|On 23 December
1833 the Morning Post reported .........
are upwards of one hundred and fifty sail of outward bound valuable
merchant ships lying within the anchorage of St. Helen's and the
Motherbank, waiting for moderate weather and a fair wind; it has
blown during the week with great violence, occasionally in most
tempestuous gusts; but, we are most happy to state, without
occasioning any loss to the ships whilst at anchor, in either
property or life. The Numa, with female convicts, under the medical
charge of Dr. Bromley for Sydney; the James Laing, with males under
Mr. R. Allen, Surgeon; and the Moffat with 400 males under Dr. F.B.
Wilson for Van Diemen's land, are among the ships wind bound. The
convicts on board these ships complete the number expatriated this
year to 6000.
The James Laing had reached
Dublin by 10 February 1834 when in entering the harbour the ship
sustained damage by coming in contact with the Aimwell, Merriam
and Coburg, and carrying away the bowsprit of the
former, and the main booms of the two latter vessels. (Liverpool
Two hundred and one prisoners were embarked in
Dublin; one prisoner William Armstrong was re-landed before the James Laing finally departed
Dublin on Sunday 16 February 1834. Towards
the end of the voyage, the surgeon, Richard Allen died by his own
hand. His death was reported in the Nautical Magazine -
' there had been much sickness among the convicts on the voyage.
Excessive fatigue, and great anxiety for the sick, had occasioned an
affection of the brain in Mr. Allen, which terminated fatally. He
was beloved by all who knew him and was deeply deplored by his
sorrowing widow and family.' Richard Allen was previously
employed as surgeon on the
Parmelia in 1832 .
The Guard consisted of 29
rank and file of 50th regiment., under command of
Major Edward Johnstone.
Passengers included Mrs. Ellson, Mrs. Johnstone, 7 soldiers wives
and 6 children; and also assistant surgeon
Mr. Robert Ellson.
of the 50th Regiment also arrived on the Surry,
Henry Tanner and
The James Laing arrived in Port Jackson on
29 June 1834 with 197 male prisoners. Eleven men were sent to the
General Hospital in Macquarie Street the following day suffering
symptoms of scurvy. The remaining prisoners were mustered on board
on 4th July 1834. Three prisoners had died on the voyage out and
nineteen were sick in hospital at the time of muster. The indents
include name, age, education, religion, marital status, children,
native place, trade, offence, when and where tried and physical
description; there are also occasional notes regarding colonial
sentences and dates and place of death. Their crimes were mostly
different forms of stealing - picking pockets, stealing livestock,
burglary etc., however there were also crimes of rape, violent
assault, perjury and embezzlement.
There were also men who
had been convicted of whiteboy crimes - Joseph Byrne unlawful oaths;
James Cantwell unlawful oaths; Thomas Delaney - assaulting a
habitation; Lag Delaney - forcible entry; Patrick Martin - firearms
There were several soldiers who had been
court-martialled for desertion, leaving their post and assault etc -
Leonard Brayshaw, William Bowden, John Breen; James Daley, Thomas
Ennis, Thomas Gurney, Joseph Jackson and Patrick Killalea.
Distribution of 197 male convicts who arrived
by ship James Laing -
172 assigned to private service;
2 to Mineral surveyors Dept;
1 to Commissariat dept.,
1 unfit for assignment
2 sent to Port Macquarie
Notes and Links:
1). Convict John
Harte was on a Colonial Office list of thirteen people who applied
for their families sent to New South Wales.........
2). Patrick Kilmartin was executed at Sydney for murder on 11
May 1835 and bushranger Benjamin
Harris was executed in 1843.
Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the James Laing in
5). Belfast Quarter Sessions -
Christopher Walsh for stealing a quantity of lard, the property of
Robert Ball, at Belfast on 21st October - Guilty; seven years
Joseph Kelly (about 15 years of age), for
stealing a silver watch at Belfast on 16th September - George
Chapman said that the watch had been left with him to repair that on
16th September when in his shop, he heard the window break and a
young man, who was in the shop at the time on business ran out and
caught the prisoner, and brought him in; witness found the watch in
his breast. The prisoner said he was a native of Dublin; and seemed
quite indifferent to the charge brought against him, laughing
frequently during the trial - Guilty; transported seven years.
- Belfast Newsletter 1 November 1833
6). In 1841 the
Sydney Herald published a biography of
Major Edward Johnstone....He
was appointed, at the recommendation of His Grace the Duke of
Wellington, to an Ensigncy in the 48th Regiment, in 1810. Before
completing his eighteenth year he joined his regiment in the lines
of Torres Vedras. In 1812 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant
in the same corps. During the whole of the Peninsular war he
remained attached to the gallant 48th ; sharing in all its exploits,
suffering in all its dangers. He was one of the fortunate few of
those who survived the bloody field of Albuera, where the second
battalion of the 48th was almost annihilated by the Polish lancers,
being attacked, after having deployed into line, so suddenly as not
to be able to form into square. The number of officers killed and
wounded was forty eight : the number of rank and file mustered after
the battle, fit for duty, was only from seventeen to twenty. Major
Johnstone fought at the following general engagements :-Albuera,
Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, and Toulouse ; he
was also present at the sieges of Cuidad Rodrigo and Badajos, and at
every other affair in which the 48th was engaged against the enemy.
He was severely wounded at the battles of Salamanca and the
In 1818 Major Johnstone joined the 58th Regiment,
but again, at the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, he was
removed into the 50th, then stationed in Jamaica, where he
proceeded, and served for seven years. In 1825, by the kindness of
the same noble Duke, ever the friend of those who were his
companions in arms, he was promoted to a company in that corps.
About the same time he received the rank of Major, and came to this
Colony with the 50th.
In 1834, Major Johnstone commanded the
troops sent to New Zealand to rescue the wife and children of the
master of the Harriet whaler, wrecked on the Terranackie coast, in
May of that year : this expedition was successful, and Major
Johnstone received the thanks of His Excellency Sir Richard Bourke,
then Governor of New South Wales. Major Johnstone has now been for a
period of nearly six years acting as Police Magistrate for the
district of Paterson.
Johnstone and Lieutenant Gunter of the 50th regiment volunteered in
the rescue of Betty Guard in New Zealand in spring 1834 (1).
This rescue and the ensuing massacre was the first action by British
troops on New Zealand soil. (2) . Major
Johnstone's residence Annandale built at Paterson in 1839.
Ellson was later stationed at
Norfolk Island and was visited there by James Backhouse in 1835.
8). Return of Convicts who died in 1870
9). County of Antrim Assizes, Carrickfergus, Tuesday 23 July....
Henry McLoughlin, for stealing at Cairncastle on 20th August
last, a gelding the property of David Service, Guilty; transported
Samuel Falloon, Samuel Johnston, and Bernard Hamill,
for stealing at Templepatrick, on 9th July last, a cow, the property
of Ezekiel Wiley - It appeared that on information received by Mr.
Clark a Magistrate, he sent a policeman to the house of one of the
prisoners, where they were found in the act of skinning the cow. -
Guilty; transported for life.
Samuel Lorimer, Andrew Blair, and
James Hemphill, for stealing a bullock, the property of Mr. Sayers,
at Crebilly, on 2nd March last - guilty; transported for life.
James Graham, for stealing, at Ballymena, on 10th August last, a
cart, the property of James Cust; also, for receiving same, knowing
it to be stolen - guilty; 7 years' transportation - Belfast
Newsletter 26 July 1833
10). Recorder's Court -
Prender, William Prender, Michael Hand and Anne Henrietta, were
indicted for feloniously taking a coat, the property of...Byrne.
Byrne stated that at about half past one o'clock on Sunday night he
went into a house of bad character, where he slept, and upon waking
in the morning his clothes were not to be found. The male prisoners
were drinking in the house, and refused to let him got out; at
length they gave him an old pair of shoes, upon which he went out
and acquainted a person named Hill of the robbery. Joseph Hill saw
Byrne on the morning after the robbery, he (Byrne) had then no hat
or coat; he described the persons who refused to let him out he
(Hill) then went and had them arrested, when they were searched, and
duplicates for Byrne's clothes found upon one of them; the female
prisoner had been with him in the house at a very late hour. Guilty.
All old offenders. Transportation for seven years. - Freeman's
Journal 11 July 1833 1833
11). Belfast Quarter Sessions -
Tuesday, July 9 -
James Mackay, for stealing silk
handkerchiefs, the property of Messrs. John and David Lindsay at
Belfast on 8th June; guilty, seven years transportation -
Belfast Newsletter 12 July 1833
12). County of Antrim
Assizes - Carrickfergus - Thursday July 25.
Bernard Stewart, for
stealing from the dwelling house of Andrew McCollough at Ballyclare,
on 11th July and taking therefrom 11s and some wearing apparel -
guilty; 7 years transportation. - Belfast Newsletter 26 July 1833
13). County Armagh Assizes - Fourth day - Tuesday -
Sentences - Hamilton Gillespie, passing base coin, seven years
transportation. Belfast Newsletter 30 July 1833 12). James Graham
for stealing at Ballymena on 10th August last a cart, the property
of James Cust; also for receiving same, knowing it to be stolen -
Guilty; 7 years transportation Belfast Newsletter 26 July 1844
Physiological observations on mental susceptibility. ... By
Thomas Burgeland Johnson
New Zealand History Online - The Harriet Affair