Francis Hare Papers (no. 50): Letter to the Editor, 'Argus' [The case of superintendent Hare]
AuthorRowan, F. C.
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Paper no.50, 15 March 1882
(Press copy) / The Editor / of the "Argus". / / Sir, / May I ask leave to offer a few remarks upon one point in connection with the recommendations contained in the report of the late Police commission, viz. with regard to an award of a special annuity to Superintendent Hare as compensation for the serious wound received by him in leading on his men against the armed outlaws at Glenrowan. / / I think that it may be said, without exaggeration that when it was known that Mr Hare was seriously wounded, everyone throughout Victoria - Kelly sympathisers perhaps excepted - felt deeply for his mishap, and I also think that everyone, nearly, concurred in recognising the justice of the recommendation of the Police Commission that some special compensation should be awarded to him for his wound. Somehow, however - probably through an accidental oversight - this point seems to have escaped notice when the Executive dealt with the Report and it is on this account that I request permission, through your columns, to offer a few remarks upon the matter. /
It is, in H.M. army and navy, recognised and established that if injuries received in service, and especially on service in the Field, are of …………………gravity, …………….. a (?) contributing (?)..............................................................................................drummerboy or A.B., Commander or Colonel, is entitled to pecuniary compensation on a certain scale, commensurate with his position. 'Fighting for the love of one's country' is a phrase that sounds well, but, as a matter of fact we generally fight because we, or our rulers, are in love with somebody else's country or because we find ourselves drawn into some one else's quarrel. Soldiers have sold their brains, their blood and their muscles from time immemorial and it is held no disgrace to accept money grants as rewards for victories gained in the Field, or as Compensation for wounds received in action. The great Duke of Wellington, Sir Henry Havelock and Sir Garnet Wolseley are instances of the former, while I am personally acquainted with several officers who still serve their country and who draw what is graphically styled 'blood money' on account of wounds received in action and quite independently of the pay of their rank. /
Now, the same principle has, I think, been invariably admitted and applied with regard to colonial forces whenever such forces had to meet and exchange shots with an enemy in the Field. In N.Z., during the Maori war, it was applied to Militia, to Volunteers and to Constabulary. The magnitude of an action is as nothing in the matter - only one man fires the bullet that wounds in any one case whether there be five men engaged or five thousand. In the Glenrowan affair it was not a case of ordinary police duty - it was practically a bit of actual warfare - the scale is immaterial - and those engaged ran the usual risks of actual warfare. And, as a set-off against those risks they had a right to expect the usual (?) compensation (?) in the event (?) of .................................................. and of to widows of those who …. I do not suppose that Parliament would … hesitate (?) an instant at granting a pension to the widow of a constable who might have been killed on that morning at Glenrowan - neither should there be any hesitation in granting blood money if fairly earned.
The division of the £8000 reward has no bearing whatever on the matter in any shape or form; the whole question is, did a certain individual receive a bullet wound in conflict with armed outlaws and was that woundof a certain degree of seriousness. The accepted gauge of the severity of a wound which entitles the recipient to compensation is in H.M.S., its resemblance or approximation to the loss of a limb. Thus, the loss of a limb has a fixed sum set against it, and if a wound is tantamount to the loss of a limb the same sum may be granted in compensation. Now in the case under consideration, I believe that I am correct in describing Mr. Hare's wound, as a compound and comminuted fracture of the bones of the wrist, with great loss of blood and general shock the system. As to the after effects, they are manifest to any one who examines his injuries ……………. and compares it with the sound one. I therefore venture to express the opinion that this wound was and is, in its results, such a one as may be considered to fairly entitle the recipient to special compensation. If there be any doubt, Mr. Hare might appear, as is customary also in H.M.S. before a Board of Surgeons, and let their verdict determine the matter. /
I have endeavoured to leave sentiment out of the question altogether, but it is poor encouragement to the Police Force generally to feel that the ……………….essential qualities in the …………..are not to receive recognition in the ………………..entailing serious injury on any individual. / / The occasions on which our police have to meet fire-arms with fire-arms are happily few - surely we will do well to try that, if such occasions unhappily arise, there may be no extra inducement to hang back in a … conviction that it is to be all risks and no compensatory 'blood-money'. / I remain / Sir / Yours obediently, / F. C. Rowan / / late of H.M. 43rd Light Infantry and of the N.Z. Armed Constabulary. / / Melbourne (?) / March 15th 1882. /
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.
KeywordsKelly, Ned, 1855-1880; Bushrangers -- Victoria; Law enforcement -- Victoria
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