A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Early Transportation

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 16:41

Following a rather dreadful BBC series called Banished, I Googled up info about the First Landers  transported convicts. There is much interesting info for a good browse including lists of names of the first 600 plus shipped out. Some had their cirme charge noted and I was surpised to see that the theft of cloth and clothing was the most common listed there. In particular the theft of handkerchiefs - always valued at 2 shillings - was noted several times. One of the reasons for the early miseries was because there were no farmers among the convicts though the  intent was that the colonies would soon be self sufficient. I want to read  and learn more - so some suggestions  and some interesting facts would help. please.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2813
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 17:43

Priscilla wrote:
.... I was surpised to see that the theft of cloth and clothing was the most common listed there. In particular the theft of handkerchiefs - always valued at 2 shillings - was noted several times.

I seem to recall reading that in the early part of the 19th century, so severe were the penalties for theft (which were prescribed in terms of the value of the items stolen and which hadn't for many years been revised in the light of inflation), that there was frequently unofficial collusion between juries, lawyers, even magistrates and aggrieved parties, to avoid convictions for high value goods that would have demanded a mandatory death sentence, in favour of lesser value theft which only demanded transportation. I suspect that "theft of a handkerchief valued at 2 shillings", was a well-known "accommodation", pitched at just less than the value that demanded a hanging, and that the value of "a handkerchief" had been so well established by legal precedent as to have been uncontestable. In short if someone had been apprehended for burglary, theft or rustling, often everyone involved unofficially agreed that they had stolen just a handkerchief, and that it was unproven that they'd stolen monies or property of any greater value. The accused was therefore transported rather than hanged ... they had not been let off but at least they had not been condemned to death just for stealing, say a sheep, to feed their starving family. And so everyone's consciences felt a little bit better.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 18:55

From my "O"-level history days, I remember being told the reduction in the number of capital offences was partly occasioned by the "perverse" verdicts juries persisted in bringing in - acquitting the patently guilty because they didn't think the offence warranted a hanging, so you may well be right.
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1705
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 21:55

Gil and Meles meles,


I remember that I read about it in Colleen McCullough's "Morgan's run"...

http://books.google.be/books/about/Morgan_s_Run.html?id=cHPG9EKdZFEC&redir_esc=y

Kind regards to both of you from a busy Paul, not even having time to comment in the interesting thread on Historum about "Nationhood"...
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 23:02

Of course, "Early" transportation was to the Americas. Australia was a second-half substitute.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 23:08

A  well-regarded Australian writer, Kate Grenville, has written about her own convict family and their dealings with Aboriginals in both novels and non-fiction.  I don't know if she has written much about the reasons for their deportation or not.  You would find more out too by looking up the Old Bailey records, I think.  They are online. 

Or read Thomas Keneally's A Commonwealth of Thieves (not that I have), which is the first of what seems to be a quadrology [what is the real word for this?] of Australian history in novelistic form.  I also see a statement in a (not totally flattering) review of one of these a mention of the volumes in Alan ­Atkinson’s Europeans in Australia trilogy ­which appeared in 1997, 2004 and 2014.The reviewere felt these were more accurately researched.  I don't know them.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 23:17

"history in novelistic form". A phrase that fills me with dread - you never know when the author is attempting (however successfully or, more often, unsuccessfully) to remain faithful to their understanding of the truth, and when they are just making it up.
Back to top Go down
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 23:30

Twenty four of the first taken to Australia had been America bound and had taken over their ship. How they came to be rearrested I know not. They were given  life sentences - most others had a seven year sentence.

The 2s handkerchief info was most interesting MM. I shoulld have worked it out. It also adds a touch of humanity to a time which is usually depicted as being short suited in compassion.

The first people transported all appear to be have been English - yes, I read the entire roll. Many being tried in the southwest, Bodmin, currently of TV's  'Poldark' series fame....... and I have to look into that too. Was copper mining really ever such an asset there? I digress. But that is the solace I get from such programmes - enticing fodder that leads to a  search for truths to munch on. 
Thank you all for adding your bits. I will try to find some of those books.

From my first delving I was surprised to learn how quickly the settlements grew, became regulated and where former convicts rose to important positions of reponsibility.


Last edited by Priscilla on Mon 20 Apr 2015, 00:11; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sloppy typing)
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Sun 19 Apr 2015, 23:47

might find some of this timeline interesting - specifically when certin crimes ceased to be regarded as "capital" offences.

http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/timeline.html

Now there is one thing in there that raises a question in my mind. What was Abel Magwitch thinking he was liable to be hanged for on his return from Australia? Great Expectations came out 1860 - Returning from Transportation, according to the above, ceased to be a capital crime in 1834! Anyone know the answer?
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2813
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 09:09

Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:

Now there is one thing in there that raises a question in my mind. What was Abel Magwitch thinking he was liable to be hanged for on his return from Australia? Great Expectations came out 1860 - Returning from Transportation, according to the above, ceased to be a capital crime in 1834! Anyone know the answer?

In 'Great Expectations' Magwitch had been transported to Australia in 1813 "for life" but managed to return under an assumed name (Provis) in about 1829, when Pip is 23 years old, thus when the story was set, returning illegally from Transportation was still a capital crime.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 18:59

Priscilla wrote:
The first people transported all appear to be have been English - yes, I read the entire roll. Many being tried in the southwest, Bodmin, currently of TV's  'Poldark' series fame....... and I have to look into that too. Was copper mining really ever such an asset there?

They appear to have been English only if one categorises Cornish people as 'English'. Copper was indeed big business in Cornwall and also on the English side of the River Tamar in Devon. Winston Graham does indeed name a 'Carnmore Copper Company' in his novels and so the storyline hasn't been sexed up by the series' producers for the benefit of a 21st century audience as might be suspected. The reason why tin is perhaps more famous than copper in relation to mining in Cornwall and Devon is that it was more widespread and was mined over a longer period of time. Copper mining in Britain (not just in Cornwall and Devon but also in Wales) was in serious decline from the first half of the 19th century due to the opening of great seams in South America and later in Africa.

Away from the early transportations, and at the other end of the era, here's a mugshot of one of the last people to be transported to Australia - John O'Reilly in the 1860s:



His was a remarkable story. A cavalryman in the 10th Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment he was convicted of suspected Fenian activity and sentenced to 20 years penal servitude. He sailed on the Hougoumont (the last ship to carry prisoners for transportation to Australia) and arrived in Fremantle in 1868. The following year O'Reilly absconded and took a rowing boat out into the sea where he was picked up by an American whaling ship. He then traveled incognito via Rodriquez Island in the Indian Ocean to St Helena in the Atlantic and then on to England. From Liverpool he sailed to America.

The son of a schoolmaster O'Reilly was highly literate and found employment as a journalist in Boston. He was also a published poet. In his later years he was to turn against militant Fenianism and instead supported education as the best way forward for Ireland and the Irish diaspora.
Back to top Go down
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: Early Transportation   Mon 20 Apr 2015, 23:25

I ought to have looked up the copper info - thank you for that Viz.

There was mention in the article that I read about the first free migrants but no detail about when - or indeed how that came about. But it was certainly well before the transports stopped. There was mention that 60 000 convicts went to the Americas before the revolution but I must have missed how many went to Australia - and Tasmania. I had better get back to some reading.
Back to top Go down
 

Early Transportation

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Civilisation and Community-