Francis Hare Papers (no.13): C.H. Nicolson to Hare
AuthorNicolson, C. H.
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This is part of the digitized version of the Francis Hare Correspondence held in the University of Melbourne Archives. It consists of 54 letters and documents, of which this is one, from 1859-87 and received by or relating to Superintendent Francis Hare, one of the members of the Victoria police force involved in the pursuit and capture of the Kelly Gang. The collection complements Hare’s published memoir, The Last of the Bushrangers (London, 1892) and includes letters by some of the key figures of the Kelly story including the Police Commissioner Frederick Standish, Superintendents Charles Hope Nicolson and John Sadleir, Detective M Ward and John Sherritt, as well as items by Hare himself.
Paper no.13, 10 May 1880
Benalla Monday / 10th May 1880 / / My dear Hare, / / In reply to your letter of 6th I was quite unaware of what was going on in Melbourne, consequently the communication made to me on the morning of Saturday week last, viz: that I was to be withdrawn from the Kelly business and that you were going up to Benalla in my place, took me quite by surprise and I certainly felt indignant and disgusted. / I admit that I did think you had something to do with it - but I feel glad to learn by your letters that you had not - and I am sorry to have done you an injustice. / From the length of time which has elapsed, and from other circumstances, I do not anticipate deriving much kudos even if I am instrumental in bringing the matter to a successful termination. / I need not tell you what misery it has been to me to reside in this district for so many months continuously. / I do not affect to be prompted by higher motives than my neighbours, but to me this Kelly business seems too serious to be trifled with. /
If you come up here and supersede me, and yet do not succeed,, then the / deluge (not for you) for the department. Because the police will be considered played out, and the condemnation of the present organization will follow as a matter of course - what that means in the present state of the country may be easily imagined unquestionably the change will be a radical one, not that you personally need fear it. As for me I am prepared for anything. The absurdity and injustice of discrediting me because I have been up here for ten months will be apparent enough bye and bye in calmer weather. Here is a simple question of Arithmetic. If A & C with a certain number of assistants failed to catch the Kellys in six months - how many months will it take B to catch them with fewer assistants. The answer is more than 10! Why should our ship drift into such dangerous waters? / The police are not played out and the organization is not bad and I am confident of success, why should the knowledge and experience I have gained in the case be thrown away, and you, the last card that will be allowed to be played, be brought into the game prematurely, and the risk, run unnecessarily, to the whole force, of the consequences of your not succeeding. / I see much trouble brewing but trust it may be averted by the speedy capture of the Kellys. Meantime the game is a bad one. / / I shall never be induced to go into such an affair again. / / / / I remain / My dear Hare / Very sincerely Yours / C.H. Nicolson /
KeywordsKelly, Ned, 1855-1880; Bushrangers -- Victoria; Law enforcement -- Victoria
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