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Transportation act for Irish offenders

Date: 1849
Overall: 302 x 181 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Transportation act
Object No: 00006800
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This act was issued by the British Parliament to 'remove doubts concerning the transportation of offenders under judgement of death to whom mercy may be extended'. In summary it enables Her Majesty or the Lord Lieutenant to order the transportation of any Irish offender who is under judgement of death. Mercy can be extended to these felons to allow them transportation to a convict colony for the term of their natural life.
    SignificanceThis booklet provides an important insight into the legal measures taken to transport convicts from Britain and Ireland to its colonies.
    HistorySince the early 1600s European societies used the transportation of criminals overseas as a form of punishment. When in the 18th century the death penalty came to be regarded as too severe for certain capital offences, such as theft and larceny, transportation to North America became a popular form of sentence.

    The American War of Independence (1776-1781) put an end to the mass export of British and Irish convicts to America and many of the convicts in Great Britain's jails were instead sent to hulks (decommissioned naval vessels) on the River Thames and at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Cork and Dublin. In 1784, under the Transportation and Penitentiaries Act convicts could be exiled to colonies overseas.

    Between 1788 and 1868 over 168,000 men, women and children were transported from Britain to Australia as convicts on board more than 1,000 modified merchant ships which had been converted into convict transports.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Transportation act for Irish offenders under judgement of death to whom mercy may be extended

    Web title: Transportation act for Irish offenders

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