January.] The report that was spread in April last, of a murder having been committed on a watchman belonging to the township of Parramatta, never having been confirmed, either by finding the body among the stalks of Indian corn as was expected, or by any one subsequent circumstance, it was hoped that the story had been fabricated, and that murder was a crime which for many years to come would not stain the annals of the colony. In proportion, indeed, as our numbers increased, and the inhabitants began to possess those comforts or necessaries which might prove temptations to the idle and the vicious, that high and horrid offence might, in common with others of the same tendency, be expected to exist; but at this moment all thought their persons secure, though their property was frequently invaded. On the 5th of this month, however, John Lewis, an elderly convict, employed to go out with the cattle at Parramatta, was most barbarously murdered. The cattle, having lost their conductor, remained that night in the woods; and when they were found, the absence of Lewis excited an apprehension that some accident had happened to him. His body was not discovered however until the Wednesday following, when, by the snorting and great uneasiness of the cattle which had been driven out for the purpose, it was perceived lying in a hollow or ravine, into which it had been thrown by those who had butchered him, covered with logs, boughs, and grass. Some native dogs, led by the scent of human blood, had found it, and by gnawing off both the hands, and the entire flesh from one arm, had added considerably to the horrid spectacle which the body exhibited on being freed from the load of rubbish which had been heaped upon it.
This unfortunate man had imprudently boasted of being worth much money, and that he always carried it with him sewed up in some part of his clothes, to guard against losing it while absent from his hut. If this was true, what he carried with him certainly proved his destruction; if not, the catastrophe must be attributed to his indiscreet declarations. By the various wounds which he had received, it appeared that he must have well defended himself, and could not have parted with his life until overpowered by numbers; for, though advanced in years, he was a stout, muscular man; and it was from this circumstance concluded, that more than one person was concerned in the murder of him. To discover, if possible, the perpetrators of this atrocious offence, one or two men of bad characters were taken up and examined, as well as all the people employed about the stockyard: but nothing came out that tended to fix it upon any one of them; and, desirable as it was that they should be brought to that punishment which sooner or later awaited them, it was feared that until some riot or disagreement among themselves should occur, no clue would be furnished that would lead to their detection. The body was therefore brought in from the spot where it had been concealed, about four miles from Parramatta, and buried at that place, after having been very carefully examined by the assistant-surgeon Mr. Arndell.