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 Transportation 
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Post Transportation
timoneer wrote:
I have often wondered if other countries transported prisoners or was this unique to England? I know that prisoners were moved from the UK at various times to Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and then to Australia. Spain and France had colonies in the Americas but did they treat their civilian lawbreakers in this same manner?

One place French political prisoners and other undesireables were sent to was Cayenne (Guiana). The sentence was known as the "dry guillotine."

You might be interested in The Prisoners of Cabrera by Denis Smith. It's an account of French prisoners (soldiers and sailors) sent from Spain to the island of Cabrera, which is just south of Mallorca. It was a joint operation by the Spanish and the British.

Maybe others here have information about other locations?

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Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Transportation
susan wrote:
One place French political prisoners and other undesireables were sent to was Cayenne (Guiana). The sentence was known as the "dry guillotine."

You might be interested in The Prisoners of Cabrera by Denis Smith. It's an account of French prisoners (soldiers and sailors) sent from Spain to the island of Cabrera, which is just south of Mallorca. It was a joint operation by the Spanish and the British.

Susan, thanks for the memory jog (and the separate thread). I had forgotten about reading "Papillon" by Henri Charrière a few decades ago which was a, supposedly, first hand account of long term imprisonment, and eventual escape, from French Guiana. Henri Charrière was a small time French crook who, according to him, was unjustly convicted of murder. I enjoyed both the book and the movie staring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.

I'll also check out the Denis Smith book. A joint Spanish and British operation huh -- sounds interesting.

Looks like Britain had company transporting prisoners.

Don


Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:07 am
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Forester wrote a Hornblower short story dealing with the prisoners on Cabrera, IIRC....

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Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:21 pm
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Clash's Forester story is "Hornblower's Charitable Offering":

http://www.geocities.com/eugenew2/charitable.htm

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Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:34 pm
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Broos Campbell wrote:
Clash's Forester story is "Hornblower's Charitable Offering":

http://www.geocities.com/eugenew2/charitable.htm


Yep! That's the one! Thanks, Broos! :D

-clash

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:15 pm
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From The Times, Feb 19, 1791:

" .... Six hundred convicts from the gaols in London only, will be embarked this year for Botany Bay; the vessels destined to transport them will stop at Plymouth, and there take in the convicts from the western parts of the kingdom. On their return, they will be freighted with goods for the East India Company from the coast of Malabar ..."




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The Times, October 21st, 1786:

" .... A letter from Portsmouth says, that orders are come fhere for the men to work double tides to get those ships out of dock which are to sail for Botany Bay with a Governor and other officers. The subalterns and soldiers are to go on board those vessels that carry over the convicts. A number of tents are ordered to be got ready for the use of the officers, &c. till houses can be erected for them. Amongst the convicts are bricklayers, carpenters, and smiths, who are to be employed in the buildings, and to have some indulgence more than those that are of no trade. ...."





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Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:50 am
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There were also attempts by the British to establish penal colonies in Africa but the climate was so inhospitable that the convicts were rapidly reduced in numbers. In 1782, for example, two hundred prisoners had landed on the Gambian coast. Within a short time, all but 50 had perished.

In 1786, 411 prisoners had been simply abandoned in Freetown, Sierra Leone while the ship that brought them sailed back to England. They had been provided with land bought from inland Africans but were subjected to constant raids and persecution. Eighteen months later, only 130 of them were still alive.

One of the reasons for transporting criminals was that the authorities didn't know what to do with them. Crime rose rapidly in the 18th century. The enclosing of common land had driven many away from agriculture and brought them to the cities looking for work which, despite increasing industrialisation, was not always available; the end of the revolutionary war in America put many discharged soldiers on the streets looking for work, and resorting to crime when they couldn't find it. With increased numbers of men looking for work, many women found their jobs offered to men instead so they too were reduced to penury, with a grim choice between prostitution or theft to survive. The penal code was ostensibly strict with 200 capital offences. In truth, judges and juries were frequently merciful and death sentences were often commuted except for really hardened repeat offenders. Sending reprieved prisoners to the colonies instead of trying to house them in overflowing prisons at home seemed, at the time, a reasonable solution. Indeed, the conditions in prison were so appalling that many women viewed the convict ships, horrific as some of them were, but which provided food, shelter and some attempt at hygiene, as an improvement to be welcomed, or at least accepted in a spirit of resignation.

I encountered this information in a most interesting book I am reading at the moment called 'The Floating Brothel' by Sian Rees, the story of the 'Lady Julian', a ship that took a complement of female prisoners to Australia 'destined to provide sexual services and a breeding bank for the men already there.'


Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:00 pm
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