[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.]
Friday, 25th March, 1852.
A REPORT prevailed in this town yesterday, that another murder had been committed—that a man named Egan, who had been missing since Saturday last, had been found in the Barwon river with his hands tied, and a cut over the left eye. A coroner's inquest sat on the body yester- day afternoon, but there was no evidence brought before it to show that the man had met his death by violent means , and so far from his being cut over the eve, and having his hands tied, there were no marks of violence on the body, and a small piece of thick cord or light rope was
twisted two or three times round the left arm.
It also appeared that, on leaving his house, he had a small sum of money on his person which money was found on him when he was taken out of the river. The jury seemed very determined to be satisfied as to the cause of death and the Coroner—to afford every facility for such investi- gation as might be necessary—adjourned the in- quest till this day, at three o'clock.
The Aphrasia did not arrive yesterday, being laid up for repairs, consequently no Argus came again. As I see the new steamer Victoria is to start on Monday next, I would just remind her owner that if she is not a little more punctual and accommodating than the Aphrasia, she will meet with little encouragement from the Geelong people. I also hope that some more discipline and regularity may prevail on board, for I am told that, latterly it has been almost impossible for a lady to come by the Aphrasia. And I understand, that the favourite little Vesta is not the model boat, either, she once was. Card playing and drinking and smoking in the cabin ought not to be tolerated.
Friday Morning. Present—His Worship the Mayor, Captain Fyans, and Dr. Thomson.
William Clarke, charged with forgery, was further remanded for medical examination, as there was some reason to suppose that he had lost a shingle or two.
This man, it seems, sold a horse and dray, for about £50 (a bona fide transaction), the fel- low who purchased it, probably knowing Clarke's weakness, drew out a cheque, re- marking that as it was made payable to order, he (Clarke) must endorse it, and desired him to write his name "there," putting his finger to the place for the signature of the drawer. Clarke did so, and the cheque was of course drawn by him. He afterwards offered it to two or three respectable people who knew him, and they tried in vain to reason with him, and show him how he had done himself. He was
still satisfied that the cheque would get him the money when presented in Melbourne—it
was drawn on the Melbourne branch—and I think believes so yet.
Saturday, 27th March.
You will see by the police report, that this has been a gala day among the police, no less than six notorious vagabonds being placed be- fore the bench to answer for their sins. One has been committed on the clearest evidence for
assault and highway robbery, three have been committed for six months as vagrants, one is remanded, and the sixth was again apprehended immedately on his dismissal. The police no doubt deserve much praise for this sweep, al- though it is well known that they have not se- cured all the bad characters that infest the town; but all their efforts if crowned with the most
signal success will be utterly useless, unless the Government immediately make arrangements for the safe keeping of such fellows after they are caught.
I have lately called the attention of the au- thorities to the very insecure state, and bad ac- commodations at the Geelong Gaol. I once more call His excellency's attention to this im- portant matter; I tell him that until two sentries are stationed night and day on that building, and two good lamps placed at it, no gaoler can be sure of keeping the inmates.* But there is no occasion to send us soldiers for this purpose, six of the pensioners could do the duty as well as six of the military, and I think there would be no great difficulty in finding six of them that would be better able for this work than for the active duties of a constable. Let the gaol be as strong as possible, sentries ought to be stationed out- side, and surely with such a gaol as ours, they will not be considered unnecessary. If such be the opinion, the necessity may prove itself some morning, on finding the birds flown, and perhaps their keepers murdered.
And while on this subject, there is another matter which His Excellency ought at once to attend to: that is, providing hard labour for those men who are so sentenced. At present there are no less than twenty men in the Geelong gaol—fed and boarded at the public expense for committing crimes, (they are chiefly under the Vagrant Act) Is this the punishment intended for such men? Is it a punishment at all? They have nothing to do all the day and all night but to conduct schemes of present escape, or future plunder. The state of the gaol precludes the possibility of classifying them, and the young
and half innocent thief is sent to hear the lec-
tures of the accomplished "Burker" and burglar. How much he may be advantaged by such com- pany may be easily guessed at!
But this is not all—our new gaols, and other public buildings, are at a stand for want of labour; our streets, roads, and bridges are out of repair,—ten shillings a day is offered for hardy labourers and these fellows are allowed to idle and laugh at the laws and their adminis- trators. A very little expense would provide the means of their punishment (hard labour) and it is cruel to the community to withhold it.
The new gaol here could, with the assistance of a few masons and setters, be finished by these men who now do nothing. The Government would be spared the expense of the exorbitant free-labour-price, the prisoners would be in much better keeping and better health, their punish- ment would be carried out according to the laws, and the public would be better satisfied.
Present—His Worship the Mayor, Captain Fy- ans, J. G. McMillan, Esq, and Dr Thomson.
Henry Phillips, alias Nobby, one of the two men who was apprehended lately on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Charles McKenzie, was placed in the dock, charged with highway robbery
William Thomas stated that on Friday evening last, after coming home from a ride, he went into the yard of Mr Puffleet, of the Bush Inn, Corio street, and while there, the prisoner and other two men he could not identify, knocked him down and robbed him of £22, they also ill- used his wife by kicking her, &c. Witness can positively identity him as the man who held him by the throat.
Mr Carman deposed that on the night in ques- tion, he received information of a man named Thomas being robbed of £22. From the de- scription given of one of the men, he arrested the prisoner in Mr Smith's public house, the Scottish Chiefs, Corio street. The prisoner resisted vio- lently, and called out to some persons, supposed to be his mates, to know if they would allow him to be taken. Mr Carman also statcd that Mr
Smith, the landlord, followed him and the pri-
soner some distance with a view, he believes, to prevent any attempt being made to rescue him. On pulling off his boots a £2 note dropped out.
The prisoner said, in his defence, that he knew nothing about the charge, and was committed
Archibald Waller was charged with stealing a gold watch, the property of Mr Batten.
The prosecutor stated that on the 2nd Febru- ary, while travelling down from Ballarat, he went to a camp on the roadside, and, turning his horse out to feed, he laid down to have a sleep for a few hours along with the party. On wak- ing shortly afterwards he returned to Rice's Inn, and then he missed the watch, which was round his neck, when he went to the camp. The watch produced in court is the one he lost. He saw it in Mr Martin's shop window yesterday.
Mr Martin, watchmaker, said, that the prisoner left the watch for repair at his shop. He asked prisoner where he got the watch, he said he bought it in London, and paid £10 for it. The watch produced is the same. It is worth about
Prisoner said in his defence, that he found the watch in a leather case on the road, near Rice's public-house.
Mr Martin, recalled, said, prisoner had not
offered the watch for sale.
Mr Batten, recalled, could not say whether he was robbed of the watch; but did not think he could have lost it from his neck, as he wore a guard, and never carried it in a leather case. He had never advertised the watch.
Thomas Jones and James Macdonald were
charged by the chief constable with having no lawful means of support. He met the two men at the bar last night, about 12 o'clock, at the back of Mr Kerr's, the draper. The prisoner McDonald, on being asked who he was, gave
his name as Cameron.
*As confirmatory to the very letter of the predictions of our correspondent, two of the most desperate of the prisoners escaped over the enclosure yesterday morning, about eleven o'clock, and have got clear off. Their names were John Williams, and Henry Phillips alias Nobby, in custody upon charges of highway robbery; and one of them, at least, suspected
of the murder of the unfortunate man McKenzie in the streets of Geelong. Williams was the man whose apprehension was signalised by cries of "Lynch him!" by the crowd assembled in an adjoining public house.—Es. A.
The Bench asked the prisoners to account for themselves: Jones did so, by saying that he had just come from Melbourne last night by the steamer to pay some money he owed a person in
McDonald said, he had been sent down to Mr Abram Atkins's as under-cook by Mr Hull
the magistrate, in Melbourne.
Mr Carman here intimated to the Bench that this man, McDonald, had been twice convicted before this Bench, and broke out of Melbourne gaol by leaping off the gallows. He had also been committed for trial at the criminal session for stealing a number of pairs of trowsers from J B Hutton and Co. He also knew him to be a reputed thief.
This was a fine character for a man who had been recommended by a magistrate. Jones was discharged, but immediately ordered into cus- tody by Captain Fyans on suspicion of being one of three men who recently committed a robbery in Geelong.
McDonald was ordered to be remanded till Monday morning
William Nicholson, Charles Le Fouge, and James McDeade, were also charged by the Chief Constable with having no lawful means of support, and being the constant compan- ions of thieves and prostitutes. When appre- hended, he found on the prisoner Le Fouge, a loaded pistol, capped, and on Nicholson, a heavy life preserver; he also has frequently seen them in company with the man Phillips, just committed for trial for highway rob-
Sergeant McGuire corroborated the testi- mony of Mr Carman. The prisoner Nichol- son said he had only been down in Geelong a few days, and had come here on a visit to Mr Smith of the Scottish Chiefs.
The Bench sentenced all three to 6 months imprisonment as rogues and vagabonds.
Henry Phillips was again placed at the bar to hear the evidence of Mrs Thomas, the wife of the prosecutor in the case of highway rob- bery.
Mrs Thomas corroborated the evidence of her husband, and distinctly identified the prisoner as one of the men who robbed her husband, and also as the man who kicked her when she was knocked down, but she could not identify the other men.