Posts Tagged ‘crime and punishment’

A MILLION DOLLAR BABY – THE BOTANY BAY MEDALLION & THOMAS BARRETT

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

‘The ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ a skillfully engraved metal medallion inscribed with a relief description of the voyage dated 20 January 1788 and a representation of the Charlotte riding at anchor at Botany Bay.  Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia,

image of charlotte medal

Thomas Barrett is thought to ‘have been the maker of the Botany Bay Medallion.’ Also known as the Charlotte Medal,  it measures 74 mm (3 inches).

One side bears a precise reckoning of the First Fleet’s gruelling eight (8) months voyage across 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of largely ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ from England to conquer New Holland, now Australia.

It appears to have been fashioned from a silver-coloured metal medical dish owned most likely by Dr. John White the fleet’s chief medical officer.

The face of the medal depicts Charlotte  one (1) of the fleet’s six (6) convict transports – Alexander, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales and Scarborough, chartered by the British government to ship 750 convicted criminals  (570 males, 190 women) from England to Australia, together with three (3) stores-ships, Golden Grove, Borrowdale and Fishburn.

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TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD – THOMAS BARRETT

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘He [ Barrett] may have been the maker of the Botany Bay Medallion…a skilfully engraved metal medallion inscribed with a relief description of the voyage dated 20 January 1788 and a representation of the Charlotte at anchor in Botany Bay. Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1990

image of charlotte medal

The Charlotte Medal, created by Thomas Barrett

Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February 27: A lifer’  Thomas Barrett was the first Englishman hanged in European Australia.

Barrett fashioned the ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ AKA the ‘Charlotte Medal from a ‘silver coloured metal kidney dish’ thought to belong to Dr. John White. The fleet’s Chief Medical Officer White would have certified Barrett’s death. See: From Here to Eternity 

An excellent medical administrator White nevertheless was a flawed character.  Controversy over provenance of paintings;  ‘by  the artist known as the Port Jackson Painter’ in the Watling Collection, London Natural History Museum, remains current to this day.

London: Barrett, probably son of Irish immigrants, was born in London in 1758. His profile is not that of the usual illiterate dead-beat English common criminal. Unusual for those times he could read and, as exemplified by the medallion, wrote a find hand.

In September 1782 Barrett stood in the dock of the Old Bailey accused of stealing clothing and ‘a silver watch with chain’ from an unoccupied house, described as ‘up for rent’.

Found guilty as charged, sentenced to hang, he spent the following twelve (12) months on ‘death row’ in one of London’s appalling prisons.

On 11 September 1783 the death penalty was commuted for ‘transportation to America’ for the ‘term of his natural life’ . Barrett was transferred to Censor a Thames River prison-hulk to await shipment.

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ANALYSE THIS

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

‘On 1 April 1776 [‘whereas the transportation of convicts to H.M. Colonies in America is found to be attended with various inconveniences’] Lord North moved to bring in a Bill to authorise for a limited time punishment, by hard labour, of offenders who were liable to transportation’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1993

1775- April, America: Conflict between England and her American colonies – the War of Independence (1775-1783) – brought a sudden halt to convict transportation to America.

‘Convict transportation in its original manifestation [Geo.1 C.11-23-29] was a uniquely American phenomenon.’ Anthony Vaver Bound With An Iron Chain, The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 convicts to Colonial America, Pickpocket Publishing, 2011

England’s gaols, previously short-term holding pens for convicted criminals,reprieved death and commuted ‘for transportation to America’, were quickly overwhelmed.

During eight (8) years of conflict approximately 10,000 prisoners were held over.

1776 – 23 May, England: The Hulks Act – 16 Geo. III, c 43 – received Royal Assent on 23rd May 1776. Lord North’s Bill was a game-changer. It changed the status of prisoners sentenced ‘for transportation’.

The legislation introduced a legal distinction that applied only to those criminals reprieved death on condition they be ‘transported out of the realm…beyond the seas’. See: April Fools Day

Deemed ‘Servants of the Crown’ until expiry of the term of sentence, their ‘service’ was for the ‘nation’, thereby ensuring ‘its original [1717-18] manifestation [remained] ‘a uniquely American phenomenon’.

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A TETHERED GOAT – JOHN McENTIRE- DECEMBER 1790

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Sydney – 1790 – January: ‘Since the 13th of May, 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouthwe had been entirely cut off…from the intelligence of our friends and connections… no communications whatever having passed with our native country’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961 

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‘Since we first arrived [January 1788] at this distant country all this while we have been as it were buried alive, never having the opportunity to hear from our friends…our hopes are now almost vanished’. Reverend Richard Johnson cited Jack Egan, Buried Alive, Eyewitness accounts of the making of a nation 1788-92, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1999

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‘The great change came [June 1790] in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the first companies of the New South Wales Corps’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwse, Glyn Williams. Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London, 2018

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‘A smokescreen of legal confusion and argument covered up a continuing pattern of killings at the frontiers of the Australian colonies’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, History of Law In Australia, Allen & Unwin, 1995

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1790 – 3 June:  Flags Up…a ship with London on her stern

Sydney – 1790 June: Six (6) months after ‘hope [had] almost vanished’ for the Robinson Cruoses of the ‘First Fleet’ Lady Juliana, a convict transport with two hundred and twenty six (226) ‘useless’ women prisoners, broke the terrible isolation for English men, women and children marooned at Botany Bay since January 1788. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

Dubbed the ‘Brothel Ship’ Lady Juliana was first of four (4) vessels that made up the second fleet Britain’s Grim Armada’ . 

By the end of June 1790 Alexander, Scarborough Suprize the fleet’s death ships arrived with approximately one thousand (1000) men.

Distributed throughout were one hundred and fifteen (115) officers and other ranks, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps of Infantry, guarding the convicts.

London Gazette Extract

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by [14] December 1790’. Kercher, An Unruly Child. ibid.

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THREE AMIGOS – WOODHAM RUGLESS LIMPUS + ONE – THOMAS BARRETT

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

‘The grand consideration seems to be, to get them [convicted criminals] out of Europe at all Events…simply landing these people in Africa., to let them shift for themselves’. Governor Richard Miles, Cape Coast Castle to Home Office, London. Cited Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia, Library of Australian History.

London – 1781 May 30: Samuel Woodham and John Rugless, aged about 16 years – described as ‘boys’ in court papers  appeared at the Old Bailey indicted for assault and highway robbery.

Africa: Found guilty of stealing a silver shirt buckle, a cotton handkerchief and 14 (fourteen) shillings in coin they were sentenced to hang. Reprieved, commuted for a life-time of military service in Africa, both were lodged in London’s infamous Newgate gaol to await shipment.

London – 1782  October 8:  Thomas Limpus appeared at the General Quarter Sessions at the beginning of October 1782 charged with theft of a handkerchief. Found guilty he was sentenced to seven (7) years exile in Africa.

Biographical information is taken from Mollie Gillen’s fabulous Founders of Australia (more…)

AFRICA: IN AND OUT OF AFRICA – THOMAS LIMPUS, JOHN RUGLESS, SAMUEL WOODHAM

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

It is natural to infer that Government understands it is simply landing these people in Africa, to let them shift for themselves, and get their Board in the best manner they can’. Richard Miles, Governor Cape Coast Castle to Home Office, London.

West Africa: In 1644 England, during the third Anglo-Dutch War, captured Cape Coast Castle from the Dutch and established a permanent foot-hold in West Africa.

England:  Oliver Cromwell in 1655 Oliver Cromwell made ‘reprieve from death conditional [on] banishment out of the realm’.

London – 1717/18: Following legislation, 4 Geo. 1 c.11, transportation to ‘an American colony’ became the normal sentence for criminals whose death sentence was ‘forgiven’ on condition they be banished.from ‘the realm’.

By the time of King George 111’s reign (1760-1820) ‘transportation to America’ – tied to twice yearly sittings of county courts, ran like-clock-work.

Every convict sent to America was sold like a slave. The only essential difference…one was sold for life the other for a term of years’. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America, 1981

Government made money from the convict trade. A transport merchant paid Treasury for each prisoner purchased.

On landing in America the ‘contractor’ sold their ‘service’ – labour – to cotton and tobacco planters.

‘To provide for the more speedy removal of convicts, 8 Geo. 111, c15 declared that where the King’s mercy was extended to them on condition of transportation they were to be delivered to the contractor forthwith, instead of lying in prison until the next session of the court to plead their pardons‘. Wilfrid Oldham, British Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1990

 America: Britain, between 1717 and 1775, exported  50,000 convicts to her North American colonies.

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A VICIOUS CIRCLE – THE HANGMAN’S NOOSE

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

‘The death penalty was brought to Australia with the First Fleet’. Mike Edwards, The Hanged Man, The Life and Death of Ronald Ryan, 2002.

Botany Bay – 1788 – January, 18-20: Approximately 750 (570 male and 193 female) of England’s convicted criminals, reprieved death on condition they be exiled ‘from the realm’ reached Botany Bay in the middle of January 1788.

Among them Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan friends from years of imprisonment in gaols and on prison hulks moored along the Thames River.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and the convicts…the standard adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney 1990

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‘When leaving Botany Bay Phillip noticed two [2] French ships in the offing…there would seem to be “some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six [6] days”. Edward Jenks, History of the Australian Colonies cited H.E. Egerton, A Short History of British Colonial Policy, Methueun, London 1928

Sydney Cove – 26 January: By ‘8 pm’ on the 26th of January the entire  English fleet  was riding at anchor in Sydney Cove nine (9) miles (14km) north of the original beach-head. 

Port Jackson – 27 January:The landing of a part of the marines and [male] convicts took place the next day, and on the following [28th] the remainder [of men] disembarked’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961

Aside from seagulls how many white birds were on dry land at Sydney Cove on  26 January 1788? None

Sydney Cove – 6 February: Between 6am and 6 pm the two hundred and twenty-three (223) women and their children, twenty-two (22) born on the voyage, were rowed ashore.

7 February : ‘Owing to the multiplicity of pressing business necessary to be performed immediately after landing, it was found impossible to read the public commissions and take possession of the colony in form, until the 7th of February’. Tench. ibid

27 February:  Towards the end of the  month Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan stood beneath‘ a large tree fixt as a gallows’. From Here To Eternity

If for no reason other than the fate of these four (4) young Englishmen provide insight and shed light on the ‘universal terror’ meted out to Australia’s First Peoples their brutal intersecting stories need to be told.  See: ‘Terror’ Arthur’s Algorithm

The punitive way the English dealt with their own people reveal them malicious and vindictive in the extreme.

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Britain transported one hundred and sixty-three thousand (163,000) criminals to Australia.  Twenty-five thousand (25,000) were women. Of these twelve thousand (12,000) went directly to Tasmania.  West Australia, where transportation ended in 1868, received ten thousand (10,000)  male prisoners and zero females.

Well practised retribution was meted out when any dared to challenge the predators who plundered their resources and stole their culture, stole their children, stole their land, stole their lives and continue to do so.

Because of such gross imbalance of the sexes in the criminal, military and civilian population Britain’s invasion and colonisation of New Holland imposed  a racist caste-system on Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples. In time caste came to be based not only on colour but on shades of hue.   G is for Genocide

‘Imagine if we had suffered the injustices and then were blamed for it’. Paul Keating Redfern Speech, 10 December 1992.

Although the myriad injustices that followed Britain’s invasion stand in plain sight, because of widespread ignorance of our shared history throughout mainstream non-Aboriginal Australia, they go largely unrecognised and unacknowledged.

Even when acknowledged the consequences for the First Australians of Britain’s 1788 invasion, conquest, the death penalty  starvation, dispossession, dispersal,  gross gender imbalance –   genocide, syphilis –   starvation – the smallpox virus that killed 50% of Sydney’s Aboriginal families in 1789 are simply swept under the carpet. (more…)

CATCH 22 – JAMES FREEMAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 James Freeman – ‘Hang or be Hanged’. 

 

Part of the original document pardoning a convict if he acts as executioner

Extract showing a pardon on condition of becoming the public executioner. Dated 1 March 1788, signed by Governor Arthur Phillip.

‘For here was an opportunity of establishing a Jack Ketch who Should, in all future Executions, either Hang or be Hanged’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal.

1788 –  Friday 29th February: Shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s’ criminal court.

To avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days, it had been decided court would convene earlier than usual. See: Blind Man’s Bluff

At 8 am convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, were first to appear in the dock.

Both were found guilty. Shearman was sentenced to 300 lashes. Freeman was condemned to death the execution to take place that same day.

Next to appear George Whitaker, Daniel Gordon and John Williams charged with stealing eighteen (18) bottles of wine. Whitaker was discharged.

Gordon and Williams, both Afro -Americans, were found guilty and sentenced to hang with Freeman.

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BLIND MAN’S BLUFF – A DOUBLE BILL- HALL & LAVELL

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

‘The full force of laws against theft was imposed from the moment the expedition arrived in Sydney. At the end of February 1788 five [5] men were convicted of theft and condemned to death, illustrating that property was more sacrosanct than life itself.

The sentences were carried out at public hangings, which the whole convict population was forced to watch’. Henry Reynolds,  Searching for truth-telling, History, Sovereignty and The Uluru Statement From the Heart, NewSouth Publishing, 2021

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‘Few personal documents relating to [Governor Arthur] Phillip survive; his low personal profile and the secret work in which he was sometimes involved make him one of the least-known founders of any modern state – in this case Australia’. Nigel Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe & Glyn Williams, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, 2018

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1788 –  27 February, Sydney Cove: Four (4) convicts John Ryan, Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell and Joseph Hall stood before a hastily  convened military court accused ‘on shaky evidence’ of robbing or conspiring to rob food from the government storehouse.

‘Just three [3] weeks before half a continent had been declared Crown land in one of the most remarkable acts of plunder in modern times.’. Henry Reynolds. op.cit.

Found guilty all were sentenced to death. The execution to take place later that same day.

‘The arm of a large tree was fixt upon as a gallows’. Arthur Bowes Smyth, Surgeon Lady Penrhyn, First Fleet  Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

These four (4) men were mates. Their strong friendship had been forged during three (3) difficult years imprisoned in Dunkirk a prison-hulk moored in the River Thames. See Mutiny on Mercury and Swift

Under the ‘gallows tree’ pressure was brought to bear on John Ryan the youngest; ‘he turned king’s evidence [and] his irons were removed’.

At 5pm, Marine Captain James Campbell approached Mr Brewer the Provost Marshall with a twenty-four (24) hour stay-of-execution for Hall and Lavell and their nooses were removed.

No longer part of the action they became part of the audience.

Only Thomas Barrett died that day.   ‘The lifer who was the ringleader [was] launched into Eternity’. See: From Here to Eternity

‘The body hung for an hour and was then buried in a grave dug very near the gallows’. Lieutenant Ralph Clark, First Fleet Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

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THE IRISH & THE ENGLISH KING IN AUSTRALIA

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

‘In 1800 and 1801 many hundreds of Irish prisoners arrived, pushing the percentage of Irish to more than one-third of those under sentence and one-quarter of the white population. Governor King nervously estimated that more than half of the recent arrivals were Catholic ‘Defenders’, summarily transported  for their part in the massive Irish rebellion of 1798′. Marian Quartly, Creating a Nation 1788-1990, Chapter 2, 1990

1800 – September, Sydney: Governor Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN succeeded Governor Captain John Hunter RN who had been recalled to England took up his commission on Hunter’s departure in September 1800.

King found himself juggling many balls; an unruly soldiery, a tsunami of grog, French colonial ambition and a simmering Irish rebellion. The Irish, many sentenced to death following the uprisings of 1798 on home soil, were reprieved death on condition of transportation to Australia, and these appeared to pose the most immediate threat.

A mixed bunch most poor illiterates, others were educated men; General Joseph Holt a militant Protestant, Rev. Henry Fulton an Episcopalian minister and Father James Harold a Catholic priest with two (2) British army officers Captains Alcock and St. Ledger.

1800 – 11 January, Sydney: At the beginning of 1800 these five (5) men were among one hundred and ninety-one (191) prisoners, twenty-six (26) of them women, who arrived aboard the convict transport Minerva in January 1800. See: G for Gender

Minerva and another convict ship Friendship sailed together from Cork on 24 August 1799. Friendship with one hundred and thirty-three male (133) prisoners. During the voyage of one hundred and forty (140) days via Rio one (1) in seven (7) prisoners died. Father James Dixon a Catholic priest and Paddy Galvin were among the survivors. See: G for Genocide

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