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1-188 (Raw)

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author,male,Broadside,un addressee
Newspaper Article
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Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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On Friday 26th. of January 1821, the above Court assembled at ten in the forenoon, and proceeded on the trial of four out of the thirteen convicts who took out of the port of the River Derwent, in the night of the 27th. of February 1819, the Young Lachlan schooner, which was afterwards burnt to the water-edge upon an island on the coast of Java, and the four now placed at the bar were brought back to this Colony from India in the ship St. Michael, which arrived in this port on the 28th of September last.
It will be recalled that the Young Lachlan, which for the convenience of loading had been anchored in the river abreast the owner's, the late and respected Captain Howard, residence and store, on Macquarie Point, and that the master of the vessel had gone into the country to arrange the completion of the cargo; but that contrary to the Port Orders the master had left the schooner with its lower sails bent on, and had only unshipped, but had not landed the vessel's rudder.
These circumstances had been noted by a party of convicts, viz: Daniel Clarke, 43, a seaman; Malcolm Campbell, 26, a seaman; John Wallis, 21, a seaman; Robert Edon, 21, a seaman; George Young, 26, a labourer; Patrick Cotton, 42, a labourer; Samuel O'Hara, 21, a house - painter; John Cartwright, 40, a slater; William Evans, 25; all these convicts had been transported for life. William Green, 28, a gunsmith, transported for 14 years, and Obadiah Savage, 25, a nuller and baker; Henry Cooper, 23, a pastry - cook, and Christopher Read, 19, a printer; the three last-named convicts transported for 7 years.
The pirates found on board the Young Lachian, four seamen, her crew, asleep, and whom were quickly secured. [87] There being at the time, a strong land wind, the night very dark, and the vessel conveniently anchored outside the harbour proper, enabled the pirates to get her away without being observed. She was not seen by the guard at Mulgrave Battery and only at daybreak had the event become known.
Two Government boats and Mr. Birch's sloop had been promptly sent in pursuit, but they had returned the following Wednesday, after rescuing the four seamen belonging to the crew of the Young Lachlan, who had been put ashore by the pirates on Bruni Island.
The Young Lachlan had been provisioned, but was without water, and in consequence the sufferings of the unfortunate men had been extreme on their perilous passage to Java, where they endeavoured to sell the stolen schooner to pay for their passages to England. In that endeavour they were unsuccessful, and when the Dutch Officials demanded the vessel's papers, they could not be produced, and the pirates hastily departed. They then reached the decision to burn the schooner, Young Lachlan, and to continue their voyage in the vessel's boat.
Subsequently the whole of these convicts were seized and imprisoned at Batavia, where following their terrible privations, several of them died from fever. Of the five, who were returned to Hobart Town, one was admitted an evidence on the part of the Crown against the others; and the four left to be tried were, Daniel Clarke, Samuel O'Hara, Patrick Cotton, and Christopher Read, a youth. Malcolm Campbell was the approver.
In this case the prisoners were not, contrary to expectation, indicted for piracy, as the crime was not committed on the high seas, but on a navigable river within the country. They were, therefore, charged with cutting out, and stealing goods on board of, the Young Lachlan schooner, in the Derwent River.
The first witness examined was the mate of the schooner, Richard Maynard, whose evidence, with that of other witnesses, among whom was John Hebden, who was also on board of the vessel at the time she was taken away, together with the testimony of Malcolm Campbell, the accomplice, disclosed all the facts connected with the case, and clearly proved the guilt of the prisoners, as charged against them in every particular.
The prisoners varied in the matter of their defence ; - some asserted their innocence by escaping from the Colony in an open boat, and others in a ship called the Venus.
His Honour the Judge Advocate, upon the evidence being closed, observed that, as the prisoners in the case stood charged on the 24. Geo. II. chap. 45, with the cutting out and stealing goods on board the Young Lachlan schooner, the nature of this case would not, of course, come within the meaning of piracy; inasmuch as to constitute piracy, it was necessary that the crime in question should have been committed on the high seas; whereas in fact it was clear that the Young Lachlan was taken out of an harbour called Sullivan's Cove.
The Judge Advocate took occassion to remark, that the Court of course would look with great jealousy on the evidence of an accomplice. As far as his evidence was corroborated, it was certainly entitled to credit; but how much further, was for the court to determine; but, at the same time, if they did believe his testimony, there would be no doubt, but that Clarke did navigate the vessel, and acted as the master throughout the voyage.
If the prisoners got away from the Colony in any other vessel but the Young Lachlan, then, of course, the prisoners should be entitled to the judgement of not guilty; but if, on the contrary, the Court were satisfied that the prisoners did cut out the Young Lachlan for the purpose of effecting their escape, and converted the cargo for their own use, then Public Justice demanded that an example should be made of the prisoners, to deter others from the commission of a crime in which so many lives had been lost, and which led to such mischievous effects, as to the general security of persons and property. If the Court had any doubt, that doubt would of course be given in favour of the prisoners; but it was for the Court to determine, under all circumstances of the case, the guilt or innocence of the prisoners.
The Court then retired for nearly an hour, and adjudged all the prisoners - GUILTY!
Next day, the prisoners were again arraigned before the Court to hear the judgment, when the awful sentence of DEATH was declared to be their punishment.