Confidently and boldly, Howard B. Gill '13, fighting for his position as Superintendent of the Norfolk Prison Colony, struck home with the final blow in his campaign through the medium of his attorney, Raymond S. Wilkins, last night, when a letter answering the charges of Auditor Francis X. Hurley '24 was submitted to Governor Ely.
The letter, following out the permission given the ex-prison head, replies to those of the charges that were not covered at the hearing and enclosed within is the brief that answered the 36 allegations of Hurley.
Apparently satisfied with the result of the hearing, which demonstrated Gill's ability as a fighter, Wilkins goes out of his way to attack "Hit and Run" Hurley. Realizing that although every effort has been made by Gill's faction to keep the answers in the realm of substance, the original investigation and allegations of Hurley were of such a personal nature that the "language frequently used renders this difficult." Also what is now left of Hurley's report to be combatted consists mainly in the bitter insinuations of the Auditor.
Realizing also that Hurley's conclusions come from a source bitterly hostile to Norfolk and the Superintendent, Wilkins sets forth his final arguments in the cases with the definite purpose of banishing from Massachusetts any possibility of the recurrence of the present situation. "It serves no good purpose to place the morale of a prison in jeopardy by an unconstructive attack upon it and its superintendent," the letter states. "Nothing but harm can result from intermittent press releases of advance information as to the contents of a report being prepared by one public officer on the official acts of another."
Evidently certain now that the tide has turned in favor of the deposed prison head. Wilkins does not refrain from openly attacking Hurley's methods. From Hurley's report it is apparent that "Hit and Run" went on the assumption that the first source was the most accurate, for he states that the only necessity of a second witness was to corroborate the statements of the first. On that ground Wilkins strikes his blow. "A fair or helpful investigation would have sought the facts, and not tried to bolster up from biased or unauthoritative sources."
And, says Mr. Wilkins, let's have a look at Hurley's knowledge of penology. How can he investigate a prison without preparation in the subject? Hurley himself admits that he "knows nothing of the book-learning of penology" (Hurley report, P. 2) but Wilkins claims that his practical information is faulty. It consists in the participation in several criminal cases in the few years which he spent at the bar and in his acquaintance with several graduates of the state prison at Charlestown. With bland assurance. Wilkins asserts. "Obviously the conclusions of such a person are entitled to no weight in a field where experience and expert knowledge are prerequisites."
After this tirade directed at the absent Hurley. Wilkins drops for a moment into a pitying attitude. Not a feeling of futility, for the confidence of the rest of the letter shows the supreme faith in Gill's show. The pity is, however, that this "crude, undigested, and immature assortment of rambling remarks" is bent on the destruction of the "character and brilliant accomplishments of a public official who for more than six years has struggled to give the Commonwealth honest and capable service."
And with the hope that Gill at the recent hearing has supplied all of the further their facts that Hurley saw might be necessary. Wilkins rests of the case of People vs. Gill. Gill has put up his fight and it was good enough to make the press back-water. It was strong enough to convince Hurley that he should drop into retirement for a while. It was good enough to throw the weights into the balance in favor of Gill's reinstatement as head of the prison colony and to give Wilkins confidence to blast Hurley as he does in this final letter.