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Convict Ship Clyde 1838

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Embarked 216 men
Voyage 122 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Tons: 490
Previous vessel: John Renwick arrived 27 August 1838
Next vessel Earl Grey arrived 21 November 1838  
Master John Matches
Surgeon Superintendent John Smith
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The Clyde was built at Greenock in 1819. (1)  Convicts were transported to Australia on the Clyde in 1830 (VDL), 1832 (NSW) and  1838 (NSW).

The Clyde departed Dublin 11 May 1838 with 216 prisoners. Crimes of the convicts of the Clyde included various forms of stealing, assault, picking pockets, manslaughter, highway robbery, house robbery, stealing sheep, coining, perjury, arson, rape, arson, forgery and sacrilege. There were also twenty men who had been Court-martialled at the Cape of Good Hope and five men convicted of whiteboy crimes in Ireland....

David Burke for stealing firearms
John Lynn for administering unlawful oaths
John Molloy for stealing firearms and manslaughter
Patrick Ryan having stolen firearms in his possession
Owen Smith for riot and assault.

The youngest prisoners were Charles Bankes, errand boy age 14; George Hurley, errand boy age 14; and George McFaddyn, errand boy aged 13.

John Smith kept a Medical Journal from 24th April to 15 September 1838. He reported that the convicts were mostly young and healthy. Health during the voyage was good and there were no cases of any great importance. Changes of temperature produced diarrhoea and catarrh but they were mild and of short duration. There was one birth, retention of the placenta requiring manual assistance and there had been convulsions and delirium but recovery was speedy and perfect. Scurvy began to appear in the less healthy as they approached the Cape of Good Hope and they called at Simon's Town on the 21 July and took on an additional 20 convicts, all military men in good health; and fresh provisions, including live sheep. (2)

They stayed 7 days at the Cape and the health and spirits of the people were greatly improved. They were given a considerable quantity of potatoes and the surgeon was convinced that 'this liberality of the Government contributed greatly to our good health'. No cocoa was issued but the allowance of oatmeal was sufficient. They departed the Cape on 28th July 1838.

The men were well-behaved and were encouraged to dance and march around to the music of the flute. The decks were seldom wetted and afterwards were always dried by stove and windsails. Chloride of lime was freely used and every means taken to keep the decks clean and dry. They made King's Island on 1st September and spoke the Camden brig in the Straits, bound to Sydney.

By the time the Clyde arrived in Port Jackson on 10 September 1838, the men's clothing was in very bad condition and the surgeon remarked that 'the people were all in tatters'. 

There had been no deaths on the voyage out, however James Durkan from Co. Mayo died in Sydney General hospital on 19 October 1838.

Cabin passengers included Lieutenant Islam of the 51st regiment and Lieutenant Mortimer/Morton 21st regiment and Mr. Churton. Steerage passengers included 3 free settlers from Ireland and 29 rank and file of the 21st, 50th, 51st and 80th regiments.

The Clyde departed Sydney bound for Java on 9th October 1838.  

Notes & Links:

1). John Smith, surgeon, R.N., received his surgeon's diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1809, and served on naval ships and on the convict ships Marquis of Huntley in 1828 Surry  in 1834 and the Moffatt in 1836

2). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Clyde in 1838

3). Political Prisoners

4). Soldiers court-martialled at the Cape:
Patrick Bartley from Co. Tipperary, soldier, labourer and stone cutter.  Cape Castle Court Martial for desertion 27 July 1837
John Beveridge, soldier and in door servant from Fifeshire Scotland.  Graham's Town Court Martial 20 November 1837 for desertion and theft
Robert Campbell from Inverness. Soldier and shoemaker.  Graham's Town Court Martial 28 October 1837 for desertion and theft.
James Clarke from Co. Armagh, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Marital 31 October 1836 for mutiny
Robert Cunningham from Co. Sussex, labourer and soldier. Cape Castle Court Martial 13 January 1837 for mutiny
James Curless from Co. Tyrone, soldier and butcher. Cape Castle Court Martial 18 May 1837 for mutiny
John Dunn from Co. Louth, soldier and labouer. Cape Castle Court Martial 16 November 1836 for mutiny
John Fahey from Co. Galway, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 27 July 1837 for desertion
Patrick Gaynor from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 18 November 1837 for mutiny
James Hughes from Co. Tipperary, labourer and soldier. Graham's Town Court Martial 10 June 1837 for desertion
Kyron Larkin from King's County, soldier and groom. Graham's Town Court Martial 1 May 1838 for drunkenness and firing at serjeant
Thomas McCulgan from Co. Fermanagh, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 16 November 1836 for mutiny
Daniel McFee from Edinburgh, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 28 October 1837 for desertion
George McLeod from Sutherland, soldier and tailor. Graham's Town court marital 16 October 1837 for desertion
Timothy Mars from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 12 April 1837 for mutiny
Richard Matthews from Leicestershire, soldier and wool comber. Cape Castle Court Martial 26 December 1836 for mutiny
Malachai Ryan from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 12 April 1837 for mutiny
Thomas Sutton from Middlesex, soldier and brickmaker. Grahams Town Court Martial for desertion
Ninian Turner from Edinburgh, soldier and rope maker. Grahams Town Court Martial 12 December 1837
George Wallace from Fifeshire, house carpenter and soldier. Graham's Town Court Martial for desertion


(1). Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347

(2). UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

(3). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/17/7/4. Transcript of the Surgeon's Journal of the voyage of the Clyde in 1838



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