Spotlight: The Convict Melville (31 July 1857)

On Tuesday morning, however, Melville refused to permit the removal of the nighttub from his cell, and threatened to take the life of any one who should attempt to do so. On hearing of the circumstance, Mr. Wintle proceeded to Melville’s cell, and after endeavoring, but in vain, to persuade him to allow the tub to be removed, he ordered James Rowley, senior turnkey, and two wardsmen to go into his cell and bring it out.

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Spotlight: Melville’s Defence and Charges Against the Convict Superintendent (1857)

Gentlemen, I never was a coward, and I feel nothing out the meanness of convicting myself in the judgment of the public by any such an act as that. When I die I will not die by my own hands, but will die as a man and as a Christian; and to have done such a thing as that would have been signing my own death-warrant. I see that as the case has been laid before you, the evidence is calculated to convict me. But can you not see the motive and spirit of that case? On the other hand, can you not see the motive of the case which I wish to prove to you by the evidence which I would lay before you in my favour, if I had the liberty to do it. If you can question the motive of a man who would call on the men hired to shoot him to death, on other men who saw all, and have no motive to speak in his favour but only the motive of speaking the truth, and on others who are also the men to stand their trial for the same crime I have done. I must submit to die, and I shall be happy to leave a life where no justice can be done to me. Continue reading Spotlight: Melville’s Defence and Charges Against the Convict Superintendent (1857)