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Convict Transportation Act

Date: 1784
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 x 310 x 195 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: 00003879
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Description
    This 13-page booklet of the Convict Transportation Act of 1784 builds on the first transportation act initiated by King James I in 1619, which provided the legal basis for the British Government to transport convicts from Britain to overseas colonies. It is an 'Act for the effectual transportation of felons and other offenders and to authorise the removal of prisoners in certain cases and for other purposes therein mentioned'.
    SignificanceThis booklet provides an important insight into the legal measures taken to transport convicts from Britain 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 regular 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.

    Charles Eyre and William Strahan ran a London-based printing firm - the official Printer to the King.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: CONVICT TRANSPORTATION ACT, PARLIAMENTARY ACT OF 1784. PRINTED BY CHARLES EYRE AND WILLIAM STRAHAN.

    Web title: Convict Transportation Act

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