IT WAS only to be expected that, as soon as vigorous measures were taken for the suppression of the Sinn Feiners’ revolt, the cry would be raised that the punishment meted out to the offenders was vindictive. It must not, however, be forgotten that their offence was not merely recourse to anarchical methods, but sheer cold-blooded murder, and this is the crime that the leaders have been made to expiate. The number of executions bears no significant proportion to that of the unfortunate victims, civil and military, who have been either killed or maimed; and, if it is so large as to shock even the advocates of the sternest measures, there is a way of accounting for it. The Sinn Fein movement is not concentrated in Dublin. If it were, the execution of a few leaders would have sufficed as example. But, as a matter of fact, it is scattered over many parts of the country, and the military authorities — who, by the way, have the complete sanction of the Government — may have thought it necessary to give object lessons in a variety of disaffected districts. We feel sure that the General commanding in Ireland has acted without a spark of vindictiveness, and merely in accordance with what, in his judgment and to his superior knowledge of local circumstances, appears to be the most effective way of putting an end to the trouble.
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