Posts Tagged ‘mary bryant’

BOSWELL GOES INTO BAT FOR THE BOTANY BAY ESCAPEES

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

‘Boswell appeared for the defence, sometimes in well-nigh hopeless cases. He was never deterred, however, either by the poverty of his client, or by the weight of the evidence against him. On the contrary he seems to have been prone to espouse the causes of the more forlorn the more pertinaciously. C.H Currey, The Transportation Escape and Pardoning of Mary Bryant, Angus and Robertson, 1963.

 1792 – July, Old Bailey London: In 1792 James Boswell, prominent diarist and lawyer, appeared for the defence in a most extraordinary case.

His clients five [5] convicts – Mary Bryant, William Allen, James Martin, Nathaniel Lilley and John Butcher known collectively as ‘the Botany Bay escapees’ .

Each was charged, in accordance with Act 4, Geo. I, c. 11 Transportation Act of 1717[18] with ‘return before expiry of sentence…being at large within the kingdom’. If proven ‘return before expiry’ attracted mandatory death.

1792 – 2 July, London: It is not clear how James Boswell came to defend Mary Bryant but as she stood in the dock of the Old Bailey, London’s central Criminal Court, it would be hard to imagine anyone ‘more forlorn’.

1786 – March, London:  Six (6) years earlier –  March 1786 – in the same court Mary Bryant, then Mary Braund (Broad) aged about 18 years stood charged with theft of a silk bonnet. Found guilty and sentenced to death she was reprieved and commuted for transportation ‘beyond the seas’. (more…)

SMALLPOX SYDNEY 1789 – A VERY CONVENIENT THEORY – IT WAS THE MACASSANS STUPID

Monday, January 25th, 2016

‘Yesterday twenty [20] of the natives came down to the beach, each armed with a number of spears, and seized on a good part of the fish caught in the seine [trawling nets]…several stood at a small distance with their spears poised ready to throw them if any resistance was made’. Arthur Phillip to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean, July 10, 1788 See: Abandoned and Left to Starve at Sydney Cove from January 1788 to July 1790

When the Englishmen of the ‘First Fleet’ arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 they did not find the local Eora Peoples familiar with iron axes, knives, tobacco, cloth or glass but when introduced these items were valued highly.

Up to 1,500 Macassans a year would reach [northern] Australia and they did influence the Aborigines by trading iron axes, tobacco, cloth, knives and glass. They taught the Aboriginal of those parts how to make dug-out canoes, more substantial than the simple [Sydney] water-craft of stringy-bark’. Stewart Harris, Treaty, It’s Coming Yet, 1979  

1787 – 13 May, England: The ‘First Fleet’ – a large armed squadron of  eleven (11) British ships, with a complement of 1500 souls – sailed from Portsmouth in mid May 1787 charged with the invasion and conquest of New Holland, now Australia.

‘It is true, that our surgeons had brought out variolous [smallpox] matter in bottles’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1788 – January, Port Jackson: In January 1788 Commander Captain Arthur Phillip RN established an English settlement at Sydney Cove deep within Port Jackson. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head Captain Arthur Phillip & Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse

By a strange coincidence, smallpox reached Port Jackson at about the same time as the First Fleet’. Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders, UNSW Press, 2006 

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PANDORA’S BOX – THE BOUNTY MUTINEERS & THE BOTANY BAY ESCAPEES

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

On 17th March 1790, a small paragraph appeared in the Times announcing that William Bligh, fresh from his remarkable voyage across the Pacific, was expected in London later that afternoon. He had arrived in Portsmouth three days earlier’. John Toohey, Captain Bligh’s Portable Nightmare, 1998

1790 –  March, Portsmouth: Captain William Bligh RN arrived in England on the 14th March 1790 eager to give testimony to the Admiralty  putting his side of the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ story. (more…)

THE GREAT ESCAPE FROM SYDNEY COVE

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

1792 – March, Africa: ‘They [Botany Bay escapees] had miscarried in a heroic struggle for liberty after having combated every hardship and conquered every difficulty’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961.

1792 – March – Cape Town: Captain Tench, aboard HMS Gorgan en-route from Sydney to England with returning ‘First Fleet’ marines who had been stranded at Sydney Cove since January 1788 was astounded when some of eleven (11) convicts who had escaped from Sydney in 1791 sailed into Table Bay in a Dutch vessel, prisoners of Captain Edward Edwards RN. See: HMS Gorgan and the Botany Bay Escapees

A year earlier – 28 March 1791 – convicts Mary and William Bryant baby Emanuel and Charlotte aged three (3), with seven (7) trusted companions, oars muffled on their stolen row-boat – Governor Phillip’s cutter – slipped silently through towering Sydney Heads out into the open sea and made for Timor.

The Admiralty gave Captain Edwards command of HMS Pandora and sent him to Tahiti with orders to round up and arrest the Bounty mutineers and bring them to England for court-martial. See: Pandora’s Box 

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HMS GORGON & THE ‘BOTANY BAY ESCAPEES’

Friday, March 13th, 2009

‘I confess that I never looked at these people [Botany Bay escapees] without pity and astonishment. They had miscarried in a Heroic struggle for liberty after having combated every hardship and conquered every difficulty’. Watkin Tench at Cape Town aboard HMS Gorgan, March 1792. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson 1961

1791 – 21 September, Sydney Cove: HMS Gorgan arrived at Sydney in September 1791 tasked with returning marines of the Sydney Garrison to England.

Six (6) months earlier, in March, the hustle and bustle surrounding the departure of Waaksamheyd a Dutch ship that arrived from Jakarta (December 1790) and saved the Sydney settlement from starvation, helped divert attention when, at midnight on 28 March 1791, convicts William and Mary Bryant, their children Charlotte three (3) years and baby Emanuel, with seven (7) convict companions, oars muffled on a stolen rowing boat – Governor Phillip’s own cutter – slipped silently out of Sydney Harbour and set course for Timor.

‘In writing of the recruitment of criminals into the armed forces, Stephen Conway observed, ‘It was still found necessary periodically to clear both the putrid and congested gaols and the equally overcrowded and insanitary hulks’. Conway, cited Alan Frost, Botany  Bay Mirages, Melbourne University Press, 1994.

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