The Royal Commission evidence for 16/6/1881
(see also introduction to day 31 )
Sup John Sadleir giving evidence
The Hon. F. LONGMORE, M.L.A., in the Chair;
J. H. Graves, Esq., M.L.A., l W. Anderson , Esq., M.L.A.
G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A.,
11866 By Mr. O'Connor— You have heard, during some of the evidence given at this Commission, reflections cast upon me, as showing a want of courage?— I heard a good deal of the evidence to that effect.
11867 Now will you state what was my behaviour during the expeditions when you accompanied me; did I evince any fear?— You mean in March and April 1879?
11868 Yes?— No, certainly not.
11869 Did I not request that only two constables should accompany me?— Yes, I am pretty sure of that.
11870 Will you tell the Commission what I always asked you to allow when we came upon tracks which were fresh, and which we all thought were the outlaws'—I mean as to the working of the trackers?— You asked me to hold back all the white police and let you go on with your boys alone, which I refused to do.
11871 And in your opinion it was just the opposite to showing fear in meeting the outlaws?— Oh most decidedly; we came to an understanding that I could not allow that early in our first trip.
11873 Then, from your own knowledge of me, a charge of this nature would be untrue?— So far as after I arrived on the ground.
11874 That is from your own knowledge of me?— Yes.
11875 Do you remember the first occasion of my going out in search of the outlaws?— You went out first with me.
11876 Do you remember it?— Yes.
11877 In my evidence, page 50, question No. 1074, I said— “Prior to leaving, I told Captain Standish that I only required two of his men; but this I was told was not sufficient, and I must take not less than six Victorian constables with me. Captain Standish informed me, in the presence of Mr. Sadleir that I was to be in charge of the party.” Is this true or not?— Yes, that is perfectly true. I would like to state to the Commission, in explanation of my share in that, I was at the time not quite certain that I could stand the exposure, and thought that I should probably have to return in a day or two.
11878 By the Commission— You stated in your previous evidence you had been suffering from rheumatic fever?— Yes, also Mr. O'Connor being a stranger I wished to avoid any dispute with the head of the department in his presence. Captain Standish's order was an unlawful one, he had no power to give it, it was not in his power.
11879 What order was that?— That Mr. O'Connor was to be considered as in charge of the party, and as soon as ever I found I could stand the exposure, I gave Mr. O'Connor to understand I was the senior officer. The facts as stated by Mr. O'Connor were perfectly true that Captain Standish did put him in charge or say he was in charge of that party.
11880 To you?— Yes, in my presence.
11881 You now express the opinion that, not to have any unpleasantness, you submitted temporarily to that?— Yes, for the two reasons that it was uncertain that I could remain out, and I wished to avoid disputes with the head of the department before a stranger, Mr. O'Connor.
11882 Am I to understand that this order was given without any previous consultation with you?— None whatever.
11883 Your reasons for not remonstrating then could not have influenced Captain Standish; he was not aware of your reasons?— No, I should think not; it came upon me as a great surprise.
11884 He had not consulted you before?— No; and it was contrary to all the regulations of the service; and if he had consulted me I should have known what to do.
11885 Is not that an action in every sense that would be resented in any service?— It is actually unlawful; no officer can do it. Our ranks are apportioned by the Governor in Council, and no head of the department has any right, without actual suspension from duty, to take such a step.
11886 In question 229, Mr. O'Connor is questioning Captain Standish, “Do you not remember saying to Mr. Sadleir that, although he was superintendent, he was to be under me for that party?— Certainly not.” That was an independent command given to Mr. O'Connor by Captain Standish?— We were, three of us, standing on the hearth.
11887 I mean it is not the position of parties, but it was an independent command; he gave him the command in your district independent of you?— No, there could not with that distinction. If I accompanied the party, I held my rank in spite of Captain Standish or anybody else, except the Governor in Council.
11888 Did Captain Standish say that at that time?— He said that or words exactly to that effect; there is no question at all about it.....
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