Convict Ship Bussorah Merchant 1828
Convict Ship Index
|Embarked 170 men
Voyage 121 days
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
vessel: Phoenix arrived 14 July
Countess of Harcourt arrived 8 September 1828
Captain James Baigrie
The Bussorah Merchant was built
at Calcutta in 1818.
The Bussorah Merchant was the next convict ship to leave
England after the departure of the
Phoenix on 7th
March 1828. She departed London on 27 March 1828.
consisted of one man of the 57th regiment and 30 of the 39th
commanded by Captain
Burton Daveney of the 57th regiment and Ensign W. Kennedy Child of the 39th. They were
accompanied by 6 women and 6 children.
Select here to find other convict ships
bringing detachments of the 39th regiment to New South Wales.
Robert Dunn kept a Medical Journal between 14th February and
13th September 1828.......
The last prisoners from the hulk
at Sheerness embarked on the Bussorah
Merchant on 17th March and the remainder of the transportees
were sent from Chatham in open boats on the 19th March 1828. This
must have been a cold and uncomfortable journey as several men were
afterwards affected with catarrh and pneumonia as a result of the
cold and damp, the average temperature being 54F. One of the crew 'a
man of colour' was found to have smallpox and was sent to Chatham.
Although the berths were scrubbed, fumigated and whitewashed,
another crew member, two prisoners and a baby belonging to one of
the guard also contracted the disease.
Superintendent Robert Dunn attempted to vaccinate everyone on the
ship but was not successful. By May the weather had turned hot and
rainy. Fever which was thought to have been introduced by one of the
Guard, swept through the prisoners. All recovered except one,
William Payne. The surgeon wanted to try bleeding the men but had
been warned of the dangers of attempting it on a convict ship due to
As the ship ventured further South
the weather turned cold and damp. The prison was almost constantly
wet from leaky ports and there were many cases of fever, pneumonia,
cynanche and catarrhal in consequence. Another young convict died
from emaciation after suffering dysentery for some time. Francis
Wright died on the 12 July after suffering pneumonia.
Bussorah Merchant arrived in Port Jackson
26 July 1828. There were four convict deaths on the voyage out.
The first being William Whalley. The vessel was placed in quarantine
on arrival in Sydney and the prisoners and guard were landed at
Spring Cove as soon as possible. The Alligator was sent down to be
converted into a quarantine hulk. Another report said the prisoners
spent seven weeks in a camp about eight miles out of Sydney. There
were no further outbreaks of smallpox.
From the Sydney
Gazette: -We really feel for Captain Baigrie and the other
Gentlemen who are associated with him in their banishment to Neutral
Bay; but we are assured that they have too much regard for the
welfare of their fellow creatures to repine at the act of Providence.
Robert Dunn thought this time in quarantine was excessive as it had
been eleven weeks since any sign of the disease, however Governor
Darling was taking no chances. His son Edward had died on 3rd August
1828 from whooping cough that had been introduced to the colony from
the ship Morley
The Bussorah Merchant came direct and
did not touch land anywhere, necessitating a diet of salt
provisions. Although the prisoners spent 120 days on this diet,
there was only one very slight case of scurvy. The absence of
scurvy, which was so prevalent on other vessels, was attributed to
the men having behaved very well during the passage and keeping
themselves as well as the prison and hospital very clean. In
consequence of this good behaviour, their irons were removed and
they were allowed on deck the whole day whenever the weather
permitted and bathed in rotation in four messes.
A Muster was
held on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 15
Captain Davenay and Ensign Child of the
Military Guard publicly expressed their gratitude for the attentions
of the Captain and Surgeon during the voyage in an advertisement in
the Sydney Gazette......
We have much pleasure in giving publicity to the annexed
documents, which speak in such unquantified terms or the
excellent conduct of the above Commander to those Gentlemen,
and others, who were privileged with the opportunity to
visiting this Colony on the Bussorah Merchant : -
Sydney, July 27th, 1828.
SIR, - It is with much pleasure
that I hand this my certificate, expressive the satisfaction
I feet at the kind and liberal manner to which I have been
treated since my embarkation on board the Bussorah Merchant,
and at the same time I cannot omit to thank you for the very
generous and human attention you have been pleased to pay
the wants of the sick soldiers, women, and children, of the
guard, under my command, during their long and tedious
passage from England to Sydney I am, Sir, your obedient
humble Servant, BURTON DAVENEY, Capt. 57th Regt. commanding
on board. -
To Mr J Baigrie, Master, Bussorah
Sir,-In bearing testimony to your good
treatment of me, during our passage from England to Sydney,
on board the Bussorah Merchant, I would not be doing you
justice were I not in the highest terms to thank you for
your unwearied kindness and attention, and your very liberal
and handsome Conduct. Your humane kindness to the guard in
general, and women in particular, does you great credit, of
which I have the pleasure and satisfaction to testify. I am,
Sir, your obedient Servant, W. KENNEDY CHILD, Ensign, 39th
To Mr J. Baigrie, Master, Bussorah Merchant.
We do hereby certify, that, during our passage from England
to New South Wales, in the Bussorah Merchant, we have been
treated by the Master, Mr. JAMES BAIGRIE, with the greatest
liberality, kind- ness, and attention. B. DAVENEY, Capt.
57th Regt. commanding Guard. W. KENNEDY CHILD, Ensign 39th
Regt. Dated Spring Cove, Sydney, Aug. 7, 1828.
remained in the Colony for a further four months. He was also
surgeon on the convict ship
The Bussorah Merchant departed the
colony bound for the Isle of France on 28th September 1828.
Notes & Links:
1). Seventeen convict ships arrived in
New South Wales in 1828 -
City of Edinburgh,
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers who arrived on the Bussorah
Merchant in 1828
The Bussorah Merchant returned with convicts in 1831
Convict ships bringing detachments of the
39th regiment included the
William Sacheverell Coke
|Downs 6 May
|Cork 29 June
Thomas Edward Wright
Henry Clarence Scarman
George Meares Bowen
Countess of Harcourt
Quarter-master Benjamin Lloyd
|Dublin 2 June
|London 3 June
5). 39th regiment..........
4). Return of Convicts of the
Bussorah Merchant assigned between 1st January 1832
and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832).........
Isaac Pye - Groom assigned to John Liscombe at Bathurst