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- The Bushman - 10/51 -


P. Counsel. And being a temperance ship, you do not allow the men, at any time, any other liquor than water?

Captain. No.

P. Counsel. In temperance ships, I suppose it sometimes happens that the men contrive to buy liquor for themselves?

Captain (looking like a bull about to charge a matadore). Boo!

P. Counsel. Do you remember the day we were off Madeira?

Captain stares and snorts.

P. Counsel. Do you remember on that day several of the sailors being remarkably light-headed -- reeling about the deck?

Captain (roaring, and striking the table with his hand). Yes!

P. Counsel. Was this the effect of a 'coup de soleil', do you think?

Captain. No!

P. Counsel. Very well. Do you remember, whilst we were on the Line, the second-mate being in your cabin helping Mrs. W. to stow away some things in the lazarette, and both being found afterwards extremely unwell, and obliged to be taken to bed?

Chairman (interfering). I think the witness need not answer that question.

Advocate General. I should have made the same objection, Sir, but -- (aside) I was laughing too much.

P. Counsel. Very well, Sir. I will not press it if it be disagreeable. Do you remember at St. Jago the whole of the crew being every day notoriously drunk -- from eating water-melons?

Captain (recovering from an apoplectic fit). Ah-h!

P. Counsel. Do you remember, when off the Cape, the sail-maker and several others being unable to do their duty, and being pronounced by the doctor to be in a state of liquor?

Captain. Yes.

P. Counsel. Then, as it appears that on board of a temperance ship, men do occasionally (and in your vessel very often) get drunk, might not the prisoner at the time of his alleged offence have been drinking other liquor than that which formed part of your stores?

Chairman (the Captain being too full of rage to articulate). The jury will be able to draw their own inference as to that.

Captain. It was he, gentlemen; it was this -- gentleman (forsooth -- ha! ha!) who gave the men money on landing in order to make them drunk.

P. Counsel. Thank you for that evidence. The intelligent gentlemen in the box will perceive that it was at my expense that the unfortunate prisoner got drunk, and not at the captain's.

The prosecutor was now permitted to retire, which he did growling like a bear, amid the jeers of the populace, who always sympathize with misfortune when it appears impersonated in the dock.

The jury were also evidently in high glee, and cast most friendly looks at the prisoner, and the 'fidus Achates' who stood up for him so stoutly.

The next witness was the sail-maker, who reluctantly owned himself to have aided the prisoner in drinking some brandy which had come from the ship's stores.

P. Counsel. But, Sails, you do not mean to say that the prisoner told you he had himself taken it from the ship's stores?

Witness. Oh no, Sir, certainly not.

P. Counsel. In fact, of your own knowledge, you do not know where the liquor came from?

Witness. No, Sir; oh, no, Sir!

Here the Advocate-General administered such a lecture to the witness, who was considerably more than half-drunk at the time, that he entirely lost his wits and memory, and answered so completely at random, that the jury begged he might not be asked any more questions.

Advocate General. It is of no importance. I shall call no more witnesses, as I hold in my hand the prisoner's own confession, made before the committing magistrate, who was yourself, Mr. Chairman.

This was a knock-down blow to me, and made the jury look extremely blank. They gazed on one another in despair. The document was duly proved, and the case for the prosecution closed. The chairman asked if I wished to address the jury, but I declined, and observed that the prisoner must explain for himself what he meant by this extraordinary confession. Every thing seemed dead against the prisoner, who hung his head and looked remarkably simple. I read over the paper, which stated that he, the prisoner, with several others, on a certain day took a quantity of the captain's brandy, and got drunk thereupon.

A ray of hope beamed upon me. I started up, and the jury instinctively began to brighten; they had given up the prisoner as lost, and now they were ready to catch at a straw. I addressed the unfortunate "You state here, that you took the captain's brandy with certain of the sailors. Do you mean by that, you 'partook' of the brandy which other sailors were drinking?"

Prisoner (balbutiant). I -- I -- ye -- ye --

P. Counsel. What do you really mean, Sir, by this written document? Do you mean to say that you yourself took this brandy, or that you partook of it with others?

Prisoner. Yes, Sir, -- that I partook of it.

P. Counsel. Then, gentlemen of the jury, this document does not convict the unfortunate man at the bar; and what appears like an admission of guilt is only to be attributed to his imperfect mode of expressing himself. He admits that he partook of certain brandy stated to be the captain's, which the captain, himself, however, would lead you to suppose had been provided by me. The witness who has been examined throws no further light upon the matter; and though the prisoner himself has admitted that he partook of liquor which he believed belonged to the captain, that admission does not convict him under the present indictment, which charges him with having "feloniously taken and carried away," etc.

The jury were evidently delighted with this construction; and the people in the gallery and body of the court could scarcely be restrained from giving three cheers.

The chairman recapitulated the evidence, and left the matter in the hands of the jury, who jostled one another out of the box, and retired to "consider their verdict." As they passed through the ante-room to the apartment in which they usually held their solemn deliberations, they caught up a bucket of water which the bailiff of the court generally kept at hand for thirsty counsel or magistrates; and as soon as they had decently secluded themselves, and indulged in a genial fit of merriment, the foreman produced a bottle of brandy from his pocket, and seizing the pannikin which floated in the bucket, poured forth a good libation, and drank "towards all present." Each juryman in turn then drank the health of the foreman. After that, they all drank the prisoner's health; and as one of the number afterwards assured me, they would have conscientiously toasted the prisoner's counsel, but the liquor unfortunately failed.

The foreman then said, "Come, my lads, there's no more left, so we may as well go back again." So they jostled one another out of the room, and with composed countenances returned to the court, where they were ostentatiously conducted to their box by the sheriff's officer amid loud cries of "Silence in the court! silence there!"

Their names having been called over, the Clerk of Arraigns asked the usual question, "Have you considered your verdict, gentlemen?"

"Not guilty!" interrupted the foreman, as if he feared lest the prisoner should be convicted in spite of the jury.

"How say you," continued the clerk, "is the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?"

"Not guilty!" cried the whole jury to a man; and amid thunders of acclamations the prisoner was released from the dock, and turned out of court, where he was seized upon by a multitude of sympathizers, and carried in triumph to the next public-house. There he spent the ensuing four-and-twenty hours, the hero of the day.

In this slight sketch I am conscious that I have only been able to convey to the reader a very faint idea of A COLONIAL JURY.

CHAPTER 7.

BOATING UP THE RIVER.

Whilst I was making acquaintances at Perth, my brothers, mounted on our Timor steeds, were making a tour of inspection beyond the Darling Hills. They fixed at length upon a farm at York, with about three thousand acres belonging to it, and having a good farm-house, with excellent barn and out-buildings attached. This evinced a more comfortable and luxurious state of things than they had anticipated, and they returned in high spirits to head-quarters.

It now became necessary to consider how the various goods and utensils were to be conveyed to the new settlement, which was seventy miles distant from Fremantle. We sold most of our flour and pork at a fair profit, and left by far the greater part of the other articles which we had brought out with us to be sold by a commission agent, as opportunity offered.

From various causes, but chiefly from our own ignorance in selecting our goods in London, we lost a considerable sum upon the things we had brought out. Emigrants, unless they are men of great experience, should bring all their capital to a colony in bills or specie, and


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