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Condemned Cell Correspondence 10-11-1880

Ned Kelly

November 10, 1880

His Excellency the Marquis of Normanby.

I have again taken the liberty of placing before you the remaining facts of my case which have never been placed in a true light before you. It has been represented that I took up arms in April, 1878 for the purpose of shooting police.

But as six months have elapsed between this alleged shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick on the 15th April and the Stringy Bark tragedy on the 26th October, 1878, and there neither was robbery or any other offense during that time reported of having been done by me or my companions and has also been stated that I was at the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick, but as the Police knew I had witnesses to prove my whereabouts at the time, they did not put it in as evidence against me, therefore I could not call any witnesses.

Even Constable Fitzpatrick’s own evidence clears me of the first charge, as he swears that I neither murdered him nor had any intention of doing such. After my mother was convicted of aiding and abetting in shooting with intent to murder Constable Fitzpatrick, I came back with full intention of working a still to make whisky, as it was the greatest means to obtain money to procure a new trial for my mother.

I tried every legal means to obtain justice, therefore it never crossed my mind for revenge. If I have had went looking for the Police or shot them in any of the towns, then there may have been some excuse for saying I shot them for revenge. Where the tragedy occurred is quite sufficient to show that I never went to seek for the Police, but that they came right onto the place where I was at work. There are many members of the Police Force who will swear that they came with the full intention of shooting me, not arresting me. McIntyre’s evidence is quite sufficient to show that I did not intend to murder, because he swears himself that I could have often without saying a word, and it stands to reason four men with the intention of murdering two men would have shot them at the first favourable opportunity. They would never have called upon them to bail up and throw up their arms.

McIntyre’s evidence shows that I had him covered when he threw up his arms and surrendered, so if my intention was to take life I should have shot McIntyre when I had him first covered. But according to his evidence, I took my rifle off him and covered Lonigan as he was in the act of running to a tree and drawing his revolver.

It was also stated in court that I shot Lonigan for revenge, but McIntyre’s evidence will show neither me nor my companions knew who it was at the time. But it stands to reason, I should have done so, and never called upon him to surrender. Any man who calls on Police or armed men to bail up and surrender does not intend to take life, or he would not have attempted to give them warning, as it would be utter stupidity if I intended to commit murder to call upon them to surrender.

Both for Kennedy’s and Scanlon’s deaths McIntyre is the man most accountable, because he told them a falsehood when he said they were surrounded and therefore placing them in a wrong position, which can be seen by referring them to the photo of the place and the positions of the men, also not telling them who they were surrounded by. But as they were not surrounded, what he should have said to his Sergeant was ‘ don’t move. You are covered by Ned Kelly and three other men and if you attempt to fight, you will be shot, but if you surrender your arms you won’t be shot.’ Then the men would have known their exact position.

It is, as Judge Barry said, unlawful to disarm the police, but then I wish to know the difference between disarming them and with the full intention of murdering them.

Even to take the police evidence all through and the two years career of me and my companions will show that we were anything but blood thirsty, and likewise in the whole of our career we never ill-treated nor maltreated man, woman or child and always refrained from doing a cowardly act.

The next thing I wish to mention is the Crown Prosecutor’s trying to point out my blood thirstiness in wearing steel armour. This is quite contrary, for without armour I could never have possibly robbed a guarded bank and disarmed Police without taking life, but with armour I had not occasion for taking life. I can solemnly swear now before God and man that it never was my intention to take life, and even at Glenrowan I was determined to capture Superintendent Hare, O’Connor and the blacks, for the purpose of exchange of prisoners. While I had them as hostages I would be safe. No police would follow me.

In lieu of taking them, I thought it might be as well to leave them surrounding their Police Barracks at Glenrowan and get possession of their train and horses without an encounter, and get a civilian to claim the reward so when the police obtained their horses they would have no enticement to follow me as the reward would have been obtained, so they would not interfere with me until such times as there was another reward issued, and if they did not give the reward to the man that claimed it, no person would inform against me again.

I know now it is useless trespassing on your valuable time because of the expense the Government has been put to which is not my fault. They will only be satisfied with my life, though I have been found guilty and condemned to death on a charge which, of all men in the world, I should be the last one to be guilty of.

There is one wish, in conclusion, I would like you to grant me, that is the release of my mother before my execution as detaining her in prison could not make any difference to the Government now, for the day will come when all men will be judged by their mercy and deeds; and also if you would grant permission for my friends to have my body that they might bury it in consecrated ground.

Edward Kelly
His X mark.

Witness: William Buck, warder.