On July the 6th, 1824, Alexander Pierce, for his depraved and wicked conduct, was found guilty, before a Bench of Magistrates held at the Court-house in Hobart Town, and transported to the penal settlement of Maoquarie Harbour.
An important advantage which attends the establishment at Macquarie Harbour, as a place of secondary transportation, is the certainty that the persons sent thither cannot, with any possibility, escape by land, so completely shut in is it by the surrounding rugged, closely wooded, and altogether impracticable country. Notwithstanding those difficulties, in November, Alexander Pierce, and several miseuided men, eight in number, attempted to escape ; but two returned (named Brown and Dalton,) to the settlement after an absence of sixteen days, and an inefiectual effort to pass the mountains, so far exhausted for want of food, that they died in the hospital a few days after. These men stated, that previous to their leaving the others, a man named Cornelius, had been killed to afford sustenance to the rest. It has turned out, that Alexander Herce was the only survivor that reached the Eastern settlements, and gave out that his unfortunate companions had died, and that some were drowned in crossing the stream. He was punished, and again sent to the penal settlement, from whence he attempted a second escape with Thomas Cox, whom he murdered. Upoa being apprehended, he acknowled he had subsisted, during his first departure and absence, upon the remainmg unfortunate men before alluded to, and which dreadful circumstance is more fully explained in the following confession made by him in the gaol, to Mr. Birder, the Keeper, the evening before his execution.
« I was born in the County of Fermanagh, in the North of Ireland. In the 26th year of my age, I was convicted of stealing six pair of shoes, and received sentence to be transported foe seven years ; I arrived in Van Dieman*s Land, on board the ship Castle Forbes, from Sidney ; was assigned as a servant to John Bellinger, with whom I remained about nine months ; was then from misconduct, returned to the Government Superintendent A few months after, I was assigned to a man named Cane, a constable, and staid with him only sixteen weeks, when an occasion obliged him to take me before the Magistrates, who ordered that I should receive fifty lashes, in the
usual way, and again be returned to Crown labour. Afterwards I was placed to serve a Mr. Scmttergood, of New Norfolk, from whom I absconded into the woods, and joined Langton, Saunders, Latten, and Atkinson, who were then at large ; staid with them three months, and surrendered myself by a proclamation, issued by the Lieut. Governor ; and was pardoned. Shortly afterwards I forged several orders, upon which I obtained property. On hearing the fraud was discovered, I was again induced to take to the woods. But, after three or four months, I was taken by a party of the 48th regiment, brought to Hobart Town, tried for the forgenes, found guilty, and sent to the penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour for the remainder of my sentence.
1 was not there more than a month, before I made my escape with seven others,
namely, Dalton, Traverse, Badman, Mathews, Greenhill, Brown, and Cornelius. We kept together for ten days, during which time we had no food but our kangaroo skackets, which we ate, being nearly exhausted with hunger and fatigue. On the eleventh night, we began to consult what was best to be done for our preservation, and made up our minds to a dreadful result.
*' In the morning we missed three of our companions, Dalton, Cornelius, and Brown, whom we concluded had left us with the intention of going back if possible. We then drew cuts which of us five should die ; it ^11 to Badman's lot ; I went with one of the others to collect dry wood, to make a fire, during which time Traverse had succeeded in killing Badman, and had begun to cut him up. We dressed part of the flesh immediately, and continued to use it as long as it lasted. We then drew cuts again, and it fell to the fate of Mathews ; Traverse and Greenhill killed him with an axe, cut the flesh from his bones, carried it on, and lived upon it as long as it lasted.
By the time it was all eat, Traverse through fatigue fell lame in his knee, so much so that he could not proceed ; Greenhill proposed that I should kill him, which I agreed to. We then made the best of our way, carrying the flesh of Traverse between us, in the hope of reaching the Eastern settlements while it lasted. We did not, however, succeed, and I perceived Greenhill always carried the axe, and thought he watched an opportunity to kill me. I was always on my guard, and succeeded, when he fell asleep, to get the axe, with which I immemately despatched him, made a meal, and carried the remaining flesh with me to feed upon. To my great disappointment, I was afterwards many days without food, and subsisted solely upon grass and nettle-tops, which I boiled in a tin pot that I brought with me from the settlement. At length I fell in with some natives' huts, which, from appearance, the inmates
had just lefy where I collected some entrails and bits of kangaroo, wich afforded me a meal. Two days afterward, when nearly exhausted, I came in sight of a hut, which proved to be McGuire's.
I staid there a fortnight, and made up my mind to surrender myself to Captain Wood, a magistrate on the river Clyde, but on ray way thither I met Davis and Churton, who were then desperadoes, and living at the Shannon hut They wished me to join there, to which I agreed, ki a few weeks we were dl taken near Jericho by a party of the 48th regiment, and brought into Hobart Town Gaol: Churton and Davis were tried, found suiltyof capital ofiences and suffered death. It was my fate to be returned to the penal settlement. I again made my escape with Thomas Cox whe eageriy pressed my departure. I had irons on at the time ; when we had proceeded some distance, Cox knocked them o& with an axe he had brougbt with him, and we made the best of our way through a thick scrub, winch was very wet At night we tried to make a fire, but could not. We traveled several days without food, except the tops of trees and shrubs, until we came to King^s River : I asked Cox if he could swim : he replied he could not ; I remarked that had I been aware of it he should not have been my oom-
panion ; we were enabled to make a fire ; the arrangement for crosswg the fiver created words, and 1 killed Cox with the axe ; I ate part of kin that night, and cut the greatest part of his flesh up, in order to take on with ne. I swam the river with the intention of keeping the coast round to Port Dalrymple, my heart failed me, and I resolved to return and give myself up to the Commandant. I threw most of the flesh away, but one piece, which I carried in my pocket to shew the Commandant that Cox was dead. I confessed that I killed him, and accompanied a party in a boat to brine up his remains, which was done. I was then sent up to Hobart Town, connued in
the prison to take my trial in the Criminal Court ; the result is now universally known here.— Gaol, 20th June, 1824."