Alexandra Times at KellyGang 24/5/1872 (2)

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THE gross outrage committed by William Knowles in preventing Mr Whitelaw from crossing the Eildon punt in the mail coach on Tuesday, the 3rd instant, and his subsequent breaking up of the punt, for the purpose of stopping all, traffic along the valley of the Upper Goulburn, because he did not succeed in getting Mr Henry Perkins elected for the Darlingford Riding of the Alexandra Shire in the recent contest with Mr Whitelaw has created an universal feeling of indignation throughout the district, and a strong contempt for the man who could be guilty of such a paltry piece of vindictiveness and animosity.

It is fortunate for the good order and safety of society that the Knowleses are not in the majority, for who would or could live in a county where they were allowed to do just as they like. “Surely Mr Whitelaw will bring an action against Knowles,” is a remark that has been frequently made to us during the past week. But Mr Knowles by some means has simply been an obstruction to the public. Had he not chopped the punt up, he might have been sued for being in illegal possession of a public thoroughfare; as, however, he holds no license, Mr Whitelaw has no remedy as against him. Cobb & Co., who had received a fare from Mr Whitelaw via Darlingford and Alexandra, were bound by every possible means to perform their contract, unless prevented by the laws of nature, the Providence of God, or some unforeseen accident, and to our thinking ii is a question whether they can plead any of these excuses for not landing Mr Whitelaw in Alexandra.

They have, or ought to have, some agreement, verbal or written, for the conveyance of the mail coach over the punt. But supposing that there is no such agreement, they are not relieved from their responsibility. Captain Bance and Mr Patrick Perkins were fellow passengers with Mr Whitelaw. They were conveyed over the river with the mail-man in the ferry-boat, and the mail coach was taken back to Perkins's hotel, a distance of a mile and a half. After Mr Whitelaw had started on his journey round by the Acheron bridge, a distance of 20 miles, the coach was sent for, taken over in the punt, and the other passengers conveyed to Alexandra. This set on the part of Cobb and Co shows a disposition to act with Knowles, and become a party with him in preventing Mr Whitelaw from crossing the river. We are the more disposed to take this view from :the fact that that one of or Cobb, and Co's agents was actively canvassing at the Taggertys for the opposition to candidate. As this is a matter that will shortly be brought before the County Court, we refrain from making further comment.

Mr Knowles is anxious to have a bridge at his punt site, which would materially improve the value of his property there, and it has been stated that his chief object in chopping up the punt is to coerce the Shire Council into building this bridge at once by stopping this traffic. Supposing the Council had the funds, it is very questionable whether they would at present be justified in spending such a large sum as £4000 in erecting a bridge, for admitting that £2000 of a subsidy could be got from the Government, would it be fair to other portions of the shire to spend the whole revenue available for public works in this one job?


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