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Old August 23rd, 2013, 02:56 PM   #1

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Convict Transportation from Britain c 1610-1780


Hi there America ,good evening .

I am interested in UK crime and punishment and have done a little research on the transportation of our convicts to Australia c late 18thc to c 1860s from the UK . I would like to find out more about the earlier transportations to Maryland and Virginia, typically from Newgate Jail London (which also held convicts from other outlying UK Counties) .

I have read parts of Coldhams - Bonded Passengers ,and also seen some of the reciepts and lists for the "malefactors" from Newgate bound for Maryland (eg Ship Gilbert 1720 and others) Also some of our records held at Kew National Archives , or what survives of them and read some of the Old Bailey proceedings/sentences .
I am now interested in what records are held in YOUR archives , what happened to the estimated 50,000 UK convicts . Did Thomas Jefferson play it down ? , as i have read some British researchers say . How is it looked upon in your history ? I know the difference between indenture and convict transportation and prefer to learn more about the latter.
Thanks

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 03:45 PM   #2

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Just in case you didn't know they were online too:

Old Bailey Online - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 - Central Criminal Court


Colonial Settlement (1492 - 1763) - Chronological Period - U.S. History - Resources from Outside the Library - Additional Resources | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress



The Governor of the New England Colony also wrote a history/information about the affairs under The Winthrop Papers.


Winthrop papers : Winthrop, Adam, 1548-1623 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive


Quote:
Winthrop's son, John, was one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony, and Winthrop himself wrote one of the leading historical accounts of the early colonial period. His long list of descendants includes famous Americans, and his writings continue to be an influence on politicians today.
John_Winthrop John_Winthrop
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 04:11 PM   #3

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Thankyou Rochester . Yes i could read the Old Bailey on line allnight and i do .

I also read the Middlesex Sessions Rolls and have looked for anything that might be in there but only got to about early 1600s so far . Would they be classed as a kind of petty sessions at that time ? . They often just seem to be fines for not going to CofE mass or shouting in the street ,gambling , brothels , playouses open late making a drunken noise, dancing, gypsies , vagabonds, branding . Murders and the odd hang drawn and quarter so far. Need to go further as i think i read most transportation was later at about 1720 to 1770 ?
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 04:25 PM   #4

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.....Winthrop chap is interesting , thanks . Sounds a bit like Iain Duncan Smith , i can just imagine his views on the London clinks
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 04:29 PM   #5

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I'm no expert but I believe most of the early settlers from the 1600s went because they disagreed with the religion in England and wanted to form a more Puritan styled colony in the New World. You're probably right in your suggestion that transportation for criminal offences was more a 1700s sort of thing.


Quote:
North America was used for transportation from the early 17th century to the American Revolution of 1776. In the 17th century, it was done at the expense of the convicts or the shipowners. The first Transportation Act in 1718 allowed courts to sentence convicts to seven years' transportation to America. In 1720, extension authorised payments by the state to merchants contracted to take the convicts to America. Under the Transportation Act, returning from transportation was a capital offence.[1][2]
The gaols became overcrowded and dilapidated ships were pressed into service, the hulks moored in various ports as floating gaols. The number of convicts transported to North America is not verified although it has been estimated to be 50,000 by Dr John Dunmore Lang and 120,000 by Thomas Keneally. These went originally to New England, the majority of prisoners taken in battle from Ireland and Scotland. Some were sold as slaves to the Southern states.[3]
From the 1620s until the American Revolution, the British colonies in North America received transported British criminals. The American Revolutionary War brought that to an end and, since the remaining British colonies in what is now Canada were close to the new United States of America, prisoners sent there might become hostile to British authorities. Thus, the British Government was forced to look elsewhere.

Penal_transportation Penal_transportation

Hopefully the Americans can provide some sources, presumably there's some around in Boston or the NYPL.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 04:48 PM   #6

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Yes , a few were political prisoners and some from Ireland ,but i think most would be English , for the simple reason that England had a much higher population and the names on the convict shipping lists seem to be mostly English and Welsh . I have seen English Jacobites sentenced to exile as well as the Scots of course . Tolpuddle Martyrs i know some were transported and Luddites ? .
Something that has always puzzled me is the whole "puritans escaping persecution " thing . When you look at our (UK) records it does not seem to be a big thing , non-conformist offenders just seem to get fined for not attending CofE mass ,and repeatedly in some cases. But not as "persecuted" as is made out in American records . Though of course toleration fluctuated

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 05:06 PM   #7

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.....Is there a source re your quote research by Dunmore and Keneally "prison hulks" and "prisoners in battle" . It does not make sense . The prison hulks were much later , used in Victorian times in English ports for prisoners bound for Australia

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:39 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindane View Post
.....Is there a source re your quote research by Dunmore and Keneally "prison hulks" and "prisoners in battle" . It does not make sense . The prison hulks were much later , used in Victorian times in English ports for prisoners bound for Australia

That might be a reference to Jacobean interference from Scotland perhaps? Seeing that we didn't quash the rebels until Culloden in 1746. As to when we first started using prison hulks I can't say for sure, tho I always considered them a 19thC affair.

The Battle link refers to the Highland clearances.

Highland_Clearances Highland_Clearances

Which suggests the prisoners were Jacobites, although a lot of the clearances weren't very sporting.

Quote:
There was mass forced emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands and the North American colonies. The clearances were particularly notorious as a result of the late timing, the lack of legal protection for year-by-year tenants under Scots law, the abruptness of the change from the traditional clan system, and the brutality of many evictions
....
From about 1725, in the aftermath of the first Jacobite Rising, Highlanders had begun emigrating to the Americas in increasing numbers.

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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As far as religious issues, the Puritans went to New England where they were a majority. Pennsilvania and Maryland were proprietary colonies for Quakers and Catholics respectively, but in both cases they were a minority. Pretty much all the convicts were sent to the south, where most people did not go for religious reasons.

I believe most of the convicts were made to work as indentured servants.

There was a big cultural and class difference in the south between the slave owners, who were often descended from British gentry and maybe younger sons of nobility; and "rednecks" descended from indentured servants.

I think convicts were first sent to Maryland and Virginia, and later to Georgia. There was an increase in executions in Britain after the American Revolution, before they figured out to send them to Australia.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 07:02 PM   #10

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Rochester
Seems to be a lot of citation requests on that wiki site and not much info re any transportation.

I know that many from the clearances ended up in the Scottish mills , like Stanley Mills near Perth , which i think was built for that purpose . Much like land enclosure in England and the migration into the cities or abroad . I read that there was an assisted passage scheme to Canada from Scotland .

I know a really good Jacobite thread on another site , a big list . You might be surprised how many are English . It is very comprehensive . I will try post link now , but am on phone .......so if not will tomorrow
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