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Convict Ship
 Bengal Merchant 1838

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Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850

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Embarked 270 men
Voyage 115 days
Deaths 3
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Tons: 503
Previous vessel: William Jardine arrived 11 April 1838
Next vessel: Lord Lyndoch arrived 8 August 1838
Captain William Campbell  
Surgeon Superintendent Isaac Noott

On the voyage of the Bengal Merchant from England in 1838 surgeon Isaac Noott kept a Medical Journal from 5 March 1838 to 28 July 1838.  

The guard consisted of 29 men of the 21st and 51st Regiments under orders of Lieutenant Gates of the 51st and Lieutenant Dear of the 21st regiment, with 6 women and 9 children. They embarked at Deptford on 15 March 1838 and the Bengal Merchant sailed for Sheerness the following day. On 20th March 270 convicts from Chatham were embarked.

Convict John Franklyn was one of the men who had been on board the hulk at Chatham. Already suffering severely from rheumatism, he got very wet on the day of embarkation and despite the care of Isaac Noott, continued to suffer throughout the rest of the voyage. Select here to read a Prison Hulk Report describing a typical week in the life of convicts incarcerated in the Hulks in 1838.  

The Bengal Merchant weighed anchor on 28 March, passed the Downs on 1 April and were at Tenerife on 11 April where they spent two days getting water and fresh provisions.  

There was an outbreak of typhus on 20th May. Prisoners, crew and soldiers were affected. James Monk died on 9th June. Private William Denny of the Guard died on 25 June and convict Thomas Morgan died on 17 July.   The first case of scurvy occurred on 8th July, that of August Piotrowski. Isaac Noott described him as 'a Pole of indolent habit'.  

Only half or three quarters of the prisoners were allowed on deck at the same time, so that there was room for them to exercise. They were made to walk around the deck several times a day. The prison was kept clean and as dry as possible. Nitre and vinegar was given to convalescents and lemon juice from the commencement of salt meat but the wine not until after the tropics. Two children who died of atrophy were not included in the surgeon's report.
The Bengal Merchant arrived in Port Jackson on 21st July 1838, a voyage of 115 days. Thirteen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1838.   On arrival George Williams aged 22 was sent to the hospital suffering from rheumatism. He was still in hospital on 18 August.  

Of the 267 convicts who arrived on the Bengal Merchant, 58 have so far been identified residing in the Hunter Region.  Select HERE to find more about convicts and passengers of the Bengal Merchant in the Hunter region.

Notes & Links:  

1). Isaac Noott was employed as surgeon on the Alfred in 1834 and the Layton in 1839 (VDL)  

2). Select here to read correspondence re the arrival of Bengal Merchant regarding the distribution of convicts under Governor Gipp's system of assignment


3). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 21st regiment (Royal Scotch Fusiliers).......

Date/ Place of Departure Ship Command of the Guard
4 September 1832 London Mary 1833 Captain Daniels 21st regt.,
8 October 1832 Cork Roslin Castle 1833 Lieuts. Bayley & Pieter L. Campbell. 21st
17 November 1832 Portsmouth Andromeda 1833 Lieuts. Lonsdale & Armstrong 21st regt.,
14 December 1832 London Mangles 1833  
21 February 1833 Downs Asia 1833 Lieuts. Kelly and Wilson of 6th regt.,
-- June 1833 Sheerness Lord Lyndoch 1833 Lieut-Col. Leahy. Headquarters of 21st
4 June 1833 Dublin Royal Admiral 1833 Lieut. Ainslie 21st regt.,
4 July 1833 Portsmouth Aurora 1833 Major Delisle 4th regt.,
24 July 1833 Cork Java 1833 Lieut. Wrixon, 21st regt.,
29 July 1833 Plymouth Neva 1833 Lieut. McEdwin 1st or Queens Own regt.,
25 August 1833 Downs Lloyds 1833 Lieut. McKnight 21st regt.,
27 October 1833 England Fairlie 1834  
28 March 1838 Bengal Merchant 1838 Lieut. Dear of 21st regt.,


5). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 51st regiment include the Neptune, Waterloo, William Jardine, Bengal Merchant, Lord Lyndoch, Westmoreland, Clyde, Earl Grey, Portsea, Elphinstone, John Barry and the Waverley.



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