University of Tasmania
whole_ParrottJennifer1994_thesis.pdf (5.3 MB)

For the moral good? : The government scheme to unite convicts with their families, 1818-1843

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posted on 2023-05-27, 15:47 authored by Parrott, JJ
This thesis will examine some of the effects of transportation on the family and the efforts of the British Government to counteract the evils and problems created. This was achieved through the introduction of a Government scheme to provide free passages to Australia for the wives and families of certain convicts. When husbands were transported their wives and children became a burden on the Parish to which they belonged. As the funds for Poor relief were acquired from the Poor rate, levied on the local landowners, these gentlemen supported the scheme to provide passages for the families to follow their husbands and fathers. There were other ways in which this could be achieved - the families could be sent as fare paying emigrants, some managed to go as Government sponsored emigrants and a few worked their way out. The scheme was a well regulated plan to provide for family reunion at the expense of the British Government as an indulgence to well-behaved, established convicts who were able to support their families. In the early days of transportation many wives were allowed to accompany their husbands ta New South Wales (which included Van Diemen's Land). This practice created problems and was discontinued in the early 1800's. In 1812 the Select Committee on Transportation found that the proposed system of placing female convicts in a Penitentiary on their arrival would diminish the available supply of women and thought this \an additional reason for affording increased facilities to the wives of male convicts who may wish to accompany or follow their husbands to New South Wales.\" ( 1) It was considered to be an acceptable way of providing the Colony with more women. although Earl Bathurst expressed concern that the arrival of possibly dependent women would be an additional expense to the Colony. It was expected that these women \" being of good character and industrious\" (2) would be able to support themselves. In 1814 Governor Macquarie reported that a large number of wives were receiving support at great cost to the Government. (3) He recommended that wives should not be allowed to join their husbands unless the men could give proof of their ability to support them. In 1816 it was decided that appropriate Returns of Requests from convicts should be transmitted to the Home Government."


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Copyright 1994 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Hum.)--University of Tasmania, 1994. Includes bibliographical references

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