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2-121 (Original)

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author,male,Broadside*,un addressee
Newspaper Article
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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Who were Executed at Haubart Town [sic], Van Dieman's Land; for the wilful Murder of 3 of their Fellow Transports, and eating them as Food.
On Friday last, EDWARD BROUGHTON and MATTH. MACCAVOY who were convicted of absconding from the Penal settlement of Macquarie Harbour, were executed.
Whilst the executioner was pinioning the arms and adjusting the rope of the unfortunate Broughton, the following statement was read at his express desire, as a full confession of his awful crime.
"Broughton said that he was now 28 years of age, and had been sentenced to death for robbing in England, under aggravated circumstances, at the early age of eighteen. He more than once endeavoured to rob his own mother, and his horrible conduct was the means of breaking his father's heart, and hurrying him to his grave."
"He was confined two years in Guildford Gaol, and had altogether spent more years in gaols than at liberty. On his transportation to this Colony, he had scarcely landed in Hobart Town, when he commenced robberies. He was at last apprehended for an outrage which he had committed at Sandy bay, tried and transported to Macquarie Harbour."
"Broughton went on to say that he was one of a party of five convicts, which happened to be at one of the out stations at Macquarie Harbour, in charge of one man, a constable. The convicts consisted of Richard Hutchinson, commonly called up- and-down Dick, a tall man, who had, at one time, a large flock of sheep and a herd of cattle at Bark Hut Plains, between the Clyde and Shannon, near the spot where Cluny Park now is, the estate of Captain Clarke; of an old man, named Coventry, about sixty years of age; of a boy of a most depraved character, Patrick Fagan, about 18 years old; and the two malefactors, Broughton and Maccavoy, now about to suffer on the Gallows."
"Broughton declared the constable had shewed him many personal kindnesses, and refused him nothing in his power; nevertheless, on their departure, he joined with his four companions of robbing him of every article he had, not leaving him even a loaf of bread to subsist on, though he was without a morsel, and. 3 days must have elapsed before he could obtain any more from the settlement."
"And Broughton had besides, at various times, tried to be accessory to his death, by letting a tree fall upon him without giving him notice, or by other means, for no other earthly reason than because he was a constable, and the unwilling or passing instrument of flogging the men, and he therefore hated him."
"One would have thought that these 5 men, thus embarked in a most perilous journey, would have been knit together in one interest for their mutual safety and protection. But the very contrary was the case, as the sequel proved. They viewed each other with the most murderous feeling, jealous of the only axe which they carried amongst them, lest one should drive it into the head of the other, for that was their mode of slaughter upon one another, while the wretched victim was asleep."
"The demon of evil had possession and walked in the midst of them. Every principle, every feeling of humanity was dead amongst them. Broughton called himself a Protestant, and Maccavoy a Roman Catholic, that is they had sprung from parents possessing those persuasions; but as for themselves they had neither of the least spark of religion; they knew no more what it was than the earth on which they trod."
"They walked in each other's company, the one carrying his luckless body to the support of the other whenever it might be convenient for him to sacrifice him for the meal. [126] Fifty times worse than the wretched horde of Abyssinians who are reported to cut the flesh as they travel from the backs of the living beasts."
"As soon as the provisions which they had contrived to carry with them were exhausted, the other four agreed among themselves to kill Hutchinson, and to eat his body for support; and they drew lots among them who should be the one to drive the fatal axe into his head. The lot fell on Broughton, who carried it into execution."
"They cut the body in pieces and carried it with them, with the exception of the hands, feet, head, and intestines. They ate heartily on it, as Broughton expressed it. It lasted them some days, and when it was nearly consumed, a general alarm seized the whole party, lest the one should kill the other. The greatest jealousy prevailed about carrying the axe, and scarcely one amongst them dared to shut his eyes or doze for a moment for fear of being sacrificed unawares."
"Under these dreadful circumstances, Broughton and Fagan made a sort of agreement between them, and while the one slept the other should watch alternately."
"'We were always alarmed,' said Broughton, and Maccavoy's statement was the same."
"The next that was murdered was Coventry, the old man, he was cutting wood one night, and we agreed in the meantime to kill him. Maccavoy and Fagan, wanted to draw lots again who should kill him, but I said no, I had already killed my man, and they ought to do it between them, that they might be in the same trouble as me."
"Fagan struck him the first blow. He saw it coming and called out for mercy; he struck him on the head, just above the eye, but did not kill him; myself and Maccavoy finished him and cut him to pieces. We ate greedily of the flesh, never sparing it, just as if we had expected to meet with a whole bullock the next day."
"I used to carry the axe by day, and lay it under my head at night, forgetting they had knives and razors, I thought I was safe. Before we had eaten all Coventry's flesh, Maccavoy one night started up, looking horribly and bid me come with him to set some snares to try to catch a kangaroo. We left Fagan by the fire, and when we had gone about 100 yards, he asked me to sit down. I had the axe upon my shoulder, and I was afraid he wanted to kill me, for he was stronger than me. So I threw the axe aside, but farther from him than me, for fear he should try and snatch it, and that I might reach it before him if he did."
"But he wanted me to kill Fagan, that he might not be evidence against us. I would not agree to it, saying, 'I could trust my life in his hands; and we returned to the fire."
"On our return to the fire, Fagan was lying by it, warming himself and I threw the axe down. He looked up and said, 'have you set any snares down Ned?'"
"'No,' I said, 'there are snares enough, if you did not know it.'"
I sat beside him, Maccavoy was beyond me, he was on my right and Fagan on my left. I was wishing to tell Fagan what had passed, but could not, as Maccavoy was sitting with the axe close by looking at us. I laid down and was in a doze, when I heard Fagan scream out, I leapt to my feet in a dreadful fright, and saw Fagan lying on his back, with a dreadful cut in his head, and the blood pouring from it. Maccavoy was standing over him with the axe in his hand."
"'You murdering rascal, you dog!' I said, 'what have you done?'"
"'This will save our life,' he said, and struck him another blow on the head with the axe."
"Fagan only groaned after the scream, and Maccavoy then cut his throat through the windpipe. We then stripped off the clothes, and cut the body into pieces and roasted it. We roasted all at once as upon all occasions, as it was lighter to carry, and would keep longer, and would not be so easily discovered."
"About four days after that we gave ourselves up at Macguire's Marsh (a hut belonging to Mr Nicholas, at the junction of the Shannon and the Ouse, or Big River) Two days before, we had heard some dogs that had caught a kangaroo, they were wild dogs, we saw nobody, we got the kangaroo, and threw away the remainder of Fagan's body."
"I wish this to be made public after my death."
signed, ED. BROUGHTON.
Witness, JN. Bidsee.