Posts Tagged ‘escapees’

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…)

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

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

1790 –  Portsmouth, March: 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.

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

And it was a story of headlines. In mid-ocean at gun-point in the early hours of 28 April 1789,Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh’s second-in-command on HMS Bounty,forced his commander with eighteen (18) fellow crew off the ship and into a small oared cutter.

Despite having little food and water, scorched by sun and wind, they survived forty-eight (48) days in an open boat. Bligh made the lives of his fellow castaways a misery as they rowed and nudged their drifting craft towards land.

It must be said however without Bligh’s excellent celestial navigating skills none might have survived the 3600 miles (6400km) voyage to Dutch Timor.

Only John Norton did not make it to Timor. He was stoned to death when the group landed to collect water at Tofura Island.

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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 – Cape Town, March: 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, prisoners of Captain Edward Edwards RN, on board a Dutch vessell. See: HMS Gorgan and the Botany Bay Escapees

1791 – Sydney, March: A year earlier – 28 March 1791 – convicts Mary and William Bryant their baby Emanuel and Charlotte, born during ‘First Fleet’ voyage, baptised at Cape Town and now aged three (3) years, with seven (7) trusted companions, oars muffled on their stolen row-boat – Governor Phillip’s cutter – had slipped silently through towering Sydney Heads out into the open sea and made for Timor.

The Admiralty gave Captain Edward 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

1792 – Cape Town, March: ‘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 aboard HMS Gorgan, Cape Town March 1792. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson 1961

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1791 – 28 March:

Six (6) months earlier, in March 1790, the hustle and bustle surrounding Waaksamheyd’s  departure had helped divert attention when, at midnight on the 28th, 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.

1790 – 17 December, Sydney: Just in the nick of time to save the Sydney settlement from disaster Waaksamheyd a Dutch ship hired by Lieutenant Henry Ball RN (HMS Supply) at Jakarta, reached Port Jackson laden with food and medicines for the starving Englishmen, women and children marooned there since January 1788.

1791 – 21 September: Nearly a year later HMS Gorgan arrived from England tasked with returning the marine officers of Sydney Garrison to England.

 

‘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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