The Argus at KellyGang 11/11/1880
THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER
A final meeting of persons fovourably inclined to the reprieve of the condemned bushranger Edward Kelly was held outside the Robert Burns Hotel, Lonsdale-street, last night. A large crowd assembled, and were addressed from the upper windows of the hotel by Mr William Gaunson, Mr Hamilton, and others, who reiterated the arguments advanced at previous meetings in favour of the murderer's respite. Ultimately a committee were delegated to proceed to Government-house to ask His Excellency to exercise the Royal prerogative of mercy in Kelly's case, and to present a petition praying for his reprieve for seven days, in order that time might be afforded for procuring additional evidence in support of the petition for the abandonment of the original intention to carry the capital sentence into effect.
The deputation, which consisted of Messrs Gaunson, Hamilton, and a few other members of the Reprieve Committee, accordingly proceeded to Government-house, where they were received by Captain Le Patourel, the Governor's private secretary. He informed the deputation that His Excellency had carefully reviewed the case personally, and it having been three times under the consideration of the Executive Council, who upon calm deliberation had decided that the law should take its course, His Excellency must decline to receive any deputation in reference to the matter.
The deputation then proceeded to Parliament-house, where they had an interview with Mr Graham Berry. Mr Hamilton acted as spokesman, and presented the petition intended for His Excellency the Governor. Mr Berry intimated that in his opinion the present agitation was positive cruelty to the condemned man, who should have been permitted to have peace and quietude in the last few moments of his life. The persons who had aroused and maintained the agitation were no friends of the wretched man. The case had three times been considered by the Executive, and each time the only additional evidence adduced served to show in an increased light the enormity of his offence. He trusted that the deputation would return and inform the men — misguided men he called them — that were taking part in the demonstration, that no mortal power could intervene to prevent the criminal meeting the fate he so richly deserved.
A most painful duty was imposed upon him (Mr Berry) in having to deal with such a matter, and he thought that such deputations were a strain upon him which was manifestly unfair. He trusted that the assemblage would be induced to disperse quietly. The deputation (after Mr Hamilton had apologised for the most unseemly interjections of one of those present) then withdrew, and returned to the Robert Burns Hotel. Mr W Gaunson appeared at the window, and called upon Mr. Hamilton, who announced the decision of His Excellency the Governor and the Chief Secretary to the crowd.
Inflammatory addresses were delivered both by Mr Hamilton and by Mr Gaunson, but the better sense of the assemblage prevailed, no disturbance occurred, and the meeting dispersed in an orderly manner. The execution takes place at 10 o'clock this morning. With regard to the man Quinn, who wanted to make an affidavit reflecting on the police the other night, it is quite true that he offered to assist the police in the capture of the outlaws, but he did so under very peculiar circumstances. It appears that Mr Nicolson, the assistant commissioner, had returned to Benalla after making an exhaustive search of the Kelly country with the view of recruiting the strength of his men and their horses. The whole party was indeed greatly fatigued, and unfit for further exertion until they had at any rate had a short rest. It was at this time, that Quinn came forward, and stating that he knew where the gang were, offered to conduct the police to their place of concealment, which he said was near the top of the King River, some 60 or 70 miles distant.
Mr Nicolson questioned the man, and found reason to doubt his trustworthiness—in fact, suspected that Quinn, instead of being ready to lead him to the Kellys, was attempting to take him and his party far away from the gang or to induce them to travel until they were thoroughly tired out, and rendered unfit for pursuing the fugitives. Whether Mr Nicolson formed a correct opinion of the man's intention we cannot say, but this much is certain, that if Quinn did know then where the outlaws were, he knew that at the moment he was speaking they were committing the Euroa outrage, and that in taking the police away to the top of the King River he would have been rendering valuable assistance to the gang.
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