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2-315 (Text)

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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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For his Notorious part in the late Mutiny at NORFOLK ISLAND.
This dreadful mutiny on Norfolk Island occurred on the 1st. of July, 1846, and was the result, it is believed of the earlier general laxity in administering the law in its full severity, and that when this state of affairs was corrected by more efficient officers and constables, the greater number of old hands were ripe for mutiny and eyed with scowls the new rules as an infringement on what they considered to be their rights and privileges. The tragedy, which therefore, had been brewing for some time, was enacted under the following circumstances: - On the evening before the fatal day, the convicts' billies or tin kettles, which were regarded as private property and were used for making their tea (not a Government ration issue it should be mentioned, but a hard-to-come-by luxury), were with one fell swoop cleared from the mess-room by the constables, acting under orders, and placed in the store-room for security.
On the following morning, when the doors of the prison were unlocked, a strong party of prisoners broke open the door of the store and took possession of the tin kettles but disturbed nothing else, although it appeared quite evident that the majority did not intend to stop at this. However everything appeared tranquil until after breakfast, when one of the party, named William Westwood, but better known by the sobriquet of Jacky jacky, headed a mob of some twenty prisoners, all of whom were armed with staves and bludgeons, and having entered the cook house, Jacky killed a free overseer, named Smith with a single blow of his cudgel, on which the gang again returned to the lumber yard, and in making their egress through a covered archway leading out to the mechanics' shops, where there was a watchman stationed on duty, West-wood, on passing him spattered his brains against the brickwork, near which he had been sitting couched and paralysed with fear.
The next move was in the direction of the lime-kiln huts, where some constables were stationed. Westwood having by this time exchanged his brain-spattered bludgeon for an axe, entered the hut and clove the skull of one of the constables, upon which another constable, who happened to be in bed and witnessed the occurrence, exclaimed, Mind, I saw who did that! He had scarcely uttered the sentence, however, when Westwood struck him down to the earth, and afterwards literally cut him to pieces. The party then returned to the lumber yard, and within a few minutes Westwood and some others of his gang were taken to the gaol by the military.
While the murderers were at the lime-kiln huts, another party, headed by a stone-cutter named Thomas Mason, entered the overseer's cabin, where they abused and ill-treated several of the sub-overseers, but murder was not intended, the principal object being to find a character known as Dog Brown, and who during their search had concealed himself beneath the table, which was covered over with bags.  Had they found him they would have killed him, but he was fortunate enough to elude their search by hiding himself under a bag of potatoes, which rested upon his back as he stooped, against the edge of the table. After this they returned to the lumber yard.
The men who followed Westwood had not the slightest conception that their leader meditated anything further than the chastisement of a few of the old dogs, as they termed the prisoners who were placed over them as flagellators, constables, and watchmen. But it was not so with Westwood. He contemplated murder from the first, although he did not state his intention to his followers, who, from their being in his company at the time, were placed in the same position as the ringleader.
Jacky-Jacky was, generally speaking, a quiet, inoffensive man, but he had previously been under arms in the bush in New South Wales, for which he had been transported to Van Diemen's Land, and while at Glenorchy (a prison depot there) he again took to the bush, but was soon apprehended, and transported to Norfolk Island for ten years. All his acquaintances believed him to be tired of his life, and the terrible circumstances just narrated prove not only that fact but that he had been flogged, goaded, and tantalised till he was reduced to a lunatic and a savage.
The overseer named Smith, who was killed in the cook-house, left a wife and family on the Island. Morris, who fell at the gate, had timely notice given him to get out of the way, but it has been currently reported that he became so terrified on hearing of his danger that his legs refused their office. He was a native of Launceston, in England, and had been a convict overseer at Port Arthur, where he rendered himself notorious for his cruelty and treachery to prisoners. His appearance was not very prepossessing - in fact he was a constable all over.
Westwood was now in gaol, after committing four murders, but at his execution the only thing he expressed any regret for was the killing of the constable in the bed, who by his unguarded remark had sealed his own fate. During the next few days there were nearly two hundred men confined to the gaol and boat-house shed, on suspicion of being concerned in the murders, but they were all subsequently released, with the exception of twelve.
Before any account of these dreadful occurrences could reach Hobart Town, Mr. Burgess, the chief police magistrate arrived for the purpose of adjudicating on several crimes and misdemeanours, but he considered the recent case of mutiny was beyond his jurisdiction. The trials therefore, had to await the arrival of a fresh commission, a period of three months, at which time Valentine Fleming, Esq, (Attorney-General of Her Majesty the Queen), together with Fielding Brown, Esq, Barrister-at-Law, arrived on the Island, the latter in the capacity of judge.
The cells of the Island's gaol at this time were very much crowded, in consequence of which a young man under twenty, who had been Confined for quarrelling with his fellow-prisoner, was placed in a cell in company with one of Westwood's party, known by the sobriquet of the Donkey, an old hand from Port Arthur. However, in the evening, when the wardsman arrived with supper, on the cell door being opened, Donkey told the constable to come and take this fellow (meaning his companion) out of the cell as he was gammoning dead. On examination life was found to be extinct, he having been strangled by Donkey.
The body was removed to the hospital, and buried the next morning, the case not being investigated, as the charge already preferred against Donkey, was considered to be quite sufficient to bring him under the care of Mr. White, the executioner, who never permitted any of his customers to complain of any remissness in attention on his part. The results of the trial were therefore a foregone conclusion.
The death warrants of the murderers having been read, and the morning appointed for their execution, the twelve souls were launched into eternity! - eleven of whom were morally innocent of the crimes imputed to them, they being only in company with Westwood at the time the murders were committed. Shortly after the execution three bullock drays emerged from the gaol yards, each bearing four coffins, which were all placed in one grave outside the burial ground, as the new Commandant would not permit them to be buried in consecrated ground. The whole of the prisoners on the settlement were kept in the lumber yard on that morning, they not being permitted to go to work until the bodies were buried.
The following pathetic letter was addressed to the Chaplain, the Revd. Mr. Thomas Rogers, by Westwood on the eve of his execution: - 
"Sir, - The strong ties of earth will soon be terminated and the burning fever will soon be quenched. My grave will be a heaven - a resting place for me, Wm. Westwood. Sir, out of the bitter cup of misery I have drunk from my sixteenth year - ten long years, and the sweetest thought is that which takes away my living death. It is the friend which deceives no man:
all will then be quiet: no tyrant will disturb my repose, I hope.
WM. Westwood."