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A word of exhortation to a servant

Date: 1833
Overall: 198 x 115 x 6 mm, 0.089 kg
Medium: Book cloth and paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00031713
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Surgeon William B Marshall issued booklets to 91 female convicts and nine children held on board the convict barque FANNY in Port Jackson during February 1833. His discourse contains advice for the convicts as they prepared to enter into private service in Sydney, New South Wales. Convicts were directed to be loyal, obedient, pleasant, honest and civil in this booklet which relies heavily on biblical verse and religion.
    SignificanceThis book offers a rare insight into the life of female convicts upon arriving in Australia in the early 19th century demonstrating what was expected of them in the colony.
    HistoryMore than 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia between 1788 and 1868, with approximately 20,000 being female prisoners. The majority of the convicts were employed on public building works including road and harbour construction, brick making, buildings and land cultivation. Following this initial period of building many convicts entered service as clerks, government domestic workers or were assigned to private households. Domestic service in private employment accounted for the majority of female convicts assigned to work. This system of labour proved economical for the government and depending on the behaviour of the convict and their length of sentence many could apply for a 'ticket of leave' after three to five years in service.

    The barque FANNY was built in Calcutta, India in 1829 and made at least three known voyages to New South Wales in the 1830s-1840s. Its only voyage transporting convicts from England to New South Wales was made in 1832 with around 91 female convicts and their children on board. The voyage had two surgeons on board, Surgeon Superintendent Frances Logan and Surgeon William B Marshall who were also present to help control an outbreak of cholera prior to the ship's departure. After this initial outbreak which killed a number of convicts all the remaining prisoners are reported to have arrived in Sydney in good health in February 1833.

    Surgeon W B Marshall wrote 'A Word of Exhortation to a Servant' in 1832 and it was published and handed out to the female convicts shortly after the FANNY arrived in Sydney in 1833. Only a limited number of copies were published.

    Marshall instructs female convicts to be 'obedient unto their masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, not purloining; but showing all fidelity'.

    He also instructed them on what they could expect on entering a master's house. 'As servants you are entitled to all that is necessary for the support of your body, for its covering, and for its shelter... your masters are bound and may be compelled, to feed, to clothe, and to lodge you'.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: A word of exhortation to a servant

    Web title: A Word of Exhortation to a Servant

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