Lists (None yet)

Login to create lists

Tagged (None yet)

Add Tags

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

No corrections yet


exciting events nr its HISTORY. The First of the (Written for ! the Singleton Argus)

In the early history of this country, bushranging, was more or less . traceable to the convict system then In operation. P nte CG fU '' nISl ' ed by the penuI

treatment meYedout Wthe coVict"^ S^if^Jt 0 r %, mucl ' of tlle c,lm ? then committed. The convict bushrangers differed considerably from native born or modern bushrangers, us personified ' by" Morean, Gilbert, Ben Hall, Thunderbolt, aiitT the Keliys, inasmuch as the latter took to tiio bush to evade tyrannous laws and oppression, whilst the former were the vicious products:of a *icious past, ? and were in-most instances bloodthirsty ruf fians, who topic-to .the bush for the sor did gains. their, highway robbery afforded ? St M le ? rs t and. most notorious conyict bushrangers was William West wood, alias Jackey Jackej-. He was the son of A-ei-y respectable parents, and was anno Rooking youth, well educated, and came into the hands of the authorities In ?England-.when -only sixteen years of age. The oftence for .which he stood his trial and was subsequently transported, was a trivial one, and one that would not call . for any punishment at all, if committed at the present time. He arrived In Svd- S along with a. batch : of convicts . in 1837, and was assigned to Mr P. G. King, and .sent to that gentleman's station at Goulburn as a farm laborer. He was not long in the colony when.he found the .treatment of himself and other as signed servants so oppressive that he fully determined to submit no longer; and then set out on a career of crime, whlcli perhaps stands unequalled in the annals of colonial history. At the outset he discarded ills own name for that of Jaekey Jackey. By many of the "old hands",ho was regarded ! as a hero, and few. of them referred to : him, except as a gentleman./ .Most of his bushranglng crime* were committed In the southern party of the colony, , and: included the sticking up of the Commissary,'the Queanbeyan mail, Tarrago mail, and the Bungendore mail. Early in January, 1841 he-was captured by a party of five civi lians,, which included the priest of Bun gendore. He was placed, in a_ rifom at at hotel at Bpro : Creek, prior to his re moval, to the lockup, and two men were placed; on guard, but the prisoner waited for an opportunity, dealt one of the men a terrible blow, took his musket, and made his escape, but was soon recap tured, and placed in the Goulburn lock up, u.he . following day he was being escorted to Sydney, when he made perate attempt to escape, but after run ning a mile he was again recaptured, and then placed in the Bargo lockup, but his incarceration was only temporary, for he succeeded in breaking, prison, und In his flight, took all the police arms and am munition. . lie succeeded in evading the i police,' and was not heard of again till he called at the. toll gate on the Parramatta road, about three miles out of Sydney. Hβ asked the tollkeoper If he had ever heard of Jackey Jackoy. "Oh, yes," re plied the man, "but ho is. a long way oft; he ain't game "to .come to Sydney, they would catch him if he did." Wost wood then drciw his pistol- from) his waist, and told the, scared tollkeoper that he was Jackey Jackey, and that he had spent the past three days in Sydney. The incident ended ? by Jackey Jackey giving the old man a bottle of rum, and- they : parted the best of friends. Westwood next appeared at the "Black Horse Inn," on. the Berrlma-road, and ordered some refreshments. : Whilst drinking he was recognised by the daughter off the hotel, who pounced upon hini and screamed. Her father and a carpenter, hearing the screams, rushed to the plucky girl's as sistance, and the bushranger was struck on the head with a-.-shingling, hammer, and knocked senseless; he was then easily secured, and on standing his trial, was sentenced to penal servitude for life, and was. confined in X)urllnghurst Gaol, but being detected in an attempt to escape, he was transfererd to Cocka too Island. Jackey Jackey was singled out . for specially cruel treatment by the warders on the Island, and he lost no time in organising a band of twenty-flve convicts, who made a desperate attempt to secure their freedom. They tied up the. warders, and than jumped Into the "'harbour, with the intention of swimming to Balmain. ' The water police, however," were informed of the contemplated es cape ,and the whole gang was recap tured, and sentenced to transportation to Tasmania. Being a desperate lot, they were chained down in the hold of the vessel, in which they were being con veyed to their new prison, but In spite of this precaution they managed to get free, and were only prevented from cap turing the brig by the hatches being bat tened down. , ? .' Westwood was not long In Tasmania before he escaped, and resumed his old career of crime. He, however, only en joyed his freedom a- short time, for he was recaptured, and sent to Glenorchy, where he again broke prison, but after some little time he was caught in a house at Hoburt, and was then sent to Norfolk Island, which was then "the penal settlement" of a penal settlement. It was while on this , island that Jackey Jackey's cup of crime increased to over llowing. He there found the treatment of prisoners more rigorous than he had previously experienced, and that bad as his former; condition was, it was even more unbearable in Ills new surround ings, though Captain M'Conochle, the new Commandant, had at the time con siderably improved the conditions of _the prisoners by a more reiirieil reformatory line of action than formerly practised on the settlement. It was regrettable that the milder form of treatment had not been adopted earlier, and not delayed till the convicts had been" for v. number ol years under demoralising influences, ami had reached an age when their charac ters became set, and not untenable t<. civilising influences. lVfConochie only re. mained three years on the Island, and wns succeeded by Major Clillds, who Im mediately reverted to the old order oi rigid discipline. Under M'Conochle's re gime prisoners were allowed plots oi ground to cultivate potatoes und other vegetables for their own use, but this privilege was abolished by Major Clillds, and the little vegetable plots were laid waste. The convicts were greatly In censed at the new turn of events, which was intensified when an order was issued withdrawing from use all the pots and puns that had been issued to the men, und issuing the rations in bulk, und not to the prisoners Individually, as was done under M'Conochlc. Westwood, when ho discovered that the pots und pans hud been removed, was enraged, and then or ganised a body of prisoners, who march ed to the Barracks yard, whore they broke open the store, and took all the cooking utonslls they could discover. "Westwood then uddressed his associates In- the following words,—"Now, men, _I have made up my mind to bear this op pression no longer; but, remember, I uni going to the gallows; if uny man funks let him stand out. Those who wish to follow mc, let them come on." . How prophetic his words wore, subsequent events prove. The mob, bofore setting out on their murderous mission, armed themselves with whatever weapons they could'secure, and followed their leader (Wostwood). The first person they encountered was a policeman named Morris, and "Westwood dealt him a torrillo blow on the heud with v. pick handle, and the mob com ploted tho job of bushing out hla bra his. The murderers then muUo for tlio police overseer, and Juckey Jaukoy -again used the pick handle, and crushed in one side ?of tho ovorseer's head. The infuriated mob were bent on more slaughter, and observing two men talking near the BarracK yard, they rushed them, and brutally killed one with bludgeons, but the other escaped, and ran and Informed the soldiers. Jackoy then led his party in the direction of Government House, tho object being to kill tho Stipendiary Magistrate. On tho road they camo-to a hut in which two constables were locat ed, und both wore cruelly chopped to pieces with axes. Tho gang then pro ceeded on their Journey to Govern inonl House, when the soldiers arrived and (Sir William Dcnlson) ordered Judge Brown to Nor folk Island to try the prisonors for mur der, and utter a patient trial. Jackoy Jackoy und twelve others wore arraigned for the murder of Morris, convicted, and sentenced to death. The dread penalty W prior"to C his "oxeoutlon, Westwood sent tho following letter to a clergyman who had been chaplain at ono of tho prisons in which ho had been confined:—

"H.M. Gaol, Norfolk Island, "Condemned Cells, October Bth, 1846. "Kov. Sir,—As In duty bound to you for the kindness you have shown mc, and the Interest I have always seen you take In those who have been under your spiritual care, no matter what might be their fate, 1 am induced to write to you, hoping , this may find you in good health, and in the enjoyment of all God's choic est blessings. I have to inform you, tliat long before this letter reaches you, the hand that wrote it will be cold in death. I do not grieve that the hour is fast approaching , that is to end my earthly career. I welcome death as a friend.; the world—or what I liave seen' of it—lias no allurements for mc. Tis hot for mo to boast; but yet, sir, allow a dying man to speak a few words to one who has always shown a sympathy tor the wretched outcasts of society, and _wlio, with a Christian charity, strove to recall tiie wretched wa'nilerer to a sense of his lost condition. I started in life with a good feeling for my fellow man. Before I well knew the responsibility o£ my station in life, I had forfeited my birthright. ' I became a slave, and was sent far from parents, brother, and sis ters, and my dear native country—torn from all that was dear to mc, and that for a trifling offence. Since then I have been treated more like a beast than a man, until nature could bear no longer. I was, like many others, dclven to'despair by the oppressive and tyrannical conduct of those whose duty it was to prevent us being , treated in this way. Tet these men are courted by society; and the British Government, deceived by the in terested representations of these "men, continue to carry on a system that has ruined, and still continues to ruin, the prospects of the bodies and souls of thousands of British subjects. I have not the ability to represent what I feel on this subject, yet I know from experi ence that it will never carry out the wishes of the British people. The spirit of the lirltlsh law is reformation. Now years of sad experience should have told them that, instead of reforming , the wretched men under the present system, lefl by example on the one hand, nnd driven' by despair and tyranny on the other, goes on from bad to worse, till at length he is ruined body and soul. Experience, dear bought experience, lias taught mc this. In all my career I was never cruel—l alw.ays felt for the miseries of my fellow man, and was ever ready to do all In my power to assist them to the utmost, yet my name will be handed down to posterity branded with the most opprobrious epithet that man can bestow. But 'tis little matter now. I have given vent to my feelings, know ing that you will bear with mc, and I know that you have, and will exert your self for the welfare of wretched man. It is on-this account that I have striven, though in but a .feeble manner, to ex press my feelings. The crime for which I have to suffer death is murder. Rever end Sir, you will shudder at my cruelty, but I only took-.tlie life of those who for years,inflicted on many a lingering death, by mental and bodily torture, which ter minated in a prematurej grave. This is what*l call.refined cruelty, and it Is car ried on—l blush to own It—by English men," and 'under the enlightened British Government. Will it be believed here after, that this was allowed to be car lied oh in the nineteenth century? "I will now proceed to inform you of what happened since I left Port Ar thur. I was sent to Glenorchy Probation Station. I was then determined, if pos sible, to regain my freedom, nnd visit my dear native country, and see my loving parents and friends again. I took to the bush with two men; one of them said that lie knew the bush well, but he deceived mo, and himself too. Our in tention was to take a craft from Brown's Itiver; we were disappointed—there was no craCt there. We then turned to go to thinking to set one there, and then cross to the Sydney main. But after leaving New Norfolk, I lost one of my mates, and the same night the other one loft mc at Green Ponds. I was soon after taken, arid sent to Hobart town. I. was tried, arid sent to Norfolk Island, and the place is worse than I can de scribe. Every species of petty tyranny that long experience has taught these tyrants is put into force by the authori ties. The men are half starved, hard worked, and . cruelly flo?ged. These things brought on the affair of the Ist of July, of which you no doubt have heard. I would send you a full account, but I know you will have it from better hands than mine. ' j: \know this will give you great pain, as there are several men who were under your care at Port "Ar thur concerned in the affair. Sir, on September 21st, ISiG, Mr Brown arrived at the Island-vwith a commission to form a court, and try the fen. On the 23rd the Court was opened. Fourteen men were charged with the murder of John Morris, who was formerly gate-keeper at Port Arthur. The trial lasted nine tlays, and twelve out of the fourteen ivere found guilty of murder. On Octo ber 33th the death penalty will be en acted. Sir, the strong tics of earth will coon be wrenched, and. the burning fever of this life will then be quenched, and my grave will be a haven—a resting place for mc, William Westwood (Jackey Tuckey). . —-' "Sir, out of the bitter cup of misery r have drunk from my sixteentli year— ten long bitter years—and, the sweetest draught Is that which, takes away the misery of a living death; it is the friend that deceives no man; all will then be quiet, no tyrant will there disturb my repose, I hope. ?'Sir, I now bid the world and all It contains adieu. "?William Weslwood." Before the day of execution, Westwood made a dying declaration, which was as follows:—"I, William Westwood, alias Jackey Jackey, wish to die In the com munion of Christ's Holy Church, seek ing mercy of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. I now wish to nay, as a dying man, that four men now going to suffer death are innocent of the crime laid to their charge. The men are Kavanagh, Whiting, Pickthorne, and Scrimshaw. "I ' die In charity with all men, and now I ask your .prayers for my soul.— William Westwood, aged 26." With the execution of Jackey Jackey, one of the most remarkable personages of the convict era was removed. By old hands he was frequently referred to as "the father of bushrangers," and by others as "the first of the. bushrangers," the idea of such reference to him was to impress ori~~people the fact that bush-, rangers prior to Jaokey's advent sunk Into insignificance when their exploits were compared with his. Though West wood's latter crimes were most revolt tins, , tllere wore many people who felt that the brutality of the convict system was more or less responsible for the Norfolk Island murders. :