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1-259 (Text)

Item metadata
Speaker:
author,male,Broadside,un addressee
ns1:discourse_type
Newspaper Article
Word Count :
2541
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Public Written
ns1:texttype
Newspapers & Broadsides
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/Van_Diemen%27s_Land
Created:
1825
Identifier
1-259
Source
Ingleton, 1988
pages
99-101
Document metadata
Extent:
14016
Identifier
1-259-plain.txt
Title
1-259#Text
Type
Text

1-259-plain.txt — 13 KB

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A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE NOTORIOUS MUSQUITO,
Now About To Suffer The Extreme Penalty For His Many Misdeeds.
Hobart Town 24th February, 1825
Perhaps, taken collectively the sable natives of this Colony are the most peaceable creatures in the universe. Certainly so taken, they have never committed any act of cruelty, or even resisted the whites, unless when unsufferably goaded by provocation. The only tribe who have done any mischief, were corrupted by the ruffian, now about to suffer, - Musquito, a Sydney Black, who with much and perverted cunning, taught them a portion of his own villainy, and incited them, after a time to join his delinquencies.
With Musquito will be executed, tomorrow morning, the Van Diemen's Land native, Black Jack, his companion in crime. Black Tom, another villain, was brought up in this town by the late Mr. Birch, from whose service Musquito enticed him, but not before he had become addicted to rum and tobacco.
It may not be known that Musquito was once a civilised black, that is, he had lived among the Europeans of this Colony for a long period, when he was employed by the police as a tracker, more especially in the pursuit of the last and worst of the bushrangers, Michael Howe. With the downfall of that desperate outlaw, which put an end to free-booting in Van Diemen's Land, Musquito's services were no longer required by the police; and to the shame of the Government, this native, who had jeopardised his safety over and over again in his dangerous calling of tracker, was dismissed without any reward. As well, (now being only a dismissed police-servant without protection), he suffered much abuse from the low, police-hating element of Hobart Town. This odium was more than he could bear, and exasperated at the indignities he was doomed to undergo, he joined his fortunes with the Oyster Bay tribe, of which in a short time he became leader, and instructor in mischief.
The immediate crime for which Musquito was tried and found guilty, was the murder of two men, named respectively William Hollyoak and Mammoa. Black Jack is to be executed for the killing of a person named Patrick M'Carthy; but both ruffians are equally guilty of both misdeeds and many other murders of poor, unfortunate stock-keepers in isolated parts of the Eastern coast.
At the trial of Musquito, for the murder of William Hollyoak and Mammoa, at Grindstone Bay, on the 15th of November, 1823, John Radford gave evidence as follows: - "I am, and for six years have been a stock-keeper on the run of Mr. Cylus Gatehouse, at Grindstone Bay, I had a fellow servant named Mammoa, who was a native of Otaheite. I knew the deceased, William Hollyoak; he was a servant to Mr. George Meredith at Swan Port, and came to our hut last November twelve-months. He said he was returning home from the Colonial Hospital, where he had been an invalid, and begged permission to remain a day or two, as he was not very able to go further.
The morning after he came, a party of the natives arrived with the prisoners at the Bar, Musquito and Black Jack. Their number was about 65. Some of them had spears, which were wooden ones, might be six and others twelve feet long. I asked Musquito whither he was going and he said to Oyster Bay. He then begged for some provisions, and I told him to follow me into the hut, where he should have some bread and meat. After he had eaten he promised me he would not kill any sheep, and he then retired for the night.
Next morning, which was Friday, he again came to the hut, and brought two or three women. Some of the blacks were on the opposite side of the creek. He asked for and had some breakfast with me, and in the afternoon went away with the others to hunt. In the evening he returned and I gave him some supper.
In the hut hung a small fowling piece, and a musket, the one by the bed and the other over it. Musquito handled the musket. On Saturday morning early, the blacks were in the sheepyard, sitting round a fire at their breakfast; this was about half past o'clock. At 6, they came to the hut, with Musquito and Black Jack, over the creek, on the other side of which they had been at their diversions. Some of them, however, still remained in the sheep-yard which is about 10 yards from the hut. The natives who were playing might be 150 yards from the hut.  
I walked out, after Mammoa, to look at them, leaving William Hollyoak in the hut, but he came out after me. I had desired him to bring the guns should he leave the hut, but he did not do so. At this time Musquito was on the opposite side of the creek with a number of blacks who were armed, but he himself had no spear. The weapons he had were a waddy and a stick shaped like the axe of a tomahawk. Musquito then called Mammoa to the other side of the creek, but first Mammoa asked if the blacks would spear him and Mosquito said, No! He went over. They talked to Mammoa for a few minutes, then took up their spears, and walked towards the hut; but, I got there first, and found the guns had been taken away. I asked William if he had put away the guns, but he said No! I then called Out the same enquiry to Mammoa, and received the same reply.
At this moment, Mammoa and Musquito were at the other side of the creek, coming towards the hut; when they came opposite they got over. The other natives were by the hut door, so that now the whole body were assembled. I had three kangaroo dogs and a sheep dog, tied to a stump; and I saw Musquito untie them and take them into the sheep-yard. The natives stood with their spears raised and their points directed at William Hollyoak and me. I told him the best thing we could do was run away, and that otherwise we should be killed. We accordingly did run.
One of the blacks threw a spear, which pierced my side. I at first ran 2 or 300 yards, but William could not keep up with me, and he called out to me to return and pull a spear out of his back. I did so. The wound was 3 or 4 inches deep. As some of the natives armed with spears were still pursuing us, - there might be from 30 to 40 - I again ran away, and William after me. I received another spear in the back of my thigh. At this moment the blacks were within 30 yards of me.
William exclaimed, 'Jack don't leave me.'
I made no answer, but continued running till I heard him cry:
'Oh my God! the black-fellows have got me!' He was then about 200 yards behind me. I looked back.
The natives were close to him, and I saw about six spears sticking in him (some in his side, others in different parts of his body). He was throwing some rotten sticks at the blacks, who appeared to be standing quiet. After looking at them a few minutes, I recommenced my flight, and some of them pursued me; eventually, however, I was lucky to escape."
Mr. George Wise, accompanied by Mr Gatehouse, some days later went out to Grindstone Bay. On the 23rd November, they found the body of Mammoa, in a pool of water, dreadfully battered, with no less than 37 wounds in the body. William Hollyoak's body was found in the place pointed out by Radford, and it was half-consumed, as if by vermin. It too, was very battered.
In the August preceeding the above atrocity, two stock-keepers to Mr. James Hobbs, came to town from their master's extensive run at Eastern Marshes, bringing intelligence that a tribe of no less than two hundred natives had made their appearance there, and had killed by spear-wounds one of their fellow-servants, named James Doyle. When the natives suddenly appeared near their hut, the three stockmen had fired their muskets, in the hope of frightening away the blacks. But owing to the fire - arms being improperly discharged all at once and not having time to charge them again, the natives, trained by Musquito, suddenly advanced, thereby compelling the stockmen to retreat hastily, leaving on the ground their fallen companion Doyle, who had received a spear; as well as leaving the cattle and premises at the mercy of the tribe.
Shortly after, another poor fellow was speared by Musquito at Pitt Water. It seems that the man was enticed from his hut by Musquito cooying, till he brought him within his reach, when he was speared.
In the preceeding June, occurred another tragedy, in which Black Tom, another notorious companion of Musquito, was the principal offender. Mr Matthew Osborne, a stock-owner, residing in the district of Bath, about 4 miles beyond Jericho, returned home late in the evening of the 9th of June, 1823. About an hour after his return, an assigned servant to a settler named Beagent, at the Tea-tree Brush, called to offer Mrs. Osborne a kangaroo, which she agreed to pay for in tobacce. After some conversation, it transpired that he had some blacks with him.
"What could you mean by bringing them about the place," cried Mrs. Osborne, "did you mean them to murder me?"
The man replied that they were tame and harmless, but, at that instant, one of them appeared, and Mr. Osborne recognised him as Black Tom. Mr. Osborne then said to the man;
"You must be a very bad fellow to consort with such a murderer especially as he knew how many acts of barbarity had lately been ascribed to the rascal."
"I don't care," replied the fellow. "I would not betray him for three pardons, and £50 besides."  
Both Mr. and Mrs. Osborne were much alarmed, but nothing transpired until next morning; when, as Mrs. Osborne was churning in the dairy, her husband rushed in and cried," Oh! Mary, Mary, the hill is covered with savages!"
She of course was agonised with dreadful fears of being murdered, and was proceeding to run away, when her husband exclaimed, "Don't be frightened, my dear, but go into the house, and I'll stand centry before it."
In a few minutes the blacks had arrived within 50 yards of the door, Black Tom being their apparent leader; when Mr. Osborne addressed them, by saying," What do you want? - Are you hungry?"
"Yes, white man, yes," was the reply.
"Lay down your spears," said Mr. Osborne, "and light a fire, and I'll give you some potatoes and butter."
"We will," answered Black Tom, "If you, white man, put down your musket."
After a short discourse, the gun and the spears were placed on the ground, the blacks (each of whom carried a fire-stick) came close to the house, were presented with some potatoes, which they began to roast and seemed quite satisfied. Having eaten them, they asked for more, and Mr. Osborne went to get some. When he returned his musket was missing. Apprehensions of treachery were now awakened, and he cried out, "I'm a dead man !"
Black Tom then entered the house, and commenced asking for everything he saw. He took Mr. Osborne's hat off his head and put it on his own. Two other blacks then grasped Mr. Osborne's hands, as if to shake them in friendliness; when a third, who stood at a little distance, forcibly drove a spear into his back, that convulsed him to such a degree, that with a scream he bounded several yards, and fell.
Mrs. Osborne rushed wildly out, crying, "Murder! murder !" was pursued, and at length overtaken, after receiving three desperate wounds in the side and neck. She was then beaten down with a waddy, robbed of her silk neck-kerchief, and nearly deprived of motion. After which, although her loss of blood was considerable, she crawled to the hut of Mr. John Jones, which was at least three miles off; and where, the most humane attention was shown her.
With laudable promptitude, several persons went to the Osborne's house, and in pursuit of the assassins, but we regret to say, at that time without success.
The grim chieftain, Musquito, was finally captured in August, last year, by the exertions of a young Van Diemen's Land black, named Tegg, the servant of Mr. Andrew Bent, the proprietor and conductor of the Hobart Town Gazette and Genera! Advertiser, and with the promise by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, of a boat should his mission be successful.
The young black, accompanied by two Europeans, named Godfrey and Marshall, all well armed, left Hobart Town for the usual retreat of the Oyster Bay tribe, and by a stroke of good fortune, found Musquito encamped with his two women by himself, the rest of his tribe being in another glen. He had luckily no dogs, and not expecting a hostile visit from anyone, he was not on the watch as usual with him.
His women were at a little distance from the wretched bark weather screen they had put up for him, to break the force of the cutting wind, which was cold enough now. Tegg directed his companions to take post between the chief and his females, which they did by stealthily advancing in the direction indicated by the young black, but who himself made a cat-like movement towards the hovel in which Musquito lay, half-roasting himself by the fire that blazed up merrily in front of it.
Musquito started from the ground at the first indication of approaching footsteps, at sound of which Tegg darted forward to confront him before he seized his arms, which Tegg divined but as it happened wrongly, that the other had at hand: but so assured was the doomed man of security, that he had not a spear in his camp. Tegg then fired at him, sending a ball through his body, from one barrel and two into his thighs from the other. But badly wounded as he was Musquito ran off, but pain and loss of blood soon brought him to a stand.
In the meantime Godfrey and Marshall had taken both of Musquito's wives; and whilst the latter stood centry over the two prisoners, Godfrey ran off to assist Tegg. On joining his youthful and sable leader he found Musquito wounded and at bay; - still making a poor effort to defend himself with sticks and stones. Seeing however the futility of resisting two armed men, he at length surrendered. With great difficulty the wounded man was brought back to Hobart Town, where the party arrived on the 12th. of August last.
Thus ended the infamous career of this notorious and wily savage, for which he is now to pay the price in full, tomorrow morn.

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