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The Trouble with Convicts: From Transportation to Penal Servitude, 1840–67

  • Philip Harling

Abstract

This article makes three points about the death throes of convict transportation. First, the quarrel over transportation shows the double-edged nature of the moral critique of empire in the early Victorian era. Metropolitan criticism of transportation had its roots in the same effort to moralize the empire that was seen in the almost contemporaneous assault on slavery. But transportation was deemed too convenient a means of getting rid of criminals for Britons safely to do without it. Second, the Whig government of 1846–52 sought to save transportation by moralizing the convict before shipping him off. By this point, however, the moral objections to transportation in eastern Australia had become so strong as to make the plan untenable. Third, colonial opposition to transportation ultimately left the British government with no choice but to replace it with penal servitude at home, and the debate over crime and punishment that played out over the next decade revealed a waning of faith in convict rehabilitation that manifested itself in a harsher prison regime. In necessitating the rise of penal servitude, the end of transportation makes it clear that the empire mattered very much indeed to the reshaping of British penal policy in the mid-Victorian era.

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1 Hilton, Boyd, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1785–1865 (Oxford, 1986).

2 For the end of transportation, see esp. Shaw, A. G. L., Convicts and the Colonies: A Study of Penal Transportation from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and other Parts of the British Empire (London, 1966), chaps. 13–15. For penal servitude, see esp. Davis, Jennifer, “The London Garotting Panic of 1862: A Moral Panic and the Creation of a Criminal Class in Mid-Victorian England,” in Crime and the Law: The Social History of Crime in Western Europe Since 1500, ed. Gatrell, V. A. C., Lenman, Bruce, and Parker, Geoffrey (London, 1980), 190213; Tomlinson, M. Heather, “Penal Servitude, 1846–1865: A System in Evolution,” in Policing and Punishment in Nineteenth Century Britain, ed. Bailey, Victor (London, 1981), 126–49.

3 See, notably, MacKenzie, John M., Imperialism and Popular Culture (Manchester, 1986); Hall, Catherine, Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Chicago, 2002); Hall, Catherine, McClelland, Keith, and Rendall, Jane, Defining the Victorian Nation (Cambridge, 2000); Hall, Catherine and Rose, Sonya O., eds., At Home with the Empire: Metropolitan Culture and the Imperial World (Cambridge, 2006); Mehta, Uday Singh, Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought (Chicago, 1999); Stoler, Ann Laura and Cooper, Frederick, eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, 1997); Burton, Antoinette, ed., After the Imperial Turn: Thinking With and Through the Nation (Durham, 2003).

4 Taylor, Miles, “The 1848 Revolutions and the British Empire,” Past & Present 166 (2000): 146–80; Taylor, Miles, “‘Imperium et Libertas’: Rethinking the Radical Critique of Imperialism during the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 19 (1991): 123. See also Middleton, Alex, “Rajah Brooke and the Victorians,” Historical Journal 53 (2010): 381400.

5 See, classically, Nicholas, Stephen, ed., Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia's Past (Melbourne, 1988).

6 Stephen Nicholas and Peter R. Shergold, “Transportation as Global Migration,” in Nicholas, Convict Workers, 28–42; Anderson, Clare, Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia to Mauritius, 1815–53 (Basingstoke, 2000); Anderson, Clare, Legible Bodies: Race, Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia (Oxford, 2004), 13. Mauritius, Bencoolen, Penang, Malacca, Singapore, and the Burmese provinces were reserved for convicts from the Indian subcontinent. The transportation system in most of these places had come to an end by 1860. The Andaman Islands became the new destination for Indian convicts in the decades after the rebellion. See Sen, Satadru, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in the Andaman Islands (New Delhi, 2000). For a fascinating account of the abortive effort to transport British convicts to the West African coast in the mid-1780s, see Christopher, Emma, A Merciless Place: The Fate of Britain's Convicts after the American Revolution (Oxford, 2010).

7 Indeed, there is now a rich vein of scholarship that stresses the agency that convicts were able to secure for themselves within the transportation system. See, e.g., Atkinson, Alan, “Four Patterns of Convict Protest,” Labour History 37 (1979): 2851; Evans, Raymond and Thorpe, William, “Power, Punishment and Penal Labour: Convict Workers and Moreton Bay,” Australian Historical Studies 25, no. 98 (1992): 90111; Damousi, Joy, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia (Cambridge, 1997); Frost, Lucy and Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, eds., Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives (Melbourne, 2001); Duffield, Ian and Bradley, James, eds., Representing Convicts: New Perspectives on Convict Forced Labour Migration (Leicester, 1997); Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, Closing Hell's Gates: The Death of a Convict Station (Crows Nest, New South Wales, 2008). The current consensus is that the transportation system was a considerably less “total” institution than the one so vividly described by Hughes, Robert in The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding (New York, 1986).

8 Hirst, J. B., Convict Society and Its Enemies: A History of Early New South Wales (Sydney, 1986), 2022, 69–77.

9 Speech of Sir William Molesworth, bart., on Transportation, delivered in the House of Commons on the 5th of May, 1840 (London, 1840), 24. For the metropolitan critique of transportation's arbitrariness more generally, see Wiener, Martin, Reconstructing the Criminal: Culture, Law, and Policy in England, 1830–1914 (Cambridge, 1990), 98102.

10 House of Commons, “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1837–38, 3 August 1838, vol. 22, p. xxii.

11 See ibid., pp. 24–26. See also Townsend, Norma, “The Molesworth Enquiry: Does the Report Fit the Evidence?” Journal of Australian Studies 1, no. 1 (June 1977): 3351; Ritchie, John, “Towards Ending an Unclean Thing: The Molesworth Committee and the Abolition of Transportation to New South Wales, 1837–1840,” Historical Studies 17, no. 67 (October 1976): 144–64.

12 House of Commons, “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1837–38, 3 August 1838, vol. 22, p. xli.

13 McKenzie, Kirsten, Scandal in the Colonies: Sydney and Cape Town, 1820–1850 (Melbourne, 2004), esp. 141–42, 148; Sturma, Michael, Vice in a Vicious Society: Crime and Convicts in Mid-Nineteenth Century New South Wales (St. Lucia, Queensland, 1983), 2728; Hirst, Convict Society, 201–12; Robson, Lloyd, A History of Tasmania: Vol. I. Van Diemen's Land from the Earliest Times to 1855 (Melbourne, 1983), 323–28.

14 McConville, Seán, A History of English Prison Administration: Vol. 1. 1750–1877 (London, 1981), 187–97.

15 House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1849, 16 February 1848, vol. 43, p. 84. With assignment abolished, the influx of convicts at first exacerbated labor scarcity because convicts were now obliged to work on the roads rather than for private masters. But the labor market quickly became glutted once convicts started leaving the gangs. Brand, Ian, The Convict Probation System: Van Diemen's Land, 1839–1854 (Hobart, 1990), 62; Evans, Lloyd and Nicholls, Paul, Convicts and Colonial Society, 1788–1853 (Stanmore, New South Wales, 1976), 97102.

16 House of Lords, “Second Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to Inquire into the Execution of the Criminal Law,” Sessional Papers, 1847, 21 June 1847, vol. 7, pp. 497, 525, 528. The literature on empire and sexuality is of course now vast. (For a useful overview that already needs updating, see Levine, Philippa, “Gender and Empire,” in Gender and Empire, ed. Levine, Philippa [Oxford, 2004], 134–55). But the literature on transportation and homosexuality is as yet small. See, notably, Hughes, Fatal Shore, esp. chap. 15. Hughes's monumental book, far and away the most widely known (and best-written) one on transportation, is out of favor, chiefly for what many scholars deem is its exaggerated focus on the terror of transportation. Still, his insights on homosexuality deserve following up. The Colonial Office was arguably even more fixated on the proliferation of “unnatural practices” than were officials in Van Diemen's Land itself. Sleeping arrangements in the undersupervised probation stations probably led to a higher incidence of homosexual practices. But very few convicts were charged with “unnatural” offenses, and fewer still were convicted, because few men were caught in the act. Brand, Convict Probation System, esp. 2, 36–37, 63–64, 71–72, 80–81, 101–03. See also Lenox, G. R., “A Private and Confidential Despatch of Eardley-Wilmot,” Tasmanian Historical Research Association Papers and Proceedings 29 (1982): 8092. On the British perception of the Australian convict colonies as a cesspool of vice more generally, see, e.g., White, Richard, Inventing Australia: Images and Identity, 1688–1980 (Sydney, 1981), chap. 2.

17 Hobart petition (signed by 1,750), December 1845, House of Commons, “Correspondence between the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department and the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, on the subject of Convict Discipline,” Sessional Papers, 1846, 9 February 1846, vol. 29, pp. 38–39.

18 See esp. Madley, Benjamin, “From Terror to Genocide: Britain's Tasmanian Penal Colony and Australia's History Wars,” Journal of British Studies 47 (2008): 77106; Ryan, Lyndall, The Aboriginal Tasmanians (2nd ed., Sydney, 1996); Reynolds, Henry, Fate of a Free People (Ringwood, Victoria, 1995); Ann Curthoys, “Genocide in Tasmania: The History of an Idea,” 229–52, and Raymond Evans, “Crime without a Name: Colonialism and the Case for ‘Indigenocide,’” 133–47, in Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk (New York, 2008); A. Dirk Moses, “Genocide and Settler Society in Australian History,” 3–48, Jan Kociumbas, “Genocide and Modernity in Colonial Australia, 1788–1850,” 77–102, and Henry Reynolds, “Genocide in Tasmania?” 127–49, in Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, ed. Moses, A. Dirk (New York, 2004); Plomley, N. J. B., The Aboriginal/Settler Clash in Van Diemen's Land, 1803–1831 (Hobart, 1992); Plomley, N. J. B., Weep in Silence: A History of the Flinders Island Aboriginal Settlement (Hobart, 1987); Brantlinger, Patrick, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800–1930 (Ithaca, 2003), chap. 6; Connor, John, The Australian Frontier Wars, 1788–1838 (Sydney, 2002), esp. chap. 6. A good deal of the recent scholarship has focused on the question of whether the extinction of the Vandiemonian indigenes can accurately be termed a genocide, much of it in response to Keith Windschuttle's controversial effort to minimize the death toll. Windschuttle, Keith, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History: Vol. 1. Van Diemen's Land, 1803–1847 (Sydney, 2002). For vigorous rebuttals to Windschuttle, see Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication of Aboriginal History, ed. Manne, Robert (Melbourne, 2003). Benjamin Madley convincingly argues that the Vandiemonian extinction qualifies as genocide according to the legal definition agreed to in 1948 by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes of Genocide. Madley, “From Terror to Genocide,” 104–06.

19 Boyce, James, Van Diemen's Land (Melbourne, 2008), 205.

20 These themes are brilliantly explored in Boyce, Van Diemen's Land, parts 3 and 4. They deserve further research.

21 Sir James Stephen to J. M. Phillips, 8 September 1845, House of Commons, “Correspondence between the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department and the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, on the Subject of Convict Discipline,” Sessional Papers, 1846, 9 February 1846, vol. 29, p. 12.

22 See, e.g., Ignatieff, Michael, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750–1850 (London, 1978), esp. xiii–11, 75–77, 109–12, 214–15; Henriques, U. R. Q., “The Rise and Decline of the Separate System of Prison Discipline,” Past & Present 54 (1972): 6193.

23 DeLacy, Margaret E., “Grinding Men Good? Lancashire's Prisons at Mid-Century,” in Punishment in Nineteenth Century Britain, ed. Bailey, Victor (New Brunswick, 1981), esp. 210–11.

24 House of Lords, “Second Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Execution of the Criminal Law,” Sessional Papers, 1847, 21 June 1847, vol. 7, pp. 3–4, 7.

25 Ibid., appendix, p. 48.

26 Ibid., appendix, p. 95.

27 Ibid., p. 3.

28 3rd Earl Grey to Sir George Grey, 5 February 1847, The National Archives (TNA), CO 280/217, ff. 120–21.

29 For full details of the Greys' scheme, see esp. Sir George Grey to 3rd Earl Grey, 20 January 1847, TNA CO 280/217, ff. 92–116; 3rd Grey, Earl, The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Administration, 2 vols. (London, 1853), 2:1425.

30 Grey to Denison, 26 March 1847, TNA CO 280/217, f. 124.

31 Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 1849, 2.

32 Grey to Sir Charles Fitzroy, 16 November 1849, TNA CO 201/414, f. 13.

33 Fitzroy to Grey, 21 March 1849, TNA CO 201/412, f. 60, with Grey's and Elliot's note on back of the dispatch. For detailed accounts of the 1848–49 convict dispute in New South Wales, see Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, 319–26; Ward, John M., Empire in the Antipodes: The British in Australasia, 1840–1860 (London, 1966), 4044; West, John, The History of Tasmania, 2 vols. (Launceston, 1852), 1:285–87.

34 For imperial networks as an organizing concept, see Lester, Alan, Imperial Networks: Creating Identities in Nineteenth-Century South Africa and Britain (London, 2001); Laidlaw, Zoë, Colonial Connections, 1815–45: Patronage, the Information Revolution and Colonial Government (Manchester, 2005).

35 Viscount Torrington to Grey, 9 October 1848, House of Commons, “Copies of Correspondence with the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope and the Governor of Ceylon, respecting the Transportation of Convicts to those Colonies,” Sessional Papers, 1849, 4 April 1849, vol. 43, p. 56.

36 Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gomm to Grey, 17 February 1849, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Transportation and Convict Discipline,” Sessional Papers, 1850, 31 January 1850, vol. 45, pp. 135–36.

37 Governor George Grey to Earl Grey, 8 May 1849, ibid., 121–22.

38 For other accounts of the uproar in the Cape, see Keegan, Timothy, Colonial South Africa and the Origins of the Racial Order (Charlottesville, 1996), 224–30; McKenzie, Scandal in the Colonies, 170–78; Taylor, “The 1848 Revolutions,” esp. 153–56, 167–70; Hattersley, Alan F., The Convict Crisis and the Growth of Unity: Resistance to Transportation in South Africa and Australia, 1848–53 (Pietermaritzburg, 1965), esp. chap. 4. For Cape frontier violence and the “civilizing mission” in this era, see, e.g., Elbourne, Elizabeth, Blood Ground: Colonialism, Missions, and the Contest for Christianity in the Cape Colony and Britain, 1799–1853 (Montreal, 2002), chaps. 9–10.

39 See, e.g., West, History of Tasmania, 1:286–87.

40 Mitchel, John, Jail Journal; or, Five Years in British Prisons (Dublin, 1864; 1st published 1854), 9899 (12 September 1849). For the transportation of Young Ireland rebels to Van Diemen's Land more generally, see Davis, Richard and Petrow, Stefan, eds., Ireland and Tasmania: Sesquicentenary Papers (Darlinghurst, New South Wales, 1998).

41 Grey to Sir Harry Smith, 30 November 1849, TNA CO 48/297, ff. 91–103.

42 Sir George Grey, Speech to the House of Commons, 14 February 1850, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 108, cols. 787–88.

43 Lord John Russell, Speech to the House of Commons, 14 February 1850, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 108, col. 802.

44 Smith to Grey, 24 May 1849, TNA CO 48/297, ff. 91–103.

45 Smith to Grey, 29 June 1849, TNA CO 48/296, ff. 286–89; Cape Government notice, 9 July 1849, TNA CO 48/297, f. 136; Smith proclamation, 17 July 1849, TNA CO 48/297, f. 167; Smith to Grey, [July 1849], TNA CO 48/287, ff. 57–67.

46 Mitchel, Jail Journal, 102 (9 September 1849).

47 TNA CO 48/296, f. 119.

48 TNA CO 48/296, f. 126.

49 Printed in An Earnest and Respectful Appeal to the British and Foreign Bible Society, by its South African Auxiliary, on Behalf of the Injured Colony of the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town, 1849), 32–33.

50 Mitchel, Jail Journal, 117 (1 January 1850).

51 Extract from report of J. M. Deas, 17 July 1849, enclosed in Horatio Waddington to Herman Merivale, 12 September 1849, TNA CO 37/130, ff. 171–73.

52 John Henderson to Commander Wyvill, HMS Castor, 25 September 1849, TNA CO 48/298, f. 416.

53 Mitchel, Jail Journal, 104 (21 September 1849).

54 Grey to Smith, 5 December 1849, TNA CO 48/298, f. 398.

55 PP 1850 [1153], 93–94: Grey to Denison, 17 December 1849.

56 Adam Stewart to the Inspectors, Cape Town, 4 February 1850 (copy), TNA CO 48/310, f. 136.

57 Denison to Grey, 3 May 1850, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1851, 14 May 1851, vol. 45, pp. 12–13.

58 House of Commons, “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1861, 28 May 1861, vol. 13, p. 131.

59 Speech on the Discontinuance of Transportation to Van Diemen's Land, delivered by Sir William Molesworth, MP, in the House of Commons, on the 20th May, 1851 (London, 1851), 1112.

60 Hobart Courier, 29 December 1849, 3 (T. B. Bartley).

61 Launceston Examiner, 27 January 1849, 4 (Adye Douglas).

62 Hobart Courier, 29 December 1849, 3 (John West).

63 Ibid. (John Crookes).

64 Ward, Empire in the Antipodes, 45–46; Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, 343–44.

65 3rd Earl Grey, Speech to the House of Lords, 5 March 1847, Parliamentary Debates, Lords, 3rd ser., vol. 90 (1847), col. 946.

66 Lord John Russell, Speech to the House of Commons, 10 June 1847, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 93 (1847), col. 364. For the use of these words against Grey and Russell, see, e.g., West, History of Tasmania, 1:289.

67 Launceston Examiner, 14 August 1850, 3 (John Crookes).

68 For detailed narratives of the growth of the Australian antitransportation movement, see esp. West, History of Tasmania; Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, esp. 335–47.

69 See Petrow, Stefan, “Saving Tasmania? The Anti-Transportation and Franklin River Campaigns,” Tasmanian Historical Studies 14 (2009): esp. 112–14.

70 Denison to Grey, 21 August 1851, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852, 30 April 1852, vol. 41, p. 19.

71 See Denison to Sir John Pakington, 26 August 1852, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852–53, 13 December 1852, vol. 82, p. 4; extract of letter from Charles Cooper, religious instructor on board the Rodney, from Hobart, 20 January 1852, TNA CO 280/300, ff. 83–84.

72 Denison to Grey, 23 December 1850, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1851, 14 May 1851, vol. 45, pp. 114–15. Denison's family correspondence reveals him as something of an Evangelical prig. Sir Denison, William, Varieties of Vice-Regal Life, 2 vols. (London, 1870).

73 See, e.g., Denison to Grey, 2 May 1850, TNA CO 280/259, ff. 40–44.

74 Denison to Pakington, 30 August 1852, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852–53, vol. 82, p. 9.

75 Return enclosed in Waddington to Merivale, 24 November 1852, TNA CO 280/300, ff. 252–58. See also “Return of Irish Convicts Transported, 1848–1850,” TNA CO 280/284, ff. 350–51. For the broader temporal context, see Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, chap. 8.

76 Testimony of Sir Matthew Barrington, Crown Solicitor for Munster, House of Commons, “Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 20 June 1856, vol. 17, p. 66.

77 Denison to Grey, 31 January 1849, TNA CO 280/242, ff. 239–40.

78 3rd Earl Grey, Colonial Policy, 2:32–33.

79 As early as June 1846, Irish prison officials were already deeply concerned about overcrowding. See “Disposal of convicts under sentence of transportation in Ireland,” June 1846, TNA HO 45/1393.

80 Grey note of 30 June 1849 on Denison to Grey, 31 January 1849, TNA CO 280/242, f. 41.

81 Thomas Redington (Dublin Castle) to Horatio Waddington, 27 June 1849, TNA CO 280/250, ff. 271–75.

82 Herman Merivale to Horatio Waddington, [November] 1850, TNA CO 280/271, ff. 241–42.

83 Joshua Jebb to Horatio Waddington, 27 March 1850, TNA CO 280/271, ff. 78–80.

84 Denison to Sir John Pakington, 30 September 1852, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852–53, 13 December 1852, vol. 82, p. 55.

85 Henry Hitchins to the 4th Earl of Clarendon, 22 November 1851, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852, 30 April 1852, vol. 41, pp. 75–76.

86 Testimony of Walter Crofton, House of Commons, “First Report of the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17, p. 138.

87 Testimony of Irish convicts James Foley, John Hogan, Patrick Fahey, and William Bourke, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852–53, 13 December 1852, vol. 82, pp. 56–62.

88 Herman Merivale to Horatio Waddington, 3 February 1851, TNA CO 280/284, ff. 151–53.

89 Waddington to Merivale, 28 June 1852, TNA CO 280/300, ff. 161–62; Waddington to Merivale, 20 September 1850, with notes by Thomas Frederick Elliot (21 September) and Grey (24 September), TNA CO 201/401, f. 575.

90 For examples, see Jebb to Waddington, 8 July 1850, TNA CO 280/271, ff. 152–53; Elliot to Waddington, 24 April 1852, TNA CO 280/300, ff. 71–72.

91 Note by Merivale on Waddington to Merivale, 20 September 1852, TNA CO 280/300, f. 236.

92 Hughes, Fatal Shore, 562–63, 571.

93 Pakington to Denison, 14 December 1852, House of Commons, “Further Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1852–53, 13 December 1852, vol. 82, pp. 105–06.

94 Pakington, Speech to the House of Commons, 3 April 1856, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 141 (1856), col. 412.

95 Written response of Sir George Arthur to Henry Brougham, 5 May 1847, House of Lords, “Second Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Execution of the Criminal Law,” Sessional Papers, 1847, 21 June 1847, vol. 7, appendix, p. 206.

96 [Greg, W. R.], “The Management and Disposal of our Criminal Population,” Edinburgh Review 100 (1854): 591.

97 This was no less true of mid-Victorian Vandiemonians than of mid-Victorian Britons. A separate-cellular prison was opened at the Port Arthur penal station on the Tasman Peninsula in 1853, and one of its chief purposes was to serve as a site for taming “the most mutinous spirit” (in Denison's words) via solitary confinement. Authorities were thus confident that the isolation cell could break the hardest convicts—something that repeated flogging and hard labor in leg-irons had failed to do. Kerr, James Semple, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Australia's Places of Confinement, 1788–1988 (Sydney, 2000), 64. See also Brand, Ian, Port Arthur, 1830–1877 (West Moonah, Tasmania, 1975), 3941, 65–71; Young, David, Making Crime Pay: The Evolution of Convict Tourism in Tasmania (Hobart, 1996), 910.

98 Davis, “The London Garotting Panic,” 195–96. See also Peter W. J. Bartrip, “Public Opinion and Law Enforcement: The Ticket-of-Leave Scares in Mid-Victorian Britain,” in Bailey, Policing and Punishment, 172–73.

99 See, e.g., Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain, 200–02.

100 Bartrip, “Public Opinion,” 154–55; Priestley, Philip, Victorian Prison Lives: English Prison Biography, 1830–1914 (London, 1985), 284.

101 C. B. Adderley, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 February 1857, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 144 (1857), col. 396.

102 House of Commons, “Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, vol. 17, pp. 29–30.

103 Bartrip, “Public Opinion,” 154–55, 159. For a contemporary perspective, see Clay, W. L., Our Convict Systems (London, 1862), 3233.

104 See Jebb's letters to The Times, 28 December 1855 and 8 January 1857. See also House of Commons, “Third Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 11 July 1856, vol. 17, p. iv.

105 House of Commons, “Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 20 June 1856, vol. 17, pp. 48–49. Stuart himself testified that ex-convicts routinely destroyed their tickets-of-leave as they considered these “badge[s] of disgrace.” In the absence of these documents, constables would have had virtually no means of proving that a suspect was indeed a ticket-of-leave man. The fear of roving bands of ticket-of-leave men that Stuart conjured up in his testimony was an oft-cited reason for the adoption of compulsory county and borough police forces in 1856. Steedman, Carolyn, Policing the Victorian Community: The Formation of English Provincial Police Forces, 1856–80 (London, 1984), 2425. See also Victor Bailey, introduction to Policing and Punishment, 15.

106 Sir George Grey, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 February 1857, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 144 (1857), cols. 364–65; testimony of Lord Campbell, Chief Justice of England, House of Commons, “Third Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 11 July 1856, vol. 17, p. 28.

107 Sir John Pakington, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 August 1853, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 129 (1853), col. 1547; Clay, W. L., The Prison Chaplain (London, 1861), 411; Bartrip, “Public Opinion,” 172–73; Davis, Garotting Panic, 195–96.

108 Testimony of Horatio Waddington, House of Commons, “First Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17, p. 4.

109 See, e.g., Clay, Our Convict Systems, 65–66.

110 See, e.g., Clay, Prison Chaplain, 409–10.

111 House of Commons, “First Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17, p. 130.

112 Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (1st published 1851–52, repr. of 1861 ed. New York, 4 vols., 1968), 3:439. For further accounts of the meetings convened by Mayhew, see The Times, 13 March 1856 and 28 January 1857.

113 See, e.g., 3rd Earl Grey, Colonial Policy, 2:77.

114 Arthur, George, Defence of Transportation, in Reply to the Remarks of the Archbishop of Dublin, in his Second Letter to Earl Grey (London, 1835), 1.

115 House of Lords, “Second Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Execution of the Criminal Law,” Sessional Papers, 1847, 21 June 1847, vol. 7, appendix, p. 8: Mr. Justice Wightman.

116 Fry, Henry Phibbs, A Letter to the Householders of Hobarton, on the Effects of Transportation, and on the Moral Condition of the Colony (Hobarton, 1847), 1213.

117 See, e.g., House of Commons, “Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 20 June 1856, vol. 17, pp. 101, 125, 135. Testimony of Sir Creswell Creswell (judge in the Court of Common Pleas), James Brennan (Metropolitan Police inspector), and Sir Richard Mayne (chief of the Metropolitan Police).

118 See, e.g., Robson, L. L., The Convict Settlers of Australia (Melbourne, 1965), 157; Hughes, Fatal Shore, 586–87.

119 Ritchie, Daniel, ed., The Voice of our Exiles; or, Stray Leaves from a Convict Ship (Edinburgh, 1854), 50.

120 See, classically, Gallagher, John, “Fowell Buxton and the New African Policy,” Cambridge Historical Journal 10, no. 1 (1950), 3658; Curtin, Philip D., The Image of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780–1850 (Madison, 1964), esp. part 3. See also Temperley, Howard, White Dreams, Black Africa: The Antislavery Expedition to the River Niger, 1841–1842 (New Haven, 1991).

121 See Rice, C. Duncan, “‘Humanity Sold for Sugar!’ The British Abolitionist Response to Free Trade in Slave-Grown Sugar,” Historical Journal 13, no. 3 (1970): 402–18; Holt, Thomas, The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor, and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832–1938 (Baltimore, 1992); Hall, Civilising Subjects; Drescher, Seymour, The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation (New York, 2002), chaps. 10–12; Temperley, Howard, British Antislavery, 1833–1870 (London, 1972), chaps. 68. For a compellingly nuanced recent treatment of the tension between sugar and antislavery, see Huzzey, Richard, “Free Trade, Free Labour, and Slave Sugar in Victorian Britain,” Historical Journal 53, no. 2 (2010): 359–79.

122 See House of Commons, “First Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17, pp. 111–22.

123 Palmerston, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 August 1853, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 129 (1853), col. 1538.

124 House of Commons, “First Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17, p. 12.

125 Ibid., p. 38: testimony of Thomas Frederick Elliot. See also TNA CO 280/312, ff. 162–64: Horatio Waddington to Herman Merivale, 16 February 1853, with notes by Elliot dated 19 February 1853.

126 House of Lords, “Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords, Appointed to Inquire into the Provisions of the Act of 16 & 17 Victoria,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 25 July 1856, vol. 17, pp. iii–iv; House of Commons, “Third Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 11 July 1856, vol. 17, p. 30: testimony of Lord Campbell.

127 House of Commons, “First Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1856, 27 May 1856, vol. 17 p. 244: testimony of Elliot.

128 Ibid., p. 37: testimony of Elliot.

129 See esp. Davis, “London Garotting Panic”; Tomlinson, “Penal Servitude”; Bartrip, “Public Opinion,” esp. 165–68; Sir Radzinowicz, Leon and Hood, Roger, A History of English Criminal Law and Its Administration from 1750: Vol. 5. The Emergence of Penal Policy (London, 1986), 524–25; Pearson, Geoffrey, Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears (London, 1983), 138–43. Of the twenty-three alleged garotters brought before Mr. Baron Bramwell at the Old Bailey in November 1862, for instance, only two turned out to have been ticket-of-leave men. Davis, “Garotting Panic,” 206.

130 Radzinowicz and Hood, English Criminal Law, 5:502–15. For prison unrest in the 1850s, see Ignatieff, 202–06.

131 The Times, 16 December 1862, 8; 3 September 1862, 8 (letter of “S.”); 5 December 1862, 9 (W. W. Burton); 29 December 1862, 9 (C. W. Eddy); 3 January 1863, 9 (“A Policeman”); 14 January 1863, 10 (“M.”). See also Daily News, 18 December and 22 December 1862; Morning Post, 18 February 1863; Standard, 19 December 1862; Liverpool Mercury, 20 January 1863; Leicester Chronicle, 13 December 1862; Hampshire Advertiser, 20 December 1862.

132 The Times, 15 May 1851, 4.

133 The Times, 10 December 1862, 10.

134 The Times, 30 December 1862, 7.

135 The Times, 2 January 1863, 6.

136 The Times, 10 December 1862, 10.

137 The Times, 31 December 1862, 4; The Times, 3 December 1862, 7.

138 Saturday Review 14 (30 August 1862): 357. Quoted in Davis, “Garotting Panic,” 192.

139 [Burton, J. H.], “Our Convicts Past and Present,” Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 83 (March 1858): 306.

140 Hill, Matthew Davenport, Suggestions for the Repression of Crime (London, 1857), 469: repr. of jury charge, October 1853.

141 Mayhew, Henry and Binny, John, The Criminal Prisons of London and Scenes of Prison Life (London, 1862; repr. New York, 1968), 9596.

142 Carpenter, Mary, Our Convicts, 2 vols. (London, 1864), 1:245. For similar sentiments, see Clay, W. L., Our Convict Systems (London, 1862: repr. New York, 1985), 30; J. R. Fowler and Martin Ware, The Transportation of Criminals, being a Report of a Discussion at a Special Meeting of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, held at Burlington House, on the 17th February, 1863, 5 (remarks of G. W. Hastings).

143 See also [Stephen, Fitzjames], “The Punishment of Convicts,” Cornhill Magazine 7 (February 1863): 201–02.

144 Adderley, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 August 1853, Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 129, col. 1551. See also Adderley, C. B., Transportation not Necessary (London, 1851).

145 Adderley's letter to the The Times, 28 November 1862, 7.

146 Adderley, Speech to the House of Commons, 9 February 1857, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 44 (1857), col. 399.

147 Sir George Grey, Speech to the House of Commons, 11 March 1863, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 169 (1863), col. 1311. Nineteen floggings were carried out in the first year after passage of the act. The Times, 21 March 1865, 14. For some lingering descriptions of prisoners suffering under the lash, see, e.g., The Times, 24 March 1866, 12, and 18 January 1867, 11.

148 Punch, 6 December 1862, 227.

149 Earl of Carnarvon, Speech to the House of Lords, 20 June 1865, Parliamentary Debates, Lords, 3rd ser., vol. 180 (1865), col. 519. See also [Newman, F. E.], “Corporal Punishment and Penal Reformation,” Fraser's Magazine 71 (February 1865): 154–66.

150 See, e.g., Sir Crofton, Walter, Convict Systems and Transportation: A Lecture Delivered at the Philosophical Institution, Bristol, on the 22nd December, 1862 (London, 1863), 34; [Martineau, Harriet], “The Convict System in England and Ireland,” Edinburgh Review 117 (January 1863): 249–50; [Balme, Edward Wheatley], Observations on the Treatment of Convicts in Ireland (London, 1862), 126. For an extended paean to the relative virtues of the reformed prison system in Ireland and its ostensible fitness for England, see Carpenter, Our Convicts, vol. 2.

151 Earl of Chichester, ed., Reports and Observations on the Discipline and Management of Convict Prisons, by the late Major-General Sir Joshua Jebb (London, 1863), 34. See also John P. Burt, “Convict Discipline in Ireland,” 27–29, and Jebb, “Explanations showing the difficulties which would attend the introduction into England of the probationary stages of discipline and supervision of the Police, &c., which have been adopted in Ireland,” esp. 50, 55, in Papers and Discussions on Punishment and Reformation, being the Transactions of the Third Department of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science (London, 1862).

152 See esp. Radzinowicz and Hood, History of English Criminal Law, vol. 5, chap. 16; Du Cane, Edmund F., The Punishment and Prevention of Crime (London, 1885), 172–73; Davis, “London Garotting Panic,” esp. 206–09; Bartrip, “Public Opinion,” esp. 168–71; Tomlinson, “Penal Servitude,” 141–44; McConville, English Prison Administration, 1:356–58. For a bleak portrait of life in Du Cane's central prison system, see Five Years' Penal Servitude, by One who has Endured it (London, 1877; repr. New York, 1984), esp. 15.

153 Sir Radzinowicz, Leon and Hood, Roger, “Incapacitating the Habitual Criminal: The English Experience,” Michigan Law Review 78 (1980): 1347.

154 Bruce, Speech to the House of Commons, 4 August 1869, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 3rd ser., vol. 198 (1869), cols. 1258–59. For the stigmatizing effect of the 1869 legislation, see Melling, Michael W., “Cleaning House in a Suddenly Closed Society: The Genesis, Brief Life, and Untimely Death of the Habitual Criminals Act, 1869,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal 21 (1983): 315–62.

155 Quotation from V. A. C. Gatrell, “The Decline of Theft and Violence in Victorian and Edwardian England,” in Gatrell, Lenman, and Parker, Crime and the Law, 272–73. For the “English miracle” of lower rates of serious crime, ca. 1850 to 1914, see esp. Radzinowicz and Hood, History of English Criminal Law, 5: chap. 5. Government officials were publicly commenting on this trend as early as 1861. See House of Commons, “Report from the Select Committee on Transportation,” Sessional Papers, 1861, 28 May 1861, vol. 13, pp. 12 (Jebb); 31 (Elliot), 115 (Waddington); Merivale, Herman, Letters on Colonization and Colonies (2nd ed., London, 1861; repr. New York, 1967), 369–70. For Bruce and Chesterton, see House of Commons, Sessional Papers, 1850, “Report from the Select Committee on Prison Discipline,” 29 July 1850, vol. 17, pp. 327–28. For the “criminal class,” see, e.g., Radzinowicz and Hood, “Incapacitating the Criminal,” 1309. See also Philips, David, Crime and Authority in Victorian England: The Black Country, 1835–1860 (London, 1977), 283–89; Mayhew and Binny, Criminal Prisons, 88–91, 107; Carpenter, Our Convicts, 1:14; [Martineau, Harriet], “Life in the Criminal Class,” Edinburgh Review 122 (Oct 1865): 337–71; Symons, Jelinger, Tactics for the Times (London, 1849), 1.

156 Wiener, Reconstructing the Criminal, esp. 151–56, quotation from 151.

157 Harling, Philip, The Modern British State: An Historical Introduction (Oxford, 2001), 8899.

158 [Greg, W. R.], “Convicts and Transportation,” North Britain Review 38 (February 1863): 2.

159 Mayhew and Binny, Criminal Prisons, 80.

160 Some commentators were even reaching the conclusion that “incorrigible” recidivists might be fit subjects for preventive detention for life. See, e.g., [Martineau], “Life in the Criminal Class,” 369–70.

161 In addition to the works focusing on the British Caribbean in footnote 121 above, see Price, Richard, Making Empire: Colonial Encounters and the Creation of Imperial Rule in Nineteenth-Century Africa (Cambridge, 2007), esp. chaps. 6–7, 10; Hyam, Ronald, Britain's Imperial Century, 1815–1914: A Study of Empire and Expansion (3rd ed., Basingstoke, 2002), chap. 2; Elbourne, Blood Ground, esp. 345–80; Lester, Imperial Networks, chap. 6; Bank, Andrew: “Losing Faith in the Civilizing Mission: The Premature Decline of Humanitarian Liberalism at the Cape, 1840–60,” in Empire and Others: British Encounters with Indigenous Peoples, 1600–1850, ed. Daunton, Martin and Halpern, Rick (Philadelphia, 1999), 364–83; Metcalf, Thomas R., Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1997), esp. chaps. 2–3; Chakravarty, Gautam, The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination (Cambridge, 2005); Sharpe, Jenny, Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text (Minneapolis, 1993), chaps. 3–4.

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