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Category Archives: 4. Convict Voyages

Convict Voyages: Convict Passengers on the Jonathan

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Many of the surviving accounts of events involving transported convicts tend to focus on unusual circumstances or notorious criminals. Most of the convicts sent overseas, however, were minor criminals who committed petty acts of crime. These common criminals did not […]

Convict Voyages: James Dalton and the Escape to Vigo

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. James Dalton vividly experienced the strong arm of the law at a young age when he sat between the knees of his father, who was riding in a cart that was taking him to the gallows to be hanged for […]

Convict Voyages: Rebellion

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Knowing the volatile nature of their cargo, captains of convict ships were careful not to allow convicts much freedom during their voyage to America for fear they could take over the ship. Still, insurrection did occur. In 1751, The Virginia […]

Convict Voyages: Jenny Diver, Henry Justice, and the Influence of Money

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. When dealing with bureaucratic institutions in the eighteenth century, money artfully placed in the right hands could often buy special privileges, and convict transportation was no exception. The sale of convicts once they arrived in America helped convict merchants and […]

Convict Voyages: Diet and Health

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Even though external threats, such as bad weather and pirates, could seriously jeopardize convict voyages across the Atlantic, the most persistent sources of agony for convicts were internal to the ship. Transported felons received poor and scanty provisions throughout their […]

Convict Voyages: Traveling to America in Chains

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Convict ships heading directly to America after leaving London would have traveled down the Thames on the ebb current and then anchored at Dover, Cowes, or the Downs to wait for favorable winds to take them out to sea. Some […]

Convict Voyages: The Convict Ship

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Once the convicts were loaded onto the convict ship, the captain, the jailor, and certain witnesses would sign a transportation bond ensuring that the convicts being transported were safely aboard the ship. These documents were then delivered to the Treasury […]

Convict Voyages: From Prison to Convict Ship

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Once the convict merchant was ready to make the trip to America, the convicts were released from prison and loaded onto the ship, along with dry goods and perhaps a few indentured servants. Convict voyages were generally timed to leave […]

Convict Voyages: Mary Standford, Pick-Pocket and Thief

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Mary Standford was convicted of privately stealing a shagreen pocket book, a silk handkerchief, and 4 guineas from William Smith on July 11, 1726. After her conviction, she strongly rejected transportation to the American colonies as an alternative to execution. […]

Convict Voyages: Convict Attitudes toward Transportation

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. Convict transportation was conceived as a relatively easy means of emptying British prisons and punishing repeat petty criminals without having to resort to a death sentence. Most convicted criminals facing potential execution were probably relieved to receive a reprieve from […]