19 November 1869
His Excellency, Colonel Blackall,
Governor-in-chief and Captain-General of the
Colony of Queensland.
In Remission of Sentence
May it please Your Excellency
The petition of
James McPherson, at present confined
in H. M. Gaol, Brisbane humbly sheweth,
That your petitioner was tried before his Honor, the Chief-Justice, on the 13th September 1866, on a charge of highway-robbery, and was sentenced to twenty five years penal servitude, of which sentence more than three years have now elapsed.
Humbly acknowledging the justice of his sentence your petitioner still ventures to appeal to the mercy and clemency of your Excellency, in the hope that your humanity and goodness will be exercised in behalf of an utterly wretched and sincerely repentant man.
With no wish to attempt a palliation of his crime, which your petitioner deeply feels and sincerely deplores, he would still represent to your Excellency that having left his friends and family seven years ago, while still in early growth, he went into the interior of the colony. While there far from those who could advise him for his good, he met with associates hardened in crime, to whose pernicious advice he listened, and in an evil hour committed a lawless act, through no love of plunder or violence, but through mad excitement and folly and deluded by the conversation of criminal associates who represented bush-ranging as some thing grand and honorable, and having once broken the law, your petitioner could see no way to avoid punishment than by continuing his lawless career, a fatal and criminal mistake which your petitioner most deeply deplores.
And your petitioner would humbly represent to your Excellency, that during his criminal career he never did violence to any person or fire a shot – either to hurt or even to intimidate, that having soon seen the wickedness of his evil counsellers, the inclination to follow a criminal career passed away from him and he separated from his lawless associates, who had induced him to join them. And choosing to be alone in his misery he dissauded many, who wished to join him, from breaking the law and following a similar career.
Profoundly penetrated with grief for the crime he has committed, for the disgrace brought on his relatives and friends, with sincere repentance for having violated the laws of his country, your petitioner implores your Excellency to give him, by banishment, an opportunity of leading a new and better life with God’s help, in some foreign land. He humbly represents that before his first and only conviction he always bore a good character, and led an honest life until he was led astray, and therefore he prays that the All-Merciful God may graciously incline your heart to the side of Mercy, and determine your Excellency to give him the opportunity of redeeming the past, as far as in him lies by leading for the future, a good, honest, and virtuous life.
And your petitioner would respectively refer your Excellency to the Chief-Gaoler for his character in prison, which will be found to be good.
And your petitioner will ever pray.
To the Honorouble the Colonial Secretary.
The statement of James McPherson now a prisoner in H. M. Penal Estb. St. Helena.
Sirs: According to instruction I forward this statement and I sincerely pray that the same may receive your favourable consideration.
I was tried before his honor Chief Justice Cockle at Maryborough on the thirteenth of Sept 1866, on the charge of robbery under arms, convicted and sentenced to 25 years penal servitude.
Eight 8 years and some months of that sentence has now expired and I trust that I have given as genuine proofs of reformation as it is possible for one still a prisoner to give.
When his present Excellency was acting-Governor on a former occasion about 7 or 8 years ago, I was brought before him by the visiting Magistrate Mr. Bernays and recommended for my good conduct.
I hope that this and the testimony of my Mr. McDonald Superintendand St. Helena attached to my last petition and also the testimony of Mr. Bernard attached to a former one will speak for my good conduct while in prison.
I may here state that I was brought before his late Excellency Governor Blackall who was urged by his then Ministers Messrs. Turley, Pring to do something for me, But I had at that time only done 3 years of my sentence.
You Sir, was kind enough to promise me my liberty on the 17th January last if my conduct continued to be good for six months longer from that date.
Sir, I grieve that unforseen obstacles should have made the
fulfilement of this promise difficult to you. Yet I sincerely thank you for what you have done and trust that you will now have less difficulty in obtaining for me a further remission of my sentence.
I have but further to state that a paper was put into my hand a few weeks ago informing me that I should obtain my liberty in two / 2 years more conditioned upon my good conduct.
Sir, I feel as if 2 years more would be greater punishment than all the years that have already passed.
As the main points of my case are known to your Honor I will make no further statement but humbly pray that this may be favourably entertained by you and remain
Your most Humble Servant
You are Visitor #