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3 corrections, most recently by Kaseyd - Show corrections

A Queensland Bushranger. DEATH OF THE " WILD SCOTCHMAN." [BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.] [FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.] BURKETOWN, July 22. While returning from the funeral of an old resident who had met his death by accident, Mr. James Macpherson, known in the early sixties as the "Wild Scotchman," was thrown from his horse, and received such injuries that he only lived forty-eight hours, never regaining consciousness. He leaves a widow and a large family totally unprovided for.

Macpherson came to Moreton Bay in the ship William Miles about 1854 or 1855. He was then quite a lad, and there are a few people still living in Ipswich—ship-mates—who re- member him well. He was a brother of Mr. D. B. Macpherson, of the Cross-roads, near Esk The bushranging episodes of the "Wild Scotchman" in the Maranoa and Dawson dis- tricts, in 1865 and 1866, caused considerable excitement at the time, owing to the loss and annoyance through the frequent stoppages of mails—" stuck-up" by the " Wild Scotchman," about his biggest "scoop" being when he robbed the Roma mailman of £1600 and all his mail packages. In 1866 every effort was put forth to capture Macpherson, the Commis- sioner of Police (Mr. D. T. Seymour) and a large force of sub-inspectors, constables, and black trackers patrolling the country, but none of the police were successful in bringing him to justice. He was, however, eventually captured on the 30th of March, 1866, the following being the particulars :—" The capture of Alpin Mac- pherson, the bushranger, generally known as the 'Wild Scotchman,' was reported in Mary- borough on Saturday morning, the 31st March, from the telegraph station at Golden Fleece, by a telegram from Mr. A. H. Brown, Gin Gin, to the Police Magistrate, requesting him to send on two constables to that station to take the prisoner to Maryborough. The constables were immediately despatched, and reached Gin Gin late the same night, returning without delay to Maryborough with their prisoner, where they arrived on the evening of Monday, the 2nd of April. A correspondent has since sent us (the   Queensland Times) the following account of the capture ;—' I suppose that the world will be wondering how the Wild Scotchman has been taken ; the affair is simple enough in itself, and, of course, not by the police. A man an- swering to his description had been seen on the morning of the 30th ultimo, and had been in- quiring for a road which he did not, it seems, intend to travel; he was again seen within a short distance of Manduran by two gentlemen living at Gin Gin, and they instantly proceeded to the Manduran head station, and reported the suspicions as to who it was to the manager (W. Nott, Esq.), who, with praiseworthy promptitude, joined them, together with an- other person, making in all a party of four, and immediately started in pursuit. They overtook him about five miles from the station, in the direction of Port Curtis. When he saw them in a full gallop, and nearly upon him, he let go his pack-horse, and started at full speed down a very broken range. Being well mounted, they followed, and were fast gaining on him, when he pulled up, and commenced to unstrap a double-barrelled gun which he had with him. Upon his commencing to do this, Mr. Nott covered him with his rifle, and told   him that if he did not there and then throw up his arms and surrender, he would fire at him. This threat, fortunately, was sufficient, as Macpherson at once said, ' I give myself up.' He added, ' I knew you were not the police by the pace at which you followed me down that ridge,' and he described, with some humour, the absurb attitudes which he had witnessed in police horsemanship—some holding on by the front, and some by the back of the saddle. The prisoner was very com- municative and appeared cheerful. Those who were instrumental in his capture were Messrs. W. Nott, Curry, Gadsden, and J. Walsh. The first night he was lodged at Manduran, the second night at Gin Gin ; at both places he was watched day and night, and was taken by the police from the latter place on Sunday (1st April). I trust that the Scotch ranger will not make April fools of us, but we have strong doubts of his safe arrival in Maryborough. There were found on him about £9 in notes and cash, pistols, gun, and sundry articles of clothing. His two horses are done up. He behaved in a very orderly manner since his apprehension, and gives an amusing account of his adventures.' " In reference to his "first appearance" before the Bench, at Maryborough, it was stated that " the Court-house was crowded with spectators, amongst whom there seemed some disappoint- ment at the appearance of the prisoner. Some because he was not so 'flash,' and others be- cause he was not so ferocious-looking as they expected. The prisoner, however, answers to the ordinary description of a bushranger, such as of late have been so frequently described in New South Wales journals—a bushman, hardy, strong, and supple ; in Macpherson's case, we should say, of more than ordinary intelligence and courage. He evidently takes matters coolly, and does not appear at all discomfited by his present position. He has been very communicative since his capture, relating, evidently with truthfulness, judged by the minutia of the detail of his narrations, some very racy tales of his interviews with the police in and about Gayndah, whilst they have been in search of him." Macpherson was sentenced to twenty-five years' penal servitude by Mr. Justice Lutwyche, but a petition was afterwards signed by all the men of note in the colony, including Sir Charles Lilley, for a reduction in the sentence and Mr. Macalister, the then Agent-General for Queens- land, presented it to the Premier of England, Lord John Russell (since Earl Russell). After the petition had been considered by the Impe- rial authorities, Macpherson's sentence was re- duced to eight years.

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