THE CONDEMNED BUSHRANGER
In accordance with the understanding arrived at on Friday night at the Hippodrome, about 200 persons assembled at half-past 10 o’clock on Saturday morning at the Town-hall, for the purpose of accompanying the brothers Gaunson to Government-house to appeal for a reprieve on behalf of Edward Kelly. The crowd was, however, of such an idle and seedy-looking character that the Gaunsons were evidently ashamed of it, for they quietly slipped away to Government-house in a cab, without giving any intimation of their departure, and only took with them Mr. Hamilton, the chairman of the meeting, young Caulfield, and Kate Kelly. They were duly received by His Excellency, and Mr. Hamilton presented the resolution passed at the meeting praying that the condemned man’s life might be spared.
HIS EXCELLENCY said he could but forward the document to the Government, and say that it would come before the Executive on Monday. The case had, however, already received careful consideration, and the decision arrived at was not come to without due care. He would be deceiving them and acting cruelly towards the condemned man if he held out any hope of mitigation.
Mr. HAMILTON thanked His Excellency for his gracious reception, and remarked that nothing more could be said.
Mr. DAVID GAUNSON assured His Excellency that in the action he was taking he had no sympathy with crime. The question he begged His Excellency to consider, however, was the state of the prisoner’s mind at the time the alleged murders were committed. The prisoner was fully under the belief that the police were going to shoot him and not merely to put him under arrest, and that being so the state of his mind deprived his actions of the character of murder in the legal sense. He would also urge that it would be very undesirable to have an execution in our midst at this peculiar time, when all the nations of the earth were our visitors.
HIS EXCELLENCY said he could not enter into arguments. The duty he had to perform was the most painful a Governor could fulfil. The decision of the Executive Council had only been arrived at after the fullest and most complete consideration, and the matter could proceed no further.
Mr. W. GAUNSON stated that numerous and largely signed petitions for a reprieve were coming in, and that the numbers which would yet come in would be something enormous if time were given.
HIS EXCELLENCY replied that this was not a case in which petitions could have any effect. The law had to be carried out, and if it were not, those who had the responsibility would have to answer to the country.
Mr. HAMILTON then brought Kate Kelly forward by the hand, explained that she was a sister of the condemned man, and said it might have some effect if she went down on her knees before His Excellency and begged for mercy.
HIS EXCELLENCY.―No, no. I have a painful duty to perform, and I do not see that anything can be got by prolonging this interview.
Mr. CAULFIELD made a few remarks about the majority of the people being in favour of showing mercy to Kelly.
His Excellency then withdrew.
The deputation returned to town, and were met at Prince’s-bridge by the crowd from the Town-hall, who had waited there until their patience was exhausted, and had then set out on their own account for Government-house. The result of the interview was explained to them, and then they dispersed.