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FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 1872.


FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 1872. t MR. H. VIVIAN deserves the thanks of the com- munity for having called the attention of Parlia- ment to a foul murder, committed as long ago as the 2nd of July of last year, in the Spanish village of San Juan. It appears that the victim, whose name was JAMES ROBERTS, had gone out to Huelva as foreman over a body of men, in the service of Mr. FEATHERSTONE GRIFFIN, the well known civil engineer, who is engaged in making a line of rail- way from that town to Tharsis. The unhappy man, who we are told by no less an authority than his employer, was particularly noted for his quiet and. inoffensive disposition, was steady and assiduous in his duties, and generally assumed towards the native population an air of good nature and forbearance. Nevertheless he was struck down by an assassin in mid-day, and shortly after died, leaving a wife and family wholly unprovided for. If we did not know that the Spaniards are among the most ignorant and bigoted of mankind, puffed up with astounding vanity and self-conceit, and that they look with suspicion upon English- men brought to their country for the purpose of carrying out projects which they have neither the ability to conceive not the perseverance to consummate, we should think it incredible that such an occurrence could take place. There was no brawl no quarrel over their cups between the murderer and his victim and, in all probability the feelings of. national vanity alone impelled the assassin to commit the act. Viscount ENFIELD, in reply to Mr. VIVIAN, admitted that the narrative, now laid before our readers, was substantially true that the circumstances had been reported to the Foreign office by our Consul, Mr. REED that a message was immediately sent to the Spanish au- thorities at Madrid, impressing upon them the duty of bringing the offender to justice, and that representations to the same effect had been re- peated upon several occasions since. Now, it is certainly not very gratifying to find that the arm of England is so weak as to be unable to bring the offender to trial, and that nine months should have elapsed since ROBERTS was stabbed in a most cowardly manner, without any appreciable step being taken to vindicate justice, or make manifest the indisputable right of Englishmen to protection from the law. We fear, however, that the cus- tom of the country" is against us, and that a system which permits a known murderer to be abroad, moving in decent society, and enjoying the privileges peculiar to the son of an Alcalde, is very unfavourable to the development of views, in ac- cordance with our own, respecting the sanctity of human life. Besides which, the gross superstition of the people, and the animosity fostered by the Priests against heretics, tend to render the difficulty all the greater. It is but a little while ago that a number of Spanish rustics got up a cry against the workmen engaged in carrying a tele- graph through the country, and declared that the English artisans had stolen and killed their children in order to grease the wires with human fat Seeing, however, that there is no expectation of exacting retribution from the local autho- rities, overawed as they are by the ignorant populace, it becomes all the more necessary that the Foreign Office should demand redress at head-quarters, and, failing to obtain it, initiate measures which would have the effect of forcing the Spanish Government into action. The time appears to have passed away, when a British sub- ject had only to announce his nationality to enjoy an immunity from annoyance and attack. It was not so when Lord PALMERSTON was at the Foreign Office. Civ is Romanus sum, was an axiom which that able statesman always taught our countrymen to act upon when absent from their native land. A declaration of the kind, on the part of Englishmen, ought to be equivalent in weight to that of the old In, ID Romans, and it is highly necessary that our consuls should take prompt measures in order to insure the better protection of British workmen engaged upon a foreign soil. With respect to the sad case which Mr. VIVIAN has brought before the House, there can be but one opinion. ROBERTS was foully mur- dered by an assassin who is well known and at large. The matter cannot be allowed to rest where it is. The guilty man must be punished, and that, too, at any cost or trouble to the execu- tive. If it is true that the Vice-Consul's ignorance of the Spanish language acts as a barrier in shield- ing the murderer, and makes it difficult or impos- sible to obtain direct evidence, or evidence at all, we think it will be admitted that the sooner a more competent official is appointed the better for the English community engaged in making the line. GOLDSMITH found it impossible to teach the Dutch English, not having a knowledge of the former language himself, and a Vice-Consul who is un- acquainted with Spanish, can be of little service in protecting British interests in Spain. We trust Mr. VIVIAN will not allow the subject to drop, and that, having put his hands to the plough he will not look back, until the murderer of ROBERTS has been brought to justice, and the Spaniards are taught the necessity of paying regard to the laws of civilisation, they so recklessly disregard, and the teachings of that Christianity which they dishonour in practice, while ostensibly reverencing its principles as their creed.








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