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The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 18/2/1879

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THE KELLY SYMPATHIZERS

The fourteen men accused of supplying to Edward Kelly, a prescribed outlaw, and his accomplices, such information as would tend to the commission by them of further crime, were again brought up before Mr Wyatt, PM, on Saturday and despite the opposition of the counsel who appeared for them, were further remanded until today.  Knowing most of the men incarcerated, and knowing also the great difficulty of obtaining evidence against them, on account of the police being away in the ranges and the civilians being really afraid to come forward and give evidence, we fully agreed with the new the remands, ? it surely is time, now that over six weeks have elapsed since their arrest, during which time they have been confined as felons in the common gaol, that at least some evidence should be brought against them, and that they should, in ? be allowed some opportunity of clearing themselves, otherwise, as been truly, remarked, they may have to remain where they are until the crack of doom. 

Admitted that some of them, in the ? of society and to further the efforts of the police to capture the four men who have defied authority by – been guilty of a foul and most unnatural murder – committed outrages which are without parallel in the history of the colony, and created a reign of terror and lawlessness which is hardly creditable, would be better in gaol ? English sense of justice demands and some tangible charge should be brought against them, and some evidence brought forward to warrant them further detention.  We are no sympathizers with the Kellys, dully approved of the p?ing of the outlawry act; believe that under the exceptional circumstances of the case, extraordinary, and even what may appear as harsh measures, must be resorted to but, as was remarked by one of the persons arraigned on Saturday, verily the constant remanding is getting a little stale, and it is time there was something done to vary the monotony.  If the keeping any one of the men in gaol would facilitate directly the capture of the Kelly gang. 

We would not hesitate for a moment to advocate his detention, provide it were shown that he had anything to do with the outlaws since the terrible tragedy of Stringy Bark Creek; but after so long a time, during which the men have succeeded in baffling the efforts of the police to effect their capture; have committed two outrages, which for cool, daring, and insolent audacity have perhaps never been equaled, and have roused a devil in society, which it will be hard to exercise, it is surely but fair to the so called sympathizers that the police should be required to bring forward some more definite reasons why further remands should be granted.  It is true as “Egles” writes:- The bushrangers is – shameful as it is to have to make the confession - the hero of the hour.  The audacity displayed - the grim humor of outlawed men, with a price upon their heads, masquerading in a populous township in police uniforms - the skilful organization which designs desperate enterprises, and the courage by which a few dominate the many – all tend, unfortunately, to dim the recollection of the blood stain upon their heads.  Until that is avenged, the blackness of their deeds casts a dark shadow upon the reputation of Australia.” 

It is almost impossible, adequately, to estimate the terrible effect the continued immunity from capture enjoyed by the gang, and the hale of romance which in the minds of so many surrounds their daring and successful exploits, is having upon the youth of the colony.  With many, thanks in part to a section of the press, who pander to the public taste and delight in sensationalism, and party to the depraved and lowered condition of morality, the Kellys are regarded almost in the light of heroes; and whilst the futile efforts of the police are held up to ridicule, and advanced as proofs of their incapacity, the raids on the Euroa and Jerilderie banks are looked upon as splendid illustrations of pluck, coolness and skilled strategy. 

It is evident that up to the present the police have been completely baffled, have been throughout deceived by false reports as to the whereabouts of the men they have been in pursuit of, and it is a remarkable fact that excepting on the two occasions, when they suddenly and most unexpectedly swooped down upon Euroa and Jerilderie; held the whole townships at their mercy, and at broad daylight robbed the banks of £4000, they have never been seen by any of the authorities; not that their hiding places been discovered, since the murder which occurred 114 days ago.  Nothing succeeds like success, and the success which has followed ????????????? has had a most baneful effect, and many have actually come to regard them as hunted martyrs, and to look upon them with undisguised admiration.  The majority of a certain powerful class in Victoria are really to a certain extent Kelly sympathizers.  We would remind them, however, and it is after all the question which should be impressed upon everyone, that despite of their prowess; stripped of the false sympathy extended towards them, they are naught but coldblooded, wretched murderers, who stole upon the policemen’s camp, and coolly shot them in cold blood; that since they have boasted of and glorified in their foul crime, and that justice, as well as the blood of the murdered men, demands for them naught, save a long rope and a short shift.  Any man who would aid and abet them should be punished, and no false leniency should be shown. 

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