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Mansfield 27th October
It is to be hoped that the Government will take prompt steps to wipe out the disgrace that has been brought on the community by the revival of bushranging in one of its most desperate forms. Unfortunately the unsettled condition of a young country must always be favourable to the exploits of such monsters as Kelly and his gang. They have a fine field to work their atrocities in, and the consciousness of it lands them a daring which they might not otherwise possess. They have already taken two innocent lives, and there is no saying how many more may be sacrificed before they are brought to justice. The advantage which they have over any force that may be sent against them is enormous; and although they are only four men, it is easy to see hoe they could keep at bay thrice that number. If they had made up their minds to sell their lives rather than be taken. It is gratifying to know that no romantic sympathy is expressed for them, but that, on the contrary, a general feeling of horror and detestation has been excited by their enormities. It will be the duty of the Government to take advantage of the feeling, and enlist the services of every honest man in the pursuit of the scoundrels. If it is necessary, Kelly and his mates should be proclaimed outlaws, and a large reward offered to anybody who shall capture them alive or dead; but under no circumstances should lives be recklessly endangered in hunting them down. The talk falls naturally on the police, care should be taken that the police should not be exposed to be slaughtered in detail. In the trackless bush where natural ambushes turn up at every footstep, four men of the Kelly stamp are a match for serious odds, and the probility is that unless the courage of the pursuing troopers is tempered with a good deal of military discretion we shall hear of more murders.
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