Catalogue description Folios 31-35: Surgeon's general remarks. Two hundred and four convicts with seventeen...

Details of ADM 101/65/3/5
Reference: ADM 101/65/3/5

Folios 31-35: Surgeon's general remarks. Two hundred and four convicts with seventeen children were embarked at Woolwich, 2 women and 1 child were disembarked to the Justitia hulk and the penitentiary, by order of Mr Capper, before sailing. Most of the women travelled by rail from distant parts of the country and had not been allowed ‘time for the performance of nature’s offices, many arrived on board in a distressed and filthy state’. Because of the late arrival of the trains, they did not reach the ship until after 10pm, causing great inconvenience. Many had only the clothes they travelled in, having been told that if they took more, they would be taken away from them. From 25 March to 5 May, while the ship was at Woolwich, the weather was cold and variable. This combined with poor clothing, the change to life on board ship and the diet induced sub acute mucous inflammations and rheumatism to prevail. Muco enteric cases occurred as the voyage went on, and Susannah Harvey and Mary Jackson died. Strict attention was paid to ventilation, cleanliness and use of the airing stoves in an attempt to prevent the spread of this epidemic. They arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 29 July 1842, needing to take on water because of the leaky casks on board. They stayed there until 6 August and the fresh fruit and vegetables had a very beneficial effect on the health of the women. There were no important cases in the remainder of the voyage. They arrived at Hobart town on 29 September 1842. On 3 October most of the women were disembarked, the remaining 80 went on to Launceston, with the surgeon, in the Government Barque Lady Franklin, arriving on 14 October 1842. There was no sign of scurvy during the voyage. There were 7 births and 2 of the mothers shortly afterwards suffered dysentery and 1 haemoptysis and were not able to produce milk. Their babies died in convulsions between the ages of 17 days to 11 weeks. A further 2 babies died in convulsions, one at 6 days old and one at 18 months, from convulsions induced by ‘dentition’. Vaccine lymph was delivered to Dr Clarke on arrival, ‘exclusively kept up on the voyage from the children’. The convicts were generally clean, well behaved and willing to improve themselves. The most refractory came from Newgate but even they became orderly, well disposed and industrious. Those women who had been under prison discipline some time and received the attentions and care of ladies societies, particularly those of Newgate and Edinburgh, were generally the best behaved. The rules formed by the Ladies Society for the Improvement of Female Convicts were followed, with some slight alterations. The prisoners and their berths were inspected daily. Four matrons were appointed and a governess to superintend them all. Irregularities of conduct were recorded by the matrons on slates. They did needle work, knitting or attended school during the day. Sub matrons or mistresses of berths kept watch during the night. Punishments included handcuffs and chains, being kept in the ‘box’ on bread and water or confined to the after hold with the ladder drawn up, on bread and water. The prisons were cleaned by scraping and dry scrubbing and at the Cape of Good Hope holy stones and sand were procured. The surgeon tells how shortly after he joined the ship, the Mate who had been very drunk for some days, jumped overboard and drowned. The next Mate tried to commit suicide in the steward’s cabin and had to be confined under guard. A Master was temporarily appointed but the crew refused to serve. A permanent Master was then appointed, who discharged the Second Mate, a new First Mate joined and some of the crew returned and they could leave England. The voyage then went smoothly until they arrived in southern latitudes, when the middle and morning watches were found to all be drunk, with the exception of one man. They had been stealing spirits from the hold by having a slightly built man crawl through the water casks in the hold. A deputation from the crew begged forgiveness but the First Mate was discharged for mutinous behaviour and some of the crew suspended at the Cape of Good Hope. After this the crew became more insubordinate until, on 8 September, a seaman named Kelly refused the mate’s orders and then the master’s orders, on which the master produced a pistol and attempted to fire it at him but it misfired. Kelly was put in handcuffs and the Ordinary and Able Seaman all refused duties for the remainder of the voyage. The ship arrived in Hobart Town on 24 September 1842, having been sailed by the officers and the remainder of the crew, all carrying concealed arms and taking precautions against being surprised by the crew. On arrival 13 of the crew were taken away in handcuffs and sentenced to 3 months on the tread mill.

Date: 1842
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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