Ratical Hirstory.

Matthew X profrv at nex.net.au
Tue May 11 09:42:05 PDT 1999

acquittal twenty minutes after the jury retired, should have culminated in 
the end of the treason trials. Governor Hotham and his Attorney-General 
William Foster Stawell, rightly believed their credibility with the Home 
Office in London rested on a conviction, so they insisted that the farce go 
on, hoping they could record one conviction. Jan Vannick a "foreign" from 
Holland, one of the "mongrel crew" took his turn on the stand. After a 
trial that lasted less than a day he was acquitted in record time. James 
Beattie was the next miner to face the court. Evidence was given that 
trooper Rivell from the 40th Regiment, confronted Beattie as he clambered 
back into the stockade with a pistol in his hand. Beattie dropped his 
pistol, dropped to his knees and screamed "Mercy! Save Me! Don¹t Shoot! I 
am beaten! I will give in!" as trooper William Rivell aimed his carbine at 
him. Fortunately for Beattie, Sergeant Patrick Riley of the same regiment 
saw Beattie beg for mercy and told trooper Rivell to take him prisoner. 
Beattie was acquitted once again in record time. Michael Touhey took the 
stand the following day. Evidence was given that Touhey was caught escaping 
from the stockade. Once again another one of the magnificent thirteen was 
acquitted of the charge High Treason. Michael Touhey was born in Scariff, 
Ireland in 1830. He survived the Irish famine, burying many family members 
and friends. He never forgot that food was being exported from Ireland to 
line the pockets of English absentee landlords, while a million Irish men, 
women and children died and a further million were forced to immigrate. On 
the morning of December 3rd 1854, Touhey was prepared to fight and die if 
necessary. Although he had traveled 12,000 miles to escape the tyranny of 
the British government, once again he faced the same tyrants. Luck seemed 
to be with Touhey, after side swiping a bayonet that ripped through his 
clothes, he was arrested and marched to the police camp. On the way to the 
camp, a soldier tried to cut off his head with a sabre. Touhey¹s nimble 
feet saved him once again. After his acquittal he returned to the alluvial 
diggings at Ballarat. Once the gold ran out, he took up a farm in the 
Ballarat district between Melbourne and Ballarat. He took part in the 50th 
anniversary celebrations at Ballarat in 1904 and continued farming till he 
died at the age of 85 from pneumonia at the Ballarat Hospital in September 
1915. He was the last survivor of the thirteen who stood trial for High 
Treason in Melbourne in 1855. NEXT WEEK: THE FINAL SIX. 

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