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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

A Plea for Mercy (S446aa: 1892)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: One of several letters to the Editor printed under this title on page 2 of the 15 March 1892 issue of the Daily News (London). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S446AA.htm

     Sir,--Seeing in your paper to-day Mr. Robert Buchanan's letter with the above heading, I beg leave most earnestly to support his plea. If the facts were as stated by Mr. Buchanan, not only must the offence of these men be reduced to manslaughter, but to manslaughter not of the worst kind, since it was probably committed in self-defence against men who themselves began the affray by an illegal assault. For though gamekeepers discovering poachers in the act of pursuing or killing game are legally entitled to take them into custody, they are not, I believe, entitled to use violence of any kind unless the poachers refuse to submit after being called upon to do so. But gamekeepers are so systematically supported in all their acts of violence against poachers by magistrates who are usually themselves game preservers, that they look upon poachers as men who are altogether outside of any protection by the law, and who may therefore be attacked and violently assaulted without notice and with complete impunity as regards any action of the law against themselves. I presume the three men were personally known to the keepers, in which case there was no justification whatever for assaulting them, as they could have been legally apprehended the following day. Believing that our game laws are utterly immoral and unjustifiable, I earnestly support Mr. Buchanan's plea, not for mercy only, but for such a moderate term of imprisonment as will satisfy the demands of justice, giving to the condemned men the benefit of every reasonable doubt in the case. I am, &c.,

Alfred R. Wallace.

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