emigrants embarked for Australia-1844

1844 SS Great Britain


April 8 - 165 men, women and children emigrants embarked at Deptford on board the St Vincent, 628 tons, bound for Plymouth, Cork and Sydney Australia. The weekly allowance, given in proportion daily, to each adult during the voyage is 4½ lb of Bread, 1lb of beef, 1 lb of pork, 1lb of preserved meat, 1¾lb flour, ½ lb raisins, 6oz suet, 1 pint peas, ½ lb rice, ½ lb preserved potatoes, 1 oz tea, 1½ oz roast coffee, ¾ lb sugar, 6 oz butter, 5 gallons and 1 quart water, 1 gill pickled cabbage, ½ gill vinegar, and 2 oz salt 

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Emigration to Sydney 1844 as reported in the Illustrated London News

1844 emigration to Sydney


Cooke, Edward William, 1811-1880. Prison-ship in Portsmouth Harbour, convicts going aboard [picture]


The forbidding form of the beached convict ship HMS Discovery at Deptford. Launched as a 10-gun sloop at Rotherhithe in 1789, the ship served as a convict hulk from 1818 until scrapped in February 1834.[1]


Prison hulk HMS Success[2] at Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

. Private companies owned and operated some of the British hulks holding prisoners bound for penal transportation to Australia and America.
HMP Weare (1997 - 2006) was berthed in Portland Harbour in Dorset, England. It was Britain's first prison ship for 200 years.[6]

Christopher Vail, of Southold, who was aboard Jersey in 1781, later wrote:
'When a man died he was carried up on the forecastle and laid there until the next morning at 8 o'clock when they were all lowered down the ship sides by a rope round them in the same manner as tho' they were beasts. There was 8 died of a day while I was there. They were carried on shore in heaps and hove out the boat on the wharf, then taken across a hand barrow, carried to the edge of the bank, where a hole was dug 1 or 2 feet deep and all hove in together.'
In 1778, Robert Sheffield of Stonington, Connecticut, escaped from one of the prison ships, and told his story in the Connecticut Gazette, printed July 10, 1778. He was one of 350 prisoners held in a compartment below the decks.
"The heat was so intense that (the hot sun shining all day on deck) they were all naked, which also served well to get rid of vermin, but the sick were eaten up alive. Their sickly countenances, and ghastly looks were truly horrible; some swearing and blaspheming; others crying, praying, and wringing their hands; and stalking about like ghosts; others delirious, raving and storming,--all panting for breath; some dead, and corrupting. The air was so foul that at times a lamp could not be kept burning, by reason of which the bodies were not missed until they had been dead ten days."[17]
These topics are brought up to date in the commentary to the e-book version of Louis Garneray's 'The Floating Prison', (2012

British use in New South Wales

In New South Wales, Australia, hulks were also used as juvenile correctional centers. Vernon (1867–1892) and Sobraon (1892–1911) - the latter officially a "nautical school ship" - were anchored in Sydney Harbor. The commander of the two ships, Frederick Neitenstein (1850–1921), introduced a system of "discipline, surveillance, physical drill and a system of grading and marks. He aimed at creating a 'moral earthquake' in each new boy. Every new admission was placed in the lowest grade and, through hard work and obedience, gradually won a restricted number of privileges.
HMS Maidstone was used as a prison ship in Northern Ireland in the 1970s for suspected Nationalist paramilitaries and non-combatant activist supporters. The current president of the Nationalist political party Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, spent time on the Maidstone in 1972. He was released in order to take part in peace talks.
In 1997, the United Kingdom Government established a new prison ship, HMP Weare, as a temporary measure to ease prison overcrowding. Weare was docked at the disused Royal Navy dockyard at Portland, Dorset. On 9 March 2005 it was announced that the Weare was to close.


Prison ship records from 19th Century published

Prison hulk HMS Success Each of the prison hulks held up to 300 inmates in cramped conditions
A picture of life on board Britain's 19th Century prison ships has emerged with the publication online of details of some of the 200,000 inmates.
The records outline the disease-ridden conditions on the "prison hulks", created to ease overcrowding elsewhere.
The prisoners included eight-year-old Francis Creed, who was jailed for seven years on HMS Bellerophon for stealing three shillings worth of copper.
The records, held by National Archives, are published online at Ancestry.co.uk.
The Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books 1802-1849 include character reports written by the "gaoler".
Creed served his term alongside murderers, thieves and bigamists after being convicted in Middlesex on 25 June, 1823.

“Start Quote

The records provide a fascinating insight into the personalities of many major, and minor, criminals of the Victorian age”
Dan Jones Ancestry.co.uk
Another inmate of the era was 84-year-old William Davies, who was sentenced to seven years for stealing sheep.
'Unique solution' Samuel Phillips, a 16-year-old labourer jailed for life for burglary, and unable to read or write, was described as a "doubtful character" who had been to prison before.
Thomas Bones was said to be "a bold, daring fellow, not fit to be at large in this country".
Another convict, George Boardman, was "neglected by his parents" and "connected with bad company".
Each of the ships held between 200 and 300 inmates.
Mortality rates were high, with about one in three prisoners dying on board, as there was no way to separate the diseased from the healthy in the cramped conditions.
Dan Jones, international content director of Ancestry.co.uk, said: "The records provide a fascinating insight into the personalities of many major, and minor, criminals of the Victorian age, as well as documenting a rather unique solution to prison overcrowding.
"The records will be of use to family and social historians, and anyone with an interest in the UK penal system.
"They detail the rather bleak conditions that those who fell foul of the law would have found themselves in."

 external image illustration-of-the-prison-conditions-abord-the-wretched-prison-ship-jersey.jpg

 more American rebels died in the prison ships than in battle. Prisoners were packed into the ships so tightly that diseases spread very easily, and treatable illnesses were ignored. The insides of the ship's were dark and rat-infested. Any food and water prisoners received was likely to be unsafe and peed in. The easiest way for a prisoner to get off one of these ships was to die and be buried onshore by the.


The Girl From Botany Bay

The Girl from Botany Bay
by Carolly Erickson

Mary Broad had a brief moment of celebrity, and this is probably one of the only reasons we know so much about the life and times of not just Broad, but others like her. Women who lived a hand to mouth existence, who trod on the wrong side of the law, and then suffered the horrific consequences of British Justice in the late Eighteenth century.
Broad was arrested for robbery in 1786 and committed to transportation to the extremely new colony of New South Wales in Australia. She was first imprisoned on the stinking hulks which had their own brutal justice systems on board. Later came the terrible, long journey half way round the world, only to reach Australia and suffer famine from failed crops.
Her stoicism in spite of enormous hardship and her ability to survive are testament to an extraordinary woman, and her story of survival is amazing.
Erikson has done a great job as usual drawing from sources to outline the social aspects of the time and combining them to reflect what she lived through where her accounts are limited. Certainly, there are many accounts of male life in transporation but few remain of what women’s lot were. Sian Rees published a great book a few years ago called Floating Brothel, which I would highly recommend to read with this one – it follows a transport ship of women and what happened to them on the ship and after – as the title of that book reflects it was not an easy voyage.
Mary Broad, along with several male convicts and her own young children, made a daring escape in a small, stolen boat. Perhaps fortified by stories of the survivors of the Bounty, they sailed along the Australian coast and across open sea to the Dutch settlement of Kupang in Indonesia, where they enjoyed a few months of ease before their recapture.* She was eventually returned to Britain where she was imprisoned again. Only the intervention of the writer Boswell (who was famous for his connection to the Johnson) garnered a royal pardon for her.
Erickson has been a prolific but good writer, I have enjoyed many of her previous biographies including an excellent one on the Regency period. It was a very good read. My only real quibble with it is that I felt it was less fluid than some I have read lately which have been page turners (without being tabloid). It had a nice measured pace and I found I was kept interested in the outcome to the end. Overall a nice interesting history which should appeal to a wide range of readers
Anne Woodley is an Amazon top 500 reviewer as well as the patroness of Janeites, the Internet discussion, as well as mistress of the Regency Ring. Her excellent page, The Regency Collection is a treasure trove of information.
* From the Publisher’s Weekly review, 2004

HAMPSHIRE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
The New County Gaol, Jewry Street, Winchester
completed in 1805, in a pen and wash drawing 1825
On 13th May 1787, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, a fleet of ships left Portsmouth to "found" a new penal colony on the eastern shore of a virtually unknown continent 12,000 miles away. Twenty five criminal from Hampshire were included in the total of around 750 convicts on board the fleet. A second fleet of three ships, left Portsmouth on 19th January 1789 containing around a thousand more convicts of which a total of 29 from Hampshire, comprising of twenty-seven males and two females. The first fleet took eight months to accomplish the journey and it was deemed a resounding success but the second fleet was an unmitigated disaster.
The attitude of society to criminals during the 18th century was harsh and punitive, fuelled by fears concerning the safety of property, any property, however modest.  Many of the criminals were accommodated in a Bridewell, which was a local prison solely for petty offenders receiving short periods of containment. Whereas others were sent to nearby County gaols, people sentenced for debt and for others awaiting the death penalty or transportation.
Surviving court records in Hampshire only show a minimum of the amount of criminal activity that was rife between the years 1780 and 1800 and many crimes would have gone undetected. Many more never reached prosecution, as there was no police force as there is today, therefore to prosecute a private  individual was a costly and time-consuming affair.
The cost of taking a person to court, made serious inroads to a complainant living thirty or more miles from a town where the assizes or quarter sessions were being held, thus the loss of earnings, cost of recompensing witnesses would be added to the other expenses of the period. These expenses would multiply rapidly for those that depended on these payments included the clerical staff of the assizes, quarter sessions, central courts and ecclesiastical tribunals as they all depended upon the fees for their living Thus a charge was introduced at each step in the procedures and the total cost would be extremely heavy for a man of moderate means.
In the Salisbury Journal an article reads......
"It appears from this confession that they had carried out their depredations with very little interruption for these last seven years during which time they had stolen seventy-two horses, nineteen sheep, fifty-eight flocks of bees and seventy-seven asses.....cloth to the amount of 200 pound at Shroton Fair and acknowledged to have robbed twenty-two different shops besides other smaller thefts"
This was in connection with a confession that two gypsies, Luke STANLEY and John PATRICK, made before leaving Winchester prison for execution in July 1790.
Prisoners were quite often discharged or acquitted due to lack of evidence, the unwillingness of witnesses to attend or "no true bill". An example of this is at the March 1784 assizes in Winchester as many as 17 were acquitted and in the July 1779 quarter sessions 13 out of the 17 prisoners up for trial were discharged.
Despite all the difficulties in obtaining a successful prosecution, there were some that Winchester Assizes sentenced during the last 20 years of the 18th century, either to transportation to be sent to the gallows for execution. Though a number of death sentences were later reduced to transportation, though on what grounds would be difficult to speculate due to the insufficient detail on records.
Death sentences "differed" in their severity  in that the more usual procedure was for the criminal to be taken to the gallows in a cart - the gallows being about a mile up the road to Andover opposite Gallows Field - after the execution had been carried out the family or friends were allowed to dispose of the body themselves. Though sometimes, especially if a particularly brutal murder had been carried out the bodies were sent for dissection. Records show that in March 1796 four black men Summo, Rabon, Ravoo and Sarax, murdered another black man in Portchester Castle, which was the home of several thousand prisoners of war. All were hanged and their bodies sent to the county hospital.
Another notorious case concerning a marine, John Quin, who had helped Mary Bayley murder her husband at their house in Portsmouth. They were sentenced to be dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution where 'she was to be burnt at the stake and he was to be hanged and his body delivered to the surgeon for dissection and anatomization'. The crime of husband killing was regarded as a most serious offence, and technically described as petty treason, and therefore subject to the more extreme punishment.
Quite often as in the case of John Hastings, who was sentenced for the willful murder or Robert Warnock in August 1786, bodies were hung in chains. The day following Hastings execution his body was conveyed to Hardway in Gosport and hanged near the spot 'where this shocking murder and robbery was committed' An example of an iron cage used to string up bodies on a gibbet can still be seen in the Westgate Museum at Winchester.
An even more ferocious sentence was meted out to David Tyrie at a Special Commission in Winchester in August 1782. Tyrie was found guilty of supplying the enemy with information about British warships throughout the kingdom. He was subsequently sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering, with the four quarters being 'disposed of as His Majesty shall think fit'. He was drawn to the place of execution in Portsmouth on a hurdle and the sentence carried out 'before a vast crowd'.
Through various records it has been possible to determine what types of  crime committed by 199 of the transportees sentenced between 1783 and 1791. Apart from a 'high' of assaults and highway robberies in 1783-4 the commonest crimes were robberies or burglaries, and the theft of animals, mainly horses, cows, asses, sheep, pigs and poultry. Though it should be noted that during this period there was only one instance of poaching of game birds receiving a sentence of transportation, this incident took place on the Isle of Wight and involved violence. If no violence was involved the perpetrator was sent to the bridewell for a short period or fined. As well as the above there were also incidences report of sailors wills being forged, one or two of perjury, and the re-sentencing of four men who had earlier escaped from the prison hulks.
The Hampshire Chronicle had reported a considerable amount of information about crimes, for example a spate of highway robberies had taken place on the outskirts of  Portsmouth and Gosport. John Leary, Joseph Morley, Francis Garland and Henry Roach, who all sailed on the First Fleet, were part of a band of six men who attacked and robbed Thomas  Evans in Gosport in 1783
During the same year James Branagan and Robert Bruce robbed John Cutler on the highway at Gosport and John Williams and John Brady robbed Thomas Francis and James White near Forton.

Other incidences took place on roads around market towns such as Andover, Romsey and Wickham , victims for example, being men returning home from market with money in their pockets. One notable incident took place in 1782 which involved William Eastman and Izaac Lamb who:
"....attempted to rob Mr Samuel Walden Jnr, a stone mason, near Henvill Wood as he was coming home from Romsey; one of them jumped out of a hedge and attempted to catch at his bridle upon which he spurred his horse to ride away from them, when the others struck him a violent blow on the side of the head, which cut through his hat and had nearly taken off his ear. When he reached Hursley, he related the circumstance and gave a description of them, when they were immediately pursed and taken...."
Though these were Highway Robberies, not one of them were in the romantic sense of the legendry Dick Turpin, but rather resembled modern day muggers, with the booty being just modest amounts - perhaps a guinea or two, some silver or a watch or purse with a few pennies inside.
Many of the burglaries reported involved women, who usually just took clothes from houses or materials from market stalls or shops. A Mary McDonaugh, who sailed with the Second Fleet, stole clothes from Charles Lane's house - a blue greatcoat and thread stockings; she was identified when she tried to  pawn them. Sophia Meades also stole a quantity of thread lace, cotton shawls and other things from a shop in Gosport. And men accompanied by a female servant living in the house were more likely to take items of value, such as silver, cutlery or money. Hannah Smith was charged with Daniel Gordon for the robbery at the house of Charles Hancock in Upham. Both went on the First Fleet. Around the Portsmouth  area many men were often caught stealing lead, rope or iron articles, often from HM Dockyard but also off of the ships themselves. Again it seems the value of the goods was not very high but it was certainly much easier and rewarding than accosting people on the highway. Robert Campbell stole nine guineas and George Powell took 12 silver teaspoons. And sometimes the hauls were considerably more valuable. Thomas Robinson stole 121 pound from a packet at Spithead, William Waterman broke into a silversmith's in The Square, Winchester, and made off with a large quantity of plate, and William Hawkins stole a canvas bag containing 230 guineas from HMS Prince which was moored at Spithead. When sentenced Hawkins was 'not yet thirteen years old'.
At nearly every quarter sessions and assizes, the theft of animals were reported and this occurred all over the county. Mostly it was the stealing of a fowl or two, perhaps even a sheep for food or a horse to sell, but there were also organised gangs who stole horses. The depredations of Luke Stanley and John Patick have already been mentioned but William Thorogood, a young man, was found guilty in 1777 of stealing a horse from The Leaf at Petersfield, also gave an account '..of a large gang of horse stealers and their different methods of traffick, by exchanging horses that had been stolen in one county, for those that had been stolen in another'
Though records do not show the ages of many of these criminals it was certainly a wide field. Most of the crimes were committed by late teens to middle thirties but James King was 65 when
 'he stole a hawser from Samuel Jones from his sloop The Good Intent and also stealing and carrying away one other haswer from Thomas Burt of Poole from his sloop Active at Gosport'
Bartholomew Reardon was 60 when he took a trunk off a coach outside the Red Lion at Portsmouth. At the other end of the scale William Hawkins who we mentioned earlier was not yet 13 when he was brought to trial.
There is no way of knowing if these felons were convicted and transported to Australia for the most petty crimes though this seems to be true. There is also no way of knowing if any of these were genuine first offenders or how many of them were habitual criminals albeit on a petty scale. But at least six have been identified as having been sentence more than once. William Denman stole sheep in 1782 and poultry in 1790; Robert Perry was sentenced to hard labour in 1780 and to transportation for burglary in 1785. Thomas Philips and John Bagley had stolen a quantity of handkerchiefs in Winchester, a shirt from Martin Filer, near Winchester and 'other stealings unknown'. John Tier (Tire) stole a horse in 1784 and five shirts in 1787 and William Waterman, as already mentioned, stole a quantity of silver plate in 1782 and broke into the Reverend Fleet's house and stole plate in 1790.
Records confirm that there was a considerable fluctuation in the amount of serious crime from year to year and at least some historians found that this was comparable to crime rates for London, Middlesex, Staffordshire, Surrey and Sussex. The predicted that there would be two reasons why these rates would rise. Firstly  in response to the fact that during periods of dearth when food prices were high and increased number of people would fall below the poverty line, and secondly that on the ending of wars, when thousands of young men would be discharged from duties en masse at a time of almost certain recession. Both of these sets of circumstances arose in the two years  between 1782 and 1784. And at the end of the American War, there were 160,000 soldiers, sailors and marines who were demobilized in a very short space of time, all of whom were set free to fend for themselves, most having to walk considerable distances to their homes while others roamed the countryside looking for work.
These reasons seemed to be of special relevance to Hampshire for Portsmouth was one of the main naval ports for demobilization; where many ships were laid off and where there was also a drastic reduction in the number of men required for the RN Dockyard. Although it seems safe to think that there was a crime wave at that time, that in itself, does not show why the penal system had reached a state of crisis in the early 1780s. This explanation lies in two different sets of circumstances, first from 1776 when the American war began, America refused to accept any more transportees and secondly, 18th century gaols were not able to hold large numbers of prisoners at any one time. When it was realized that 30-36,000 British convicts had been despatched to America between 1718 - the year the Transportation Act was passed - and 1775. It can be seen that America's refusal to take any more convicts would very quickly build up into a blockage of the prison system, especially so when  the numbers waiting for transportation were also rising, prisons began to fill up and soon began to overflow.
Prisons were not necessary very large and only expected to hold prisoners until their cases came up at the next quarter sessions or assizes, then the judges did their job and the prisons became empty. Most of the sentences consisted of whipping, the stocks, fines or being sent to the bridewell for terms ranging from a few days to a year or two with hard labour. These could all be accomplished in a few days and even hangings were rarely delayed for more than a week.