Royal Commission report day 9 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 6/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 9)

Henry Moors giving evidence

1652 In question 52 he states, “About the end of June, after having been upwards of six months at Benalla, finding that all the business in my office was being frightfully muddled, and that things were going wrong both in Melbourne and the country districts, I obtained the authority of the Chief Secretary for my return to Melbourne .” you say from your own knowledge that that could not possibly be?— I do not believe Captain Standish ever meant to imply that.

1653 In the way that reads?— No, I do not.

1654 Did you as chief clerk at any time on or before June communicate to Captain Standish complaining that the work in the office was delayed in consequence of Mr. Nicolson?— Nothing more than I have stated.

1655 Nothing to lead him to believe that it was necessary for him to return. By this statement one would think he received information from some other source except his own personal observation to lead him to make that statement. Have you implied to him in any way, without calling it a state of muddle, that it was necessary for some one to come on account of the delay?— No, never.

1656 You know of no circumstances through which Captain Standish could have got that information?— No, I do not. He was backwards and forwards repeatedly, and when he would come back he would naturally ask, “How have affairs been going on in the office?” and I would say, “Well, papers are not so promptly out of the office as they should be, and the clerks have complained.” I said on one occasion, “The clerks will be very glad when you come back.” That was not on personal grounds, but because of their getting away at a reasonable hour. They did not like stopping till six o'clock as they had to.

1657 With the exception of the inconvenience to the clerks, did the public interest suffer by the slower method of Mr. Nicolson as compared with Captain Standish's method?— Not that I am aware of.

1658 Have you charge of the accounts of the department?— No.

1659 Did it appear in the office that there was a serious dispute between Captain Standish and Mr. Nicolson?— No. It was obvious to me—not from anything specially that passed between them, but simply from what I could see—that there was a want of sympathy between them. But any dispute between them must have taken place in Captain Standish's room; I know nothing about it.

1660 Was that appearance of long standing?— I think I could trace it back for about a twelve-month, but it is impossible to say; you often fancy a thing, and at other times fancy you are mistaken. But that was my impression, that there was a want of sympathy for about twelve months before the capture of the Kellys; but I do not say there was that state of things, I am merely giving an impression.

1661 Captain Standish has stated here, referring to May 1880— “I only had time to hand him the telegram and to give him a bit of my mind. In fact I may say that on that occasion, and subsequently when he was relieved, he behaved to me in the most discourteous, insolent, and ungentlemanly manner; and if I had not been a man who is gifted with not a very bad temper, I should not only have given him a bit of my mind, but I would have suspended him from duty; but I had no animosity against anybody in the department. Though I had a great contempt for the man, I had no ill-feeling against him.” Did any of those outbursts of bad feeling take place within the office?— Not that I am aware of. Of course when you say in the office, it must have been in Captain Standish's own office, not in the presence of any of the clerks, any of the office staff.

1662 You were never personally present when a misunderstanding arose between the two?— No.

1663 Did you see many of the letters, the correspondence, passing during that time from the head office here to the up-country stations in the North-Eastern district?— I saw them all, except private letters and occasionally a confidential letter, which might have been hurried away. I may say that I saw nearly everything that passed, except private letters—all the official letters.

1664 Did you see any letter at any time sent by Captain Standish to Mr. Nicolson during the time he was at Benalla in charge of the district that led you to believe that Captain Standish was unfairly interfering with Mr. Nicolson in the matter of the Kellys?— I do not think so. There was a difference of opinion among them about the cave party.

1665 At the time of that particular letter about the cave party were you then under the impression at that time that it was an unfair interference on the part of Captain Standish with Mr. Nicolson in his duties—I mean your own impression at the time you saw that?— No, I should say not. I do not think Captain Standish ordered the discontinuance of that party, but he had a strong opinion that it was a useless party. Mr. Nicolson, who was on the spot, thought it was a necessary party; there was that difference of opinion. Captain Standish, I believe, expressed himself strongly that it was a useless measure, but he said nothing more than anyone holding an opinion as he did would say......

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