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2-183 (Raw)

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author,male,Broadside,un addressee
Newspaper Article
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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Monday Morning November 19 1838
The trial of eleven men for the slaughter of a company of Aborigines of both sexes and all ages from sucking infants to hoary hairs, took place on the 15th inst, when they were acquitted.
From the violent articles published by the Colonial press during the last months against the black natives, we had been impressed with the belief, that not only had these slaughtered aborigines committed some wanton murders on our stockholders residing in their neighbourhood but that their slaughter had been perpetrated in retaliation for such murders.
But in all the evidence given on the trial, our readers will perceive that the eight- and-twenty persons put to the sword by the eleven stock-keepers are not accused of committing any personal violence whatever at any time either on these eleven men or on their neighbours The only thing laid to their charge by the murderers, is, that they had committed a "depredation" on some sheep once; and had once "rushed" the cattle in charge of one of the prisoners. The nature and extent of the "depredation" on the sheep is not explained. With respect to rushing of cattle our readers lately arrived in the Colony will please to understand that cattle when much left to themselves rush that is make off at full gallop to a great distance, and into the glens and passes difficult of access to their keepers, on falling in with either blacks or whites. There is however an exception to this rule as regards such cattle as are inspected once a fortnight or so by their stock-keepers On seeing their own keeper they will not "rush', unless his visits have been very few and far between. But if cattle see the Blacks, they are apt to rush on all occasions, even cattle that are reckoned to be pretty tame. If therefore the "rushing" of the cattle be in future to be considered as an apology for putting the Blacks to the sword the whole race must soon be exterminated, inasmuch as they get their living, not by staying at home, but by hunting in their native wilds.
But the company or tribe of blacks put to the sword by these eleven men, had not only been innocent of all personal violence but they had become domesticated among these very men One of them (Kilmaister) had been the chief cause of their taking up their residence near his hut, and he himself seems to have formed a friendship for them for in the evening on his return from his journeys after his cattle, he was in the habit of playing and dancing with their children. One of the witnesses indeed states, that this man always denied being of the party But the man made no attempt on his trial to prove an alibi, and other witnesses swore to him being of the party. 
The Blacks it appears, were residing at the hut of Kilmaister in peace and confidence as usual, when a party of men, mounted, and armed with swords and pistols, galloped up to the place. From the manner of the party, the Blacks, who are by no means so deficient in intellect as they are represented in books, perceived danger, and ran for safety into the hut. They were taken out, and tied one by one to a long rope, used to catch cattle by the horns. Perceiving their fate, they began to weep and moan.
The women, though tied, contrived to carry their infants in a net slung from their shoulders. Being all secured, men and boys, women, girls, and sucklings, one of the horsemen led the way, with the end of the rope attached to himself or horse. [199] The other ten horsemen divided into two parties of five each, five placing themselves on one side of the rope, one behind the other, and five on the other side. The funeral procession then commenced its march, and the tears and lamentations of the victims. It must have been a heart-rending sight to see the aged Black, named "Daddy", led to the slaughter a man of giant-like stature, and probably brave as he was magnificent in his form; the tears rolling down his aged cheeks at the sight of his wife, children, and relatives. The children perhaps scarcely knew their sufferings until the sharp steel had passed through their bodies, and put a speedy end to their troubles.
Arrived at the place chosen for the catastrophe, the slaughter began. All, however, we can glean from the evidence is, that two shots were fired. The sword it should seem did the rest without noise, except the cries of the victims. Decapitation appears to have been considered the readiest way of despatching them, from the great number of skulls afterwards found.
After the slaughter, a fire composed of dead trunks of trees, and many yards in extent, was kindled, and the headless bodies and skulls were placed on the pile. But the party did not stay to see the bodies completely consumed. Perhaps they got alarmed, or were compelled to return home in a given time. It would however been prudent in one or two of the party to remain at the fire another day. In the course of twenty-four hours every skull and every bone, even the little bones of sucking children might, by diligent searching among the ashes, have been found and consumed, and then what yesterday formed eight- and-twenty living human beings, would have been mere heap of ashes.
A report which is gaining ground, that these men were set upon this deed of darkness by others; a deed for which we cannot find a parallel for cold-blooded ferocity, even in the history of Cortez and the Mexicans, or of Pizarro and the Peruvians. The only monsters whose conduct will furnish us with a parallel, is that of the Buccaneers of the West Indies.
It is not improper that these eleven men should have had counsel hired for them. Three counsel however was rather a luxurious number. But while three gentlemen, (the masters of these men for instance,) might have hired one counsel each privately, it is not to the credit of New South Wales that a general subscription should have been raised among the magistrates and graziers of Hunter's River, to an amount much larger than even three counsels could demand.
What was there in this murder of eight- and-twenty poor helpless betrayed men, women, and children, that should induce the magistrates and gentlemen of Hunter's River to hire Counsels for the murderers? Do they hire Counsel for other men when tried for murder? How will this fact tell in England, in France, in Austria, in Prussia, and in America? For we doubt not but there are men in the two Houses of Parliament who will now make the Colony known all over the world - in kingdoms and cities where it was scarcely heard of before.
The verdict of acquittal was highly popular! It was with exertion that the Chief Justice could prevent the audience from cheering - such was their delight! The aristocracy of the Colony, for once, joined heart and hand with the prison population, in expressions of joy at the acquittal of these men.
We tremble to remain in a country where such feelings and principles prevail. We have always dreaded an oligarchy. Should the new Act of Parliament take the government of this Colony out of the hands of the Queen, and place it in the hands of the illiterate Dutch money-making aristocracy of this Colony, we certainly shall begin to think of returning to Old England, or taking up our abode among the uncorrupted English Colonists of Australia. For the verdict of Thursday shews, that only let a man, or a family, be sufficiently unpopular with the aristocracy and the prison population of the Colony conjoined (in this case), and their murder will pass unheeded. Money, lucre, profit - these are thy Gods, O Australia!
Associations, in support either of prosecutors or the prosecuted, are most abominable. Private subscriptions, if publicly collected, have the same tendency, of the same un-English spirit, and are equally unconstitutional. Illustrations of their bad tendency could be given without number; but we will give a practical one. In consequence of these eleven men being visited in prison, and otherwise "comforted and abetted" by the Magistrate and Gentlemen of Hunter's River, not one of them turned King's evidence!
Now without King's evidence, half, nay three - fourths of the murders, rapes, burglaries, etc, etc, committed in this Colony would never be brought to light.
What will the Colony come to if Gentlemen feel justified in soliciting subscriptions to pay Counsel to defend their pet murderers, and other pet ruffians.