, it was criminal; but nobody who is in his own senses believes that the planner, organizer and leader of the rebellion in the North-West


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