The Royal Commission for 6/9/1881
(see introduction to day 49 )
Sup John Sadleir giving evidence
16848 To such an extent that you wrote a private letter to Mr. Hare on the subject?— That had nothing to do with it at all.
16849 Did you write a letter to Mr. Hare in consequence of a conversation between you and Mr. Nicolson, or from your own feeling in the matter?— I wrote it believing when I wrote it that Mr. Hare was pushing himself into this business, and as a friend I saw it was one in which there was no honor to be gained — it was too difficult, too hazardous and mysterious a work, not like one that a man could do satisfactorily to himself, because in it he could not know what would happen. Mr. Hare wrote to say he was not pushing himself forward-he could not help himself. That is the whole history of the business. I did not let Mr. Nicolson know that I wrote that letter for some time afterwards-he had nothing to do with it- in any way whatever-I saw there was a breach likely to follow, I felt there was mischief impending, and I wished to prevent it.
16850 You wished to guard Mr. Hare against it?— I wished to prevent him from doing what I, as a friend, thought was a mistake.
16851 Then your anticipations, to some extent, have been fulfilled?— Yes. I have always sought for peace between officers. You must remember that men in earnest about their work are really the most apt to feel touchy-they feel more strongly than anybody else.
16852 By Mr. Nicolson . –Do you not recollect my receiving a letter from Mr. Hare, in which he repudiated having forced himself in any way on this business?— Yes.
16853 Do you recollect my writing back to him?— Yes, you did.
16854 Was my letter friendly or unfriendly?— I take it that it was a friendly one.
16855 By the Commission. –You were in charge of the district, in full charge of the North-Eastern District, when Constable Fitzpatrick was shot?— No, he was shot in April 1878, and I did not take charge till some time in July.
16856 Can you give the Commission any reason why the Kellys were at large from April to October of that year?— Of course I can only speak of my own period, and my efforts to trace them will be the best explanation, and you have all that in what I said to-day as to after I met that gentleman and his servant at Greta. The servant is a peculiar old bushman, with connections among the criminals. The gentleman, I think, was getting a little tipsy at the time, though I did not notice it, and told me he knew all about the Kellys, in a mysterious way, and this man said, “Yes, they are in hiding from ——.” Parliament was beginning to move in the matter, and I was getting uneasy lest I should be asked why I did not make search for them, and I actually began the search before I had finished the business of the district, and we searched fairly and honestly, and to the best of our ability, and could get no information. They are a very mysterious race of criminals, and can hide in a manner we do not yet at all understand. The same question might apply as to why they were at large till June 1880, with thousands of pounds and hundreds of police after them. It is a mystery to me always, and one I cannot explain.
16857 Are you of opinion that political influence has a prejudicial effect on the discipline of the force in any way?— Nothing can be worse, if it is exercised.
16858 Do you believe in the past it has worked that way?— There are some men who are reputed to exercise political influence-more amongst the constables and sergeants. I have never had occasion to do it myself, and I never would do it, I think.
16859 Have you ever been much of it in the records of the department?— No, I have not. My own district was particularly free from it, and I think that was because the men were contented with the administration.
16860 Would it be better that the police force should be altogether independent of political influence, even to the Ministerial head of the department?— No, I do not think so; we all need looking after. If the men feel thee their superiors are treating them fairly, they are not concerned about political influence.
The witness withdrew.
Adjourned to to-morrow at Eleven o'clock .
See next Day
This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors. This document is subject to coypright.