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Convicts to Bermuda
Page 1
From 1823 to 1850

The Dockyard at Bermuda
Source Bermuda Travel

Convicts to Bermuda. Source of notes: Newspapers of Australia from 1820 to 1850

Here - Introduction notes end with extract dated Monday 31 October 1825
Page 2 Extracts dated from Saturday 15 April 1826 to 1840
Page 3 Extracts dated from Monday 3 February 1840
Page 4 Extracts dated from Saturday 25 March 1843
Page 5 Extracts dated from Saturday 22 April 1848

The Royal Naval Dockyard at Bermuda in 1848 go here for large image

The Dockyard at Bermuda in 1848

The labels are - Hulk "Tenedos", Naval Hospital, Stone quarry, Cockburn's Cut and Bridge, Batteries, Hulk "Medway', Hulk "Coromandel", Hulk "Dromedary", New Victualling stores building, Keep and Commissioner's House.
Scan of handcoloured, original section of a newspaper page dated 1848, showing a woodcut of the dockyard under construction on HMD Ireland Island Bermuda. The hill towards the left was levelled by quarrying. Illustrated London News, 29 July 1848.

See also the Wikipedia, HM Dockyard on Ireland, in Bermuda, c1860, by TC Jack
The Dockyard at Bermuda in 1860

Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command,

Volume 22, section on convicts at Bermuda, Google Book, First 10% contains the Report, 3 Aug 1838, ending on page x1v11, then follows the Minutes of Evidence, ending with question 1753. The other 50% contains documents tendered as evidence.
The link opens on the 3rd page of the questions about convicts in Bermuda -
Page 85 to 88, questions Numbers 957 to 1036, on 15 March 1835, Sir William Molesworth in the chair, Colonel William Barton Tylden Examined, he was resident in Bermuda 5 years, served in Command of the engineers, with the convicts doing the manual work involved in building the Dockyard. They worked 8 hours a day, and were allowed 3d a day, provided they worked to the satisfaction of the superintending officer.

Report on Transportation, reprinted in the The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

Printed over 3 weeks, beginning on 9 Feb 1839.
'The Select Committee appointed to inquire into the System of Transportation, its Efficacy as a Punishment, its Influence on the Moral State of Society in the Penal Colonies, and how far it is susceptible of Improvement; and who were empowered to report their Observations, together with the Minutes of Evidence taken before them, to The House ; --- Have examined the Matters to them referred, and have agreed to the following Report.
The places so appointed are, the two Australian colonies of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land, the small volcanic island, called Norfolk Island, situated about 1,000 miles from the eastern shores of Australia, and Bermuda.
Seventy-five thousand two hundred convicts have been transported to New South Wales since its settlement in 1787; on the average of the last five years 3,514 offenders have been annually sent there ; and the whole convict population of the colony in 1836, amounted to 25,254 men, and 2,577 women; in all, 27,831.
27,759 convicts have been sent to Van Dieman's Land since the year 1817; the number annually transported there on the average of the last five years is 2,078 ; and the convict population in 1835 was 14,914 men and 2,054 women; in all, 46,968. At Norfolk Island the number of convicts, most of whom had been retransported for offences committed in New South Wales, was, in 1837, above 1,200, and at Bermuda the number of convicts does not exceed 900.

The Transportation Committee Report.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), has printed the Report, beginning Saturday 9 February 1839 (Page 2, first 3 of 7 columns, 3048 words), Thursday 14 February 1839 (page 2, 5721 words), Saturday 16 February 1839 (page 2, 3 columns, 4026 words), Tuesday 19 February 1839 (page 2, 3176 words), Saturday 23 February 1839 (page 2, 1 column, 903 words), Tuesday 26 February 1839 (page 2, 4 columns, 4624 words), Tuesday 5 March 1839 (page 3, 1679 words), and concluding Thursday 7 March 1839 (Page 3, 4 columns, 4042 words)
The Editor of the Sydney Gazette concludes -
Sir William Molesworth led the Parliamentary Committee on Transportation; and right glad we are to arrive at the conclusion of such a lengthy compound of downright falsehoods, misrepresentations, and mischievously malicious recommendations. The document is drawn up with much perspicuity, and displays the possession of abilities of no ordinary nature ; but Sir William Molesworth has yet to answer for the unworthy uses to which lie has applied those abilities, in the compilation of the Report.
One word to Sir William at parting.
May he and his fellow Committee-men, when their day of final examination before an Almighty Judge shall come, meet with a more partial, a more lenient and a more just judgment than they have themselves pronounced upon the Colony and Colonists of New South Wales.


Links found by a Google search using "Bermuda"

The first mention of Bermuda, which I found in Australian newspapers, is for Bermuda arrowroot, on Page 1 The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 - 1842) Thursday 21 March 1833
Opposite The " Barnby Mow." At the South-west Corner of Castlereagh-street, and Park-street, Sydney. H. F. Drinkwater,
IN notifying to the Public that he has commenced Business as Tea Dealer, Grocer, &c, and respectfully soliciting a share of patronage and support, begs to announce that ho has on Sale the following Goods: viz. 8th in the list - Bermuda Arrow-root and Oatmeal

The Stamp dealer, Big Blue introduces Bermuda, a British Crown colony, as a group of about 20 inhabited islands in the semitropical north Atlantic 600 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The Capital is Hamilton, and the population was 30,000 in 1943.
Bermuda was discovered by a Spaniard, Juan De Bermudez, in 1505. Bermuda, the Island, known as the Isle of Devils for the surrounding reefs, was unoccupied, and hence settled by England in 1609. The town of St. George, founded in 1612, is the oldest continually inhabited "English" town in the Americas. Bermuda today remains the oldest British overseas territory. The stamps of Great Britain can be found handstamped from 1845, with Bermuda issues beginning in 1865.
Trivia: Shakespeare's play, The Tempest was thought to have been inspired by an account of the 1609 shipwreck of the Sea Venture, flagship of a the flotilla originally set to recolonize Jamestown, but instead founding a new colony.

Search Lincolnshire convicts database, transported between 1788 and 1868 to Australia, Gibraltar and Bermuda.
See Wikipedia for a topographic map of Bermuda and account of its geography.
On August 14, 1814, a fleet of British warships departed from the naval base at Bermuda. The cemeteries of Bermuda includes British Army's 42nd Regiment (Royal Highlanders or Black Watch) also remembered for the Bermuda's Black Watch Well at the junction with the North Shore Road is named in tribute. It was dug in 1849, when the Governor ordered British soldiers to seek a fresh water supply for the poor of Pembroke Parish and their cattle during a prolonged drought, the Black Watch was the first to volunteer and dug so thoroughly the facility still exists today.

Ancestors Magazine Feb 2009,

5 page article from Ancestors Magazine Feb 2009, Issue 78, by Brenda Mortimer
The Antelope was fitted out to accommodate 300 convicts and 200 Royal Marine guards. She sailed from Spithead on 5 Jan 1824 and arrived at Bermuda on 8 Feb 1824. The ship 'Dromedary' arrived in 1826, the Coromandel in 1827 and the Weymouth in 1828, and moored in HM Dockyard at Ireland Island. Time-expired convicts were not allowed to be released into the Bermuda community, had to be sent back to England to serve out any remaining time.

Bermuda's Royal Navy at Ireland Island from 1815 to the 1960s.
Casemates Barracks was once solid rock. It is one of the most important - and second-oldest of the Dockyard buildings. It was built from convict labor in the 1830s as a barracks for the men of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, then responsible for the defence of the Dockyard. The "casemate" refers to the fact that its roof, vaulted in brick and concrete some eight feet thick, was built to make it bomb-proof against the incoming cannon balls and mortar shot of the day. At one time (1848), Casemates was the barracks of the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch). They were then guarding the convicts building the Dockyard. Its yard is a flat, white wasteland created by the blasting away of its hard limestone, to give slaves (until 1834), free men and jailbirds from England (until 1863) the raw material from which they laboriously shaped each and every rock that made up the fortifications. The walls are several feet thick and made of specially-treated local limestone needed no plastering to make them waterproof. It had two floors with accommodation for 120 officers and men, along with canteens, messes and offices. There was a veranda - needing restoration - on three sides of the building on the ground floor. The well that forms the roof has unparalleled views of the Dockyard to the northeast and the building, given its construction, was capable of being used as a fort. On either side of the Barracks was an ordnance yard, still with gunpowder storage buildings, or magazines.

The rules for managing convicts in Hulks

Wikipedia List of British prison hulks.
The Colonial Times of 1826 reported the situation then prevailing as follows:
"At the termination of the assizes or sessions, the keepers of the various gaols throughout the kingdom are required to transmit to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, a list of prisoners who have received sentence of transportation, and an order is then forwarded, directing to which of the hulks they are to be conveyed.
On their arrival, they are immediately stripped and washed, clothed in coarse grey jackets and breeches, and two irons placed on one of the legs, to which degradation everyone must submit, let his previous rank have been what it may.
They are sent out in gangs of a certain number to work on shore, guarded by soldiers. A strict account is kept of the labour performed by each gang, there being a scale by which it is calculated, and out of each shilling earned for the Government by the prisoner, he is entitled to a penny, which is carried to his credit; but of this he receives only one third part weekly, the remainder being left to accumulate until the expiration of the term which he is doomed to serve.
"Thus it sometimes happens that a man who has been six or seven years on board the hulks, on his discharge is put in possession of ten or twelve pounds, and is also supplied with an additional sum of money to defray his travel expenses to get back home.
The strictest discipline is maintained, and extreme cleanliness enforced in the vessels. The diet daily allowed is a pound and a quarter of bread; a quart of thick gruel, morning and evening; on four days of a week, a piece of meat weighing 14 ounces before it is cooked; and on the other three days in lieu of meat, a quarter of a pound of cheese, also an allowance of small beer; and on certain occasions, when work peculiarly fatiguing and laborious is required, a portion of strong beer is served out; no where [except in the Colonies] does a good behavior meet its reward more than at the hulks.
A chronicle is kept of the conduct of each, and the Captain and Chaplain have the privilege of recommending annually a certain number as fit objects for a mitigation of punishment, so that it frequently occurs that a man sentenced to seven years transportation, serves only three years and a half or four years; there are also other inducements to orderly conduct, such as having the irons lightened and being promoted to little appointments which relieve from severe labour.
Besides those who are retained to serve out their term of transportation in England, thousands are every year sent to these colonies, upon an average about six transports arrive annually in Van Diemen's Land; and about twelve in New South Wales. Amongst others who are actually transported to the Colonies, such are invariably selected as are known to be old offenders, and those who appear to be incorrigible.
One ship, the Bellerophon, at Sheerness, is appropriated exclusively to a reception of boys, not exceeding 16 years of age, most of whom are not expatriated, but are taught various trades, such as shoemaking, tailors work, bookbinding and etc. The morals of these youthful delinquents, some of whom are not more than ten years old, are very carefully attended to; it is, however, a lamentable fact, that not withstanding the severe lessons taught by the discipline of the hulks, very many instances occur of prisoners who have been discharged, again returning to habits of dishonesty, and, again incurring the penalty of transportation, eventually banished to these Colonies.
The Penitentiary, at Millbank, was erected in order to serve some measure as a substitute for the hulks or exportation, but it is sufficiently notorious that this gigantic establishment which has cost the Mother County near a million of money, has hitherto most lamentably disappointed the expectation of its projectors, both in a moral and political point of view.
About two years back, when much sickness prevailed in the penitentiary, an Act of Parliament was passed, to enable His Majesty to remove the prisoners from thence to the Hulks, and a certain number were drafted to each ship. These are said to have exhibited little symptoms of reformation, but, on the contrary, were generally found to be the most refactory. We have drawn this statement ,and we place it before the Public to convince them of the difference between the usage of American prisoners, and those subjected to a penal bond in the Colonies we inhabit; and we are the more eager to do so at the present period, from the influx of prisoners from England and the penal settlements, otherwise we should not have been induced to have entered thus fully into this subject."
Source - Colonial Times, Sept 1 1826.

First Extract - Friday 8 November 1822

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Friday 8 November 1822 Ship News.
Newspapers were brought from England by two vessels - On Sunday forenoon last arrived from England, via Hobart Town, the ship Clydesdale, Captain Mackellar, sailed from Liverpool the 26th of June, and brings a choice and valuable investment.
This morning arrived from Ireland, with 188 male prisoners, the ship Mangles, Captain Cogill. She left Cork the 21st of June, and called at Rio, from whence she sailed the 1st September.
English News
Major-General Macquarie.-We have followed our late respected and beloved Governor, across the treacherous deep and now we have the sincere pleasure to announce, to the Australasian world, the safe arrival, on the 28th of June last, on the tranquil shores of old England, of Major General and Mrs. Macquarie, with their only Son, in excellent health.
We have traced the absurd report of sending prisoners to New Zealand to an Irish paper. A few hundreds are to be sent to Bermuda, to make that island a safe and convenient port.
A vast sensation has pervaded the public mind during the past week, owing to the circulation of a report which goes to say, that the Government at home had resolved to send out no more prisoners to these Colonies, but had fixed upon some part of Africa as a more suitable place of exilium for future transgressors.
We promise to procure against next week the English Paper, which contains the debate in the House of Commons that gave rise to this misrepresentation. Suffice it to say, however, that there is not the least Authority for the report.

Saturday 30 November 1822

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemenís Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Saturday 30 November 1822
and also in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Thursday 2 January 1823
English Extracts, Down to June and July.
Royal Births.-The two Princesses, Consorts of the Infants Don Carlos and Don Francis Paulo, brothers to the King of Spain, were delivered of two Princes, on the 13th and 15th of last month (May) at Aranjuez.
With a view lo a diminution of the great public expence attending the making the Island of Bermuda a safe and convenient naval port, it is intended to employ about 300 convicts in carrying on the labourers' work. The Coromandel and Tortoise (store-ships) are to be fitted for their conveyance thither. Bermuda is considered as an essential station for our ships on the coast of North America, and the West India stations, during any war with America.
It is worthy of remark, lhat the only English ships of war Buonaparte ever was on board of are now lying in the Medway, viz. - The Undaunted, Bellerophon, and Northumberland, in Ihe first, he was conveyed to Elba in 1815; in July following, he surrendered, and was received on board the second at Rochfort, after the battle of Waterloo ; and in less than a month after, he sailed in the third for St. Helena.

Friday 10 September 1824

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemenís Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Friday 10 September 1824
On page 2 EXTRACTS.
An Act of Parliament was passed in the last Session, authorising the tiansport of convicts to any of our Colonies, for the purpose of being employed in any of the Public Works carrying on in them for their improvement; and in consequence the Antelope has been commissioned at Chatham, by Lieut. Hine, for the purpose of conveying a considerabie number of them, to Bermuda, where Docks are forming, and other considerable naval plans projected.

Friday 24 September 1824

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemenís Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Friday 24 September 1824
British Intelligence. On page 3
An authentic communication iii a late Landon Paper slates, that the establishment of convicts at Bermuda is under the controul of Mr. Capper, and will be conducted in ŗ similar manner to the Government Establishment in England. The prisoners at that Island are employed upon the public works, in the naval department.

Thursday 25 November 1824

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Thursday 25 November 1824
'Latest British Extracts'. From The London Gazette, July 10. Coloninal Office, July 9.-
Colonel Walter Tremenheere, and Major Collins, R.M. are to embark, with a division of Royal Marines, in the Romney, for Bermuda: which ship is also to take out 300 more Convicts, to be employed in making the Port improvements at that island,---The royal Marine force there is to be increased to 500 men. Col Tremenheere is to hold the rank of Lieut Governor.

Friday 28 January 1825

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemenís Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Friday 28 January 1825
Bermuda.- The London Gazette of August 16th, contains a Proclamation, appointing Bermuda, in addition to New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land, &c. as a place in which male offenders, sentenced to transportation, may be kept to hard labour.
The Army.-We haye been kindly favoured by art Officer of high rank in the Colony, with the first four numbers of a new weekly London Paper, called "Common Sense" by which we perceive that His Majesty's 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot was on the 22d of August ordered to Chatham, preparatory to its embarkation for New South Wales.

Thursday 18 August 1825

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Thursday 18 August 1825
Page 2, near the top of Column 3,
Dr. Hall, of New South Wales notoriety, Surgeon iu the Navy, has been appointed Surgeon to the hulk in Bermuda, pro tempore.

Monday 31 October 1825

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Monday 31 October 1825
Page 4, Latest British Extracts. bottom third of Column 4, Glasgow. May 12.-Public Whipping.
On Wednesday John Kean, cotton-spinner, who was convicted at the last Circuit Court here, for shooting at John Graham, another cotton-spinner, and severely wounding him, underwent the punishment of the law, upon a temporary scaffold erected in the front of the Court-house. On the scaffold waa erected an upright frame work, to which Kean was closely bound, as if extended on a cross, and in a manner that he could not move either one way or the other. About ten inmutes past twelve o'clock, the criminal was brought out bound to the post, when the common executioner inflicted the punishment awarded by the law, namely, eighty stripes, a punishment certainly trifling, compared to the enormity of his offence.
He seemed to take it very coolly at the outset, but towards the close the feelings of pain rather overcame his resolution. When released, his back appeared considerably lacerated. It was soon after dressed by a medical man in attendance. He was then conducted to his cell, to undergo the remainder of his punishment. The severest part of it yet remains, namely, banishment for life, and to be confined at hard labour on the public works, we premune at Bermuda, amongst other atrocious and hardened criminals. The next cold-blooded and atrocious deed of the kind which takes place in this country will, from the law now in progress, be punished with death.


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Elizabeth Janson's web contributions
began 1st Nov, 1998
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