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MANSFIELD , FRIDAY
The police seem to be as far off the capture of the Kellys as ever, and from what has recently been reported to me I believe the gang are hiding in their old places awaiting the result of Ned Kellys letter. If a free pardon be granted, the outlaws will leave the colony, but if it is refused they intend filling up the measure of their iniquity, and will stop at nothing to carry out their full revenge until they escape altogether, or are shot down. Walter Lynch, who is charged with sending a threatening letter to Mr Monk, is now to stand his trial in Melbourne; and it is suggested that special protection should be given to the train that carries the witnesses from Mansfield to Melbourne, as Kelly might with some reason show his spite against that particular passenger train, if he were so disposed. With regard to Mansfield itself, I am glad to announce that every precaution is taken by the police to guard the town―even to adopting a suggestion which I made some time since, that the streets should be closely watched during the night.
Out of this vigilance, however, arose an occurrence that was nearly proving serious. As one of the police marched by the camp with his revolver, he was challenged by another policeman under the verandah of the camp; but not answering the challenge―which the patroller looked upon as a joke―the station policeman levelled his rifle, and threatened to shoot unless an answer was immediately given. The patroller instantly replied, and thus probably saved his life. To prove that there are persons in Mansfield who are well acquainted with the doings of the Kellys, I may mention that a day or two since two women passed up the street, and one was heard to say to the other, “My Dan knew they were going to stick up the bank.” As soon as the speaker saw she was noticed she became silent immediately. The memorial committee to the memory of the late sergeant and his comrades are actively at work, and I have no doubt the funds will soon be forthcoming.
It will relieve the minds of any friends of Mr Healey, of Strathbogie Station, who may have read the report regarding him in to-day’s paper, to learn that he took lunch at Seven Creek’s Hotel yesterday afternoon, appearing in his usual health.
We published on Friday an appeal which has been made by a committee formed at Mansfield for contributions towards the fund now being raised to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who were brutally murdered by the Kelly gang in the execution of their duty. It is proposed to erect a suitable monument in the district where they fell, and we doubt not that all classes of the community will gladly assist in the work. The committee adduces a number of reasons why the public should support the project liberally, all of which will no doubt carry more or less weight. It points out that no application has been made to the public for subscriptions towards maintaining the families of the murdered men, as the state has undertaken to provide for their support, that Sergeant KENNEDY and Constables SCANLAN and LONICAN died bravely in the discharge of a duty they were "specially directed by their superiors to carry out" that they were all three men of merit in the force; and that it is desirable under existing circumstances to encourage the constabulary in the onerous and dangerous work it is called on to perform, by its members some assurance " that their efforts in the public service will not be unfeelingly ignored."
All these considerations will doubtless receive the attention they merit, and we shall be disappointed if the subscriptions be not sufficient in amount to enable the committee to express practical sympathy with the living, as well as to do befitting honour to the dead. The relatives of those who fell in the discharge of public duty are proper legacies to the state. But the state is an abstraction and its liberality, although of course accept able, does not carry with it that comfort which springs from assistance which is accompanied by an assurance of personal regard. And really a very considerable feeling of personal regard should be felt towards the police, for people have come almost entirely to rely upon them in all cases where personal danger is involved. The least the community to do in return is to take care that it does not check their willingness to serve it by indifference to just claims.
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