Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/21

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deserve the rank of Cardinals and the honour of canonization! The jails of Britain are thus converted into colleges de propaganda fidei—excellent and effective auxiliaries of that at Rome! And for this England is to pay and Australia to bleed! The innocent and unoffending children of the latter, placed at the mercy, are to fall by the hands of our very criminals. Admirable philanthropy! Splendid legislation!

And this is the policy of a wise, a humane, and an enlightened people! Could the most unprincipled democrat exhibit more folly? Could the most barbarian despot practise greater cruelty? Verily the British cabinet, in every administration, must be Solons.

Sydney, September 30, 1839.


"Letters and papers which have just arrived, furnish us with accounts of a series of as cold-blooded and heartless murders as ever stained the annals of crime in any country, however barbarous. What renders these offences still more revolting, is, that they were perpetrated by twelve or thirteen of our own countrymen, and, apparently without the least provocation. The names of seven of these monsters in human shape were Chas. Kilmaister, Wm. Hawkins, James Perry, Edward Foley, Jas. Cates, John Russell, and John Johnson, all convicts. They had been assigned as stockmen or shepherds to some of the settlers in the interior. In the month of June last these ruffians, influenced or induced by what motive has not been discovered, beyond a determination to extirpate the unhappy natives, set out on horseback, in pursuit of their hapless victims. They were traced in their progress, inquiring after blacks, and at last arrived at a hut near the Orawaldo, commonly called the Big River, beyond Liverpool Plains, accompanied by Kilmaister. Here they discovered a little tribe of about thirty natives, men, women, and children, including babes at their mothers' breasts,congregated in the bush unsuspicious of danger and unconscious of offence. This was on Sunday. They immediately approached their victims, who, terrified at their manner, ran into Kilmaister's hut crying for protection; but they appealed to hearts of stone, who, having caught them as it were in a trap, dismounted, followed them into the hut, and, despite of their entreaties, tied them together with a rope. When all were thus secured, one end of the rope was tied round the body of the foremost of the murderers, who, having mounted his horse, led the way, dragging the terrified group after him, while his infamous companions guarded them on all sides. Onward they were dragged till a fitting place in the bush was reached, when the work of slaughter commenced, and, unresisting, were these hapless wretches, one after the other, brutally butchered. Fathers, and mothers, and children, fell before the previously sharpened swords of these self-appointed executioners, till all lay a lifeless mass in death, clinging to each other with the throes of natural affection. But one shot was fired, so that it was presumed one only perished by fire-arms. The precise number thus immolated has not been accurately ascertained, but it is computed that not less than thirty lay stretched on the ensanguined earth. The demon butchers then placed the bodies in a heap, kindled an immense fire over them, and thus endeavoured to destroy the evidence of their unheard-of brutality. The eye of providence, however, was not to be thus thwarted; and, although for a time these miscreants imagined they had effectually disguised their horrible work, circumstances led to their detection and apprehension. Birds of prey were seen hovering about the spot where the unconsumed remains yet existed. Stockmen in search of their strayed cattle were attracted to the locality, supposing they should find their carcasses. In this way it was that the ribs, jaw-bones, half-burnt skulls, and other portions of human skeletons were found, while symptoms of the conflagration in the vicinity were likewise detected. This led to inquiry, and ultimately to a discovery of the hor-