The Old Whaling Days
Chapter XII. — The Preservation Manslaughter Trial, 1838
The Preservation Manslaughter Trial, 1838.
On 18th January, Captain Edward Palmer was charged before Colonel Wilson, at the Police Office, Sydney, with having killed a lad named Charles Denahan, who had run away from the Denmark Hill while she was in Foveaux Strait and had joined the Preservation Inlet whaling station. Palmer was alleged to have beaten the lad with a rope's end because he neglected to look after a boat which had been left in his charge at Look Out Point, with the result that it had drifted among the rocks and got broken to pieces. He was committed for trial. Mr. G. R. Nichols defended Palmer, and bail was allowed, Palmer himself in £500, and two sureties in £250 each.
Before the date fixed for hearing, two of the Crown witnesses—Howard and Perry—left Sydney in the whaling vessel Pilot, and, as they were in the house when Denahan was beaten, and it was suggested that they had been smuggled away by the defendant and his partner, the proper conduct of the case was very materially prejudiced. Informations were, therefore, laid against Palmer and Jones for endeavouring to pervert the ends of Justice by keeping these men out of the way. When the case was called on at the Police Court, on 10th May, an adjournment was granted until the seventeenth.
The Supreme Court trial took place on 16th May, and, owing to the position of the parties, was reported at length in the press, and attracted great attention in Sydney. Advantage is taken of the fact that it was never published in New Zealand, where Jones and Palmer afterwards became so well known, to reproduce the trial in full here.
Supreme criminal court.
Wednesday, May 16.
Before Mr. Justice Burton and a Civil Jury.
Edward Palmer, late of New Zealand and Sydney, oil merchant, a subject of our Lord the late King, and our Lady the Queen, was indicted for manslaughter, in having at Preservation Bay, New Zealand, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, inflicted divers mortal wounds on the head, belly and sides of Charles Denahan, by beating him with a rope on the 14th of June, of which wounds the said Charles Denahan languished until the 4th day of July, when he died.
The Attorney-General briefly opened the case. He said that the prisoner was formerly in partnership with a Mr. John Jones, and had charge of a whaling establishment, their joint property, at New Zealand. In the month of June last, when the offence for which he was then to take his trial was alleged to have taken place, a boy named Denahan, about eighteen or nineteen years of age, was placed in charge of a boat, with directions to keep her off the shore; shortly afterwards a whale hove in sight, and the other people at the establishment went in search of her, and when they came back they found that the boat had been allowed to go on shore, and was smashed to pieces. Palmer then beat the boy so dreadfully, that he became ill, and in a short time died in the greatest agony. Before the boy died he became intolerably offensive from the smell he emitted; in fact he was putrid. After the boy became ill, he believed Palmer did all that he could to recover him by giving him medicine, but upon being spoken to as to the responsibility attached to him if the boy died, he replied that he did not care a d—n, for there was no law could affect him even if he had killed the boy. The learned gentleman said that whatever the result of the case might be, he hoped that this and other trials which had taken place, would have the effect of convincing parties that the Court of this Colony has the same jurisdiction over offences page 206 committed in New Zealand as if they were committed in Sydney. Some of the witnesses examined at the Police Office were absent, and he (the Attorney-General) did not know whether he should be able to give their depositions in evidence, but if he could prove that the parties had been paid to keep out of the way, he would then tender the depositions to the Court, for when it is proved that a prisoner has paid witnesses to go away, the law allows the depositions given before the Magistrates to be taken as evidence. One of the witnesses he intended to call would swear that money had been offered to him, and he did not doubt that he should be able to prove that the others had been sent away through the instrumentality of the prisoner.
James Davidson was then called, when Mr. Foster said, that Davidson having been convicted of felony within the Colony, he objected to his being allowed to give evidence; the Attorney had gone up stairs to procure the record of his conviction, and he must request his Honor to wait a few minutes.
His Honor said, that if the record was produced, it would not help the prisoner; there was a decision of the Court on the subject, by which he was bound, unless the Court should think fit to open the point again, which he did not consider likely; the evidence was admissible.
The witness was then sworn.
James Davidson: In the month of June I was carpenter at the whaling establishment of Jones and Palmer; the Sydney Packet used to trade between Sydney and there; I knew Charles Denham or Denahan, a lad about eighteen years of age; he was six weeks or two months there; he told me he was a native of St. Kitts, in the West Indies: Palmer. I believe is a native of the Colony; Denahan is dead; I made his coffin in the middle of July; about a fortnight or better before he died, I was lying in bed, and heard a boy cry out. “For God's sake, Mr. Palmer, do not beat me, and I will work for you for a twelvemonth, until I pay for the boat”; I had heard before that a boat had been smashed; Denahan came in on another boat, about page 207 dusk; I was in a hut close to, but I did not hear Palmer speak; I could hear the rope strike, sometimes as if on the boy, and sometimes on the side of the house; there was a great noise, as if the boy was jumping over the stools and tables to avoid the blows; the boy cried a good deal; Howard was in the house when the boy was beat, and so were Lyons and Perry, and several others, as they told me; they were examined at the Police Office, and I heard them swear they were in the house; I never knew anything to ail the boy before the beating; he was weakly, but he did not complain; the next morning I saw him going towards the boat, walking nearly two double; the next evening the boy was brought back sick; it was the second officer's boat, Mr. Gregory, an Otaheite man; the crew consisted of a white man named Sweeny, Denahan, and New Zealanders; I saw him in bed sick a few days afterwards; he said he was very ill and wished he was dead, as some of the people said he was gammoning; Mr. Palmer used to give him medicine; he told me one day that he had given him an emetic and some jalap, and either half a gallon or a gallon of warm water, and bled him; a day or two after the beating, I went for my eleven o'clock grog, and Mr. Palmer showed me a strop he had beaten him with, and said he would give it to him every day until he either killed or cured him, or beat sense into him; this strop I had used to drag spars out of the bush; at first Mr. Palmer used to say he was shamming, but after ten or twelve days he said that something was the matter, but there was no fear of him; Palmer said to me that Chaseling the chief headsman, had told him that if the boy died he would be blamed for it, but he said he did not care a d—n, there was no law in New Zealand even if he had killed him, but the beating he had given him would not kill him; before the boy died he smelt so dreadfully that no one could go near him; he complained of pains in his chest; Mr. Palmer told me that Happy Jack, an Otaheite man, wanted to open him to see what he died from, but he would not allow him; he was buried the same day in a rough box made out of page 208 plank; Palmer would not allow me to make a regular coffin, as he said he could not spare the time; when the boy was ill he never told me who beat him; he was a nuisance in the house; Howard. I understand is gone away in the whaling ship Pilot, I saw him about six weeks ago; a day or two after he came from New Zealand, Palmer came to me in a house in Sussex Street, and asked me what I intended to do, and said he hoped I would not be so hard as I was at the Police Office; I told him I should, and he asked me what I would take to go out of the way, as I was the only one that was left; Howard and Lyons, he said, were gone, and he did not care about Percy, as he would not hurt him, or he thought he would not hurt him; by this I understood that Percy did not wish to hurt him; he said that Mr. Jones had got them away while he was absent; this was after Palmer had been to New Zealand, when he was bailed out last session; I told him I should remain and give the same evidence that I had given at the Police Office; he said he hoped I would think better of it, and he would give me money to pay my expenses; Howard, I was informed, had sailed that day or the day before; the Pilot is a London whaler, and is cruising in the South Seas; Jones called me into a house one day, and Palmer said he hoped I would not be too hard with him, and offered me money; whenever he met me by myself he made the same offer; Palmer said the rope was not big enough to kill the boy; I said it was; it was a 2½ inch rope spliced; Palmer told me that a worm came from the boy, but whether upwards or downwards I cannot say; Jones spoke to me one day about this trial, as we were walking from Mr. Rowe's office, where he had been paying me my wages; I was at the Police Office last week, when a charge was made against Jones; a few days ago Jones told me that if I wanted money for anything he would give it me.
Cross examined: The rope Mr. Palmer showed me was a two and a half inch strop; I swear that Palmer took it and said, This is the rope I beat that scoundrel with; I page 209 am sure it was not a month from the day the boy cried out until he died; I often saw the boy at work before; he stooped at his work, but I did not know he was ill in health; I never knew Palmer to give him medicine before; the noise from the beating lasted five or six minutes; I heard no uproar of voices; nothing but the boy; the next morning I saw the boy; I was in the shop, and the boy passed to the boats; he was walking with his head bent to the ground; he was carrying nothing; Palmer did not tell me he gave the boy wine and fowls, but I saw him take something in a tumbler which he said was wine; there is no doubt that Palmer attended him until he died; the smell was so offensive that no one would go near him, and Mr. Palmer made him a bed in the Mowries' (natives) place; it is generally very bad weather there; towards the latter end the boy appeared deranged; I know a fish called mutton fish, which is much eaten by the men, but I never heard of its being unwholesome or producing worms; I never found any bad effects from it; there was a man name Graham, Palmer's boat steerer, who was ill, and Palmer attended him; the conversation between me and Palmer that I had alluded to, took place in a lane in Sussex Street; a man dressed like a sailor came into the house I was lodging in, and said I was wanted, and I went out and saw it was Palmer, who was dressed in a pea jacket, and glazed hat; he had returned from New Zealand two or three days before; he said I was the only one could hurt him as the others were gone; he repeatedly spoke to me but nobody heard us, he was too good a judge for that; I never said to Palmer, Jones, or anybody else that if I could get any money I would go away; nor anything like it; I never asked Palmer how much he would give; I suppose Palmer renewed the conversation so often because he considered the money would be a temptation; I told Mr. Fisher of this because Palmer began to bounce me and said he did not care a d—n for me as he had plenty of witness that would fix me; Howard had not gone when Palmer arrived from New Zealand; about ten years ago I was convicted of cattle page 210 stealing and sent to Moreton Bay; I never had any quarrel with Palmer about a woman; I heard the last time he was in New Zealand he had persuaded a chief to kill a woman that I had, in order to be revenged on me; but when I spoke to Palmer he denied it, and from what I heard I believed him.
Re-examined: This case was to have come on last week; and the night before Palmer was to have been tried, he attempted to tamper with me; I was convicted in 1827; in consequence of my good conduct I received a pardon in 1832; I was in no trouble before or since.
By the Court: The strop was made for the purpose of taking a couple of turns round a log; the length of the bight was about three-quarters of a yard.
Thomas Ashwell: In the month of June last I was cooper at Jones and Palmer's establishment at New Zealand; I knew Charles Denahan; I recollect hearing a noise, I cannot say exactly what it was as there is generally a noise with the Mowries dancing and singing; I cannot recollect one single word that I heard; I heard a singing out; I heard Mr. Palmer's voice, and the boy's, but I cannot recollect what he said; I was in bed alongside of Davidson; I daresay the noise lasted about ten minutes; the next morning Palmer said he had given the boy a rope's-ending for losing the boat; the boy always appeared to me to be sickly; before that he never took to his bed; he was out in one of the boats the next day; I gave him some soup and eggs afterwards and some sugar; he was always a terrible boy for sugar; he complained of a gnawing in his stomach; worms came from his nose and mouth; he lived six weeks after he got the beating; worms about six inches long and about the size of that pen used to come from his nose and mouth; he used to say that he felt as if his inside was being gnawed away, Mr. Palmer said the boy had an inward complaint; before the beating I never heard him complain; I saw Mr. Palmer here after he came back from New Zealand; he told me that I must be on the trial; he page 211 asked me where Howard and the others were, but I could not tell; he might have said they were gone, and I might have said I did not know; I got money from Mr. Jones for labour; he still owes me £4; when we came up from New Zealand accounts were cleared up; this was nearly four months ago; when at New Zealand I had £6 10s. per month; I have been working piece work, packing and making casks; the price is 3s. 8d. per tun for packing and 16s. for making; I have heard that Lyons and Howard are gone away; I never heard anyone upbraid Palmer with the boy's death; Palmer never said anything to me about beating the boy; Palmer never said anything to me that would induce me to think that he knew what the boy died from; the night the boy was rope's-ended he got a change of linen from Palmer; I heard that he got a Scotch cap and some more things; a night or two before he died he was in our hut, and the carpenter told him to go home; after his death a Scotchman named John washed the body, and he told me this morning that there were no marks of violence on the body; I was at New Zealand three months after the boy's death, but he never told me he washed him; this man came up from New Zealand with Palmer and lodges with me at Thornton's; the boy complained to me of nothing but that he was bad inwardly, and had a gnawing at his stomach; he might have said it was the worms.
Cross-examined: I have never been paid by Jones for the work that I have done; when we get plenty of work, coopering is a profitable employment; Howard and Lyons are sailors, and such men are usually most anxious to go to sea when they get a chance of good employment; the boy was only at New Zealand about two months or two months and a half; he always walked stooping; there is a fish called the mutton fish, which if eaten raw is very hurtful; I have heard the men blame the boy for eating too many; they are a large shell fish; it was four or five days after receiving the correction that he was taken ill; Palmer used to give him wine and fowls and nourishing things; up to the time of his death he used to go about of page 212 a night; it was very wet weather; he never told me about being beaten; there were no marks upon his face.
By the Court: There was a kind of corruption came from his inside when he used to spit out; his breath smelt horribly; he was not in a state of salivation; I often saw him strip to wash before he was beaten, he was a thin delicate boy, and had a hollow belly; I saw the boy spit white worms out of his mouth; I did not live in the hut with him and cannot say what sort of an appetite he had.
Davidsonrecalled by the Attorney General: I never heard that Denahan was washed before he was put into the coffin; I was repairing a boat at the time; Scotch Jack and Howard put him into the coffin; they never told me they had washed him.
By the Court: He smelt as if he was putrid, I never felt a whale that had been dead a month smell worse; I cannot say whether it was his breath or his body that smelt.
By Prisoner's Counsel: I do not believe it was a month between the beating and the death.
Mr. John Jones: Last year the prisoner was in partnership with me, but in January last I gave him £2000 to withdraw; the first time that I heard there was such a person as Denahan was at the Police Office; since then Palmer told me that a person of that name died; I heard some people examined, I do not know what became of them; I know Howard was one of them; I saw him at the end of March or the beginning of April; Palmer was then gone to New Zealand to bring up his witnesses; I did not speak to him; on the 26th March I paid him what was coming to him; I gave him £3 7s., which was all the cash I had in the house, and a note for £1 payable three days after the barque Pilot left the Colony; it was not provided that he should go in the Pilot; his landlord (Grady) told me he was going away and wanted to buy some things, and a note would do, and at the suggestion I wrote the note; I did not wish Howard to leave the Colony, and would rather than £5000 that he had stopped; I was aware that he was page 213 a principal witness in this case; I paid Lyons in January, there was no dispute with him; Percy sued Mr. Palmer through the Court of Requests, and I paid the money into Court; I gave a man named Owen, who came up in the Magnet, a similar note; it never struck me that giving the note to Howard would look suspicious; on Thursday last I was behind the watch-house here, when Davidson spoke to me and told me that he did not think Palmer would let it come to this, and that if Palmer had given him a small sum of money he would have kept out of the way; the next day Palmer told me that Davidson had applied to him for some money, and I advised him by no means to give him any; the day Palmer left the colony we had a quarrel, and I was nearly bringing him out of the vessel; I do not think we have had twenty words at one time since Palmer was committed; I gave the note up at the Police Office of my own accord; I was summoned there to answer a charge of keeping the witnesses out of the way; I do not know how Howard was living from the time he came from New Zealand until I gave him the money in March; I was surprised that Howard did not come for his money, but he claimed money for grog for sixty days at 9d. per day which I refused, and as I would not give him that he would not take any; there was £13 6s. 10d. due to Howard when he came from New Zealand.
Cross-examined: When I settled with Palmer I was to pay and receive all, and Palmer had nothing to do with it; he could not know how I settled with Howard; I gave him his note because I did not wish to give a Promissory Note for so small a sum; when Davidson spoke to me about keeping out of the way, I threatened to prosecute him, and the next day I heard from the Crown Office.
By the Court: I paid Palmer his £2000 in January; I gave him £500 in cash, and an acknowledgement that I owed him £1500, to be paid on the arrival of the Mic Mac brig, now on a sperm whaling voyage; I had purchased the Caroline from Messrs. Campbell & Co., and had made several large payments, and not having my bank-book with page 214 me, I did not know whether or not I had overdrawn, and therefore I did not like to give a cheque; whether Howard sailed in the Pilot or not, the note was payable; Palmer had not arrived at New Zealand at that time.
Henry O'Grady, Lodging house keeper: Howard lived with me four or five weeks; he left me about a fortnight before he left the Colony; him and a man named Perry mentioned that they were witnesses in this case; I went with Howard when he signed in the Pilot; that evening I went to Mr. Jones, and as he was not at home called the next day; Perry left the colony in the same ship; I asked Mr. Jones to pay Howard's wages, and he said he was willing to pay him the lay of the oil and bone, but he would not pay for the grog; I told Mr. Jones that Howard was going in the Pilot, and showed him the advance note; Mr. Jones gave him £3 7s. in money, which was all the money he had in the house; I knew Howard was to appear here; all that I said to Mr. Jones was, that if he gave Howard a note it would do as well; he gave a note payable three days after the sailing of the Pilot without a proviso that Howard was to sail; I have no acquaintance with Mr. Palmer, but I have seen him.
Cross-examined: I was anxious to get my money from Howard, and therefore called on Mr. Jones; Mr. Jones would have paid before, if the man would take the £13 7s.; the day before we called on Jones Howard had entered on board the Pilot; it was my suggestion to Jones to give the note; Davidson often came to my place to see the other men; I heard Davidson say that if he got a little money he would go out of the way; my wife heard it; I swore this at the Police Office, and my wife was sent for, and without any communication with me she corroborated what I had said.
By the Court: Howard owed me £3 18s.; he had been working on board ship, and sometimes paid me ten shillings and sometimes more; I do not know why he did not go to sea; I am frequently applied to by captains for sailors; about the 23rd or 24th March I asked page 215 Howard to go to sea; Perry had shipped, and the captain asked me if I had any more hands, and I said I had, and supplied him with Howard, and two men named Turner and Wild; Howard had an offer to go to South Australia, but could not get enough wages; he had no offer for a long voyage before the Pilot that I am aware of; as soon as Howard landed from the ship after receiving the advance note, he gave it to me; I showed it to Jones; Howard wanted clothes, and if Jones had not paid him, he would not have been able to pay me; Jones's note was good whether Howard went in the Pilot or not; no one induced me to persuade him to leave the colony. I know nothing of anyone else having done so.
By the Attorney-General: Davidson told me that if he got a little money he would leave the colony; he said the other two witnesses had gone away, and he did not like to stop; nothing was said about their being induced to leave the colony, to my knowledge; I have kept a lodging-house since I left the Black Dog six or seven years ago; Davidson began by saying that it was no use for him to be wasting his time as he could be earning seven shillings a day, and was only getting two and eightpence a day from the crown, and if he got a little money he would go out of the way; I did not know the nature of the charge I was to be examined upon, when I was sent for to the Police Office; this is the note Jones gave to Howard, and which Howard endorsed in my presence; I got Mr. Lee to cash both notes for Howard; when Howard handed me the £5 advance note, I was overpaid the £3 18s., but I wanted to get him some clothes and therefore went with him to Jones.
The Attorney General said, that on this evidence he could not put in the depositions, and must close his case. He had requested Dr. Robertson to be in attendance in order that, as no surgeon saw the body, the court might examine him if it thought fit.
His Honor said, that it was for the Attorney General to call any witnesses he thought proper. He was to try page 216 the case on the evidence presented to him, and he did not think he would be justified in calling witnesses.
Mr. A'Beckett submitted that the case must be withdrawn from the Jury, as there was not the slightest evidence of the cause of death, or even that Palmer had actually struck the boy at all.
His Honour said there was some evidence, and he must leave the case to the Jury.
The prisoner in his defence said that the whole case was framed in spite and malice because he would not pay Davidson and some others all the wages they claimed. He did not deny beating the boy, but so far from having beaten him cruelly he had always acted like a father to him.
Under the advice of his counsel Mr. Palmer called no witnesses.
Mr. Justice Burton said that it was necessary that the jury should be satisfied that Palmer had beaten the boy, and that the effects of that beating caused his death; and it was the duty of the prosecutor to produce such evidence as would convince not only the jury but every person of discernment that heard it, that the prisoner was guilty. The case rested entirely on the evidence of Davidson, for the evidence of the other witness Ashwell carried the case no further, and even Davidson was in another hut, but from what he said that he heard it might be presumed that the prisoner was beating Denahan. An important feature in the case was, that in all the conversations which Davidson had with the prisoner, he never denied beating the boy, but always said that he had not given him such a beating as would cause death, and that after the beating it would appear that he treated him well. Unfortunately the witnesses that saw the beating inflicted were out of the way under circumstances certainly open to suspicion; it was as important for the character of the prisoner, if innocent, that they should be present to exonerate him, as it was for public justice, that they should be here if he was guilty. From the evidence that had been page 217 adduced, there was no proof that the boy when ill ever complained of the beating, while it was alleged that there were no external marks on his person after death. The prisoner in his defence alleged that the charge was made from malice, and unhappily those who sat in that Court were aware that people were to be found wicked enough to revenge themselves for any real or supposed injury, but nothing had been shewn to make the jury believe that Davidson had been actuated by such motives. His Honor here commented upon the suspicious circumstances attending the manner in which Howard left the Colony, and if the jury believed that he was sent away by Palmer's suggestion, it would show that Palmer was afraid of his evidence; if, on the other hand, they considered that Davidson had made up the story respecting the bribe being offered to him, of course it so far impeached the other parts of his testimony that the jury could not convict on his evidence.
The jury, after an absence of half an hour, returned a verdict of not guilty.
As soon as the jury had returned their verdict, Mr. A'Beckett said he had been instructed to ask His Honor to commit Davidson to take his trial for perjury.
His Honor asked on what grounds?
Mr. A'Beckett said he had been contradicted by two witnesses—Jones and O'Grady.
His Honor said he had formed his own opinion, and would decline to commit him.
The prisoner was defended by Messrs. A'Beckett and Foster.
Probably for want of evidence, the Attorney-General declined to proceed further with the charge against Palmer and Jones for keeping the Crown witnesses, Howard and Perry, out of the way, and, when the case came on for trial, it was dismissed, the Magistrate remarking “that the case was far from being brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and if the person preferring it had been a person page 218 who was ignorant of the law, the Bench would probably have considered it necessary to enquire further into the circumstances, but as the charge was preferred by the Attorney-General, or at his instance, and he declined proceeding any further, the Bench considered he had good grounds for so doing and dismissed the case.”
“Johnny” Jones, who was present in Court when the judgment was given, intimated that he intended to lay a charge for perjury against Davidson, but no information can be got of any proceedings having been so taken.
For the information of the reader there are subjoined the depositions of those witnesses who gave evidence before the Magistrates, but were away from the jurisdiction of the Court when the trial came on.
“John Howard stated in his affidavit, that at the time alluded to, he was in the gang, under the prisoner's superintendence, as was also the deceased, Charles Denahan. About the time in question, a boat was lost at the bay, and blame was attributed to Denahan. One evening after the gang had returned from the pursuit of whales, Palmerr entered the hut as the men were sitting down to supper, and beat Denahan for losing the boat. The next day the lad was sent out in the boat, but was unable to work, and fell with his head on the gunwale, and was brought back. The prisoner on that occasion attended to him, bled him, applied a blister, and gave him twelve drops of laudanum, observing he would either kill him or cure him. The rope with which he beat him, was about two inches and a half in thickness: the boy died in about twenty days after. Before his death, his groans were pitiable, and the smell proceeding from him was horrible. Witness' firm opinion is, that he died in consequence of the injuries inflicted on him by the prisoner. When Palmer beat Denham, the latter cried out, “Oh, my dear master, forgive me, and I'll work for you three years.” Palmer answered, “No, you—–, your life will not pay for the boat.” Several persons were in the house when the boy was beaten by Palmer, who must have given, at least, thirty blows. The beating brought page 219 tears to witness' eyes, but he was afraid to interfere, as they were all dependent upon the prisoner, and the gang was divided, and he thought they might side with Palmer. Witness had been ill-treated himself, and was knocked down on the 24th September; before that, he had told Palmer that he would bring this case forward. The boy had been previously beaten by a man named Chasline, but witness did not observe anything the matter with him before Palmer came in. The body lay dead fifteen hours before it was buried; there were no missionaries near, nor any white people, except the gang; the body was black, yellow, and blue, from the ankles to the shoulders, and froth came out of the mouth; the body was far advanced in decomposition in a climate where fish would keep fresh a week; the weather was cold at the time; had never known a body buried so soon before; the smell from the body was intolerable; witness did not think these results would have been so soon produced by the climate; witness was of opinion that a corpse, which had died a natural death, would have kept fresh a week; witness had observed a bad smell come from the body of the lad five or six days before his death; there was no doctor there; the prisoner used to apply medicines to the gang. The rope with which the prisoner beat the boy might be a fathom long; he held the deceased with one hand, beating him with the other; the lad was not able to do any work after, and did not leave his bed till the night of his death, when he was put out of the hut by the cook, on account of the offensive smell proceeding from his body.
“Cross-examined.—Witness arrived here a few days before Christmas in the Genii brig; first gave information of the transaction about three weeks after; knows Davidson and Pearcy; they belonged to the gang and have had some dispute about wages; witness had not been induced by them to bring forward the charge, but a duty which he owed to God and man prompted him to do it; had been unwell and drunk several times, that was a failing of mankind. The statement transmitted to the Attorney-General page 220 was written by one Oldfield, from the documents produced by witness. The beating the boy received was the most cruel, he, witness, ever saw, the boy's cries were horrid; Denahan was a delicate youth.
“James Lyons one of the gang on being examined stated, that he had had several interviews with the prisoner's employer (Mr. Jones) since Wednesday. Mr. Jones had sent for him to say that Palmer had been put in the watchhouse. and he wanted to see witness; he asked him whether the boy had been ailing before he was beaten, to which he replied that he had. Mr. Jones had no other conversation with him, respecting the case. Remembers the boy being beaten; the evening was dark and the hands were about to take their supper. Mr. Palmer came in and asked the boy about the boat, and then chastised him; the rope witness thinks was a piece of whaling line, and about three feet long; it was a pretty severe beating but witness had been punished as severely himself; heard the boy cry out “don't beat me any more and I'll work for you some years”; witness did not hear how many years he said; never saw him in health after that; never heard what his complaint was, or heard him say it was from the beating; the sailors used to say he was skulking, up to the very evening of his death; his breath was very offensive and his voice was hoarse. When Palmer beat him, witness thinks he held both ends of the rope in his hand and beat the boy with the bight; don't recollect having expressed an opinion that he died of the beating, but might have said so.
“Thomas Pearcy saw the beating; does not think it would occasion death, but might in the case of a delicate man; heard that deceased was troubled with worms.”