GUESTS OF THE CROWN

Sydney, 12th August 1815

Sitting Magistrate--W. Broughton, esq.

Assize of Bread for the ensuing Week--Household,

10d; Wheaten, 111/2d.

Contributed By Bruce L. Salisbury

 

A Little different from the usual fare presented on Jack's Joint but excellent articles nevertheless. Australia was populated by prisoners sentenced to "transportation" by the Crown. This brief article is about one such ship.


In 1940, I was a 10 year old boy, living in Durango Colorado. My old (cowboy) grandpa told me a story about how his own grandfather came to America, somewhat as follows:
 
His grandfather was on the way to Australia as a "Guest of the Crown", when he jumped ship and came to America.
 
A dozen years back, I was doing research in Australian papers and came up with the attached story, which I believe is the only ship where prisoners escaped to North America, (after the Brits started hauling prisoners to Australia).
 
The attached poem, also for your pleasure - Bruce Salisbury

Ship News.. ... On Monday arrived the ship Francis and Eliza, Captain Harrison, having on board 54 male and 70 female prisoners from Ireland; two of the former and four of the latter description died on the passage, which from it's tedious length and other vicissitudes  they were exposed to renders it a matter of especial wonder that the mortality was so happily limited. She sailed from Cork the 5th of December, in convoy with the Canada, whose arrival we last week announced, and had the misfortune to be captured on the 4th of January by the Warrior American Privateer, Captain Champ, it pierced for 22 guns, but not all mounted, and carrying 160 men. Captain Harrison was removed on board the privateer and detained many hours, but was afterwards liberated and restored to his own ship. His private losses are very severe indeed as are those of Mr. West, ship's surgeon, from whom an investment of a thousand pounds value was wholly taken together with most of his wearing apparel, surgical instruments, and the ship's medicine chest, which latter loss, but for the favor of providence, might have been followed by the most fatal consequences to the numerous persons on board:  Having also taken out all her arms and ammunition, they left her to her fate. The prisoners no longer submitted to the restraints usual, but nevertheless conducted themselves with the most exemplary propriety, dividing themselves into watches and performing the duty of the vessel at a time when we are sorry to say the ship's company themselves had to an alarming number become refractory and insubordinate. The spirits and other liquors were treated as common plunder, and the most dreadful scene of riot and intemperance prevailed, until their arrival at Santa Cruz, on the Island of Teneriffe, on the 10th of January and the ship having been several time set on fire. Here the Captain received every kindly  attention from Mr. Duplex, Chief Consul, who thought it prudent to impose a ten day quarantine upon the vessel, but took the necessary means to restore good order, which was the better accomplished by the transfer of the most disorderly of the crew to a King's ship then lying there. At Teneriffe she rejoined the Canada, which had the better fortune to escape the vigilance of the American cruizers, and under convoy of the Ulysses frigate went with her to Senegal, next to Goree, and afterwards to Sierra Leone, from which they sailed together for the Cape of Good Hope, where they arrived the 12th of May, and remained three Weeks to refresh. The military guard on board consists of a detachment of the Royal Africa Corps, commanded by Ensign Alt.

The above a transcript from a copy of what appeared in the Sydney Gazette, dated  12 august 1815, and sent me from  National Library of Australia --  Bruce L Salisbury


A Companion Article

SYDNEY 25 SEPT. 1815

To: the Excellency Governor Marquarie

ye ye ye

 

Sir: The ship Francis & Eliza under my command with convicts from Ireland for the colony was captured in the early part of the voyage by an American privateer who plundered her of many stores (ye) and amongst other things the ships register, articles of agreement with the crew, every paper of consequence belonging to the ship. The Americans detained the ship twenty four hours and afterward gave her up to me to prosecute the voyage that I had commenced.  During the ships capture some of my crew entered upon the privateer and upon my arrival in Tenneriffe I was compelled to send my then Chief Officer and four seamen...prisoners to England on board H.M. Ship Mirmidon for mutinous conduct after the ships capture, and  was afterwards compelled to ship seamen at Tenneriffe, sierra Leone & Cape of Good Hope.

At Teneriffe, I shipped D., Peask as Chief Officer...in the ship to this port to all ports and places in India and finally to London, but in consequence of the loss of any ships articles, none were signed and an agreement only verbal. On Saturday last he thought proper to leave the ship without my consent on no other excuse than not having signed articles to proceed on the voyage and is still absent from the exercise of the duty alloted to his station on board this ship, and holding out an example of insubordination, to the remainder of the crew; who, were he allowed to quit the ship at his own pleasure might influence many others to follow the example and the ship may be detained to a great expense for a considerable time from the further prosecution of her voyage.

I therefore claim your Excellency's protection under the unpleasant situation in which my ship is situated and not to allow the said D.Peask to quit the ship nor any others of her present crew who may be similarly inclined.

I have the honor to be

Your Excellency's

Most Humble Servant

William Harrison

Commander of the Ship Francis & Eliza

 


Yankee Privateer

Rowan Stevens

And on through the summer seas we bore,

Until off stern Cape Clear

Our ship fell in with a sloop-o`-war,

A Yankee Privateer.

We hailed for news, and the sloop hove to,

And off her skipper came,

And boarded us in a leaky yawl

With his wrathful cheek aflame

For down to the South`ard

He'd been chased

By a powerful English ship

That was just too slow for his flying heels,

And just too big to whip,.

We sent him back with a cheerful heart,

And down to the South we swept,

And a sharp lookout o`er the vacant sea

Alow and aloft we kept."

Rowan Stevens was son of Rear-Admiral Thomas Holdup Stevens

War or 1812

 

 

Bruce L Salisbury is a retired MSGT USAF who resides in Aztec, New Mexico

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