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 1: ‘Since we first arrived at this distant country [January 1788] 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, 9 April 1790‘. Jack Egan, Buried Alive, Eyewitness accounts of the making of a nation 1788-92, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1999

June 1790  Flags Up…a ship with London on her stern’.

On the 3rd of June 1790,  two (2) months after  ‘hope [had] now almost vanished’– the cry ‘Flags Up’ rang out.  Lady Juliana with two hundred and twenty six (226) ‘useless’ women prisoners broke the terrible isolation.

She 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.

One hundred and fifteen (115) officers and other ranks, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps of Infantry guarded the prisoners during the voyage.

London Gazette Extract

‘The great change came 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

Just six (6) months later; ‘military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

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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, reached Botany Bay in the middle of January 1788.

‘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

Among them 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.

Sydney Cove – 26 January: The entire fleet relocated nine (9) miles (14km) north to Sydney Cove on the 26th of January.

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

27 February: One (1) month later – 27 February – Barrett, Lavell, Hall and Ryan stood beneath‘ a large tree fixt as a gallows’. 

Britain’s invasion and colonisation of New Holland brought Australia’s First Nations starvation, disease and imposed a racist caste system based not only on colour but on hue.

Well practised retribution was meted out when any of them dared to challenge the predators who stole their land and plundered their resources.

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

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

Even if acknowledged the consequences for the First Australians of Britain’s 1788 invasion and conquest;  gross gender imbalance, starvation and syphilis,  the death penalty 1788 –  not ‘dead & buried’ until 2010, the smallpox virus that killed 50% of Sydney’s Aboriginal families in 1789 these 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 with 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 arm of a large tree was fixt upon as a gallows’. Arthur Bowes Smyth, Surgeon Lady Penrhyn, First Fleet  Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

1788 –  27 February, Sydney Cove: On that day four (4) convicts John Ryan, Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell and Joseph Hall were accused ‘on shaky evidence’ of robbing or conspiring to rob food from the government storehouse. Found guilty all were sentenced to death with the execution to take place later that day.

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FROM HERE TO ETERNITY – THOMAS BARRETT

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

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

Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February:   One (1) month after disembarking from the ‘First Fleet’  convict Thomas Barrett was hanged from;  ‘the arm of a large tree…fixed upon as a gallows’

Barrett’s execution was public theatre staged to instil terror into all spectators; be they convict, soldier, sailor or the silent, unseen locals – The First Australians.

A small plaque at the corner of Harrington and Essex Streets in Sydney’s Rocks area marks Barrett’s fleeting presence in Australia.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and the [male] 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, 1990

On ‘shaky evidence’ Thomas Barrett aged about 30 years, was accused, in company with three (3) others, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan, of stealing food from government stores.

it is a matter of record the day before – 26 February 1788 – they had received their full ration.  Nevertheless at twelve (12) noon the four (4) men appeared before a hastily convened court.

London – 1782:  Six (6) years earlier, at different times during 1782, each had appeared at London’s Old Bailey on various charges. Found guilty and sentenced to death.  On that occasion each had the death sentence forgiven on condition they be marked ‘ for transportation to America’.

Sydney – 1788:  All were found guilty as charged and sentenced to death. On this occasion the execution was to take place before nightfall.

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